Tag Archives: Reuters

‘Unusual event’: Oconee nuclear reactor shut down after transformer explosion & fire

One of the reactors at the Oconee Nuclear Station has been shut down after a series of explosions and a fire damaged a transformed on site. The operator declared the incident “unusual” but emphasized there was no threat of radiation release.

Emergency crews deployed at the scene have managed to contain the fire, and will remain at the scene to assist crews. Oconee Nuclear Station is a nuclear power plant located on Lake Keowee near Seneca, South Carolina.

“Unit #1 was shut down as a precaution,” Oconee County Emergency Management said in a statement. “There is NO POTENTIAL FOR RELEASE.”

The plant operator Duke Energy said that while “Unit 1 has been safely shutdown” the remaining “Units 2 and 3 continue to operate safely.”

Officials blamed the “unusual event” on electrical equipment failure inside a transformer they say was located outside the building.

Authorities urged the public stay away from the area as emergency personnel and Duke Energy staff work around the area. However they emphasized that there was no security risk that would require evacuations or traffic detours.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

he transformer malfunctioned and caught fire at 3:20pm local time, and the “unusual event” was upgraded to an “alert” – a second level of emergency – at 4:58pm, according to the company.

Incidents falling to “alert” classification require outside interference from emergency services but pose “no threat to public safety,” the company explained.

The 15-by-12 foot transformer had been burning for approximately 30 minutes before fire crews and Oconee County Fire units responded, WYFF4 reports.

The intense flames and thick black smoke coming out of the transformer which was seen by many witnesses was reportedly due to the oil that was inside.

The blaze was completely extinguished with the help of local fire brigades, and had “no impact” on plant employees or the facility’s neighbors, while customers are not expected to suffer any power outages.

The operator announced it will be conducting a thorough investigation of the cause of the incident at an aging plant located on Lake Keowee that began operations in 1973.

Oconee is one of the largest nuclear power plants in the US with a capacity of some 2,600 megawatts and is the second to have its operating license extended for an additional twenty years.

Turkish military kills nearly 300 Kurdish rebels in raids – General Staff

Nearly 300 Kurdish rebels, members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were killed in raids conducted by the Turkish military in three districts in southeast Turkey, the Turkish General Staff said on Saturday.

The military said in a statement on its website that 179 militants were killed in Sirnak province’s Cizre district, 27 in Silopi, and 55 in the Sur district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakir province, adding that they had also defused dozens of improvised explosive devices in the three districts, which have been under curfew since December. They also destroyed a school that was allegedly being used by militants for training.

Ankara has been stepping up its military operations on the border with Syria and Iraq since December. The area is a stronghold of the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey and NATO. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to continue the operation until the area is cleansed of Kurdish militants.

About 100,000 have been displaced since the start of the operation, according to Turkey’s General Directorate of Security. Businesses have suffered in the southeastern Turkish towns, leaving many workers without income in the country’s most impoverished region, leaving it even poorer.

Melek Gumus from the town of Dargecit, located between Cizre and Diyarbakir, told RT that all of her warehouses and a stock were recently destroyed by the Turkish army.

“There my warehouses…as you can see these are all lost, there is nothing I can do. In fact, the whole district is like this. We were stuck at home for 20 days and there was nothing to eat. It was torture for everybody,” she said. “…we want freedom, we want peace. We don’t want them to be unfair to us.”

“It was about half past three at night, we were sleeping. Suddenly we felt like the building was collapsing. When we came back in the morning we saw the situation like this. There is nothing left, we are scared,” said a local man describing one of the nights when the Turkish army was conducting its operations.

A local woman doubted Ankara’s accusations that PKK is responsible for the wreckage.

“They wrecked the house and said that terrorists have done this. How could terrorists have done that? Do terrorists have armored vehicles or mortars? The government has done this. I hope God will punish Erdogan,” she said.

The government has vowed to help the region and address the needs of people who have been displaced or lost businesses.

We have never left any citizen to fend for themselves and uncared for, and neither will we do so in the future … Anyone forced to relocate due to terrorism can apply to the governor’s office for assistance,” said Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in an address to his party’s lawmakers in parliament on December 22.

However, Ankara is doing little to help the Kurds because it is essentially at war with them, Ronald Grigor Suny Jr., professor of History at the University of Michigan, told RT.

“In fact, it’s a kind of open war in certain cities – Cizre, for instance, part of Diyarbakir – it’s going on right now. The government of Turkey has surrounded some areas with tanks. There are reports that there are snipers on roofs, if people go out after curfew they can be shot. And they have been. That region in the southeast now is having trouble supporting itself, people are out of work, businesses are closing. Erdogan and his government have decided to take open warfare as their policy against the Kurds in the southeast and destabilize one more country in the Middle East.”

Kurds have long been campaigning for the right to self-determination and greater autonomy in Turkey, where they are the largest ethnic minority. In late December, a congress of Kurdish non-governmental organizations called for Turkey’s southeastern regions to be granted autonomy via constitutional reforms.

 

Christmas Miracle: British Couple Cloned their Dog 12 Days After its Death

A couple from North Yorkshire, England, paid $100,000 to South Korean scientists to clone their dog almost two weeks after it died, an unprecedented procedure heralding the next phase in bio-technology.

Getting a puppy for Christmas is usually an old story but not for Laura Jacques and Richard Remde who received a brand new cloned boxer called Chance on December, 25.

The story prompted unbelievable public outrage as the canine was recreated from the DNA of Remde’s old b

oxer Dylan which died 12 days before the successful samples were taken. Usually, the cloning procedure requires samples from a living or just recently deceased dog.

The 8-year-old Dylan died of a heart attack caused by an inoperable brain tumor a half year ago.

While wallowing in her sorrow, Jacques, 29, watched a documentary movie about Rebecca Smith who cloned her dog. Jacques immediately shared the story with her partner saying that could be a way for them to have Dylan around again.

“I didn’t know how I would be able to cope [without Dylan],” Jacques told the UK’s Telegraph. “I thought I would have to throw myself off a bridge or something.”

That prompted 43-year-old Remde to, the very next day, go to South Korea, where he handed over Dylan’s DNA samples to Sooam labs, widely known for successfully cloning 700 dogs.

The high hopes for reunification were dashed when it didn’t work out the first time but they didn’t give up and travelled once again with a biopsy from the dog’s abdomen.

“This is the first case we have had where cells have been taken from a dead dog after a very long time,” David Kim, a scientist at Sooam, told The Guardian. “Hopefully it will allow us to extend the time after death that we can take cells for cloning.”

Dylan’s DNA gave “birth” two little ones. Chance was cloned by one surrogate on Friday, while the second surrogate is still pregnant with the second pup, Shadow, which the couple also plans to adopt, adding to their four dogs and 11 other animals.

“It is a controversial topic and there will be people who don’t agree with it but there will be loads of people that would love to be able to do it,” said Jacques.

When Chance joined his new family, Jacques couldn’t help but talk about the pup’s resemblance with Dylan.

“I can’t believe how much he looks like Dylan,” added Jacques. “All the colorings and patterns on his body are in exactly the same places as Dylan had them.”

Dylan’s remains have still been kept in the animal-loving couple’s freezer at their house in Skipton as they plan to bury them in a newly renovated garden.

The standard cloning of a pet requires a sample from the abdomen or cheek that is transmitted into a culture with the animal’s DNA and then put in a surrogate dog’s unfertilized eggs. Nine weeks later you have a little clone.

Daesh Leader’s Mobile Phone Holds Proof of Turkey’s Support

An Iraqi volunteer force commander said a mobile phone found on the person of a deceased Daesh militant proves that Turkey’s intelligence agency is providing support for the group.

“The mobile phone was found with one of the killed ISIL leaders in the Northern parts of Salahuddin province two days ago,” Jabbar al-Ma’mouri told Soumeriya news on Monday.

He said the phone contains messages from Turkish intelligence proving that Ankara supports Daesh, also known as ISIL/Islamic State, by providing security at the points used by militants traveling from Turkey to Iraq.

“The mobile phone also contains other important information which cannot be disclosed now, and it has been delivered to the specialized security groups for further scrutiny,” Ma’mouri said.

Russian Ambassador to France Alexander Orlov in November revealed that Turkey has played an “ambiguous” role in the campaign against Daesh while acting as an accomplice to the terrorist group’s activities.

Last month, former US State Department senior advisor David Phillips said Turkey provided material support to Daesh because Ankara shares an ideological connection with the group, along with a mutual enemy in Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Turkey’s role has not been ambiguous – it has overtly supported the ISIL,” said Phillips, who currently serves as director of Columbia University’s Peace-building and Rights Program. “It has provided logistical support, money, weapons, transport and healthcare to wounded warriors.”

Phillips said Turkey has been supporting Daesh to remove Assad from power and because of a “spiritual bond” that exists between Turkey’s governing party and the jihadists.

More Blood on Ankara’s Hands as Kurdish Civilian Death Toll Mounts

More than 100 civilians have been killed and many more injured in Kurdish areas in Turkey’s southeast since July, Human Rights Watch said, warning that civilian casualties are likely to rise in the coming days.

The region has been the scene of clashes between Turkish security forces and fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) following the collapse of a ceasefire between the two groups in July.

A report by the Human Rights Watch on Tuesday urged Turkish authorities to scale back security operations in the southeast.

“The Turkish government should rein in its security forces, immediately stop abusive and disproportionate use of force, and investigate the deaths and injuries caused by its operations,” HRW senior Turkey researcher Emma Sinclair-Webb said.

The group documented 15 civilian deaths during several 24-hour curfews in September and November, noting that these were only a “sample” and called for a full investigation. HRW cited a local rights group who put the civilian death toll since July at over 100.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged in November to continue operations until every PKK militant was defeated.

“To ignore or cover up what’s happening to the region’s Kurdish population would only confirm the widely held belief in the southeast that when it comes to police and military operations against Kurdish armed groups, there are no limits – there is no law,” Sinclair-Webb said.

The group called on Kurdish armed groups to stop digging trenches, planting explosives and putting up barricades.

HRW said that while Turkey has a right to defend itself from armed groups, the police and military have to ensure their operations respect the lives of non-combatants in the affected areas.

The Turkish state government and the PKK have fought an ongoing three-decade conflict that has killed more than 30,000 people.

Vladimir Putin attended gala reception to mark Security Agency Worker’s Day

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, comrades, friends, veterans. I would like to congratulate you on Security Agency Worker’s Day.

This is a holiday of strong and courageous people, true professionals who are reliably protecting Russia’s sovereignty and national integrity and the lives of our citizens, who are ready to perform the most complicated, responsible and dangerous assignments.

These have always been the qualities that distinguished employees of Russia’s security services. On this day, we invariably remember the many generations of our predecessors who served our Motherland with honour.

This year, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to our veterans. Both in the difficult war years and later you remained true to your oath and your duty and did everything within your power to develop the potential of the special services. Your heroism and courage will always serve as an example for us.

Comrades. Today the security services possess great operational, combat and analytical capabilities. We are counting on you, your competence, expertise and, wherever necessary – on your courage and valour.

The current situation in the world is complicated. Tension is growing in the Middle East and other regions of the world; terrorists have declared war on civilisation, on the entire global community – their actions pose a direct threat to this country as well. The Russian Armed Forces are fighting militants at the forward defence lines, destroying their infrastructure, their camps and bases in Syria.

I would like to stress that these decisive measures should be coordinated with equally rigorous efforts of all our special services. I am referring to exposing the terrorists’ plans and to foiling attempts on the part of terrorist and extremist groups to step up their subversive activities on the territory of the Russian Federation.

I would like to note that this year through the efforts of the Federal Security Service we managed to prevent more than 30 crimes of a terrorist nature. I expect you to retain this high level of concentration and mobilisation and to perfect all aspects of your anti-terrorist efforts.

We should give special attention to the neutralisation of all sorts of recruiters and terrorist emissaries who are trying to involve Russian citizens in militant groups. First of all, we should definitely focus on young people.

Our counterintelligence service bears a great responsibility. This year they have exposed 320 foreign special services employees, agents and accessories. We can see that the intelligence services of a number of countries are building up their ‘work on Russia”, as we say. I am certain that our security service officers are prepared to meet this challenge.

I am also counting on your efficient work in such areas as the defence of the national borders, combatting corruption and economic crime, ensuring reliable work of national security and military control agencies. You need to coordinate your efforts to enhance the capabilities of our Armed Forces.

I have already mentioned Syria. We can see the efficient work of our pilots and intelligence officers, good coordination even between different forces – the Army, the Navy and aviation, and the use of the most up-to-date armaments. I would like to note that our capabilities are not limited to this. We are not using everything we have there. We have additional means and we will use them if necessary.

In view of this, the Foreign Intelligence Service, which is marking its 95th anniversary tomorrow, is facing complicated tasks. Early detection of any external threat to Russia is of great importance, as well as providing exhaustive analytical data and making timely reports on the state and possible development of regional conflicts.

The service of the State Guard deserves a high assessment, particularly their work during the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, as well during the SCO and BRICS summits in Ufa and other large-scale international forums and meetings.

Friends. I am certain that you will do your utmost to resolve the tasks facing you and will reliably defend Russia and its people. Whatever the difficulties, whatever challenges we may be facing — we will definitely overcome them and will continue moving forward with confidence towards success.

I congratulate you once again on your professional holiday. I wish you and your families happiness.

Thank you.

Al-Sisi launches harbour project in Port Said

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President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi launched the East Port Said harbour development project in Port Said Saturday, giving the starting signal for digging to begin on a side channel to be used in the project.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi welcomed the president upon his arrival.

The implementation of the large sea port on the eastern side of the city is part of the overall Suez Canal Axis Development Project. The new port will include industrial, logistics, and residential zones as well as one dedicated to fish-farming.

A road tunnel will also be built under a channel to the south of the city.

During his speech, Al-Sisi announced the project’s features, along with the planned conclusion date. The Armed Forces Engineering Authority will lay out the various stages of implementation, along with details of development projects in the province.

Al-Sisi, during the celebration, interrupted General Kamel Al-Wazir, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority and the general supervisor of the new Suez Canal project, during his statements about the East Port Said development projects, when he said the project would end in three years. Al-Sisi said the project could be completed in two years instead.

Al-Sisi added that the government is working hard for future generations. He further confirmed that the project will include “the establishment of a coastal city”.

The president said there is an urgent plan to tackle drainage and irrigation problems within two years: “No one can ever prevent us from building our country,” he said.

“We spoke two years ago about the world’s sufferings due to not confronting terrorism,” he said. “But the whole world realised this recently and it will face the problem militarily, economically, and religiously. There is no way to eliminate terrorism unless it is with confrontation and we will fight this phenomenon that is hostile to humanity and religion.”

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Al-Sisi confirmed that the government has succeeded in accomplishing energy and gas projects in Egypt. “We do not have any problems in these projects at all,” he said.

“I have some doubts and concerns about the businessmen, why are you sceptical about our intentions? I assure you this is not accurate. Work and build; why are you afraid?” Al-Sisi continued.

“I salute all of you. I appreciate and thank all those who contributed in any accomplishment, and we will meet in other projects. We must challenge ourselves before challenging the world.”

The new channel dredging will cost $36 million, of which $7.5 million will be financed by the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT), Memish said. SCCT is 55 percent owned by APM Terminals, part of Maersk Group.

“We are building the side channel which will allow the ships to enter from open waters directly into East Port Said,” said Memish at a news conference in Ismailiya.

Currently vessels that come through East Port Said have to be coordinated with the Suez Canal convoy.

“There was a problem with the ships that enter East Port Said which have to wait between seven to 10 hours to enter the port,” Memish said, adding that he expects the new channel to increase traffic at the port by 2020 to reach 12 million containers.

The new channel will be 9.5 kilometers long, 17 metres deep, and 250 meters wide and the total cost of the project will be $60 million, according to a statement from the SCCT.

In August Egypt launched an $8 billion Canal extension project which it expects to bring in $13.23 billion in annual revenue by 2023 from just over $5 billion in 2014.

Great-grandson of Russian Emperor Alexander III dies in Australia

Leonid Kulikovsky died on September 27 but his body was kept in the morgue for two months as he lived alone and no one contacted the authorities

Russian Emperor Alexander III with his spouse Empress Maria Feodorovna and children

SYDNEY, November 23. /TASS/. Leonid Kulikovsky, a great grandson of Russian Emperor Alexander III, has died in northern Australia aged 72, a member of the Union of Russian Compatriots on the world’s smallest continent, told TASS on Monday.

“He died of a heart attack on September 27 when walking with his dog in the city of Katherine [Northern Territory],” Semen Andropov said. “As Kulikovsky lived alone, his body was kept in the morgue for two months as no one contacted the authorities. Police later found his relatives in Denmark.”

“His body was taken to Darwin [capital city of the Northern Territory] and the funeral will take place on November 30,” he added.

Kulikovsky was born in Denmark in 1943. His father Guriy was a son of Grand Princess Olga, youngest daughter of Emperor Alexander III. In 1967, Kulikovsky moved to Sydney and then to Katherine seven years ago after retirement.

Life of last Russian royal family in pictures

BREAKING: France’s Charles De Gaulle Strikes ISIL Targets in Syria

he French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has conducted first combat operation against the ISIL targets in Syria.

Warplanes from the French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” engaged in their first combat mission, striking Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq on Monday.

he French media reported that the Charles de Gaulle’s mission is expected to last at least four months and that it may be prolonged..

The ship houses 18 Rafale fighter jets, eight Dassault Super-Etendard supersonic deck attack aircraft and two Hawkeye aerial early warning aircraft (AEW). The carrier’s team composes of 1,9 thousand sailors, pilots and mechanics.

France’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle was deployed in the Mediterranean late Saturday after a November 13 series of terrorist acts in Paris saw 130 killed and over 360 injured.

The Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the coordinated mass shootings and suicide bombings near a football stadium, in a concert hall and outside several restaurants in Paris.

Hollande imposed a nationwide state of emergency, since extended by French lawmakers. The presumed organizer of the Paris attacks, born in Belgium and suspected of training in Syria, was confirmed killed in an anti-terror raid in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis last week.

The UN Security Council voted on Saturday to adopt an anti-terrorism resolution drafted by France to “redouble and coordinate” efforts against ISIL.

السعودية تقرر مواصلة رحلاتها إلى شرم الشيخ دعما للسياحة المصرية

وجه العاهل السعودي الخطوط الجوية العربية السعودية، باستمرار تسيير رحلاتها إلى شرم الشيخ من الرياض وجدة، دعما للسياحة المصرية التي تلقت ضربة موجعة بعد حادثة الطائرة الروسية

وذكرت وكالة الأنباء الرسمية السعودية “واس”، أن الملك سلمان بن عبدالعزيز أكد ثقته التامة في أن الأمن والجيش المصري والحكومة قادرون على حماية أمن واستقرار مصر، تحت قيادة الرئيس عبدالفتاح السيسي

وتأتي هذه الخطوة بعدما تداعت الثقة الدولية في الأمان الذي توفره مصر للسياح على خلفية سلسلة من الأحداث اَخرها كان كارثة الطائرة الروسية التي أودت بحياة جميع ركابها البالغ عددهم 217 راكبا إضافة إلى أفراد طاقمها الـ7، حيث قررت روسيا، التي يشكل سياحها نحو 30% من إجمالي عدد السياح الذين يزورون مصر، تعليق الرحلات الجوية إلى مصر وتأمين عودة رعاياها إلى روسيا

وبالإضافة إلى روسيا قررت بريطانيا، التي تحتل المركز الثاني في قائمة الدول المصدرة للسياحة إلى مصر، تعليق الرحلات والقيام بإجلاء رعاياها من مصر. كما قررت شركات طيران خليجية منها “طيران الإمارات” و”فلاي دبي” و”العربية” في وقت سابق، تغيير مسارات رحلاتها بعيدا عن سيناء كاحتياط أمني، إلى أن يصبح هناك وضوح أكثر

على إثر ذلك، قدر وزير السياحة المصري هشام زعزوع خسائر مصر جراء قرار روسيا وبريطانيا تعليق الرحلات الجوية إليها بعد تحطم طائرة الركاب الروسية في شبه جزيرة سيناء بنحو 281 مليون دولار شهريا

وتشكل عائدات قطاع السياحة 11.5% من إجمالي الدخل القومي للبلاد. وتحتل روسيا المركز الأول في قائمة الدول المصدرة للسياحة إلى مصر، حيث بلغ عدد المواطنين الروس الذين قصدوا مصر بهدف السياحة عام 2014 نحو 3.16 ملايين سائح، تليها بريطانيا، وتأتي ألمانيا في المرتبة الثالثة