Wikinews Shorts: March 1, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, March 1, 2007.

Two paintings by renowned Spanish artist Pablo Picasso were stolen from the home of his granddaughter, according to the French authorities. The two oil paintings stolen were Maya With Doll and Portrait of Jacqueline; they were taken sometime between Monday, February 26 and Tuesday, February 27. The combined worth of the paintings is estimated at $66 million.

Sources


Iran will probably participate in a security conference dealing with the situation in Iraq,according to Iranian official Ali Larijani. The conference, according to Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki will be held March 10 in Baghdad. It will include the first high-level diplomatic contact between Iranian and U.S. officials in over two years; however, U.S. officials will not directly speak with Iranian or Syrian officials, according to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. The topics to be focused on will include the recent spate of lethal attacks by insurgents throughout Iraq, especially in Baghdad itself. Nations attending the conference include Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Other countries invited include France, Russia, China, and Turkey.

Sources


Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 into New York’s Hudson River. The fifteen-month probe began after the Airbus A320 performed a water landing when bird strikes damaged both engines in a move dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” by the media. Nobody was killed.

The NTSB’s final report, adopted after a board meeting today, concluded that a combination of safety equipment better than the mandatory minimums and good reactions by the crew were the main reasons the 150 passengers and five crew survived. The board stated that the aircraft’s equipment met the standards required for “extended overwater operations”, equipment that was not needed for the January 2009 flight.

The aircraft was equiped with escape slides that doubled as water rafts at the front and aft emergency exits, but the aft ones were rendered unavailable. Airbus assumed when designing the aircraft that only one engine would be inoperative during an emergency ditching, and current emergency checklists assume plenty of prior warning for dual-engine failure since the aircraft would be at a high altitude. The A320 was at just 2,700 feet when the incident occurred, having just taken off when it collided with a flock of Canada geese, almost completely removing the engines’ ability to generate thrust.

The final report has blamed a number of factors for extensive fuselage damage caused in the impact, which cracked a rear bulkhead and caused the aircraft to flood, as well as taking the rear slides out of action. The board said standards aircraft should meet in ditchings – set by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) – were inadequate, training in industry was not sufficient for ditchings and the high level of tasks the crew had to focus on made it difficult for the pilot to maintain his airspeed. The pilot’s decision to ditch was credited as being the best possible solution to the emergency.

The NTSB noted that while the rear rafts failed, 64 people climbed into the forward rafts, and said many of these people would have been immersed in the frigid river. The board claimed that this could induce “cold shock”, which can lead to drowning within minutes.

The report found that the good visibility, calm water, nearby ferries which provided rescues within twenty minutes and good cockpit resource management, allowing the crew to maintain control, were further factors that contributed to the survival of those on board. However, it also found that “more creative and effective methods of conveying safety information to passengers” are required after learning that most passengers had not paid attention to the in-flight safety announcement. It also noted that many passengers had difficulty putting on the life vests supplied under the seats.

The report further stated that the accident was hard to predict due to the fact that bird strikes tend to occur much lower, usually below 500 feet. It considered the possibilities of fitting engine screens or redesigning engines to mitigate bird strike risk, but these proposals were rejected after consideration since they were deemed unfeasable.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman described the circumstances as “a great example of the professionalism of the crewmembers, air traffic controllers and emergency responders who all played a role in preserving the safety of everyone aboard.” She further discussed the safety recommendations the report will contain when it is released. “I believe the safety recommendations that have come out of this investigation have an extraordinary origin – a very serious accident in which everyone survived. Even in an accident where everyone survives, there are lessons learned and areas that could use improvement. Our report today takes these lessons learned so that, if our recommendations are implemented, every passenger and crewmember may have the opportunity to benefit from the advances in safety.” A total of 35 recommendations have been made seeking improved checklists for emergencies, better certification standards for aircraft and their engines, advances in crew training, better safety equipment and improved safety briefings to passengers.

One result of these findings is that the board will likely ask the FAA to require emergency equipment for water landings on all commercial aircraft. The FAA has until now held that such a move would place a disproportionately high cost on airlines.

Glasgow-Oban and Mallaig train diverted onto wrong track in points mixup

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A ScotRail train travelling from Glasgow to the towns of Oban and Mallaig in Scotland accidentally diverted onto the wrong track tonight. Some passengers initially thought the train had derailed when it swerved and braked hard at Ardlui.

Two sets of points at Ardlui railway station had been incorrectly set. The train hit them at 19:50 at sufficient speed to potentially damage them, although the train was able to reverse after they had been inspected.

The service was stranded at the station for some time. Although much of the train snaked away from the platform, the rearmost door was still aligned with the platform, allowing passengers including our correspondent to get off and see the situation for themselves. Several passengers photographed and videoed the surreal scene on mobile phones.

No other trains were struck in the incident, but the train to Glasgow in the opposite direction was also left waiting at the platform while the situation was resolved. The diverted train ultimately reversed off the points and away from the station, then realigned itself with the platform. It was able to continue with a 30 minute delay.

The incident adds to troubles on the West Highland Line this weekend. On Friday a train leaving Oban at midday departed without reservation slips marking seats booked by passengers, and that train was delayed for 40 minutes at Crianlarich, where the train joins with the Mallaig service to form a single train heading to Glasgow.

More serious incidents occurred in 2012, when a train heading from Oban to Glasgow struck a landslip caused by heavy rains but did not derail, and in 2010, when a train derailed, caught fire, and was left dangling over a nearby road. Trains travelling both to and from Glasgow struck trees on the line on the same day in 2011, one near Crianlarich and one near Ardlui.

Why Its Important To Choose An Adoption Agency

byadmin

For families that choose the option to adopt it can seem like a long, complicated road. However, there are several different adoption agencies available that are able to give proper guidance and walk the family through the entire process. This helps the soon-to-be parents feel at ease that all of the paperwork is being handled properly and that one day, in the near future, their dreams of becoming parents will come true.

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Before deciding which agency to choose to represent the family it is important for the family to know what type of adoption they are interested in. The different types of adoption include domestic adoption and international adoption. Not every agency will do both forms of adoption, so this is important for the family to know prior to making their decision.

With the help from an experienced, professionaladoption Phoenix AZservice a family will be able to reach their ultimate dreams a lot sooner than it is typically believed. The adoption agency is able to handle all of the paperwork involved. In addition, they strive to keep strong communication between the parents and the company in an effort to help ease the parent’s anxiety during these emotionally trying times.

In addition to providing answers to all questions, agencies fill out paperwork and arrange meet and greets. When choosing an agency it is essential to choose one that obtains an adoption certification. There are several companies that have obtained adoption certification Phoenix AZ area. This certification helps assure a customer that the company they have chosen has the specialized training needed to perform adoption services, as the process itself can be extremely complicated for an untrained person.

When soon-to-be parents enter into the world of adoption it can seem like a long, scary journey that they will have to face. If the parents use the assistance of an adoption agency these fears can be put to rest, which allows the parents time to enjoy the experience and anticipate the arrival of their adopted son or daughter! Anyone who experiences adoption knows it is a beautiful time for both child and parent!

Greece to hold general elections

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Greece will vote in a general election this Sunday. The socialist opposition is ahead of the current conservative government in opinion polls.

According to opinion polls, the Papandreou Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) appears to hold a lead over the conservative New Democracy (ND), which has been in power for five and a half years.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called in September for polls to be held early, due in part to a faltering economy and numerous scandals. The move was approved of by most Greeks, who say that a change of government could help boost the economy.

In the latest polls held in the run-up to the elections, the PASOK party has a lead of 6–7%, allowing them to possibly obtain a majority in the parliament, consisting of three hundred seats. Greece’s election rules say that the winner of the elections needs at least 42.5% of the ballot to take an absolute majority. If neither side attains this percentage, another election will be held.

Polling stations are to be opened at 04.00 UTC, and close at 16.00. 9.8 million people are eligible to vote in the polls.

Stem cells used to cure paralysis in rats

Monday, June 26, 2006

Dr. Douglas Kerr, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University, has recently led a research team to identify enough of the chemicals necessary to regrow motor neurons. They have succeeded in partially restoring paralyzed rats‘ ability to walk.

These results represent major progress towards curing many nerve-related problems in humans, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and spinal cord injuries. However, Dr. Karr emphasized that it will be many years before any possible treatments for humans become available.

Dr. Naomi Keitman of the National Institutes of Health‘s neurology division said “They did something that people have been trying to do for at least 30 years and literally hit a brick wall until now.”

The research will be published in the Annals of Neurology.

Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

UN Report on Global Warming calls for rapid ‘unprecedented’ changes globally to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degree C

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations organization, released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) on Monday, during its 48th session held in Incheon, South Korea. In this report, the panel called for rapid “unprecedented” changes globally to limit planetary warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels, saying failure to do so would result in increased sea level rise and higher frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves.

The report examined the possibility of limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC, as sought in the Paris Agreement — a landmark agreement in which global leaders united to combat climate change — as well as the consequences of failure to do so. The final report was produced by a team of 91 scientists from 40 countries and based on assessments of 6,000 available scientific studies.

The New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment said the impact of 1.5°C warming presented in the report is plainly larger than expected. The most vulnerable countries were coastal or economically agriculture-dependent, such as India, where poverty reportedly could increase as crop yields decline and unprecedented climate extremes would take place. One of the working groups’ co-chairs, Debra Roberts, called the report the “largest clarion bell from the science community”. The report indicated that without an increase in current climate change initiatives, by 2030 with 1.5°C, coral reefs would decline by 70–90% and be substantially lost — over 99% — at 2ºC. According to the report, the mitigation projects already taking place globally would need to be taken to an unprecedented scale.

Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

Jawbone found in Aruba is not Natalee Holloway’s

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A jawbone found in Aruba is not that of missing American Natalee Holloway, who was a recent high school-graduate at the time of her disappearance. Officials confirmed the news after Dutch scientists completed tests on the bone. The jawbone, which also had a wisdom tooth with it, was found by an American tourist close to the Phoenix Hotel. A second bone had also been found by another tourist earlier this month.

The bone was sent to the Netherlands Forensic Institute where scientists completed tests. They compared the bone to dental records given to them by Natalee’s father, from which they confirmed the the bone was not that of Natalee, although it was human. It was said to be unlikely that the bone was Holloway’s as there is no physical evidence that she was murdered.

Beth accepts the forensic conclusions, is emotionally exhausted from the inexplicably long wait, and deeply disappointed in the time and manner in which she learned of the results.

Taco Stein, the Aruban Solicitor General, released a statement after the announcement was made. He commented on the speed of the identification; he said that they had quickly ruled out Holloway because her records had shown that she had her wisdom teeth previously removed.

Tim Miller, the Director of the Texas EquuSearch, released a statement after talking to Natalee’s father. He said “Dave [Natalee’s father] has been in contact with Aruban authorities and spoke with FBI this morning, the agent working the case. Dave believes it is Natalee.”

An attorney for Natalee’s mother, Beth Twitty, released a statement saying “Beth accepts the forensic conclusions, is emotionally exhausted from the inexplicably long wait, and deeply disappointed in the time and manner in which she learned of the results.” He commented on the Aruban authorities saying that “Apparently Aruban prosecutors were more sensitive to media concerns than the painful vigil of a mother.”

Natalee Holloway disappeared on the island in 2005 while on a school trip. She was last seen leaving a nightclub with three men, one of which was later identified as Joran van der Sloot. Van der Sloot was detained twice by police but has never been charged with Holloway’s disappearance. He is currently in Peru facing a different murder charge. Aruban authorities have said that they are checking neighboring islands to find a match for other missing persons.