Wikinews Shorts: January 13, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, January 13, 2009.

Anti-government protests in Riga, Latvia cause riots

Saeima, the parliament
Image: Xil.

Protests by an opposition organization 'Different Politics' (Cita Politika) drew ten thousand people in Riga, Latvia today. After the official protest demonstration was over, around a thousand people roamed the old city center protesting and taunting police. There were reports of many broken windows and a liquor store was demolished and robbed before the police could arrive in sufficient force to stop looting. Around 19:00 several hundred protesters tried to forcefully enter the Latvian Parliament building, but were stopped by riot police arriving at the scene. After more than a half an hour of police being pelted by bricks and bottles, tear gas and brute force was used to take control of the area. For the following hour pockets of violence were squashed over the whole of Old Riga. Rioters dispersed when police reinforcements arrived.

Around a hundred people were arrested, two police vehicles were destroyed, thirty people have been treated for wounds and a large number of windows are broken.


Obama will close Guantanamo Bay in his first week say advisers

Obama and George W. Bush in the Oval Office on November 10, 2008.

President-elect of the United States Barack Obama will order the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp as soon as the first week of his Presidency. This is according to two sources close to the Obama transition team who spoke to Associated Press.

On Sunday, Obama told ABC's This Week: "It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication."

Barack Obama is to be inaugurated on January, 20, 2009.


Greek shipping magnate kidnapped in Athens

Superfast Ferries' Superfast XI bound for Ancona passes Kefalonia island (file photo).
Image: linz ellinas.

Pericles Panagopoulos, the president of Greek ferry operator Attica Group, which runs Superfast Ferries, was abducted near his home in Athens on Monday by three men armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, as he was being driven to work in a coastal suburb. No injuries have been reported in the incident, which is being investigated by counter-terrorism police.

"Panagopoulos and his driver were stopped and forced into another car by three gun-wielding assailants," a police source told Reuters. "The driver was then set free and subsequently informed the police of the event."


Microsoft permits additional Windows 7 beta downloads

Window 7 logo.
Image: Microsoft.

Microsoft announced on Monday that it will allow users to continue to download the beta version of its Windows 7 computer operating system until January 24.

The beta release was originally scheduled to begin on January 9, but delayed until the day after. Due to heavy demand Microsoft eliminated the limitation of 2.5 million downloads.

"Assuming Windows 7 has all the benefits of Vista, has all the new features being promised, and is as stable as XP, I think many, many customers will be ready to finally start transitioning to a new Microsoft operating system," said Todd Swank of Minnesota-based NorTech to ChannelWeb.


Cristiano Ronaldo crowned Footballer of the Year

Ronaldo in 2006
Image: Austin Osuide.

In last night's global award ceremony for soccer, Cristiano Ronaldo became the men's FIFA World Player of the Year 2008. He bested Argentinian Lionel Messi and Spaniard Fernando Torres who took second and third places.

Ronaldo is the second Portuguese player to win the award. The award was first given in 1991, and in 2001 Luis Figo became the first player from Portugal to win it.

Ronaldo plays for English Premiership club Manchester United. Brazilian player Marta Vieira da Silva won the Women's World Player of the Year Award for the third year in a row.

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Change of mind: Democrats accept Burris

Burris, photographed last week
Image: Josh Jackson.

Six days after refusing to seat troubled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's choice to replace President-elect Barack Obama, Democrats in the United States Senate reversed their decision Monday, and will now allow Roland Burris to join them.

Burris, a former Illinois Attorney General and Treasurer, is expected to be seated next week, barring any unexpected objections from Senate Republicans.


Obama inauguration to appear in Lego form


The model of the US Capitol, where the display will be built.
Image: Isaac Crumm.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

President-elect Barack Obama is being added to the U.S. Capitol Building diorama in the Miniland section of Legoland California.

From January 16 until Memorial Day in May, Obama's inauguration will be displayed on the steps of the block-made model. To be visible to viewers at the park, the Lego inauguration will be held on the front steps, instead of the back.

Other figures in the scene will be Michelle Obama and their children, Joe Biden, President George W. Bush and wife Laura, Dick Cheney, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Senator Dianne Feinstein, pastor Rick Warren, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and the US Marine Corps Band.

Among the onlookers in the scene will be a Lego Oprah Winfrey.