Train derails spilling oil
A train towing a highly volatile type of oil on Friday derailed in Oregon State’s scenic Columbia River Gorge, igniting a fire that sent a plume of black smoke into the sky and spurring evacuations and road closures. Eleven cars derailed in the 96-car Union Pacific train and the railroad said several caught fire. The crash released oil alongside tracks that parallel the Columbia River. All the cars on the train traveling to Tacoma, Washington State, from Eastpoint, Idaho, were carrying Bakken oil, which is more flammable than other varieties because it has a higher gas content and vapor pressure, and a lower flash point. The accident immediately drew reaction from environmentalists who said oil should not be transported by rail, particularly along a river that is a hub of recreation and commerce. “Moving oil by rail constantly puts our communities and environment at risk,’’ said Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity in Eugene, Oregon.
Officials on Friday said they have finished exhuming the remains of 117 people buried by authorities in a common grave in the central state of Morelos. Shoddy practices at the gravesite intended for unidentified bodies came to light last year after a judge ordered the state prosecutor’s office to exhume a corpse and turn it over to family members. They found they had to dig around dozens of plastic-wrapped bodies without any documentation connecting them to case files. The Morelos State Government on Friday said that the bodies had been reburied at a regular graveyard. State prosecutors said DNA samples had been taken to help connect the bodies to people looking for missing relatives. Because nobody was sure how many had been buried in the pit, exploratory wells were dug to prove there were no more bodies. The exhumations came after a long battle by the families of the missing, many of whom complained of shoddy investigations into their relatives’ disappearances.
‘Glee’ star pleads not guilty
An actor who starred in the musical TV series Glee on Friday pleaded not guilty to federal pornography charges and had his Internet usage and travel severely restricted. US Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver ruled Mark Salling can be released after he posts US$150,000 bail, including US$100,000 of his own money to guarantee future court appearances. Salling, 33, answered several questions from the judge and entered a not-guilty plea during his court appearance, which also resulted in a trial date being set for next month. Salling, who played bad-boy Noah “Puck” Puckerman in the Fox musical dramedy, was charged last week with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography after a grand jury indicted him last week. US Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek said investigators found an extensive, carefully organized collection of child pornography during searches of Salling’s electronic devices.
President hospitalized briefly
President Mauricio Macri was briefly hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat, the presidency said on Friday. Macri, 57, suffered from a “light arrhythmia” at about 3pm, but he carried on working normally at the presidential residence in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, his office said in a statement. He was checked into a hospital at about 7:30pm for precautionary studies. He was released later in the evening.
Helicopter crashes in Papua
A pilot was killed and three passengers critically wounded after a helicopter crashed in a remote eastern area yesterday, officials said, the latest accident to beset the country’s beleaguered aviation sector. The Bell 206 helicopter of aircraft operator Amur went down in Papua Province’s Paniai Regency. It was not immediately clear what caused the accident. Weather conditions were reported to be normal at the time. “We have evacuated the passengers to the nearby city of Nabire so they could get medical treatment,” National Police spokesman Agus Rianto said. Difficult terrain and bad weather in the province have caused several accidents in recent years. Last year, an airplane from Trigana Air crashed, killing 54 people on board.
Inmates escape from prison
Security forces yesterday launched a manhunt after a reported 20 prisoners broke out of a jail on the island of Muharraq. There was no immediate word on whether the prisoners were common criminals or political activists jailed in a sweeping five-year-old crackdown on dissent among the kingdom’s Shiite majority. The Ministry of Interior said police had recaptured some of the fugitives, but gave no details on how many remained at large. It said the breakout happened at the al-Hidd detention center near the Muharraq dry dock on Friday evening. The Akhbar al-Khaleej newspaper said about 20 prisoners had escaped. “They managed to seize a bus and get away after assaulting warders and police and wounding several of them,” the newspaper said. Police set up roadblocks on the causeways linking Muharraq to the main island, where the capital, Manama, is located, the newspaper added.
Police arrest 132 partygoers
Iranian police have arrested 132 men and women, some of them alleged bisexuals, a judiciary Web site said on Friday, in the latest crackdown on partygoers accused of breaking Muslim rules. On Thursday night, police in Tehran arrested “more than 70 drunk men and women at a restaurant in Farahzad,” on the capital’s northwestern outskirts, Mizan Online reported. The news agency later quoted police as saying there were 40 men and 30 women, including 26 men and six women who tested positive for alcohol. “Six bisexuals were identified among those arrested,” it said. Drinking alcohol and dancing with the opposite sex are illegal. In addition, “62 men and women were arrested at another party in Bandar Abbas,” Mizan said, without giving a date. Last week, Iran arrested eight people accused of involvement in making “obscene” music videos.
Man dies after shark attack
A surfer who lost a leg in a shark attack has died, police said yesterday, adding that his injuries were too severe for him to survive. Ben Gerring, 29, was with a group of surfers at Falcon Beach in Western Australia when a suspected great white pounced on him on Tuesday, ripping off his right leg above the knee and snapping his surfboard in half. Fellow surfers rushed to his aid, helping him from the water and giving him first aid before he could be transferred to Royal Perth Hospital in efforts praised by his family. “Tragically, the man was unable to recover from his injury and passed away last night [Friday],” Western Australia Police said in a statement. Authorities said a 4.2m shark was caught on Wednesday near to where the attack occurred, but they could not confirm whether it was responsible.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable