Friday, January 20, 2012

Meghalayas' Living Bridge



Shared with us by Gail at our neighbour blog, Wit's End, in response to the below post regarding children crossing the fallen bridge in Indonesia.

Her precise comment was:

"I'm sorry, but as a parent I can't imagine allowing my child to do that. Why don't the parents fix the bridge?? Contrast with this video!"

What do you all think about today's situation regarding cooperation and toughing out life's challenges?

Taliban claim to have shot down NATO helicopter, killing 6

Indonesia: Children Are Forced Risk Their Lives Crossing Collapsed Bridge To Get To Lessons

Children in Indonesia have been filmed risking their lives by crossing a collapsed suspension bridge to get to school.

Three bridges in the district of Lebak have given way recently due to flooding.

When the 162m-long bridge that connected Ciwaru village to Sibagi village broke, school children were left with few alternatives for getting to lessons on time.

Muhammad Ikhwan, a 10-year-old student, said he felt forced to choose crossing the collapsed bridge rather than walking 5km.

"It's far if we don't use the bridge. Yes, it's about 5km to walk," he said.

The bridge was built in 2004 and is the only access that connects the two villages over the Ciberang river.

Residents have called for more action from the local government to repair the crossing.

Five days on since floods damaged the suspension bridge, there has been little improvement.

"We hope the government takes immediate action on this matter as this bridge is used for daily activities, especially school children as Ciwaru villages is far and this bridge is the nearest connection," Epi Suhaepi, a head of neighbouring village of Pasir Tanjung said.

He said that some parents were worried about the conditions and safety of their children. source, and watch video of children crossing here

Body Of British Hostage Alan McMenemy Kidnapped In Iraq Handed Over

The body of British hostage Alan McMenemy who was kidnapped in Iraq five years ago has been handed in to the British Embassy in Baghdad.

The security guard from Glasgow was seized from the Iraqi finance ministry, along with three other guards and an IT expert, by up to 100 armed men posing as police officers.

Bodyguards Jason Creswell, Jason Swindlehurst, Alan MacLachlan were all killed and their bodies returned in 2007. IT specialist was released in December 2009.

Prime minister David Cameron said: "My thoughts are with Alan's family & friends at this time. They have waited so long for his return and I hope that this will allow them to find some peace after an ordeal that no family should ever have to suffer.

"At this time we should also take time to remember the families of Margaret Hassan and Ken Bigley who are still waiting for the return of their loved ones."

The Foreign Office released a statement on behalf of Mr McMenemy's widow, Roseleen.

"Our families have suffered terrible uncertainty and distress over the past four years and eight months. We have worried about Alan every single minute of each waking day," she said.

"We now know that we will shortly have Alan home again, this will allow us to properly grieve for him and we will draw some comfort from the fact that we have him home at last." more

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake FLORES REGION, INDONESIA - 20th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck the Flores Region, Indonesia at a depth of 116 km (71.9 miles), the quake hit at 20:32:54 UTC Friday 20th January 2012
The epicenter was 95 km (58.9 miles) West of Ruteng, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Note: Earthquake has just been downgraded to a 5.8 Magnitude.

China begins to turn against Iran -- or is this just a crafty plan?

Iran slipped further into global isolation on Thursday as China, its traditional ally, warned Tehran against its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

After a visit to the Gulf in which he met the leaders of the states most threatened by Iran's aggressive foreign policy, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, issued Beijing's clearest condemnation yet .

"China adamantly opposes Iran developing and possessing nuclear weapons," he said.

China appears to have sent a message to Iran that it could not rely on Beijing's unstinting support by reducing its imports of oil at a time when the US and Europe are promoting an embargo on the country.

The Washington Post reported that China trimmed its oil imports from Iran in January from a daily average of around 550,000 barrels to 285,000 barrels a day.

Chinese foreign policy experts said the statement demonstrated that Beijing would not allow its international position to end up beholden to Iran. more

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake MARIANA ISLANDS REGION - 20th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Mariana Islands Region at a depth of 149.9 km (93.1 miles), the quake hit at 18:22:21 UTC Friday 20th January 2012
The epicenter was 247 km (153 miles) WSW of Hagatna, Guam
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Argentine protesters burn Union flag outside British Embassy in Buenos Aires as tensions rise over Falklands

A frenzied Argentine mob torched Union flags outside the British Embassy in Buenos Aires today in an ugly protest over the Falkland Islands.

More than 100 militants marched on the building as they called on President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government to sever diplomatic links with the UK.

Furious demonstrators bellowed insults about David Cameron and held up banners saying: ‘England out of the Falklands’ and ‘Break ties now’.

They took to the streets after the British Prime Minister accused Argentina of being ‘colonialist’ for repeatedly demanding sovereignty over the disputed South Atlantic territory. He was told mockingly: 'You need history lessons.'

The spat revived the rhetoric of the 1980s amid growing rifts ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. Read More

Victorian water pipe ruptures on Oxford Street hurling paving slabs into the air ‘like paper’

Britain’s busiest shopping street ground to halt after a Victorian water main exploded - flooding shops with millions of gallons of water.

Millions of pounds of damage was caused when the 100-year-old pipe ruptured at 8pm last night, ripping up pavements 'like paper' and destroying 14 shop fronts, including New Look, An Summers and Superdrug.

Thames Water today apologised for the flood - believed to have been caused by a failure to replace old and rusty pipes - and said that the rebuilding of the road was expected to last about a week.

A spokeswoman said: 'A 24in water main burst on Oxford Street, at its junction with Park Street, at 8.30pm last night, flooding 14 nearby premises.

'Our engineers arrived at 9.15pm and by 11pm had managed to close the series of very large valves to stop water running through, and out of, the broken pipe. Read More


UW-Madison bird flu scientist to stop research for 60 days

A UW-Madison scientist whose bird flu research has prompted an international debate over biosecurity, bioterrorism and censorship announced Friday he would stop the research for 60 days to allow for more discussion.

Yoshihiro Kawaoka and a Dutch scientist doing similar work said they would stop studies on bird flu viruses that can spread easily in the lab among ferrets — and thus, possibly humans.

"We realize organizations and governments around the world need time to find the best solutions for opportunities and challenges that stem from the work," they said in a statement released Friday by the journals Nature and Science.

It remains unclear when those journals might report the research findings by Kawaoka and Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, including Kawaoka's paper submitted to Nature.

A government advisory board last month asked Kawaoka and Fouchier to remove details from their reports to prevent terrorists from using the recipes for the viruses to create a biological weapon.

The National Institutes of Health said it is working with the journals to give select researchers access to the redacted information.

Some scientists have defended the research and decried what they call censorship, while others have said the studies threaten public safety. Read More

Storm treks across Midwest after knocking out power to 250000

SEATTLE — A powerful Pacific Northwest storm knocked out power to about 250,000 electric customers around Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia after it coated much of Washington in ice and swelled Oregon rivers, killing a child and two adults. Besides the outages, the big concern now is more flooding in both states with warmer temperatures and rain.

Most of those affected are customers of Puget Sound Energy, which said it had restored service to 87,000 customers who lost power in the snowstorm that began Wednesday. But the utility it could take into the weekend or later to get the power back on for the roughly quarter million additional homes and businesses still in the dark.

The National Weather Service said warming temperatures Friday should melt snow and ice in Western Washington lowlands as the forecast returns to normal — rain — into next week. Forecasters said the melting snow could cause urban and small stream flooding and fill the Skokomish and Chehalis rivers above flood stage by Saturday evening. Read More

Nevada fire burns 3,900 acres near Reno and Damages 26 Homes

A wildfire near Reno, Nevada, has burned 3,900 acres and damaged 26 homes, authorities said Friday.

The blaze in North Washoe Valley, dubbed the Washoe fire, was about 50% contained Friday morning, said Mark Regan, a spokesman for the Sierra Fire Protection District.

The fire prompted the evacuation of about 10,000 people, closed a major highway and led the governor of Nevada to declare a state of emergency. It began burning around 1 p.m. Thursday.

Several flights at the Reno airport were canceled or diverted Thursday, CNN affiliate KTVN reported.

"Declaring a state of emergency ensures that every resource from the local, state and federal level is available to assist," Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. Source

German and Italian Aid Workers Kidnapped in Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least three gunmen have kidnapped two foreign aid workers in Punjab Province in central Pakistan, police said Friday.

The aid workers, one German and one Italian, had just returned to their home Thursday in Multan after helping victims of the 2010 flood in the outskirts of the city when the gunmen forced their way inside, said Muhammad Iqbal, a police official.

The kidnapping took place inside a military cantonment, an enclosed community that houses mostly military offices but some civilian homes.

Security is usually high in cantonments and residents can only come and go by showing their identification at security check posts. Iqbal says it is not clear how the kidnappers managed to get by at least three check posts and reach their victims' home.

The two aid workers had not notified authorities that they were working and living in the cantonment as required by Pakistani law, Iqbal said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, police say.

The kidnapping of foreigners is a growing trend in Pakistan. Read More

Francesco Schettino ordered dinner less than an hour after the accident



The captain of the Costa Concordia ordered dinner for himself and a woman after the ship struck rocks off Italy's coast, a cook from the ship told a Filipino television station.

In an interview with GMA Network, cook Rogelio Barista said Capt. Francesco Schettino ordered dinner less than an hour after the accident.

"We wondered what was going on. ... At that time, we really felt something was wrong. ... The stuff in the kitchen was falling off shelves and we realized how grave the situation was," Barista told GMA.

Schettino ordered dinner around 10:30 p.m. Friday, Barista said. Authorities say the ship struck the rocks at 9:41 p.m.

"I have had 12 years of experience as a cook on a cruise ship. ... I have even witnessed fires, so I wasn't that scared," Barista said. "But I did wonder, though, what the captain was doing ... why was he still there." Read More

Three Guilty Over 'Gay Hate' Leaflets



Three Muslim men have been found guilty of stirring up hatred by handing out leaflets that said Islam "punished" homosexuals with the death penalty.

Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed handed out the pamphlet, called The Death Penalty?, which showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Islamic texts that said capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.

They were convicted at Derby Crown Court of distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

It is the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

Mehboob Hussain and Umar Javed, who were also charged with the same offence, were found not guilty by the jury.

The leaflets were given to people outside a mosque and posted through letterboxes in the Normanton area of Derby. Read More

Crocodile swallows Indonesian girl

KUPANG—A wild crocodile swallowed a 10-year-old girl while she played in a river with her father in eastern Indonesia, the second death in the same place in two months, a local official said Friday.

The girl was swimming in Wailolong river on Thursday when the large crocodile suddenly appeared, swallowed her instantly and disappeared into the water, said Viktor Mado Waton, Lembata district head in East Nusa Tenggara province.

“They only found the girl’s clothes three hours after the incident, some 200 meters (650 feet) away from the attack site,” he said, adding that her family members were still trying to find the body.

“Her father saw this shocking scene as he was only five meters away in the water.”

He said the father and the girl’s teenage brother were hunting turtles in the river while she was playing.

A 12-year-old boy was killed and eaten by a crocodile in the same river in early December when he was playing with his friends, Waton said.

The district head said he has warned locals of the danger and he will work with police to shut the area off to prevent another incident. Source