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The Lead

EU Charges Russia's Gazprom Gas Giant with Market Abuse

April 22, 2015 5:36 pm | by Raf Casert, Associate Press | News | Comments

The European Union on charged Russian state energy giant Gazprom of abusing its dominant position in central and eastern EU nations in an antitrust case that will further test tense relations between Brussels and Moscow.  EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Gazprom is strong-arming customer nations where it sometimes almost fully controls the gas market, by setting unfair pricing and contract restrictions.

Exxon Mobil firms to Pay Nearly $5 Million for Arkansas Oil Spill

April 22, 2015 5:26 pm | by Claudia Lauer, Associated Press | News | Comments

 Two subsidiaries of Exxon Mobil must pay almost $5 million in penalties for state and federal...

Almonds Get Roasted in Debate Over California Water Use

April 21, 2015 12:26 pm | by Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press | News | Comments

California almonds are becoming one of the world's favorite snacks and creating a multibillion-...

Expert: Tale of Worker Asleep in Cargo Hold is a Warning

April 16, 2015 11:35 am | by Manuel Valdes and David Koenig, Associated Press | News | Comments

The misadventure of a baggage handler who fell asleep in the cargo hold of a jetliner should be...

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Weekly news and features for business continuity professionals

Japanese Court Rejects Bid to Restart Two Nuclear Reactors

April 16, 2015 11:23 am | by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press | News | Comments

 A court issued an injunction ordering two nuclear reactors in western Japan to stay offline, rejecting regulators' safety approval of the reactors' planned restart later this year, a decision that could further delay the government's restart plans.

Power Outages Create Serious Continuity Problems

April 14, 2015 11:12 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Blogs | Comments

With new cyber threats and complex supply chain resilience on the minds of business continuity professionals more than ever, it can be hard to focus on the disruptions that they have been dealing with for years.  Some of the simplest issues can cause the biggest problems and few things cause headaches for BC pros like power outages.

Firms Push High-Tech Solutions to Fortify Airport Perimeters

April 14, 2015 11:05 am | by Martha Mendoza and Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

An Associated Press investigation this week documented 268 instances in which people hopped over, crawled under, drove cars through or otherwise breached the fences and gates protecting the perimeters of 31 of the nation's busiest airports from January 2004 through January 2015.

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Power station blast in Maryland causes outages across DC

April 9, 2015 11:38 am | by Ben Nuckols, Associated Press | News | Comments

Widespread power outages affected the White House, the Capitol, museums, train stations and other sites across Washington and its suburbs Tuesday afternoon — all because of an explosion at a Maryland power station, officials said.  Many of the outages were brief, but some were longer and forced evacuations.

California Regulator Suggests Utility is Too Big to be Safe

April 9, 2015 11:36 am | by Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press | News | Comments

California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker said he would ask the commission's staff to study "the culture of safety" and the structure of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which has its gas and electricity operations under a single corporate board and chief executive.

Could Water Scarcity Impact Business Continuity Professionals?

April 7, 2015 11:58 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Articles | Comments

Resource management is a critical concept when it comes to resilience.  An organization can’t function properly without the things it needs to do so.  While resources are important, there are few that are as universally needed as water.  Nathaniel Forbes of Forbes Calamity Prevention argues that the impact of restricted access to water is something more business continuity professionals should focus on.

Jerry Brown Defends Drought Order that Doesn't Limit Farmers

April 7, 2015 10:29 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

As California endures a fourth year of drought, Brown's order this week requires towns and cities statewide to draw down water use by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels. While past reductions were voluntary, Brown said he is using his emergency powers to make the cuts mandatory.

Hurricane Sandy Funds Went Toward Shoddy Work

April 1, 2015 2:06 pm | by Mike Balsamo, Associated Press | News | Comments

A program that was supposed to rebuild homes wrecked by Superstorm Sandy paid $6.8 million to contractors for work that was "flawed or incomplete," the city's comptroller said in an audit.  The audit examined whether the city properly ensured benefits to storm victims from June 2013 through August 2014.

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Truck Explodes after Attempted Gasoline Theft

April 1, 2015 1:11 pm | by Christopher Sherman, Associated Press | News | Comments

The death toll in a gasoline tanker truck explosion in southeastern Mexico rose to 14 , the result of an attempted theft of fuel in an area that authorities say has a long reputation for roadside thefts.  Gasoline theft has been a persistent problem in Mexico, but siphoning directly from pipelines has received the most attention.

BP Case Will be Heard by Jury

April 1, 2015 12:58 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

A judge says Alabama's Gulf oil-spill-damage claims under the federal Oil Pollution Act can be heard by a jury.  BP had moved to block a jury trial for the state, saying that neither the Oil Pollution Act nor admiralty law provides the right to a trial by jury.

Continuity and Concrete Sea Walls in Japan

March 26, 2015 11:46 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Blogs | Comments

In 2011, an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that struck northern Japan, leaving thousands dead and causing billions of dollars in damage.  It also resulted in nuclear meltdowns, including the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant.  Now, the government is considering something drastic: building a 250 mile chain of cement sea walls more than five stories tall.

Nuclear Plant Rests on Fault, Report Says

March 25, 2015 4:02 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The Nuclear Regulation Authority accepted a report that says a reactor at Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga nuclear plant on the Sea of Japan coast sits right above an active geological fault, a move that may force the operator to permanently shut down the unit.

Companies Turn to Automation to Prevent Down Time

March 19, 2015 10:25 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Articles | Comments

Managing critical equipment and avoiding unplanned down time is key for any organization to remain profitable and conduct business effectively.  Some larger companies, like GE, are turning to data based solutions to help keep their own infrastructure, as well as that of their customers, running smoothly.

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Freedom Industries Plant Manager Pleads Guilty to Pollution Charge

March 19, 2015 9:53 am | by John Raby, Associated Press | News | Comments

 A former plant manager at Freedom Industries pleaded guilty to a pollution charge Wednesday in last year's chemical spill in West Virginia that fouled the local tap water supply.  Federal investigators have said holes in a corroded tank's floor and roof likely helped cause the Jan. 9, 2014, spill. Freedom Industries filed for bankruptcy protection eight days later.

Businesses Re-Open as European Economy Recovers Slowly

March 19, 2015 9:24 am | by Barry Hatton, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Valadares factory in Portugal shut down in 2012 amid Europe's financial crisis, its huge debts and outdated business practices dooming it to bankruptcy. Now, on the factory floor, a few dozen former employees are back at their jobs and fighting to rebuild their lives after the business was reopened by private investors.  

Active Volcano Impacts Chile's Tourism Industry

March 19, 2015 9:09 am | by Dave Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

Located in Chile's Lake District in the southeast portion of the Province of Cautín, Pucon and the surrounding area is home to Lake Villarrica and the Villarrica volcano. It's about 11 hours (700 kilometers) by bus traveling south from Santiago, Chile's capital.

Could Change in Climate, Environment Impact the Spread of Infectious Diseases?

March 17, 2015 10:05 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Articles | Comments

Could a changing climate and changing environments have an impact on the spread of infectious diseases?  At least one Zoologist thinks so.  In an article posted in February on Continuity Insights’ sister publications R&D,  Daniel Brooks of University of Nebraska-Lincoln discussed how the spread of infectious diseases like the West Nile Virus and Ebola could be linked to changing climate.

Island Nation Vanuatu Hammered by Cyclone

March 16, 2015 4:04 pm | by Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has lost years of development progress and must "start anew" following a powerful cyclone that destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital of Port Vila, the country's president said.

Social Security Data Error Raises Red Flags

March 16, 2015 3:36 pm | by Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press | News | Comments

Americans are getting older, but not this old: Social Security records show that 6.5 million people in the U.S. have reached the ripe old age of 112.  Social Security does not have death records for millions of these people, with the oldest born in 1869, according to a report by the agency's inspector general.

Train Service Halted after Mud Blocks Tracks

March 16, 2015 2:51 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Heavy rain over the weekend caused mudslides around western Washington, including one that has stopped passenger train service between Seattle and the city of Everett, about 25 miles north.  The National Weather Service says Sunday's rainfall broke records across western Washington.

Duke Energy Faces Massive Fine over Pollution

March 12, 2015 11:27 am | by Mitch Weiss, Associated Press | News | Comments

North Carolina environmental officials said  they are fining Duke Energy $25 million over pollution that has been seeping into groundwater for years from a pair of coal ash pits at a retired power plant.  The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources called it the state's largest penalty for environmental damages.

Canadian Government Proposes New Tank Car Regulations

March 12, 2015 11:14 am | by Rob Gillies and Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Canadian government has proposed tough new standards for rail tank cars used to transport crude oil in response to a string of fiery crashes.  The proposal, posted online  by Transport Canada, would require the cars to have outer "jackets," a layer of thermal protection, and thicker steel walls.

Cars Catch Fire, Oil Spills into River After Train Derails

March 9, 2015 4:32 pm | by Adam Miller, The Canadian Press | News | Comments

 Another train derailment in northern Ontario has added new fuel to the ongoing debate over whether rail is a safe way of transporting crude oil.  First Nations and environmentalists are among those expressing alarm over the derailment of a CN Rail train that caused several tank cars carrying crude oil to catch fire and spill into a local river system.

Air Traffic Control System at Risk of Being Hacked

March 4, 2015 4:16 pm | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to protect the air traffic control system from cyber-based threats, but "significant security control weaknesses remain, threatening the agency's ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation," said a report by the Government Accountability Office.

'Safer' Train Car Design Could Save Lives

February 26, 2015 9:02 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that testing showed could blunt the tremendous force of a head-on collision.

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