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power after a series of fierce storms pounded the state over the weekend and toppled nearly 500 miles of power lines. More than 145,000 homes and businesses in Northern California and the Central Valley were in the dark Sunday, down from more than 215,000 earlier in the day, ahead of rain and snow that were forecast to return again soon. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service said some parts of Northern California would get a reprieve from the rain and snow on Monday. But in the mountains, “there’s a chance of snow and snow showers all the way through Thursday,” he said. The storm was expected to weaken in Southern California, with the forecast calling for a 30 percent chance of rain on Monday, the NWS said. Utility crews were using the break in the weather to work on power lines. In all, more than 2 million customers from the Oregon border to Los Angeles lost power since the storms arrived

Friday. Source: http://www.examiner.com/a- 1 1 4 2 2 3 2 ~ M a n y _ w i t h o u t _ p o w e r _ f o r _ d a y s _ a s _ r a i n _ _

snow_continue_in_California.html

2. January 7, Reuters – (International) Oil jumps above $98 on new U.S.-Iran tensions. Oil rose above $98 a barrel before falling back on Monday as reports of rising tensions in the Middle East outweighed concerns of demand outlook in top consumer United States from a feared economic recession. CNN reported that five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. Citing unidentified U.S. officials, CNN said the Iranian vessels came within 200 yards of the U.S. ships and that after a threatening radio communication, U.S. sailors manned their ships’ guns and were very close to opening fire. Relations between the two countries are already tense over Iran’s nuclear program. Traders said the news had helped put the focus back on geopolitical risks in the oil market. Source: http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=businessNews&storyid=2008-01- 07T144543Z_01_T39048_RTRUKOC_0_US-MARKETS-OIL.xml

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Chemical Industry Sector

3. January 5, WLWT 5 Cincinnati – (Ohio) 12 hospitalized after chemical explosion. In Ohio, several workers from the Sumco Phoenix Corporation spent Saturday morning in the hospital, following a chemical fire at their plant. Firefighters said they were called to the plant at approximately 2:15 a.m. Saturday, when employees reported an explosion. When crews arrived, they said they found multiple hazardous chemicals had spilled onto the ground and generated a reactive explosion and caused high heat. The plant was evacuated and roads in the area were closed for hours while they cleaned up the mess. Plant officials said that a total of 12 workers were brought to the hospital as a precaution. According to a press release, the fire and chemicals were contained inside a room designed to control hazardous-material spills and fires. Firefighters said no chemicals leaked into the air, so neighbors did not need to be evacuated. Source: http://www.wlwt.com/news/14984443/detail.html

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