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Execution of two gay teens in Iran spurs controversy

Saturday, July 23, 2005

International controversy erupted after Iranian officials executed two gay teenagers who were originally reported to be convicted of homosexuality, however later reports released by the Iranian government after international furor claimed the conviction was for the rape of a 13-year-old boy. The two were hanged July 19.

Only the age of one of the two executed teens was officially released to the public. He was 18 year old Ayaz Marhoni. The other, Mahmoud Asgari, according to the Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) was aged 17, but other news agencies have reported the teenager’s age as 16. In the original report by the ISNA it was said that the two were found having sex together when they were both 16. It also reported that they were held and beaten for fourteen months before the execution.

The UK-based gay rights group, Outrage! claims the report issued later by the government of Iran is a “smokescreen” to justify killing homosexuals. And one media outlet, Direland, has blasted the media holdings of Rupert Murdoch that includes Fox News Channel and The Times newspaper for publishing the subsequent Iranian government issued allegation of rape as matter of fact without mention of the previous stories before international condemnation bearing no such accusations.

According to Iranian newspapers, the two boys were given 228 lashes for their other convictions of theft, disrupting public order and public drinking before they were hanged in Edalat (“Justice” in English) Square in the Iranian city of Mashhad. The executioners, fearing reprisals, wore masks and anti-riot forces were mobilized to prevent outbreaks of public protests.

Photos of the execution released by Iranian Students News Agency showed the two teens crying in the truck driving them to the gallows in Justice Square, located in the northeastern region of the country.

Iran has been under fire by international human rights groups for executing teenagers in the past, including the 2004 execution of Atefeh Rajabi, a 16-year-old girl convicted of having sex before marriage. Medical reports, not allowed in the court, had stated that she was mentally ill.

Like many other Islamic countries, Iran enforces the religious sharia law, which allows for the execution of children, including girls aged nine or older and boys 15 and older.

Iranian officials have complained that the media has emphasized the teens’ ages. Deputy Ali Asgari said, “Whatever sentence is decreed by an Islamic penal system must be approved, unless proven otherwise… Instead of paying tribute to the action of the judiciary, the media are mentioning the age of the hanged criminals and creating a commotion that harms the interests of the state… Even if certain websites made a reference to their age, journalists should not pursue this. These individuals were corrupt. Their sentence was carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right.”

Both teens were convicted by Court No. 19 under sharia law. The teens are identified only as “M.A.” and “A.M.” Those found having homosexual sex in Iran may face death by either hanging, stoning, cutting in half by a sword, or dropping from a tall building or cliff.

An ISNA report said the couple acknowledged having sexual relations with each other but said they were unaware of laws against homosexuality.

Another report, by Iran In Focus, claimed that the two were hanged not for gay sex, but rather for sexually assaulting a thirteen year old boy at knife point. Neither the original Iranian Student’s News Agency nor an additional report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran had this allegation, said the United Kingdom based Outrage. Direland Press has noted that the accusation of rape in reports came days after international outrage and detailed reports by other Iranian news agencies. They suggest the recent report is a ploy of the Iranian government to justify its actions.

“The allegation of sexual assault may either be a trumped-up charge to undermine public sympathy for the youths — a frequent tactic by the Islamist regime in Iran — or it may be that the 13-year-old was a willing participant but that Iranian law … deems that no person of that age is capable of sexual consent and that therefore any sexual contact is automatically deemed in law to be a sex assault,” said OutRage!’s Peter Tatchell.

“This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran,” Tatchell remarked. “The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder.”

Tatchell told reporters that according to Iranian human rights activists, more than 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed in Iran since the ayatollahs seized power in 1979. He said an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been executed in Iran since that time.

Reports also indicated that three other gay Iranian teenagers are reportedly being hunted by police, but they are said to have gone into hiding.

OutRage! requested the international community see Iran “as a pariah state” and to “break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions, and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran.”

The United Kingdom has a policy of constructive engagement with Iran, as does France and Germany, primarily directed at the resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.

European Union officials have been holding a human rights dialogue with Tehran, but last year the report by Human Rights Watch said that violations had increased since 2000.

In the Unites States, the Human Rights Campaign has called for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to condemn the executions.



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Documents reveal al-Qaeda wants war between U.S. and Iran, Iraq insurgency weakening

Friday, June 16, 2006

Documents found at the hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi revealed al-Qaeda‘s desire to force a war between the U.S. and Iran. The document was translated by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie, but the authenticity of the information could not be confirmed to be from al-Qaeda.

The documents reveal that al-Zarqawi was planning to destroy the relationship between the Shi’ite Iraqis and the United States. The document also said the U.S. military was hurting the insurgency by seizure of weapons, disrupting their financial outlets, massive arrests, and training Iraqi security forces.

The translated document said, “Generally speaking and despite the gloomy present situation, we find that the best solution in order to get out of this crisis is to involve the U.S. forces in waging a war against another country or any hostile groups.”

Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said, “These documents have given us the edge over al-Qaeda and (they) also gave us the whereabouts of their network, of their leaders, of their weapons and the way they lead the organization and the whereabouts of their meetings.”



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Wikinews Shorts: September 25, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, September 25, 2007.

Canadian workers with the Canadian Auto Workers Union have gone on strike due to 70,000 American employees of United Auto Workers Union (UAW) forced to strike against General Motors (GM), just one day ago.

GM Canada’s Windsor, Ontario plant, which employs 1,400 people shut down on Monday. On Tuesday Car Plant 1 in Oshawa, Ontario, which employs 3,000, closed at 3:00am ET. Car Plant 2, also in Oshawa, which employs 2,500 workers, could make a speedy close today or tomorrow. Other GM car plants in Ontario are also feared to close during the strike.

If the strike in the U.S. stays, up to 100,000 Canadian UAW workers could be laid off, according to Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union. Eighty-thousand Canadians work for the auto-parts industry in Canada, and 40,000 could be laid off, Hargrove also says.

According to the BBC, analysts say the strike will only last for two weeks. The UAW last called a national strike on GM 30 years ago.

Related news

  • “70,000 General Motors employees go on strike” — Wikinews, September 24, 2007

Sources


Findings on a new “sleep survey” seem to be mixed as a sleep analysis of 10,308 government workers over seventeen years was recently made public. The study was conducted by the University of Warwick and the University College London in the United Kingdom.

The participants were aged 35-55. Researchers examined the participants’ sleeping habits between the years of 1995 to 1998, and 1992 to 1993, and mortality rates until 2004. It also compared the social lives of the participants to sleeping habits.

The study shows that, if a person cuts their sleep from seven hours to five hours they ultimately risk an increase of death and death from cardiovascular problems. But sleeping more than eight hours doubles the risk of death, and death would be triggered from non-cardiovascular diseases. Sleeping less than five hours per night increases a risk of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and other diseases, which could end up in leading to death.

“A third of the population of the UK and over 40 percent in the U.S. regularly sleep less than five hours a night, so it is not a trivial problem,” said Francesco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick. “The current pressures in society to cut out sleep, in order to squeeze in more, may not be a good idea — particularly if you go below five hours.”

“This change, largely the result of sleep curtailment to create more time for leisure and shift-work, has meant that reports of fatigue, tiredness and excessive daytime sleepiness are more common than a few decades ago. Sleep represents the daily process of physiological restitution and recovery, and lack of sleep has far-reaching effects,” he said on the university’s website.

“In terms of prevention, our findings indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for health,” Cappuccio added.

The new findings have been published on medical journal SLEEPs website. It will officially be published in the magazines next issue.

Sources



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Oil spill reported in Gulf of Mexico

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

At least 21,000 gallons of crude oil has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico near the United States mainland coast, about 30 miles off the shore of Galveston, Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard says that oil is still leaking at a rate of 80 to 400 gallons a day.

The High Island Pipeline began to leak on Sunday and was immediately shut down when a pressure loss was detected. The pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline who state that the incident is “under investigation” and that officials are working to “minimize the impact of the incident.”

“A medium crude oil pipeline ruptured 30 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, and leaked approximately 21,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico Sunday, December 24,” said a press release by Coast Guard.

“There’s a 60-yard-wide oil sheen that extends for about half a mile. It is still leaking slowly, about 80 to 400 gallons a day,” added the Coast Guard.

Reports say that the oil is traveling away from any shoreline and that remaining oil is being suctioned out of the pipeline. Ships in the area have not been diverted.

“All appropriate agencies have been notified. Plains, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Texas General Land Office are working within a unified command system consisting of Federal and state agencies and oil spill response organizations to manage and mitigate this incident. In addition, Plains has activated its spill response plan to contain and clean up the spill. At present, Plains has mobilized Airborne Support, Inc., Clean Gulf Associates and other additional resources in an effort to minimize the consequences of the incident,” said a press release by the Plains oil company.

So far, no injuries have been reported.



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Wikinews interviews Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vail, Colorado, United States — Yesterday, Wikinews sat down with Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine who was participating in a national team training camp in Vail, Colorado.

((Wikinews)) This is Melissa Perrine. And are you like Jess Gallagher and just here training and not competing?

Melissa Perrine: I’m not competing right now.

((WN)) And you competed in 2010 in Vancouver?

MP: I did. Yeah.

((WN)) And who was your guide?

MP: Andy Bor.

((WN)) Why a male guide? He’s got to have different skis, and he can’t turn exactly the same way.

MP: I think that with me it was just that Andy was the fittest person that was with the team when I came along. He used to be an assistant coach with the team before I started with him.

((WN)) And you guys have a good relationship?

MP: Yeah!

((WN)) Like a husband and wife relationship without the sex?

MP: No, not at all. (laughs) Older brother maybe. Good relationship though. We get along really well.

((WN)) So have you ever lost communications on the course in an embarrassing moment?

MP: We ski courses without communications. (unintelligible)

((WN)) You’re a B3 then?

MP: I’m a B2.

((WN)) So you can see even less than Jessica Gallagher.

MP: Yes.

((WN)) How do you ski down a course when you can’t even see it?

MP: Andy!

((WN)) You just said you had no communications!

MP: Oh, I just have to be a lot closer to him.

((WN)) So if he’s close enough you can overcome that issue?

MP: Yeah.

((WN)) Why are you doing skiing?

MP: Why? I enjoy it.

((WN)) You enjoy going fast?

MP: I love going fast. I like the challenge of it.

((WN)) Even though you can’t see how fast you’re going.

MP: Oh yes. It’s really good. It’s enjoyable. It’s a challenge. I love the sport, I love the atmosphere.

((WN)) I’ve asked the standing skiers, who’s the craziest Paralympic skiers? Is it the ones who are on the sit skis, the blind ones or the ones missing limbs?

MP: I probably think it’s the sit skiers who are a bit nuts. I think we all think the other categories are a bit mental. I wouldn’t jump on a sit ski and go down the course. Or put the blindfold on and do the same thing.

((WN)) B1 with the black goggles. Is your eye sight degenerative?

MP: No, I’m pretty stable.

((WN)) Not going to become a B1 any time soon?

MP: Oh God, I hope not. No, I’m pretty stable so I don’t envision getting much blinder than I am now unless something goes wrong.

((WN)) And you’re trying for Sochi?

MP: Definitely.

((WN)) And you think your chances are really good?

MP: I think I’ve got a decent chance. I just have to keep training like I have been.

((WN)) Win a medal this time?

MP: I’d like to. That’s the intention. (laughs)

((WN)) Do you like the media attention you’ve gotten? Do you wish there was more for yourself and winter sports, or of women athletes in general?

MP: I think that promoting women in sport and the winter games is more important than promoting myself. I’m quite happy to stay in the background, but if I can do something to promote the sport, or promote women in the sport, especially because we’ve got such a small amount of women competing in skiing, especially in blind skiing. I think that’s more important overall.

((WN)) Most skiers are men?

MP: There’s more men competing in skiing, far more. The standards are a bit higher with the males than with the females.

((WN)) The classification system for everyone else is functional ability, and you guys are a medical classification. Do you think you get a fair shake in terms of classification? Are you happy with the classification?

MP: I think I’m happy with it, the way it’s set out. With vision impairment I’m a B2, against other B2s. It may be the same category, but we have different disabilities, so there’s not much more they can do. I think it’s as fair as they possibly can.

((WN)) You like the point system? You’re okay with it? Competing against B1s and B3s even though you’re a B2?

MP: The factors even all that out. The way they’ve got it at the moment, I don’t have any issues with them, the blind categories.

((WN)) What was it that got you skiing in the first place?

MP: An accident, basically. Complete by chance. A friend of mine in the Department of Recreation used to run skiing camps in the South West Sydney region, and she had a spare spot at one of the camps. Knew that I was vision impaired, and: “Do you want to come along?” “Yeah, why, not, give it a go.” This was back when I was about twelve, thirteen. I went, and I loved it. Went back again, and again, and again. And for the first five or six years I just skied for like a week a season sort of thing, like, you’re on a camp. Fell in love with the sport; my skiing and the mountain atmosphere, I love it, and then, when I finished my HSC, I decided to take myself off to Canada, and skiing Kimberley, the disabled race program that was run by the ex-Australian who coaches Steve Boba, and I’d heard about it through Disabled Winter Sports Australia. And I thought I’d spend some time in Canada, which is for skiing, and had a year off between school and uni, so… first time I ran through a race course actually. It was pretty awesome. So I went back again the next year, and Steve [Boba] recommended me to Steve [Graham], and he watched me skiing in September in the South Island, and invited me on a camp with the Australian team, and I trained for Vancouver, and I qualified, and I said “sure, why not?” And here I am!

((WN)) So you liked Vancouver?

MP: It was just an amazing experience. I came into Vancouver… I had quite a bad accident on a downhill course in Sestriere about seven weeks out from the games, and I fractured my pelvis. So, I was coming into Vancouver with an injury and I had only just recovered and was in quite a lot of pain. So it was an amazing experience and I was quite glad I did it, but wish for a different outcome.

((WN)) So you are more optimistic about Sochi then?

MP: Yes.

((WN)) One of the things about skiing is that it’s really expensive to do. How do you afford to ski given how expensive it is? And the fact that you need a guide who’s got his own expenses.

MP: I’m lucky enough to rank quite high in the world at the moment, so due to my ranking I’m awarded a certain amount of funding from the Australian Sports Commission, which covers my equipment and expenses, and the team picks up training costs and travel costs. All I’ve got to pay for is food and my own equipment, which is good, so I’ve managed to do it a budget.

((WN)) What do you do outside of skiing, because you look kind of young? And you being not like, 30 or 40?

MP: I’m 24. I’m a student still.

((WN)) Which university?

MP: University of Western Sydney. It’s my third university degree. I’ve completed two others prior to this one that I’m doing now.

((WN)) Which degree? That you’re currently pursuing.

MP: Currently, physiotherapy.

((WN)) Because of your experience with sport?

MP: Not really, except that my experience with sport certainly helped my interest and kind of fueled a direction to take in the physiotherapy field when I’m finished my degree, but more the medical side of injury, rehabilitation that got me interested in physiotherapy to begin with, burns rehabilitation and things like that.

((WN)) You view yourself a full-time student as opposed to a full-time professional skier.

MP: Not really. I’m a student when uni’s on and when uni’s finished I’m a skier. The way that the term structure is in Australia it gives me all this time to ski. The uni starts at the end of February and goes to the beginning of June, and then we’ve got a six or seven week break until beginning or mid-August, and uni starts again then, and we go up to mid way through November, and then we’ve got a break again. Skiing fits in very nicely to that.

((WN)) What’s the route for qualification to Sochi for you.

MP: Just maintaining my points. At the moment I’ve qualified. I just need to maintain my points, keep my points under, and then I qualify for the Australian team.

((WN)) So there’s a chance they could say no?

MP: If I’m skiing really badly. An injury.

((WN)) Or if you’re like those Australian swimmers who had the guns…

MP: I’ve no sign of picking up a gun any time soon. Giving a blind girl a gun is not a good idea. (laughs)

((WN)) It just seemed to us that Sochi was so far away on out hand, and yet seemed to be in everybody’s mind. It’s on their program. Sixteen months away?

MP: Yes, something like that. Sixteen. I think it’s been on our mind ever since Vancouver was over and done with. Next season, that was that, it was like: “what are our goals for the next four years?” And it was, “What are our goals for the next three years and two years?” And subsequently, next season, it’s Sochi. What we need to work on, what we need to accomplish for then, to be as ready as possible.

((WN)) What is your favourite event of all the skiing ones? You like the downhill because it’s fast? Or you like Giant Slalom because it’s technically challenging? Or…

MP: I prefer the speed events. The downhill; frightens me but I do love the adrenalin. I’m always keen to do a downhill. But I think Super G might just be my favourite.

((WN)) Do you do any other adrenalin junkie type stuff? Do you go bungee jumping? Jumping out of airplanes? Snowboarding?

MP: I don’t snowboard, no. I have jumped out of a plane. I thought that was fun but downhill has got more adrenalin than jumping out of a plane, I found. I do mixed martial arts and judo. That’s my other passion.

((WN)) Have you thought of qualifying for the Summer [Para]lympics in judo?

MP: As far as I know, Australia doesn’t have a judo program for the Paralympics. But, if I ever get good enough, then sure.

((WN)) They sent one.

MP: They’ve sent one, and he’s amazing. He beats up blind guys, able bodieds, quite constantly. I’ve seen video of him fight, and he’s very very good. If I ever reach that level, then sure, it’s something I’d look into it.

((WN)) Does judo help with your skiing?

MP: Yes, it increases my agility and balance, and strength, for sure.

((WN)) I want to let you get back to changing. Thank you very much.



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Anthrocon 2007 draws thousands to Pittsburgh for furry weekend

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Local caterers get ready for big business, as almost three thousand fans converge on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center over the Independence Day weekend for the world’s largest ever furry convention, Anthrocon 2007.

Many hope to renew acquaintances, or meet new friends. Others look to buy from dealers and artists, or show off new artwork or costumes. Some attend to make money, or even learn a thing or two. But one thing unites them: They’re all there to have fun.

Contents

  • 1 Costly expansion
  • 2 Programming and entertainment
  • 3 Audience
  • 4 Art show and dealers
  • 5 Charity and volunteers
  • 6 Local impact
  • 7 Related news
  • 8 Sources


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Australian Parliament hears reply to Budget

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Australian House of Representatives heard the traditional right-of-reply to the Budget released May 9, from the Australian Labor Party, led by Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand), plus Budget replies from minor parties in the Australian Senate.

While the Budget is politically popular, having as one of its main features significant tax reform, Beazley focused on the omissions in the Budget, such as the failure to address a skills shortage.

Contents

  • 1 Opposition reply
  • 2 Minor parties
    • 2.1 Australian Democrats
  • 3 Australian Greens
  • 4 Family First
  • 5 Sources


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Bronis?aw Geremek, former Polish Foreign Affairs Minister, dies at age 76

Sunday, July 13, 2008File:Bronislaw Geremek.jpg

Professor Bronis?aw Geremek, a former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, a member of European Parliament and chairman of the Freedom Union, has died today at the age of 76 in a car crash near Nowy Tomy?l, Poland. The accident occurred about 13:15 Polish time (12:15 UTC) along the way 92 near Lubie? in the Greater Poland Voivodeship.

According to the spokeswoman of the Greater Poland Voidodeships’s police, Hanna Wachowiak, Geremek died when the Mercedes he was driving collided head-on with a Fiat Ducato on the road from Warsaw to the German border. The reason of Geremek’s car crossing to the other side of the road and crashing into the oncoming car is still unknown. “The officers are investigating the reasons of the accident. They have interrogated first witnesses”, said Mariusz Soko?owski, the spokesman of the Main Command of Police in an interview with the Polish news channel TVN 24. Bronis?aw Geremek was the only casualty of the crash; the driver of the Fiat and his passenger as well as the passenger of Geremek’s Mercedes have been transported to hospitals in Pozna? and Nowy Tomy?l.

The daily Dziennik writes it was not the excessive speed which caused the crash. The newspaper’s Internet news service informs that both cars were driving with the speed of 90-100 km/h (56-62 mph). The daily reports it is assumed that Bronis?aw Germemek might have collapsed when driving; other assumptions include a defect of the car. “It lasted for a split of seconds. I don’t even know how it happened. I haven’t seen anything wrong happening to professor”, told Geremek’s passenger the police officers.

Bronis?aw Geremek was born on March 6, 1932 in Warsaw, Poland. Being a historian by training, he was an associate professor of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk, PAN), a member of the democratic opposition in the Polish People’s Republic, a member of Sejm from 1989 to 2001 and a chairman of the political party Freedom Union. He served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland from October 31, 1997 to June 30, 2000. He was also a member of the European Parliament from July 20, 2004 onwards.

Bronis?aw Geremek is survived by two sons.



Using Top Soil Rather Than Dirt Alone

byalex

When you begin to plant a garden, you will have to decide on what to plant, when to plant it, and the best conditions in which to do it. The soil will need to be the balance of vitamins and minerals so you get the desired results. This isn’t possible with just plain dirt and you will need to purchase top soil in Santa Cruz, CA.

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Top soil in Santa Cruz, CA is basically clean dirt. It has been sifted through to get rid of rocks, sticks, leaves, and other things that would make it less than desirable to use in a garden or a flower bed. It usually doesn’t have added nutrients but because it is cleaner dirt, adding your own mix of compost or soil additives will cause it to absorb it much better. When the soil is allowed to absorb the nutrients, rather than the sticks, weeds, and even rocks taking away from the plants, your plants will do much better. The minerals found in gardening top soil have more elements such as fertilizer or additives to help the plants needing more nitrogen to flourish.

In a garden, top soil in Santa Cruz, CA is vital to healthy plants. Be careful though to buy a soil that is certified organic so the food you grow will not be contaminated. Sometimes dirt can be tainted and that will affect the vegetables you eat. Some companies will have regular dirt but it is infused with organic composts that will help it to be more organic in nature. Truly organic top soil is difficult to find and it can be expensive. But you can find some that are mixed with organic compost. This type of soil is geared towards growing food gardens and will retain their moisture better than others. Moisture retention can be the determining factor in the success of your spring and summer garden. If your area is extremely hot and you are under a water restriction, you don’t want your garden to wilt along with everything else. In spite of the water restrictions, if you have a top soil in Santa Cruz, CA that is made to hold in the water you are able to give it, your garden won’t suffer in spite of the water restrictions.

Top Soil In Santa Cruz, CA is a stable foundation on which to grow your garden. With the right blend of Top Soil In Santa Cruz, CA your organic garden will flourish and you’ll have a bountiful harvest.