Society's ChildS


Just days after country's worst ever train crash, 'biggest international contract in the history of Spanish construction' sees Spain win $22.5 billion Saudi rail contract

Saudi King Faisal with Spain's King Juan Carlos
Saudi Arabia has granted a Spanish consortium a $7.88 billion (โ‚ฌ5.94 billion) contract to build three metro lines in Riyadh but another key bid for a high-speed rail project in Brazil remains under threat after the recent train crash in Spain which killed at least 79 people.

The Riyadh metro contract is one of three Saudi Arabia has granted to foreign consortiums, the kingdom announced at a news conference in the capital late on Sunday.

The combined value of the contracts is $22.5 billion (16.9 billion euros) and the consortiums are led by Spanish, US and Italian firms.

The 176-kilometre (110-mile) six-line network is aimed at easing chronic traffic congestion in Riyadh, a city of six million people.

Spanish-led BTP-FCC consortium will build three of the metro lines for $7.88 billion, after it beat competition from 38 groups that were vying for the project.

It is "the biggest international contract in the history of Spanish construction", the Spanish consortium said in a statement on Monday.


Body of train driver found among the wreckage of two trains that collided head on in Switzerland

Crash happened near Granges-Marnand station at 7pm local time

Police, ambulances, helicopters and firefighters are on the scene

Comes just days after 79 people were killed in derailment in Spain

The body of the train driver has been found in the wreckage following a head-on train crash in Switzerland that left at least 35 passengers injured.

The driver was pulled from the debris two trains collided on the same track after travelling towards each other near Granges-Marnand station in the west of the country.

Dozens of passengers were hurt, four of them seriously, in the crash, which happened just before 7pm local time (6pm BST).

Rescue workers are seen at the site of a head-on collision between two trains near Granges-pres-Marnand, near Payerne in western Switzerland

Comment: There have been an unusually high number of train accidents and derailments recently, along with an increase in airplane emergency landings all around the world. Is the Universe sending us a message? The global train is running off the tracks!

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Unarmed Florida man shot by police 'firing squad'

florida police
© AFP Photo / Joe Raedle
The police department in Escambia County, Florida is under investigation after multiple officers opened fire on a 60-year-old man in his own driveway over the weekend, seemingly without explanation.

Two sheriff's deputies - Jeremiak Meeks and Matthew White - responded to a 911 call about a possible burglary at approximately 3am local time on Saturday. When they arrived, Roy Middleton was leaning into his mother's car in front of his home, looking for cigarettes.

The officers claim they called out to Middleton several times, demanding that he put up his hands before he supposedly lunged at them.

Middleton, who was unarmed except for keys and a flashlight, was shot in the leg. At least five bullets hit his mother's car and the side of her house.

"It was like a firing squad," Middleton told the Pensacola News Journal, maintaining that he backed out of the car slowly and made his hands visible before police shot him. "Bullets were flying everywhere."

Arrow Up

Shock 'n' roll... radio DJs Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dropped after ad boycott


America's two biggest shock jocks just got a shock of their own. In a major blow to their broadcasting dominance, the second-largest radio station owner in the US is said to be dropping both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from its airwaves.

According to a report by Politico, Cumulus Media has decided not to renew contracts with the two talk radio titans at the end of 2013, meaning their radio shows will vanish from more than 40 of its stations across the US.

Limbaugh and Hannity remain the highest-rated talk radio hosts in the US, with Limbaugh regularly claiming a listenership of 15 million. In 2012 he suffered a significant blow to his reputation, after describing 30-year-old graduate law student Sandra Fluke as a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his show.

Birthday Cake

'UFO' in Shanghai found to be cake deliverer

UFO Cake Deliverer
© Stomp
A small "unidentified flying object" that has been seen over Shanghai's Huangpu River in recent days has been revealed to be a remote controlled plane being used to deliver cakes, reported Shanghai-based news website

The "UFO", which is 1.1 meters long and weighs 10 kg, crossed the Huangpu River in a 45-minute flight to deliver a cake to a customer, according to the bakery that was testing the device, which flies at a maximum height of 100 meters.

While some residents applauded the novel delivery service, others worried about its safety as people could be hurt if it falls from the air.

Currently there are no regulations on commercial use of remote controlled planes being used for deliveries.

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Explosion hits chemical plant in East China

A flash fire followed by an explosion erupted at a paraxylene (PX) plant in east China's Fujian Province early Tuesday morning, according to authorities in Zhangpu County.

The fire that erupted at 4:35 a.m. has been brought under control. No casualties have been reported, according to the county government.

The controversial chemical plant was built in 2009 on Gulei Peninsula after the project was called off in the coastal city of Xiamen amid protests over potential pollution and health problems.

A Zhangpu county government spokesman said an initial investigation found that a cracked hydrogen pipeline triggered the fire during a pressure test.

He said the blast did not heavily damage the plant, nor has it resulted in any chemical leaks.

However, windows on a number of residences near the plant were shattered in the explosion.

Comment: A 'flash fire'? Something may have been lost in translation, but that sounds like a made-up cause for this explosion... maybe something similar to what happened in Florida on the same day happened here also?

Explosions rock Florida gas plant, force evacuations

Post-It Note

Confirmed: Spanish train driver called railway operator BEFORE crash

© Chelsea Cabrera/iReport
The driver of a train that derailed in northwestern Spain last week, killing 79 people, was on a phone call with railway staff when the train crashed, the superior tribunal of Galicia announced Tuesday, citing information from data recorders.

The train was going 153 kph (95 mph) when it derailed, the tribunal said.

The express train derailed as it hurtled around a curve in northwestern Spain on Wednesday.

The state railway, Renfe, said the train crashed on a curve several kilometers from the train station in the city of Santiago de Compostela, a popular tourist destination.

The train was nearing the end of a six-hour trip from Madrid to the town of Ferrol in northwest Spain when it derailed at 8:41 p.m. Wednesday, the railway said.

Comment: The part they left out is that he specifically called the operator to report that he had LOST CONTROL OF THE TRAIN, i.e. what was about to happen was not his fault:

Spanish train crash driver called operator BEFORE crash to say: "I'm at 190kmph and we're going to derail"


Seven unanswered questions about the Toronto streetcar shooting

Sammy Yatim
© CBCMany questions remain surrounding the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar.
While demonstrators protest the weekend shooting of Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar, questions remain about the sequence of events that led police to use deadly force to neutralize a suspect armed only with a knife.

Yatim was killed on a streetcar in Toronto's west end just after midnight ET Saturday. Much of the incident was captured on amateur video.

What we do know is that the entire incident transpired in about 10 minutes. Just after midnight, Yatim reportedly stood up and brandished a knife on the 505 streetcar on Dundas Street West near Trinity Bellwoods Park.

A few minutes later, police arrived at the scene. At that point, Yatim was alone on the stationary streetcar. A standoff quickly ensued, and within the space of 13 seconds one officer had fired nine shots.

Yatim was given CPR at the scene and then taken to hospital, where he was declared dead.

Here's a look at some of the unanswered questions...


Stowaway found dead in landing gear of plane at Heathrow

Stowaway found dead in landing gear of plane at Heathrow
© Unknown
The body of a stowaway has been found in the landing gear of a plane at Heathrow Airport.

A man believed to be Turkish and in his 30s was discovered in the British Airways Airbus A320 that flew from Istanbul to Terminal 5 yesterday.

Police were called by airport staff shortly after 11am and are trying to confirm his identity and trace relatives.

The airline said it will hold talks with authorities in Istanbul and officers from Scotland Yard as they investigate how the man managed to access the plane.


Police fired 9 shots in 11 seconds: The killing of Sammy Yatim

Sammy Yatim
© cbc.caSammy Yatim, 18, was shot at nine times and hit with a stun gun while alone on a streetcar in Toronto early Saturday. He was armed with a knife.
An amateur video that shows Toronto police shooting repeatedly at a teenager armed with a knife is "just one segment" of a broader picture that could look different once Ontario's police watchdog completes its investigation, the head of Toronto's police union says.

"I can see why people would have questions, and that's a natural thing, and we're going to get the answers" from the investigation of the province's Special Investigations Unit, said Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association.

Comment: Further:

Streetcar shooting protest march draws hundreds