Bulgaria’s president calls
for early elections
Bulgaria’s president has called for another snap election as the only democratic way out of the current political crisis in the Balkan country that has been shaken by mass protests over the last three weeks.
Rosen Plevneliev said in a televised address to the nation that the growing tensions are creating dangerous divisions. The power to call an election, however, rests with the parliament.
The government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski took office after the May 12 early elections following the resignation of his predecessor Boiko Borisov amid anti-austerity protests.
The appointment of controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski as head of the national security agency led to large protests on June 14. Although the appointment was revoked, demonstrators then demanded that the left-leaning cabinet resign collectively because of ties with oligarchs.continue
July 5, 2013 – SOLOMON ISLANDS – A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Friday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, but there was no immediate tsunami warning issued. The tremor, at a depth of 72 kilometers (45 miles), hit at 4.16am local time (17:16 GMT Thursday) 81km south of the town of Panguna in Papua New Guinea. The USGS issued a “green alert,” to say there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage. In February the remote town of Lata was hit by a devastating tsunami after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake. The tsunami left at least 10 people dead, destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands of people homeless. The Solomons are part of the “Ring of Fire,” a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. –Times of India
July 5, 2013 – CANADA – Half a million Hydro-Québec customers were without power at rush hour for the second straight day, as widespread outages caused by forest fires in northern Quebec affected transmission lines. The utility said Montreal and other parts of southern Quebec were affected. By 7:30 p.m. most customers had their power restored, and Hydro-Québec tweeted that its three major transmission lines shut down by heat and smoke from forest fires in northern Quebec were operational once again. The blackouts occurred nearly exactly 24 hours after a similar power failure caused by the forest fires, despite the utility’s best efforts to protect the network. “The re-establishment of the lines was fairly fast,” said Quebec Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet in an interview on CBC’s French-language news network RDI. “The heat, the smoke, the particles [from the fire] all interacted with the hydro lines, causing ionization,” Ouellet explained. “That tripped the lines’ safety mechanism. It’s a good thing, as that protected the lines.” She said Hydro-Québec informed her it is spraying other equipment with foam to protect it from the heat of the fires. The latest blackouts hit several municipalities in Greater Montreal and struck as far away as the Quebec City suburb of Ste-Foy, as well as parts of the Laurentians and the Lanaudière region. The blackouts began at almost precisely the same time as they did yesterday, during the commuter rush hour, affecting traffic lights at many intersections and the lane designation lights on the Champlain Bridge. Earlier today, Hydro-Québec’s chief executive officer Thierry Vandal said the utility had taken steps to try to ensure there would not be a repeat of yesterday’s outage, which shut down Montreal’s Metro system and affected hospitals and shopping centers. Wednesday’s outage forced the Notre-Dame pavilion of University of Montreal’s hospital network (CHUM) to cancel operations and left people trapped on stalled roller-coasters and other rides at LaRonde, the amusement park on Montreal’s Île Ste-Hélène. –CBC
July 5, 2013 – MEXICO – Four U.S. airlines temporarily suspended flights to and from Mexico City on Thursday after a volcano 50 miles from the capital spewed ash, a spokesman for the city’s international airport said. Three to eight flights on American Airlines, U.S. Airways, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Air Group have been postponed so far, Richard Jimenez, a representative for Mexico City’s international airport told Reuters. “The decision not to fly from Mexico City has been made by these airlines, but the airport is in operable conditions,” Andres Gomez, another airport representative, said on local television. No Mexican airlines have halted operations, Gomez said. Mexico’s leading airline AeroMexico suspended flights briefly Thursday morning, but resumed operations less than an hour later. The volcano Popocatepetl in the central state of Puebla has been more active this year, prompting officials to raise warning levels but have so far ordered no evacuations. Officials have kept the volcano’s risk level on hold at “yellow,” the second highest on the four-color spectrum, indicating that there is more activity than usual but no threat of eruption, national emergency services coordinator Luis Felipe said on Twitter. On Thursday, ash fell on communities adjacent to the volcano, nicknamed Don Goyo, and reached southern neighborhoods of Mexico City. There is no evidence of volcanic ash in the airport’s immediate vicinity, it announced through its Twitter account. Volcanic ash can damage jet engines. Mexico City’s airport serves more than 29 million people a year and oversaw 174,511 takeoffs and landings between January and June. -NBC
Street preacher arrested over ‘homophobic’ speech
A street preacher has been arrested in south-west London for using “homophobic”speech.
Police arrested Tony Miano, a US citizen, in Wimbledon on Monday afternoon after he preached about sexual immorality and the need for abstinence.
At the police station, Miano was photographed, fingerprinted and had a DNA sample taken.
According to the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Miano, he was given the option of accepting a £90 fine that would secure his immediate release and allow him to return to the UK.
The investigating officer later said he would have to seek prosecution after Miano affirmed he felt his preaching had been acceptable in a public place and that he would do the same again tomorrow.
Later however, Miano was told the inspector had decided to release him with no further action being taken and he was freed at midnight, after just over seven hours in police custody. continue