Ellicott City August 2012 CSX Corp Train Derailment

Freight train of CSX Corp was derailed early Tuesday (just after midnight), August 22, 2012 (Local Time) while crossing an overpass west of Baltimore. Two (2) 19-year-old women sitting on the ledge of the bridge over Ellicott City were buried and killed by the tons of coal spilled over to them from the train which also crushed nearby cars and damaged telecommunications lines in the area.

The victims are Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr who are both residents of the Ellicott City. According to authorities, the two women were sitting on the bridge with their backs on the train which was passing few feet away. While the train was passing them, it was derailed, and the cars filled with coal tipped over dumping the coal over them and buried them.

Authorities are still investigating whether the two victims were just sitting there or they might have been hit by the train. Witnesses, however, said that they heard a braking sound before the colliding metal sounds were heard. Many believed that the derailment was caused by their presence on the rail-bridge.

The three crews of the train who are all alive are still under interview by the authorities.

Photo Update – August 2012 CSX Corp Train Derailment

Disclaimer: Photos shown here are taken from different websites without permission.

Sources: reuters, USAToday,

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Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb who is the singer of the 1970s band, Bee Gees, died on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 62 after suffering from cancer.  He founded the Bee Gees band along his twin brother Maurice and older brother and the eldest of the four siblings, Barry.

Robin Gibb was survived by Dwina, his wife, Melissa, his daughter, and his sons, Spencer and Robin-John (RJ).

About the Bee Gees and Robin Gibb

Bee Gees (BGs) is actually the initial of “Brothers Gibb”. The band sold 220 million records of which, their hit song “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” helped turn the disco into a global phenomenon.

The brothers started singing in their teens as influenced by their father who is a bandleader and a drummer and their mother who once a singer. Their popularity started in Australia in 1966 as their songs which influenced by the music of the Beatles became hit internationally.

He was not just a singer of the Bee Gees but also a song writer, writing songs for their band and for other artists like Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Celine Dion, Destiny’s Child, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and many more.

Some of the songs written by the brothers and were performed by other artists are:

  1. “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Keep Me From You” by Teri DeSario
  2. “Buried Treasure” by Kenny Rogers (backing vocals The Gatlin Brothers)
  3. “Chain Reaction” by Diana Ross
  4. “Come on Over” by Olivia Newton-John
  5. “Emotion” by Samantha Sang and by Destiny’s Child
  6. “Gilbert Green” by Gerry Marsden
  7. “Grease” by Frankie Valli
  8. “Guilty” and “Woman in Love” by Barbra Streisand
  9. “Heartbreaker” & “All the Love in the World” by Dionne Warwick
  10. “Hold On to My Love” by Jimmy Ruffin
  11. “I Will Be There” by Tina Turner
  12. “If I Can’t Have You” by Yvonne Elliman
  13. “Immortality” by Celine Dion
  14. “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
  15. “Morning of My Life” by Abi and Esther Ofarim and by Mary Hopkin
  16. “Only One Woman” by The Marbles
  17. “Rest Your Love on Me” by Conway Twitty
  18. “Sacred Trust” by One True Voice
  19. “Warm Ride” by Graham Bonnet and by Rare Earth

In 2003, he along with his brothers was awarded with the CBE (Commander in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) medal by the British government for their service in music and charity.

Robin Gibb’s Illness That Leads to His Death

18 months ago, he underwent a surgery on his bowel. Then a tumor was discovered and was eventually diagnosed with cancer of the colon. Afterwards, he was diagnosed with cancer of the liver.

In his deathbed, he always talked about touring again with brother Barry, and how he missed his twin brother Maurice or Mo. And he also requested that their 1977 hit song, “How Deep is Your Love”, be played during his funeral.

 

References

India Train Accident May 2012 – SELaplana

A passenger train in India slammed into the stopped freight train resulting to the death of at least 25 people and injuring dozens more, on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 3:15AM (local time).

The freight train was on a stop at a station at Penukonda in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh state in Southern India.

The passenger train, Hampi Express, was travelling overnight heading to Bangalore City. As it approaches the Penukonda station, the driver of the train noticed that another train, the freight train, which was currently parked at the station, was on the same track of the Hampi Express, he immediately took the emergency braking system of the train.

The sudden application of the brake and the collision caused the first coach to get fire, trapping or burning 16 people inside it. The following two coaches were derailed.

The fire that caught the first coach was controlled by fire-fighters in three hours. Few passengers were charred by the fire and others were suffering burns.

People trapped in the over-turned coaches were rescued by rescuers and were treated.

But authorities were expecting that the number of those who died will increase.

The Cause of the Accident

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident, whether it is a driver error or a system error.

Experts, however, said that the driver of the Hampi Express mistook the signal which is supposed to be for the first train and followed it until the train collided to the first train to take the track.

Italy Earthquake May 2012 – SELaplana

Northern Italy was jolted by a strong earthquake early morning of Sunday, May 20, 2012 (local time) resulting to the death of at least six (6) people and the destruction of buildings.

Background

The Northern Italy was hit by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake in the late January, 2012 slightly damaged buildings but there was no reported death.

The May 2012 Quake

As early as 4AM, the 6 magnitude earthquake struck Italy’s Modena and Mantova. The epicenter is at the area between the towns of Finale Emilia, San Felice sul Panaro and Sermide. The jolting was even felt in Tuscany.

There are at least six (6) people were reportedly died and at least 50 people were injured.

One of the reported casualties was found under the rubble. Another one died when the factory he was working collapsed. One victim died of heart attack during evacuation.

However, there are reports that dozens of people are buried under rubble.

Authorities are still assessing the damage on properties caused by the quake.

Aftershocks

The 6.0 magnitude quake was followed by two more strong quakes:

  1. 5.1 magnitude quake jolted same region an hour after the first quake.
  2. After few hours, another 4.1 magnitude quake was felt.

References

USS North Carolina (SSN 777)

The USS (Submarine) North Carolina (SSN 777) has arrived at Subic in the Philippines on Sunday, May 13, 2012 as part of its western pacific deployment.

Background

The USS North Carolina (SSN 777) is the fifth and the latest one carrying the name North Carolina. Others were:

  1. USS North Carolina. A 3-masted battleship which commissioned on 1824 and decommissioned on 1866.
  2. USS North Carolina (ACR 12). Commissioned on May 7, 1908 and was decommissioned on February 18, 1921. In 1915, it became the first ship to launch an airplane. It is equipped with analog computers used to aim its guns.
  3. USS North Carolina (BB-52)
  4. USS North Carolina (BB-55). A showboat which was fast and equipped with 16-inch guns and was commission in New York City on April 9, 1941. It was decommissioned on 1947.

About the USS North Carolina

The USS North Carolina (SSN 777), which is the fifth to be named in honor of the Tar Heel State and a Virginia Class attack submarine, is measured 377 feet long with the weight of 7,800 tons when submerged.

It has 130 crewmembers.

Its keel was laid on May 22, 2004. It was christened on April 21, 2007. The official commissioning ceremony was held on May 3, 2008.

USS North Carolina’s Capability

The USS North Carolina is capable in supporting missions like:

  • anti-submarine warfare
  • anti-surface warfare
  • strike
  • surveillance
  • reconnaissance
  • irregular warfare
  • strike group operation
  • special operations

It has special features like:

  • stealth
  • agility
  • endurance

Recent Activities

While the Philippines and China are currently on their stand-off in the Scarborough Shoal, the USS North Carolina (SSN 777) docked at the Subic port on Sunday, May 13, 2012.

References

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Indonesia Prison February 2012 Riot

It was at 11PM on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, when inmates attacked a guard post near the entrance of the Kerobokan Jail in Denpasar of  Bali island, Indonesia. The guards fled and the inmates took control of the entire compound.

Some inmates climbed into the watch towers and started throwing stones and Molotov Cocktail into the military and police outside the compound.

Authorities outside responded by firing shots up the air. They also fire tear gas and broke in the compound, but later forced out by the inmates.

By Wednesday evening, authorities declared that they took back the control the compound when hundreds of armed authorities broke in to the compound using tear gas and water cannon.

The Cause of Riot

Authorities are still investigating the real cause of the riot. But it was reported that the incident was triggered by the stabbing of an inmate during the brawl a weak ago in which prisoners blamed the guards for lax, allowing the knives to enter into the prison.

Some Inmates Relocated

On Thursday, February 23, 2012, some inmates were relocated, especially those foreigners, women and children, for their safety, when their assessment found out that the tension is not yet eased. These inmates can be used by rioting inmates as hostages.

About the Kerobokan Prison

Kerobokan Jail is houses 1,000 drug traffickers, sex offenders and other violent criminals. There were about 60 foreigners in the jail, and 12 among them are Australians. There are also 13 inmates whose ages are below 18.

The Kerobokan Prison was built for 300 prisoners only. But the prisoners housed in it are more the three times its planned capacity.

It is 20 minutes from Bali’s international airport and 10 kilometers away from Kuta beach, a tourist destination resort in the island.

West’s Sanctions Against Iran – SELaplana

The UK and France along with the US wanted Iran to stop its Nuclear Enrichment program, accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons.

Iran, on the other hand, argued that their Nuclear program is not for nuclear weapons but for the country’s consumption only.

The west did not believe on Iran’s account about their Nuclear program and insisted that Iran is secretly working for nuclear weapons, and their accusation against Iran is based on the information gathered by their intelligence aids.

So, to pressure the government of Iran in closing their nuclear program, US imposed their own sanctions to Iran.

European Union decided to freeze Iranian Central Bank’s properties and cut off Iranian oil imports which will be effective by July.

Iran’s Response to the EU’s Sanctions

Iran Government, as its response to the EU (European Union)’s sanctions against Iran, ordered to stop supplying oil to Britain and France.

It was noted that Britain and France are small buyers of Iran’s oil. Greece, Italy and Spain which are almost fully dependent in Iran’s oil are not included on Iran’s freeze of oil supply.

But, Iran’s freeze of oil supply to the 2 EU nation might not really affect the target nations considering that Iran’s oil at Britain total oil import is just 1 percent, while Iran’s oil in France total oil import is just 3 percent.

Iran’s Oil Supply

Iran is producing 3.5 million barrels a day. Part of it or the 2.5 million barrels are being exported but only 30 percent were delivered outside Asia. And part of the 30 percent oil delivered outside Asia, 18 percent are taken by the 27 nations comprising the European Union.

Manuel “Matty” Moroun, Owner of Ambassador Bridge, Jailed?

Manuel “Matty” Moroun, Owner of Ambassador Bridge, Jailed?

Actually, Manuel Moroun  (84) along with an executive of the Detroit International Bridge Co, Dan Stamper (actually the President of the company), have been jailed through the order of the Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Prentis Edwards on Thursday, January 12, 2012 for failing to comply a court’s order issued on February 2010.

The Michigan Court of Appeal, however, ordered that the two men be freed on the next day, Friday, while they were still appealing the ruling of the Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards.

The problem of these two men, Moroun and Stamper, started when they (in behalf of the Detroit International Bridge Co) signed a $230 million contract in 2004 with the Michigan Department of Transportation to connect two highways to the bridge that will allow truckers and motorists to avoid the local surface streets. The plan is to direct truckers and other traffic to the bridge without passing the neighbourhood, thus minimizing the traffic at the local streets.

 

In 2009, the state’s Department of Transportation filed a lawsuit against the company of Moruon for its failure to build the project based on the agreed design.

In February 2010, ordered the company to rebuild the portion that has been protested by the state’s agency.

However, the court realized that its order was ignored by the company. So, the two big men of the company were charged of contemp.

What actually makes it controversial is that it’s an unusual even that a multi-billionaire man like Manuel “Matty” Moroun has been brought to jail for contemp.

About the Ambassador Bridge

The Ambassador Bridge is privately owned and controlled bridge by the Detroit International Bridge Co. of Manuel Moroun which connects the city of Detroit in Michigan and the city of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, spanning the Detroit River. The bridge was complete in 1929.

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Luxury Cruise Ship Costa Concordia January 2012 Accident – SELaplana

Luxury Cruise Ship Costa Concordia Ran Aground in a Tiny Island

The Costa Concordia, a luxury cruise ship, ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, tearing open the body and making some 4,200 people aboard to evacuate aboard lifeboats to a nearby island, Isola del Giglio, late Friday, January 13, 2012.

Among the 3206 passengers and 1,023 crew members, there are at least 30 people injured with the majority suffering only bruises and at least two in serious condition, 8 people are confirmed dead and authorities are still searching for the missing people who jump off the ship out of panic when the ship started to tilt, and some might be trapped inside.

Rescuers searched the 9,570- foot- long ship’s interior with 2,000 cabins which is also leaning to its right for passengers or crews that might be trapped inside. As of Sunday, the ship is already lying on its right side with half of it submerged.

The Evacuees

The evacuees stayed in school, hotels and a church on the Tuscan island of Giglio. Other evacuees were sent via helicopters to Grosseto, and the others who are rescued by local ferries were sent to the port of Porto Santo Stefano.

The Route and the Cause of Accident

The cruise ship left Civitavecchia port near Rome for a Mediterranean cruise in early Friday. The passengers were eating dinner when they heard a loud noise at about 8 PM (local time) like a noise when dragging large metal. The ship lost its power and it started to list on its right.

A voice from the ship’s messaging system told the passenger to calm and that the ship experienced electrical failure. The passenger did not believed it, because if it was just an electrical failure then why is the ship listing already. The passengers panicked. They ran to their cabins to get life jackets. And others jumped off the ship to swim into the shore. Then few minutes passed, they were told to abandon ship.

Regarding to the cause of the accident, the authorities are still investigating about it. The ship captain, Francesco Schettino (52) was arrested already and might be facing manslaughter charges. Besides, the captain left the ship even the rescue is not yet done.

From the recording of the “black box”, it was revealed that the ship captain ignored the order of the port official to supervise the rescue.

However, the owner of the ship revealed that the ship captain may have made “significant” errors that led to the accident. “The route of the vessel appears to have been too close to the shore, and the captain’s judgment in handling the emergency appears to have not followed standard Costa procedures,” according to the CEO of Costa Cruises. The company revealed that the Costa ships have programmed routes in which if they deviate, the it will sound an alarm.

It was noted that the Costa Concordia did not follow the programmed route of the ship, wherein it sailed near (150 meters) to the island. The ship captain allegedly changed the course of the ship to “show off” his colleague and a family in the shore.

According to a report, the ship captain invited the boss of the ship’s restaurant, Antonello Tievoli, into the bridge and told: “Come and look. We’re passing your Giglio.” (source:  Mirror)It was confirmed by the parents of Tievoli saying that their son called them and told them that the Concordia would be passing.  Tievoli’s sister, Patrizia, posted a Facebook message few minutes before the accident, saying that the Concordia would pass… really close, which is a big hello from her brother.”

According to Chris McKesson, professor of naval architecture at the University of New Orleans, “they saw it at the last minute, and they tried to swing the ship to the right to miss, … when you swing the nose to the right, the tail swings little to the left.” And that’s what happened, “she swung her tail over and kissed that rock.”

About Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia which has 2,000 cabins is owned and operated by the Costa Cruises company. The said company is also owned by the Carnival Corporation which is known as the world’s largest cruiseline. It also has 13 decks, 13 bars, 5 restaurants, 4 swimming pools and 500 balconied staterooms. It was built in 2004-2005 at a cost of €450 million at the Fincantieri Sestri shipyard in Italy.

The ship was involved in an accident on November 22, 2008 when it hit a port wall and was damaged while docking.

Filipino Crew Members

According to reports, there are 300 Filipino among the more than 1,000 crews of the Costa Concordia cruise ship. Two of them are injured.

I don’t know if the ship crews described in the report as quoted below are Filipinos. I hope they’re not the ones referred on the report:

The worst part came when a lifeboat crew member told everyone, “Women and children first,” Smith said. “All these families who were clinging to each other had to be separated,” he added.

After helping passengers, some crew members jumped overboard and swam ashore. …

Life rafts were “twisting and turning,” and the crew pulled in some rafts and put the people back on the ship, but the crew never returned for them, Smith said. (source: CNN)

Who is Amir Mirzai Hekmati? – SELaplana

On Monday, January 9, 2012, it was reported that Amir Mirzai Hekmati has been sentenced to death by the Iran’s Revolutionary Court for espionage. He was convicted of working for the enemy country, a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) member and for indicting Iran as involved in terrorism.

Hekmati, however, has 20 days to appeal with the Iran’s Supreme Court.

But Who really is Amir Mirzai Hekmati?

Amir Mirzaei (28) is a US citizen born in Arizona from the Iranian couple. His father, Ali Hekmati, is a college professor in Flint, Michigan. His mother is Behnaz Hakmati.

According to Amir Hekmati during his aired confession on December 18, 2011, he joined the US Army right after his high school graduation in 2001. He received training in the US Bases in Afghanistan and Iraq in intelligence and military fields. Then after his training from the said US bases, he was then sent to Iran for spying jobs by the CIA.


Amir Hekmati Federal ID

It was also reported that Amir was working for the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) between 2005 and 2007. The he worked for the computer games company called Kuma Games specialising in shoot-’em-up entertainment which is allegedly funded by the CIA. Later, he worked for a company called Cubic to perform intelligence work. Then later transferred to Britain’s defence group BAE Systems.

According to Iran, while he was in Afghanistan, he was already on the list of the Iranian agents who spotted him while in the US-run Bagram military air base.

Before he was arrested, Hekmati was supposed to give information to the Iranians Intelligence. The first information would be for free. But then if Iran would be interested of his information, he would give the other information in exchange of $500,000.

Watch the video which shows the confession of Amir Hekmati:

 

According to the Hekmati’s:

Amir Hekmati is a former US Marine. He was serving the Marines since 2001 to 2005. Then he opened his own company on language which he received contracts from the military and other civilian businesses. His military contracts included cultural competency training. He worked with troops at military bases to promote understanding of, and positive communication, with people of other cultures

He was arrested in August 29, 2011 while visiting his 2 grandmothers and other relatives in Iran.

Sources:

  1. CNN – Iran Sentences American to death in Spy Case.
  2. BBC – Iran death sentence for ‘CIA spy’ Amir Mirzai Hekmati
  3. ABC News – Iran Sentences U.S. ‘Spy’ to Death
  4. Youtube – First video of confessions of American born CIA spy Amir Mirzaei Hekmati