Archive | May 21, 2017

Lightning strike sparks fire at Venezuela oil refinery

A lightning strike has caused a fire at Venezuela’s El Palito refinery.
The bolt hit two storage tanks late on Wednesday, less than a month after an explosion at Venezuela’s largest refinery left more than 40 people dead.
No deaths or injuries have been reported so far.
Courtesy of BBC News

Mediterranean drought sends olive oil prices surging

It is not just crude oil that is having a turbulent 2017.
The price of extra virgin olive oil has surged by almost a quarter this year, as drought afflicts production at major producers around the Mediterranean. Output in Greece, Italy, Tunisia and, to a lesser degree, Spain is forecast to fall sharply this year.
“Italy is terrible, Greece is terrible, and Tunisia is terrible. Can you imagine if Spain had also been down sharply?” said Panayotis Karantonis, director of the Athens-based Greek Association of OIiver Oil Processors and Packers.
World production is forecast to fall 14 per cent, with Italian output expected to almost halve in the 12 months to September, according to the International Olive Council. Greece is likely to see a 20 per cent fall, Tunisia by 17 per cent, while production in Spain, known in the industry as the Saudi Arabia of olive oil because of the size of its output, predicted to decline 7 per cent.
The squeeze in supply and the rise in prices have tempered European demand for olive oil, known for its vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, but demand elsewhere remains robust. Australia, Brazil and China are among the markets where imports are growing rapidly, according to the IOC.
Adverse weather events have been affecting olive oil production in countries on the Mediterranean more frequently, agricultural and weather experts have noted.
”We have had bad weather affecting production three years out of the last five,” said Vito Martielli, a grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank, the Dutch bank that is one of the largest lenders to the agribusiness industry.
While the production level is higher than that of 2012 and 2014, when a drought in Spain and pests in Italy were the culprits, the more frequent declines in output and lower inventory levels have left the market more vulnerable to spikes in price. The wholesale prices for extra virgin olive oil have risen above $4,200 a tonne.
Mr Karantonis said that while production in Spain was lower than initially expected, it was still significantly higher than in 2012-13.
The jump in wholesale prices has put upward pressure on what consumers are having to pay. Retail olive oil prices across Europe have risen an average of 26 per cent in the two years to 2016, with those in Spain recording the steepest rise of 36 per cent, according research group IRI.
This year’s advance in wholesale prices has yet to reach supermarket shelves because of a time lag, but industry executives, warn it is likely to happen. “Over the next coming months the prices in the supermarkets in the US and UK will be higher than 2-3 months before,” said Mr Karantonis.
Courtesy of

Lightning strike sparks 145-acre wildfire in Okeechobee County, Florida, USA

Lightning strike sparks 145-acre wildfire in Okeechobee County. (FFS)
A lightning strike sparked at 145-acre wildfire in the northern region of Okeechobee County, east of the Kissimmee River, Saturday evening.
According to the Florida Forest Service, 80 percent of the fire is contained.
Crews say the flames are not threatening any homes or buildings at this time.
Firefighters bulldozed vegetation surrounding the fire to prevent the spread of the flames.
Crews will remain in the are through the night, FFS says.
Courtesy of

Two dead, several injured after lightning strikes in Belpahari, India

An officer of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was killed and four others injured after lightning struck at Belpahari in Jhargram on Saturday night. A 12-year-old boy was also killed after lightening struck him at another village under Belpahari police station. The victim, identified as Tapan Kumar Dey, was declared dead after he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The other four injured CRPF jawans are undergoing treatment. Some of the injured are said to be in a critical condition. The officer and the jawans were posted at CRPF 165 BN camp. The incident occurred on Saturday night when the deceased officer and the jawans were conducting vigil in the area. While the five CRPF personnel were out conducting vigil, they were struck by lightning. After hearing about the incident, locals rushed to the spot. The victims’ colleagues were also informed and called to the scene. They rescued all the five persons from the spot and rushed them to the hospital. The locals said that there were thundershowers in the are
a on Saturday night when the accident took place.
According to the police, a minor boy was also killed in Ghagra area under Belpahari police station of Jhargram on Saturday night after being struck by lightning. The victim has been identified as Laxman Mandi (12) who stepped out of his house during the rain and lightning. Some other villagers were also injured in the incident, police added.
Courtesy of

Boat explosion; 3 children and 1 adult injured in Miami, USA

A boat explosion on Sunday in South Miami-Dade sent four people to trauma centers, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said.
Two children were taken to trauma centers by helicopter and another child and an adult by ambulance.
The cause of the explosion, which didn’t cause major damage to the boat, remains under investigation. The incident, which happened between 8:30 and 9 a.m., called over 10 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units to Black Point Marina, 24775 SW 87th Ave.
Late Saturday night, a boat crash in the Intracoastal near a Fort Lauderdale bar injured four people.
National Safe Boating Week started Saturday and runs through May 26. The National Weather Service is promoting a different safety tip each day, including wearing life jackets and having fire extinguishers on board.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue recommends that each privately owned or rented vessel do a thorough safety check before leaving the dock, spokeswoman Erika Benitez said.
Courtesy of

Explosion injures one at Yukon’s Minto Mine, Canada

Health and safety officials in Yukon are investigating after a worker at the territory’s Minto Mine was injured following an explosion overnight.
The worker was medevaced from the site for his injury, said Andrew Robulack, a spokesman for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.
He said he could not provide details on what happened or what condition the worker is in.
The explosion happened either late Friday or early Saturday.
Safety board inspectors were at the mine site Saturday morning, but have returned to Whitehorse, Robulack said.
He says a stop-work order has been issued for the immediate vicinity where the incident happened, though the rest of the mine remains operational.
That order will be in place until the employer demonstrates to safety board officers that the workplace is safe. 
Robulack said details about the incident will be provided when the investigation is complete.
Capstone Mining Corporation owns the copper mine, which employs 306 people at the Minto site.
The company recently announced it would be keeping the mine active until at least 2020.
Courtesy of

Quarry explosion: Toll rises to 2 in Ramanagara, India

The death toll in Thursday’s quarry blast at Madapanta, Ramanagara, increased to two after a 40-year-old daily-wage worker, Arogyaswamy, succumbed to burns late on Friday night.
On Thursday night, a 30-year-old worker identified as Keertesh Kumar died and nine others, including Arogyaswamy, sustained burn injuries when the explosives they were implanting at the quarry accidentally exploded.
Keertesh Kumar, a native of Bihar, lived in a makeshift shed near the quarry. “In was raining heavily. Lightning struck the quarry and one of the explosives caught fire. In no time, the bundle exploded,” Tavarakere police said. “The quarry owners are absconding. We have registered a criminal case under IPC Section 304 (A), death due to negligence,” police added.
Courtesy of