World In Review 2012 Compiled – By Dinouk Colombage
Hundreds Of Passengers Forced To Escape On Tracks As Tube Line Is Flooded
Thousands of commuters had their journeys thrown into chaos after blundering workmen flooded a Tube line with two million litres of water as they tried to fix a leaking pipe.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded for up to two hours yesterday, before having to escape along the tracks.
The chaos continued this morning, with the Central Line part-suspended and engineers desperately battling to reopen it for the evening rush hour.
One of London Underground’s biggest safety scares ever was caused by Thames Water engineers. A senior Tube source said: ‘We are usually to blame when things go wrong but this time we can put hand on heart and say, “It wasn’t our fault”. It was 100 per cent down to Thames Water.
‘This has caused one of the biggest safety scares ever. There was so much water pumping in that there were genuine concerns of a tunnel collapse or the water flooding along the tunnel and affecting other lines.’
The crisis happened between Stratford and Bow stations at 1.39pm yesterday as workmen were lifting a 24in main to try to plug a smaller leak.
But the above-ground pipe cracked, sending 440,000 gallons of pressurised water pouring down a ventilation shaft near Wick Lane.
Today the beleaguered utility firm, which has frequently attracted Transport for London’s anger for its ‘pointless’ and badly co-ordinated road- works, admitted responsibility for a ‘tricky’ operation going badly wrong.
A spokesman said: ‘The pipe was encased in concrete and as the crew was working it broke.’ Water from the burst caused signals to short-circuit and bring Central Line trains to a halt.
Thames Water, which boasts of its role as a supplier to the London Games this summer, now faces a multimillion-pound compensation bill after cars in streets and a housing estate near the Olympic Park were flooded.
Transport for London will also expect compensation after services this morning were suspended between Leytonstone and Stratford, causing massive overcrowding during the rush hour.
London Underground’s chief operating officer Howard Collins said the crisis was a ‘nightmare scenario’ for the Olympics, with just 50 days until the opening ceremony. He said: ‘As the person responsible for operational readiness, this is obviously something I do not want to happen during the time of the Olympics.’
One engineer told the Standard that water was flowing ‘like Niagara Falls’ onto the dual carriageway leading to the Blackwall Tunnel.
‘I have never seen anything like it before,’ he said. ‘It was a massive incident. There was a river in the street.’
Cars parked in Wick Lane were flooded up to their bonnets, while a housing estate that has been earmarked for an anti-terrorist missile system was also affected.
Resident Neil Midgley, 43, said: ‘The gym, swimming pool and car park were closed due to flooding.’
Tube passenger Kenneth Thurtell, 27, who was travelling from Holborn to Leytonstone, said: ‘I spent four hours trying to get home. I felt suicidal, quite frankly. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like during the Olympics.’
Jennifer Hazel, 38 — stranded at Mile End as she tried to get home to Leyton — said: ‘If this is what happens when something goes wrong on a quiet day, then good luck during the Olympics.’
The Central line is one of two principal Tube routes for the Olympics, with the Jubilee, connecting London’s heart directly with the Stratford stadium.
On Thursday(08th June), the Jubilee and Bakerloo lines each suffered two breakdowns, with the Jubilee suspended through central London. Two broken-down trains caused Victoria line delays.
Thames Water, which has been heavily criticised for causing roads gridlock with its lengthy repairs, said: ‘We are currently working really hard to repair the burst pipe. We’re really sorry for the disruption this is causing.’
Courtesy Daily Mail
Egypt Parties End Deadlock Over Constitutional Panel
Political parties in Egypt have agreed on how to select the panel that will write the country’s new constitution, ending weeks of deadlock.
The deal was reached after talks between representatives of 22 political parties and military ruler Hussein Tantawi, officials said.
Panel members from the parliament are expected to be elected next week.
The previous panel was dissolved after liberals and secularists walked out, saying it was dominated by Islamists.
The 100-member body will include a range of politicians, members of the army, the police, the judiciary and trade unions, as well as Muslim and Christian religious leaders.
The agreement came after the military council set a 48-hour deadline on Wednesday, threatening to propose an arrangement themselves if a deal was not reached.
According to delegates cited by AFP news agency, 39 seats will be allocated to representatives of parties in the lower house of parliament, which is dominated by Islamist parties.
Six members will be given to judges, while nine will go to experts in law, with one seat each for the armed forces, police and the justice ministry.
Thirteen seats will be given to unions, while 21 public figures chosen at a meeting on Tuesday will also be appointed. The Cairo-based Sunni authority Al-Azhar will be given five seats and Christian churches will get four, delegates added. The talks also concluded that any decision by the panel must be endorsed by 67% of members.
The old constitution was suspended after the former President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year.
Correspondents say one of the debates during the drafting process will be the extent to which it should follow the principles of Islamic law. The new document will also determine the rights of Egypt’s religious and ethnic minority groups and the balance of power between the president – previously the supreme authority – and parliament.
The last panel was suspended on 10 April amid a boycott by groups who claimed they were under-represented, including liberals, moderate Muslims and the Coptic church.
Egypt is to hold a presidential election runoff on 16-17 June, where voters will be asked to choose between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.
Golden Dawn MP’s Live TV Assault Shocks Greece
Greek prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for the spokesman of the far-right Golden Dawn party after he slapped a left-wing politician in the face on live television.
Ilias Kasidiaris, who was elected to Greece’s parliament in last month’s elections, was debating with two female politicians on a chat show.
Video footage shows him throwing a glass of water at one of the women.
When the other intervened, he slapped her in the face three times.
Mr Kasidiaris appeared to have been provoked when Rena Dourou of the radical left-wing Syriza party mentioned his alleged involvement in an armed robbery in 2007.
He jumped up and threw a glass of water across the table at her, a YouTube clip of the Antenna television channel showed.
When Liana Kanelli of the Greek Communist party, the KKE, apparently threw a newspaper at him, he responded by slapping her around the face with three right-left blows.
A journalist at Antenna told the AFP news agency that colleagues were unable to stop Mr Kasidiaris from leaving the building.
Golden Dawn has risen in profile after it won just under 7% of votes, or 21 seats, in parliamentary elections on 6 May.
The party’s staunch anti-immigration policy has led to accusations of racism and instigating violent attacks against immigrants.
Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, has also denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and questioned the Holocaust, but he rejects the label neo-Nazi.
Greece’s political system has been thrown into dissarray as the results of last month’s elections failed to give any party enough seats in parliament to form a coalition.
Another vote is due to be held on June 17 to try and end a political impasse that eurozone leaders say is harming Greece’s ability to tackle its economic crisis.
Courtesy Sydney Morning Herald