December 27, 2012 |
It could be a dark and stormy Oscar night. Among the historical epics, political thrillers and romantic dramas on the awards scene, several films that feature nature's fury are clouding the horizon. "Life of Pi," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "The Impossible" are wildly different films, but all share the mighty power of the environment and their protagonists' helplessness against it. Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" features a boy shipwrecked by a massive storm who winds up sharing a lifeboat with a deadly tiger.
December 27, 2012 |
Ski resorts across the West are enjoying a flurry of winter storms, bolstering hopes for a blizzard of customers for resort operators and snow sport retailers. The recent winter bounty comes after a disastrous 2011-12 season, when snowfall across the country hit a 20-year low. "It's a very positive trend at this point," said Bob Roberts, president of the California Ski Industry Assn., a trade group for the state's 29 resorts. "To get early snow for the holidays is good news. " Ski resorts around Mammoth Mountain and Lake Tahoe reported that 16 to 19 inches of snow fell from Christmas Day to Wednesday morning, with more expected later in the week.
December 24, 2012 |
Tornadoes and wildfires. Droughts and hurricanes. The United States saw almost every sort of calamity this year as 11 billion-dollar natural disasters struck the country. Superstorm Sandy hit New York, ruined parts of the New Jersey coast and closed the New York Stock Exchange for two straight days -- the first time such a shutdown had happened since 1888. The country suffered its worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. With the year coming to a close, 2012 looks like it won't beat last year for the number of separate billion-dollar disasters that traumatized various parts of the country: 2011 saw 14 massive calamities, a record.
December 23, 2012 |
In front of Naomi Watts sat a pen and paper. Across the table sat Tom Holland, a pale young British actor in his early teens. Soon enough, they both knew, they would leave the comfort of their rehearsal room in Spain. They would be dressed in ripped clothes and covered in fake blood, pummeled by murky waves and pushed to their physical limits. But first, they had to draw each other. "I can't draw at all," Watts confessed in a recent phone interview. "And it was quite clear that Tom was having problems too. " Holland picked up his pen and sketched a few tentative lines.
December 18, 2012 |
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has donated $50,000 to the disaster response veteran service organization Team Rubicon , which helps send experienced military veterans as rapid emergency response relief teams to natural disaster sites and other crisis areas around the world. "Military veterans choose to serve even after they take off the uniform because they want to dedicate themselves to a cause larger than their own," Peterson said. "Supporting organizations like Team Rubicon before, during, and after times of disaster allows them to continue their important missions in communities worldwide.
December 10, 2012 |
Ferrying a load of soybeans from Seattle to China in 2004, the engine of Malaysian freighter Selendang Ayu lost power and the vessel broke in half on rocks off Unalaska Island in the middle of the Alaskan archipelago. A ferocious Bering Sea storm thwarted rescue efforts, resulting in the loss of six crew members, and the vessel spilled 350,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil. The oozing fuel killed thousands of seabirds, closed local fishing and contaminated miles of shoreline -- all inside the sensitive habitat of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.
December 4, 2012 |
Days after tumbling concrete killed nine people in a Japanese highway tunnel, the country is unsettled, fearful that its infrastructure could be in urgent need of repair at a time when money is scarce. Roads and tunnels sprang up rapidly across Japan during the boom years of 1954 to 1973, said Toshiyuki Yamamoto, a professor at Nagoya University who studies transportation and traffic safety. Now that infrastructure is aging and in need of serious maintenance or replacement, just as the budget is under strain, he said.
December 3, 2012 |
Aging bolts could be to blame for the deadly collapse of a tunnel west of Tokyo, a highway maintenance executive told reporters Monday after nine people lost their lives to the weekend disaster. Tons of concrete panels tumbled onto cars in the Sasago tunnel on Sunday morning, crushing and trapping vehicles underneath. The disaster stunned a nation that relies heavily on tunnels to navigate its steep terrain and has been credited as a leader in tunnel safety. When it comes to tunnel sprinklers to stop fires, for instance, “they've been ahead of the game compared to Europe, the U.S. and a lot of North America,” said Fathi Tarada, managing director of Mosen Limited, a British consulting company.
December 1, 2012 |
Two nurses examined an earthquake victim writhing in pain inside a yellow triage tent recently on the lawn of Redlands Community Hospital. They suspected the woman had head trauma, a broken leg and internal bleeding as part of a disaster drill that morning for a magnitude 7.9 earthquake. The 229-bed facility was running on two generators after losing power, and the nurses needed to get her inside the hospital and into intensive care. Trouble was the hospital gurneys were too heavy for the damp grass and they couldn't roll them to the triage tent.
November 29, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The former president of a Massey coal mine in West Virginia was charged with conspiracy to violate federal mining safety laws Wednesday, and federal authorities said he was expected to plead guilty in a widening criminal investigation that began after a 2010 explosion killed 29 miners. David C. Hughart, former president of Massey's Green Valley Resource Group, was charged in U.S. District Court in Beckley, W.Va., with a felony on allegations of tipping off mine officials in advance of federal safety inspections.