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New study claims Stonehenge was a place of healing

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Archaeologists Timothy Darvill of Bournemouth University and Geoff Wainwright, President of the Society of Antiquaries, claimed to have found evidence that Stonehenge was once a center of healing. In an excavation conducted at the site, a large number of human remains were found that display signs of physical injury or disease. Study of the teeth from the skeletons indicates that about half of them were from outside the area.

A large number of bluestone or spotted Preseli dolerite chips found during the excavation led the researchers to conclude the stones were venerated for their healing properties. It is believed that about 80 of such bluestone blocks were transported from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales to the Salisbury plains. The inner circle of bluestones are the earliest stone structures found in this site. Later bluestones were encircled by the imposing sandstone monoliths of sarsen stones. “It could be that people were flaking off pieces of bluestone, in order to create little bits to take away… as lucky amulets,” said Professor Darvill.

Stonehenge would attract not only people who were unwell, but people who were capable of [healing] them.

Radiocarbon dating indicates that the original bluestone circle was built around 2300 BC. This date coincides with the burial of “Amesbury Archer“, whose tomb was discovered near Stonehenge. The skeleton of this man reveals that he had serious knee injury and tooth problems. Researchers therefore conclude that the Archer came to Stonehenge to be healed.

Dating of charcoal fragments revealed that the site was inhabited as early as 7200 BC by groups of hunter-gatherers. This is more than 3500 years earlier than previously known.

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Wikinews interviews Paúl M. Velazco about new yellow-shouldered bat species

Monday, April 21, 2014

Scientists at Chicago’s Field Museum and New York’s American Museum of Natural History have discovered three new species of yellow-shouldered bats, genus Sturnira, in the Neotropics. On Wednesday open-access journal ZooKeys published their paper on two of the new species, Sturnira bakeri and Sturnira burtonlimi. The two new species were previously confused with S. ludovici, and S. lilium and S. luisi, respectively. With the discovery, genus Sturnira now has the most species of any genus in family Phyllostomidae, the leaf-nosed bats.

Species S. bakeri was named after Dr. Robert J. Baker, who “has made enormous contributions to our [Authors of the ZooKey paper] understanding of bats, particularly to the evolution of Neotropical phyllostomids”; and S. burtonlimi after Dr. Burton K. Lim, who “collected the type series of this species and has made many other important collections throughout the Neotropics and beyond”, the authors noted in the paper.

Within the New World tropics, the distribution range of the genus, the new species’ known living areas are in Costa Rica and Panama for S. burtonlimi, and Western Ecuador for S. bakeri. The researchers identified differences between different specimens, including those in their teeth, skull shapes, and DNA sequences.

Wikinews interviewed one of the chiropterologists, Paúl M. Velazco of the American Museum of Natural History, about the study.

((Wikinews)) The Sturnira genus now has 22 species, over 1.5 times larger than it was a year ago (14 species). Who contributed to this change? Did you participate throughout the entire process, or only the discovery of the last 2 species?

Paúl M. Velazco: The last Mammal Species of the World (Simmons, 2005) recognized 14 species for Sturnira. Since then three new species have been described [S. sorianoi Sánchez-Hernández et al., 2005; S. koopmanhilli McCarthy et al., 2006; and S. perla Jarrín-V. and Kunz, 2011] and one subspecies was elevated to the species level (S. hondurensis) by Gardner (2008). This brought the number of species of Sturnira to 18 by 2011. Along with my coauthor Bruce Patterson, we generated the most comprehensive phylogeny of the genus. For this we sequenced two nuclear and three mitochondrial genes from the liver or muscle tissue that had been frozen or preserved from each bat specimen, isolating nearly 5,000 base pairs of DNA. These sequences were obtained from specimens we have collected in the past (38) and from tissues we borrowed from different natural history collections. We published this phylogeny last year in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Results of this study found that two subspecies of Sturnira lilium should be recognized as valid species (S. parvidens and S. paulsoni). Additionally we found three new species, two of them described in the ZooKeys paper. The third one hopefully will be published later this year.

((WN)) The genus is called Sturnira Gray in the paper. I’ve not seen extra adjectives in genus names, before. What is the context for such name?

PMV: Usually in papers that deal with taxonomy and nomenclature, the first time that a genus or species is mentioned in text is accompanied by the authority that describes that taxon. In the case of Sturnira, it was Gray in 1842 that named the genus.

((WN)) What caused your initial interest in the question in the genus? When did you become interested?

PMV: I have been studying bats for the past eighteen years and I am especially interested in the family Phyllostomidae that is endemic to the Neotropics. This family includes more than 160 species. It is the most diverse family of bats in the Neotropics, which together exhibits more variation in morphological features and feeding ecology than any other family-level group of mammals. Phyllostomid bats exploit an unusually diverse array of feeding habits including sanguivory, insectivory, carnivory, omnivory, nectarivory, pollennivory, and frugivory. Because of all mentioned before, phyllostomids are a really interesting group to work with. Sturnira and Platyrrhinus are members of this family.

((WN)) The paper mentions that the genus is now the most speciose genus in the Neotropical family Phyllostomidae. What genus did it beat? How many species does it include?

PMV: The other genus with the most species in the family is Platyrrhinus. Currently, it has 20 species, but soon it will increase to 21. Along with another colleague, Burton Lim, we have a paper in press describing a new species based on molecular and morphological data from the Guianan Shield.

((WN)) What equipment did you use?

PMV: For the ZooKeys paper, we examined several specimens under the stereoscope. The molecular phylogeny gave us the separation between species, from there our job was to focus on finding morphological differences between these groups.

((WN)) Did you conduct field study to identify the species’ habits? If so, where and how did you do that?

PMV: I have done fieldwork in Belize and Peru, and my coauthor did field work in Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, where we collected several specimens of Sturnira (including the third species that has not been described yet). But the two species that were described in the ZooKeys paper are based on specimens collected by our colleagues Dr. Robert Baker from Texas Tech University and Dr. Burton Lim from the Royal Ontario Museum.

((WN)) How do you isolate of the living area of the new species from the living area of the old species?

PMV: We used the phylogeny of Velazco and Patterson 2013 (Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution) as a framework for this.

((WN)) How long did the study take? What has been the most time-consuming activity?

PMV: It took almost a year. The most time consuming part was spending several hours behind the stereoscope looking for the diagnostic characters.

((WN)) Who participated in the study? What were their roles?

PMV: Dr. Bruce Patterson from the [American] Museum of Natural History and I. I was the one in charge of finding the diagnostic characters and together we both worked on the manuscript.

((WN)) Who do you collaborate with internationally about your study?

PMV: For this study I collaborated directly with Dr. Bruce Patterson from the Field Museum of Natural History, but studies like this cannot be completed without the contribution of scientific collections. We used specimens from the American Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Louisiana State University, Museum of Southwestern Biology, Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad Nacional de San Marcos, Museo de Zoología of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley, Royal Ontario Museum, Texas Tech University, and the National Museum of Natural History.

((WN)) What future research do you plan?

PMV: To keep doing what I love, which is going to the field, working at collections, and collaborating with the wonderful collaborators I have, all of this is an effort to try to understand bat diversity and evolution in the Neotropics, especially why phyllostomid bats are so successful at this. There is still much to discover, and hopefully we could, in time, implement conservation actions for species that have small distributions.

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U.S. actor Charlie Sheen questions 9/11 theories

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Charlie Sheen, appearing on cable television news network station CNN on March 24, questioned the credibility of the theory that 19 hijackers caused all of the destruction to the World Trade Center.

Sheen said; “It seems to me like, you know, 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory… I am an American citizen that loves my country…. People want the truth. They want the truth. And what’s been offered to us resembles nothing of the sort.

In recounting his reaction on the day of the event, Sheen said,”I was up early and we were gonna do a pre-shoot on Spin City, the show I used to do. I was watching the news and the north tower was burning. There was a feeling, it just didn’t look like any commercial jetliner I’ve flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother, ‘Call me insane but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?’

Writer Marc Jacobson, of the New York magazine, who co-appeared with Sheen on the same program said in response: “Well, I think he’s doing a reasonable rendition of what other people that believe in this stuff say. And when he says he has his facts straight, I mean, I think the facts are in question. I mean, I think, just because you know what it says on all of these different Web sites doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily the fact. That’s the reason why the United States government, with their endless amounts of resources, let us down by not doing the proper work on the 9/11 Commission. That’s a real problem. Well, you know, but, I mean, it’s just one of those kind of things where you do this work and nobody really cares, but then Charlie Sheen is interested, so then everybody is interested, and that’s fine. You know, obviously, this material needs to be looked at again, because there’s been a lot of problems with the 9/11 Commission report. People feel it’s not adequate. Most of the people who had lost people during that time feel it’s not adequate. And it’s just I think we’re living in a truth vacuum, in a sense, that any time there’s a truth vacuum, these ideas — because people are smart. They put two and two together. Sometimes they get five; sometimes they get 12, but sometimes they get 11, like 9/11, but sometimes they get four. And the thing is that, if you have a situation where the so-called facts are covered up and aggressively covered up, then you’re going to get these conspiracy theories.” One website is claiming that Google had been censoring out any news articles relating to Sheen and 9/11 from it’s search engine.

Regarding the plane that hit the Pentagon, Sheen also has questions: “Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers… It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to everyone’s life who was drastically altered, horrifically, that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened.

Some supporters of Sheen’s theories have complained about the lack of mainstream media coverage. They point to CNN’s recent cancellation of Ed Asner’s interview on Showbiz Tonight, where he was expected to support Sheen’s position, as an example of the “media blackout”.

Marina Hyde of The Guardian proposed a theory of her own with regard to Sheen: “Frankly, with dentistry as expensive as yours, you simply can’t afford to let The Man stamp his jackboot down on your face, and so it is that when faced with the inquiry ‘did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?’, you find yourself thinking: ‘God, I mean… do any of us? Like, he had to have people, you know? At least an agent and a publicist.'”

PostHeaderIcon Weekend Vacation Offers : Useful Pointers To Find Best Priced Lodging Suited For Tourists And Husbands And Wifes

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If you want a short weekend vacation away from the hectic town life, there are plenty of options available for you to make your weekend holidays really interesting and unforgettable. A lot of travel sites give choices to book all inclusive weekend vacation deals which take guests to some of the most energizing and thrilling weekend getaway destinations such as India, America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. These all inclusive getaway deals provide a wide variety of destination options where they can participate in awesome activities like trekking, camping, river rafting, or relaxation in the comforting environment of nature resorts and hotels near seashores. In addition to offering low priced weekend accommodation and tour packages, guests are also treated with romantic weekend trips, which guarantee quality time with their loved ones. The benefit of these packages is that they give you the advantage of saving more money while you are receiving complete and high quality services for your most exciting weekend vacation.

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If you don’t have a lot of time or a large budget but are more than willing to have a relaxing vacation, you may want to consider a weekend getaway rather than a long vacation. People are very busy these days and in these trying economic times, it can be difficult to take a couple of days off from work and career engagements. If you are a nature lover that enjoys water and sun, then beach vacations are effective means of spending a refreshing weekend vacation. There are several times of the year when you can avail affordable weekend flights to beach towns such as Miami and Hawaii which are offered by different airline companies. Also, there are numerous hotel companies who provide low priced accommodation deals made specifically for weekend vacationers. Truly, there is no better way to spend the weekend than relaxing seaside with a delicious cocktail while interacting with your family and friends.

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At least fifteen killed after suicide bombing in Somali hotel

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A deadly hotel bombing in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, has killed at least fifteen people, including three Somali Cabinet ministers, earlier today. Some reports say the death toll could be higher. The blast targeted a university graduation ceremony being attended by a number of government officials.

The Shamo Hotel was hosting a graduation ceremony for Banadir University. Eyewitnesses reported that a suicide bomber gained access to the venue dressed as a woman, donning a full abaya and a veil. The attacker was wearing an explosive strapped to his torso, but was not patted down by security.

The director of Median Hospital, Ali Yusuf, commented that “forty people with shrapnel wounds, including students and medical doctors, have been hospitalized today. Six people died at the hospital.”

Former Islamic Courts Union members at the scene identified the bomber, whose head and face had been completely shaven, as a member of al-Shabab, the ultra-conservative Islamist group believed to have links to al-Qaeda.

Somali Health Minister Qamar Aden Ali, Education Minister Ahmed Abdullahi Waayeel, and Higher Education Minister Ibrahim Hassan Adow were killed in the attack on Hotel.

Abdulkadir Mohamed Osman, the Somali presidency’s director of information, commented on the incident. “This is a national tragedy for the Somali people. The blast rocked inside the hotel, killing three ministers and wounding another one.”

Adow served as the foreign secretary of the insurgent Islamic Courts Union when it took power in 2006. The Somali minister for sports is also reported to be hospitalized and in critical condition.

Mohamed Mohamoud, an attending graduate of the ceremony, said that he personally saw the remains of the health minister on the ground, as well as the corpses of other government officials. “The situation has dramatically changed from happiness to heartbreak. I am really discouraged for my colleagues. They have been studying in such a horrific environment, and today they passed away without benefiting from their education. May Allah give them his paradise,” Mohamoud said.

Two journalists, a reporter for Radio Shabelle and a cameraman with al-Arabia TV, were also found dead from the explosion. The National Union of Somali Journalists has issued a statement condemning the attack and expressing outrage at the loss of their colleagues. Somalia is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists to work. Eight have been killed in Somalia since the beginning of 2009.

Hotel Shamo is often chosen by government officials to host events and at one time was a popular lodging option for foreign journalists. Recently-released Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan were staying at the hotel before their capture last year.

The hotel security staff say that they were kicked out of the room prior to the ceremony, as government security officials wanted sole handling of the event. The government officials were attending the graduation of 43 students from the local Banadir University.

The official death toll from the blast is expected to continue to rise, with some reports indicating that more than 60 people have been found dead.

The attack is the latest in a string of incidents linking al-Shabab to common insurgent tactics used by Islamist terrorist groups in other parts of the world. Until recently, suicide bombings were an unusual practice in Somalia.

In September, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a bold attack on a meeting between government officials and the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, which killed 17 peacekeepers, including the top Burundian commander. Two vehicles containing explosives were given entry to the AMISOM base and subsequently blew up.

The rebel group is battling for control of the war-ravaged nation against the Western-backed Transitional Federal Government, led by former Islamic insurgent Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Rebel groups control much of southern and central Somalia, as well as significant portions of Mogadishu.

The government is being bolstered by the continuing presence of the peacekeeping force composed of Ugandans and Burundians. The AMISOM forces are mandated with the protection of key city sites such as the airport, seaport, and presidential palace.

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US airlines eke out US$12 million profit in first quarter

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

US airlines in the first quarter of 2010 managed to eke out a US$12 million profit, mostly from “ancillary” services like checked baggage fees, pet transportation fees and more.

Compared to the first quarter of 2009, checked baggage fees soared 33% to $769 million. The airlines also reaped $554 million in reservation change fees, and made $534 million from other ancillary sources; such services (including checked baggage fees, reservation change fees, etc.) made up 21.7% of Spirit Airlines’ income, the highest in the industry.

The US airline industry is made up of 21 carriers, according to the U.S Department of Transportation.

The five “network” or legacy carriers—including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways—continue to struggle and posted a $163 million loss as a group. Delta Air Lines had the highest profit, at $107 million, while American Airlines was at the other side of the carriers, with a $322 million loss.

Low-cost carriers fared better, posting a $115 million profit as a group, with Southwest Airlines having the largest profit, at $54 million, while Allegiant Air’s profit margins were the highest of the budget carriers at 20%. Regional airlines made a $60 million profit.

The world’s airlines expect a US$2.5 billion profit as a whole, despite an earlier forcast of a loss. However, many investors and groups, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), are somewhat doubtful of this number, as oil prices are expected to remain volatile, leading to the possibility of high prices cutting into airlines’ profits.

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Car explosion in San Pedro, California was act of vandalism, say police

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Police have said that an explosion in a hotel garage in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California, that sparked an evacuation of a large area was an act of vandalism. What was initially thought to be an explosion, at around 7:30am local time, forced police to shut off a major entrance into the area prompted the Clarion Inn, a two-story hotel, and surrounding buildings to be evacuated. A bomb squad were called to the scene, and an armored robot was sent into the garage to examine the scene.

Los Angeles Police Department Lieutenant John Romero said that investigators were treating the incident as an act of vandalism, and said that detectives will be examining surveillance footage of the garage. He confirmed that a caller had reported an explosion in the area. Officers who responded did not initially find anything suspicious, but a short time later a Port Police officer on patrol discovered a Lincoln Navigator with its windows blown out in an underground garage. The Los Angeles Fire Department also responded to the call.

We still want to be very careful how to proceed. Something did happen to the car. Now they have to figure out what happened and who did it

“On closer inspection and using their training, bomb squad is confident the damage was caused by something other than a bomb. Based on what we know now, they’re scaling the operation way back,” he said. “There’s any variety of things that can sound like a bomb or a blast, particularly in a subterranean environment. The danger has passed.” He refused to speculate as to what may have caused the damage, or, if it was not a bomb, where the noise had come from. He added: “Now that the robots have gone forward and had a good look, we are confidant there was not an explosion. There was a hole blown in the door, and the glass was blown out so, now we have to find out who did it.”

A witness, the owner of a diner two blocks away from the hotel, said that he heard a loud sound while preparing the day’s menu. He said: “I was cooking my food and I heard something like ‘boom’! I said, ‘What happened?’ And I checked everything in the kitchen but saw nothing. An hour later I went outside and saw a lot of police.” Romero added that the vehicle had shown signs of an explosion and that no one in the hotel was killed or injured. At 8:20 a.m. the police issued a citywide tactical alert and surrounding streets were closed to the public. Police have said that there is shattered glass surrounding the vehicle and one of the doors exhibits evidence that an explosion had taken place. Romero added: “We still want to be very careful how to proceed. Something did happen to the car. Now they have to figure out what happened and who did it.”

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Bolivia’s Evo Morales wins referendum on a new leftist constitution

Monday, January 26, 2009 File:Schafik handal con fidel.jpg

The Bolivian President, Evo Morales, 49, has claimed victory after voters ratified a new leftist constitution, granting more power to the country’s indigenous majority.

“The indigenous farmers, the most marginalized sector throughout the history of the republic, are now recognized as people with the same rights as any citizen. Here begins the new Bolivia. Here we begin to reach true equality,” Morales told a crowd in front of the flag-draped balcony of Palacio Quemado in La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia.

Ratified with about 60 percent support in a referendum on Sunday based on exit polls, the new constitution lets Morales run for re-election later this year and grants him tighter control over the economy. An official vote count of some 3.8 million registered voters who cast their ballots will be announced February 4.

With the new Magna Carta, South America‘s second poorest country after Guyana becomes a leader in the regional “pink tide” of left-wing governments that have ousted traditional elites and challenged American influence. The new constitution’s elements include recognition of 36 distinct Indian “nations”, increasing the autonomy of Bolivia’s nine regions, establishing state control over key natural resources such as gas, and setting limits on land ownership.

Morales has also promised Bolivia’s native groups that the constitution will keep the white “oligarchs” who ruled the country for 183 years from returning to power. The leftist constitution empowers the government to distribute land to indigenous communities and apportion ethnic quotas for state jobs, including congress seats. “After 500 years, we have retaken the Plaza Murillo! Internal colonialism and external colonialism end here too. Sisters and brothers, neo-liberalism ends here too!” said Morales.

Vice-President Álvaro MarceloGarcía Linera, a principal author of the draft constitution, hailed Sunday’s referendum results, saying, “this will be an egalitarian Bolivia, a Bolivia that leaves behind a dark, colonial, racist past.” Linera, however, has acknowledged that the government has provoked deep divisions and faces vehement oppositions from many of the traditional elite, coming from many mixed-race people in the fertile eastern lowlands which rejected the draft charter.

“I am not saying there will be no more conflict, there will be tensions for a while, I say a decade … but we will have built a state on three principles: the economy under state control, equality, and the territorial decentralization of power,” he said. The new constitution was rejected in four opposition-controlled regions: the tropical lowlands of Pando, Santa Cruz, Tarija and Beni, which contain most of Bolivia’s natural gas production and are responsible for most of its agricultural output.

There will be tensions for a while, I say a decade… but we will have built a state on three principles: the economy under state control, equality, and the territorial decentralization of power.

With the split vote, Oscar Ortiz, the president of the opposition-controlled Senate, has voiced concerns that the charter has become a war of ideas. “The result [of the vote] … will show deep divisions between regions and between Bolivians in each region. A confrontation between ideas and visions about how this country will build its common future will continue,” he said ahead of the referendum.

Former president Carlos Mesa has predicted that the constitution is unlikely to pave the way for real social change amid continuing political struggles. “We will have so many legal battles to go through that I fear that last year’s belligerent climate will continue this year. President Morales is not coming at this with open hands, he has built trenches and dug in,” Mr. Mesa said.

Morales has dismissed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia, accusing both of conspiracy with the opposition to overthrow his government. The U.S. Embassy in La Paz has called the accusations “false and absurd.” Morales has been very popular among the poor and among Aymara, Quechua and Guarani.

The new constitution’s 411 articles address underrepresentation of indigenous peoples. “It may be the equivalent of Spain’s Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors in 1492. But instead of the blood spilled in that process, Bolivia is advancing in a democratic process that does not exclude or subjugate anyone,” said Xavier Albó, a Jesuit scholar and linguist.

“Finally we have a constitution that leaves racism and hatred aside, because indigenous people are included,” said Adolfo Chavez, president of the Confederation of Indigenous people of Bolivia (CIDOB).

In March 2005, then-President Mesa resigned. The President of Senate Hormando Vaca Díez assumed office as the country’s temporary President. Mesa resigned because of the announcement of highway blockages by Evo Morales and leaders of both the coca growers and the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS). The blockages were meant to pressure the Legislative so that the Hydrocarbons Law, which would raise taxes levied on hydrocarbon extraction from 18% to 50%, could be approved.

The MAS is a political party formed basically by coca-growing campesinos (farmers or farmworkers), communists, admirers of Fidel Castro and indigenous people. The party is against the U.S. government and the alleged American influence in the region, neoliberalism and globalization.

In December 2005, Morales won the presidential election in Bolivia to serve a five-year term. In the 2005 election, his victory marked the country’s first election of an indigenous head of state, but this claim gendered controversy due to the number of mestizo presidents who were elected or appointed before him. He was openly criticized by such figures as Mario Vargas Llosa, who accuses the President of fomenting racial divisions in an increasingly mestizo Latin America.

Morales ran on a campaign of restoring coca farming in Bolivia, in spite of the U.S. program aimed at reducing the ability to grow coca to curb the cocaine industry. Morales is an Aymara Indian and former coca farmer himself, and has described his victory as a signal that “a new history of Bolivia begins, a history where we search for equality, justice and peace with social justice.”

Morales is an admirer of Fidel Castro and he says he is also inspired by the President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Morales supports the creation of an anti-imperialist block formed by Latin-American and Arabian countries against the U.S., which is being organized by the Brazilian President.

In August 2008, Bolivian unrest began against Morales and calls for greater autonomy for the country’s eastern departments grew. Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Tarija and Chuquisaca called strikes and protests to oppose the central government’s plan to divert part of the national direct tax on hydrocarbons in favor of its Renta Dignidad pension plan. Brief clashes occurred in the Santa Cruz de la Sierra between police and armed youths enforcing the strike. Violence between Morales’ supporters and opponents resulted in at least 30 deaths.

In September 2008, Bolivian authorities declared a state of emergency in Pando, where Bolivian troops took control of the airport in the region’s capital, Cobija. Amid preparations to retake the city, 20 people were killed. In October 2008, the government and the opposition held talks following which resulted in the signing of a compromise agreement which set the referendum on 25 January 2009 and early elections on December 6, 2009.

Morales in turn promised that he would not run again in 2014 after his likely reelection in 2009, despite the fact that he would be allowed to do so under the new constitution. The new constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly in 2007. The referendum set forth two questions: whether to approve the new constitution and whether to limit private estates to 1,000 or 5,000 hectares.

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Malaysian fans riot at delayed opening of Indian film

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Angry fans of popular Indian film actor Rajinikanth rioted in 10 cinemas in Malaysia after the release of the actor’s latest movie was delayed by technical problems.

The release of Sivaji: The Boss was supposed to occur simultaneously across southern India and Tamil-speaking parts of Malaysia on Thursday. But not enough prints of the film were available, so cinemas in Malaysia had to resort to trying to screen digital versions of the movie on equipment they were unfamiliar with, which led to the delays and glitches. Fans found the situation unacceptable.

According to a report in today’s New Straits Times, the worst-hit in the mayhem was the Sri Intan Theatre in Klang, in Selangor state. Patrons had started lining up at 4 p.m. local time (0800 GMT), and waited five hours for the show to start.

Due to technical problems, it started late at 10:30 p.m., with tickets for both the 9 p.m. and midnight shows fully booked. Then, halfway through the film, at around 11:30 p.m., the screening was halted due to “technical problems”, according to the cinema manager, and could not be fixed.

The management announced that the show had to be cancelled and offered to refund the ticket money, but then the crowd became unhinged. Glass displays, lights and speakers were smashed. The screen and curtains were torn. Chairs were ripped apart, and wood panelling damaged. According to another local daily, The Star, angry fans even briefly set fire to the building, but it was quickly extinguished by cinema staff.

The Sri Intan has suspended screenings while repairs are made. Damage is been estimated at 70,000 Malaysian ringgit (about US$20,000).

In Ipoh, about 125 miles (200 kilometres) north of Kuala Lumpur, police were summoned to control unruly crowds at the Sri Kinta cinema. A cinema manager was beaten by irate fans, and he was taken to the hospital with head injuries that required stitches.

Police were also called in at a cinema Penang, where patrons banged on ticket counters, demanding refunds and that the movie be shown. The first showing finally got under way after a three-hour delay.

Fistfights broke out at a cinema in Rawang, where fans threw bottles and smashed glass cases.

In Kuala Lumpur, the venerable Coliseum Theatre also had an unruly crowd.

“People grew impatient and started pushing, resulting in a broken glass panel at the counter. We only got the movie at 4:30 p.m. and started selling the tickets at 4:45 p.m.,” theater owner Chua Seong Siew was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times.

The movie distributor said the delay was due to not enough prints of the film being sent from AVM, the Chennai-based production company.

“Rain and delay in getting the digital password from India for security reasons to beat piracy were the primary reasons for the delay and cancellations. Because of the rain, our delivery was affected and as a result, there was a delay in the screening of the movie,” S. Vel Paari, head of distributor Pyramid Saimira Theatre Chain, was quoted as saying by The Star.

Paari said he had ordered 53 copies of the film, but only got 42.

“The remaining 11 prints had to be downloaded through the Internet,” he explained to The Star.

The film, Sivaji: The Boss, is a 185-minute cavalcade of action, romance and song-and-dance numbers, starring Rajinikanth, one of the most popular stars of Tamil cinema, which is also known as “Kollywood“, the second-largest of the Indian film industry after the Hindi-languageBollywood“. Budgeted at US$15 million, which is huge by Indian-industry standards, the film is said to be the most expensive yet made in India.

The film’s flamboyant 57-year-old star, Rajnikanth, has a cult-like following in Tamil-speaking southern India, and tickets to the film have been sold out for weeks.

In Malaysia, about 10 percent of the population of 26 million are ethnic Indians, most of them Tamil.