Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

San Francisco Window Washer falls more than 10 stories, lands on car roof - and lives!

I used to work two blocks away on Montgomery Street, and I walked past this building very often. What a story. Imagine falling off of this roof:


SF window washer, motorist both survive brush with death
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An unbelievable accident closed off parts of California and Montgomery streets in San Francisco's Financial District Friday morning. A window washer fell from an 11th story building, landing on a moving car below. The victim survived but is in critical condition. It's hard to believe the driver of that car was not hurt.

The window washer fell from the roof and landed on a Toyota Camry. All but the driver's area was caved in. The driver, Mohammad Al Cozai, narrowly escaped being critically injured.

"As soon as I made my left turn, then I saw something hit my car very hard. The impact was really hard. I didn't know what it is," said Mohammad Al Cozai of Dublin.

After landing on the car, the window washer fell onto the street. Witnesses ran to help. [...]


Window washer survives 11-story fall from S.F. building
[...] The driver of the car, Mohammad Alcozai of Dublin, got out almost immediately after the impact. The victim hit the roof and back window of the 2002 four-door Camry, totaling the car. A split-second difference in timing and the worker might have landed on the windshield, with potentially terrible consequences for Alcozai.

“It was a miracle,” Alcozai told The Chronicle.

A traveling tech specialist, Alcozai said he was supposed to go on a call to Walnut Creek on Friday morning, but after it was canceled he wound up in San Francisco. As he was about to turn onto California Street from Montgomery, his car’s navigation system went blank, so he slowed down.

As the system turned back on, he sped up — “and that’s when something hit my car with a terrible thump,” he said.

“With all the changes in where I went and how I was going this morning, I think God wanted me to be there just at the moment that poor man fell,” Alcozai said. “It was a miracle that he was able to fall in my car, and it was a miracle that I was OK.

“I just hope he comes through all right.” [...]

Follow the links for photos and video. Yikes. It's quite miraculous that he hit it the way he did, when he did. And it looks like he's going to survive:


Window washer who fell from downtown San Francisco building set to leave hospital
OAKLAND, Calif. – A window washer who fell 11 stories from a downtown San Francisco building onto a moving car last month is preparing to leave the hospital for a rehabilitation facility where he hopes to walk again.

Pedro Perez, 58, fractured his pelvis, broke an arm, ruptured an artery in his arm, and sustained severe brain trauma when he landed on the Toyota Camry after falling from the top of a bank building in San Francisco's financial district on Nov. 21. The car's driver was not injured.

Perez spent a week in a medically induced coma and still can't move his right arm and leg. But just a month after the fall, he has amazed doctors who originally said it would be months before he could leave the hospital, his wife, Maricela Perez told reporters on Monday.

"They are saying it's a miracle," she said through a translator.

Maricela Perez spoke in Spanish about her husband's recovery at his union shop in Oakland. She said he is in good spirits, complaining about the hospital food and even joking about returning to work down the line, although the couple has agreed it won't be as a window washer.

She said she thought he was dead for the first hour after she heard about the accident. At first, her husband could not recognize members of their extended family, but his memory is slowly improving, she said.

"As a wife, I am very grateful to have my husband for the holidays," she said. [...]
I read somewhere that he doesn't remember the accident. The shock must have been enormous. Lucky to be alive, and recovering. I wonder if one day he will remember what happened?
     

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Russian Economics in the Global Economy

It what's bad for Russia, bad for us too? In our global economy, we're all connected:

The ruble's collapse is disastrous for Putin - and bad for you too
[...] Given President Vladimir Putin’s status as the West’s new bogeyman, the temptation to rejoice in the abrupt collapse of his regime’s economic clout is acute. Many will want to congratulate themselves at the success of economic sanctions, the aim of which was to punish Putin for his annexation of Crimea and its covert sponsorship of a civil war there.

They shouldn’t get carried away.

For one thing, it doesn’t make Russian concessions on Ukraine any more likely: the worse the economic pressure, the more the Kremlin’s propaganda will drum home the message that it is the Evil West, denying Russia its holy Crimean birthright, that is to blame. Opinion polls suggest that the vast majority of Russians still accept this version of events.

As such, Ukraine will remain a running sore, infecting both the European economy and, through it, the world’s. Moreover, Ukraine itself is on the verge of a default that will send shock waves through European and global financial markets, amplifying the effect.

A financial crisis in Russia would have much larger negative consequences than a Ukrainian one: western banks (mainly European ones) will have to write off more loans, western companies will have to write off investments. And that’s even if contagion doesn’t spread to other vulnerable emerging markets such as Indonesia or Brazil, both big recipients of western investment.

For the moment, the signs are that Putin is gambling on the oil market turning round, trusting to the legendary endurance of the people while his government keeps the plates spinning as long as it can.

In the meantime, the loyal will be taken care of. Covert bailouts to the country’s biggest banks from the country’s rainy-day fund are already getting more frequent. VTB and Gazprombank, two lenders that are “too-big-to-fail”, have already had their capital levels topped up.

But that is nothing compared to the egregious piece of money-printing that was agreed last week, when the central bank agreed to lend money against 625 billion rubles (still over $10 billion, even after Monday’s mayhem) of bonds freshly printed by Rosneft, the oil company headed by Putin confidant Igor Sechin. The aim is to let Rosneft hoard its export dollars and meet a $10 billion loan repayment later this month (and another $4 billion in February).

The realization that Rosneft, one of the biggest players on the foreign exchange market, would be buying far fewer rubles with its export dollars appears to have been one of the reasons for the ruble’s drop Monday (the failure of the central bank’s half-hearted rate hike and intervention last week also being partly responsible).

If the central bank shows anything like the same generosity to other companies, then the ruble’s debasement will be complete. The central bank now estimates that the economy will shrink 4.5% next year if oil stays at $60/barrel, and that is something that would certainly trigger a wave of corporate defaults.

Unless the ruble bounces back sharply, inflation is heading much, much higher than the 10% the CBR is already forecasting. Specifically, food, which makes up over 30% of Russian disposable income, is going to get more expensive (Russia imports over 40% of its food and has made a rod for its own back by banning relatively cheap produce from the E.U.).

Moreover, since over 80% of retail deposits are now held in rubles, devaluation means that the savings that Putin’s voters have accumulated as they came to trust their own currency over the last 14 years will be devastated. Already Monday, the yield on the 10-year bonds of a government that hasn’t run a deficit in 14 years hit 13%–anything but an expression of trust.

This is a recipe for social instability far greater than the tame, middle-class, metropolitan protests at Putin’s tainted election victory in 2012.

But what does an authoritarian leader do in such a situation? Back down or crack down? There is no evidence from this year to suggest Putin has suddenly become the backing-down kind. Repression seems the likelier option. If that doesn’t work, then doubling-down with another foreign policy adventure to distract from domestic problems hardly seems fanciful any more: in the summer, Putin cast doubt on the statehood of neighboring Kazakhstan, which doesn’t have the NATO guarantee that the Baltic States enjoy.

Either way, the consequences are too miserable to contemplate, both for Russia and for the world in general. [...]
Something to look forward to in the New Year? See the original article for embedded links and more.

     

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