Flash floods in Toronto: There’s a guy in a canoe!

Shorter Question Everything

Toronto Flood July 8th 2013 “There’s a guy in a canoe!”

Flooding in Toronto CBCTheNational

A severe storm in Toronto flooded parts of the city, knocked out power to thousands, and shut down roads and sections of the city’s subway system Monday, as nearly 100 millimetres of water fell across the area in a matter of hours. Rainfall totals measured 106 mm at the suburban Pearson International Airport after the storms blew through. The rain began at 4 p.m. local time, stranding commuters in cars, buses and subway trains as the busy rush hour was getting underway.

Quebec derailment

Quebec derailment death toll jumps to 13; dozens missing. Quebec provincial police Sgt. Benoit Richard said eight more bodies had been found in the wreckage after firefighters doused the flames and cooled down some of the oil tankers that were in danger of exploding. Five bodies were found over the weekend, and police would not say where the newly discovered ones were, for fear of upsetting families. The blasts destroyed about 30 buildings, including a public library and Musi-Cafe, a popular bar that was filled with revelers, and forced about a third of the town’s 6,000 residents from their homes. Much of the area where the bar once stood was burned to the ground. Burned-out car frames dotted the landscape.

Quebec firemen cut power to runaway train’s brakes, railway says. Air brakes that would have prevented the disaster failed because they were powered by an engine that was shut down by firefighters as they dealt with a fire shortly before the calamity occurred, the head of the railway that operated the train said on Monday. The problem was that the engine had been left on by the train’s engineer to maintain pressure in the air brakes, Ed Burkhardt, chairman of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA), said in an interview. As the pressure gradually “leaked off,” the air brakes failed and the train began to slide downhill, he said.

Crashed Quebec train’s owner had accident history. The operator of the runaway train that derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, this weekend recorded an accident rate far higher than the U.S. average over the past 10 years, federal data show. A train operated by Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. train operator Rail World Inc., is at the center of a Canadian probe after the train was left unmanned at a crew rest stop and slammed into the small town early Saturday, triggering a deadly explosion and fire. In the U.S., MM&A had 23 accidents, injuries or other reportable mishaps from 2010 to 2012 and at least two this year, including the derailment and explosion Saturday morning, according to Federal Railroad Administration data. But measured by accidents and incidents per million miles traveled, MM&A has a much higher rate than the national average, federal data show. In 2012, for example, the company’s rate was 36.1 occurrences per million miles, while the national average was 14.6. Between 2003 and 2011, the company’s rate ranged between 23.4 and 56 incidents per million miles, while the national average ranged between 15.9 and 19.3.

Snowden


Lawrence O’Donnell Spotlight: Snowden telling weird lies about when/why he joined the war in Iraq

Snowden’s persecution complex: Like many of us, I have always considered Daniel Elllsberg to be a whistleblower in the true sense of the word. I am sorry that at this point in his life he is tainting that reputation by going all-out in his defense of Edward Snowden. Yesterday he published an editorial in the WaPo that feeds into Snowden’s persecution complex with comparisons to his situation that falls short on facts. A better comparison is Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who leaked classified information to Fox News Reporter James Rosen. Kim did not turn himself in but was arrested after an investigation of the leak. And yet he was granted bail and continues to work for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory awaiting trial next year.

Venezuela silent on Edward Snowden as asylum deadline passes. The status of Edward Snowden’s bid for asylum in Venezuela remained unclear Tuesday after the country’s apparent deadline passed. The Venezuelan Embassy in Moscow said it had no information on whether the fugitive NSA leaker had completed a deal that would allow him to leave the transit area of an airport in the Russian capital. The paucity of asylum offers has led to speculation Snowden might seek to remain in Russia, creating a diplomatic headache for President Vladimir Putin who has already made clear he wants the leaker to move elsewhere.

Egypt/Afghanistan

• Still no talk of a “coup” from the Obama administration: “White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a press briefing Monday that cutting off aid to Egypt in the wake of the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi ‘would not be in the best interest of the United States.’”

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood calls for ‘uprising’ after troops shoot protesters. Egypt lurched into dangerous new terrain Monday as an angry and bloodied Muslim Brotherhood called for an “uprising” against the new order, and the head of Egypt’s top Islamic authority warned that the country was headed toward “civil war,” after security forces opened fire on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in the early morning hours. In one of the deadliest days of political violence since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown more than two tumultuous years ago, Egyptian soldiers on Monday fired on protesters as they massed in front of a military building where they believe Morsi — ousted by the military on Wednesday — is being held under house arrest, according to witnesses and security officials. A Health Ministry spokeswoman said 51 people were killed and 435 were wounded in the shootings. Military officials said that they responded after being fired upon by protesters and that one soldier was killed and 42 were injured.

U.S. Considers Faster Pullout in Afghanistan. Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a “zero option” that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.

Reproductive Rights

Wisconsin Abortion Law Signed By Gov. Scott Walker Blocked By Judge. U.S. District Judge William Conley granted the order following a hearing in a lawsuit filed Friday by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services. It alleged the requirement would unconstitutionally restrict the availability of abortions in the state, violates the U.S. Constitution’s due process guarantee and unconstitutionally treats doctors who perform abortions differently from those who perform other procedures. The restraining order will remain in place pending a fuller hearing July 17. In his ruling, Conley said “there is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement.” “Moreover, the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement,” he said.

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