DW-TV in Germany

While in Berlin, I stopped by the Deutsche Welle, or DW-TV station. They run a pretty nice news operation. I got a full tour from one of the VP’s, who was also a politician and said that was a big deal for a woman. I had never watched the network before on TV until I saw it later on one of the million DirecTV channels. Surprisingly, though Deutsche Welle is headquartered in Bonn, it does not broadcast in Germany, but primarily is shown in Russia and countries in the Middle East and Africa. It was a totally different concept: a TV station in Germany that does not cover Germany but instead, covers other countries’ stories. Its a station mainly politicians watch.

Here I am sitting at the DW news desk. Awesome access

Two major liquor stores were torn down in one day in central Long Beach. Police officers, city councilman and longtime members of the community said both the Sim’s Liquor Store on Willow Street and the Whistler on Pacific Coast Highway caused nothing but trouble for the area.
Drug sales, prostitution and loitering took place at the Whistler liquor store said Lieutenant Timothy Lancaster.
He said more than 1,500 were placed to the Long Beach Police Department within the last five years, and demolishing the Whistler will free up police officers to tend to the other needs of the city.

Mary Anderson, who has lived near the Whistler for 30 years, said she feared for the safety of the youth in the area because an elementary and high school were in close proximity.
Councilman Dee Andrews for the Sixth district of Long Beach said nothing bad will be done because the two liquor stores were torn down.
“This means progress for our community, more jobs will be coming our way,” he said. “We’re going up.”
A new community redevelopment center is said to replace the old Whistler liquor store property.

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Is it me or have natural disasters been coming in with a bang lately? First, the Northeast experiences a record winter with roofs caving in of snow, then the New Year brought cataclysmic earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, and before the world can catch its breath, it’s Tornado Season! And what a titanic of a season its been. The Southeast has been shattered from these violent wind storms.

In mere days, tornados took the lives of hundreds in Alabama alone. The storm totally ravaged my cousin Della Johnson‘s home to nothing. She wasn’t even able to grab her purse when the tornado hit and rescue crews found her under her gas stove (which was on) crying for help. CNN’s Don Lemon interviewed her outside the remains of her house in Forestdale. Please keep her in your prayers.

Just 90 miles away from Forestdale, the powerful twister killed 27 people in Hackleburg, Alabama. One woman from the small town, now residing in California, is organizing a fundraiser by herself to help aid the tornado victims. Many of her relatives’ homes got destroyed as well.

Here’s her story that I wrote for NBC LA:

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The British are coming, The British are coming! And they’ll be stopping in Los Angeles for BritWeek LA. It’s a full week devoted to all things English and very proper-like. This annual event falls right on time with the Royal Wedding frenzy, and though LA is not in the neighborhood across the pond, local Angelenos are showing their support in a major way. Check out the Princess Kate Middleton Bridal Shower I attended downtown:

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I’ve hidden under desks in duck-and-cover Tornado drills and evacuated buildings in a single file line in fire drills but never before had I seen people ask nurses and highway patrolmen questions in a mock Press Conference. That’s what I witnessed this week when I trucked it down to Irvine in the O.C. to cover drills being done at and about the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The 84-acre San Onofre plant, located on the Pacific Coast, generates a lot of power and though FEMA officials say there has never been a fatality at a any nuclear plant in the U.S. Thoughts of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the recent crisis at the Fukushima plant come to mind.

This week as the plant in Japan reached a Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the highest level), white “smoke” was still observed coming from 3 of the Units. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that the Tokyo Electric Power Company had begun to install a backup line for providing fresh water to the Reactor Pressure Vessels. Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still very serious, but there are signs of recovery in some functions, such as electrical power and instrumentation according to the International Atomic Energy Agency

California Emergency Management Agency officials urge the public to prepare a safety kit, which includes multiple bottles of water, batteries, flashlights and non-perishable food. They say to make sure you have a meet-up plan set up with your family and loved ones, so that everyone knows exactly where to meet up. More of their safety tips can be found on the Cal Emergency site.

Southern California Edison ensures that in the wake of a disaster, the San Onofre plant can withstand it. “We have a ton of backup generators,” says Steve Conroy of Edison.

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