Wikinews Shorts: August 11, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, August 11, 2009.

Bomb campaign in Iraq kills almost 50

A series of bombs exploded early on Monday morning has killed at least 49 and wounded 260 more in Iraq.

At 4:30AM local time (01:30 GMT), two truck bombs exploded in Khaznah, a village near Mosul, the capital of the Ninawa Governorate. The village is Shia dominated in a predominantly Sunni area. These bombs killed at least 28, wounded 130, and were so powerful that 30 houses were destroyed.

Later a sequence of bombs exploded in the capital Baghdad targeting, amongst others, construction workers and labourers gathering to find work. The current attacks are the most serious since American troops withdrew from Iraqi cities in late June and a lull in violence in July.


Missing pop star Noriko Sakai arrested

Japanese pop star Noriko Sakai was arrested on Saturday when she turned herself in after being missing since Monday. Sakai was reported missing by her mother in law after the arrest of her husband for the possession of illegal stimulants. Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department investigators are reported to believe that Sakai did not plan her disappearance, but panicked over the media coverage that followed the authorities request for her to report to the police.

It had been feared that Sakai, who rose to fame as a teenage singer and actress, had harmed herself.


Baby P killers to be named and then allowed to disappear

Following the expiry of an anonymity order the identity of the killers of Baby P can now be named by the British mainstream media. Following the notoriety of the case in which Baby P was seen to have been failed by the authorities, a judge ordered that none of the three be named to protect Baby P's four siblings. However a weakness of the anonymity order was that the identities of the three could be found by anyone who searched for it online.

The nature of Baby P's death has led to fears for the safety of the three, and it is likely that they will be given new identities once they have served their sentences and then be allowed to disappear from the public gaze.


Royal Opera House to stage opera comprising of tweets

The Royal Opera House in London will stage a new opera to be written by the public. Set to a score of familiar and popular tunes by composers such as Verdi will be a new libretto comprising entirely of tweets from the micro blogging site Twitter. Act One, Scene One of the opera has been completed, written 140 characters at a time. In the story so far a man called William is imprisoned in a tower by birds, his only companion a talking cat.

The Royal Opera House is conducting the musical experiment to widen public understanding and access to opera and hopes to perform extracts from the work early in September.


Taliban gunmen launch attack in Afghanistan

Taliban militants have launched an audacious gun and rocket attack in Pul-i-Alam some 45 miles from Kabul, Afghanistan. Six Taliban gunmen, described as wearing explosive vests, managed to gain access to an unfinished tower block in the provincial capital of Logar Province which overlooked several government buildings and compounds, including that of the local chief of police and governor's residence. From their vantage point the gunmen fired rocket propelled grenades killing at least five and wounding twenty six police officers.

The gunmen continued to engage security forces with small arms fire for several hours, with witnesses to the events claiming that attack helicopters were called in to bring the militants under fire. The authorities claim that at least four of the gunmen were killed at least two by return fire and one who blew himself up.

The attack comes ten days before presidential elections due to be held on the 20th of August.


Climate conference opens in Bonn

About a 1000 delegates from 180 countries are meeting in Bonn, Germany for a third round of climate talks. The talks are to negotiate the text of a protocol to succeed Kyoto which will be presented to the Copenhagen Conference later this year.

Speaking at an other conference in Seoul, South Korea UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters... Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest -- even violence -- could follow"

The United States climate change sceptics under the Bush administration has now accepted the urgency of a cut in greenhouse gases. However US demands to tie its own cuts to cuts by developing nations especially China and India has been met with derision. " describe this country as a large emitter is absurd - there's no other word for it." said Chandrashekhar Dasgupta the chief Indian negotiator, pointing out that half the rural population does not have even a light bulb or gas ring.

The current talks are described as being informal, and are aimed at smoothing the progress of the Copenhagen round.