Tuesday, January 3, 2012

EDF Energy cuts Scottish nuclear output after storm

EDF Energy reduced power output at its two Hunterston nuclear reactors in Scotland on Tuesday, after the grid operator moved to better manage electricity distribution amid severe power cuts following heavy storms, a spokesman said.

"We have reduced the load on both units at Hunterston B so that the transmission and distribution systems can manage," he said.

The two nuclear reactors, with a maximum output capacity of 500 and 460 megawatts (MW) respectively, were running at around 350 MW on Tuesday afternoon, National Grid data showed.

Network operator National Grid manages Britain's electricity grid balance and sometimes requests plant operators cut output to manage network constraints.

On Tuesday, more than 100,000 homes were cut from the power network as heavy storms knocked out transmission cables. Source

3.9 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - 3rd Jan 2012

A magnitude 3.9 earthquake has struck near Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of 11 km (6.8 miles), the quake hit at 17:46:21 UTC Tuesday 3rd January 2012

The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) East of Belfast, New Zealand - 20 km (12.4 miles) East of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

3.9 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - 3rd Jan 2012

A magnitude 3.9 earthquake has struck near Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of 11 km (6.8 miles), the quake hit at 16:27:39 UTC Tuesday 3rd January 2012

The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) East of Belfast, New Zealand - 20 km (12.4 miles) Northeast of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Fleeing North Koreans 'killed by troops'

North Korean troops have shot dead three compatriots who were trying to cross the border into China, according to a South Korean activist.

The report comes as North Korea moves to tighten border controls after the death of the leader, Kim Jong-il.

Border guards killed the men in their 40s who were crossing the Yalu river from the northern border city of Hyesan on Saturday, Do Hee-youn, who helps refugees from the North, said.

"People waiting at the Chinese side across the river to help the three defect saw the scene. The guards took with them the bodies which were lying on the ice," Do told AFP news agency on Tuesday, citing sources in China's border county of Changbai.

South Korea's intelligence service said it could not immediately confirm the reported shootings.

Activists say the North has intensified patrols along its border to try to prevent defections in the wake of Kim's death on December 17.

They fear a tougher crackdown during the politically sensitive transition which sees Kim Jong-un, the son of the late leader, take power as supreme commander of the military and the ruling party leader.

"They are trying to let people know that those trying to flee will be shot dead right away," Do said, citing sources in the North who communicate via mobile phones smuggled in from China.

About 23,000 North Koreans have fled repression or hunger in their homeland for South Korea since the 1950-1953 war, the vast majority in recent years. more

Afghan blasts kill 14, injure 32

A trio of blasts rocked the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar Tuesday, killing at least 14 people and injuring 32, officials said.

On Tuesday evening, an improvised explosive device exploded without causing any injuries, said Zalmai Ayubi, spokesman for the Kandahar governor. But when police and locals gathered around the area of the blast, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up near the crowd, he said.

Nine people -- including six police and three civilians -- were killed, according to Dr. Abdul Qayoom Pokhla, director of health department in Kandahar. Sixteen others were injured.

Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber on a motorbike targeted a police checkpoint, killing at least five people and wounding 16, the interior ministry said.

Among the dead were at least four children and a police officer, the ministry said. Read More

Syria pipeline attacked amid ongoing killing

Syrian officials and opposition activists blamed each other for an attack on a gas pipeline near the restive city of Homs Tuesday, while a leading opposition group said at least 18 members of the security forces were killed in a separate incident.

The troops were killed in clashes in the city of Jasem when dozens of soldiers defected, taking their arms with them, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Their bodies have been taken to a government-run hospital in Daraa province, the group said.

Security forces have been conducting raids in Jasem and have arrested more than 100 people, the London-based group said.

Syrian officials did not respond to CNN requests for comment on the incident, and state media did not mention it.

CNN cannot independently confirm events inside Syria because the government restricts the activity of journalists. Read More

Armed clashes erupt in central Tripoli

Armed clashes erupted in the center of Tripoli on Tuesday, with unknown gunmen trading anti-aircraft and heavy machine gun fire, an AFP reporter said.

The fighting broke out at a building used as intelligence headquarters by the former regime of slain dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

There was no immediate clarity on the identities of the combatants.

Former rebels who remain organized in militia brigades are visible in many parts of the Libyan capital, and some have taken control of former government buildings, using them as headquarters.

Some witnesses near the scene told AFP that forces from the new government’s interior ministry tried on Tuesday to retake the intelligence building, provoking a clash with the militia group that is currently occupying it.

While those reports could not be independently verified, the interior ministry declined to comment when contacted by AFP, saying only that it would comment on the clashes in the coming hours. Read More

Iran warns U.S. over aircraft carrier

Iran warned the United States Tuesday not to return a U.S. aircraft carrier "to the Persian Gulf region."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not repeat its warning," said Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, commander of Iran's Army, according to the state-run news agency IRNA.

Salehi "said the country will not adopt any irrational move but it is ready to severely react against any threat," the report added.

The commander spoke at the Port of Chabahar in southern Iran, as forces held a military parade the day after Iran ended naval drills in the region, IRNA reported.

Iran was referring to the USS John C. Stennis, part of the U.S. Navy's fleet in the region. It moved last week from the Persian Gulf into the North Arabian Sea, as part of what the Navy's 5th Fleet called a pre-planned transit.

Iran said the ship's movement during Iran's naval exercises showed that the United States "understood" that Iran's maneuvers were not "suicidal or aggressive," but rather about Iran protecting its own "interests and power."

But Western diplomats last week described the naval drills -- which, according to Iranian officials, included test-firing missiles -- as further evidence of Iran's volatile behavior. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake GUAM REGION - 3rd Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Guam Region at a depth of 22 km (13.7 miles), the quake hit at 15:40:00 UTC Tuesday 3rd January 2012
The epicenter was 137 km (85 miles) Southwest of Hagatna, Guam
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: USGS has this earthquake listed as a 5.1 Magnitude - the 4 nearest stations near the epicenter measure this earthquake at 4.7, 5.9, 5.8 and 6.0 Magnitude

Gary Dobson and David Norris Found GUILTY of the Murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993

Gary Dobson and David Norris have been found Guilty of the Murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993.

Sentencing will take place tomorrow 4th January 2011

********

Two men have been convicted of the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence - 18 years after the attack.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey after a trial focused on forensic evidence seized in 1993.

Scientists found a tiny blood stain on Dobson's jacket that could only have come from Mr Lawrence.

As he was led down, Gary Dobson told the jury they had condemned an "innocent man".

Stephen's parents, Doreen and Neville, wept in court as the jury found both men guilty. Duwayne Brooks, Stephen's best friend who had been with him on the night of the murder, tweeted: "Some justice at last".

The original failed investigation led to the Metropolitan Police being branded as institutionally racist.

Stephen Lawrence was 18 when he was stabbed to death near a bus stop in Eltham, south London, in April 1993. Police identified five men who were later named in a damning public inquiry as the "prime suspects". Read More

Oak Tree Crushes Van, Driver Killed, Tunbridge Wells, England

A man has been killed after his van was crushed by an oak tree that was blown down by strong winds, Kent Police have said.

Large parts of the UK are being battered by winds of up to 100mph and heavy rain for much of the day.

The driver, who was in his fifties, died at around 12.25pm in Tunbridge Wells.

His vehicle is believed to have been stationary on Sandhurst Road at the time of the impact. A male passenger in the vehicle is not believed to have been injured.

The road has been closed amid fears that another tree in the road may topple.

Earlier the Met Office issued severe weather warnings across nearly every region of Britain. Read More

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, CHANNEL ISLANDS, CALIFORNIA - 3rd Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck the San Nicolas Island, Channel Islands, California at a depth of 17.3 km (10.8 miles), the quake hit at 14:18:56 UTC Tuesday 3rd January 2012
The epicenter was 7 km (4 miles) East of San Nicolas Island, California
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Rabies epidemic in Indonesia threatens Top End

Vets in the Top End warn an epidemic of rabies in Indonesia could have disastrous consequences if it reaches Australia, because of the large dog population in remote Indigenous communities.

The disease is highly infectious, has been a killer in parts of the developing world for decades, and is spreading quickly across the Indonesian archipelago.

It arrived on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali four years ago and is now on an island 600 kilometres north of Darwin.

"They tracked it back to a fisherman who brought his dog on a boat, and that dog had been incubating rabies," said Janice Girardi, director of the Bali Animal Welfare Association.

Ms Girardi says eliminating rabies is tough because it is so contagious and the most effective way of preventing the disease is through vaccinating all dogs.

Her organisation has already vaccinated close to 300,000 canines across Bali.

"Extensive studies have come up with the R0 number, the infectious number, to be under two, so one rabid dog will infect one and a half other dogs," she said.

"You put an unvaccinated population of dogs, you will see how quickly it spreads because every dog is infecting one and a half other dogs. Read More

Danielle Lane, 8, the Girl Lost in Western Australia Gibson Desert Dies, Police are treating Death as suspicious

An eight-year-old girl who had been lost in Western Australia's Gibson Desert for four days has died.

Danielle Lane was last seen with family friend Augustine Winter Miller, 38, on New Year's Eve at Tjirrkali community, north of Warburton.

An air search for the pair found their car on Tuesday afternoon. Ground crews reached them about 13 kilometres from the community.

The girl was severely dehydrated and lapsed into unconsciousness soon after police arrived.

They performed CPR on her until medical staff from Warburton arrived.

They were unable to revive her.

Police are treating the death as suspicious.

Mr Miller has been taken into police custody. Source