The oil spill from the Husky Oil pipeline that began on July 20th and 21st continues to impact many communities down river from the “pipeline release”. The spill was a combination of heavy oil and solvents that dilute the heavy oil enough to allow it to flow in the pipeline. It is commonly referred to as dilbit. The pipeline leak spilled an estimated 250 000 litres of toxic petroleum products into the North Saskatchewan River.
Communities that have been hit with the toxic plume have had to shut off their water intakes. Some of the towns are home to thousands of people. Two of the towns affected by the poisoned water are Prince Albert, population 35 000 and North Battleford, population 14 000. They are scrambling to find clean water sources for their residents.
Prince Albert has declared a local state of emergency which allows the town to impose large fines for anyone ignoring the water conservation rules. In the meantime, an emergency water pipeline is being constructed to bring clean water to the taps.
The local First Nation band has had to have trucks deliver water.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, a long time supporter of oil pipelines has called the mess terrible. He has also expressed concern about the ecological damage to his province.
"You bet we'll need to get a handle on what the ecological impact is on that river.” Brad Wall
In 2014 an environmental impact review was skipped by the province as unnecessary in spite of the pipeline route under the river.
Spokesperson for Husky Oil has admitted that the crew reactivating the pipeline after expansion work, missed the leak until the following morning. Husky Oil has offered to pay for the costs of clean up. They have already made arrangements for individuals to submit their damage claims.
The fragile peace in South Sudan seems to be collapsing. About two weeks ago First Vice-President Riek Machar fled the capital, Juba. His wearabouts is unknown. The news agency Al Jazeera found him and he agreed to a telephone interview. He claims he is near Juba.
On Monday the country’s president Salva Kiir announced the appointment of a new first VP. Taban Deng Gai has been sworn in to replace Machar.
The world’s newest country descended into a particularly nasty civil war when Machar and Kiir disagreed, rallied fighters and tore the country apart. It rapidly devolved into an ethnic conflict. Those people sheltering in UN camps were not safe as assaults and killings continued.
A peace agreement was worked out in Ethiopia to bring the carnage to an end. Part of the agreement allowed Machar and Kiir to return to Juba with their armed groups. Machar was to resume his post as VP.
Machar has stated that he is expecting the international community to intervene in the current dispute. The UN spokesperson has stated that the terms of the peace agreement must be adhered to.
Following is a quote by Machar with regard to the situation.
"But if they fail, this will be an indication that the whole agreement is forsaken by the international community and the regional body that brokered the peace agreement." Al Jazeera
When S. Sudan was declared independent from Sudan in July 2011, there was a great deal of optimism. The way seemed clear for a peaceful and prosperous country. December 2013 saw the disagreements between president and VP explode into the bloody civil war.
The human tragedy that has been playing out in S. Sudan has repercussions beyond its borders. We have seen that countries mired in war and lawlessness are ripe for exploitation by extremist groups.
Japan is coping with mass murder
People in the town of Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo woke up Tuesday morning to news of a mass murder. Emergency workers have confirmed that 19 people living in a facility for the disabled have been killed. Approximately 20 people have been seriously injured and another six less so. The murderer attacked the people with a knife.
A 26 year old former employee has confessed to the crime. While the facility is locked at night, the perpetrator broke in through a window. Satoshi Uematsu drove himself to the local police station and turned himself in shortly after the mass murder. He was carrying a bag of knives. Some blood stained.
The suspect was quoted by police as saying: "I want to get rid of the disabled from this world," Japanese media reported. Al Jazeera
Mass murders in Japan are rare but they do occur. In the time 1945-46 a Tokyo hospital director was blamed for the deaths of 100+ babies due to neglect. In 1982 the captain of Japan Airlines Flight 350 to crash, taking 24 lives. 1985 to 1989 warring Yakuza gangs killed at least 29. 1995 agents of Aum Shinrikyo cult release sarin gas into Tokyo trains and subways, killing 12 and injuring more than 1000. There are many more notable crimes, some with uncertain numbers of casualties, some of them bizarre in the extreme.
The last of the French Alps gave the riders in the Tour de France a slippery, soggy send off. At times along the 73 km route it didn’t rain, but rain pelted the athletes and banished the aircraft from the skys. Tomorrow the 175 surviving cyclists will have a more leisurely day of it, at least until the mob reaches the Champs Elysees. It will be the last chance for the sprinters to make points and to grab the last of the glory for this year.
Today’s route challenged the riders with four categoried climbs, the last of which was an HC. For much of the day Team Astana set the pace at the front of the peloton. They were making a last try at placing Fabio Aru in the top ten, but he ended with a 13th place in the standings.
An early break of 11 riders were gradually reeled back into the leading section of the peloton. With about 34 km left there were only three competitors. Then, seemingly out of the blue, Ion Izaguirre, Movistar, zoomed up the last mountain and went on to win the day.
The final descent was very winding and with the rain slicked pavement, the GC contenders took it very carefully.
While the riders must finish the race with a bicycle to be counted, it is likely that the current GC standings will stand. Also awarded are jerseys for various classes. The top team is Movistar. Chris Froome will wear yellow, Peter Sagan will wear the green, Rafal Majka the polkadots and Adam Yates the white.
Stage 20 Standings
The route today was again in the French Alps with little respite from climbing and treacherous descents. Tom Doumalin, Giant, was forced to abandon the Tour de France today due to a possible fracture. He was descending a slippery road surface and crashed. He was slated to ride time trial in the Rio Olympics as he is the reigning world champion. Race leader Chris Froome, Sky, found himself on the pavement on the wet, blustery day as well. His bike simply slid out from under him and he fell heavily and slid. His teammates were close by and traded a bike for him to continue. He lost some time, but still maintains his overall lead.
Bauke Mollema, Trek, had been sitting second overall, but lost his place in the top five because of crashes. Richie Porte, BMC, was delayed with a mechanical.
Froome show his detractors that he has earned his yellow jerseys yesterday when he rode an uphill time trial and beat all his competitors. Today he finished the demanding course on a borrowed bike.
Astana challenged the might of Sky today by setting a blistering pace but in the end their challenges amounted to nought.
Romain Bardet, AG2R, had a chance to fly the French flag today with the first French rider to win a stage.
The King of the Mountain jersey is owned by Rafal Majka, Tinkoff. There will be more mountains tomorrow but he has an unbeatable lead in points.
Stage 19 Standing
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