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Gunmen kidnap Saudi diplomat in Yemen
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
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-Lurid Crime Tales-
Strauss-Kahn sex case returns to US court
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, accused of pimping in La Belle France, faced new legal worries across the Atlantic on Wednesday, with the first hearing in a US civil suit accusing him of sexual assault.

The hearing in New York state court in the Bronx was the first in civil action brought by the hotel maid whose accusation of attempted rape last year triggered the spectacular downfall of one of the world's most powerful politicians.

Although US prosecutors tossed out criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn after deciding that Nafissatou Diallo's allegations would not stand up in court, the maid's lawyers are now pursuing unspecified damages.

"She wants recognition of her status as a victim and the reality of the attack she suffered," her French lawyer Thibault de Montbrial told French television channel LCI.

He said Diallo was still employed by the Sofitel hotel and expected to go back to work there at some point, adding that she still required treatment on her shoulder, "which was injured during the assault."

Strauss-Kahn and Diallo are neither required, nor expected, to be present in court.

Judge Douglas McKeon is due to start by hearing arguments on whether the suit should be dismissed because Strauss-Kahn had diplomatic immunity as head of the International Monetary Fund when he was tossed in the calaboose May 14.

The ruling may not come for several weeks, McKeon told AFP.
Posted by: Fred || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [220 views] Top||

#1  Civil action??
Posted by: gromky || 03/29/2012 17:26 Comments || Top||

#2  ..yep, just like OJ. The standards of 'guilt' are different in a civil vs criminal trial.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 03/29/2012 19:43 Comments || Top||


-Short Attention Span Theater-
Boulder Couple Builds 125 Square-Foot House
With grand designs on minimizing their housing footprint, Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller have spent the last 10 months building the tiny home of their dreams.
"It's 19 feet long wall to wall,” Smith said. “The interior square-footage is about 125 square feet.”
Room enough for gun safe, reloading bench, beer fridge, computer & LazyBoy. And I'll leave the toilet outside where it won't stink up the place. Yep, it could work.
The interior layout consists of a sitting area, kitchen and bathroom. A vaulted ceiling makes room for a sleeping loft that can accommodate a queen-size mattress.
Their design incorporates several sustainable elements, including: reclaimed windows, beetle-kill lumber, solar power and a composting toilet.
"It’s just a five-gallon bucket that you put peat moss and sawdust in.”
How many could fit in AlGore's place?
Posted by: Glenmore || 03/29/2012 19:30 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [224 views] Top||

#1  and a composting toilet.

"It’s just a five-gallon bucket that you put peat moss and sawdust in,” Smith said. “You'd be surprised how well it works and how much it doesn't smell.”


Wait till high summer and the flies. There was a reason for 'outhouses'.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 03/29/2012 19:40 Comments || Top||

#2  S'okey… liberals don't think their sh*t stinks...
Posted by: M. Murcek || 03/29/2012 20:19 Comments || Top||

#3  You can buy 125 square foot houses ready-made from factories, that even have wheels on 'em. Some of them have engines. They're called 'RVs.'
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 03/29/2012 20:20 Comments || Top||

#4  But that would be tacky, Thing.

They may want to pat themselves on the back and tell everybody how wonderful they are "minimize their housing footprint," but they certainly don't want to be tacky, dontcha know.
Posted by: Barbara || 03/29/2012 20:25 Comments || Top||

#5  They're called 'RVs.'

In my neck of the woods, it's called a garden shed or the kids' playhouse. Something I think this couple won't be having. Exit left the gene pool.
Posted by: Shimble Guelph5793 || 03/29/2012 20:43 Comments || Top||

#6  ...And, parked out in that cute 4' long mud-puddle pocked driveway, sits a sleek, inoperative and "Totally Off-the Grid" Yugo "automobile"---
Song Lyrics:
(Parody of In The Ghetto by Elvis Presley by:Paul Shanklin...and broadcast by Rush on numerous occasions)



As the snow flies...

At a used car lot on the edge of town
A liberal guy and a liberal gal
Buy a Yugo
And they drive with pride

'cause if there's one thing that this world needs
It's environmental friends who'll take the lead
In a Yugo

They say, "People don't you understand?
Those Suburbans are ruining the land!"
But they'll wish they had a full-size van one day

They're pointing fingers at you and me
They say we're too blind to see
But do we simply use our heads
And choose a better way
As those small wheels turn

Fifty miles to the gallon and their knees on their chests
We're gonna save enough gas for all the rest
In a Yugo
Then one day on the interstate
They suddenly lose control
They swerve to miss a baby duck
And are squashed beneath a produce truck
But they drove with pride

And as the crowds drive past the little flat car
You know they saved a lot of gas but they didn't get far
In a Yugo
And as they're trapped inside

At a used car lot on the other side of town
A liberal guy and a liberal gal
Buy a Yugo
And they drive with pride...
Posted by: canalzone || 03/29/2012 23:01 Comments || Top||


India launches first Bollywood 'walk of fame'
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Often accused of ripping off plot lines from Hollywood, it was perhaps only a matter of time before India's Bollywood launched its own "Walk of Fame" in the style of Los Angeles' iconic boulevard.

Indian cinema's "Walk of the Stars" was officially opened Wednesday on a seaside promenade in the Bandra district of Mumbai, the country's entertainment capital -- the first of two competing projects under way in the city.

Like the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Mumbai's new pathway will bear handprints and signatures of numerous actors -- along with a handful of life-size brass statues depicting some of the Indian greats.

From one of Bollywood's acting dynasties, movie star Kareena Kapoor was the main guest at the launch in a nearby hotel, where she unveiled a statue of her legendary grandfather, the late Raj Kapoor, sitting on a bench.

"I think people should come to actually dance with the stars. Some stars that are not here today with us, we can get to dance with them, touch them, feel them and actually realise what they were".

Describing herself as a "proud granddaughter", she and her father, actor Randhir Kapoor, perched with the statue for photographs -- as fans will soon be able to do on the promenade.

"Acting is something that the Kapoors have just lived for. Cinema is something that is in our veins, it's in our blood, and we're very, very proud to say that," she said.

The Kapoor family are the first to be honoured on the street "because they're technically the first family of Bollywood," said Nikhil Gandhi, business head of the UTV Stars television channel that has set up the walkway.

"We thought it would be a good idea for us to create something as a tribute to the biggest superstars of the industry," he told AFP. "The idea is to get fans closer to the superstars."
Posted by: Fred || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [215 views] Top||

#1  Wonder if they're any more level headed than our celebrities?
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 03/29/2012 12:38 Comments || Top||


Africa North
Egypt military clears way for Nur to run for president
[Emirates 24/7] Egypt's military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi on Wednesday granted opposition figure Ayman Nur full political rights, allowing him to run in a May presidential election, state media reported.
This is the guy Hosni jugged last election...
Nur, who challenged ousted president Hosni Mubarak
...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011...
in a 2005 election, last year lost an appeal to erase a five-year jail sentence passed on forgery charges. The sentence made him ineligible to run for office.

Tantawi decreed that Nur "could engage in all his political rights," the official MENA news agency reported.

Nur shot to fame when he ran in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential election, losing overwhelmingly to Mubarak who had ruled Egypt since 1981 and was finally ousted by a popular uprising last year.

Months after the election in which he clinched 7.6 percent of the vote, he was sentenced to five years in jail on what many saw as politically-motivated charges.

The sentencing was denounced by the United States, which called for Nur's release. He was finally freed in 2009 on health grounds.

To run for Egypt's top job, Nur who founded the Al-Ghad party, must either be nominated by a party or secure the endorsement of 30 MPs or 30,000 eligible voters from 15 provinces.
Posted by: Fred || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [221 views] Top||


Arabia
Saleh's kid will run for presidency in 2014
[Yemen Post] Mohammed Naji al-Shaif, an influential tribal chief and Parliament member, said that the former ruling General People Congress party is gonging to nominate former President President-for-Life Ali Abdullah Saleh's
... Saleh initially took power as a strongman of North Yemen in 1977, when disco was in flower, but he didn't invite Donna Summer to the inauguration and Blondie couldn't make it...
eldest son, Ahmed, to represent it in the next presidential election set to take place in 2014.

In an interview with the state-run al-Jamohoria newspaper, al-Shaif revealed that Ahmed, 40, is set to run for presidency in 2014.

"For me I don't have any ambitions to run for President," he noted.

Speaking about the upcoming national dialogue, al-Shaif called on all political parties, and social factions to engage in the dialogue, considering it the only viable exit route of the current crisis that dragged for over a year.

He reaffirmed his willingness to stand by the Southern Movement if it chooses federalism, stressing that federalism is the best solution for the southern issue.

"If the upcoming national dialogue will not put Federalism on the table then there is no need to hold it,"

"The National Unity Government was not up to people's aspirations," al-Shaif said, adding that President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi should dismiss Mohammed Salem Basindoh's, the Prime Minister, government and form another unity government.

Apparently Saleh, 70, had stepped down only to give way to his son to succeed him.

Ahmed is the commander of the elite Elite Republican Guards, the best trained and equipped troops in the country.

After months of being defiant in the face of relentless, massive protests, Saleh, 70, was pressured to sign the GCC-brokered deal that eased him out of power in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Although he relinquished power and another president took over, Saleh still somehow is pulling the strings of the country though his well-placed relatives and cronies
Posted by: Fred || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [221 views] Top||


Britain
Aircraft carrier costs will be half what you think, US tells MoD
The US Navy has intervened over the adaptation of a British aircraft carrier for a new generation of fighter jets, to assure ministers that the cost will be less than half the Ministry of Defence's estimate.

Converting HMS Prince of Wales
Assuming it is ever built, a dubious assumption...
so that it can be used by the Joint Strike Fighter will require significantly less than the £2 billion quoted by officials, the assistant secretary of the US Navy, Sean J Stackley, insisted.

In a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph, he told Peter Luff, the defence procurement minister, that the necessary equipment would cost £458 million before installation. Defence experts estimate the installation cost at £400  million.

The carrier project has been overshadowed by cost and technical issues. In the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010, which scrapped Harrier jump jets, the Coalition opted for a conventional take-off and landing model of the new, American-built fighter instead of a jump-jet variant. But ministers were on the point of changing their minds after MoD officials forecast that the cost of adapting a carrier to use the conventional planes would rise from £500 million to £1.8 billion.

Following the intervention by the US Navy, David Cameron has ordered a Treasury-led re-examination of the project. The Major Project Review Group will submit a report on April 16 which it is understood will be considered by the National Security Council the next day.

The letter from Mr Stackley outlined studies concerning a sophisticated but untested catapult system to help aircraft reach take-off speed.
That would be the electromagnetic system that is to replace steam catapults.
He reassured the British that the risks of the project, and of a new arrester wire system for deck landings, would be underwritten by the US, which is installing the system on one of its carriers. Mr Stackley ended by saying: "The department of navy is committed to supporting the success of the UK CVF (conventional carrier)."

The Americans sent the letter following tense meetings with British officials on the margins of Mr Cameron's trip to Washington last week.

"They want to ensure that the information the British Government is working from is accurate because currently that quite clearly is not the case," said a Whitehall source.

Two British carriers are being built, but one will be mothballed following the SDSR.
Makes no sense to build it then.
It's one way to store spare parts...
Reverting to jump jets for both of them would not help American military planners, who want to be able to base a squadron of their own jets on a British carrier.
Since the U.S. will be going down a carrier or two by 2025...
There are also said to be technological concerns over the jump jet version of the fighter and the Americans might be positioning themselves to ditch it altogether.

"This letter could be a warning shot saying if you Brits go back to jump jet carriers then there might be no planes to fly off it," said a defence source.
Translation: the U.S. doesn't have to build the jump jet version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Richard Scott, of Jane's Defence Weekly, said: "The trouble the Government has is in getting reliable cost data but at least the costs the Americans are giving are quite reassuring."
Not calculated the way they did Obamacare before it passed, one hopes.
An MoD spokesman said: "Work is ongoing to finalise the 2012-13 budget and balance the equipment plan. This means reviewing all programmes, including elements of the carrier strike program me."
The Brits really ought to have the ability to launch conventional aircraft from perhaps the only carrier they'll build for the next fifty years. I really don't see them building and mothballing a second carrier, so Prince of Wales will be it. A jump jet only carrier, for Harriers or F-35B fighters, makes no sense in the long term. Do it right or don't bother and invest the money in Type 45 destroyers, subs and intel ships instead.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [238 views] Top||

#1  "Jump jets" > IOW, the AV-B Harriers the F-35 was supposed to replace + which may now be "un-scrapped" to UK strategic, mission requirements + budget barriers.

The only reasons for the UK to keep one
"Vanguard" FBM Sub; while seemingly also building then mothballing the lead "Queen Liz" CVF for 50 years or so is per its superior technology + in particular the UK-PERCEIVED LACK OF MAJOR GEOPOL OR EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO ITSELF + NATO-EU DURING THIS PERIOD.

IOW, LIKE THE USA LONDON BELIEVES IT + NATO-EU IS SAFE FOR 50 YEARS OR MORE FROM THE ISLAMIST GLOBAL JIHAD, BE IT VIOLENT ANDOR POLITICAL-ELECTORAL JIHAD, ETC.

Apparently Sandhurst + Parliament missed or had forgotten that part of Muslim/ME mil histoire' where they kept initiating minor or limited-scale, destabilizing predatory raids agz the Crusader Kingdoms in-between major campaigns = major Crusades???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/29/2012 0:21 Comments || Top||

#2  Asking the US Navy to help with cost control is like asking Captain John Smith to take the Titanic 'just a bit closer to that iceberg so we can see it better.'

remember this is the same USN that starred in that spell binding tale 'The $5 Billion Misunderstanding (the A-12 Avenger debacle),' and also sold Congress the fairy tale that the Super Hornet has 85-90% commonality with the regular one, when in reality there is only about 10-15% commonality.
And spent who knows how much on the F-14D 'Bombcat' as well as new wings for the Intruder, only to retire both, sinking the Intruders for fish houses, and cutting up the Tomcats to keep parts out of Iranian hands. (and to bolster support for the Lawn Darts)
Posted by: USN, Ret. || 03/29/2012 0:33 Comments || Top||

#3  Brit R/Royce AV-8/Harrier Program needs to have continued DOD sustainment budget backing.

This [...now marginalized] A/C platform, and any subsequent configuration upgrades, provide an awesome array of tactical capabilities to the Department of the Navy.
Posted by: canalzone || 03/29/2012 1:22 Comments || Top||

#4  I love carriers but I don't really see the British power projecting anymore. The modern era is about finding an ally who will provide runways or determining that the conflict is not your business. The only real exception is the Falklands and I don't see anything being planned now being ready in time to be a factor, and I'm not sure the British government would have the balls of Thatcher to use the iron fist if required.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 03/29/2012 4:52 Comments || Top||

#5  The US Navy has intervened over the adaptation of a British aircraft carrier for a new generation of fighter jets, to assure ministers that the cost will be less than half the Ministry of Defence's estimate.

This from the service that hasn't been able to produce a successful new tactical aircraft program in almost thirty years and for whom 'cost overrun' is such a common occurrence that it ought to be in the contracts.

I truly respect and admire the USN, but their procurement people are as bad as the USAF's. I can only imagine what Neptunus Lex would have done with this story.

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 03/29/2012 5:50 Comments || Top||

#6  Of course the estimate is lower. They took the graft out of the estimate. Not to say it isn't still "in there" but that's what cost over-runs are for.
Posted by: AlanC || 03/29/2012 9:05 Comments || Top||

#7  I truly respect and admire the USN, but their procurement people are as bad as the USAF's

Who do you think they've remodeled their procurement process after?
Posted by: Pappy || 03/29/2012 15:51 Comments || Top||

#8  Two British carriers are being built, but one will be mothballed following the SDSR.
Makes no sense to build it then.
It's one way to store spare parts...


Contract was signed by the previous PM the dismal Brown, to be built the MP, electoral back-garden and had a clause that meant cancelling them cost more than building them.

Pure pork from the worst Prime-Minister in British history.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 03/29/2012 18:07 Comments || Top||

#9  With the upcoming dominance of drone aircraft, carriers as we know them will be militarily obsolete. Drones can be launched at much higher g forces and recovered on a barge.

With proper drone design work, the carrier of the future could conduct operations entirely submerged.

At this point carriers are little more than portable political tripwires, which if attacked have so many people on board that the attack guarantees war.
Posted by: rammer || 03/29/2012 20:17 Comments || Top||


Economy
Pipeline to be Keystone Kompetitor
Two major energy companies are planning to build new pipelines that will move as much as 850,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast by mid-2014, in the latest effort to cope with a surge of oil production in North America.

The separate projects, planned by Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, will compete with TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a massive project to move crude from the oil sands of Alberta to U.S. refineries. The Keystone project was delayed late last year after pressure from environmental groups and has become a hot-button topic in the U.S. presidential campaign, with critics of the Obama administration contending that the delay will contribute to high gasoline prices in the future.

Enbridge and Enterprise already operate the Seaway Pipeline, which used to move oil north—from Freeport, Texas, near Houston, to the massive oil storage hub in Cushing, Okla. Last year the companies said they would reverse the flow of that pipeline because a recent surge in Canadian and U.S. oil production has created an overabundance at that location. The reversal will let Seaway move as much as 150,000 barrels a day south to refiners by June 1 and 400,000 barrels a day by early next year by adding new pumping stations.
A WSJ article reached thru my civil engineering daily news brief. I trust the link will let you in, unless it looks for my 'cookie'. A version of this article appeared Mar. 27, 2012, on page B1 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Planned Pipelines To Rival Keystone.
Posted by: Bobby || 03/29/2012 17:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [218 views] Top||

#1  The link works for me, Bobby. :-)
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/29/2012 20:55 Comments || Top||


F-35 to cost $1.5 trillion over its lifespan
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/29/2012 02:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [216 views] Top||


Europe
Swedish defense minister quits over Saudi arms plant plans
The Swedish defense minister was forced to quit on Thursday after weeks of pressure over reports the government planned to help Saudi Arabia build a weapons plant. Arms sales to Saudi Arabia are controversial in a country which prides itself on standing up for human rights, and the reports about aid for the weapons plant sparked an uproar.

Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors survived initial reports in early March about plans for a state-run Defense research agency, FOI, to help Saudi Arabia build the plant by saying he had not known of them and that FOI had exceeded its authority. But reports of the details of the affair have continued to surface, steadily increasing pressure on him.

Roberta Alenius, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, said, "He (Tolgfors) has resigned at his own request."

The minority center-right government, which consists of four parties, has fallen behind in opinion polls after the largest opposition party the Social Democrats named a popular new leader.

Reinfeldt, head of the largest government party, the Moderates, has had to delay further income tax cuts due to a slowing economy. He has until the next election in 2014 to win back some popularity.
Posted by: ryuge || 03/29/2012 06:04 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [218 views] Top||

#1  Don't they sell any other body parts over there?
Posted by: Chuckles Whavimble6183 || 03/29/2012 17:01 Comments || Top||


Thousands in Belarus protest against government
MINSK, Belarus: Several thousand people have turned out for an anti-government rally in Belarus to call for the freeing of political prisoners and for the former Soviet republic to become a European-style democracy.

Sunday’s protest rally was the largest since authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko won another term in a December 2010 election and intensified his crackdown on the opposition.

The opposition has traditionally held rallies on March 25 to mark the anniversary of Belarus’ short-lived declaration of independence from Russia in 1918.

Lukashenko’s government usually bans the rallies and sends police in to break them up. This year, the protesters were allowed to gather peacefully, but each one had to pass through security controls and be photographed.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [210 views] Top||

#1  You murderous bunch in Belarus. To be an ass for the Russians. They do not even need you.
Posted by: newc || 03/29/2012 4:54 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
University rocked by sex scandal again
[Dawn] All public and private organizations in the country are required to implement the Sexual Harassment Act but a female university teacher could pick up the courage of reporting her case only after reaching the safety of a foreign land.

Higher Education Commission's Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi confirmed to Dawn that a female faculty member of the Hazara University, currently doing PhD in the United Kingdom, has filed an application with the HEC that she suffered sexual harassment at the university.

"It is a very serious issue. We will take action if the university fails to investigate and act on its own in a given time," he said.

Initial investigation has shown the charge was correct, according to an HEC official.

"There is a cult in the university and some top officers in its management, deans and female faculty members are involved in the racket," he said requesting anonymity.

However,
a lie repeated often enough remains a lie...
the university management, instead of explaining its position, has sought explanation from the complainant for "violating the procedure" by taking her complaint directly to the HEC.

In her application to the HEC, the complainant explained that she had no chance of being heard by the university as a powerful coterie there blocked and dumped such complaints.

She said she was "one of the many victims" of sexual harassment in the Hazara University, which is situated about 20 kilometres from Mansehra
...a city and an eponymous district in eastern Khyber-Pakthunwa, nestled snug up against Pak Kashmir, with Kohistan and Diamir to the north and Abbottabad to the south...
.She got the chance when she arrived in UK on a scholarship and decided to write to the HEC to save other students and faculty members, she said.

Vice-Chancellor Hazara University, Dr Syed Sakhawat Shah was not aware of the incident.

When Dawn pointed him the explanation sought by his university from the complainant, he said it would have been done "in routine" and without his knowledge.

However he promised to look into it.

"After getting her application we decided to countercheck as there could be personal vendetta behind it," said an HEC official.

"In probing the case, we contacted other female faculty members who confirmed the allegation of the complainant. They said some university officers and faculty members collaborated in the dirty affair," he added.

Subsequently, the HEC asked the university management investigate the matter itself and report back within six weeks. But the management went seeking an explanation from the 'victim' for approaching HEC over its head.
Posted by: Fred || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [225 views] Top||

#1  Hetros will wonders never cease
Posted by: Rupert Bourbon9489 || 03/29/2012 16:53 Comments || Top||


Science & Technology
Cheap Natural Gas Makes Inroads as U.S. Vehicle Fuel
[An Nahar] Natural gas, whose price is at record lows thanks to a shale drilling boom, is gaining traction as an alternative energy in the United States, with automakers jumping on the bandwagon.
I'm kinda dumbfounded it hasn't displaced gasoline by now. But try finding someone to convert your car -- a process I undertand takes under an hour.
The use of natural gas instead of oil-based gasoline to drive the country's cars and trucks "is definitely starting to take off," said Mark Hanson, an analyst at investment research firm Morningstar.
Actually, I understand two CNG stations in the Baltimore area have recently shut down...
"The economics seem to work," he said, noting it was "just a question of what pace" the necessary infrastructure will take to develop.

Gas is in focus as a potential engine fuel because "it is tremendously good fuel," said David Cole, the chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research.

Unlike gasoline, whose rising prices are causing pain at the pump for consumers, natural gas is cheap in the United States as supplies bulge from production in the country's vast shale gas formations.

In addition, natural gas burns while emitting less carbon dioxide than gasoline.

Thus, it is considered a "green" fuel even though in its raw state, the methane it emits is more destructive to the Earth's ozone layer than CO2, and the artificial fracturing of gas shales, known as "fracking," has drawn fire from environmentalists.

There are several forms of natural gas used to power vehicles. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is pressurized gas stored in a similar way to a vehicle's gasoline tank.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is produced by chilling natural gas to about minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 162 degrees Celsius). It can be used as engine fuel for heavy ground or maritime vehicles.

In Europe, the fuel of choice for automobiles is liquefied petroleum gas, typically a mixture of butane and propane made from refined crude oil or natural gas.

Across the Atlantic, the three big U.S. automakers are pumping out vehicles based on alternative fuels.

Ford Motor Company, the nation's second-biggest automaker, has the largest array of alternative-energy vehicles: eight powered by natural gas.

The smallest U.S. car maker, Fiat-controlled Chrysler, in early March unveiled a pick-up truck than can use liquefied natural gas, which will go on sale in June.

Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler, views natural gas as having greater potential than electricity to power vehicles.

General Motors, the US giant at the top of the global auto industry, produces two vans that use compressed natural gas, the Chevy Express and the GMC Savana, and will begin production by the end of the year on two pick-up trucks running on CNG.

GM already has sold 1,200 of the vans to U.S. telecommunications titan AT&T.

The Detroit, Michigan auto maker is working on a number of different alternative fuels and particularly on electric vehicles.

But a GM front man, Dan Flores, said: "We think compressed natural gas offers a lot of potential. The technology is promising."

It is particularly appealing to businesses, especially service providers such as telecoms, package deliverers like UPS, or to local governments, which operate trash removal or emergency vehicle fleets.

CNG vehicles operate at relatively short distances from a refueling hub. The economies of scale for a large business or public body can potentially justify the cost of an investment in the specialized refueling equipment.

For individual consumers, the refueling infrastructure is limited. And compressed or liquefied gas is expensive and requires substantial storage capacity, restricting the vehicles' range.

Morningstar's Hanson said that currently there are only about 400 CNG stations in the U.S.

In Europe, natural gas also is sparking interest amid rising gasoline prices, but so far it remains only a small portion of the market.

In La Belle France, for example, it represents less than one percent of the vehicle fuel consumed and only 200,000 vehicles are outfitted for liquefied petroleum gas, of the 31 million privately owned.
Posted by: Fred || 03/29/2012 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top||

#1  I was talking to a friend who has converted many engines and a few vehicles in the past. He told me that a fuel injected engine was "hard" but a carb based engine was easy and he suggested an Impco carb. (even offered me some old ones for free but I no longer have carb based transport - excepting the mower).
Posted by: watermodem || 03/29/2012 0:18 Comments || Top||

#2  the energy density of CNG is about 30-40% less than gasoline; also, using cng results in more methane emissions

but the cost per volume of CNG is about half that of gasoline so, yes, for fleet operations within a region, the numbers work pretty good
Posted by: lord garth || 03/29/2012 0:32 Comments || Top||

#3  Very nice, but must still be compared against the lack of International Govts-Perts consensus on "Peak Oil/Resources" [+ GWCC], etc.

By most accounts, the GULF OF MEXICO is still leaking flumes of Oil, while on a NORTH SEA RIG [North Atlantic] a "DEEPWATER/BP HORIZON" STYLE EVENT may be unfolding as per NATURAL GAS.

Its quite possible that our OWG-NWO that no AMerican = Amerikan has voted for, nor been asked to, may wake up one day circa 2040 and discover the World is low or zilch in fossil fuels, etc. because DA [COMMON = UNIVERSAL]MATH METHOD(S) WAS SCREWED UP = NEVER AGREED UPON.

* OLD ADAGE = WHAT DOES TRUTH HAVE TO DO POLITICS", correct???

Ya know, besides the life and survival of all Mankind both on Earth and in Deep Space.

[YEAR 2040 = INTERNATIONAL OUTLAWING OF
"FRACKING" here].
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/29/2012 0:38 Comments || Top||

#4  It not yet a consumer item. The markup is enough to buy 4000 gallons of gasoline at current prices.


Chrysler, Ford, GM Introduce Natural-Gas Pickup Trucks

Built in Saltillo, Mexico, the 2012 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG—priced at $47,500, or roughly 30% more than a comparably equipped three-quarter-ton Ram—is offered only in a crew-cab, long-box configuration with four-wheel drive.
Posted by: Shimble Guelph5793 || 03/29/2012 1:28 Comments || Top||

#5  Pickup trucks in general are grotesquely overpriced compared to items like sedans. The manufacturers get away with it because pickups are in high demand. I set no store whatsoever in statements like "30% more than comparably..."
News coverage of most aspects of the petroleum economy is utterly inadequate. You can drive massive amounts of political and economic agendas through holes left by the media. Inadequate emphasis is given to the differences between CNG and LNG. "CNG trucks are well suited to the severe service market as the payback period can be a little longer," said Ann Duignan, an analyst for J.P. Morgan, in a recent investor note, adding that "some conversions cost up to $18,000, and fleets are balking at this incremental cost." My friend Jim, an over-the-road trucker, years ago mentioned his company didn't bat an eyelash at buying him a new tractor with $8,000 worth of a diesel pony engine, designed to run A/C in his cab and to keep his batteries charged when he has to park for his mandatory rest breaks. Many jurisdictions now ban prolonged idling of parked semi truck/trailers. That money was spent years ago.
Jim drives his truck 100,000 miles a year, gets 7 mpg diesel. He burns about 14,285 gallons of diesel a year, at current prices of $4.10/gal (his company probably pays a bit less than the pump price), he burns up $58,5xx worth of fuel - per year. He is paid much less than the cost of fuel to run his rig.
So some conversions cost $18,000. B. F. D.
Reporters and analysts must be selected for their cluelessness and inability to operate a calculator.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/29/2012 2:03 Comments || Top||

#6  A 2011 article in WSJ sheds some light on heavy trucks running on NG:
-- A trash truck that costs $200,000 outfitted for diesel costs only another $10,000—or 5% more— equipped for natural gas, said Kevin Walbridge, executive vice president of operations at trash-hauler Republic Services Inc. That price premium has fallen as trash-truck manufacturers have cranked out steadily larger volumes.
-- UPS pays about $95,000 for an average long-haul "tractor"—the front part of the 18-wheeler, housing the engine and driver. It recently ordered 48 natural-gas versions at a cost of $195,000 apiece—about double the cost of a diesel model
A trash truck cost 5% more to run on NG, while a UPS semi tractor costs 100% more - this makes little sense.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/29/2012 2:15 Comments || Top||

#7  Here in Perth, it took about 10 years to go from no petrol stations selling CNG, to almost every station selling CNG.

CNG vehicles here do more miles than all petrol and diesel vehicles combined.

And NG is 3 times the cost of the US, because NG is priced based on long term contracts to East Asia.

The real scandal is that vehicle manufacturers wasted billions on electric cars, while spending almost nothing on developing NG vehicles (European bus manufacturers excepted).
Posted by: phil_b || 03/29/2012 3:50 Comments || Top||

#8  Why not burn off the most nasty and destructive "gas" you have? OIL. Burn that crap before you play with billions of gas stations.

No hurry here, burn that nasty oil off.
Posted by: newc || 03/29/2012 4:56 Comments || Top||

#9  They also make a CNG compressor for the home so you can fill your car at home.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/29/2012 12:27 Comments || Top||

#10  I think y'all missed the news that earlier this week Zero's administration more or less banned the construction of serious power plant construction except for natural gas plants.

This will have the effect of increasing consumption of natural gas being used for power (substituting for coal, which we weren't importing to begin with) and thereby decreasing the amount available (and/or increasing the price) for use for transportation where it could possibly decrease oil imports.

(And y'all were wondering how greenhouse regulations were going to make money for the Saudis. Now you know).
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 03/29/2012 13:39 Comments || Top||

#11  With the proper people in government this could be the biggest development since the model T. I hate to say government but that's our world today.
Commercial aircraft, all manor of equipment basicly anything that uses gas or diesel. Heating for homes to mention another. Downunder they are selling NG at 4.5 cents/cubic liter to China. The Aussies don't get that break. The Gulf is loaded with this gas. So much that 600 million years ago they claim a massive methane burp caused a massive extinction. Yes, we are due. Duke energy has several lines into the Gulf now.
Posted by: Dale || 03/29/2012 16:26 Comments || Top||

#12  So much that 600 million years ago they claim a massive methane burp caused a massive extinction.

I'm inclined to deposit that into the circular filing cabinet along with the other climate speculator guesses (I refuse to dignify these charlatans with the words "scientist" or "theory", both of which relate to people who have come up with models that are replicable and have both explanatory and predictive power).
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/29/2012 17:30 Comments || Top||

#13  If you have a cng filling location near your location, then you can easily buy a used cng fleet car (police cars are particularly nice) for under 10k.
Posted by: rammer || 03/29/2012 19:25 Comments || Top||

#14  Price keeps going down. They are running out of storage locations.
A little more on Methane.
Posted by: Dale || 03/29/2012 22:16 Comments || Top||

#15  Well, other than being hard to transport, the US has more Natural Gas than any fuel. Ditch the golfer in chief and get someone who will make an easier transition (due to market forces - not government)

I Am all for it - when I see all the stinking pumps at the rual gas stations I frequent.

You still need to burn off that nasty oil tho. That will not change.
Posted by: newc || 03/29/2012 22:48 Comments || Top||

#16  Well, other than being hard to transport, the US has more Natural Gas than any fuel. Ditch the golfer in chief and get someone who will make an easier transition (due to market forces - not government)

I Am all for it - when I see all the stinking pumps at the rual gas stations I frequent.

You still need to burn off that nasty oil tho. That will not change.
Posted by: newc || 03/29/2012 22:48 Comments || Top||



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  Gunmen kidnap Saudi diplomat in Yemen
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Tue 2012-03-27
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Mon 2012-03-26
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