THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

2. Today's Shorts

1. Bush says Malaysia a Beacon of Hope

United States President George W.Bush congratulated Malaysians as they celebrate 50 years of independence today, saying that the country has become a beacon of hope.

In his message, he said that 50 years ago a young democracy came into being on the Malayan peninsula.

To ensure its freedom, its people had to defeat a communist insurgency and chart a course that gave all its people equal rights.

"That democracy, like so many in East Asia, has flourished based on principles of respect for the rights of all in society, regardless of ethnicity or religious belief.

"Malaysia today is a prosperous nation, and a beacon of hope," he said, adding that Aug 31 is an historic day for the East Asian democracy - BERNAMA.

2. Taleban Free All Hostages

The release follows a deal between South Korea and the Taleban.

The last seven South Korean hostages held by the Taleban in Afghanistan have been handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

They were released in two groups, within the space of a few hours, late on Thursday.

On Wednesday, 12 of their fellow Christian charity workers were released after a six-week ordeal - BBC.

3. Equine Flu

Racing NSW is considering the possibility of holding phantom race meetings at other race courses.

Eight horses from trainer Anthony Cummings' Randwick stables have been struck down with equine influenza, and experts say it is just a matter of time before all 700 horses at Randwick become ill.

The racecourse is the home to the Spring Carnival which pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into NSW racing, but the closure of Randwick for at least two months means the carnival will not go ahead.

Randwick trainer John O'Shea says he has had no choice but to begin laying off employees due to the Carnival's cancellation.

Racing NSW is considering the possibility of holding phantom race meetings at other race courses like Warwick Farm and Newcastle, where the virus has not been detected.

It has also been confirmed that an elderly horse on a property at Wilberforce, north-west of Sydney, has died from the virus.

Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran has defended investigations into the outbreak but has left open the option of a public inquiry.

The Minister says it is almost an inescapable conclusion that the equine influenza virus came from Japan, but at this stage it is not 100 per cent certain it is the same virus spreading in Australia - ABC.

4. Russia plans manned Moon mission

Russia plans to send a manned mission to the Moon by 2025 and wants to build a permanent base there shortly after, the head of Russian space agency Roskosmos has said.

"According to our estimates we will be ready for a manned flight to the Moon in 2025," Anatoly Perminov told reporters.

An "inhabited station" could be built there between 2027 and 2032, Perminov said on Friday.

Laying out Roskmosmos' plans for the next three decades, Perminov said that Russia's space programme receives less than 10 per cent the funding the US programme receives, yet retains great ambitions.

Russia intends to complete construction of its section of the International Space Station by 2015 so that the ISS "becomes a fully-fledged space research centre", he said.

"Major modernisation" will also be carried out to the Soyuz craft used to ferry people and cargo to the space station.

An expedition to Mars remains a long-term ambition for Roskosmos, which hopes to mount manned flights there after 2035, he said.

Many difficulties linked to the planet's extreme physical conditions remain unresolved, however. "Current spacecraft do not provide the protection needed for the crew to survive and return to Earth," he said - Al Jazeera.

5. Diana's memorial

The Royal Family has gathered in London for a memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales, 10 years after her death in a car crash in Paris.

The ceremony took place at the Guards' Chapel in London.

People outside the chapel clapped for the Queen as she arrived and was greeted by Princes William and Harry.

Diana's sons praised their mother for the unconditional love she showed them.

Prince Harry described his mother as fun loving, generous, down to earth and entirely genuine.

Among the guests were UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former British leaders Tony Blair and John Major.

Elton John, Richard Branson, Cliff Richard and Lord Attenborough were also there - Sky News.