Thursday, April 21, 2011

The friendliest whales in the world: grey whales in Mexico -- but their existence is in peril

Rebuilding Japan: Special scorn for 'flyjin' foreigners who fled country

As Japan continues to grapple with its nuclear emergency, special scorn has been reserved for the "flyjins", foreigners who made their living in the country but fled in the wake of the March 11 earthquake.

"You are the first foreigners I have seen in my bar in a month," said Hidetsugo Ueno, the bartender at High Five Bar in Ginza. "Are you sure you should be staying here in Japan?" he added, with a smile.

Skittish members of the financial community were the first to empty out and Hong Kong has issued around 300 long-term visas to bankers and traders who wanted to continue working in Asia, but not to live in Tokyo.

"Around 80pc of the visas are to employees at international financial institutions earning at least HK$100,000 (£7,775) a month," said Chan Kwok-ki, Hong Kong's immigration director. Five of those went to employees of ICAP, who sent traders to the island as a temporary measure.

In addition, almost all Chinese and Korean residents in Japan have now left the country, despite no advice to do so from their home governments.

The sudden flight has dismayed the Japanese. (read more)

Gold price could rise to $1,700 an ounce

Gold's decade-long rally could last for another four years, with the price climbing to $1,700 an ounce, analysts predicted, as the precious metal reached another record high in morning trading.

Inflation will help the price of gold go up, but the strong gains seen in recent months are likely to be tempered as the world economy improves.

A poll of 12 analysts by Reuters found the average price forecast for gold in 2015 was $1,700, a 12.7pc rise on the all-time high of $1,508 reached today.

The forecasts ranged from $1,000 an ounce to $2,750, but even if the price reached the top end of that, the pace of gains would be slower than in recent years.

The price of gold increased by 24pc in 2009 and 30pc in 2010.

Today, the spot price rose as high as $1508.88 an ounce, before falling back slightly to $1507.45, a 0.3pc increase on yesterday's closing price. (read more)

Iran 'steps up gunrunning to Arab proxies'

Iran has reportedly stepped up arms smuggling to its proxies in the Persian Gulf and the Levant to take advantage of the political tumult shaking Arab regimes and expand Tehran's influence.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have all recently accused Tehran of either arming or seeking to arm Shiite militants in those countries.

Several clandestine arms shipments apparently destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip have been intercepted by Israel and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Tehran has used the preoccupation of the region and the West with the political shock waves jolting the Arab world since January to boost its gunrunning operations.

It quoted intelligence sources as saying that "only a relatively small quantity of smuggled weapons is being intercepted. (read more)

'Friends' supplied Libyan rebels with arms -- and just who are these friends?

Rebels fighting Moamer Kadhafi's rule acquired weapons either by buying them with "Libyan money" or they were supplied by "friends", the head of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) said Wednesday.

"Indeed, we have received some weapons, but they are not enough," Mustafa Abdel Jalil, a former justice minister who now heads the anti-Kadhafi insurgency, told French television station France 24.

"We received weapons from some friends. I can't identify them now, but I can say that friends gave us weapons and we were also able to buy some with Libyan money," said the rebel leader, who is on a visit to Paris.

He said the role of Qatar, one of three countries along with France and Italy to have recognised the NTC, in the arms delivery was "very limited". (read more)

FEMA orders 130,000+ of "National Detainee Handbook" to distribute at 281 locations -- expedited print order, but why?



Procurement request:
http://www.gpo.gov/gpo/bidopps/bidopps.action?region=chicago

Handbook here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/22092329/ICE-National-Detainee-Handbook-2007

This post was reader contributed.

Pennsylvania Fracking Spill: Natural Gas Well Blowout Spills Thousands Of Gallons Of Drilling Fluid



Thousands of gallons of fracking fluid have spilled following an accident at a natural gas well in Pennsylvania, WNEP reports.

The Chesapeake Energy well in Bradford County lost control late Tuesday night.

From WNEP:

The well blew near the surface, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.

Francis Roupp, deputy director of the county emergency management agency, told AP that there were no injuries, and that although fluids have reached a small stream, "no adverse effects" have been reported.

Roupp suggests a cracked well casing could be the culprit behind the fracking spill, but that certain details won't be known until the situation is under control.

Pennlive.com reports that seven families have been evacuated as a result of the spill. (read more)

Euphrates River Driving Up: New York Times notes connection to Book of Revelation and the End Times -- an interesting admission, isn't it?

The front page of Tuesday morning’s New York Times had a stunning headline: “Iraq Suffers as the Euphrates River Dwindles.”

The drying up of this historic river in the land of ancient Babylon is so stunning, that even the Times had to note that Bible prophecy says this will happen in the “last days” of history, in the lead up to the apocalyptic battle of Armageddon described in the Book of Revelation.

Excerpts from the Times story: “Throughout the marshes, the reed gatherers, standing on land they once floated over, cry out to visitors in a passing boat. ‘Maaku mai!’ they shout, holding up their rusty sickles. ‘There is no water!’ The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by the water policies of Iraq’s neighbors, Turkey and Syria; a two-year drought; and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago. Some officials worry that it could soon be half of what it is now. The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, has left fishermen impoverished and has depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the cities looking for work.” [More photos of the drying-up Euphrates from the NYT.]

Please note that I did not add in the link above to the “Bible Gateway” website for Revelation 16:12. The Times’ online edition includes that link themselves. Apparently the newspaper of record now believes that the future of Iraq in light of Bible prophecy is part of “all the news that’s fit to print.” (read more)

This story was reader contributed.

Poison Fire: Destruction of the Niger Delta from oil drilling and gas flares (Reader Contributed)



This is the entire 28 minute documentary.

Also visit Poison Fire's official documentary website.

Charles Manson thinks Barack Obama is 'a slave of Wall Street': Things are now officially out of control

Billionaire Donald Trump recently proclaimed he is the Democrats' worst nightmare, but it's hard to imagining someone more frightening than Charles Manson ending a 20-year silence to call you out.

The 76-year-old spoke recently to Spain's Vanity Fair magazine on the 40th anniversary of his conviction in the Sharon Tate and LaBianca murders.

President Barack Obama is "a slave of Wall Street," the diminutive cult leader said by telephone from Corcoran State Prison to journalist David Lopez.

"He doesn't realize what they are doing. They are playing with him," Manson said of Obama. The president recently was being petitioned by Manson's lawyer, Giovanni Di Stefano, to free the iconic killer, who has been incarcerated since 1969. That request was refused.

When he wasn't proclaiming how "bad" he is, Manson rambled about how people need to pay attention to the environment and global warming. (read more)

S&P Raises Estonia Outlook Higher than America -- that's how bad it's getting

Swedbank in its economic outlook published on Tuesday raised the gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for Estonia for 2010 from 1.5 percent to 2.2 percent.

For both 2011 and 2012 Swedbank is predicting 4.5 percent annual GDP growth for Estonia.

Estonia's recovery is based on exports, which are benefitting from revived global trade and the regained competitiveness of local producers. Consumption has remained weak due to declining incomes; however, it has shown a slight pickup lately, as consumers' moods have turned positive. After an intensive period of destocking, inventories are now growing again.

"The recovery of Estonian economic growth is strongly dependent on external demand. As most of Estonia's main trading partners have recovered from the crisis faster than expected, Estonian exports have grown more than we forecast in April. This allows us to increase our expectations regarding export growth in 2010. We expect this to slow substantially in 2011, mostly due to a slowdown of growth in European markets but also due to capacity constraints in Estonian companies. Supported by the reviving global economy, we foresee Estonian export growth to increase in 2012," Swedbank said. (read more)

Pakistan at Impasse With U.S. on Drone Attacks -- potential conflict looming between the US and Pakistan?

A visit by U.S. President Barack Obama’s top military officer to Pakistan underscored disagreements over the use of drone aircraft to target militants in the country’s mountainous northwest.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said his country won’t stop the attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. He expressed concern that Pakistani intelligence has a “longstanding relationship” with a militant Afghan group headed by U.S.-designated terrorists.

Pakistan’s military chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, reiterated his nation’s stance that the U.S. missile strikes undermine efforts to defeat guerrillas by draining support for the army’s anti-insurgency efforts. Mullen was in Islamabad to ease diplomatic tensions that soured after a Central Intelligence Agency contractor, Raymond Davis, on Jan. 27 shot and killed two armed Pakistanis he said were trying to rob him.

The Davis case, combined with the drone strikes that have killed civilians, “was a huge setback,” Mullen said in a televised interview yesterday, during which he accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, of maintaining ties to militants fighting U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. “I don’t think there is an immediate solution to this. We have to work a way through that.” (read more)

Delta Employees Attacked On MARTA Train by group chanting, "B.F.P.L." -- but what does it mean?

Two Delta Airlines employees were attacked on a MARTA train.

MARTA police said they were investigating the incident. A witness said he watched the violent attack unfold Sunday."We were intimidated. Everyone was terrified. People were trying to run, but there was nowhere to run," the man, who requested anonymity, told Channel 2's Erica Byfield.

Around midnight, a MARTA train pulled up to the Garnett Station in Downtown Atlanta, authorities said. The witness said up to 30 people boarded the southbound train."Once the doors opened, it was like a bum rush of people," he told Byfield. "The next thing you know, they started just beating him. There was blood everywhere. People were hollering and screaming," he said.

A MARTA police report identified two victims as Delta Airlines employees. The report said one victim had a soda can smashed in his face and his wallet stolen, while the other was punched repeatedly in his face.The witness said the attackers were teens chanting "B. F. P. L."

"I don't know if that's a gang," the witness said. (read more)

FDA: Hand sanitizers do not kill superbugs

Some hand sanitizer producers are making fraudulent claims and the U.S. Food and Drug Aministration has warned them to stop. The claims violate federal law, the FDA says.

The claims in question say that hand sanitizers prevent MRSA infections, or resistant staph infections. The bacteria from MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) are resistant to antibiotics and more difficult to cure. They tend to be more common at health care facilities.

MRSA can cause cause severe and even life-threatening infections that don't respond to the antibiotic methicillin.

The FDA advises consumers:

Don’t buy over-the-counter hand sanitizers or other products that claim to prevent infection from MRSA, E. coli, salmonella, flu, or other bacteria or viruses.

Ask your pharmacist for help distinguishing between reliable and questionable information on product labels and company websites.

The best defense against germs and other microbes is to wash hands often, especially before hanlling food. Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. For children, this means the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. (read more)

Death Spiral of the Dollar Cycle

Click on picture to expand.

For many months now I've been warning we were going to have a dollar crisis and that dollar crisis would drive the final leg up in gold's ongoing two year C-wave advance. We are now on the verge of the panic selling stage of this three year cycle.

On Monday the dollar briefly rallied on the S&P downgrade of US debt (who knew?). That had the potential to mark the bottom of the current dollar cycle. But by this morning the dollar has given back all of those gains and then some.


I've noted in the premium report that the dollar's daily cycle often turns on the employment report at the beginning of each month. The previous cycle bottomed one day after the March report and the current daily cycle topped on the April report. (read more)

Armed US Drones To Start Libya Missions - 21st Apr 2011

Armed US Predator drones will start missions in Libya as rebels take control of a key post on the border with Tunisia.

US President Barack Obama has given the go-ahead to use the unmanned aircraft which have already seen action in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

It comes as Libyan rebels claimed the capture of the Wazin border crossing following fighting outside the desert town of Nalut - about 140 miles southwest of the capital Tripoli.

Rebel leaders and witnesses said at least 13 Libyan military officers, including two commanders, fled across the border.

A doctor with Tunisia's Red Crescent said the border post was in rebel hands and relief officials fear it could lead to a new wave of refugees.

"The main worry now is an influx of families fleeing the fighting in Libya," Dr Mongi Slim said.

"Before, when the post was under the control of the pro-Gaddafi forces, people had been crossing on little paths. But now it will be much easier." Read More

Scientists create super-material that is thinner than paper but stronger than steel - 21st Apr 2011

Scientists have developed a super-material that is thinner than paper but ten times stronger than steel.

Developers of graphene paper, a compound based on graphite, claim it is not only lighter, stronger, harder and more flexible than steel, but also eco-friendly.

They say it will revolutionise both the commercial and engineering industries - particularly car and aeroplane manufacturing.

Lead researcher Ali Reza Ranjbartoreh said: 'No one else has used a similar production and heat testing method to find and carry out such exceptional mechanical properties for graphene paper. We are definitely well ahead of other research societies.

'The exceptional mechanical properties of synthesised GP render it a promising material for commercial and engineering applications.

'Not only is it lighter, stronger, harder and more flexible than steel it is also a recyclable and sustainable manufacturable product that is eco-friendly and cost effective in its use.' Read More

ET is brown bread*, literally: Siberian 'alien' WAS a hoax made out of loaf - 21st Apr 2011

** This Obvious HOAX turned up on Youtube Several days ago, this was the reason we didnt post it.

We said it was too good to be true and, sadly, it was.

The students behind the discovery of an alien's body at a UFO 'crash site' have admitted that it was a 'crummy' hoax made out of stale bread.

Friends Timur Hilall, 18, and Kirill Vlasov, 19, shot the video that showed the alien's mangled remains frozen in snow in Irkutsk, Siberia.

The pair were questioned by police over their 'extraterrestrial discovery' but admitted to their stunt.

But not before their creation became an internet sensation, drawing almost 700,000 hits on YouTube.

Their find was deemed serious enough for the Kremlin to get involved and a spokesman from the Russian interior ministry confirmed the hoax.

'We found the alien in one of the student's homes,' he said.

'It was lying under his bed and an examination of it revealed it had been made of bread crumbs which were covered in chicken skin.'

Prosecutors are now considering whether or not the pair have committed any crimes. Read More


BREAKING NEWS: 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Near the EAST COAST OF HONSHU, Japan - 21st Apr 2011 - USGS Censoring?

A 6.0 -magnitude earthquake struck of the East Coast of Honshu, Japan

The quake struck at 16.11 UTC - 76 km (47 miles) from Fukushima. Its epicenter was located with a depth of 36.6 km (22.7 miles). No damage or casualties were reported and no tsunami alert followed.

USGS Missing or Censored Earthquakes: I will start of by saying that USGS has recorded this Earthquake as an 5.6 Magnitude, However the Japanese seismic Center has it Recorded as a 6.0 Magnitude. During the past couple of weeks we have tracked many earthquakes around Japan, most of which have not appeared on USGS at all or have been downgraded.

Now I am curious why this is done, also it is no big secret that I believe
that these charts and reports are censored, so we wanted to bring you additional Proof that this is being done and you will see earthquakes from Northern California that have been listed and removed within minutes from USGS.

I am sure that some seismic equipment could be faulty or that the measurements can be upgraded or downgraded but think about it, out of thousands of seismic recorders around the world, why am I only noticing the earthquakes being removed from California?

Screen Shots are from the 17th Apr 2011 - 20th Apr 2011, you can see the update time near the top in Red.

Screen Shots taken 2 Min apart on the 17th April 2011


Screen Shots taken 1 Min apart on the 18th April 2011
Screen Shots taken 1 Min apart on the 18th April 2011
Screen Shots taken 2 Min apart on the 20th April 2011

Early universe may have had ONE dimension not three... and now we know how to prove it, say scientists - 21st Apr 2011

Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension? That's the mind-boggling question at the heart of a theory scientists say they are on the brink of solving.

The theory was first proposed by physicist Dejan Stojkovic and colleagues from the University of Buffalo in 2010.

They suggested that the early universe - which exploded from a single point and was tiny at first - was one-dimensional (like a straight line) before expanding to include two dimensions (like a plane) and then three, which is the world in which we live today.

The theory, if valid, would address important conundrums facing particle physicists.

Now, in a new paper in Physical Review Letters, Dr Stojkovic and colleagues have come up with a test that could prove or disprove the 'vanishing dimensions' hypothesis.

Because it takes time for light and other waves to travel to Earth, telescopes peering out into space can, essentially, look back into time as they probe the universe's outer reaches.

Gravitational waves can't exist in one or two-dimensional space. So Dr Stojkovic reasons that a planned gravitational observatory (LISA) should not detect any gravitational waves emanating from the early universe.

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna will be a joint project between Nasa and the European Space Agency and is slated to begin work in 2016.

Dr Stojkovic says the theory of evolving dimensions represents a radical shift from the way we think about how our universe came to be. Read More

Neil Lennon, Target - 'Two more letter bombs in the post' after Celtic manager Neil Lennon sent viable explosives - 21st Apr 2011

(IMAGE: Target: This crude mock up of Celtic boss Neil Lennon riddled with bullets was posted on Facebook)

Detectives believe there are two more letter bombs in the post after Celtic manager Neil Lennon was sent a device intended to maim or kill him.

The further devices are somewhere in the Scottish postal system, according to officers who talked to Sky News.

It raises fears that there could yet be injuries or deaths in the hate campaign which has already seen 'viable' explosives sent to Lennon, high profile lawyer and Celtic supporter Paul McBride and politician Trish Godman.

All the bombs were intercepted before they reached their targets.

But they have still refocused attention on the problem of sectarianism in Scottish football.

The fierce rivalry between Glasgow's Celtic, whose support is drawn heavily but not exclusively from Catholics, and Rangers - who have a vocal protestant following.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland also told today how he was sent bullets in the post before the papal visit last year.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien said he received the coded death threat at his home in Edinburgh in September last year.

The senders claimed to be from the Protestant Action Group - an old cover name for the hardline Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the Daily record reported. Read More

Jia Ashton Mystery -Will this pub CCTV image finally solve the mystery of Yellow Brick Road murder? - 21st Apr 2011

These are the latest images of the man who police investigating 'The Yellow Brick Road' murder of Jia Ashton are desperate to trace.

Economics graduate Jia disappeared while walking home from her workplace, the luxury chocolate makers Thorntons headquarters in Somercotes, Derbyshire.

She was killed minutes after leaving the office on March 10 and her battered body was found three days later in nearby woods, covered by twigs.

A £20,000 reward has been offered for information leading to her killer's arrest and conviction.

Jia, 25, was walking through the woods on a footpath known locally as The Yellow Brick Road when she was attacked.

The man who is featured in the latest pictures was seen in the Cotes Park Inn in Somercotes, Derbyshire, on the evening Jia was killed.

Two CCTV images of him were released on April 6 but no one has recognised him and he has not yet come forward.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Cotterill said: 'We'd like to talk to this man who may have information that would help us.

'As I've said before we are trying to speak to everyone who was in that part of Somercotes around the time Jia disappeared.

'We know this man was in the area at about 6pm and went into the pub. I'd urge him to come forward to speak to us.' Read More

The mystic stone at tsunami tide's highest point that saved tiny Japanese village from the deadly wave - 21st Apr 2011

This four-foot high stone may look unremarkable, but it is credited with saving the lives of the population of Aneyoshi when the tsunami struck Japan.

Carved into its weather-worn rock is a warning - 'Do not build your homes below this point!' - because they would be at risk from floods in a tsunami.

The villagers obeyed the ancient warning and the tiny community of just 11 houses and 34 residents were rewarded with survival at a key geographical point.

Aneyoshi, in the mountains of sticken Iwate Prefecture, bears a significant mark of the national natural disaster.

Just 300ft down the hil from where the stone sits is a blue line painted on the road. It marks the point in Japan where the tsunami water reached its hightest point - 127.6 feet.

The previous record height reached by flood waters in Japan was 125.3ft, which was also reached in Iwate Prefecture during a tsunami in 1896.

It is Japan's history of tsunami's that led to these warning stones becoming a familiar sight along the coast of Japan as ancestors tried to warn future generations of the dangers. Some of the stones are 600 years old.

'The tsunami stones are warnings across generations, telling descendants to avoid the same suffering of their ancestors,' Itoko Kitahara, a specialist in natural disasters at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, told the New York Times.

It was a tsunami in 1896 which killed 22,000 people that first convinced the people of Aneyoshi to move to their hilltop retreat and remain there.

After a period of stability the population renewed itself and slowly began moving back down the hill towards the coast, but a then in 1933 another tsunami struck and left four survivors.

It was after that disaster that the stone was erected and the village credits that with saving the village from a tsunami in 1960. Read More

Pennsylvania: the 'ground zero' of the US shale gas drilling boom - 21st Apr 2011

Sitting atop a vast deposit of natural gas, Pennsylvania knows how lucrative – and dangerous – this rapidly expanding industry is. But how can it prevent large-scale environmental damage?

Last June, Tony Zaffuto arrived at his fieldstone cabin in the forested hills of Pennsylvania's SB Elliott state park to find a notice pinned on the front door: "Danger. Do not occupy dwelling".

A blowout at a gas well in another popular camping spot, in the woods of the Punxsutawney hunt club, also in Clearfield County, had shot a 23-metre (75ft) combustible gusher of gas and toxic waste water into the air. It took the gas company, EOG Resources, 16 hours to control the well and the authorities had to carry out an evacuation.

It was not Zaffuto's first encounter with the dangers of natural gas drilling. In 2009 the spring that was the cabin's only source of water was contaminated by toxic waste from a pond serving the gas wells. Five other nearby water wells were also contaminated.

And yet Zaffuto is right behind Pennsylvania's natural gas boom. He supports the idea of US energy security and he wants his country to reduce oil imports.

"Throughout all this, I am pro-drilling, but I want to see it done correctly," Zaffuto, a businessman whose family have owned the cabin since 1921, said. "Having it done correctly will not cripple the industry. If there is money to be made they will comply. If there is enough natural resource of gas in the ground, they will drill and they will abide by the regulations. It's simple."

But how can rigorous new environmental standards be imposed on an industry well advanced in the 21st century's first big energy rush?

Zaffuto still has no drinking water at his cabin, nearly two years after EOG admitted contaminating his well. The latest laboratory report says it is still unfit to drink. Read More

Fact or Fiction - Ancient Aliens "The Visitors" - 21st Apr 2011

Alien visitations have occurred around the globe, and cites as evidence, claims that the Dogon people were given galactic knowledge by a star god; the Hopi and Zunicelebrations of Kachinas (or "gods from the sky") that are symbolized with headdress that are said to resemble modern space helmets; and that the Chinese Huangdi was a Han leader who came to Earth on a yellow dragon which is suggested to have been a metaphor for a spaceship.

Radioactive iodine found in breast milk -- at what point will we start to get concerned?

The breast milk of four Japanese mothers has been found to contain small quantities of radioactive iodine.

The government faced calls for a full investigation into the impact of the nuclear disaster on mothers and babies following the discovery.

The radiation contamination came to light after tests were conducted on breast milk samples taken from nine women living northeast or east of Tokyo.

Four of these women were found to be contaminated, with the highest reading of 36.3 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kg detected in the milk of the mother of an eight-month-old baby in Kashiwa, Chiba prefecture.

There are no current legal safety levels for radioactive substances in breast milk as set by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.

However, the breast milk readings were below the safety limit of 100 becquerels per kg of tap water consumption by infants under one year of age and no radioactive cesium was found. (read more)

$6 Gas? Could Happen if Dollar Keeps Getting Weaker

A dollar plumbing three-year lows is hitting Americans squarely in the gas tank, and one economist thinks it could drive prices as high as $6 a gallon or more by summertime under the right conditions.

With the greenback coming under increased pressure from Federal Reserve policies and investor appetite for more risk, there seems little direction but up for commodity prices, in particular energy and metals.

Weakness in the US currency feeds upward pressure on commodities, which are priced in dollars and thus come at a discount on the foreign markets.

One result has been a surge higher in gasoline prices to nearly $4 a gallon before the summer driving season even starts, a trend that economists say will be aggravated as demand increases and the summer storm season threatens to disrupt oil supplies.

"All we have to have is a couple badly placed hurricanes which could constrain some of the refinery output capacity in some key locations," says Richard Hastings, strategist at Global Hunter Securities in Charlotte, N.C. "If you get weakness in the dollar concurrent with the strong driving season concurrent with the impact of one or two hurricanes in the wrong place, prices could go up in a quasi-exponential manner." (read more)

Alien Worlds Could Circle Dying White Dwarf Stars

Scientists may be searching for Earth-like worlds around stars like our sun, but a new study suggests that the best places to look for planets that can support life may be the dying stars called white dwarfs.

Our sun — and indeed, more than 90 percent of all stars in our galaxy — will one day end up as white dwarfs, which are made up of their dim, fading cores. These cooling stars are typically about 40 percent to 90 percent of the mass of our sun but only about the same volume as Earth, and they are as common as sunlike stars. [The Strangest Alien Planets]

As cool as white dwarf stars might get, they would still be warm enough to possess so-called habitable zones — orbits where liquid water can exist on the surfaces of those worlds. These zones are considered prime habitats for life, as there is life virtually everywhere there is liquid water on Earth. (read more)

Hidden Tracking Files Found in Ipad as well now

Apple faced questions on Wednesday about the security of its iPhone and iPad after a report that the devices regularly record their locations in a hidden file.

The report came from a technology conference in San Francisco, where two computer programmers presented research showing that the iPhone and 3G versions of the iPad began logging users’ locations a year ago, when Apple [AAPL 351.1099 8.6999 (+2.54%) ] updated its mobile operating system.

After customers upgraded the software, a new hidden file began periodically storing location data, apparently gleaned from nearby cellphone towers and Wi-Fi networks, along with the time.

The data is stored on a person’s phone or iPad, but when the device is synced to a computer, the file is copied over to the hard drive, the programmers said. The data is not normally encrypted; although users can encrypt their information when they sync their devices, few do.

To some privacy advocates, the storing of the data was a clear breach.

“The secretive collection of location data crosses the privacy line,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy policy organization based in Washington. (read more)

Gulf of Mexico oil spill: BP sues Transocean for $40bn -- No, really, they're suing for damages

BP is suing Transocean, the owner of the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last year, for $40bn (£24.37bn) in damages.

BP said safety systems on Transocean's Deepwater Horizon rig had failed.

Separately, BP also sued the maker of the rig's blowout preventer, alleging the device failed to stop the huge oil spill that followed the explosion.

Both lawsuits were filed on Wednesday on the first anniversary of the explosion, which killed 11 workers.

Overnight on 20 April 2010, Transocean's Deepwater Horizon burst into flames while drilling a well for BP.

In the months that followed, more than 200 million gallons (780 million litres) of oil flowed in the Gulf of Mexico from the well, soiling hundreds of miles of coastline in the worst US oil spill in recent history.

In federal court in New Orleans on Wednesday, BP said Swiss-based Transocean and Cameron International, the Houston company that supplied the blowout preventer (BOP), should help it pay for tens of billions of dollars in liabilities resulting from the spill, which include clean-up and compensation costs.

BP also wants the court to declare that Cameron caused or contributed to the disaster.

"The Deepwater Horizon BOP was unreasonably dangerous, and has caused and continues to cause harm, loss, injuries, and damages to BP (and others) stemming from the blowout of Macondo well" and resulting spill, the BP lawsuit said. (read more)

$50 Silver is The Price Point of Liberty

$50 dollar silver is the first sign of blue sky after a devastating storm. It's the morning after sunshine bringing people out of hiding and together again for the process of rebuilding with the promise of a new start.

For more than 100 years the United States has been at the center of a war being waged around the clock by a cult-of-evil clawing and biting like a rabid dog at the heart of civilization. It has been an epic struggle of an outnumbered, outgunned regiment of courageous defenders of human individuality, dignity, and liberty against a tyranny intent on the enslavement of all humanity. It has been a bloody war, a costly war and even now the battles continue, but the tide is turning, finally, toward the side of good.

This war has been in stealth with the cult-of-evil creating a fictional world being pulled over and smothering the head of humanity. For years this war has involved the creation of a pretended reality that presents lies for all standards of measure of a free society. Recently, like all bubbles, the bubble of pretension has begun to grow exponentially - hiding reality behind a manufactured reality, including a manufactured history of the world - a process that is not sustainable and will soon face the limits of nature ( the real reality) . This fictional reality has reached the proportions of a bubble , not unlike the tulip bubble of 1637 - I would now call this bubble a bubble-of-pretension. The problem with bubbles is they burst and hiding reality is nature's most costly mistake. (read more)


It’s Official: China Will Be Dumping US Dollars

In case you missed it, earlier this week China announced that its foreign currency reserves are excessive and that they need to return to “reasonable” levels.

In politician speak, this is a clear, “we are sick of the US Dollar and will be taking steps to lower our holdings.” Remember, the US Dollar is China’s largest single holding. And China has already begun dumping Treasuries (US Debt).

This comes on the heels of China deciding (along with Russia) to trade in their own currencies, NOT the US Dollar. Not to mention the numerous warnings Chinese politicians have been issuing to the US over the last 24 months.

In simple terms, China is done playing nice and is now actively moving out of US Dollar denominated assets. This is the beginning of the US Dollar’s end as world reserve currency.

The dimwits in Washington don’t understand this because their advisors are all Wall Street stooges who don’t think debt or deficits matter. After all, why would they? Their entire business model is now based on endless cheap debt from the US Fed. So it’s only logically (in their minds) that the US as a sovereign state engage in the same strategies.

What does this mean? We’re on out own in terms of preparing for what’s coming. The US Dollar has already taken out its 2009 low in the overnight futures session. We now have only one line of support before the US Dollar breaks into the abyss (all time lows).

So if you’re not preparing for mega-inflation already, you need to start doing so NOW. The Fed WILL continue to pump money into the system 24/7 and it’s going to result in the death of the US Dollar. (read more)

In recent decades, the number of alien species in Navarre has tripled: Spain

“In recent decades, the number of invasive species in Navarre has tripled”. This is the warning of Rafael Miranda, lecturer at the Zoology and Ecology Department of the University of Navarra and member of the Iberian Ichthyology Society, launched in collaboration between the University and other research centres in Spain and Portugal.

The main objective of the Society and the study of the conservation of autochthonous species in continental aquatic ecosystems: rivers, lagoons and estuaries, in Spain and Portugal. In concrete, the experts involved are focusing on endemic freshwater species - euryhalines and diadromes – fish that can live in both fresh and salty water (such as salmon and eels).

In this sense, it is striving to increase awareness of and interest in autochthonous fish species under threat due to a number of factors. Amongst the most serious, points out Mr Miranda, is the alteration of the habitat caused by hydraulic works, water extraction, industrial waste dumping, the extraction of sand or the canalisation of riverbeds. “Moreover, particularly serious is the introduction of alien species, which causes the greatest impact”, he stressed.

According to the expert, invasive fish fed into our lakes and rivers put the survival of autochthonous Iberian Ichthyofauna in danger: “In fact, biological invasions are the second great cause of loss of biodiversity in the world, being especially damaging to freshwater systems”. This is the case of predatory species such as black bass, pike or catfish, all of which are present in rivers in Navarre. (read more)

Invasive Mussels Causing Massive Ecological Changes in Great Lake

The ongoing spread of non-native mussels in the Great Lakes has caused "massive, ecosystem-wide changes" throughout lakes Michigan and Huron, two of the planet's largest freshwater lakes, according to a new University of Michigan-led study.

The blitzkrieg advance of two closely related species of mussels -- the zebra and quagga -- is stripping the lakes of their life-supporting algae, resulting in a remarkable ecological transformation and threatening the multibillion-dollar U.S. commercial and recreational Great Lakes fisheries.

Previous studies have linked the mussels to far-reaching changes in Lake Michigan's southern basin. Now a paper by two University of Michigan ecologists and a colleague shows that the same dramatic changes are occurring in northern Lake Michigan and throughout Lake Huron, as well.

"These are astounding changes, a tremendous shifting of the very base of the food web in those lakes into a state that has not been seen in the recorded history of the lakes," said Mary Anne Evans, lead author of a paper scheduled for publication in the April 15 edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. "We're talking about massive, ecosystem-wide changes." (read more)

Weather Blamed for Indonesia Caterpillar Plague

Unpredictable weather coupled with a decline in natural predators is responsible for a recent plague of caterpillars in parts of the country.

Though the phenomenon is centered largely in Probolinggo, East Java, smaller reported outbreaks in Central Java, West Java, Bali and, most recently, Jakarta have prompted fears of a widespread infestation.

But Aunu Rauf, an entomologist at the Bogor Institute of Agricultural (IPB), says there is no connection between the outbreaks in Probolinggo and those in the other areas.

“There are at least 120,000 types of caterpillars in the world, so those found in Bekasi [West Java] and Probolinggo would be different from each other,” he told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

“I’m sure the ones in Tanjung Duren [West Jakarta], where people have claimed to have been ‘attacked’ by caterpillars, are also a different type.” (read more)

African Military Spending Rises Despite Recession -- Part of the Problem?

Military spending rose by 5.2 per cent in Africa last year, defying a global recession that halved the continent's growth, a new study shows.

The region's total military expenditure in real terms was an estimated Sh2.5 trillion ($30.1 billion), according to the analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Angola, which is recovering from three decades of civil war, set the pace with a 19 per cent increase in real terms, or Sh51 billion ($600 million) in 2009 prices.

This figure is 4.2 per cent of its gross domestic product. During the civil war, its vast oil wealth and diamonds paid for arms.

Figures for Cote d'Ivoire are missing, but in 2008 the West African country spent 1.5 per cent of its GDP on its military.

The effect of the five-month unrest in the country on new spending is unlikely to be known, while the United Nations also placed an arms embargo on it.

Four of the continent's five top spenders - Angola, Morocco, Algeria and Nigeria - provided for the bulk of the spending increase, mainly influenced by gas and oil revenues. (read more)

BREAKING NEWS: 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Near the EAST COAST OF HONSHU, Japan - 21st Apr 2011

A 6.1 -magnitude earthquake struck of the East Coast of Honshu, Japan
The quake struck at 13.37 UTC - 64 km (39 miles) from Tokyo. Its epicenter was located with a depth of 42.9 km (26.7 miles).

No damage or casualties were reported and no tsunami alert followed.

Qian Liu's Webcam murder: Police charge Brian Dickson, 29, over killing of woman whose death was witnessed by boyfriend 6,000 miles away - 21st Apr

A man has been charged over the alleged murder of a university student who was killed while talking to her boyfriend via webcam.

Qian Liu's semi-naked body was found in her flat near York University in northern Toronto after her boyfriend watched her struggling with her attacker 6,000 miles away in China.

Brian Dickson, 29, has been charged with first-degree murder as Miss Liu's parents arrived in Canada where they had sent their daughter to study English.

It is alleged that she was chatting with her partner, Meng Xianchao, over the internet when there was a knock on the door at about 1am last Friday.

He saw a man enter the room and ask Miss Liu if he could use her mobile phone and then try to hug her. However, it is reported that he became aggressive when she declined the embrace and a struggle broke out.

Mr Xianchao looked on helplessly from Beijing as the struggle continued before Miss Liu's webcam was turned off.

'At that moment my mind went blank and I was cursing him from my webcam, I was so far away I couldn't reach her.

'I felt so helpless and I couldn't calm down until in the end the guy closed the computer,' he told CTV. Read More

Ian Griffin accused of murdering millionaire girlfriend in £1,000-per-night Paris hotel suite WILL be extradited - 21st Apr 2011

A businessman accused of murdering his millionaire girlfriend in a Paris hotel room has lost his fight against extradition to France.

Ian Griffin, 41, is accused of murdering Kinga Legg, 32, who was found dead in a bath in a £1,000-per-night hotel suite.

A High Court judge yesterday rejected his appeal against extradition and warned 'the utmost care' should be taken to ensure he did not attempt suicide during his removal.

The battered body of Ms Legg was found at the exclusive Hotel le Bristol in May 2009. She had suffered multiple injuries and a radiator had been torn from a wall.

The murder sparked a international manhunt for Griffin who was arrested in Cheshire a week later.

Judge Wickham ordered extradition despite his taking a drug overdose on November 18 which led to him being treated at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, for kidney problems. Because of the overdose he did not attend the extradition hearing.

His lawyer, Matthew Butt, asked for the case to be adjourned because of his inability to attend, but the judge dismissed the application.

Lawyers for Griffin, from Warrington, Cheshire, had challenged a decision last December by District Judge Daphne Wickham at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court that he must return to France.

Mr Justice Collins, sitting in the High Court, ruled Judge Wickham had acted lawfully and was correct to decide that further delay was unreasonable.

He declared it would not be 'unjust or oppressive' for extradition to go ahead. Read More

Family of 12 Ethiopian asylum seekers who have just landed in Britain get £1,460-a-week for vast London home - 21st Apr 2011

An Ethiopian family of 12 are being put up in a vast house costing the taxpayer almost £1,500-a-week just two months after arriving in Britain.

The couple and their 10 children are receiving a staggering £1,460-a-week housing benefit from the cash-strapped Tower Hamlets council in London - Britain's poorest borough.

The jobless family - who will also be receiving other handouts such as unemployment and child benefits - only arrived in London from Africa in the past few weeks.

It is yet another example of taxpayers having to pick up the bill for families to stay in vast houses in the capital.

And it comes as it emerged benefits payouts in Tower Hamlets have cost the taxpayer a mammoth £223million in just one year.

The Ethiopians, who are believed to be asylum-seekers, will cost taxpayers £76,000 if they are allowed to stay in the property for 12 months.

They received a weekly sum of £1,462,90 on March 4, according to the council's housing benefits claims department.

Another nine families in the borough received between £590 and £613 in the same week and the last annual figures show 10 families getting between £20,600 and £38,300 for 2008-09.

Tower Hamlets Opposition leader Peter Golds said: 'Paying a yearly rate of £76,000 for one family shows the ludicrous public money being paid to put people into expensive housing.

'It is utterly, utterly ridiculous what sort of properties the council must be housing these families in.' Read More

Thousands and Thousands of Dead fish found on dam bank, Australia - 21st Apr 2011

A phone call to the Ridge News on Tuesday morning alerted us to the amount of European Carp fish in a dam at Big Warrambool.

There are thousands and thousands of dead fish on the water and line the banks metres deep.

It is a mystery why they have all died, but a Lightning Ridge local fisherman suggests there is not enough oxygen in the water for the amount of fish.

There is still an amazing amount of fish with their mouths out of the water, they will probably also die.

These fish must have been washed down in flood water and have been left behind in the dam as the waters have dried up.

European Carp is an introduced species, first caught from the Murray River in South Australia but now established as a major pest throughout Australia.

Their feeding habits has a detrimental effect on the natural ecosystems in freshwater systems, hence carp are identified as a noxious species.

The amount of dead fish at the dam has brought an amazing amount of birdlife to the area and there are signs of feral pigs having a feast.

These fish aren’t of much use to the rivers, but it is sad to see the thousands that have been stranded in this dam to die. Source

Protesting asylum-seekers set fire to Australian detention centre - 21st Apr 2011

Asylum-seekers and other detainees at a detention centre in Villawood, in Sydney, Australia have set fire to a number buildings in a protest

Rioters at an Australian immigration detention centre have set fire to several buildings, climbed onto rooftops and hurled tiles at officials who were scrambling on Thursday to bring the chaotic protest to an end.

Up to 100 people being held at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre were involved in the riots, which began Wednesday night when two detainees climbed onto a roof, immigration officials said.

Protesters set an oxygen cylinder alight, which led to an explosion, and nine buildings including a medical centre and dining hall were gutted by fire. Firefighters brought the blaze under control early Thursday and no one was injured.

Around 400 people are held at Villawood. Many of them are asylum seekers, but the facility also houses people who have overstayed their visas.

On Thursday, seven detainees remained on the roof of one of the complex's buildings, next to a large sign that read: "We need help." Read More

Seath Tyler, 15, was lured to a home, beaten, shot dead, burned, shovelled into paint cans and thrown in a dumpster. - 21st Apr 2011

Six people have been accused of brutally murdering a 15-year-old boy who was lured to a home, beaten, shot dead, burned, shovelled into paint cans and thrown in a dumpster.

The remains of Seath Tyler Jackson, from Marion County, have yet to be found but deputies have arrested six suspects ranging in ages from 15 to 37 in connection with his death.

Authorities say that Seath was lured to a home in Summerfield on Sunday night by his ex-girlfriend Amber Wright, 15, who had been texting him 'non-stop' claiming she wanted to get back together with him.

Detectives said it was all part of the carefully constructed plan to kill the teenager.

Once inside the home, he was hit in the head with a wooden object and was shot multiple times with a .22 calibre , according to detectives. When Seath tried to escape, he was tackled, held down and shot again.

His body was then placed in a bath tub and his knee caps were broken. According to the report, when he was in the bathtub he started showing signs of life and was shot again.

He was then tied up, placed in a sleeping bag and burned in a fire pit.

Deputies said his remains were then shovelled into five-gallon paint containers and thrown into a dumpster.

According to WFTV, Seath's parents reported him missing on Monday and thought he had run away. Read More