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Posts Tagged ‘Misery’

Europe airport chaos slammed as snow misery grows

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

LONDON (AFP) – The EU lashed out at airports Tuesday for the “unacceptable” disruption caused by freezing weather across Europe as fresh snowfall added to the woes of thousands of stranded Christmas travellers.

Britain said it could use troops to end the disruption at London Heathrow, where passengers have been sleeping in terminals throughout four days of chaos, while Frankfurt and Dublin airports faced severe disruption.

A woman keeps warm in a foil blanket, as she waits with other passengers for flight information, outside of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3. AFP

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.

In Brussels, the European Commission warned snowbound airports they could face regulation unless they “get serious” and provide airlines with enough support during severe weather in future.

“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.

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.

At Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, around two-thirds of flights were cancelled but the air hub’s second runway reopened late Tuesday, prompting hopes an end to the crisis was in sight.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had offered to use the military to help Spanish-owned British airports operator BAA, but this offer had been 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.

Despite the opening of the second runway, BAA chief executive Colin Matthews warned people not to expect the situation to return to normal immediately.

“It is good news to see aircraft taking off and landing from two runways but it’s really important that passengers understand that doesn’t mean the full schedule is going to be restored instantly,” he told Sky News television.

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.

By the time it reopened at around 0800 GMT, 300 of the 1,300 daily flights at Europe’s third-largest airport were cancelled, while others were diverted to Munich.

More than 1,000 travellers spent the night at Frankfurt airport, which laid out camp beds and distributed drinks, sandwiches and soft buttered pretzels.

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.

One hundred civil security personnel had been sent on Monday evening with 300 beds and 2,500 blankets for those still stranded at Charles de Gaulle.

Source: SGGP

Central region suffers ongoing misery by flooding

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 8:51 am

Garbage dump subjects resident to lasting misery

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm

It has been almost two decades since the garbage dump has been in operation, and several years since it began seriously troubling residents of the Kimhong-Fortuna building.

A corner of the garbage dump causes badly environment pollution in Phu Tho Hoa Ward, Tan Phu District, HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

The stink and health impacts of the dump are starting to become unbearable, but for than a year 800 or so residents of the building in Tan Phu District have felt their complaints about negative health impacts of a rubbish dump have fallen on deaf ears.

Located right behind the building in Pham Van Xao Street, Phu Tho Hoa, the garbage dump receives and handles over 50 tons of household rubbish a day.

“We have to suffer foul smells all the time, and it gets worse on days after heavy rains. Some households have left their apartments to hire accommodation at other places,” says a petition signed by over 100 households in the building.

Pham Thuy Quyen, a building resident, pointed at scars on her arms, saying they occurred after she treated blisters that doctors said was dermatitis infection because of “contact with insects.”

Her husband, son and other households in the building also suffer from the same disease, Quyen said, adding that they keep wondering when their suffering will end.

The residents have sent petitions to relevant agencies, but are yet to see any changes.

Luong Thi Phuong, deputy chairwoman of Tan Phu District, said that the 83 square meter garbage dump was built in 1992. It uses rudimentary technology, which cannot ensure environmental hygiene, to treat the garbage, she admitted.

Since 2009, environment inspectors and the district People’s Committee have proposed that the city authorities approve a project to build a modern garbage dump that meets environment protection standards in the Phu Tho Hoa Ward.

However, the city People’s Committee is yet to make any decision on the project, and the garbage dump in Phan Van Xao Street continues to make nearby residents suffer.

District authorities have said that all they can do now to limit environmental pollution is to spray and spread chemicals to deodorize and decontaminate the garbage, and prevent ragpickers from foraging through it.

Source: SGGP

Rains bring new misery to China mudslide town

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2010 at 7:21 am

ZHOUQU, China (AFP) – Fresh heavy rains on Thursday brought more misery to a town in northwest China devastated by mudslides that have already killed more than 1,100 people, with new floods leaving more missing.

Thousands of soldiers and rescuers were battling to clean up roads blocked by cascades of mud and sludge unleashed by storms overnight, complicating the task of getting food, water and medicine to those in need.

A woman offers a child something to eat amid the rubble of landslides that have devastated the northwestern Chinese town of Zhouqu. AFP

So far, 1,117 people have been confirmed dead in the disaster in Zhouqu, a town nestled in the mountains of Gansu province. Another 627 residents went missing at the weekend, and three more disappeared overnight, state media said. “The rain has had an impact on rescue work. It’s hindering the distribution of drinking water,” Han Huiping, a 25-year-old firefighter from a nearby town working on the relief effort, told AFP. “We’re worried.”

Soldiers and residents said heavy rains fell for about four hours overnight, turning one of the main streets in Zhouqu into a small river and flooding army tents on the roadside leading into the disaster zone.

Workers used diggers to clear the massive avalanche of mud and rocks that effectively split the town in two at the weekend as rain fell early Thursday. The peaks surrouding the town were shrouded in dark clouds.

The shortest route into Zhouqu from the provincial capital Lanzhou, mainly being used by relief crews, was blocked, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Some shops in town had run out of drinking water well before noon, but new supplies appeared to be trickling in, an AFP correspondent witnessed.

“We’re really worried, but there is nothing much we can do,” said one villager who asked not to be named.

The bad weather was expected to continue at least through Friday.

The water level in the Bailong river, which cuts through Zhouqu, was higher on Thursday and flowing more quickly, an AFP correspondent saw. State media said the level had risen by three metres (six feet).

Troops were using excavators and explosives to clear blockages in the river and drain a barrier lake created by the rubble that, if it were to burst, could bring further destruction to areas already levelled by the torrent of mud.

Officials insisted Wednesday the risk had been minimised.

“The danger of the barrier lake collapsing suddenly has been basically eliminated,” the vice-minister of water resources, Jiao Yong, told a press conference in Beijing.

Provincial authorities have nevertheless evacuated areas near the lake, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The mudslides levelled an area five kilometres (three miles) long and 300 metres wide, Xinhua said. Floodwaters up to three storeys high have submerged half the county.

Fears of an outbreak of water-borne disease mounted, with corpses still unclaimed and residents living in the rough without proper sanitary conditions. Army crews in chemical suits repeatedly sprayed disinfectant in the area.

Tons of garlic and Sichuan pepper, which some experts believe to be helpful in the prevention of certain ailments, have been sent to Zhouqu, the local health bureau said, according to the China Daily.

Doctors were encouraging relatives to cremate the remains of their loved ones as soon as possible to prevent health problems, but traditional burials are preferred in the area with a population that is one-third Tibetan.

Nearly 800 medical workers — also concerned about how the high summer temperatures could affect the precarious public health situation — have been dispatched to the scene, state media said.

Loudspeakers in town broadcast messages instructing residents how to protect themselves from disease. So far, no major problems have been reported.

The mudslides are the latest in a string of weather-related disasters, as China battles its worst flooding in a decade. More than 2,100 people were left dead or missing and 12 million evacuated before the Gansu tragedy.

Source: SGGP

More travel misery from Greek general strike

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

ATHENS (AFP) – Travellers in Greece on Tuesday ran a labour gauntlet for the second time in a week as a general strike against pensions reform shut down services and disrupted departures from the capital.

But authorities took swift action to keep the main port of Piraeus from being blockaded, sending around 1,000 coastguards and police to keep unionists from seizing control of ferries.

Public Power Corporation employees protest outside their company’s headquarters with a banner reading: “We are not selling. We are not for sale” on June 28, 2010 in Athens. AFP

Some 500 Communist-affiliated strikers gathered at the harbour but were prevented from approaching the ships to the Aegean islands which include some of Greece’s top travel destinations, a coastguard source said.

However, they were able to block the departure of smaller vessels to islands closer to Athens.

“All the early boats to Aegean destinations have departed,” a coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.

“There are increased operational measures at the harbour and things are calm,” she said.

The general strike called by the main Greek unions is the fifth since February against a wave of austerity measures imposed by the government as it struggles to staunch a national debt crisis.

Separate street demonstrations against the sweeping spending cuts were planned in central Athens and other main Greek cities later on Tuesday.

A one-day protest on June 23 stranded thousands of travellers at one of the Mediterranean Sea’s busiest ports for hours.

The recurring labour unrest has cost Greece booking cancellations and millions of euros in damages at a time when the debt-hit nation is struggling to maximise its revenues and revive its flagging economy.

“Greek islanders are counting on the next month for funds,” Manolis Galanakis, deputy chairman of Greek coastal shipping associations, told Mega television.

He added that some 18,000 people were scheduled to sail from Piraeus on Tuesday.

A court late on Monday declared the ferry strike illegal but the Communist party and its related syndicates dismissed the ruling.

“Legality is relative. How can someone losing their job be considered legal?” the head of the Piraeus labour centre Nikos Xourafis told the television station.

Tourism contributes 17 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product.

Greece’s main airlines grounded nearly 50 of Tuesday’s domestic flights because of the strike while rail access to Athens airport was also impeded. Intercity trains also ran a reduced service along with hospitals while state offices shut down altogether.

No news was broadcast as journalists joined the action.

Lawmakers on Tuesday were to begin discussing a disputed pension reform tabled by the government that raises the general retirement age to 65 years for both men and women for the first time.

It also increases the mandatory workforce period from 37 to 40 years and cracks down on early retirement.

Source: SGGP

Tiger ends month of misery as an Invisible Man

In Vietnam Sports on December 28, 2009 at 7:45 am

(File) Tiger Woods talks to the press after his practice round on August 11, 2009 at the 91st PGA Championship at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. (AFP photo)

PALM BEACH, Florida, Dec 27, 2009 (AFP) – One month after his one-car crash touched off a sensational sex scandal that drew the world’s attention, Tiger Woods has become an Invisible Man even as his world has collapsed around him.

In the early morning hours of November 27, Woods struck a tree and fire hydrant when he lost control of his car, and was rushed to a hospital with facial cuts and bruises. He hailed his wife Elin as a hero who rescued him by smashing the vehicle’s back windows with golf clubs.

But where was he going at such an hour? What made him lose control of the vehicle? Why smash the windows farthest from Woods? Did a tabloid report days earlier about an affair spark a marital spat?

Answers to those questions remain unconfirmed, despite reports from celebrity website and a reckless driving traffic citation against Woods.

However the golf superstar’s own admissions of infidelity, “transgressions” and “personal sins” give credence to lurid claims by at least 14 women who say they had affairs with Woods.

In one of the most stunning falls from grace ever seen, Woods’s squeaky-clean marketing juggernaut image was destroyed.

An audiotape of a phone call one of the mistresses released with a voice sounding like Woods was followed hours later by a Woods statement vaguely confessing to wrongdoings.

The 14-time major champion, who skipped his own charity event saying that his accident injuries kept him from attending, later announced he was taking an indefinite leave from his pro golf career.

While Woods went undercover, sponsors began pulling his once-omnipresent image from advertisements.

Watchmaker Tag Heuer and razor-blade giant Gillette quit using his image during his hiatus. Telecommunications giant AT&T was reevaluating Woods as a spokesman. Technology, management and outsourcing consultancy Accenture dropped its deal altogether.

Nike however issued unqualified support in Woods’s darkest hour.

Reports followed at dizzying speed, the latest being Elin having hired a Hollywood celebrity divorce lawyer and taken her children with Woods — 10-month-old son Charlie and two-year-old daughter Sam — to an island home she bought in Sweden.

Clearly, Woods had hopes for a better first Christmas for his son.

Woods was said to be hitting golf balls alone at night to cope with the firestorm. Other reports said he had rekindled a relationship with Rachel Uchitel, the New York show club hostess who was the first mistress revealed.

Uchitel was visiting the same Australian hotel as Woods when he was playing an event Down Under, and claimed she was visiting her parents over the holidays when she showed up in Palm Beach, Florida, close to where Woods has his 20 million-dollar luxury yacht “Privacy” docked.

Bikini-clad beach photos of Uchitel were making the internet rounds over the holiday weekend.

As the scandal unfolded, Woods became a punch line for comedians, with even Disney working a line about the score of alleged Woods affairs into a show at Disneyland.

As 2010 loomed, so did a US PGA Tour season without Woods, whose absence cuts attendance at tournaments and television viewership by 50 percent, adding stress to a sponsor list already weakened by the struggling economy.

A scandal that began with unanswered questions now has one major mystery — when, if ever, will Woods return to his quest to break the record 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus?

Nearly everyone with a connection to the matter expects a whirlwind of media attention and huge global interest when Woods plays in his next event, just as they understand why Woods might need a break to cope with the revelations of a life far different than model family-man he portrayed.

Reminding people why they were fascinated with him in the first place could be the road back for Woods, but long months await the superstar once known for his uncanny ability to focus on his game under the most tense pressure.

This time, he’s in the game of his life.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Manchester misery as United crash, City axe Hughes

In Vietnam Sports on December 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm

LONDON, Dec 19, 2009 (AFP) – Fulham produced the latest twist in a see-saw Premier League title race with a shock 3-0 win over champions Manchester United at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Goals from Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff condemned injury-hit United to their fifth league loss of the season.

Fulham’s Clint Dempsey (R) vies with Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage in London, England on December 19, 2009. AFP PHOTO

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes was sacked, despite seeing his side defeat Sunderland 4-3 in an Eastlands thriller, and replaced by former Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini.

United’s defeat left Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, without several sidelined defenders, three points behind leaders Chelsea.

The Blues will extend their advantage to six points if they win away to relegation-threatened West Ham on Sunday.

“The way the league is at the moment I hope today is not too damaging. I hope it doesn’t cost us the league,” Ferguson told club channel MUTV.

“We’ll have to get our defenders back to give us a proper chance of going for the league, there’s no question of that. But if we get them back we’ll be back in it.”

At Eastlands, Roque Santa Cruz gave Manchester City a fourth-minute lead against Sunderland before Carlos Tevez made it 2-0 from the penalty spot.

But the visitors hit back through a John Mensah header before Jordan Henderson tied the match up at 2-2 from 14 yards.

Craig Bellamy restored City’s lead with a curling shot but Sunderland replied again through Kenwyne Jones’s 62nd-minute header, only for Santa Cruz to make it 4-3 seven minutes later.

Just before full-time, Sunderland’s Michael Turner was sent-off for leading with his elbow.

Then came the drama of Hughes’s departure, after City’s second win in 11 league games was not enough to keep the Welshman in his job, with the club’s billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour demanding a greater return on his 200-million-pound player (225-million-euro) investment.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set.

“Sheikh Mansour and the board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change.”

Arsenal stayed third after a 3-0 win over Hull in Saturday’s late kick-off, with Denilson, Eduardo and Abou Diaby on target at the Emirates Stadium but Liverpool’s miserable season hit a new low as Javier Mascherano was sent-off in a 2-0 defeat away to bottom-of-the-table Portsmouth.

Fulham, who beat United 2-0 at home last season, took the lead in the 22nd minute at Craven Cottage when former Liverpool midfielder Murphy dispossessed Paul Scholes and let fly with a 25-yard shot.

United fielded a makeshift defence featuring midfielders Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher, as well as youngster Ritchie de Laet.

Seconds into the second half, Fulham were 2-0 up after Zamora lashed in a half-volley. Zamora then set up Duff, who volleyed home 15 minutes from time.

Liverpool, already out of the Champions League, have won just four of their last 17 matches in all competitions and face a desperate fight to salvage a place in the Premier League’s top four.

The Reds fell behind in the 33rd minute when Algeria defender Nadir Belhadj struck a ferocious volley for his first goal of the season.

Liverpool’s day got worse when Argentina midfielder Mascherano was dismissed for an ugly lunge on Tal Ben Haim just before half-time.

French striker Frederic Piquionne piled on the misery for Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, who is certain to face more heavy criticism after this defeat, when he struck in the 82nd minute.

“We were a good team in the first half and the sending off changed everything,” said Benitez.

Portsmouth, celebrating their second win under new manager Avram Grant, moved level on points with second-bottom West Ham, but remain behind the Hammers on goals scored.

Grant, whose side pushed Chelsea hard before losing 2-1 in mid-week, said: “From game to game we are playing better and we deserved the win.”

Elsewhere, Aston Villa continued their push for a top-four spot with a 1-0 win at home to Stoke City thanks to a 61st-minute goal from substitute John Carew.

Fellow European contenders Tottenham Hotspur, fresh from their 3-0 midweek win over Manchester City, beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0 with two goals from England striker Peter Crouch.

Sunday’s other top-flight matches see in-form Birmingham travel to Everton while strugglers Wolves are at home to Burnley.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Misery surrounds typhoon-hit central region

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:11 am

A pall of gloom covers the central Province of Phu Yen where many families have lost members, some more than one, and several people are still missing in the devastation caused by Typhoon Mirinae.

Many areas in Phu Yen Province remain inundated by floods caused by Typhoon Mirinae

The province does not have enough coffins to bury the dead.

Nguyen Van Thanh said amid sobs that four members of the family of a neighbor, Ra, had been swept away while another, Pho, lost his wife and son.

Do Kim Hung in Song Cau Commune said his house had been swept away by the flood on November 2 and he discovered his son’s body a day later and his wife’s a few days later.

Two of his neighbors had each lost two daughters — Huynh Thi Van, 14, Huynh Nhu Hanh, nine, Vo Thi Kim Quan, seven, and Vo Thi Kim Quynh, two.

Mirinae made landfall on November 2, bringing heavy rains and floods that left 98 people dead, 20 missing, and 66 injured.

Phu Yen recorded the largest number of deaths with 69, followed by Binh Dinh with 13, and Khanh Hoa with 12.

Around 1,130 houses have been destroyed, with 15,283 others losing their roofs, and 43,715 still remaining under water.

Related articles:

Heavy rains, floods recede in Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam counts flood damage

At least 90 die in Vietnam floods: officials

35 dead, nine missing in central Vietnam floods

Typhoon Mirinae hits central Vietnam


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share