wiki globe

Posts Tagged ‘sparks’

Japan 7.4 seabed quake sparks tsunami scare, evacuations

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:31 am

TOKYO, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – Scores of villagers on a remote Japanese island chain in the Pacific scrambled for higher ground after a major 7.4-magnitude offshore quake early Wednesday sparked a tsunami alert.


The seabed tremor struck at 2:19 am local time (1719 GMT Tuesday), jolting people out of bed as loudspeakers blared across the islands and authorities warned of the risk of a two-metre (six-foot) high local tsunami.


The tsunami alert was later downgraded and all warnings were lifted five hours after the quake hit near the Ogasawara islands, some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of Tokyo. No injuries or damage were reported.


But about 120 people temporarily evacuated to higher ground on Chichi-shima island and some 50 people on Haha-shima island, Koji Watanabe, a village official on Chichi-shima, said overnight.


“It was the biggest earthquake I have ever felt,” said Masae Nagai, a hotel owner on Chichi-shima, part of the remote archipelago also called the Bonin islands, which has a population of about 2,300.


“We were awakened by the quake. It was scary,” she told AFP by telephone around sunrise, but she added that the walls of her hotel were not cracked and that “things have returned to normal”.


Local authorities on the Ogasawara islands, near Iwo Jima, said they had set up five shelters for local residents but had closed them before sunrise as there were no reports of injuries or property damage.


“The jolts were relatively stronger than those we have felt in the past,” Kenichi Mochida, another Chichi-shima official, told AFP.


“But there was no panic as people acted in an orderly manner,” Mochida said. “Residents who were in the shelters have already returned home.”


The quake hit at a shallow depth of 14 kilometres, 153 kilometres (95 miles) east of Chichi-shima, and was followed by a series of aftershocks measuring between 5.3 and 5.6 which continued into the morning.


About three hours after the quake, a 60 centimetre (two feet) wave was monitored 700 kilometres away at Hachijo-jima, part of the Izu island chain that runs south of Tokyo, the meteorological agency said.


Authorities warned of the risk of further aftershocks.


“We would like people to remain on full alert as subsequent waves could be higher than the first ones,” Hirofumi Yokoyama, a meteorological agency official in charge of tsunami observation, told a Tokyo news conference.


The Ogasawara chain, made up of more than 30 subtropical and tropical islets some 240 kilometres north of Iwo Jima, were put under the control of the United States after World War II, and returned to Japan in 1968.


The remote islands have preserved their unique biological habitats and have been dubbed the “Galapagos of the Orient”.


The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said after sounding the initial alert there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami and no nearby islands were thought to be in the tsunami danger zone.


But it warned in a bulletin shortly after the quake: “Earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre.


“Authorities in the region of the epicentre should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action.”


Around 20 percent of the world’s most powerful earthquakes strike Japan, which sits on the “Ring of Fire” surrounding the Pacific Ocean.


In 1995 a magnitude-7.2 quake in the port city of Kobe killed 6,400 people.


But high building standards, regular drills and a sophisticated tsunami warning system mean that casualties are often minimal.

d
Source: SGGP

New Israeli settlement plan sparks outcry

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 6:21 am

Renovation project sparks debate over gate

In Uncategorized on November 8, 2010 at 11:38 pm

‘Bandit’ Obama billboard sparks storm in US city

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado, Oct 13 (AFP) – A billboard depicting Barack Obama as an Islamist suicide bomber, a gay and a Mexican bandit has triggered a storm of criticism in a western US city weeks ahead of crucial polls.


The colourful poster of the US president — under the ironic slogan “Vote DemocRAT” — is attracting attention from media worldwide and from people clogging a local parking lot for a closer look.


“It’s beyond distasteful, and it’s disrespectful of the commander-in-chief,” said Martelle Daniels, chairwoman of the local Mesa County Democrats, calling it “clearly racist and homophobic.”


“Certainly (it) is not designed for intelligent discourse at all,” she added in Grand Junction, in the western US state of Colorado.


Beneath the cartoonish figures of Obama — also depicted as a cigar-chomping gangster — are rats, labeled as trial lawyers, the Inland Revenue Service (IRS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Reserve bank.


Chuck Pabst, the local Republican Party chairman, told the local paper the Grand Junction Sentinel that the billboard is in bad taste.


“It’s reprehensible and disrespectful, and that’s not what any honorable person would put forth,” Pabst said. “To ridicule somebody in this manner is juvenile.”


Politically, Mesa County is Republican-dominated and increasingly conservative, with several active Tea Party organizations — which are making waves ahead of mid-term elections next month.


After two years in the White House, Obama is struggling to avoid a drubbing for his Democratic party in the November 2 ballots, and the race is getting increasingly hard-fought as the polls get nearer.


The provocative picture is the work of artist Paul Snover, who frequently posts on constitutionalist and Tea Party websites.


Snover couldn’t be reached by AFP for comment, but he told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in an e-mail that he is “not allowed to say” who paid for the billboard.


Dennis Lucas, a Grand Junction businessman who owns the billboard, said, “I cannot tell you who it’s rented to,” and hung up.


Doris Downey, the owner of a company whose parking lot is being invaded by people taking a closer look, is angry that her business is being disrupted.


“I have no problem with freedom of speech, but I do have a problem with causing problems for others, and this is causing problems for us on top of all this,” she said.


“I don’t know who commissioned that thing, which I think is despicable, but they should own up to it,” Downey said. “Anonymous opinion gets no respect from me.”

d
Source: SGGP

New Russian missile failure sparks UFO frenzy

In World on December 11, 2009 at 10:21 am

Russia’s new nuclear-capable missile suffered another failed test launch, the defence ministry said Thursday, solving the mystery of a spectacular plume of white light that appeared over Norway.








An unusual light phenomenon above the Norwegian city of Skjeroy(AFP Photo)

The Bulava missile was test-fired from the submarine Dmitry Donskoi in the White Sea early Wednesday but failed at the third stage, the defence ministry said in a statement.


The pre-dawn morning launch coincided with the appearance of an extraordinary light over northern Norway that captivated observers.


Images of the light that appeared in the sky above the Norwegian city of Tromso and elsewhere prompted explanations ranging from a meteor, northern lights, a failed missile or even a UFO.


Describing the latest failure of the Bulava as a major embarrassment for the military, leading Russian defence analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the images were consistent with a missile failure.


“Such lights and clouds appear from time to time when a missile fails in the upper layers of the atmosphere and have been reported before,” he told AFP.


“At least this failed test made some nice fireworks for the Norwegians,” he joked.


The White Sea, which is the usual site for such missile tests by Russian submarines, lies close to Norway’s own Arctic region.


This was the 12th test launch of the Bulava and the seventh time the firing has ended in failure, the Interfax news agency said.


The submarine-launched missile is central to Russia’s plan to revamp its ageing weapons arsenal but is beset by development problems.


“The first two stages of the rocket worked but in the final and third stage there was a technical failure,” the defence ministry said in a statement.


The statement said the problem was with the engine in the third stage, while in past launches the first stage had been faulty.


The problems with the Bulava have become an agonising issue for the defence ministry, which has ploughed a large proportion of its procurement budget into ensuring the missile becomes the key element of its rocket forces.


The previous failure in July forced the resignation of Yury Solomonov, the director of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology which is responsible for developing the missile.


Felgenhauer said that it had dealt a serious blow to Russia’s bid to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent.


“By the year 2030, Russia could lose its position as a global nuclear power if the problems are not solved. And it could be that these missiles will never fly properly.


“The Russian defence industry has disintegrated to such an extent that it simply cannot make such a complicated system work. Technology and expertise have been lost,” he said.


The problems are also a major political embarrassment, coming as Russia negotiates with the United States the parameters of a new arms reduction treaty to replace the 1991 START accord.


The treaty expired on December 5, and despite intense negotiations the two sides have yet to agree the text of a new deal.


In a separate development, a successful test-firing took place of Russia’s intercontinental surface-to-surface ballistic missile Topol RS-12M, news agencies quoted a statement from the strategic rocket forces as saying.


The missile — introduced to the rocket forces before the fall of the Soviet Union — was fired from the southern Russian region of Astrakhan and hit its target at a testing range in neighbouring Kazakhstan.


The Bulava, which can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads, has a maximum range of 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles).


It is the sea-based version of the Topol-M, Russia’s new surface-to-surface intercontinental missile, and designed to be launched from Moscow’s newest Borei class of submarines.


Defence analysts say that a further headache for the military is that the new submarines are designed to be compatible with Bulava and if the new missile fails to work the vessels will be virtually useless.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share