Friday, January 6, 2012

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake FLORES REGION, INDONESIA - 7th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Flores Region, Indonesia at a depth of 11.8 km (7.3 miles), the quake hit at 00:32:20 UTC Saturday 7th January 2012
The epicenter was 61 km (37 miles) NNW of Ende, Flores, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN ALASKA - 6th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Southern Alaska at a depth of 135 km (83.7 miles), the quake hit at 23:37:45 UTC Friday 6th January 2012
The epicenter was 49 km (31 miles) East of Pedro Bay, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN TURKEY - 6th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Western Turkey at a depth of 46.2 km (28.7 miles), the quake hit at 20:35:13 UTC Friday 6th January 2012
The epicenter was 81 km (50 miles) ESE of Rodos, Dodecanese Islands, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Hot air balloon crash in New Zealand kills 11



A hot air balloon crash in New Zealand early Saturday killed 11 people -- the pilot and 10 passengers -- officials said.

No one survived the crash, which happened on the outskirts of Carterton, a town northeast of Wellington.

A fire likely started on board the balloon, sending it plummeting to the ground, said Superintendent Mike Rusbatch, Wellington District commander for New Zealand Police.

It was not immediately clear what started the fire, though eyewitnesses said the balloon had hit a power line, according to police.

"This is an absolutely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families of the deceased. We are in the process of notifying next of kin. However, we will not be releasing any names until all next of kin have been advised," Rusbatch said.

A police spokeswoman said all the victims were from the wider Wellington area.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is under way. more

The wind turbines that can’t cope… with the WIND! Three more are blown to pieces in gales that swept across Britain

The impact of the devastating weather which has swept the country is shown by the state of these wind turbines - which couldn't withstand the strength of the gales.

The huge blades - 15ft long - flew off three turbines including one on the aptly-named Windmill Lane in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

The firm which made the turbines in the Hepworth and Upper Cumberworth areas of the town has promised a full investigation. Read More

Update: Damascus attack killed at least 60 people, Syria vows to strike with 'iron fist'



The embattled Syrian regime, reeling from a suicide bombing in the capital Friday and continued violence in several anti-government bastions, vowed to confront its foes with stern resolve as more than 60 deaths were counted in a bloody day across the nation.

"We will strike with an iron fist anyone who tampers with the security of the nation and citizens and we call our citizens to alert any suspicious situation," the Interior Ministry said, according to state media.

The Damascus suicide bombing, the second such strike in the capital in two weeks, took place in the al-Midan quarter of the city. Casualties included mostly civilians and some law enforcement personnel, the Syrian Arab News Agency said. At least 26 people died and at least 63 people were injured, SANA said.

Car and suicide bombings have long been common in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this development in Syria, similar to the strikes on government security targets December 23, deepened the fears of full-blown warfare in the troubled nation. Read More

Serial Killer Alert Warning for Orange County Homeless

Police in California are warning the homeless to be on alert amid fears they are the target of a serial killer responsible for three murders in two weeks.

Charities are handing out torches and whistles to people living on the streets in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, to help them protect themselves.

Police have set up a task force to find the attacker and they say they can find no connection between the three victims other than that them being homeless.

James McGillivray, 53, Lloyd Middaugh, 42, and 57-year-old Paulus Cornelius Smit were all found stabbed to death.

The killings have spread fear throughout the county’s homeless com

Darryl Bossier, one of the dozens who sleep rough outside the county government headquarters in the city of Santa Ana, said: "You take a deep breath, but what are you going to do? Watch out for the people who are there.

"I'm a watchdog. I don't want them to get anybody else. Who wants to wake up next to somebody dead?" Read More

US Rescues Iranians Held By Pirates



The US Navy has rescued 13 Iranian sailors being held by pirates on a captured fishing boat in the Arabian Sea, according to the Pentagon.

The incident came despite increasing tensions between the two nations due to Western sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, which have seen Iranian officials threaten the US over its role in the Gulf.
The US Navy said personnel from the USS Kidd boarded the Iranian-flagged vessel, Al Molai, and found the 13 Iranians who had been been held for more than a month, according to members of the crew.

"The Al Molai had been taken over by pirates for roughly the last 40-45 days," said Josh Schminky, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent aboard the Kidd.
"They were held hostage, with limited rations, and we believe were forced against their will to assist the pirates with other piracy operations."
The search and seizure team gave the crew food, water and medical care before they were allowed to return to Iran. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE - 6th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Central East Pacific Rise at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:54:40 UTC Friday 6th January 2012
The epicenter was 2699 km (1677 miles) SSW of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Massive outage as storm batters northern France

A storm battered France and Switzerland on Friday, with three people injured in a Swiss train derailment, hundreds of thousands left without power and a grounded ship spilling oil off Brittany.

In France, Interior Minister Claude Gueant said France appeared to have escaped the storm without injuries, although Joachim wrought some significant damage, with downed electricity lines in some areas.

"It seems there have been no victims," he said, adding that "a certain number" of people living in low-lying areas in Brittany, in the northwest, had been evacuated because of the storm.

Officials said 600,000 households had lost electricity because of the storm, mainly in the west of the country.

By mid-day, the number of homes without electricity had fallen to about 260,000 as workers scrambled to restore electricity infrastructure.

The storm had been battering the area since Thursday night with gusts up to 133 kilometres (83 miles) per hour and waves up to seven metres (23 feet) high.

Joachim caused a cargo ship, the TK Bremen flying the Maltese flag, to run aground and spill some oil into the sea off Brittany early on Friday, officials said. Read More

Adam Lowther, 'Cowardly' thief, saw drowning man and stole his bicycle: Man died (and thief isn't charged)

Police said that if Britain had a French-style “Good Samaritan” law, 22-year-old Adam Lowther would have been charged with failing to render assistance.

An inquest heard how Lowther was cycling along a towpath by the Leeds-Liverpool canal on July 30 last year when he saw 51-year-old Michael Houghton, lying face-down in shallow water.

Seeing the retired businessman’s mountain bike beside the water, he decided to swap it for his own, which he claimed had a puncture, Leeds Coroner’s Court heard.

Even though he could see Mr Houghton lying in the water, he hid his own bicycle in some bushes nearby, and rode Mr Houghton’s home.

He then searched on the internet to find out how much the £150 bicycle was worth but pawned it for just £20. more

Mini tornado hits Queensland town

Residents on the Western Downs are cleaning up after what they describe as a 'mini tornado' swept through their community.

John Merrill says a storm front brought wind gusts of more than a hundred kilometres an hour on his property between Tara and Chinchilla.

"We started hearing things crack and bang as trees tops of trees went out and I've got a wind generator outside- I put a brake on it but it didn't seem to do much good.

"I had a neighbour ring me about three kilometres away. She lost the entire or almost the entire verandah on her house. it was lifted up from the back."

The storms also bought good rainfall with 52 millimetres near Inglewood, 49 mm tipped out of a gauge west of Millmerran and 47.5 mm was recorded near Miles. Source

Two missing in Kuching flash floods, Malaysia

KUCHING: A student and her would-be rescuer are missing after both fell into a monsoon drain during massive flash floods that left the city crippled.

Kho Ying Oi, 19, and Herman Sihas, a 29-year-old petrol station employee, have yet to be found at press time yesterday.

Kho slipped and fell into the drain while walking to a bus stop to wait for her mother after her car stalled in the floodwaters.

Herman then jumped in to save her but was swept away by the heavy current.

The flash floods inundated various parts of the city due to a combination of continuous rain and high tide.

The floods, with waters swamping even areas that had previously not been affected, caused massive traffic jams.

State Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said five schools were closed. Two Chung Hua primary schools were also reported closed.

As at 5pm, about 1,400 people from 300 families have been evacuated to five flood relief centres. The largest group of 418 evacuees is at Balai Raya Sinar Budi Baru. Read More

Naked man appears in French children's fashion shoot

One of France’s biggest mail-order fashion retailers has apologised for publishing a photo in which a naked man appears behind a group of children advertising beachwear.

The nudist can clearly be seen strolling knee-deep in the sea while in the foreground four children run towards the camera in bright clothing.

The mistake was compounded by the fact that La Redoute provided a magnifying glass to allow people to get a closer look at the beachwear and thus any outstanding items in the beach scene.

In a tweet La Redoute said that it “apologises for the photo published on its site and is doing what’s necessary to remove it”.

But the shot has gone viral on the internet and spawned a host of spoof montages.

These feature the unidentified nudist as part of the Moon landing, with the face of the disgraced former International Monetary Fund chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or strolling behind President Nicolas Sarkozy as he goes for a summer dip in swimming trunks. more

Nasa embroiled in row with Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell

Nasa has entered into a row with Commander Jim Lovell, one of its Apollo 13 heroes, after he auctioned a flight document which helped him steer the stricken craft back to Earth during its failed flight to the Moon in 1970.

Jim Lovell, commander of the doomed mission, sold the 70-page checklist for more than £247,000 ($388,000) at an auction in Dallas last November.

But now Nasa lawyers have laid claim to the document, annotated with Lovell's handwritten calculations that helped secure his team's miraculous return to Earth after disaster struck.

The space agency has challenged the right of Lovell, 83, to sell the ring-bound papers after arguing that there was no evidence they had transferred ownership to him.

The document, which featured in a key scene of the 1995 film Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks as Lovell, is being held in the vault of Heritage Auctions while the dispute is settled.

NASA lawyer Donna Shafer told the auction house: "Only NASA has the authority to clear NASA property for sale." more

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 6th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the Fox Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska at a depth of 25.6 km (15.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:06:41 UTC Friday 6th January 2012
The epicenter was 140 km (87 miles) Southwest of Nikolski, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 6th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the Fox Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska at a depth of 27.5 km (17.1 miles), the quake hit at 17:42:42 UTC Friday 6th January 2012
The epicenter was 73 km (45 miles) SSE from Yunaska Island, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Two-year-old girl killed by hailstorm in Rumphi, Malawi

A two-year-old girl died in Malawi’s northern region district of Rumphi following a heavy hailstorm that hit the area and rendered hundreds of people homeless.

The hailstorm which started on 29th December 2011 through to January 2, 2012 has destroyed over 50 houses whose roofs have been blown off.

The victims have since sought refuge in school blocks while one old lady has been hospitalized at Rumphi District Hospital after breaking her both legs and an arm, officials in the district have confirmed.

The lady has been identified as Edna Kazeze from Chozoli area and she was injured after her house was extensively damaged by the hailstorm.

Rumphi District Commissioner Rhodrick Mateauma and Rumphi Police Victor Khamisi both confirmed the tragedy and said the disaster occurred in the area of Chozoli, TA Mwalweni and at Mhuju.

The deceased young girl, Keriff Kumwenda, also came from the same area and was confirmed dead by medical personnel at the hospital. A postmortem revealed that she died due to multiple injuries and suffocation. Read More