Wikinews:Briefs/January 7, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, January 7, 2009.

Strike on UN school in Gaza kills 40

Map of Gaza Strip.

Palestinian medical officials report that a United Nations school in Gaza City, which was being used as a shelter for civilians, took a direct hit from an Israeli tank, killing more than 30 Palestinians on the 11th day of the assault. Israeli officials have stated that rocket fire had emerged from within the school. Doctors of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabaliya report that an additional 10 people died at the hospital and they expect an increase in the casualties as more people may be on the way to the hospital.


US Government calls for Gaza ceasefire

Secretary Rice, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007

Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice is due at a United Nations Security Council meeting to help bring an end to the Israeli assault. United States Government officials say that they would like an immediate and stable ceasefire.

"We would like an immediate ceasefire, absolutely... An immediate ceasefire that is durable, sustainable and not time-limited," said Assistant Secretary of State Sean McCormack.

The Israeli Government, however, does not find the "international pressure" high enough to call a ceasefire. Reports also say that European Union has given a tacit green light to the Israeli assault, because they failed to come against it.

As of today, the total death toll has increased to 600 Palestinians (100 of which are civilians), and 2,700 are wounded.


Natural gas crisis hits Austria and Turkey on its 6th day

Primary Russian gas pipelines to Europe.

It has been six days since Russia halted the natural gas flow to Ukraine, and therefore to subsequent countries such as Bulgaria, Austria, Turkey, Poland, Romania and Hungary. The Russian natural gas pipeline is the primary source of natural gas for some countries such as Ukraine, Austria and Turkey.

Ukraine is currently in negotiations with Russia in order to restart the gas flow, however Russia has increased the prices from US$179.50 per 1,000 cubic meters to $250 per 1,000 cubic meters for Ukraine.

Austrian Government officials are planning a meeting due to the 90% decrease in natural gas flow coming from Russia. OMV AG reports that Austria has a three-month natural gas reserve which would allow them to get by the winter of 2009. Currently, 51% of Austria's natural gas comes from Russia and only 18% of their natural gas is produced locally.

The Turkish Government says that Turkey is more time-limited in this crisis, since they only have 5 days of natural gas reserve left. However in this situation, Iran has stated that they will increase gas flow to Turkey.