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Friday, August 11, 2006

Trustpower makes donation to Civil Defence

Ashburton Civil Defence to receive a $10,000 donation from Trustpower in lieu of rebates to customes for power outages during the June 12 snow.

Updated - Worm fears raised after release of Windows malware

The threat of a worm that attacks the vulnerability patched by the latest Microsoft Windows Updates is of a real concern and all Security Experts, Microsoft themselves, and the US Department of Homeland Security are urging corporates and the public at large to update their systems as soon as possible.

"This is a great opportunity for an unskilled hacker to launch a worm," said Marcus Sachs, deputy director with research group SRI International's Computer Science Laboratory. "A skilled hacker will use the vulnerability to quietly infect millions of computers for the purposes of sending spam, stealing credit card numbers, or countless other subversive activities," he said in an e-mail interview.

Sample code has been distributed and is part of toolkits, but the following article indicates that an actual exploit may now be on the loose

'Super typhoon' slams into southeast China

A "super typhoon", the strongest to hit China in half a century, slammed into the coast, killing at least two people, injuring more than 80 and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes.

The greater Wenzhou area, which includes Cangnan and is home to 7.4 million people, has declared a state of emergency and authorities have blocked highways into the worst-affected areas.

Xinhua reported that Zhejiang authorities had already evacuated nearly 1 million people, with another 569,000 people moved in the neighbouring province of Fujian.

[Can you imagine the evacuation of 1 million people?]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dogs fail to find any trace of student

Search dogs specially trained to find decomposing human bodies searched bush and reserves near the home of Young Wook Ma, also known as Jack Ma, yesterday but failed to find any sign of him.

Also see: Beach Searched For Missing Man

Homeland Security Says: Fix your Windows

Another security vulnerability in Microsoft Windows is creating a lot of concern.

The US Department of Homeland Security is prompting everyone to apply the latest Microsoft Security Updates, in particular Microsoft's MS06-040 patch

Micrsoft is also contacting Enterprise Customers directly and urging them to apply this patch ASAP. This is a pretty much unprecidented move by Microsoft.

Also see All ofAugusts Patches

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

No big shake-up for earthquake-prone buildings

Auckland City Council will adopt a common sense approach to enforcing new Building Act requirements for earthquake-prone buildings to minimise costs to owners.

A policy on implementing the requirements has been approved by the Planning and Regulatory Committee and will go to council for formal adoption.

Expect more extreme rain in future - scientist

Global warming to cause more rain, floods, slips, but warmer and drier for wine growers.

A climate change scientist has predicted by 2080 New Zealand will be on average up to two degrees warmer and generally drier in eastern areas, including Hawke's Bay and Marlborough – but will experience more days of extreme heavy rainfall.

Christchurch faces clean-up after flood

Dozens of Christchurch residents face a big clean-up today after heavy rain caused the Heathcote River to burst its banks and flood their properties.

Residents of one house were evacuated, but most remained in their homes and waited for floodwaters to recede after the river, which runs through suburban Christchurch, overflowed early yesterday.

Also See

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Heavy rain causes flooding, slips throughout country

Areas around New Zealand have been impacted by continuing rains, causing slips and flooding.

Many parts of the country are bracing for yet more flooding damage, as heavy rains push river levels to overflowing and landslides cause major damage to roads, homes and fields.

Also see: Christchurch Weather Advisory

Wellingtonian wins Police Search and Rescue award

Senior Constable Daniel O'Connell from Wellington has won the Police Lou Grant Award for excellence in and contribution to police Search and Rescue.

The Lou Grant Award commemorates a popular Auckland police sergeant who died in the Eagle helicopter crash in Auckland, in November 1993. Lou's widow Cath Grant donated a bronze trophy which is awarded every two years for excellence and contribution to Police SAR, by Police SAR members rather than Volunteers.

Flooding fears grow in Christchurch - updated

Sandbagging had started, but levels are now starting to fall.

Also See

Strong earthquake reported off coast of Vanuatu

A strong earthquake of 6.7 magnitude hit 75km from the largest island of Vanuatu at 9.18am local time today, the US Geological Survey has said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said that there was no Pacific Ocean-wide tsunami threat, even with their higher initial reading of a 7.0 magnitude.

Heathcote River Floods

Christchurch City Council spokesman Terry Sefton says Eastern Terrace between Birdwood and Sandwich Roads is impassable and some parts of Palentine and Riverlaw terraces are covered in water.

High tide is due at 3.15pm, sparking fears the flooding could get worse.

Constant rain has also caused several slips on the hills around Christchurch. The Summit Road is closed between Dyers Pass and Mt Pleasant due to a slip at Rapaki and there are several smaller slips on Centaurus, Sumner and Dyers Pass Roads.

Hutt Emergency Management team meets to discuss slip

More rain in the Lower Hutt area has caused slips putting houses in danger. The ocupants were evacuated last night.

Also See: Landslide in suburban street a 'huge disaster'

Heavy rain continues to cause chaos

Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and slips in Wanganui, closing State Highway 4 at Parapara and reducing traffic on State Highway 3 to one lane between Westmere and Kaiwi early this morning.

Most of the North Island had been hit by the rain, which had arrived sooner than expected and would leave later. An improvement was expected tomorrow, Ms Syme said.

The rain was working its way down the island and in Wellington had combined with high winds - gusts of 95kph being recorded in suburban Kelburn.

The South Island had largely escaped the worst of the weather, although the Lindis Pass remained closed today after snow last night.

Mount Hutt skifield was closed due to wind, and Christchurch's Lyttelton Harbour was also feeling the breeze, with a gust of 80kph recorded at 2am today.

Philippines fears volcano eruption

The Philippine government evacuated thousands of villagers from around the Southeast Asian country's most active volcano on Monday after warning the rumbling mountain could explode at any time.

Satellite Data Show Gravity Change from 2004 Sumatra Earthquake

Scientists funded by NASA, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Ohio Supercomputer Center have used satellite data for the first time to detect changes in the Earth's surface caused by a massive earthquake.

The discovery signifies a new use for the data from NASA's two gravity recovery and climate experiment (GRACE) satellites and might offer a new approach to understanding how earthquakes work, according to an August 3 press release from Ohio State University (OSU).

“The earthquake changed the gravity in that part of the world in two ways that we were able to detect,” said Shin-Chan Han, a research scientist in the OSU School of Earth Sciences.

Also See: International Partners Shape Indian Ocean Warning System

Thuraya in ITU deal to supply satellite phones

The UAE's Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company has signed a deal with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to supply satellite phones when major disasters strike around the world, officials said.

Communications in a disaster situation is always critical, and satellite based systems are the most likely to still be operational. But will they be subject to the usual problems of overload when they are most needed?

Dead Iraqi Cats Infected With H5N1 Virus

Medical researchers say domestic cats that died during an outbreak of bird flu in Iraq last February were infected with the H5N1 virus. The cats were found infected with a distinct strain of the H5N1 virus known as Clade II.

Clade II was first found in migrating birds in western China in 2005.

Also See: Your Dog and Bird Flu

Monday, August 07, 2006

Search party walks in to uplift injured tramper

A search and rescue party was heading for Scott's Knob, near Blenheim, this morning to bring out a woman tramper with a broken ankle.

Also see:

New centre to prepare NZ for disasters

A new research centre based at Massey University in Wellington will pool the skills of experts to better prepare New Zealand for natural disasters.

Also See

Police angry after boy gets lost in forest

Police have criticised "stupid" people who go out tramping in bad weather conditions after a 13-year-old boy went missing.

Hurt tramper flown from park

An injured 48-year-old tramper and her companion were rescued from Kaimanawa Forest Park yesterday morning.

Supplies of Tamiflu plentiful, and cheaper

Since some time has passed there is now good supplies of Tamiflu available, and Roche Pharmaceuticals has recently slashed the wholesale price by 15 per cent.

However there is still no gaurantee that Tamiflu will be any real benefit if/when Bird Flu mutates to a human spreadable form.

NZ's civil defence heads get together

A civil defence forum in Parliament last week was held to ensure regional groups are on their toes.