Qingdao oil flow halted as explosion toll hits 47
Reuters – 3 hours agoView Photo
Reuters/Reuters – Rescuers and rescue dogs search for survivors at a damaged road after an explosion in a Sinopec Corp oil pipeline in Huangdao, Qingdao, Shandong Province November 23, 2013. REUTERS/Aly So …more
View PhotoRescuers search for survivors on a damaged road covered with debris after an explosion …View PhotoA rescue worker looks for survivors on a damaged road after an explosion in a Sinopec …View PhotoRescuers search for survivors at the debris-covered basketball court of a school …SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Crude pipelines have been shut-off in the eastern Chinese oil hub of Qingdao pending safety checks a day after a leak triggered a huge explosion that killed 47 people, a refinery official and state media said on Saturday.Qingdao is one of China‘s largest crude oil import terminals, supplying at least two major Sinopec Corp refineries – the Qingdao plant and Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Corp – as well as many small, independent refineries.An official at the Qilu refinery said the city government had halted the flow of oil in all of the city’s pipelines for safety inspections, which meant crude deliveries to all refineries in the city were temporarily cut off.Qilu has not stopped refining nor reduced production but it was now drawing down its crude inventories, which will last about four to five days, the official said by telephone from Shandong province.Qilu has a crude processing capacity of 220,000 bpd.Calls to Sinopec’s Qingdao refinery went unanswered.The blast on Friday killed 47 people, Xinhua said. It caused a blaze that took several hours to bring under control and halted operations at the major oil port, media and ship brokers said.The leaking pipeline had been in use since July 1986, with an annual oil transfer capacity of 10 million tonnes, Xinhua said. It measures 711 mm (28 in) in diameter and runs 248.52 km (154.4 miles).After the explosion the Huangdao oil terminal in Qingdao stopped operations, ship brokers and a port official said on Friday. The local government said oil had spilled into the port, which had also caught fire, but a port official said the port had not been affected.The disaster appeared to be Sinopec’s deadliest and was one of the worst industrial disasters in China this year. In June, a fire at a poultry factory in the northeast killed 121 people.The explosion comes as authorities scrutinise possible corruption at China’s leading oil companies. Former head of China National Petroleum Company, Jiang Jiemin, and other senior officials at Petrochina were placed under investigation in September.Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu apologised to the people of Qingdao during a visit to the scene, the company’s Weibo microblog said on Saturday.”(We) will do whatever it takes to go all out in rescue, relief and rehabilitation work, coordinating with the State Council incident investigation group to find the cause,” it said.President Xi Jinping called on local authorities to „spare no effort to rescue the injured and strengthen safety to eradicate such incidents”, state news agency Xinhua said.(Reporting by John Ruwitch and Fayen Wong)
Reuters/Reuters – People walk past body bags in Tacloban November 23, 2013. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Will Keeping, a retiree from Buchlyvie, near Stirling, visited the crater last month.Unaware of the Door to Hell’s existence before he visited Turkmenistan, Will, 57, was told on his tour that the crater was one of the hundred most bizarre places to visit before you die. Intrigued, he decided to ride across the bleak desert environment, not knowing what to expect. Will said: ‘During daylight, I was initially not impressed as it looked like a hole in a vast desert. As we got nearer and the glow from inside the carter became evident, though, I started to notice the size of the crater and wondered how could continually glow like that.
‘As I approached on foot, it became clear that this was a large crater and that inside was like a huge open furnace. At first, it appeared that it might have been a natural phenomenon, but the sides of the crater contradicted that. I could see the bent and rusted remains of some sort of metal railings or structure, implying some sort of catastrophe having occurred long before. ‘I stood there gazing into the crater, the sheer size and intensity of the fire inside became more and more apparent. ‘As the sun began to set, the location slowly transformed from a large, isolated furnace in the middle of the desert into the centre of attention that dominated the surrounding area – the glow became more intense and lit up the area including the sky above. It was impossible not to be drawn to the crater, something that was just dominant over the surrounding area.’
Brian Gillespie’s speed attempt went spectacularly wrong when he lost control on a test drive in California
By Chris Parsons | Yahoo News – Thu, Nov 21, 2013
However, Brian somehow survived the horror crash and was taken to hospital with a collapsed lung and heavy swelling.
The driver is reportedly now out of hospital and on recovering at home
Brian was attempting to break the 200mph mark while testing the Hasport Hondata’s new modifications.Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash on November 10.
UN climate talks falter in extra time
By Mariette Le Roux | AFP – 1 hour 48 minutes agoView PhotoArtificial leaves with the description „each leaf absorbs CO2” hang in …View PhotoActivists wearing masks featuring Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe, US President Barack Obama, …View PhotoMembers of NGOs walk out of a UN climate change conference in Warsaw, on November …View PhotoGreenpeace activists in Warsaw hang a banner calling for the release of remaining …View PhotoUN negotiators made a last-ditch push Saturday to end a gridlock in climate talks meant to yield a roadmap towards an historic 2015 pact to stave off dangerous global warming.The belligerent negotiations were to have closed at 1700 GMT on Friday, but 17 hours later, diplomats were still shuttling to and fro in a bid to find consensus.The same issues that had divided negotiators at the start of the talks on November 11 remain unresolved now, said delegates.„I urge you to carefully consider the implications of not capturing and finalising this important work in Warsaw,” conference president Marcin Korolec of Poland told a stock-taking meeting around 1000 GMT on Saturday.But several bleary-eyed negotiators used the opportunity to raise their dissatisfaction with the process.„My country Bangladesh, and least-developed countries in general, lost the battle,” Bangladeshi envoy Quamrul Chowdhury told the gathering of the draft negotiating texts currently doing the rounds.„Our expectations have been again shattered. We are saddened.”Envoys for the Group of 77 developing countries and China said they were „discouraged” by the state of affairs.Europe, for its part, said the draft text on a roadmap to Paris had been a „delicate compromise”.The Warsaw round of the notoriously fractious annual talks have seen rich and poor nations butting heads for nearly two weeks over their respective contributions to the goal of limiting average global warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.UN nations had agreed to sign a global deal by 2015 to meet this goal with binding targets for all countries to curb climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.The pact must be inked in Paris in two years’ time, and will enter into effect in 2020.Negotiators from over 190 countries argued in the Polish capital over apportioning targets for carbon emissions cuts between rich and poor states, and over funding for climate-vulnerable countries.On current emissions trends, scientists warn the Earth could face warming of 4.0 C or higher over pre-industrial levels — a recipe for catastrophic storms, droughts, floods and land-gobbling sea-level rise that would hit poor countries disproportionally hard.A major sticking point was the insistence by some developing nations like China and India, their growth fuelled by fossil fuel combustion, to be guaranteed less onerous emissions curbs than wealthy nations.Some want the new deal to impose „commitments” on developed countries, whose long history of emissions they blame for the current state of affairs, and seek only „efforts” from emerging economies.The West, though, insists emerging economies must do their fair share, considering that China is now the world’s biggest emitter of CO2, with India in fourth place after the United States and Europe.A draft text that negotiators were mulling over on Saturday underlined that the pact would be „applicable to all parties”.Money crunch-Money was another bone of contention.Developing nations insist that wealthy nations must show how they intend to keep a promise to ramp up climate aid to $100 billion (74 billion euros) by 2020, up from $10 billion a year from 2010-12.One proposal made on Saturday was for a commitment of $70 billion per year as from 2016.But United States envoy Todd Stern retorted that if negotiations on the finance text were reopened at this late stage, „we will also have several changes we would like to see made”.Still struggling with an economic crisis, the developed world is wary of committing to a detailed long- or short-term funding plan at this stage.The funding crunch lies at the heart of another issue which bedevilled the talks: demands by developing countries for a „loss and damage” mechanism to help them deal with future harm from climate impacts they say are too late to avoid.Rich nations feared this would amount to signing a blank cheque for never-ending liability.Observers said a compromise on this point may be announced soon.
Reuters/Reuters – Delegates attend the closing session of the 19th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19) in Warsaw November 22, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
View PhotoDelegates attend the closing session of the 19th conference of the United Nations …View PhotoDelegates attend the closing session of the 19th conference of the United Nations …View PhotoDelegates attend the closing session of the 19th conference of the United Nations …View PhotoDelegates attend the closing session of the 19th conference of the United Nations …View PhotoDelegates attend the closing session of the 19th conference of the United Nations …By Nina Chestney and Michael SzaboWARSAW (Reuters) – Talks to lay the foundations for a new U.N. climate pact due in 2015 were deadlocked as they ran into overtime on Saturday, with nations at odds over stepping up finance for developing countries to ease the impact of global warming.The Warsaw meeting, which had been due to end on Friday, was meant to lay the groundwork for creating the first climate accord to be applicable to all nations by 2015, which would come into force after 2020.However the only concrete measure to have emerged was an agreement on new rules to protect tropical forests, which soak up carbon dioxide as they grow.Nearly 200 countries assembled at the U.N. conference have stumbled over three major issues over the past two weeks: the level of emissions cuts, climate finance and a „mechanism” to help poor countries deal with loss and damage from global warming.„Climate change talks are still on knife edge after a long night. A few countries (are) insisting on looking backwards. Could be a long day,” British Energy and Climate Change Minister Edward Davey said on Twitter.Developed nations, which promised in 2009 to raise climate aid to $100 billion a year after 2020 from $10 billion a year in the period 2010-12, were resisting calls by the developing world to set targets for 2013-19.A draft text merely urged developed nations, which have been more focused on spurring economic growth than on fixing climate change, to set „increasing levels” of aid.It also suggested they report every two years on their approaches to stepping up finance levels to $100 billion.A group of developing countries and China were in favour of an amendment to the text that „at least $70 billion” a year of climate finance is committed from 2016.OVERTIME-The talks have also proposed a new „Warsaw Mechanism” which would provide expertise, and possibly aid, to help developing nations cope with loss and damage from extreme events such as heat waves, droughts and floods, and creeping threats such as rising sea levels and desertification.Developing nations have insisted on a „mechanism” – to show it was separate from existing structures – even though rich countries say that it will not get new funds beyond the planned $100 billion a year from 2020.Many delegates also said they wanted a clearer understanding of when nations will publish their plans for long-term cuts in greenhouse gases in the run-up to a summit in Paris in 2015.A text on Saturday said that all nations should „initiate or intensify” their domestic preparations for „intended nationally determined commitments” and have them ready by the end of the first quarter of 2015, if they could.The United States is among those advocating pledges be made by the end of the first quarter of 2015. The European Union is among countries which want pledges in 2014.„It’s not everything we wanted, but we know there are some issues we cannot solve here,” Pete Betts, lead negotiator for the European Union, told delegates.Meanwhile, many developing nations want to see more urgency. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which has killed over 5,000 people, has put the spotlight on extreme weather.In September, a U.N. panel of scientists raised the probability that most climate change since 1950 is man-made to at least 95 percent, from 90 in a previous assessment in 2007.It also said that „sustained and substantial” cuts in greenhouse gases were needed to achieve a U.N. goal of limiting warming to manageable levels.”We have compromised on many issues, but there is a limit for compromise by the most vulnerable countries of this planet,” said Nepal’s Prakash Mathema, chair of the group of least developed countries.(Additional reporting by Susanna Twidale and Stian Reklev; Editing by Pravin Char)
One of the largest fishing vessels in the world detained by Irish Naval Service
By Michelle Hennessy | TheJournal.ie – 17 hours agoView Photo
TheJournal.ie – One of the largest fishing vessels in the world detained by Irish Naval Service
One of the LARGEST fishing vessels in the world was detained by the Irish Naval Service north west of Tory Island, off the Donegal coast today.The naval ship LÉ Roisín detained the Dutch registered vessel for alleged breaches of fishing regulations. It was detained shortly after 11am, approximately one hundred nautical miles north west of Tory Island and is expected into Killybegs this evening.The vessel, the Annelies Ilena, is the largest ever detained by the Naval Service and considered one of the largest in the world. The 14,000 tonne vessel was first owned by Irish fishing magnate Kevin McHugh as the ‘Atlantic Dawn’.The Annelies Ilena (Image Credit: Free Photo Fun via Flickr/Creative Commons)It brings to 922 the number of boardings conducted this year by the Naval Service and this is the thirteenth vessel detained for alleged infringements of fisheries regulations in 2013.The Dutch fishing vessel is currently under escort to Killybegs where it will be handed over to gardaí.Seven men arrested over Tipperary burglary still being questionedSo what’s happening in CORK in the run-up to Christmas?
This TV news report about a rain shower will blow any Irish person’s mind
By Michael Freeman | TheJournal.ie – 19 hours agoView Photo
TheJournal.ie – This TV news report about a rain shower will blow any Irish person’s mind
This is what happens on the TV news when a light rain shower hits Los Angeles.The report on NBC4 news, apparently from Wednesday night, includes a correspondent literally describing what rain is like.According to the breathless reporter, “it has started drizzling a little bit.” She describes the situation thus:It will start raining for a few minutes, and stop and start up again.Here’s the clip:To watch to this video file please visit http://jrnl.ie/1187749Source: “AshlynnMore revelations: apparently “you can tell by the wet roads” that it’s been raining and people are “walking fast to get to where they need to go.”Hold on for the interview with a suffering victim of the rain. He describes his traumatic experience as follows:
The campaign to bring everyone in this video to Ireland on holidays starts now.
New documents show how the Irish Ambassador viewed America after Kennedy’s death
By Paul Hosford | TheJournal.ie – 22 hours agoView Photo
TheJournal.ie – New documents show how the Irish Ambassador viewed America after Kennedy’s death
Us president lyndon B Johnson would be “warm and friendly” to Ireland, but “without depth of feeling”.That was the impression of the Irish ambassador to America TJ Kiernan just nine days after Johnson became President following the assassination of John F Kennedy.The report, made available today by the National Archives of Ireland and UCD’s History Hub shows Kiernan’s feelings on relations in Washington, where fierce battles raged in Congress over civil rights laws.A picture of two diametrically opposed leaders is painted by Kiernan: Johnson the “business executive man of action” and Kennedy, “a thinker”.Johnson will be friendly to Irish interests in 1964, “at least”, Kiernan says. But that is only because he is looking at the 1964 Presidential Election (where he would comprehensively beat Barry Goldwater).Kiernan says that although he has pledged to continue on JFK’s policies, “differences of emphasis may be expected, at least”.He says that Johnson faces his biggest challenge in continuing JFK’s civil rights policies, facing fierce opposition from Southern Democrats like himself.Lapsing into a rare moment of prophesy, the report suggests that Johnson’s ability to compromise would speed up the civil rights struggle.Kiernan makes little mention of what he expects from Johnson on the world stage, saying only that he expects Johnson to be less invested in the UN than Kennedy.TJ Kiernan would retire from the post of Irish Ambassador and from diplomatic life, in April 1964. His successor William P Fay faced different landscape when he reached the American capital.The full letter can be read here.‘Invisible handcuffs’ used to control women enslaved for 30 yearsConcerns about homelessness raised after body found in Bray car park
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Concerns over Irish procedures for handling domestic slavery cases
By Daragh Brophy | TheJournal.ie – 19 hours agoView Photo
TheJournal.ie – Concerns over Irish procedures for handling domestic slavery cases
The director of the Migrant Rights Centre in Ireland has said that a two-month long ‘recovery and reflection’ period for those freed from forced labour situations needs to be properly resourced and enforced by agencies here.It follows the high profile case in London this week, in which three women, including a 57-year-old Irish woman, were removed by authorities from a house in the south of the city. The women were rescued from their situation on 25 October last, and are continuing to receive support from professionals at a ‘place of safety’.Director of the MRCI Siobhán Donoghue says there’s an urgent need for further resources to be allocated for the investigation of forced labour and domestic servitude cases here, and for the provision of follow-up support for victims.“We’re probably the main organisation working in this area, and we’ve been involved with 200 cases in the last six years, so its a fair conclusion that there’s an awful lot more out there,” Donoghue told TheJournal.ie.She said that the 60-day recovery period, as mandated by the Council of Europe, was rarely applied in Ireland.“Victims are likely to be traumatised and extremely vulnerable. They often need time to adjust and process what they have been through before they can participate in an investigation.“Their health, security and wellbeing are paramount.”
“We need to put in a place of a system of supports and resources to ensure they aren’t re-traumatised during this period so they’re in the best position to be part of an investigation.
In terms of the organisations involvement with victims, she said that in the majority of cases, people in forced labour situations were identified by somebody else, like a neighbour or a work colleague“We’ve had taxi men come to us, we’ve had the gardaí call us to say they’re concerned about somebody.“It’s generally the case where the person at the centre of the situation doesn’t recognise themselves as being the victim of anything.“They’re very often told that they are person who has done something wrong, and that they will be punished.”In a small number of cases, victims have managed to escape under their own efforts, and have been put in contact with the Centre after approaching a member of the public for help.Donoghue said that domestic work was the largest sector they dealt with, and that the problem existed in all strata of Irish society “in semi-detached houses, housing estates and restaurants all over the country”.The Centre is also concerned about workers in embassies, and in travelling circuses. Donoghue said there had been a “number of cases involving circus workers in recent years”.In terms of what Ireland could learn from the approach of authorities in London, she said that that their handling of the case to date also highlighted the need for greater involvement of “trauma specialists” who could provide appropriate psychological support techniques.London slavery case merely ‘tip of the iceberg,’ MP warnsTransport Dept examines issues with emergency marine beacons
Lebanon identifies second Iran embassy bomber-source
Reuters/Reuters – Hezbollah civil defense members work at the site of the two suicide bombings that occurred on Tuesday near Iran’s embassy compound in Beirut November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Sharif Karim
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese authorities have identified the second suicide bomber who attacked the Iranian embassy in Beirut this week as a Palestinian man with ties to a fugitive Lebanese Islamist cleric, a security source said on Saturday.Lebanese authorities had identified the first suicide bomber a day earlier as a Lebanese man with ties to hardline Sunni Muslim groups.The source said the second bomber, who lived in southern Lebanon, was a follower of Ahmed al-Assir, a firebrand Sunni Muslim cleric whose militant supporters fought a two-day battle with the Lebanese army in June after barricading themselves in a mosque in the southern port city of Sidon.Assir, a staunch supporter of the revolt in neighbouring Syria, was known for fiery sectarian and anti-Iranian rhetoric. He was not found when the army stormed the mosque and has been missing ever since.Last Tuesday, twin blasts at the embassy killed 23 people, including the Iranian cultural attaché, and wounded 146 others. A Lebanese group linked to al Qaeda, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, claimed the bombings and threatened more attacks if Iran did not end its involvement in the 2-1/2-year-old Syrian conflict.Lebanese authorities took the second bomber’s father into custody for questioning, the security source said, after discovering that the bomber had ties to Assir.The civil war that has divided Syria along sectarian lines has frequently spilled over into its smaller neighbour, with its own fragile sectarian balance.Syria’s revolt is led by the country’s Sunni majority, while President Bashar al-Assad draws most of his support from members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam. He is getting money and military support from Tehran.The Lebanese Shi’ite guerrilla group Hezbollah, also funded by Iran, has sent fighters into Syria to help Assad.Hezbollah-controlled areas in southern Beirut have been hit by blasts three times this past year.(Reporting by Erika Solomon; editing by Ralph Boulton)
Insight – Old assumptions questioned in Arafat’s mysterious death
Reuters/Reuters – Presidential guards stand near the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
View PhotoA Palestinian artist works on a mural depicting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat …View PhotoA boy uses his phone to take a photograph of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s …View PhotoA portrait of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat hangs on a wall in the Yasser …By Crispian Balmer RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – President Yasser Arafat’s spartan bedroom remains largely as he left it in 2004, when he flew off to France for treatment for a mystery illness only to return home two weeks later in a coffin.More like a prison cell than the living quarters of an Arab leader, a single bed lies along one wall, a small fridge still contains some of his long-expired medicines and his old, khaki uniform, dotted with bright badges, hangs in a narrow wardrobe.Giving an outsider a rare glimpse into a long-shuttered world, the door to the adjacent room is thrown open, revealing the wooden casket that brought his corpse back to Ramallah.Arafat’s body, wrapped in a Palestinian flag, was buried nine years ago, but conspiracy theories he was poisoned were never laid to rest, with accusations flying on all sides.Should evidence emerge that Israel killed the Palestinian leader, a legacy of rancour could wreck the chances of peace for years to come. Proof that someone from Arafat’s own inner circle did it could sweep away a generation of politicians who still hold sway in the occupied West Bank.Like many Palestinians, Imad Abu Zaki, one of Arafat’s closest bodyguards, has no doubt who did it. Neither, he says, did his boss, whom he calls reverentially the Rais (president).”I remember one day the Rais said: ‘They have got me’. He was talking about the Israelis,” Abu Zaki said, recalling an enfeebled Arafat sitting on his sick bed and putting his hand to his chest.Most Palestinians have long assumed that Israel murdered their national hero, anxious to be rid of a man they blamed for the collapse of peace talks in 2000 and a subsequent uprising that saw waves of suicide bombers wreak havoc in Israeli cities.Revelations this month by a Swiss forensic lab that Arafat’s bones contained unnaturally high amounts of rare, radioactive polonium, only fuelled their conviction.But not everyone is pointing the finger in the same direction. Some people, like Arafat’s widow Suha, have suggested her husband was killed by an insider.„I’m sure it’s someone in his close circle,” Suha said, calling Arafat’s death a „political assassination”.A series of interviews with Palestinian and Israel officials, who were all caught up in the events of 2004, shed more detailed light on an era of violence, intrigue and animosity that pitted Palestinians against Israelis, and against one another.SHARON THREAT–Before his death, Arafat was confined by the Israeli military to his bomb-damaged, rubble-strewn headquarters in Ramallah for 41 months. Largely shunned by the outside world, he was still an icon of national resistance to his people, who referred to him affectionately by his nom de guerre, Abu Ammar.The then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon hinted darkly to Ma’ariv newspaper in September 2004 that he wanted to be rid of Arafat, noting that Israel had killed two leaders of the Islamist group Hamas earlier that same year.„On the matter of Arafat we’ll operate in the same way, when we find the convenient and suitable time,” said Sharon, who has lain in a deep coma since suffering a stroke in 2006.Barely a month after Sharon’s comment, Arafat, already fragile with notably trembling lips, fell seriously ill.Ibrahim Abu Al-Naja, the then Palestinian agriculture minister, recalls dining with Arafat on October 14 in his airless makeshift home, cement-filled oil drums standing at the windows to limit blast damage in the event of an Israeli attack.„There was nothing wrong with Abu Ammar (Arafat) when I saw him then. He looked in good health,” Abu Al-Naja said, talking about it for the first time to the foreign media.„There was a bowl of soup in front of him. He took a sip in a spoon and he looked different. He put both hands to his mouth and he vomited. He never got better after that.”Some officials recall the illness starting on October 12. Others say the decline started at the beginning of the month.Initially, his aides said he was suffering flu. Teams of doctors came first from Egypt, then from Tunisia to check him. Eventually he was rushed to Paris on October 29, but he died on November 11. No autopsy was carried out and French doctors said they did could not determine the cause of death.Two weeks later, the Palestinians opened an investigation that got nowhere. The case resurfaced last year when the Al Jazeera news channel obtained some of Arafat’s hospital clothes and got them analysed in Switzerland.The Lausanne University Hospital’s Institute of Radiation Physics found unusually high levels of polonium-210 and French magistrates opened a murder investigation.Arafat’s body was exhumed last year and samples were given to Swiss, French and Russian experts. Once more, the Swiss say they detected a high level of polonium. The Russian findings were less conclusive and the French have not yet reported back.„I was always sure that Arafat was assassinated. I said it from the beginning. But we needed the proof. This Swiss report has finally given us the proof,” said Ahmed Qurie, the Palestinian prime minister at the time of Arafat’s death.„Nobody believes that anyone other than Israel did it.”The Israelis adamantly reject this view.THE ENEMY WITHIN-Israel orchestrated some 150 targeted killings between September 2000 and October 2004, according to Israeli human rights group B’tselem. The state freely admitted to many of the operations, but it denies any involvement in Arafat’s death.„For Sharon, Arafat was the symbol of evil,” said Giora Eiland, the Israeli leader’s national security adviser from 2004-2006, who was at the heart of decision-making.„There were some discussions about the possibility of removing Arafat or expelling him, but it was just hypothetical ideas. Arafat … was the absolute leader of the Palestinians, so we could not think to do to him what we did to the leaders of Hamas and other factions.”Avi Dichter, the head of the Shin Bet internal security agency in 2004, said the Palestinians needed to look inwards. „Let them investigate and find out,” he told Israel Radio.Fahmi Shabaneh, a member of the original Palestinian investigation team, believes Dichter is right.On October 12, 2004, at the time that Arafat fell ill, his powerful cousin Moussa Arafat survived an assassination attempt in his Gaza Strip fiefdom. „Israel is innocent of this act,” Moussa said the next day, blaming rival forces for the failed car bombing of his convoy.A year later he wasn’t so lucky. He was dragged from his house in Gaza by gunmen and shot dead in the street. Despite living next to Palestinian security headquarters, no one came to his help and the murderers were never caught.„Moussa’s killing was tied to the killing of Abu Ammar (Arafat) and those who are suspected of the killing of Moussa are the same who are suspected of killing Abu Ammar,” said Shabaneh.He said he came to this conclusion after the work he carried out in the first, official investigation into Arafat’s death that lasted barely five months and led to no charges.„Abu Ammar came from a small family and Moussa was his strongest relative … His killing was like a Mafia hit. They did it to prevent him seeking revenge,” he said this month from his small office in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.Shabaneh sees himself as a whistleblower, saying he was chased from the adjacent West Bank in 2010 after giving Israeli television a sex tape that compromised a senior official close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas’s Palestinian Authority moved the shamed official into a new job and accused Shabaneh of being a traitor.INNER TURMOIL-Before Arafat fell ill, there was growing internal dissent within the ranks of his Palestinian Authority (PA).In July 2004, a former minister and fierce Arafat critic, Nabil Amr, was shot and wounded in Ramallah, enraging his clan, which denounced the PA for failing to find the attackers. The same month there were riots in Gaza after Arafat appointed his cousin Moussa to be police chief.PA rival Mohammed Dahlan was accused of fomenting the trouble, leading to accusations that he was working with Israel to replace Arafat. He has denied this. He left the Palestinian Territories after falling out with Abbas in 2010 and lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates.Qurie, Palestinian prime minister at the time of Arafat’s death, is adamant that Palestinians were not responsible. „Lots of Palestinians used to criticise Arafat, but this is not proof that there was a Palestinian plot to kill him. Everyone looked up to him as a father,” he said.Certainly, if Arafat was killed – and the Swiss lab report says the amount of polonium found only „moderately supported” the contention he was poisoned – then the rare substance would have had to come from a country with a nuclear industry.By the same token, because he was surrounded almost exclusively by Palestinians, a local hand would probably have had to deliver the tiny, fatal dose.Bodyguard Abu Zaki was at Arafat’s side from 1988 until his death in France and is the only person who still has an office off the cramped corridor that contained Arafat’s hectic court. Speaking out for the first time since the polonium accusations surfaced, he said his team did what they could to protect him.„The problem is he was popular. He met hundreds of people every day,” he said, suggesting the truth may never emerge.(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Janet McBride)
Winter Storm Boreas Latest: More Snow, Ice Ahead
weather.com and Associated Press Published: Nov 23, 2013, 6:52 AM EST
Weekend Snow and Ice Storm
Winter Storm Boreas moved into parts of the U.S. Southwest and Southern Plains, bringing arctic temperatures and wintry precipitation into the region. Three people were killed in blustery Northern California, one person was killed in Arizona after being swept away by flood waters, and dozens of cars became stranded in snowy rural Nevada as the storm moved through the west.
The system was expected to head east and reach the opposite coast by the middle of next week, but not before dropping rain on the Southwest through Saturday morning, forecasters said.
(MORE: Drivers, Avoid These Cities)
Parts of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas felt the brunt of the storm Friday.
Snow and cold temperatures hit Colorado Springs just in time for Thursday’s game between UNLV and Air Force.
Texas and Oklahoma
Abilene Regional Airport in Texas closed Friday morning due to weather as officials continued to assess travel conditions. The National Weather Service says the Abilene area received light snow, freezing rain and temperatures in the 20s.
NWS also reported slick roads and road closures in Lubbock, Texas.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has urged motorists to take precautions, such as keeping blankets or sleeping bags in vehicles during the cold weather.
Freezing rain and sleet also made their way into the Oklahoma City metro area by midday Friday.
CaliforniaThe fierce weather was linked to three deaths in California. Officials and news reports said the death of a person Thursday near downed power lines and a tree was being investigated in Oakland, another person died in Oakland after the man crashed into a fallen tree while apparently trying to avoid debris, and a 52-year-old woman died in Yuba County when a tree fell on the parked car in which she was sitting.
A homeless man had to be rescued from a tree by helicopter and four others were plucked from an island after becoming trapped in the swollen Santa Ana River in California’s San Bernardino County.
In northern Utah, transportation officials warned truck drivers of potential trailer-toppling gusts. No accidents had been reported, but big rigs pulled off to the side of the freeways to wait out the winds Friday morning, Utah Highway Patrol officials told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Parts of northern New Mexico have already received a dusting of snow, but forecasters say the latest storm to bear down on the state is far from over. The National Weather Service in Albuquerque said the brunt of the storm is expected to cross into New Mexico on Saturday, bringing widespread snow through the rest of the weekend, frigid temps and gusty winds.
Snow in New Mexico prompted some schools to delay opening Friday. Interstate 25 and roads throughout northern New Mexico were icy and packed with snow.
Firefighters in Tucson, Ariz., Friday recovered the body of a man who was swept away by high water in the Santa Cruz River.
A flood watch was in effect until early Saturday in the Phoenix area, where several miles of the Loop 303 freeway in the western suburbs were closed due to flooding. The weather service said rain totals through Saturday morning could exceed 2 inches in the Phoenix area.
(FORECAST: Winter Storm Boreas)
The wet conditions prompted the Arizona Interscholastic Association to push back high school football semifinal games set for Friday and Saturday. Officials rescheduled the games to Monday „due to the weather conditions, field conditions and safety of the players and fans attending the games.”
Authorities, meanwhile, responded to hundreds of crashes as the storm dropped rain over desert dwellers.
Snow in higher elevations in rural eastern Nevada’s Lincoln County stranded 50 to 60 cars early Friday, dispatcher Shannon Miller said. No injuries were reported, but U.S. 93 was closed south of Ely. Sheriff’s dispatch said early Saturday that the roadway had been reopened, but the office did not have any information on the stranded cars.
Showers in Las Vegas rained on the parade Thursday at the Latin Grammy Awards, where the green carpet was shut down and starlets in sparkling skin-tight gowns scampered indoors to avoid real fashion disasters.
Authorities, meanwhile, responded to hundreds of crashes as the storm dropped rain over desert dwellers.
Trooper Loy Hixson said the Nevada Highway Patrol responded to 141 collisions between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday, including 37 with minor injuries. That’s four to five times what the agency sees on a normal day.
Las Vegas police reported 112 accidents on surface streets during a rainy five-hour period Thursday.
„This happens every time we get bad weather,” said Las Vegas police officer Laura Meltzer. „People need to slow down and leave more space.”
At least one business in thirsty southern Nevada was rejoicing over the storm system. Officials at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort north of Sin City measured 11 1/2 inches of snow at midday Friday, with a week to spare until opening day.
The system is expected to bring nasty conditions into the Southern Plains, Southeast and eventually the Northeast during the next five days. Get the full forecast here.MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Social Media Captures Winter Storm Boreas
Tweets with photos documenting the sleet and freezing rain affecting the Southwest and Plains especially Texas and Oklahoma .
Tweets with photos documenting the sleet and freezing rain affecting the Southwest and Plains especially Texas and Oklahoma .
Now can we play Christmas music? Ice in Aledo. pic.twitter.com/Y3YRQ8ltkR