Wikinews:Briefs/April 19, 2010

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From Wikinews, the free news source, this is the audio Wikinews brief for Monday, April 19th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and here are today's top stories:



A land mine blast in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, has killed eight people, and mortars launched by rebels at the city airport killed six others, according to witnesses and doctors. The al-Shabaab group was said to be responsible for both the attacks although they did not claim responsibility for them.

Ali Muse, a coordinator of ambulance services, told the Reuters news agency that while the mortar rounds missed the airport, they instead landed in the Bakara market where 5 of the 6 people killed in that attack had been at the time.

The land mine blast occurred near a police station in southern Mogadishu and several government soldiers died in that attack. Ali Gab, a local police official, said five police officials died in that attack. Fadum Hassan, a nurse at a hospital where the injured were being treated, said twenty critically injured people had been admitted to the hospital.

Seven people were killed and 26 injured in the city of Kohat in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday after a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near a police station. Abdullah Jan, a high ranking police official told reporters that 7 people were killed and 21 injured in the attack.

The station was badly affected by the attack, and three rooms of a government-run primary school were destroyed. Seven local shops were also severely damaged by the blast. Officials estimate that approximately 200 kilograms of explosives were used.

This attack occurred a day after an earlier suicide bombing killed over 40 people near the same city, and two days after an attack in southern Pakistan killed which upwards of ten people.

Some of Europe's airlines and airports have called into question whether the mass restrictions imposed on the continent's airspace, due to volcanic ash in the area, are necessary.

Three large airlines — KLM, Air France, and Lufthansa made test flights yesterday to see if there were any immediate effects on jets after flying through the ash. Authorities have feared that the ash could cause vital aircraft parts, such as the engines, to fail in-flight.

KLM said that it will allow three freight planes to make flights to Asia, and that they had transferred seven passenger planes from Duesseldorf, Germany to Amsterdam, without any travelers. Chief executive Peter Hartman of KLM said of the tests that they observed no irregularities and that they hope to resume operations as soon as possible.

Airport closures and cancellations are estimated to be costing airlines about US$200 million daily according to the International Air Transport Association.

However, late Monday, good news from the European Union presidency says that air traffic over Europe could return to about 50 percent of its normal level today, if weather forecasts confirm that skies over the continent are clearing of volcanic ash.

European transportation ministers from countries affected by the ash met today by video conference in an effort to reopen closed airspace. European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas says the meeting will try to find a technological solution to the flight disruption, but he stressed that safety considerations will come first.

Spanish Secretary of State for E.U. Affairs Diego López Garrido says the ash cloud over Europe is moving to the northeast, which could clear half of the air space over the continent. Air travel in Southern Europe - including Spain, southern Italy, Greece and Turkey - remains open, but the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands say their airspace will remain closed for much of Monday.

The last major disruption to European aviation followed the September 11 attacks on the United States almost a decade ago. U.S. airspace was closed for three days and European airlines canceled all trans-Atlantic flights.

The son of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has been charged with allegedly driving under the influence early Sunday morning while using a state-funded vehicle. Local police report that 26-year-old Garritt M. Cullerton was pulled over in downtown Chicago shortly after midnight and registered a blood alcohol level of .188, more than twice the legal limit of .08. Senator Cullerton's office confirmed that his son was driving a 2009 Ford Escape registered to the state Senate. Garritt is to appear in court on May 26.

In 2008, State Senator John Cullerton sponsored legislation that requires DUI offenders to prove that they are sober by blowing into an electronic device every time they want to start the car. This is one of the strictest laws of it types in the country which primarily targets first-time offenders.

On this day in history (5:28)


In 1995, The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is bombed, killing 168.



And those are the top headlines for Monday, April 19th, 2010

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