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Gerhana Bulan

Updated: 2014-10-03T00:00:49.218-07:00


Wildfire rages near Maple Cree, Canada


(image) Fire crews are making headway on a raging grass fire near Maple Creek, in southwest Saskatchewan, officials say.

The wild fire is burning north of the Trans-Canada Highway and led to the evacuation of at least two farmyards.

Late Tuesday night, local fire chief Keith Stork told CBC News the western edge of the fire was under control and crews were able to stop the fire from advancing east. It was stopped about five kilometres north of the Trans-Canada, near Highway 21.

The fire blazed through several farmyards, although there were no reports of injuries.

Stork said crews were tending to flare-ups and expected to be working through the night.

"We're getting lots of flare ups," Stork said. "We still have winds gusting up ... so what we're getting is these fingers burning out from the burnt spots." Read More

'Three suspected typhoid cases in Malabuyoc town', Philippines


AFTER the outbreak in Tuburan, the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) admitted there are three suspected typhoid fever cases in Malabuyoc District Hospital.Dr. Cristina Giango, IPHO head, said the patients showed signs and symptoms of typhoid fever.She asked the Rural Health Unit (RHU) in the town to check where these patients came from to determine if there are other similar cases in the area.But Giango said they had yet to confirm if the cases in Alegria town were indeed typhoid fever.At least 11 suspected victims ages between 5 and 18 and mostly children from barangays Legaspi and Poblacion of Alegria were brought to a local hospital after showing signs of typhoid fever.But Giango said she has not received reports from the municipal health office confirming that these were cases of typhoid fever.In Tuburan, cases have gone down as of yesterday.Giango said that there were only four patients admitted yesterday and 10 were treated at the out-patient department.There are now 46 patients confined in Tuburan District Hospital. Read More[...]

Heat wave sets record high in Sioux City, Iowa


SIOUX CITY -- A Midwestern heat wave fueled Tuesday's record-high 80-degree weather, breaking a record set in 1946.National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Jansen said the warmest March 13 on record in Sioux City was 72 degrees in 1946.The warm weather is expected to last through early next week, and there is a chance additional daily records may be broken during that time, Jansen said.Jansen advised against packing away the winter gear though."You can't rule out more snow. It's still winter and April is still going to be here," Jansen said.The good weather does bring its dangers.A hazardous weather outlook was in place Tuesday for the region due to the extreme risk of grass fires. Additional hazardous weather outlooks for grass fires may be issued throughout the next week due to the warm, dry weather.Residents are advised against outdoor burning when there is an elevated risk of grass fires. Read More[...]

New strain of hemorrhagic fever virus found on Jeju Island‎, South Korea


(image) A new strain of epidemic hemorrhagic fever has been found on Jeju Island, the first time that the infectious disease has broken out on a Korean island.

A team of researchers led by Song Jin-won, a microbiology professor at the College of Medicine of Korea University in Seoul, said Tuesday that a new strain of hantavirus that causes epidemic hemorrhagic fever was found in Jeju.

The team caught 51 "lesser white-toothed shrews" in the province and examined their liver and lung tissue from October 2006 through September 2010. Through genetic analyses, the researchers found viruses belonging to the hantavirus genus from eight mice. The new virus was named the “Jeju” virus." Also discovered the “Imjin” virus, a kind of hantavirus from "Manchurian musk-shrews" living in the Imjin River near the inter-Korean border in 2009. The Jeju virus is a new variety.

These viruses live in the bodies of field mice such as lesser white-toothed shrews and black-striped field mice, come out through excrement, and float in the air. Humans develop epidemic hemorrhagic fever by inhaling them. Read More

Peru: dengue fever cases double in Cajamarca


(image) Health officials in the northern highlands region of Cajamarca report a doubling of dengue fever cases so far this year compared to the same period in 2011.

According the news source, Peru21, the Diresa (Health Department) reported Tuesday nearly 1,200 cases of dengue. During the same time frame last year, the number of cases reported was 587.

In addition, there have been two fatalities this year, a 26-year-old woman and a six-year-old child.

Alberto Sanchez, general doctor of Jaen’s hospital, the province most affected, said the dengue virus in the area was of the more aggressive American/Asian genotype. He also notes that since February the disease intensified.

In addition to Jaen province, Tembladera, Cutervo, and San Ignacio regions are also strongly hit by the dengue outbreak. Source

Obama warns China against 'skirting the rules'


(image) WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama warned China Tuesday that it would not be allowed to gain a competitive advantage in world trade by "skirting the rules."

Making an election-year pitch to American workers, and businesses as well, Obama announced Washington has brought a new trade case against Beijing. The goal is to pressure China, a rising Asian economic power, to end its restrictions on exports of key materials used to manufacture hybrid car batteries, flat screen televisions and other high tech-goods.

"If China would simply let the market work on its own, we'd have no objection," Obama said during remarks at the White House. "But their policies currently are preventing that from happening. And they go against the very rules that China agreed to follow."

The U.S., working in conjunction with the European Union and Japan, asked the World Trade Organization Tuesday to facilitate talks with China over its curtailment of exports of what's known as rare earth minerals. Obama cast the fresh action against China as part of a broader push to level the playing field for U.S. companies. Read More

High cesium levels detected in mud at Fukushima dam lake


(image) Mud at the bottom of a dam lake near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is heavily contaminated with radioactive cesium, government research has shown.

Tsukuba University professor Yuichi Onda, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to conduct the survey, released the findings at a symposium on March 13.

Onda's team detected radioactive cesium of some 3 million becquerels per square meter at the bottom of the Horai Dam lake, about 60 kilometers west-northwest of the nuclear plant, along the Abukuma River in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. The level was 10 times higher than those of nearby reservoirs, and was roughly equivalent to soil contamination levels in the 20-kilometer radius exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

From July to August last year, Onda took samples from the 20-centimeter-deep mud on the bottom of the dam lake, dried them and compared them with mud samples from four nearby reservoirs registering contamination in the 200,000 to 400,000 becquerels per square meter range. Cesium from the crippled power station is believed to have condensed in the mud on the bottom of the Horai Dam after flowing into the river with soil and rainwater. Read More

Allyson McConnell drowned her two young sons in a bathtub and left them in the water to "rot"


(image) Australian mother Allyson McConnell drowned her two young sons in a bathtub and left them in the water to "rot", the boys' father has told a Canadian court.

Curtis McConnell wept on Tuesday as he recalled frantically searching the family's home in Millet, Alberta, in February 2010 after receiving a call from police that his wife had jumped off a freeway overpass in an apparent suicide bid.

Mr McConnell said he rushed to the home and searched the bedrooms for his sons, 10-month-old Jayden and two-year-old Connor, but could not find them.

He then discovered a locked bathroom, used a knife to unlock it and found the lifeless bodies in the bathtub.

"I just dropped to my knees and I reached into the water and the water was so cold ...," Mr McConnell testified, according to the Edmonton Journal. Read More

Old TV tubes converted into radiation-shielding material, Japan


(image) Tubes from old television sets can be recycled into radiation-proof materials suitable for use at temporary storage sites for contaminated soil and waste, two Japanese companies have found.

Shimizu Corp., a general contractor in Tokyo, and R Japan Corp., a manufacturer of eco-friendly products in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, developed concrete and waterproof materials, respectively, using television tubes ground into a form that can help shield against radiation.

The method takes advantage of the fact that cathode-ray tube (CRT) glass in television sets contains lead, which can shield against radiation. It is expected to be utilized at temporary storage sites for radioactive soil and waste.

While a 50-centimeter-thick chunk of concrete can lower the doses of penetrating radiation to a hundredth of the original amount, Shimizu Corp. found that the doses can be even lowered to one two-hundredth by replacing most of the crushed stone used in the concrete with ground television tubes. The strength of the two types of concrete was almost the same. Read More

Radioactive materials may have sunk 30 cm into ground


(image) TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Radioactive materials released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the atmosphere were found 5 centimeters beneath the ground three months after the breakout of the nuclear crisis last March, but are now believed to have sunk 10 to 30 cm deep, a study by a research institution showed Wednesday.

The hazardous materials must have seeped into the land with rain, according to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

"Further delay in decontamination works will make the radioactive materials sink into the ground deeper, and it will impose more burdens on those involved in the decontamination," said Haruo Sato, researcher at the agency's Horonobe Underground Research Center in Hokkaido.

A group of researchers of the agency examined the penetration of four radioactive materials, including cesium 137, at 11 points in Nihonmatsu, Kawamata and Namie in Fukushima Prefecture, which are within a radius 20 to 60-kilometers from the Fukushima complex, in June. Read More

Moon exploration robots tested on sand dunes in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan


(image) HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka -- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has conducted tests of prototype moon exploration robots here, that were designed by several institutions to become part of Japan's next-generation lunar exploratory equipment.

On March 13, the agency conducted test runs on a total of eight robot prototypes at the Nakatajima sand dunes in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, a vast undulated land area somewhat resembling the moon's surface.

The eight robot prototypes were made by various research institutions, including Tohoku University, the Aichi University of Technology, Osaka University and Tokyu Construction, which are competing in JAXA's Lunar Robotics Challenge for designing robots to explore the moon's surface.

During the experimental run, the agency tested the robots' drivability and collected various data related to their performance.

Seeking to capitalize on their success with the SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer), a lunar orbiter better known by its nickname Kaguya, JAXA is now looking into the development of next-generation moon exploratory equipment.

The Kaguya probe, after successfully orbiting the moon for approximately a year and nine months from September 2007, ended its mission and was crashed onto the lunar surface in June 2009. Read More

Strong quakes rattle Tokyo, northeast Japan


TOKYO (AP) -- A series of earthquakes rattled Tokyo and northeast Japan late Wednesday evening but caused no apparent damage or injury in the same region hit by last year's devastating tsunami.The strongest tremor, off Hokkaido, had a magnitude of 6.8 and caused tidal changes that prompted some communities to issue evacuation orders or tsunami advisories to residents nearest the coast.A swelling of 20 centimeters was observed in the port of Hachinohe in Aomori, northern Japan, about one hour later. Smaller changes were reported in several locations in Hokkaido and Aomori Prefecture.The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted all tsunami advisories about an hour and half later.The earthquake felt in Tokyo was magnitude 6.1 and centered just off the coast of Chiba, east of Tokyo, at a rather shallow 10 kilometers below the sea surface. Read More[...]

Robert E. Underwood a Army Colonel arrested for 'paying a hitman $150,000 to kill his ex-wife and threatening to blow up state capital '


(image) An Army officer in Washington state threatened to blow up the state capitol, personally kill his girlfriend, and hired a hit man for $150,000 to kill his estranged wife and his superior officer.

Lt. Col. Robert E. Underwood, who was arrested Monday night and pleaded not guilty to felony harassment charges, was stationed at the same base as the soldier who made headlines over the weekend for allegedly killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree.

Underwood threatened to kill girlfriend Serena Kiptoo after she confronted him about a naked photograph of his daughter on his laptop computer.

Court documents say that he then told her that he'd paid a hit man $150,000 to kill both his wife and superior officer. Read More

Raymond Scott aka Shakespeare Thief Found Dead In Prison


(image) A serial thief who tried to make £2m by selling a stolen copy of a rare first collection of Shakespeare plays has been found dead in prison.

The body of 55-year-old Raymond Scott was found in his cell at Northumberland prison, on Wednesday morning after a lock down.

It is understood his throat was cut, but prison authorities are not believed to be treating the death as suspicious.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: "HMP Northumberland prisoner Raymond Scott was pronounced dead at approximately 8.40am on Wednesday March 14 after being found unconscious in his cell.

"As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation."

Scott was jailed for eight years for handling a stolen copy of a rare first collection of Shakespeare's plays.

The 17th century folio had been taken from a display cabinet at Durham University in 1998.

Regarded as one of the most important printed works in the English language, fewer than 250 copies of the collection survive.

They were first printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death. Read More

'Car Bomb' As Panetta Lands In Afghanistan


A suspected car bomb attack has taken place at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, Sky Sources have revealed.The explosion came as US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta flew into Camp Bastion. It is believed that Mr Panetta was still landing or had landed at the time of the alleged attack, but it is not clear if he was a target.Sky's Stuart Ramsay said the explosion was caused when a vehicle drove on to the runway either during or after the landing.Sky Sources have been told the explosion was caused by the driver of the vehicle. An investigation has now been launched into the driver's identity.The driver, who appears to have survived the attack, has been taken into custody and is being treated for burns.It was not clear whether Mr Panetta was a specific target or not. Sky Sources said the explosion did appear to be an "attack of some description".The base was put on immediate lockdown after the explosion this morning - but Mr Panetta is understood to be in Kabul this afternoon and in talks with the government. Read More[...]

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 7.7 km (4.8 miles), the quake hit at 14:54:19 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 231 km (143 miles) South of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 8.7 km (5.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:04:09 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 226 km (140 miles) South of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Danielle Yvonne Slaughter killed her 6-year-old daughter with scissors, because she used 'evil words'


(image) A mom who killed her daughter in a brutal scissor attack wanted to clear an ‘evil presence’ from her Nevada home, police said.

Danielle Yvonne Slaughter, 27, was found by police on Sunday, naked and bloody, running through Las Vegas, according to court documents released Tuesday.

She told officers the blood on her hands was the ‘lamb of god’ and asked 'Did I kill my daughter?' Is she dead?’

Police went to Slaughter’s house, where her six-year-old daughter, Kayla Franks, was found dead.

The mom told police she had been having trouble sleeping since she began taking slimming pill Hydroxycut four days earlier, a drug which was temporarily withdrawn from the market in 2009 over liver damage fears. Read More

Man And Woman Arrested Over Toddler's Death at a property on Kilbourne Road, Belper, Derbyshire


(image) Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a two-year-old boy.

The child died after falling ill at a property on Kilbourne Road, Belper, Derbyshire, at 10.45am on Tuesday.

Police say he was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

Officers have cordoned off a former convenience store and flat above it. Both properties are for sale.

A 41-year-old man and a woman, 32, are being questioned over the boy's death, which is being treated as suspicious.

It is not yet known what caused the toddler's death.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Tuesday night but detectives are waiting for the results of toxicology tests.

Neighbour Robert Egan told Sky News: "He was a lovely little lad, full of beans, we were all shocked when the paramedics turned up yesterday and the police interviewed us last night". Source

COMING CRISIS ALERT: Swarm of quakes strike Japan and Pacific region, with potential for more -- March 14, 2012


A swarm of quakes has struck in the Pacific region, particularly off Japan. The first of the Japanese quakes was measured as a 7.0 mag, but was later reduced to a 6.8. However, many stations in the area reported the quake as a 8.0 or 8.1 magnitude event. The second major quake was a 7.x+, but for reasons unknown, was removed from USGS servers (it still exists on Japanese monitoring sites, leading us to believe that it did, in fact, occur just seconds after the initial quake).

We are issuing an alert out of concern that this swarm may lead to another major earthquake event in the Pacific, or near Japan. During the 3/11 event, a similar swarm with two major quakes was the precursor to the 9.0 magnitude event and the subsequent tsunami that killed 20,000 individuals. Japanese scientists have also expressed concern as of late that Japan may indeed be gearing up for another major seismic event, Tokyo in particular.

Emergency instructions:

1. In the event of an Earthquake get outside of any buildings immediately. Watch for falling debris or wires, and head to designated emergency zones.

2. Do not, we repeat, do not return to your homes in coastal areas once the quake has subsided. Wait at least several hours, or better yet, for official instructions indicated that it is safe for you to return. Keep alert for any tsunami warnings.

3. In the event of a tsunami warning, run for higher ground. Do not stop to collect things. Do not stop to see if others are coming. Do not pause to think. You literally will have just minutes to head for higher ground in the event of a tsunami.

3. Stay close to a radio or television for further official instructions or information.

Stay tuned to the Coming Crisis for updates on this situation.

Brooklyn Bridge closed for three hours after crane on tugboat scrapes off underside sheeting


(image) Brooklyn Bridge was dramatically closed for three hours last night after a crane on top of a tugboat scraped 20ft of protective sheeting from its underside.

Firefighters and police raced to the New York landmark at 8pm as the canvas sheeting, in place for two years to catch paint chips from a long-standing paint job, collapsed into the river below.

Traffic was banned from using the bridge as Department of Transportation investigated. It re-opened shortly after 11.30pm.

One teenager who saw the accident told 'It sounded like a building collapsing.

'I heard the bottom of the bridge, it got ripped by the crane as it was going by. I saw debris falling from the bridge and everything,' Read More

Mysterious Foam Causing Hog Farms to Explode - February 8, 2012


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Syrian army using 30 types of torture says Amnesty ... As Assad's troops plant landmines along border to stop refugees fleeing


(image) Syrian forces are carrying out more than 30 types of torture on prisoners, a report claims.

Amnesty International said civilians held by security forces in the crackdown on anti-government protests were being horrifically abused.

The torture methods include crucifixion-type beatings, electric shocks and rape, according to a report based on accounts from Syrians who had fled to Jordan.

It said the testimonies were ‘further evidence that torture and other ill-treatment in Syria form part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population’.

At least 276 people had died in custody, Amnesty International said.

Yesterday troops killed dozens near the city of Idlib, activists claimed.

Troops have planted landmines along routes used by people trying to flee President Bashar Assad's regime, it has been claimed. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Hokkaido, Japan Region at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles), the quake hit at 13:43:12 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 221 km (137 miles) South of Kushiro, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Butler 'injected millionaire socialite with deadly virus and told her she would die if she didn't hand over $8.5million for antidote'


(image) The butler accused of holding millionaire socialite Anne Bass hostage for 12 hours in her Connecticut estate and injecting her with a 'deadly virus' is to face trial today.

Masked assailants convinced the philanthropist that she would die from the injection and demanded that she pay $8.5 million for an antidote.

The men said Bass and her boyfriend, artist Julian Lethbridge, had 20 hours to produce the cash and it was only after the men reconsidered and fled the house, that the victims learned that the substance was harmless, likely an ink.

A trial is starting in U.S. District Court this week for Emanuel Nicolescu, a former head butler at the Bass estate, who is the only person arrested in the crime. Nicolescu, 31, has pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted extortion. His attorney declined comment. Read More

Project X Copycats Wreck $500,000 Home


(image) A group of teenagers have been accused of wrecking a $500,000 home in a copycat of the film 'Project X.'

The teens threw a party at the empty Texas home before going on a wrecking spree with the building owners saying it looked like it had been hit by a tornado.

Nearly every window in the Houston home had been smashed, and walls kicked in.
Police arrested 13 people Friday after being called to the property by a private investigator working for the builders who owned the property.

Investigator Mark Stephens said when he quizzed the teens over the damage they told him they were copying what happened in the film Project X.
'I asked some of the kids why, and they said 'Project X.' said Mr Stephens.

'And I said, 'OK what’s 'Project X?'

Released earlier this month, the film Project X fictionally documents the story of three High School teens in California who attempt to make a name for themselves by throwing the biggest party. Read More

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British pensioner and Thai bride found battered to death in remote bungalow


(image) A British pensioner and his Thai wife have been found brutally murdered in a beach resort bungalow on the Gulf of Thailand.

Police were today holding a security guard, a chef and a local fisherman over the murder.

They say the men were looking for cash but only got the equivalent of £41, a bank card and a mobile phone.

The victims were named as Michael Raymond, aged 68, and his Thai wife Suchada Bonkamdi, aged 52.

Their bodies were discovered yesterday afternoon by a maid at the Jack Beach Resort in Prachuap Khiri Khan, 180 miles south of Bangkok.

Both Mr Raymond and his wife had been severely beaten about the face and head.

Case officer Captain Winai Raila-aied said: 'They were beaten with a chair and other hard objects.

'At first two suspects - a chef and a security guard - admitted they had robbed the couple of 2,000 baht (£41), a mobile phone and a Bangkok Bank ATM card.

'Now all three have confessed to their wrongdoing.' Read More

Homeless Hotspot plan 'to be axed' after ad agency backs away from plan to use real people as walking wi-fi zones


(image) The New York advertising agency behind a plan to use homeless people as walking wi-fi hotspots has been forced to back off the controversial plan.

The Homeless Hotspots initiative was trialled at the SXSW music and technology conference in Austin, Texas using homeless people wearing T-shirts that said, 'I'm a 4G Hotspot' - with a suggested price of $2 per 15 minutes.

'We have no definite, specific future plans yet, in New York City or elsewhere. This was an initial trial program,' said Emma Cookson, chairman of BBH New York. 'We are now listening carefully to the high level of feedback.'

'We are trying to learn and respond, and we will then consider what is appropriate to do next,' said Cookson in an interview with the New York Post. Read More

'Death Star' captured on video as it 'refuels' at the surface of the sun


(image) An orbiting Nasa space telescope captured a dark, planet-sized object flying close to the sun on Monday - and extending what looks like a refueling tube into the star's surface.

The black, Death Star-like, orb is briefly engulfed in light from the sun, then flies off into space.

A video edited from the Solar Dynamics Observatory's photos inspired a wave of speculation on YouTube.

The imagery was captured by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory and edited together by a YouTube user, Sunsflare, who challenged experts to explain the strange 'visitor.'

Naturally, the space agency has a rather more ordinary explanation for the strange, black orb.

It's not a visitor from another solar system - or a planet being born out of the surface of the sun, as others had speculated.

Instead, it's a solar 'prominence' or 'filament' - a feature extending out from the sun which forms over the course of a day, and can extend hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Read More

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Leanne McNuff Killed by her Boyfriend after her FACEBOOK Account was hacked and status changed to Sleeping Around


(image) A young mother was stabbed to death in front of her four-year-old son after someone changed her Facebook status to 'sleeping around'.

Leanne McNuff, 24, was knifed just an hour after phoning her best friend to say her account had been hacked.

Her soldier boyfriend Ian Lowe, 24, was arrested shortly after she was attacked in front of her son Jaden in her semi-detached home in Droylsden, Greater Manchester.

Today the Private, from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment who was leave from serving in Afghanistan, was still being questioned by police over the killing on Sunday evening.

Leanne's best friend Emma Barlow, 26, said she had been worried that someone had hacked her Facebook account shortly before she was attacked.

Emma said: 'I spoke to her around 50 minutes before it happened. She was having problems with her Facebook and had phoned me for help.

'She thought someone had hacked into her account and changed her password. Jaden was still up and I could hear him in the background.'

'Someone had changed her Facebook status and it was saying nasty things about her - things that weren't true.

'She was upset because it was saying things about her sleeping around - it was all untrue. I was trying to contact Facebook.' Read More

Goldman Sachs exec exposes bank's 'toxic' greed in scathing public resignation letter


(image) A Goldman Sachs exec has dealt a deeply embarrassing blow to the firm by quitting in an open letter in which he lambasts the working environment as 'toxic and destructive'.

Greg Smith, an executive director who has worked at the New York-based investment bank for 12 years, claimed it is more interested in making money for itself than its clients.

In a scathing resignation letter published in the New York Times on Wednesday, he reveals staff have so little respect for clients, they call them 'muppets' and talk of 'ripping eyeballs out'.

'I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it,' writes Smith, who headed the firm's U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

'To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.' Read More

Gemma McCluskie Killing: Brother in Court on Murder Charge


The brother of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has appeared in court accused of her murder.

(image) The headless body of the 29-year-old actress, who played Kerry Skinner in the popular soap, was found floating in the Regent's Canal in Hackney, east London. She was formally identified on Friday.

The body was spotted in the canal near Broadway Market. It is thought that a distinctive tattoo led to the initial identification.

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Tony McCluskie, 35, has appeared at Thames magistrates' court for a two-minute hearing. He spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

A bail hearing is due to take place at the Old Bailey with a provisional date set for 26 March.

It is believed that the deceased had spent recent months acting as a carer for her elderly mother, whom she lived with along with the defendant, an ex-builder.

Flowers have been left near where the body was found.




Murder statistics in Broome shock community


The video, replayed half a dozen times to appalled court staff, lawyers and relatives in the Broome Magistrates Court, shows a blurry Aboriginal figure tearing along the street.It's 4:00 am on Christmas and drunken revellers from Broome's only nightclub spill into the street.The shaky mobile phone video captures the scene; an Aboriginal woman screams and heckles as the man disappears out of shot, being confronted by a Frenchman on the wooden decking that runs along the pearl galleries of Dampier Terrace.Then he's back, lurching down onto the street to be encircled by a fresh group of men. He stumbles to the ground and is kicked over and over again, squirming and helpless.He's already dying from a stab wound to the chest delivered just minutes before.The men finally pull away and he's left motionless on the ground.His name was Kristopher Dixon and he was the eighth person to be murdered in Broome in three-and-a-half years.A Tide of Violence. Read More[...]

Corpses discovered in university cellar in Germany


(image) Hundreds of corpses have been discovered rotting in an abandoned room of a university in Germany.

Students and staff are in shock after the grim discovery in the cellars of the anatomy department at the University of Cologne which follows a tragedy last month involving the department's head professor, who was found dead after allegedly stabbing himself.

Reported firstly in the Spiegel Online, university staff are said to have found the room of adult corpses that are believed to have been originally donated for medical purposes, but should have long been buried.

Animal cadavers and large numbers of plastic buckets labelled "noses", "newborns" and "shark head" have been collected as evidence by investigators who say the room may have been left unused for a decade.

A staff member, who declined to give his name says that "the cooling system was broken, and the room smelt accordingly bad".

He described the scene as "quite disgusting" and "reminiscent of a horror film".

The macabre discovery has been described as "completely unacceptable" by the university rector who said it "deeply shattered and shocked" the university community.

He said the animal cadavers could be traced back to a past link between the institute and Cologne zoo. Read More

Nightmare zoo conditions exposed, Indonesia


(image) The tigers are emaciated and the 180 pelicans packed so tightly they cannot unfurl their wings without hitting a neighbour. Last week, a giraffe died with a beachball-sized wad of plastic food wrappers in its belly.

That death has focused new attention on the scandalous conditions at Indonesia's largest zoo. Set up nearly a century ago in one the most biologically diverse corners of the planet, it once boasted the most impressive collection in Southeast Asia.

But today the Surabaya Zoo is a nightmare, plagued by uncontrolled breeding, a lack of funding for general animal welfare and even persistent suspicions that members of its own staff are involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.

The rarest species, including Komodo dragons and critically endangered orangutans, sit in dank, unsanitary cages, filling up on peanuts tossed over the fence by giggling visitors.

"This is extremely tragic, but of course by no means surprising in Indonesia's zoos, given the appalling way they are managed on the whole," said Ian Singleton, a former zookeeper who now runs an orangutan conservation program on Sumatra island. Read More

Australia should stay open to nuclear: Carr


(image) Foreign Minister Bob Carr says Australia should stay open to nuclear technology, despite Japan's recent nuclear disaster.

Senator Carr, a proponent of nuclear technology, said the push towards nuclear energy was hampered by last year's tsunami and earthquake disaster in Japan, which caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

"I think Japan has set it back because of the impact it's had on insurance and cost," he told ABC Television on Wednesday.

However, he said Australia should still consider moving towards nuclear energy.
"The fact is, some of the renewables are taking off more slowly than I, as a believer in climate change, would have liked." Source

1 in 3 young Aussies will get diabetes: researchers


(image) One in three of today's young Australians will go on to develop diabetes, according to new figures released today.

A new assessment of national health data released by Diabetes Australia today shows 1.5 million Australians currently have diabetes.

It says the diabetes rate is likely to at least double in Australia over the next decade, and predicts 3 million people will have type 2 diabetes by 2025.

The head of Diabetes Australia, Lewis Kaplan, has called for a national action plan to be developed to help control what is a potentially preventable disease.

"If nothing is done, the likelihood is that the numbers will continue to grow to 3.5 million by 2033," he said.

"If we do something about the situation, we might reduce that growth down to only maybe 2 million additional cases by 2033." Read More

Baby girl found dead in washing machine at a house on Brisbane's north, Australia


Police are investigating the death of a baby found in a washing machine at a house on Brisbane's north in January.The newborn girl was found, wrapped in clothing, at a Bald Hills home on Australia Day.Detective Senior Sergeant Todd Reid says investigators had to wait for forensic testing before releasing more details."Detectives from the North Brisbane Child Protection and Investigation unit were called to an address at Bald Hills - an infant child was located deceased in a domestic washing machine at an address and since that time detectives have been investigating that matter," he said.Police stepped up their investigation this week after the tests showed the baby had not been stillborn.Detective Senior Sergeant Reid says it has been a complex investigation."As a result of some recent forensic testing and some results that have been achieved - we have been treating it as suspicious the entire time - but we are now able to confirm it is suspicious and we are urging any members of the public who may have information about that matter to contact Crime Stoppers," he said.Senior Sergeant Reid says police are particularly interested to hear from anyone who knew of the woman's pregnancy. Read More[...]

6.1 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 12:05:05 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 76 km (47 miles) SSE of Mito, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Note: This Earthquake measured 6.1 Magnitude by the Japan Meteorological Agency(image)

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 22.2 km (13.8 miles), the quake hit at 11:40:19 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 227 km (141 miles) South from Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
Local Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 21.8 km (13.5 miles), the quake hit at 10:57:41 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 249 km (154 miles) South from Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

6.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 9.5 km (5.9 miles), the quake hit at 10:49:24 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 244 km (151 miles) South from Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
Local Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 10:02:11 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 235 km (145.6 miles) South from Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Britain 2012: The moment armed police surrounded woman in veil - fearing she had a bomb - in eight-hour stand-off on quiet seaside promenade


(image) Dressed in a Muslim veil and surrounded from all angles by armed officers, this was the astonishing scene yesterday as a tranquil seaside resort was plunged into a full-scale terror alert.

Scores of officers carrying sub-machine guns and wearing full protective uniform descended on Saltburn-by-the-Sea, near Middlesbrough, at 11am after reports that a woman had a bomb in her bag.

During a dramatic stand-off with police negotiators, the woman – said to be local to the area – was ordered to place the rucksack on the ground.

In the tense moments that followed, a police helicopter hovered overhead as she was then told to drop to her knees while keeping her hands up. As negotiators continued to talk to her, she was instructed to get to her feet and walk away from the rucksack.

As officers trained their weapons on her, they watched every step towards the seafront before ordering her to sit on a nearby bench.

Once there she placed her hands on her head.

The terrifying stand-off went on into the evening as Army bomb disposal experts headed to the scene from nearby Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, to carry out a controlled explosion on the rucksack.

Witnesses said the woman, who was white and wearing a dress with a veil, had earlier been to a hardware store in the town and purchased items. Read More

Three horses killed on opening day of Cheltenham Festival in worrying echo of last year's Grand National meet


(image) The Cheltenham Festival began yesterday with its most tragic day for six years.

Three horses were put down after suffering serious injuries.

Spectators and TV viewers watched in horror as the first, Scotsirish – who had been the favourite to win his race – broke a hind leg at a hurdle. The horse’s distress was witnessed by millions in TV footage as he was pulled up.

Another runner in the same race, Garde Champetre, was also destroyed after sustaining a similar injury.

Officials later announced that a third horse, Educated Evans, was to be put down after falling in the 2½-mile novice chase – the final event of the day. Read More

Japan Tsunami Warning Pacific Coast Aomori Pref. and Iwate Pref.


(image) Tsunami Warning/Advisory

Issued at 18:12 JST 14 Mar 2012

Tsunami Advisories have been issued for the following coastal regions of Japan:
Tsunami Advisories have been issued for the following coastal regions of Japan:


***********About Tsunami Forecast************

Tsunami height is expected to be about 0.5 meters. Attention advised.

7.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 26.6 km (16.5 miles), the quake hit at 09:08:37 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 234 km (145 miles) South from Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
Local Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Tsunami Report Issued


ORIGIN TIME - 0908Z 14 MAR 2012







NOTE: Many of the stations have measured this earthquake above 7.0 Magnitude NINE if the stations measured this earthquake 8.0 Magnitude

New York City: Prototype of the American Police State?


John W. WhiteheadMarch 12, 2012 “I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have.”—Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York “There are no safeguards to ensure that the NYPD doesn’t break the law. So far as I know, there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that the NYPD does not become a rogue organization.”—Leonard Levitt, author of NYPD Confidential: Power and Corruption in the Nation’s Greatest Police ForceNew York City has long been celebrated as the cultural capital of the world, renowned for its art, music and film. Presently, however, the “city that never sleeps” is serving as the staging ground for a futuristic police state operated, in large part, by Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Police Department (NYPD). Although the NYPD was recognized for its countless acts of bravery during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the department has gained notoriety in recent years for its overt racial profiling, a spying program which targets Muslim communities and political activists, and a stop-and-frisk program that has targeted more than 4 million New Yorkers—the majority of whom were black or Latino and had done nothing wrong—over the course of the past seven years.Boasting a $4.5 billion budget, a counterterrorism unit that includes 35,000 uniformed police officers and 15,000 civilians, and a $3 billion joint operations center with representatives from the FBI, FEMA, and the military, the NYPD operates much like an autonomous Department of Homeland Security—only without the constraints of the Constitution. Read More[...]

US’ Balochistan Enterprise


(image) Maverick US Congressmen Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) and Rep Lousie Gohmert (R-Texas) may have laid the foundation of what may eventually turn out to be yet another disastrous US foreign policy faux pas.

They want to redraw the borders in South West Asia (SWA) in cahoots with the Afghan Northern Alliance (NA) and a group of angry Pakistan Baloch Sardars (PBS).

This proposed radical paradigm shift in the US approach to SWA is intended to change its entire political structure by creating an independent Balochistan comprising Pakistani, Iranian and Afghan Baloch areas. These US Congressmen intend to synthesize future US interests in SWA with those of the NA and these disenchanted PBS to craft one unified and consolidated US foreign policy approach to the region. This diabolical maneuver, if successful, will allow the US to continue to control the region from a central position long after she withdraws from Afghanistan. That this is intended to secure only US’ own long term interests is a subtle point lost on the angry PBS and the NA! Read More

Greece: crisis hits tourism, 1,000 hotels put on sale


(image) (ANSAmed) - ATHENS - At one of the most difficult stages yet of the economic crisis engulfing Greece, which is now in its fifth year of recession, the country's hotel sector, once of the world's most flourishing, is weighed down by bleak forecasts, particularly amid negative expectations for next summer.

Around 10% of hoteliers have stated their intention to sell their shares through estate agencies, specialised web sites and investment channels, as Giorgios Tsakiris, the head of the Greek Chamber of Hotels, has explained to the Kathimerini newspaper. This means that around 1,000 hotels in the country, both big and small, are expected to be put up for sale in the near future. Tsakiris also says that the economic crisis and reduced liquidity on the market have aggravated the phenomenon of hoteliers choosing to close rather than to continue the fight for survival, though these factors have made it increasingly difficult to find buyers, even though the average asking price has fallen by 10% in the meantime.

In the central Greek region of Attica, the owners of at least 50 hotels have said that they are looking for a buyer. One of the country's biggest property companies, meanwhile, already has a portfolio of 22 hotels in Attica, of which Athens is the capital, with the total value reaching 290.6 million euros. Read More

Pakistan: Teetering On The Brink – Analysis


Pakistan’s continuing engagement with the production and export of Islamist extremism and terrorism continued to produce a bloody blowback at home, with a total of at least 6,142 persons, including of 2,797 militants, 2,580 civilians and 765 Security Forces (SFs) personnel killed in 2011. However, even this worrying total constituted an improvement of 17.75 per cent over the preceding year. 7,435 persons, including 5,170 militants, 1,796 civilians and 469 SF personnel, had been killed in 2010.While civilian and SF fatalities increased by whopping 43.65 and 63.11 percent, respectively, the steep decline (45.89 percent) in fatalities among the militants, primarily due to Islamabad’s approach of going soft on terror, was the sole reason for the decrease in overall fatalities through 2011. Read More[...]

Libya: The partition begins


(image) When Nato murdered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in cold blood, observers predicted that his demise would not mark the end of the war but would in fact mark its escalation.

Libya has been in the eye of a storm but now the winds are blowing again. The re-taking of Ben Walid by Gaddafi loyalists and the recent declaration of autonomy by tribal and militia leaders in oil-rich eastern Libya, are just harbingers of the strife to come.

While the NATO-installed head of the Tripoli-based National Transitional Council has threatened the use of “force” to prevent the country’s partition along regional lines, his words are bound to fall on deaf ears for the simple reason that he does not have the authority to back his words. He is just a Western mannequin.

In fact many members of the NTC do not move freely around Libya, with many reported to be sleeping in Malta, across the Mediterranean for fear of reprisals.

Nearly five months after the lynch-mob murder of Libya’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and Nato’s declaration of victory in its war for regime change, the confrontation between Tripoli and Benghazi, the eastern city where the autonomy decision was taken, raises the spectre of civil war.

In a televised address on Wednesday from the city of Misrata, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of the NTC, categorically rejected the autonomy bid.

“We are not prepared to divide Libya,” he said. “They should know that there are infiltrators and remnants of the Gaddafi regime trying to exploit them now and we are ready to deter them, even with force.” Read More

Former CIA Officer Michael Scheuer on the Economics of War with Iran


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China: Tehran’s Reprieve?


(image) Summary

The latest chapter in the Iranian nuclear saga contains some signs that coordinated unilateral sanctions from the United States and the European Union are actually working. But, will China’s reluctance to jump on board provide the Iranian regime with the trapdoor that it needs to escape the noose and hang onto power?


While the latest round of sanctions has still fallen short of its intended goal of forcing Iran to renounce its uranium enrichment activities, it has succeeded in applying tangible economic pressure on the beleaguered regime in Tehran. The rial has lost 60 percent of its value against the dollar since the US and EU implemented their extraordinary sanctions against Iran’s financial industry. Iran’s oil output has also fallen by around 500,000 barrels in the past few months. Yet, Iran can still find buyers for its unrefined petroleum products, and it will continue to do so thanks in large part to the actions of the Chinese government.

Beijing doesn’t support the turning of the economic screw on Iran, and this lack of support is the very reason why sanctions are of the creative unilateral sort and not those that are imposed by the UN Security Council; a body that carries the legitimizing weight of international consensus. Beijing’s rejection of Western-led international pressure on Iran stems from the simple fact that it needs Iranian energy exports. Indeed, China is Iran’s biggest customer. Read More

The Blowback of TINA


(image) There is a terrible rule of war. Whatever new weapon that you introduce onto the battlefield, your adversary will eventually acquire it as well. Indeed, they will often use an industrial-strength version of that very same weapon against you.

Hiram Maxim invented the modern machine gun – automated and oil-cooled – but the British army dismissed the invention. Not so the Germans, who used it with deadly accuracy against the British in World War I. The French, meanwhile, were the first to use modern chemical warfare in 1915 by deploying tear gas against the Germans with little effect. The Germans quickly improved on the innovation by developing chlorine gas, and later mustard gas, with devastating effect. And, of course, Americans invented nuclear weapons and then spent the next half-century trying to forestall their use by others.

The perfect weapon, however, has no odor and makes no sound. It has no half-life. It doesn’t require huge factories and production lines. There are no truly effective defenses.

The perfect weapon, of course, is ideology. And the United States, in the nuclear age, believed that it had created just such a perfect weapon. Washington would export the American version of liberal democracy and refashion the world in its own image. In so doing, America would make the world safe not so much for democracy, but for Americans.

But a funny thing happened on the way to hegemony. The very ideology that the United States assumed would defeat all comers has in fact been turned against the United States. Liberal democracy contains within it the very seeds of the American empire’s destruction. Call it blowback, TINA-style. Read More

Chinese Spies Steal F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Data from BAE Systems


(image) The Australian reports today that the rumors surrounding the potential theft of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter data from BAE Systems by Chinese spies in 2009 should be taken with more than a grain of salt.

This author suggest an old-school approach involving safes and paper instead of data servers. Major defense manufacturers must learn to protect their data better than this:

CHINESE spies hacked into computers belonging to BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence company, to steal details about the design, performance and electronic systems of the West’s latest fighter jet, senior security figures have disclosed.

The Chinese exploited vulnerabilities in BAE’s computer defences to steal vast amounts of data on the $300 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a multinational project to create a plane that will give the West air supremacy for years to come, according to the sources.

The hacking attack has prompted fears that the fighter jet’s advanced radar capabilities could have been compromised. Read More

Income Inequality: It's Hard Out There For the Rich (But Not the Very Rich)


(image) Last week I highlighted a Chicago Fed report that, counterintuitively, found that in the wake of the Great Recession, people in higher income brackets are actually more pessimistic than anyone else about their expected future incomes.

I've been thinking about some logical reasons for this, and one basic one leaps to mind: bonus compensation. If a substantial part of your potential annual income is wrapped up in bonuses, it can vary substantially, particularly in the event of market shocks or contractions.

The same goes for investment income or stock options. In short, the incomes of the wealthy, in particular industries at least, are a lot more variable than that of the merely salaried. They still make a lot more money, but that income can fall by a substantial percentage, which normally isn't the case for salaried employees.

Today I came across a 2009 paper by Northwestern economist Robert Gordon, "Has the Rise in American Inequality Been Exaggerated?" (PDF), and it offers some other possibilities for the pessimism of the wealthy. (Though the very wealthy should come away from it with no reason to worry.)

One journalistic genre that's emerged in the New Gilded Age is profiles of the plaintively wealthy, brief looks into the economically stretched lives of high earners. One that got a lot of attention recently was "Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Cheap Chex," a Bloomberg piece by Max Abelson:

Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family’s private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex.

“I feel stuck,” Schiff said. “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.” Read More

Hands off Pakistan, protesters tell US


(image) Baku-APA. Pakistanis have condemned the United States over its interference in the country’s southwestern province of Balochistan,APA reports quoting Press TV.

On Friday, thousands of activists held a demonstration in Islamabad to condemn US policies and a proposed US House of Representatives’ resolution advocating “self-determination” for Balochistan province.

The non-binding resolution was proposed by three Republicans, Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert, and Steve King, in February.

US flags were burned at the demonstration, which was organized by the Defense of Pakistan Council, an alliance of 40 religious and political groups.

Speakers at the demonstration delivered hard-hitting speeches, urging the government to cease its cooperation with the US, which they said is working to break up Pakistan.

"The US is looking for a military base in the region. That’s why the US is conspiring to make Balochistan province an independent state," one of the organizers of the demonstration told Press TV’s Islamabad correspondent.

The speakers also promised to make any sacrifice necessary to preserve and uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. Read More

Determined but Delusional Eurocrats Carry On Up The Khyber - Nigel Farage


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BRICS members mull future of the US dollar


(image) Russian experts have hailed the decision by BRICS countries to replace the US dollar by own currencies in mutual credit lines.

An agreement to this effect is expected to be signed during a BRICS summit which is due to be held in New Delhi on March 29. Experts say that this agreement will mark an important stage in the development of the organisation which brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The proposal to move away from the use of the dollar had come from China, which is currently the world’s largest holder of dollar-denominated assets. Beijing has repeatedly declared its desire to reduce the risks associated with the current economic woes in the United States. With the US’ state debt already exceeding 15 trillion dollars, Beijing’s stance on the matter is understandable and consistent, Moscow-based economics expert Alexander Osin said in an interview with the Voice of Russia aired on Tuesday. Read More

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Trapped in Identity Searches


(image) It is not surprising that these days – as tectonic shifts materialize within the system of international relations, formerly uncontested global authorities like the UN and the OSCE are sinking into serious crises, and the whole architecture of the international law is crumbling - the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group whose potential is seldom called into question, is passing through a phase of protracted identity searches that threatens to turn chronic.

While China and Russia, the two SCO heavyweights with their original foreign-policy programs, largely define the organization's integral agenda, the group continues to lack an overarching concept, and divisions persist among the SCO members over the objectives behind their alliance. The multilateral part of the SCO internal mechanics appears particularly fragile, plus the interactions between SCO and other global actors obviously await a series of bold adjustments.

It is clear at the moment that many of the unbridged gaps between SCO members are actually widening as the post-Soviet Central Asia is being ripped apart under conflicting external influences. Neither the political and military, nor the economic potentials of the cooperation in the SCO framework have been fully unlocked so far, and the assessment is fair that bilateral activities such as massive Chinese investments in Tajikistan's infrastructures or the energy cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan actually constitute the prevalent form of transactions under the nominally multilateral SCO umbrella. Read More

World War III Has Begun – It`s the First Asymmetric War Long Awaited by Pentagon Think Tanks


(image) The Pentagon has already declared World War III and President Barack Obama and the Congress never even carried out their constitutional duties to approve the use of American military power for war.

One might reasonably conclude that the United States has outsourced war. Presently, World War III is being conducted on two continents – Asia and Africa – with two others – Europe and South America – looming on the horizon. Today, wars are crafted by the upper one percent of wealthy elitists who, using non-governmental organizations, television networks, non — profit “think tanks,” and public relations firms, can declare war on nations without a whimper from elected public officials.

Symmetric warfare is no longer an option for the global elites. World Wars I and II severely affected the investments of many of the global elite families as a result of the destruction of cities, factories, railways, seaports, and other infrastructures. The Korean, Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli, and Iraq wars were messy affairs that also adversely affected markets and destroyed valuable infrastructures. The Cold War never developed into a hot nuclear war because of the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), which ensured that a nuclear first strike by either the West or the East would result in total annihilation of both sides, along with the rest of the world.

Even a western military attack on China would have had disastrous results for the attackers, especially since China could retaliate with a nuclear counter-attack and wipe out the U.S. Seventh Fleet and its East Asian naval bases, including Okinawa and Guam. A new type of warfare was required by the elites: asymmetric warfare – the use of unconventional warfare tactics, including information warfare, by proxies, non-state actors, agents provocateur, and fifth columns. Read More

Why The US Needs a Major War


(image) At the moment, we find ourselves in the middle of a turbulent phase of the global evolutionary cycle which commenced in the 1980ies and is projected to end by the middle of the XXI century. In the process, the US is clearly loosing its hyperpower status…

Estimates offered by experts from the Russian Academy of Science show that the current period of severe instabilities should end roughly in 2017-2019 with a crisis. The crisis will not be as deep as those of 2008-2009 or 2011-2012 and will mark the transition to an economy built on a novel technological basis. The economic revival will, in 2016-2020, likely entail serious shifts in the global power balance and serious military-political conflicts involving both the global heavyweights and the developing countries. The epicenters of the conflicts will supposedly be located in the Middle East and the post-Soviet Central Asia.

The century of the US global military-political dominance and economic primacy appears to be nearing completion. The US failed the unipolarity test and, bled by permanent Middle Eastern conflicts, currently lacks the resources retaining the global leadership would take.

Multipolarity implies a much fairer distribution of wealth across the world and a profound transformation of the international institutions such as the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, etc. At the moment the Washington consensus seems irreversibly dead and the global agenda should be topped by the task of building an economy with much lower uncertainty levels, tighter financial regulations, and greater justice in the allocation of revenues and economic benefits. Read More

America’s Death Pornography Culture: Celebrating brutal deaths of Qaddafi and Saddam


The United States government and military revels in death and pornographic intimidation. The videos and photographs of howling Iraqis celebrating the hanging of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein after his U.S.-administered kangaroo court trial in Iraq and the physical abuse, alleged sodomizing, and execution of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi by NATO-armed and directed rebels after his convoy in Sirte was reportedly struck by a U.S. drone-launched missile, exemplify America’s fixation with pornographic death scenes…The George Walker Bush and Barack Hussein Obama administrations share a fascination for displaying the dead bodies of their vanquished enemies. For Bush, it was the gruesome stone-slabbed corpses of Qusay and Uday Hussein, Saddam’s sons, after they were killed in a firefight with U.S. troops in. That was followed by the body of Sadaam after his hanging in.Of course, it did not suit President Obama to broadcast a photograph of Osama Bin Laden, allegedly killed while resisting arrest in Abbotabad, Pakistan. In the case of Bin Laden, there is a strong reason to believe that Osama’s body could not be shown because there was no body of Osama. Whether an Osama Bin Laden look-a-like was killed or not may never be known, but what is certain is that the Obama administration’s explanation for ”Osama’s” burial at sea from a U.S. aircraft carrier appears dubious. Read More[...]

Leonie Nice, 12, Dies After Being Hit By Ball at a school in Basildon, Essex


(image) A 12-year-old girl has died after being struck by a rugby ball at a school in Basildon, Essex, the East of England Ambulance Service has said.

Leonie Nice was catching the ball during a lesson at Woodlands Comprehensive School in Takely End when she was hit in the chest and fell over, appearing to have a fit, Essex County Council said.

Emergency services were called after the incident, just before noon, and Leonie was taken to Basildon Hospital but died shortly after.

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for the ambulance service, said: "First and foremost our thoughts are firmly with the girl's family at this tragic time.

"The ambulance crew arrived at the scene within one minute and found the girl in a critical condition. Following rapid treatment and stabilisation, she was taken to an awaiting medical team at Basildon Hospital where sadly she died shortly after."

Andy White, headteacher at Woodlands, paid tribute to Year 7 pupil Leonie as a "promising, delightful and kind girl". Read More

Vemurafenib: Cancer Drug Brings Dying Man Back From Brink


(image) A man suffering from the deadliest form of skin cancer has told Sky News how a new drug brought him back from the brink of death.

Charlie Jones woke up two weeks ago from emergency surgery on tumours that had spread to his kidneys to be told he had a matter of hours to live.

But doctors at the Christie Hospital in Manchester decided to try out a drug called vemurafenib that has only just become available.

To their amazement, his response was almost immediate. He is now much better and has returned home.

"Since I've been taking the drug I have been getting stronger and stronger," he said.

"I'm getting colour in my face. My body is feeling a lot better. It's helping me feel like the old me." Read More

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Swiss Bus Crash Kills 28 Belgian Tourists, 22 of them Children Returning From a Ski Holiday


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A bus crash in Switzerland has killed 28 Belgian tourists, 22 of them children, according to reports.

The bus reportedly hit the wall of a motorway tunnel in the Swiss Alps, near the border with Italy.

Another 24 children were reportedly injured in the crash.

The coach, transporting 52 people from the Flemish-speaking region of Belgium, crashed on Tuesday night in the canton of Valais.

The passengers were travelling from Val d'Anniviers back to Belgium after a skiing holiday, police said.

According to the Belgian foreign ministry in Brussels, most of the children were aged around 12, and the bus was one of three hired by a Christian group.

Belgium's Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who will be travelling to Switzerland himself later today, said the crash was a tragedy for the country.

"The prime minister learned with dismay of the horrible accident that happened in Switzerland," said a statement from his office.

"This is a tragic day for all of Belgium. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the South Sandwich Islands Region at a depth of 81.5 km (50.6 miles), the quake hit at 07:46:40 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 82 km (50 miles) South of Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the Andreanof Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska at a depth of 149.2 km (92.7 miles), the quake hit at 07:29:30 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 34 km (21 miles) ENE of Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Profile: Joseph Kony


  A former Catholic altar boy from northern Uganda, Joseph Kony has waged war against the government of President Yoweri Museveni for almost two decades.His Lord's Resistance Army movement has been demanding that Uganda be ruled according to the Biblical 10 Commandments.Wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr Kony has failed to sign a peace deal with Uganda's government, seeking assurances that he and his allies will not be prosecuted.But after more than two years of delicate peace negotiations, regional governments appear to have lost patience with Mr Kony, mounting a new attack on LRA bases in eastern DR Congo.Born in the early 1960s in Odek, a village east of Gulu, Mr Kony is remembered as an amiable boy."He played football and was a brilliant dancer," one of his former classmates said, recalling the rebel leader's days at Odek primary.He is thought to be the cousin of Alice Lakwena, a former prostitute who formed the Holy Spirit Movement in 1986. This group represented the Acholi people who felt excluded from power after the overthrow of the northern leader, Milton Obote, by Mr Museveni.Ms Lakwena promised her followers immunity from the bullets of the Ugandan army, but Mr Museveni's troops defeated her movement in 1988 and she fled to Kenya.Spirit mediumAfter this defeat, Mr Kony founded his own rebel group which over the next 19 years went on to abduct thousands of children to become fighters or sex slaves.Mr Kony himself is thought to have at least 60 wives, as he and his senior commanders take the pick of the girls they capture.He sees himself as a spirit medium.Young abductees, who have escaped from the LRA, say that Mr Kony would tell them he got his instructions from the Holy Spirit and would often preach in tongues."I will communicate with Museveni through the holy spirits and not through the telephone," he once said.He has created an aura of fear and mysticism around himself and his rebels follow strict rules and rituals."When you go to fight you make the sign of the cross first. If you fail to do this, you will be killed," one young fighter who escaped from the LRA told Human Rights Watch."You must also [...]

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the Pagan Region, Northern Mariana Islands at a depth of 479 km (297.7 miles), the quake hit at 06:53:01 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 50 km (31 miles) Southwest of Agrihan, Northern Mariana Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake REYKJANES RIDGE - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Reykjanes Ridge at a depth of 10.8 km (6.7 miles), the quake hit at 06:51:56 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 969 km (602 miles) Southeast of Qaqortoq (Julianehab), Greenland
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

3.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 3.1 earthquake has struck Northern California at a depth of just 0 km (Poorly Constrained), the quake hit at 06:30:20 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 8 km (5 miles) East from Clearlake Oaks, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake SOLOMON ISLANDS - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Solomon Islands at a depth of 107.2 km (66.6 miles), the quake hit at 05:08:28 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 90 km (55 miles) WNW of Kira Kira, San Cristobal, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Anti-Joseph Kony resolution introduced in House


Thanks, in part, to the viral sensation video “Kony 12” created by Invisible Children, Inc., Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony is back in the news. The 30-minute video, the contents and spirit of which has been subject to debate, aims to draw awareness to Kony’s offenses and has been watched nearly 100 million times on either YouTube or Vimeo.It must be working, as Reps. Jim McGovern and Ed Royce introduced on Tuesday a resolution “spotlighting the atrocities of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army and supporting U.S. efforts to counter the LRA,” according to a release.“There is increased attention on the terror inflicted upon innocent people by the LRA – and that’s a good thing. I am hopeful that we can use this momentum as a force for change,” said McGovern, who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. “We must do all that we can to protect innocent civilians — especially children — and end LRA violence once and for all. We made important strides with our legislation in the last Congress, but our work must continue.”“Last week, an unprecedented Internet campaign brought the attention of tens of millions of Americans to the atrocities the LRA is committing,” said Royce, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “This resolution builds on past legislation and the current campaign by giving an added focus to these atrocities on children and efforts to stop them.” Royce and McGovern have long been on Kony’s case, having introduced the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act in the House last Congress. The legislation, which was enacted into law, made it U.S. policy “to apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield.”Among other things, the new resolution, H.Res. 583, “condemns the LRA’s atrocities and welcomes the steps taken to date” and “calls for stepped-up efforts to expand the number of regional forces deployed to protect civilians and pursue LRA commanders, while increas[...]

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake VERACRUZ, MEXICO - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Veracruz, Mexico at a depth of 118.8 km (73.8 miles), the quake hit at 05:05:40 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 67 km (41 miles) South of San Andres Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake VOLCANO ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Volcano Islands, Japan Region at a depth of 40.2 km (25 miles), the quake hit at 04:43:01 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 131 km (81 miles) ENE of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Kony Campaign: How Can We Turn Awareness Into Action?


In the span of just a few days, Invisible Children’s #Kony2012 campaign has generated an avalanche of attention on Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony.The world should know who Kony is. But Kony is but one fugitive from justice among many, operating in a region faced with systemic human rights challenges requiring effective and transformative action.Awareness is an important first step. But we need to stop all the Konys of the world.For more than two decades, Amnesty International has documented crimes committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and their horrific impact on the lives of thousands of civilians in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Uganda.But impunity doesn’t stop there.  Amnesty has documented grave abuses not only in Africa, but also in Syria, Burma (Myanmar), and Sri Lanka, and we’ve called on the international community to hold accountable leaders of governments and armed groups alike who are responsible for those abuses. How can we pool our efforts to stop those responsible for the world’s worst crimes?  How can we make sure weapons don’t end up in the hands of other Konys?  How can we work with local communities to ensure justice is served?Join us for an online chat on Tuesday, March 13 from 1-2pm ET / 10-11am PT with our experts Adotei Akwei, Director of Government Relations and International Advocacy, and Scott Edwards, Director of the Tactical Response Unit.[...]

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWESTERN SIBERIA, RUSSIA - 14th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Southwestern Siberia, Russia at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 02:05:39 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 40 km (24.8 miles) East of Saryg-sep, Siberia, Russia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Kony 2012 Posters


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EastEnders’ Gemma McCluskie is missing


PALS of EastEnders star Gemma McCluskie were fearing for her safety last night after she went missing four days ago. Gemma, 29, who starred in the soap as Kerry Skinner back in 2001, vanished from Bethnal Green, East London.Last night 100 friends carried out a search and handed out leaflets.Her brother Danny, 33, said: "We are all going out of our mind with worry. Her phone has been switched off since Thursday afternoon."Ex-EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella tweeted: "Please get in touch if you have seen her."    [...]

Swiss Bus Crash Kills 28 Belgian Tourists, 22 of them Children


(image) A bus crash in Switzerland has killed 28 Belgian tourists, 22 of them children, according to reports.

The bus carrying the Belgian visitors crashed into a wall of a tunnel near the border with Italy.

The bus, transporting 52 people from the Flemish-speaking region, crashed on Tuesday night in the canton of Wallis.

It was heading back to Belgium after a skiing holiday camp, according to police.

Swiss newspaper Blick said the 24 other people were injured in the crash.

It said the bus was involved in a head-on collision in the tunnel.

Survivors were taken to four hospitals in the Valais region, while others were taken by helicopter to hospitals in Bern and Lausanne.

Family members are expected to arrive in Switzerland today and will be offered counselling, according to the paper.

More follows...

Missile Defenses Offering Israel Calm in Conflict (So why are they butchering Palestinians in completely unbalanced responses?)


(image) BEERSHEBA, Israel—Facing the worst barrage of rockets from Palestinian militants since 2009, Israel is getting a boost from a new interceptor system that destroys missiles in midair before they fall on population centers.

The "Iron Dome" missile system has provided an added layer of security for Israel's homeland by downing dozens of rockets in the past four days, buying more time for the country's leaders to confront militants with less citizen pressure to stem hostilities.

The system underlines Israel's shifting doctrine of emphasizing defense capabilities in addition to its offensive firepower, and offers a preview of how Israel will handle any retaliatory missile threat posed by Iran in the event of a pre-emptive strike against its nuclear facilities.

"It hasn't been easy to put into the public and military consciousness the need to learn defense and not only attack,'' Israeli Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor told Israel Army Radio on Sunday. "The Israeli character is aggressive." Read More

Joe Biden at $10,000-a-plate dinner: "GOP doesn't get the average person"


(image) Vice President Joe Biden addressed 87 wealthy Democrats last night attending a fundraiser at the home of Sen. John Kerry in Georgetown. As they dined on grass-fed New York strip steaks and white truffle mashed potatos underneath a outdoor tent, Biden criticized Republicans for being out of touch.

“These guys don’t have a sense of the average folks out there,” Biden said according to the pool report, “They don’t know what it means to be middle class.”

87 guests paid a minimum of $10,000-per-couple to attend the dinner. Source

Ted Nishihara: La Mirada Substitute Teacher Arrested on Suspicion of Child Molestation


(image) A 29-year-old substitute teacher in La Mirada was arrested Monday on suspicion of sexually molesting a student at Los Coyotes Middle School, according to Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officials.

The mother of a female student at Los Coyotes Middle School said her daughter told her a male substitute teacher, identified by authorities as Ted Nishihara, touched her in a sexual manner during class, police said.

The alleged molestation occurred Thursday, according to district officials.A female student made a report to a guidance counselor, who contacted school administrators, according to Norwalk-La Mirada Superintendent Ruth Perez. Read More

Kim Dotcom: Many Megaupload Users at the US Government


(image) Aside from preparing the cases of the Megaupload defendants, a team of lawyers is working hard to grant the site’s users access to their personal data.

The cyberlocker is working out a deal with the Department of Justice to allow users to download their personal files. Interestingly enough, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom reveals that these users include many high-ranking US Government officials.

In the wake of the MegaUpload shutdown many of the site’s users complained that their personal files had been lost due to collateral damage.

From work-related data to personal photos, the raid disabled access to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of files that were clearly not infringing.

With most of the news coverage focusing on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and the racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering charges, the fate of these users hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Read More

Sakurajima volcano erupts violently in Japan


(image) CHICAGO (CBS) — Armed with the go-ahead from the governor and Illinois General Assembly, Mayor Emanuel plans to move a step closer to installing speed cameras in Chicago – maybe a whole lot of them.

But some aldermen briefed on legislation expected to be introduced this week are demanding more details, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.

Some of the aldermen are worried about where school and park safety stops and where a financial windfall for the city begins – to say nothing about what the speed cameras will be doing “after hours.” Read More

The Japanese Meteorological Agency said the eruption on Monday was the most forceful since 2009.

Foot-wide rocks were expulsed over a mile away, although there was no major damage reported in the vicinity.

Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is located in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima. Source

Forest Fires All Over Costa Rica


(image) The fire at Cerro Chirripo at the Talamanca Mountain Range, began to expand to other two national parks in Costa Rica, confirmed on Monday the Environment Ministry (Minaet).

The latest arson attacks consume hectares of forest in Palo Verde, in the province of Guanacaste, and Tivives on Route 27, in Atenas, emphasized a release by the governmental ministry.

These fires, caused by unknown, so far affected the flora and fauna of 700 thousand hectares in the three protected areas.

Much of the Chirripo National Park burned for 15 days and the process of extinguishing the flames came over the weekend in its finishing stage said Minaet.

The state agency thanked the Government of Guatemala for their collaboration to put out the fire in the territory, which will take three decades to regenerate after this event, according to the Association for the Preservation of Flora and Fauna. Source

Bus falls into ravine in southwest China; 15 dead


(image) Fifteen people are dead after a bus flipped and fell into a ravine in southwest China.

The official Xinhua News Agency says the bus carrying 21 people was traveling on a mountain road in Sichuan province's Aba prefecture when it overturned and fell into the ravine at around noon Tuesday. Six people injured in the accident were taken to a hospital.

Aba has a large Tibetan population, but Xinhua didn't give the ethnicity of the victims.

Road safety is a serious problem in China, with many accidents caused by poorly maintained roads and bad driving habits. Source

One Killed, Another Injured after Helicopter Crashes in Russia


Moscow, March 13 (BNA) - One crewman was killed and another badly injured after a Ka-52 (Hokum B) attack helicopter crashed during a training flight near Torzhok in Russia's Tver Region on Tuesday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.A rescue group found the helicopter some 10 kilometers west of Torzhok airport on Tuesday morning, Russia's (RIA Novosti) News Agency reported. According to the group's report the navigator has died and the pilot is now receiving medical assistance, the spokesman said.The Russian Defense Ministry investigation group has been set up to find the causes of the crash. Source[...]

Jellyfish invading Gold Coast canals, numbering in their thousands


(image) THOUSANDS of jellyfish have invaded a Gold Coast canal.

In a sight that has locals and tourists amazed, the stingers have floated into the waterway, behind Macintosh Island at Surfers Paradise, from the ocean.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Steve Williams, who manages the Capricorn One highrise overlooking the canal.

"There are thousands upon thousands of them that seem to come in every day on the incoming tide and the water has been thick with them . Many of our guests are from overseas and they're loving it.

"It's a bit of a phenomenon and quite spectacular."

Sea World marine sciences director Trevor Long said it was unusual to see so many jellyfish in the Nerang River.

"It's likely the water is very warm and rich in nutrients which could be luring them into what is quite a nice environment for them," he said.

"There's no need for panic - they won't harm anyone and will get in and out of the river themselves on the incoming and outgoing tides." Source

Suspected Bird Flu Case Reported in Korea


(image) For the first time in nearly 10 months a suspected case of bird flu has been reported at a poultry farm in Korea.

The government says that out of the 450 chickens on the farm in South Chungcheong Province, 45 have died so far and 100 others are currently showing symptoms of avian influenza. In a screening test, six out 10 chickens tested positive.

Comprehensive results will be announced Tuesday. If the case is confirmed as highly pathogenic, the transport of poultry, personnel and vehicles related to the livestock industry will be temporarily controlled to prevent the spread of the disease. Source

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS - 13th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck South of the Fiji Islands at a depth of 545 km (337.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:23:43 UTC Tuesday 13th March 2012
The epicenter was 568 km (352.1 miles) Southwest of NUKU`ALOFA, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake GUAM REGION - 13th Mar 2012


(image) A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Guam Region at a depth of 109.4 km (68 miles), the quake hit at 18:01:44 UTC Tuesday 13th March 2012
The epicenter was 25 km (15 miles) SSE of Rota, Northern Mariana Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Rain causes road collapse in Papua New Guinea


(image) TORRENTIAL rain in Papua New Guinea has caused part of the main freeway in the nation's capital to collapse.

The section gave way after Port Moresby was bombarded by a fierce electrical storm and saturated by 83.2 millimetres of rain.

Authorities say there are no reports of injuries.

Measuring the length of about two cars and cutting across four lanes of Spring Garden Road - one of two main links between Port Moresby's central business district and outlying suburbs - the road collapsed late last night.

"It is the nature of the rain," said National Municipal authority Deputy manager for Engineering, Simon Vai.
"It caused the corrugated iron (drains) to collapse."

"We were addressing the issue - it already fell on one side - when it happened." Read More

Bird Flu Outbreaks in Israel Kill 10500 Turkeys, Officials Say‎


Bird flu killed about 10,500 turkeys on two farms in western Israel, the first outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain in the country in 11 months, veterinary officials said.

The virus threatens 51,000 8-week and 12-week-old Turkeys on the farms in Hadarom, said Nadav Galon, Israel’s director of veterinary services and animal health, in a March 9 report to the World Organization for Animal Health in Paris. The outbreaks began on March 7 and were confirmed the following day. The source of the attack is being investigated, Galon said.

World health and veterinary officials have been monitoring H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in birds for the past decade because of their potential to infect people. If the virus becomes easily transmissible among humans, it could touch off a deadly pandemic. Read More

Tornado Warning TEST Please Check Link For all COUNTIES



Perth travel chaos as rail lines shut down due to Fire


(image) An electrical fire near Perth's central railway station has caused major disruption for the city's commuters with major rail routes shut down.

Transperth says the Fremantle line is closed in both directions while the Armadale-Thornlie line is only running to Cannington and the Midland line is only running to Bassendean.

Buses are being arranged to carry passengers but traffic was slow on highways and roads as more people took to cars to get to work.

The fire at about 7am (WST) on Tuesday in an electrical box about 100 metres from Perth station was quickly extinguished but brought the system down because of damage to wiring.

Transperth spokesman David Hynes says the system would not be fully restored anytime during the morning peak but officials are confident it would be back on track by the afternoon peak. Source

Cold wave damages crops in Akole, India


PUNE: Crops in their early stages of growth were damaged due to extreme cold wave in Akole taluka in Ahmednagar district.The main cash crop - onion - did not suffer, but the frost, which was unexpected in the middle of the planting season of the summer crop, proved harmful to horse gram, pearl millet, maize, beans and groundnut.This is the second consecutive year of climate variability here. Last year, the untimely rain in June had damaged the summer crop.Crispino Lobo, co-founder and managing trustee of the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), an NGO working for the climate change adaptation project in this region, said extreme cold in February and March, the middle of the planting season of the summer crop, proved to be harmful for the crops. "February and March are almost the end of winter in Maharashtra, and cold wave is not experienced during this time. Rather, a cold wave at the height of winter, middle of December or first week of January, is beneficial for the rabi crop," he said. Read More[...]

Forest fires in Spain come early...about 4 months Early


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Normally, the season for forest fires in Spain is the height of summer when high temperatures and dry conditions add to the dangers. However, the fire season seems to have started much earlier this year following a very mild and dry winter.

Fires broke out in several different areas of Spain on Sunday March 11 due to the dry conditions. According to El Pais, a fire in the province of Aragón destroyed over one thousand hectares of forest in the Pyrenees whilst fifty firefighters and a helicopter struggled to control it. Officials told the paper that winds in the area were helping to fuel the fire.

Fires also broke out in the regions of Girona and Lleida in Catalonia, some of which are still not under control. People have had to be evacuated from their homes and thousands of hectares of forest have been destroyed. Fire fighters are working round the clock to get the fires under control. Read More