News briefs:May 05, 2010
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From Wikinews, the free news source, this is the Audio Wikinews Brief for Wednesday, May 5th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and here are today's top stories:
The oil company BP has said that one of three leaks from a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has been sealed off, in an attempt to stop the oil from the destroyed Deepwater Horizon rig.
Although 800,000 liters of oil a day are still pouring into the sea, officials say it will be easier to combat the spill with only two leaks. However, BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles stressed that "the amount of oil being leaked is still the same".
Meanwhile, remote-controlled submarines will be used tomorrow to try to place a large iron dome over the other two leaks, according to BP spokesman John Curry.
The Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank on April 20th, killing eleven workers; the cause of the disaster is not known.
At least eight suicide bombers with the Taleban attacked Zaranj, a city in southwestern Afghanistan, earlier today, killing at least four people. Reports say the rebels blew themselves up near the governor's compound. Witnesses also reported gun battles between rebels and officials in the area. The Taleban contacted the Reuters news service, confirming that they were responsible for the attack.
Afghanistan's interior ministry said the victims consisted of a provincial council minister, a civilian, and two policemen. Police say eleven others were injured as well.
Airspace across much of Scotland has been shut down since 7:00 a.m. local time due to volcanic ash from an eruption in Iceland. Flights across Europe are unaffected since new rules now permit aircraft to enter clouds of low-density volcanic ash.
A spokesperson for the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) cautioned that "forecasts also show that it is likely that the ash cloud will continue to move south, potentially affecting airports in the north-west of England and North Wales." The CAA stated that ash over Scotland and Northern Ireland is denser than that which engine manufacturers have deemed to be safe.
The Republic of Ireland's airspace was closed yesterday but was open again today. The Irish Aviation Authority warned that sporadic disruption is possible throughout the summer as the eruption continues.
Heavy rains started to fall on early Wednesday morning through most of central and southern Chile. The rains have affected thousands of people that lost their homes after the great 8.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami earlier this year. In Chiguayante, firefighters emptied a camp that was completely inundated by the rains. It is expected that the downfalls will provoke chills and respiratory problems in children and the elderly.
President Sebastián Piñera visited some locations affected by the rains where people told him and Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter that the mediaguas, or small houses, given out by the government don't block out the water and humidity. There are also people that haven't received tents or mediaguas yet. The government announced that ambulances will constantly patrol the cities.
Meanwhile, an earthquake hit the area, with the epicenter offshore of Maule at 11:24 am local time. The USGS reported the quake measured at magnitude 4.9, although the University of Chile Geological Survey reported it as 6.1. There was no tsunami warning.
Police in West Hollywood, California have arrested 34 year old Layla Trawick who is alleged to have stabbed four people in a Target shopping store on Monday. At least one witness claims to have seen Trawick perform the attacks who described the assailants behavior as "look[ing] like she was going to stab everyone there."
When paramedics arrived on-scene shortly after midday local time, they discovered one person critically injured along with a second person who sustained minor injuries; both of whom were transported to a local hospital. Two other victims only required treatment at the scene.
Armed off-duty police officer, Clay Grant Jr, was able to stop the assailant who has since been arrested and is currently being held on $1 million bail.
Somali pirates seized the Moscow University, an oil tanker bound for China, 900 kilometers off the coast of Somalia earlier today, prompting a Russian warship to be dispatched to the scene. The vessel's owner, Novoship, says the pirates, armed with automatic weapons, shot at the vessel from two speed boats.
There were 23 Russian crew members aboard the tanker; all of whom are said to have locked themselves in a secure room on the ship. The crew sent out distress calls to the warship Marshal Shaposhnikov before communications were cut off. According to a reporter with the BBC, the warship probably would not intervene, as it may put the lives of the crew in danger.
Pirates are currently holding over 350 hostages and twenty vessels in various locations around Somalia and though international warships have been patrolling the Gulf of Aden, they have been unable to entirely halt the hijacking of ships.
The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 into New York's Hudson River. The fifteen-month probe began after the Airbus A320 performed a water landing when bird strikes damaged both engines in a move dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson" by the media. Nobody was killed.
The NTSB's final report, adopted after a board meeting yesterday, concluded that a combination of safety equipment better than the mandatory minimums and good reactions by the crew were the main reasons the 150 passengers and five crew survived. Although not required, the plane also had equipment designed for safety on flights over long stretches of water.
Other factors cited by the NTSB that helped the situation included good visibility, calm water, nearby ferries which provided rescues within twenty minutes and good co-operation in the cockpit, allowing the crew to maintain control. However, the report also cautioned that bird strikes are ultimately unpreventable and criticized safety briefings and life vests. The report also said that ditching procedures are designed for gradual descent from high altitude and not the lower altitude the jet lost power at.
The captain's decision to land on water was vindicated as the best option available.
The United States Federal Drug Agency (FDA) has issued a report into an investigation which began last April in which it heavily criticizes a medicine factory. The company in question, Johnson & Johnson, issued a product recall last weekend which affected medications sold in twelve countries.
The FDA found that an unidentified bacterium was contaminating ingredients, quality control was ineffective and workers had not been properly trained in safety procedures for manufacturing pharmaceuticals. Security issues were also found. In all, the report listed twenty problems identified.
Johnson & Johnson's division McNeil Consumer Healthcare stated that the products recalled could contain foreign particles, excess active ingredients or improperly tested material. McNeil said the factory has been temporarily shut down and said the breaches were "unacceptable to us".
On June 1, hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding areas will commence, signaling the potential for a tropical storm to develop at any time. After last year's relatively quiet season, with only nine named cyclones, meteorologists are on-guard for increased activity over the upcoming summer and autumn. Hurricane season runs until November 30, and while storms have been known to develop at practically any time of the year, most tend to form within those bounds.
Wikinews contacted Dr. Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane expert at the Colorado State University, for an exclusive interview. You can visit Wikinews.org to read the interview and learn about predictions for the upcoming hurricane season.
On this day in history (9:13)
Today is Cinco de Mayo!
In 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, the Mexican army won an unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla. The battle is widely celebrated as the holiday Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, in the United States and, to a lesser degree, in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is considered a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride but should not be confused with Mexico's Independence Day, that day is celebrated on September 16th.
- Music credit Mariachi el Mojado
And those are the top headlines for Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
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