Saturday, June 18, 2011

Has US ordered news blackout over crippled Nebraska nuclear plant?

A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant [photo top left] located in Nebraska.

According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a no-fly ban over the area.

Located about 20 minutes outside downtown Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant is owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) who on their website denies their plant is at a “Level 4” emergency by stating: “This terminology is not accurate, and is not how emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified.”

Russian atomic scientists in this FAAE report, however, say that this OPPD statement is an “outright falsehood” as all nuclear plants in the world operate under the guidelines of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) which clearly states the “events” occurring at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant do, indeed, put it in the “Level 4” emergency category of an “accident with local consequences” thus making this one of the worst nuclear accidents in US history.

Though this report confirms independent readings in the United States of “negligible release of nuclear gasses” related to this accident it warns that by the Obama regimes censoring of this event for “political purposes” it risks a “serious blowback” from the American public should they gain knowledge of this being hidden from them. (read more)

Protest called in Morocco after king's speech -- Next phase of the Arab revolution?

Some protesters not satisfied with the Moroccan king's proposed constitutional reforms have called for a peaceful demonstration Sunday.

"The national coordinators (of the movement) have called for a demonstration Sunday for a truly democratic constitution and a parliamentary monarchy," a member of the Rabat wing said Saturday. "The plan as proposed by the king yesterday, does not respond to our demands for a true separation of powers," he said Saturday.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco declared sweeping reforms that will boost the power of the prime minister and take away some of his own.

Morocco's revamped draft constitution will make officials more accountable, the parliament in Rabat more dynamic and will give the government greater powers, the 47-year-old king said in a nationally televised address.

A Casablanca-based spokeswoman for the reform movement said "tomorrow there shouldn't be nationwide demonstrations as all Moroccans are happy with the king's speech." (read more)

Greek riots not shown on mainstream news in the UK

Greenspan: The 'almost certain' Greece default could cause US double-dip

A default by Greece could drive the US back into recession, according to the former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan.

In an interview with Bloomberg Mr Greenspan said the "chances of Greece not defaulting are very small".

His comments came as Greece’s prime minister George Papandreou's failed to win support for more austerity measures to help address its debt problems.

Mr Greenspan told Bloomberg the chances of Greece defaulting are now "so high that you almost have to say there’s no way out," which could put pressure on some US banks.

He argued Greece's debt crisis had the potential to push the US into another recession, as without it the probability of a recession "is quite low".

"There's no momentum in the system that suggests to me that we are about to go into a double-dip," he said. Mr Greenspan said the US's debt issue is becoming "horrendously dangerous" and said that he doubts lawmakers have another year or two to solve it.

He added that the US recovery is being hindered by apprehension among businesses over the long term outlook, and claimed there is nothing more for the Fed policymakers to do.

His comments come as traders feared Greece could become Europe's "Lehman's moment".

Neil Mackinnon, an economist at VTB Capital in London and a former Treasury official, told the Daily Telegraph: "The probability of a eurozone Lehman moment is increasing. The markets have moved from simply pricing in a high probability of a Greek debt default to looking at a scenario of it becoming disorderly and of contagion spreading to other economies like Portugal, like Ireland, and maybe Spain, Italy and Belgium." (read more)

Mexican teenage girls train as drug cartel killers

Dwarfed by surrounding reporters and with her head bowed to avoid the television cameras, the slender 16-year-old hesitated slightly before she answered the question. "I'm a hitwoman," she said.

Maria Celeste Mendoza was among six teenage suspected gang members arrested this week by police after a shoot-out with authorities in central Mexico, one of the growing ranks of young people working for the country's drug cartels.

Dressed in combat fatigues and with her face hidden, the girl from the northern border state of Tamaulipas described how she had been trained to use Kalashnikov assault rifles and other weapons by the Zetas, one of Mexico's most brutal gangs.

In a listless drawl, Mendoza said she was paid 12,000 pesos ($1,000) for two weeks' work, more than three times the national average. Although she said she was trained as a hitwoman, it was unclear if she had killed anyone yet. (read more)

Judge to Rosalina Gonzales: You are not allowed to spank your children, enjoy your probation

A judge in Corpus Christi, Texas had some harsh words for a mother charged with spanking her own child before sentencing her to probation.

"You don't spank children today," said Judge Jose Longoria. "In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don't spank children."

Rosalina Gonzales had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of injury to a child for what prosecutors had described as a "pretty simple, straightforward spanking case." They noted she didn't use a belt or leave any bruises, just some red marks.

As part of the plea deal, Gonzales will serve five years probation, during which time she'll have to take parenting classes, follow CPS guidelines, and make a $50 payment to the Children's Advocacy Center.

She was arrested back in December after the child's paternal grandmother noticed red marks on the child's rear end. The grandmother took the girl, who was two years-old at the time, to the hospital to be checked out.

Gonzales who doesn't have custody of the child or her other two children, is trying to get them back, but until CPS feels she is ready the kids are living with their paternal grandmother. (read more)

Francis Davis abandons 5 naked and hungry children in street, who are rescued by two teenage girls after nearly being run over by cars

Teens Helped Unsupervised, Roaming Children in Jersey City: MyFoxNY.com



Several children were spotted running around a Jersey City street on Wednesday. They were naked and hungry and their mother was nowhere in sight. Two teenage girls came to the rescue.

"They were running up and down the road- no clothes on," said Nilaja Wyatt, 17. She decided to take control of the situation after her friend Aaliyah Glover said her mother almost ran over one of the kids.

"We saw a little boy -- he ran in front of our car so my mother had to swerve her car," Aaliyah Glover said.

The teens gathered the six children and brought them inside. That's when they found out the kids' 2-year-old brother was in the upstairs apartment all by himself. The door was locked, so they broke in.

"He was crying," Wyatt said. "He had a snotty nose, everything, crying standing by the door."

They said there was no food in the apartment. (read more)

"They were hungry," Glover said. "We asked them did they eat, he said he didn't eat in two days."

So the teens fed and bathed the children and waited for their mom, who was out with a boyfriend, to come home. She never did, so they called the cops.

Obama drives the golf cart, Boehner sinks the putt -- and the world keeps burning

President Barack Obama drove the cart and House Speaker John Boehner celebrated a short putt during their much anticipated golf outing Saturday at a military base outside the nation's capital.

Vice President Joe Biden earned the commander in chief's approval when he sank a 15-to-20 foot putt on the first hole, a par five, at Joint Base Andrews.

"Did you all catch that?" Obama shouted to reporters gathered near the green.

The president sent his putt just past the hole before tapping in. Boehner, considered one of Washington's best golfers, gave a hearty "Oh yeah!" after draining a short putt.

Obama, who's not in Boehner's links league, patted the speaker on the back as they headed toward the second hole, the president driving their cart.

Aides say the time that Obama and Boehner are spending on the course could help improve a relationship that's respectful, but hardly close.

But 18 holes probably won't give them enough time to hash out their policy differences on everything from the debt to the U.S. military involvement in Libya. (read more)

Biggest strike for 100 years – union chief Dave Prentis

The leader of the largest public sector union promises to mount the most sustained campaign of industrial action the country has seen since the general strike of 1926, vowing not to back down until the government has dropped its controversial pension changes.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison – which has 1.4 million members employed by the state – described plans for waves of strike action, with public services shut down on a daily basis, rolling from one region to the next and from sector to sector.

He said there was growing anger over a public sector pay freeze that could trigger more disputes further down the line and that the changes would unfairly penalise women, who form the majority of low-paid public sector workers. "It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won't be the miners' strike. We are going to win."

In an interview with the Guardian, Prentis – who also chairs the public sector group at the TUC – repeatedly insisted that he still hopes to negotiate a settlement with the government through talks that are currently under way.

But the prospect of a resolution looks increasingly remote after the government unilaterally set out details of the new public sector pension scheme on Friday, pre-empting the conclusion of the talks. Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, called the move "deeply inflammatory". (read more)

Greek default could trigger chain reaction

Greece's economy is small but the shock waves from a default on its debt could be amplified by links in the global financial system to hurt stocks, banks and entire economies far from the epicenter in Athens.

In Greece, banks could go bust, overwhelming the government's ability to bail them out, and lenders in France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe could suffer serious losses.

And the resulting market turmoil could strain the European' Union's backstop fund, pushing European leaders to drum up yet more taxpayer financing, with voters already annoyed at funding other people's failed governments.

The exact effects of a Greek debt implosion are hard to anticipate, in part because no one knows how big the losses would be for bond holders, who stand first in the chain of dominoes. Forced losses of 50 percent would be one thing, a voluntary stretchout of repayment another.

Beyond the immediate hit to banks, the biggest fear is that of contagion -- a difficult-to-predict chain reaction that could roil markets and make it harder for other indebted countries to cope with their debts, with the result being higher borrowing costs for eurozone countries.

Some even say the end of that road could be one or more of the weakest euro members -- such as Greece -- leaving the shared currency, though the political will to prevent that remains strong.

Some are comparing a Greek default to the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in September, 2008, which triggered the most severe phase of the world financial crisis, freezing credit markets and leading to a slump in global trade.

It's not clear a Greek default would be that sweeping, but economists say that like Lehman's collapse, its damage could be greater than expected.

"The risk of a 'Lehman moment' for the eurozone is increasing," says Neil MacKinnon, analyst at VTB Capital. "The nature of the eurozone debt and banking crisis is similar to previous financial crises in modern times because of the inter-connectedness between the banking sectors and government debt." (read more)

How Miserable Are We? Index Says the Worst in 28 Years

When it comes to measuring the combination of unemployment and inflation, it doesn’t get much more miserable than this.

In fact, misery, as measured in the unofficial Misery Index that simply totals the unemployment and inflation rates, is at a 28-year high, reflective of how weak the economic recovery has been and how far there is to go.

The index, first compiled during the soaring inflation days of the 1970s by economist Arthur Okun, is registering a nausea-inducing 12.7—9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation—a number not seen since 1983. The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008.

The good news, of course, is that the Fed-led Paul Volcker embarked on a highly successful inflation-slaying campaign that brought the level of misery down sharply through the rest of the ’80s recovery decade.

The bad news, of course, is all the bad news. (read more)

Cuba: Sea Levels To Rise More Than 30 Inches By 2100

Cuban scientists calculate that median sea levels around the Caribbean nation will rise more than 30 inches by the end of the century due to global climate change, official media said Friday.

Models predict the sea will rise 10.6 inches (27 centimeters) by 2050, and 33.5 inches (85 centimeters) by 2100, Abel Centella, scientific director of the country's Meteorological Institute, was quoted by Communist Party daily Granma as saying.

There were no details of what preparations the island is undertaking, but Granma said scientists are closely monitoring sea levels.

Government scientist Marcelino Hernandez warned of the need to protect environments that can mitigate the effects of sea encroachment.

"Right now it is urgent to preserve mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass and sand beaches," Hernandez was quoted as saying. "Each of these ecosystems is a natural barrier to defend the coasts from the impact of climate change. If they deteriorate, the consequences will be worse."

International scientific studies have projected sea levels will rise between 30 and 75 inches (190 centimeters) by the end of the century, fed by melting glaciers and ice caps. (read more)

Tension, security high in China's 'jeans capital' after riots



Noisy traffic and bustling crowds returned to the streets of Xintang on Friday after days of rioting by migrant workers, but security remained heavy in this industrial town in southern China that produces almost half of the jeans sold in the United States.

Police and guards were manning checkpoints at major intersections, questioning some drivers. Anti-riot police patrolled the streets as propaganda vans touted the importance of stability. Fire trucks with high-pressure water cannons stood ready to deal with potential unrest.

Authorities have arrested 19 men, including nine teenagers, on charges related to the riots, the local government said on its website.

Outside the Longjiafu supermarket, where a scuffle between two street vendors and town officials triggered the unrest on June 10, people were reluctant to recount the incident to foreign reporters.

Witnesses and media reports said local officials beat up a pregnant migrant worker and her husband, pushing the woman to the ground. Mass protests ensued, quickly spiraling to violent clashes with government forces that spread to other parts of Xintang, a city of 400,000 residents, almost half of them migrant workers.

Photos posted online showed torched police cars and government offices by angry demonstrators. Witnesses told CNN of looting and other violence at night. Anti-riot police and paramilitary troops were sent in, reportedly using tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Although local authorities put the number of "troublemakers" at several hundred, tens of thousands are said to have taken to the streets during three days of riots, some of the worst seen in China in years. (read more)

Daily life without fuel and power in Yemen

In quieter times, Rafat Al-Akhali is a manager in a Yemeni pharmaceutical distribution company.

But these are not quiet times. Since April, unrest in the streets, an unstable economy and road blocks guarded by armed men on inter-city highways have prevented Al-Akhali's company -- and many like it -- from doing business.

Instead, Al-Akhali, a young activist involved in the uprisings against President Ali Abdullah Saleh has joined the newly-formed Justice and Building Party.

He is one of thousands of young Yemenis who have become political activists in recent months, regularly gathering in cities around the country to call for an end to President Saleh's 33-year grip on power.

President Saleh left the country for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia after an attack on his presidential palace on June 3. Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has taken over and commands the armed forces and security services in his absense.

While Yemenis wait to hear what will happen in the long term, normal life has all but ground to a halt for many ordinary people.

Four-hour lines for fuel, a doubling of the price of water, power blackouts for 16 hours a day and a shortage of cooking gas are just some of the realities of daily life shortages described to CNN in telephone interviews.

"There's a lot of ambiguity about what's happening, and a lot of negotiations going on in the background," said Al-Akhali, 28. (read more)

Greek deal fails to ease contagion fears

Fears of contagion from political and market turmoil in Greece sent Spanish borrowing costs to 11-year highs, in spite of a deal between the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that reduced the chance of an imminent default in Athens.

Spanish government bond yields, which move inversely to prices, jumped to highs last seen in September 2000, while Greek yields surged to fresh euro-era highs on Thursday.

Investors scrambled into the havens of U.S. and German government bonds with yields on Treasuries and Bonds dropping to seven-month lows.

The threat of a Greek default within weeks receded as international leaders overcame a hurdle to ensure Athens received bail-out loans to repay maturing debt in July.

A failure to repay this debt would trigger a default.

But the loans are conditional on the Greek parliament backing new austerity measures. In Athens, George Papandreou, prime minister, was fighting to persuade his own party, let alone the opposition, of the need to pass the measures. (read more)

08:38 AM GMT Share Comments (13 comments) Permalink Fears of 'Lehman-like' Greek contagion

From Hong Kong to New York, investors are watching the events unfold in Greece with a dreaded sense of déjà vu.

The reality gap looming in Athens between what ordinary Greeks want and what their politicians can realistically achieve has ramifications that could ripple far beyond the Aegean shores.

The only thing that is certain for now is that the longer the impasse lasts, the more devastating its consequences will be – not just for Greece- but for other cash strapped countries that share the euro as well as Europe’s trading partners further afield.

As the IMF prepares to hand out yet another eye-watering chunk of bailout funds to Greece, it may appear to some like a parent handing cash to a spoiled child - even if they haven’t done their homework.

However the Greeks protesting from the Parthenon to the Parliament this week are not children. They are men and women coping with the most precipitous decline in living standards their generation has known. (read more)

Corrupt Chinese officials, executives stole $120B, fled mostly to USA

Corrupt Chinese officials and executives absconded overseas with roughly $120 billion from the mid-1990s to 2008, and the United States was the most popular destination, according to a report from China's central bank.

Other top getaways for the estimated 16,000 to 18,000 high-ranking embezzlers included Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, according to the bank's Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Center. Low-ranking officials usually fled closer to home -- Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mongolia and Russia.

Officials and executives of state-owned enterprises who could not get visas for prominent Western countries generally went to Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe to wait for a chance to move on and up.

Chinese media reported earlier this week that the "confidential" report briefly appeared on the website of the People's Bank of China, the country's equivalent of the Federal Reserve, but has since been removed. The 67-page document cites statistics released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and remains available in Chinese (pdf), the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. (read more)

CIA, Senate hackers gleefully promise more

They've breached or busted the websites of the CIA, PBS and the U.S. Senate, and launched at least part of an extended attack on Sony, whose PlayStation Network was brought to a grinding halt for the better part of a month.

And, to hear them tell it, it's all for a laugh.

Meet Lulz Security, or LulzSec, the gleeful and secretive band of hackers who appear to be responsible for a string of high-profile and sometimes embarrassing Internet attacks.

Their most recent strike, and arguably the most ambitious, was a distributed denial-of-service attack Wednesday that shut down the Central Intelligence Agency's website for a couple of hours.

A DDoS attack is fairly easy with the right software. But the group has also hacked into sites ranging from Sony Pictures to porn sites, often publishing the passwords and other personal information they find.

Instead of hiding in the dark shadows of the Internet, they are front-and-center on an active Twitter feed fueled with taunts, crude jokes and hints about future attacks.

For those who don't speak the language, "lulz" is an offshoot of "LOL," webspeak for laughing out loud. Think of it as a substitute for "just for a laugh."

"Lulz Security, where the entertainment is always at your expense, whether you realize it or not," read a recent post on the account. "Wrecking your infrastructures since 2011."

On Friday, on the occasion of their 1,000th tweet, the group posted a manifesto of sorts in which they said people, including their targets and advocates of Internet freedom, should be thankful. (read more)

Radioactive substances found at thermal plant, India - 18th June 2011

Traces of radioactive substances which can be harmful to people in the longer run have been found in fly ash at the Chandrapur thermal power plant in Maharashtra. A study of fly ash by the public sector Nagpur based National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning has found traces of radioactive thorium and uranium in the fly ash lying at the plant.

“The radioactivity is within the permissible levels,” said P Raja, the lead author of the study based on samples of fly ash tested at the bureau’s laboratory. “If the radioactive substances are not removed it can lead to contamination of air and ground water and prove environmentally hazardous”.

In the study, radio-nuclides were estimated in fly ash samples collected from the economizer, aerator and electrostatic precipitator of the power plant. In all samples, presence of radioactive substances was below the level prescribed by Atomic Energy Board, the regulator for radioactive safety in India.

What the study fails to answer is the key question whether radioactive substances in the fly ash have affected people living near or working in the plant. “No such study has been done,” Raja said, while arguing a need to analyse local population for radioactivity living near Chandrapur thermal plant.

Radioactive substances are formed when coal is burnt at very high temperatures at thermal power plants. Recent studies in Russia have shown high presence of radioactive substances in waste generated from burning of coal which can impact local population.

But in India presence of radioactive substances from thermal plants has not been discovered, but the study says its presence is a cause for environmental alarm. “It shows weak implementation of environmental norms,” the study said, apparently agreeing with anti-nuclear activists who have been claiming that enforcement of radioactive laws in India are extremely weak.

The finding comes at the time when anti-nuclear activists are demanding scrapping of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant on the possible impact on local population from radioactive rays generated at the plant.

“We are saying that poor implementation of environmental norms which can prove disastrous in the longer run,” Raja said. The study, which has been peer-reviewed, will be published in the next edition of the Indian science journal Current Science on Monday. Source

Death toll from ship blast in south China rises to 7; 6 remain missing - 18th June 2011

The death toll from a cargo vessel blast has risen to seven as of late Saturday after rescuers retrieved two more bodies Saturday from a river in south China's Guangdong Province, local authorities said.

Six people remain missing, said a spokesman with the government information office of Guangzhou, the provincial capital city.

The accident happened around 1 a.m. when the vessel, "Nandayou 22," exploded at a dock in the township of Shilou, Panyu District of Guangzhou.

The accident also left one injured, said the spokesman.

The legal representative and the vice president of the Gang'an Ship Cleaning Company, owner of the dock, have been detained, he said. Source

Horror as three tourists shot at South Dakota Wild West-style shootout - 18th June 2011

Three tourists have been shot while watching a staged Wild West-style shootout.

One of the shot bystanders is thought to be a woman while another, a 48-year-old man was shot twice in the gun show in Hill City, South Dakota, according to reports.

All three were rushed to Rapid City Regional Hospital after the incident last night, but their injuries are not thought to be life threatening, according to a Pennington County sheriff's spokesman.

The shootout is performed four days a week in the tourist season. Volunteer cowboys from Rapid City dress up in Wild West clothing and simulate the shootout while onlookers crowd round.

The even regularly attracts crowds of around 160 and is a popular draw for families visiting the area, but no children were thought to be involved in the shooting last night.

The cowboys are supposed to use blanks, but there is now speculation they may have used real bullets instead.

Authorities do not yet know whether the shootings were caused by bullets or shrapnel.

The event is a regular fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network, but many want to see the back of it, including Brenda Nolting, president of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce.

She told the Rapid City Journal: 'They've been doing it for years (but) there won't be another shootout.

'In my mind, it's done for good. This just cannot happen.

'This is a horrible thing. We're sick about it. I'm sick for the families. This is just a shock for everybody who's here.' Read More

China's ghost towns: New satellite pictures show massive skyscraper cities which are STILL completely empty - 18th June 2011


As sprawling housing developments and skyscrapers in one of the world's most populous countries, these tower blocks and recently-built neighbourhoods should be busy and swarming with people.

But on closer inspection these stunning pictures show elaborate public buildings and open spaces which are left completely empty.

The most recent pictures of unused housing emerged as China announced plans to build 20 cities a year for the next 20 years.

And despite pictures last year showing some of the reported 64 million empty homes, Chinese authorities have since erected masses more buildings.

Gillem Tulloch, an aanlyst for Forensic Asia Limited, described one of the areas in Chenggong, as a 'forest of skyscrapers'.

When asked what has happened in the past six months since the ghost cities were built, he said: 'China built more of them.

'China consumes more steel, iron ore and cement per capita than any industrial nation in history. Read More