Volgograd suffered its second terrorist attack in so many days on the morning of December 30th, with 14 dead and 28 wounded from a suicide bomber on a trolley bus. Several of the survivors remain under medical care, and it is feared that the death toll will continue to climb.
The attack is suspected to be connected with Sunday’s suicide bombing at a Volgograd railway station that killed 16 people. The two bombs used in the attacks were “identical” according to Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee.
The attacks have hit the spirit of Volgograd’s population hard during the holiday season and city residents are choosing to traverse on foot rather than risk public transportation. The region has declared a period of mourning for the victims of the two bombings.
With the Sochi Olympics on the horizon, concerns have been raised regarding security at the event given the recent bombings. Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov seemed confident, stating that “everything necessary has been done.” The White House released a statement saying that the US and Russia were working together on security measures leading up to the game.
Final plans for the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge were proposed to some controversy, though it did manage to avoid being delayed again. The primary concern was the decision to install elevators instead of a wheelchair-friendly ramp, with critics stating that nearby outdoor elevators are prone to malfunctioning.
A spokesman for the city stated that the elevators would be more “technologically advanced” than existing machines and that important components would be shielded from the elements. As of now the plans await approval from New York’s Public Design Commission.
The design phase for the project is estimated to cost roughly $2 million, with the following construction phase estimated to be roughly $27.5 million. The bill is to be divided in some fashion between the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).
According to a spokesperson, the BPCA would additionally be responsible for upkeep of the bridge and has so far set aside $7.5 million to go towards the bridge. The BPCA board includes several New York real estate veterans that should bring valuable experience to the table, including Lester Petracca of Triangle Equities and Carl Mattone of the Mattone Group.
While final designs and a detailed construction schedule have not yet been approved, the project seems to have enough momentum and confirmed funding to finally become a reality. Construction is tentatively hoped to start in fall of 2014 with the bridge opening in late 2016.
Most of us take living on dry land as a fact of life, but the Freedom Ship International project is looking to change that.
A revived project from the 90’s, the goal is to create an ocean-faring platform that can serve as a permanent residence for 50,000 people complete with shopping centers, schools, hospitals and anything else an urban center might require.
It’s audacious enough to draw an immediate combination of both skepticism and awe, but project lead Roger Gooch believes that the project is definitely feasible. “In the last six months we’re getting more interest in the project and we are hopeful we will raise the $1 billion to begin construction.” says Gooch.
The Freedom Ship designs expect it to be a mile long and 25 stories high, capable of housing 30,000 daily visitors, 20,000 crew and 10,000 overnight passengers in addition to the 50,000 permanent residents.
Concept designs feature an airport on the roof to transport individuals and supplies, as the ship would be far too large to enter a port. You can check out more concepts of the ship at the website here.
Young American whistleblowers taking on the overbearing government are shaping up to be the heroes of the 21st century. Edward Snowden has been making international headlines for months by bringing NSA activities to light, and he has been voted the Guardian 2013 Person of the Year hot on the heels of Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning).
The voting audience found it to be an easy decision as Snowden won with a landslide 1,445 votes. Greenpeace activists Marco Weber and Sini Saarela came in a distant second with 314 votes followed by Pope Frances with 153.
Snowden currently lives in a tenuous situation in Moscow, on the run from US authorities and fearing extradition should he leave his only safe haven. Moscow is only grudgingly welcoming, and has stated that if Snowden were to leave he would not be allowed back in.
Earlier this year in November, Snowden was reported to be in communication with the German parliament discussing the possibility of asylum in exchange for testimony on the international spying habits of the US.