Friday, June 15, 2012

Sarkozy faces probes as immunity expires

People & Power - Danger Zone: Ageing Nuclear Reactors

Iran's nuclear negotiator to RT: We're strongly against weapons of mass destruction

Game of Drones: Who's on America's hit list?

Russia Sending Air and Sea Defenses to Syria, Exporter Says

MOSCOW — The chief of Russia’s state-controlled arms exporter said Friday that his company was shipping advanced defensive missile systems to Syria that could be used to shoot down airplanes or sink ships if the United States or other Western nations try to intervene to halt the country’s spiral of violence.

“I would like to say these mechanisms are really a good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from the air or sea,” Anatoly P. Isaykin, the general director of the company, Rosoboronexport, said Friday in an interview. “This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about this.”

His remarks come just days after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised diplomatic pressure on Russia, Syria’s patron, by criticizing the Kremlin for sending attack helicopters to Damascus, and amid reports that Moscow was preparing to send an amphibious landing vessel and a small company of marines to the Syrian port of Tartus, to provide security for military installations and infrastructure, if it becomes necessary.

While the weapons systems are not considered cutting edge, the words and actions added to a cold war chill that has been settling over relations between Washington and Moscow since President Vladimir V. Putin took power from his more accommodative predecessor, Dmitri A. Medvedev. Read More

US 'troubled' by Egyptian court annulling parliament.....Is this Not what the US wanted?....Western Democracy!

WASHINGTON — The United States is "troubled" that Egypt's top court has ordered parliament to be dissolved, and is studying the implications of the move, the State Department said Friday.

"We are troubled by the court ruling yesterday that will effectively dissolve a democratically elected parliament," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation in Egypt, we are looking closely at the decisions that were made yesterday and their full implications. Our sense of this is that it's not exactly clear to Egyptians themselves what the path forward is.

"If in fact the conclusion is that there need to be new parliamentary elections our hope is that they can happen swiftly and that they reflect the will of the Egyptian people."

Egypt's transition to democracy was thrown into further disarray after the Supreme Court ordered parliament to dissolve and allowed a disputed candidate to remain in a divisive presidential runoff.

Egyptian activists and political figures have described the rulings as the final phase of a military coup that takes the transition back to square one. Read More

Greek election is euro versus drachma, Samaras says

Sunday's Greek election is a choice between staying in the euro and going back to the drachma, the leader of the centre-right New Democracy party has told a final campaign rally in Athens.

The general election, the second in six weeks, is seen as crucial to Greece's future in the eurozone.

New Democracy broadly accepts the EU/IMF bailout of debt-laden Greece but wants changes to the terms.

Main opponents Syriza reject the terms of the bailout but back the euro.

Syriza surged into second place on 6 May, in an election that produced an inconclusive result, with no party or coalition able to form a government.

Unofficial opinion polls suggest a fall in support for anti-bailout parties.

Under Greek election law, official opinion polls are banned in the two weeks before the election. Read More

Wildfire burns more than 8000 acres in Idaho

MURPHY -- A large wildfire known as the "Con Shea Fire" is currently burning out of control four miles north of Murphy, Idaho on the south side of the Snake River. The fire is thought to have originated at nearby Con Shea Butte.

Thursday evening update:

Firefighters reported battling 8-to-10-foot-flames throughout Thursday morning as the fire continued to burn dry grass and sagebrush near the Snake River. As of 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, an air tanker and fire attack helicopter were also assisting in the fight. Firefighters estimate the area burned almost 9,000 acres and expect to have containment around noon on Friday.

The fire was out in most places, with small flare-ups Thursday evening. Crew created a black line to help hold the fire back. Boise BLM says they will report tomorrow whether the fire is contained.

A fire this large this early in the season might be a sign of a more intense wildfire season this year. Read More

Fire erupts near Round Mountain, New Mexico

Firefighters continued to build containment lines around the Round Mountain Complex fire Thursday night just east of Tularosa on U.S. Highway 70, Otero County emergency services coordinator Paul Quairoli said.

Quairoli said Otero County firefighters were called around 5 p.m. Thursday to the fire on the south side of U.S. Highway 70 East between mile markers 234 and 239.

"The fire is about 25 percent contained," he said. "We had between four and six separate fires in the area. The largest of the fires is 10 acres. Combined with all the fires, we're about 16 acres total. The fires were burning on private, state and Bureau of Land Management lands. They were small spotted fires that turned into larger grass and brush fires."

He said resources from Otero County fire units, Tularosa Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, New Mexico State Forestry, BLM and Mescalero responded.

"We also had Bureau of Indian Affairs, state police and the sheriff's department law enforcement respond as well," Quairoli said. "We had a heavy air tanker and four heavy helicopters respond. We got the air resources from the Little Bear fire here right away. We attacked it aggressively. We had about 28 Otero County units respond to the fire."

He said fire officials continue the investigation into the cause of the fire. Read More

Lightning strike ignites explosion at JBS plant in Grand Island

A lightning strike was the apparent cause of an explosion and major fire at the JBS plant in Grand Island Thursday night.

Grand Island Fire Department was called at approximately 7:50 p.m. with reports of explosions and a large fire east of the plant near Swift Road.

The lightning strike ignited chemicals in the holding pool, according to information overheard on the emergency scanner.

Numerous calls came into the newsroom to report the fire, which was reportedly visible from a good distance away.

Google map shows the presence of what appears to be a tarp-covered holding pool or lagoon east of the plant.

While the large flames shooting into the air died down fairly quickly, slightly smaller fires seemed to burn a little longer in the lagoon. Independent photographer Matt Dixon reported seeing many motorists driving along the perimeter of the plant in the immediate aftermath of the explosion in an attempt to see the fire. Read More

Ammonia spill at NextEra Energy Inc.'s nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire 'unusual event'

SEABROOK, N.H. (AP) — An ammonium hydroxide spill of less than a gallon in a stockroom at NextEra Energy Inc.'s nuclear power plant in Seabrook, N.H. required the plant to declare an "unusual event," the lowest of four emergency categories.

Plant spokesman Al Griffith says the spill happened about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday inside the administration building. He says there are no injuries and no danger to the public. The emergency was over in the early evening.

It's not clear how the spill happened. Cleaning materials are kept in the stockroom.

The building is in a protected area.

Plant operations were not been affected. Source

Forest fire sparks evacuation of Labrador towns, Canada

The people of North West River and Sheshatshiu are being told to pack their bags and get ready to hit the road as a forest fire encroaches on the Labrador communities.

The province issued an evacuation notice on Thursday: "Residents are encouraged to make the necessary preparations at home and heed warnings and instructions from local emergency officials in the community, as the forest fire situation continues."

The growing forest fire is burning some 30 km north of the towns. The Provincial Fire Weather Index said it is burning at "extreme levels."

About 1,700 people live in North West River and some 1,276 in Sheshatshiu. Source