Listening to you at last: EU plans to tap cell phones
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Listening to you at last: EU plans to tap cell phones



Monday, October 19, 2009

A report accidentally published on the Internet provides insight into a secretive European Union surveillance project designed to monitor its citizens, as reported by Wikileaks earlier this month. Project INDECT aims to mine data from television, internet traffic, cellphone conversations, p2p file sharing and a range of other sources for crime prevention and threat prediction. The €14.68 million project began in January, 2009, and is scheduled to continue for five years under its current mandate.

INDECT produced the accidentally published report as part of their “Extraction of Information for Crime Prevention by Combining Web Derived Knowledge and Unstructured Data” project, but do not enumerate all potential applications of the search and surveillance technology. Police are discussed as a prime example of users, with Polish and British forces detailed as active project participants. INDECT is funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and includes participation from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Indicated in the initial trial’s report, the scope of data collected is particularly broad; days of television news, radio, newspapers, and recorded telephone conversations are included. Several weeks of content from online sources were agglomerated, including mining Wikipedia for users’ and article subjects’ relations with others, organisations, and in-project movements.

Watermarking of published digital works such as film, audio, or other documents is discussed in the Project INDECT remit; its purpose is to integrate and track this information, its movement within the system and across the Internet. An unreleased promotional video for INDECT located on YouTube is shown to the right. The simplified example of the system in operation shows a file of documents with a visible INDECT-titled cover taken from an office and exchanged in a car park. How the police are alerted to the document theft is unclear in the video; as a “threat”, it would be the INDECT system’s job to predict it.

Throughout the video use of CCTV equipment, facial recognition, number plate reading, and aerial surveillance give friend-or-foe information with an overlaid map to authorities. The police proactively use this information to coordinate locating, pursuing, and capturing the document recipient. The file of documents is retrieved, and the recipient roughly detained.

Technology research performed as part of Project INDECT has clear use in countering industrial and international espionage, although the potential use in maintaining any security and predicting leaks is much broader. Quoted in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Liberty’s director, Shami Chakrabarti, described a possible future implementation of INDECT as a “sinister step” with “positively chilling” repercussions Europe-wide.

“It is inevitable that the project has a sensitive dimension due to the security focussed goals of the project,” Suresh Manandhar, leader of the University of York researchers involved in the “Work Package 4” INDECT component, responded to Wikinews. “However, it is important to bear in mind that the scientific methods are much more general and has wider applications. The project will most likely have lot of commercial potential. The project has an Ethics board to oversee the project activities. As a responsible scientists [sic] it is of utmost importance to us that we conform to ethical guidelines.”

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Although Wikinews attempted to contact Professor Helen Petrie of York University, the local member of Project INDECT’s Ethics board, no response was forthcoming. The professor’s area of expertise is universal access, and she has authored a variety of papers on web-accessibility for blind and disabled users. A full list of the Ethics board members is unavailable, making their suitability unassessable and distancing them from public accountability.

One potential application of Project INDECT would be implementation and enforcement of the U.K.’s “MoD Manual of Security“. The 2,389-page 2001 version passed to Wikileaks this month — commonly known as JSP-440, and marked “RESTRICTED” — goes into considerable detail on how, as a serious threat, investigative journalists should be monitored, and effectively thwarted; just the scenario the Project INDECT video could be portraying.

When approached by Wikinews about the implications of using INDECT, a representative of the U.K.’s Attorney General declined to comment on legal checks and balances such a system might require. Further U.K. enquiries were eventually referred to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who have not yet responded.

Wikinews’ Brian McNeil contacted Eddan Katz, the International Affairs Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.). Katz last spoke to Wikinews in early 2008 on copyright, not long after taking his current position with the E.F.F. He was back in Brussels to speak to EU officials, Project INDECT was on his agenda too — having learned of it only two weeks earlier. Katz linked Project INDECT with a September report, NeoConopticon — The EU Security-Industrial Complex, authored by Ben Hayes for the Transnational Institute. The report raises serious questions about the heavy involvement of defence and IT companies in “security research”.

On the record, Katz answered a few questions for Wikinews.

((WN)) Is this illegal? Is this an invasion of privacy? Spying on citizens?

Eddan Katz When the European Parliament issued the September 5, 2001 report on the American ECHELON system they knew such an infrastructure is in violation of data protection law, undermines the values of privacy and is the first step towards a totalitarian surveillance information society.

((WN)) Who is making the decisions based on this information, about what?

E.K. What’s concerning to such a large extent is the fact that the projects seem to be agnostic to that question. These are the searching systems and those people that are working on it in these research labs do search technology anyway. […] but its inclusion in a database and its availability to law enforcement and its simultaneity of application that’s so concerning, […] because the people who built it aren’t thinking about those questions, and the social questions, and the political questions, and all this kind of stuff. [… It] seems like it’s intransparent, unaccountable.

The E.U. report Katz refers to was ratified just six days before the September 11 attacks that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. In their analysis of the never-officially-recognised U.S. Echelon spy system it states, “[i]n principle, activities and measures undertaken for the purposes of state security or law enforcement do not fall within the scope of the EC Treaty.” On privacy and data-protection legislation enacted at E.U. level it comments, “[such does] not apply to ‘the processing of data/activities concerning public security, defence, state security (including the economic well-being of the state when the activities relate to state security matters) and the activities of the state in areas of criminal law'”.

Part of the remit in their analysis of Echelon was rumours of ‘commercial abuse’ of intelligence; “[i]f a Member State were to promote the use of an interception system, which was also used for industrial espionage, by allowing its own intelligence service to operate such a system or by giving foreign intelligence services access to its territory for this purpose, it would undoubtedly constitute a breach of EC law […] activities of this kind would be fundamentally at odds with the concept of a common market underpinning the EC Treaty, as it would amount to a distortion of competition”.

Ben Hayes’ NeoConoptiocon report, in a concluding section, “Following the money“, states, “[w]hat is happening in practice is that multinational corporations are using the ESRP [European Seventh Research Programme] to promote their own profit-driven agendas, while the EU is using the programme to further its own security and defence policy objectives. As suggested from the outset of this report, the kind of security described above represents a marriage of unchecked police powers and unbridled capitalism, at the expense of the democratic system.”


Crossing guard killed by truck in Glasgow, Scotland
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Crossing guard killed by truck in Glasgow, Scotland



Friday, January 15, 2010

An elderly woman who was a crossing guard or a “lollipop lady” has been killed in an accident involving a truck in Glasgow, Scotland. The woman has been identified as 59-year-old Catherine Gibson, who came from the Dennistoun district of Glasgow. At around 0850 GMT on Thursday, Gibson was assisting children in crossing a road as part of her job near St. Anne’s Primary School, located in the east side of the city. Gibson was suddenly struck by a truck and dragged underneath the wheels of the vehicle. The children being assisted witnessed the entire collision.

After the accident occurred, Gibson was transported to a hospital but died shortly afterwards. The truck driver, who is aged 64, was not injured in the crash. The vehicle itself was taken away from the scene of the accident at approximately 1200 GMT on the same day. A person working in a garage near where the accident occurred said: “There were children waiting to cross the road and they were all screaming and crying. They all ran back from where the accident had happened. She was found face down and it looked as though the lorry had driven over her shoulder. She was alive when she was found but died a short time later. It was horrific and the kids will probably need counselling.

“It could have been a case of the driver not being able to see her because the vehicle is quite high as he caught her on the passenger side. It’s not clear whether she gave him enough time to stop or whether the driver has failed to stop. It was snowing as well so that could have been a factor.”

Louise Jarvie is the head teacher of St. Anne’s Primary School. “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this very sad time,” she said in reference to the incident. “Support and counselling for pupils and staff will be available to anyone who needs it.”


Chinese mine blast kills over 200
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Chinese mine blast kills over 200



Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Fuxin city (???; pinyin: Fùx?n shì) – An underground explosion in a mine in China’s northeastern Liaoning Province has left over 200 miners dead.

Current figures say 203 miners were killed, and another 22 were injured with 13 miners still missing. The blast occurred at 3:49pm local time on Monday afternoon.

The explosion, 242m underground, is believed to have been caused by gas igniting.

This morning a rescue team arrived at the site in Fuxin to attempt locate survivors and treat injured.

China has a history of major mining accidents. Last November, 166 miners died in an explosion in mine in Chenjiashan mine in Shaanxi province. In 2004, a official figures show that 5,000 workers died in accidents in mines, 35% of the world-wide death toll in coal mines.


Typhoon Koppu makes landfall in the Philippines, displacing at least 16,000
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Typhoon Koppu makes landfall in the Philippines, displacing at least 16,000



Monday, October 19, 2015

Typhoon Koppu, known additionally as Lando, made landfall in the northern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least two and displacing at least 16,000 people.

The deadly storm caused a concrete wall in a home in Subic, Zambales to topple over, killing a 62-year-old woman and injuring her husband. A 14-year-old teenager was killed after being fatally pinned down in Manila by a tree which got knocked over. The same fallen tree injured four others, including a three-year-old. The tree additionally damaged three nearby houses.

The injured people were sent to the East Avenue Medical Centre for treatment.

The typhoon made landfall in the town of Casiguran, a town with a population of 25,000 in the province of Aurora. Subsequently it ripped roofs off of houses, uprooted trees, and knocked down power lines. Nine provinces were left without electricity. Flash floods and landslides heavily damaged roads, and as a result 25 roads were made impassable.

The army attempted to clear routes leading to Casiguran, according to the state-owned Philippines News Agency. Nigel Lontoc, an employee of the Office of Civil Defense said that some residents were trapped on rooftops in the province of Nueva Ecija. Troops were sent to that location as a part of a rescue operation.

The typhoon weakened as it moved over land, and weather improved in some regions. Officials urged residents to be cautious since Koppu may still cause landslides and flash floods.

Alexander Pama, Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said that they were asking their countrymen “not to become complacent.”

The typhoon is expected to move slowly over the Philippines, causing large amounts of rainfall.

This year, Koppu is the twelfth typhoon to hit the Philippines, where around 20 typhoons make landfall per year.

Bob Henson, weather blogger from Weather Underground, said that the Philippines is considered to be “the most vulnerable large nation on earth for tropical cyclones.”


US suspects North Korea and Burma participating in ‘covert military’ activities
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US suspects North Korea and Burma participating in ‘covert military’ activities



Sunday, December 12, 2010

In diplomatic cables released by the whistle blowing website Wikileaks on Friday, it is revealed that the United States embassy in Rangoon suspects the North Korean and Burmese military are participating in “covert military or military-industrial” activities. In the cables dating back as early as January 2004, the embassy reports the military activities could include the construction of a nuclear reactor in or near Minbu, along with “SAM missiles” and an underground facility with as many as 300 North Korean military personnel assisting the Burmese military in the construction. Burma is primarily controlled by its military.

In the January 2004 cable, a businessman reportedly told the U.S. embassy in Rangoon that “massive” barges were bringing in large pieces of equipment to Minbu from the Irawaddy River. He suggested that “the quantities involved as well as the diameter of the rebar suggested a project larger than ‘factories.'” In the same cable, the U.S. acknowledges that rumors of a nuclear reactor being constructed in the area date back to 2002, with suspected Russian involvement. “Rumors of ongoing construction of a nuclear reactor are surprisingly consistent and observations of activity such as that described [sic] appear to be increasing,” said Martinez, the reported cable author. According to a news report in March, The Irrawaddy claims Burma was close to completing at least three nuclear reactors. The country’s leadership claims the nuclear research that is taking place is to be used for peaceful purposes.

In August of the same year, the U.S embassy receives more information that North Korea military is assisting in the construction of “SAM missiles (surface to air missiles) of unknown origin” and an “underground, concrete reinforced” facility in Minbu. The construction allegedly includes buildings which would house at least “20 Burmese army battalions that will be posted near the site.” The correspondent again says that the report “tracks with other information Embassy Rangoon and others have reported in various channels.”

“This account is perhaps best considered alongside other information of various origins indicating the Burmese and North Koreans are up to something. Something of a covert military or military-industrial nature. Exactly what, and on what scale, remains to be determined,” said McMullen, the reported cable author. He also admits that the number of North Koreans thought to be assisting the Burmese military “is much higher than our best estimates of North Koreans in Burma.” According to the Agence France-Presse in 2002, citing an unnamed U.S State Department official, the U.S. warned Burma not to pursue a nuclear program saying that it expects Burma “to live up to its obligations [under the non-proliferation treaty] and to not pursue production of weapons grade fissile material.” However a 2008 cable says that Burma may already be in possession of weapons grade uranium. The cable reports that a civilian tried to sell 2,000 kilograms of uranium-238 which “could be dug up” from the ground at a site in Kayah State. Uranium-238 could be used in the construction of nuclear weapons.

“A Burmese civilian met with members of USDAO [United States Defense Attaché Office] Rangoon and offered to sell Uranium-238. The individual had initially contacted the USDAO eight days prior with the offer. The individual provided a small bottle half-filled with metallic powder and a photocopied certificate of testing from a Chinese university dated 1992 as verification of the radioactive nature of the powder,” said the cable. “The individual claimed to be able to provide up to 2000 kg of uranium-bearing rock from a location in Kayah State, and further stated if the U.S. was not interested in purchasing the uranium, he and his associates would try to sell it to other countries, beginning with Thailand,” it added. The cable adds that the Burmese government was unaware that such a transaction was taking place and that they “would likely seize any additional samples or stocks of the material if aware of their existence.” However, a cable in January of 2007 says that the Burmese military may have received a shipment of uranium at the end of that month. The “sensitive shipment” was said to have come from Singapore via shipping freighter.

“[An unnamed witness] claimed that metals are usually exported in blocks, whereas the bags in this shipment were filled with loose earth and mud. The source of the mixed ore, Maw Chi, is also a source for uranium, they claimed. Security was tighter than usual, surveillance was heavier, and officials paid closer attention to the movement of the shipment and activity at the port,” said the cable. The cable author, ‘Villarosa,’ later states that the embassy in Rangoon was given allegedly detailed information on the shipping methods, weight and cost. No further cables have yet to be released on the matter.


Loss of integrity in underground city tunnel causes evacuation of Downtown Montreal
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Loss of integrity in underground city tunnel causes evacuation of Downtown Montreal



Sunday, August 26, 2007

A one-inch settlement of the roof of The Bay tunnel to the Montreal Metro caused authorities to evacuate 12 blocks of the Montreal downtown core.

Several people noticed water infiltration in the tunnel over the last few days. On Friday, August 24, at 1 p.m., while investigating another water infiltration incident, The Bay employees noticed that the ceiling of the tunnel portion of The Bay’s basement sales area had descended one inch over a 7 meter length. They subsequently called police. The police and firefighters evacuated the basement of the downtown Bay store. The police closed de Maisonneuve Boulevard from Aylmer Street to Union Street, over the area of the crack.

At 4 p.m., firefighters evacuated the Parkade Montreal Building and The Bay Department Store after finding pieces of concrete falling from the Parkade Montreal structure, a multi-story carpark with five levels of offices on top. They also evacuated the downtown portion of the Line 1 / Green Line of the Montreal Metro subway, from Lionel-Groulx to Berri-UQAM stations, and evacuated the McGill metro station, which is situated below The Bay tunnel. After consulting with city engineers, Centre 2001, the loading dock of the Bay and its Hertz car rental agency, Les Promenades Cathedrale underground shopping centre and office tower, and a neighbouring office tower to the Parkade were also evacuated. Police cordoned off an area from Bleury Street in the east to University Street in the west, and from Ste-Catherine Street in the south to President Kennedy Street to the north.

The closure of the Metro caused havoc to the Friday afternoon rush hour, as over 40,000 people regularly use the Green Line (Line 1) every day. Montreal Transit Corporation workers issued directions during the day, though some may not have been informed of a provisionary bus service to replace the lost subway service. Loudspeakers announced that commuters should use the unaffected Orange Line (Line 2), which has lines between 5 and 10 blocks south of Line 1 (Green Line), and also connects to Lionel-Groulx and Berri-UQAM stations.

The downtown area is intended to remain closed for at least the weekend, along with portions of the underground city, or RESO. The tunnel was built in 1966. For the last few days, city work crews have been working above the slab in question, digging a one meter trench to install a median and segregate a new bike path on de Maisonneuve Boulevard. The tunnel roof lies five meters below street level.

Residents of Montreal are frustrated with the crumbling infrastructure in and around the city, including the collapse of the de la Concorde Boulevard overpass over Autoroute 19 expressway last year, the shattering of a column holding up the Autoroute 720 Ville Marie elevated expressway last month, and other incidents.


Visit Best Indian Restaurant In London For Amazing Indian Delicacies


Submitted by: Jasob Oram

Indian food is famous all across the globe because of its great taste and aroma. The use of different spices and other ingredients makes India food to be liked by majority of the populace. However if you are residing outside India for instance in London and you want to eat Indian food then there is a good news for you. You can find some of the best Indian restaurants in London. London is a destination which is quite favored by Indians because they get to eat delicious Indian food at best restaurants in London.

No matter whether you are fond of vegetarian or non-vegetarian food, you can have all on your table right in front of you. However before planning to eat Indian food, don t visit any Indian restaurant having an Indian tag. One must cross check the quality of food served in the restaurant before visiting it. This is important because not all

Indian restaurants

are capable of providing excellent food and services. Visiting not-so-good restaurants can ruin your lunch or dinner so one must be cautious in advance.

It is good if you ask your friends of relatives living in London to tell you which are the best Indian restaurants in London so that you don t end up in visiting any low quality joint. Preparing delicious

YouTube Preview Image

Indian food

is not a child s play and not all restaurants are capable of it. So choose that restaurant which is known since years for serving exotic Indian food to the people.

You can check the list of good Indian

restaurants in London

online. In fact many of the good restaurants have delivery option through which you can order any of the food items online from your home or office. It is better if you read the reviews and feedback given by people about any specific restaurant if you are planning to visit that for the first time.

A good Indian restaurant is characterized by its delivery system. You can find many Indian restaurants operating in London which allow you to order hot Indian food at your home only. So access such restaurants and have a delicious and amazing treat with your loved ones.

You can check the list of good Indian

restaurants in London

online. In fact many of the good restaurants have delivery option through which you can order any of the food items online from your home or office. It is better if you read the reviews and feedback given by people about any specific restaurant if you are planning to visit that for the first time.

Indian food is very popular in every part of the world especially in London. Hence it is very easy to find best Indian restaurant London. You can surf the internet and check the ratings of the restaurants. This will help you in selecting a right restaurant. The most important thing which you should always keep in mind is the service and quality of food.

It is not easy to find best Indian restaurants UK especially for those who love eating Indian dishes. If you are lucky in finding the one then it is obvious that you will stick to it and you will recommend about it to your family and friends. There are restaurants that offer their menu and contact details online which will help you to order without any problem.

About the Author: The author recommends people to visit best Indian restaurant in London to get real taste of authentic traditional Indian food.

tiffinbites.com/

Source:

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Getting even with the law: Wikinews interviews New York City’s ‘Jimmy Justice’
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Getting even with the law: Wikinews interviews New York City’s ‘Jimmy Justice’



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

“What bothers me is watching an officer write someone a summons and then commit the exact same violation with their official vehicle.

A civilian known as ‘Jimmy Justice’ who resides in New York City (NYC), New York, the largest city in the United States, has been videotaping NYC police officers and city workers, breaking the law while on the job.

Since 2007, he claims to have caught “hundreds of officers and other city employees violating the law,” and says he has them all on camera. He has posted his best confrontations with them to the video sharing website YouTube. As a result, Justice states that he has been asked to do a United States television show and Wikinews got an exclusive interview with him. For protection, Justice wished not to be called by his real name in fear of police retaliation.

Last year, Justice videotaped a police officer parking in front of a fire hydrant, but has only recently gained attention on social networking news sites such as Digg and reddit.com. So Wikinews contacted Mr. Justice, known as JimmyJustice4753 on YouTube, for an exclusive interview to find out what caused him to get revenge on the law.

On June 30, 2007, Justice caught officer E. Anderson of the NYPD, traffic division, parking directly in front of a fire hydrant while she went inside a restaurant to take a 15 minute lunch break.

“Do you think there is something wrong with parking a vehicle, blocking a fire hydrant,?” says Justice while following Anderson to her car after her meal.

“Mrs. Anderson I’m talking to you,” says Justice as Anderson ignores him. “You parked your vehicle blocking a fire hydrant. You are not allowed to do that. Somebody else would get a ticket for that. Why are you allowed to do it? You should be ashamed of yourself Mrs. Anderson.”

By this time, the incident has gained the interest of people nearby the scene and passing it. One unidentified woman, who claims to be a retired NYC police officer decides to intervene stating that people “are not supposed to film any police, [or] anybody employed with the police department because of the terrorism.” A short time later the woman walked off camera.

Since 2007 Justice says he has caught “hundreds of law enforcement officers and city officials” on “over 30 hours of video” violating laws from illegal U-turns in business districts to blocking bus stops and fire hydrants. Justice has only uploaded the “most colorful ones to YouTube” and recently, on April 8, 2008, Justice videotaped a NYPD tow truck officer blocking a hydrant while he also ate lunch inside a restaurant. According to NYC law, it is illegal for any vehicle to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant and to park in front of a bus stop. It is also illegal for any person to make a U-turn in a business district. Fines for these violations can cost a driver up to US$115.00 for each violation occurred.

When Wikinews asked Justice why he decided to start filming the violations made by officials he answered, “what bothers me is watching an officer write someone a summons and then commit the exact same violation with their official vehicle. I started making these videos to remind the officers (and complacent civilians) that City employees have to abide by the same laws that they are paid to enforce. I plan on doing this and inspiring others to do this as well as a means of leveling the playing field against discourteous officers.”

“In NYC, the traffic cops are notorious for their draconian indiscretion in handing out summonses to civilians for petty violations. Obviously the laws are not enforced as a matter of public safety, but rather to raise revenue,” added Justice.

Justice makes little effort to get the violations on videotape saying “all I have to do to catch them is open my eyes.”

“The problem with abuse of authority is rampant in New York City. I take my video camera with me on the way to work and on the way to social events and band rehearsals and when I see action it takes me less than 4 seconds to have the camera out and in record mode,” states Justice.

His videos have drawn the attention of media and he has been featured on ABC’s ‘I-caught videos’ and Inside Edition. Justice also states that the popularity of his videos have gotten the attention producers in Hollywood, California and as a result, there are plans for a television show.

Since Justice began getting even with officials and their violations, he states that there has been a positive change in the communities.

“The publicity my videos have received has effected positive change in the community, but we still have a long road ahead of us,” added Justice.

As a result of his videos, at the time the NYPD launched an investigation into the violations, but it is not known if any officers were charged or punished. Justice himself has never been arrested, but has been assaulted.

“I have never been arrested for this yet but they have threatened me with arrest. I have been spit on, cursed at, assaulted, and I had 2 cameras broken already,” added Justice.


Rocketeers find possible impact crater in Nevada
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Rocketeers find possible impact crater in Nevada



Friday, March 9, 2007

Imagine coming back from a camping trip in the desert. Then a few months later you notice in your photos from the trip that you camped inside a giant impact crater so big that no one documented it before. Could it happen?

During several trips to the Black Rock Desert, mostly while supporting the Stratofox Aerospace Tracking Team for suborbital space rocket launch efforts, Ian Kluft KO6YQ noticed some oddities in rock formations. He had a little experience with volcanoes, and some rocks in the area looked unusual. There seemed to be some lava here and there – but where was the volcano? He observed that even a large caldera should have mostly volcanic rocks. He then noticed some curved geographic structures in satellite imagery which made him curious if it might be an impact crater.

A TV documentary about meteor impacts mentioned some characteristics of impact craters. He went to the Internet to learn more. He noticed some of his own pictures of the area had cone shaped structures which might be “shatter cones” due to an impact shock wave that passed through the rocks. Discussion with others produced suggestions and volunteers who joined the effort. More circular features in satellite photographs were found. Igneous dikes through white layers of rock had been described and were visible in many photos.

The possible impact crater is 30 miles (48 km) wide east-to-west and 40 miles (64 km) north-to-south centered around 40.984045 N, 118.916016 W. That is in northwestern Nevada halfway between Reno and the Oregon border. The apparent ancient geological structure is so old that much of it is eroded away. The forces that eroded the Black Rock Desert itself, whether glacier or stream, have apparently cut through the crater rims and floor to do it.

Following an expedition to the area in late January, more possible shatter cones were observed in one of the rock samples collected. These are only formed by the shock wave of an impact event or nuclear explosion. The nearest nuclear test was underground at Sand Springs Range in central Nevada. Atmospheric tests at the Nevada Test Site were at the southern, and opposite, end of the state. So that points toward an impact if confirmed. But professional geologists will want to have the final word on confirming them.

In addition to shatter cones, rock samples were thought to contain shocked quartz because the criss-cross fractures looked like examples in online documents. But this group of volunteers doesn’t have equipment for proper photography of shocked quartz. If found, that would be another way to prove the impact origin of the rocks.

Columnar jointed columns hundreds of feet tall appear on some bluffs in locations that appeared consistent with part of a slowly cooling crater floor. But that alone only helps as part of a bigger picture, because volcanoes can have lava cool in columnar joints as well.

They also found local geological studies which described oddities which could be explained by an impact event. Layers of rocks in the mining district called Sulphur left geologists with a mystery about the cause of chemical alterations since 1980. The group compared it with information in online geological texts like “Traces of Catastrophe” by Dr Bevan M French of the Smithsonian Institution. Layers of impact ejecta seemed to explain the rock layers better than the previous theory about acid uniformly cooking the rocks across the region, and only in one layer of rocks. A separate 1980 study 40 miles away identified an immense air-fall tuff layer in the Soldier Meadows area as having been deposited in a single unit, yet couldn’t locate the volcano which produced this enormous volume. Fault diagrams published online by a mining operation at Sulphur on the edge of the circular structure from the satellite photo also look like curved terraced faults in the wall of a crater.

The mining geologists who wrote papers from 1980 to 2002 had not mentioned the possibility of a crater. But they were each gathering single puzzling pieces of information. A larger image seemed to be forming when putting the pieces together. The group hopes the information will be helpful to geologists who do further work in the region.

The theory hasn’t been put to any test by professionals yet. Some responses point out that the elliptical region reported as the possible impact crater could also be the volcanic caldera that the 1980 study was looking for. If so, such a large volcanic caldera would still be a significant discovery for the region.

This will remain officially a mystery for a while until the professional geologists get to study it. There is a lot of information available online for those who are interested.


Copiapó, Chile mining accident: in depth
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Copiapó, Chile mining accident: in depth



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The rescue of the Chilean miners trapped in the San José Mine in Copiapó, codenamed Operación San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Operation), began on Tuesday night, at around 20:00 local time (23:00 UTC).

Florencio Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, at 00:12 local time (03:12 UTC) on Wednesday. He was wearing a shirt signed by all his fellow miners. “The first miner is already with us. We saw it all, him hugging his wife Monica and his son Byron,” said President Piñera shortly after the first rescue. “We still have a long journey.”

“This will be recorded on every single Chilean heart forever,” Piñera added. “I hope the miners’ hope stay with us, just like the [February] earthquake victims’ [hope] and what the earthquake took off. We know that the disasters unite us all.”

All the 33 miners were rescued. The last miner, Luis Urzúa, was rescued at 21:55 Chile time (00:55 UTC). “It is a pleasure to be Chilean, [I’m] proud,” said Luis Urzúa to President Piñera. “In honour of the miners, their families, the rescuers […] let’s sing our national anthem. Viva Chile Mierda!,” said Piñera. Urzúa thanked Mining Minister Golborne and the First Lady Cecilia Morel for “fighting for their lives.” “I’m proud of my fellow miners,” Urzúa added.

Six rescuers, including a miner and a paramedic, descended to the miners’ shelter using the Fénix 3 capsule which was specially constructed for the rescue. They performed check-ups and talk with the miners before taking them back to the surface. The rescuers still don’t leave the mine.

The Fénix 3 capsules are 3.95 metres in height and weigh about 460 kilograms. They have an armour, an oxygen tube and a microphone. The occupants helmets contain an intercom to keep them in contact with the rescue team on the surface.

President of Chile Piñera assisted to the rescue. Bolivian President Evo Morales could not attend Carlos Mamani’s rescue. Mamani is the only Bolivian miner in the group.

A mass for the miners was conducted at 18:00 local time (21:00 UTC). The rescue takes between 15 and 20 minutes for each miner.

On Tuesday, Mayor of Copiapó Maglio Cicardini announced that the municipal schools in the city will have no classes this Wednesday “to transform the rescue of the Atacama’s 33 in a familiar meeting,” Radio Cooperativa reported.

“The miners will be taken to the Copiapó Regional Hospital for medical checkup, where they will have to stay for 48 hours,” Health Minister Mañalich said to Televisión Nacional de Chile.

Celebrations are taking place in several Chilean cities. In Santiago de Chile, people gathered in one of the most important points of the city, Plaza Italia. In Pichilemu, tens of cars are passing over its most important streets. In Copiapó, people gathered in its main square to assist a massive concert.

On August 5, 33 miners were trapped more than 700 meters (2,300 ft) underground, in the San José copper–gold mine, located about 40 kilometers north of Copiapó, Chile.

The youngest trapped miner is 19 years old, and the oldest is 63. There were several rescue attempts before reaching the miners’ shelter on August 22. The National Emergencies Office of Chile (ONEMI) released a list of the trapped miners on August 6, which included Franklin Lobos Ramírez, a retired footballer.

Chile is the worlds top producer of copper, according to The Economist. The San José Mine is owned by the San Esteban Mining Company (Empresa Minera San Esteban). The mine was closed down in 2007, after relatives of a miner who had died sued the company executives, but the mine was re–opened in 2008.

It was originally estimated that “it would take three to four months to complete the rescue of the trapped miners”. There were three plans to reach the miners: “Plan A” using a Strata 950 drill, “Plan B” using a Schramm T130XD drill, and “Plan C” using a RIG-422 drill. The first to reach the miners was “Plan B”, early on Saturday 9.

The last step of their rescue, announced by Health Minister Jaime Mañalich, was originally due to begin on Tuesday. Laurence Golborne, Minery Minister said “If it is possible, and the cement sets before and we don’t have any impediments to doing it, it would be wonderful,” in a press conference on Monday. The men will be extracted in a steel rescue capsule 54 cm (21 inches) in diameter.

On September 4, Chilean filmmaker Rodrigo Ortúzar announced plans to film a movie about the accident, called “Los 33” (“The 33”). The film will be released in 2011.

One miner is Bolivian, and the other 32 are Chilean.

Raúl Bustos, 40 years old, is an hydraulics engineer. He left his job in Talcahuano after the February 27 earthquake to work in the mine.

Daniel Herrera, 27 years old, is a lorry driver. He has acted as paramedic assistant in the mine. He said to La Tercera “the miners were unhappy with the psychologist in the rescue team.”

Claudio Acuña, miner, is fan of the Colo-Colo football club. The BBC reports he is aged 56, but El Comercio says he is 44.

Pedro Cortez is aged 24. He joined the mine with his friend Carlos Bugueño. Cortez is an electrician, and lost a finger in the mine a year ago.

File:Juan Aguilar with President Piñera.jpg

A native of Los Lagos, Juan Aguilar is 49 years old. Aguilar is married to Cristy Coronado, according to El Comercio. Aguilar works as a supervisor.

Mario Sepúlveda is a 39 years old electrician native of Parral; he is married. He has been the spokesman of the most of the miners’ videos. Mario Sepúlveda was the second miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 01:10 local time (04:10 UTC).

Víctor Zamora is a 33 years old auto mechanic. Zamora is married to Jéssica Cortez, who confirmed she was pregnant while he was in the mine.

Osman Araya is 30 years old, and married. He began working as miner four months before the accident.

Florencio Ávalos is 31 years old. He is the brother of Renán Ávalos, who is also trapped in the mine. He worked as driver in San José. Ávalos filmed videos, sent later to his relatives.

Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 00:10 local time (03:10 UTC).

Jorge Galleguillos, 56 years old, has worked all his life in the mine. He said in one video he was feeling unwell; he takes medication for hypertension.

Carlos Barrios is a 27 years old miner. His father, Antenor Barrios, told Agence France-Presse: “I find he’s very strong and has enthusiasm. He spoke loud and clear. I was excited.”

Franklin Lobos Ramírez is a 53 years old retired footballer. He played for Cobresal, Deportes Antofagasta, Club de Deportes Santiago Wanderers and Unión La Calera, and briefly for the Chile national football team. Lobos had worked as a truck driver in the mine.

Yonni Barrios, called “The Doctor”, is a 50 years old electrician. He has knowledge of first aid, and was given responsibility for monitoring the health of his colleagues. “I felt I was in hell,” Barrios said in a letter to his wife.

Carlos Bugueño, 27 years old, joined the mine with Pedro Cortez. Previously, he worked as a watchman.

Alex Vega Salazar is a 31 years old heavy machinery mechanic. He is married to Jessica Salgado, and celebrated his birthday in the mine on September 22.

Ariel Ticona is a 29 years old miner. His wife, Margarita gave birth to his daughter on September 14. She was named Esperanza (Hope), at Ticona’s request.

Richard Villarroel is a 27 years old mechanic from Coyhaique.

Edison Peña is a 34 years old miner. “I want to go out soon,” he said on his first contact with his relatives. “I want to be free, I want to see the sun,” he added. He is a fan of Elvis Presley.

Claudio Yáñez is 34 years old, and works as drill operator.

José Ojeda, 46 years old, is the master driller. Ojeda is widowed and diabetic.

Luis Urzúa is a 54 year old topographer. He is the shift-leader, and was the first miner to talk with authorities. He is known as Don Lucho among the miners. He draw plans of the area of the mine where they are trapped.

Urzúa will be the last miner to leave the mine.

José Henríquez is a 54 years old drill master. He is also an evangelical preacher, and has worked in mines for 33 years.

Víctor Segovia is a 48 years old electrician. He is in charge of writing down everything that happens in the mine.

Pablo Rojas is a 45 years old explosives loader. Married, he had been working less than six months in the mine.

Juan Illanes is a 51 year old miner. He was a sergeant in the Beagle border conflict between Chile and Argentina in 1978, the incident which almost provoked a war between the countries.

Illanes was rescued on Wednesday, at 02:07 local time (05:07 UTC).

Jimmy Sánchez, 19, is the youngest miner. He had been working in the mine for five months before the accident. His role is to check the temperature and humidity in the mine.

Samuel Ávalos is a 43 years miner. His wife Ruth said “he was addicted to the cocaine.” His role in the rescue is to check air quality in the area the miners are living. According to the BBC, “Ávalos has worked in the mine for five months.”

Mario Gómez, aged 63, is the oldest of the miners. He has worked 51 years as miner. His father was also a miner, and is nicknamed “El Navegao” (“The Sailed One”). He was thinking of retiring in November.

Gómez also wrote the message “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33” (“We are fine in the shelter the 33 [of us]”).

Segovia is 48 years old. He is married to Jessica Chille, who said “To hear his voice was a confort to my heart,” after talking with him for the first time in 24 days. His sister María, was nicknamed “La Alcaldesa” (“The Mayoress”) for her leading role at Campamento Esperanza. His father, Darío Senior, was trapped in a mine for a week, and suffered serious injuries after two other mining accidents, according to the BBC.

Carlos Mamani is a 23 years old heavy equipment operator. He is also the only non-Chilean miner; Mamani is Bolivian. He began working in the mine just five days before the accident.

He was rescued at 03:11 local time (06:11 UTC) on Wednesday.

Renán Ávalos is a 29 years old miner, single, who had been working for five months in the mine before the accident. Florencio Ávalos is his brother.

Omar Reygadas is a 56 year old electrician. He began working in the mine shortly before the accident.

Esteban Rojas is a 44 years old miner. Rojas is married to Jessica Yáñez.


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