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August 14, 2007

National Express awarded contract to operate services on major UK rail route

National Express awarded contract to operate services on major UK rail route

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

National Express Group logo

NXEC Trains Ltd, a subsidiary of National Express Group, has been awarded the contract to run the InterCity East Coast franchise and operate intercity rail services on the East Coast Main Line, a high-speed route connecting London with the north-east of England and Scotland. The company, which is to brand the service as National Express East Coast, will take over the franchise from the current operator Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) from December 9, 2007.

GNER’s contract was initially due to run until 2015 but was terminated early by the Department for Transport after its parent company, Sea Containers Ltd, found itself in financial difficulties which meant it was unable to pay the £1.3 billion it had promised in its bid to run the service.

A number of other bids were made for the franchise. These were from Arriva, FirstGroup, and a partnership of Stagecoach, Virgin, and GNER.

Richard Bowker, chief executive of National Express Group, said, “We are absolutely delighted that we have won the UK’s premier intercity railway. We have won with a bid which is ambitious, deliverable and structured to generate shareholder value.”

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Mathematics summer school in Turkey threatened by authorities

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Europe,Politics and conflicts,Turkey — admin @ 5:00 am

Mathematics summer school in Turkey threatened by authorities

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

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The closure of a mathematics summer camp in Şirince, İzmir, Turkey by Turkish authorities has drawn scorn from scientists around the world.

Professor Alexandre Borovik, who organized some of the opposition, said “We are shocked to learn that the Summer School of Mathematics initiated by Professor Ali Nesin was shut down by local authorities. We found it surprising that such an esteemed mathematician such as Professor Nesin needs a specific permit each time he wants to teach math, as we saw that one of the reasons for shutting the camp down was the lack of such a permit, especially considering how this contradicts the fact that the summer schools organized every year by Professor Nesin are sponsored by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), Turkish Mathematics Association and many respected Turkish universities.”

The school was reopened on August 10, 2007; however, Ali Nesin still faces charges under Turkish criminal code article TCK 263, which reads “Persons who open or run illegal educational institutions can be jailed from 3 months to 1 year.”

Ali Nesin is the son of the famous Turkish humorist Aziz Nesin.

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Nokia issues BL-5C battery warning, offers replacement

Nokia issues BL-5C battery warning, offers replacement

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The BL-5C battery affected by the advisory
Image: Adam Brookes.

Nokia, the Finnish telecommunications firm has issued a warning that 46 million BL-5C batteries on popular phones it sold from December 2005 to November 2006 could be faulty and overheat.

After recording approximately 100 incidents, the Finnish firm said on Tuesday the problems could affect 46 million batteries manufactured by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006.

In a statement on the company’s website, the mobile phone manufacturer said, “Nokia has identified that in very rare cases the affected batteries could potentially experience over heating initiated by a short circuit while charging, causing the battery to dislodge.”

“Nokia has several suppliers for BL-5C batteries that have collectively produced more than 300 million BL-5C batteries. This advisory applies only to the 46 million batteries manufactured by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006. There have been approximately 100 incidents of over heating reported globally. No serious injuries or property damage have been reported.”

Users who have such batteries should go to the Nokia website at www.nokia.com/batteryreplacement to see if they have an affected battery, and if so, to order a replacement if they desire.

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Russian train derails after bomb blast, terrorism suspected

Russian train derails after bomb blast, terrorism suspected

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Neva Express passenger train heading to St. Petersburg from Moscow derails at 21:43 MSK (17:43 GMT) on August 13, 2007 after a bomb explosion near the railway station Malaya Vishera. At least 60 people have been injured, some taken to hospital, no one reported to be killed.

The bomb made a shell-hole about 1.5 metres in diameter, officials say. 800 meters of railway track and its overhead contact system have been damaged. The bomb, determined by officials to be a homemade explosive device, was planted under the bridge.

A criminal investigation has been established by Russian officials. It has been linked to an insurgency in the south of the country around Chechnya and is, according to the Federal Security Service, part of a pattern of violent attacks connected to the insurgency.

The railway traffic was blocked in both directions. Services between St. Petersburg and Moscow were redirected via Volkhov.

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Hurricane Flossie threatens Big Island of Hawaii with winds, rain

Filed under: Archived,Environment,Hawaii,North America,United States,Weather — admin @ 5:00 am

Hurricane Flossie threatens Big Island of Hawaii with winds, rain

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hurricane Flossie, a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to pass close enough to the Big Island of Hawaii on Tuesday to cause damaging winds, torrential rain, and high surf.

As of 8:00 p.m. HST Monday (0600 Tuesday UTC), the U.S. National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning, hurricane watch, and flash flood watch for the island of Hawaii. The center of Hurricane Flossie was located near 16.2N, 152.5W, about 295 miles southeast of Hilo and 500 miles southeast of Honolulu, moving west-northwest at 15 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 120 mph (200 km/h) with higher gusts, and the minimum central pressure was measured at 957 mb (28.26 inches).

Residents of the Big Island can expect to encounter tropical storm force winds of 40-50 mph (64-80 km/h) mid-morning Hawaii time on Tuesday. Surf along the southeast shore of Hawaii island is expected to rise from 6-8 feet Monday to 15-20 feet Tuesday local time.

At this time, no warnings have been issued for the other islands in the chain as Flossie is expected to pass the Big Island to the south; however, the National Weather Service notes that any shift of the forecast track to the north may result in hurricane force winds and the possibility of watches and warnings for other islands.

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Don Imus reaches settlement with CBS, sued by Rutgers member

Filed under: Archived,Crime and law,North America,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Don Imus reaches settlement with CBS, sued by Rutgers member

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Don Imus has reportedly reached a settlement with CBS and is now negotiating with New York’s WABC radio for a job there.

CBS spokesman Dana McClintock said Imus and CBS Radio reached a settlement to pre-empt Imus’ threatened $120 million breach-of-contract lawsuit.

Martin Garbus, Imus’ lawyer, and CBS Radio issued a joint statement, saying “[Imus and CBS Radio] have mutually agreed to settle claims that each had against the other regarding the Imus radio program on CBS,” but did not release any specific details about the settlement.

Imus was fired from both CBS radio and MSNBC in April after using the phrase “nappy headed hos” when describing the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

CBS and MSNBC argued Imus’ remark was racist and sexist. Meanwhile, Imus’ attorney cited a clause in his contract that said CBS acknowledged that Imus’ services were “unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial.”

On the same day, Imus was sued by Kia Vaughn, a Rutgers team member. That suit also named NBC and CBS as defendants. The suit alleges libel and seeks monetary damages as of yet unannounced.

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Cargo Vessel grounded South of Gibraltar

Filed under: Archived,Disasters and accidents — admin @ 5:00 am

Cargo Vessel grounded South of Gibraltar

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The ‘New flame’ aground off Europa Point, Gibraltar

The Panamanian cargo Vessel “New Flame”, carrying a cargo of scrap metal and the Danish Product Tanker “Torm Gertrude” collided in Gibraltar waters, one kilometre south of Europa Point, Gibraltar at 05.55 hrs on Sunday August 12, 2007.

All 23 crewmen were safely rescued, the captain was later arrested by the Royal Gibraltar Police.

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