Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Near East Coast of Honshu, Japan - Tsunami WARNING issued - 9th Mar 2011

TOKYO—A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit off Japan's northeastern coast Wednesday, shaking buildings hundreds of miles away in Tokyo and triggering a small tsunami. There were no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries.

The quake struck at 11:45 a.m. local time and was centered about 90 miles (150 kilometers) off the northeastern coast—about 270 miles (440 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo—at a depth of about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), Japan's meteorological agency said.

A 24-inch (60-centimeter) tsunami reached the coastal town of Ofunato, in Iwate prefecture, with other towns reporting smaller waves reaching shore about 30 minutes after the quake.

"We have confirmed that small tsunami have come up on the shores, but we have no reports of damage at this point," said Shinobu Nagano, an emergency and disaster response official in Iwate. "We are still trying to determine the impact of the quake."

Some train lines in the area were temporarily stopped after the quake, but they were restarted shortly after noon. Tohoku Electric Power said there was no damage at its nuclear power facility in the region.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected.

There was a 6.3 magnitude aftershock shortly after the main quake, the meteorological agency said.

NOTE: On the 6th of March 2011 I posted a article about the stranded whales in Kashima on HONSHU Island, just like New Zealand the stranding was following by a huge shallow Earthquake. Could the whales have known?

Libya: David Cameron and Barack Obama plan 'full spectrum' of action on Libya

A joint British and US statement said a plan for a no-fly zone, as requested by many of the rebels, was among the ideas being discussed. Action would also include surveillance and enforcement of the arms embargo against Libya.

The two men spoke as residents of the town of Zawiyah to the west of Tripoli took to the rooftops with loudhailers to appeal to their fellow-citizens not to give up the fight as scores of tanks streamed into the central square.

Fragmented reports from the town, where telephones, electricity and the internet have all been cut, said shells were hitting residential buildings and mosques and bodies were lying in the streets.

Television footage of the two-week-long battle for control of the town showed dead bodies of soldiers lying in the streets and casualties pouring into the hospitals.

In the east of the country, rebel forces managed to maintain control of the town of Ras Lanuf, also seat of an oil terminal, despite aerial bombardment that included at least five air strikes, including on a block of flats. (read more)

Libya Civil War Update: Tanks Move In To Crush Rebel Stronghold

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces are reportedly using tanks and warplanes to attack the rebel-held town of Zawiyah in western Libya.

One eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, compared the town to "a city of ghosts" because of the violence and bloodshed.

He told Sky News: "Here, it is chaos. Buildings completely crumbled, mosques brought down to ashes, blood flowing through the streets.

"No human should go through this... what kind of human would do this to another human?"

He added: "This is a completely full attack. Approximately 50 tanks have been bombarding the city, crushing everything in sight.

"It started at 10am today and still hasn't finished. There are now a couple of aircraft hovering."

He said Gaddafi's forces were targeting the town's main square where protesters have gathered.

"There are a lot of people there who want freedom, but it seems the price they have to pay is with their own blood," he said. (read more)

His promise to close America's gulag was a lie: Barack Obama lifts ban on Guantánamo Bay trials

The long-expected announcement was an acknowledgement that the detention facility for terror suspects will remain open for the foreseeable future after unsuccessful efforts to try high profile inmates on the United States mainland.

The president reserved the right to try some suspects from Guantánamo in federal prisons, but such moves have been repeatedly blocked by members of Congress and are likely to be obstructed again.

It is now probable that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed September 11 ringleader, and four other accused plotters, will face a fresh set of charges and a new trial at Guantánamo, after plans to put them on trial in New York met with stiff opposition.

“We remain fully committed to bringing the alleged 9/11 conspirators to justice, drawing on the options we have,” said a senior administration official, though he declined to provide further details.

Mr Obama insisted that military commissions would “ensure that our security and our values are strengthened”. (read more -- fixed)

Saudis mobilise thousands of troops to quell growing revolt

Saudi Arabia was yesterday drafting up to 10,000 security personnel into its north-eastern Shia Muslim provinces, clogging the highways into Dammam and other cities with busloads of troops in fear of next week's "day of rage" by what is now called the "Hunayn Revolution".

Saudi Arabia's worst nightmare – the arrival of the new Arab awakening of rebellion and insurrection in the kingdom – is now casting its long shadow over the House of Saud. Provoked by the Shia majority uprising in the neighbouring Sunni-dominated island of Bahrain, where protesters are calling for the overthrow of the ruling al-Khalifa family, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is widely reported to have told the Bahraini authorities that if they do not crush their Shia revolt, his own forces will.

The opposition is expecting at least 20,000 Saudis to gather in Riyadh and in the Shia Muslim provinces of the north-east of the country in six days, to demand an end to corruption and, if necessary, the overthrow of the House of Saud. Saudi security forces have deployed troops and armed police across the Qatif area – where most of Saudi Arabia's Shia Muslims live – and yesterday would-be protesters circulated photographs of armoured vehicles and buses of the state-security police on a highway near the port city of Dammam. (read more)

U.S. sets $223B deficit record in February -- largest monthly deficit in American history

The federal government posted its largest monthly deficit in history in February, a $223 billion shortfall that put a sharp point on the current fight on Capitol Hill about how deeply to cut this year’s spending.

That one-month figure, which came in a preliminary report from the Congressional Budget Office, dwarfs even the most robust cuts being talked about on the Hill, and underscores just how much work lawmakers have to do to get the government’s finances in balance again.

The Senate plans to vote Tuesday on competing proposals to cut spending, but Democrats have rejected GOP-backed cuts of more than $50 billion, and Republicans have ruled out Democrats’ cuts of less than $10 billion, meaning neither plan will draw the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and pass.

“We’ve all done the math and we all know how these votes will turn out: Neither proposal will pass, which means neither will reach the president’s desk as written. We’ll go back to square one and back to the negotiating table,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

The two sides are facing a March 18 deadline, which is when the current stopgap funding bill expires. Without a new spending agreement by then, the government would shut down. (read more)

Saudi Arabia's `Day of Rage' Lures Record Bets on $200 Oil: Chart of Day

Options traders are betting more than ever that crude oil is heading to $200 a barrel as some websites call for a “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia and anti- government protests spread in the Middle East and North Africa.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows open interest, or the number of outstanding contracts, for “call” options to buy New York crude for June delivery at $200 a barrel. The number has escalated, along with crude futures, to the highest since the options started trading in July 2009 amid worsening civil unrest in Libya and rare demonstrations in Saudi Arabia.

“If you look at the volatility and increase in money for call options in the last month or so, it does suggest that market participants are now more worried about the upside,” said Yingxi Yu, a Singapore-based commodity analyst with Barclays Plc. “People are also quite concerned about protests spreading across different parts of the region.” (read more)


Gee, weren't we told they were safe for children? Japan suspends 2 vaccines while authorities investigate infant deaths

A safety panel convenes in Japan Tuesday to examine whether two vaccines widely used around the world contributed to the deaths of five children in the past month.

Japan's health ministry ordered doctors to stop immunizing infants with the vaccines while authorities investigate Pfizer's Prevenar vaccine and Sanofi Pasteur's ActHIB vaccine -- commonly given to infants in the United States and other developed nations.

The health ministry said it suspended the vaccines because the children all died within a short period of time; four died last week and one died in February.

Three of the infants had underlying medical conditions, the health ministry said. Authorities are investigating the medical history of one of the children, and the fifth child had no apparent illness at the time of vaccination, according to the ministry.

Both companies maintain that their vaccines -- which are aimed at stopping bacteria that can cause meningitis, pneumonia and other serious infections -- are safe. (read more)

Military drill shatters silence on Korean peninsula

Heavy gunfire breaks the silence in this valley of South Korea. Stryker combat vehicles speed towards a distant target ... their machine guns focused on the enemy beyond.

Infantry fan out into the surrounding hills, still partially covered with snow. Blue skies and bright sunshine are not enough to warm this part of the Korean peninsula much above zero degrees Celsius.

The enemy today is imagined, but the threat is very real. This military drill is no more than 15 kilometers away from the demilitarized zone separating South and North Korea.

This is just one part of the joint annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that the U.S. insists are defensive in nature. But North Korea disagrees. Pyongyang has called the drills a provocation and has threatened to "engulf Seoul in a sea of flames." North Korea has often claimed it sees these drills as preparations to invade North Korea and topple Kim Jong-Il's regime. (read more)

New 9/11 helicopter video of Twin Towers released

New video has emerged of the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York's World Trade Center, shot by a police helicopter crew hoping in vain to rescue trapped office workers.

The video shows the aircraft hovering near the towers' roofs, only to retreat as the first tower fell.

"The whole tower, it's gone," an officer is heard yelling. "They knocked the whole fricking thing down."

It was released by a US government agency that investigated the collapse.

The airspace over the towers was closed to news helicopters on the morning of the attacks, so little video of the attacks from the air has emerged.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology obtained the video from the New York Police Department during its investigation into the structural collapse of the Twin Towers.

It was released by the NIST in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, but it was not clear who published it online. (read more)

Caught on Video: General Petraeus And Secretary Gates Share Private Joke About Attacking Libya

South Korea part of disturbing growing trend: Suicide attempts in Han River on the rise

Seoul citizens mulling suicide last year increasingly chose to go to Han River bridges instead of subway stations, traditionally common locations for suicides, after most stations set up screen doors on their platforms to prevent possible accidents and suicide attempts, a police report said Tuesday.

Suicide attempts on Han River bridges rose by 30 percent from 83 in 2009 to 108 last year, the National Police Agency said in a report submitted to Rep. Yoon Seok-yong of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP). Twenty-eight of those attempts ended in death, it added.

On the contrary, the number of citizens attempting suicide by jumping from platforms of subway stations decreased from 77 in 2009 to 29 last year, according to the report.

Most of the incidents happened at no-screen door stations, indicating screen doors were effective in preventing suicides.

"Just as screen doors were established at subway stations for the safety of citizens, we need to prepare various measures to prevent impulsive suicides on Han River bridges," Yoon said. (Source)

BREAKING NEWS Millions of fish found dead in California marina - 8th Mar 2011

REDONDO BEACH, Calif.—Millions of dead fish were found Tuesday floating in a Southern California marina.

Boaters awakened to find a carpet of small silvery fish surrounding their vessels, said Staci Gabrielli, marine coordinator for King Harbor Marina on the Los Angeles County coast.

California Fish and Game officials believe the fish are anchovies and sardines.

Experts had yet to determine what happened, but Gabrielli said the fish appeared to have moved into the harbor to escape a red tide, a naturally occurring bloom of toxic algae that can poison fish or starve them of oxygen.

High winds overnight might then have trapped the fish in the harbor, crushing them against a wall where they used up the oxygen and suffocated, she said.

The dead fish were so thick in some places that Garbrielli said boats can't get out of the harbor.

Fish and Game authorities arrived and began taking samples of the fish.

"We have no idea how they got here," said spokesman Andrew Hughan. "There are thousands and thousands and thousands of fish."

King Harbor is on the Santa Monica Bay coast, about 22 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Source

Chicken culling starts, as bird flu strikes Tripura, India - 8th Mar 2011

Veterinaries in Tripura have started the process of culling chickens, after an outbreak of Avian Influenza or bird flu in the state.

Veterinarians began the culling on Monday in the state-owned poultry farm in Gandhigram, about 30 kilometres from state capital Agartala.

The poultry farm is one of the main chicken breeding centres in the state with a capacity of about 7,000 chickens.

Officials said about 380 birds had died between the March 1 and March 4, after which samples were sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal

Test reports came positive for the H1N5 virus on Sunday. Read More

40,000 turkeys to be slaughtered due to bird flu risk, Israel - 8th Mar 2011

Israeli sources said on Tuesday morning that a turkey coop in the Israeli settlement of Rosh Tzurim, in Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Bethlehem, reported an outbreak of avian influenza.

Local sources said a number of turkeys with bird flu had passed the disease to the entire coop, prompting the Israeli Health Ministry to destroy the coop in accordance with protocol, culling 40,000 turkeys.

Any surrounding coops in a three kilometer area will also be destroyed as a precaution.

A Palestinian source told PNN on Tuesday morning that the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, veterinary directorate, and other authorities were monitoring everything coming in and out of Bethlehem governorate, fearing the possible entry of infected birds. This source, unnamed, said that all Palestinian farms within a 10-kilometer radius of the infected coop would be thoroughly inspected, but that there was no reason for worry either for Palestinian consumers or farmers as appropriate measures were being taken. Source

Health Ministry warns of fatal illness spreading from Yemen, where it has killed 65 so far- 1st Mar 2011

JEDDAH/SANAA: Many people who live on the Saudi-Yemen border fear that a fatal disease that has been responsible for dozens of deaths in Yemen’s western coastal area could cross into the Kingdom.

At least 65 deaths have been reported in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hodeidah.

The disease is thought to be chikungunya, though some medical officers dispute it. Symptoms of chikungunya include kidney failure, high temperature, diarrhea and vomiting.

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh has formed a committee to monitor the spread of the disease and the country’s authorities are working hard to keep it in check. Read More

Note: Chikungunya (in the Makonde language "that which bends up") virus (CHIKV) is an insect-borne virus, of the genus Alphavirus, that is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.

Rising sea water threatens village, Fiji - 8th Mar 2011

A COASTAL village in Ra continues to be threatened by rising sea waters.

Navolau No.1 village headman Sireli Naivava said the sea swells had damaged the village sea wall and there were fears homes near the shoreline would suffer the same fate soon.

The issue was brought up for discussion at the tikina Navolau meeting held at Navolau No.2 village last week.

Mr Naivava said the matter was raised in previous council meetings but nothing had been done.

While waiting for assistance, Mr Naivava said the villagers planted 2,000 mangrove plants along the coast.

Mr Naivava said the village planned to plant 8,000 more mangrove trees.

"These mangrove trees will at least help in preventing the rise in sea level," he said.

"We have nowhere else to move as we are surrounded by mountains and sea on all sides of the villages.

"The old sea wall in the village is broken and we are really concerned about our safety."

At the meeting, Mr Naivava requested the provincial office and other Government departments to assist the village in the construction of a new sea wall. Read More

US economic collapse "unavoidable" -- and likely by Christmas?

Obama administration is repeating the mistakes of President Jimmy Carter’s failed energy policies (and leading America to catastrophic energy crisis)

You need to watch only a few minutes of cable news analysis to realize just how ludicrous our national energy policies have become. As escalating tensions and chaos unfold in Egypt, Libya and other Middle Eastern nations, one energy analyst suggested that if Libyan oil supplies were to fail, the United States would rely on Saudi Arabia for its oil needs. If that statement alone doesn’t put U.S. leaders on red alert, the looming national energy crisis may soon become reality.

The Obama administration is repeating the mistakes of President Jimmy Carter’s failed energy policies, which marred his term and stigmatized the 1970s. They are leading us straight into another national energy disaster. (read more)

World's largest mud volcano 'will continue erupting for another 26 years' -- and was caused by unsafe drilling

The world's largest mud volcano will continue erupting for another 26 years, scientists said today.

Indonesia's Lusi volcano first erupted in 2005, killing 13 people and displacing 13,000 families in East Java.

At its height, the crater was oozing enough mud to fill over 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools every day.

Now, in the first reliable estimation of how long the volcano will continue erupting for, experts believe Lusi will not rest until 2037.

Scientists from Durham University used pressure estimations from a nearby borehole and knowledge of the volcano's plumbing.

As the mud continues to spew out, the team estimates that the volcano area itself could subside by up to half a kilometre.

Lead researcher Professor Richard Davies said: 'The mud from the Lusi volcano has engulfed a huge area of the Porong sub-district of Sidoarjo, but how long it will continue to be a hazard for has been unknown. (read more)

Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40% within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth

Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned.

A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said.

In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers.

Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production.

Filling the global water gap by supply measures alone would cost an estimated £124billion per year, a meeting in Canada was told. (read more)

Cattle Pastures in Deforested Amazon Now the Size of Iceland

The largest rainforest in the world is being chopped down almost entirely for a single purpose: beef. That's right, one of the biggest, most beautifully diverse ecosystems on the planet is being traded in—for hamburgers. According to a report from Mongabay, a full 80 percent of the land cleared by Amazon deforestation from 1996-2006 has been used to create cattle pastures.

The rainforest has been cleared at an astonishing rate over the last 12 years—and the cattle craze in the Amazon is only going to get worse.

Deforesting the Amazon in the Name of Beef
Since 1996, 10 million hectares have been deforested in the Brazilian Amazon just for cattle ranching—an area of land about the size of Iceland. And evidently, all that clearing has only whetted the Brazilian government's appetite for beef. From Mongabay:

Now the government aims to double the country's share of the beef export market to 60% by 2018 through low interest loans, infrastructure expansion, and other incentives for producers. Most of this expansion is expected to occur in the Amazon were land is cheap and available — 70 percent of the country's herd expansion between 2002 and 2006 occurred in the region.

(read more)

Amazon deforestation up 1000% from last year

Over the last several years, the rate of forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon had been in steady decline, but the latest data is yet again proving that the problem is far from over. According to figures released today, deforestation in the world's largest rainforest has increased nearly 1,000 percent from the same period the year before, marking the first rise in over two years -- though only time will tell if it is merely a disappointing uptick, or a troubling reverse of trends.

A newly disclosed report from the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON) reveals that 175 square kilometers (68 mi²) of forest were cleared this past December, compared with just 16 km² (6 mi²) reported last year for December 2009, a rise of 994 percent.

In addition to deforestation, areas of Amazon degradation have also increased at an alarming rate. IMAZON notes that 541 km² (209 mi²) were degraded in December 2010. Throughout that month in 2009, only 11 km² (4 mi²) were impacted -- representing an astonishing increase of 4,818 percent. (read more)

Indonesian Borneo and Sumatra lose 9% of forest cover in 8 years

Kalimantan and Sumatra lost 5.4 million hectares, or 9.2 percent, of their forest cover between 2000/2001 and 2007/2008, reveals a new satellite-based assessment of Indonesian forest cover.

The research, led by Mark Broich of South Dakota State University, found that more than 20 percent of forest clearing occurred in areas where conversion was either restricted or prohibited, indicating that during the period, the Indonesian government failed to enforce its forestry laws.

"Our analysis showed that the majority of all mapped forest cover loss (79.9%) occurred in land allocation zones that permit permanent or temporary clearing, while 20.1% occurred where clearing is either prohibited or restricted," the authors write. Under Indonesian law, clearing of conservation forest, protection forest, and limited production forest is illegal. (read more)

6.44 million birds Culled in six provinces across South Korea since 29th Dec 2010 - 6th Mar 2011

South Korea confirmed an additional bird flu case at a duck farm in the central part of the country on Saturday.

Tests showed that the 12,400 birds at a poultry farm in Cheonan, 92 kilometers south of Seoul, were infected with the virulent H5N1 strain of the avian influenza (AI), the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS) said.

This is the second case of the highly pathogenic avian influenza reported in the country this month as the number of AI cases has started to fall off in recent weeks. It is also the first AI confirmation in Cheonan in 33 days.

All ducks on the farm will be culled with quarantine authorities asking nearby farms to be vigilant on protecting their birds.

The latest case marks the 49th bird flu outbreak confirmed in the country since suspected cases were first reported on Dec. 29, the NVRQS said. The government has since culled more than 6.04 million birds in six provinces across the country.

Prior to the latest series of outbreaks, South Korea was hit by AI three times, with the last case occurring in April 2008 and resulting in the culling of 3.45 million birds. Other outbreaks took place in the winter months of 2003-2004 and 2006-2007. (Yonhap) Source

Note: 8th Mar 2011 50th Bird Flu outbreak confirmed at a large egg-laying farm in Yongin, 50 km South of Seoul, bringing the number to 6.44 million culled since 29th Dec 2010

18 chickens found dead; police blame weasel - Massachusetts, United States - 8th Mar 2011

Four months after several pet rabbits were mutilated at a local barn, 18 chickens were found dead there this past weekend and police have been called to investigate.

"This is pretty gruesome," said Linda Kaiser of 6 Manchester Road. "This was a willful act. This was not an accident. Some human being just murdered all of my chickens."

Kaiser, who told police last November that her four pet rabbits had their eyes gouged out and were left to die, claims she has again been the victim of another heinous animal abuse crime.

Police, however, say it was most likely a weasel that attacked her chicken coup and killed her pets. But Kaiser is not convinced. Read More

NASA says 'no support' for claim of alien microbes - 8th Mar 2011

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Top NASA scientists said Monday there was no scientific evidence to support a colleague's claim that fossils of alien microbes born in outer space had been found in meteorites on Earth.

The US space agency formally distanced itself from the paper by NASA scientist Richard Hoover, whose findings were published Friday in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cosmology, which is available free online.

"That is a claim that Mr Hoover has been making for some years," said Carl Pilcher, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute.

"I am not aware of any support from other meteorite researchers for this rather extraordinary claim that this evidence of microbes was present in the meteorite before the meteorite arrived on Earth and and was not the result of contamination after the meteorite arrived on Earth," he told AFP.

"The simplest explanation is that there are microbes in the meteorites; they are Earth microbes. In other words, they are contamination." - Read More

Our future under water: Terrifying new pictures reveal how Britain's cities could be devastated by flood water - 7th Mar 2011

These dramatic images show how floods could devastate major cities across Britain leaving thousands of homes underwater if no flood defences were put in place.

The centres of London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Liverpool would be completely submerged with properties wrecked and businesses shutdown in the event of major flooding.

Extraordinary photographs of the devastation flooding could cause were released by the Environment Agency today to warn of the dangers of natural disasters.

Major rehearsals for a possible disaster are to begin involving 10,000 people as Government tests how they, the emergency services and communities will respond.

£1.8million is being spent on the test exercises which will involve ten government departments and utility companies in what ministers say is the 'largest civil defence exercise ever' in Britain. Read More

There's no such thing as a dormant volcano, scientists warn - 8th Mar 2011

Next time you take a holiday trip to that lovely volcanic island, you might want to think twice.

Scientists have claimed that volcanoes are not really dormant and can be reawakened far more quickly than previously thought.

In just a matter of weeks they can go from calm and stable to spewing out lava onto the area around them, they said.

It had been accepted before that they could take years to make such a transformation.

The warning could force a rethink on resorts which rely on the draw of volcanoes to pull in tourists.

Many of the Greek islands have dormant sites, as does Italy while the Spanish island of Lanzarote was formed by an eruption.

In countries as far afield as Japan, however, tourists are taken on tours to walk in the huge craters which form where previous eruptions once happened.

The re-evaluation was carried out by Dr Alain Burgisser, a vulcanologist with French Orleans Institute of Earth Sciences.

He said the widely accepted theory that when a volcano’s magma chamber cools it could be years before it heats up with fresh magma could be wrong. Read More

Gaddafi hints he is ready to leave Libya (but 'only if rebel council gives him a pile of cash and promises not to prosecute') - 8th Mar 2011

Muammar Gaddafi was reported last night to be ready to quit after 41 years in power.

The dictator is said to have proposed a meeting of the Libyan parliament to agree a transition period to pave the way for him to step down, according to Al Jazeera, the Arab TV network.

His terms include immunity from criminal prosecution and a pile of cash.

The rebel interim council, based in the eastern city of Benghazi, reportedly rejected the offer because such an ‘honourable’ exit would offend Gaddafi’s victims.

Gaddafi allegedly sent Jadallah Azzouz Talhi, a former prime minister, to meet the rebels to work out the fine print of a deal. Read More

Charles Nenner Forecasts Dow 5,000 & Major War by 2012

Solar flare warning for South Africa

The Hermanus Space Weather Warning Centre (SWWC) on Sunday said a large solar flare was currently being experienced in South Africa. The solar flare would result in higher radiation levels from the sun.

SWWC’s forecaster Kobus Olckers said people should be careful when they go outside.

"People must wear high sunscreen factor at the moment or preferably go shopping," he said.

A powerful solar flare could overwhelm high-voltage transformers with electrical currents and short-circuit energy grids, with one such event in 1989 disrupting power across the Canadian province of Quebec. (read more)

NATO starts 24/7 surveillance of Libya

NATO has launched around-the-clock surveillance flights of Libya as it considers various options for dealing with escalating violence in the war-torn country, America's ambassador to the organization told reporters Monday.

Representatives of key Western powers also highlighted the possibility of establishing a no-fly zone in Libya -- part of growing campaign to break strongman Moammar Gadhafi's grip on power.

British, French and U.S. officials were working on a draft text that includes language on a no-fly zone, diplomatic sources at the United Nations told CNN. (read more)

No-fly build-up focuses on Malta



Some Libyan rebel groups have called for limited military assistance, such as targeted air strikes.

However, one US senator has said direct military intervention would be counter-productive. John Kerry said the international community should prepare a no-fly zone, in the event of a massacre of civilians by the Libyan air force.

Much of the military equipment needed to enforce a no-fly zone is already based on the Mediterranean island of Malta. (Source)