March 1, 2009

Victoria police send historic text

The Herald Sun is reporting that for the first time ever Victoria police have sent a text message to warn people about dangerous weather and fire conditions expected to affect the area Monday night and Tuesday.

Mobile provider Telstra has started sending the message to its customers, and other companies are expected to follow suit.

Emergency Services Commisioner Bruce Esplin said the message was said to reach those who did not listen to radio, watch television or read newspapers, according to the Sun.

At first, there was much confusion in the Twitterverse.

@amoir (Victoria): Anyone else get a text from Vic Police? Or have I signed up for something without realising?

@cj_gray (South Melbourne, Victoria): Anyone know how the Vic police know my mobile number (they sent weahther warning for tomorrow)?

@tsuite (Hobart, Tasmania): Hmm, Vic Police are spamming people with text messages. The question is: why did I get one?

Eventually, Twitterers realized what exactly was going on.

@JayJeffries (Thornbury): Just got a text from Vic Police warning of the fire danger tomorrow. They are really really wanting to warn people this time.

@melwallace (Melbourne): Got a text from Vic Police warning of extreme weather tonight and tomorrow- about time they got a decent warning system in place!!

The message spread incredibly quickly, as this student tweets.

@djmattyg007 (Melbourne): @breakingtweets literally minutes after it got sent out, everyone in my class was talking about it. quite incredible

"Vic Police" trended as high as No. 6 at the height of the conversation on Twitter. It certainly caught people's attention.

@pnbeck (Melbourne): @breakingtweets I got the sms, I was curious how the Police got my number, raised my heart rate for a minute, switched radio on immediately!


U.S. leaders differ on Iran nuclear capabilities

The Jerusalem Post is reporting there are conflicts between the analyses of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates whether Iran has the materials necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

Mullen, when asked by CNN's John King today, said that "quite frankly" the U.S. believes Iran has the materials for making a nuclear weapon. However, on NBC's "Meet The Press," Gates offered his opinion: "They're [Iran] not close to a stockpile, they're not close to a weapon at this point and so there is some time."

Twitterers across the globe shared their thoughts on what the debate over nuclear capabilities in Iran means to them:

@Helen06 (Cheshire, England): Following BBC news bad idea. They have just told me Iran have enough nuclear material to build a bomb. They have ruined my Sunday!!

@papei (Basel, Switzerland): U.S. Says Iran Has Enough Material for Nuclear Bomb… And then?!

@asteris (Thessaloniki, Greece): (@BreakingNewz) US dispute on Iran nukes: JCS chair: likely close to making them / DefSec: not close Which is it, guys?

@dudeneyge (Barcelona, Spain) RT @BreakingNewsOn: U.S. believes Iran has enough nuclear material to make a bomb - 'believses...', like we all believed SH had WMDs???

@LarryBerezin (Morris Plains, N.J.): NYT reports that Iran has the material for nuclear bomb. Scary thought, eh?

As cited by Breaking Tweets on Feb. 26 in "Iran tests first nuclear power plant," Kenya is also watching the developments closely.

Kenya's president has Twittered about the nuclear program in his nation's development plan.

@MwaiKibaki (State House, Nairobi): Iran will assist Kenya in the making of a nuclear power plant in line with vision 2030. My son, Mr. Jimmy Kibaki, will be Kenya's pointman.


Mugabe hosts $250,000 birthday party

Per Bloomberg, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe threw a party Saturday to celebrate his 85th birthday with 3,000 of his closest friends that cost a reported $250,000, including a cake said to weigh 187 pounds (85kg).

Mugabe recently asked Zimbabwe's neighboring countries for more than $2 million in aid. His bash comes on the heels of a recent cholera epidemic that has taken the lives of nearly 4,000 Zimbabweans, and more than half of the population needs emergency food aid to prevent starvation.'

While The New York Times, called it "a modest affair" by Mugabe's standards, there was nothing modest about the response from Twiterers.

@paulakahumbu (Nairobi): Mugabe has lavish birthday while citizens starve and die of cholera - hope he chokes on cake

@mensah (Ghana): @ajmunn He needs to be axed out of power. Mugabe is the cause of Zimbabwe's woes. 

@StephanVR  (Potchefstroom, South Africa): Amid the hunger, a feast for Mugabe

@AlisonRMauldin (Los Angeles): Mugabe should be ashamed

@rewby (London): Really can't believe Mugabe is having week long birthday celebrations while his ppl starve and die of cholera. It's truly unfarhomable [sic].

Read more about the story from The Australian and The Christian Science Monitor.


Afghan president seeks to move up elections

Per A Pakistan News, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai orders elections to be held by April, overturning the Independent Election Commission's decision for August 20 elections; that date set as a response to security and logistics issues.

Twitterer @nhangen, currently in Kabul, shared his opinions with Breaking Tweets.

@nhangen (Kabul, Afghanistan): I think it makes sense to do it before his term is up, but I don't think the country is ready AT ALL for it. Need a 2nd Candidate.

@nhangen (Kabul, Afghanistan): Karzai is the George Bush of Afghanistan. Not enough security and lack of campaigns, which assures Karzai's re-election.

Al Jazeera reporter @ragehomaar posted an update of the news on his Twitter page.

@ragehomaar (U.K./Pakistan): President Karzai calls Afghan election for April instead of August as previously planned

A Twitterer in Eastern Europe particularly enjoyed someone's comment about the news in the Swampland blog at Time Magazine.

@Yamamayoo (Riga, Latvia): love comment on previous article "Hey Karzai speaks English, which is the most important puppet qualification."

Some Americans also tweeted about the developments.

@Robert_Banghart (Federal Way, Wash.): Karzai's push for early Afghan vote likely to undermine the vote's credibility?

@anthonyrichter (New York): following the tit-for-tat between Karzai and the US government - Karzai is playing a game of chicken with Obama


Featured TwitPic: Devastation in Australia

A hill between Broadford and Flowerdale after bushfires devastated it a few weeks ago in Victoria, Australia (Posted by @geehall1, Melbourne, Australia, March 1, 2009)

Here are a few related stories written by Breaking Tweets in the last month:

Australia fires rage on, Feb. 8, 2009
New fire breaks out near Melbourne, Feb. 15, 2009
Australia: National Day of Mourning, Feb. 22, 2009