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US: Tweeting for help: Woman sends storm SOS via Facebook, Twitter

Melanie Gilbert knew she was in for a long night.

"The wind just kicked up. I mean, it was really, really fast, and I was just peeking through the bedroom window," she said of Monday night's storms. "I could tell it was just gaining momentum like I'd never seen."

Next came the loud crash, then the panic.

"Really scary like, what was gonna happen next?" she said. "Didn't know what to do. I tried to call 911 and couldn't get through. So I thought, well, we've got to contact somebody."


Nuke

South Korea: Forecast mixed on radioactive rain

While fears have been largely dismissed, many still recommend minimal exposure to the rain

Image
© Kim Jung-hyo
Environmental organization members wear yellow rain gear and carry umbrellas bearing symbols of radioactivity as they launch a campaign for the prevention of pollution from radiation in front of Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul, April 6.
The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) and the Korea Meteorological Association (KMA) are causing confusion and unease with shifting statements on whether radioactive material from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant will mix with rain and fall in South Korea, with heavy rain forecasted nationwide for Thursday.

The KMA forecasted Wednesday that due to a low pressure system, 20 to 70mm of rain would fall starting early morning Thursday through Friday nationwide. KINS President Yun Choul-ho held a press conference with KMA spokesman Kim Seung-bae at the Central Government Complex on Sejongno.

"According to the KMA's atmospheric models, there is no possibility that radioactive material released from the Fukushima nuclear plant would spread via the winds from the East China Sea to southwestern South Korea," said Kim. This would mean "radioactive rain" will not fall.

On Monday, however, KINS said during a press conference that its own models showed that minute amounts of radioactive material could spread into Korea's airspace on Thursday. They also showed a screen from their mock test. The KMA, too, also distributed a forecast that due to a high-pressure system over southern Japan, southwesterly air currents would drive rain clouds over the West Sea towards inland Korea on Wednesday or Thursday. Monday's press conference was held after a Norwegian atmospheric research institute released a prediction that radioactivity would spread over Korea around Thursday, and was interpreted as a belated acknowledgement by both the KINS and KMA that "radioactive rain" would fall.

Cult

Carter: Religious Leaders Discriminate Against Women

Jimmy Carter
© 11Alive.com
Former President Jimmy Carter.
Atlanta -- Former President Jimmy Carter says much of the discrimination and abuse suffered by women around the world is attributable to a belief "that women are inferior in the eyes of God."

Carter said such teachings by "leaders in Christianity, Islam and other religions" allow men to beat their wives and deny women their fundamental rights as human beings.

The former president made the remarks at a gathering of human rights activists and religious leaders from more than 20 countries at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

Briefcase

Media floods Berlusconi sex trial

Ruby

Moroccan pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby, denies that Silvio Berlusconi had sex with her while she was still underage.
The trial of Italian prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi on charges of sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power opened Wednesday and was rapidly adjourned as throngs of journalists and international TV crews crowded the Milan courthouse.

Neither Berlusconi nor Moroccan pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, known as Ruby, attended the first hearing of one of Italy's most anticipated courtroom events, which the judge postponed until May 31.

Prosecutors in the case, which touches tangentially on Berlusconi's Mediaset TV empire, accuse the TV-tycoon-turned-politician of paying for sex with Mahroug when she was 17.

The alleged sexual encounters supposedly took place at Berlusconi's villa at Arcore, outside Milan, during sex parties attended by dozens of women, some of whom were aspiring TV starlets, according to local reports.

Laptop

Georgian Woman Cuts off Web Access to Whole of Armenia

internet interruption
© turn2-10.com
Entire country loses internet for five hours after woman, 75, slices through cable while scavenging for copper

An elderly Georgian woman was scavenging for copper to sell as scrap when she accidentally sliced through an underground cable and cut off internet services to all of neighbouring Armenia, it emerged on Wednesday.

The woman, 75, had been digging for the metal not far from the capital Tbilisi when her spade damaged the fibre-optic cable on 28 March.

As Georgia provides 90% of Armenia's internet, the woman's unwitting sabotage had catastrophic consequences. Web users in the nation of 3.2 million people were left twiddling their thumbs for up to five hours as the country's main internet providers - ArmenTel, FiberNet Communication and GNC-Alfa - were prevented from supplying their normal service. Television pictures showed reporters at a news agency in the capital Yerevan staring glumly at blank screens.

Nuke

South Korea shuts schools amid Japan radiation fears

Image
© Ahn Young-joon / AP
South Korean students holding umbrellas go home amid fears that the rain may contain radioactive materials from the crippled nuclear reactors in Japan at Midong elementary school in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday.
Dozens of schools in South Korea closed Thursday amid concerns about radioactive fallout from Japan's nuclear disaster.

Classes were canceled or shortened at more than 150 schools as rain fell across the country.

Authorities said radiation levels in the rain posed no health threat.

However, school boards across the country - Japan's closest neighbor - advised principals to use their discretion in scrapping outdoor activities to address concerns among parents, an education official said.

"We've sent out an official communication today that schools should try to refrain from outdoor activities," the official added.

Pistol

Gunman opens fire in Brazil school; 11 dead

Image
© Victor R. Caivano/AP
Parents of children at the school where a gunman killed at least 12 gather outside Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Rio De Janeiro - A gunman opened fire Thursday in a public elementary school in Rio de Janeiro, killing at least 10 people before taking his own life, officials said.

The dead included nine children between the ages of 12 and 14, the O Globo news website in Rio de Janeiro reported.

The gunman, identified as Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, was a 23-year-old former student at the school.

O Globo reported the gunman was shot by police in the leg and then killed himself with a shot to the head.

Officials told O Globo that 18 children were hospitalized after Thursday's shooting.

The man left a letter explaining his actions, O Globo said, including a reference that he had contracted the AIDS virus. Other details were not immediately available.

Initial reports said the gunman had killed at least 12 people but that was later corrected by officials to 10.

Bizarro Earth

Couple's Honeymoon Covers Cyclones, Fires, Floods, Quakes and a Nuclear Disaster

People queue for hours in downtown Sendai
© AP
People queue for hours in downtown Sendai, Japan after the massive earthquake
Couple endures nightmare honeymoon- Happy to be home safe at last

A Swedish couple are glad to be safely home after completing their four-month honeymoon trip - which took in the sights of a blizzard in Munich, a cyclone in Cairns, bushfires in Perth, floods in Queensland, an earthquake in New Zealand and then a nuclear disaster in Japan.

Stefan and Erika Svanstrom set out - along with their baby girl, Elinor - on December 6, following their November wedding, and were immediately stranded in Munich, Germany, due to snow from a so-called "storm of the century".

The 32-year-old bride told The London Times that despite the rocky start, the couple thought "things will get better. We're in love. And just think of the beaches we're heading for in southeast Asia."

Life Preserver

Woman plunges into icy North Sea during dramatic cruise ship rescue

cruise passenger in sea
© Colin Prescott
The moment the cruise passenger was accidentally dropped into the sea, captured on camera by Champion reader Colin Prescott
A Burscough couple were among the horrified witnesses of a bungled cruise ship rescue in freezing waters off the coast of Norway.

Colin Prescott, of Langdale Drive told The Champion that he and his wife Sheila were passengers on the Ocean Princess when a sick British woman being taken off the ship by Norwegian emergency crews was dropped on her stretcher into the icy sea.

Mr Prescott said: "The vessels, which hadn't been latched together, suddenly moved apart by several feet just as they were transferring her, which caused the rescue crews to drop the stretcher into the sea.

"We'd been told the sea was about minus three degrees that day. The rescue boat came back round to pick her up and she was taken to hospital, but she was in the water for about eight minutes or so, and I really want to find out whether she's okay."

Mr Prescott said that he and his wife had travelled on the Ocean Princess from Hull on March 20 to fulfill a lifetime ambition see Norway and the Northern Lights, which he described as "an unforgettable experience".

Newspaper

Quebec, Canada: Police comb icy river for signs of missing boy

Adam

Adam Benhamma is seen in this undated handout photo
A search for a missing autistic boy remains focused on a part of the Mille Iles River, near a waterfront property where three-year-old Adam Benhamama was last seen alive.

Police increasingly suspect that the young boy, who is also unable to speak or hear, fell into the river after he went missing on the weekend.

Benhamama was playing outside with his sister at a home of a family friend in Laval, Que., whom the two siblings were visiting with their father.

The boy slipped out of sight during a game of hide-and-seek while his father was momentarily inside the house.

The boy's absence was quickly reported to police, who brought in dogs, ATVs, extra officers and eventually divers to try to find him.