18 October

Car and train collide in Buffalo, New York

Friday, January 12, 2007

Buffalo, New York —Reports say that a subway train and a car have collided in downtown Buffalo, New York.

Witnesses say that calls to 911 came in just before 12:00 p.m. [EST] that a car had driven onto the tracks of the Metro Rail operated by the Niagra Frontier Transit Authority at the Theatre District rail stop which is near West Tupper and Main Streets in Downtown Buffalo.

The train was traveling on the northbound track toward the Allen Medical Station when the vehicle apparently began to drive norhtbound away from the train. The train did stop but still managed to make light contact with the vehicle from behind.

The driver of the car is reported to be a 73 year-old male who was not injured in the accident but is currently being evaluated at Erie County Medical Center. Witnesses say the man was “out of it” when police arrived. It is unknown if charges will be filed against the driver.

There were no injuries to passengers and witnesses have stated that all the passengers on the train were evacuated.

Buffalo is now the smallest city in the U.S. to have a subway system.

18 October

Death toll from tsunami in Southeast Asia increases

 Correction — May 8, 2018 This headline incorrectly locates the tsunami in Southeast Asia; it was in the South Pacific, as stated in the lede. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A tsunami that was generated in the South Pacific by a powerful undersea earthquake has killed at least 110 people, according to authorities.

The majority of the fatalities occurred in Samoa, where rescue workers say at least 84 people were killed. Another 24 people are confirmed dead on American Samoa, while at least seven fatalities have been reported in nearby Tonga.

The US Geological Survey says an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck early Tuesday local time. It generated waves that devastated coastal areas, knocked down buildings and sent cars floating out to sea.

Strong aftershocks followed the initial earthquake, with at least one measuring a magnitude 5.6. Tsunami alerts were issued for the entire South Pacific region but were later canceled. Survivors fled to high ground and stayed there for hours.

Several villages were destroyed on the southern Samoan coast of Upolu, which is also home to many tourist resorts.

During a flight on from Auckland, New Zealand to Apia, Samoa, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told reporters he was shocked by the disaster. “So much has gone. So many people are gone. I’m so shocked, so saddened by all the loss.”

“The situation is very bad,” said Marie-Francoise Borel, a spokesperson for the International Red Cross, to the CTV News Channel by telephone. “This massive wave has swept across – it’s destroyed villages, it’s destroyed homes, people are in shock.”

The assistant chief executive of Samoa’s disaster management predicted that the death toll in the country could surpass one hundred, saying that searches for bodies in the region are still ongoing.

“They are still continuing the searches for any missing bodies in the area. Some areas have been flattened and the tsunami had brought a lot of sand onshore, so there have been reports the sand has covered some of the bodies. So we need specialised machines to search for bodies that are buried under the sand,” he said.

The communications head for the International Federation of the Red Cross, Jason Smith, told the Al Jazeera news agency that the Red Cross “[…] is working hard through five evacuation centres to provide people with safe places to stay and access to clean water,” estimating that up to 15,000 people in sixty villages were affected by the tsunami.

At the capital of American Samoa, Pago Pago, the tsunami measured 1.57 meters in height. The superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa Mike Reynolds reported four waves as high as six meters. People who experienced the quake said it was long, lasting from 90 seconds to three minutes.

We’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there.

Pago Pago city streets were strewn with overturned vehicles, cars, and debris. Some buildings located only slightly above sea level were completely destroyed by the waves, and power in some locations is not expected to be restored for up to a month. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said that “we’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there.”

“The first federal team members are currently en route to American Samoa aboard a Coast Guard plane and will be providing on the ground assessments once they arrive on the island,” Fugate said. “FEMA, who has provisions pre-positioned in a distribution center in Hawaii, is also preparing to send supplies as needed to help meet the immediate needs of the survivors.”

Didi Afuafi, 28, who was riding on a bus in American Samoa when the tsunami struck, described her experiences. “I was scared. I was shocked. All the people on the bus were screaming, crying and trying to call their homes. We couldn’t get on cell phones. The phones just died on us. It was just crazy,” she said. “This is going to be talked about for generations.”

US President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa, and has sent federal aid to support local recovery efforts in the US territory.

“My deepest sympathies are with the families who lost loved ones and many people who have been affected by the earthquake and the tsunami,” Obama said. He had earlier pledged in a written statement to give a “swift and aggressive” government response to the disaster.

“I am closely monitoring these tragic events, and have declared a major disaster for American Samoa, which will provide the tools necessary for a full, swift and aggressive response,” Obama said.

During a Wednesday appearance near Washington, D.C., the president said the US was ready to help its “friends” in neighboring Samoa and throughout the region.

In Tonga, seven people were confirmed dead and another three missing, after waves struck Niuatoputapu, a northern island.Acting prime minister Lord Tuita said in a statement that “according to information gathered from Niuatoputapu so far, seven people are confirmed dead, three missing and four with very serious injuries,” Lord Tuita, the acting prime minister, said in a statement. “It is reported that the tsunami did serious damage to the village of Hihifo, which is like the capital of the island.

“The hospital on the island is reported to have suffered major damage; telephone communication has been cut as a result of damage to equipment and facilities on the island; homes and government buildings have been destroyed,” he said.

An airplane was reportedly chartered by Tongan authorities to determine the amount of damage done to Niuatoputapu, but wasn’t able to land.

18 October

Police arrest former NFL player Alonzo Spellman

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Alonzo Spellman, a former National Football League player, was arrested Tuesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma after a twenty minute car chase with police. Officers used “spike sticks” that flattened three tires on Spellman’s car, but he refused to get out until officers fired pepper-spray pellets into the vehicle.

Spellman was hospitalized and had to attend psychiatric evaluations after being involved in a police standoff at the home of his publicist in 1998. In 2003 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to interfering with the crew of a Delta Air Lines flight from Cincinnati to Philadelphia.

Spellman, a six-foot, 300 pound first round draft pick out of Ohio State made his NFL debut in 1992 with the Chicago Bears. He was also a team member of the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, recording 43 sacks in 123 games. Spellman agreed to a contract with the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League (AFL) in October of 2005.

18 October

Oscar Foreign Film race narrowed to nine films

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nine films have advanced to “Phase II” of the 80th Academy Awards Foreign Language Film race, out of 63 international films entered.

They are:

Several hundred Los Angeles-based members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which hosts the “Oscars”, screened the eligible films to determine the shortlist. The nominees will be decided by 10 random members from the “Phase I” group, and ten Los Angeles and New York members specially invited to participate. They will view the screenings in marathon viewings, from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20, in both cities.

Nominations will be announced Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the AMPAS headquarters. The award ceremony, if not interrupted by the WGA writers’ strike, will air Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre.

10 October

Record number of bicycles sold in Australia in 2006

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Bicycle sales in Australia have recorded record sales of 1,273,781 units for 2006, exceeding car sales by 32 percent. It is the fifth year in a row that the bicycle industry has sold more than one million units, a figure yet to be realised by car manufacturers.

The Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) spokesman Ian Christie said Australians were increasingly using bicycles as an alternative to cars. Sales rose nine percent in 2006 while the car market stalled. Mr Christie said people were looking to cut their fuel costs and improve their fitness.

Mr Christie said organisations were beginning to supply bicycles as a company vehicle. “There is an emerging trend towards people using bikes as their official company-supplied vehicle in place of the traditional company car,” he said.

“Some of Australia’s biggest corporations now have bicycle fleets, and when you add in government organisations, we now know of at least 50 organisations which operate fleets of bikes.”

“Although the company bicycle is a long way from taking over from the company car, it’s an important trend when you consider that nearly half of all cars sold are to company fleets.”

The CPF claims most commutes to work are less than 5 kilometres (3 miles) making bicycle travel a viable alternative.

10 October

Controversial rapper dethrones Mariah Carey from No. 1

Thursday, September 8, 2005In one of the most shocking changes in No. 1 in Hot 100 history, rapper Kanye West, who has been in the news this week because of his controversial views on the federal government’s reaction to the relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina, received a surge of radio airplay in the pop mainstream radio markets and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the second time in his career as a performer.

His “Gold Digger” featuring Jamie Foxx vaulted 19-1 on the chart, ending Mariah Carey’s 14 non-consecutive week reign with “We Belong Together”. “Together” drops to No. 4 on the Hot 100.

The 19-1 rally makes it the fifth biggest gain to No. 1 in Hot 100 history. The song also gains a record 94-2 on Billboard’s Pop 100 chart kept out of the No. 1 on that chart by the Pussycat Dolls with “Don’t Cha”.

Mariah Carey is still No. 2 with “Shake It Off”. “Shake” was widely expected to gain to the Hot 100 pole position this week. Mariah Carey was No. 1 all summer with “Together” dethroned only once before by American Idol winner Carrie Underwood with “Inside Your Heaven” on the July 2 chart.

Missy Elliott’s “Lose Control” featuring Ciara and Fat Man Scoop gained 5-3 while “Don’t Cha” dropped to No. 5.

Bow Wow’s “Like You” featuring Ciara gained 7-6 trading places with Rhianna’s “Pon de Replay”. The only other song gaining into the top-10 is Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down” rising 12-8. Bow Wow’s “Let Me Hold You” featuring Omarion fell 5-9 and Lifehouse’s “You and Me” rounded out the top-10 with a two position dip.

10 October

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10 October

Liverpool Biennial 2006 art festival starts

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The 2006 Liverpool Biennial art festival will start its ten week run on September 16, finishing on the November 26. The exhibition uses public places located across the city.

Installation will be situated at sites across the city including St. George’s Hall and Church of St Luke with specialist centers such as the Bluecoat Arts Centre, FACT centre, Tate Liverpool and the Walker Art Gallery providing exhibition space.

The international ’06 exhibition includes 35 commissioned works, while the 24th John Moores Exhibition of Contemporary Painting is the UK’s longest running open painting competition.

The Independents is an art exhibition that runs alongside the Biennial. Several shorter festivals will run over this period including the Hope Street festival.

10 October

Blow out sales prices likely on mattresses as new U.S. fire-resistant standards take effect

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If you are in the market for new bedding, and not too concerned with the new United States guidelines for mattress fire resistance, now might be a good time to buy. Mattresses sold in the U.S. must meet new federal guidelines for flammability starting on July 1.

The peak heat release rate is limited to 200 kW during a 30 minute test. The total heat release is limited to 15 MJ within the first 10 minutes.”

The flammability of mattress sets sold in the U.S. is subject to a new mandatory federal regulation requirement passed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on February 16 last year. The requirement, costing mattress manufacturers an estimated $100 million to meet, is scheduled to take effect on July 1. The commission anticipates that the new standards will save 270 lives and 1,330 injuries per year from mattress fires.

“We’ve passed a new open flame regulation and the whole idea behind the regulation is to make sure that if a mattress catches on fire that the fire burns slowly enough that people have enough time to get out of the house and get away,” said Hal Stratton, chairman of the CPSC

Radio and TV advertising spots are reacting to the new regulation by discounting prices on mattresses that fail to meet the new guidelines. Sales made in the mattress industry, like the automobile industry, are highly negotiable on price. The new regulation does not appear to have much “teeth” for mattresses already in the distribution pipeline, but it is a new law that is a bargaining position for potential buyers.

4 October

Lib Dems launch manifesto

Thursday, April 14, 2005

An exhausted Charles Kennedy returned to the election campaign to launch a twenty page Liberal Democrat manifesto targeted at disaffected Labour voters, promising a fairer tax system and withdrawal from Iraq.

Entitled The Real Alternative the manifesto pledges to reduce the lowest rate of income tax, but increase the rate on those earning over £100,000 to 50%. The party would also scrap the unpopular local council tax in favour of a new local income tax. The manifesto also promises to remove hidden “stealth taxes”.

Under this system the party claims the poorest 15 million (25%) of people in Britain would be better off, and the middle 50% would be paying no extra tax.

The manifesto promised to scrap the controversial university tuition fees, increase services for pensioners and add £100 a month to the state pension, and train 21,000 new primary school teachers and 10,000 new police. A Lib Dem government would make eye and dental checks free, and reduce the cost of prescription medicine.

The Liberal Democrats were the only one of the three largest parliamentary parties to have consistently voted against the Iraq war, and the manifesto has promised an exit strategy with a phased withdrawal of Britain’s 8,000 troops still in the country.

“We reject a foreign policy based on ‘my ally right or wrong’,” Kennedy said. “And we say that war should always be a last resort.”

Kennedy, who became a father on Tuesday, admitted he’d had little sleep before the manifesto launch, and stumbled while answering questions on the proposed tax system.


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