Wednesday, June 8, 2011

People power! Australia bans live cattle exports to Indonesia over cases of extreme animal abuse -- Together, little fish become the shark!

Parts of the cattle industry are demanding compensation after the Federal Government today suspended all live animal exports to Indonesia for up to six months.

Producers and exporters in the Pilbara and the Top End say the suspension will cost the economy millions.

But the animal welfare lobby wants the Government go even further and impose a total ban.

National affairs correspondent Heather Ewart reports.

HEATHER EWART, REPORTER: The word began to filter through to big cattle producers in the Top End and the Pilbara late yesterday that the Government had made up its mind. The moment they heard a boat bound for Indonesia was stopped from loading cattle at Port Hedland, they knew the writing was on the wall.

JOE LUDWIG, MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE: Last night I ordered the complete suspension of all livestock exports to Indonesia for the purposes of slaughter until new safeguards are established for the trade.

HEATHER EWART: A suspension of up to six months after last week's shocking images on the ABC's Four Corner's program showing animal abuse in Indonesian slaughterhouses.

JOE LUDWIG: This suspension will be in place until the Government and industry establishes sufficient safeguards which provide a verifiable and transparent supply chain assurance.

LYN WHITE, ANIMALS AUSTRALIA: We're very pleased that the Gillard Government has heard the voice of the people over the last week. We have seen an unprecedented outpouring of rage and distress at how our cattle have been treated this. And this, as far as we're concerned, must never happen again. (read more)

This post was reader contributed.

Suspected U.S. drone attack kills 23 in Pakistan

A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region on Wednesday killed 23 suspected militants, intelligence officials told CNN.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said the suspected drone fired four missiles at a militant training center in the area of Roya Naray in North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they said they are not authorized to speak to journalists.

Based on a count by the CNN Islamabad bureau, Wednesday's suspected drone strike was the 32nd this year. (Source)

Children work with weapons to aid Libya's rebels



The eyes of 15-year-old Nasser are fixed on a small metal part that belongs to a massive metal gun. He scrubs every tiny little crevice with a toothbrush until the bristles bend in awkward directions from the strain.

This is how he now spends his time six days a week for 10 hours a day in the open yard of a makeshift weapons workshop.

Nasser is one of Misrata's children. A boy who for more than 100 days suffered the frightening sounds of rockets falling from the sky and tanks blasting their way through the city as government forces battled to control the uprising against it from Misrata's citizens.

"It was really scary," he said. "People really suffered especially during the first days of the war. There was not really anything, we lacked everything."

Four months later school is still out but the fighting has been pushed to three fronts outside the city. There is little for children to do. Nasser has found something along with a few other boys and he dismisses those who say children shouldn't be working on machines of war.

"I'd tell them to get back to work and try to understand the situation we are living these days," the 15-year-old said and quietly went back to putting together the gun he had just finished cleaning. (read more)

Gadhafi loyalists launch new push against Misrata



Forces loyal to embattled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi launched a new attack on the rebel-held city of Misrata on Wednesday, with anti-government forces reporting intense shelling from three sides of the city.

Thousands of government troops attacked around 6 a.m. (11 p.m. Tuesday ET), with 13 rebels reported dead by evening. Mohamed Mokhtar, a rebel fighter wounded in Wednesday's fighting, accused government troops of infiltrating rebel lines in cars bearing rebel flags.

Dr. Khaled Abu Falgha, a spokesman for Misrata's Hekma hospital, said it was the bloodiest day in a week in the besieged city. More than 1,000 people are believed to have been killed since the fighting began there in February, including 686 registered residents of the city, he said.

Rebel fighters returning from the front lines reported that their defenses were holding up under the onslaught, however. (read more)

UK Food prices rise at fastest rate in 23 months

Shops raised food prices at the fastest rate in 23 months in May, said the British Retail Consortium, which blamed the soaring costs of raw ingredients.

Overall, shop prices climbed 2.3pc in the past year, according to the monthly index from the trade body and researchers Nielsen, down from 2.5pc in April.

However, food prices rose at more than double that rate – 4.9pc in the year to May, marking a pick-up in pace from the 4.7pc rate seen the previous month.

“Recent volatility in the cost of key commodities, linked to dry weather and global demand, is now working through to the shop price of some food,” said Stephen Robertson, the BRC’s director general.

Disappointing crops and demand from the biofuel industry have helped corn prices rise 112pc in an year and wheat 72pc. (read more)

UK warned credit rating could be at risk

Britain's top-notch credit rating could be slashed if growth stays weak and the Government does not stick to its austerity plans, one of the world’s top credit rating agencies warned.

The pound fell to a one-month low against the euro after Sarah Carlson, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, said the UK could lose its prized “Aaa” rating under these conditions.

“Although the weaker economic growth prospects in 2011 and 2012 do not directly cast doubt on the UK’s sovereign rating level, we believe that slower growth combined with weaker-than-expected fiscal consolidation efforts could cause the UK’s debt metrics to deteriorate to a point that would be inconsistent with a Aaa rating,” she said.

Moody’s later sought to calm nerves, confirming that the outlook for the UK’s rating is still “stable” and has not been revised downwards. “However, as we have been saying for a while now, slower growth combined with weaker-than-expected fiscal consolidation efforts could cause us to reconsider our stance," a spokesman said.

A lower credit rating tends to make borrowing more expensive for a country, which in turn makes improving its public finances more difficult. Analysts said there was little new in the comments from the agency, but that they flagged up the difficulties inherent in sticking with a tough fiscal plan while the economy looks shaky.

Ploughing on with the £110bn of cuts and taxes rises despite weak growth risks a slower fiscal consolidation anyway, said Howard Archer, UK economist at IHS Global Insight. If the economy disappoints this is likely to hurt the public finances through lower tax receipts and increased spending on benefits, making fiscal targets harder to meet. (read more)

Oil price jumps as Opec holds production quotas

The oil price has soared above $118 per barrel, after most of the world's key producers voted against releasing more supplies to the market at a stormy meeting.

Experts said the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) cartel, which accounts for 40pc of the world's supply, was on the brink of breaking up, with two opposing camps emerging.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates wanted an increase to dampen an oil price that has gained 25pc since tensions erupted in the Middle East this spring while Libya, Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Venezuela, Iraq and Iran wanted to keep production unchanged.

The meeting in Vienna ended on Wednesday with no formal decision on how much oil should be produced.

However, Saudi Arabia, Opec's biggest producer, may disobey the current quotas and raise output as calls grow for more oil. It already produces more than its quota, mostly to compensate for the loss of Libya's output because of the North African nation's civil war.

The Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, described the twice-yearly meeting as the "worst we have ever had" as the group failed to reach agreement for the first time. (read more)

Thousands of troops march on Syrian town led by 'murderous' brother of Assad

The notoriously murderous brother of President Bashar al-Assad has led thousands of Syrian troops towards a mission to wreak vengeance on a rebellious northern town.

More than 100 residents of Jisr al-Shughur fled across the border to Turkey, while others sought sanctuary in the churches and mosques of nearby villages.

They escaped after receiving telephoned warnings that Maher al-Assad, the most feared man in Syria, was on his way at the head of a huge column of armour and troops.

Witnesses in the surrounding Idlib province said the convoy comprised "hundreds" of tanks and "thousands" of soldiers, who kicked up huge plumes of dust as they sped past, in a dramatic escalation of the government crackdown.

The advance came amid fears that a British attempt to persuade the UN Security Council merely to condemn the Syrian regime's violence would be blocked by Russia during talks in New York on Wednesday night.

Human rights activists appealed for urgent international pressure on the regime, warning that unless Maher al-Assad was halted, his well-known "thirst for blood" would lead to a massacre. (read more)

China Genetically Modifying Cows To Produce Human Breast Milk

Chinese scientists have genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk, and hope to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.

The milk produced by the transgenic cows is identical to the human variety, with the same immune-boosting and antibacterial qualities as breast milk, scientists at China's Agricultural University in Beijing said.

The transgenic herd of 300 was bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows. The technology used was similar to that used to produce Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned by scientists, in Scotland.

The milk is still undergoing safety tests, but with government permission it will be sold to consumers as a more nutritious dairy drink than cow's milk. (read more)

Jesse Ventura: "These 2 Parties Have Created A Corrupt System Based Upon Panhandling & Bribery"

Random mob attacks cause concern in Chicago

No one was seriously hurt in the flurry of five random attacks by a mob of young men on Chicago's lakefront over the weekend.

But the feeling among many visitors and residents that the popular Near North Side stretch where the attacks occurred is safe for strolling on a summer night may have taken a hit.

"I think it reflects badly on Chicago," said Dr. Jack Singer, 68, a Seattle oncologist who was one of two victims in town for a convention of cancer specialists at McCormick Place. "I've been coming to the convention every year, and this is the first time I've felt threatened downtown."

The outbreak of random violence along a busy stretch of Chicago Avenue and the lakefront creates a sensitive issue for city officials eager to boost tourism and convention business.

"No matter what, we have to remember this isn't just about downtown residents, but our tourism economy," said Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward encompasses most of the downtown business district. "Perception is reality in tourism world. There are economic consequences if people think downtown isn't safe." (read more)

Iran to triple production of higher enriched uranium, use new centrifuges

Iran will soon install more advanced centrifuges at its new uranium enrichment site, the country’s nuclear chief said Wednesday, underscoring Tehran’s continued defiance in the face of international sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program.

Vice President Fereidoun Abbasi also announced that Iran plans to triple its output of the higher enriched uranium in 2011 and move the entire program to the new, secretly-built facility.

The uranium enrichment lies at the heart of Iran’s dispute with the West, which is concerned that the activity masks efforts to make nuclear weapons — a charge Tehran denies, insisting the work is peaceful and only meant to generate electricity.

Abbasi, who also heads Iran’s nuclear agency, said that Tehran would set up the more efficient centrifuges, suitable for higher-grade uranium enrichment, at the Fordo site near the holy city of Qom in central Iran.

Built next to a military complex to protect it in case of an attack, Fordo was long kept secret and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009. (read more)

OPEC Talks Break Down, No Deal to Lift Oil Supply

OPEC talks broke down in acrimony on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia failed to convince the cartel to lift production, sparking a rebound in global oil prices.

"We were unable to reach an agreement—this is one of the worst meetings we have ever had," said Ali al-Naimi, oil minister for Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest producer.

The failure to do a deal is a blow for consumer countries hoping the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would take action to stem fuel inflation.

"We have noted with disappointment that OPEC members today were unable to agree on the need to make more oil available to the market," said the International Energy Agency. (read more)

Greek joblessness at record as new austerity looms

Unemployment in debt-ridden Greece hit new record highs in March as government officials wrangled over tough new austerity measures required to tap the country's rescue funds.

The jobless rate increased to 16.2 percent in March from 15.9 percent in February, the country's statistics agency said Wednesday. The total number of Greeks out of work was 811,340, up 40 percent from a year earlier, when the unemployment rate was 11.6 percent.

March's is the highest level of joblessness recorded since the statistics agency began issuing figures in 2004. The government had projected an overall unemployment rate of 14.5 percent for this year in its 2011 budget.

The situation is expected to get worse as the government imposes yet more austerity measures to meet targets set out in the agreement for Greece's euro110 billion ($161 billion) package of rescue loans.

Cutbacks and tax increases taken over the past year have already led to anger among workers and unions, which has been compounded by the realization that the measures did not produce all of the results they were expected to.

Ministers are now tussling over the details of additional cutbacks and tax hikes, including euro6.4 billion worth of remedial austerity measures for this year, and a midterm program to run from 2012-2015, two years beyond the current government's mandate. (read more)

Cruise passengers tell of seven-hour security 'revenge' nightmare

Elderly passengers on board a luxury cruise have criticised US immigration officials after they endured a seven-hour security check.

It was billed as a chance to taste the “glitz and glamour” of Hollywood or enjoy VIP treatment in some of the most exclusive shopping areas in the world.

But when a group of 2,000 elderly British cruise ship passengers docked at Los Angeles for a short stop-off during a five-star cruise around America it was, in the words of one of them, more like arriving at Guantanamo Bay.

During their £10,000, two-and-a-half month “Alaska Adventure” tour from the Arctic to the Caribbean, the passengers on the luxury P&O liner Arcadia had become more than accustomed to passing US immigration with little formality.

By the time they docked at Los Angeles on May 26, for a one-day visit it was their 10th stop on US soil.

Although they had already been given advance clearance for multiple entries to the country during their trip, all 2,000 passengers were made to go through full security checks in a process which took seven hours to complete.

The fingerprints of both hands were taken as well as retina scans and a detailed check of the passport as well as questioning as to their background. (read more)

Ron Paul on the US default

U.N. Agreement Should Have All Gun Owners Up In Arms

It may not come as surprising news to many of you that the United Nations doesn’t approve of our Second Amendment. Not one bit. And they very much hope to do something about it with help from some powerful American friends. Under the guise of a proposed global “Small Arms Treaty” premised to fight “terrorism”, “insurgency” and “international crime syndicates” you can be quite certain that an even more insidious threat is being targeted – our Constitutional right for law-abiding citizens to own and bear arms.

What, exactly, does the intended agreement entail?

While the terms have yet to be made public, if passed by the U.N. and ratified by our Senate, it will almost certainly force the U.S. to:

  1. Enact tougher licensing requirements, creating additional bureaucratic red tape for legal firearms ownership.
  2. Confiscate and destroy all “unauthorized” civilian firearms (exempting those owned by our government of course).
  3. Ban the trade, sale and private ownership of all semi-automatic weapons (any that have magazines even though they still operate in the same one trigger pull – one single “bang” manner as revolvers, a simple fact the ant-gun media never seem to grasp).
  4. Create an international gun registry, clearly setting the stage for full-scale gun confiscation.
  5. In short, overriding our national sovereignty, and in the process, providing license for the federal government to assert preemptive powers over state regulatory powers guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment in addition to our Second Amendment rights. (read more)

Australia poised to allow camel cull... and the farmers will reap "carbon credits" for the slaughter

Killing a camel to earn a carbon credit may seem a curious way to tackle climate change, but one country is poised to allow investors to do precisely that.

The camel culling plan is one of the first to arise under the Australian government’s new “carbon farming initiative”, a scheme that lets farmers or investors claim carbon credits if they can show they have cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Such emissions are plentiful in Australia’s desert centre thanks to the region’s large population of feral camels, a legacy of the herds introduced in the 19th century to help settle the continent’s interior.

More than 1m camels are now believed to be roaming across the Australian outback – one of the biggest camel populations in the world – and each emits methane, a greenhouse gas significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.

“It’s one of those ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problems,” said Tim Moore, managing director of Northwest Carbon, an Adelaide-based carbon project developer whose culling plan is one of only three proposals to have been accepted for official assessment by the carbon farming initiative so far. (read more)

Lack of buyers may force US Treasury to boost interest rates

The U.S. Treasury next month will go back to relying on the kindness of strangers like never before to purchase the nation’s burgeoning debts — and taxpayers may have to pay higher interest rates to attract enough foreign investors, analysts say.

Though a significant rise in interest rates could be toxic for a softening U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve has said it will end its program of purchasing $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds as planned on June 30. The Fed is estimated to have bought about 85 percent of Treasury’s securities offerings in the past eight months.

That leaves the Treasury, which is slated to sell near-record amounts of new debt of about $1.4 trillion this year, without its main suitor and recent source of support, and forces it back into the vagaries of global markets. Among the countries that will have to step forward to prevent a debilitating rise in interest rates are China, Japan and Saudi Arabia — and even hostile nations such as Iran and Venezuela with petrodollars to invest, according to one analysis.

The central bank launched the unusual bond-buying campaign last fall in an effort to lower interest rates and boost the sagging economy — and it was successful at drawing down long-term interest rates to record lows last winter. In particular, 30-year fixed mortgage rates fell to unprecedented lows near 4 percent and spawned a refinancing wave that helped consumers to discharge debts, purchase homes and increase spending. (read more)

China warns U.S. debt-default idea is "playing with fire"

Republican lawmakers are "playing with fire" by contemplating even a brief debt default as a means to force deeper government spending cuts, an adviser to China's central bank said on Wednesday.

The idea of a technical default -- essentially delaying interest payments for a few days -- has gained backing from a growing number of mainstream Republicans who see it as a price worth paying if it forces the White House to slash spending, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

But any form of default could destabilize the global economy and sour already tense relations with big U.S. creditors such as China, government officials and investors warn.

Li Daokui, an adviser to the People's Bank of China, said a default could undermine the U.S. dollar, and Beijing needed to dissuade Washington from pursuing this course of action.

"I think there is a risk that the U.S. debt default may happen," Li told reporters on the sidelines of a forum in Beijing. "The result will be very serious and I really hope that they would stop playing with fire."

China is the largest foreign creditor to the United States, holding more than $1 trillion in Treasury debt as of March, U.S. data shows, so its concerns carry considerable weight in Washington.

"I really worry about the risks of a U.S. debt default, which I think may lead to a decline in the dollar's value," Li said.

Congress has balked at increasing a statutory limit on government spending as lawmakers argue over how to curb a deficit which is projected to reach $1.4 trillion this fiscal year. The U.S. Treasury Department has said it will run out of borrowing room by August 2. (read more)

Delta Airlines charges US soldiers returning from Afghanistan deployment $3000 for baggage handling



Two U.S. soldiers returning from a deployment in Afghanistan said Delta Air Lines charged them $200 each for extra bags for their connecting flight from Baltimore to Atlanta.

While on board Delta Air Lines flight 1625 Tuesday morning, Staff Sgts. Fred Hilliker and Robert O’Hair shot a video laying out their case. In the video, which was posted on YouTube, the soldiers say they are authorized to check as many as four bags, free of charge, on their return trip from Afghanistan.

Filming while in their seats, Hilliker opens the video by saying he and the other 33 members of his unit were told in Baltimore that they were only authorized to check three bags for free.

“Just back from Afghanistan yesterday,” Hilliker says in the video, “... on an 18-hour layover, we had a little issue with the bags this morning.”

He soon turns the camera on O’Hair to explain further. Interview style, they note that their orders authorize them to carry four bags, and talk of having to pay “out of pocket,” despite an existing contract between the airline and the government.

“How much did we pay?” asks Hilliker.

“Over $2,800, and there’s only 34 of us,” O’Hair replies. (read more)

Summer Brings New Problems Affecting Japan And World: Will Fukushima Cause International Higher Mortality Rates?

Over the last fifty years it has become apparent that nuclear energy is full of dangers, some of which carry repercussions even greater than those produced by a nuclear weapon. By way of their response to the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear industry, regulatory oversight committees, nuclear engineers, and leading scientific experts have failed the global community. Their actions have proved that they continually underestimated the situation, and did not fully understand it before making crucial decisions.

The quantities of radiation released to date are unprecedented, say the Japanese government, and they are very sorry for having withheld important information. They will also likely claim it “unprecedented” as people across the island nation and northern hemisphere are subjected to short and long term exposure to radioactive materials emitted from the power plants 3 reactors in full meltdown.

It has been known for over 20 years that it would only take one nuclear reactor to contaminate over half of the planet. The old criteria for measuring a nuclear accident, and acceptable levels of radiation exposure no longer apply.
There are many medical studies whose results lay in direct contrast to the statistics provided by international nuclear reports. While there have been many other nuclear disasters, there has never been one at this scale. There is rising concerns that fallout from testing during the 1950s may have weakened the immune systems of the youth, making them more susceptible to
future biological effects of additional fallout from other disasters. (read more)

Obama fears Greece default, and also the sand trap on hole 4

Barack Obama, the US president, weighed into Europe's debate about whether to restructure Greek debt on Tuesday saying it would be "disastrous" for the US if the crisis led to "an uncontrolled spiral and default in Europe".

Mr Obama was speaking at the White House alongside Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who is under intense pressure at home to ensure that private sector creditors contribute to a second rescue of Greece.

The president hailed German leadership in tackling the eurozone's debt crises. But in warning against default he appeared to side with the European Central Bank, which fears a restructuring of Greek debt could unleash a financial crisis.

"America's economic growth depends on a sensible resolution of this issue," Mr Obama said. "It would be disastrous for us to see an uncontrolled spiral and default in Europe, because that could trigger a whole range of other events." (read more)

5.3-magnitude earthquake in China's Xinjiang, 8 Injured - 8th June 2011

URUMQI, June 8 (Xinhua) -- A 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit a remote county in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Wednesday, causing a car pileup which left eight people injured.

The quake jolted Toksun County of Turpan Prefecture at 9:53 a.m., according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Toksun County is about 160 km from Urumqi, the regional capital.

The quake caused several big rocks to roll down a mountain in the neighboring Dabancheng District, and onto a road forcing a driver to slam on his car brakes leading to a 17-car pileup, said Zhang Qirui, an official with the district's road bureau.

None of the eight injured were in life threatening conditions, the emergency response office of the Xinjiang regional government said in a press release.

Earlier five people were reportedly hurt in the collision, among whom two were severely injured.

The highway section was closed for eight hours before being reopened in the evening.

The epicenter was monitored at 43.0 degrees north latitude and 88.3 degrees east longitude with a depth of about 5 km, the center said.

The quake was followed by two large aftershocks, measuring 4.2- and 4.1-magnitude and occurring at 9:54 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, according to the center.

A specialist with Xinjiang's earthquake administration said further earthquakes in the region are unlikely.

"Quakes over 5-magnitude have rarely been reported in Toksun County over the past 70 years. Citizens do not need to worry," the specialist said.

The quake severely damaged 50 homes of farmers and herdsmen in Kerjian Town and the 50 families have moved into tents sent by quake relief teams, according to the emergency response office.

Railway services on two important routes were suspended for two hours for safety checks.

Passenger and cargo trains were halted in the Urumqi-Turpan section of the Lanxin Railway, a pivotal link between Urumqi and the city of Lanzhou in northwest China's Gansu Province, and the Turpan section of the Nanjiang Railway, which links Turpan with the city of Korla in southern Xinjiang, the Urumqi Railway Bureau said in a press release.

Service resumed at around 12:30 p.m. after safety checks were completed, it said.

More than 800 students in Toksun County were taking a national college entrance exam at two local schools when the quake struck, said Gu Kejun, an official with Turpan's education bureau.

"About halfway into the test, my desk shook and I was scared. We were then told to leave," said Xia Daiti, a student who was taking the test at Toksun County's No. 1 Middle School.

The students were given an additional 70 to 90 minutes to finish the exam after being evacuated, Gu said. Source

Syrians flee 'mass slaughter' as troops roll in to their town to crush rebel forces - 8th June 2011

Syrians have had to flee for their lives as they fear approaching troops with tanks have been sent to slaughter them.


Terrified people have abandoned their homes in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, near the Turkish border, fearing bloodshed as the authorities arrive.

The anticipated attack in the northern region comes after clashes between rebels campaigning to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad and loyal government troops left 120 members of security forces dead.

The military are under orders to strike back after the government accused armed bands there of killing scores of its security men.

Refugees are racing towards Syria's border with Turkey so they can escape the approaching violence.

Though accounts of days of killing in Jisr al-Shughour ranged from an official version of gunmen ambushing troops to residents' reports of an army mutiny, it triggered international alarm that violence may enter a new and bloodier phase after three months of popular unrest that has left over 1,000 civilians and soldiers dead.

The government has vowed to respond 'decisively' to the violence in the northern region, triggering fears of an even more brutal crackdown by a regime infamous for ruthlessly crushing dissent.

One activist said thousands elite Syrian troops and tanks were heading to town of around 50,000 people, near the border with Turkey, ahead of a possible attack.

France and Britain, allies in the war against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, took a lead in pushing U.N. moves against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But Russia, citing NATO's inconclusive bombing of Tripoli, said it would veto intervention against Syria in the United Nations Security Council.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, at U.N. headquarters in New York, said it was "a question of days, maybe hours" before the Council voted on a resolution condemning Syria. A draft circulated last month does not propose military intervention.

At Jisr al-Shughour, home to tens of thousands of people, residents said they were taking cover and bracing for attacks.

'The army is taking up position around Jisr al-Shughour,' one anti-government activist reported.

Residents have seen troops approaching the northeastern town from Aleppo, Syria's second city, and from Latakia on the coast. Source

Royal Bank of Scotland Admits Bonuses 'Paid With Taxpayer Cash' - 8th June 2011

The boss of the beleaguered Royal Bank of Scotland has admitted taxpayers' money has been funnelled by the firm to pay bonuses to bankers.

RBS boss Stephen Hester made the admission while responding to questions from the Treasury Select Committee over the failure of banks to hit lending targets agreed earlier this year.

Mr Hester conceded there could have been "leakage" from taxpayer support into the bonus pool.

He also refused to support proposals to ring fence different banking operations and warned that the move could create more risk in the industry.

He was being grilled over plans detailed by the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) to separate the retail arms of UK banks from the riskier investment banking divisions.

The ICB, which will publish its full report in September, wants greater separation between the retail operations of the banks and their investment arms, but it has stopped short of recommending splitting the banks up.

Mr Hester told the Treasury Select Committee he could not give "black and white answers" when asked if he backed the move, and warned: "Creating a ring fence increases some of the systemic risk and decreases the ability of banks to withstand the risk and has significant costs."

But Mr Hester was joined in giving evidence by HSBC chairman Douglas Flint, who said a ring fence was required - although he would prefer it if there was not one.

The Government commissioned the ICB report, which will be published in full in September, to review ways of avoiding "too big to fail" banks sparking another credit crisis. Read More

Japan suicide rates hit 2-year high in May

The number of suicides in Japan hit a two-year high in the month of May, according to data released Wednesday by the nation's authorities.

For the first time in two years, the monthly suicide number topped 3,000 in the month of May, the National Police Agency said.

The report says suicides in Japan totaled 3,281 in May 2011, up nearly 20% from the same month last year.

The spike reverses a steady decline in the number of suicides since the end of last year, when the government launched a national public awareness campaign.

Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, and continues to grapple with a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

National suicide figures increased the two months following the disaster, the figures show.

The most populous region of Tokyo saw the highest number of suicides in May at 325, the agency said.

In the area hit hardest by the nuclear crisis, Fukushima saw 19 more suicides in May 2011 compared with May last year, with a total of 68.

The tsunami-devastated prefecture of Miyagi showed no change in its suicide numbers and Iwate prefecture saw a decline of three.

Northern Japan, which was devastated by the tsunami, had the highest rate of suicide in the country in 2010, according to the police agency.

Iwate prefecture in 2010 had the second-highest suicide rate.

Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures last year had a higher suicide rate than Tokyo.

Japan's suicide rate remains one of the highest among developed nations, according to the World Health Organization. (Source)

Tons of fresh produce trashed in Germany as E. Coli fears haunt Europe -- but why is all that good food just being thrown away?



Fruit and vegetable company Werder Frucht has to bring in additional workers these days or risk falling behind. But the workers are not busy selling the company's tomatoes: they are busy throwing red, ripe produce in the trash.

Workers empty crate after crate of vine-ripened vegetables into a giant garbage container on the company's premises in Werder near Berlin.

For the past four weeks -- since an E. coli scare caused European consumers to all but abandon eating raw vegetables -- demand in tomatoes has plummeted, says Petra Lack, Werder Frucht sales manager.

"At the beginning the demand dropped to about 10% of what we would normally sell, then it went to about 5%," Lack says. "Now the demand has stabilized at about 25% of the normal amount of tomatoes we would be selling." (read more)

Security Council to "huddle" over Syria -- New US military intervention coming?

The U.N. Security Council is planning to tackle the Syrian crisis on Wednesday, an effort to grapple with nearly three months of anti-government demonstrations and a brutal regime crackdown against the protesters.

The 15-member body will be briefed by a U.N. official on the subject and huddle over a new proposed resolution on the situation in the country.

A recent French-British resolution failed to please Russia, one of the permanent members of the council, and some other members. As a result, diplomats have tweaked the resolution language to make the measure palatable to Russia and all members.

It was not clear precisely when a vote on the resolution would happen, though Britain and France have said they would like it to take place by Friday.

A resolution would fail if one of the five permanent members vetoes it.

While vetoes by Russia and China appear possible, council members hope to get as much support possible for a resolution. The idea is to get a lot of support and highlight the opposition of those few countries that vote down the measure. (read more)

Greece needs more aid, says Wolfgang Schaeuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said the current aid package for Greece is "insufficient", adding there is a "real risk" of default if funds are not released soon.

In a letter to European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund leaders dated 6 June, Mr Schaeuble said a new package was needed.

He suggested a bond swap to give Athens more time to repay its debts.

A 110bn euro (£161bn; £98bn) Greece bail-out package was agreed last year.

Burden sharing

"The situation is difficult," Mr Schaeuble wrote.

"A return by Greece to the capital markets within 2012, as assumed by the current programme, seems more than unrealistic. This means the volume of the current programme is insufficient to cover Greece's financial needs. (read more)

China aircraft carrier confirmed by general as new cold war looms

The head of China's General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has confirmed that China's first aircraft carrier is under construction.

Gen Chen Bingde refused to say when the carrier - a remodelled Soviet-era vessel, the Varyag - would be ready.

A member of his staff said the carrier would pose no threat to other nations.

The 300m (990ft) carrier, which is being built in the north-east port of Dalian, has been one of China's worst-kept secrets, analysts say.

Gen Chen made his comments to the Chinese-language Hong Kong Commercial Daily newspaper.

Symbol of power

The PLA - the largest army in the world - is hugely secretive about its defence programme.

The carrier was constructed in the 1980s for the Soviet navy but was never completed. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the rusting hull of the Varyag sat in dockyards in Ukraine.

A Chinese company with links to the PLA bought the Varyag claiming it wanted to turn it into a floating casino in Macau.

The carrier is thought to be nearly finished, and is expected to begin sea trials later this year. (read more)

Elephant rampage causes terror in Indian city of Mysore -- Human encroachment takes its toll



Two wild elephants have gone on a rampage in southern India, killing at least one person, officials say.

The elephants left a trail of destruction in a suburb of the city of Mysore, in the state of Karnataka.

Officials say the animals walked into the city from a nearby forest, leaving residents running for their lives.

Officials say that one elephant barged into a women's college compound and wandered the grounds, while the other wreaked havoc in a residential area.

Forest rangers and officials from Mysore Zoo later captured and tranquilised the animals.
Encroachment

A 55-year-old man who left his house in the Bamboo Bazaar area of Mysore after hearing the commotion was trampled to death, Karnataka state Higher Education Minister SA Ramdas told AFP news agency.

Mr Ramdas said schools and colleges in the city were closed throughout Wednesday and extra police had been deployed as a precaution.

State forest department officials said the young elephants came from forest about 35km (22 miles) from the city.

They say that two other elephants remain at large on the outskirts of Mysore. (read more)

Europhrenia: Is the European Union Splitting Apart? -- Gonzalo Lira

According to the dictionary, schizophrenia is “a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.”

In Europe, they’re having the same thing—only writ large: It’s not that the political/financial leadership of Europe is at odds with the people—it’s that they’re two minds locked in a single body, struggling for control.

In the one hemisphere of this divided brain, the political/financial leadership is convinced the European union is something devoutly to be wished—no matter what the costs, no matter what fortune and the people throw up in opposition.

In the other hemisphere of the europhrenic brain, the people of Europe overwhelmingly do not want integretation “at all costs”. In some parts (a lot of parts) of Europe, they don’t want integration at all.

Now, like a lot of schizophrenics, europhrenia has been latent over the past dozen years—since the 1999 monetary union, as a matter of fact—because everything’s been going great guns.

This is natural—and completely predictable: You ever see a schiphrenic have a break-down when he’s happy, high, and just got laid? No you do not—he only has his little “episode” when he’s stressed. (read more)

Suddenly Everyone Is Warning About The Next Financial Collapse

Are we about to see a repeat of 2008 (or something even worse)? Suddenly all kinds of people are coming out of the woodwork and warning that we could be on the verge of the next major financial collapse. Of course many economists and financial pundits just enjoy hearing themselves talk, and sometimes they will make outrageous claims just to get attention, but when so many ominous warnings come out all at once it does tend to make one sit up and take notice. The truth is that global financial markets are even more vulnerable today than they were in 2008, and all over the globe we are seeing trouble signs. Japan is trying to recover from the worst natural disaster that they have ever seen and they are dealing with a nuclear crisis that never seems to end. The Europeans are trying to put another bailout package for Greece together and about a half dozen more European nations that are drowning in debt will need bailouts after that. In the U.S., there are all kinds of signs pointing to the collapse of the economy and the politicians in Washington D.C. continue to "kick the can down the road" and hope that our economic problems will somehow fix themselves. Oil prices are incredibly high and turmoil is sweeping the globe. Conditions are certainly developing that could bring about a "perfect storm" and cause another global financial collapse.

The following is just a sampling of the financial warnings that we have seen in recent days from some prominent voices....

*Economist Nouriel Roubini: "I think right now we're on the tipping point of a market correction. Data from the U.S., from Europe, from Japan, from China are suggesting an economic slowdown."

*Jim Rogers: "I would expect to see some serious problems in the foreseeable future….By 2011, 2012, 2013, 2013, I don't know when, we're going to have an economic slowdown again." (read more)

More job seekers give up, reducing unemployment

Where did all the workers go?

The labor force — those who have a job or are looking for one — is getting smaller, even though the economy is growing and steadily adding jobs. That trend defies the rules of a normal economic recovery.

Nobody is sure why it's happening. Economists think some of the missing workers have retired, have entered college or are getting by on government disability checks. Others have probably just given up looking for work.

"A small work force means millions of discouraged workers, lower output in the future and a weak recovery," says Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "Those are unhealthy signs."

By the government's definition, if you quit looking, you're no longer counted as unemployed. And you're no longer part of the labor force.

Since November, the number of Americans counted as employed has grown by 765,000, to just shy of 139 million. The nation has been creating jobs every month as the economy recovers. The economy added 244,000 jobs in April.

But the number of Americans counted as unemployed has shrunk by much more — almost 1.3 million — during this time. That means the labor force has dropped by 529,000 workers. (read more)

Skid Row shelter charges fees as economy toughens

Skid Row resident Dadisi Komolafe points indignantly to the sign reading "Union Rescue Mission," and grumbles that the name no longer fits since the shelter started charging for a nightly stay.

"They should change it to `Union Hotel'," said the nearly toothless jazz musician, who sleeps on the street. "If you have to pay to stay there, it's not a mission. A lot of people are getting turned away."

For decades, four missions have given out "three hots and a cot" for free in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row, where 4,000 down-on-their-luck people cram a 50-block area to form the nation's densest concentration of homeless people. The overflow from the shelters - nearly 1,000 people - spills nightly onto urine-stained sidewalks in a bedlam of tents, cardboard boxes and sleeping bags.

Two months ago, Union Rescue started charging $7 for an overnight stay, and cut its three free meals a day to one.

The move was driven by budget woes caused by the pinch of plummeting funding and soaring demand. But Andy Bales, the mission's chief executive, said he had been trying to institute fees for several years under a philosophy that homeless people should learn self-sufficiency. Faced with similar crunches, more shelters are taking that view.

"We've increased our sustainability, but we really think people are feeling better about themselves if they're not just taking handouts," Bales said. (read more)

Tons of fresh produce trashed in Germany because of the E coli Outbreak - 8th June 2011



Fruit and vegetable company Werder Frucht has to bring in additional workers these days or risk falling behind. But the workers are not busy selling the company's tomatoes: they are busy throwing red, ripe produce in the trash.

Workers empty crate after crate of vine-ripened vegetables into a giant garbage container on the company's premises in Werder near Berlin.

For the past four weeks -- since an E. coli scare caused European consumers to all but abandon eating raw vegetables -- demand in tomatoes has plummeted, says Petra Lack, Werder Frucht sales manager.

"At the beginning the demand dropped to about 10% of what we would normally sell, then it went to about 5%," Lack says. "Now the demand has stabilized at about 25% of the normal amount of tomatoes we would be selling."

Lack says a health warning from the German government urging people not to eat raw lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers has caused consumers to shy away from almost all vegetables. Read More

Still think its safe? Facebook now knows what you look like as it rolls out face recognition by stealth - 8th June 2011

Facebook has eroded the online privacy of millions of its users by switching on facial recognition technology without telling them, a technology expert said today.

The leading social networking website has 'enabled' a function that automatically identifies people in photos without their knowledge.

The feature has been expanded from the United States to 'most countries', Facebook said on its official blog yesterday.

Its 'Tag Suggestions' feature uses facial recognition technology to speed up the process of labeling friends and acquaintances that appear in photos posted on Facebook.

So if a friend 'tags' you in one photo, the technology will automatically scan your face and then try and find matches among all their pictures. It will then suggest that they 'tag' these photos of you as well.

Tagged photos typically appear in your photo stream as well as in your friends streams, depending on your settings.

When the function was launched in the U.S, Facebook contacted users directly a few weeks before - an action not taken in Europe.

Internet security consultant firm Sophos first reported the change yesterday, after Facebook users reported that the site had enabled the facial recognition option in the last few days without giving users any notice.

'Yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth,' wrote Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos. Read More

HOW TO SWITCH OFF FACIAL RECOGNITION

Sign into your Facebook account.

Click on Account on the top right of the page and then Privacy Settingson the drop-down menu.

Click on Customize settings.

Scroll down to 'Suggest photos of me to friends' and click Edit.

Change setting from Enabled to Disabled and save.

Disgrace we call NHS: Peter Thompson was left to die in corridor of HOSPITAL and is ignored for 10 HOURS.. before staff simply drag him away


Image 1: CCTV footage shows Mr Thompson entering the hospital at 7:45pm, not long before he collapsed and died

Image 2: Dragged: Mr Thompson was pulled along the floor after lying in the middle of a hospital corridor and having nurses stepping over his corpse for more than TEN hours thinking he was asleep

Two heartbroken parents have slammed 'inhumane' nurses who left their dead son lying in the middle of a hospital corridor and stepped over his corpse for more than ten hours thinking he was asleep.

CCTV captured staff pulling the lifeless body of Peter Thompson along the floor like they were 'dragging the body of a dead animal'.

Today a coroner said his death was 'wholly preventable' and believes he could have survived but for the neglect of nursing staff, three of whom now face disciplinary proceedings.

41-year-old Mr Thompson had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs but instead of taking him to accident and emergency, staff at the Edale House unit at the Manchester Royal Infirmary left him sprawled on the floor, where he eventually died.

The discovery of the footage has left his family devastated about the indignity of their son's death in April last year.

Mr Thompson's father Alan, 60, said: 'Seeing your own flesh and blood being dragged across the floor like a dead animal is heartbreaking.

'It was just inhumane what they did to our Peter and I just cannot understand how in this day and age this can be allowed to happen on a hospital corridor in the 21st Century.

'I can never ever forgive these people for what little they did - no matter what.'

Mother Rene, 59, said: 'I wish the staff had phoned us to say he was at the hospital. We'd have been down there and at least we'd have been there for him. He'd have had us there with him - we didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to him.'

Mr Thompson's daughter Carly, 23, said: 'I just didn't realise the extent of the neglect they had shown to my dad until this week. Read More

Russia: Wildfires Destroy Huge Areas Of Land and Leave 20,000 people without electricity- 8th June 2011

Raging wildfires across Russia have left around 20,000 people without electricity and destroyed swathes of land.

The fires - three times more extensive than during the same period last year - have so far destroyed some 618,000 hectares.

Siberia has been particularly badly affected, the emergency ministry said.

On Tuesday fires swept through the Krasnoyarsk region, leaving about 20,000 people without electricity in the town of Kodinsk and the surrounding areas.

These included the construction site of the Boguchany dam, one of the country's largest infrastructure projects.

The district has declared a state of emergency, the regional emergency ministry department said.

Russia endured the worst heatwave in its recorded history last year.

A drought wiped out the harvest and wildfires spread out of control, killing dozens, burning down thousands of houses and threatening military and nuclear installations. Read More

Video >>>>>>

The $223million 'doomsday' plane that can protect the President from nuclear war and meteor strikes - 8th June 2011

At a cost of more than $200million, with radiation and electromagnetic pulse shields and the ability to stay in the air for days without refuelling, it is perhaps the most impressive machine in the world.

The Air Force has offered a rare glimpse inside its 'doomsday' plane, built to protect the President and his inner circle from the ultimate worst-case scenarios.

Able to launch within minutes, the plane offers protection from all manner of threats, including nuclear attacks and meteor strikes from outer space.

The aircraft, which costs $223million, runs on 165,000 pounds of state of the art electronics and is protected by an electromagnetic pulse shield.

The equipment on board is so powerful a specially upgraded air conditioning system is required to keep the electronics cool enough to work efficiently - and a specially trained team of tech-whizzes stay on board to man the devices.

The plane is also protected by thermo-radiation shields in case of a nuclear strike.

Despite its size, the modified 747 can fly for days without refuelling and all E-4B aircraft, as they are technically known, can reach speeds up to 620 miles per hour, 40 miles per hour faster than their commercial counterparts.

People travelling on board can communicate with anyone on the ground and even submarines can be reached underwater when a five-mile long cable is extended out of the back of the plane for reception.

'[We] drop is down and [it] transmits coded message traffic to US submarines,' Captain W. Scott Ryder told ABC News.

'Give us the phone number of anybody, anytime, anyplace, anywhere on earth, we can get a hold of them,' Master Sergeant Joe Stuart of the U.S. Air Force added. Read More

DOOMSDAY PLANE: THE ESSENTIAL STATS

Power Plant: Four General Electric CF6-50E2 turbofan engines

Thrust: 52,500 pounds each engine

Wingspan: 195 feet, 8 inches (59.7 meters)

Length: 231 feet, 4 inches (70.5 meters)

Height: 63 feet, 5 inches (19.3 meters)

Weight: 410,000 pounds (185,973 kilograms)

Maximum Takeoff Weight: 800,000 pounds (360,000 kilograms)

Fuel Capacity: 410,000 (185,973 kilograms)

Speed: 602 miles per hour (523 knots)

Crew: Up to 112 (flight crew and mission crew)

Unit Cost: $223.2 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)

(Source US Air Force)

Neurotoxin Found in Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals - 7th June 2011

A potent toxic chemical that affects the nervous system has been identified in the bodies of Critically Endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, have found that Hawaiian monk seals are exposed to ciguatoxin, a toxin produced by marine algae common on coral reefs.

"This work provides first confirmation that Hawaiian monk seals are exposed to significant levels of ciguatoxins and first evidence of transfer of ciguatoxin to marine mammals," the researchers write in their report.

Ciguatoxins are potent neurotoxins that concentrate in fish preyed upon by the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, Monachus schauinslandi.

"Based upon this study, we believe that ciguatoxin exposure is common in the monk seal population," said Charles Littnan, study co-author and scientist with NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

The scientists suspect ciguatoxin exposure might be linked to the ongoing decline of these seals, whose numbers are estimated at between 1,100 and 1,200.

"This study is an important first step. However, we still need to understand more clearly how widespread exposure is and more importantly what role it may be playing in the decline of the species," said Littnan.

Monk seals were sampled throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The samples were then shipped to NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina for toxin analyses.

Tissue analysis from dead stranded animals revealed ciguatoxin activity in brain, liver, and muscle, while analysis of blood samples from 55 free-ranging animals revealed detectable levels of ciguatoxin activity in 19 percent of the animals. Read More

Marovo baffles: Dead fish found floating in lagoon, Solomon Islands - 8th June 2011

PEOPLE of central Marovo lagoon in the Western have baffled over the sightings of dead fish floating in the lagoon since the weekend.

Reports reaching Solomon Star early this week said since Saturday there were schools of dead fish found floating inside the lagoon area.

A man from the area Lloyd Nonga said the sightings of the dead fish have caused panic amongst the villagers.

“Dead fish found here in Marovo lagoon for the last 3 days, since Saturday.

“There were dead fish floating in the sea which caused panic among local communities here in the central part of Marovo lagoon,” he said.

Mr Nonga who informed this paper via email said the exact cause that led to the death of fish stock in the area is still unknown as of yesterday.

But he said locals have blamed a foreigner who is developing a tourism resort in the area.

“Locals are pointing figure to a foreigner who is married to a local Marovo woman and is developing an island on the edge of the lagoon for tourism,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports said a suspected chemical used to treat timbers against white ants is likely the cause.

It is unclear how the chemicals ended up in the sea.

As of yesterday evening people still found more dead fish floating in front of the villages.

Mr Nonga said the incident had also resulted in a woman suffering from food poisoning.

“A woman believed to be suffering from food poisoning at Chea village was evident.

“Village elders/leaders have restrained people within their communities not to eat fish until relevant authority come to assess the situation,” Mr Nonga said.

Following the sightings of the dead fish in the area children were instructed not to swim in the sea.

Last night Mr Nonga told Solomon Star the community have notified the fisheries and environment department on the matter.

“We have sent a report along with photos of dead fish to the ministry.”

It is unclear when an assessment team will be dispatched to the area.

The western provincial is yet to be informed about this incident, Mr Nonga said last night.

The community wants the issue dealt with quickly.

Meanwhile Mr Nonga said Honiara residence should take precautionary measures when buying reef fish from eskies sent to Honiara from Marovo for sell. Source

Thousands of Dead fish appear on Tarout beach, Saudi Arabia

The Eastern Province Fishermen’s Federation has blamed land-filling and worksite dumping for the appearance of thousands of dead fish covering a 400-meter stretch of beach at Tarout Island in Qatif.

According to Al-Watan Arabic daily, the fish and wide variety of other sea creatures have appeared in the last few days on the shore of the beach running alongside the Al-Mishari district, leaving a long two-meter-wide strip of rotting material emitting a foul stench across the area.

“This has been caused by dumping and land-filling which a local contract developer has been doing,” Ja’far Al-Safwani, head of the EP Fishermen’s Federation, told the newspaper. “It has led to the area of water being turned into an almost completely enclosed lake, changing the environment and killing fish in large numbers.”

He said that the cessation of water movement and rise in temperatures had produced a “red tide” and reduction in oxygen levels.

“There has been a lack of environmental awareness and no studies were made before the land-filling began,” he said.

Al-Safwani called for a committee to be set up to study the issue and penalize the parties responsible for “destruction of the environment and death of fish”.

“This region needs protecting. It is an invaluable national resource,” he said.
An official from the Eastern Province Fish Wealth Department said he knew “nothing of the incident” and that his office had received no report on the matter, which would be expected to come from the Border Guard.

A regional spokesman for the Border Guard, who suggested sewage outlets in the area as another possible cause of the dead fish, said that a report had been sent, however, while municipal council member Riyadh Al-Mustafa said the mayoralty should have acted sooner.

“A letter was sent to the mayoralty by the municipal council concerning a strategy for beaches in the area, but no response was received,” Al-Mustafa said. “That has led to things like this, and it will only get worse.” Source

Thousands of Dead fish stink up beaches along the Atlantic Shoreline Lewes to Ocean City - 7th June 2011

Thousands of small, partially processed fish washed ashore along the Atlantic shoreline from Lewes to Ocean City over several days, alarming visitors.

Thousands of menhaden washed up on the beaches in Ocean City; they appear to have been dead for a least a week, said Dawn Stoltzfus, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of the Environment. The department says wind pushed the dead fish to the shore, she added. Stoltzfus said an estimated 100,000 fish were seen on the coastline.

The dead fish may have come from the Delaware Bay, Stoltzfus said, but an investigation into where they came from and what caused the deaths is ongoing. Some of the fish were missing heads.

Water quality doesn't seem to have been a factor since other fish species in the area appear to be fine, Stoltzfus said.

"At this point, it looks like a sort of one-time event that's finished because we aren't seeing any new ones appearing today," Stoltzfus said Monday.

Throughout the weekend, beach resort residents and visitors traded news about sightings of the dead, headless fish.

The incident prompted an angry call for enforcement action from the top beach safety officer at Rehoboth Beach.

"I'm confident that things will be worked out, but it's a smelly annoyance," said Beach Patrol Capt. Kent Buckson, who said the headless, tailless fish were likely dumped or spilled from a commercial vessel. They appeared on the shoreline Saturday.

Buckson said beachgoers had been warned not to touch the fish that started washing ashore by the hundreds shortly after 2 p.m. Cleanup crews were quickly called to clear away those that already had landed. City officials eventually dispatched a beach sweeper to comb the shoreline, with lifeguards clearing away visitors ahead of the machine.

Bill Svolis, whose family owns Gus & Gus Place restaurant on the boardwalk, said the fishy wave caused little stir beyond the sand.

"It's pretty weird," Svolis said, "but we haven't had any customers talking about it this afternoon."

Buckson predicted that other resort beaches would be affected as the tides shifted. Read More