Tuesday, May 10, 2011

U.S, Canada and Now the UK - Thousands of scantily-clad women to march in London as 'SlutWalk' protest reaches UK - 10th May 2011

Thousands of women are to take to the streets of London in revealing outfits next month as the global SlutWalk phenomenon reaches Britain.

A Canadian policeman who told women to stop dressing like 'sluts' to avoid being raped sparked the worldwide protest movement that could see more than 5,000 women march through the capital.

Thousands of members of SlutWalk have already marched in cities across the U.S and Canada to display anger at Pc Michael Sanguinetti's comments, made in a health and safety talk to students at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.

He reportedly told the group: 'You know, I think we're beating around the bush here. I've been told I'm not supposed to say this. However, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.'

Pc Sanguinetti later apologised and was disciplined, but remains in his role within the police force.

Following his remarks, made in April, women across the globe joined the SlutWalk Facebook page in their droves, sparking protests in Toronto and Boston as well as other cities across the U.S.

A 3,000-strong crowd marched through Toronto, a further 2,000 took to the streets of Boston, some women marching in their underwear with 'slut' scrawled on their skin.

The London march, set to proceed from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, has been organised via SlutWalk's London Facebook page, where 5,200 group members are already discussing the event.

If such a number turn out on the day, London's march will be the biggest yet. Read More

Mystery virus killing pregnant women in Korea as doctors struggle to contain spread

Fears rise over possibility of the deadly disease afflicting pregnant women

A 36-year-old woman who had recently given birth died of complications from an unidentified virus Tuesday at a Seoul hospital, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

This is the first fatality reported from the pneumonia-causing virus and authorities are still struggling to trace its origin and find treatment.

The victim was among eight patients who checked into the intensive care unit of a large hospital in Seoul last month for infection with an unknown virus. She was initially diagnosed with tuberculosis and was medicated but soon showed signs of cerebral hemorrhage and rapidly developing-idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

She was nine months pregnant when admitted and had to have labor induced so that she could continue taking medication that could have been fatal to the unborn child.

The authorities are focusing on verifying the origin of the virus by studying the specimen taken from the patient and conducting genetic analysis on it.

“The results are expected to come Thursday but the genetic test will take more than eight weeks, which means that more time is needed,” Yang Byoung-goog, a KCDC official, said. “The virus we have extracted from the specimen was more of an ordinary flu virus. However, we need to look closer into what has caused pulmonary fibrosis.”

Fears are growing despite the government’s efforts, especially among pregnant women: Of the seven hospitalized patients, six of them were pregnant or recently had been pregnant. (read more)

World's largest bond fund Pimco indicates further loss of faith in US debt crisis, bets against US debt

PIMCO's Bill Gross, the manager of the world's largest bond fund, raised his bet against U.S. government-related debt in April to 4 percent from 3 percent, according to the company's website on Monday.

The increase, albeit small, follows Gross' move to ratchet up his bearishness in March by taking his initial short position in U.S. government-related debt, which includes Treasuries, TIPS, agencies, interest rate swaps, Treasury futures and options and FDIC-guaranteed corporate securities.

The $240 billion Total Return fund also raised its cash position to 37 percent in April from 31 percent in March, added Pacific Investment Management Co, which oversees $1.2 trillion in assets.

The Total Return fund took down its mortgage exposure to 24 percent in April from 28 percent the previous month.

The fund also decreased its allocation in investment-grade credit to 17 percent in April from 18 percent in March and junk bonds to 5 percent in April from 6 percent the previous month.

For their part, emerging markets exposure increased to 11 percent of the Total Return portfolio, up from 10 percent in March, and municipal bonds unchanged at 4 percent month-over-month.

Last Friday, Gross told Reuters that the only way he would purchase Treasuries again is if the United States heads into another recession.

Since the news that Gross had turned more bearish on government debt, reflecting his growing worries over the country's fiscal deficit and debt burden, Treasury prices have been soaring. (read more)

Liberals in southern Arizona seek to form new state

A long-simmering movement by liberal stalwarts in southern Arizona to break away from the rest of the largely conservative state is at a boiling point as secession backers press to bring their longshot ambition to the forefront of Arizona politics.

A group of lawyers from the Democratic stronghold of Tucson and surrounding Pima County have launched a petition drive seeking support for a November 2012 ballot question on whether the 48th state should be divided in two.

The ultimate goal of the newly formed political action committee Start our State is to split Pima County off into what would become the nation's 51st state, tentatively dubbed Baja Arizona.

Backers have until July 5 next year to collect the 48,000 signatures required to qualify for a spot on the ballot. If they succeed, it would mark only the first hurdle in a long, circuitous process that even the most determined of supporters readily acknowledge has little chance of bearing fruit.

"We at least need to get it on the ballot, as a nonbinding resolution, to ask the people of Pima County if they want to be a part of Arizona," Tucson attorney Paul Eckerstrom, a former Pima County Democratic chairman who launched the campaign, told Reuters. "All the stars would have to align for this to happen, but it could conceivably happen by the fall of 2013." (read more)

Phones required to receive "Homeland" alerts -- Hear the marching of boots? You will. Soon.

A new national alert system is set to begin in New York City that will alert the public to emergencies via cell phones.

Presidential and local emergency messages as well as Amber Alerts would appear on cell phones equipped with special chips and software.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the system would also warn about terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

“The lessons that were reinforced on 9/11 is the importance of getting clear and accurate information to the public during a crisis,” New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Verizon and AT&T, the nation’s largest cell phone carriers, are already on board. Consumers would be able to opt out of all but those presidential messages.

The announcement of the new emergency alert system came in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and an uptick in security and safety concerns around New York City.

For now, the alerts are capable on certain high-end cell phones but starting next year, all cell phones will be required to have the chip that receives alerts. (read more)

Crack pipes sold at gas stations, dollar stores in Detroit

Be careful of what’s being sold under the counter. Crack pipes are being sold at neighborhood stores from Detroit to the suburbs.

That’s according to former Detroit police officer David Mahalab, who says the pipes are disguised as novelties.

“To avoid police detection and to try to avoid the law, they put a pen insert – (in) a glass tube, and try to evade the law, which talks about paraphernalia and stuff that has a second use,” says Mahalab.

Mahalab says they’re also disguised as a ballpoint pen or small glass vases with a rose sticking out of them.

Mahalab says people may be surprised where the pipes are being sold.

“Dollar stores, gas stations, liquor stores, virtually every store in the 6th Precinct that I did enforcement with, were given a ticket and found guilty. I’ve seen them in Allen Park, Dearborn Heights and Garden City,” says Mahalab. (read more)

No Breakfast For Kids Wearing ‘Wrong’ Shoes At Grade School

Chicago Public Schools is apologizing to a Chicago mother and her two young sons, ages 5 and 6, after they were denied breakfast because they came to schools wearing the wrong kind of shoes.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.

The Nicholson brothers only grab a quick snack before heading to class because they qualify for a full free breakfast at Adam Powell Grade School. It’s something they look forward to every day, and it hurt when they were recently turned away.

They were wearing black athletic shoes. The boys told their mom that the assistant principal, Angela Peagler wouldn’t let them eat because their shoes didn’t fit the school uniform, which calls for a regular black dress shoe.

“I felt sad. We’re always supposed to have breakfast,” first-grader Noah Nicholson says.

Noah and his brother Niko, who is in kindergarten, went to class hungry and didn’t eat until lunch. (read more)

Fire and rain: Federal scientists point to wildest April weather yet

April was a historic month for wild weather in the United States, and it wasn't just the killer tornado outbreak that set records, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

April included an odd mix of downpours, droughts and wildfires. Six states — Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — set records for the wettest April since 1895. Kentucky, for example, got nearly a foot of rain, which was more than three times its normal for the month, NOAA reported.

Yet the U.S. also had the most acres burned by wildfire for April since 2000. Nearly 95 percent of Texas has a drought categorized as severe or worse, exacerbated by the fifth driest April on record for the Lone Star state.

Add to a record 305 tornadoes from April 25-28, which killed at least 309 people and the most tornadoes ever for all of April: 875. The death toll and total tornado figures are still being finalized.

Much of the southern and eastern United States were near record hot for April, while northwestern states were cooler than normal. Overall, the month was warmer than normal for the nation, but not record-setting.

The odd mix of massive April showers and bone-dry drought can be blamed on the cooling of the central Pacific Ocean, which causes storm tracks to lock in along certain paths, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

"It's very consistent with La Nina; maybe we've had more extremes," Halpert said. "It's a shift of the jet stream, providing all that moisture and shifting it away from the south, so you've seen a lot of drought in Texas."

U.S. scientists also looked for the fingerprints of global warming and La Nina on last month's deadly tornadoes, but couldn't find evidence to blame those oft-cited weather phenomena. (read more)

First Fear, Then Anger as Price of Silver Plummets

The historic decline this week in silver creates strong emotion. Watching great amounts of wealth disappear, quite literally in minutes amid disorderly trading conditions is a genuine fear for any investor. Worse is seeing no obvious legitimate reason to explain the carnage. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will. Especially if you already harbored unease about how the whole silver market operated.

But fear is an emotion that burns out fairly quickly. A human being can’t stay in an intense state of fear of financial catastrophe without selling out at some point or mentally adjusting to the new level of price. Then the conditions that led to the fear in the first place are replaced by some other emotion. If evidence exists that the sudden financial loss could and should have been prevented, the new emotion becomes one of anger. Anger at who or what might have caused the loss and who should have prevented it. I think there is compelling evidence pointing to who and what caused this silver crash as well as who should have prevented it.

The first thing we must recognize is that this was an unusually intense price smash. Silver fell 30% for the week, its biggest price loss in 31 years. The decline was highlighted by record trading volume on the COMEX and in shares of SLV. From any objective measure, the trading was disorderly, indicating little true liquidity despite the record volume. That’s because much of the trading was conducted by high frequency trading (HFT) computer bots whose clear purpose seems to be to cause disruptions to prices. These are the same disruptive traders that caused the flash crash in the stock market last year. I believe it was these traders who started the price decline with the $6 hit in 12 minutes on last Sunday evening. Their primary reason for existence seems to be causing prices to collapse. (read more)



China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales -- Buried but not forgotten, and still a serious possibility

The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

Described as China's "nuclear option" in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.

It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.

Xia Bin, finance chief at the Development Research Centre (which has cabinet rank), kicked off what now appears to be government policy with a comment last week that Beijing's foreign reserves should be used as a "bargaining chip" in talks with the US.

"Of course, China doesn't want any undesirable phenomenon in the global financial order," he added.

He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, went even further today, letting it be known that Beijing had the power to set off a dollar collapse if it choose to do so.

"China has accumulated a large sum of US dollars. Such a big sum, of which a considerable portion is in US treasury bonds, contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency. Russia, Switzerland, and several other countries have reduced the their dollar holdings.

"China is unlikely to follow suit as long as the yuan's exchange rate is stable against the dollar. The Chinese central bank will be forced to sell dollars once the yuan appreciated dramatically, which might lead to a mass depreciation of the dollar," he told China Daily. (read more)

...And isn't what is described in the last paragraph, the yuan appreciating, exactly what's happening today?

Consumers and Investors Seek Protection With Guns and Gold Read more: Consumers and Investors Seek Protection With Guns and Gold

Even after last week’s steep selloff in the commodities markets, the “Flight to Safety” trade is still on…big time. Gold may have retreated from its all-time high, but applications to purchase a handgun continue soaring to record levels.

According to the FBI, background-check applications for handgun buyers are on a record-setting pace so far this year. “In this year’s first quarter,” Bloomberg News reports, “the FBI’s Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 4.25 million requests on prospective gun buyers – up 16% from a year earlier.” If the current pace continues, the number of “gun checks” would hit a seventh straight annual record.

America’s gun-buying craze stands in stark contrast to the dismal trend of overall consumer spending. Bloomberg notes that spending on guns, ammo and other sporting equipment rose about 10% during the last 12 months – or more than four times the 2.5% increase in total consumer spending. Although spending on guns and ammo has been outpacing total consumer spending for more than a decade, the gun-buying trend has been accelerating during the last few months. (read more)

The spy plane that now comes with or without a pilot (and a Black Box memory stick) - 10th May 2011

It has been hailed as the future of the spy plane.

An intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft that can be flown either robotically or with a pilot aboard was unveiled yesterday.

The Firebird will allow the U.S. military to simultaneously gather real-time high-definition video, view infrared imagery, use radar and eavesdrop on communications, it is claimed.

Incredibly, it has an interface like a memory stick that can be plugged into a PC without the need for additional software.

Measuring 34ft-long and 9.7ft-high, the twin-tailed plane can reach a maximum altitude of 30,000ft and has a maximum flying time of between 24 and 40 hours, depending on its configuration.

Its wing span is 65ft and it has a pushed-propeller at the rear of its fuselage. Read More


Hot weather makes village pond resemble a giant pool of blood - 10th May 2011

You’d be forgiven for thinking that something nasty had happened in this small boating lake – but its bright-red colour was merely caused by the sun’s rays reacting with pond cleaner.

It certainly caused a stir among villagers and visitors to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, who were stunned to see the Moot Hall pond taking on a distinctly crimson hue, like a scene from the shark thriller Jaws.

Investigations were launched to discover why the water has changed colour and it was revealed it was down to the sunny weather and an eco-friendly cleaning product.

Lindsay Lee, clerk of Aldeburgh Town Council, said: ‘A natural cleaning product was used on the pond last week to clean and clear it, and keep down any floating weed.

‘When it is cleaned, if it's very sunny for the first few days, the water can take on a red colour. It's all perfectly safe and environmentally friendly and it doesn't stay red for long.’ Read More

Eye in the sky: The flying robot intelligence system set to replace the CCTV camera - 10th May 2011

The terrifying new flying robot that it set to replace the CCTV camera.

The Aeryon Scout is equipped with the world’s most sophisticated intelligence systems to track down criminals and spy on the public.

Users simply point to a place on Google Maps on its touch-screen controller and the robot flies there at 30mph to record high quality video that can be beamed to an iPhone in real-time.

The Scout can go up to 500ft above the ground and can zoom in to a close-up from a 300metres away, meaning it may not even be seen while on a mission.

The four rotor blades also ensure it is practically silent when hovering.

According to Aeryon, the Scout has the ‘most sophisticated and highest quality aerial intelligence available today’. Read More


Proof America and Europe are drifting apart: Amazing underwater photos that show the growing gap between two tectonic plates - 10th May 2011


Swimming through an area of extreme natural beauty, this diver surveys the underwater canyons on his either side.

But this British scuba diver is actually between two tectonic plates.

Alex Mustard, 36, dived 80ft into the crevice between the North American and Eurasian plates near Iceland to capture these spectacular photos.

The area is riddled with faults, valleys, volcanoes and hot springs, caused by the plates pulling apart at about one inch per year.

Mr Mustard snapped away as he and his dive partners swam through fresh water canyons Silfra, Nes and Nikulasargja, which are up to 200ft deep.

He also took photos of the Arnarnes Strytur chimney, which forms a cloudy plume as 80C water is ejected from Earth's crust and hits the cool 4C seawater. Read More

Drinking water in thousands of homes 'contaminated with harmful levels of methane' - 10th May 2011


A controversial natural gas production technique is contaminating drinking water in tens of thousands of homes, according to a study.

Scientists collected 68 drinking water samples from near gas drilling sites in Pennsylvania and New York.

They found potentially harmful levels of methane in the water due to its proximity to the process of hydraulic-fracturing, or fracking.

The report, released by the National Academy Of Sciences, said: 'In aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of north-eastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York, we document systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale gas extraction.'

Fracking involves releasing natural gas trapped in shale formations by blasting a mix of water, sand and chemicals into the rock. Read More


Michael Heick, an angry neighbour who lives beside mosque erects 'Bomb Making Next Driveway' sign on front lawn - 10th May 2011

Some neighbours are just never going to get along.

And there won't be much discussion of the weather over the garden fence down down in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst.

There, Muslim leaders are enraged that the homeowner next door to their mosque has posted a provocative sign on his front lawn.

Michael Heick has advised passers-by: 'Bomb Making Next Driveway'.

Next door is the entrance to the Jaffarya Centre.

Heick put up the sign last weekend because he was frustrated with how the mosque and town officials handled his complaints that its light were too bright.

'The place is too close. I don't care what people think. It doesn't matter what people think,' he told the Buffalo News.

'This is a way to get answers now. I get none from the town. The intent was to catch the eye of the people who I have a problem with.'

However, Commissioner of Building Thomas Ketchum rejected Heick's allegation as 'absolutely false.'

He told WGRZ TV that outstanding issues had caused him to issue a conditional certificate of occupancy for the mosque. Read More


"U.S. was prepared to fight Pakistani forces" during Bin Laden raid -- has America lost control?



The Obama administration had "very detailed contingency plans" for military action against Pakistani forces if they had tried to stop the U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden's compound, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the plan.

Their names are not disclosed because of the sensitive intelligence information involved.

"No firepower option was off the table" during the Navy SEALs' 38-minute mission on the ground, or during the time U.S. helicopters were in the air, one official told CNN. "We would have done whatever we had to in order to get our men out."

The two U.S. officials also told CNN about the plan if bin Laden had been captured alive, which included taking him to Afghanistan and then out to the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.

All of the senior U.S. officials in the White House Situation Room during the assault were prepared to call their Pakistani counterparts if fighting between U.S. and Pakistani forces appeared imminent, one of the officials told CNN. The SEALs at all times retained the right of self-defense, and they could have fired at the Pakistanis to defend themselves.

During the time the SEALs were on the ground, while some were inside the compound, others were covertly placed just outside the compound walls to provide perimeter security and keep people away. Some of those SEALs would have been able to speak enough of the local language to communicate with townspeople if they had come across them, one source told CNN.

As the assault on bin Laden's compound commenced, the United States had a number of aircraft flying protective missions. None of the aircraft entered Pakistani airspace, but they were prepared to do so if needed. These included fixed wing fighter jets that would have provided firepower if the team came under opposition fire it could not handle.

Additionally, the Air Force had a full team of combat search and rescue helicopters including MH-53 Pave Low and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters flying. (read more)

Banned Chinese writer Liao Yiwu barred from overseas travel: Another Ai Weiwei in the making?

The dissident writer who was to talk about China's powerless and voiceless at the Sydney Writers' Festival in Australia next week won't be there.

"I can only stay at home," Liao Yiwu said early Tuesday by telephone on being denied permission to leave China. "They didn't want me to participate with events having to do with my book."

Liao said that he had been transparent with police throughout the application process, explaining that all the events he had been invited to were cultural. No specific reason was given for the denial, he said. Liao acknowledged that he is considered a controversial writer by Beijing.

The books of the Chengdu-based writer, musician and poet are banned in China for being critical of the government. Liao's "The Corpse Walker" is an anthology of stories as told through the voices of social outcasts in China, among them a practitioner of the banned Falun Gong movement, a leper and the father of a student who died in the Tiananmen Square massacre.

His poem "Massacre," which condemned the government's crackdown in Tiananmen Square, led to a four-year prison sentence.

According to PEN, a literary and human rights organization, as of last month at least 49 Chinese writers are in prison, detained or under house arrest in the worst crackdown on dissent in years.

Among those in prison are writer Liu Xiaobo, who was denied permission to accept his Nobel Peace Prize last year; artist Ai Weiwei; and blogger Ran Yunfei. (read more)

China trade surplus surges to $11.4B as America produces nothing but nightmares



China's trade balance rebounded strongly in April as exports surged and imports came in lower than expected, according to figures released by Beijing on Tuesday.

The trade surplus hit $11.4bn in April, far larger than most analysts expected and well above the surplus of $140m in March.

China recorded its first quarterly trade deficit in seven years in the January to March period but the unexpectedly large surplus in April will increase international pressure on Beijing to allow faster appreciation of its tightly controlled currency, the renminbi.

Top Chinese officials, including Wang Qishan, the vice-premier in charge of finance, are currently in Washington for the bilateral Strategic and Economic Dialogue, where the value of the renminbi has been a key topic of discussion.

"Today's trade data shows that Chinese exporters continue to benefit from a supportive exchange rate," said Brian Jackson, an economist at Royal Bank of Canada in Hong Kong. "This number will likely add to the pressure from Washington for Beijing to allow faster currency appreciation, but more importantly should persuade Chinese policy-makers that a stronger [renminbi] can be tolerated by the economy and is warranted as part of their efforts to curb price pressures."

China's central bank governor and other officials have made statements that indicate greater willingness to use appreciation of the renminbi to help tackle persistent inflation, which the government has said is its key economic task for this year.

The renminbi has gained about 2.3 per cent against the US dollar in the last six months but has lost significant ground against other major currencies as the dollar has weakened.

On a seasonally adjusted basis Chinese exports increased 35.1 per cent in April from the same month a year earlier and grew 12.3 per cent from March, the customs bureau said. (read more)

Will Greece go bankrupt?

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan to give up salary until nuclear crisis is over: He's the man

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday that he will give up his salary until the nuclear crisis in the country is over.

He also said he would review the country's energy policy and consider other energy sources like wind and solar power.

Kan said he would give up his prime minister salary which is 1,636,000 yen a month ($20,200 a month), but he would still receive his lawmaker's salary.

The prime minister's announcement comes the same day that about 100 residents, who had been evacuated from an area close to Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, were allowed to returned home Tuesday for a short visit to gather belongings. After donning protective suits to guard against radiation,the residents where allowed to go to their homes in the village of Kawauchi, officials said. (read more)

Air Canada leaves baggage behind intentionally and doesn't tell you: Jerks

Air Canada customers are speaking out about the airline's practice of intentionally removing checked baggage from smaller aircraft — to avoid exceeding weight limits — but not telling the departing passengers.

"Their baggage claim agent said it's very common for bags not to get on a flight out of Kelowna," said customer Lynn-Ann Baumeister. "She said, 'We take bags off the planes every day.'"

Baumeister and her husband Roland's checked bags were removed from a flight in February, as they were waiting for the 93-seat Embraer 190 to depart from Kelowna, B.C., to Toronto.

"We had no idea, because nobody told us what they were doing," said Baumeister.

The couple were later told the bags were excluded to keep the aircraft within legal weight and fuel limits, a situation referred to in the industry as a "bulk-out." They ended up without luggage for days while on vacation in Barbados. (read more)

Gas prices jump at pumps in Ontario, Quebec: Canada

Gasoline prices at the pumps soared in parts of Ontario and Quebec early Tuesday, even as the price of crude oil was little changed.

Motorists were paying 6.5 cents a litre more in southern and eastern Ontario, the website tomorrowsgaspriceotoday.com reported.

A litre of regular gas in the Toronto area cost $1.39.6 early Tuesday, compared with 96.3 cents a year ago.

Dwight Archer was the only person filling up at a pump on Wellington Street West and Spadina Avenue at 6:30 a.m. He drives into the city from Milton to work a night shift at a downtown hotel.

"It hurts," he said. "It honestly hurts, it's painful, but like I said, what am I going to do? If I don't fill up, I don't drive to Toronto and I don't make money to feed my family. So it's something I have to do." (read more)

Climate change could spawn more tornadoes

As with any major weather disaster these days -- from floods and hurricanes to wildfires and this week's tornado outbreak in the South -- people ask questions about its relation to the huge elephant that's lurking in the corner, global climate change.

Two separate studies in 2007 reported that global warming could bring a dramatic increase in the frequency of weather conditions that feed severe thunderstorms and tornadoes by the end of the 21st century.

One study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that locations could see as much as a 100% increase in the number of days that favor severe thunderstorms.

"The densely populated regions of the South and East, including New York City and Atlanta, could be especially hard-hit," reported study lead author Jeff Trapp of Purdue University.

The fuel for the more intense storms would be the predicted warming of the Earth caused by the burning of fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases.

Although the typically stormy spring could see more storms, "summer should have the highest increases in severe weather," said Trapp. His team reported that by the end of the century, the number of spring days with severe thunderstorm conditions would increase mostly over the Southern Plains and Florida.

But in the summer, almost the entire eastern half of the country might see an increase in days conducive to more severe storms, with the largest increases likely near the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast. (read more)

Outsourced Emissions Dwarf CO2 Cuts in Developed World, Study Says

Carbon emission reductions achieved since 1990 by the world’s developed nations were canceled out many times over by the increase of imported goods from nations without binding emissions targets, including China, according to a new report. While climate policies, including the Kyoto Protocol, stabilized carbon emissions in many wealthy nations from 1990 to 2008, most of these nations increased their “consumption-based” emissions significantly during this period because of large imports, according to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, which the authors call the first global assessment of how international trade affected national carbon footprints since Kyoto, says that while developed nations reduced their CO2 emissions by 2 percent from 1990 to 2008, those emissions actually increased by 7 percent when imports were factored in. “This suggests that the current focus on territorial emissions in a subset of countries may be ineffective at reducing global emissions without some mechanisms to monitor and report emissions from the production of imported goods and services,” said Glen Peters of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research and lead author of the study. (Source)

Disaster Needed for U.S. to Act on Climate Change, Harvard’s Stavins Says

The U.S. probably won’t take significant steps to curb climate change until an environmental disaster sways public view and prompts political action, Robert Stavins of Harvard University said.

“It’s unlikely that the U.S. is going to take serious action on climate change until there are observable, dramatic events, almost catastrophic in nature, that drive public opinion and drive the political process in that direction,” Stavins, director of Harvard’s Environmental Economics Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said today in an interview in Bloomberg’s Boston office.

President Barack Obama failed to get legislation through Congress that would have established a cap-and-trade system of pollution allowances to control greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming. Instead, the administration is pushing regulations for carbon pollution through the Environmental Protection Agency, a far inferior approach, according to Stavins.

The agency’s rules aimed at curbing emissions from industrial polluters such as power plants aren’t “sensible,” he said. They don’t do much to reduce greenhouse gases and carry an “excessively high cost,” according to Stavins.

Stavins, an economist, is a member of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said in 2007 that scientists are more than 90 percent certain that humans are causing global warming. (read more)

Fish populations harvested to the point of collapse, new study shows

Two University of Washington scientists have just published a study in the journal Conservation Biology in collaboration with colleagues from Rutgers University and Dalhousie University arguing that the gloomiest predictions about the world’s fisheries are significantly exaggerated.

The new study takes issue with a recent estimate that 70 percent of all stocks have been harvested to the point where their numbers have peaked and are now declining, and that 30 percent of all stocks have collapsed to less than one-tenth of their former numbers. Instead, it finds that at most 33 percent of all stocks are over-exploited and up to 13 percent of all stocks have collapsed.

It’s not that fisheries are in great shape, said Trevor Branch, the lead author of the new study; it’s just that they are not as badly off as has been widely believed. In 2006, a study in the journal Science predicted a general collapse in global fisheries by 2048 if nothing were done to stem the decline.

The work led by Dr. Branch is another salvo in a scientific dispute — feud might be a better word — that pits Dr. Branch and his co-author Ray Hilborn at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences and their allies against scientists at the University of British Columbia and their partisans. (read more)

New report confirms Arctic melt accelerating

Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet, an authoritative new report suggests.

The study by the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, or AMAP, is one of the most comprehensive updates on climate change in the Arctic, and builds on a similar assessment in 2005.

The full report will be delivered to foreign ministers of the eight Arctic nations next week, but an executive summary including the key findings was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

It says that Arctic temperatures in the past six years were the highest since measurements began in 1880, and that feedback mechanisms believed to accelerate warming in the climate system have now started kicking in. (read more)

Breaking News: 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake LOYALTY ISLANDS - 10th May 2011



A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck LOYALTY ISLANDS at a depth of 26.5 km (16.5miles), the quake hit at 08:55:11 p.m. UTC Tuesday 10th May 2011.
The epicenter was 134 km (83 miles) SW of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu

No tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect. - No reports of damage at the moment

'It's not our fault': Pakistan's prime minister rejects all blame for failure to find Bin Laden and threatens U.S. with 'full force' response

Pakistan's prime minister yesterday dismissed allegations that his country’s military and intelligence service had helped Osama Bin Laden as ‘absurd’.

Announcing an investigation into how the Al Qaeda chief was able to live in the heart of the garrison city of Abbottabad undetected for five years, Yusuf Raza Gilani stressed there was absolutely no evidence that anyone in authority had helped.

Mr Gilani said ‘justice had been done’ when U.S. Navy Seals killed Bin Laden at his compound last Monday.

But he revealed the true extent of his country’s fury at the raid when he said if the Americans carried out any further unilateral strikes, they would be met with ‘full force’.

The angry language shows the depths to which relations between the countries have fallen.

'It is disingenuous for anyone to blame Pakistan or state institutions of Pakistan, including the ISI and the armed forces, for being in cahoots with Al Qaeda,' he said in a statement to parliament.

'Allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd. Pakistan is not the birthplace of Al Qaeda.

'We did not invite Osama Bin Laden to Pakistan or even to Afghanistan.'

Gilani expressed full confidence in Pakistan's military and Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which have been heavily criticized for failing to confront the U.S. Navy SEALs who conducted last week's helicopter raid without notifying Pakistan first. Read More

Osama Bin Laden Wives Identified - 10th May 2011

Bangladeshi force trained by UK police 'allowed to kill and torture' - 10th May 2011

Human Rights Watch calls for Rapid Action Battalion to be disbanded and for UK and US to withdraw support.

The Bangladeshi government has allowed a British-trained paramilitary force to secretly detain, torture and kill hundreds of people with impunity over the past two years, a report warns.

The report, released by the New York-based NGO, Human Rights Watch, catalogues a series of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and deaths in custody of the Rapid Action Battalion. Citing a lack of redress for victims, and the government's dismal record of failing to prosecute a single perpetrator, the NGO has called on the Bangladeshi government to disband the RAB and for the UK and US to withdraw support unless they take active steps to hold the force to account.

Torture methods listed in the report include burning with a hot iron, and beatings so severe that a victim's legs were "smashed and did not retain their usual shape; they were flattened". Mahabub Khokon told researchers that when he collected the body of his brother, Mohiuddin Arif, from the morgue after he was arrested by the RAB in February last year, repeated assaults had turned his legs green, skin had been scraped off several areas of his body, and his feet were swollen and looked as if they were "falling apart".

The 54-page report cites another instance from March this year, when a 34-year-old shopkeeper, Rasal Ahmed Bhutto, was picked up in the street outside a friend's shop in the capital, Dhaka, by men in plain clothes. A week later he was found shot dead and slumped against a nearby wall. Read More

Barack Obama under pressure to slash Pakistan aid - 10th May 2011

White House set to clash with Congress as concerns mount about Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan and its nuclear stockpile.

The Obama administration is facing a clash with Congress where pressure is building to slash the huge aid budget to Pakistan as punishment for Osama bin Laden's presence in the country.

Members of Congress are lining up to question continued spending on Pakistan, the third highest recipient of US aid and threatening retaliation. Barack Obama and US officials have said the fact that Bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, home to Pakistan's main military academy and many retired officers 40 miles north of the capital, Islamabad, suggests he had benefited from an extensive support network, possibly involving Pakistani officials.

The US administration is, however, urging Congress not to make snap judgments. It is stressing the overriding need for Islamabad's continued co-operation in the war in Afghanistan and for a crackdown on militants in Pakistan.

The discovery that Bin Laden was living in a largely military town has raised concerns about the security of the country's fast-growing nuclear stockpile, and the possibility that a terrorist group could steal the components for a bomb.

"There is no doubt Congress will cut aid," said Michael Krepon, a specialist on South Asia at the Stimson Centre think tank in Washington, who gave evidence on Pakistan last week to the Senate foreign relations committee. "It is hard to see Congress just waving away the presence of Bin Laden in Abbottabad," he said. Read More

Osama Bin Laden Dead: Pakistan Media 'Unmasks' Wrong CIA Chief behind Bin Laden Hit - 10th May 2011

Pakistan struck secret deal for U.S. cross border raid on Bin Laden TEN years ago.

The U.S. and Pakistan agreed ten years ago to a secret deal allowing American forces to conduct a raid inside the country if they located Osama Bin Laden, reports suggest.

The alleged deal, struck between Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf and president George Bush, followed Bin Laden's escape from the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan in late 2001.

The deal, according to The Guardian, was ratified in 2005 after Musharaf stepped down as leader of Pakistan.

The revelation casts doubt on Pakistani government protests over the May 2 raid in Abbottabad that killed Bin Laden, including angry threats from the country's Prime Minister today.

Pakistani officials have continued to deny any knowledge of the navy SEAL raid, with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani warning that if another raid of its type were conducted: 'Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force.'

Mr Gilani also hit out at the U.S., seemingly blaming American foreign policy for the rise of Al-Qaeda.

He added: 'We cannot be blamed for flawed policies and blunders of others. Pakistan is not the birthplace of Al Qaeda. We did not invite Osama bin Laden to Pakistan or even to Afghanistan.'

The deal reportedly allowed the U.S. to conduct a unilateral raid against Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri or the al-Qaida Number there if located inside Pakistan.

After wards it was agreed both sides would deny knowledge of the deal and allow Pakistan to protest at the apparent illegal incursion into its territory.

Speaking to The Guardian, a former senior U.S. official said: 'There was an agreement between Bush and Musharraf that if we knew where Osama was, we were going to come and get him.

'The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn't stop us.' Read More

The news emerged as Pakistani media unmasked the 'wrong' Islamabad-based CIA chief who allegedly masterminded the killing of Osama bin Laden.


The alleged agent's name was published by newspaper The Nation and television news channel ARY over the weekend, citing unnamed sources.


Although the name has been dismissed as incorrect, there is suspicion in the U.S. that the leak is an act of revenge by Pakistan's powerful military and intelligence establishment, which was humiliated over the surprise raid on its soil.

Last-ditch effort to halt the tide: Army opens spillway to save mighty Mississippi from worst flooding in 84 years - 9th May 2011

Army engineers today dramatically opened the floodgates at a huge spillway on the bank of the Mississippi River in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the devastation of record-breaking floods.

Workers pulled restraining devices off 28 gates at the Bonnet Carre spillway, upriver from New Orleans, sending waves of flood water rushing away from the city.

It came as the mighty Mississippi River swelled to its crest, threatening thousands of homes, as residents braced themselves for the worst floods the region has seen since 1927.

Army engineers said they would continue to monitor the situation before deciding whether or not to release the rest of the spillway's 350 gates.

The flood control system, which was built in 1929, two years after the historic 1927 flood, is designed to slow the flow of the water and divert it away from low-lying New Orleans.

But as troops desperately worked to control the rising river, officials warned residents that the measure would only delay, not cease, the inevitable.

Locals could expect water from five to 25 feet deep over parts of seven parishes and some of Louisiana's most valuable farmland is expected to be inundated, they said. Read More

rame>


Gerry McCann: “We’re finished. Our life is over”, he kept saying.’ - 10th May 2011

Kate McCann has revealed that she felt too guilty over the disappearance of her daughter to take any pleasure in life… and was even unable to make love to her husband Gerry.

In the book, she says there were two reasons that she felt the strain of Madeleine’s disappearance might affect their marriage.

The first was an inability to allow herself any sort of pleasure – whether reading a book, playing music or making love to her husband.

The second, she says, was the fear that a paedophile may have taken Madeleine.

‘Tortured as I was by these images, it’s not surprising that even the thought of sex repulsed me,’ says Mrs McCann in today’s serialisation in The Sun. ‘I worried about Gerry and me. I worried that if I didn’t get our sex life on track our whole relationship would break down.’

In her account, Mrs McCann says her husband was supportive throughout her worst years, never making her feel guilty. ‘He would put his arm round me, reassuring me and telling me that he loved me,’ she writes.

After four months of frantically searching for Madeleine in Portugal, the couple were forced to go home without her, breaking down in tears when they landed back in Britain.

Mrs McCann recounts the day she returned to Madeleine’s bedroom at their home in Rothley, Leicestershire – and imagined her daughter was still there.

She didn’t go into the bedroom but stood at the open door. ‘I could almost see her there, lying on her side in a foetal position, her little head resting gently on the pillow with her fine, blonde hair spread out behind,’ she writes.

Kate McCann has also written about how she was speechless with fury when police offered her a ‘lenient’ jail term if she confessed to disposing of Madeleine’s body.

Her Portuguese lawyer even tried to sweeten the pill by suggesting that while she stayed in jail, her husband Gerry could go back to work.

The extraordinary day the couple became suspects was their most despairing of all, and Mrs McCann says in her forthcoming book, serialised in The Sun, that even her normally-solid husband was distraught.

She said: ‘He was on his knees, sobbing, his head hung low. “We’re finished. Our life is over”, he kept saying.’ Read More

Rare conjoined twins who share a single body born in China - 9th May 2011

A woman has given birth to a baby girl with two heads in the Chinese province of Sichuan.

The conjoined twins, who share a single body, two arms and two legs, were born by Caesarean section last week, according to officials.

The sisters are believed to suffer from a condition known as dicephalic parapagus - an extremely unusual form of twin conjoinment where only a single body develops.

Because they share the same body, it is not possible to separate dicephalic parapagus conjoined twins.

The birth of dicephalic parapagus conjoined twins - who develop after a fertilized egg cell fails to divide fully - is extremely rare, with most cases occurring in southwest Asia and Africa.

However, there have been instances of dicephalic parapagus twins being born in the West.

In July 2009, Lisa Chamberlain, from Portsmouth, gave birth to twins Joshua and Jayden, who shared the same single body. Joshua was stillborn while his brother lived for 32 minutes before dying in his mother's arms.

And in the U.S. dicephalic parapagus twins Abigail and Brittany Hensel have become media celebrities, appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and featuring in television documentaries.

The sisters, now 21, from Minnesota, appear to share a perfectly normal single body, although in fact several of their internal organs are doubled up.

While each is able to eat and write separately and simultaneously, activities such as walking and driving a car must be co-ordinated. Read More


Emily Longley, 17, - Speculation that she Died of Alcohol or Drug Overdose - 10th May 2011

When their teenage daughter got in with the ‘wrong crowd’ after they emigrated to New Zealand, Emily Longley’s middle-class parents sent her back to Britain to begin a new life with her grandparents.

But just seven months on, the 17-year-old aspiring model has been found dead in bed amid suggestions she overdosed on drugs or alcohol.

Her body was discovered at the detached home of her on-off boyfriend Elliot Turner, 19.

He and a 17-year-old boy have been arrested and bailed. It is understood they spent time with Miss Longley the previous day.

Mr Turner was seen by neighbours sitting in an ambulance with his head in his hands after the death.

Three days earlier Miss Longley had written on Facebook of a stalker who phoned her repeatedly and said he ‘knew everything about her’. The following day she said she was ‘down and out’.

But police sources yesterday played down the role of the tormentor and suggested she may have taken drugs.

A Dorset Police spokesman said the death remains ‘unexplained’ pending toxicology reports. Read More

'Craigslist Ripper' police reveal up to FOUR killers may have dumped bodies on Long Island beach as new victim is identified - 10th May 2011

At least two and possibly as many as four killers dumped the remains of their victims on the same stretch of a Long Island beach, a prosecutor said today, confirming the theory that the 'Craigslist Ripper' was not the only murderer to use the remote spot.

He also revealed investigators have identified the remains of a skull and a pair of hands found in March as belonging to 20-year-old Jessica Taylor, whose headless, handless body was found 40 miles away in Manorville in 2003.

Ten sets of remains have been found along the underbrush of Long Island's Ocean Parkway since last December, including the bodies of four missing Craigslist escorts.

Today Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said he was convinced the prostitutes were all killed by the same man, but admitted police have yet to identify a suspect - and there is likely to be a second killer.

He said: 'It is clear that the area in and around Gilgo Beach has been used to discard human remains for some period of time.

'As distasteful and disturbing as that is, there is no evidence that all of these remains are the work of a single killer.'

Five sets of remains have still not been identified, including the body of a girl aged between 18 and 24 months. Mr Spota said it was not clear whether she had been murdered.

He also revealed that the body of a man found on April 5 was that of a young Asian male in his late teens or early 20s. Mr Spota said he had been murdered, but his death was 'radically different' to those of the other victims. Read More

LONG ISLAND BEACH: HOW MANY KILLERS USED IT AS A GRAVEYARD?

Ten bodies have been found along Long Island beach front since December last year. Police now say they are looking for at least two killers - but there could be as many as four.

Killer One

Police say four Craigslist escorts found near Oak and Gilgo beaches on December 13, 2010, were all murdered by the same man - the so-called 'Craigslist Ripper', who may have been active for several years.

The women were identified as:

Maureen Brainer-Barnes, 25 - last seen 2007

Melissa Barthelemy, 24 - last seen 2009

Amber Lynn Costello, 27 - last seen 2010

Megan Waterman, 22 - last seen 2010

Killer Two

In April, police found two sets of partial remains which have now been connected to the dismembered torsos of two women found in 2000 and 2003 in Manorville, 40 miles away.

Investigators say it is likely one man killed both women - but they say the deaths are not linked to the Craigslist killings.

Killer Three

It seems likely there is a third murderer, responsible for the death of a young Asian man who was killed in a 'radically different way'.

Killer Four?

Two more bodies have still not been identified.

The remains of a toddler have also been found, but police say it is not yet clear whether she was murdered.

Shannon Gilbert, whose disappearance triggered the search, is still missing.

UN investigators find 10 plots in Ivory Coast mass grave - 10th May 2011

At least 68 bodies spread out across 10 burial mounds have been found in a mass grave recently discovered on a soccer field in Abidjan.

UN investigators in the Ivory Coast have determined there were at least 68 bodies spread out across 10 burial mounds in a mass grave recently discovered on a soccer field in Abidjan, the country's commercial capital.

Guillaume Ngefa, the deputy director of the human rights division of the UN mission in Ivory Coast, said on Monday the victims were likely killed by pro-Laurent Gbagbo militias on April 12, the day after the strongman was arrested.

Ngefa said in a telephone interview that investigators visited the site on Friday and photographed the 10 plots. They interviewed witnesses who described the killings as well as family members who identified the dead.

Ngefa said the investigators spoke to two residents of the Yopougon neighbourhood where the incident occurred who were conscripted by the militiamen and forced to bury the dead.

The killings occurred the day after Gbagbo was arrested by the army fighting to install the nation's democratically elected leader, Alassane Ouattara.

Yopougon, where the soccer field is located, is believed to be where Gbagbo's militias took cover after their leader's fall.

The area has historically been a Gbagbo stronghold, but it has pockets inhabited by the Djola and Baole, ethnic groups that voted for Ouattara in November's divisive election. The victims were almost exclusively from these two groups, witnesses said.

Ngefa said the largest grave is believed to hold 31 bodies; another has at least 21.

The killings may have been in revenge for the arrest of several dozen militiamen who had taken cover inside a Baptist Church in Yopougon, said Ngefa. Read More

Egyptian Christians take to the streets after 12 killed in clashes with Muslims - 10th May 2011

Hundreds of Egyptians, many of them Coptic Christians, demonstrated in Cairo yesterday over Muslim-Christian clashes that left 12 dead and a church burned.

Demonstrators, who numbered about 1,000, said they feared that some people were seeking to create an Islamic state that would marginalise the Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt's nearly 80 million population. Most are Coptic Christians.

Some of the protesters, gathered outside the headquarters of the state-run television, criticised the army's handling of the clashes at the weekend and demanded that the military ruler step down. Stones were thrown, but the protest was largely peaceful.

"We don't want to bury our heads in the sand," said Rami Kamel, a Coptic protester. "The issue is bigger than rebuilding a church or arresting the culprits. This is Egypt's fate. Is Egypt becoming a religious state, or can we change course and opt for a civil state?"

The demonstration came as authorities yesterday detained 23 Egyptians, including two blamed for sparking the riots that marked a new low in Muslim-Christian relations.

Egypt's military rulers are hard-pressed to deal with the sectarian tension, which has emerged as one of the major challenges in the transition period following the February revolution that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Some of the Christian protesters camping outside the state TV building have demanded measures be taken to control an increasingly assertive, ultra-conservative movement of Muslims known as the Salafis, who they say orchestrated the weekend riots in Imbaba district.

Last month, tens of thousands of Egyptians, led by Islamists believed to be affiliated with the Salafis, demonstrated to protest the appointment of a Coptic Christian governor in the south of the country.

The latest riots, sparked by a rumour that a Muslim convert was abducted by the local church, lasted for hours on Saturday night and into Sunday.

Muslim mobs attacked two churches, burning one. Twelve people died, and more than 200 were injured.

Later in the day, Muslims and Christians pelted each other with stones in another part of Cairo. Source

Tori Duxbury, 15, and Amanda Holt, 16, the ‘Whitebirk Witches’ - Girl Gang leaders Left Residents too Scared to Sleep or Go Out - 10th May 2011

Two teenage girls terrorised their community so badly that they left one neighbour too terrified to switch on the lights in his home at night and a teenage boy frightened of sleeping in his own bedroom.

Tori Duxbury, 15, and Amanda Holt, 16, were nicknamed the ‘Whitebirk Witches’ after leading a girl gang that spread misery through their neighbourhood.

The teenagers caused brawls involving crowds of up to 30, hurled abuse at residents and daubed anti-police slogans on walls.

Yesterday, however, after police lost patience with their stone-throwing, insults and vandalism, the pair were named and shamed and told they faced Asbos and a potential prison sentences if they didn’t fall into line.

The duo called themselves the ‘Whitebirk Bitches’ after the deprived area of Blackburn where they carried out their campaign of abuse.

They daubed ‘WBB’ on their faces and sprayed it on to walls to show the territory of their girl gang, which has members as young as ten.

One man aged 48 was regularly tormented by the girls, who gathered outside his home to tease and mock him and make obscene gestures.

He was so traumatised he refused to switch on lights for fear of attracting their attention, instead using the glow of his mobile phone screen to find his way around at night.

Only after checking the coast was clear would he even brave a short walk to the shop for a bottle of milk.

Another family bought a new bed so the father could sleep in the same room as his frightened teenage son who was traumatised by the constant bang of footballs kicked against the window by the gang.

The girls also showed their defiance on Facebook, with Duxbury creating an offensive page littered with foul language challenging rival girl gang Great Big Giants to a fight.

When she was arrested, Duxbury posed for her police mugshot with ‘WBB’ still emblazoned across her cheeks in pen.

Yesterday both girls were ordered to abide by the terms of interim Asbo orders. Read More

Matthew Worster 17 allegedly Kills Mother Beth Spartichino and Buries her in the Garden - 10th May 2011

A teenage boy allegedly murdered his mother and buried her in the back garden of the family home.

The body of Beth Spartichino, 42, was dug from a shallow grave at the house in Boston and her 17-year-old son Matthew Worster has been charged with her death.

In an eerily prescient warning of her demise, Spartichino had taken out a restraining order against her ex-husband Michael Worster in which she stated she was afraid he was trying to turn her two sons against her.

In the handwritten document, dated May 22, 2010, she said her husband had threatened to 'chop me up in pieces and bury me in many places over our property so I would never be found', according to Boston.com.

She also wrote that after Mr Worster's visits to see his children, the sons became threatening towards her.

'They have increasing contempt for me, stating that "this is Dad's home, not yours. You’re a dumb, stupid bitch. I could kick you in the head now and you’ll die",' she wrote.

'I believe they are being poisoned emotionally because my husband wants me dead, and he and my children back in my home.'

The couple were divorced on April 22, at Bristol County Court clerk.

According to police reports, it was Mr Worster who called the authorities, telling them he feared his son had shot his former wife.

When asked where his wife was, he replied; 'In a freshly dug hole in the garden.'

Her body was discovered in a shallow grave measuring nine feet by three feet, which police say had been dug in advance of her being shot in the back.

Spartichino, described by her mother as someone who was 'bubbly, vivacious, and loved life', was a recovering alcoholic of five years, but had put her life back together and had enrolled on a nursing degree at Massasoit Community College.

Matthew Worster is in custody charged with armed assault with intent to murder. The charge may yet be upgraded to murder but his lawyer has entered a not guilty plea. Read More