Wikinews:Briefs/January 03, 2008/2

Wikinews News Brief: January 03, 2008 19:50 UTC edit

Please note: this transcript may differ slightly from the associated spoken recording.

Introduction edit

[START] This is Wikinews News Brief, summarising the current news on January the 3rd 2008 at 19:50 hours UTC. I’m Nicholas Turnbull. [Intro music]

Sri Lanka withdraws from ceasefire agreement edit

The government of Sri Lanka says it is withdrawing from a cease-fire agreement with Tamil rebels because it holds the opinion that the pact has become meaningless. Clashes between Sri Lanka’s government and a rebel organisation known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or the LTTE, have been frequent since mid-2006, beginning shortly after a hard-line government took power in Sri Lanka. This violence has occurred despite the fact that the rebel forces and the Sri Lankan government were ostensibly in a cease-fire agreement. The LTTE rebels have accused the new government of a lack of seriousness in pursuing peace talks. Sri Lanka's foreign secretary, Palitha Kohona, says the government is "reluctantly" ending the truce because it did not achieve what it was supposed to - a peace settlement with the rebels. Both the rebels and the government have routinely blamed each other for the resumption of hostilities. The LTTE demands an autonomous homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamil community from the government, which has been strongly resisted by the present government. Near-daily clashes in battle zones, assassinations and bombings have killed approximately 5,000 people in the last two years.

Car bomb explodes in Turkish city edit

A car bomb has exploded in Diyarbakir [dee-ah-back-eer], a city in the southeastern part of Turkey. According to the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan [raysep-tie-yip-air-doh-gan], at least 4 people have died in the attack and 52 others have been injured. The bombing, which took place in the city center, approximately 100 yards from a military post, was apparently targeting a passing military vehicle. Many Turkish troops currently fighting rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, are based in the city, which also has a large Kurdish population. The prime minister blamed the attack on terrorists in a nationally televised speech, while other authorities placed the blame on Kurdish rebels. Two suspects have been apprehended by police. The explosion occurred at 1455 hours UTC, and could be heard up to two miles away. Several cars were engulfed in flames and windows shattered from the force of the blast. Two of the dead were reportedly soldiers. Among the injured were students attending a nearby private school at the time of the explosion.

Russian charter bus collides with Swedish local transit bus edit

A Russian charter bus collided with a local transit bus near the town of Gagnef in Sweden. At least five passengers were seriously injured, with many others sustaining minor injuries. Rumours also stated that there had been one fatality, but the local authorities claimed that this information is incorrect. The accident occurred on Highway 70 near Gagnef when a local transit bus was leaving a road-side bus stop and was hit by a chartered Russian bus. As a result of the collision the roof of the charter bus was partially sheared off. At the time of the accident the vehicles were carrying a total of about 60 persons, 20 of whom were children. The accident occurred after midnight local time on January 3, 2008. The cause remains unclear. According to the officials the accident area had received a thick snow cover and the roads in the vicinity were icy.

British Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel to Kenya edit

The British Foreign Office is advising Britons against all non-essential travel to Kenya because of the post-electoral violence that has wracked the country. The warning and the violence are heavily affecting Kenya's tourism industry, which relies heavily on European tourists escaping the winter cold. This comes at a time where curfews and shoot-on-sight policies are being enacted by the government’s paramilitary troops in an attempt to quell the civil unrest that has occurred following popular accusations against the government of vote rigging. The travel warning recommends that those already in Kenya stay indoors and exercise extreme caution and seek advice locally either from their tour operator or the local authorities if they want to travel. The Foreign Office is also warning against attending political gatherings and large public meetings. Tour operators in the United Kingdom have suspended holiday packages to Kenya until the situation there improves. Media reports say there are about 6,000 British citizens currently travelling in Kenya.

Pakistan’s general election to be delayed until Feb 18th edit

Pakistan’s general election will be delayed until the 18th of February, according to chief election commissioner Qazi Mohammed Farooq [kazee-morehaamed-fahruk]. The Pakistan Election Commission says the delay is due to the destruction of election offices and materials in violence that broke out last week after Benazir Bhutto's assassination. A number of voter rolls in Sindh Province have also allegedly been destroyed by rioters. The opposition believe that the government of President Pervez Musharraf has delayed the election in order to boost votes for his political party. The opposition has vowed to mobilize street demonstrations to protest the delay. The government also now says it is "open" to foreign help in investigating the assassination of Ms. Bhutto. The government of Pakistan announce that investigators from the UK will assist into the investigation into the death. The United States government announced that it was pleased that a date had now been set for the elections.

Florida engulfed by hard freeze edit

A significant area of Florida is encountering a hard freeze, in which temperatures drop below 26 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 degrees Celsius) for a period of eight hours or more. The hard freeze is expected for all of northern Florida and sections of interior central Florida, including the vital Florida Heartland, where the majority of Florida's orange and strawberry crops are grown. Additional freeze warnings have been issued for the Atlantic coast of Florida, from Volusia [va-loo-sha] County to Martin County, covering the cities of Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, and Fort Pierce. For those counties, sub-freezing temperatures can be expected for a period of eight hours or more. These severe weather conditions are caused by a cold air mass, dropping high pressure and brisk winds from Canada, that has enveloped the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. The warning officially expired at 1400 hours UTC.

Police station bombed in Algeria edit

A police station was bombed yesterday in Naciria [?prn], northern Algeria, approximately 50 km east of the Algerian capital Algiers [al-jeerz], at approximately 0600 hours UTC. A witness at the scene said that the majority of injuries hit police officers and not the general public. According to reports, at least 4 people have been killed and several are injured. It is unclear whether the bombing was caused by a car bomb or a suicide attack. The bombing, although less serious than the December bombings which killed 40 people, is likely to raise suspicions that violence has not ended in Algeria. Frequent terrorism first hit Algeria after measures were carried out by the government to stop a Muslim fundamentalist party from winning the elections.

Footer edit

Thank you for joining me, Nicholas Turnbull, for this Wikinews News Brief. [Intro music] Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, and can be accessed at the following URL: This recording is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License, available at Goodbye. [Outro music] [END]