Tropical Storm Isaac Takes Aim at Puerto Rico, Threatens Haiti

Tropical Storm Isaac Takes Aim at Puerto Rico, Threatens Haiti

TODAY’s Al Roker tracks Tropical Storms Isaac’s current path as it takes aim at Puerto Rico and the eastern Caribbean.

By and wire reports

Updated at 8:12 a.m. ET: Tropical Storm Isaac brought rain and gusty winds to Puerto Rico and the eastern Caribbean Islands and was expected to gradually strengthen as it moved west through the northeastern Caribbean on Thursday.

Forecasters said it was too soon to gauge Isaac’s potential impact on Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where the Republican National Convention is to run from Monday through Thursday.

Related: Track Tropical Storm Isaac

Some computer models showed Isaac shifting slightly to the west and eventually moving parallel to Florida’s western coastline. Others forecast the storm to make landfall in South Florida and then move inland.

Forecasters predict Isaac will become a hurricane by Friday morning, but perhaps the more ominous threat in the short term is the potential for extremely heavy rainfall over the islands near Isaac’s path, reported.

More than a foot of rainfall, and potentially as much as 20 inches in some places, was possible on the island of Hispaniola, home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides could result from that amount of rain.

Residents and visitors of the northern Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula, southeastern United States and the central/eastern Gulf Coast should watch the progress of Isaac closely over the next week or more, reported.

Numerous watches and warnings have been issued, including a hurricane warning for Haiti and the south coast of the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico was under a tropical storm warning, and it was expected to see its greatest impacts from Isaac on Thursday. 

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On Thursday, Isaac is expected to pass just south of Puerto Rico. As the storm approached, Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno declared a state of emergency, canceled classes, closed government agencies and activated the National Guard.

The government also froze prices on basic necessities such as food, batteries and other supplies and prepared emergency shelters at schools and other facilities.

Despite Tropical Storm Isaac’s threatening winds and rains ahead of the GOP convention in Florida, Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are taking aim at President Obama and his handling of the economy. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

Isaac was projected to weaken to a tropical storm over Haiti and then pass over Cuba before strengthening into a hurricane in the Florida Straits between Cuba and Florida. Its exact path after that remained uncertain.

Heavy rainfall, flooding and mudslides will be threats in all of the northern Caribbean islands regardless of how strong the system becomes, reported.

Isaac may also threaten U.S. energy interests in the Gulf of Mexico, weather experts said. It was centered about 265 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, early on Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Isaac had top sustained winds of 45 miles per hour.

From Isaac’s looming US threat

At the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in southeast Cuba on Wednesday, authorities said Isaac forced the postponement of pretrial hearings that were to begin on Thursday for five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks.

The U.S. military was preparing flights to evacuate the base of lawyers, paralegals, interpreters, journalists, rights monitors and family members of 9/11 victims who had traveled there for the hearings.

From Track Isaac’s path

Lixion Avila, a senior hurricane specialist at the hurricane center, suggested it would be foolish for anyone to think Tampa — where Republicans will nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate — was out of harm’s way.

AHurricane expert Jeff Masters of private forecaster Weather Underground said Tampa had a 9 percent chance of getting hit with tropical storm-force winds for a 24-hour period ending on the morning the Republican convention kicks off. But that could make the storm a non-event in terms of the convention itself.

“I put the odds of an evacuation occurring during the convention in the current situation at 3 percent,” Masters said in his blog on the website.

Tropical Storm Isaac churns over Caribbean, could threaten GOP convention

Orange juice prices rise
Florida has not been hit by a major hurricane since 2005 and forecasts showed Isaac was not expected to strengthen beyond a weak Category 1, with top sustained wind speeds of about 80 mph.

The threat to Florida triggered a nearly 6 percent jump in orange juice prices on Wednesday as they surged to a six-week high in trading in New York.

Florida produces more than 75 percent of the U.S. orange crop and accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s orange juice supply.

Lurking behind Isaac, the hurricane center said another tropical depression formed over the eastern tropical Atlantic on Wednesday.

Located about 1,045 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, it was packing winds of 35 mph and was expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday. Forecasts predicted it will eventually veer toward the open Atlantic and away from the Caribbean.

Reuters and contributed to this report

Momma’s Source: MSN News

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[NEWS] 120730 The Ending of ‘Doctor’ Jin Will Depend on Jae Joong’s Decision

[NEWS] 120730 The ending of ‘Doctor’ Jin will depend on Jae Joong’s decision

Viewers of Doctor Jin are now paying attention to the decision Jae Joong will make in the last episode.

In MBC TV’s drama series Doctor Jin, Kyung Tak (played by Jae Joong) has reached a crossroad where he has to decide to choose his family or his love and friendship.

In the 18th episode, which aired on July 22, Kyung Tak becomes a double spy to protect his father Byung Hee (played by Kim Eung Soo). However, after getting advice from his best friend Young Hwi (played by Jin Yi Han) and finding out that his old lover Young Rae (played by Park Min Young) is facing death because of the religious persecution of Catholicism, he also tries to save both. 

A spokesperson for the series says, “Kyung Tak is the most important person for Ha Eung and Byung Hee who are in confrontation with each other, and he’s also a person who has no political ambitions.”

Viewers reacted: “I feel so sad because of Kyung Tak. He’s just being used by everyone.” “I think Doctor Jin needs to cure Kyung Tak’s confused mind first.” “I want to go back to the past to save Kyung Tak.” “All Kyung Tak needs is someone’s sincere love. I’m so sad.”

The spokesperson also says, “What’s really attractive about this series is that viewers can imagine what would happen if they could change the history or what decision they would make if they were in the old days. Because the viewers can feel the concerns and pain of the time by watching Kyung Tak’s confusing situations, they’re immersed in Kyung Tak’s emotion.”

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Momma’s Source: PrinceJJ

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120722 Editors Note on The Aurora, Colorado Shootings

 Please pray for the victims and their families that were affected by the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. No one deserves to die this way. TT

There are things that occur in this world that truly sadden you, especially when they involve the shedding of innocent blood. The shooting at the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” is just an example of the many horrendous acts of terror happening everyday in this country and around the world.

You have to wonder where the line snaps in someone’s mind–allowing them to kill others in such a heartless manner. You see more and more headlines such as these, although this is the worse incident of shooting in American history. We may get some clues as he is questioned and put on trial, but I truly doubt that he understands the injustice that he has dealt out to others including a 3 month old child.

Even considering present law that says that a person is not guilty until proven so, this does not look good for James Holmes.  If he is truly the killer you cannot argue the point that this was a person who had no means and no education. This was a graduate student with more opportunities for achieving his goals than many people get.  So you have to ask, “what turned the tide”.? Was it too many hours of lost sleep or anger at a teacher, boss or co-worker? Whatever the reason, we find ourselves having to clean up the mess; physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I pray for strength for the families of the victims–how horrible to hear that your loved one has perished this way. Perhaps if we could step away periodically from our computer/app dominated existences to be able to relate to the loners and burdened people all around us, there could less loss of life and property. Yes, some people may not respond to kindnesses, but we can always try. It is better than seeing, hearing, and reading about atrocities such as this with the frustration of knowing that somewhere something went wrong.

This was a planned out, premeditated act of violence, and it seems as if he was going to return to his apartment and trip the bombs and devices to take out himself and the others living there.

As I said earlier, it is saddening and disheartening as you watch not only these acts of violence but also the way in which people can distance themselves from humanity until taking someone’s life seems both logical and necessary.

I believe that there is always hope, as is evidenced in the reaction of the filmakers,and their condolences to the families of the victims. There may not be a move as of yet to connect the movie to the crime committed, but since the human imagination can surpass anything that we see on the screen,I believe that the reference to “The Joker’ does form a connection between the content of the movie and the act of shooting. This is not meant to say, however, that this is specifically the responsibility of Warner Brothers. The entertainment industry creates,;we interpret as individuals what we perceive from the material.

credit: Momma Cha @

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Colorado Movie Theater Shooting: Suspect Bought 4 Guns, 6,000 Rounds of Ammunition in Past 60 Days


Colorado Movie Theater Shooting: Suspect Bought 4 Guns, 6,000 Rounds of Ammunition in Past 60 Days

By CLAYTON SANDELL (@Clayton_Sandell) , KEVIN DOLAK (@kdolak) and COLLEEN CURRY

AURORA, Colo. July 20, 2012

Suspected Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes purchased four guns at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference this evening.

“All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally,” an emotional Oates said.

The chief declined to say whether the weapons were automatic or semi-automatic, but “he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semi-automatic, within one minute,” Oates said.

Authorities have yet to identify the 10 victims who died at the theater. Two other people died at the hospital, including 24-year-old aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi, for a total of 12 dead. Thirty people remained hospitalized, 11 of them in critical condition, Oates said.

Fifty eight people were injured, most of them by gunfire but a “handful” during the ensuing chaos, Oates said. One person was hit in an adjacent theater.

As for the dead, Oates said he hoped soon to get a “confirmed list of the 10 deceased and we will begin the agonizing process of meeting with those families and confirming what has happened to their loved ones.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper opened the news conference this evening, saying, “We are seeing this community rise up and do the things that communities do.

At times lost for words, he repeatedly praised the efforts of the first responders.

The shooting occurred during a sold-out midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” when Holmes, 24, allegedly unloaded four weapons’ full of ammunition into the unsuspecting crowd.

The number of casualties makes the incident the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

An honors student and Ph.D. candidate at a nearby college with a clean arrest record, Holmes allegedly entered the movie auditorium wearing a ballistics helmet, bulletproof vest, bulletproof leggings, gas mask and gloves. He detonated multiple smoke bombs, and then began firing at viewers in the sold-out auditorium, police said today.

Holmes, who is being held in jail and will make his first court appearance Monday, is originally from Riverside, Calif., where he attended the University of California branch, Oates told the news conference this evening. “Neighbors report that he lived alone and kept to himself,” Oates added.

Oates also offered a warning about the veracity of online information. “In the era of blogs,” he said, “and everything else, we just caution you that everything you read may not be true.”

University of Colorado Denver. Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado Denver’s graduate program in neurosciences. Police search inside an apartment where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., July 20, 2012. Colorado ‘Dark Knight’ Shooting Witness: I Saw A Guy Right Next To Me Getting Shot

He added that two local high schools will be offering grief counseling Saturday.

Bullets from the shooting spree tore through the theater and into adjoining theaters, where at least one other person was struck and injured. Ten members of “The Dark Knight Rises” audience were killed in the theater, while two others died later at area hospitals. Numerous patrons were in critical condition at six local hospitals, the Aurora police said this afternoon.

Authorities began removing the bodies this afternoon, according to ABC News Denver affiliate KMGH-TV. Several people have been reported missing as the coroner identifies the dead.

Holmes was apprehended within minutes of the 12:39 a.m. shooting at his car behind the theater, where police found him in full riot gear and carrying three weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, which can hold upwards of 100 rounds, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a .40 Glock handgun. A fourth handgun was found in the vehicle.

Agents from the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are tracing the weapons.

According to police sources, Holmes told the officers arresting him that he was “The Joker,” referring to the villain in the second installment of the Batman movie trilogy, “The Dark Knight.” He also warned police that he had booby-trapped his apartment, leading officers to evacuate the Aurora apartment building.

Chief Oates earlier today said that police, bomb squads and the ATF have found a large number of explosive devices and trip wires at Holmes’ apartment and have not yet decided how to proceed without setting off explosions.

“The pictures we have from inside the apartment are pretty disturbing considering how elaborate the apartment is booby trapped,” police said outside of the apartment complex today. The “flammable and explosive” materials could have blown up Holmes’ apartment building and the ones near it, police said.

The apartment complex is home exclusively to University of Colorado Medical Center students, patients and staff members, residents told ABC News.

Oates this evening said police will allow residents to retrieve personal belongings but leave the booby-trapped apartment alone for now, and inspect them Saturday with the help of federal law enforcement. Residents are staying at a local high school in the meantime. Oates didn’t know many people are displaced from the five apartment buildings involved.

Moviegoer Christopher Ramos today recalled the real-life horror of the midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” in Aurora, Colo., as a gunman decked in riot gear set off smoke bombs and opened fire on the unsuspecting audience.

“People were running everywhere, running on top of me, like kicking me, jumping over me. And there were bodies on the ground,” Ramos said. “I froze up. I was scared. I honestly thought I was going to die.”

“The image in our heads is stuck in there. I still have the ticket right here and, honestly, I’m never going to forget this night at all. Because it was the first time I saw something that was real. Like a real-life nightmare that was there, not dreaming of,” Ramos told ABC News today.

Witnesses in the movie theater said they saw smoke and heard gunshots that they thought were part of the movie until they saw Holmes standing in front of the screen, after entering from an emergency exit. Holmes methodically stalked the aisles of the theater, shooting people at random, as panicked movie-watchers in the packed auditorium tried to escape, witnesses said.

At one point the shooter exited the theater only to wait outside the doors and pick off patrons as they tried to exit, witness Jennifer Seeger told “Good Afternoon America.”

AURORA, Colo. July 20, 2012
“You just smelled smoke and you just kept hearing it, you just heard bam bam bam, non-stop. The gunman never had to reload. Shots just kept going, kept going, kept going,” one witness told ABC News.

“I’m with coworkers and we’re on the floor praying to God we don’t get shot, and the gunshots continue on and on, and when the sound finally stopped, we started to get up and people were just bleeding,” another theatergoer said.

The suspected shooter will face his first court appearance next week, according to district attorney Carol Chambers.

Holmes, originally of San Diego, moved to Aurora to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado medical center, living blocks from the hospital in an apartment that police say is now laced with explosives and being searched by HazMat teams.

Federal law enforcement sources told ABC News that Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, slipped out of the theater once it began and propped open the emergency exit before gathering his weapons and gear and coming back into the theater. Once inside, he opened fire.

A San Diego woman identifying herself as James Holmes’ mother spoke briefly with ABC News this morning.

She had awoken unaware of the news of the shooting and had not been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son might have been involved.

“You have the right person,” she said.

“I need to call the police,” she added. “I need to fly out to Colorado.”

The woman and her husband later released a statement saying their “hearts go out to those who involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy.”

The highly anticipated third installment of the Batman trilogy opened to packed auditoriums across the country at midnight showings this morning, and features a villain named Bane who wears a bulletproof vest and gas mask. Trailers for the movie show explosions at public events, including a football game. Though many moviegoers dressed in costume to attend the opening-night screening, police have made no statements about any connection between the gunman’s motives and the movie.

Police in New York have intensified security around showings of the film throughout the five boroughs today, with Police Commissioner Ray Kelley saying that “as a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing.”

The Paris premiere of the movie has been cancelled in the wake of the shootings. “Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time,” the movie’s producers said in a statement.

Witnesses watching movies in theaters next to the one where the shooting took place said bullets tore through the theater walls and they heard screaming.

 “The suspect throws tear gas in the air, and as the tear gas appears he started shooting,” said Lamar Lane, who was watching the midnight showing of the movie with his brother. “It was very hard to breathe. I told my brother to take cover. It took awhile. I started seeing flashes and screaming, I just saw blood and people yelling and a quick glimpse of the guy who had a gas mask on. I was pushed out. There was chaos, we started running.”

One witness said she saw people dropping to the ground after the gunshots began.

“We were maybe 20 or 30 minutes into the movie and all you hear, first you smell smoke, everybody thought it was fireworks or something like that, and then you just see people dropping and the gunshots are constant,” witness Christ Jones told ABC’s Denver affiliate KMGH. “I heard at least 20 to 30 rounds within that minute or two.”

A man who talked to a couple who was inside the theater told ABC News, “They got up and they started to run through the emergency exit, and that when she turned around, she said all she saw was the guy slowly making his way up the stairs and just firing at people, just picking random people.

“The gunshots continued to go on and on and then after we didn’t hear anything …we finally got up and there was people bleeding, there was people obviously may have been actually dead or anything, and we just ran up out of there, there was chaos everywhere.”

Witnesses and victims were taken to Gateway High School for questioning.

Hundreds of police and FBI agents are involved in the investigation. A senior official who is monitoring the situation in Washington said that early guidance based on the early snapshot of this man’s background indicated that this act does not appear to be linked to radical terrorism or anything related to Islamic terrorism.

Dr. Comilla Sasson, at the University of Colorado Hospital where many of the victims were taken, said they were operating on nine critical patients and have treated 22 in all. She called the hospital “an absolutely terrifying scene all night.”

“The good news is that the 3-month-old has actually been discharged home and is in the care of their parents.”

In a statement, President Obama said, “Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded.”

For continuing coverage on “Tragedy in Colorado: The Batman Massacre,” tune in to “World News,” “20/20” and “Nightline.”

Matthew Mosk contributed to this report.

Momma’s Source: ABC News

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120703 East Coast Outages Could Last Most Of The Week

East Coast Outages Could Last Most Of The Week
Aftermath of deadly storms leaves millions with stifling homes, spoiled food

A grocery store employee piles bags of ice for free distribution in Bethesda, Md., on Monday to help community members affected by Friday’s storm. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Millions of people in a swath of states along the East Coast and farther west went into a third sweltering day without power today after a round of summer storms that killed more than a dozen people.

The outages left many to contend with stifling homes and spoiled food over the weekend as temperatures approached or exceeded 38 degrees C/100.4 degrees F.

Some two million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey and as far west as Illinois were without power Monday morning. Utilities warned that many neighborhoods could remain in the dark for much of the week, if not beyond.

Since Friday, severe weather has been blamed for at least 18 deaths, most from trees falling on homes and cars.

‘They kind of forgot about us out here’
— resident Eric NessonThe power outages had prompted concerns of traffic problems as commuters took to roads with darkened stoplights. But throughout northern Virginia, there was less traffic than normal in many places Monday as federal workers took advantage of liberal leave that was put in place for the day.

Some drivers resorted to ingenuity to get to work. On a residential street in suburban Falls Church, Va., just outside Washington, downed trees blocked the road on either side. Enterprising neighbours used chain saws to cut a makeshift path on one side, but the other remained completely blocked by a massive oak tree.

 A university student finds refuge — and an electrical outlet — in the air-conditioned Westfield Montgomery mall in Silver Spring, Md. on July 2. Power outages in the area continue to affect thousands of people in the midst of a summer heatwave. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)Landscapers in Maryland dismantle a red oak tree that was blown over in last Friday’s deadly storm. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

A series of severe storms knocked out power all along the U.S. East Coast over the weekend, forcing many people to seek reprieve from oppressive heat in public spaces like this fountain at Washington Square Park in New York on July 1, 2012. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Storm-damaged trees litter the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on June 30, 2012. Storms over the weekend knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes in the D.C. area. More than a dozen people were killed as a round of summer storms hit East Coast states. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Power outages left many people from North Carolina to New Jersey and as far west as Illinois struggling to cope with high temperatures and spoiling food following powerful weekend storms. Here, two men navigate the darkened hallway of a storm-damaged building in Riverdale, Maryland. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Major League Baseball player Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals takes shelter in the dugout during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia on July 1. (Tami Chappell/Reuters)
A man looking to escape the heat soaks in a fountain at Washington Square Park in New York. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)
People survey storm damage in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood of Washington, D.C. on June 30. Power outages caused by downed trees left in the wake of a series of storms left millions without power in several East Coast states. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Tiger Woods wipes his brow during the trophy presentation after winning the AT&T National golf tournament in Bethesda, Maryland on July 1, 2012. Temperatures during the tournament climbed near 40 degrees. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
People lie on the beach at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York on June 30. (Eric Thayer/Reuters).Still, residents took the aggravation with good humor. Posted on the oak tree was a sign saying: “Free firewood you haul.” The tree lay across a smashed Ford pickup truck, with a sign reading: “For SALE. Recently lowered.”

Meanwhile, coast guard officials say they have suspended the search for a man who disappeared early Saturday while boating during the storm off Maryland.

A grocery store employee piles bags of ice for free distribution in Bethesda, Md., on Monday to help community members affected by Friday’s storm. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)On Sunday night in North Carolina, a 77-year-old man was killed when strong winds collapsed a Pitt County barn where he was parking an all-terrain vehicle, authorities said. In neighboring Beaufort County, a couple was killed when a tree fell on the golf cart they were driving. Officials said trees fell onto dozens of houses, and two hangars were destroyed at an airport in Beaufort County.

The damage was mostly blamed on straight-line winds, which are strong gusts pushed ahead of fast-moving thunderstorms like a wall of wind.

Elsewhere, at least six of the dead were killed in Virginia, including a 90-year-old woman asleep in her bed when a tree slammed into her home. Two young cousins in New Jersey were killed when a tree fell on their tent while camping. Two were killed in Maryland, one in Ohio, one in Kentucky and one in Washington.

In West Virginia, authorities said one person died early Sunday when the all-terrain vehicle they were riding hit a tree that had fallen over a road.

For survivors, it was a challenge to stay cool over the weekend.

Atlanta set a record with a high of 40 C, while the temperature hit 37C /98.6F at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just outside the nation’s capital.

With no air conditioning, officials urged residents to check on their elderly relatives and neighbors. It was tough to find a free pump at gas stations that did have power, and lines of cars snaked around fast-food drive-thrus.

Ontario sends help
Power restoration was spotty. Several people interviewed by The Associated Press said they remained without power even though the lights were on at neighbors’ homes across the street. In Maryland, Gov. O’Malley promised he would push utility companies to get electricity restored as quickly as possible.

“No one will have his boot further up Pepco’s and BGE’s backsides than I will,” O’Malley said Sunday afternoon, referring to the two main utilities serving Maryland.

Aid from across the border was expected from Ontario’s Hydro One power utility, which has assisted in the past when natural disasters caused widespread blackouts in the U.S.

Hydro One announced Sunday that about 200 workers would be sent to the Baltimore, Virginia and Washington regions to assist in restoring electricity to affected areas.

“Hydro One crews have a long-standing history of assisting neighbouring utilities when help is needed the most, and this time is no exception,” Len McMillan, Hydro One’s vice-president of lines and forestry, said in a statement.

“Our crews are ready and willing to do what they do best — help restore power quickly and safely to impacted customers.”

The Canadian crews are expected to get working in the affected areas as early as Tuesday.

Hydro One has a history of providing assistance to U.S. cities following significant power outages. For example, the power utility helped utilities in Vermont in February 2010 after a massive winter storm crippled power, and in 2008, crews helped out in Ohio after Hurricane Ike caused massive blackouts.

With files from CBC News
© The Associated Press, 2012

The Canadian Press

Momma’s Source: Yahoo News

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Please keep those affected by the cruel heat and power outages in your prayers.


[News] JYJ’s Junsu Holds Autograph Event To Commemorate Release of ‘XIA – TARANTALLEGRA’

[News] JYJ’s Junsu Holds Autograph Event To Commemorate Release of ‘XIA – TARANTALLEGRA’

In order to commemorate the release of his new solo album ‘XIA-TARANTALLEGRA‘, JYJ‘s Kim Junsu recently held a private autograph signing event.

A handful of fans who purchased Junsu’s solo album were randomly selected to attend the private event, but others had gathered in the area in order to try and catch a glimpse of him from a distance.

Junsu who was touched by their unending support took some time to talk about his latest activities, and even fulfilled a few of his fans’ wishes. When asked to sing a song for them on the spot, Junsu earned the wild cheers of his fans after performing “Lullaby” and “Reason“.

Kim Junsu’s agency C-JeS Entertainment remarked, “This autograph event was held as a way of giving back to the fans who have showed him unending love and support for his solo album, and he spent some quality time with his fans for the first time in a while. There are plans for him to spend more time with his fans this weekend as well.”

Source & Image: MyDaily via Nate

Credit: Allkpop

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[News] 120403 TVXQ’s Tokyo Dome Concert Tickets Sell Out Within 30 Seconds

[News] 120403 TVXQ’s Tokyo Dome Concert Tickets Sell Out Within 30 Seconds

TVXQ has once again evidenced their immense popularity in Japan.

The group is planning to hold performances for their Japanese fans at the Tokyo Dome from April 14th to the 16th. The tickets went on sale for the public on April 1st at 10 a.m. (local time) and within 30 seconds, all the seats had completely sold out. Additionally the tickets for their Osaka Kyocera Dome concerts, which will be held from April 21st through the 23rd, also sold out in a mere two minutes.

The Tokyo Dome and Kyocera Dome seat 55,000, and 36,477 respectively. With the three concert dates at each location, the total seats at each location amount to 165,000 and 109,431, respectively.

In addition, the ticket reservations over the phone also sold out, leading to a ticket war between the fans. The tickets that originally sold for 8,500 to 9,500 Yen, has been marked up to 10 times the amount, and is being bought by fans at 80,000 Yen.

Although the group has already added additional dates to their concerts, fans are still desperately requesting for even more dates.

Source + Photo: Sports Chosun
credit: allkpop


[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]


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[PIC/TRANS] 120327 JYJ with Chile’s First Lady Cecilia Morel, Featured in a Chilean Newspaper

 [PIC/TRANS] 120327 JYJ with Chile’s First Lady Cecilia Morel, Featured in a Chilean Newspaper

March 27, 2012 · ceskjj


(Cecilia Morel) tells about how she met the popular guys and the first ladies in Seoul

Cecilia Morel Make-up Oriental Style and Meeting with JYJ 

Seoul. The second day of Cecilia Morel in Seoul transformed into a huge introduction to the korean culture.  During the second and last day of the Nuclear Summit, Morel had lunch with the first ladies. The lunch appointment was in the Blue House, seat of the government, that was built in Korean style. “We had to pull off our shoes to enter the house” said Cecilia, who had to put on special footwear.

She sampled the local food during lunch, and spent a lot of time with the korean first lady, Kim YoonOk, who was sitting right next to her .  The main event came after lunch, which began with a dance show with performers wearing traditional clothes. Later, Cecilia met JYJ, the most popular korean k-pop group who were in Santiago [Chile] in the beginning of March . ”I went to meet them and congratulated them. It was funny because two of them were very blonde, blonde, blonde, blonde. It was also funny because they look like Korean rock stars, and for me, that is something new and it catches attention” said Cecilia. 

(T/N; this is a rough translation; information unrelated to JYJ omitted )

++ Update++

The First Lady of Chile tweeted about JYJ:

[TRANS] At the First Ladies’ banquet in Korea, I was with JYJ

Credit: Lun via @ConnyAle_Nonnie + @ceciliamorel
Translated by: @Rasshie + JYJ3
Shared by: JYJ3

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Newly Discovered Mozart Piece Performed

Dedicated to Our Xiahzart.

Associated Press 

Newly discovered Mozart piece performed

VIENNA (AP) — A piano work experts attribute to Mozart as a child prodigy was performed for the first time Friday since it was found last year after apparently being left in an attic for centuries.

The lively 84-bar passage — marked “allegro molto,” or “very quick” — was played Friday on the composer’s piano in a room of his Salzburg home by virtuoso Florian Birsak.

The Mozarteum Salzburg Foundation, which staged the event, said the manuscript was found last summer as part of a 160-page book of handwritten piano music as the musty attic of a house in Tyrol was being cleared from centuries of detritus.

Part of a collection of notes from a village music teacher, the book was dated 1780 — 24 years after Mozart was born — and the manuscript played Friday bore the name “Del Signore Giovane Wolfgango Mozart,” Italian for “Mr. Wolfgang Mozart Jr.”

Musicologist Hildegard Hermann-Schneider, who traced the composition to Mozart, said the fact that other pieces in the book were known works by Mozart’s father, Leopold, strengthened the case that the work was genuine. As well, Leopold Mozart often used “Wolfgango” when labeling works written by his young son, she said.

From the style of the composition, Hermann-Schneider attributed it to Mozart at around the age of 11.

The piece exhibits “a series of components that are found repeatedly in other Mozart piano works,” said the Mozarteum in a statement. “Judging by the current level of knowledge, it thus has to be a genuine sonata phrase from Mozart.”

Pianist Florian Birsack, Beate Palrader, member of the provincial government of Tyrol, Music scholar Hildegard Herrmann-Schneider and Urlich Leisinger, leader of the of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg present sheets of music, recently identified as a composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, during a press conference held by the research department of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, Friday, March 23, 2012. The previously unknown piano piece from Mozart was discovered in Tyrol in Austria. The Mozart Foundation in Salzburg says that the piece was found in a hand written music book from 1780. (AP Photo/ Kerstin Joensson


Sheets of music, recently identified as a composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, are presented during a press conference held by the research department of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, Friday, March 23, 2012. The previously unknown piano piece from Mozart was discovered in Tyrol in Austria. The Mozart Foundation in Salzburg says that the piece was found in a hand written music book from 1780. (AP Photo/ Kerstin Joensson)

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[NEWS] 120315 Idol Manager of 10 Years Discloses His Memories of Sasaeng Fans

[NEWS] Idol Manager of 10 Years Discloses His Memories of Sasaeng Fans

The issue of sasaeng fans have been put back on the chopping block after the recent controversy surrounding JYJ. One manager who’s been working for famous idols for the past 10 years recently met up with reporters to disclose his own first hand experience dealing with sasaeng fans as a career.

He revealed, “I really don’t even want to imagine it. When I wake up and open the door, there’s urine and feces on the floor, as if they’re marking their territory… Mornings should be bright and fresh, so think about having to start your morning with urine and feces. You start your day with stress.”

“Sasaeng fans that follow us around in taxis can be considered the mild ones since some have even barged into the dorm and stolen all of the food. Even if we change our numbers, they somehow find it out… they’re on the level of 007.”

When asked if he’s ever hit a sasaeng fan, he replied, “Honestly, I used to in the past. After the schedules are finished, hundreds of fans swarm in. One member even used to get pulled around by the hair. I had to block the members off before a bigger accident occurred. I had no choice but to use violence. Now, there are a lot of bystanders and fans that use cameras so you can’t do that anymore. I used to spray bug spray and even harsh swears, but it’s all of no use.”

How do the fans that were assaulted feel? He explained, “Fans actually feel proud about it, as I’ve seen some say, ‘I was even hit by our oppa’s manager.’ I know it’s not all of them that think like this but they do exist. Sasaeng fans think that violence and verbal assault is a way of getting closer to their favorite idol. Thus, it’s no use using such methods on them.”

He continued, “There are a lot of young sasaeng girls. When the idols come out after finishing their schedules, they’ll swarm in close and begin touching their private parts. They’re so young and yet they’re already sexually assaulting people. From the perspective of the idol member, it’s horrifying.”

“Once, I lectured the sasaeng fans that came to the dorm. Because they wouldn’t listen to a thing I said, I told them to bring their parents. They must’ve felt mad that I swore at them because they brought their parents back and framed me for being some drunk that assaulted an innocent student. Of course, in the eyes of the parents, they take the side of their daughters. I was reported to the police and put in a predicament where the victim actually became the attacker.”

On the controversy currently surrounding JYJ and sasaeng fans, he said, “There’s no excuse for the use of violence, but as someone that’s been in the same situation, I can understand what he must have been thinking. Dealing with urine and feces in the morning, receiving hateful texts, stalker calls… Idols also have to suffer at the salon and events. Once this accumulates, there’s only so much a human being can take before it all explodes.”

Concluding the interview, he stated, “Sasaeng fans transform with time. They are now a gang-like presence that transfers information from one to another. There are some that even trade money for information. Managers cannot be like the way they were in the past where they use violence. Celebrities are celebrities, but the managers are also dying here.”

Source + Photos: Newsen via Nate
credit: allkpop
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[NEWS] Still coping with father’s death, Yoochun to return to work?

[NEWS] Still coping with father’s death, Yoochun to return to work?

It seems that JYJ‘s Park Yoochun who is still broken hearted over the recent death of his father will be returning to work even before his tears have had a chance to dry.

According to a broadcast insider, Yoochun will be heading over to the set of his new SBS drama ‘Rooftop Prince‘ after his father’s burial on March 16th.

Until now, the ’Rooftop Prince’ staff members have planned their filming schedule around JYJ’s Chile and Peru concerts, but they did not expect the sudden passing of his father.

Because Yoochun plays a leading role in the series and ‘Rooftop Prince’ is set to broadcast its first episode on the 21st, the situation cannot be helped and it will be difficult for the staff to allow any delays.

A staff member remarked, “Yoochun’s representatives have been told of the circumstances. He must be both physically and mentally drained, and everyone sees this as an unfortunate event.”

‘Rooftop Prince’ is a romance story that spans 300 years. The first episode will air on March 21st.

Credit: allkpop

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[NEWS] 120313 The End of JYJ’s Year-Long World Tour

[NEWS] 120313 The End of JYJ’s Year-Long World Tour…The Light And The Dark That Surrounds JYJ

March 15, 2012 by

Male Group JYJ has finally completed their one-year long World Tour with concerts in Chile and Peru. Starting in April of last year, JYJ held a world tour which was true to it’s name; beginning in Thailand and encompassing Asia, North America, Europe, and South America, with over 210,000 fans mobilizing to see the shows. JYJ became the first singers to hold successful, exclusive concerts in many of these stops, a feat that other internationally known groups in the Kpop category have not even achieved.

Starting from around 1 to 2 years ago, newspaper and media started to rapidly use the term “Kpop Fever”. The general public saw these words and believed the hype, especially after watching the extensive coverage of SMTown in Paris. However, though they were not the first to hold concerts [overseas], JYJ has been getting much attention because they did not perform as part of a company’s joint concert, but rather held an exclusive concert with just songs from their one group, JYJ.

In Japan, the recent surge in Hallyu is being led by a crowd of newer groups such as KARA and Girl’s Generation. Because of this there are naturally many joint K-pop concerts held. Most of these concerts, however, only use the “K-pop” brand name to sell expensive tickets that range from 7,000 to 9,000 yen and feature performances by groups that are neither popular in Korea or Japan. Of course, most of the seats in concerts such as this remain empty. Seeing occurrences such as these, many comments were made by the Korean public on SNS sites about how they were ashamed to be part of “Hallyu”. JYJ, however, did not fall on this path. Instead they became the first group ever to successfully perform in North America, Asia, Europe, and South America by using nothing other than their own music and names. After the South American concerts were confirmed, there were even many demonstrations held by fans requesting a JYJ concert to be held in Mexico as well.

However, in reality, we are not able to see JYJ’s performances in the countries where they should mainly be active in; Korea and Japan. That is because their ex-companies, SM Entertainment and Japan’s AVEX, are covertly (though a bit too obviously) interfering with their activities. In a recent fan meeting, the JYJ members stated “We want to hold a concert in Korea at this time, but there are too many restrictions holding us back, including renting a venue, employing staff, and more”. Also, the members have felt troubles in trying to release albums because there were few distribution companies that would readily take them.

In addition, because of frequent cancellation of Japanese concert venues, JYJ had to hold their concerts by hiding the venues and only announcing it to the audience that would be attending, as though it was a ’007 secret mission’. For example, the “JYJ Unforgettable Live Concert” which was held in Japan last fall faced many problems even during the preparations. There were many incidents, such as the ticketing website being hacked and the sudden cancellation of the bus rental company services, that caused even the skeptics to see that AVEX truly was interfering with the concert. (Also, after the concert many letters were revealed showing that the Ibaraki mayor, government officials, police, and even employees from the sound and concert equipment companies were threatened.) As they started to realize that it would be difficult to hold concerts in their usual home bases of Korea and Japan, JYJ started to look towards places that no others have before.

Because of this, the members decided to hold concerts in North America, Europe, and South America. JYJ even held a free showcase tour in the USA after releasing their 2010 album “The Beginning”. After seeing the great amount of popularity they had in the USA, they decided to put North America as their second stop after Asia during their 2011 World Concert Tour.

All the concert venues and tour locations were decided through AEG Live, an international promotional company, and were mainly sponsored by Samsung. After hearing their news, it was plain to see the difference between those concerts and the ones that were held in Korea and Japan, because there are no large sponsors or promoters for concerts here–meaning, usually the group’s own entertainment companies serve as the sponsors and promoters for concerts in Korea and Japan]. JYJ, who gained much confidence with the popularity of their North American concerts, held shows in Korea during June. However, the locations of these concerts were not in Seoul, but rather Busan and Gwangju.

In actuality, most singers never hold concerts located in these provinces unless it is part of a full scale nationwide tour. Even when JYJ were part of TVXQ, they never held full concerts in any province or city in Korea other than Seoul. Whenever they held full concerts, fans from other provinces would rent buses to come to Seoul and then go back home. However this time, fans from the whole nation came to Busan and Gwangju. This showed that there were no places in the metropolitan Seoul area which JYJ could rent to hold concerts. But the popularity of JYJ couldn’t be contained as 24,000 fans from all over the country came to see JYJ’s concerts in the provinces.

After the World Tour concerts in Korea were completed, two new surprises shocked the fans; one being a new JYJ album and the second being concerts held in Spain and Germany. The level of awareness of Korean singers in Europe remains very small. Up until that point, the only idol singers who performed in Europe were part of SMTown. That concert was a well-veiled, vain effort made by the Korean government which sponsored them and over-hyped by the Korean media, who used phrases such as “Kpop Fever” many times in their reports. Korean residents abroad stated that the concerts were filled by mostly Asian and Hispanic fans.

But rather than a large-scale concert with tens of thousands of people, JYJ have started with small concerts. They had the first solo concerts in Europe in Spain and Germany with 3000 audiences each concert. In a sense, it might have been a small stage to them, who have stood on Dome stage filled by more than 50,000 people. However, to the JYJ of today, every of such small stages were precious. Thus, at that time when JYJ had performs in Europe, on the internet in South Korea, a controversy was aroused, that unlike some reports from media, JYJ’s European concert was empty. Those controversial photos were taken when the concert has ended, after most of the audiences have left and there were only the fans that were still waiting, wishing for an encore. Anyway, JYJ, the first Korean artist who successfully completed solo concert in Spain and Germany, have come back to Korea and prepared for their individual activities such as musical and drama.

However, some months later, we got surprised again that they would hold concert in South America. In the case of South America, before JYJ, groups such as BEAST, 4minute and other Cube artists had a united concert in Brazil. Once again, JYJ pioneered the way that other singers haven’t taken. JYJ’s members and the staff have left for South America with great expectations, far from reporting their departure, Korean media made a noise about the video and audio files which were taken 2~3 years ago after the lawsuit. It was the sasaeng controversy.

Also, this problem popped out after they have left for South America. Although the majority of the media used the term ‘sasaeng fans’ to report about the controversy which was as big as the name value of JYJ, what sasaengs have done to JYJ’s members were so unimaginable that they should be called ‘criminals’ instead of ‘fans.’ They hit the members, took picture of a member who was sleeping in a male-only sauna. They even intentionally caused car accidents, etc. It was time for the pus that has festered in the fandom since their debut until now to burst. JYJ’s fandom even created the word ‘sasaeng criminal’ and spread the brutality of ‘sasaeng criminals’ via SNS, blogs, etc.

(Note: PrinceJJ doesn’t feel comfortable re-posting sasaeng photos of members at their most vulnerable even though these photos were placed in the article to provide examples of the extremes of sasaeng behavior.)

[Photo #6: Jaejoong sleeping in the sauna]

No matter what the intention of the very first media that reported [about sasaeng issue] is, the majority of the media gave remarkable reports on the problem of ‘sasaeng’ instead of stating that it was JYJ’s fault. The term ‘sasaeng criminal’ was even used.

Sasaeng’s behavior is like “a prison without bars”

JYJ’s members, who have arrived at Peru after twists and turns, entered the press conference hall with a heavy expression instead of excited expression with anticipation for the concert. Along with the talk about the concert, they also talked about the ‘sasaeng’ controversy in Korea. The members used the expression ‘a prison without bars’ when talking about sasaeng’s acts. JYJ’s members said, “No matter how we tried to avoid them, we were stuck in the place and the mental pain kept increased. In the beginning, we tried to endure it, comforting ourselves that it was the love from fans and they are the fans who liked us. But day by day, the level has gone up high and our daily life collapsed. In such indescribable pain, we wanted at least to break away from the torments.” In the end, they said with heads lowered, “We would like to apologize for our wrong acts in the past.” The press conference, where JYJ should have expressed their expectations and aspirations about the concerts in South America that they have never visited ever since they were born, has become a place of explanation and apology for the controversy in Korea.

However, in such controversy and criticism, JYJ have finished the concerts in Chile and Peru in great success. They have mobilized about 9000 people for their concerts in Peru and Chile. Especially in Peru, the last stop of the concerts, the airport side had to let them leave through VIP passage because so many fans have gathered when JYJ arrived. Featured in a special broadcast on Korean TV, their visit and concert were largely reported by even Reuter and CNN Chile. JYJ did their best in South America concerts, even singing ‘Intoxication,’ Kim Junsu’s solo single released in Japan.

As a result, the local fans were very excited and many fans even fainted during the concert. Fans told the reporters that went to Peru to cover the event that for South American fans, being able to see JYJ and their group was the ‘Event of a Lifetime’. In this way, the first world tour brought many memories. At the end of the tour, CEO Baek Changjoo from JYJ’s agency, C-JeS Entertainment stated: It is because they are JYJ that they were able to do a World Tour. They are extremely popular so it makes it possible for them to have an exclusive concert in any country in the world. We have now gained confidence and experience. Because of this reason, we are looking forward to next year’s world tour.

Korean press reported on the success of these concerts using phrases like “Kpop Fever” and tried to attach the term ‘K-pop’ to JYJ’s achievements. That should not be the case, however, since JYJ’s World Tour was done using exclusively JYJ’s music and name, unlike the many joint concerts that are done around the globe. Many fans describe the outcome of this World Tour as being one fueled by ‘JYJ-pop’, and not ‘K-pop’.

However, even with their successes, Korean media is cold when it comes to the fact that JYJ were the first Korean artists to complete this sort of World Tour. Even the names of the members cannot be brought up on entertainment TV media because of pressure from a large entertainment company. In reality, JYJ are like the Voldemort character from the ‘Harry Potter’ books [t/n: They-who-must-not-be-named]. It has been over a year since the courts issued an injunction allowing JYJ to freely take part in entertainment media. However, JYJ only appeared as singer at celebrations such as Drama Awards and IAAF World Championships in Daegu: events which were not dictated by the entertainment departments of the broadcasting companies.

Although JYJ have an unreachable amount of popularity, they are treated more like important state guests in their own country. They are recognized as actors or musical actors more than singers in Korea. It is saddening that they cannot release an album and appear on weekly music shows even though they are the unquestionably popular singing group, JYJ. Although no one knows how long the lawsuit with ex-company SM Entertainment will take, we all wish that the day where the members can freely sing on the stage and on television will arrive soon.

Source: Top Star News
Translation by: Yule @ + Hannah for
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[TRANS] 120201 ‘Liberal’ Overseas Strategy, ‘Narrow-minded’ Domestic Operation… Two Faces of SM?

[TRANS] 120201 ‘Liberal’ Overseas Strategy, ‘Narrow-minded’ Domestic Operation… Two Faces of SM?

Strange things arose from the ‘1st Asian Song Festival’, which was held on November 2004. On the eve of the festival, Hallyu star singer Tony An, who was supposed to host it, announced that he would not do so. It was because the organizer initially asked him to host and perform on the festival, but suddenly told him not to perform. Tony An said that there was no point in just hosting it, hence he rejected the request. At that time, the key participating members of the festival were singers under SM Entertainment. Netizens simultaneously protested that there were senior-level figures from SM among the board members of Korean Federation for International Culture Exchange that organized the festival. They also questioned if SM tyrannized Tony An in order to promote singers who were under its management.

In 2005, a terrestrial musical program suddenly vanished. A person involved claimed that SM had something to do with it. A staff from the broadcasting company said, “SM ceased the appearance of its singers on the program, showing how much it wanted the program to stop”. 

SM is the biggest agency in South Korea. It is practically impossible for SM singers to stop appearing on public and cable TV everywhere. SM not only has influence in domestic broadcast, but also in the world’s second music industry, Japan, Europe and the United States. In the mid-1990s, the CEO of a huge agency who had successful actors under its management threatened a reporter who went to cover a report by saying, “If you don’t stop reporting, I will immediately stop the actors in my agency from appearing in the drama.” The huge agency, which manages its top stars in this way, has more influence than one imagines.

Among the big agencies, SM is boastful about its system being the most systematic in terms of its relationship with the mass media, method of content distribution, training of its singers, etc. Silently, SM backbites singers who left the agency. JYJ, who emerged after the separation of TVXQ is a typical example of backbiting.

After SM and JYJ started their lawsuit, JYJ have to live their lifes, covered with scars. They were frequently barred from appearing on music and artistic talent programs and denied from appearing on ‘KBS Jeju 7 Wonders Special Live Broadcast’, etc. Such siituations, which are difficult to understand using common sense, continued to occur. Recently, the screening of JYJ’s ‘The Day’, a documentary about their lives, on cable channel QTV suddenly went up in smoke. The trailer for the documentary has already been made.

Frankly, which broadcasting company will reject top stars like JYJ? Many netizens and people related to broadcasting believe that SM caused the revolt and ‘suffering of JYJ’. With concern, they are keeping an eye on the situation. What the fans of Hallyu hope for is strong logic rather than a magnanimous and tolerant attitude to accept everything.

Source: Munhwa via Nate
Translation by: Shermin of JYJ3
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Heavy Snow Leaves 53 Dead, Hundreds Injured In North, West Japan

Heavy Snow Leaves 53 Dead, Hundreds Injured In North, West Japan

Heavy snow has left 53 dead and hundreds injured in several prefectures in western and northern Japan, it has been learned.

The loss of life came primarily in five prefectures along the Sea of Japan in the Tohoku region and Hokkaido, with 12 dead in Niigata, 11 in Hokkaido, nine in Aomori, eight in Nagano and six in Akita. Reported injuries have already surpassed 574, with over 100 in four of the five prefectures affected most by the strong cold air mass sweeping through the region.

Meanwhile, a number of municipalities blanketed by the heavy snow say they have run out of funds for snow removal, and have begun urgent calls on the central government for financial assistance.

According to Niigata Prefecture, the prefecture’s 30 municipalities had budgeted a total of some 13 billion yen for snow removal, but that as of Jan. 23 at least 12 could no longer afford to keep clearing snow, forcing the prefectural government to step in with supplementary funds. Furthermore, six cities in the prefecture have tapped central governmental emergency aid under the Disaster Relief Act.

In the prefectural city of Myoko, where more than three meters of snow has accumulated, authorities had to close all 14 elementary and middle schools as well as special education schools in the area as the snowfall outstripped the municipality’s capacity to clear it.

With the Japan Meteorological Agency warning of continued snowfall mainly along the Sea of Japan, snow removal expenses in the region are expected to increase further.

In Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, after snow is removed, it is stored in rice paddies until the beginning of the rice planting season. The entire process, including the use of heavy machinery and dump trucks, cost the municipality approximately 200 million yen in fiscal 2010, officials said.

“In places where it snows heavily, a lot of money is used even after the beginning of the spring,” said an official from the city’s construction office.

The Aomori Prefectural Government, which had initially allocated approximately 1.9 billion yen for snow removal operations, has already used about 1.8 billion. To cover additional snow removal expenses, prefectural officials have applied for about 2.94 billion yen in additional central government subsidies.

Meanwhile, the heavy snow has left major scars on infrastructure as well.

An approximately 95-meter-long steel bridge in the Nagano Prefecture village of Sakae collapsed on Jan. 30. Municipal authorities believe the cause may have been heavy snow, which was more than three meters deep at the time of the collapse.

The accident fortunately caused no injuries, as the bridge had been closed following the major earthquake that struck the prefecture in March last year.

A 41-year-old man in the same village, who lived in a temporary housing unit following last year’s earthquake, was reported dead on Jan. 6 after he fell from his unit’s roof while trying to clear it of snow.

This year’s heavy snowfall seems to be approaching the magnitude of that in 2006, which left major damage predominantly in Niigata and Nagano prefectures.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, a total of 152 people died during that year as a result of heavy snowfall. Approximately three-fourths of those deaths occurred during snow removal, sources say.

(Mainichi Japan) January 31, 2012

Source: mainichidailynews

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Pastors Split On When To Go Home; One Lives, One dies

Pastors Split On When To Go Home: One Lives, One Dies

Death is no respecter of persons. Ten people lost their lives in a pile-up near Gainesville, Florida during foggy conditions. Investigators are concerned that the decision to open up the highway was made too quickly.

Our prayers are with the Carmo Family and other victims of this tragedy.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Senior Pastor Arao Amazonas said he wanted to wait until the next morning to leave Florida after a religious conference. But Pastor Jose Carmo Jr. wanted to be back in time for the suburban Atlanta church’s Sunday morning service and led two vans up Interstate 75 toward Georgia.

A few hours later, Amazonas received a call: Both vans had crashed in the highway’s fog- and smoke-shrouded darkness near Gainesville. Carmo, his wife and their daughter were among five church members killed in two deadly pileups along the always busy six-lane interstate.

“We couldn’t have imagined such tragedy would come to us,” said Amazonas, senior pastor at the Igreja Internacional de Restaurcao, or International Church of the Restoration.

In all, a total of 10 people were killed in the string of collisions. The Florida Highway Patrol on Tuesday identified a seventh victim — 27-year-old Christie Diana Nguyen, of Gainesville, Fla. She was a passenger in a vehicle traveling northbound. Investigators were still trying to identify three bodies that were badly burned. Troopers have been contacted by people from around the country wondering if the identified bodies might be a relative.

“There are people who have traveled to Florida and we’re getting calls and emails from people who say, ‘Hey, I haven’t heard from my son-in-law for the last couple of days, he isn’t answering his texts,’ something to that degree,” said Lt. Patrick Riordan, an Florida Highway Patrol spokesman.

The accident happened after the Florida Highway Patrol had reopened the interstate following an earlier serious wreck. A sergeant and lieutenant determined after about three hours that conditions had cleared enough for drivers, but visibility quickly became murky again, officials said Monday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered an investigation into that decision.

“We went through the area. We made an assessment. We came to the conclusion that the road was safe to travel and that is when we opened the road up,” Riordan said Monday in a news conference. “Drivers have to recognize that the environment changes. They have to be prepared to make good judgments.”

At least a dozen cars, six tractor-trailers and a motorhome collided about 3:45 a.m. Sunday. Some cars were crushed under the bellies of big rigs. Others burst into flames and sent metal shrapnel flying through the air, horrifying witnesses watching the violence along Interstate 75. Eighteen survivors were hospitalized.

In a 911 recording released Monday, a driver and her passengers told a dispatcher the fog and smoke from the 62-acre brush fire was so thick they couldn’t see.

“I think there was another accident behind us because I heard it,” a woman said. “Oh my gosh, it’s so dark here.”

In the same 911 call, another woman took the phone and screamed an expletive as she hears another crash.

“That was a truck. We cannot see. It’s like impossible to see,” the caller said. “The smoke is very thick you can see obviously only your hand in front. I do hear an ambulance or police officer coming down the road.”

Late Monday, the highway patrol named six of those who died in wrecks on the northbound side of the highway that involved 10 vehicles. Another multiple-vehicle pileup happened on the southbound side. A fire consumed at least four vehicles in the southbound lane, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report released Tuesday.

Jason Lee Raikes, 26, of Richmond, Va., died in the crash, authorities said. They also said five out of six people riding in a 2012 Dodge Caravan died in the crash: Driver Edson Carmo, 38; Roselia DeSilva, 41; Jose Carmo Jr., 43; Adrianna Carmo, 39; and Leticia Carmo, 17; all of Kennesaw, Ga. The highway patrol did not immediately provide the identity of a seventh crash fatality.

Jose and Adriana Carmo were married and Leticia was their daughter, said Amazonas, the senior pastor at their church.

The van’s sixth occupant, the couple’s younger daughter, Lidiane, 15, survived the crash, Amazonas said. A hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday morning she was listed in critical condition.

The Carmos were in one van and other church members were in a second van. The passengers of that van called Amazonas after the accident to tell him what happened, he said.

About 100 people gathered Monday evening at the suburban Atlanta church, which caters to the local Brazilian community, to mourn the deaths of their fellow church members. People at the gathering wailed and wept as Amazonas addressed them in Portuguese.

Riordan declined to release the names of the two troopers who made the decision to reopen the highway or provide details on how long they had been with the patrol. He said no troopers have been disciplined but the investigation into the crash continues. National Transportation Safety Board officials said Monday they are sending investigators to the scene.

The Florida Forest Service said Monday it still had not determined if the brush fire was intentionally set or accidental, although lightning has been ruled out. Spokeswoman Ludie Bond said the fire is contained but was still burning. Firefighters are spraying water around its perimeter attempting to reduce the smoke.

Criminal defense attorneys said that if the fire was caused by arson, authorities likely will file charges of manslaughter and possibly felony murder, which is defined as a death that happens as result of participating in a felony.

“You can bet they will be,” said Brian Tannebaum, a former president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


Associated Press writers Mike Stewart in Marietta, Ga.; Kate Brumback in Atlanta and David Fischer in Miami contributed to this report.

Momma’s Source: yahoo news

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