Explosion hits Madrid Airport’s terminal 4

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Around 9:00 a.m. local time (0800 UTC) today, an explosion occurred at Barajas International Airport, in Madrid, Spain.

A car bomb exploded in the Level-D Parking Garage of the recently completed Terminal 4. A Spanish official declared that the police first received a telephone call warning them about the bomb, and then a second call with the type of vehicle. The second caller claimed the attack for the Basque nationalist group ETA. Thanks to the telephone call, the police could evacuate most of the area. One man is reported missing after the explosion, and 26 people including two police officers were reported to be injured in the blast. The terminal sustained serious damage, and the situation in the airport became chaotic on one of the busiest days of the year.

Arnaldo Otegi, spokesman of ETA’s political wing Batasuna, did not condemn the attack, but said the peace talks are not interrupted by the explosion. The Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba condemned the attack, saying that it “breaks nine months without violence on the part of ETA, which breaks the permanent ceasefire.” Only in June, the Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced peace talks with ETA. But tonight, Zapatero ordered the suspension of all dialogue, because “with violence, there can be no kind of dialogue.”

Three dead in murder-suicide shooting at Southern California fast food restaurant

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

A 6-year-old boy and his father were shot and killed Saturday afternoon while eating inside a busy Del Taco fast food restaurant in San Bernadino, California, before the shooter turned a gun on himself.

According to the San Bernadino Police Department, 56-year-old Jimmy Schlager arrived at the Del Taco at 1:15pm PST (2015 UTC) on a bicycle, and, armed with two semi-automatic guns, entered the restaurant and opened fire on a family of four who were dining together. The employees and other customers all ran out of the restaurant and escaped without injury.

The father of the family, identified as 33-year-old Alex Trujillo, was declared dead at the scene, said the San Bernadino Fire Department. His wife and two sons were taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center in critical condition. His 6-year-old son, Adrian, died shortly after. The victims each suffered two bullet wounds, except the mother, who police say received up to ten gunshots. The names of the 29-year-old woman and her 5-year-old son have not been released. Both remained in critical condition on Saturday night.

After shooting the family, Schlager, later identified as the woman’s step-father, shot himself in the head. He was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he later died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police said Schlager had previously been arrested a number of times, on charges that included theft and assault with a deadly weapon.

Tornado hits downtown Atlanta

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

A tornado, spawned from a large storm, has hit the United States city of Atlanta, Georgia, causing extensive damage throughout the city.

The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday morning that it was a tornado that struck the city. After reviewing the aftermath of the storm, they classified it as an EF2 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale. Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin says she is beginning to apply for federal disaster aid.

There have been no confirmed deaths, but the mayor’s spokeswoman says there may be dead victims trapped within the ruins of a collapsed loft complex. The Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts are located in the historic Cabbagetown neighborhood, where at least 20 homes were destroyed. “It looks like a bomb went off, it looks like World War III,” said Mahsud Olufani, who has an art studio in the neighbourhood. “It’s a disaster area.”

At least 27 people suffered injuries, mostly cuts and bruises. One person is reported to be in critical condition. Grady Memorial Hospital, where many of the injured were taken, had suffered some window damage but was still operating. Around 50 people have been taken to a local Red Cross shelter for displaced residents.

The tornado struck during the semifinal game of the SEC Basktetball Tournament between Mississippi State and Alabama. Play was stopped with around 2 minutes to go in overtime when heavy wind could be heard outside with rippling of the roof. Damage was done to the roof as debris fell to the floor. No injuries were reported in the Dome. “I thought it was a tornado or a terrorist attack,” said Mississippi State guard Ben Hansbrough.

The storm arrived with little forewarning. A tornado warning was issued for the downtown area a few minutes before the storm hit. “Ironically, the guy behind me got a phone call saying there was a tornado warning,” said Lisa Lynn, who was attending the game at the Georgia Dome. “And in two seconds, we heard the noise and things started to shake. It was creepy.”

The CNN Center in downtown Atlanta was severely damaged, especially in the atrium, where the ravaged ceiling allowed water to pour in. Police closed several streets near the CNN Center because of the debris, which included power lines, billboards, and even office chairs.

The Omni Hotel, which is attached to the CNN Center, also sustained damage, with many of its windows shattered. Visitors at the hotel were evacuated to the exhibition hall at street level. “It was crazy. There was a lot of windows breaking and stuff falling,” said Terrence Evans, a valet at the hotel.

At Centennial Olympic Park, located near CNN and the Omni Hotel, two Olympic torch sculptures had fallen over, and a performance pavilion was destroyed. A high-rise dorm at Georgia State University was damaged by the tornado, as evidenced by a large hole in the building’s 14th floor. University students were evacuated on buses.

According to Georgia Power, more than 13,000 of their customers are currently without electricity. Crews are working to fix downed power lines, but they said it would be difficult with all the debris.

Another large storm, currently in Mississippi, is heading towards Atlanta, and is forecast to arrive around 3 p.m. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Leary said Friday’s storm could be “nothing to compare with what’s coming in tomorrow”.

All downtown events scheduled to occur Saturday have been cancelled. This includes the city’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade. The remaining SEC tournament games are to be played at Georgia Tech‘s Alexander Memorial Coliseum, located in the undamaged midtown.

City to sue owner of partially collapsed 19th century livery in Buffalo, New York

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Two weeks after a 19th century stable and livery on Jersey Street partially collapsed and caused 15 homes to be evacuated in Buffalo, New York, residents still do not have answers from the city despite a court order to work with them and come to an agreement on a way to save some or all of the building, Wikinews has learned. Despite the frustration from residents, the city is planning on suing the building’s owner. A rally was held at the stable’s site where residents are hoping to bring more awareness to the situation and gain more support to save the building.

On June 11, a significant portion of the stable’s right side wall collapsed into the yard of a resident’s home. Authorities, including the Buffalo Fire Department were called to the scene to evaluate the collapse and evacuate 15 homes of residents surrounding the stable as a precautionary measure. The following day, the city ordered an emergency demolition on the building, which was stopped by a restraining order residents with Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) won on June 14. Two weeks later, five homes are still evacuated and residents don’t know when they will be able to return.

On June 19, Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court ordered a halt to the emergency demolition and ordered the city and residents to come to an agreement to save the building, or at least a significant portion of it. Despite a court date today, no agreement has yet been reached between the two parties.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his June 19th ruling. The court ruled that a limited demolition could take place and that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed. Since then, most of not all the significantly damaged portions of the building or portions in immediate danger of falling have been demolished. The roof has also been removed to put less stress on the stable’s walls.

“Its been over three years since we have been having problems with part of the livery falling down. There was an implosion two weeks ago and suddenly the city wanted to have an emergency demolition,” said Catherine Herrick who lives on Summer Street immediately behind the stable and is the main plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city. Many homes on Summer are small cottages which were used as servants quarters when the stable was in operation, many of which were built in the 1820’s. At least seven homes on Summer border the stable’s back walls. Residents in those homes have significant gardens which have been planted against the building and growing for decades.

“Both parties are to continue to work together to see how we can meet everybody’s needs. This is the third time we have been in that courtroom, and that is what we were basically told to do,” added Herrick who said the rally was held today because this “is Buffalo’s history. Buffalo is a wonderful place to live because of its history and this is a historical, beautiful building and we need to keep those beautiful buildings.”

Herrick states that the city is working with residents, but also believes that its “slow moving” and they are allowing the owner to get away with neglect on the property.

“I believe right now that they are letting the owner get off. The owner was negligent for 20 years, and hasn’t done anything to it despite what he has claimed to say. Now that this is an emergency situation, the city has a lot to say about it,” added Herrick.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because its poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel from being built on the Southeast corner of Forest and Elmwood Avenues. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years. Attorneys for Freudenheim confirm that the city is starting proceedings against him for his violations beginning as early as Wednesday June 25. Freudenheim has not released a statement and could not be reached for comment.

Many residents want the building preserved and Herrick states that their engineer can have it stable in “four days” as opposed to the 14-30 days it would take to demolish the building and “at a lesser cost than what it costs to demolish it.”

It will cost the city nearly US$300,000 to demolish the building which is paid for with tax money collected from residents in the city. The Buffalo News reports that fees are approaching $700,000. Though reports say there is a potential buyer of the stable, Wikinews cannot independently confirm those reports.

Residents say the stable was designed by Richard A. Waite, a 19th century architect, and was first owned by a company called White Bros., used as a stable and housed at least 30 horses at any given time. It also stored “coaches, coupes, broughams, Victorias and everything in the line of light livery,” stated an article from the West Side Topics dated 1906. According to the article, The company first opened in 1881 on Thirteenth Street, now Normal Avenue, and later moved into the Jersey building in 1892. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. It is believed to be only one of three stables of this kind still standing in the country.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

Wikinews has called the city along with the Mayor’s office several times, but both have yet to return our calls. There are conflicting reports as to the date of the next hearing. According to Herrick, the next hearing is July 1, 2008 though the Buffalo News states the next hearing is July 8. The News also states that Burns will make a final ruling on the stable at this time.

Venezuela opens granite processing facility in Bolívar

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Venezuela’s government has opened a granite processing plant in the state of Bolívar, with the intention of providing about 25% of the granite required nationwide.

Ricardo Menéndez, vice president of the Productive Economic Area, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has yearned for the creation of this project to empower Venezuelan construction. Granito Bolívar is reportedly the most modern Venezuelan granite plant, not consuming community water or electricity, and is also the largest, with a daily capacity to supply enough material for use in construction of about 820 houses.

Menéndez said, “These granite blocks are the natural resources of our country, are the wealth we have as a country and often [some] simply decided to remove this richness from our country and take them to other countries” ((es))Spanish language: ?Esos bloques de granito son la riquezas naturales de nuestro país, son las riquezas que tenemos como patria y que muchas veces sencillamente esas riquezas decidieron sacarlas de nuestro territorio nacional y llevarlas a otros países.

According to Menéndez, with the help of a state plan, Venezuela intends to exploit its 40,000 million cubic meters or more of granite reserves, generating a set of factories. “[T]he central theme is that these plants, all these factories, are for the construction of socialism; that means using our potential, develop the value chain within the country and of course that yields benefits from the point of view of the production system’s organization…. [Granito] Bolívar is not only the vision that historically we had of exposing richness, but the industries, basic industries we have, that level of our workers in the basic industries and in addition the development of the potential we have in the state” ((es))Spanish language: ?el tema central es que estas plantas todas estas fábricas son para la construcción del socialismo, eso significa utilizar nuestras potencialidades, dessarrollar la cadena de valor dentro del país y por supuesto que eso genere beneficios desde el punto de vista de la organización del sistema productivo … Bolívar no solamente es la visión que históricamente se tuvo de exponer las riquezas, sino que son las empresas, las empresas básicas que tenemos, ese nivel de nuestros trabajadores de la empresas básicas y adicionalmente el desarrollo del potencial que tenemos en el estado.

For the construction of the plant, supplied by 23 quarries, the government of Bolívar provided about 30 million bolívares (US$4.7 million) and the national government €2.3 million (US$3 million). Bolívar reportedly has reserves of about 40,000 million tons of red, black, pink and white granite, sufficient for domestic demand for 200 years.

President Mugabe bulldozes homes of 200,000 across Zimbabwe

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Friday, June 24, 2005File:Robert Mugabe.jpg

Zimbabwean President Mugabe’s Operation Murambatsvina (“Drive out rubbish”) has seen at least 200,000 people made homeless in Zimbabwe as the government bulldozes “illegal” homes, buildings and markets.

The opposition has said the operation is designed to “punish” those who object to Mugabe’s government.

Two children under the age of two have been killed, the first deaths reported so far in the actions which have been taking place for a month now.

International pressure is building on Zimbabwe to stop. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw has been joined by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in condemning the evictions and urging African leaders to speak out.

The government has said the buildings it is destroying are “illegal”, and have said that the “black markets” are to blame for the country’s “economic meltdown”. Over 70% of the population is unemployed.

The bulldozers have the protection of armed police as they do their work. Sometimes the police have forced homeowners to carry out the destruction themselves.

At other times, the government has claimed it is destroying the buildings to get rid of unsafe structures and to reduce overcrowding. Other children have died when the walls of their houses have collapsed.

The authorities are also preventing non-governmental organisations from providing aid to those who have lost their homes.

The country currently needs to import 1.2 million tonnes of food to avoid famine as rural farming production drops.

Wikinews Shorts: June 4, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, June 4, 2007.

MediaCorp Radio in Singapore has been fined 15,000 Singaporean dollars (US$9,800) over an on-air stunt in March in which female guests on a radio show were asked to remove their brassieres, and pose for video that was to be posted on the station’s website and on YouTube.

The Media Development Authority said the radio show’s hosts made improper and sexually suggestive remarks about “how fast the bras were removed, as well as the color, design and cup size of the bras, and the size of the girls’ breasts.”

Sources


Researchers at University of Malaya say they have developed an erectile dysfunction cure from walnut extract.

“It takes about an hour for the effects to set in and it will last for about four hours,” said Professor Dr. Kim Kah Hwi of the Faculty of Medicine Physiology.

So far, 40 volunteers have tried the Viagra alternative, called “N-Hanz”, with positive results, Kim said. To make one pill, it takes about 3.3 kilograms (about 7 pounds) of walnuts.

Sources


An 8-year-old Indonesian boy died after being attacked on Saturday by a Komodo Dragon at Komodo National Park on Komodo.

The boy was attacked while making a toilet stop in a bush, a park official said. “The dragon bit his waist, tossed him and dragged him. His right leg was badly scratched,” park spokesman Heru Rudiharto said. The boy then bled to death.

Attacks by Dragons on humans are rare, though the reptiles, which can grow to a length of 3 meters (9 feet), regularly kill such prey as pigs and small deer. Komodo Dragons are an endangered and protected species, and about 2,000 of them live in the wild, mainly on Komodo and nearby Rinca island.

Sources


Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed further

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Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

Buffalo, New York —The Common Council of Buffalo voted on Tuesday to send the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal “to committee for further discussion”, after citing the need for more public involvement.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a development proposal by the Savarino Construction Services Corporation, a project designed by the architect Karl Frizlen of The Frizlen Group. The hotel would be placed on the southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo.

To make way for the project, at least five buildings located at 1109 to 1121 Elmwood Ave would be demolished. At least two properties on Forest Avenue could also be demolished. The Elmwood properties, according to Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarion Construction, are “under contract”, but it is unclear if Savarino Construction actually owns the Elmwood properties. Hans Mobius, a former mayorial candidate, is still believed to be the current owner the properties. Mobius also owns 607 Forest Avenue.

The properties 605 and 607 Forest Avenue could also be included in the proposal according to Hassett.

“We would use a Special Development Plan to rezone 1119-1121 Elmwood and 605 Forest to a C-2 zoning category,” stated Hassett. It is possible that Savarino Construction may try to obtain a variance for 605 Forest, which would allow them to enforce eminent domain, should the hotel be allowed to go forward.

The building at 607 Forest was also discussed to be rezoned, but it is unclear what the plans would be for that property. During the February 28 Common Council meeting, Hassett stated that the properties 605 and 607 were “now off the agenda”.

Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood, owns the property at 605 Forest and attended Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

“Having a hotel is a bright idea. We all love the idea of a hotel, but the way that it is presented, is wishful thinking. This hotel does not fit. It’s like putting two gallons of water in a gallon jug, it does not fit. At the last meeting, the architect admitted that they are planning to put the undergound parking lot and the hotel, right at the property line. If I open my window, I will be able to touch the wall, that goes fifty feet high”, said Georgiadis.

“There is a problem having a seventy-two room hotel and fifty-five parking spaces. That means that all the other cars will spill all over the neighborhood. The footprint is simply too small. If you have a bigger [parking] lot, and a smaller hotel, I will welcome a hotel. I have a parking lot at my own business, and I am chasing people all day long. Remember, the city says it has ‘zero tolerance [for illegal parking]’. Try telling that to the guy from Albany who came to see his kids, that are going to Buffalo State, who would get tickets totaling over a hundred dollars”, added Georgiadis.

The city’s Planning Board is scheduled to meet on March 14, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. about the proposal. Although a discussion will take place, no vote is expected to be taken.

At the moment, none of the properties are zoned for a hotel. Savarino Construction plans on asking for a C2 zoning permit. If that does not work, they plan to implement a new zoning plan called a “special development plan” which would allow for only a hotel on the site. That zone would not be able to be changed.

“This [project] justifies Mobius’s refusal to invest in any maitenance[sic] or improvements”, on the properties said Clarence Carnahan, a local resident. “Where were the Council persons over the years? Where were the city inspectors over the years, to make sure that he maintained and improved his properties? The government was supposed to be protecting, not being preditorial. I see a predatorial issue here when it comes to this hotel. Over the years: Why has the local government been disfunctional when it came to Mobius’s properties? Refusal to invest in improvements, doesn’t that sound like a slumlord? Maybe I am missing a point here, but what kind of messages does this send to other slumlords that havn’t[sic] been jailed or fined? It’s [the hotel] trying to be pushed through.”

Carnahan also presented signs for residents and or business owners who are opposed to the hotel, that could be placed in windows or on stakes in the yard. Some of the signs said, ‘No tell hotel’, ‘Hans off, no hotel’, ‘It takes more than a hotel to make a village’. and ‘Keep Elmwood free, no hotel’. Carnahan plans on making more signs for a protest to be held on Saturday March 18, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on Elmwood and Forest. Some signs were given to individuals after the meeting.

“First things first, Hans is the problem, and I don’t think it has been addressed. Let’s roll back the clock on this project. What can we do with Hans? There is such thing as eminent domain, which could be of greater interest to the community, to seize the property at its lowest assessed value”, said Nancy Pollina, co-owner of Don Apparel with Patty Morris at 1119 Elmwood. “There are so many ideas that have not been explored and we are about to give this parcel away, to a big developer.”

Mobius has not returned any calls by Wikinews regarding the situation.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews has obtained a letter, exclusively, addressed to one of the five business owners from Hans Mobius stating:

There is a proposal to develop my property which you are currently renting. Because of opposition to this development, it does not look like it will happen. I will let you know if there any changes.

Despite the letter, there have been no plans or decisions made to end the proposal.

To date, none of the business owners or residents of 1119-1121 Elmwood have received an eviction notice.

Business owners and residents gave an indication of what they would like to see happen at the corner; a project similar to one done locally last year. There, developers renovated two buildings on Auburn and Elmwood Avenues, merging the buildings into one thus allowing for more shop space. Among some of the shops to move in after the development were Cone Five Pottery, The Ruby Slipper, and Abraham’s Jewelers. Prior to the renovation work, the left building in the picture was boarded up for several years. Many of the concerned locals would like to see a similar development on Forest and Elmwood.

Rocco Termini, a developer in Buffalo, proposed a similar design at the February 28 community meeting

In an interview after the February 28 meeting, Termini stated, “I will be willing to take a look at this myself, or I would be more than happy to be partners with Sam, Sam Savarino”, who is President and Chief Executive Officer of Savarino Construction Services Corp.

So far Savarino Construction has no plans to team up with Termini.

Preparations for inaugural Bathurst International Motor Festival begin

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Bathurst Regional Council has begun preparing the Mount Panorama motor racing circuit for the inaugural Bathurst International Motorsport Festival (BIMF) to be held between April 13 and 16, 2006. The Mount Panorama motor racing circuit is considered to be the home of motorsport in Australia.

Council’s staff have been busy cleaning the facilities, erecting signage, checking pedestrian bridges and inspecting the track surface for the past few days.

The BIMF will be the first event to be held at the 6.2 kilometre circuit over Easter since 2000. In 2000, Event Management Specialists held the first motorcycle racing event since 1990, but due to EMS going bankrupt a short time after their 2000 event was ran and the inability of the then Bathurst City Council to find another promoter, the Easter event was canned.

The BIMF is inspired by the Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival in the United Kingdom. The Bathurst Regional Council and event promoter Global Entertainment Team promise that the event “will cater for all motoring enthusiasts, collectors and historians”.

According to the BIMF website, the on-track program consists of:

  • Manufacturers showcasing their vehicles and track times
  • Historic touring car races
  • Aussie racing car races
  • Australian GT sports car
  • Parade laps by car clubs
  • Parade laps and races by “Legends of Motorsport”
  • Stunt car and bike events
  • Rally cars
  • Displays of cars from all eras of Mount Panorama’s history
  • The chance for patrons to purchase a ride around the circuit in a race car.

Off the track, the organisers have promised manufacturer displays, merchandise stands, music, joyflights, Off-road demonstrations and joyrides, autograph sessions and interviews with influential people in the Australian motor industry.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi killed in airstrike

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Thursday, June 8, 2006

The head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been killed in an air strike on a building north of Baqubah city, according to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

“Today [sic] Zarqawi has been terminated,” he said Thursday, and suggested the man the United States had placed a $25 million price tag on for death or capture was located through intelligence.

“What happened today is a result of co-operation for which we have been asking from our masses and the citizens of our country,” he said.

The leader of coalition forces in Iraq, General George Casey said al-Zarqawi was killed in a two-storey safehouse about 8 km north of the city in Diyala province.

Several aides also died with him in the Wednesday evening raid by U.S. F-16 warplanes, including his key lieutenant and spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman. Some analysts believe a US counter-terrorism unit, Task Force 145, was involved in the attack.

Al-Zarqawi’s body, recovered after two 500-pound bombs had blown through his cover, was identified through fingerprint, tattoo and scar analysis and head likeness. Al-Zarqawi, whose real name was Ahmed Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalayleh, was believed to be in his late 30s when he died of injuries while US forces gave medical aid.

The first munition exploded at 6:15pm was a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb that was shortly followed by the newer GBU-38; both carried 500lb of explosives for total cost of $40,000.

The self-proclaimed frontman for Osama Bin Laden’s activities in Iraq, al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian national, is said to have been involved in the beheading of foreigners, hundreds of suicide attacks, and an insurgency against coalition forces after the Iraq war in 2003.

It had been reported Al-Zarqawi’s most recent campaign was to create problems between Shi’ite and Sunni groups in Iraq with ethnic killings.

For the Iraqi government the killing of the wanted murderer is what they sought but it remains unknown what effect the removal of this known figurehead of the Iraq insurgency will have on levels of violence in the country. Al-Zarqawi was not the only person to oppose the US-backed Iraqi government.

“Zarqawi didn’t have a number two. I can’t think of any single person who would succeed Zarqawi…In terms of effectiveness, there was no single leader in Iraq who could match his ruthlessness and his determination,” was the view of Rohan Gumaratna at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore.

Applause was heard as Mr Maliki, with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. Gen. George Casey, by his side, told news reporters “al-Zarqawi was terminated.”

Sources claiming to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq later confirmed that al-Zarqawi had been killed and said that they would fight the United States and the interim Iraqi government despite his death.

United States President George Bush spoke to journalists in the White House Rose Garden about al-Zarqawi’s death. “Zarqawi’s death is a severe blow to al-Qaeda. It’s a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq’s new government to turn the tide of this struggle,” he said.

The US military also confirmed that six people were killed in the strike, including al-Zarqawi, and his spiritual adviser Sheikh Abd-al-Rahman The death toll is reported at three men, three women.[1] Some reports had said al-Zarqawi’s wife and daughter died. However U.S. officials state that there is no evidence confirming the death of al-Zarqawi’s wife and daughter.

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