America

Rapidly Developing Storm Headed For Florida

A warning flag on the empty beach in Dania Beach, Fla. Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010.

hide captionA warning flag on the empty beach in Dania Beach, Fla. Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010.

Pat Carter/Associated Press

Currently dubbed Tropical Depression 16 (isn't that a band?), the storm system soon to be renamed Nicole is pounding Cuba and the Florida Straits.  It's headed north towards Miami, where forecasters are more worried about rain than wind. Forecasters are warning residents of the U.S. east coast about flooding over the next two or three days.

UT CAMPUS POLICE SAVED LIVES

Police at the University of Texas, Austin say a single gunman started firing in the campus library yesterday before shooting himself to death. As J.J. wrote, no one else was hurt, and the university is getting credit for its quick response. From the Dallas Morning News:

Police search for a gunman on the University of Texas campus.

hide captionPolice search for a gunman on the University of Texas campus.

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Within 15 minutes of the first police calls, sirens, e-mails, the UT website and public address systems blared the warnings, telling more than 55,000 students, faculty and staff members that the campus was in lockdown and urging everyone to stay behind locked doors. Meanwhile, law enforcement from the university, city and state swarmed to the site.

UT's efficient alarm system – practiced and coordinated by law enforcement only weeks before – was credited by local and national experts with probably sparing the campus from injuries and death.

A major asset was the use of email and text alerts.

A SERIOUS LOSS OF GRUNTLE

Police stand beside a cement truck which rammed the front gates of the Irish Parliament in Dublin to

hide captionPolice stand beside a cement truck which rammed the front gates of the Irish Parliament in Dublin today.

Niall Carson/PA Wire

The driver of a cement mixer, infuriated over Ireland's decision to nationalize Anglo Irish Bank last year, rammed the gates of the Irish Parliament today with his vehicle. He'd painted messages on the side: 'Toxic Bank Anglo' and 'All Politicians Should Be Sacked'. He's been arrested. The Irish government's takeover may cost its taxpayers more than $33 billion, and the action shoved Ireland's 2009 budget deficit to 14.3% of GDP.  In comparison, the much-discussed Greek deficit was 13.6%.

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