Friday, February 25, 2011

Africa explodes: Gun battles raging in Ivory Coast

Hundreds of residents continued to stream out of Abidjan's Abobo neighbourhood, the latest battle ground between Mr Gbagbo and presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara over a violently disputed election held in the Ivory Coast in November.

UN-certified results showed Mr Ouattara won that vote, but Mr Gbagbo has refused to concede. The conflict appears to be entering a new phase, as open street combat between pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces flares up in Abidjan and fighting has spread to the west.

"Gun shots were echoing everywhere throughout the night and there was heavy arms fire. We haven't slept a wink," said resident Souala Tiemoko.

"This morning, the streets are thronging with people trying to get out. They are going to other neighbourhoods or villages."

A Reuters witness saw hundreds marching along the roadside leading out of Abobo, home to over a quarter of a million, carrying what belongings they could salvage. (read more)

Gaddafi: 'Follow Me Or I Will Burn Libya'

Embattled dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to "burn all of Libya" if his people continue to turn against him.

In a surprise televised appearance, Col Gaddafi warned he was ready to unleash further bloodshed by arming tribes and urged his followers: "Prepare to defend Libya."

"We will defeat any outside attempt to overturn our country," he told loyalists gathered in Tripoli's Green Square.

In his fourth bizarre public tirade this week, Col Gaddafi told supporters to"keep dancing, keep chanting", adding: "Libyan people love me." (read more)

Tens of Thousands of shrimp try to 'commit suicide' at Yanwu Lake in Xiamen - 25th Feb 2011

Tens of thousands of shrimp kept jumping out of Yanwu Lake in the early morning of Thursday as if they were trying to commit suicide, and most of them were found dead in the lake by midday for unknown reasons, reports fj.qq.com.
"When I went past Yanwu Lake at about 6:40am, thousands of shrimps were jumping out of the lake and even onto the lakeshore. However, the phenomenon didnt last long as the shrimp died soon afterwards, said Mr. Xu, a secuity guard of a nearby building.
Upon spotting so many shrimp jumping out of the lake, many residents living in the neighborhood rushed to fish out the dead shrimp.
According to experts, the water in Yanwu Lake is probably polluted, and oxygen contained in the water is not adequate for the shrimp to breath. As a result, most of them jumped out of the lake and died soon.
Experts also suggest that these shrimp are not suitable for eating as the reasons that lead to the shrimps suicidal event are still unknown at present. Source

Original Article; CHINESE

Better late than never: Obama calls Cameron and Sarkozy to draw up plans for possible international military intervention in Libya - 25th Feb 2011

Barack Obama last night held an emergency crisis summit with the leaders of Britain, France and Italy to thrash out action plans over the uprising in Libya, the White House said.

The U.S. president phoned David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi to express his 'deep concern' over Colonel Gaddafi's use of violence which he said 'violates every standard of human decency'.

Before making the urgent phone call, Mr Obama hosted a concert featuring stars including Nick Jonas, Seal and John Legend, to celebrate Black History Month at the White House.

Some relatives of those who are still stuck on the catamaran trying to escape Tripoli harbour and in oil-field camps inside the country might take some exception to the revelry at the White house last night to celebrate Motown music. Read more

Cameron Warns Libya: 'The World Is Watching' - 25th Feb 2011

David Cameron has warned the Libyan regime "the world is watching you", as he pledged to hold all those responsible for violence to account.

In a strongly worded statement from Downing Street, the Prime Minister also declined to rule out military action against the country.

He added the Government "will do everything it can" to get estimated 200 British nationals still stranded in Libya safely back home.

His warning followed meetings of the National Security Council and Cobra emergency planning committee and came amid growing criticism of the Goivernment's handling of the crisis.

Mr Cameron also detailed evacuation plans to get Britons out of Libya, adding: "I would say that people do need to leave now and that is the message that I give very strongly to British citizens in Libya. Read More

Computer Glitch Halts LONDON Stock Exchange Trading - 25th Feb 2011

Trading is expected to resume on the London Stock Exchange after "market data" problems halted trading all morning.

Investors were left frustrated as the LSE saw only a few minutes of trading this morning before the outage took place.

The exchange said it has identified the problem and that the auction call period would resume at 1215.

However it has not confirmed whether the issue was related to its new trading platform Millennium Exchange.

It was brought in on February 14 to offer investors faster execution and enable algorithmic trading, but caused some technical difficulty at the time.

Earlier this week the exchange's Milan platform, the Borsa Italiana, suffered a five-hour outage.

This disruption was longer than the three hour halt in trading in 2009. Source

US about to order Libya invasion? - Castro

CUBA and Nicaragua have sprung to the defence of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, with Fidel Castro claiming Washington plans to order a NATO invasion of Libya to seize oil interests.

"To me, it's absolutely clear that the Government of the United States is not interested in peace in Libya," said the 84-year old former Cuban leader, who still heads the Cuban Communist Party.

Washington, he said, "will not hesitate to give the order for NATO to invade that rich country, perhaps in the coming hours or days." (read more)

U.S. Fears Tripoli May Deploy Gas As Chaos Mounts

The government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi hasn't destroyed significant stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemical-weapons agents, raising fears in Washington about what could happen to them—and whether they may be used—as Libya slides further into chaos.

Tripoli also maintains control of aging Scud B missiles, U.S. officials said, as well as 1,000 metric tons of uranium yellowcake and vast amounts of conventional weapons that Col. Gadhafi has channeled in the past to militants operating in countries like Sudan and Chad.

Current and former U.S. officials said in interviews that Washington's counterproliferation operations against Libya over the past decade have scored gains, in particular the dismantling of Tripoli's nascent nuclear-weapons program and its Scud C missile stockpiles. But the level of instability in Libya, and Col. Gadhafi's history of brutality, continues to make the U.S. focus on the arms and chemical agents that remain, they said. (read more)

Weather woes continue: San Francisco to get first snow fall in 35 years

Cold, wet weather will once again put an icy grip on the Bay Area as we head toward this weekend, bringing with it a chance that San Francisco residents could see some snow, forecasters said Wednesday.

Talk began swirling in recent days that snow could drop on San Francisco for the first time in 35 years.

National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said that while snow would likely fall at elevations lower than last weekend, it was still too soon to know for certain if there would be flurries in the city.

If the coldest predictions materialize, “In some form, people at or near sea level will see snow in the air,” Benjamin said. (read more)

Highest Gas Prices in February Since 1990, Attributed to Libya Turmoil

The U.S. weekly average price per gallon is $3.19, up 54 cents from a year ago, and slightly higher than last week's $3.14. This was the highest price posted during the month of February since 1990, when the data became available. The most expensive regions again are New England at $3.23 and California at $3.56.

Oil settled at $93.57 in New York trading, up 8.5 percent since Friday's close, the biggest one day jump in nearly three years. (read more)

Mid-East protests first salvo in peak oil revolution (or collapse)?


Were the Egyptian people that bravely took to the streets to overthrow a tyrannical regime taking part in the world’s first peak oil revolution?

It seems like out and out hyperbole at first. Hosni Mubarek ran the country in a permanent state of emergency in which he blocked free speech, intimidated anyone perceived as a threat, and operated a blatantly corrupt system that left millions of Egyptians impoverished. Tyrants get overthrown in the end, and the protesters on the streets of Egypt were clearly exercising their right to make a political choice – to remove Mubarak. After all, it’s such a romantic story that we want to buy into it: the disenfranchised youth who outsmarted the government’s spies by tweeting on Facebook to organize a brief, remarkably peaceful rebellion.

Right now, with the country securely in the hands of the military, who have pledged elections in six months’ time, media commentators are talking of happy endings - depending on how happy you are about martial law, that is. But what if there is more to it than that? And what if Egypt’s problems go much deeper? (read more)

Solar storm could cause "Global Katrina" for months of power disruption and chaos - and Earth is overdue for such an event

The world is overdue a ferocious 'space storm' that could knock out communications satellites, ground aircraft and trigger blackouts - causing hundreds of billions of pounds of damage, scientists say.

Astronomers today warned that mankind is now more vulnerable to a major solar storm than at any time in history - and that the planet should prepare for a global Katrina-style disaster.

A massive eruption of the sun would save waves of radiation and charged particles to Earth, damaging the satellite systems used for synchronising computers, airline navigation and phone networks. (read more)

Oil Jumps to Two-Year High, Gold Reaches $1,400 on Mideast; Stocks Decline

Oil rose to a two-year high and gold rallied for a sixth day surpassing $1,400 an ounce, as tension in the Middle East escalated. Stocks fell, with Eni SpA leading energy companies with operations in Libya lower.

Brent crude gained as much as 2.5 percent, trading up 2 percent at 9:35 a.m. in New York. Gold climbed 0.9 percent and silver added 2.5 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.6 percent, with Eni sinking the most since May. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 0.3 percent. Bahrain’s 2020 bond yield increased for a 10th day after S&P cut its debt rating. The New Zealand dollar strengthened against its major peers. U.S. markets were closed for the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Libyan security forces attacked anti-government protesters as demonstrations spread across the Middle East and North Africa, a region that accounts for 36 percent of global crude output. (read more)

Machines and missiles being used on Libyan protestors

Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. Moammar Gadhafi's son vowed that his father and security forces would fight "until the last bullet."

Protesters demanding Gadhafi's ouster planed new marches in the capital's main Green Square and at the leader's residence for Monday evening. That was likely to bring a new round of violence after a similar march the night before prompted clashes that lasted till dawn, with witnesses reporting snipers opening fire on protesters and Gadhafi supporters racing through crowds in trucks and cars, firing automatic weapons and running people over. (read more)

3rd case of mass fish deaths in just 2 weeks in Derwent, this time thousands of dead squid washed ashore - 25th Feb 2011

EXPERTS have no answers on what has caused the death of thousands of squid in the River Derwent this week.

Dead and dying arrowhead squid have been washed ashore or spotted floating on the water at Austins Ferry and Berriedale since Tuesday.

Locals say they have never seen so many dead fish.

The Environment Protection Authority yesterday confirmed reports of more dead squid further down the river.

It is the third case of mass fish deaths in the Derwent in the space of two weeks.

Early this week a large mass of dead juvenile barracouta was found in Windermere Bay near Claremont Primary School. Read More

RBS Bonuses Spark Fury after revealing Losses of 1.1 billion - 25th Feb 2011

BAILED-out Royal Bank of Scotland sparked fury yesterday by paying £950million in bonuses, despite £1.1billion losses last year.

Boss Stephen Hester, who pocketed £2m, defended the bumper payouts, saying they were down on last year’s £1.3bn giveaway.

He said losses at the bank, 84% owned by taxpayers, were much lower than 2009’s £3.6bn shortfall.

Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Taxpayers will be baffled as to how this bank continues to so handsomely reward their investment bankers.” Source

UK Workers Do £29bn Worth Of Unpaid Overtime - 25th Feb 2011

" Public sector workers will be understandably upset about the amount of extra unpaid work they are expected to do with the threat of redundancy looming over them"
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber

Workers clocked up around £29bn worth of overtime at an average of seven extra hours each week, a new study has revealed.

The TUC report says a unprecedented 5.26m people worked additional time for free last year - the highest number since records began in 1992.

It said one in five employees regularly put in extra hours for no extra pay last year, with public sector workers most likely to work unpaid overtime.

The union called for people to observe 'Work Your Proper Hours Day' today.

They say it represents the day the average person doing unpaid overtime would begin getting paid if they did all their unpaid work at the start of the year. Read More