How the Army Corps of Engineers closed one New Orleans breach


Friday, September 9, 2005

New Orleans, Louisiana —After Category 4 storm Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, on the night before August 29, 2005, several flood control constructions failed. Much of the city flooded through the openings. One of these was the flood wall forming one side of the 17th Street Canal, near Lake Pontchartrain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the primary agency for engineering support during such emergencies. A USACE team was assessing the situation in New Orleans on the 29th, water flow was stopped September 2nd, and the breach was closed on September 5th.

Contents

  • 1 Background
  • 2 August 27: Before the storm
  • 3 August 29: Day of the storm
  • 4 August 30: Flood
  • 5 August 31: Recovery begins
  • 6 September 1: Construction
  • 7 September 2: Water flow stopped
  • 8 September 3
  • 9 September 4: Almost done
  • 10 September 5: Breach closed
  • 11 September 6: Pumping and moving on
  • 12 See also
  • 13 Sources

British police shoot man in anti-terrorism raid


Friday, June 2, 2006

At dawn this morning a team of 250 policemen stormed a building in Forest Gate, London, England. A part of the police teams were armed, while others were equipped with chemical weapons gear. Two men were arrested and one was shot in the raid made under the 2000 Terrorism Act.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terror chief, said he had acted on specific intelligence, “we planned an operation that was designed to mitigate any threat to the public either from firearms or from hazardous substances.”

The injury to the man who was shot was not life threatening and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who have opened an investigation into the incident, say a single shot was fired. At Royal London Hospital where the man, later arrested, was taken armed guards were seen at the entrances.

The man, said to be 20 years old, who was not shot, has been questioned at Paddington Green police station. Others at the address have been moved out – two residents have been treated in hospital for shock.

The search at the house in Lansdown Road is said to be ongoing. Police have closed Lansdown Road, Rothsay Road and Prestbury Road and a blind has been erected around the premises. The Civil Aviation Authority report a four-day “no fly area” below 2,500ft is in force over east London.

The British intelligence agency, MI5, and the Health Protection Agency also had a role in the operation, which British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been told about. The raid is not thought to be linked to the London tube and bus bombings in July 2005.Saturday, June 3, 2006Police say the raid was carried out in search of a ‘suicide vest’ that could be used to release poison gas. Police say MI5 believe there exists ‘firm intelligence’ that such a vest exists.

As of Friday evening, police had yet to discover weapons, chemicals or any other evidence of a planned attack.

The two men arrested are believed to be 23 and 20 year old brothers, Mohammed Abdul Kahar and Abdul Koyair, both of Bangladeshi origin. Abdul Kahar was shot in the shoulder during the raid, his injury is said to be non life threatening.

Pakistan coach’s death ‘suspicious’


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The death of Bob Woolmer, Pakistan’s cricket coach at the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, has been officially labelled “suspicious” by the deputy commissioner of police, Mark Shields, in Jamaica today.

“We are now treating [the death of Mr. Woolmer] as suspicious” he said at a news conference.

Bob Woolmer unexpectedly died in his hotel room in Jamaica last Sunday shortly after Pakistan’s shock defeat at the hands of Ireland.

US Senate committee investigates credit card practices


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On Tuesday, the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs‘s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing titled “Credit Card Practices: Unfair Interest Rate Increases.” The hearing examined the circumstances under which credit card issuers may increase the interest rates of cardholders who are in compliance with the terms of their credit cards. It was a follow-up to a March 2007 hearing.

Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin said in his opening statement: “Today’s focus is on credit card issuers who hike the interest rates of cardholders who play by the rules — meaning those folks who pay on time, pay at least the minimum amount due, and wake up one day to find their interest rate has gone through the roof — again, not because they paid late or exceeded the credit limit, but because their credit card issuer decided they should be ‘repriced’.”

Present to testify on behalf of credit card issuers were Roger C. Hochschild of Discover Financial Services, Bruce L. Hammonds of Bank of America Corporation, and Ryan Schneider of Capital One Financial Corporation.

Much of the 90 minute hearing focused on specific cases where interest rates were raised, allegedly because credit scores of the debtor dropped, and not because they were delinquent or otherwise behind on payments. According to Levin, this practice made it so that almost all payments went towards finance charges with almost none toward repaying the principal. This, he felt, is an unfair practice, as the credit card companies were negligent in informing their customers of the rate hikes and the reason for such hikes.

Families find themselves ensnared in a seemingly inescapable web of credit card debt.

The collective credit card debt of Americans totals an estimated US$900 billion. Issuers have come under pressure to disclose their policies in regards to setting fees and interest rates. The US Truth in Lending Act requires that terms of a loan be set forth up front. Fluctuating interest rates on credit cards would, on the surface, appear to violate this act.

Roger C. Hochschild disagreed, arguing that “every card transaction is a new extension of credit … This makes it difficult — and risky — to underwrite, and price, the loan based solely on the borrower’s credit-worthiness at the time of application [for the card].”

Ryan Schneider, agreed: “The ability to modify the terms of a credit card agreement to accommodate changes over time to the economy or the credit-worthiness of consumers must be preserved.”

“Attempts to interfere with the market here … will inevitably result in less credit being offered,” warned Bruce Hammonds. “Risk-based pricing has democratized access to credit,” he added.

All three credit card executives also mentioned an ongoing Federal Reserve System review of credit card rules that already proposes a 45-day notification ahead of any rate changes.

Committee members criticized the industry for varying practices. Included in the criticism was the practice of mailing checks to card-holders, failing to notify applicants that obtaining additional cards could lower their credit score and raise their rates, and “ambushing” card-holders with raised rates.

Ranking minority member of the subcommittee, Norm Coleman said, “families find themselves ensnared in a seemingly inescapable web of credit card debt. They particularly report being saddled with interest rates that skyrocketed on them seemingly out of the blue.”

Retired U.S. vets sue Donald Rumsfeld for excessive service cutbacks


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One thousand residents of the Defense Department-managed Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. filed a class-action lawsuit on May 24, asserting that the cut-backs in medical and dental services imposed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are illegal. The operating budget for the home was reduced from $63 million in 2004 to $58 million for 2005. The residents cite cuts in on-site X-ray, electrocardiogram, physical and dental services, and the closing of the home’s main clinic and an on-site pharmacy.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McManus responded that the changes not only save money but also achieved improved efficiencies. “We’re really trying to improve the benefits to our residents,” he said.

Most of the home’s costs are paid for by a trust fund and monthly fees paid by residents. By law, the Armed Forces Retirement Homes are required to fund, “on-site primary care, medical care and a continuum of long-term care services.”

Ancient prayer book found in Irish bog


Friday, July 28, 2006

An early medieval Christian Psalter (prayer book) was discovered in a bog in the Midland Region of Ireland on July 25, 2006, prompting some to term it the Irish version of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The psalter was found by a worker excavating peat from the bog. The worker immediately covered the book with damp soil, as exposure to dry air after so many centuries of dampness might have destroyed it. He was praised by Dr. Patrick Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland, for doing that. The book was found open to the page of Psalm 83.

The Psalter is currently kept under refrigeration at the National Museum while researchers determine how to open the book without damaging the book’s pages and possibly destroying it.

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Latham quits as Australian Labor leader


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

AUSTRALIA –Following hospitalisation for pancreatitis and ongoing speculation about his leadership, Mark Latham has resigned from his roles as leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and also the Federal Member for Werriwa. He cited as reasons the media harassment, and a desire to put his family and health first.

Mr Latham became leader of the ALP just over a year ago, on 2 December, 2003, leading the party during the October 2004 federal election. He was hospitalised in the run-up to that election, also for treatment of pancreatitis. Following the defeat of his party, his leadership increasingly came under question.

He fell ill a second time almost simultaneously with last year’s Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. His failure to issue a statement on the tsunami drew criticism from the media and calls for his resignation from within his own party, even after it was revealed that he had been incapacitated at the time.

Mr Latham’s resignation sidesteps the possibility of a leadership challenge by other members of the party and leaves no clear successor.

Notre Dame in Paris catches fire


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The roof of Notre Dame cathedral in French capital Paris caught fire yesterday. The spire and at least part of the roof, and at least part of the wooden frame, collapsed. According to officials, the two bell towers were saved.

The fire reportedly started at about 19:00 local time (1700 UTC). Reportedly over 400 firefighters participated in extinguishing the blaze and were still working as of midnight. Not only did they put out the fire but they continued to cool the structure after the fire was gone to reduce the possibility of further damage.

Officials cleared the area around the cathedral.

The French Civil Security service said water bombing by aircraft was disallowed as it might have caused additional damage to the monument.

As of late yesterday, the fire’s cause had not been officially stated. President Emmanuel Macron cancelled an address he was to have given during the evening and instead went to the scene.

Renovation work was ongoing in the building before the fire began. The world-famous cathedral, completed in the 13th century, is one of the most well-known monuments in France.

Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.

Occupation in London enters fifth day


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street and other “Occupy” protests, activists set up camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Saturday, and they plan to remain indefinitely. The protest thus far has been described as “largely peaceful” by a police spokesman.

On Saturday, an estimated thousand or more people attempted to protest in Paternoster Square, the site of the London Stock Exchange, but were blocked by police enforcing a High Court judgment. Julian Assange from Wikileaks also joined the protest to address the activists. A flag flies over the occupation showing the ‘Anonymous’ logo of a headless man in a black suit.

At around 9:30am Wednesday, many campers were still asleep, but around 30–50 people were listening in solidarity to trade union representatives from the National Shop Stewards Network, while 20 to 30 officers from the City of London police watched on. On the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the speakers spoke about a variety of struggles including strikes by electricians that started in August against Balfour Beatty, one of Britain’s largest construction firms. Solidarity was expressed with the travellers at Dale Farm, and speakers described how the media and others were trying to “divide” workers, students and elderly people. One of the speakers said that while today they are occupying the square in London, “tomorrow we will be occupying universities and colleges” and spoke of the suspension of Vik Chechi, the Unison branch secretary who has been suspended by Queen Mary University. By 9:45am, the trade union talks had finished and the sound system was reactivated and reggae music started playing.

After the talks peter out, activity begins to resume on the site: people sorting out tents and serving food, under signs and banners playfully mixing politics (“The London Stock Exchange: Britain’s Biggest Casino”) with Internet memes (a Reddit cartoon man depicted saying “Y U NO JOIN US?”).