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Ignatieff leads in tight race in Canadian Liberal “Super Weekend”

Monday, October 2, 2006

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Michael Ignatieff has maintained his lead as voting concludes in the “Super Weekend” of delegate selection meetings for the Liberal Party of Canada‘s leadership convention. With 380 of 469 ridings reporting, the former Harvard professor leads with 1162 committed delegates, 30% of the total. Former Ontario premier, Bob Rae, is second with 767 delegates (19.8%), while former federal Environment minister Stephane Dion and former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy are battling for third place with 648 and 646 delegates respectively (16.7%). While no clear challenger to Ignatieff has emerged, analysts say that the frontrunner is vulnerable if an “Anybody but Ignatieff” movement emerges and the opposition to him coalesces around one of Rae, Dion or Kennedy on the convention floor in December.

“I feel I’m tremendously well placed,” Ignatieff told CBC News on Sunday, “I think I’ve earned their confidence and trust, but we do have two months to go.”

“It’s a different kind of campaign from here on in,” said Kennedy.

“The whole purpose of the exercise this weekend is to get in position where we can make a run for the prize,” Rae said.

“We have not the biggest machine, but the biggest heart,” Dion said of his campaign.

The results vary around the country. Rae, though a former Ontario premier, has come in third in that province with 17.3% delegate support, well behind Ignatieff and Kennedy who are neck-in-neck in Canada’s largest province with 27.3% and 26.7% support respectively.

In Quebec, Kennedy has proven to be weak, winning only 10 delegates or 1% of the province’s total while Ignatieff leads with 38.4% and Dion and Rae battle for second place with 29.1% and 24.2% support respectively.

Rae is the leader in Newfoundland, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island as well as in British Columbia where he is well ahead of Kennedy, Dion and Ignatieff in that order while Kennedy leads in Alberta where he has three more delegates than Ignatieff.

Ignatieff leads in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Across the country, the other four candidates all have less than 5% support. Former hockey great Ken Dryden has 189 delegates (4.9%), Joe Volpe has 172 delegates (4.4%), Scott Brison has won his home province of Nova Scotia but has only 148 delegates across the country (3.8%) and Martha Hall Findlay has won 41 delegates (1.1%) while 104 delegates (2.7%) are uncommitted. With the exception of the uncommitted delegates, the approximately 4,300 delegates elected this weekend are locked into supporting the candidates on whose behalf they have been chosen on the first ballot of the December 2-3 convention being held in Montreal but are free to support other candidates on subsequent ballots. They will be joined by approximately 1,000 delegates who will attend either because they are Members of Parliament, Senators or former Cabinet ministers or because they’ve been chosen by various committees. Nevertheless, this weekend’s results are expected to give a rough idea of what the first ballot results of the convention will be.

About 190,000 party members were eligible to vote in this weekend’s exercise.

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New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sworn in

Monday, September 29, 2014

Today Ashraf Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister and World Bank official, was sworn in as President of Afghanistan following a months-long dispute over election results.

The transfer of power from former President Hamid Karzai marks the first democratic leadership transition in Afghanistan’s history, and follows a power sharing agreement with Ghani’s fellow Presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. Both men had previously claimed victory in the election last June, with the United Nations overseeing a recount of the ballot.

As part of the agreement between the two sides, Ghani’s first presidential act was to create the position of chief executive, filled by Abdullah, with Prime Minster-like powers.

The new Government already faces many challenges, made worse by the months of political uncertainty.

Afghanistan has already requested $537 million from international donors to help pay the country’s bills to year’s end, with an official of the Finance Ministry admitting October civil service salary payments have had to be delayed.

The government also have to deal with the security threat posed by the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami, two loosely allied Islamist factions. Most international troops, present in the country since 2001, are expected to leave by year’s end, with Karzai previously unwilling to sign security agreements allowing others to stay. The government is to sign one such agreement with representatives from the United States embassy tomorrow, US officials said.

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Wikinews interviews specialists on China, Iran, Russia support for al-Assad

Monday, September 23, 2013

Over the past week, diplomatic actions have averted — or, at least delayed — military strikes on Syria by the United States. Wikinews sought input from a range of international experts on the situation; and, the tensions caused by Russia’s support for the al-Assad regime despite its apparent use of chemical weapons.

Contents

  • 1 Interviewees
  • 2 Wikinews Q&A
    • 2.1 China
    • 2.2 Iran
    • 2.3 Russia
  • 3 Related news

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Tensions in the country increased dramatically, late August when it was reported between 100 and 1,300 people were killed in an alleged chemical attack. Many of those killed appeared to be children, with some of the pictures and video coming out of the country showing — according to witnesses — those who died from apparent suffocation; some foaming at the mouth, others having convulsions.

Amongst Syria’s few remaining allies, Iran, China, and Russia continue to oppose calls for military intervention. In an effort to provide a better-understanding of the reasoning behind their ongoing support, the following people were posed a range of questions.

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Countries around the world send aid, help to Haiti

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Countries and organizations from around the world are sending aid and help to victims of the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday, damaging many buildings. The death toll is currently unknown, but estimated to run into the tens of thousands of people.

US president Barack Obama said in a press conference that “I’ve directed my administration to launch a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti.”

Obama announced that aid from the US armed forces was coming to Haiti, noting, “Several Coast Guard cutters are already there providing everything from basic services like water, to vital technical support for this massive logistical operation.”

Obama continued: “[…] today, I’m also announcing an immediate investment of $100 million to support our relief efforts. This will mean more of the life-saving equipment, food, water and medicine that will be needed. This investment will grow over the coming year as we embark on the long-term recovery from this unimaginable tragedy.”

Obama said that the US would forge partnerships with Haitian people and Haitian-Americans, along with United Nations peacekeepers. He closed by saying, “To the people of Haiti, we say clearly, and with conviction, you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you.”

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said that $10 million is being released from the international organization’s central emergency response fund.

Meanwhile, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), which already has an existing operation in the country, is beginning to distribute high energy biscuits which require no preparation before eating. On top of that, the WFP is airlifting 86 metric tons of food from their emergency hub in El Salvador.

A spokesperson for the WFP said, “In a normal day the World Food Programme will be feeding one or two million people in Haiti — and now we need to do even more, because the people have lost everything.”

China is also pledging aid to the country, despite the lack of official diplomatic ties between the two countries. Haiti recognizes the Republic of China, better known as Taiwan. Nevertheless, China has sent a 60 member search and rescue team to Haiti and the Chinese Red Cross is donating one million dollars in emergency aid.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said her country expresses sympathy to the Haitian government and people. Jiang says the Chinese foreign minister has sent a telegram of condolence to his Haitian counterparts.

An 80 member team from the United Kingdom of search and rescue specialists has arrived in Haiti to help in efforts there. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a joint press conference with Toaiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen that the team has arrived in the country. He also announced that the government is pledging to match the UN’s US$10 million (£6.1 million).

Brown said, “It is a tragedy beyond imagination and there is a deep sense of loss felt by the whole of the British and Irish people about the tragedy that individual families in Haiti are experiencing at the moment. We send our message of sympathy and support to the people of Haiti at this most difficult of times.”

He added, “Where men, women and children are suffering under the heaviest of burdens, that place must, for that moment, become the centre of our world’s attention, the world’s compassion and the world’s humanitarian help.”

France is also sending aid to the French-speaking country, which at one time was a colony of France known as Saint-Domingue. France is sending two planes with rescuers and aid. Civil safety authorities in France are sending a team of 130 members consisting of rescuers, trained rescue dogs, doctors and nurses along with 12,000 tons of aid and rescue supplies.

Israel is sending rescue forces in two El Al planes carrying a 121-member delegation that includes 40 doctors, five search-and-rescue teams, and an army rescue squad. The IDF medical teams are preparing to spend two weeks in Haiti.

Spain has pledged $4.3 million (3 million) in aid money and has 150 tons of aid ready to be delivered.

South Africa is sending a team of search and rescue specialists to Haiti in response to the devastating earthquake on Tuesday. It is the first of several teams being sent by a local civic group.

The head of South Africa’s Gift of the Givers Foundation, Emtiaz Sooliman, says his group is sending up to three teams of search and rescue specialists to Haiti to help victims of the earthquake and hopefully save some lives.

“These are people who have worked with building collapses, urban search and rescue and some of them have been involved in responding to previous earthquakes so they are highly skilled,” he said.

Sooliman says a second team is to depart as soon as he can book a flight for it.

 This story has updates See Haiti relief efforts: in depth 

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Chinese President signs multiple trade deals with India

Thursday, September 18, 2014

On the second day today of a three day visit to India the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has signed multiple economic deals with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.File:Xi Jinping October 2013 (cropped).jpg

China would set up two industrial parks in India, one in Gujarat and one in Maharashtra. The deals encompass Chinese investment of US$20 billion in infrastructure projects, modernisation of the Indian railways, and agreements on trade, space exploration, and civil nuclear energy. China has also committed itself to opening its markets to Indian pharmaceuticals and farm products. A final settlement of the unresolved dispute over the Chinese–Indian border in the Himalayas is also to be sought; the dispute, over which the Sino-Indian War of 1962 was fought, arises over where the border should be.

In a message to Chinese journalists on Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Modi used the slogan “Inch towards Miles”, (standing for “India and China towards Millennium of Exceptional Synergy”) to express his hopes as to the future direction of the two nations’ bilateral ties. The Indian Prime Minister further emphasised the shared history and culture of the two nations which could be further enhanced for a brighter shared future.

The Chinese president’s visit comes amid tension over Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, clashing with claims of several other countries, including Japan. In a five day visit to Japan in the beginning of this month, Modi said “The world is divided in two camps. One camp believes in expansionist policies while the other believes in development.” Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also came to an agreement which would see Japanese investment in India rise to US$33.6 billion in the next five years.

Another unresolved tension between the two nuclear powers India and China is continued Chinese support of India’s rival Pakistan.

Xi’s visit to India, which began yesterday following visits to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, is part of an initiative Xi likens to the creation of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

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Saudi Arabia plans to open embassy in Finland

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It has been announced that Saudi Arabia is planning to open an official embassy in Finland, to signify continuing improvement in relations between the two countries.

Teemu Tanner, director general of Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, said to reporters concerning Finnish President Tarja Halonen’s first visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, “One indication of this visit is that you (Saudi Arabia) are planning to open an embassy here in Helsinki,” adding that “We regard this as extremely important for relations,” and that it is only a matter of time before the facility is made available.

Another act set to strengthen diplomatic relations is the planned visit of a trade delegation headed by Saudi Minister of Trade and Commerce Hashim Yamani, which will arrive in Finland next month.

“Our relationship is no longer in relation to trade,” said Tanner. “More broadly, we will discuss regional and global issues. It is extremely important for us to know Saudi Arabia’s views on Iraq, Iran, but also issues such as Somalia… One objective of the visit is to convey notes on international questions, as we enter a very interesting phase in the Middle East peace process,” adding that the presidential visit is a relational “landmark” that will “crystallize” Finland’s image to Saudi Arabia.

Despite the comment that the international cooperation is no longer entirely a trade issue, he did point out Saudi Arabia’s important role in the Finnish economy as one of the five largest importers of Finnish products. Finland’s main exports to Saudi Arabia are mobile phones, paper, wood and machinery, while Saudi Arabia exports large quantities of raw materials for use in manufacturing plastics. The total volume if this trade is estimated to be worth over €840 million.

Other topics on the table for the two nations to discuss during Halonen’s visit include energy, the role of science, environmental issues and combating terrorism, as well as other global issues. Tanner has also suggested tourism may be a future area of attention, with a possibility of package holidays for Finnish tourists being organized to Saudi Arabia.

Finland and Saudi Arabia have been officially involved in diplomatic relations since 1969. Finland has maintained an embassy in Saudi Arabia since 1974.

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Wikinews attends 2018 Bangalore ComicCon

Thursday, November 29, 2018

On November 17 and November 18, Wikinews attended the 2018 Bangalore Comicbook Convention, in Karnataka, India. Beginning on Saturday morning, the ComicCon continued till Sunday. Organised by ComicCon India, who organised Comic Con in Hyderabad in October, this event was held at Karnataka Trade Promotion Organisation (KTPO)’s convention hall. Wikinews spoke to convention’s international guests Ryan O’Sullivan, Dan Watters, and Vanesa Del Ray.

UK-based freelancer comicbook writer Ryan O’Sullivan, who has worked for Image Comics and Vault Comics, and wrote video game comics including Eisenhorn, Warhammer 40,000, and Dark Souls, was one of the guests attending ComicCon. Along with him, London-based freelance comic book writer Dan Watters was also one of the attendants. Watters has worked with Image Comics on Limbo, as well as Lucifer for Vertigo Comics. Watters has also written comics for Assassin’s Creed, Wolfenstein and Deep Roots. Cuban comic book artist Vanesa Del Rey was also one of the guest attendants, who has illustrated Scarlet Witch, Daredevil Annual, and Spider-Women Alpha for Marvel Comics; and Redlands for Image Comics.

The convention started at 11 AM. Crossing between the genres of science fiction, horror, anime, fantasy and comics, the event sprawled throughout all corners of the facility. Marvel Zone, Amazon Video zone, AXN Live RED Special Session, Warner Bros’ Aquaman and Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald experience, and Sony Pix zone attracted large number of audience.

On day two, Sumit Kumar, creator of Chin Chin, inspired by Chacha Chaudhary and Tintin, had a panel in the afternoon.

At 1:30 PM, there was a video presentation by Yali Dream Creations. The video was about The Village. Yali Dream Creations’ Shamik Das Gupta said the story of their comic The Village is “supernatural, social, horror”. Later, there was another presentation about their other comic, Rakshak ((hi))Hindi language: ?Protector — A Hero Among Us, about a masked vigilante in India. The first part of the four-part comic was released in 2016’s Delhi ComicCon, Gupta said. Gupta also added “Delhi gang rape story pushed me”. The session ended around 1:45 PM.

After Yali Dream Creations, there was a comic launch by Rahil Mohin. Mohin had previously launched Sufi Comics in 2008, The Wise Fool of Baghdad and two comics about Persian poet Rumi and now Blame it on Rahil. While he was on the panel, he was sketching cartoon, while the host was asking questions that Mohin had prepared, focused on the 90s cartoon themes. The questions were “[What was the] breed of Courage the Cowardly Dog?”, “Catchphrase of Flintstone”, and “Arch nemesis of Dexter”. His session finished by 2 PM.

At 2 PM, there was a session with AXN, and questions about AXN shows. Musician Shrey also played scores of various AXN shows on guitar, which audience had to guess. At 2:30 PM, there was a session with Cuban comic artist Vanesa Del Rey. She said it was her first convention in India, and said, “It is like any major convention in the US”. This year, Vanesa Del Rey was nominated for an Eisner Award. During the discussion, she said she wanted to do sci-fi epic,romance, mystery and thriller comics in future. Regarding romance genre in comics, she said it is “something worth exploring”. And regarding her career choice, she said her grandmother was an artist and her “family was very supportive”.

Later, there was a session with Sony PIX, with Minions appearing on the stage.

The event finished around 8 PM.

Contents

  • 1 Interviews
    • 1.1 Interview with English comic book writer Ryan O’Sullivan
    • 1.2 Interview with English comic book writer Dan Watters
    • 1.3 Interview with Cuban comic book artist Vanesa Del Rey
  • 2 Photos from the ComicCon
  • 3 Cosplayers
  • 4 Sources
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International forces in Dili reach agreement

Thursday, June 8, 2006

The international forces in East Timor have reached an agreement about the coordination of the military and police forces in the field. Representatives of the four countries reached the agreement during an urgent meeting after an incident between Australian and Portuguese soldiers yesterday.

In the agreement reached between Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Portugal and the Timorese government, operational autonomy is given to the international forces, which will operate in cooperation and coordination with each other.

The agreement also stated that in an initial phase Dili will be divided into sectors, and each area will be under the control of an international force. Outside of its area of responsibility, the military or police force will only be able to operate if other international forces request their actions. Also was agreed that the police forces will assume total control of the city after the military forces leave their current occupied positions. A situation that is expected after the arrival of the remaining equipment, mainly vehicles, for the Portuguese Republican National Guard (GNR) and the arrival of the remaining Malaysian police officers and their equipment.

In an official notice, the Timorese Foreign Minister, José Ramos Horta stated that “the objective on a long run is for the GNR to operate has a tactical intervention force in all the city of Dili”.

Ramos Horta explained that “in the next days, maybe already tomorrow morning, they [the Australian, Malaysian, New Zealand and Portuguese forces] will do some coordination training, in way to assure that the four forces know exactly what each one will do”. “Since some are from the Army and the others [Portuguese Republican National Guard] are a specialized police and that they never worked together, its useful to carry out some practical exercises”, he added.

In another subject, Ramos Horta explained that the Australian soldiers that are in Maubisse, next to a rebel group lead by major Reinado, and in Gleno, Ermera, next to another group of “military opponents”, are there “containing those elements”.

“Those groups are not comparable with other people that are here in Dili and that must be disarmed”, Ramos Horta said.

“The Australian presence in Maubisse and Gleno aims in containing those groups on their areas, until arrives the moment in which the President decides that is time for also mister Alfredo Reinado and the others to put down their weapons”, he said. “This is not urgent because they are not causing problems to anyone”, he justified.

The urgency of the resolution and clarification of the command and cooperation of the international forces was originated after an incident between Australian and Portuguese soldiers. When yesterday a Portuguese GNR patrol transported three people to a temporary detention center managed by Australian soldiers.

The detainees were arrested by a GNR Special Operations team, after being caught looting a governmental warehouse, in Balide, Dili.

The Australian soldiers then refused to receive the detained men, questioning the legitimacy of the Portuguese soldiers to make arrests. The Portuguese contingent transported the detainees to the Timorese prison services in Dili.

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Kate Holloway, Trinity-Spadina

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kate Holloway is running for the Ontario Liberal Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Trinity-Spadina riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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Study claims to show difference between male and female brains

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Michael Gurian, psychologist and author of “What Could He Be Thinking?“, has claimed to identify approximately one hundred structural differences between male and female brains in a recent study. Gurian comments:

Men, because we tend to compartmentalize our communication into a smaller part of the brain, we tend to be better at getting right to the issue, the more female brain (will) gather a lot of material, gather a lot of information, feel a lot, hear a lot, sense a lot.

One major structural difference that Gurian has made clear is that males generally have more activity in the mechanical centers of the brain, while women have more activity in centers of the brain dedicated to verbal communication and emotion. A clear example of this is the hypothetical situation of giving a child a toy. He explains it as such:

That doll becomes life-like to that girl, but you give it to a two-year-old boy and you are more likely, not all the time, but you are more likely than not to see that boy try to take the head off the doll. He thinks spatial-mechanical. He’s using the doll as an object.

Another expert, Dr. Marianne Legato, says it all boils down to genetics, noting that the Y chromosome (which only males carry) has “at least 21 unique genes unique to males which control many of the body’s operations down to the level of the cells.”

Gurian agrees that culture is significant in brain development, but argues that biology plays an equally important role. He makes a point of how the MRI scans show that the female corpus callosum, the center of the brain which regulates communication between the brain’s hemispheres, is larger than the male’s. On the other hand, the scans also show that information flows more freely between the hemispheres of the male brain.

The exact role that brain structure plays in behavior, however, has been an area of considerable contention in science for literally hundreds of years. Early studies in craniometry conducted by Paul Pierre Broca were used to attempt to distinguish differences between human races, though have now been dismissed as scientific racism. The nature-nurture debate has raged for centuries in a variety of forms, without yet any clear resolution as to the role in which innate biological tendencies interact with environmental conditions or willed behavior. As such, studies relating to brain structure and claims to innate behavior often generate substantial controversy.

MIT anthropologist of science Joseph Dumit’s study of brain imaging in his book Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity, noted that the apparent “transparency” of such pictures (the appearance that they can be easily interpreted by laymen, when they are often the source of ambiguity and dispute by even highly-trained neurosurgeons) has led to their proliferation as indicators of objective truth in media and in courts of law, and that such conclusions are often knowingly exaggerated by the specialists creating the images for better visual effect.

The timing of Gurian’s book comes on the heels of another controversy over gender differences sparked by comments made by Harvard president Lawrence Summers, who blamed low numbers of women in the sciences on genetic differences. Summers has been criticized by a large number of academics and scientists, as well as by many news publications, in the wake of what he was reported as saying during a conference on January 14.

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