Wikinews Shorts: April 15, 2007


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A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, April 15, 2007.

Policy pundit says UK has 'lost the plot' on alcohol

Writing in PPR, the Institute of Public Policy Research's journal, Jasper Gerard has argued that, "When it comes to booze, society seems to have lost its senses," and implies the UK has lost-the-plot on alcohol regulation.

The claim in comes alongside calls for 'tough-love' tactics to tackle the UK's drinking culture in which a fifth of 11-15 year olds drink alcohol at least once a week.

Amongst the recommendations, is the idea that the legal drinking age, in the UK, should be raised to 21. Gerard states that with such a move, "it is at least possible that those in their early and mid teens will not see drink as something they will soon be allowed to do so therefore they might as well start doing it surreptitiously now."

Both industry, and alcoholism support groups have already challenged Gerard’s comments.

Sources


39 now dead in Thai floods

A flash flood sent a torrent of water rushing over two waterfalls in southern Thailand. More than 100 tourists and people celebrating Songkran (Thai New Year) were cooling off in the water beneath the falls. "Seven more dead bodies were brought to hospital this morning, bringing the death toll up to thirty-five," said Sinchai Rongdej, the hospital director at Yantakhao district. Fifteen of the dead were children. Thirty-four of the confirmed dead were Thai, Sinchai said, while one of the victims was a Laos national. Latest reports from the Bangkok Post indicate that the death toll had risen to 39 by Sunday nightfall, including 17 children. Of those injured, 25 have so far been discharged from hospital..

Provincial governor, Arnon Manasvanich said, "The search is continuing, but my belief is we might find more bodies of women and children as they couldn't escape in time."

"We are still searching in the hope of finding survivors -- we do have hope left," said Colonel Sonthichai Awatanakulthep, Yantakhao police chief. In a later statement, Trang Province police Major-General Kachorn Siriwan admitted that at least 30 people were still missing.

Sources


Will Iranian detainees remain in US custody?

Five Iranians captured in January by the United States during a security operation in Erbil, Iraq are continuing to be held by US authorities, despite objections from the Iranian government.

BBC News reported that US Secretary of State argued for the their release on the grounds they were "no longer useful," but was overruled by the White House. Iran claims the five captured are diplomats, while the US maintains that they are members of the Revolutionary Guard and were supplying arms, money, and military training to Iraqi insurgents.

However, since that report, Iran said it has received some signals concerning the possible release of the five Iranians, state television reported.

Related news

Sources


Another violent day in Baghdad

Sunday was another violent day in Baghdad. Bomb attacks on a market place and a mini-bus, claimed the lives of as many as 35 people in Shi'ite neighborhoods of Iraq's capital city.

Two car bombs went off within minutes of each other at a market place in the al-Shurta al-Arabaa district. The second bomb may have been targeting rescuers. At least eighteen are dead and many wounded.

In Kadhimiya in northern Baghdad, a suicide bomber boarded a minibus. Six were killed and eleven wounded when the explosives belt detonated.

In Karrada, an affluent neighborhood of Baghdad, a parked minibus blew up in a street with electronics shops, possibly targeting a police patrol. Five were left dead and another ten injured.

Separately, two British Puma transport helicopters crashed after they reportedly collided. Two crew members were killed.

Sources