The NewsFuror

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Scores ill in Peru 'meteor crash'

Hundreds of people in Peru have needed treatment after an object from space - said to be a meteorite - plummeted to Earth in a remote area, officials say.

They say the object left a deep crater after crashing down over the weekend near the town of Carancas in the Andes.

People who have visited scene have been complaining of headaches, vomiting and nausea after inhaling gases.

A team of scientists is on its way to the site to collect samples and verify whether it was indeed a meteorite.


"It [the object] is buried in the earth," local resident Heber Mamani told.

"That is why we are asking for an analysis because we are worried for our people. They are afraid. A bull is dead and some other animals are already sick," he said.

The incident began on Saturday night, when people near Carancas in the Puno region, some 1,300km (800 miles) south of Lima, reported seeing a fireball in the sky coming towards them.

The object then hit the ground, leaving a 30m (98ft) wide and 6m (20ft) deep crater.

The crater spewed what officials described as fetid, noxious gases.

An engineer from the Peruvian Nuclear Energy Institute told the AFP news agency no radiation had been detected from the crater and ruled out the fallen object being a satellite.

Renan Ramirez said: "It is a conventional meteorite that, when it struck, produced gases by fusing with elements of the terrain."

The gases are believed to have affected the health of hundreds of people who visited the site.

Most of the victims have been complaining of headaches, vomiting and nausea.

Honorio Campoblanco, one of Peru's leading geologists, called on the authorities to stop people going near the crash site.

Powerful storm hits eastern China

Typhoon Wipha has hit China's densely populated eastern coast but will probably miss the country's financial hub, Shanghai, officials say.

Shanghai's flood prevention bureau said Wipha would probably pass 100km (60 miles) to the south-west of the city on Wednesday evening local time.

It has been downgraded to a tropical storm but could still cause major damage in the area near Shanghai.

One man died after being electrocuted as a result of the storm.

More than two million people were evacuated from Shanghai and the nearby provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang before the storm landed.

Extensive flooding

The authorities have warned Wipha could still bring extensive flooding, high winds and heavy rains to China's biggest city and surrounding areas.

The typhoon - with winds of up to 45 metres (150ft) per second - made landfall at 0230 on Wednesday (1830 GMT Tuesday) but was losing force as it travelled north along the coast.

Two FIFA Women's World Cup matches, originally scheduled for Wednesday in Shanghai and Hangzhou, have been postponed to Thursday, the Xinhua news agency reported.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao demanded provinces safeguard the lives of residents, in a statement posted on the Chinese government website.

Central Shanghai was brought to a standstill on Tuesday as schools were shut and transport links cancelled, amid warnings the storm could be the strongest to hit the region in a decade.

The province of Zhejiang south of Shanghai bore the initial brunt of Wipha.

State media reported that 40,000 boats and ships were ordered back to port.

Wipha - a woman's name in Thai - grazed northern Taiwan on Tuesday, prompting the closure of schools, offices and financial markets.

One man was reported killed and another seriously hurt when scaffolding collapsed at a building site in the capital, Taipei.

The deadliest storm to hit the coast of China in recent years was Typhoon Winnie in 1997, which killed 236 people.

Pakistan urges members to avoid confrontation: UNSC reform

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 18: Pakistan on Monday called upon all member states to avoid confrontation on all issues relevant to the reform of the 15-member UN Security Council if further concrete results will be achieved by “building on the progress achieved so far, particularly at the last session”.
“We need to proceed, at the next stage, to agree on the evolving consensus on the basis for a negotiated outcome,’’ said Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram while addressing a meeting of the UN General Assembly held to consider the reforms and expansion of the Security Council, the most powerful organ of the world body.
Two years ago the so-called group of four group comprising India, Germany, Japan, and Brazil had sought to increase the membership of the UN Security Council by six seats, four permanent and two non-permanent seats.
Pakistan and the Unity for Consensus (UFC) group in their proposal sought 10 non-permanent seats saying new corridors of powers should not be created.Mr Akram said that Pakistan and the UFC group had always maintained that a “negotiated” settlement of the issue with broadest possible support was the only way to achieve progress on the issue of the Security Council.
He emphasised that “consensus can only be achieved through negotiations” and not through vote. Mr Akram added that the “negotiations must be based on and built upon the progress that has been achieved’’.
Alluding to recent efforts by some member states, including India, SouthAfrica and Germany, to push for vote instead of a consensus agreement, Pakistan’s chief delegate at the UN recalled “that over the course of history there have been many occasions where the seekers of power and privilege have professed that they have come not to praise but to bury the Caesar.
It is however, clear that their real design is to seek privilege and power for themselves’’.

Uniform issue internal matter: White House

WASHINGTON, Sept 18: The Bush administration on Tuesday refused to take any position on whether President Pervez Musharraf should quit the military before or after his re-election, although in previous statements senior US officials repeatedly reminded the general that he had pledged to settle the uniform dispute before the elections.
Earlier on Tuesday, a senior lawyer for President Musharraf told the Supreme Court in Islamabad that he plans to quit his post as army chief if he wins forthcoming presidential elections.
At a White House briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino refused to get involved in the dispute over Gen Musharraf’s uniform. “As regards to the Pakistani supreme court looking into this matter of the uniform, that is an internal Pakistani matter that we’ll let them debate,” she said.“What we would like to see is free and fair elections in Pakistan,” she added.
The State Department also expressed similar views, adding that the United States “wants to see Pakistan succeed as a modern democratic country.”
Washington backs “a transparent election process that respects the Constitution, gives Pakistani citizens choices and respects their decisions,” a State Department official told Dawn.
Asked to comment on Sharifuddin Pirzada’s statement that “if elected for a second term as president, Gen Musharraf shall relinquish charge of the office of chief of army staff soon after elections and before taking the oath of president for the second term,” the State Department official said: “We refer you to the government of Pakistan.”
The US media, while reporting Mr Pirzada’s statement, noted that so far Gen Musharraf has strongly resisted moves to make him quit the military — which is the main source of his power and whose loyalty in the fight against Al Qaeda militants has kept Washington on his side.
The media also noted that the PPP has dismissed the plan as undemocratic and unconstitutional, but did not say if it would affect a proposed power-sharing deal between Benazir Bhutto and Gen Musharraf.

China launches Brazilian-made satellite

BEIJING, Sept 19: China on Wednesday launched a satellite co-developed with Brazil to take high-definition photographs of the Earth's surface, state media reported. The satellite, named 02B, lifted off shortly before noon on a Long March 4B carrier rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi province, the Xinhua news agency said. This is the third Sino-Brazilian satellite to enter into orbit, following launches in 1999 and 2003.