Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for July 1, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 According to Reuters, at least 14 people were killed and 50 injured just before midnight on Monday in Viareggio, Italy when a freight train hauling liquefied petroleum gas derailed and exploded as it passed their homes. (See item 1)

1. June 30, Reuters – (International) Italy gas train derails and explodes, killing 14. At least 14 people were killed and 50 injured overnight in Italy when a freight train hauling liquefied petroleum gas derailed and exploded as it passed their homes, officials said on June 30. About 1,000 people were evacuated following the blast just before midnight on Monday in the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio, about 350 km (220 miles) north of Rome. Thirty-seven people were seriously injured, with 16 of them in critical condition, including a 2-year-old who was badly burned and was being transferred to a hospital in Florence, rescue workers said. GATX Rail Europe, a unit of the U.S.-based GATX Corp, which owns the rail cars, each one made of a gas tank attached to a wagon, told Reuters it did not know the cause of the explosion and was gathering information from news reports. The company’s chief financial officer said the tanks being transported on the Italian railways were new. Source:

 The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that an explosion on Monday at Esterline Technologies Corp. in Calhoun County, Arkansas sent six workers to a hospital. The accident blew out a wall at the plant, which manufactures infrared decoy flares for sale to the U.S. military. (See item 9)

9. June 30, Arkansas Democrat Gazette – (Arkansas) Flare-plant blast puts 6 in hospital. An explosion that could be heard for miles sent six defense plant workers in south Arkansas to a hospital on June 29, officials said. The accident blew out a wall at a plant near East Camden that manufactures infrared decoy flares for sale to the U.S. military. Jets use the flares to deter heat-seeking missiles. The explosion happened at about 11 a.m. at Esterline Technologies Corp., said the vice president of operations for the company. The Calhoun County plant produces between 1.5 and 2 million of the flares per year, one of only two companies in the nation that produces this type of military countermeasure. The explosion happened in a small outbuilding, similar in appearance to a prefabricated structure, where chemicals used to make the flares are mixed. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

11. June 29, Orlando Sentinel – (Florida) Did investors’ $17M go for strippers, limos? Investigators have found only a fraction of the $17 million that investors poured into a Central Florida-based currency-trading scheme called Capital Blu, according to the company’s court-appointed receiver. Less than $500,000 in cash has been recovered so far from Capital Blu Management LLC, whose operations began unraveling last year, said the receiver and a veteran fraud examiner based in Miami. Capital Blu’s money did not simply evaporate; authorities allege that the company’s principals spent at least some of it on striptease dancers, ritzy cars, island vacations, trips to Las Vegas and a private jet, among other things. “We’ve seen testimony about money going to things like strip clubs and expensive cars, and we’re still looking into that,” the receiver said in an interview last week. “The question is, what money are we really able to recover?” Unfortunately for Capital Blu investors, who number more than 100 in at least four states, including Florida, the money trail has gone pretty cold. The receiver and his crew are combing through thousands of records that offer evidence of multiple domestic and offshore bank accounts. Little remains from the cash that flowed into the firm, he said. “Nowhere near the amount of money that came in appears to have been invested at all, and much of what was invested was lost.” Source:,0,5060079.story

12. June 28, Reuters – (International) UBS to pay 3-5 bln Sfr to close U.S. tax probe-paper. Switzerland’s UBS is to pay 3 to 5 billion Swiss francs ($2.77-$4.62 billion) in the next two weeks to settle a U.S. tax probe into the bank, Swiss newspaper Sonntag reported on June 28. The U.S. government is suing UBS to get the names of 52,000 Americans who allegedly hid nearly $15 billion in assets from the taxman. Sonntag, which said the figure of 3 to 5 billion francs had been confirmed by three independent sources, reported a deal could be signed between July 1 and July 13. UBS said late on June 25 it plans to raise $3.5 billion of new capital, a move welcomed by Swiss banking regulator FINMA as it strengthens UBS’ capital base. Separately, Switzerland’s NZZ am Sonntag reported a deal between the U.S. authorities and UBS could be close as U.S. lawyers said the Internal Revenue Service already had the names of more than 10,000 UBS clients. It was, however, unclear if a deal would be reached before July 13, NZZ am Sonntag said. Source:

Information Technology

See item 30 below

Communications Sector

30. June 30, National Business Review – (International) Xero taken offline by massive U.S. data center failure. One of the drawbacks of cloud computing was dramatically illustrated on June 30 as Rackspace, one of the world’s largest Web hosts, went offline for 45 minutes. New Zealand’s Xero was one of many SaaS (software-as-a-service) providers knocked out by the failure, with glitches continuing for hours. The accounting software provider went offline around 8:30 a.m. as Rackspace, which hosts all of Xero’s data, was hit by a still-unexplained, catastrophic failure. All Xero servers were back up and running by 9:10 a.m., the chief operations officer told NBR. Some customers were still reporting problems logging on through the morning and early afternoon, as recorded on Xero’s blog. The chief operations officer says these were cookie and DNS (domain name server) issues, which were resolved by asking customers to restart. The fault was caused by a power failure at the U.S. company’s giant data center in Dallas. But with Rackspace maintaining server farms around nine locations in the United States, United Kingdom, and Hong Kong, it is not clear why a failure at one facility took its systems completely offline. The power fault also took out Rackspace’s own Web site and help center, adding to the confusion. It was left to the company’s Twitter account to relay the disaster to the outside world. When Rackspace came back online, it was running on a mix of utility and backup power, the chief operations officer notes. He speculates that “there must have been some pretty significant component failure possibly at the point where maintenance work was being done.” He said the company could look at a second cloud host. Rackspace hosts sites and services for more than 62,000 companies. Source:

31. June 28, Pottsville Republic & Herald – (Pennsylvania) Verizon phone service interrupted. Circuit problems caused phone outages for about 200 Verizon customers on June 27 in Branch Township, in the villages of Llewellyn and Phoenix Park, but technicians were able to restore service by 10:45 p.m., according to a Verizon spokesman. Meanwhile, some Verizon customers in other parts of the township and Minersville had phone service with interference between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on June 27, said a supervisor at the Schuylkill County Communications Center. During the outage, the communications center made efforts to make sure people without phone service could connect with them in case of an emergency. Llewellyn and Phoenix Park fire companies were staffed in case residents without cell phones needed help, the supervisor said. Source: