Bus crash in Italy tops the headlines this morning – Monday 29 July

The number killed in the Italian bus crash in the last 24 hours is growing. Bodies have been laid on the road in white cloth as injured are pulled from the bus and multi-vehicle wreckage.

Tour Bus Fatal Crash – Italy

Most news organizations have the dead confirmed up to 38 people with the majority of deaths from the bus being children. The tour bus took out a guard rail as it drove off a mountain road, plunging  30 metres into an embankment. The bus appears to have almost split into two. Several other vehicles are reported to have been involved in the accident by ANSA, Italy’s news organization. The tour bus was returning from a pilgrimage to Telese Terme. Telese Terme is a well known tourist destination for its hot sulfur springs in the Campania region of southern Italy.  (Edit 30/07  – 36 people raised to 38 people confirmed dead, New Video.)

Middle East peace talks resume after 3 years – Israel & Palestine

Washington DC, USA is hosting peace talks between Israel and Palestine this week. This is the first time in almost three years that both groups have met to discuss peace terms. Secretary of State, John Kerry has been instrumental in returning the countries to the peace table. Kerry has visited the region up to 6 times in the last 4 months.  Israel has agreed to return a number of Palestinian war prisoners. This gives Israel bargaining power to limit discussions of returning land claimed by Israel since the 1965 Middle East War. For a more indepth review of the Middle East Peace Talks, Reuter provides a decent breakdown.

Rudd still to announce federal election date – Australia

Newly returned Prime Minster, Kevin Rudd is still to announce the Australian  federal election date. Opposition leader Tony Abbot doesn’t appear to be phased by Rudd’s popularity in the polls. Both leaders are neck and neck. Election issues in the spot light last week include Immigration. An increasing number of boats are attempting to smuggle people to Australia. Last Wednesday, 157 suspected Asylum seekers were rescued.  Rudd’s announcement of a new policy for boat arrivals from Indonesia has been met largely with condemnation. Over 30 boats have been intercepted since Rudd took office. Other issues raised in the run up to the election over the last week include

  1. an increasing budget deficit, much larger than originally predicted
  2. housing sector expansion is much slower than expected
  3. Abbot’s plan to open and expand industry in the north of Australia to Asian markets

Neighborhood Patrols question Zimmerman’s Role – USA

Since 17 year old teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed last year, Neighborhood Patrols have been questioning George Zimmerman’s actions.  The National Sheriffs’ Association’s neighborhood watch program was established in 1972. Its aim is to combat a spike in suburban and rural burglaries. Reuters report that the Association have no registration of Zimmerman’s neighborhood group.  The Association has around 33,000 registered neighborhood watch programs. This accounts for about a third of the total programs in the USA.  According to The National Sheriffs’ Association’s neighborhood watch program, Zimmerman broke two fundamental tenets of their 37 page manual while on duty

  1. don’t confront a suspicious person
  2. don’t carry a weapon

Jet Fuel Spill into Lemon Creek – Canada

35,000 litres of jet fuel spilled from an overturned tanker into Lemon Creek in Canada on Friday night.  Residents were ordered to evacuate. Fumes from air plane fuel can cause breathing problems and direct contact can burn. The order was lifted by Saturday morning as the fuel has a quick evaporation period. The accident occurred about 5 p.m. Friday evening and officials in the area advised by 6 p.m. The creek runs into the Slocan River and Friday night for 80-square kilometre area along the creek and the Slocan River that it feeds. That order was reduced Saturday morning and then lifted entirely.

Since Friday evening environmental experts have reported a large find of dead fish in the area. Despite the large numbers of dead fish they do not expect their to be an ongoing environmental issue on the ecosystem. Residents are concerned for otters that live in the area. The accident appears to have been caused by the shoulder of a logging road giving out as the truck went around it. Trucks carry fuel along forest roads to take jet fuel to plains fighting fires.

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