Helicopter accident in Afghanistan wounds three Italian soldiers

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Three soldiers of the Italian part of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, ISAF, were injured while their helicopter was performing an emergency landing. The Italian Ministry of Defence reported that the soldiers are not in a serious condition, and they are currently hospitalized at a French field hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The helicopter, an AB-212 with seven on board, was forced to make an emergency landing because of technical malfunction, 21 km south east of Kabul.

News briefs:July 27, 2010

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Australian Defence Department funds controversial development training

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Australia’s Department of Defence spent thousands of dollars on controversial development seminars, Australian media reported Wednesday. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training “est”, and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor.

Australia’s Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said that the government is in the process of reviewing Defence Department expenditures on career development. “We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs. … We have to be very sure that the courses that people do undertake are relevant, appropriate and indeed in line with what community expectations might be,” said Snowdon in an appearance on ABC Radio.

We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs.

The Australian and Australia’s ABC News reported that Landmark Education had been listed in France as a “possible cult” in the mid 1990s. When asked about this on ABC Radio, a spokeswoman for the company in the United States, Deborah Beroset, responded: “What happened in France was that a commission established by the French parliament issued a report in which they listed almost 200 organisations as being possible cults … We were never contacted. We were inappropriately included in that list”.

In a program which aired Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program AM reported that Australia’s Defence Department spent at least AUD12,270 of taxpayer funds to send government employees to Landmark Education courses. According to AM, the Defence Department said it does not appear that further funds have been sent to Landmark Education since 2004.

In a statement released by the Defence Department, the government stated: “A search of Defence records does not indicate exactly how many individuals attended courses with this training provider, however it is believed it was a small number of individuals. … Defence has been unable to determine individual reasons for why groups within Defence choose this training provider.”

AM also reported that the use of unpaid labor by Landmark Education “has attracted the attention of the US and French governments,” and that some individuals in the mental health field have accused the company of brainwashing. When asked about the allegations by mental health experts that Landmark Education’s techniques amounted to brainwashing, Deborah Beroset responded: “Well, there is absolutely no credence to that whatsoever.”

Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff.

In a March 9 article in the Herald Sun, Peter Rolfe reported that taxpayer money was used to send at least 37 police and government staff from Victoria, Australia to seminars run by Landmark Education. Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that “Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff,” but State Liberal MP Murray Thompson told the Herald Sun that the funds should have been put towards fighting crime. Apple Inc., Reebok, and Mercedes-Benz have sent employees to Landmark Education seminars, according to a spokeswoman for Landmark.

In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive, and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video.

Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called “est”, which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard’s company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as “The Forum” in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his “technology” and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.

Flight lands safely with help from mobile phone text messages

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Monday, August 11, 2008

In November 2007, a twin-engine 30-year-old Piper aircraft lost all electrical power on board shortly after departing from Kerry airport in Ireland for a flight to Jersey. Without any electrical power, the pilot was unable to use his radio to contact air traffic control. He was briefly able to re-establish contact with the tower using his cell phone, but that was also disrupted.

The report into the incident published on August 6 revealed how a quick-thinking air traffic controller in Cork started sending directions to the pilot by text message. With this assistance, the plane, with five people on board, landed safely after the undercarriage was lowered manually and air traffic control visually confirmed that it was down. Prior to lowering the undercarriage, the first officer noticed that the nose wheel had failed to retract fully and was actually at half its travel.

“In this incident the positive and proactive initiative of the ATC controller, who, on realising that mobile audio communication from the pilot was intermittent, quickly switched to texting his instructions instead”, said John Hughes, an air accident investigator who reported on the incident. “This contributed to the safe resolution of the incident and, for such, the controller should be commended for his actions.”

The pilot, aged 39 and with 1,900 hours of flying experience, succeeded in climbing to an altitude of 6,500 feet without any problems, but needed to communicate to ensure a safe landing. He originally attempted to contact Kerry airport, and after that failed he made attempts to contact Cork.

The report found that the loss of electrical power was due to the aircraft’s alternators failing to maintain the required voltage, probably due to the battery voltage being insufficient to excite the alternator’s windings. The relay may have been in poor condition after having been subjected to a heavy load following take-off, possibly contributing to the incident.

Emaar Properties claims Burj Dubai as world’s tallest building

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

United Arab Emirates (UAE) developer Emaar Properties has claimed that their Burj Dubai commercial and residential tower, currently under construction, has become the world’s tallest building, reaching a height of 512.1 metres (or 1,680 feet) and 141 storeys.

The current official record holder, Taipei 101 of Taiwan, has a height of 508 metres and 101 storeys, and will retain the “tallest building” title for some time to come. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat sets the criteria for achieving height records for buildings, and will not evaluate the Burj Dubai until construction is complete in late 2008. Although final height details have been kept secret by the developer, the Burj Dubai is expected to reach nearly 700 metres in height, with approximately 160 storeys.

The current record holder for the world’s tallest free-standing structure is the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. It has a height of 553 metres. The Burj Dubai, therefore, would claim both records when it is completed.

Once the Burj Dubai is completed, it will have required 330,000 cubic metres of concrete, 39,000 tonnes of steel and 142,000 square metres of glass, according to Emaar Properties. The building will have 56 lifts (elevators) that can move at a rate of speed of 1.75 to 10 metres per second.

Dubai is undergoing a construction boom currently with the Burj Dubai as the planned centrepiece of a $US20 billion project, which will eventually realize some 30,000 apartments and boast the world’s largest shopping mall.

There have been criticisms of the working conditions for construction workers in the UAE. A majority of the estimated 500,000 construction workers in the UAE are foreign workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In a 2006 report on the UAE’s treatment of migrant workers, entitled Building Towers, Cheating Workers, Human Rights Watch documented abuses in UAE such as, “extremely low wages, several years of indebtedness to recruitment agencies for fees that UAE law says only employers should pay, the withholding of employees’ passports, and hazardous working conditions that result in apparently high rates of death and injury.”

In October of last year, Human Rights Watch delivered specific recommendations to the UAE government for improvement of working conditions. The UAE government acted swiftly on the report and put in place several improvements, which were applauded by Human Rights Watch.

However, the salaries of migrant construction workers remain in the range from $106 to $250 per month, while the national average wage is over $2,000 per month. Trade unions remain illegal in the UAE.

Oil spill hits Australia’s Sunshine coastline

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

200,000 litres of oil leaked into waters off the coast of Brisbane from the Pacific Adventurer when their fuel tanks were damaged in rough seas on Wednesday. The figure is about ten times higher than the original estimate of twenty thousand litres of oil. The devastating diesel oil spill has spread along 60 kilometres (37 miles) of the Queensland coast. In addition, 31 containers with 620 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser flew overboard during the violent storm.

Questions are being asked why the Hong Kong cargo ship was out in seas with nine meter waves caused by Cyclone Hamish, a Category 5 tropical cyclone, as well as why the fertiliser containers were not properly secured. One of the overboard containers ruptured the hull of the Pacific Adventurer, causing between 30 to 100 tonnes of oil to spew from the severely damaged ship.

If the ammonium nitrate mixes with the heavy oil, an explosion could occur. None of the containers have been recovered. Some of these may float, but it is believed that they may have sunk which then may cause algal blooms.

Disaster zones have been declared at Bribie and Moreton Islands, and along the Sunshine coast.

The vessel’s owner, Swire Shipping, reported that a second leak began on Friday, when the ship began listing after docking at Hamilton for repairs. “As full soundings of the vessel’s tanks were being taken at the port to determine how much oil had leaked from the vessel, a small quantity of fuel oil escaped from the Pacific Adventurer,” it stated. The ship was brought upright, and a recovery vessel was used to suck up the oil from the water. The leak produced a 500m-long oil slick down the Brisbane River. Booms were placed around this oil spill so that a skimmer could clean up the second spill.

Swire Shipping could face clean up costs of AU$100,000 a day as well as fines up to AU$1.5million (US$977,000; £703,000) if found guilty of environmental breaches or negligence.

Sunshine Coast beaches are slowly starting to be reopened. The beach of Mooloolaba was still closed following reports of burning sensations from swimmers. 12 beaches remain closed; however, 13 have been reopened.

Over 300 state government and council workers are using buckets, rakes and spades in the clean up effort. Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbott says the majority will be gone by Sunday afternoon. The full environmental impact on wildlife is not yet known. One turtle and seven pelicans have been found covered in oil.

There are concerns that the drinking water of Moreton Island is at risk, as the island uses water from the underground water table near the oil spill site.

“Every bucketload of contaminated sand has to be removed from the island by barge, and each bucketload from a front-end loader weighs about one tonne. It’s just an impossible task,” said Mr Trevor Hassard of the Tangalooma Dolphin Education Centre.

The commercial fishing industry has suffered from the incident. Trawlers won’t resume operations until Sunday evening, and any catches will be tested for human consumption.

Hezbollah-Israel conflict continues

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Saturday, July 15, 2006

As the conflict in the Middle East goes into its fourth day, Israel launched more air strikes against targets in Lebanon. Israel has also reportedly served Syria with a 72 hour ultimatum to stop the Hezbollah attacks on northern Israel and secure the release of two captured Israeli soldiers.

Israel said Saturday that Hezbollah fired two radar-guided, C802 missiles at an Israeli warship on Friday. Israel earlier said that the ship was hit by an explosives-laden drone. The ship, INS Hanit, was in Lebanese waters near Beirut Friday when it was hit. The first rocket was said to miss and the second hit the helicopter deck. Four Israeli sailors were reported missing, two later confirmed dead, as the ship caught fire. The ship has since been towed back to an Israeli sea port.

The Israeli military said that up to 100 elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards had assisted Hezbollah in providing and helping firing C-802 missiles. This was denied by Iran and Hezbollah. Iran called it an attempt “to escape reality with the aim of covering up (Israel’s) inability to confront the Lebanese nation and resistance”.

An Israeli missile incinerated the people inside a van near the southern port of Tyre, killing eight children and nine adults and also wounding six others. Police said the vehicle the Israelis destroyed was carrying refugees fleeing the village of Marwaheen after Israel told them to flee via a loudspeaker announcement. Some Lebanese civilians sought shelter at a Ghanaian UN position, but were turned away and went back to the village; they were attacked as they fled for the second time.

Early on Saturday, more C-802 missiles were fired toward Israeli warships. According to the Israeli military, the missiles missed their intended target but hit and sank an Egyptian merchant ship.

Israel has given Syria a 72 hour ultimatum to stop Hezbollah’s activity, according to London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat and a senior source in the United States Pentagon or else Israel “would launch an offensive with disastrous consequences.”.[1] The ultimatum also included the release of kidnapped IDF troops. Israel stated that if such a situation did not come about, they may attack targets within Syria.

Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora declared Lebanon a “disaster zone” Saturday and called upon the international community for a cease-fire and help to stop the Israeli “war machine”. He added; “These are hours for unity, not for division”.

Russian PM Vladimir Putin commented early Saturday that he suspected Israel had more on its agenda than rescuing kidnapped soldiers. Putin said at a G-8 press conference in St Petersburg that “it is our impression that aside from seeking to return the abducted soldiers, Israel is pursuing wider goals”, without elaborating his statement.[2]

UK Wikinews Shorts: December 23, 2009

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

Contents

  • 1 Two-year-old child in Northern Ireland dies of H1N1 swine flu virus
  • 2 Woman killed in collision with ambulance in Staffordshire, England
  • 3 90-year-old man dies after car crash in Northern Ireland
  • 4 Man dies while carrying child in railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland
 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

Lyon lose at home; drop out of Champions League

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Olympique Lyonnais 0(2) 2(4) AS Roma
Match Stats
Attendance 41000
Goalscorers for Olympique Lyonnais None
Goalscorers for AS Roma Totti (22), Mancini (44)
Bookings (Olympique Lyonnais) Tiago, Cris, Kallstrom, Fred (Yellow (4))
Bookings (AS Roma) Perrotta, Pizarro (Yellow (2))

A full crowd showed up at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon earlier today, only to watch their home side fall to Roma of Italy. The previous leg in the series saw the two teams draw 0-0 which gave Roma a slight advantage from the start, as a draw would allow them to advance. The previous match was extremely undisciplined, and Roma was given eight yellow cards. The Italian side showed a much calmer demeanor this game, earning only two yellows in comparison to Lyon’s four.

Lyon produced the first chance of the game as Romas keeper Alexandre Doni was unable to cope with Juninho, but defender Philippe Mexes was able to clear the ball from nearby strikers. Roma had their own chance soon after, as Daniele De Rossi was left open, and he headed the ball home. The goal was disallowed by the referee after he spotted a push by De Rossi on Eric Abidal. Juninho continued to threaten Roma, but his crosses were not able to do any damage to the Rossinari. Lyon fell behind on 22 minutes when Max Tonetto clipped a cross into the middle, and Francesco Totti was in the right place to head the ball past Gregory Coupet. Crosses continued to be the only attack Lyon could muster, and they produced a good chance off a Juninho corner kick. The ball ricoched off several players before Squillaci latch on for a shot, but the ball was sent directly at Doni, and the keeper made the save. Mancini then doubled the visitors lead just before halftime. After some quick stepovers to fool Anthony Reveillere, he struck the ball soundly into the top corner of the net.

After the break, Roma could have killed off the game indefinitely, as Tadei beat Lyon’s offside trap, but was unable to regain the composure required to smash the ball home. Doni then produced a few saves for Roma, kicking out Sylvan Wiltord’s shot, and then diving to palm away a curling shot by Juninho. Both teams then made vain attempts for a penalty, but both Fred and Perrotta diving, but the referee made the right decisions and awarded only a yellow to Perrotta. Fred was then given a yellow for cruelly smashing Chivu in the face with his arm. Fred was lucky to receive a red for his actions. Roma held on for the win, and the 5 time french champions bowed out of the Champions League.

Oil spill in Alaska closes 800 miles of pipeline

Posted by: AiRc8Vhp  :  Category: Uncategorized

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

800 miles of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System were closed down following a spill of thousands of barrels of crude oil south of Fairbanks, Alaska. A power failure following a routine fire-command system test caused relief valves to open and crude oil overflowed near the Fort Greely pump station 9. The valves opening allowed a pressure release for the system and oil flowed on a pad to a tank that can hold 55,000 barrels (2.3 million gallons). As of Wednesday afternoon, the tank vents were still leaking probably from thermal expansion inside the tank. Another secondary containment area below the tanks capable of holding 104,500 barrels was not yet filled to capacity.

The spill coordinator for the Department of Environmental Conservation, Tom DeRuter, said that the oil spill contamination should be confined to the graveled oil containment liner. “Safety is their No. 1 objective right now. As soon as it is safe to move in, then they’ll get the power on and try to empty that tank out. As long as everything is in that liner, it gives us time,” DeRuter explained.

40 people had been evacuated from the Fort Greely site, and the Prudhoe Bay station has been reduced by 84%. “We’re going to take as long as we need to make sure the site is safe before we start back up,” said Alyeska Pipeline Service Company spokesperson Michele Egan. There is capacity in reserve tanks for 48 hours during this slow down of production.

About 650,000 barrels per day run through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline between Prudhoe Bay to the Port of Valdez oil tankers. The majority of shares in Alyeska are held by BP Exploration, Alaska (BPXA) which is also currently addressing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP addressed a 267,000 gallon crude oil spill in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in 2006 resulting in a lawsuit against BP Exploration.