Saturday, April 2, 2011

Southwest Airline grounds 79 planes after hole in fuselage

Southwest Airlines has grounded 79 of its Boeing 737 aircraft for precautionary checks after one made an emergency landing with a gaping hole in the fuselage.

The US carrier said engineers would be “looking for the same type of aircraft skin fatigue” in checks over the next few days.

About 300 flights have been cancelled as a result of the inspections.

Southwest Flight 812 from Phoenix to Sacramento, California, with 118 passengers on board, landed safely at a military base in Arizona on Friday.

There were no passenger injuries reported, despite the sudden drop in cabin pressure.

The airline said one flight attendant was slightly injured. (read more)

Ivory Coast: aid workers find 1,000 bodies in Duekoue

The single biggest atrocity in the long battle for control of Ivory Coast has emerged after aid workers discovered the bodies of up to 1,000 people in the town of Duekoue.

Charity workers who reached Duekoue said it appeared the killings had taken place in a single day, shortly after the town fell to troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the man internationally-recognised as having won last year’s presidential election.

The apparent massacre came despite the presence of United Nations troops and - if confirmed - will cast a shadow over Mr Outtara’s assumption of the Ivory Coast’s presidency after a four-month battle to oust Lawrence Gbagbo, the former president who lost the November election but refused to step down.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said he was “gravely concerned” by the violence and loss of life in Ivory Coast and added: “I am determined that all alleged human rights abuses... must be investigated and those responsible held to account.

The International Committee for the Red Cross said its staff discovered more than 800 bodies of people who were clearly local civilians. They were mainly men who had been shot and left where they fell, the organisation said, either alone or in small groups dotted around the town, which lies at the heart of Ivory Coast’s economically crucial cocoa producing region.

Patrick Nicholson, a spokesman for the Catholic charity Caritas, said his team had counted 1,000 bodies, adding that some had been hacked with machetes. The UN said that it already logged 430 killed in Duekoue and was still investigating reports of more dead in the town. (read more)

Friendly fire already beginning in Libya: Nato warplanes kill 14 rebels

Nato warplanes killed around 14 rebels early on Saturday after a stream of anti-aircraft fire was shot in to the night sky.

The victims included medics and a patient in an ambulance, struck near the Libyan front line between rebel and pro-Gaddafi forces east of Brega.

The air strike was the first major friendly fire incident of the chaotic desert war since western aeroplanes joined the fight two weeks ago.

"I only feel sad about the people who died, I don't blame the pilots at all," said Tarek Al-Shagaaby, a law student turned rebel, aged 25. He said he was about one mile away from a huge fireball shortly after midnight and afterwards buried the bodies of the rebels in the desert.

"It was a big disaster for Nato but we don't want the air strikes stopped. Gaddafi has heavy artillery and without Nato he could easily overwhelm us. We buried those we found at the site, they were martyrs."

Mr Al-Shagaaby showed The Sunday Telegraph grisly mobile phone footage he had shot showing skeletal human remains inside vehicles which had been incinerated. Gaddafi's forces later pushed the rebels back a few miles in to the desert away from Brega. (read more)

Libyan rebels 'receiving covert training' offered by US and Egyptian special forces in eastern Libya

US and Egyptian special forces have reportedly been offering covert armed training to rebel fighters in the battle for Libya, Al Jazeera has been told.

An unnamed rebel source related how he had undergone training in military techniques at a "secret facility" in eastern Libya.

He told our correspondent Laurence Lee, reporting from the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi, that he was sent to fire Katyusha rockets but was given a simple, unguided version of the rocket instead.

"He told us that on Thursday night a new shipment of Katyusha rockets had been sent into eastern Libya from Egypt. He didn't say they were sourced from Egypt, but that was their route through," our correspondent said.

"He said these were state-of-the-art, heat-seeking rockets and that they needed to be trained on how to use them, which was one of the things the American and Egyptian special forces were there to do."

The intriguing development has raised several uncomfortable questions, about Egypt's private involvement and what the arms embargo exactly means, said our correspondent.

"There is also the question of whether or not the outside world should arm the rebels, when in fact they [rebels] are already being armed covertly."

Our correspondent added that since the rebels appear to be receiving covert support in terms of weaponry and training, it is not surprising that they are not inclined to criticise NATO openly. (read more)

Sea Turtle Deaths Anger Mississippi Residents (Reader Contributed)

As a resident of coastal Mississippi for more than 30 years, Shirley Tillman is used to seeing a few drum fish, sea gulls or jelly fish wash up on nearby sandy shores. It’s a fact of life living by the sea. But in the past few weeks Shirley has come across something she’s never seen before; dead sea turtles washing up on beaches near spring break vacationers.

They are part of a growing number of dead fish, animals and birds she and other Mississippi residents have photographed washing in with the tides in recent weeks. For Shirley, a trip to the beach no longer provides the same relaxing refuge as before.

“It’s very upsetting,” says Shirley, a grandmother and wife of a Pass Christian home builder. “I have never found anything like this until after the oil spill. It used to be if you found a dead dolphin or turtle it was front page news around here. Now it’s no big deal.” (read more)

Holes then Hypoxia: O'Hare-Bound Flight Diverted to Ohio With Sick Passengers -- getting unsafe to fly?

Four passengers apparently fainted on an American Airlines flight headed to Chicago from Washington, D.C. because of a possible issue with cabin pressure.

An American Airlines spokesman told NBC News that a couple flight attendants got dizzy as the plane reached 28,000 feet and asked the pilots to drop the oxygen masks just in case.

"When the other flight attendent went up to tell the captain she got very wheezy, and actually she couldn't speak right. She said, 'I thought I was going crazy because the words that I had in my head were not coming out,'" said one passenger.

The pilots began looking for a place to land and Flight 547 diverted to Dayton International Airport, spokesman Ed Martell said. (read more)

Scientists searching for oil spill damage in Gulf of Mexico end up killing three dolphins

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says federal scientists catching fish to test for possible damage from last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill accidentally drowned three dolphins.

Spokeswoman Connie Barclay says the pantropical spotted dolphins were caught Wednesday from a trawl off the research ship Pisces, which works out of Pascagoula, Miss.

She said Friday that NOAA will investigate whether all proper procedures were followed.

Barclay said nobody knows just when the dolphins got trapped. She says the trawl was below 100 meters, with a target depth of 700 meters. (read more)

Obama's limousine, security vehicles exempt from fed 'green' vehicle policy

he U.S. Secret Service said today that some federal vehicles for law enforcement and security purposes will be exempt from President Barack Obama's directive that all federal vehicles purchased starting 2015 be advanced technology models.

Secret Service spokesman Robert Novy said the directive wouldn't apply to vehicles used for some law enforcement or security reasons by various federal agencies.

"Certain specialized vehicles including those with law enforcement and security specifications are not subject to this directive," Novy said.

That would include the GM-built Cadillac presidential limousine and other vehicles in the motorcade. It also expected to include many law enforcement vehicles.

Obama announced the plan this week to "green" the federal fleet. (read more)

Traces Of Radiation Found In Arizona Milk: Rain Carries Fallout From Japan Nuke Plant To Feed For Cows

Over the past week, detectable amounts of radioactive iodine were found in samples of milk in Washington state and California.On Thursday, health officials in Arizona confirmed the same, but they said there is nothing to worry about.

"If there's something you can't see, feel, hear, touch, smell, if it's something like that, it scares people," said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. (read more)

Fukushima 'much bigger than Chernobyl', says Russian nuclear activist

JAPAN'S unfolding nuclear disaster is "much bigger than Chernobyl" and could rewrite the international scale used to measure the severity of atomic accidents, a Russian expert says.

"Chernobyl was a dirty bomb explosion. The next dirty bomb is Fukushima and it will cost much more" in economic and human terms, Natalia Mironova said.

Ms Mironova is thermodynamic engineer who became a leading anti-nuclear activist in Russia in the wake of the accident at the Soviet-built reactor in Ukraine in 1986.

"Fukushima is much bigger than Chernobyl," she said, adding that the Japanese nuclear crisis was likely to eclipse Chernobyl on the seven-point international scale used to rate nuclear disasters.

Chernobyl, which a 2005 report by UN bodies including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called "the most severe in the history of the nuclear power industry", was ranked a seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).

But Japan's ongoing crisis, triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami three weeks ago which took down the main electricity and back-up power supplies needed to power cooling systems at several reactors at Fukushima, could be "even higher" on the INES scale, she said.

"Chernobyl was level seven and it had only one reactor and lasted only two weeks. We have now three weeks (at Fukushima) and we have four reactors which we know are in very dangerous situations," she said. (read more)

Fact or Fiction: Plan for Foreign Troop Deployment in the U.S.

On 31 March 2011, this author spoke with a law enforcement officer who is a deputy chief of a police force situated in the northeast portion of the U.S. Due to its strategic location, this police agency and this officer in particular routinely interacts with federal agencies, including but not limited U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He's been a law enforcement officer for over 20 years and was assigned to participate in a number of federal operations at the request of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shortly after it was created. Since then, he has been tasked to work with the above agencies, among others, for various periods. As a result, he has become friends with several agents, including one who attends his church.

I initiated the contact and directed him to the article on your website, Alert form Law Enforcement Officer, dated 28 March 2011. As I contacted at work, he did not have the time to talk or review the article, but promised to contact me from home after his shift. I received a call from him at approximately 1900 hours on this date, and was not prepared for what he told me.

First, he stated that once he became involved with the federal agencies, he underwent an initial and very extensive six-(6) week training course that was "classified." He was not even permitted to tell his wife or family where he was going for training, and would not disclose the location to me except to say that I would be familiar with it. Once he arrived at this facility, he was permitted one telephone call per week home to his wife, which he was told was being "monitored on both ends." He described the training as paramilitary in nature, with particular focus on urban "combat," house to house searches and the disarmament of "hostiles and civilians." He was provided with military issued equipment not used by police departments. At the time, he did not think too much about it given the attacks of 9/11 and the threats he was told existed inside the U.S. (read more)

Knut the polar bear drowned after suffering brain disorder

Two weeks after the death of Knut the polar bear, investigators have determined the cause of the four-year-old's untimely demise.

According to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Knut suffered from a brain inflammation and muscle spasms that caused him to fall from his perch and drown in the enclosure's pool.

Claudia Szentik, pathologist with the IZW, said that the inflammation in Knut's brain was so massive that "he would have died sooner or later."

Although Knut showed no signs of stress, IZW President Heribert Hofer explained that wild animals can bear a large amount of pain without outwardly showing it. (read more)

Hizbullah Building Army, Contrary to UN Resolution

In direct violation of the UN-mandated ceasefire resolution ending the Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah is building an army in southern Lebanon.

The IDF Spokesman announced today that the Hizbullah terrorist organization has built bases or mini-bases in as many as 270 civilian villages throughout southern Lebanon.

In addition, Hizbullah continues to acquire munitions and strengthen itself in general, helped by funding and smuggling from Syria and Iran. Hizbullah’s arsenal includes weapons that can reach Tel Aviv and its environs.

IDF intelligence says that since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hizbullah has built as many as 550 bunkers in the southern Lebanon region. It has also built 300 underground facilities and 100 storage units for munitions including rockets, missiles and other weapons. A map depicting the situation can be seen here.

Hizbullah is currently estimated to have an arsenal of more than 40,000 rockets. The IDF estimates that in the event of war, the enemy will be able to launch between 500 and 600 rockets at Israel every day. (read more)

Hundreds Die In Battle For Ivory Coast City - 2nd Apr 2011

At least 800 people have been killed in a single battle during the ongoing struggle for control of Ivory Coast, according to the Red Cross.

The country has been wracked by bloody fighting since incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing an election in November last year.

Alassane Ouattara is recognised as having won the poll by the international community and has backed his claim to power with force.

Over the past four months, clashes between the two sides have claimed hundreds of lives, displaced a million people and turned the country's biggest city, Abidjan, into a war zone.

Gunfire and explosions have been heard around the presidential palace and state broadcaster RTI in Abidjan - where soldiers backing Mr Ouattara met resistance from Mr Gbagbo's fighters.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said at least 800 people were killed on Tuesday during fighting in the western city of Duekoue.

However, the Catholic chairty Caritas said more than 1,000 people have been killed in the town. Read More


Northern Ireland - Police Officer Dies In Booby-Trap Car Bomb - 2nd Apr 2011

A 25-year-old new recruit to the Police Service of Northern Ireland has died after being caught up in a booby-trap car bomb.

The device exploded under the vehicle outside the Catholic officer's home in Omagh, Co Tyrone, just before 4pm.

Sky's Northern Ireland correspondent Vicki Hawthorne said: "Police have confirmed that some kind of device exploded underneath the car.

"They say the vehicle belonged to a new recruit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and that he was a Catholic officer."

Belfast journalist Eamonn Mallie said the officer had graduated from police college just three weeks ago.

He told Sky News: "Three weeks into his service, he is dead.

"I've been told by a local MP that this young officer, who was well-liked, went to a Christian school in Omagh, so he was very much connected in the community.

"Those who targeted him would have known where he was going to be. It is understood that the bomb went off as the officer moved towards the car. He died at the scene."

There has been widespread condemnation of the attack, north and south of the border.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said: "I want to send my condolences to his family at this hugely traumatic time.

"Sinn Fein is determined that those responsible will not set back the progress of the peace and political process."

Meanwhile, Paul McKeever, of the Police Federation, described the attack as "absolutely despicable". Read More

Cross Plains woman, Katherine R. Windels, charged with sending death threats to lawmakers

A 26-year-old woman was charged Thursday with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts accusing her of making email threats against Wisconsin lawmakers during the height of the battle over Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill.

Katherine R. Windels of Cross Plains was named in a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

According to the criminal complaint, Windels sent an email threat to state Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) on March 9, the day the Senate passed a measure to sharply curtail collective bargaining for public workers. Later that evening, she sent another email to 15 Republican legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), the complaint says.

The subject of the second email was: "Atten.: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!" In that email, she purportedly wrote, "Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks."

"I hope you have a good time in hell," she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email that listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by "putting a nice little bullet in your head." (read more)

Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium

If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.

We could then stop arguing about wind mills, deepwater drilling, IPCC hockey sticks, or strategic reliance on the Kremlin. History will move on fast.

Muddling on with the status quo is not a grown-up policy. The International Energy Agency says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock. The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.

There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

Thorium burns the plutonium residue left by uranium reactors, acting as an eco-cleaner. "It’s the Big One," said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA rocket engineer and now chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering. (read more)

Libya-Owned Arab Banking Corp. Drew at Least $5 Billion From Fed in Crisis

Arab Banking Corp., the lender part- owned by the Central Bank of Libya, used a New York branch to get 73 loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve in the 18 months after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed.

The bank, then 29 percent-owned by the Libyan state, had aggregate borrowings in that period of $35 billion -- while the largest single loan amount outstanding was $1.2 billion in July 2009, according to Fed data released yesterday. In October 2008, when lending to financial institutions by the central bank’s so- called discount window peaked at $111 billion, Arab Banking took repeated loans totaling more than $2 billion. (read more)

WANTED: U.S. workers for crippled Japan nuke plant

As foreign assignments go this must be just about the most dangerous going.

A U.S. recruiter is hiring nuclear power workers in the United States to help Japan gain control of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been spewing radiation.

The qualifications: Skills gained in the nuclear industry, a passport, a family willing to let you go, willingness to work in a radioactive zone.

The rewards: Higher than normal pay and the challenge of solving a major crisis.

"About two weeks ago we told our managers to put together a wish list of anyone interested in going to Japan," said Joe Melanson, a recruiter at specialist nuclear industry staffing firm Bartlett Nuclear in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Thursday.

So far, the firm has already signed up some workers who will be flying to Japan on Sunday.

Melanson said there will be less than 10 workers in the initial group. Others are expected to follow later, he added.

Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has appealed to the nuclear industry outside of Japan for assistance as the crisis has spiraled beyond their control.

On Thursday, the company said radiation levels in water found in tunnels under the plant was 10,000 times the normal level and radioactive iodine 131 was found in ground water near No.1 reactor of the complex.

Melanson said Bartlett Nuclear had been approached by sub-contractors linked to the General Electric-Hitachi nuclear joint venture. GE designed the Fukushima reactors.

"At first, we had no details about the duration of the job or the positions needed. The only requirement was that you have a valid passport," Melanson said. (read more)

Crews 'facing 100-year battle' at Fukushima

A nuclear expert has warned that it might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

The warning came as levels of radioactive iodine flushed into the sea near the plant spiked to a new high and the Wall Street Journal said it had obtained disaster response blueprints which said the plant's operators were woefully unprepared for the scale of the disaster.

Water is still being poured into the damaged reactors to cool melting fuel rods.

But one expert says the radiation leaks will be ongoing and it could take 50 to 100 years before the nuclear fuel rods have completely cooled and been removed.

"As the water leaks out, you keep on pouring water in, so this leak will go on for ever," said Dr John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK's National Nuclear Corporation.

"There has to be some way of dealing with it. The water is connecting in tunnels and concrete-lined pits at the moment and the question is whether they can pump it back.

"The final thing is that the reactors will have to be closed and the fuel removed, and that is 50 to 100 years away. (read more)

Kudzu Vines Spreading North from US Southeast With Warming Climate

Kudzu, the plant scourge of the U.S. Southeast. The long tendrils of this woody vine, or liana, are on the move north with a warming climate.

But kudzu may be no match for the lianas of the tropics, scientists have found. Data from sites in eight studies show that lianas are overgrowing trees in every instance.

If the trend continues, these "stranglers-of-the-tropics" may suffocate equatorial forest ecosystems.

Tropical forests contain more than half of Earth's terrestrial species, and contribute more than a third of global terrestrial carbon and a third of terrestrial net primary productivity, says ecologist Stefan Schnitzer of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Schnitzer is co-author with Frans Bongers of Wageningen University in the Netherlands of a paper on lianas in the current issue of the journal Ecology Letters.

"Any alteration of tropical forests has important ramifications for species diversity, productivity--and ultimately the global carbon cycle," says Schnitzer. (read more)

The European invader that's after your blood: Ticks from continent discovered in UK

A breed of blood-sucking tick normally found on the continent has been discovered in Britain for the first time.

Scientists say that climate change has brought the parasite to the UK – and warned that it may have brought with it new strains of disease from Europe.

The researchers, from the University of Bristol, also found that the number of pet dogs infested with ticks was far higher than previously thought.

This increases the risk that diseases carried by the foreign tick – Dermacentor reticulatus – will spread quickly to people and animals in this country, they cautioned.

Professor Richard Wall, head of the veterinary parasitology group at the university, said: ‘The results suggest that the risk of tick infestation is far higher in dogs than was previously thought. This has serious implications for the incidence of tick-borne disease.

‘The study also confirms that a non-native species of tick, which is also a major disease vector in Europe, is now established in southern England.’ (read more)

Time Lapse Satellite Photos Show How Humans Are Destroying The World

It takes a lot to provide for 7 billion humans.

Mankind is destroying rainforests, draining marshes and drilling into mountains to provide timber, water, coal and other resources.

Some of this destruction has been captured in before and after satellite photos.

In Rondônia, one of the most deforested Amazon regions, they captured roads and clearings replacing forest over the last decade.

Before a Soviet Union irrigation project in the 1960s, the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest lake. During the 2005 to 2009 drought, the lake continued to dry up and was polluted by pesticides and fertilizer.

A twenty-five year time-series of coal mining in West Virginia shows the surrounding "valley fills," streams filled with excess rock from the mountaintop removal. Scientists concluded that this mining process has "pervasive and irreversible" consequences.

Images also show the spread of illegal logging into the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where millions of Monarch butterflies spend the winter on just twelve mountaintops. (read more)

Warmer Arctic could increase threat of disease for caribou, other foods

Climate change in the Arctic could change the balance of power between humans, animals and the germs or pathogens that make them both sick, according to a paper by University of Alaska Fairbanks microbiologist Karsten Hueffer.

Hueffer, an assistant professor at the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, published his findings in a recent issue of the online journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, according to a press release from UAF.

"Interestingly, people and animals can reach a point of equilibrium in which the pathogens that affect them do not cause a lot of disease," said Hueffer, who studies zoonotics, infectious diseases that spread between humans and animals. "Day length and temperature are thought to play a significant role in regulating this equilibrium."

The rates of predicted climate change for the Arctic could spell disaster for this longstanding host-pathogen balance. A warmer Arctic could increase survival of organisms that carry disease and decrease survival of the animals they infect - including animals used as subsistence food by people living in the Arctic.

"What happens when a caribou has its calf on ground warm enough to have pathogens the calf cannot fight off?" said Hueffer. "The same issue could face bears giving birth in dens."

Muskoxen are affected by a lung worm known to develop much faster when it's warmer. "The faster the worm grows the more generations are born, which increases the disease pressure on the muskoxen," said Hueffer.

Humans are at risk as well. A warmer Arctic and the prospect of an ice-free Northwest Passage is expected to drive an increase in development and other human activity in the North, all of which will increase contact among wildlife, humans and domesticated animals.

One potential outcome of increased human-animal contact is rabies. (read more)

The Enemy within: A New Pattern of Antibiotic Resistance

In early summer 2008 Timothy Walsh of Cardiff University in Wales got an e-mail from Christian Giske, an acquaintance who is a physician on the faculty of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Giske had been treating a 59-year-old man hospitalized that past January in Örebro, a small city about 100 miles from Stockholm. The man had lived with diabetes for many years, suffered several strokes and had lately developed deep bedsores.

But those were not the subject of Giske’s message. Instead he was worried about a bacterium that a routine culture had unexpectedly revealed in the man’s urine. Would Walsh, who runs a lab that unravels the genetics of antibacterial resistance, be willing to take a look at the bug? (read more)

Safe and hound: Tsunami dog found alive and well in Japan after THREE WEEKS adrift at sea on a floating house - 2nd Apr 2011

It appears almost too good to be true, but this little dog has been found alive and well adrift at sea, an astonishing three weeks after the tsunami that devastated Japan.

Members of the Japan Coast Guard came across the dog on Friday as they were conducting an aerial search of the area.

Against all the odds, the dog appears to have survived by living in a partially submerged house that had been swept out to sea.

Local television showed showed pictures of the dog scampering around the roof of the house before it disappeared inside through a hole in the roof.

Rescuers had hoped to find more tsunami survivors living inside the house but after tearing the roof open, it was found to be empty apart from the dog.

Despite its three weeks at sea, the medium-sized brown dog seemed to be in reasonably good condition considering its ordeal. Read More

'UFOs' filmed over Sakurajima prior to latest eruption? - 28th Mar 2011



Japan Issues Volcanic Ash Warning After Sakurajima Explosion - 28th Mar 2011

Japan’s Meteorological Agency, Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center issued an ash warning for Sakurajima Volcano which is considered ‘very dangerous’.

FVFE01 RJTD 281555
VA ADVISORY

DTG: 20110328/1555Z
VAAC: TOKYO
VOLCANO: SAKURAJIMA 0802-08
PSN: N3135E13040
AREA: JAPAN
SUMMIT ELEV: 1060M
ADVISORY NR: 2011/217
INFO SOURCE: JMA
AVIATION COLOUR CODE: NIL
ERUPTION DETAILS: EXPLODED AT 20110328/1542Z FL080 EXTD E

Sakurajima (also spelled Sakurashima or Sakura-jima, ?? in Japanese) volcano in southern Kyushu is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and one of the few that are at present in constant (persistant) activity. Its ongoing typical activity range from strong strombolian to large ash explosions every 4-24 hours. The volcano is located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km east of the city of Kagoshima with a population of half a million. Sakurajima’s eruptive history has been recorded since the 8th century. It has frequently deposited ash on Kagoshima, and due to its explosive potential, considered a very dangerous volcano and closely monitored. The largest historical eruptions of Sakurajima took place during 1471-76 and in 1914. Source

Kilauea’s effect on Earth’s crust to be observed with special radar - 2nd Apr 2011

NASA will begin a nine-day mission tomorrow using special radar to study the eruption of Kilauea volcano.

A NASA Gulfstream III aircraft with specialized instrumentation from the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., will be using an “interferometric synthetic aperture radar” developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasa­dena, Calif.

The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar sends pulses of microwave energy from the aircraft to the ground to detect and measure subtle deformations in Earth’s surface, such as those caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and glacier movements.

As the airplane flies at an altitude of about 41,000 feet, the radar, located in a pod under its belly, will collect data over Kilauea, a NASA news release said.

The radar’s first data acquisitions over this volcanic region took place in January 2010, when the radar was flown over the volcano daily for a week. The UAVSAR detected deflation of Kilauea’s caldera over one day, part of a series of deflation-inflation events as magma was pumped into the volcano’s east rift zone.

Next week’s flights will repeat the 2010 flight paths to an accuracy of within 5 meters, or about 16.5 feet, assisted by a Platform Precision Autopilot designed by engineers at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Comparing these images forms interferograms that reveal changes in Earth’s surface. Source

Official: Radioactive water leaking into sea through crack in concrete - 2nd Apr 2011

Power plant workers began filling a cracked concrete shaft with fresh cement to stop highly radioactive water from earthquake-damaged nuclear reactors from draining into the Pacific Ocean, Japanese regulators said Saturday.

Water from the 2-meter deep, concrete-lined basin could be seen escaping into the ocean through a roughly 20-cm (8-inch) crack, the Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters Saturday afternoon. Electrical conduits run upward through the space, which lies behind the turbine plant of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Work to fill the shaft with concrete began Saturday, and it was only partly completed Saturday evening, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Radiation levels in the shaft have been measured over 1,000 millisieverts per hour, which is more than 330 times the dose an average resident of an industrialized country naturally receives in a year. Radioactivity above the shaft was measured at 250 millisieverts per hour, said Tokyo Electric, the plant's owner. Read More

Five Die In Second Koran-Burning Protest - 2nd Apr 2011

Five people have died in protests in Kandahar against the burning of a copy of the Koran, a day after an attack prompted by the incident left at least 12 people dead, including seven UN staff.

Two thousand people took part in violent demonstrations in the southern Afghan city, denouncing the burning of a copy of the Islamic holy book by an obscure US pastor.

Five people were killed and 46 wounded in the protests, which were planned by the Taliban, according to a provinical governor spokesman.

It comes a day after protesters furious at the provocative stunt by the Florida-based clergyman stormed a UN compound in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, grabbing weapons from guards and opening fire.

Initial reports said up to 20 UN workers had been killed. Two people are said to have been beheaded.

As well as condemning the violence, members of the UN Security Council called on the Afghan government to bring those responsible to justice. Read More

Libya: Rebels 'Die In Western Air Strike' - 2nd Mar 2011

Libya's rebel force has claimed 10 of their fighters were killed in a coalition air strike near Brega in the east of the country.

Brega is one of a string of oil towns along the coast that have been won and lost by the opposition in recent weeks.

After coalition airstrikes began on March 19, the rebels raced forward to recapture the towns of Ajdabiyah, Brega and Ras Lanuf.

But instead of advancing towards Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte and the capital Tripoli, the rag-tag rebel group has been forced to retreat and is struggling to hang on to many of its gains.

Opposition fighters have now taken up defensive positions near Brega following their dramatic reversal of fortune.

Rebel fighter Mustafa Ali Omar said it was there that the group came under attack.

"Some of Gaddafi's forces sneaked in among the rebels and fired anti-aircraft guns in the air," he said.

"After that the Nato forces came and bombed them."

A Nato spokeswoman said the coalition was looking into the reports. Read More

'Westside Rapist' finally behind bars after more than 50 years of robbery, rape and serial killing... and police fear he may have 30 more victims

A serial killer known as the ‘Westside Rapist’ who terrorised middle-aged and elderly women across Los Angeles throughout the 1970s and 80s is behind bars after pleading guilty to murder.

John Floyd Thomas, 74, was sentenced to life in prison for the deadly sexual attacks which left seven women dead.

Caught through cold-case DNA testing, police believe Thomas may be responsible for up to 30 more killings and sexual assaults.

He was arrested in March 2009 and charged in the 'Westside Rapist' case in which a man entered the homes of middle-aged and elderly women who lived alone, raped them and choked them until they passed out or died.

The attacks stopped in 1978 — the year Thomas went to prison for the rape of a Pasadena woman — but authorities say they resumed a decade later in the eastern county.

Thomas, an ex-insurance adjuster, was initially charged with the 1972 murder of Ethel Sokoloff, 68, at her home in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and the 1976 murder of Elizabeth McKeown, 67, in the Westchester area.

Sokoloff, a retired school administrator, was found semi-nude and dead inside the trunk of her car two blocks from her apartment.

Tracy Michaels, the great niece of McKeown who lived with her as a teenager, told the LA Times: 'He has been my worst nightmare. Read More

Donald Trump calls Obama and Bush Stupid and Threatens China - Trump for President? - 2nd Apr 2011

Did swine flu vaccine give boy's sleeping sickness that causes him to lose control of his body? - 2nd Apr 2011

He used to love nothing more than a giggle with his friends.

But now five-year-old Joshua Hadfield is afraid to laugh because, since developing a rare sleeping disorder, it causes him to lose control of his body and nod off for hours.

His mother Caroline believes he has contracted narcolepsy with cataplexy after having a swine flu vaccination. It is the first case of its kind to be made public.

Within days of having the Pandemrix jab in January last year, Joshua began sleeping for 18 hours a day and falling over when he felt a strong surge of emotion.

Mrs Hadfield, from Frome in Somerset, said: ‘He changed from being a happy, energetic child to a depressed, angry child.

‘He used to be on the go all day but now he gets depressed watching his friends play when he can’t. His aggression is frightening. He kicks me, hits me and throws things at me. If you try to wake him up when he’s sleeping he’ll go ballistic. The change has been horrendous.’

Mrs Hadfield and her husband Charlie, a print finisher, have to collect their son from school in a pushchair because he cannot manage the two-minute walk home. And teachers have even put up a bed in the canteen in case he needs a place to sleep.

The European Medicines Agency is now investigating whether the swine flu jab could be responsible for Joshua’s condition, as well as five other cases in the UK.

The probe began after a rise in cases of narcolepsy in children given Pandemrix, which is produced by GlaxoSmithKline, in Finland and Sweden. Last month experts in Finland discovered that children who had the jab were nine times more likely to become narcoleptic than those who did not. Read More

Horror at the school gates: Girl, 14, stabbed 'nine times in neck by 18-year-old boyfriend' as she walked into school - 2nd Mar 2011

A girl of 14 was stabbed nine times in the neck yesterday as she was about to walk through her school gates.

Chloe West was attacked from behind by an 18-year-old man – said to be a former boyfriend – who had driven up a quiet tree-lined street at 60mph to confront her.

A 16-year-old pupil ‘rugby tackled’ the man to the ground and a teacher and a parent subdued him until police arrived at Ridgewood High School in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Superintendent Stuart Johnson said their ‘incredibly brave’ intervention may have saved the teenager’s life.

Chloe a keen rider who keeps her own horse nearby, was airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she had surgery on wounds to her face, head and neck.

Last night she was in a stable condition. Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Her alleged attacker was identified locally as Sam Tomlinson, the son of a teacher. Read More

Fact or Fiction - Are U.S. government microwave mind-control tests causing TV presenters' brains to melt down? - 2nd Apr 2011

(Image) Latest victim: Judge Judy Sheindlin had to stop her courtroom TV show on Wednesday after descending into nonsensical language.

A bizarre spate of television presenters dissolving into on-air gibberish has sparked claims that the U.S. military could be to blame.

In four high-profile cases, the latest involving fast-talking Judge Judy, the presenters have started off speaking properly but have then descended into undecipherable nonsense - looking confused and unstable.

The frequency of the 'attacks' - and the fact that recorded examples of the mental meltdowns have been popular on websites - has led to conspiracy theorists pointing the finger at shadowy government experiments.

A popular theory being circulated online blames the U.S. Military’s supposed research into using microwaves as a mind control weapon.

America has never admitted conducting such research but proponents say the effects - produced by microwave signals stimulating the brain with fake images and voices - exactly mimic those displayed in the recent on-air breakdowns.

As to why the Pentagon might be targeting U.S. television presenters, the microwave theorists are less clear.

The phenomenon, which has provided internet video sites with some of the oddest footage for months, has now claimed one of America’s most highly paid broadcasters.

Judith Sheindlin, the fast-talking judge on Judge Judy, was taken to hospital on Wednesday after she began speaking a nonsensical string of words during a live recording of her courtroom TV show. Read More