A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, April 19, 2007.

Wikinews reported previously on an Internet outage in New Zealand that lasted for over five hours. Telecom New Zealand, the company that owns and operates the “local loop”, said that they will review compensation for its customers on a case-by-case basis.

A wholesale ISP is attempting to give its subscribers compensation for the outage. CallPlus says that it is asking Telecom for the thousands of dollars it needs to pass on to its affected customers. They doubt Telecom will give them the money needed.

Related news

  • “Outage leaves tens of thousands of New Zealanders without Internet” — Wikinews, April 18, 2007


  • Newsroom. “Callplus seeks Telecom compo” — National Business Review, April 19, 2007
  • “CallPlus to seek compo over broadband outage” — Radio New Zealand, April 19, 2007

Farmers in Peru striking over the Peruvian government’s stance on coca, have issued an ultimatum. The ultimatum appears to be: negotiate within 24 hours, or face roadblocks indefinitely.

The protests come in response to a coca eradication drive and measures Peruvian president Alan García is taking against cocaine production in the country.

Peruvian police have arrested the leader of the Shining Path rebel group, Jimmy Rodríguez on charges of organising anti-government protests.


  • Dan Collyns. “Peru coca farmers warn government” — BBC News Online, April 19, 2007
  • Xinhua. “Peru police arrest Shining Path leader linked to coca protest” — People’s Daily Online, April 19. 2007

Meetings are underway at NATO headquarters in an attempt to reassure Russia that the missile defence plans pose no threat. The United States maintains the system is to protect against missiles from rogue states, whereas Russia sees the system as compromising its strategic interests in the region.

In today’s talks NATO allies encouraged the United States to make the planned anti-missile shield capable of covering all of Europe. They did this without committing themselves to joining the project.

Reaction to the proposed system in European states has been mixed.

  • “US set for Russia missile talks” — BBC News, April 19 2007
  • Mark John. “NATO allies urge U.S. to open missile shield plan” — Reuters, April 19 2007

Irrigation water to a substantial proportion of Australia’s farming regions could be cut due to drought conditions, Australian PM John Howard has warned.

Mr Howard’s comments concerned the Murray-Darling Basin, one of the largest systems in Australia. “If it doesn’t rain in sufficient volume over the next six to eight weeks, there will be no water allocations for irrigation purposes in the basin”, adding that the drought conditions could continue until May 2008.

He continued “It is a grim situation, and there is no point in pretending to Australia otherwise,” he said. “We must all hope and pray there is rain.”


  • “Australians warned of water cuts” — BBC News Online, April 19 2007
  • Rob Taylor. “Drought-hit Australia to stop irrigating food bowl” — Reuters, April 19 2007

Russia, in coordination with the government of the United States and Canada, is planning to build a tunnel from Russia to Alaska, Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday.

The tunnel is budgeted to cost US$65 billion and would take 10 to 15 years to build. The tunnel is to provide train and automobile transport between Alaska and the Russian Far East, and to carry petroleum and natural gas pipelines, and high-voltage electrical cable.

The proposed tunnel is 64 miles long, or about 100 kilometers, in total, and is designed to link with two islands in the Bering Strait. The project is expected to have a very positive economic effect in the area.

Derek Brower, an energy market expert, called the project “absurd” and suggested the Russian government is playing political games to threaten its European customers to sign energy deals.

“I’ve never heard of this plan,” said Sergei Grigoryev, Vice President of oil pipeline monopoly Transneft.

“To be honest, anyone who look[s] at the map will realize that the project is too hard to implement,” an anonymous government source told Reuters.


  • Miro Cernetig and Peter O’Neil. “Russia proposes Bering Sea tunnel, railway to B.C.” — Vancouver Sun, April 19, 2007
  • Dmitry Zhdannikov. “Russia-Alaska tunnel is far off, if not a pipe dream” — Reuters, April 18, 2007
  • Yuriy Humber and Bradley Cook. “Russia Plans World’s Longest Tunnel, a Link to Alaska (Update4)” — Bloomberg News, April 18, 2007

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