United States Congress.On August 11, US Senator and 2008 presidential republican candidate John McCain gave a speech regarding the crisis between Georgia and Russia. Following the speech, a regular Wikipedia editor noticed that his speech was very similar to an article on Wikipedia also regarding the crisis, in what could be considered plagiarism. Wikinews was able to talk to that editor about how he found out about the similarities and what he did in response. Wikinews also took a deeper look at the claim and investigated further.

McCain gave his speech in Erie, Pennsylvania and was speaking to citizens, giving a warning to Russia stating, “Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe.”

McCain continued his speech saying, “Georgia is an ancient country, at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion. After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises.”

While reading the first few paragraphs, the Wikipedia editor Killing Vector, who wishes to be called by his contributor name in fear of retribution for coming forward with the claim, noticed a striking similarity to McCain’s speech and the Wikipedia article on the country of Georgia. Not only did he notice the similarities, but after reading through the article’s edit history, ‘Killing Vector’ noticed that his speech might have been lifted from Wikipedia, with some of the material in McCain’s speech dating prior to the start of the Georgian and Russian crisis.

“I began reading the text of McCain’s address on the Georgia crisis, and as I was browsing it the irregularity jumped out almost immediately. The paragraphs which discussed the history of Georgia simply didn’t fit with the rest of the speech; the rhetorical style was jarringly different. I figured, “where’s someone in a hurry going to get basic information on the Republic of Georgia?” I opened up Wikipedia, went to the article, picked a recent but not current revision more or less at random (July 24th), and hit gold on the first try; McCain’s speech and the Wikipedia article had significant strings of words in common, emphasized the same events, made largely the same word choices,” said Vector to Wikinews.

Although other media outlets reported the alleged plagiarism, the two passages below were dated at least one week prior to the Georgian and Russian crisis. The first two paragraphs of McCain’s speech appear to resemble the Wikipedia article in the history dated July 24, 2008.

“Two paragraphs, about an eighth of the full speech, contain material directly copied from Wikipedia or superficially modified from its text. Those two paragraphs constitute the entire factual background of the speech, though — the rest is reaction and proposed policy,” added Vector.

Example:

  • Wikipedia – ….one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion.
  • McCain – ….one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion.
  • Wikipedia – After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis.
  • McCain – After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises.
Wikinews investigates claim McCain plagiarized speech from Wikipedia
We did not copy Wikipedia in Sen. McCain’s remarks. There are only so many ways to state basic historical facts and dates and that any similarities to Wikipedia were only coincidental.
Wikinews investigates claim McCain plagiarized speech from Wikipedia

—Brian Rogers, McCain campaign spokesman

McCain’s campaign denies they plagiarized Wikipedia, but also didn’t state whether they used it as a source for his speech.

“We did not copy Wikipedia in Sen. McCain’s remarks. There are only so many ways to state basic historical facts and dates and that any similarities to Wikipedia were only coincidental,” said a spokesman for the McCain campaign, Brian Rogers to The Politico. Wikinews contacted McCain’s campaign, but has yet to receive a response.

Wikinews e-mailed Jay Walsh, the director of communications for the Wikimedia Foundation to see what they thought of the situation, and what if anything they planned to do about it.

“We aren’t particularly concerned with this,” said Walsh who also added that “I’m only aware of this situation through media coverage I’ve seen, nor do we or I have any in-depth detail about the situation.”

“I would say it’s a good practice to attribute text or content whenever possible. Obviously when it’s a matter of copyright then there are legal considerations, but the Foundation is not able to examine individual cases,” added Walsh. Wikinews attempted to contact Mike Godwin, the legal counsel for the Foundation, but has yet to receive a response.

Vector stands by his claim and also notes what he calls ‘dishonesty’ on the part of McCain’s campaign.

“What concerns me more, as a voter, is the ethical issue. Plagiarism comes from dishonesty and intellectual laziness on the part of an individual, but McCain’s campaign’s later denial adopts that individual’s dishonesty,” stated Vector.

source : wikinews

Pervez MusharrafFormer President Pervez Musharraf, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has vacated the presidential home of Aiwan-e-Sadr after stepping down from the office of President. On Monday Fahmida Mirza, Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, signed and accepted the resignation of President Musharraf.

Pakistan's President Musharraf resigns; new elections to be held
For 44 years I have safeguarded the country and will continue to do so.
Pakistan's President Musharraf resigns; new elections to be held

—Pervez Musharraf

He was accorded a guard of honour before leaving the President’s House. President Musharraf resigned after remaining in power for nine years.

He had been facing impeachment on charges of violating the constitution and gross misconduct. The movement to impeach Pervez Musharraf was an August 2008 attempt by the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Pakistan Muslim League, Awami National Party, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam to force Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf out of office.

Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation at 13:00 Local time (07:00 UTC) in a televised address to avoid impeachment. In it, Pervez Musharraf explained in Urdu language his reasons for resigning.

“If I was doing this just for myself, I might have chosen a different course,” Musharraf said, early in the speech. “But I put Pakistan first, as always,” he continued. “Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the dignity of the nation would be damaged, the office of the president harmed.”

Just three days ago, the chief spokesperson for Pervez Musharraf denied reports that came out 14 August, 2008 indicating that the president would step down within days.

Before departing, President Pervez Musharraf met with many important figures including General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff, and Air Marshal Tanvir Mehmoodand, Chief of Air Staff. President Musharraf says he has no plans to leave the country and will remain with his family in Islamabad.

Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Mian Soomro, took over as Acting President of Pakistan after the departure of President Pervez Musharraf’s.

The Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, Kanwar Dilshad, announced on August 22, 2008 that the presidential election will be held on September 06, 2008. The Central Executive Committee of Pakistan People’s Party has nominated the Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari for the post of president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Source : wikinews

Senator Barack Obama from Illinois, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, announced Joe Biden as his Vice Presidential running mate. The announcement came via text message early Saturday morning, to people who had signed up to receive the announcement on the official Barack Obama campaign website.

Obama and Biden after the announcement on August 23rd

Obama and Biden after the announcement on August 23rd

Friday afternoon, several campaign officials had informed the media that the text message announcement would be distributed Saturday morning. Reportedly, the announcement would come a few hours ahead of a scheduled rally at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois, where Obama and and whoever the VP candidate would be would appear together for the first time as the Democratic ticket.

On August 19th, Biden while leaving his house reportedly said to some reporters, “Hey guys, I’m not the guy.”

Biden had been one of the top choices for being the VP candidate according to Rasmussen polls. Following his trip to Georgia, from August 17th through the 18th, he was surrounded by a lot of speculation that he would in fact be the candidate.

On Thursday, Barack Obama announced that he had already made his decision, but wasn’t yet stating who the VP candidate would be. On August 20th the Obama campaign reportedly sent a email to select news agency with the subject being “Vice presidential…”. However, the contents of the email did not state who he had picked, but instead the first line of the email was “just kidding.”

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Prior to the announcement of Biden being the VP candidate, Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, Chet Edwards, Tim Kaine, Bill Richardson, and Kathleen Sebelius had all been reported as being on the short list.

Obama has been reportedly calling the potential VP candidates and informing them that they had not been picked. Sources said that Governor Tim Kaine and Senator Evan Bayh had been told they were no longer considered. None of the other choices had stated whether or not they had been called, though Representative Edwards specifically stated that he had not been contacted.

The 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado begins on August 25, 2008. Biden will reportedly speak on the third night of the convention.

Republican candidate John McCain of Arizona has not yet announced who his running mate will be. The 2008 Republican National Convention begins September 1, 2008 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Biden, a Senator from Delaware, is currently the committee chair for the foreign relations committee. Biden has served in the Senate since 1973, and was the head of the judiciary committee from 1987 through 1995.

Source : wikinews

As Pakistan’s power-brokers consider who will be their new leader, former president Pervez Musharraf appears to be taking things in his stride.

https://i2.wp.com/www.worldpoliticsreview.com/images/CommentaryNews/musharraf.jpgMr Musharraf’s aide Tariq Azim says the former president, who was forced out of office this week, has dismissed media reports he is about to leave Pakistan.

Instead he has been relaxing, playing tennis and spending time with his family, especially his mother.

Mr Azim says Mr Musharraf was in a jovial mood when the aide saw him on Tuesday and mentioned he would like to write a follow-up book to his 2006 memoir In The Line Of Fire.

Pakistan’s new president is expected to be named within 30 days but the ruling coalition leaders are yet to resolve an impasse over whether to reinstate judges sacked by Mr Musharraf.

The ruling coalition in Pakistan is led by the parties of slain former premier Benazir Butto and ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The parties showed unity in filing the impeachment charges against Mr Musharraf which resulted in his resignation, but since then they have been unable to agree on a successor or whether to reinstate the judges he sacked.

Mr Sharif wants the judiciary restored immediately but talks have ended without agreement and will start again on Friday.

source : abc.net.au

https://i2.wp.com/www.thewe.cc/thewei/images2/iraq_war_photos/georgia.jpeGeorgij Chaindrawa, a former minister of Georgian President Mikheil Saakasvili’s goverment, who was in charge of dealing with the conflicts with Abchasia and Ossetia until 2006, accuses Saakashvili of undemocratic behaviour and war mongering.

In an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Georgij Chaindrawa accuses the United States administration of creating a pro-American Georgian government under Saakashvili.

According to Chaindrawa, Saakashvili’s government bears little resemblance to a democracy. Rather, Chaindrawa claims that the government of Georgia is a totalitarian regime that suppresses civil liberties and the freedom of the press, somewhat similar to the Russian government policies of Vladimir Putin. Chaindrawa states that Saakashvili tried to close down an independent TV station (Imelda TV), declared a state of emergency in 2007 against mass protests of the opposition, and committed election fraud. Chaindrawa also asserts the politics of Saakashvili’s government as a cause of the current war with Russia. He says: “He wanted a victory parade in Zchinwali and got Russian troops marching toward Tbilisi”.

When asked, why he was dismissed from the government in 2006, Chaindrawa stated that he tried to avoid military adventures in the conflict with South Ossetia and that he was highly critical of Saakashvili’s failed 2004 attempt to conquer Zchinwali.

On the question, what the West should do, Chaindrawa replies, the West should support the Georgian population, its civil society and institutions rather than the Saakashvili government. He continues to say that Georgia needs politicians who are pursuing reconciliation and compromise rather than confrontation.

In an article in The Washington Times, Tsotne Bakuria, a former member of the Georgian parliament and now a senior fellow at Global International Strategic Group in the U.S., formulates a similarly harsh criticism of Shakasvili’s government. She calls its government a “reign of terror” and says that the country has no independent judiciary and that Saakashvili uses trumped up criminal charges (alleged money laundering) to silence and suppress members of the opposition. She describes, that the leader of the opposition Shalva Natelashvili was forced to ask NATO secretary Javier Solana for asylum for his wife and his 2 daughters after they’ve received death threats. Natelashvili himself was threatened by a government member with arrest and is facing money laundering charges, as are other members of the opposition.

Source : wikinews

US Congress.

United States (U.S.) Senator Joe Lieberman is scheduled to speak at the Republican party convention, according to a member of the McCain campaign who wishes to remain anonymous. Lieberman, who was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 2000 presidential election, has been one of Republican party candidate, John McCain‘s, staunchest supporters.

The official who informed the press of this announcement stated that Lieberman is slated to speak on the second day, a Monday, of the convention. There has been a lot of speculation in the past months that Lieberman would speak at the convention. In a interview with David Brody of CBN, Lieberman stated in response to the question about the possibility of him being at the convention that, “well, it’s not clear yet but you might just see me there.”

Lieberman is currently in Georgia, with Senator Lindsey Graham, responded when asked if he would be speaking at the convention that “it’s quite possible, but I’ll let them announce it.” Lieberman’s office has not commented on this announcement.

Lieberman has been recently considered a possible candidate for the Republican vice presidential seat. The convention will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota from September 1 through the 4th. He is currently a Independent Senator in Connecticut, who caucuses with the Democratic party. Lieberman was the Democratic vice presidential candidate back in 2000, when he ran with Al Gore.

Source : wikinews

Marxists.org.

Hua Guofeng, the successor of Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, died this afternoon in Beijing at age 87 from an undisclosed disease.

Born Su Zhu in China’s Shanxi province in 1921, Guofeng became a Communist Party member at age 15. Soon after, he became known to Mao Zedong in 1954, and as a result rose quickly through the party ranks.

After he succeeded Zhou Enlai as China’s Premier, Guofeng was chosen by the dying Mao to be his successor. After becoming Premier and Chinese Communist Party Chairman, he ended the Cultural Revolution and had the Gang of Four (including Mao’s last wife, Jiang Qing) arrested.

A vain leader, Hua had the National People’s Congress, the CPC Party Congress, and all schools hang portraits of Mao side-by-side with himself in prominent positions. Hua also attempted to change the Chinese national anthem’s lyrics to incorporate Mao Zedong, however these revisions were rejected.

He was effectively ousted in 1978 as a result of Deng Xiaoping‘s increasingly strong grip on the Communist Party. Guofeng was replaced as Premier in 1980 ending four years of service.