February 21, 2013

    Photo: Mister-E/Flickr

Pistorius Investigator Replaced

Faces attempted murder charges

A day after contradicting himself and screwing up a number of details in the prosecution’s case against Oscar Pistorius while under cross-examination, lead investigator Hilton Botha has been replaced. Why? It was revealed that Botha, himself, is facing seven counts of attempted murder.

Botha and three other officers are expected to stand trial in May for allegedly—while intoxicated—opening fire on a minibus full of people. (USA Today explains that Botha claims he only “fired at a minibus during an arrest attempt.”) The charges were originally dropped in March of last year, but they were then reinstated earlier this month. Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he first learned of the charges yesterday.

Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo, whom national police commissioner Riah Phiyega calls the South Africa police’s “top detective,” has been chosen to replace Botha.

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    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Washington Lawmakers Propose Bike Tax

Part of $10 billion transportation package

Light your torches and start angrily brandishing your bike locks. They’re coming for you. Washington State Democrats rolled out a new $10 billion transportation package Wednesday that could raise taxes on gas, cars, and even bicycles.

According to the Seattle Times, the package would place a $25 sales fee on bikes worth $500 or more, a move projected to raise $1 million over 10 years. The state gas tax would also increase by 10 cents over five years and cars would be taxed 0.7 percent of their value.

Democrats will attempt to pass the package in the Legislature, or, barring that, submit it as a proposal to voters.

“The plan puts $10 billion to work and is investing in the future of the state,” says House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn. “It will fund the projects that fight gridlock, improve safety, and definitely promote economic development.”

You can read the proposal in more detail here.

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2014 Giro to Start in Ireland

Could bring in $15 million

The 2014 Giro d'Italia will begin with three days of racing in Ireland, organizers announced this week. The start to the event will take place in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and will pass through cities including Belfast, Armagh, and Dublin.

At a launch event for the announcement in Belfast, Stephen Roche, the Irish winner of the 1987 Giro, said that the race was the "second-biggest event" for him, following the Tour de France. "When you consider the passion these people have, the passion these people have shown to us this morning, it is duplicated throughout the whole Italian nation," he said.

While the Gran Partenza of the Giro is typically held in Italy, organizers have recently awarded the start to another country every two years. Authorities predict that the Giro start could bring in about $15 million to Ireland's tourism industry.

Via The Telegraph

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Armstrong Refuses to Meet With USADA

Wednesday deadline passes

Lance Armstrong refused to meet with officials of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) by February 20, letting a deadline pass that might have allowed his lifetime ban from sanctioned competitions to be reduced to eight years. The agency was looking for Armstrong to testify under oath about doping.

"Following his recent television interview, we again invited him to come in and provide honest information, and he was informed in writing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that this was the appropriate avenue for him if he wanted to be part of the solution," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement. "Over the last few weeks he has led us to believe that he wanted to come in and assist USADA, but was worried of potential criminal and civil liability if he did so."

Armstrong released a statement through his lawyer, Tim Herman. "Lance is willing to cooperate fully and has been very clear: He will be the first man through the door, and once inside will answer every question, at an international tribunal formed to comprehensively address pro cycling, an almost exclusively European sport," Herman said. "We remain hopeful that an international effort will be mounted, and we will do everything we can to facilitate that result. In the meantime, for several reasons, Lance will not participate in USADA's efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95 percent of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction."

No official international tribunal currently exists to address drugs in pro cycling. Previous efforts between the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Cycling Union to form a truth and reconciliation committee to uncover past cheating in cycling have failed.

Armstrong is facing several lawsuits, including a federal whistleblower lawsuit filed by his former teammate Floyd Landis.

For more, check out "A History of Lance Armstrong Coverage in Outside."

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ABB's Fast-Charge System is set to revolutionize transportation.     Photo: Courtesy of ABB

Estonia Launches Car Charging Network

First nationwide electric initiative

Estonia has proudly launched the world's first nationwide electric vehicle charging system powered by technology from tech company ABB.

The system is made up of 165 stations that run on direct current fast chargers placed in urban centers on major roads throughout the country. On highways, the stations are never more than 60km apart, which makes it easy for drivers to reach any location in the country without fear of running out of juice. Estonia's network forms the highest-density concentration of electric charging stations in Europe.

ABB's Terra 51 fast chargers can completely charge a vehicle in 15-30 minutes. This is lightyears ahead of traditional residential outlets, which can take almost eight hours to charge a car. The reduction in time for charging could change the economic costs to companies and potential customers who are thinking of buying electric vehicles.

“The fact that recharging is so easy is one of the main reasons more and more Estonians will decide in favor of electric cars in future,” said Estonia’s Minister of the Environment, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus. “Our entire transport policy should be based on the notion that environmentally-friendly travel is the cheapest and simplest option there is.”

Via Washington Times

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