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Cruise Line Makes Offer To Costa Concordia Survivors

The cruise line behind this month’s historic crash has made financial offers to Costa Concordia cruise ship survivors to compensate for lost luggage and psychological trauma.

Friday, January 13, the Costa Concordia luxury liner struck the rocks off the Italian island of Giglio, tearing a 160-foot gash in its hull and causing the vessel to capsize. The Costa Concordia, owned by the Italian company Costa Crociere SpA, a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corporation, was carrying 4,200 passengers and crew at the time of the crash that left 16 dead and at least 22 passengers and crew missing, including an American couple. (more…)

Costa Concordia Owner Had Early Word Of Accident

The owner of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship had early word of the historic accident, according to emerging reports. The liner, owned by the Italian company, Costa Crociere SpA, is operated by Costa Cruises, a unit of U.S.-based Carnival Corporation.

Testimony presented by Costa Crociere to the Italian Senate revealed that it was aware—within minutes and, shockingly, more than one hour before the 4,200 passengers were told to evacuate—that the ship was flooding as a result of a crash off the Tuscan coast, wrote The Wall Street Journal. The testimony delivered by Pier Luigi Foschi, chief executive of Costa Crociere was, said The Journal, the first time the company publicly acknowledged that Captain Francesco Schettino had been keeping the company advised on crisis events. (more…)

Costa Concordia Captain Ordered To House Arrest

The shamed Costa Concordia captain who abandoned ship in Friday’s deadly luxury liner crash has been ordered to house arrest.

Captain Francesco Schettino claims his abandoning the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship was accidental, that he slipped and fell onto a lifeboat while helping passengers exit the ship that went aground late Friday on the rocks of Giglio Island, an island off Italy’s Italian coast. While the liner continued to sink into the Tyrrhenian Sea, off northern Italy’s coast, and rescue crews frantically worked to recover the dozens missing and collect the dead, Schettino maintained he was faultless during a three-hour hearing yesterday, said La Repubblica, wrote The Guardian. (more…)

Texting Teens Account for Most Distracted Drivers

Thousands die and hundreds of thousands of are injured every year in so-called “distracted driving” accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). One of the worst culprits? Texting teens. And, while teens are transporting themselves to and from school, texting habits, as well as inexperience and their inherently fearless attitudes, creates a recipe for disaster that endangers other drivers and pedestrians. Consider younger students who walk or bike to school, said US Politics. The fear is well founded. According to the NHTSA, teenagers are the demographic with the largest amount of distracted driving accidents—a massive three- to four-fold more than older drivers. (more…)

Wyoming Explosion Kills Three at Oil Production Facility

Three workers are dead and remain unidentified, a result of Monday’s Wyoming oilfield explosion. The blast led to a 10-acre fire, according to an oil company spokesman. The Seattle Times reported that the contract workers’ bodies are being sent to Colorado for autopsies to positively identify the three who were working for Samson to restore production at the site. The men were laying a fuel line that was supplying a heater treatment facility. The facility, said Dennis Neill, a Samson Resources Co. spokesman, separates oil and water pumped from the ground. (more…)

Police Officer Says Former Melrose Place Actress was Incoherent, Giggled After Fatal Crash

At a Miranda hearing for actress Amy Locane-Bovenizer, a New Jersey police officer testified that the actress giggled and appeared happy after killing Helene Seeman, 60, during a car accident in June 2010, reported New Jersey.com. Locane-Bovenizer is charged with aggravated

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manslaughter and third-degree assault by auto for killing Seeman, who was a passenger in her husband’s vehicle. On June 27, the 39-year-old actress was drunk when she slammed into the car as it was turning into a

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BP Oil Spill Administrator Can’t Say He’s Independent

A federal judge has ruled that Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator charged with overseeing BP oil spill claims, is not independent of the oil company, and has ordered BP to make sure oil spill claimants are informed that they have the right to be represented by a lawyer in filing their claim. According to a Reuters report, Feinberg, who has held a series of town hall meetings in Gulf Coast communities impacted by the BP oil spill, often “reminds” potential claimants that they do not need a lawyer to take their claim to his fund

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled yesterday that BP cannot characterize Feinberg as “neutral,” and said BP must disclose in all communications that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) and Feinberg are acting on behalf of BP in fulfilling its legal obligations under the Oil Pollution Act. (more…)

Fracking Fluid Spill Reported in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regulators are investigating a fracking fluid spill at a hydraulic fracturing site in the northeast part of the state. The spill occurred at an XTO Energy natural gas well in Penn Township, Lycoming County. “This spill was initially estimated at more than 13,000 gallons by the company and has polluted an unnamed tributary to Sugar Run and a spring,” said

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Northcentral Regional Director Nels Taber. “There are also two private drinking water wells in the vicinity that will be sampled for possible impacts.” (more…)

After UPS Crash in Dubai, US Issues Lithium Battery Warning

Lithium batteries could pose a serious fire hazard to cargo flights, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is warning. The safety alert comes amid suspicion that the crash of UPS flight 006, a Boeing 747-400, last month in Dubai may have been the result of a fire sparked by a shipment of lithium batteries.

Though the cause of the crash has yet to be determined, the FAA said the plane was carrying a large quantity of lithium batteries in its cargo hold. According to a report from Bloomberg News, initial analysis of the plane’s on-board recorders showed a fire warning followed by smoke in the cockpit. The crash killed both pilots. (more…)

BP Texas City Refinery Clean Air Act Violations Nets Record Penalty

BP has agreed to pay a record penalty – $15 million – for pollution violations at its Texas City, Texas refinery. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, the penalty is both the largest ever assessed for civil violations of the federal Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention regulations, also known as the risk management program regulations, and the largest civil penalty recovered for Clean Air Act violations at an individual facility.

The settlement addresses violations stemming from two fires that occurred at the BP Texas City refinery in March 2004 and July 2005, and a leak that occurred in August 2005. During the three incidents, each of which resulted in the surrounding Texas City community being ordered to shelter-in-place, thousands of pounds of flammable and toxic air pollutants were released. The settlement also resolves allegations that BP failed to identify all regulated hazardous air pollutants used at the refinery in plans submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (more…)

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