Sunday, May 22, 2011
Obama administration to approve drought-resistant GM corn that USDA says grows no better than natural corn
"The reduced yield [trait] does not exceed the natural variation observed in regionally-adapted varieties of conventional corn," says a recent USDA report on the matter. "Equally comparable varieties produced through conventional breeding techniques are readily available in irrigated corn production regions."
One such variety produced by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, for example, has been developed using traditional breeding methods rather than genetic engineering. And this naturally drought-resistant variety is already offered in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska, according to a recent report in The New York Times (NYT).
While Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants continue to repeat phony industry rhetoric about how GM crops are essential to feeding the world's populations, traditional and organic growing methods continue to shine as the true agricultural stars. In fact, a paper entitled, "Is Ecological Agriculture Productive?" released by the Oakland Institute found that organic agriculture alone could feed the entire world using just the land that is currently in cultivation.
Reports indicate that the introduction of the new GM corn would have little-to-no positive effect on corn growing trends in the US. And while Monsanto insists the corn is safe for both humans and the environment, there have been no human trials involving the corn itself that back this claim. (read more)
This post was reader contributed.
Important pieces to that macro jigsaw puzzle are Greece and the United Kingdom, as the U.S. is headed for a variation of the funding crisis, though how severe ours will be remains to be seen. Without a money-printing press -- because it uses the euro, not a currency of its own -- Greece is forced to consider austerity measures to deal with its debt woes. The U.K., on the other hand, is not as bad off as Greece, and it does have a press.
A crisis of confidence has invaded Greek and U.K. shores, and we can all learn a bit about what our future might look like as we watch developments there. (The U.K. may be the most useful example for us, since we also have a printing press.)
We will soon find out whether Bank of England Gov. Mervyn King will extend quantitative easing and, if he does, how the bond market will respond to a renewed effort to pump money directly into that economy. (The pound is already under a good deal of downward pressure.)
I would say that the U.K.'s funding crisis -- to use my ballgame analogy -- is probably in the third inning or so, even if we are still taking batting practice over here. (Read "Economy sinks as we save bankers" and "The next crisis has already begun" to brush up on that analogy.) (read more)
BREAKING NEWS: Pakistani naval base under attack -- "Terrorist group" invasion of base currently underway
Some of the attackers are still inside the base and commandos and marines are continuing to battle them five hours after the assault began, Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder said.
According to our correspondent, at least a dozen men attacked the Mehran base, a key naval aviation facility, late on Sunday. Two martime patrol aircraft were destroyed and at least nine people were also wounded in the assault.
He said "the attack raised a lot of questions as to how such a large number of people, so well armed, could have actually gotten into the base".
The local government said that the base was under "terrorist attack".
Aamir Latif, the bureau chief of Pakistan's Online News, told Al Jazeera that a firefight was still under way as security forces attempted to wrest control of the base.
"Militants have taken control of a building inside the base though it is unconfirmed if they are taking hostages there or not."
Intelligence officials said that between 15 and 20 attackers were inside the base, and had attacked three hangars housing aircraft.
A military spokesman said two Pakistan Navy staff were killed in the attack.
"One of our officers and one Navy personnel have been martyred," Commodore Irfan ul Haq, a spokesman for the Pakistan Navy, told the AFP news agency.
Five explosions were heard at the base ahead of the attack, according to Pakistani Express TV.
Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, condemned the attack.
"Such a cowardly act of terror could not deter the commitment of the government and people of Pakistan to fight terrorism," Gilani said in statement. (read more)
Most water-stressed nations on Earth are all in the Middle East and North Africa; now toss in rising food prices, energy prices, surging populations
Of the 16 nations suffering extreme water stress, according to risk analysts Maplecroft, every single one is in the Mena region. Bahrain tops the list of those using far more water than they sustainably receive. Other crisis-hit countries, including Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia, are not far behind. Syria tops the next category: high stress. (The full top 20 is in a table below, with a bit on the methodology).
The obvious question is to what extent this severe lack of water underlies the troubles affecting these nations? The obvious response is that only a fool would wade into political and historical waters so deep and try to divine the role of a single factor, amid poverty, unemployment, repression and more.
But reassured by a middle east expert here at the Guardian that water is indeed a major underlying issue in many Mena nations, and John Vidal's article from February, I'm going to dip my toe in as far as following the chain of events that starts with scarce water. Why? Because it powerfully demonstrates how the world's biggest environmental problems link together with profound effect.
First, the Mena region has seen rapid and ongoing population growth, from 127m in 1970 to 305m in 2005. That's a lot more people to feed, and to grow food you need water. But there isn't enough water any more.
That problem was solved by simply throwing money at it: many of the Mena states are rich in oil. Water could be produced by desalination, virtually non-existent in 1970, or, more commonly, food could be bought in from wetter places, importing water in effect.
But when oil and food prices rise, the money-throwing solution becomes harder to sustain. And food prices in particular have certainly been a contributing factor to the so-called Arab spring. (read more)
Global over-the-counter derivatives market is valued at $601 trillion by the Bank for International Settlements -- and the bubble looks burst-ready
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which sued Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) in bankruptcy court over derivatives transactions, said it is seeking to move its suit to a higher court.
The Lehman bankruptcy judge’s interpretation of swap contracts is “surpassingly broad” and requires U.S. District Court review because it has ramifications for international securities markets, the authority said yesterday in court papers. The global over-the-counter derivatives market is valued at $601 trillion by the Bank for International Settlements.
The Michigan agency is “one of many” derivatives trading partners of Lehman disputing who gets paid first on a swap agreement as a result of a previous ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck, it said in the filing. While that case involving a Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK) trustee unit was settled, Peck’s ruling stands, it said.
“The bankruptcy court continues to adhere to the reasoning of BNY Trustee -- while the correctness of that decision remains very much unresolved,” it said, referring to Peck’s ruling.
In the BNY case, Peck ruled in Lehman’s favor, saying that a swap agreement written to protect both parties from default by the other party didn’t apply under bankruptcy law. He used a similar principle earlier this month when he refused to dismiss a Lehman suit against an entity known as Ballyrock ABS CDO 2007- 1 Ltd., the Michigan agency said. (read more)
Let them eat bread.
That refrain, from the authoritarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak, kept impoverished Egyptians from violent rebellion for decades.
When food riots broke out in 2008, he contained them by promising to keep up the subsidies that were the barrier between malnutrition and starvation for one-third of the country’s 80 million people.
The protests that brought down his regime were driven by hunger for democracy rather than bread. But as Egypt and other Arab countries remain volatile, there are fears that spiking grain prices could propel new discontent.
In the past week, wheat prices soared by 17 per cent, a worrying sign for those countries where it is a staple of the diet.
The Arab world buys about one-third of all the world’s traded wheat, says the World Bank, and that’s due to rise by 40 per cent over the next decade. (read more)
The Liberty Times newspaper cited a military intelligence report as providing the forecast.
Taiwanese experts have estimated that China currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island, mostly deployed in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces in the mainland's southeast.
The report followed comments made by Taiwan's top intelligence chief Tsai Teh-sheng in March, saying that China was targeting Taiwan with a "new type of powerful missile" known as Dongfeng 16.
"Its range is longer, and it increases the threat to Taiwan," Tsai said then, without giving further details of the weapon or the number that have been deployed so far. (read more)
Worrying gap between US military, civilians -- soldiers becoming "isolated" from society: on purpose?
Speaking to graduating cadets at the US military academy at West Point, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Americans appreciate the military but do not fully understand soldiers' lives or the sacrifices they have made in wartime.
"Our work is appreciated, of that I am certain. There isn't a town or a city I visit where people do not convey to me their great pride in what we do," Mullen said, according to a text of the speech.
"But I fear they do not know us. I fear they do not comprehend the full weight of the burden we carry or the price we pay when we return from battle," he said.
"This is important, because a people uninformed about what they are asking the military to endure is a people inevitably unable to fully grasp the scope of the responsibilities our Constitution levies upon them," he said. (read more)
China has been boosting its regional influence by developing relations with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, said Lobsang Sangay, elected by Tibetan exiles as their new premier after the Dalai Lama announced he would retire as the Tibetan movement's political leader.
"You can see the encirclement of India by China interests," the 43-year-old international law expert said in his first wide-ranging interview with Indian television since his election last month.
"I just want to remind or highlight these facts," the Harvard academic told India's NDTV channel. "Let Indian leaders decide for themselves what to do." (read more)
Pakistan asks Beijing to help build naval base in southwestern Baluchistan province as opposition to America grows
Ahmad Mukhtar, who accompanied Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during a recent visit to China, said the request was made during the trip, when Pakistan thanked Beijing for constructing Gwader Port, on the Arabian Sea.
"However, we would be more grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base was being constructed at the site of Gwader for Pakistan," Mukhtar said in a statement.
The deep-sea port was around 75 percent financed by China, which Pakistan has been trying to draw in as a strategic partner, especially since the discovery and US killing on May 2 of Osama bin Laden north of Islamabad.
The commando raid rattled US-Pakistan relations, with American politicians angered at how the Al-Qaeda leader had managed to conceal that he was living barely two hours drive from the Pakistani capital.
Gilani and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao have both made a point of lauding mutual ties, just as Pakistan finds itself under pressure about whether its security services knew where bin Laden was.
"China is an all-weather friend and the closest ally of Pakistan, and it could be judged from the fact that in which ever sectors Pakistan requested assistance during P.M's recent visit to China, they immediately agreed with Pakistan," the defence minister's statement said.
India, however, has voiced "serious concern" about defence ties between China and Pakistan and said it would need to bolster its own military capabilities in response. (read more)
The order's top official in the Netherlands, Delegate Herman Spronck, confirmed in a statement that the priest - identified by RTL Nieuws as 73-year-old "Father Van B." - served on the board of "Martijn," a group that campaigns to end the Dutch ban on adult-child sex.
The group is widely reviled but not outlawed.
"Of course we reject this and distance ourselves from this personal initiative" on the part of the priest, Spronck said in a statement. "Membership in such organizations does not fit with the ethos of the Salesian order."
However, Spronck's own superior in Belgium said he will investigate both Spronck and Van B., after both men were quoted by RTL Nieuws as saying such relationships aren't always harmful.
Superior Jos Claes told Belgian television on Saturday he "couldn't imagine" that both men would not be disciplined, but said he must make sure of the facts first.
"Society thinks these relationships are harmful. I disagree," RTL quoted Van B. as saying. He served on Martijn's board from 2008 until 2010, when its founder was arrested for alleged possession of child pornography, a case that is ongoing.
Van B. told RTL he remains a member of Martijn and now lives in a retirement home in eastern Netherlands. (read more)
Coming Crisis Weekly announcements -- May 22, 2011 (New posts will appear below this one until 6pm EST today)
Hello everyone, we hope you're doing well and are keeping your eyes and ears open. Here are this week's announcements:
i) Blogger's poll widget is acting strangely and has eaten some of your votes, so the vote count on the left has gone down a bit. Feel free to vote again if it allows you to in case your vote was one of the ones gobbled up.
ii) We're now accepting editorials and articles from our readers. These written pieces can either report on crisis events (backed by solid evidence), or act as solution pieces that outline what can be done to solve some of these problems. To submit your article, just email it to us, including the headline you'd like to see for it (which might change, but we'll try our best to preserve it) as well as the link to your non-commercial blog or website you'd like us to direct back to. Articles can have a maximum of length of 1000 words! And no, it's not all the Jews' fault, so we'll only be accepting articles that tackle issues, not conspiracy theories. We can publish larger pieces serially in special cases. While we may not publish everyone's work, we'll definitely read all of it, so be sure to send it our way.
iii) T-shirts! As you can see by the image above, we've designed a t-shirt with a logo design that depicts all the various subjects we try to cover on The Coming Crisis. We plan on doing some prize giveaways with it, and hope to use it to spread awareness of our website and it's message. Let us know what you think! (The version above is the European t-shirt, with a North American version coming soon.)
iv) A big thanks to everyone who writes in to us and passes on stories. We appreciate each and every letter you write to us, and strive to respond to every one of them. You are our eyes and ears, so keep up the fantastic work.
v) "Hey buddy, why are my comments disappearing?" -- Well, we kindly request that you not include links in the text of your comment unless it's a non-commercial link that expounds the discussion. This includes links hidden in posting names attached to very generic comments. We read and appreciate all your comments, so please continue taking part in the discussion!
Until next week...
-- Matt & Lynsey
Rally For Maryanne Godboldo, Mother Involved In 12-Hour Police Stand-Off after State attempted forced medication of child with psychotropic drugs
The Justice for Maryanne Godboldo Action Committee held a rally at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit to bring attention to and draw donations needed to assist Godboldo in her upcoming legal battles.
Godboldo was thrust into the limelight after she got into a standoff with police that lasted nearly 12 hours late last week. It began when Godboldo fired a shot at a CPS worker who arrived at her home in an attempt to take her 13-year-old daughter. CPS workers were there to take the girl after reports surfaced that Godboldo refused to give the child needed medication.
Addressing the crowd on the legal fight ahead was Wanda Evans, Godboldo’s attorney.
“We have a mother that has done her research. She’s intelligent, she’s articulate, she’s attentive and she’s telling you what she needs, and she has gotten the back up here. And she’s saying ‘assist me.’ And that’s what we have to do. Not rip her family apart,” Evans said.
Ron Scott with the Justice Committee said the focus is about parental rights and they have been getting support from all over.
“It’s been unbelievable. People from all over the world have called. It’s everyone from the far right to the far left and everybody in between, who have come together to say, this mother stood her ground to reflect the rights that every parent should have,” Scott said.
Fifty-eight-year-old Godboldo is charged with discharging a weapon in a dwelling, felonious assault, felony firearm, resisting arrest and obstruction of an officer. (read more)
Militants reportedly stormed the base and witnesses reported hearing loud explosions and gunfire, as well as seeing smoke.
Around 15 to 20 attackers were said to be inside the base, and had also attacked three hangars housing aircraft.
Senior police official Tahir Naveed said the militants had been fighting with base personnel inside the Mehran base.
A government official claimed the attack was carried out by terrorists.
Journalist Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, in Karachi, told Sky News: "From where I was I could hear a lot of firing and then several explosions.
"The Pakistani air force has a base on a main thoroughfare in the city and that has been attacked.
"Inside that air base there is a naval base and that has also been attacked
"Over 10 terrorists are still inside and there could be a hostage-like situation."
It is believed the terrorists entered the base through a Pakistan air force museum next to the base, which has lower security.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack.
In a statement, he said: "Such a cowardly act of terror could not deter the commitment of the government and people of Pakistan to fight terrorism." Read More
Pilot of Air France flight that crashed into Atlantic two years ago was NOT in cockpit when trouble hit, recovered black box reveals - 22nd May 2011
Leading German news magazine Der Spiegel quoted an expert who said captain Marc Dubois, 58, could be heard on the black box recordings rushing into the cockpit when the plane encountered bad weather.
'He gave both co-pilots instructions on how to save the plane' the expert, who was not named, told the magazine.
Air France 447 crashed into the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, four hours into a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. All 228 passengers and crew died.
The plane wreckage was found in April, about 1,000 kilometres off the north-east coast of Brazil.
Until now it had been thought that the crew of the Airbus A330 flew directly into a bad weather front as other planes flew around it.
But according to Der Spiegel, information from the flight data recorder - which was recently found with the other so-called black box, the cockpit voice recorder - amid the plane wreckage at the bottom of the ocean, proves otherwise.
The flight path showed clearly that the crew had tried to chart a smooth course through the storm clouds. 'It looked initially as if they had been successful, because there were no indications that they encountered increased turbulence,' according to the report.
What the data did show, however, was that ice crystals caused by the bad weather had clogged up the pitot tube, an instrument used to measure airspeed, the experts told Spiegel. Read More
Elena Petrizzi a 22 Month old Toddler dies after being left in hot car after university lecturer dad forgets to drop her off at playgroup - 22nd May
Doctors at Ancona's Salesi pediatric hospital on the Adriatic coast declared 22-month-old Elena Petrizzi brain dead on Saturday, three days after her father Lucio, 45,went to his teaching job, leaving the child in the car.
He is now facing a manslaughter charge.
Organs from the girl, who has only been identified as Elena, were sent to hospitals in Bergamo, Turin and Rome Sunday. Italian news reports said the heart and liver were transplanted in two children, while the kidneys were still being checked.
The girl's mother, who is eight months' pregnant, says what happened to the father could happen to anyone.
Today doctors revealed that Elena had died after a three-day battle for life and that her heart, liver and kidneys had been removed and donated to four children.
The toddler had been left in the family's four by four in a car park at the University of Teramo where Lucio is a lecturer in veterinary sciences as temperatures soared to 30'c.
She was discovered unconscious and badly dehydrated by Lucio who frantically tried to revive her before calling paramedics who rushed her by ambulance to a specialist children's ward in nearby Ancona.
Doctors battled to save her life but they were unable to do so despite an operation reduce a massive brain swelling brought on by the high temperature in the car.
Details of the organ transplants were revealed by Dr Francesca De Pace from the hospital in Ancona who said: 'There is always a high demand for children's organs. Read More
Harold Camping Family Radio website is crashing the day after his proposed May 21, 2011 Judgment Day fell flat and many are questioning whether he did
People left jobs, spent their money and took off across the country to pass out dooms day tracts for Harold Camping's family radio. Now that May 21, 2011 has passed uneventfully, what will it mean for his follows?
According to Mercury News, Rev. Jeremy Nickel of the Fremont Mission Peak Unitarian Congregation said, “For those who were invested in this prediction, their world did end Saturday. They thought they were going to heaven and they didn't. They may have donated all their money. They're going to be in a world of hurt.”
On Saturday, prerecorded gospel talk continued while the Family Radio website was down. Over the last seven years, over $100 million was donated to Family Radio. The Oakland-based Family Radio has 66 stations across the world. Harold Camping's home in Alameda was deserted and there was no answer on his phone.
As followers realized they were not going to experience the rapture, others were mocking the concept. The American Atheists convention consisting of about 200 people met in downtown Oakland on the proposed Judgment Day.
While some people mocked the possibility of dooms day, others offered a helping hand to the disappointed followers who might be upset the prophesy was not fulfilled. The Calvary Bible Church of Mipitas offered support to Camping's followers.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Pastor Jacob Denys indicated the church wanted to reach out to Camping's followers to deliver a message of hope and said, "Do not despair. You are not alone. we offer you help and Biblical counsel."
Various spiritual leaders of all denominations agreed no man know when the end will come and people are expected to be prepared everyday by doing good things and living a positive life.
Has the prediction of Judgment Day done more harm than good? Being positive means looking for the good in any situation. The Christian Post reports Dr. Barry Levanthal, provost and professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary, said, “Maybe at least people have thought about the second coming of Christ. God can bring good out of evil, and bring correct direction out of incorrect thinking.” Read More
Tornadoes overnight in northeast Kansas killed one person and damaged some 200 homes, and resulted in a state of emergency being declared for 16 counties, state officials said on Sunday.
Elsewhere in the country, towns along the lower Mississippi River were coping with floodwaters, and parts of the Midwest and Southeast faced the threat of violent thunderstorms, hail and strong winds.
In Kansas the known tornado damage was centered around the town of Reading, said Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson.
Initial reports "indicate there are 200 homes in the town and surrounding community that have some type of damage ranging from minor to severe ... Another 20 homes have been destroyed," she told Reuters by phone.
A separate statement from the Emergency Management Division said most of the destroyed homes were in the town.
Gail Lewis was on her way to Reading to visit friends when the tornado struck. She said she arrived in town before most responders and saw downed trees and damaged homes. Read More
UK JUSTICE GONE MAD - As Criminals get a slap on the wrist, Top Journalist could Face Two Years in JAIL for doing his JOB - 22nd May 2011
In the first case of its kind, lawyers for the soccer star have persuaded a High Court judge to ask Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC to consider a criminal prosecution against the writer for breaching a privacy injunction. If Mr Grieve decides to issue contempt of court proceedings, the individual faces a prison sentence of up to two years.The unprecedented legal action is the latest attempt by a public figure to try to curb the growing use of the internet – especially Twitter – to expose the adulterous affairs and misbehaviour of celebrities and footballers.
On Thursday, one of Britain’s leading privacy judges, Mr Justice Tugendhat, was told that an unnamed ‘someone’ had used Twitter to identify the married footballer at the centre of a scandal concerning a sexual relationship with a model.
The England footballer, known only by his court codename of TSE, instructed lawyers to ask the judge to pass the case on to the Attorney General’s office. And he agreed.
Due to the extraordinary restrictions surrounding the reporting of cases such as this, The Mail on Sunday cannot identify the journalist involved nor even provide readers with edited versions of his tweets. Read More
The Sunday Herald published a full page headshot of a football star on its front page - merely covering his eyes with a black bar, which features the word 'censored'.
The newspaper's actions come after a player obtained an injunction to prevent details of an alleged affair with former Big Brother contestant, Imogen Thomas, being published.
Technically, the newspaper is free to publish the footballer's name, as the injunction does not apply in Scotland.
However, most publications have not exploited this opportunity because of the possibility that copies would be sold south of the border.
In an editorial, the newspaper defended its decision by saying: "We believe it unsustainable that the law can be used to prevent newspapers from publishing information that readers can access at the click of a mouse.
"We should point out immediately that we are not accusing the footballer concerned of any misdeed.
"Whether the allegations against him are true or not has no relevance to this debate."
Richard Walker, editor of the Sunday Herald, told Sky News: "At one point we were thinking of using a picture that was pixelated.
"But when we were thinking about it more deeply, we realised that the injunction didn't apply in Scotland and therefore we did not need to pixelate the picture. Read More
Jose Guerena, Iraq Vet shot 60 Times by Tuscon SWAT Team, is further demonized by police as drug pusher; media scolded for telling asking questions
And the Pima County sheriff scolded the media for "questioning the legality" of the shooting.
Jose Guerena, 26, died the morning of May 5. He was asleep in his Tucson home after working a night shift at the Asarco copper mine when his wife, Vanessa, saw the armed SWAT team outside her youngest son's bedroom window.
"She saw a man pointing at her with a gun," said Reyna Ortiz, 29, a relative who is caring for Vanessa and her children. Ortiz said Vanessa Guerena yelled, "Don't shoot! I have a baby!"
Vanessa Guerena thought the gunman might be part of a home invasion -- especially because two members of her sister-in-law's family, Cynthia and Manny Orozco, were killed last year in their Tucson home, her lawyer, Chris Scileppi, said. She shouted for her husband in the next room, and he woke up and told his wife to hide in the closet with the child, Joel, 4.
Guerena grabbed his assault rifle and was pointing it at the SWAT team, which was trying to serve a narcotics search warrant as part of a multi-house drug crackdown, when the team broke down the door. At first the Pima County Sheriff's Office said that Guerena fired first, but on Wednesday officials backtracked and said he had not. "The safety was on and he could not fire," according to the sheriff's statement. (read more)
New Jersey Teen Jackie Genovese Seeks Prom Dress Refund to Pay for Boyfriend's Funeral -- and is rejected by shop (Freehold's Diane and Co.)
But tragedy struck last week when her boyfriend of two years was killed in a car accident, MyFoxNY reported.
James Volpe, 17, was killed in a two-car crash on the way home from a baseball team dinner on May 13, only a few weeks away from graduation.
Jackie bought her $1,200 dress at Freehold's Diane and Co., also known for its popular Oxygen show, "Dress Coutoure."
She requested a refund for her dress so she could help pay for her boyfriend's funeral. Jackie's mom approached the owners of the store for the refund, which is against store policy. Instead they offered credit. But Jackie's mom said when she showed up to bring the dress back, they were nasty and unsympathetic. (read more)
Northern forces with tanks occupied the disputed town of Abyei on Saturday night, scattering southern troops that were there as part of a joint security unit, said Southern officials and a UN spokeswoman. Both north and south claim the fertile region, which lies near several important oil fields.
Hollywood actor George Clooney set up a project to monitor the area by satellite, fearing it could be a flash point that could draw the region back into civil war.
The north's seizure of the town follows several days of fighting and bombing and drew immediate condemnation from the U.S. government.
"We didn't declare war," said southern army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer. "The (Sudanese ruling party) National Congress Party and the Sudan Armed Forces declared war on us." (read more)
Water levels were expected to rise again sometime Sunday. Strong winds from the south, forcing water into the river from Lake Champlain, could raise levels by 15 centimetres in some areas, officials said.
After visiting with mayors in the region on Saturday, Charest said he wants Canada's Armed Forces to stay and help in the Montérégie region.
At one point, close to 800 Armed Forces personnel were helping flood victims, but all but about 200 have since left. Charest said more troops could be needed as the weather changes."We are going to ask the Armed Forces to be vigilant with the change in the weather patterns in the next few days. We may need them in certain specific municipalities to help out," he said.
Charest also said he wants Defence Minister Peter MacKay to meet with local mayors to gain a better understanding of the situation. MacKay has said that although the number of troops has been cut, members of the military will help out for as long as they're needed.
About 3,000 homes have been flooded and nearly 1,000 people have been out of their homes for the past five weeks. (read more)
Harold Camping followers confused as "prophet" disappears -- the only thing raptured seems to have been their money
Some believers expressed bewilderment or said it was a test from God of their faith, after the day passed without event.
Meanwhile, the evangelist at the centre of the claim, Harold Camping, has not been seen since before the deadline.
He had predicted that Jesus Christ would return to earth on Saturday.
True believers would then be swept up, or "raptured", to heaven, he had pronounced.
The 89-year-old has used broadcasts on a Christian network and billboards to publicise his ideas as part of a campaign that went global.
He said biblical texts indicated that a giant earthquake on Saturday - which he said would begin at 1800 at various time zones around the world - would mark the start of the world's destruction, and that by 21 October all non-believers will be dead.
Robert Fitzpatrick, a retired transportation agency worker in New York, said he had spent more than $140,000 (£86,000) of his savings on advertisements in the run-up to 21 May to publicise the prediction.
After 1800 passed and nothing had happened, he said: "I do not understand why... I do not understand why nothing has happened."
"I can't tell you what I feel right now. Obviously, I haven't understood it correctly because we're still here." (read more)
In many respects we don’t have a free market economy. We have cartels, which are the escape from free market, not the natural progression of free market. They wage war against competition, not by the traditional means of attracting consumer confidence, but by taking the reigns of power in government itself and wielding it against its adversaries. The Rockefeller dynasty represents the epitome of cartels. Rockefeller’s partnership with Germany’s pharmaceutical giant I. G. Farben in 1929 formed the most powerful cartel in history.Our modern schooling system was crafted as a tool of the Anglo-American Establishment in their quest to remake society. To monopolize thought and human potential is the ultimate form of domination. All of us are potential competition with untapped ability. The question at the forefront of the elite’s mind is this; How is this potential competition dealt with? As John D. Rockefeller Sr. famously proclaimed “Competition is a sin.” How will a pyramidal structure of society be maintained? How will society be standardized to meet the needs of an industrial nation? Our modern schooling system, in the elite’s minds, was an answer to these nagging questions.
One of the greatest open secrets of our modern society is that many household names have managed to squeeze out from under the thumb of the system – by dropping out of school or not receiving degrees – and have flourished. These people were able to discover their own personal strengths and weaknesses by testing themselves in the real world. The “one right way” schooling system didn’t dictate what lesson needed to be learned, and especially when. They didn’t wait their turn. The fact that the very architects of our modern schooling system (John D. Rockefeller Sr. and Andrew Carnegie in particular) were dropouts should tell us something. Let’s ask the question; Why would these men – who became the immensely wealthy captains of the industrial era – embark on a crusade to place the nations’ people under a schooling system that they obviously didn’t want or need, and ultimately escaped from? (read more)
Ironically, the nearly 100% devaluation of the currency in Roman times took just over 2 centuries. This compares somewhat favorable to the 97% drop in the purchasing power of the US currency since the inception of the Federal Reserve. (Source)
Now imagine another country where there is no central Treasury, meaning that bail-outs are less easy, and which has a central bank that has mopped up liquidity over the past year, rather than engage in quantitative easing.Why does it surprise anyone that the latter, the eurozone, has a stronger currency than the former, the US? Because of peripheral countries’ debt refinancing issues? And the potential for contagion? These are real and serious issues, but in our assessment, they should be primarily priced into the spreads of eurozone bonds, not the euro itself.
Think of it this way: in the US, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has testified that going off the gold standard during the Great Depression helped the US recover faster than other countries. Fast-forward to today: we believe Bernanke embraces a weaker currency as a monetary policy tool to help address the current state of the US economy. What many overlook is that someone must be on the other side of that trade: today it is the eurozone, which is experiencing a strong currency, despite the many challenges in the 17-nation bloc.
A year ago, the euro appeared to be the only asset traded as a hedge against, or to profit from, all things wrong in the eurozone. This was partly driven by liquidity, because it is easier to sell the euro than to short debt of peripheral eurozone countries; and as the trade worked, others piled in. As the euro approached lows of $1.18 against the dollar, the trade was no longer a “safe” one-way bet and traders had to look elsewhere. As a result, the euro is now substantially stronger, yet peripheral bond debt is much weaker. (read more)
“Space junk” or debris has become an increasing threat to commercial satellites along with spacecraft and the International Space Station. Now NASA scientists may have a new option for reducing debris.
Collisions with debris, and the resulting damage, have the potential for being costly and difficult to repair.
During missions, astronauts aboard the International Space Station have had to take refuge in an escape capsule because they knew they were going to have a close encounter with space debris.
NASA scientists propose using a mid-power laser that could move the objects from their collision course. Unlike lasers that have been used in the past, this new laser would not be able to vaporize debris.
“Those lasers, when you shoot them all into space, are not capable of vaporizing or melting anything,” said scientist Creon Levit of the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. “What they are capable of doing is giving a gentle push to space debris.”
This gentle push could move a piece of space debris about 650 feet a day, enough to avoid a collision.
Levit said 33 years ago, a NASA astronomer predicted we would be in this situation. He said most of the space junk is from earlier space launches when no one was concerned about debris control.
Levit says it is now the exact opposite.
“Nowadays when you launch something into space,” says Levit. “You have to have a debris mitigation plan.” (read more)
A 45-year-old man now living in the Bay Area may be the first person ever cured of the deadly disease AIDS, the result of the discovery of an apparent HIV immunity gene.
Timothy Ray Brown tested positive for HIV back in 1995, but has now entered scientific journals as the first man in world history to have that HIV virus completely eliminated from his body in what doctors call a “functional cure.”
Brown was living in Berlin, Germany back in 2007, dealing with HIV and leukemia, when scientists there gave him a bone marrow stem cell transplant that had astounding results.
“I quit taking my HIV medication the day that I got the transplant and haven’t had to take any since,” said Brown, who has been dubbed “The Berlin Patient” by the medical community.
Brown’s amazing progress continues to be monitored by doctors at San Francisco General Hospital and at the University of California at San Francisco medical center.
“I’m cured of HIV. I had HIV but I don’t anymore,” he said, using words that many in the scientific community are cautiously clinging to. (read more)
Ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano could reach northern Scotland by Tuesday and parts of Britain, France and Spain by Thursday or Friday if the eruption continues at the same rate, airlines were warned on Sunday.
The warning is based on latest 5-day weather forecasts, but must be treated with caution because of the forecast period and the presence of different air currents from those prevailing at the time of last year's ash crisis, weather officials said.
European authorities said on Sunday no disruption was expected to European or transatlantic airspace over the next 24 hours from the eruption of Iceland's most active volcano on Saturday. Source
In a BBC interview ahead of this week's state visit to London, Mr Obama described the killing by US Navy Seals of Al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad earlier this month as a 'powerful moment' for America.
The President insisted he wanted to establish a more "co-operative relationship" with the government in Islamabad after the outrage in Pakistan over the US action, which was carried out without notifying the authorities there.
But asked what he would do if the Americans found another "very high value target" in the country - such a top al Qaida figure or the Taliban leader Mullah Omar - he indicated he would act again.
"I've always been clear to the Pakistanis - and I'm not the first administration to say this - that our job is to secure the United States," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.
"We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan. But we cannot allow someone who is planning to kill our people or our allies' people - we can't allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action.
"Our hope is, and our expectation is, is that we can achieve that in a way that is fully respectful of Pakistan's sovereignty.
"But I had made no secret - I had said this when I was running for the presidency - that if I had a clear shot at bin Laden that we'd take it." Read More
But experts say the latest rupture should not affect international flights.
The North Atlantic island's most active volcano, Grimsvotn, located at the heart of its biggest glacier Vatnajoekull, started to spew smoke and lava late Saturday.
Within several hours, the plume of smoke had rose to an altitude of at least 17km (10.5 miles) - almost double the height of the nearby Eyjafjoell eruption just over a year ago which peaked at around 9km (5.6 miles).
The Eyjafjoell eruption briefly forced 600 people from their homes but shut down large swathes of European airspace for almost a month amid fears the volcanic ash floating across the skies would wreak havoc on aircraft engines.
It was the first volanco blast at the Eyjafjallajokull glacier since 1823, and Iceland's first since 2004.
Icelandic Meteorological Office geophysicist Gunnar Gudmundsson said the Grismvotn burst would not be of the same scale but would interfere with domestic flights.
"I don't expect this will have the same effect as Eyjafjoell volcano because the ash is not as fine," he said.
"I don't think this will have much of an effect on international flights, or that it will shut down airports abroad."
He said they would continue to monitor the movement of the plume. Source
Three masked men carrying the device had burst into a branch of the Santander bank in Shipquay Street, Derry.
They warned terrified customers it would explode in an hour.
Police then cleared the area before the bomb went off. The city had been brought to a standstill following the alert.
Police Service of Northern Ireland chief inspector John Burrows said: "I have no doubt that the device was set to injure or maim innocent members of the public."
He said the cost of lost business to local traders would run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
"This despicable act has been a costly day for traders on the busiest day of the week," he added.The explosion has been linked to dissident republicans and comes a day after the Queen finished a four-day state visit to the Irish Republic which was heavily-policed amid tight security. Read More
The Muslim man, who cannot be named, was found guilty of terrorism in Tunisia and has already been extradited once to Italy, where he was accused of being involved in helping to send Islamists to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, ordered that he be kept out of Britain because his presence would not be "conducive to the public good for reasons of national security", adding that there was evidence he had been involved in "extremist radicalisation".
However, after he was acquitted in Italy, he returned to Britain and has been allowed to stay by the Court of Appeal while he fights Mrs May's ruling. The court's decision has exposed what experts said was a "loophole" in immigration law which would allow "dangerous" people to stay here.
Experts said the case would have serious implications for the Home Office's ability to exclude terrorists and those suspected of terrorist offences, effectively creating an open border for terrorists while they pursue legal challenges.
Although only a small number of people would be affected, they could pose serious risks to national security. Read More
One was found dead and experts believe all 60 mammals could be killed if they follow the lead whale.
The pod moved away from the shallow waters on the shores of Loch Carnan in South Uist around noon, prompting jubilation from rescuers.
But the confused 20ft pilot whales only went to the next inlet - Loch Skiport - before returning at 5pm to Loch Carnan, where they had been since Thursday.
Alisdair Jack, co-ordinator of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: "It is very worrying that one of the whales has stranded and appears dead.
"We just hope the others do not follow."
The Scottish SPCA were also involved in the rescue bid and an inflatable pontoon was being prepared to try and float them to safety.
A Scottish Agricultural College vet joined rescuers yesterday evening and the Scottish government sent the fisheries protection vessel MPV Hirta to assist. Around 20 mammals had suffered cuts to their heads after they were bashed off rocks.
Rescue efforts were hampered by the weather, with high winds, rough seas and moderate visibility due to low cloud and rain.
Pilot whales prefer deep water but come to shallower water in search of squid, their main food source. Source
Bhargavi Patel, who had gone to the Lake Ontario park with her son, said there was an unusual yellow film on the water.
“That the fishes are dying means there is some problem around here,” Patel told CityNews.
“Every year I come here and I have never seen something like this,’ she added.
The Ministry of Environment told CityNews the yellow film is caused by the dispersal of pollen, and is common at this time of year.
Harold Camping The False "Profit" in Hiding as his Financials come under Focus following Failure of Doomsday Prediction - 22nd May 2011
Family Radio, which owns 66 stations worldwide, including in the U.S., depends primarily on donations for its operations. Between 2005 and 2009, it has received $80 million in contributions. The IRS filings reveal that in 2009 alone, Family Radio managed to bring $18 million in contributions, and the total assets for that year was $72 million.
Interestingly in 2007, according to the financial statements in possession with MinistryWatch.com which grades Christian organizations on financial transparency, Family Radio’s total asset was $152 million, including contributions which totaled nearly $16 million.
Family Radio’s asset value has diminished by $80 million in two years. Where has this money gone?
According to Family Radio’s IRS filings, it has paid its 350-employees a collective $8.3 million, or roughly $23,000 per employee.
Family Radio is also believed to have spent $5-10 million towards promoting Camping’s Doomsday prediction campaign.
Camping says he is a voluntary employee at Family Radio and has never taken home any salary.
However, Family Radio is under the IRS scanner as they are required to submit their financial statements in many of their states where they solicit donations. In one such state Minnesota, they have requested a filing extension from July 15 deadline to November 15. This is strange because if Harold Camping was certain that the world is going to end on May 21, 2011, why would Family Radio request the extension till November 15?
Not surprisingly, MinstryWatch.com has given Family Radio a transparency grade of “C”. Source