Wikinews:Briefs/June 11, 2010

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Today on Wikinews : The United Nations passes a resolution against Iran over its nuclear program; the NCAA penalizes USC over major rules violations; the world's oldest shoe is found in Armenia and, in history, today is Kamehameha Day!

Today is Friday, June 11th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.



The United Nations Security Council has passed Resolution 1929 imposing a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its alleged nuclear program.

The Security Council voted 13 to 2 to impose new sanctions on Iran unless it reveals more details of its nuclear program. Brazil and Turkey voted against the resolution, while Lebanon abstained.

The sanctions do not include major blockades, but do include measures against Iranian banks abroad, a cargo inspection regime, and provisions that all countries shall prevent the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles, or missile systems.

President Obama praised the Security Council vote and said, "This resolution will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government, and it sends an unmistakable message about the international community’s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons".

Brazil and Turkey criticized the sanctions, saying they could undermine further diplomatic efforts. They had previously offered to mediate the dispute, an offer which was accepted by Iran. Iran recently reached a deal with them to ship most of its enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for low-level nuclear fuel to run a medical reactor.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva said "Sadly, this time it was Iran who wanted to negotiate, and those who didn’t want to negotiate were those who think that force resolves everything."

Iran responded to the UN vote by threatening to reduce its ties to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to continue its uranium enrichment program. Iran’s ambassador to the the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said "No matter how many resolutions are passed, Islamic Republic of Iran will not stop its enrichment activities, which is in full accordance with its right under the statute of IAEA and Non-Proliferation Treaty".

As Turkey seeks to relax restrictions on Iran,

Turkey’s Finance Ministry has given Google a tax demand of $18.6 million, and Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yildirim called on Google to register as a taxpayer in the country to "help accelerate" the lifting of a ban on YouTube and Google services.

As The Register reported, access to search engine Google had been limited due to a block imposed on its IP set. Most of Google's online services had been inaccessible in Turkey since June 4 and YouTube, who shares IP addresses with Google, has been banned in Turkey since 2008.

Accoring to HaberTurk, which is the Turkish version of Bloomberg, Yildirim said that "YouTube is a tax-payer in 20 countries, and we want them to do the same in Turkey."

Reporters Without Borders condemned "the growing repercussions of Turkey’s censorship of YouTube and quoted Turkey's President Abdullah Gul as saying "I do not want Turkey to be included among the countries that ban YouTube and prevent access to Google."

Several internet sites have recently been banned in Turkey. The Register reports that 3,700 websites are "blocked for arbitrary and political reasons" in Turkey, including foreign websites, sites aimed at the country's Kurdish minority, and gay sites according to The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Reporters Without Borders added Turkey to the list of "countries under surveillance" in its report on "Enemies of the Internet," issued March 2010.

The great-granddaughter of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela has died in a car crash following a concert to open the World Cup.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation released a statement which said that thirteen-year-old Zenani Mandela, who celebrated her birthday on June 9, died in a single vehicle accident and that no one else was injured. The statement continued: "The family has asked for privacy as they mourn this tragedy."

South Africa has a poor road safety record and ranks ninth in the world for traffic fatalities. Traffic safety is feared to be a threat of injury to supporters to the World Cup.

While the world celebrates the opening of the World Cup, in American football,

The University of Southern California's football team was heavily penalized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) yesterday due to several major rules violations involving former player and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. The team was banned from participating in all NCAA bowl games for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, as well as was vacated of all wins during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The team will likely also be stripped of their national title from the 2004 season and will lose ten football scholarships per year for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons.

The NCAA also criticized the university for ineffective monitoring of its student-athletes. In their report, the NCAA said "The general campus environment surrounding the violations troubled the committee. At least at the time of the football violations, there was relatively little effective monitoring of, among others, football locker rooms and sidelines, and there existed a general post-game locker room environment that made compliance efforts difficult".

The rules violations, which were investigated by the NCAA over a four-year period, involved the team's alleged "improper benefits," given to Bush, as well as Bush's contact with an agent, which is illegal under NCAA rules until a player has left the sports program. It is also possible that this will result in the loss of Bush's Heisman Trophy. The NCAA report ordered USC to not be in contact with Bush for the current time.

Todd Dickey, the senior vice president of administration at USC, was quoted as saying "We acknowledge that violations occurred and we take full responsibility for them. However, we sharply disagree with many of the findings in the NCAA Committee on Infractions Report. Further, we feel the penalties imposed are too severe for the violations identified in the report,"

Meanwhile, Reggie Bush (who now plays for the NFL's New Orleans Saints) also released a statement. "I am disappointed by the decision and disagree with the NCAA's findings. If the University decides to appeal, I will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and USC, as I did during the investigation. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on making a positive impact for the University and for the community where I live," said Bush. Bush denies all of the allegations brought against him and the university by the NCAA.

The report also included punishments for the men's basketball team, which was accused of violating the NCAA's recruiting policy on former player O.J. Mayo. The women's tennis team was also fined for allowing an unidentified student to use a university-owned credit card to place $7,000 in unauthorized phone calls.

Finally, in archaeology,

What is believed to be the world's oldest shoe, over 5,500 year old, has been found in a cave in Armenia by a team of archaeologists.

The Armenian shoe is in a perfectly preserved condition and is a few hundred years older than the one found on Ötzi the Iceman, making it the oldest piece of leather footwear in the world. Researchers published details in the journal PLoS ONE.

The leather shoe was found in a cave dubbed Areni-1, near the village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia, on the Iranian and Turkish borders. "I was amazed to find that even the shoe-laces were preserved," recalled Diana Zardaryan, the Armenian PhD student who made the discovery.

According to researchers, the shoe, made of cow-hide, consists of only one leather piece and was probably customized to the wearer's foot. It was relatively small, measuring to the corresponding European size 37 or US women's size 7, however, it could have been worn by a man.

It was kept in excellent condition by a thick layer of sheep excrement, which acted as a seal, helping it survive the millennia. The shoe contained grass, although the archaeologists were uncertain as to whether this was to used to maintain the shape of the shoe and/or prepare it for storage.

"We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600-700 years old because they were in such good condition," said co-author Dr. Ron Pinhasi from the University College Cork in Ireland. "It was only when the material was dated by the two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford and in California that we realized that the shoe was a few hundred years older than the shoes worn by Ötzi the Iceman".

The shoe and the cave will continue to be researched. "We do not know yet what the shoe or other objects were doing in the cave or what the purpose of the cave was", said Pinhasi, "We know that there are children's graves at the back of the cave but so little is known about this period that we cannot say with any certainty why all these different objects were found together".

Currently, the oldest known footwear are sandals made from plant fiber, found in the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri in the United States. Sandals from the same age were also found in the Judean Desert of southern Israel.

Discoveries within the cave move early bronze-age cultural activity in Armenia back by about 800 years. Additional discoveries yielded an extensive array of Copper Age artifacts dating to between 6,200 and 5,900 years ago.

On this day in history (11:55)


Today is Kamehameha Day, a public holiday of the state of Hawaii honoring Kamehameha the Great, the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaii. While Kamehameha was king, Hawaii was a center of the fur and sandalwood trade. Pineapples were brought to Hawaii from Spain in 1813 and coffee was first planted in 1818, a year before he died.

The holiday was first established by royal decree of the ruling great grandson Kamehameha V on 1871. The first observance of the holiday happened the following year. Late 19th century celebrations of Kamehameha Day featured carnivals and fairs, foot, horse and velocipede races. Kamehameha Day was one of the first holidays proclaimed by the Governor of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Legislature when Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959.

Today, Kamehameha Day is treated with elaborate events hearkening back to ancient Hawaii, respecting the cultural traditions that Kamehameha defended as his society was slowly shifting towards European trends. The King Kamehameha Hula Competition attracts hula groups from all over the world to the Neil S. Blaisdell Center for the two day event.

The most important ritual is the evening draping ceremony which dates back to 1901 after the Territory of Hawaii was established. During the ceremony the Kamehameha Statue in front of the 'Iolani Palace on King Street in downtown Honolulu is draped in long strands of lei. The same is done at the Kamehameha Statue on the former monarch's home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Outside of the state, a similar draping ceremony is held at the United States Capitol where the Kamehameha Statue there is also draped in lei in the company of federal officials.



And those are the top headlines for Friday, June 11th, 2010

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