Lava flow torches warehouse at Hawaii geothermal plant

Lava flow torches warehouse at Hawaii geothermal plant - ReutersHONOLULU - 23 May 2018: A new lava flow from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano edged towards a geothermal power plant on Tuesday after destroying a warehouse at the facility, after the volcano entered a more violent phase at the weekend.Workers at the now closed Puna Geothermal Venture, which provided around 25 percent of electricity on Hawaii's Big Island, scrambled to cap the last of three deep wells to reduce the risks of an uncontrolled release of toxic gases should they be inundated by lava.The race at the site marked the latest challenge facing authorities during what geologists call an unprecedented, simultaneous eruption at Kilauea's summit and from giant volcanic cracks or fissures 25 miles (40 km) down its eastern flank.A lava flow from one of the fissures entered the 815-acre (330-hectare) geothermal plant complex on Monday night and destroyed a warehouse, County of Hawaii government spokeswoman Janet Snyder said.Another fissure reactivated on Tuesday and sent lava flowing slowly in the direction of the plant, County of Hawaii Civil Defense said in a tweet.Snyder said none of the wells were in imminent danger, as the flow was barely moving and still several hundred yards (meters) from the plant.The latest explosive eruption at the Kilauea summit at around 1 a.m. (6 a.m. EST) sent a plume of ash over Hawaii's Big Island, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported in a statement. "Communities downwind should be prepared for ashfall as long as this activity continues," the observatory said.MORE VIOLENT PHASEThe geothermal plant has been closed since shortly after lava began erupting on May 3 through newly opened fissures in the ground running through neighborhoods and roads in an area near the community of Pahoa.The state has pumped cold water into the wells and capped them with iron plugs.The plant's wells run 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,830-2,438 meters) underground to tap into extremely hot water and steam used to run turbines and produce electricity.About 3 miles (4.8 km) to the east of the plant on the coast, noxious clouds of acid fumes, steam and fine glass-like particles billowed into the sky as lava poured into the ocean from two flows.Laze -- a term combining the words "lava" and "haze" -- is formed when erupting lava, which can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius), reacts with sea water. It is potentially deadly if inhaled and killed two people when a lava flow reached the coast in 2000.Kilauea's eruption, which has already produced nearly two dozen lava-spewing fissures, entered a more violent phase at the weekend, producing larger volumes of molten rock from fissures.At least 47 homes and other structures have been destroyed in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens area of the Puna district, and a man was seriously injured on Saturday by flying lava.Some 2,000 people have been ordered from their homes due to lava flows and toxic sulfur dioxide gas. Several hundred are staying at three Red Cross shelters in the area, including some staying in tents outside with their pets.

Source:Egypt Today

May 22, 2018 21:56 UTC


U.S. House votes to ease post-crisis bank rules in victory for Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump look on as he welcomes South Korea's President Moon Jae-In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueWASHINGTON - 23 May 2018: The U.S. House of Representatives passed on Tuesday bipartisan legislation that would ease bank rules introduced in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, giving President Donald Trump a major legislative victory.Tuesday's vote rolls back some of the 2010 Dodd-Frank rules that restricted operations by smaller banks and community lenders and keeps the Republican president's campaign promise to try to spur more economic growth by cutting regulation.The bill, which was approved by the Senate in March, marks the first significant rewrite of U.S. financial rules introduced following the crisis, which saw Wall Street lenders bailed out to the tune of $700 billion.Republican critics say Dodd-Frank went too far and curbs banks’ ability to lend, while many Democrats say it provides critical protections for consumers and taxpayers.The bill, approved 258-159, raises the threshold at which banks are considered systemically risky and subject to stricter oversight to $250 billion from $50 billion. It also eases trading, lending and capital rules for banks with less than $10 billion in assets.It does not, however, weaken the top U.S. consumer watchdog created by Dodd-Frank that has been consistently attacked by Republicans who say it oversteps its mandate.But the bill does offer a handful of niche provisions that would help some larger banks, such as allowing custody banks like BNY Mellon and State Street Corp to exempt the customer deposits they place with central banks from a stringent capital calculation requirement.It also offers more favorable treatment for municipal bonds, a measure that analysts say is likely to help Citigroup Inc's bond-trading business.But backers of the bill stress that the core Dodd Frank provisions that aimed to shore up the financial system and make banks less risky, remain untouched by this legislation.The bill also does not alter the so-called "Volcker Rule" banning Wall Street banks from making risky bets with their own money, or limit the ability of regulators to apply stricter rules to large institutions they deem critical to the financial system.

Source:Egypt Today

May 22, 2018 21:56 UTC


Military court sentences Iskandarani to 10 years in prison

Egyptian journalist Ismail al-Iskandarani during his trial – press photoCAIRO – 22 May 2018: Egypt’s military court has sentenced Egyptian researcher and journalist Ismail al-Iskandarani, along with another defendant, to 10 years in prison on May 22 on accusations of belonging to an illegal organization and spreading false news regarding national security in Sinai.Iskandarani was accused by the Supreme Prosecution after publishing several investigations and articles about Sinai’s demographic nature, along with the tribes’ traditions and their views on the performance of the Armed Fforces.During the investigations, Iskandarani denied all the accusations and confirmed that he made the investigations in cooperation with several international foundations; however, none of them were affiliated with any security body for foreign states. He also denied belonging to any illegal or terrorist organization.Iskandarani was arrested at Hurghada Airport while returning from Germany to Cairo to visit his sick mother in December 2015.It was reported that he had lectured and participated in a series of seminars in Europe and the U.S. on the political situation in Egypt.His wife claimed on her official Twitter account that a report was filed against him by the Egyptian embassy in Berlin. Security officers at the airport investigated him and found on his laptop articles on the political and security situation in Sinai.Iskandarani is a sociopolitical researcher and investigative freelance journalist who specializes in the affairs of Sinai. He is also a volunteer researcher on Sinai issues at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).Moreover, he has been a fellow researcher at the Paris-based Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) since 2013, where he receives education on the future relationship between the progressive Islamists and the secular left in Egypt.In 2015, before his detention, he published a chapter called "Violence in Sinai: the State's War on Society and Producing Terrorism" in a book titled "L'Egypte en revolution(s)" (Egypt in revolution[s]).He also wrote for several local and international news websites and was awarded several local and international press prizes.Additional reporting by Jehad El-Sayed

Source:Egypt Today

May 22, 2018 20:48 UTC


In pics: Egypt sends aid to Gaza Strip

Egypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photoEgypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photoEgypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photoأصدرت توجيهاتى للأجهزة المعنية بإتخاذ ما يلزم لإستمرار فتح معبر رفح البرى طوال شهر رمضان المبارك وذلك ضماناً لتخفيف الأعباء عن الأشقاء فى قطاع غزه#تحيا_مصر — Abdelfattah Elsisi (@AlsisiOfficial) May 17, 2018Egypt sends aid and medical convoys to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, May 22 – Press photoCAIRO – 22 May 2018: Egypt sent aid and medical convoys to the Palestinians in Gaza Strip on Tuesday, May 22, which was received gladly by the Palestinian side with signs and banners that read “Terrorism has no religion...Together we will fight it.”Other pictures of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi were seen inside the strip with phrases such as "Thank you, Egypt" and "Long live Egypt" printed on them.On May 18, Sisi ordered to keep the Rafah crossing open for the entire month of Ramadan.The Egyptian leader ordered the relevant authorities to keep the crossing open to ease some of the burdens of the residents of the Gaza Strip. Keeping the crossing open will allow the passage of diesel fuel, construction materials, food and medicine.“I issued directives to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in a bid to relieve some of the burdens suffered by our brothers in the Gaza strip,” Sisi posted on Facebook and Twitter.On May 20, a Palestinian delegation led by Diab al-Louh, the Palestinian ambassador in Egypt and permanent delegate to the Arab League, visited a number of Palestinians who were injured in the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and were sent to the Naser Institute Hospital in Egypt for treatment.Louh delivered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ greetings to the brave injured, stressing that the embassy will do its best to ensure providing good treatment for them until their full recovery.The Palestinian ambassador extended his gratitude for President Sisi for his decision to open the Rafah border crossing throughout the holy month of Ramadan to ease the burdens of the besieged people in Gaza.

Source:Egypt Today

May 22, 2018 17:26 UTC


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