Friday, April 15, 2011

Libya: Gaddafi's forces 'firing cluster bombs on Misurata'

Col Muammar Gaddafi's army is committing war crimes by indiscriminately firing cluster bombs into the besieged city of Misurata, according to witnesses.

The teenagers are told they are going on training exercises until they reach the front lines, when they are given rifles and told by officers they will be shot if they retreat or desert.

Two badly-wounded teenage fighters shown to The Daily Telegraph said they were told Misurata had been overrun by drug addicts, Islamic militants and Egyptian invaders.

One said his own side had opened fire on his own teenage detachment when they later fled from the rebels.

In the past week, the conscripts have been thrust into fighting along the strategic "heavy road" connecting the Benghazi to Tripoli highway with the commercial port ten miles away at Ghasr Ahmad.

A handful of fishing boats reaching the port from Libyan Benghazi are the rebels' only link with revolutionaries in the east and Gaddafi's forces are trying to cut the port from central Misurata. (read more)

New footage shows Japan is crumbling apart from quakes and liquefaction, seems like it's even "floating" -- is it time to pack up and leave?



Please note: Advance to 1:41 into the video to see what we're focusing on, that is, severe damage being done to Japan as quakes continue to rip the country apart slowly and steadily. This video contains political commentary that this website neither agrees nor disagrees with, but we felt the rest of the video contained important footage that readers need to see.

(This was a reader contributed video.)

Black worker Steven Brodie locked in cage by white coworkers -- Gloucester Township, New Jersey

A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Gloucester Township public works employee who says he was taunted by two colleagues because of his race and the township did nothing about it.

Steven Brodie Jr. says he was harassed time and again, including one incident four years ago in which he was locked in a storage cage.

Brodie, who is black, says he complained to supervisors about the harassment by two white co-workers, but got nowhere — until he got criminal charges filed.

David Pomianek is appealing his conviction on harassment and intimidation; Michael Dorazo is awaiting trial.

“The defendants had a history of discriminatory acts and this lawsuit is based primarily on the township and its managers’ failure to discipline these individuals because they have certain ties to the community,” said Brodie’s attorney Charles Gibbs. (read more)

US States Look to Bring Gold Standard Back: Utah recognizes gold as legal tender

Starting in May, Utah residents will be able to shop in a currency other than the dollar -- gold, something that hasn't happened since 1933.

Utah became the first U.S. state last month to recognize gold and silver coins minted by the federal government as legal tender. More than a dozen other states are considering similar measures, and are expected to follow Utah's example. The move, proponents say, is caused by declining faith in the U.S. monetary system and concern about rising inflation.

The gold standard, a monetary system in which the dollar is valued against a certain weight of gold, lasted until the Great Depression, when the Federal Reserve confiscated gold held by the public. President Nixon abolished the conversion of dollars to gold at a fixed rate in 1971. (read more)

U.S., allies see Libyan rebels in hopeless disarray

Too little is known about Libya's rebels and they remain too fragmented for the United States to get seriously involved in organizing or training them, let alone arming them, U.S. and European officials say.

U.S. and allied intelligence agencies believe NATO's no-fly zone and air strikes will be effective in stopping Muammar Gaddafi's forces from killing civilians and dislodging rebels from strongholds like Benghazi, the officials say.

But the more the intelligence agencies learn about rebel forces, the more they appear to be hopelessly disorganized and incapable of coalescing in the foreseeable future.

U.S. government experts believe the state of the opposition is so grave that it could take years to organize, arm and train them into a fighting force strong enough to drive Gaddafi from power and set up a working government.

The realistic outlook, U.S. and European officials said, is for an indefinite stalemate between the rebels -- supported by NATO air power -- and Gaddafi's forces. (read more)


Nearly half of US meat tainted with drug-resistant bacteria, study suggests

There may be scores of drug-resistant bacteria lurking in your grocery meat aisle.

A study Friday by the Translational Genomics Research Institute, found that Staphylococcus aureus -- bacteria that causes most staph infections including skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning -- was present in meat and poultry from US grocery stores at "unexpectedly high rates."

Researchers found nearly half of the meat and poultry samples, 47 percent, were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria, 52 percent, were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics.

For the study, researchers looked at 136 samples involving 80 brands of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 26 grocery stores in five cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Flagstaff, Ariz., and Washington, D.C.

"For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial," Dr. Lance B. Price, senior author of the study, said in a statement. "The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today."

According to the findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, industrial farms, where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics, "are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that move from animals to humans." (read more)



Republicans will make US 'Third World' nation: Obama -- Altogether now: "You hypocr--"

US President Barack Obama accused Republicans of wanting to turn the United States into a "Third World" country as he rallied support for his reelection campaign.

The attack came a day after Obama savaged Republican budget plans and unveiled his $4-trillion deficit reduction drive that aims to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to preserve key social services.

The debate over fiscal policy will prove critical to the 2012 campaign and Obama sought to frame it as a "stark choice" between investing in the future or watching the country fall apart.

"Under their vision, we can't invest in roads and bridges and broadband and high-speed rail," Obama told a select group of the Democratic faithful at the second of three fundraising events in his hometown of Chicago.

"I mean, we would be a nation of potholes, and our airports would be worse than places that we thought -- that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure." (read more)

White House, Department of Homeland Security expanding control over Internet

Under a White House plan, the Homeland Security Department will have far-reaching oversight over all civilian agency computer networks.

The proposal would codify much of the administration's memo from July 2010 expanding DHS's cyber responsibilities for civilian networks.

The White House, however, is taking those responsibilities further, according to a source familiar with the document. The administration drafted a legislative proposal to give DHS many, if not all, of the same authorities for the .gov networks that the Defense Department has for the .mil networks.

Federal News Radio recently viewed a draft copy of the legislative proposal.

"I have to question why the Executive branch is writing legislation," said the source, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about it. "This is not a proposal or white paper like the White House usually sends to Capitol Hill. This is the actual legislation."

The source said the 100-page document is going through interagency review. DHS sent the document around to agencies late last Friday and asked for comments by Monday. The source said few agencies had time to take a hard look at the document, especially in light of the possible government shutdown.

Sources on Capitol Hill and in government confirmed the White House is working on such a proposal.

A DHS spokesman said the agency doesn't comment on pending legislation. (read more)

Ireland bonds downgraded, reaching "junk bond" status swiftly

A Moody's downgrade and growing speculation Greece may eventually restructure its debt took the shine off Ireland's thumbs-up from the EU and the IMF on Friday for its efforts to claw its way back from crisis.

Dublin's creditors said the euro zone struggler had passed the first quarterly review of an 85 billion euro ($123 billion) bailout package but warned the new government that challenges remained, including spluttering growth.

"This program is a lifeline for Ireland," Ajai Chopra, the IMF's head of mission for Ireland, told a news conference.

"(But) this crisis will not be over till we see jobs coming back."

The IMF this week cut its 2011 forecast for Irish gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 0.5 percent from 0.9 percent and said unemployment would hit 14.5 percent, from 13.5 percent anticipated previously.

Moody's also cited Ireland's weaker growth prospects when it cut the country's rating by two notches earlier on Friday to the verge of junk status and kept its outlook on negative, meaning the next move could also be down. (read more)

Serial Animal Torturer Wanted In El Monte, Los Angeles



El Monte police are searching for a serial animal torturer who has bound and mutilated several corpses found in a local park.

Police say the bodies of one dog and three cats were found in Rio Vista Park over the past several weeks.

Two of the animals’ limbs were discovered bound together and a cat was found mutilated.

“His paws were duct taped and he was gutted,” said Timothy Gutierrez who came across two of the animals while he was looking for his own lost cat.

Police say all of the corpses were put in the same area near a trail and appear to be left in plain view.

“It’s not a high school prank. This is a felony crime and whoever did it is going to be brought to justice,” Detective Ralph Batres.

Officials say animal torture is often a precursor to other violent crimes.

“If you can do something like this to a cat then you can always do something that escalates into other crimes. But we want to get this solved as soon as possible,” said Detective Batres. (read more)

More Americans leaving the workforce

The share of the population that is working fell to its lowest level last year since women started entering the workforce in large numbers three decades ago, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.

The bad economy, an aging population and a plateau in women working are contributing to changes that pose serious challenges for financing the nation’s social programs.

“What’s wrong with the economy may be speeding up trends that are already happening,” says Marc Goldwein, policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan group favoring smaller deficits.

For example, job troubles appear to have slowed a trend of people working later in life, putting more pressure on Social Security, he says.

Another change: the bulk of those not working has shifted from children to adults. (read more)

Designer pets come with health costs: Euthanization and Abandonment

An increasing number of pets are either euthanized or abandoned because owners can't pay the medical bills, and part of the problem is the impulsive purchase of "designer" pets, say Ottawa animal welfare workers and veterinarians.

The Ottawa Humane Society on Thursday charged an Ottawa woman with two counts of animal cruelty. The society said she allowed her dog, a 10-month-old pointer-mix, to suffer for months without seeking medical attention for a skin condition that led to complete hair loss, scabbing and swollen skin.

The woman told a veterinarian she noticed the issue eight months earlier but did not bring the dog in because she couldn't afford treatment. The dog was euthanized.

It was the second time in three weeks the Humane Society has charged someone in Ottawa for failing to properly care for their animal.

An Ottawa couple faces up to two years in jail after vets determined their black Labrador Retriever had advanced cancer and was likely sick for at least a month. The couple had also claimed they had not obtained earlier treatment due to financial reasons. (read more)

BRIC Nations Attack The Doomed U.S. Dollar

The continuing trash talking about the U.S.dollar has gone to another level as the BRIC nations are now mumbling about a move away from such an unstable piece of paper. Whereas in the past they were whispering, they have now swelled to a more audible mumble and before you know it, it will be spoken loudly and clearly…”We don’t want U.S. dollars anymore”. The Federal Reserve is succeeding in destroying the dollar and the rest of world is noticing. The collapse of the U.S. dollar is underway and you better believe that there is a real move afoot to remove its status as the world’s reserve currency. You wonder why gold and silver have performed so well? It’s not because of some nut job buying gold bars because he thinks the world is going to end in 2012.

This is very significant people. Reuters is reporting:

The five BRICS nations took another step towards cementing their global influence on Thursday, calling for a broad-based international reserve currency system "providing stability and certainty".

In a statement released at a summit on the southern island of Hainan, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said the recent financial crisis had exposed the inadequacies and deficiencies of the current monetary order, which has the dollar as its linchpin. (read more)

Raising the Debt Ceiling, and Extending QE-2 Indefinitely

This coming May 16, the U.S. Federal government debt ceiling will be breached; that is, the national credit card—currently topped at $14,294,000,000,000—will be maxed out. (Yeah, I know: It’s one thing to read “$14 trillion” and quite another to see the actual number, written out with all those zeroes.)

Shortly thereafter, the Federal Reserve’s policy colloquially known as Quantitative Easing-2 (QE-2)—whereby the Fed created $600,000,000,000 of new money, and used it to purchase Treasury bonds—will end.

These two issues seem to be miles apart—notice, seem to be. But they are as intimately related as yin and yang—Mickey and Minnie—Ritz crackers and cheese.

Both policies aim to prop up the sliding U.S. economy, each of them coming at this effort from different directions—one from the demand side, one from the supply side. And the suspension of either policy will result in the exact same thing—government shutdown, and default on the U.S. sovereign debt. (read more)

Dramatic increase in radiation found at German nuclear waste depot - 14th Apr 2011

Increased levels of radiation have been found in the controversial Asse nuclear waste depot in the German state of Lower Saxony. The discovery has led to new calls for the depot to be emptied and closed.

German nuclear safety officials have found increased levels of radioactivity in a borehole at the Asse atomic waste depot in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony.

A spokesman from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) said its measurement of the radioactive substance cesium were 24 times over the allowed limit - the highest level recorded since nuclear waste stopped being stored in the depot in 1978.

The BfS measured a concentration of the radioactive substance cesium of 240,000 becquerels per liter. The measurement was taken 750 metres below ground level.

The spokesman added that the BfS had made sure that no one came in direct contact with the contaminated salt solution and that no radioactivity could seep outside. He said the reason for the raised level was unknown.

Time bomb

In the wake of the discovery, there have been renewed calls for the containers stored in the depot to be retrieved. The Green parliamentary spokeswoman on nuclear policy, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, said time was running short and described the depot as a "ticking time-bomb." Read More

Arkansas and Oklahoma storms kill nine - 15th Apr 2011

Severe storms have left at least nine people dead and destroyed school buildings and dozens of homes in the US states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

A tornado swept through the small town of Tushka, Oklahoma, killing two elderly sisters and injuring at least 25 people, officials said.

In Garland County, Arkansas, lightning knocked a tree into a house, killing a man and his baby daughter.

And a six-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree in Bald Knob, Arkansas.

Tushka Public School Principal Matt Simpson said the tornado had destroyed five school buildings, the Associated Press news agency reported.

In rural St Francis County, strong storm winds flipped over a mobile home, killing a woman inside it and injuring her husband.

A mother and her eight-year-old son were killed in Little Rock, Arkansas when a tree fell on a home, and outside the city in Pulaski County a tree fell on a vehicle, killing a man inside, a police official said.

The National Weather Service said at least 10 tornados struck the central and southern plains regions of the US on Thursday, and warned of tornados and powerful thunderstorms over the southern US states on Friday.

Car Thief Terence Fowler, 20 in 90mph police chase is caught on film smashing through level crossing, seconds before train thunders by - 15th

As far as reckless crimes go, this car thief takes some beating.

Terence Fowler, 20, led police on a 90mph chase before ploughing through the barriers of a level crossing - moments before a 120-tonne passenger train flew past.

Police can be heard saying 'oh s***' as Fowler crashes through the barriers - leaving them strewn across the road - and narrowly avoids almost certain death.

Dramatic CCTV from the police car captured the two officers saying 'he's done the crossing' before adding 'there's no way on earth we were going through that'.

One officer can be heard saying 'Christ' as the train passes by at high speed a matter of seconds later.

Fowler had stolen a red Mercedes C180 from outside a home in Cambridgeshire on the morning of June 20 last year. Read More


Richard Manning, 66 begged to get out of white-water raft moments before it flipped over and killed him - 15th Apr 2011

A father who died during a white-water rafting trip in Turkey begged to get off the ride shortly before it flipped over, an inquest has heard.

Richard Manning, 66, drowned when the inflatable crashed into a rock and flipped over - throwing all seven holidaymakers and their Turkish instructor into the river.

The plumber, who was not a strong swimmer and was wearing an ill-fitting lifejacket, suffered a deep gash to the head and was knocked unconscious.

He was later found dead floating downstream.

At an inquest into his death, fellow passengers told how they begged for the trip to be aborted because of the high speed of the river - but were told to shut up.

They also claimed the Turkish instructor was confused about issuing directions in English and the raft was ill-equipped.

Mr Manning's family branded his death 'unlawful' today after a coroner refused to blame the Turkish authorities for the father's death.

His daughter Anne Nicol, said: 'I do feel it was unlawful killing.

'These trips are still going on and we both feel that restrictions should be in place.'

Mr Manning, 66, originally of Somerset but living in North Wales, had paid £30 for the rafting trip with partner Mai Williams on the River Dalaman. Read More

Live animals sold as key rings in China

Small fish, turtles and other amphibians are being sold in Beijing as mobile phone trinkets and key rings, to the chagrin of animal rights groups.

Kept in bags filled with colored, oxygenated water the animals cost around $1.50 each.

One vendor selling the animals outside of a Beijing subway station told CNN that the bag contained crystallized oxygen and nutrients.

She said that that the animals could live for days but also warned that they should be freed from the bag as soon as the air ran out or they would suffocate.

Among the animals being sold are young Chinese soft-shell turtles - the adult turtles are a popular dish in Chinese cooking.

The live trinkets have been condemned by animal rights groups who have highlighted the lack of animal protection laws in China.

"Lack of food and diminishing oxygen concentrations within both the water and the small amount of air in these plastic pouches will cause the animals to die in a relatively short period of time after the pouches are sealed," said David Neale, animal welfare director of Animals Asia. (read more)

Radiation spreading worldwide as the Earth is slowly poisoned

On April 12, Japan’s nuclear safety agency raised the Fukushima meltdown to level 7, the highest category on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Level 7 was created expressly for the Chernobyl disaster, consisting of “a major release of radiation with a widespread health and environmental impact”.

A recent study was prepared for Greenpeace Germany by international nuclear safety expert Dr. Helmut Hirsch. Dr. Hirsch’s assessment, based on data published by the French government’s radiation protection agency (IRSN) and the Austrian government’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) found that the total amount of unstable radionuclides Iodine-131 and Caesium-137 released between March 11 and March 23 has been so high that the Fukushima crisis already equates to three INES 7 incidents.

Release of radiation from the stricken reactors has reached 10,000 teraBequerels (10,000 trillion Bequerels) per hour, measured for radioactive Iodine-131.

YouTube: “President Obama: ‘We Do Not Expect Harmful Levels of Radiation to Reach the U.S.’”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpAqiGSp29c

Radiation in milk in Hawaii is now at least 2,033% above Federal drinking water safety limits. The US safety limit is 3 pCi/l (picoCuries per litre). Note this is the minimum percentage found over EPA requirements. This figure is reached by adding together the Caesium-134 (800%); −137 (633%); and Iodine-131 (600%) levels found in milk.
http://theintelhub.com/2011/04/11/japan-nuclear-radiation-in-hawaii-milk-2033-above-federal-drinking-water-limits/ .

It should be noted the testing was performed on samples of organic milk. (read more)

Is US dangerously close to default? -- May 16 debt ceiling deadline rapidly approaches

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday told Republican lawmakers that they would shoulder the blame if the country got too close to defaulting on its debt and roiled markets worldwide by not approving a debt limit increase.

In yet another warning about the perils of not allowing the U.S. to borrow more to fund spending already approved by Congress, Geithner said it would be deeply irresponsible for lawmakers to use debt limit negotiations for political gains.

Congress must agree to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or the legal amount that the country can borrow. But Republicans have said they are unwilling to do so without reforms on government spending and have threatened to take negotiations to the deadline.

"(Lawmakers) will say there's leverage in it, we can advance it. But that would be deeply irresponsible and they will own the risk," Geithner said.

"It won't happen in the end, but if they take it too close to the edge, they will own responsibility for that miscalculation," he said.

Treasury has forecast that the limit will be reached by May 16. After that point, Treasury can take emergency measures to avoid hitting the debt ceiling. But those actions will only give the United States about a two-month window before Treasury is unable to issue debt to fund government operations. (read more)

Fears grow over Greek debt default despite bail-out

Fears that Greece will default on its debts soared on Thursday as the German finance minister admitted that a restructuring may be needed, despite last year's €110bn (£97bn) bail-out.

Investors' flight from Greek government debt left 10-year bond yields at a new euro lifetime high of over 13pc and yields on two-year bonds at over 18pc, after Wolfgang Schaeuble said "additional steps" could be necessary if the European Central Bank concludes that the country's burden is unsustainable.

Greece is implementing spending cuts but concerns have mounted in recent days because tax revenues have disappointed as the austerity programme squeezes the economy.

Although it can tap the rescue package backed by Europe and the International Monetary Fund as the Mediterranean nation's debts come up for refinancing, traders reckon Greece will be unable to escape its vast borrowings. Market caution means it now costs €1.1m to insure €10m Greek debt for five years.

Although Greece is not expected to default officially on the principal amount, holders of its debt may agree to reduce the interest rate and lengthen the terms of the loans. The effect would be largely similar to a default, as the value of the debt would fall.

Any restructuring before 2013 would have to be on a voluntary basis, as new rules that would force private creditors to shoulder some of the burden do not come into effect until then. (read more)

World Bank: Food prices have entered the 'danger zone'

Food prices have entered the “danger zone”, threatening to condemn a generation to extreme poverty and malnutrition, the World Bank has warned.

Robert Zoellick, World Bank president, said food prices are at “a tipping point”, having risen 36pc in the last year to levels close to their 2008 peak. The rising cost of food has been much more dramatic in low-income countries, pushing 44m people into poverty since June last year.

Another 10pc rise in food prices would push 10m into extreme poverty, defined as an effective income of less than $1.25 a day. Already, the world’s poor number 1.2bn.

Mr Zoellick said he saw no short term reversal in the damaging effect of food inflation, which is felt much more in the developing world as packaging and distribution accounts for a far larger proportion of the cost in the advanced economies.

Asked if he thought prices would remain high for a year, Mr Zoellick said: “The general trend lines are ones where we are in a danger zone… because prices have already gone up and stocks are relatively low.”

Rising prices have been driven by the changing diet of the ballooning middle classes in the emerging markets. “There is a demand change going on, with the higher incomes in developing countries. People will eat more meat products, for example, that will use more grain. (read more)

Photographer survives after being swept away: Japan earthquake and tsunami -- photo gallery

Europe 'losing' superbugs battle

Antibiotic-resistant infections have reached unprecedented levels and now outstrip our ability to fight them with existing drugs, European health experts are warning.

Each year in the EU over 25,000 people die of bacterial infections that are able to outsmart even the newest antibiotics.

The World Health Organization says the situation has reached a critical point.

A united push to make new drugs is urgently needed, it says.

Without a concerted effort, people could be dealing with the "nightmare scenario" of a worldwide spread of untreatable infections, says the WHO.

One example is the New Delhi or NDM-1 superbug recently found in UK patients.

They brought the infection back with them from countries like India and Pakistan, which they had visited for medical treatment and cosmetic surgery. (read more)

Climate 'technical fix' by spraying clouds with seawater may causing further warming, not cooling

Whitening clouds by spraying them with seawater, proposed as a "technical fix" for climate change, could do more harm than good, according to research.

Whiter clouds reflect more solar energy back into space, cooling the Earth.

But a study presented at the European Geosciences Union meeting found that using water droplets of the wrong size would lead to warming, not cooling.

One of the theory's scientific fathers said it should be possible to make sure droplets were the correct size.

Cloud whitening was originally proposed back in 1990 by John Latham, now of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, US.

It has since been developed by a number of other researchers including University of Edinburgh wave energy pioneer Stephen Salter, joining a number of other "geoengineering" techniques that would attempt either to reduce solar radiation reaching earth or absorb carbon dioxide from the air.

One version envisages specially designed ships, powered by wind, operating in areas of the ocean where reflective stratocumulus clouds are scarce.

The ships would continually spray fine jets of seawater droplets into the sky, where tiny salt crystals would act as nuclei around which water vapour would condense, producing clouds or thickening them where they already exist.

It has not yet been trialled in practice, although proponents say it ought to be. (read more)

Buried UFO sighting? Mysterious December 7, 2010 Lights over Adelaide, Australia

'Israel to Become a Religious State in 19 Years'

Professor Arnon Sofer, chair of Geo-strategy at the University of Haifa, has published a report predicting a religious majority in Israel by 2030.

Professor Sofer sees this as a negative development.

His study assumes natural growth of 6-7% in the hareidi-religious sector, which would lead to a hareidi population of more than one million by 2030. The national religious sector, which is involved actively in all spheres of Israeli productivity, is not given separate treatment, leading to a skewing of the predicted outcomes.

In one possible outcome, says Professor Sofer, the secular majority would band together in time to create a “secular revolution.”

If not, Sofer said, the second outsome would be the rise of a religious majority that would force the secular minority to learn to live in a religious world.

A third possible outcome would be the annexation of Judea and Samaria, which Sofer feels would lead to “the continued weakening of democracy in the face of anti-democratic forces, a Knesset that does not function, and growing anarchy.” (read more)

Fact or Fiction: Near-death Boy Says He Has Been to Heaven, Where Everyone Has Wings



Todd and Sonja Burpo may have believed an angel was looking over their 4-year-old son, who survived a life-threatening burst appendix.

Colton Burpo, now 11, says it's true.

"A few angels, they came, picked me up and I was looking right at Jesus," Colton, from the small town of Imperial, Neb., tells "Today."

After 17 days in the hospital, the boy started to talk about things he could not have known about, "Today" reports, including a miscarriage suffered by his mother, prayers his father made during Colton's surgery and meeting "Pop," his great-grandfather.

"I was just sitting by the Holy Spirit, and then this guy comes up to me and says, 'are you Todd's son?' I said yes. He says, 'Well, I'm his grandfather," Colton tells "Today." "... Pop, he was very big, huge wings, he had curly hair, big smile and he was really nice."

The experience led Todd Burpo, a pastor, to write the New York Times best-selling nonfiction book "Heaven is for Real."

"He could tell me where I was while he was in surgery," Todd Burpo tells "Today." "The surgeons couldn't tell me that. The nurses couldn't. My wife couldn't tell me where I was praying but he could tell me."

Sonja Burpo says her son told her angels sang to him.

"There's a lot of colors, there are a lot of people and a lot of animals," Colton says, describing Heaven.

He also says everyone in Heaven has wings -- his were a bit smaller than other's, and that no one there is old. (read more)

Japan Earthquake: Groundwater radiation level at nuke plant rises: TEPCO - 15th Apr 2011

TOKYO, April 15 (Kyodo) -- The concentration levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in groundwater near the troubled Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have increased up to several dozen times in one week, suggesting that toxic water has seeped from nearby reactor turbine buildings or elsewhere, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday.

The announcement came as the plant operator continued to grapple with pools of highly radioactive water found on the plant's premises, with the level of polluted water filling an underground trench edging up again after the company finished pumping out around 660 tons of water.

According to the latest findings, a groundwater sample taken April 6 near the No. 1 reactor turbine building showed radioactive iodine-131 of 72 becquerels per cubic meter, with the concentration level growing to 400 becquerels as of Wednesday. The concentration level of cesium-134 increased from 1.4 becquerels to 53 becquerels.

The government's nuclear regulatory agency said it had ordered the utility firm known as TEPCO to enhance monitoring of groundwater inside the plant, which is located on the Pacific coast.

A total of around 60,000 tons of contaminated water is believed to be flooding the basements of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactor turbine buildings as well as trenches connected to them, and the water is hampering work to restore the cooling functions of the reactors lost since the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

The pools of contaminated water are believed to be a side effect of TEPCO's emergency efforts to continue injecting water into the reactors and their spent nuclear fuel pools from outside to cool them down. Read More

Fish 'ebola' caused marine mass death in Milwaukee - 14th Apr 2011

A VIRUS likened to the human Ebola virus because it makes fish bleed to death has been identified as the mystery agent that caused thousands of dead fish to clog up Milwaukee harbour last month.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on 1 April that the shoals of gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, had died of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS).

Fish virologists at the DNR say that after regularly causing die-offs in at least 25 species in the Great Lakes since it first hit in 2003, the disease hadn't struck since 2008.

They believe VHS vanished because fish that survived the first outbreaks became immune to it. But fish born more recently would not have had any exposure and would therefore lack immunity, causing another die-off. The DNR researchers think this is what happened in Milwaukee.

"The gizzard shad infected with VHS in March were hatched in the summer of 2010, and so were naive to the virus," says Susan Marcquenski of the DNR. Because the lakes are so large, die-offs may occur undetected, but the spectacular and unexpected deaths in the harbour made it easier to identify and diagnose. Source


Thousands of dead fish float on Vapi sea coast, India - 15th Apr 2011

Tens of thousands of dead fish surfaced on Vapi’s sea coast on Wednesday morning, an incident that locals say is not the first.

Villagers of Kolak and Udwada in Vapi went to the sea coast in the morning to prepare for their daily sojourns into the sea when they were shocked by floating pools of dead fish, a sight they claimed to have come across at least thrice earlier.

They immediately informed the sarpanchs of both villages as residents began gathering on the sea coast to look at the long line of dead fish being washed up ashore. Most immediately blamed chemical discharges from the industries nearby.

Kolak village sarpanch Kishor Patel informed Gujarat Pollution Control Board officials, who took samples of sand, water and dead fish and sent it to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) office to ascertain the cause of death.

Patel said he went to complain at the GPCB’s regional office in Vapi since such incidents were becoming regular and, by coincidence, he met the board’s chairman, K U Mistry, who was visiting the area to meet local industry owners. Source

End this cover-up, say family of Lee Bradley Brown 'beaten to death' in a Dubai police cell after swearing arrest - 15 Apr 2011

The family of a man allegedly beaten to death in a Dubai cell demanded government help last night after claiming his 'murder' was being covered up.

Authorities said Lee Bradley Brown had died of natural causes despite witnesses seeing him being 'beaten to a pulp' by prison guards.

To the fury of Mr Brown's family, Dubai's most senior legal authority announced that his death was caused by him 'choking on his own vomit'.

Maintenance worker Mr Brown, 39, of Dagenham, Essex, was on holiday at a £1,000-a-night hotel in the Muslim state when he was thrown into a filthy and overcrowded cell after being arrested for swearing and assault.

Inmates say they watched in horror as he was 'badly beaten' by a group of up to six police officers.

They say he was stripped and handcuffed to a chair, where he was beaten with fists, feet and batons.

He was dragged to a solitary confinement cell where he died three days later – before guards bundled him into a body-bag and dragged him out of the building. Read More

Now it IS regime change: Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy promise to keep bombing Libya until Gaddafi is gone - 15th Apr 2011

David Cameron, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy upped the stakes in the Libya conflict last night as they vowed to fight on until Colonel Gaddafi is ousted.

In a joint article, the British, American and French leaders warned it would be an ‘unconscionable betrayal’ were Nato to stop bombing with the dictator still in power.

Gaddafi must ‘go and go for good’ before rebuilding of the country could begin, they said, rejecting calls for an immediate ceasefire.

However the highly unusual joint statement did little to paper over behind-the-scenes bickering over how to advance the military mission.

It will also fuel the concerns of critics who say the aims of the conflict are becoming dangerously blurred.

The commitment to maintain operations until Gaddafi leaves power is effectively open-ended.

Warplanes were again heard over Tripoli last night, accompanied by air raid sirens and loud explosions.

At the same time a figure resembling Gaddafi was seen driving through the streets in a heavily protected motorcade, standing up through the sunroof of a vehicle, punching the air.

As the military operation approaches the end of its first month there is little sign of a breakthrough on the ground, where rebels appear unable to make a decisive move against the government’s forces. Read More

China's Roswell the Mystery of the 'Dropa Stones' - Unexplained Cases from Around the World - 15th Apr 2011

The mysterious Dropa Stones were Discovered in the late 1930s when a professor that specialized in studies surrounding archaeology named Chi Pu Tei led quite a few students on a special expedition to investigate Caves in the Himalayan Mountains.












2 People Killed As Large Tornado Tears Through Oklahoma - 15th Apr 2011

A large tornado that cut through a tiny southeastern Oklahoma town killed at least two people and injured dozens more as it tore up roofs, shattered windows and tossed power lines and trees.

The storm that ripped through Tushka on Thursday night left the town of about 350 people some 120 miles southeast of Oklahoma City without a public school and forced many people to seek shelter with relatives, friends or churches serving as shelters. Semi-trailers and trees were scattered on the main highway, U.S. 69, and authorities closed off some roads because of downed power lines and trees.

"It felt like a bomb," said Jennifer Buffington, who fled to a storm's cellar with her husband, Tony Stiles, and their seven children when the tornado sirens sounded.

When the family emerged, they found the windows blown out of their house. The family sought shelter at First Baptist Church in nearby Atoka.

"Everything in my house looks like shambles," said Buffington, 36, whose children range in age from 1 to 20.

Easton Crow, a junior at the public school where students from kindergarten through 12th grade attend, said he was at a baseball game in nearby Hugo when the storm hit. He went by the school after returning home and saw the damage: The roof was gone, the top story of one of the school's buildings was torn off and textbooks were scattered everywhere.

"I'm heartbroken. This is where most of us grew up," Crow, 17, said. "I'm just in awe that in a few seconds memories that have been built were taken." Read More

Black Plague just when you thought it was gone, New mexico - 15th Apr 2011

NMDOH confirms plague in three animals
Precautions urged as year's first cases reported

NMDOH released this statement:

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division confirmed plague this week in a dog that lives in Santa Fe County, just east of the Santa Fe city limits. Other confirmed animal plague cases include a dog from Santa Fe County just west of the Santa Fe city limits and a cat from Rio Arriba County near Abiquiú.

The cases are the first in New Mexico in 2011. All cases have recovered and no human plague cases have been confirmed.

“Plague cases in pets serve as a warning that there is plague activity in rodents and their fleas and human cases can follow, so I encourage all New Mexicans to follow the prevention recommendations to keep themselves and their families safe,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Catherine Torres.

Plague, a bacterial disease of rodents, is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits, and pets. Read More

Mark Zuckerberg Could soon be back in Court: Damning evidence in ANOTHER Facebook lawsuit could see claimant receive billions of dollars from Facebook

Just as Mark Zuckerberg must have returned to counting his billions after the Winklevoss twins were given their marching orders from court, another claim to his Facebook fortune has emerged.

Paul Ceglia, of Wellsville, New York, the latest force to reckon with Zuckerberg and Facebook, has now hired a prestigious law firm to help him claim what he says is his share of the social networking site.

If he wins, he could be entitled to millions if not billions of the Facebook fortune.

When he first filed a lawsuit last July, the whole thing was dismissed, mainly because of the fact Ceglia waited seven years to file it and because he was a convicted felon, with charges of criminal fraud.

Facebook said the whole thing was a complete fabrication.

But now Ceglia is back, with a bigger law firm and more evidence to prove that Zuckerberg did promise him 50 per cent ownership in 'the face book project'.

Business Insider got a hold of the emails and said the evidence against the Facebook creator is 'breathtaking'.

They discuss how Ceglia will fund the project. They discuss how Ceglia HAS funded the project.

In one email, dated November 2003, Mr Zuckerberg allegedly mentions 'a couple of upperclassmen here at Harvard that are planning to launch a site very similar to ours'. He says he has 'stalled them for the time being' but says he must 'make a move soon'. Read More

Holly Bobo's Mother makes Emotional Plea for her Daughter's Return

The parents of abducted 20-year-old Holly Bobo made an emotional appeal for help in finding their daughter today.

Dana and Karen Bobo called for any information to help locate Holly who was violently abducted from her Tennessee home in front of her brother and mother on Wednesday.

Holly - the cousin of country music star Whitney Duncan - was last seen being dragged across the carport from her family home towards a wooded area.

Today her parents paid a tearful tribute to the 'thousands' of volunteers who have joined police in the hunt for the missing nursing student.

Barely able to contain his tears, Dana Bobo said: 'We've got thousands of people, we've got friends and neighbours and people we don't even know helping us.

When asked what he would say to his missing daughter he replied: 'I would tell her I love her, and tell her to call us.

'We are hopeful she is going to be brought back soon.'

Speculating on who may have abducted his daughter, Mr Bobo added: 'The way it looks to me myself, it might have been somebody close. Read More


Woman sues Match.com after 'she was raped by a man she met on the dating site who had convictions of sexual battery' 15th Apr 2011

A woman who claims she was raped by a man she met on Match.com who she later found out had convictions for sexual battery is suing the dating website.

The woman, an entertainment executive from California, is demanding that the website screens all its members for sexual predators.

Her lawyer Mark L. Webb is asking for a temporary injunction barring the site from signing up more members until his client’s demands are met.

He said: 'They are a very powerful and successful online dating service, and they have the means to do this.'

He described his client as an Ivy League graduate who works in film and television. She met her her alleged assailant last year at a cafe in West Hollywood.

She said he seemed charming and so agreed to see him again. After the second date, however, he allegedly followed her home and forced himself on her.

A spokesman for Match.com told the Wall Street Journal: 'We are very disturbed to hear about this incident. While incidents like this one between individuals who meet on Match.com are extremely rare, it doesn’t make them any less horrifying.

'We ask all of our members to pay close attention to the safety tips for meeting offline that are on our website, so we can do everything possible to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

Read More

Wazineh Suleiman, 30 Mother of Five found 'alive and well' - but won't let police reveal where she is hiding - 15th Apr 2011

A mother-of-five who vanished after telling her family she was going to rent a movie was today found 'alive and well' - but asked police not to reveal where she is hiding, adding to the mystery surrounding her disappearance.

A frantic search was launched for Wazineh Suleiman, 30, when she failed to return to her home in Bartow County, Georgia, last Friday.

News of her reappearance came today as it emerged she and her husband are in serious financial difficulties and owe more than $1.2million, including $150,000 on credit cards.

But police would not reveal why she took off. Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap told the Atlantic Journal-Constitution: 'That's her business why she left. That's her business why she was gone.'

He said: 'She is alive and well. She is at an undisclosed location at her request.

'My investigators are interviewing her at this time. We're going to continue with the case to be sure no crimes were committed.'

Police interviewed her husband, Abed, for several hours last night. He told the newspaper the police 'wanted to totally rule me out' as a suspect.' Read More

Vittorio Arrigoni, Kidnapped Italian Activist Found Dead In Gaza - 15th Apr 2011

A kidnapped Italian activist has been found dead in Gaza after he was killed by a radical Islamist group inspired by al Qaeda.

It is the first time a foreigner has been killed in the Palestinian territory after being kidnapped.

The Salafist extremists had posted a video of Vittorio Arrigoni on YouTube, tied up and blindfolded.

They had threatened to kill him by 5pm on Friday, if Hamas did not release a number of Palestinian prisoners including one of the group's leaders.

But a spokesman for the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said: "The Italian was killed by suffocation and his body was found in a street of the city of Gaza."

Italy's Foreign Ministry has denounced the killing and has expressed "its deep horror" over what it called Mr Arrigoni's "barbaric murder".

Sources have told Sky News that he was strangled.

Hamas say two suspected kidnappers had been arrested and that security officials were looking for accomplices.

It is thought the arrests were made before the Italian was killed.

The intervention by Hamas may have caused the group to kill their captive ahead of the deadline they had issued. Read More


'Musa Kusa Played us like a violin': Anger as Musa Kusa is allowed to flee justice - and keep his cash

Travel sanctions against Libyan defector Musa Kusa were lifted yesterday amid reports he will stay away from Britain to avoid trial for his alleged involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

The European Union lifted the ban against Colonel Gaddafi’s former foreign minister and unfroze his assets – meaning Kusa could access any funds he has hidden abroad.

The latest act of appeasement towards the man once branded Gaddafi’s ‘envoy of terror’ coincided with reports he may go on the run.

The Arab television channel al-Arabiya reported that Kusa wants to remain in Qatar, where he is reportedly a guest of the emirate’s royal family after being allowed to flee earlier this week.

Kusa defected to the UK last month with the connivance of MI6 and has since been questioned by Scottish police about his knowledge of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
Britain’s worst terrorist atrocity took place while Kusa was Colonel Gaddafi’s chief of intelligence.

He is also thought to have information about the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984. One report last night said: ‘Musa Kusa has decided to stay in Qatar due to worries that the relatives of Libyan terror attack victims want him prosecuted.’

Foreign Office sources said they expect Kusa to return to the UK but were unable to say when.

If he does fail to reappear it will fuel the suspicion he has manipulated the government in order to escape sanctions and justice.

A member of the Government told the Mail: ‘It looks like he is refusing to come back.
‘It looks like he has played us like a violin.’

Britain lifted sanctions against Kusa earlier in the week to allow him to fly to Doha for a summit on the future of Libya. Read More

Note: One big embarrassment after another and they wonder why the International community thinks our system is a joke.

Shrien Dewani, Suspected of arranging the Murder of His Wife whilst on Honeymoon 'kicked out of Priory after threatening to punch nurse' - 15th Apr

The British man suspected of murdering his wife was reportedly kicked out of a rehabilitation clinic after he shut himself in his room and threatened to hit a nurse.

Shrien Dewani was moved from the exclusive Priory clinic after his 'unmanageable' behaviour saw him barricade himself in his room, intimidate other patients and threaten to punch a nurse, a court heard today.

Both his lawyers and the South African Authorities, who seek his extradition to face charges of murdering his bride Anni on their honeymoon, agree he should be sent to secure psychiatric unit Kewstoke where his violent outbursts can be managed.

Dewani, 31, complained that he would be better off in Wandsworth prison and regularly screamed at staff and fellow in patients, it was said.

He was staying there as part of his bail conditions but it was requested by his psychiatrist Dr Paul Dedman and staff that he be moved after numerous volatile outbursts.

Hugo Keith QC, representing the South African authorities, said Dewani's behaviour had become so unmanageable that the police were called on April 10 in after two days of aggressive behaviour.

'Staff nurse Miriam Andrews made a statement to police,' he told Westminster Magistrates Court today.

'She said his behaviour is volatile. He has never been fully compliant and complains a lot. Read More

Rachel James's Ex Husband, Terone McCalla 'also torched himself to death four years ago' as picture emerges of son she killed - 15th Apr 2011

The former husband of the woman who set fire to herself on a train also committed suicide by torching himself four years ago, it has been claimed.

Rachel James incinerated herself on a train on Monday, exactly 14 years on from knifing her six-year-old son Perry to death in a psychotic episode.

She was sectioned after the attack and began a relationship with fellow patient Terone McCalla, who torched himself four years ago, according to the Daily Mirror.

The pair's marriage last 'only a few weeks' and McCalla was said to be abusive towards Miss James.

It was also claimed that Miss James had attempted suicide three times before.

Retired British Airways engineer Keith Cluskey, 65, a close friend of Rachel James, told the Mirror: 'Terone was sectioned and set himself alight in the mental hospital but I don't think what Rachel did was linked to that.

'I think she must have done research on the internet about how to do it rather than take it from Terone.

'He was a crackhead and beat her up. He beat her up when she was pregnant.'

The couple reportedly met at St Bernard's Hospital in Ealing, West London, and had two children, both of whom were taken into care.

She was eventually released, but Miss James never overcame her guilt. And on Monday, the 14th anniversary of Perry’s death, she killed herself by igniting a can of inflammable gas in the lavatory of a London-bound train in Bedfordshire. Read More

Keith MacDonald with children by eight women fakes death to avoid paying support to ninth baby on the way... and then claims: 'I get so much hassle'

As Britain's most feckless father, Keith MacDonald has done almost everything he can to escape responsibility for his eight children by eight women.

But just when many thought the jobless layabout could stoop no lower, he posed as a friend to announce his own death by text.

With a ninth child on the way, the binman's son was desperate to avoid paying out any more than the £5 a week he currently gives towards each of his other children.

He sent a text message to his pregnant former girlfriend Clare Bryant, 22, telling her: 'Keith is dead.'

Miss Bryant, who already has a one-year-old daughter by MacDonald, rang his mobile phone, but there was no answer. She then called the local hospitals and the police, but to no avail.

Two weeks passed before Miss Bryant found out that 25-year-old MacDonald was, in fact, alive and well. He sent her a message to apologise and told her that he wanted to 'get away from his life'.

Last night an unrepentant MacDonald admitted that he had pretended to be dead, saying: 'I get so much hassle from everybody.'

He then tried to blame Miss Bryant for starting the rumour. 'It all came from Clare, she started it off. I thought I may as well just go along with it.

MacDonald, who is paid £44 a week in income support and has never held down a permanent job, denies fathering all but one of his children on the grounds that they have different hair colour from him Read More

Why 30 years of AIDS is only the tip of an iceberg - 14th Apr 2011

JUNE marks 30 years since the first report of AIDS - a syndrome that has killed an estimated 25 million people worldwide. Yet this year's anniversary is somewhat arbitrary: the virus responsible for AIDS has probably been circulating within human populations for 100 years. Why did it take so long to detect it?

In June 1981, doctors reported an unusual type of pneumonia in five previously healthy young homosexual men in Los Angeles. Two years later the cause of their immunodeficiency was identified: a retrovirus that targets white blood cells, subsequently named human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Similarities with the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that infects chimpanzees in west-central Africa suggest the original source of the infection, which probably spread to people who hunted and ate the apes.

Thanks to two chance finds in medical samples collected 50 years ago in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), we even know roughly when HIV arrived. In 1998, researchers found HIV in a blood sample collected in 1959. This was followed in 2008 by a second discovery of the virus in a sample collected from a woman's lymph node in 1960. The two viruses were subtly different due to their independent evolutionary histories. Comparing their gene sequences established that they likely diverged from a single common ancestor between 1902 and 1921, suggesting HIV has been in human populations for at least that long. Gene sequences also reveal that HIV spread from Africa to Haiti - probably shortly after what is now the DRC gained independence from Belgium in 1960 - and arrived in the US around 1969. Read More

At NATO summit, U.S. resists calls for greater engagement in Libya - 15th Apr 2011

BERLIN — At a summit of NATO nations that opened here Thursday, U.S. officials played down emerging rifts among allies and rebuffed calls from within NATO for its members to commit more forces to the military operation in Libya.

Since the United States turned over command of the airstrikes in Libya to NATO at the end of March, there has been growing criticism from some in the coalition — particularly France and Britain — that other allies need to do more to help Libya’s rebel opposition battle Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a closed-door meeting Thursday whether the United States could contribute additional fighter planes to the effort but did not receive an encouraging response.

“I got the sense that the Americans will stick to their same line,” Juppe said. “That is, to maintain their current policy of intervening with forces as they are needed, depending on the situation and where the assets they have are particularly useful.” Read More

Lee Bradley Brown, Who died in Police Custody in Dubai Choked on his own vomit, according to Local Officials - 15th Apr 2011

A British tourist who died in police custody in Dubai choked on his own vomit, according to local officials.

Lee Brown, 39, was arrested after being accused of physically and verbally abusing a female member of staff at the luxury Burj Al Arab hotel.

He died on Tuesday amid claims that officers punched and kicked him during his time in custody at Bur Dubai police station.

But Dubai attorney general Issam Al Humaidan said a post-mortem examination found Mr Brown's death was caused by suffocation after vomit leaked into his respiratory tract.

In a statement he offered his condolences to the Briton's family, and stressed the police in the emirate dealt with prisoners with respect and were "governed by the highest standards to preserve human rights".

British diplomats and human rights campaigners have demanded a thorough investigation into the tragedy.

The Brown family first heard about the incident when Mr Brown's sister in the UK answered a phone call from a fellow inmate.

She said the prisoner claimed he found her number as the next of kin contact in her brother's photocopied passport details left in his cell.

Inmates at the prison told his family of the horror of witnessing up to six police officers strip and handcuff the Essex maintenance worker, before holding him down in a chair and beating him with their fists, feet and batons.

They claimed Mr Brown's lifeless body was then dragged away to another cell where he died three days later from his injuries. Read More