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Posts Tagged ‘clear’

Europe airports fight to clear Christmas backlog

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

LONDON, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – European airports fought to clear a backlog of thousands of stranded Christmas travellers on Wednesday as arctic conditions gripped the continent and sparked fresh delays and cancellations.


Weary passengers faced another day stuck in terminals amid fresh snowfalls and continued freezing temperatures which have hit airports in Britain, Germany, France and Ireland.

People skate on a rink in the western German city of Essen on December 21, 2010. AFP

Britain has offered to send in troops to end the disruption at London Heathrow, while Frankfurt and Dublin airports faced severe disruption.


Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic supervisory body, said about 3,000 flights had been cancelled across Europe on Tuesday, with similar numbers of cancellations for each of the past four days.


The cold snap chaos also hit Europe’s rail network with long queues snaking outside the London terminal for the Eurostar train link between Britain, France and Belgium.


There was a glimmer of hope for angry passengers who have spent four nights sleeping under foil blankets at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, as its second runway reopened late Tuesday.


But the huge backlog at one of the busiest times of year meant services will not immediately return to normal, and the airport planned to run about two-thirds of flights Wednesday.


“It is good news to see aircraft taking off and landing from two runways,” Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA told Sky News.


“But it’s really important that passengers understand that doesn’t mean the full schedule is going to be restored instantly.”


Airport officials were under increasing pressure to resolve the crisis Wednesday after the EU lashed out at the “unacceptable” disruption caused by the heavy snows.


“I am extremely concerned about the level of disruption to travel across Europe caused by severe snow. It is unacceptable and should not happen again,” European transport commissioner Siim Kallas said.


British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had offered to use the military to help BAA resolve the crisis at Heathrow, but this offer was refused.


“The people stuck there are having an incredibly difficult time, especially just a few days from Christmas, and everything must be done to either get them on holiday or get them home safely,” Cameron told a press conference.


Anger was meanwhile mounting among passengers queuing in the cold outside the terminal buildings at Heathrow.


“I think this hurts the reputation of the whole country. The airport is the first experience you have and this is not a good experience,” Gustaf Malmstrom, 23, told AFP as he tried for a fifth day to get a flight to Stockholm.


Most of Heathrow’s five terminals were only letting in people who were flying on Tuesday morning, mainly on flights to Asia, while others had to queue outside. Workers handed out silver foil blankets and set up two heated tents.


Eurostar said it was running a restricted service and asked all customers booked to travel before Christmas to refund or exchange their tickets free of charge if their journey was not essential.


The queue of passengers stretched for more than a kilometre around the imposing St Pancras station, and Eurostar warned the chaos looked set to continue.


“It’s too early at the moment to say when we will get back to normal,” a spokeswoman told AFP.


In Germany fresh snowfall caused gridlock at the country’s main airport Frankfurt with no flights taking off or landing for around three and a half hours in the morning.


Many internal flights were cancelled because of the arctic conditions, prompting German train company Deutsche Bahn to announce additional services on major routes across the country to help stranded travellers.


Dublin airport grounded all flights until 0800 GMT on Wednesday after Ireland was hit by more than 15 centimetres (six inches) of snow.


In France authorities allowed the two main airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, to remain open around the clock to clear the backlog of delayed flights.

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Source: SGGP

WikiLeaks’ Assange free on bail, vows to clear name

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 5:26 am

LONDON (AFP) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed to clear his name and pursue his work releasing secret documents, as he enjoyed his first day of freedom Friday after being released on bail by a British court.


“I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence in this matter and to reveal as we get it — which we have not yet — the evidence from these allegations,” Assange said Thursday on the steps of the High Court where he was greeted by a media scrum.


Assange and his lawyers insist that moves to extradite him from Britain to Sweden to face questioning over allegations he sexually assaulted two women are politically motivated.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange celebrates as he prepares to address the media outside the High Court in central London. AFP

Amid a hail of camera flashes outside the London court, Assange thanked “all the people around the world who have had faith in me, who have supported my team while I have been away.”


His website has rocked Washington by releasing hundreds of classified US diplomatic cables, and his supporters have linked his detention to the massive leak.


The 39-year-old Australian arrived later at a country mansion in eastern England, where he will stay while on bail, and spoke of his joy at being released.


“It is very nice to be free for Christmas and to smell the fresh air,” he told reporters, outside the manor house which is a marked difference from the cell in London’s Wandsworth prison where he had spent the past nine days.


But he criticised his stringent bail conditions, which include wearing a security tag and being under the curfew, telling the BBC: “It is a very Orwellian situation when you are under hi-tech house arrest.”


He is staying at Ellingham Hall, a mansion on the 600-acre country estate of Vaughan Smith, an ex-British army officer who founded the Frontline Club, the media club in London that is the British base of WikiLeaks’ operations.


Assange will stay there during the ongoing extradition proceedings, which may take months.


The WikiLeaks chief also voiced fears over US attempts to pursue him, saying that he had heard rumours the United States was preparing an indictment for espionage.


“We have also heard today from one of my US lawyers, yet to be confirmed… that there may be a US indictment for espionage for me coming from a secret US grand jury investigation,” he told Sky News.


He expressed fears that the extradition proceedings to Sweden may actually be “an attempt to get me into a jurisdiction which will then make it easier to extradite me to the US.”


Swedish prosecutors have denied the case has anything to do with WikiLeaks.


Earlier Thursday, Assange’s release was delayed by several hours, apparently by haggling over the availability of the 240,000-pound (283,000-euro, 374,000-dollar) surety which has been put up by supporters including film director Michael Moore.


A senior judge had earlier rejected an appeal by lawyers working on behalf of Sweden to keep him in jail pending extradition.


Assange’s mother, Christine, and supporters including campaigning journalist John Pilger, had packed into the courtroom for the hour-and-a-half hearing along with hordes of journalists.


“I’m very, very happy with the decision. I can’t wait to see my son and to hold him close,” Christine Assange said.


Assange, a former computer hacker, was in court to hear the senior judge reject an appeal against a ruling Tuesday by a lower court that he be bailed.


Judge Duncan Ouseley rejected the prosecution’s argument that Assange was a flight risk, saying: “The court does not approach this case on the basis that this is a fugitive from justice who seeks to avoid interrogation and prosecution.”


In arguing the accusations are unfounded, Assange’s supporters cite the timing of his arrest, which coincided with the release by WikiLeaks of thousands of confidential US diplomatic cables.


The latest US cables to be released by WikiLeaks on Friday show that American officials had evidence of torture by Indian security forces and were briefed by Red Cross staff about the abuse of detainees in Kashmir.


The International Committee of the Red Cross briefed diplomats in Delhi in 2005 about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against detainees, according to the cables, revealed in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

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Source: SGGP

Thua Thien – Hue: USD 120,000 project to clear bombs and mines

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm




Thua Thien – Hue: USD 120,000 project to clear bombs and mines


QĐND – Thursday, April 22, 2010, 21:42 (GMT+7)

On April 21, the office of the People’s Committee of the central province of Thua Thien – Hue announced that the committee chairman, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thien signed a decision adopting a project worth USD 120,000 to clear land of bombs and mines in the province, sponsored by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).


The project will be carried out in Hong Tien commune, Huong Tra district, aiming to identify areas in the communities that are affected by bombs and mines to promptly clear land to reduce fatalities and injuries among residents and develop agricultural cultivation.


The project is assigned to the provincial union of friendship organizations.


Source: CPV


Source: QDND