Displaying 11 - 20 of 1009 entries.

Major explosions at UK oil depot

  • Posted on June 10, 2019 at 1:02 am

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A series of large explosions have occurred close to Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire, UK. The source of the explosions has been confirmed as the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal (HOSL), Hemel Hempstead, known locally as the Buncefield complex. Up to 150 fire fighters are reported to be at the scene with 10 fire appliances and 1 specialist foamer.

The first ‘blast’ was heard near Hemel Hempstead on Sunday 11 Dec at 6 am. Further smaller explosions followed at 6:24am , 6:26am, 6:30am. BBC News 24 reported an additional, fourth large explosion. Hertfordshire Police Constabulary are currently treating the explosion as an accident.

Reports say the explosion, which registered 2.4 on the Richter scale, was heard as far away as Oxford, and Whitehall, Central London which is 60km (38 miles) away. Eyewitness statements report that the explosion was heard from at least 160km (100 miles) away and as far away as France and The Netherlands. Pilots reported noticing the blast from the North Sea and the West Country area of the UK. The M1 motorway which runs close by has been closed in both directions near the blast which is causing travel chaos as other roads become congested.

Malcom Stewart, a BBC News24 eyewitness who is a tanker driver for the site has reported that the site supplies several oil companies and is a joint operation between Total UK and Texaco, it is also used by BP, Shell and the British Pipeline association. The complex is not a refinery but a storage facility for refined petroleum awaiting distribution to airports and filling stations. The eyewitness reports that the depot has approximately 20 tanks which can hold about 3 million gallons (11 million litres or 70,000 barrels) each. Another News24 eyewitness has just reported that he has seen at least 5 of these tanks on fire.

The depot operates on a 24 hour basis and is split into 2 parts – aviation fuel and domestic fuel. A number of eyewitnesses have reported on UK news that the aviation fuel side appears to be the part of the site that has been affected.

Local authorities were not immediately available for comment but there have been reports of casualties.

Some reports on live television state that, “Several other neighbours said they did see a plane go into the depot.” BBC News 24 were also discussing the idea a possible plane crash as the cause of the explosions. Hertfordshire police have now gone on the record to say that there is no plane involved (BBC News24).

The police have issued a contact number 0800 096 0095 and asked that people do not call the emergency services in Hertfordshire directly unless it is an emergency.

In addition to being an oil storage depot, it is a major hub on the UK oil pipeline network with pipelines to Killingholme Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR), Humberside (10 inch), Merseyside (10 and 12 inch), Coryton on the Thames Estuary (14 inch) and Heathrow (6 and 8 inch) and Gatwick airports radiating from it.

The disaster is believed to be the worst explosion at a petrochemical plant in the UK since the Flixborough disaster of 1974.Hertfordshire’s Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher said: “This is possibly the largest incident of its kind in peacetime Europe.”

A firefighting press officer said that they are stock piling foam from neighboring regions for a prolonged attach which they hope will stop the spread of the fire, however, the inferno itself will have to burn out which could take between 24 hours and a few days.

Despite the authorities saying that there is no need to panic buy petrol, filling stations have had above average queues since this morning and some small garages have ran out.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has visited the scene.

Major explosions at UK oil depot
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Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

  • Posted on June 9, 2019 at 1:06 am

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive
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Plane crashes into office block in Austin, Texas

  • Posted on June 7, 2019 at 1:28 am

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A small plane crashed into a building, which was one of the Echelon office complex, in north Austin, Texas this morning at 09:56 local time (1456 UTC).

Federal officials say the plane owner was Joseph Andrew Stack III; presumed to be the pilot who set his house on fire on the 1800 block of Dapplegrey Lane in north Austin an hour earlier. He then drove to Georgetown Municipal Airport, approximately 20 miles away, took off and then crashed his private plane into the Echelon complex.

The Federal Aviation Authority indicated the light aircraft was a Piper Cherokee PA-28, as did news reports and eye witnesses. The FAA said the plane had no flight plan and was under Visual Flight Rules.

Mr. Stack committed suicide, and a suicide note has been located. Mr. Stack’s suicide note mentions anti-government and anti-corporate ideals, as well as problems with the Internal Revenue Service and that he lost money in the Enron scandal. Although the incident was intentional, a Department of Homeland Security official said that terrorism is not suspected. The online host of the note, T35 Hosting, later removed it in its entirety after the FBI requested its censorship. However, Wikinews has preserved the full text of the letter.

Austin Fire Department reported around 1100 local time (1600 UTC) that two people were transported to local hospitals and one was unaccounted for. One man was admitted at a local hospital under serious condition for smoke inhalation. The other man suffered from second-degree burns on 25% of his back and has been transported by helicopter to Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio and is said to be in stable condition.

The seven-story Echelon Building One is located on 9430 Research Boulevard and contains Internal Revenue Service offices. The Echelon building complex houses a number of federal offices, including Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Research Boulevard is the service road of U.S. Route 183. The incident has caused severe backups on both Research Boulevard and Route 183.

A witness told The Austin Statesman that he saw the plane flying lower than usual, then it made a sharp turn and hit the building.

An Austin County EMS official, James Shamard, said that smoke is visible from at least a mile from the crash site. Another official for the Austin Fire Department said that two persons who were working in the building are still unaccounted for.

MSNBC reports that there was some form of domestic dispute between Mr. Stack and his wife before the incident. He then reportedly used gasoline to light his house on fire. When the fire department arrived, they rescued his wife and teenage daughter.

According to Jerry Cullen, a pilot and former flight instructor who witnessed the crash, the plane was traveling at high speed at time of impact.

Plane crashes into office block in Austin, Texas
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Borneo bridge collapse kills at least three as vehicles fall

  • Posted on June 7, 2019 at 1:00 am

Saturday, November 26, 2011

At least three people died today and seventeen more were injured after a road bridge collapsed on the Indonesian island of Borneo. At least three cars, several motorbikes, and a public bus all fell into the Mahakam River.

The bridge was constructed from concrete roughly a decade ago to resemble California’s Golden Gate Bridge, and links the East Kalimantan towns of Tenggarong and Samarinda. Police say there is no indication of why it failed. Completed in 2001, work started in 1995 and locals called it “Kalimantan’s Golden Gate Bridge.”

The wounded have been hospitalised, some with broken bones. The scene at the bridge, in Kutai Kartanegara district, was filled with screams in the aftermath of the collapse. The suspension bridge was erected by state-owned builders PT Hutama Karya and one segment has fallen into the water. Some vehicles are close to entirely submerged, and Indonesia Today suggests as many as 100 people may be injured. One damaged car was left inverted and suspended above the water.

Harmoni Adi, head of a search and rescue agency, said “[t]he death toll is likely to increase,” after the 4:30pm local time collapse, with rescuers in Tenggarong searching the river for survivors. Some people swam ashore after falling from the structure, which spanned 700 metres. An eyewitness described heavy traffic on the bridge when it came down.

 This story has updates See Borneo bridge collapse: death toll reaches four, many remain missing, November 27, 2011,Death toll from Borneo bridge collapse reaches eleven, November 28, 2011 
Borneo bridge collapse kills at least three as vehicles fall
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Ford, Fiat to produce small cars together

  • Posted on June 3, 2019 at 1:04 am

Friday, September 9, 2005

Italian-based Fiat Auto SPA and US-based Ford Motor Co. announced they signed an agreement to cooperate in designing two small car models. This came only seven months after General Motors severed their relationship with Fiat.

Both companies plan to work together on a new version of the popular Fiat Cinquecento and on a replacement for the Ford Ka, both to be based on the Fiat Panda platform.

The cooperation can help reduce the companies’ small car production costs and ease financial difficulties they are facing. Ford is struggling with high labor and health care costs, while Fiat suffers from its unprofitable Italian plants.

After the deal was announced, shares of Fiat rose $0.06 to $9.44, while Ford gained $0.06 to $9.95 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Ford, Fiat to produce small cars together
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An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer

  • Posted on May 30, 2019 at 1:01 am
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

As families fled their homes in the early morning hours on Thursday October 26, there was no warning. The Esperanza Fire southeast of Los Angeles and West of Palm Springs, California, had ballooned under the influence of Santa Ana winds to more than 19,000 acres as of the morning of October 27. No time to get the animals, no time for crates or even a leash. Sadly, owners left behind not only their horses, lamas, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, but also their dogs and cats.

Many of the families who did manage to evacuate their pets found themselves in the parking lot at the Fellowship in the Pass Church Red Cross Shelter where a MuttShack Animal Rescue team caught up with them.

Pam Anderson, Director of the emergency Red Cross shelter said that many people with animals had come and left.

The air was thick with smoke, and ash was raining down on the parking lot where dog owners, not able to take their dogs into the shelter were camping out in pup tents andin their cars.

Those who could afford it checked themselves into pet friendly hotels in nearby towns.

Some were prepared. Jane Garner, a small dog breeder was able to get all her animals out, and had set up her puppy runs alongside her RV in the parking lot. Others were not doing too well, having left home without as much as a leash.

The same scenario played out at the Red Cross shelter at Hemet High School. Animals were being boarded in vans, trailers and cars and small travel crates.

When MuttShack Animal Rescue arrived, a small fracas had sent several dogs off in different directions, running out of the school parking lot down busy streets necessitating an instant rescue response.

The Incident Command for the Esperanza Animals, Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto welcomed MuttShack‘s offer to help at the shelters.

Ramona Humane Society had recently published a notice in their Newsletter about the newly passed “PETS Act”and warned owners not wait until a major disaster such as an earthquake or fireto prepare. “Be proactive to ensure that your pet will be taken care of.”

MuttShack and PetSmart Charities set up ad hoc facilities for the animals at both shelters.

The Red Cross shelter, run by Madison Burtchaell of the Orange County Red Cross was very accommodating about allowing a small emergency pet shelter adjacent to the School.

Barbara A. Fought of PetSmart Charities, an organization that works with animal welfare organizations and provide assistance in disasters, provided crates and emergency supplies.

MuttShack and Red Cross volunteers, Martin St. John, Tom Hamilton, and Steve Meissner helped assemble the crates to secure a safe environment for evacuated pets.

It was a great relief for evacuees who had camped out in the parking lot to finally leave their vehicles and relax at the shelter, setting up their cots to grab some sorely needed rest.

Firefighters and residents reported loss of wildlife and animals. The Esperanza fire burned 34 homes, consumed 40,000 acres and cost five Firefighters their lives before it was contained four days later on October 30. Firefighting operations cost nearly $10 million.

MuttShack Animal Rescue is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization active in disasters and dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of lost or discarded dogs, cats and other animals.

An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer
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British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’

  • Posted on May 26, 2019 at 1:17 am

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rico Daniels is a British TV presenter living in France who is known for his two television series — The Salvager — whilst he still lived in the UK and then Le Salvager after he moved to France. Rico has been in a variety of jobs but his passion is now his profession – he turns unwanted ‘junk’ into unusual pieces of furniture. Rico’s creations and the methods used to fabricate them are the subject of the Salvager shows.

Rico spoke to Wikinews in January about his inspiration and early life, future plans, other hobbies and more. Read on for the full exclusive interview, published for the first time:

British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’
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Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

  • Posted on May 26, 2019 at 1:02 am

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

PETA was born.

In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.

They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Contents

  • 1 The HBO film about her life
  • 2 PETA, animal rights groups and the Animal Liberation Front
  • 3 Newkirk on humans and other animals
  • 4 Religion and animals
  • 5 Fashion and animals
  • 6 Newkirk on the worst corporate animal abusers
  • 7 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
  • 8 Ingrid Newkirk on Ingrid Newkirk
  • 9 External links
  • 10 Sources
Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life
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‘Jesus Camp’ shuts down

  • Posted on May 23, 2019 at 1:08 am

Thursday, November 9, 2006

The evangelical Christian summer camp “Kids on Fire ” featured in the documentary Jesus Camp will shut down for several years due to negative reactions to the film, negative e-mails, phone calls and letters. Many accuse camp leader Becky Fischer of “brainwashing” the children.

The documentary showed camp leader Becky Fischer acting as a “drill instructor” for young children preparing themselves for spiritual and political warfare. Fischer makes explicit comparisons between her camp and Islamist ‘jihad training camps’. It also shows children praying before a photograph of President Bush.

The film included scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, who resigned his leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals after he was accused of having sex with a male prostitute and using methamphetamine.

Haggard has criticized the film as mocking the evangelical movement and for using his statement that “If the Evangelicals vote, they determine the election.” The film makers responded that “Pastor Haggard is the only person in Jesus Camp who has a problem with how he was portrayed” and stated that they had been careful to avoid his more inflammatory and divisive comments.

‘Jesus Camp’ shuts down
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China’s ‘Bandit King’ given life term in ‘massive’ bribery case

  • Posted on May 23, 2019 at 1:02 am

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lai Changxing, dubbed the Bandit King, has been given a life sentence for years of smuggling and corruption that added up to billions of US dollars or Pounds sterling. The Chinese court described the values as “massive”.

Lai smuggled goods worth more than £2 billion into Xiamen, bypassing more than £1 billion in import duty. He paid 64 local officials a total of almost £4 million in bribes, giving him effective control of the city from 1995 to 1999. He fled China after becoming a wanted man in 1999 and went to Canada via Hong Kong; the following year, Premier Zhu Rongji said “If Lai was executed three times over, it would not be too much”.

As head of the Yuanhua Group, Lai smuggled in cars, chemicals, oil, cigarettes, and other goods. He distributed bundles of cash to the poor, owned and played for his local football team, built stadia, owned a bulletproof Mercedes that once belonged to President Jiang Zemin, and attempted to construct a tower that would have been the nation’s tallest building. He attained local popularity for funding construction projects including schools, hundreds of tower blocks, and the local airport.

As well as money, officials were offered alcohol and prostitutes. Many were offered time at Lai’s seven-storey brothel, the Red Mansion, and feasted at a replica of the Forbidden City.

State TV has broadcast footage depicting a banquet table with a tiger skin laid upon it, cars given to officials, a young woman alleged to have been donated as a lover, and a sackful of gold rings. The case’s prominence was such that Liu Liying, boss of the national Central Discipline Inspection Committee, took charge of bringing Lai down.

Subsequent investigations have examined more than 1,000 suspects with police at one stage turning over an entire hotel to the probe, filling rooms with suspects. National newspaper The People’s Daily has suggested it is the most serious economic crime in modern Chinese history. He was the nation’s top car importer and one of the main traders in oil and imported cigarettes.

Hundreds of officials have been convicted and it is estimated hundreds more remain. Fellow life-sentence prisoners from the case include the city’s deputy mayor and its head of customs. The nation’s former vice-minister for security, Li Jizhou, has a suspended death sentence. Other suspects have killed themselves.

The sums involved are unusually large, and the details are extraordinarily serious

Upon his escape from the nation Lai became China’s most-wanted fugitive. Twelve years of negotiations ended with a Chinese promise Lai would be spared the death penalty, and Canada extradited him last year. Numerous lower-ranking members of Lai’s empire have already been given life imprisonment or death sentences. With execution off the table, the court gave Lai the highest sentence possible: in addition to the life term, he received fifteen years for bribery and had all his possessions confiscated.

The court justified the “double sentence” on the grounds “the sums involved are unusually large, and the details are extraordinarily serious”. “The crimes involve massive sums and particularly serious circumstances,” court officials told Xinhua. Lai had denied corruption at his trial, although he accepted exploiting loopholes to avoid import duty.

“I don’t have a good family background,” Lai said previously in a press interview. “I have to do things step by step by myself. That’s how people came to respect me. I never fussed about big money.” Lai was born as one of eight siblings in the midst of famine.

China’s ‘Bandit King’ given life term in ‘massive’ bribery case
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