Monday, February 28, 2011

Libya: West ready to use force against Col Gaddafi amid chemical weapon fears

The Prime Minister disclosed that he would not rule out “the use of military assets” as Britain “must not tolerate this regime using military forces against its own people”. Britain and America are also thought to be considering arming rebel forces in Libya.

Adding to growing concern about the crumbling regime’s ability to commit last desperate acts of mass murder, British sources have disclosed that Libya still has stocks of mustard gas chemicals.

Mr Cameron told MPs that Britain and its allies were considering using fighter jets to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, patrolling and shooting down Libyan aircraft ordered to attack protesters.

The Pentagon announced that the Americans had begun “repositioning forces” around Libya to provide “flexibility”. The French also announced that they would back a possible military intervention with Nato partners. (read more)

Anti-government protests break out in Lebanon

Hundreds of Lebanese protested in the capital Beirut on Sunday against the country's sectarian political system.

Emulating protests that have spread across the Arab world in recent weeks, some Lebanese protesters chanted the now-familiar refrain of "The people want to bring down the regime".

Lebanon is governed by a delicate power-sharing system to maintain the balance between the country's many sects. It is unlike many other Arab countries where protests have been against rulers who have governed for decades.

"We are here to bring down the sectarian system in Lebanon because it is more of a dictatorial system than dictatorship systems themselves," said protester Rahshan Saglam. (read more)

Gaddafi's end is nigh: 'Free Libya' Chants Heard in City Near Tripoli

With residents shouting "Free, free Libya," anti-government rebels who control this battle-scarred city nearest to the capital deployed tanks and anti-aircraft weapons Sunday, bracing for an attack by troops loyal to Moammar Qaddafi. Politicians in the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, meanwhile, set up their first leadership council in a step that could lead to an alternative to the regime.

In the capital of Tripoli, where Qaddafi is still firmly in control, state banks began handing out the equivalent of $400 per family in a bid to win back loyalty. (read more)

Carnage continues down under: Quake-hit Christchurch braces for 130 km windstorm

The death toll from the disaster reached 148 Monday but police expect the final tally to exceed 200, with more than 50 still listed as "unaccounted for" in the rubble of New Zealand's second largest city.

Police have said some victims may never be identified.

The catastrophe flattened office blocks, tore up roads and destroyed the spire of the city's landmark cathedral, leaving one-third of the downtown area facing demolition.

Winds of up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) per hour were forecast to whip through the region on Monday, officials said, likely forcing rescuers to retreat from ruins already on the brink of collapse.

"(It) will of course, if you have gale-force winds, impact on structures, it will affect rescue operations in the area where we have loose masonry," mayor Bob Parker said. (read more)

Beginning of American Rebellion? Rallies in all 50 states support Wisconsin protesters

A coalition spearheaded by liberal advocacy group Moveon.org held rallies across the country Saturday in support of public employees and others outraged at the Wisconsin budget-cutting bill they consider an attack on unions.

MoveOn.org and other liberal and labor groups held noon events at all 50 state capitals.

"Save the dream, we are reunited," a group shouted in Washington, D.C.

The focal point of the protests was the Wisconsin Capitol, where a light snow and cold temperatures failed Saturday to deter about 70,000 who drummed, chanted and marched.

"Hey, hey, ho, ho, Governor Walker has got to go," chanted the group rallying in Madison. (read more)

Top US lawmaker sounds alarm over Syria nukes

A top US lawmaker pressed President Barack Obama on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Syria after photographs emerged suggesting its secret nuclear program was broader than previously revealed.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said she was "gravely concerned" after a Washington think tank published satellite photos that appeared to show Syrian efforts to conceal a second suspected nuclear site allegedly linked to a reactor bombed by Israel in 2007.

"Israel's destruction in 2007 of Syria's suspected uranium enrichment facility may have ended the immediate threat, but this new evidence indicates the regime has yet to abandon its nuclear goals," said Ros-Lehtinen. (read more)

Expert Warns Oil Prices Could Double To Reach $220 A Barrel If Mid-East Political Crisis Intensifies

Oil strategist at Nomura, Michael Lo, estimates that oil prices could top $220-a-barrel - almost double today's high of $119 - if both Libya and Algeria halt production as a result of political unrest.

He told The Daily Telegraph: "We could be underestimating this as speculative activities were largely not present in 1990-1991."

The oil price increases, coupled with such warnings, spell danger for economic recovery, as inflation feeds through the supply chain.

RMI Petrol, the body which represents fuel retailers, said prices demanded by wholesalers have risen "an unprecedented" 3p-a-litre so far this week and that increase is set to feed into pump prices by the weekend. (read more)

Crude Oil prices may skyrocket past $200 on March 20 - the day of scheduled Saudi protests


With the facebook revolutions having claimed virtually every other country in the region, the time may be coming for that most important one of all. And if Facebook is to be relied on for its revolutionary calendar, a job it has so far done without reproach, the revolutionary wave will come to Saudi Arabia on March 20.That will also the day crude passes $200. (read more)

Homeland Security urges Americans to "be ready" - but why?


Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Wednesday launched a national Ready Campaign to prepare Americans for terrorist attacks, urging them to take such measures as storing 3 or more gallons of water for each family member and watching for dead birds as a sign of chemical attack.

A week after Ridge and his department came under fire for suggesting that duct tape and plastic sheeting would be a defense against possible attacks, the homeland security secretary traveled to Cincinnati to tout the new campaign he said was designed primarily to prevent fear and panic.

"Fear is the terrorists' most effective weapon," Ridge said. "The threat of terrorism forces us to make a choice. We can be afraid or we can be ready. And today America's families declare we will not be afraid and we will be ready. (read more)

China droughts now predicted to cause soaring food prices across globe

The soil lies cracked and broken in China's Shangdong Province, thirsting for rains that will not come. China's key wheat producing region, lying just south of Beijing, has received just 12 millimeters (1/2 inch) of rain since September, according to the Chinese news service Xinhua. If no rains come during the remainder of February, it could become the worst drought in 200 years. The latest precipitation forecast from the GFS ensemble model predicts the possibility of rains of around 1/2 inch for Shandong Province early next week, but these rains would help only a little. A longer-range 2-week forecast from the operational GFS model shows little or no rain for the region from late next week well into March.

Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) projects that spring in Eastern China has an enhanced probability of being dry, with only a 20% - 25% chance that the region will see above average precipitation, and a 40% - 45% chance of below average precipitation. So the great drought will likely continue, and China's ability to feed itself may be greatly challenged this year.
(read more)

Farmers Fail to Meet Demand as Corn Stockpiles Drop to 1974 Low

The smallest corn inventories in 37 years are a sign farmers around the globe are failing to produce enough grain to meet rising consumption, even as planting expands and food prices surge.

Growers from Canada to Russia boosted annual output of wheat, rice and feed grain by 16 percent since 2000, not enough to keep up with the 20 percent gain in demand, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. While a Bloomberg survey of 25 analysts shows the agency on Feb. 24 may forecast a 3.5 percent increase in U.S. corn planting, the government says world stockpiles will equal 15 percent of use, the lowest since 1974.

Global inventories for all grain will drop 13 percent before the next harvest, the USDA estimates. That’s the first decline since 2007, when surging food prices sparked more than 60 riots from Haiti to Egypt. Increasing demand is causing isolated food shortages and accelerating inflation in developing countries even as it boosts farmers’ incomes and shifts planting strategies. (read more)

Goldrunner: Fractal Analysis Suggests Silver to Reach $52 – $56 by May – June 2011

Dollar Inflation remains the driver of the pricing environment for almost everything denominated in U.S. Dollars as long as the Fed continues to monetize debt. The debt monetization creates Dollar Inflation that results in Dollar Devaluation. As the Fed ramps up the QE II that they have announced will end in June, I expect Gold, Silver, and the PM stocks to aggressively rise.

In previous articles I have shown that fractal analysis suggests that:
  • Gold could reach $1860 into the May/ June period based on the late 70’s Fractal. I have also shown the potential for Gold to rise even higher if the market psychology is volatile enough – up to $1975, or even up to $ 2250.
  • The HUI at from HUI 940 to 970 by mid-June is a distinct possibility and we will discuss the fractal considerations for the PM stock indices further in the next editorial.
  • Silver could reach $52 – $56 into May – June of 2011 as explained in this article.
(Read more)

Vultures on the verge of extinction - 28th Feb 2011

Seeing vultures flying high in the sky is already a thing of the past in most parts of the country. Any further delay in starting efforts for conservation will lead to extinction of these ‘natural scavengers’ in five years.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has changed the status of long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) and slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘critically endangered’ species in South Asia, including Pakistan.

According to Save Our Species (SOS), a global coalition initiated by three founding partners IUCN, GEF and World Bank, vultures are specialised feeders in the ecosystem with the ability to consume carcasses to the bone. Without vultures, these carcasses would rot and taken over by disease-causing organisms that cause anthrax and botulism.

“Vultures have an extremely important ecological role as they are sanitizers of nature and their decline would eventually increase the stray dog population, which is also a health hazard for
human communities,” said a report compiled by the SOS. Read More

Many carcasses of birds found on, along Route 222 in Spring Township - 28th Feb 2011

Janeen Grell peered out of her car window Sunday and noticed a bunch of little black things lying along Route 222 in Spring Township.

"What's that?" she said to her husband.

"Oh, my God," she said an instant later. "They're birds."

Grell, 37, of Reinholds estimated that 50 to 100 black birds were lying dead on or along the highway, just north of the ramp from Route 724.

Just what killed so many birds in such a concentrated area remains a mystery.

Though a definitive number of dead birds could not be established, there were enough for Spring police to turn the matter over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for investigation. Officials there could not be reached Sunday.

It is believed the birds are European starlings. Read Mor
e

Update: Public offer £5,500 reward to find swan killer - 25th Feb 2011

SHOCKED members of the public have today put up a £5,500 reward to find the callous gunman who shot dead eight swans.

As reported, three dead swans were found covered in blood in a field off Totney Drove near Burtle by a passing motorist on Monday morning.

Animal care manager Sara Cowen from East Huntspill-based Secret World Wildlife Rescue and a Burnham hovercraft crew rushed to the scene and found an injured swan, which had survived the shootings, in the rhyne.

Rescuers found a total of eight dead birds which x-rays later confirmed had been killed by airgun pellets - one had been shot three times.

Pauline Kidner, Secret World founder, told the Weekly News: “It is hard to understand why anyone would do such a callous thing. Read More

More Marine Lake swans hit by mystery illness, taking death toll to at least seven, with 29 in a critical condition - 25th Feb 2011

A FURTHER 17 swans have been taken off the Marine Lake due to a mystery illness.

The total number of swans removed from the water in 10 days is now 36, with at least seven dead and the rest in critical conditions.

The ill birds are being looked after at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire. Post-mortem examinations are also being carried out.

Volunteers from the RSPCA have been working together with Southport Swan Rescue to save the remaining birds on the lake.

RSPCA inspector Ian Robertson said: “This is getting up to a third of all the swans in the lake in a space of time that isn’t even two weeks.

“All we know so far is that it is a bacterial problem.

“But the swans at Stapeley won’t be coming back until it is 100 per cent safe to do so.

“We have contacted all of the relevant agencies about this and we have had a meeting with Colin Pool, the Marine Lake commissioner, and informed the Environment Agency.

“We actually picked up one Canada goose too, which is the first time we have taken a bird out that isn’t a swan since this began. Read More