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December 10 2012 2 10 /12 /December /2012 05:26

NZ quake report finds CTV building failures

The New Zealand earthquake royal commission has found a litany of failures associated with the construction and design of the CTV building.

 

NZ report on CTV building collapse due

 

The New Zealand earthquake royal commission has found a litany of failures associated with the CTV building, which collapsed in February last year killing 115 people.

 

The commission says there were deficiencies in the engineering design and in the construction and that the Christchurch City Council should not have issued a building permit for the structure in 1986.

 

It found the building was cleared for re-occupancy after the September 2010 earthquake, even though there was no engineer present for the inspection.

 

The commission didn't find a link between that inspection and the CTV building's collapse nearly six months later, however it did recommend improvements be made to the inspection process.

 

The final report also calls for changes in building practices and oversight.


New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says the government will consider those recommendations and offer a response next year.

 

He says the report is a "grim and sobering" read.

 

185 people died in the Christchurch earthquake and Mr Key says he wanted to release the report as soon as possible for the victims' families.

 

The report is the result of an eight-week hearing, which heard evidence from more than 80 witnesses including building designers, engineers, inspectors, builders and survivors.

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December 10 2012 2 10 /12 /December /2012 05:16
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    December 8 2012 7 08 /12 /December /2012 05:25

    Deadly typhoon sparks plea for action on climate change

    Relatives cross a river to bury their loved one

    Wake of the storm ... relatives cross a river to bury a flood victim in the southern Philippines. Photo: AP


    DOHA: The lead negotiator of the Philippines broke down in tears at the international climate talks in Doha as he made an emotional appeal for ''no more delays, no more excuses'' in combating climate change, as he described the plight of his country in the wake of typhoon Bopha, which has killed more than 400 people.

     

    ''Even as we vacillate and procrastinate here, the death toll is rising. There is massive and widespread devastation. Hundreds of thousands of people [are] without homes. And the ordeal is far from over,'' Naderev Sano said. ''I appeal to leaders from all over the world to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people.''

     

    After his speech, Mr Sano expressed frustration at the lack of funding from rich nations to help developing countries adapt to the changing climate. But the UN's former climate chief Yvo de Boer dismissed as ''completely unrealistic'' calls for $60 billion in funding.

    Mr De Boer, who led the UN's climate negotiations from 2006 to 2010, said: ''It's not going to happen, with developed countries in the financial state they're in. We need to be realistic.''

     

    The death toll stood at 418 early on Friday, with 380 missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. Only 73 of the dead had been identified.

     

    The Philippine government has faced criticism of its response to tropical storms that lash the nation every year. ''We won't stop building systems and mechanisms so that we can minimise the number of victims of tragedies,'' the President, Benigno Aquino, said on Thursday. ''Our target is not to lose one life.''

     

    His civil defence chief, Benito Ramos, said before Bopha hit that the nation was ''very prepared'', having warned residents in the storm's path five days in advance.

     

    More than 306,000 people are in evacuation centres after 15,850 homes were damaged, the disaster agency said. Some parts of Mindanao were still without electricity and water, it said.

     

    Most of the confirmed dead lived in a steep valley in the south where flooding was so widespread that places people thought were safe, including two emergency shelters, became among the deadliest.

     

    Authorities said about 215 victims died in Compostela Valley and more than 151 in nearby Davao Oriental province, with the rest in other central and southern provinces. Bopha triggered landslides and floods along the coast and in towns inland.

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    December 8 2012 7 08 /12 /December /2012 05:22

    Powerful quake shakes buildings in Japan

    [image]

     

    Passengers gather after train services were suspended following an earthquake at Sendai station in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture.

    Passengers gather after train services were suspended following an earthquake at Sendai station in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. Photo: Reuters


    A one-metre-high tsunami has hit Japan's northeast coast, the country's meteorological agency says.

     

    The wave was recorded in Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi prefecture that was badly hit by the tsunami of March 2011, which killed thousands.

     

    A magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck north-eastern Japan earlier on Friday, and the meteorological agency had issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas.

     

    No damage or injuries were immediately reported from the 5:18 pm (7:18 AEDT) quake, which was centred off the prefecture at a depth of 10 kilometres, the agency said.

     

    The region was struck on March 11, 2011, by a magnitude-9 quake, which caused major damage and set off a tsunami that devastated coastal communities.

     

    About 18,600 people died or went missing in the disaster.

     

    No abnormalities were observed on Friday at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Fukushima prefecture, which borders Miyagi, its operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co, said.

     

    The plant went into meltdown after it was hit by the March 2011 disaster and has been shut down ever since.

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    December 8 2012 7 08 /12 /December /2012 05:14

    Five people killed in horror road smash on the Princes Fwy in Lara

    Lara fatal

    A BMW is destroyed after a fatal collision killed five people. Picture: Norm Oorloff Source: Herald Sun


    ALARMED witnesses reported a wayward car speeding along the wrong side of a freeway just before a two-car crash claimed the lives of five people this morning.


    Authorities extracted the five bodies from the vehicles just after 10am, while members from the SES have now cleared the crash scene of debris.

     

    The fatal crash occurred just after 1am in Lara, about 15km north-east of Geelong.

     

    Pictures: Lara's horror crash


    A car carrying six people - one passenger over its capacity - is believed to have been filled with people in their 20s traveling from Geelong to Melbourne.

     

    Lara fatal

    Five people are dead after two cars were involved in a head-on crash on the Princess Freeway at Lara. Picture: Norm Oorloff

     

    The Geelong-bound passage near the Lara freeway exit has been reopened and cars and flowing opposite the site.

    If you know of any witnesses to the crash, the car speeding the wrong way or if you know the crash victims, please phone our newsroom on 9292 2000.


    Two males and two females in the car died on impact; while a male passenger remains fighting for his life this morning at The Alfred hospital.

    Post your tributes below


    Investigators believe the crash occurred after a car, travelling on the wrong side of the Princes Fwy near Avalon Rd, collided with a car travelling Melbourne-bound just after 1am.

     

    Lara fatal

    Emergency service workers clean up the Princes Hwy after the death of five people. Picture: Norm Oorloff


    Five dead in Pacific Motorway crash at Coomera


    The male driver of the vehicle managed to escape without life-threatening injuries and will assist police with their probe.

     

    The sole female driver of the BMW is believed to be in her 30s.

     

    Assistant Commissioner Jack Blayney said it could be weeks before investigators could establish whether drugs or alcohol had been a contributor the crash.

     

    Lara fatal

    The wreckage of the Subaru after the fatal collision in Princes Fwy in Lara. Picture: Norm Oorloff


    He said witnesses had informed Lara detectives of a vehicle speeding in excess along the wrong side of the freeway at Werribee South and officers had pursued the matter as a "priority".

     

    Ten dead in motorway carnage


    He said a number of vehicles had been driving along the road at the time of the collision and had witnessed the tragedy unfold in front of them.

     

    The site of the smash - which is Melbourne-bound beside the Lara exit ramp - reflects a chilling scene this morning.

    Lara fatal

    The Subaru at the crash scene on the Princes Fwy in Lara. Picture: Norm Oorloff


    A mangled BMW is sprawled across the left embankment, where it's easily linked to the second car by a bridge of debris scattered across the gravel.

     

    It is understood a female was the sole occupant of the car which was reportedly travelling the wrong way.

     

    Members from the Disaster Victim Identification crew are also at the scene assisting investigators.

     

    Assistant Commissioner Jack Blayney said the deceased bodies needed to be extracted from the vehicles before detectives could probe who was wearing seat belts at the time of impact in the overloaded car.

     

    Lara fatal

    The BMW at the crash scene on the Princes Fwy in Lara. Picture: Norm Oorloff


    "Clearly there were more people in the car (Subaru) then should have been. Whether or not that's a large contributing factor to the scale of the disaster, I don't know," he said.

     

    "The speed at which was involved here ... anyone in either car would have been very lucky to survive.

     

    "We don't understand why the car (BMW) was being driven in this manner.

     

    "It's just a very, very tragic sad circumstance."

     

    Lara fatal

    Emergency workers clean up the Princes Fwy after a head-on collision in Lara. Picture: Norm Oorloff


    He said investigators would probe whether the car was being deliberately driven with the intent to crash as part of the probe.

    "That will become more apparent over the days ahead as we continue to investigate the matter," he said.

     

    "This is a stark reminder of how these things can turn so terribly wrong, in a simple thing like driving down the freeway."

     

    Assistant Commissioner Blayney said: "We've got members of the community who saw this vehicle on the wrong side of the road as far back as Werribee South."

    Lara fatal

    A CFA worker removes part of the wreckage on the Princes Fwy in Lara. Picture: Norm Oorloff


     The vehicle was believed to have been traveling along the wrong side of the freeway for up to 10 minutes before the collision.

     

    "This is what we deem a priority incident and police were responding; unfortunately they couldn't get here before he collision. The members obviously were first at the scene. They've been through a lot of trauma tonight," he said.

     

    "This has a huge impact on people; particularly members of the community who were driving past and saw this unfold before their very eyes.

     

    (And) at some stage this morning people will be getting a knock on their door informing them their loved ones have died."

    Anyone with information or anyone who may have witnessed the vehicle on the Freeway prior to the collision is urged to

    contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.

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    December 8 2012 7 08 /12 /December /2012 05:08

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    December 8 2012 7 08 /12 /December /2012 05:07
    We only sell high quality HP 671567-421 battery packs products, each HP 671567-421 laptop battery is Brand New & 1 year warranty and discount up to 30%! HP 671567-421 Laptop Battery are specifically designed for your HP laptop models.

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    December 6 2012 5 06 /12 /December /2012 06:56

    Adam Scott braces for life after the broomstick after ditching the long putter in Sydney today

    Adam Scott

    Adam Scott in action today. Picture: Brett Costello Source: The Daily Telegraph


    ADAM Scott, a man no stranger to relationship headlines, looks set to dump the broomstick putter.


    In a move that could conceivably decide the 2012 Australian Open, Australia's premier golfer yesterday practised without the controversial club that has revived him as a force in world golf.

     

    Only a week after golfing officialdom promised to outlaw the broomstick putter by 2016, Scott has ditched his own long wand in favour of a shortened version of the same club.

     

    Paired with American great Tom Watson over 11 practice holes yesterday, the 32-year-old Queenslander worked the greens with a new stick that finished some six to eight centimetres short of his midriff at address.

     

    Emirates Australian Open: Click here to win tickets


    Still longer than a regular putter, the club also requires the world No.7 to maintain the 'claw' grip accompanying broomsticks - thereby causing a minimum of change to his putting technique. Importantly, however, the club isn't anchored to his body like the one offending golfing purists.

     

    Yet while Scott's relationships have long been fodder for we vultures of the press - most notably his pairing with tennis stunner Ana Ivanovic - the Aussie glamour boy was strangely silent when quizzed on his latest potential split.

     

    Asked if he planned to ditch the broomstick after finishing his round with Watson, Scott instead headed straight for the locker room saying only that he had "commitments".

     

    However The Daily Telegraph understands the new club, which would could prove quite the gamble for Scott if used at The Lakes this week, is a shortened version of his beloved broomstick.

     

    Put simply, it still allows Scott to keep that same body angle through the stroke. The club head is also the same.

    Despite securing 16 of his 19 wins with a traditional putter, Scott clinched the Australian Masters last month using a broomstick putter.

     

    Notably, three of the past five major championship winners have triumphed using long putters - including Ernie Els, who capitalised on Scott's stumble at The Open in July.

     

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday morning, US great Watson was far more expansive on the issue.

     

    "The broomstick stroke is not a stroke of golf," he said. "That's not a stroke but it makes it easier to play. My son Michael, with a conventional putting stroke, he couldn't make it from two feet half the time. But he went to a belly putter and he makes everything.

     

    "The game is fun to him now, so there lies the danger: Do we take the ability for people to have fun away?

     

    "Do we go to two sets of rules, where some people can use (long putters) in certain competitions, but the PGA Tour maybe can't?"

     

    Asked about Els' use of the long stick, he added: "I thought Ernie summed up perfectly after he won last year's Open championship.

     

    "He was asked: 'Why did you go with the long putter Ernie?' He said: 'I'm cheating like the rest of them are'."

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    December 6 2012 5 06 /12 /December /2012 06:51

    Typhoon Death Toll Rising in Southern Philippines

    Residents pass by bodies recovered from flashflood in New Bataan, Compostela Valley province, southern Philippines, December 5, 2012.

    ​​
    The civil defense office says close to 100,000 people have been evacuated. Civil Defense Chief Benito Ramos says the military, national police and other agencies are still trying to get people to safety.

    He says good weather Wednesday has allowed rescue workers to use the military’s limited number of helicopters. But Ramos says, in some cases, rescuers are resorting to traveling on foot because of the obliterated and mud-caked roads.

    If the roads and bridges are collapsed [and] the use of aircraft is not feasible, then we use the Army personnel to bring in food and non-food items to devastated areas, especially those areas that are far-flung,” he said.

    Ramos says most of the deaths have been reported in the Compostela Valley on the eastern edge of Mindanao, the country’s largest island in the south. Numerous landslides buried people and covered entire towns in mud.

    Ramos says Davao Oriental, next to the Valley, and along the east coast was also particularly hard hit. Nearby Surigao del Sur province is completely in the dark and has been placed under a “state of calamity” by national government.

    Gwendolyn Pang with the Philippine Red Cross says, in addition to difficulty in trying to get into the remote areas, the organization’s chapter offices are having a hard time communicating with stranded residents.

    In terms of lifelines, there’s no power supply in most of the areas in Mindanao and there’s intermittent connection of mobile lines,” she said.

    A cell phone charging station set up in one town has more than 2,000 people said to be waiting in line to recharge their devices.

    Ramos says the death toll is expected to rise, but authorities are hopeful the numbers will not be nearly as high as those of a year ago. Last December, more than 1,200 people died after Tropical Storm Washi inundated northern Mindanao, catching government agencies by surprise.

    In response, President Benigno Aquino ordered scientists and the state weather bureau to come up with a flood and hazard mapping system to help forecast such disasters. In a news briefing Wednesday, he noted the ability to better predict the disaster and prepare this time may be contributing to the lower figures but said, “Any single casualty is a cause for distress.
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    December 6 2012 5 06 /12 /December /2012 06:47

    Tornado kills three, leaves hundreds homeless in Auckland

    Click to download...

    Three dead after wild weather strikes NZ

    Three people have reportedly lost their lives in Auckland, New Zealand, as what's believed to be a tornado ripped trough a residential area.

     

    Three people are dead, seven in hospital and hundreds left homeless after a tornado ripped through parts of Auckland.

    The tornado, which hit the suburb of Hobsonville about 12.15pm (10.15am AEDT), ripped roofs from houses, toppled trees and sent debris flying onto cars.

     

    Up to 150 homes were badly damaged, leading to 250 residents being given shelter at the Whenuapai Air Force base.

     

    Damage in Auckland following the reported tornado which killed three people.

    Damage in Auckland following the reported tornado which killed three people.

     

    Two construction workers were killed when a concrete slab landed on a truck at the building site of a secondary school.

    Advertisement

    A third death was later confirmed, believed to be caused by a fallen tree.

     

    Authorities ordered Hobsonville residents to take shelter in their homes throughout the afternoon with the MetService, New Zealand's weather bureau, warning of the potential for further tornadoes.

     

    The aftermath of a tornado which ripped through west Auckland.

    The aftermath of a tornado which ripped through west Auckland. Photo: @cacenz


    The residential centre of the tornado's destruction was Wallingford Way, in Hobsonville; a street lined with Defence Force state housing.

    Every house in Wallingford Way was damaged in some form with broken windows, damaged roofs and trees uprooted.

    Most residents were evacuated from the street but army and emergency services continued to work to clear the debris.

    A resident said they saw wheelie bins and pot plants flying past their windows and were forced to duck for shelter as windows were smashed in.

    The highest windspeed recorded at Whenuapai airbase, close to the time of the tornado, was 110km/h. That constituted a severe gale but would not have been the speed in the tornado itself, which was not measured.

    The tornado was accompanied by heavy rain, with hundreds of homes losing power, several major roads closed and delays caused at Auckland International Airport.

     

    Prime Minister John Key, whose electorate covers the damaged area, extended his sympathy to friends and family of the victims.

     

    Devastation ... a house in the suburb of Hobsonville.

    Devastation ... a house in the suburb of Hobsonville. Photo: Reuters


    Toni Hayward, administrator at the Open Wananga Office in Hobsonville, saw the tornado rip through the area.

    "It came right through here and picked stuff up an threw it on the road."

    "The sky went all dark and there was a big clap of thunder, all the trees were flattened."

    Hobsonville RSA cook Deborah Carlson said she was trapped in her car during the storm, too terrified to go outside.

    "I was just sitting there because it was pouring with rain and I thought I'd wait it out. But then my car started shaking and there were things flying everywhere. I thought it was going to flip, I was terrified.
    "

    Casey Davenport, who lives in Hobsonville, was at work when the weather started to turn.

    Fallen or uprooted trees and pieces of debris were blocking the road to her house, which she said was leaking like a sieve".

    "We're missing tiles, broken windows ... it's full of water now because it's leaking. But we're one of the better ones I think."

    Brendan Muir, who was working at Hobsonville Point, said he was sitting in a ute when the tornado hit.

    "It was just mayhem. I had to put my seat belt on, I thought it was going to flip."

    Muir said that, around him, he could see trees "that looked like a plane had crashed into them", walls and fences knocked down and Portaloos scattered about.

    He said for about 10 minutes there were so many sirens sounding it "seemed like 9/11".

    Frances Schuster said the tornado only lasted 12 seconds but was terrifying.

    "It went blurry for a while, it just happened so fast. It was really loud and the windows were shaking."

    The aftermath of the tornado in Hobsonville, west Auckland.

    The aftermath of the tornado in Hobsonville, west Auckland. Photo: @cacenz


    In May, last year, a tornado in Albany, on Auckland's North Shore resulted in the death of construction worker Benedict Dacayan.

    The 37-year-old North Shore resident worked for Fletcher Building and was part of a team of 15 helping to demolish the old Placemakers building in Albany when the tornado lifted him into the air and threw him into a concrete wall.

    The tornado caused extensive damage to sectors of Westfield, Pak 'n' Save and other commercial locations and tossed cars in the air.

    In September, last year, more than a dozen houses were damaged by a tornado that ripped through several streets in the West Auckland suburbs of Avondale and Te Atatu South.

    In September 2009, another tornado tore the roof off a house in Ramarama, South Auckland and in July 2008, four homes were damaged by a twister in Glendowie. A person was injured in July 2007 when a tornado tore roof tiles in Botany.

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