Wikinews:Briefs/April 18, 2010

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From Wikinews, the free news source, this is the audio Wikinews brief for Sunday, April 18th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and here are today's top stories:



A public memorial for the victims of the plane crash that occurred last Saturday where the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski along with several key members of the Polish government died, was attended by 100,000 citizens in Pilsudski Square of Warsaw. The accident was caused when their plane went down in heavy fog after hitting the tops of trees on approach to Smolensk, Russia while en route to attend a memorial for thousands of Polish army officers who were killed in 1940 by the Soviet Union.

A gigantic white platform having a giant cross across the centre was constructed in the area which had photos of the victims, including Maria Kaczynski, the first lady of Poland and many high ranking Polish officials. The names of the deceased were read, beginning with the president and his wife, as their only daughter Marta and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of Lech Kaczynski and former prime minister of the country, looked on.

Former President Lech Walesa, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and interim president Bronislaw Komorowski were also present. The audience held Polish flags held together with black ribbons and observed a two minute silence before emergency sirens and church bells rang out.

A state funeral for the first couple is slated to be held on Sunday; however, some world leaders canceled their plans to attend. The principal cause for this was that several European airports remained closed, owing to volcanic ash that hovered in different parts of the continent. American President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were still expected to arrive. Czech President Vaclav Klaus had stated that he would come to Krakow via train while the presidents of Slovakia and Slovenia said they would arrive by car.

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Papua New Guinea at 9:15 AM local time on Sunday morning (23:15 Saturday UTC). The epicentre was 30 kilometers east of Lae, and 300 kilometers north of Port Moresby the capital of Papua New Guinea. The quake had a depth of 66.2 kilometers (41.1 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has not issued any alerts related to the quake, and so far no injuries have been reported. Papua New Guinea National Disaster Centre officials in Lae told the Reuters news agency that while they were unaware of any buildings collapsing, the people of Lae did feel the quake.

Papua New Guinea is commonly hit by volcanic activity, earthquakes and tidal waves. Almost 3 years ago to this date, an earthquake with the same magnitude hit the area, however, no casualties were reported then either.

North Korea today denied any involvement in the sinking of a South Korean naval ship on March 26. In its first official statement on the disaster, in which 38 people were killed, North Korea denied any involvement in the incident.

North Korea's statement comes a day after South Korea blamed the sinking of the ship on an external explosion, which has served to increase speculation that North Korea was responsible for the incident. Although South Korean officials have not said specifically that North Korea is to blame, saying only that the possibility of North Korean involvement is being investigated, analysts and the media in South Korea have been speculating on a possible retaliation from South Korea, although a military response is not expected.

Earlier this week, the stern section of the ship was recovered from the site of the sinking, and investigators from several countries are examining the wreckage in an effort to determine the cause. Yesterday, a lead investigator said that "It was highly likely that it was an external, rather than internal, explosion" that caused the ship to sink.

At 8:50 AM local time (15:50 UTC) a man attempting to enter the United States at the Tijuana – San Diego section of the US – Mexican border, tried to escape U.S. customs officers, after he could not provide official documentation. According to Lieutenant Kevin Rooney of the San Diego police department, "the agent referred the driver to a secondary inspection and he [the driver] quickly accelerated away."

The acceleration caused him to crash into a pickup truck. It is thought he was trying to force the other vehicle out of the way. When customs officers surrounded the vehicle, the driver went into reverse, which led to two officers opening fire on the vehicle. The man was shot only once and the wound was not life threatening.

Police officials believe the driver tried to flee because the vehicle was reported to have been stolen from Colorado.

On this day in history (5:12)


In 1942 during World War II, sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet carried out the famous Doolittle Raid, the first Allied attack on the Japanese home islands.



And those are the top headlines for Sunday, April 18th, 2010

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