Archive for May 28th, 2010


Obama Visits Gulf, Pledges to Stop Leak

Obama Visits Gulf, Pledges to Stop Leak

Friday, May 28, 2010

••• President Barack Obama has told the people of the U.S. Gulf Coast they won’t be ‘abandoned’, in his most impassioned remarks yet on the United States’ worst-ever oil spill.

‘To the people of the Gulf Coast, I know you’ve weathered your fair share of trials and tragedy,’ Obama said, in a reference to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which triggered a botched government response.

‘I know there have been times where you have wondered if you’re being asked to face them alone,’ Obama said on a barrier island off Louisiana during his second tour of disaster hit-areas on Friday.
‘I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.

‘You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind. The cameras at some point may leave. The media may get tired of the story. But we will not,’ he said.

‘We are on your side, and we will see this through. We’re going to keep at this every day until the leak is stopped, until this coastline is clean, and your communities are made whole again.

‘That’s my promise to you. And that is a promise on behalf of a nation. It is one that we will keep.’


Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

Friday, May 28, 2010

••• A group of four companies including Sony Corp. has announced the launch of a new firm to facilitate the distribution of digital content for the emerging e-reader market, including Sony’s Reader.

The four companies – Sony, Toppan Printing Co., KDDI Corp. and Asahi Shimbun Co. – jointly announced on Thursday that they are setting up a new company to provide a common base for e-publishing by facilitating the digitization, distribution and promotion of newspaper and other publication content.

“We’d like to provide an opportunity for users to easily access e-publications whenever and wherever they’d like, while establishing a platform where publishers can provide their content with ease,” said a representative of the four companies.

The four firms will jointly form a planning company on July 1, which will be turned into a business corporation by the end of the year for the launch of the new service.

The move has already gained support from a number of major publishers, including Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha and Bungei Shunju – all members of the recently established Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan (EBPAJ). With the new partnership aiming to launch multiple online bookstores, it aspires to seek support from other publishers as well.

Each of the four founding companies will hold 25 percent shares in the new firm, which will be capitalized at 30 million yen. The location of its headquarters has yet to be decided.

Sony, which will release its e-ink-based Reader in Japan later this year, is a “returner” to the country’s e-book market. Though it had attempted to break into the e-book business as early as 1990, a lack of e-book content eventually forced the company to pull out in Japan.

“Things have evolved since then, with completely different content offerings and devices. The time is now ripe,” Sony Electronics Senior Vice President Fujio Noguchi said during a press conference on Thursday.

Regarding Apple Inc.’s release of the iPad tablet computer to the domestic market on Friday, Noguchi said, “I don’t think we got a late start.”

Meanwhile, KDDI will also develop its own e-reader device.

“The market will see a variety of e-reader devices popping up, but they cannot do without 3G cellular connections. We have an advantage in making a foray into the market,” said a KDDI representative.
• Source(s): Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社)


Guatemala volcano forces airport closure, kills one

Guatemala volcano forces airport closure, kills one

Friday, May 28, 2010

Earth••• Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has declared a state of emergency after a powerful eruption at the southern Pacaya volcano killed one person and forced the international airport to close.

Ash blanketed the region as rocks and lava spewed from the volcano 31 miles south of the capital, as Colom late on Thursday issued the emergency decree lasting at least 15 days for the three departments nearest the eruption, which began on Wednesday night and has since built in intensity.
The La Aurora International Airport was closed to ensure planes were not flying through the volcano’s hazardous ash cloud or landing on the ash-strewn runway, said spokeswoman Monica Monge.

Incoming flights were being diverted to airports in other parts of the country, she told reporters.

About 1600 people were evacuated from the slopes of the volcano, which rises 1.59 miles above sea level in the tropical Central American nation.

The burnt body of Guatelamalan television journalist Anibal Archila was found near the volcano by a colleague, who said the reporter had been unable to escape the raining rocks and other projectiles thrown out in the eruption.

Three children aged seven, nine and 10 are also missing in the area, officials said.

There are 288 volcanoes in Guatemala, eight of which are active.


BP’s Gulf Oil Spill Worst in U.S. History

BP’s Gulf Oil Spill Worst in U.S. History

Friday, May 28, 2010


••• BP’s oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is the worst spill in U.S. history, a government panel says.

Marcia McNutt, of the U.S. Geological Survey, said the amount of oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon has eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, and could be flowing at a rate nearly four times BP’s recent estimates.

BP has estimated some 5,000 barrels – totalling about 795,000 litres – have been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico every day, but some scientists have given estimates of up to 20 times more with the U.S. Geological Survey now putting the figure at 12,000 barrels.
Some 260,000 barrels of oil in total were released in the Exxon Valdez disaster.

If the panel’s calculations are accurate, a total of at least 260,000 barrels of oil have spilled into the ocean by May 17.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said more than 100 miles of the state’s 400-mile coast was now affected.
President Obama will make an announcement later on strict new regulations for oil drilling in U.S. waters.

After several failed attempts to plug the leak, BP has been using the ‘top kill’ procedure, which involves pumping mud and cement into the oil well.

The LA Times reported that the operation to stem the flow of oil had worked but BP’s chief executive said the firm remained cautious about the chances of success.



Whatever is necessary to protect and restore the Gulf Coast

Whatever is necessary to protect and restore the Gulf Coast

Friday, May 28, 2010

••• U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled tough moves to suspend new oil drilling and exploration following the Gulf of Mexico disaster, while denying the government was too slow to tackle the crisis.

After reviewing an Interior Department report into the massive oil spill, Obama outlined four steps to prevent such an accident from happening again including suspending 33 deepwater exploratory wells being drilled in the Gulf.

‘If nothing else, this disaster should serve as a wakeup call,’ the US president told a press conference, as official data showed the five-week-old spill was now the worst in U.S. history.
The government was extending an existing moratorium on deepwater drilling as well as suspending the issuing of new permits for six months, Obama said, as expert data said the oil was gushing at up to four times previous estimates.

Planned exploration in two locations off the coast of Alaska was suspended, and ‘we will cancel the pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia,’

And Obama added ‘we will suspend action on 33 deepwater exploratory wells currently being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.’

He was speaking as BP’s risky ‘top kill’ of the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well, which exploded on April 20 and then sank, appeared to stop the oil flow on Thursday.
Coast Guard chief Thad Allen, who is coordinating the US government’s battle against spill, said the ‘top kill’ maneuver begun on Wednesday by BP to plug the leak had stopped the gush of oil from the mile-deep well.

But he cautioned it was still too early to declare victory as the British energy giant pumps heavy drilling liquids, dubbed mud, into the fractured wellhead to beat back the flow of oil, before sealing it with concrete.

Unveiling new data, government scientists said the oil had been gushing from the burst pipe at a rate of between 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day – much higher than the initial estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.

Under such a scenario, that would mean that between 18.6 million gallons to 29.5 million gallons of oil have seeped into the Gulf.

Obama said the disaster showed the need to develop renewable energy sources, but dismissed charges the government had acted too slowly in the crisis.

‘The United States government has always been in charge of making sure that the response is appropriate,’ Obama said 37 days after the blowout at the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon well.

‘This notion that somehow the federal government is sitting on the sidelines and for the last three or four or five weeks we’ve just been letting BP make a whole bunch of decisions is simply not true,’ he said.
‘This entire White House and this entire federal government has been singularly focused on how do we stop the leak and how do we prevent and mitigate the damage to our coastlines,’ he said.

But the U.S. president said that ‘more than anything else this economic and environmental tragedy, and it’s a tragedy, underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean renewable sources of energy.’

He added it was time to move forward on legislation to promote renewable energy sources.

‘It’s time to accelerate the competition with countries like China who have already realised the future lies in renewable energy and it’s time to seize that future ourselves.’
• Source(s): The White House



May 2010
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