International / National / News / February 11, 2010

News Briefs: Feb. 4-11

MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut – Five people were killed and twelve injured in a gas explosion at a power plant under construction on Sunday, February 7. Workers were purging natural gas pipeline when the explosion occurred at Kleen Power Plant. The blast shook the homes of residences miles away. (Source:

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Costa Rica elected its first female president on February 8. Laura Chinchilla claimed the post for the National Libertarian Party. Chinchilla garnered 46.8 percent of the vote compared to 25.1 and 20.9 percent received by her opponents. (Source:

ILLINOIS – A 3.8 magnitude earthquake shook northern Illinois at 4 A.M. the morning of February 9. The earthquake struck about 50 miles north of Chicago but reports of shaking came from Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa. Seismological activity is rare in Illinois. No injuries or damages were reported. (Source:

EVERETT, Washington – The Boeing 747-8, the largest commercial aircraft ever built in the United States took its first test flight Monday, February 8. The aircraft sports a redesigned wing and four of General Electric’s new high-tech GenX engines. The 747-8 is able to lift a maximum of 975,000 lbs. Boeing is expected to begin deliveries late this year. (Source:

WASHINGTON D.C. – Record snowfall shut down Washington D.C. beginning Friday, February 5, shutting down most of the city’s modes of public transportation including the Metro. More than 50,000 homes and businesses around the Metro lost power. The federal government allowed employees to take leave on Friday. Those who did go to work were sent home early. (Source:

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared a state of emergency on February 8. He announced a series of billing sanctions and rewards based on the energy use of each customer. Consumers who increase usage by 10 percent will pay an additional 100 percent on their monthly bill and those whose use goes up by 20 percent will pay an additional 200 percent. Chavez cited a draught as the main hindrance to the country’s hydroelectric power supply. The state of emergency will last for 60 days. (Source:

DETROIT, Michigan – Rock band The White Stripes threatened to take strong action to stop an Air Force Reserve Ad featured during the Superbowl. The band claims that the ad uses a re-recorded instrumental version of their hit “Fell in Love with a Girl.” The band issued argues that the ad fosters the “implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.” Kem Kraft, who was hired to compose an upbeat soundtrack for the ad, says that he had never heard the song prior to this conflict. (Source:

NEW YORK, New York – Facebook and AOL announced a partnership which will allow users to synch their Facebook friends and their AOL Instant Messenger contacts. This announcement comes on the heels of the unveiling of Google Buzz, the new social networking feature linked to Google’s GMail. About 70 percent of Facebook users also use AIM. (Source:

Sarah Colangelo

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