Europe hit by storms, 45 deaths reported

Posted on April 22nd, 2019

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Europe has been hit by fierce wind and storms, with gusts over 150 kilometers per hour reported from the UK to Southern Germany. Most major motorways are blocked/shut due to lorries being overturned by the wind.

Most European Airports, Train and Motorways have been affected. Amsterdam has been cut off, with planes grounded, and the train system from Amsterdam city halted.

Contents

  • 1 Casualties and fatalities
    • 1.1 Western Europe
      • 1.1.1 United Kingdom
      • 1.1.2 Germany
      • 1.1.3 The Netherlands
      • 1.1.4 France
      • 1.1.5 Belgium
    • 1.2 Central and Eastern Europe
  • 2 Sources

According to the BBC, at least 45 people have been killed so far, with more deaths expected. Reports of numbers currently vary as the damage is assessed.

The casualties were distributed as follows:

  • United Kingdom: 13 (8 in North West England)
  • Germany: 13
  • Ireland: 7 – lost at sea
  • The Netherlands: 7
  • Poland: 6
  • Czech Republic: 4
  • Belgium: 2
  • France: 2
  • Austria: 1

The UK saw a total of eleven casualties, most of them in England. All incidents took place on January 18.

  • The first casualty of the storm was the chief of Birmingham International Airport who was killed around 05:45 GMT when his car windscreen was smashed by a falling branch in Shropshire.
  • In the London district of Kentish Town, a two-year-old boy died in hospital after receiving severe head injuries. These were caused by a wall collapsing onto the boy whilst he was walking with his childminder in the afternoon of January 18.
  • A female lorry driver was killed on the A269 in Yorkshire when her vehicle overturned and was blown into a canal.
  • A male lorry driver, who was a German national, was killed on the A55 in Chester in a similar incident.
  • The front-seat male passenger of a car on the A329 was killed when a branch hit the car near Streatley, Berkshire, the driver was injured.
  • A man was blown into metal shutters at an industrial estate in Manchester and died.
  • In Byley, Cheshire, a man was hit by a tree whilst working on a construction site.
  • An elderly man was killed at Humberside by a collapsing shed.
  • A woman in Stockport was killed when a wall she tried to shelter behind collapsed onto her.
  • In Lancashire, a man was hit by a falling canopy at a petrol station whilst refuelling and later died in hospital.
  • In Woofferton, Shropshire, a lorry driver collided with another vehicle and died on the scene.

Germany was the country most severely hit by the storm, with 13 casualties as of January 21, 2007. Most deaths occurred on the 18th and 19th of January, though some victims were only injured at first and later died in hospital.

  • In the Munich bourough Milbertshofen, an 18-month old child was severely injured by a patio door that had broken out of its hinges. The child later died in hospital.
  • Near Kirrlach in the state of Baden-Württemberg, a motorist tried to avoid a tree that had fallen onto the road and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
  • A 73-year old man was crushed by a barn door in Gersthofen in the district of Augsburg.
  • A fireman was killed in Tönisvorst in North Rhine-Westphalia whilst performing storm cleanup work.
  • A 36-year motorist was killed in Hildesheim by a fallen tree.
  • A motorcycle driver slid under a tree in Essen, dying in hospital on January 21.
  • On the B 55 near Lippstadt, a 23-year woman was killed when her car was hit by a falling birch tree.
  • A man was killed when the gable of a nearby building collapsed in Groß Rodensleben in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
  • In Strausberg in Brandenburg, a 25-year man crashed into a fallen tree with his car.
  • Near Finnentrop, a man died after not noticing a tree that had fallen onto the road and crashing into it.

Seven people in the Netherlands were killed as a result of the weather. Two people died when a falling tree hit their car between Arnhem and Ede. A man near Oosterhout was killed in a collision with a truck. A motorcyclist died near Leersum after a collision with a tree, as well as a 17-year old boy on a moped in Sint Oedenrode. An 11-year old boy in Riel was blown in front of a car, which drove over him. The boy died on the scene. A 59-year old man in Staphorst was blown off of the roof of his barn, as he was repairing the damage caused by the storm. Six people were injured when a crane fell through the roof of a Utrecht University building. The National Crisis Centre has advised people to stay indoors, the first time such a warning has been issued.

In France, a driving instructor in Roubaix was killed when an electricity pole fell on top of her car. The student was severely injured. A 30-year old man died near Abbeville, when a swerving truck crashed into his car. A woman in Lille is missing after the roof of a store collapsed. There was significant damage to the cathedral at Saint-Omer.

Two people in Belgium fell victim to the storm; a 16-year old girl in Halle died when a wall she was standing by collapsed and a man died in the province of Liège after a tree fell on top of his car.

In Poland, a crane operator was killed in Katowice when a 25-metre-high (82ft) crane broke in half. By January 19 a total of 6 casualties and 19 people wounded have been reported, nearly 800 thousand households lack electricity due to the damage done by the storm, about 500 were damaged.

In the Czech Republic, a fireman died in Slune?ná (Liberec Region) when the wind threw a tree trunk on him while he was clearing the road with his colleagues. Two young men died in Vestec near Prague when a tree fell on their car.

Train derails near Xinma station in Yilan, Taiwan

Posted on April 22nd, 2019

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

At around 4:50 p.m. local time (0850 UTC) on Sunday, at least eighteen passengers were killed and, by varying reports, more than another 170 injured after a train derailed in Yilan County in northeast Taiwan. It was the most deaths in a train crash in Taiwan in 27 years. The Puyuma express was transporting 366 people when the accident occurred, according to the railways administration. On Sunday authorities said an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the incident.

Traveling between Shulin and Taitung, the train’s eight carriages derailed around Xinma station.

According to Associated Press, locals assisted passengers to escape through the windows of the train before the emergency response team arrived. Emergency workers and roughly 120 soldiers worked to free survivors from the wreckage.

Injured passengers were transported to four different hospitals for treatment, The New York Times reported.

The train’s conductor, according to United Daily News, reported some sort of object was on the tracks and might have derailed the train. Transport ministry officials said on Monday the train driver had reported abnormally low pressure in the brakes of the train 20 minutes before the crash.

This incident exceeded the fatality count of seventeen in a train derailing at Alishan, Chiayi in 2003. Previously 30 passengers died and 112 were injured as a result of a train collision in Miaoli in 1991.

PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

Posted on April 21st, 2019

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This week, the Public Broadcasting Service aired a NOVA program titled “Dimming the Earth”, which presented research by leading scientists on the complex systems of our global climate and human activity’s effect on it. One of the largest interactions (or “inputs”) humans have with the atmosphere is the ever-increasing use of fossil fuels. Consumption has risen 2% per year for this decade.

Fossil fuels burnt in factories and automobiles send their waste into our atmosphere in two forms. The first is CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which have received substantial attention in the last few years because of the way they trap heat in the atmosphere. The second is the tiny particles of sulfur dioxide, soot and ash, which scientists call aerosols (basically smog). Research into understanding the negative health effects of air pollution has resulted in the development of catalytic converters for cars as well as devices to remove particulate solids from industrial waste before it reaches the air.

More recently, atmospheric scientists have come upon the phenomenon of the reduction of direct sunlight reaching Earth’s surface— observing a nearly a 5% decline between 1960 and 1990, with evidence of a recovery since then. This has been dubbed the “global dimming” effect, and is probably due to the way these aerosols act upon clouds. It is important to realise that this does not represent a net loss of this much sunshine to the climate system – if so, large temperature declines would have been observed. Instead, the sunshine is absorbed elsewhere in the system, with a much smaller net loss.

Clouds form when moisture gathers around airborne particles, such as pollen or dust. Clouds formed by the aerosol particles emitted by fossil fuel consumption are made of many more tiny droplets than “natural” clouds. These smog-created clouds have two notable effects: they shield sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface and, due to water’s reflective nature, the millions of tiny droplets suspended in them reflect light back into space, allowing even less light to reach Earth.

Many scientists now believe that global dimming caused by these pollutants has mitigated the temperature rises brought about by global warming. Over the last thirty years, Earth’s temperature has increased by about 0.5 oC.

In the absence of global dimming, however, the Earth might be 0.3 oC warmer than it currently is, suggesting that a “tug-of-war” exists between greenhouse gases and particulates released by burning fossil fuels. Efforts to mitigate the human health dangers of smog have allowed more heat into our atmosphere and brought about a sharper increase in global warming.

Dr. James E. Hansen, professor at Columbia University and the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies [1], believes that if we continue on our current pattern, this warming could be as much as five degrees in the next thirty years and ten to fourteen degrees over the course of the century. Such a temperature rise would devastate life on Earth, likely bringing on a cascade of self-reinforcing warming effects. Earth’s forests drying and burning, a steady thawing of the Greenland and arctic ice sheets, and, most dangerous of all, a release of the methane hydrates that are now frozen at the bottom of the oceans, could remake the planet into something inhospitable to human life. Dr. Hansen warns that, according to his research, man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming and other responses to human activity by Earth’s climate reach a “tipping point”, becoming unstoppable.

News Briefs: June 22, 2009

Posted on April 18th, 2019

Monday, June 22, 2009

Audio Wikinews News Brief for June 22, 2009

Recorded by: James_PainProblems listening to the file? See media help.

RSS

Contents

  • 1 About
  • 2 News Brief Transcript for June 22, 2009
    • 2.1 Intro
    • 2.2 Wikinews Promo
    • 2.3 Outro

[edit]

China completes “mammoth” Three Gorges Dam hydro-electricity project

Posted on April 18th, 2019

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The People’s Republic of China has announced the completion of an enormous dam across the Yangtze River, an important milestone for the world’s largest hydroelectric project. The official Xinhua News Agency reports the event as a “landmark in the construction of the project.”

Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges Project, including the 2,300 metre long, 185 metre high dam with 26 power generators, is being built in three phases on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River – China’s longest river. Built with over 16 million m3 of concrete, the Three Gorges Dam is considered the biggest reinforced concrete dam in the world.

The Three Gorges Reservoir is capable of holding nearly 40 billion m3 of water, including a space of 22.15 billion m3 for extra flooded water. With a length of more than 6,300 km and a natural fall of 5,400 metres from the west to the east, the flood-prone Yangtze River is the third largest in the world.

The gigantic project is expected to generate around 15 million megawatts of electricity, 84.7 billion kWh annually when the entire project is completed in 2008. But whilst proponents of the world’s largest hydropower project laud the increased electricity generation and improved flood control as benefits to China, opponents claim destruction of the environment, ruin to China’s cultural heritage – disaffecting millions of local residents.

“In my view, building the Three Gorges dam is a ridiculous and evil farce,” says dam opponent Dai Qing. “Many people have known something is wrong with the project, but few have dared to speak up,” she said. After it becomes operational, the 660km reservoir created by the dam will drown 13 towns, 4500 villages and 162 archaeological sites.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) are also strident vocal critics. “The dam is having a titanic social and environment impact,” the group said this week. “Sometimes people are being moved out by truncheon and bulldozer because they refuse to leave their home for fear of not being rehoused. Human rights violations are massive and brutal,” it said. FoE pointed to evidence that the dam was already having a serious environment impact.

FoE points to a scientific study by the East China Normal University in Shanghai, published in March in Geophysical Research, which said that in 2004, the Three Gorges dam has reduced the supply of sediment to the Yangtze delta to just 35 per cent of the norm.

Millions of tonnes of silt are drawn along the Yangtze river every year, and critics argue the dam will intercept much of it – with potentially disastrous consequences. They say the lack of sediment further downstream would lead to soil erosion, and the accumulation of sediment in the reservoir could raise the dam level, submerging even more land.

Opponents say the reservoir could fill with the accumulated garbage from tens of millions of households. The China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corp. has spent $2.5 million on a vessel to collect as much as 7 million cubic feet of garbage that accumulates at the dam each year, according to Xinhua. Some argue that the impact of the dam project will contribute to the extinction of the rare Yangtze river dolphin.

The dam project will force the relocation of a total of 1.13 million people, and communities that have lived in the area for millennia will disappear. Researchers warn sedimentation and rising water levels in the reservoir will lead to the evacuation of tens of thousands more people.

But as the waters rise, that which can not be saved will disappear along with some world famous natural scenery. Critics say the dam is under threat from earthquakes, with two geological fault lines nearby. Officials working on the project counter this by saying the worst that can happen is a tremor measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, while the dam is built to withstand force 7.0.

“Although the dam is now complete, we still have a long way to go and cannot become self-satisfied or relax our efforts in the least,” Li Yongan, general manager of the Three Gorges Project Development Corp, said. The official China Daily in an editorial called for people to remember the more than 100 workers whom died during the dam’s construction. “The best possible way to repay such a debt of gratitude is to make sure the highest safety and quality standards are observed up till the very end of the entire building process,” the editorial said.

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Andrew McAvoy, Windsor-Tecumseh

Posted on April 18th, 2019

Monday, September 24, 2007

Andrew McAvoy is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Windsor-Tecumseh riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Historic gym the site of Benet Academy, Illinois victory over Oswego

Posted on April 17th, 2019

Monday, January 18, 2010

Benet Academy Redwings 40 34 Oswego Panthers

The Benet Academy Redwings boys basketball team defeated the Oswego High School Panthers 40–34 Saturday night at Benet’s historic Alumni Gym. 

Located at Lisle, Illinois, United States, the gymnasium is home to Benet’s winning streak of 102 consecutive home games. The statewide record lasted from November 26, 1975 until January 24, 1987, when Naperville North High School defeated the Redwings 47–46. Benet also achieved 96 consecutive victories in the Western Suburban Catholic Conference at that time. 

The school continued to use the facility, colloquially referred to as the “Old Gym” or the “Small Gym”, until the end of the 1994 season, when a newer athletic center was built on campus. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s when then-coach Marty Gaughan decided to play one game per year in the Alumni Gym to remind the school of its history. “There is just an electricity, and you feel it when you are in there,” said Gaughan, who coached the team from the 1989–1990 season to the 2007–2008 season. 

This tradition continued until the 2006–2007 season, when the Redwings played against long-time rival St. Francis High School. Renovations prevented the gym from being used for athletic events over the past two seasons. This game was Benet coach Gene Heidkamp’s first opportunity to coach in the older gym. “So much history and winning has taken place there, which makes it so special. It is something the entire school community is excited about,” said Heidkamp. 

Saturday’s game was played at the Alumni Gym at the request of Oswego assistant coach Jim Bagley. He wanted his son, senior forward Chris Bagley, to experience the same atmosphere he had as he played for Benet in the 1978–1979 season. Greg Kwiatkowski was also Jim Bagley’s teammate in Benet, and his son, Joe Kwiatkowski, was in the Panthers’ starting lineup as well. “Two of us who played at Benet together and now our son’s play on [Oswego] together and for them to have a chance to play where we played is going to be a great night and great experience,” said the senior Bagley. 

Alumni Gym apparently still had its charm in the second half for the Redwings, whose 15–17 score at halftime worsened into an 11-point deficit in the third quarter. Benet fell behind with a score of 21–29 at the start of the fourth quarter. From that point, the Redwings’ defense began to kick in. Oswego could make only 2 of its 13 field goals in the third quarter. Benet’s offense also gained momentum as center Frank Kaminsky scored all of his 9 points in the fourth quarter. A shot by senior Mike Runger brought the score to 31–31, and two consecutive driving layups by David Sobolewski gave Benet the lead that would last for the rest of the game. 

“We hit a dry spell there, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Defense wins games and they are the best defensive team we’ve faced all year,” said Oswego coach Kevin Schnable.

Benet’s Matt Parisi led his team with 15 points, and Sobolewski scored 12. Oswego’s Andrew Ziemnik also scored 12. 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Posted on April 17th, 2019

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients

Posted on April 17th, 2019

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Kennedy Center announced that its 30th presentation of the Kennedy Center Honors would go to pianist Leon Fleisher, comedian Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, director Martin Scorsese and musician Brian Wilson. The Center was opened to the public in 1971 and was envisioned as part of the National Cultural Center Act, which mandated that the independent, privately-funded institution would present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, commission the creation of new artistic works, and undertake a variety of educational missions to increase awareness of the arts.

In a statement, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said that “with their extraordinary talent, creativity and perseverance, the five 2007 honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts.”

Fleisher, 79, a member of the Peabody Institute‘s music faculty, is a pianist who lost use of his right hand in 1965 due to a neurological condition. He became an accomplished musician and conductor through the use of his left hand. At 67, he regained the use of his right hand. With the advent of Botox therapy, he was once more able to undertake two-hand performances in 2004, his first in four decades. “I’m very gratified by the fact that it’s an apolitical honor,” Fleisher said. “It is given by colleagues and professional people who are aware of what [an artist] has done, so it really is apolitical — and that much more of an honor.”

Martin, 62, a comedian who has written books and essays in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career, rose to fame during his work on the American television program Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s. Schwarzman praised his work as that of a “renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines.” Martin responded to the honor saying, “I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for finally alleviating in me years of covetousness and trophy envy.”

Ross, 63, was a product of Detroit‘s Brewster-Douglass Projects when as a teeager she and friends Mary Wilson and Florence Ballardis formed The Supremes, a ground-breaking Motown act. She portrayed singer Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues, which earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award. “Diana Ross’ singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world,” said Schwarzman. Ross said she was “taken aback. It is a huge, huge honor and I am excited to be in this class of people.”

Scorsese, 64, is one of the most accomplished directors the United States ever produced, whose work includes Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, Cape Fear, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Departed, for which he won a 2006 Academy Award for Best Director after being nominated eight times. Scorsese said, “I’m very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Kennedy Center and proud to be joining the company of the very distinguished individuals who have received this honor in years past.”

Wilson, 65, along with his brothers Dennis and Carl, formed the Beach Boys in 1961. They had a series of hits that included “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Their 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the most influential recordings in American music. “This is something so unexpected and I feel extremely fortunate to be in the company of such great artists,” said Wilson, who is currently on tour.

The Kennedy Center’s board of trustees is responsible for selecting honorees for “lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.” Previous honorees, including Elton John and Steven Spielberg, also submitted recommendations. A wide variety of people were under consideration, including Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Renee Fleming, Laurence Fishburne, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge and Kenny Chesney.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will attend the center’s presentation at its opera house on December 2, 2007, which will broadcast on December 26 on CBS.

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

Posted on April 17th, 2019

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spain’s men’s national goalball team arrived in Espoo, Finland Friday for the start of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. The team comes into the tournament with the goal of securing a medal, which would qualify them for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The team missed the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Head coach Francisco Monreal said, “The objective is to reach the medal round, and qualify directly for the 2016 Games, but we need to be realistic and not think game by game, we can get a surprise. […] The competition will be decided in one game, head or tails, where it doesn’t matter what happened before. ((es))Spanish language: ?el objetivo previsto es alcanzar las medallas y clasificarnos directamente para los Juegos de 2016, pero hay que ser realistas y como no vayamos pensando partido a partido, nos podemos llevar una sorpresa. […] La competición se decidirá en un partido a cara o cruz, como son los cruces de cuartos, y donde no sirve de nada lo realizado en la primera fase

Coming into the competition, the team was ranked eleventh in the world based on the IBSA Unofficial rankings published late last month, down one spot from the April rankings. The team is scheduled to play their first game against the ninth ranked United States men’s team on Monday morning, before playing twenty-first ranked Germany later in the afternoon. Their other scheduled competitors in pool play are top ranked Iran, third ranked Algeria, seventh ranked Finland, twelfth ranked Czech Republic and twentieth ranked Ukraine. The team needs to finish in the top four in their group to advance to the second round.

The team’s roster includes Jose Daniel Fernández, Cristian Santamaria, Félix Vargas, Roman Martínez, Jesús Santana, and Javier Serrato. They are led by head coach Monreal, with assistant coach Carles Estrany and physiotherapist José Bravo. The team is drawn from around the country, with Santana playing for a club in the Canary Islands, Serrato playing for Valencia, Fernández for Madrid area Chamartín, Santamaría for Cantabria, Vargas coming from Barcelona and Martínez from Aragón.

Absent from the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the last major international competition the team competed in was the 2010 Goalball World Championships in Sheffield, England where the team finished fifth. In last year’s IBSA European Goalball Championships in Turkey, the team finished second, behind World Championship hosts and Paralympic gold medalists Finland.

Goalball was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court, and the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.