Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Syrian protesters slaughtered in Izraa as world watches on



Amateur video has been posted online that appears to show protesters in Syria being shot by security forces.

It is claimed the footage was filmed in the southern town of Izraa where Syrian government forces have been trying to suppress the final remnants of protest.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has increased efforts to dissuade protesters from taking to the streets in recent days and the attack on Izraa seems designed to keep the population cowed.

Witnesses said up to 5,000 troops accompanied by tanks entered the town from its four corners so that no-one could escape before firing began, seemingly at random. (Source)

Hole in Greek finances bigger than thought as bond flight continues and other countries crumble -- Eurozone may be headed toward financial collapse

Fears that struggling eurozone nations will not be able to pay their debts intensified as official data showed the hole in Greece's finances was bigger than thought.

The deficit in the Greek government's budget amounted to 10.5pc of GDP in 2010, EU statistics agency Eurostat reported on Tuesday, putting it significantly above February's 9.6pc estimate from Brussels.

The continued flight from Greek sovereign debt pushed the yield, or return, on the 10-year government bonds to new highs of 15.5pc.

The European Central Bank, the only major potential buyer, "won't buy whilst [some eurozone countries such as Germany] continue to speak and put pressure on Greece to restructure", said one trader.

A restructure of Greek debt, cutting the interest rates and lengthening the terms of the loans, would represent an effective default as the debt would be worth much less.

In late 2009 a more dramatic revision of Greece's deficit sparked Europe's debt crisis as it ignited fears about the state of weaker eurozone nations' finances, eventually leading to Athens last year receiving a €110bn (£98bn) bail-out. Ireland and Portugal have since followed in requesting international aid. (read more)

Unidentified metallic objects travelling at 500 mph or higher captured on film -- insects, optical illusions, or something more?



Please take note:

1) The incredible speed of the objects, measurably by the camera shutter speed
2) The absence of insect-like silhouettes, such as wings, a head or thorax
3) The metallic-like glare
4) The rapid appearance and disappearance of an object behind the cloud

In the video a "challenge" is mentioned. This challenge refers to someone else who has claimed these small metallic objects are flying nearly everywhere, but are unobservable due to their incredible speed, and who claims that anyone can turn their camera on, film the skies (preferably with witnesses) and then slow the footage down to spot the objects. If any of our readers would like to take up the challenge and link us to the results, we'd be interested in posting them.

Remember, however, we're seeking proof -- not sensationalism, so please be skeptical and logical in your pursuits. We look forward to hearing from you.

Has real chemtrail plane been filmed? Or is it just a cargo plane with a off-kilter engine? (Video)

Please click here to watch the video in question.

Some peculiar features to take note of:

1) The off-kilter engine
2) The uneven trails of materials
3) The strange object on the craft's undercarriage

Is it just a regular plane with an misaligned engine? Is it an optical illusion? Is it something else that we're unwilling to admit to? Let's put our heads together.

If you have any information regarding this video, please share it so that we may add it to our investigation.

LIBYA: Fighting in southeast spreads... in 2008, that is -- Have previous attempts against Libya been made and buried?

This is reported from 2008, now long forgotten -- but does it sound familiar?

The daily Arab-language newspaper Asharq al-Awsat is reporting that the riots and fighting in southeastern Libya that began last week and left at least 11 people dead has spread to the country's second-largest city, Benghazi.

According to the report, which cites opposition groups and anonymous individuals inside Libya, the fighting between the Tabu tribe and security forces that began in the cluster of oasis towns near Kufrah, "is spreading to other nearby cities despite all the security measures the government is imposing."

A group of men engaged in street battles with police in the cities of al-Salmani and al-Majuri in support of Kufrah residents, the Nov. 10 report said.

A letter distributed by an opposition group said that some opponents of Libyan leader Muammar Kadafi are preparing "to launch a series of public demonstrations." (read more)

This website will continue acting as a giant shovel to dig out buried news that has been conveniently forgotten. Stay tuned.

At least 400 civilians killed in Syria revolt: group

Syrian security forces have shot dead at least 400 civilians in their campaign to crush month-long pro-democracy protests, Syrian human rights organization Sawasiah said on Tuesday.

The group, founded by jailed human rights lawyer Mohannad al-Hassani, said the U.N. Security Council must convene to start proceedings against Syrian officials in the International Criminal Court and "reign in the security apparatus."

"This savage behavior, which is aimed at keeping the ruling clique in power at the expense of a rising number of civilian lives, calls for immediate international action beyond condemnations," Sawasiah said in a statement sent to Reuters.

"The murderers in the Syrian regime must be held accountable. The rivers of blood spilled by this oppressive regime for the past four decades are enough," the statement said.

Sawasiah's board includes Syrian philosophy professor Sadeq Jalal al-Azem, whose book "Self-criticism after the defeat" helped set the stage for a revival in Arab political thought after Israel's victory in the 1967 Middle East War. (read more)

Experts: Drought could continue in southern U.S.

The extreme drought that has gripped parts of nine states — most of them in the South — is expected to drag on for several months or intensify, posing a risk for more wildfires, agriculture problems and water restrictions, national weather experts said Monday.

Portions of Texas and a small part of eastern Louisiana are the only parts of the nation that rank in the National Weather Service's worst drought condition category, said Victor Murphy, the climate service program manager for the southern region, based in Fort Worth. The "exceptional" drought level happens once every 50 to 100 years, he said.

Much of the rest of Texas and Louisiana are in extreme drought conditions — the worst in 20 to 50 years — as are parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Florida and tiny portions of Colorado and Kansas. Other areas of those states are experiencing severe and moderate drought conditions, along with parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

May is "pretty much our last chance to mitigate this thing," because that month typically brings the most rainfall in many of the bone-dry states, including Texas and Oklahoma, which need about 4 inches of rain in the next month, Murphy said.

The widespread drought was spawned last year by La Nina, a condition that changes wind and air pressure patterns. It brought warmer-than-normal temperatures and less rainfall to the southern and central U.S., drying out grass and shrubs that have become fuel for wildfires that have ignited and raged out of control in several states.

Since Jan. 1, New Mexico wildfires have scorched more than 390 sq. miles and destroyed 15 homes. Among the fires was a massive 15,000-acre blaze that firefighters were still battling Monday south of Carlsbad, said Dan Ware, a spokesman for the New Mexico State Forestry Division. (read more)

Ron Paul Steps Toward Third Presidential Race

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he's going to try a third time.

Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign’s leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.

Paul, 75, ran as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988, finishing with less than one half a percent of the vote. After more than a decade as a Republican congressman, Paul gave it another shot in the 2008 presidential election, gaining attention for being the only Republican candidate calling for the end to the war in Iraq and for his “money bomb” fundraising strategy, which brought in millions of dollars from online donors in single-day pushes. (read more)

Coffee Prices Hit 34-Year High

That morning cup of coffee is going to cost you more.

Coffee prices are at a 34-year high — $3 a pound.

Yet coffee drinkers plan on grinding out the extra cash because they need that cup of Joe, CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports.

“I like the taste of it. It keeps me up,” medical student Linda Russo says.

In countries like Ethiopia, people can’t do without it.

“It’s like a tradition for me. We drink coffee every day,” coffee lover Yosef Alemayehu says.

But the cost of that cup of coffee is way up.

At Metropolis in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, the price of a pound of coffee is up by 45 cents. And they’ve raised the cost of a cup by 10 cents across the board.

They’ve posted a notice to let customers know before they get in line.

“We went ahead and tried to post the information before it actually happened just because the price of green beans has gone up by so much this year,” assistant manager David Retzer says. (read more)

Activists prepare new 15-boat flotilla to Gaza

Pro-Palestinian activists say a planned convoy of aid ships to the Gaza Strip will be twice as big as a similar flotilla that was raided a year ago by Israeli forces, leaving nine people dead on a Turkish boat.

Organizers say they hope to depart around the May 31 anniversary of the fatal raid, but say it could happen later than that.

Huseyin Oruc, a spokesman for an Islamic aid group in Turkey, said Tuesday that an international coalition of 22 non-governmental organizations plans to send 15 ships with a total of 1,500 people.

The goal is to break Israel's blockade of Gaza. Israel says any attempt to reach Gaza by sea is aimed at provoking violence. (Source)

Wealthy Leaving Las Vegas Mansions as Foreclosure Pain Spreads

Nicolas Cage, the Oscar-winning star of “Leaving Las Vegas,” bought a seven-bedroom home with a panoramic view of the city’s casino-lined Strip in 2006 for $8.5 million. By January 2010, it was in foreclosure.

The next owner, who property records show paid $4.2 million, has put the house on the market for $7.9 million -- an “unrealistic” price, according to Zar Zanganeh, the broker handling the listing.

“It’s sad,” Zanganeh said, his high-heeled boots clacking on the marble floor as he gave a tour of the 14,000-square-foot (1,300-square-meter) mansion featuring a six-person steam shower and a closet the size of a small apartment. “There’s a lot of inventory, a lot of homes like this waiting for an owner.”

A growing number of high-end homes are selling at a loss or facing repossession by lenders in Las Vegas, which already has the highest rate of foreclosure filings among large U.S. cities. The wave of defaults that began with subprime borrowers and the unemployed has spread to upscale homeowners who see no point of staying even if they can afford to.

In the 15 months through March, at least 25 houses in the Las Vegas area changed hands for more than $3 million, with at least seven doing so through foreclosure or by selling at a loss, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and Clark County property records. In 2009, 14 homes sold for more than that amount, with one trading at a loss. (read more)

Euro strikes 16-month high against dollar, as US Dollar continues downward spiral

The euro struck a 16-month high against the dollar and the Swiss franc notched a record high versus the US unit Tuesday amid heightened investor nerves over this week's busy economic calendar.

The European single currency hit $1.4653 in morning trade, the highest point since mid-December 2009, as many dealers returned from a long holiday weekend. It later stood at $1.4619, compared with $1.4572 late in New York on Monday.

The dollar meanwhile tumbled to an all-time low point of 0.8745 Swiss francs.

Investors moved to adjust positions ahead of the US Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, which was to open later on Tuesday, dealers said.

The central bank's Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to maintain interest rates at between zero and 0.25 percent, where they have stood since December 2008.

Traders are also eagerly awaiting Thursday's publication of US gross domestic product (GDP) data for the first three months of 2011.

"The US dollar continues to remain under pressure ahead of this week's key FOMC rate meeting tomorrow and first quarter GDP figures, which are due on Thursday," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Markets are keenly awaiting Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's first news conference on Wednesday after the meeting. It will be the first by any Fed chief, in contrast with regular news conferences held by European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

"As such markets will be closely scrutinising the post-FOMC meeting press conference for clues as to the committee's thinking ... especially in light of the recent downgrade by S&P of the outlook for the US economy," added Hewson. (read more)

Significant Tornado Outbreak Aims for Arklatex, South -- America getting hammered by storms

Another significant tornado outbreak will endanger many lives and property across the Arklatex and South later today. These are the same areas that were just hit by tornadoes Monday into Monday night.

The Little Rock, Ark., area is at risk again today after multiple tornadoes, including one large twister, just tore through Monday night.

"Tuesday and Wednesday will be particularly bad," warned AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski last Friday. That statement is still valid today.

Following Monday's deadly tornadoes, all signs are pointing toward another outbreak initiating across northeastern Texas and southwestern Arkansas later today.

The tornado danger will then shift eastward to the western Tennessee Valley by tonight, before extending from the eastern Tennessee Valley to the central Gulf Coast on Wednesday into Wednesday evening.

Tornadoes late today into tonight could take aim at Tyler, Texas, Broken Bow, Okla., Little Rock, Ark., Shreveport, La., Batesville, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn. Dallas will be a close call as well.

Some of these same cities are recovering from damaging storms and tornadoes which swept through late Monday.

Cities at risk for tornadoes come Wednesday include Meridian, Miss., Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala., and Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.

There is concern that some of the tornadoes today into Wednesday will be strong (EF3 tornado ranking or higher) and long-tracking. (read more)

Man Caught Peeing on Cough Drops in Walgreens Drug Store: Florida

Police are looking for a man who urinated on more than 100 packages of cough drops inside a Walgreens in Florida.

It happened last Thursday around 10:30 p.m. at a Walgreens on S. French Avenue in Sanfiord.

Investigators say the man went to the aisle where the cough drops are kept, looked around, unzipped his pants, and urinated on about 110 packages of cough drops.

Police say he then walked back to the pharmacy and attempted to fill a prescription but didn’t have the proper documents.

The man then left the store. (Source)

Poll: Most Egyptians want Quran as source of laws

A majority of Egyptians believe laws in their country should observe the teachings of Islam's holy book, the Quran, according to the results of an opinion poll by a U.S.-based research center.

The results also show that Egyptians, who have shifted toward religious conservatism over the past 40 or so years, are open to the inclusion of religious parties in future governments. Only a minority, however, sympathize with fundamentalist religious parties, according to the results.

Overall, the results of the poll paint a picture of Egyptians as a people who prefer religious moderation over extremism and prize democratic values even if they come at the risk of some political instability. (read more)

Russia warns over new U.N. resolution on Libya

Russia said on Tuesday it will not support any United Nations Security Council resolutions on Libya which could escalate the conflict in the North African nation, local news agencies reported.

"If a resolution leads to a further escalation of a civil war by any means, including outside intervention, we will not be able to support this," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council member, abstained last month from the vote on a resolution authorizing force to protect civilians in Libya by enforcing a no-fly zone.

But Russia's leaders have repeatedly criticized the extent of the coalition operation.

Initially, leaders of the NATO Western military alliance had ruled out sending ground troops to Libya, but EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said last week the bloc's members would consider such a step if the U.N. requested it. (Source)

More drivers running out of gas on the road



The rising price of gas appears to be leaving many drivers trapped on the side of the road, choosing to take a chance rather than filling-up.

Calls from drivers out of gas are up 25 percent compared to last year, according to AAA. That number is expected to keep going up as gas prices increase.

The Washington State Department of Transportation Incident Response Team also reports more “out of gas” calls. The IRT keeps a two gallon tank of gas in the bed of its trucks to help drivers
get to the nearest station. The idea is to keep the roads clear of disabled vehicles, but crews say they have to refill their spare tanks multiple times a day.

"I don't know if they have bad gas gauges or if they just don't pay attention," says Mike Rudig, Maintenance Lead Technician for IRT. "A lot of them are saying that we are life savers, they are happy to see us."

Running your vehicle on empty is not only risky, it can eventually damage your vehicle. (read more)

Fact or Fiction - Ancient Aliens "Gods & Aliens" - 26th Apr 2011

Taking a Look at legends about powerful gods and fearsome monsters that have similarities between them even though these legends are found in different cultures separated by vast distances, and this episode also suggests that these legends may be eyewitness accounts of alien visitations. Also discussed are tales of gods interacting with humans, imparting wisdom and technology and impregnating women to create demigods who are supposedly the offspring of human/alien unions.

16 people killed as passenger bus torched in Pakistan - 26th Apr 2011

At least 16 people including seven children were killed and 18 others injured as a passenger bus was set ablaze by unknown miscreants in the wee hours of Tuesday in Pakistan's southwestern city of Sibi, reported local English TV channel Express.

According to the local media reports, the disaster took place at about 1:00 am local time when a passenger coach carrying about 40 people was torched by unknown people near a gas station on the national highway in Sibi while on its way from Peshawar to Quetta, capital city of Balochistan province.

Rescue team rushed to the site shortly after the incident was reported and all the injured people have been shifted to the nearby hospital in the city, which is about 120 kilometers southeast of Quetta. Source

Arkansas tornado all but wipes out town - 26th Apr 2011

A dangerous storm slamming Vilonia, Arkansas, left four dead and the town in shamble.

Emergency crews worked to account for dozens of people still missing Tuesday after a powerful storm battered Arkansas with floods, high winds and tornados, snapping utility poles, twisting one tractor-trailer like a wrung dish rag and leaving at least seven people dead.

A twister that hit the small, rural town of Vilonia late Monday tore roofs from homes and stores, and tossed vehicles into the air. Four residents of the close-knit community were killed by the tornado.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says rescuers have accounted for everyone who lives in the tornado-struck town and that the death toll in the rural community will likely remain at four.

Rescue crews continue, however, to search for survivors -- or bodies -- in nearby Garland County where the storm also hit hard late Monday.

Beebe toured Vilonia on Tuesday morning. He says he is impressed with the scale of the twister, which left a broad trail of destruction through the town of 3,800, some 25 miles north of Little Rock.

The main road through town of 3,800 was passable, but debris still littered the street. Officials set up a command post at a grocery store, whose roof was torn off and deposited in the parking lot by the storm.

Faulkner County sheriff's Capt. Matt Price said he wasn't sure how many people were missing. Late Monday, fire chief Keith Hillman said some 50 to 60 people were still not accounted for. Hundreds of emergency workers from several counties were checking homes.

"We're just getting cranked up. We're doing a pretty intense search," Price said.

The deaths from Monday's storms bring this month's storm-related death toll in Arkansas to 14. And forecasters said another bout of bad weather was expected to hammer the state Tuesday afternoon, further complicating rescue efforts.

Faulkner County spokesman Stephan Hawks said the infrastructure in and around Vilonia was badly damaged. Source

Tens of thousands flee Thai-Cambodia clashes, Thailand says

Tens of thousands of people have fled fighting between Thailand and Cambodia over the past week, 30 people have been injured, and five Thai soldiers have been killed, the Thai Ministry of Public Health said Tuesday.

About 27,000 people are living in 33 temporary shelters in Thailand, the ministry said.

Clashes between the two sides began last Friday, with each country accusing the other of trying to seize two ancient temples.

Thai Foreign Minsiter Kasit Piromya visited the province and said in a statement Tuesday that Cambodia is still attacking Thais.

There was a brief exchange of fire between Cambodian and Thai troops Tuesday afternoon, but it was calmed quickly, Thai Col. Sansern Kaewkumnerd said.

There were no new casualties from the incident, which he said resulted from a misunderstanding stemming from a routine Air Force exercise. (read more)

Thai-Cambodia clashes spread east to Preah Vihear

Fighting has erupted between soldiers from Cambodia and Thailand along their disputed mountainous border for a fifth consecutive day.

Spokesmen from both sides said skirmishes broke out near the Preah Vihear temple on Tuesday.

The violence follows four days of fighting around the temple of Ta Krabey, 160km (100 miles) to the west.

At least 12 soldiers have been killed in the latest outbreak of violence between the two neighbours.

Parts of the Thai-Cambodian border have never been formally demarcated, causing continuing tensions and firing nationalist sentiment in each country.

The 11th Century hill-top temple of Preah Vihear is a particular flashpoint.

An international court awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962 but both sides claim ownership of the surrounding area. At least 10 people were killed in clashes around the temple in February.

There was no information on whether the most recent exchange of fire at Preah Vihear had caused casualties.

"They fired artillery and mortar and we retaliated," said Thai army spokesman Colonel Prawit Hookaew. Cambodia blamed Thailand for starting the clash.

It comes after days of fighting around Ta Krabey and another temple, Ta Moan, which stand in jungle areas further to the west that both sides claim. (read more)

"Both parties abandon the jobless": US

In the fall of 1984, I was a student living in Boston. A high-tax manufacturing state, Massachusetts had been hit hard by the economic troubles of the 1970s. But now suddenly there were signs in every shop window: "Help wanted." Or: "Help wanted!" Or even: "Help wanted!!!"

One afternoon on my way to the subway, I paused in front of one of these signs in the window of a restaurant that catered to students. I stood maybe 10 seconds, maybe 12. The manager bolted out, put his hand on my shoulder: "Hey -- you want a job?"

That's what a strong economic recovery looks like.

Technically speaking, the U.S. economy is recovering right now. GDP growth has been positive since the summer of 2009. Employment is growing. If you like, you can say the recession is over.

But don't say it too loud. With 13.5 million people out of work -- 6.1 million out of work for 27 weeks or more -- the odds are high that one of them may hear and take offense.

The recovery is weak, and job creation is slow. Everybody knows that. But here's something that we don't know, or anyway don't think about enough: Isn't it weird that in this dismal economic situation, neither of the two great U.S. political parties is offering a plan to do anything about the job situation? (read more)

World's last typewriter plant stops production: is universal digitization safe?

The owners of the world's last remaining typewriter factory have shut the plant's doors because of declining orders.

Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd. has shuttered its facility in Mumbai, India, where as recently as 2009 the company was making 12,000 typewriters a year.

Typewriters had been experiencing a renaissance in India, where the devices are prized for their ease, efficiency and durability. As many as 400 million Indians lack reliable electricity, so the devices were widely used in the courts and government bureaucracy.

Western consumers are likely more familiar with names like Woodstock, Remington, Smith-Corona, Olivetti, Hermes and Underwood, but Godrej & Boyce was a major player in the Indian market. In the 1990s, the company made 50,000 machines a year, out of a total Indian output of 150,000 annually.

But after stopping production, Godrej & Boyce has only about 500 of its Prima brand units left in its inventory, general manager Milind Dukle told India's Business Standard newspaper.

"We are not getting many orders now," he said. "This might be the last chance for typewriter lovers." (read more)

Soaring food prices to dent Asia's growth

Soaring food and fuel prices are threatening to derail growth in Asian economies, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The bank has warned that if food and fuel prices continue to surge, economic growth in the region could be reduced by up to 1.5% this year.

According to the bank, domestic food prices have risen at an average of 10% in many Asian economies this year.

Oil prices have also surged because of the crisis in the Middle East.

The bank said that a combination of these two factors has been a major setback for growth in Asian economies.

While Asian economies have emerged strong from the global financial crisis, the rising cost of living has become a big concern in the region.

The ADB has warned that the recent surge in food price is threatening to push millions of Asians into extreme poverty.

According to the bank's study a 10% rise in domestic food prices may result in almost 64m people being pushed into extreme poverty. (read more)

New Zealand under threat from massive Chinese land grab?

Selling the Crafar farms to an overseas consortium cannot possibly be in New Zealand’s economic interests, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The Shanghai Pengxin International Group will have to prove to the Overseas Investment Office that its bid for the Crafar farms is in New Zealand’s economic interests.

“With food prices rising globally, selling off large chunks of New Zealand’s productive farmland to overseas bidders is economic folly,” said Dr Norman.

“Chinese agricultural company Agria are also looking to take control of New Zealand rural services company PGG Wrightson, dependent again on the Overseas Investment Office’s approval.

“Companies in China – often with government backing – are looking to buy up land and farming goods worldwide,” said Dr Norman.

“While this plan makes excellent sense for China, it is certainly not in New Zealand’s long term interests that our farms and farming companies fall into overseas ownership. (read more)

Garth George: Is New Zealand at the mercy of the hungry Chinese dragon

The thousands of words and hundreds of column centimetres this newspaper is this week devoting to a series entitled "China and Us" has done nothing so far but fill me with a deep sense of unease.

And I'm obviously not alone. In a nzherald.co.nz poll at the weekend asking, "is the increasing Chinese influence in New Zealand a positive thing?" of the nearly 11,000 readers who replied only 33 per cent said "yes" and 67 per cent said "no".

These nay-sayers will be, like me, folk who understand that "multiculturalism" is a bullshit word because there is no such thing.

Folk who are increasingly concerned at China's economic and migratory imperialism know that there is a fundamental truth in Kipling's immortal words: "East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet."

What bugs me about most of the palaver I have skimmed so far is that it's all so bloody mercenary.

I get the impression that China is our economic saviour and our relationship with that huge and densely populated communist nation is all good.

I read nothing of the fact that China is a totalitarian state which clings resolutely to Mao Zedong's version of Marxism-Leninism. (read more)

Global Warming Heightens Arctic Stakes as Nations Struggle for Control

Last month, a story in Forbes headlined, "U.S. Navy scrambles for piece of Arctic pie," highlighted what is perhaps the most explicit test case for climate change and geopolitics. As Forbes reported:

The U.S. Navy is staging the aquatic-equivalent of a dog-and-pony show in the Arctic Ocean this month with a small fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. The military exercises are designed to bolster U.S. claims on emerging — and likely lucrative — commercial opportunities in the region, which have attracted intense interest in recent years as global warming accelerates what appears to be the permanent loss of sea ice in the Arctic.

For some quick background, here's what the Center for a New American Security wrote in a report last April:

Reductions in Arctic summer sea ice have created new opportunities for access to maritime trade routes and sea lines of communication, and potential access to vast supplies of zinc, nickel, palladium, precious stones and other various minerals, as well as oil and natural gas under the ocean with an estimated value of 1.2 trillion dollars. (read more)

The West Versus China: A New Cold War Begins on Libyan Soil

The question as to why US-led NATO forces are determined to engineer a regime change in Libya is now becoming clear. While media pundits and political experts still argue over whether the Libyan rebel gangs are actually being backed and directed by US, UK and Israel intelligence agencies, broader long-range Western policy objectives for Libya are being completely ignored.

One only has to read the strategic briefings in U.S. AFRICOM documents to realise the true endgame in Libya: the control of valuable resources and the eviction of China from North Africa.

When the US formed AFRICOM in 2007, some 49 countries signed on to the US military charter for Africa but one country refused: Libya. Such a treacherous act by Libya’s leader Moummar Qaddafi would only sow the seeds for a future conflict down the road in 2011.

According to former Reagan cabinet official Dr Paul Craig Roberts, the situation with Qaddafi is much different than the other recent protests in the Arab world. “Why is NATO there?” has become to real question, says Roberts, who fears that risky involvement stemming from American influence could lead to catastrophic breaking point in Libya. (read more)


The untold story of planned obsolescence

Did you know that the lifetime of light bulbs once used to last for more than 2500 hours and was reduced – on purpose – to just 1000 hours? Did you know that nylon stockings once used to be that stable that you could even use them as tow rope for cars and its quality was reduced just to make sure that you will soon need a new one? Did you know that you might have a tiny little chip inside your printer that was just placed there so that your device will “break” after a predefined number of printed pages thereby assuring that you buy a new one? Did you know that Apple originally did not intend to offer any battery exchange service for their iPods/iPhones/iPads just to enable you to continuously contribute to the growth of this corporation?

This strategy was maybe first thought through already in the 19th century and later on for example motivated by Bernhard London in 1932 in his paper “Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence”. The intentional design and manufacturing of products with a limited lifespan to assure repeated purchases is denoted as “planned/programmed obsolescence” and we are all or at least most of us upright and thoroughly participating in this doubtful endeavor. Or did you not recently think about buying a new mobile phone / computer / car / clothes / … because your old one unexpectedly died or just because of this very cool new feature that you oh so badly need? (read more)


The Flawed Human rights law costs the UK £9bn a year

THE hated European human rights act is costing the UK more than £9BILLION a year, experts said last night.

The law is used by celebs to hide their secrets behind superinjunctions and lets prisoners fight barmy causes in court.

Compensation claims created by the act - the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) - cost £7.1billion a year, while £2.1billion is paid out to ensure we follow the often ridiculous rules set down by Eurocrats.

Greedy lawyers are raking in another £250million a year to pursue human rights cases.

ECHR expert Dr Lee Rotherham, who calculated the enormous sums, said: "The cash we pay out is like a mountain. It's monstrous. Those most to blame are the ones who abuse the courts to pursue their particular agenda."

Increase

Dr Rotherham said the ECHR has cost us £42billion since it came into force in 1953. But there has been a sharp increase in the past five years.

There are now at least 2,000 human rights lawyers in the UK. Big earners include the firms Chivers Solicitors and Leigh Day who represent UK prisoners demanding the right to vote. One legal source said: "There are some companies who have made millions."

We reported yesterday how many experts believe the ECHR should be axed to stop stars using Section 8 - which promises a right to privacy - to get their superinjunctions.

Dr Rotherham said: "Celebrities' lawyers are exploiting the act." Source

Activists urge halt to deep-sea testing after penguin deaths, New Zealand - 26th Apr 2011

Wellington - The New Zealand government was urged Tuesday to halt testing for oil and gas off the coast after reports that scores of dead penguins had been washed up on the shore.

A flotilla of five protest boats, including one representing a tribe of indigenous Maoris, has been shadowing a survey ship since it began seismic testing off the east coast of the North Island on behalf of a Brazilian company earlier this month.

The activitists said they feared potential damage from an oil spill like last year's BP accident in the Gulf of Mexico if Petrobras International Braspetro BV goes ahead with drilling. The company has a five-year offshore exploration permit from the government.

'Evidence is piling up of the impact of the seismic tests both here and abroad,' Manu Caddie, a member of the local council's environment committee in Gisborne, on the east coast of the North Island, said.

Recently published research has found that squid, cuttlefish and octopus washed up on Spanish beaches in 2001 and 2003 died of organ damage after being subjected to low-frequency noise from nearby oil and gas seismic surveys, the activists said.

'The scientists found that the organ that allows squid, octopus and cuttlefish to regulate their positions, to balance and direct how and where they swim, was damaged leaving the animals unable to move or to feed, and vulnerable to predators,' said Barry Weeber, co-chairman of the Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand.

The Maori Party urged the government to investigate the penguin deaths. Read More

The ghost city of Chernobyl: Eerie pictures that show abandoned disaster zone as world marks 25 years since worst nuclear meltdown in history

Twenty five years since the world's worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power station, the surrounding settlements are still ghost towns, with thousands of houses abandoned and left to fall into ruin.

Ukraine is today preparing to mark a quarter of a century since the disaster, which endangered hundreds of thousands of lives and contaminated pristine forests and farmland with deadly radiation.

The blast on April 26, 1986, spewed a cloud of radioactive fallout over much of Europe and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in the most heavily hit areas in Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia.

Scientists are deeply divided on how many have died as a result of the explosion, which released about 400 times more radiation than the U.S. atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.

An international donors conference in Kiev last week raised £485 million of the £653 million needed to build a new shelter and a storage facility for spent fuel.

Soviet officials did not report the disaster for several days. Even in the plant workers' town of Pripyat, few knew what had happened when the plant's No. 4 reactor blew up around 1.30am in the morning. The official acknowledgement came three days later. Read More

Seawater on tap: As Britain faces one of the driest Aprils on record, could we be drinking desalinated water this summer? - 26th Apr 2011

As Britain basks in the sun during one of the driest April's on record it seems one water provider has started up a revolutionary seawater plant just in time.

The £270million Thames Water desalination plant, which took four years to build, was finally completed in June 2010.

It works by removing the salt from the brackish water in the Thames Estuary before pumping the filtered liquid into its vast reservoirs.

Engineers started running water through the system for the first time three weeks ago.

'We began using the desalination plant at one-sixth output on March 30, not because we need to but as part of the fine-tuning of the works and the training of its operators, and we have been using it intermittently since then,' Simon Evans of Thames Water told Mail Online. Read More

The Age of America ends in 2016: IMF predicts the year China's economy will surpass U.S. - 26th Apr 2011

The U.S. could lose its status as the world’s biggest economic power within five years.

The International Monetary Fund predicts China will overtake the U.S. in 2016, which will effectively end the 'Age of America' a decade before most analysts had expected.

It means that whoever wins the 2012 presidential election will have the dubious honour of presiding over the fall of the United States.

It is the first time the IMF has put a time frame on the communist country's inevitable march, and the forecast has profound implications for the balance of global power.

The Washington-based fund claims its estimate is based on the comparative purchasing power of the two countries.

The news casts a deepening cloud over the future of the dollar as the world’s dominant currency as well as Washington’s attempts to close the budget gap and rein in the nation’s ballooning debt. Read More

The great mystery surrounding the greatest mind of the 20th century: As Einstein's 'granddaughter' dies, was she really his secret love child?

Albert Einstein’s granddaughter has died with a mystery still unsolved over whether she was really the illegitimate child of one of the great minds of the 20th century.

Evelyn Einstein, who was adopted as a baby by the physicist’s son Hans and his wife, Frieda, claimed she was actually fathered by the wild-haired genius.

She said she was told as a child that her birth in 1941 was the result of her German-born grandfather’s affair with a ballet dancer.

The father of modern physics, famous for discovering the theory of relativity, lived at the time in Princeton, New Jersey, and Evelyn saw her grandfather infrequently after moving with her family to California.

Although she didn’t have any proof, she insisted in interviews that she had been raised by Einstein’s son to spare the family any embarrassment.

Einstein died in 1955 at the age of 76, when Evelyn was 14.

Years later, she was allegedly offered a piece of Einstein’s brain, which would have allowed her to carry out a DNA test, but it never happened.

Ms Einstein, who was homeless and lived out of her car for several months following a bitter divorce, died on April 13 at the age of 70 at her home in Albany, California, still fighting to get a piece of ‘grandpa’s’ fortune. Read More

Steven Etherington, 44, who tied up boy scouts in bizarre punishment rituals found guilty of two sexual assault charges - 26th Apr 2011

A scoutmaster has been found guilty of two counts of sexual assault, tying up young boy scouts in bizarre punishment rituals.

Steven Etherington bound the hands and feet of one teen in a 'hog-tie' and whipped him with a wet tea towel for not wearing a high-vis vest while cycling.

Another boy was staked to the ground by the 44-year-old and tied to tent pegs in a star shape to teach him not to be ticklish.

During the trial, Etherington's barrister Mark Bury said his client had never really 'grown up' and likened him to 'Peter Pan'.

However, a jury at Hull Crown Court took just three hours to find him guilty of two counts of sexual assault.

Prosecutor David Gordon said Etherington did it for his own 'sexual gratification'.

Tonight the father of one of the boys, who was not named for legal reasons, voiced fears that Etherington, a scoutmaster and a cub leader in the East Riding area for 20 years, may have targeted other young boys.

The father said: 'I was very shocked. I have taken it quite badly, it's really disturbed me as we trusted him.

'He liked young boys and tying them up for his own sexual gratification. He either got his kicks afterwards or by just doing it.

'If my son hadn't come forward and said something, it can only have got worse, resulting in either physical sexual abuse or he could have hurt them. Read More

Wikileaks accuses BBC of being part of 'possible propaganda media network' for Al Qaeda - 26th Apr 2011

The BBC could be part of a ‘propaganda media network’ for al-Qeada, according to U.S. files published by Wikileaks.

A phone number of someone at the BBC was found in phone books and programmed into the mobile phones of a number of militants seized by the Americans.

The number is believed to be based at Bush House, the headquarters of the BBC World Service.

The assessment on one of the detainees at the Guantanamo camp, dated 21 April 2007, said: ‘The London, United Kingdom, phone number 0044 207 XXX XXXX was discovered in numerous seized phone books and phones associated with extremist-linked individuals.

‘The number is associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).’

The U.S. assessment file said forces had uncovered many ‘extremist links’ to the BBC number – indicating that extremists could have made contacts with employees at the broadcaster who were sympathetic to extremists or had information on ‘ACM’ (anti-Coalition militia) activities. Read More

Bank holiday horror: Families watch as human cannonball plunges to his death when safety net fails - 26th Apr 2011

Horrified families looked on as a human cannonball was killed when his safety net failed during an Easter Bank Holiday extravaganza.

The stuntman suffered catastrophic head and neck injuries when he hit the ground in front of a huge crowd at the Kent County Showground.

Eyewitnesses said the stuntman was fired up to 50ft in the air as part of Scott May’s Daredevil Stunt Show.

But the recoil from the massive barrel, which is attached to a 7.5 ton lorry, appeared to make his safety net collapse.

Luke Adams, 38, who was watching the show with his children, said onlookers were stunned and confused by the accident as they did not know if it was part of the show.

He said: ‘It was absolutely horrendous. The net collapsed while he was in the air. As the cannon went bang the truck recoiled.

‘As it moved I could see the net drop to the ground.

‘He landed on the grass head first and continued to roll forward but then stayed on his back motionless.’

Another woman, who watched the show with her three-year-old son, described how the stuntman landed directly in front of her.

She said: ‘He was right in front of us and had blood coming from his mouth and was out cold.’ Read More

35 radicals trained for terrorism at British mosques, Guantanamo files reveal - 26th Apr 2011

Britain's mosques became an international haven for extremists who enjoyed state benefits while being trained for terrorism, leaked documents show.

The WikiLeaks files, written by U.S. military chiefs, reveal that at least 35 Guantanamo terrorists were radicalised in London mosques before being sent to fight against the West.

This is believed to be more than any other Western country.

Of these, just 17 were British nationals or had been granted asylum, while 18 had travelled from abroad – cementing Britain’s reputation as a global training camp for terrorists.

U.S. intelligence officers describe Finsbury Park mosque, in North London, as a ‘haven for Islamic extremists from Morocco and Algeria’ and ‘an attack planning and propaganda production base’.

After their UK trip they were then flown to Pakistan and Afghanistan where they were taught to fight and make bombs. The leaked documents also show that an Al Qaeda ‘assassin’ accused of bombing two churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan was at the same time working for MI6.

Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili was captured in 2003 and sent to Guantanamo Bay where interrogators were convinced that he was an informer for British intelligence. Read More