Chris's Feed
Nov 9, 2009

Ida weakens to tropical storm in US Gulf

HOUSTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Ida weakened to a tropical storm as it churned toward oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and was forecast to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast early on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Monday.

Ida was expected to come ashore somewhere between Louisiana and Florida. At its earlier hurricane strength, Ida triggered floods and mudslides that killed 124 people in El Salvador.

Ida’s top sustained winds dropped to 70 miles per hour (113 kph), and the storm is unlikely to regain hurricane strength before it makes landfall, U.S. forecasters said.

Ida posed the first real storm threat of the 2009 hurricane season to Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas production, and forced some companies to shut down off-shore platforms and evacuate personnel.

Oil rose more than $1 to above $79 a barrel on Monday on fears that Ida would cut U.S. oil and gas supplies.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the only U.S. terminal capable of handling the largest tankers, stopped unloading ships due to stormy seas. The Independence Hub, a major offshore natural gas processing facility, also was closed.

A quarter of U.S. oil and 15 percent of its natural gas are produced from fields in the Gulf and the coast is home to 40 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.

LOUISIANA STATE OF EMERGENCY

The Miami-based hurricane center discontinued hurricane warnings along the U.S. Gulf Coast, and said a tropical storm warning was in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Aucilla River, Florida.

The tropical storm warning included the city of New Orleans, which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency on Sunday, allowing the government to mobilize troops and rescue workers.

The hurricane center earlier on Monday had downgraded Ida from a Category 2 hurricane to Category 1, the lowest rank on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, before further downgrading it to a tropical storm.

In El Salvador, rivers burst their banks and hillsides collapsed under relentless rains triggered by Ida’s passage, cutting off parts of the mountainous interior from the rest of the country.

The bulk of the Central American country’s coffee is grown in areas far from the worst affects of the flooding but the national coffee association had no estimate of potential damage to the harvest.

Ida swept past the Mexican resort of Cancun on Sunday, inflicting little damage. Ida first became a hurricane on Thursday off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, where heavy rains forced more than 5,000 people into shelters.

The country’s coffee crop was not directly affected by the storm, according to the local coffee council.

Click on the link below for a graphic on Ida’s projected storm track:

here (Additional reporting by Jose Cortazar and Michael O’Boyle in Cancun, Nelson Renteria in San Salvador, Ivan Castro in Managua and Erwin Seba in Houston; Editing by Will Dunham)




Nov 6, 2009

Are doctors what ails U.S. healthcare?

, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Nowhere in the United
States has more doctors at its beck and call than White Plains,
one of the wealthiest cities in the nation.

Doctors have been flocking to the area and surrounding
Westchester County since the 1970s, drawn in part by an
upper-class clientele who demand top-notch medical care and
have the means to pay for it. The county has one of the highest
median household incomes in the nation (about $77,000 a year in
2007), and the figures soar above six digits in suburbs like
Scarsdale and Chappaqua, which former President Bill Clinton
calls home.

Nov 5, 2009

Soldier kills 11 in shooting rampage at Fort Hood army base

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Army major firing two handguns killed 11 people and wounded 31 others in a shooting rampage on Thursday at Fort Hood base in Texas, a prime point of deployment for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army said the gunman was killed. U.S. broadcast media identified him as Major Malik Nidal Hasan, and said he was a psychiatrist who was facing an upcoming deployment to Iraq. There was no immediate official confirmation of his identity.

Nov 5, 2009

Soldier kills 11 in shooting rampage at US army

HOUSTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – A U.S. Army major firing two
handguns killed 11 people and wounded 31 others in a shooting
rampage on Thursday at Fort Hood base in Texas, a prime point
of deployment for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army said the gunman was killed. U.S. broadcast media
identified him as Major Malik Nidal Hasan, and said he was a
psychiatrist who was facing an upcoming deployment to Iraq.
There was no immediate official confirmation of his identity.

Aug 27, 2009
via Fan Fare

August 29th = Jackson Squared

Photo

August 29 is a notable day in U.S. history — it’s the birthday of the late pop icon Michael Jackson (in 1958) and the day that Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, flooding 80 percent of the city and killing 1,500 people (in 1995).A group of musicians who think the King of Pop has stolen the Crescent City’s thunder are seeking to combine the two through an art campaign called “Jackson Squared.”The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund group has commissioned pop artist L. Steve Williams Jr. to paint “Jackson Squared,” which shows Jackson, with his signature white glove and epaulettes, astride the statue of Andrew Jackson in the city’s Jackson Square. In the background, a red hurricane warning flag flaps in the breeze.”He’s probably going to get more press on his birthday than one of the worst disasters in U.S. history,” said musician Jeff Beninato, chairman of the group. “This is a way to forever tie the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, with the City of New Orleans, the cradle of rock and roll.”Beninato’s group has secured charitable donations of money, furniture, and even band uniforms for Hurricane Katrina victims, with the support of musicians like Dr. John, Wilco and REM.It’s not the only Jackson-related event. Actor Spike Lee is promoting an event in Prospect Park in Brooklyn to commemorate the “Thriller” singer’s birthday.Fossett Entertainment Group will also throw a block party to commemorate Jackson’s birthday near his childhood home in Gary, Indiana, according to local media reports.The “Thriller” singer suffered cardiac arrest and died  on June 25 at age 50 in Los Angeles, where he was preparing for a string of concerts in London.He died from a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol given in a cocktail of drugs, leading authorities to suspect his doctor of manslaughter, court documents show.So what does 8/29 mean to you? Has U.S. media given just coverage to the horrible destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina? How will you mark Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday?

    • About Chris

      "Chris has been a journalist for Reuters since 2001, when he joined the Washington DC bureau as a summer intern. As a correspondent in Washington, Chris covered energy policy, reported on Congress, the Supreme Court and federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. As Houston Bureau Chief, Chris oversees a team of five reporters and covers general news topics like the BP oil spill, hurricanes, NASA, and national politics. In addition, Chris oversees a team of Power and Gas reporters in New York and Houston."
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