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Charred bodies found in tunnel collapse

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 02 Desember 2012 | 23.08

Several reported trapped as a road tunnel collapses west of Tokyo. Paul Chapman reports.

JAPANESE rescuers found five charred bodies in a highway tunnel that collapsed on Sunday, crushing cars and triggering a blaze, and sparking fears of another cave-in.

At least seven people were missing inside the nearly 5km-long tunnel. Witnesses spoke of terrifying scenes as at least one vehicle burst into flames, sending out clouds of blinding, acrid smoke.

Rescuers were forced to suspend work for several hours their efforts to reach those believed trapped under thick concrete ceiling panels that crashed from the roof of the tunnel when engineers warned more debris could fall.

Emergency crews who rushed to the Sasago tunnel on the Chuo Expressway, 80km west of the capital, were hampered by thick smoke billowing from the entrance.

This screen grab taken from video from highway operator Central Nippon Expressway Company Limited shows a passenger vehicle (left) stopping in front of the collapsed roof inside the highway tunnel on Sunday. Picture: AFP/JIJI PRESS/Central Nippon Expressway Company Limited

Dozens of people abandoned their vehicles on the Tokyo-bound section of carriageway, and ran for one of the emergency exits or for the mouth, where they huddled in bitter winter weather.

Emergency crews equipped with breathing apparatus battled around a third of the way into the tunnel, where they found up to 70m of concrete panels had come crashing down, crushing at least two vehicles.

Hours after the collapse, engineers warned the structure could be unstable, forcing rescuers to halt their work as a team of experts assessed the danger.

This screen grab taken from video from highway operator Central Nippon Expressway Company Limited shows rescue workers backing off as part of the roof collapses (centre) during operations to rescue people trapped in their cars. Picture: AFP/ Central Nippon Expressway Company Limited

It was during this inspection that accompanying police officers confirmed the first deaths.

"What we found resembled bodies inside a vehicle, they were blackened. We have visually confirmed them but have yet to take them out for closer examination," an official told AFP.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency later confirmed there were five bodies, adding another vehicle had also been burned.

Police vehicles are parked at the entrance as smoke billows out of the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Koshu, Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan. A part of the tunnel collapsed Sunday morning, possibly involving several vehicles and injuring several people, local media said.AP

By late afternoon the operation had resumed. Footage from security cameras showed large concrete panels in a V shape, apparently having collapsed from the middle, with teams of men in protective gear scrambling over them.

One 28-year-old woman who emerged from the smoke-darkened tunnel by herself told rescuers she had been in a rented van with five other people, fire department official Kazuya Tezuka told AFP by telephone.

"I have no idea about what happened to the five others. I don't know how many vehicles were ahead and behind ours," she was quoted as saying.

Police vehicles are parked outside the Sasago Tunnel in Koshu, as rescue attempts continue. Picture: AP / Kyodo News

A truck driver who telephoned a colleague from inside the tunnel was also believed to be trapped.

An AFP reporter said two large orange tents had been erected at the tunnel mouth and a helicopter remained nearby, ready to ferry the injured to hospital.

The tunnel, which passes through hills not far from Mount Fuji, is one of the longest in Japan. It sits on a major road connecting Tokyo with the centre and west of the country.

Smoke billows from the entrance of the collapsed Sasago tunnel as police and fire workers gather in preparation for their rescue operation. Picture: AFP

An NHK reporter was passing through the tunnel on his way to Tokyo when it started to disintegrate.

"I managed to drive through the tunnel but vehicles nearby appeared to have been trapped," he said. "Black smoke was coming and there seemed to be a fire inside the tunnel."

A man in his 30s, who was just 50m ahead of the caved-in spot, recounted details of the terrifying experience.

Rescue workers and police outside the Sasago tunnel as night falls. Picture: AFP

"A concrete part of the ceiling fell off all of a sudden when I was driving inside. I saw fire coming from a crushed car. I was so frightened I got out of my car right away and walked one hour to get outside," he told NHK.

Japan has an extensive and well-maintained network of highways with thousands of tunnels, usually several hundred metres long. Millions of cars use the network every day.

Chikaosa Tanimoto, professor emeritus of tunnel engineering at Osaka University told NHK ceilings are made from concrete panels suspended from pillars.

"Speaking only generally, because it is an old tunnel, it is conceivable that the parts connecting the ceiling panels and pillars, or pillars themselves, have deteriorated, affected by vibrations from earthquakes and passing vehicles," he said.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Tyson 'found Pitt in bed with wife'

Don King, Robin Givens and Mike Tyson in this photo from 1996. Tyson has revealed that he came home to find Brad Pitt in bed with Givens. Source: Supplied

MIKE Tyson has revealed how he came home to find Brad Pitt with his then-wife, Robin Givens.

The former boxing champion has also confessed that he was high on cocaine while he filmed his part in The Hangover.

In an interview on the In Depth with Graham Bensinger show Tyson said he was in the process of his divorce from Givens when he came home to find her with Pitt.

"I would go to my lawyer's office to say she's a pig and stealing, I would go to … her house to have sex with her. This particular day, someone beat me to the punch. And I guess Brad got there earlier than I did," he said.

"I was mad as hell. I was going to … you should have saw his face when he saw me."

Speaking about his foray into movies with his cameo in The Hangover, Tyson said the cast, including Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis, helped him get through his scenes despite the fact he was high.

"I was a mess," he said. "I was overweight. I was a pig, high on cocaine."

"They had to know I was messed up. I couldn't talk. I had the cocaine talk … So those guys are just beautiful people," Tyson said. "They had my back, and I appreciate that and stuff, then they asked me to come back (for the sequel)."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Israel 'fines' Palestine for UN win

Palestinians celebrate in Ramallah after the UN General Assembly voted to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. Israel has reacted by witholding a month's taxes. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

ISRAEL will not transfer tax and tariff funds it collects for the Palestinians this month in response to their successful bid for upgraded UN status, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Sunday.

"We said from the beginning that the raising of the status of Palestine at the UN would not produce no reaction from Israel," Mr Steinitz said at the beginning of a weekly cabinet meeting.

"I have no intention of transferring the taxes due to the Palestinian Authority this month. They will be used to pay the Palestinian Authority's debts to the Israeli electricity company," he said.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper said a total of 460 million shekels ($115 million) would be withheld from the Palestinians.

The move comes after the Palestinians secured non-member state observer status at the UN General Assembly last week, winning approval in a 138-9 vote over fierce opposition from Israel and the United States.

Israel has already announced new settlement construction in the wake of the vote, in what was widely considered a punitive response to the bid.

Ahead of the vote, Israel's government had warned the Palestinians and the international community that it would react harshly to upgraded status for the Palestinians, accusing them of leapfrogging negotiations and disregarding peace accords.

The Palestinians say the upgraded status does not contradict any effort for new talks, pointing out that negotiations have been on hold since late September 2010.

They ground to a halt shortly after they began over the issue of settlement construction. The Palestinians want a freeze on all settlement activity before talks resume, but Israel wants negotiations without any preconditions.

Every month, Israel transfers tens of millions of dollars in customs duties which are levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports, and which constitute a large percentage of the Palestinian budget.

The transfers are governed by the 1994 Paris Protocols with the Palestinians.

But Israel often freezes the transfer of the funds as a punitive measure in response to diplomatic or political developments viewed as harmful.

The freezes have contributed to an already dire financial position for the Palestinian Authority, which has frequently been unable to make payroll for its employees in the last year.

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Julia Gillard wins Java vote

Asylum seekers in Puncak, West Java, are happy to hear the good news of Australia welcoming them now even though they are still confused as to how to get here as the legal process is taking too long. Picture: Lukman Bintoro Source: Supplied

PM Julia Gillard surrounded by media after appearing on Meet The Press. Picture: Ray Strange Source: The Daily Telegraph

Afghani asylum seekers Fatemeh Kavari, 30 with her four-month-old son Abul Fazel at a boarding house in Puncak, West Java, Indonesia. Picture: Lukman Bintoro Source: Supplied

ASYLUM seekers in Indonesia have swung into party mode and labelled Julia Gillard a "hero" after learning they will receive welfare payments and rent assistance should they make it to Australia by boat.

The wannabe citizens are ecstatic the government has conceded detention centres are beyond maximum capacity and that asylum seekers would need to be released into the community while their applications for refugee status were processed.

They would be given financial and housing support - as well as free basic health care - a massive boost from their current financial status in Indonesia where many are struggling to afford food.

However the asylum seekers, based in Puncak, 80km from Jakarta, said they feared Liberal leader Tony Abbott would be successful in his bid to become prime minister.

"Mr Abbott is not good for refugees and asylum seekers, he does not like us, he is not really a nice man," said Zia Haidari, a 25-year-old Afghanistan man who has attempted - unsuccessfully - to travel to Australia by boat seven times.

"Ms Gillard seems to understand how we feel and is trying her best.

"Abdulah Sulamani, 41, heaped praise on Ms Gillard: "She is a hero, you are lucky to have this woman for your country."

Solo mother Fatemeh Khavari, 30, told News Ltd she did not have enough money saved to travel by boat to Australia and had spent time living homeless and hungry in Indonesia with her six-month-old son.

Labor's announcement was music to her ears.

"If I can get this free money and house when I come to Australia this will make life very easy for me," Ms Khavari said.

"It is very hard right now for us, I cannot afford to buy milk formula, we are very hungry. Me and my child need the generosity of the Australian people.

"If that doesn't happen my baby may die."

Ms Khavari - whose reasons fleeing Iran were "private" - said the other factor to draw her towards Australia was free medical care.

"I cannot afford to have vaccinations for my baby so I can get this in Australia.

"The praise directed at the prime minister may be unwelcome by its recipient, with voters unlikely to be impressed with the notion asylum seekers think they are coming to a country with soft laws.

A new monthly record was set in November with 2443 people arriving on boats and Ms Gillard was asked yesterday if she would bring back temporary protection visas and tow boats back to Indonesia.

The government last month announced thousands of asylum seekers threatened with processing in Nauru and Manus Island would be released in the community in Australia on bridging visas with almost $440 a fortnight plus help to pay rent.

It is understood the government is aware large numbers of asylum seekers are rushing to get on boats in Indonesia before the monsoon season and are undeterred by the government's pledge to keep them waiting in the community for protection visas for up to five years under a "no advantage" test.

Ms Gillard said TPVs and tow backs were not policy options hours before the government announced 75 people on two boats had been rescued by the Navy off Christmas Island.

"This is a complicated issue for our nation, for nations around the world," Ms Gillard told Channel 10.

"Anybody who says that there is a simple fix to you is not telling you the truth. It takes a range of policies, and we are putting that range of policies in place."

The desperation in the voices of asylum seekers in Puncak is echoed right throughout the village, where many asylum seekers come prior to embarking on the sea journey to Australia.

They eat their basic evening meals with rusty utensils scattered around. Their tiny bedrooms contain no blankets and sleep up to eight people. The days are dull with no ability to work as work visas from Indonesian officials are non-existent for the travellers.

It is this harsh reality of life in villages like Punchak combined with the arrival of news about Labor's policy backflip that is bringing about party fever and the desire to come to Australia as soon as possible.

Seventeen-year-old Adres, who does not have a surname listed on his passport, said when he arrived on Indonesian soil three weeks ago he planned to apply for refugee status through UNHCR.

But upon learning of the over-filled detention centres in Australia he was determined to travel by sea.

"This is good news for us, if we stay here and apply for status we might not be allowed into Australia, but if we come on boat we get the money and house," Adres said.

"This is a great thing and I am very thanking to the government in your country."

The Afghanistan teenager, whose father was killed in Pakistan, made the journey to Indonesia by plane. He saved for the journey and would use his money to engage people smugglers.

"It is a dangerous risk but worth it to get a new country with opportunities.

"This is party time."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Perv has wheelie good view of grid girls

Becky Lamb (centre) and Rockstar girls. Picture: Braden Fastie Source: The Daily Telegraph

Model and firefighter Becky Lamb. Source: Supplied

A PERVERT in a wheelchair faces a nationwide ban from V8 Supercars circuits after being caught snapping photos up the skirts of grid girls.

Police detained and ejected the male from yesterday's Sydney 500 season finale at Olympic Park, following complaints from four models.

Speaking on behalf of the models, Becky Lamb - the partner of championship driver Fabian Coulthard - said the girls were disgusted over the incident. It occurred about three hours before the 3pm race start in the team garages, where the cars are serviced away from pit lane.

Gallery: Motorsport grid girls

The girls were doing promotional work for Holden Racing Team (HRT) when they noticed the man behind them at close quarters.

Ms Lamb said she immediately felt uncomfortable because he resembled a stalker who was ejected from the Bathurst 1000 for the same offence three years ago.

"We had been taking some photos with fans in front of the truck and started to walk away," Ms Lamb said.

"I then noticed this man in a wheelchair following us very close behind.

"I immediately felt suspicious because a man in a wheelchair was ejected from Bathurst three years ago for taking offensive photos."

Fabian Coulthard with his girlfriend Becky Lamb. Picture: Brad Hunter Source: The Daily Telegraph

When she confronted their pursuer, Ms Lamb noticed an SLR camera pointed upwards from the man's lap.

"The first thing I saw was him flashing away up one of the girl's skirts," she said.

Ms Lamb verbally challenged the man.

"I said, 'That's inappropriate and I don't take this kind of thing lightly because it's sexual harassment'," she said. "I told him I'd be taking it further. He just said 'OK, OK' and went off."

Ms Lamb then reported the incident to HRT's security personnel who alerted police. The man was apprehended a short distance away within about 10 minutes, according to one onlooker.

"I noticed about eight police officers surrounding this guy in a wheelchair, who happened to be an amputee," the onlooker said.

"It was a bit ugly, because they were talking to him very, very sternly. But then I discovered he'd been taking these photographs, so it was understandable."

The man was taken to the circuit's mobile police HQ and eventually ejected.

No charges have been laid as yet, however that could change pending a review of memory cards seized from the digital camera.

"It is definitely an option that we could ban him pending the outcome," a V8 Supercars spokesman said.

Ms Lamb said all grid girls were aware of the potential for such encounters.

"We know what the job entails, but there's a point it can be taken too far," Ms Lamb said. "No one should tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Hero instructor fought off son - police

A Natrona County Sheriff's deputy in tactical gear leaves the scene on Friday morning. Picture: AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Alan Rogers/TRIB.COM Source: AP

A US community college instructor killed in a classroom murder-suicide has been hailed a hero, with police saying he gave his students time to flee by distracting and fighting off his son.

Christopher Krumm, 25, barged into his father's computer science class at Casper College, Wyoming and shot him in the head with a high-powered bow and arrow on Friday.

The arrow severely wounded James Krumm, 56 but he managed to wrestle with the younger man while his handful of students escaped.

Christopher Krumm, of Vernon, Connecticut, had just stabbed to death his father's live-in girlfriend at the couple's home several kilometres away.

Students and staff listen to a news conference after the apparent murder-suicide. Picture: AP Photo/The Casper Star-Tribune, Alan Rogers/TRIB.COM

When police arrived after the bow-and-arrow attack, they found Christopher Krumm bleeding from self-inflicted knife wounds and taking his last breaths.

James Krumm was dead, Police Chief Chris Walsh said today.

"I can tell you the courage that was demonstrated by Mr Krumm senior was absolutely without equal," he said.

Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh speaks during a news conference on Friday. Picture: AP Photo/The Casper Star-Tribune, Alan Rogers/TRIB.COM

"Around six" students were in the classroom when Christopher Krumm entered, Casper police spokesman Justin Smith said. None were hurt.

Walsh said police were still trying to figure out what motivated Christopher Krumm to attack his father and girlfriend, 42-year-old Heidi Arnold, a maths instructor at the college. Arnold died of multiple stab wounds.

After shooting his father with the arrow, Christopher Krumm stabbed himself, then fatally stabbed his father in the chest in a struggle in the classroom, Walsh said.

Walter Nolte, left, president of Casper College, bows his head during a news conference on Friday. Picture: AP Photo/The Casper Star-Tribune, Alan Rogers/TRIB.COM

Police began getting reports about the attack on Arnold soon after they responded by the dozen to the campus attack.

Authorities locked down the campus for two hours while they scoured the grounds for any other attackers. They were reassured Christopher Krumm acted alone.

He had smuggled the compound bow - a type much more powerful than a simple, wooden bow - onto campus beneath a blanket, Walsh said.

Students and faculty outside of the police line on the Casper College campus on Friday. Picture: AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Dan Cepeda/TRIB.COM

He said Christopher Krumm also had two knives with him and the one used was "very large".

Arnold's body was found in the gutter of her street.

Casper College instructor Kevin McDermott said Arnold and James Krumm were well-liked on campus.

A Natrona County Sheriff's canine handler arriving at Casper College on Friday morning. Picture: AP/Casper Star-Tribune, Alan Rogers/TRIB.COM

Investigators said Christopher Krumm had recently driven to Casper from Connecticut and had been staying at a local hotel. He had no significant history of encounters with police.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Come fly with me, just no free carry on

David Walliams and Matt Lucas in the TV programme 'Come Fly With Me'.

THE days of passengers being able to carry luggage on to planes for free could be numbered with the Flight Attendants Association of Australia pushing for an overhaul of current baggage arrangements by airlines.

Cabin crew claim they are regularly being injured and running out of space in the aircraft, as passengers go to great lengths to avoid the hassle and expense of checking in their bags.

Jo-Ann Davidson from the FAAA said they were planning a New Year campaign targeting airlines and regulatory bodies, to get a review of cabin luggage and changes to incentives to carry-on.

"We'd like to see a standard applied throughout the whole industry so there's no one airline saying they've got a disadvantage because some are allowing 10kg, and some allowing two bags," said Ms Davidson.

"We want a standard that's manageable for the cabin crew, especially for those flying on smaller aircraft where overhead lockers are smaller."

She said much of the problem lay with airlines themselves, for failing to strictly impose weight restrictions on carry on luggage.

Most of the time, passengers are permitted to carry on luggage of any weight providing it is not oversized.

Ms Davidson said this was causing real challenges for cabin crew, and putting their bodies on the line.

"The crew are usually running around at the last minute to stow and lift bags. It is becoming a huge issue for crew, and injuries are being sustained," she said.

With charges for check-in luggage ranging from $20 for a second bag on Qantas to potentially hundreds of dollars for excess baggage, Ms Davidson said passengers were now wanting to "bring on the kitchen sink" to avoid extra costs.

"Businessmen don't want to wait at the end of the flight for their bag, that's understandable," she said.

"But it becomes a problem when 150 people want the same."

In the US the problem is so great, airlines have been forced to introduce a policy of first-in best dressed, requiring some passengers to check in their luggage at their own expense when room for carry-on runs out.

Any changes are likely to be hard fought though, with airlines earning millions of dollars from ancillary charges such as check in luggage fees.

In 2011-12, the Qantas Group increased its ancillary earnings from $90 million to $346 million.

Virgin Australia also made more money out of passengers through charges related to baggage, meals, drinks, seat selection and lounge membership pulling in $417.9 million, up from $313.3 million.

Ms Davidson said they would seek an industry-wide standard for carry on luggage, and changes in incentives.

"It cannot continue the way it is," she said.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Solar deposits under cloud after collapse

Builder Peter Collins, along with hundreds of Australians, lost money when Solagex went into liquidation.  Picture: Megan Slade Source: The Courier-Mail

A FIRM that touted itself as one of Australia's most established solar supply and installation companies has gone under owing more than $3 million.

Solagex Australia Pty Ltd ceased trading in early September and went into liquidation on October 29.

Customers and businesses from Queensland, Victoria, NSW and South Australia - including many who paid deposits between $500 and $5000 - never received systems.

Solagex was a national company, with its Queensland headquarters in Southport.

A creditor list compiled by liquidator David Ross, of Hall Chadwick, outlined 179 parties owed a total of $3.129 million.

Leading wholesale distributor Conergy Pty Ltd is out of pocket $2.5m, while other creditors include the Australian Taxation Office, AAPT, Workcover Queensland and the Office of State Revenue.

Mr Ross told The Courier-Mail that another company, Freetricity, had bought the business and was working with deposit holders to try to complete installations.

Noosa builder Peter Collins is among those waiting to see if they will recoup deposits

handed to Solagex before it hit hard times in a market that went into overdrive in the dying days of the State Government's 44 cents solar feed-in tariff, which ended on July 9.

Mr Collins said he paid $1210 last March but approached the firm a few months later to get his deposit back after having second thoughts.

"I had a big holiday planned so I asked for my money back. They stalled me and said that's no worries, we will delay your job until after you come home," he said.

"Now they've gone belly up and I'm not real hopeful of recouping my money.

"I've had two in my life - where companies have gone broke owing me money - and never seen a cent."

"Pro-solar" Chinchilla mum Joanna Embry said she decided to sign with Solagex in June before the government incentives were reduced.

She paid a 10 per cent deposit of $1531.20 and was annoyed to learn the firm had gone into liquidation.

"It could have been worse as they wanted a much bigger deposit than I agreed to.

"I paid by credit card and have checked with the bank to see if there is anything they can do. They have asked for more information and we'll just have to see what happens."

The Office of Fair Trading (Queensland) advises any customers who paid a deposit to Solagex for goods or services they did not receive to contact Hall Chadwick on 07 3211 1250.



23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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