Sunday, June 19, 2011

Boris Johnson: let Greece go bankrupt and leave the euro

Britain should refuse to contribute to a second bail-out of Greece and the country should be allowed to default on its debts and leave the euro, Boris Johnson has said.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the Mayor of London claims that the euro's recent troubles have "exacerbated" the financial crisis and challenges George Osborne, the Chancellor, to "stop chucking good money after bad".

As Mr Osborne prepares to join European talks on agreeing a new £100 billion rescue package for Greece today, Mr Johnson says that European monetary union should be partially dismantled instead.

Ministers have promised not to underwrite the new deal, but the Government may be powerless to avoid involvement under European finance rules.

Mr Johnson joins a growing list of economists saying that Greece should be left to go bankrupt and write off many of its debts. This would probably involve it leaving the euro, or the credibility of the single currency would be undermined.

The London mayor writes: "For years, European governments have been saying that it would be insane and inconceivable for a country to leave the euro. But this second option is now all but inevitable, and the sooner it happens the better." (read more)

"Why Germany must exit the euro" -- An interesting take identifying Germany as the reason why the Eurozone is failing

Germany - not Greece - has 'destabilised the euro area and is one of the biggest road-blocks to its ultimate recovery.

Imagine you’re in charge of Europe. Not, I grant you, the opportunity of a lifetime, but let’s narrow down the job description to one specific question. The only way you can save the single currency is to eject one country from the eurozone. So, who is it to be?

You might be tempted this weekend to say Greece, for understandable reasons. Not only is it facing almost certain default, it has been a constant thorn in the side of the euro – spending too much, saving too little, and displaying the kind of corporate and statistical honesty you could only hope to match by placing Bernie Madoff in charge of FIFA.

But Greece is not the word. Stricken though it is, lancing that particular boil won’t help. Greece’s issues have always been a manifestation of a far deeper problem with the currency, one that policymakers still seem unable to confront. The eurozone has been pulling itself apart for years; removing Greece will not change that.

However there is another eurozone member that sticks out like a sore thumb. It has run its economy just as, if not even more, recklessly than the Mediterranean brothers, has single-handedly destabilised the euro area for the best part of a decade and is one of the biggest road-blocks to its ultimate recovery. That country is Germany.

This might sound counter-intuitive. Germany, after all, has an enormous current account surplus; it honed its productivity and competitiveness over the past decade; where Greece borrowed it saved, where Spain splurged it cut, where Ireland inflated it deflated. But that is precisely the problem. Were Keynes around today he would have identified the issue instantly: in any monetary system, nursing a mammoth current account surplus can be just as destabilising as a deficit. (read more)

Eight million gallons of water drained from reservoir after man urinates in it

Eight million gallons of water had to be drained from a reservoir in Oregon after a man urinated in it.

The operation is costing the state's taxpayers $36,000 (£22,000) and was ordered after Joshua Seater, 21, was caught on a security camera relieving himself in the pristine lake.

Health experts said the incident would not have caused any harm to people in the city of Portland, who are supplied with drinking water from the reservoir.

They said the average human bladder holds only six to eight ounces, and the urine would have been vastly diluted.

But David Shaff, an administrator at the Portland Water Bureau, defended the decision to empty the lake.

"There are people who will say it's an over reaction. I don't think so. I think what you have to deal with here is the 'yuck' factor," he said.

"I can imagine how many people would be saying 'I made orange juice with that water this morning.' "Do you want to drink pee? Most people are going to be pretty damn squeamish about that."

Mr Seater had been out drinking with friends when he decided to relieve himself in the open air reservoir at 1.30am.

He has not been arrested or charged with a crime, but may ultimately face a fine. (read more)

Japan to open airlock at crippled nuclear plant... and release a radioactive plume

Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been cleared to open the No. 2 reactor building's airlock to ease sauna-like conditions inside, the plant's owner said Sunday.

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it planned to open the heavy double doors slowly overnight, taking about eight hours to complete the process to avoid disturbing contaminated dust inside the containment building. The company has been trying to filter radioactive particles out of the air inside the building for several days, and Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency approved Friday plans to open the airlock, Tokyo Electric announced.

The reactor is one of three at Fukushima Daiichi that suffered meltdowns after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan. The tsunami swamped the plant and knocked out cooling systems that kept the three operating reactors from overheating, leading to the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Japanese authorities used robot probes to peer into the reactor housings in April, finding temperatures up to 41 degrees Celsius (106 F) and humidity ranging from 94% to 99% inside unit 2. Engineers have long suspected that the reactor was leaking a large percentage of the hundreds of tons of water being poured into it every day to keep it cool following the accident. (read more)

30,000 US troops in Libya by autumn? NATO Preparing Ground War in Libya?



This post was reader contributed.

Fukushima 3 months later: Radiation 1000 times normal, hordes of homeless, running out of room to store radioactive water, horror

Greek PM Warns Of Financial 'Catastrophe' as Europe's financial crisis deepens

The Greek Prime Minister has appealed to his people to support the hugely unpopular austerity measures he is seeking to impose to avoid financial ruin.

George Papandreou warned Greece's cash reserves would soon be exhausted without a new bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union.

His government's economic plans have sparked mass protests within the country and forced a cabinet reshuffle, a precondition for receiving extra cash.

"The consequences of a violent bankruptcy or exit from the euro would be immediately catastrophic for households, the banks, and the country's credibility."
--
George Papandreou, Greek prime minister

48 Percent Of Americans Believe Another Great Depression Is Likely In The Next 12 Months – 19 Reasons Why They Are Not Completely Crazy

Do you believe that the U.S. economy is steamrolling toward a depression? If so, you are not alone. According to a recent CNN poll, 48 percent of Americans believe that "another Great Depression" is likely within the next 12 months. Americans have been waiting for almost three years for a "recovery" to materialize, but instead there are all kinds of signs that the economy is about to get worse yet again. Inflation is rising but wages are not. There are millions of Americans that would do just about anything to get a decent job. The "misery index" is the highest it has been in almost 30 years. All of the recent polls show that the American people are more pessimistic about the economy than at any other time in recent memory. World financial markets are incredibly unstable right now and many analysts are expecting a repeat of 2008 (or worse). Meanwhile, our state and local governments are drowning in debt, the federal government is drowning in debt and governments all over Europe are drowning in debt. No, it is not crazy for 48 percent of Americans to believe that we are about to go into another Great Depression.

Just think about that statistic for a moment. Nearly half of the country expects the economy to fall to pieces at some point over the next year.

So do I agree with them?

Yes, I certainly believe that an economic collapse is coming. But that doesn't mean that it will necessarily happen within the next year. The United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline, and the next big financial crisis could potentially happen in 2011 or 2012.

But it might not.

There are so many variables and it is so hard to predict with certainty the exact timing of how things will play out.

However, it is true that incredibly painful economic times are coming. Our long-term economic future looks unbelievably bleak.

So anyone that believes that we are headed for another depression is certainly not crazy. The following are 19 reasons why it is perfectly rational to be pessimistic about the U.S. economy right now. (read more)

UK banks abandon eurozone over Greek default fears

UK banks have pulled billions of pounds of funding from the eurozone as fears grow about the impact of a “Lehman-style” event connected to a Greek default.

Senior sources have revealed that leading banks, including Barclays and Standard Chartered, have radically reduced the amount of unsecured lending they are prepared to make available to eurozone banks, raising the prospect of a new credit crunch for the European banking system.

Standard Chartered is understood to have withdrawn tens of billions of pounds from the eurozone inter-bank lending market in recent months and cut its overall exposure by two-thirds in the past few weeks as it has become increasingly worried about the finances of other European banks.

Barclays has also cut its exposure in recent months as senior managers have become increasingly concerned about developments among banks with large exposures to the troubled European countries Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

In its interim management statement, published in April, Barclays reported a wholesale exposure to Spain of £6.4bn, compared with £7.2bn last June, while its exposure to Italy has fallen by more than £100m.

One source said it was “inevitable” that British banks would look to minimise their potential losses in the event the eurozone crisis were to get worse. “Everyone wants to ensure that they are not badly affected by the crisis,” said one bank executive. (read more)

Moody's threat to downgrade Italian debt raises eurozone contagion fears

Moody's has threatened to cut Italy's credit ratings on concerns over a possible rise in eurozone interest rates may derail the country's fragile economic recovery, raising more fears of contagion from the Greek debt crisis.

Moody's announcement placing Italy's Aa2 rating on review for downgrade of the next 90 days came after European markets had closed for the weekend.

The agency said structural weaknesses such as a rigid labor market posed a challenge to growth.

Italy's potential downgrade highlights the risks facing indebted European countries as they struggle to avoid a Greece-style crisis.

Markets are worried that Italy, like Greece, will struggle to make the necessary spending cuts and other fiscal measures needed to cut its debts to affordable levels.

"The Moody's news on Italy reinforces the ECB's concern about the prospect of contagion. And contagion should not happen," said Greg Salvaggio, senior vice president at Tempus Consulting in Washington. (read more)

What? Trading Of Gold And Silver To Be Illegal Beginning July 15?

One small step toward Executive Order 6102 part 2, and one giant leap for corruptcongressmankind.

From: FOREX.com
Date: Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 6:11 PM
Subject: Important Account Notice Re: Metals Trading
To: xxx

Important Account Notice Re: Metals Trading


We wanted to make you aware of some upcoming changes to FOREX.com’s product offering. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act enacted by US Congress, a new regulation prohibiting US residents from trading over the counter precious metals, including gold and silver, will go into effect on Friday, July 15, 2011.

In conjunction with this new regulation, FOREX.com must discontinue metals trading for US residents on Friday, July 15, 2011 at the close of trading at 5pm ET. As a result, all open metals positions must be closed by July 15, 2011 at 5pm ET.

We encourage you to wind down your trading activity in these products over the next month in anticipation of the new rule, as any open XAU or XAG positions that remain open prior to July 15, 2011 at approximately 5:00 pm ET will be automatically liquidated.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience complying with the new U.S. regulation may cause you. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our customer service team.

Sincerely,
The Team at FOREX.com

So far we have only received this warning from Forex.com. We are waiting to see which other dealers inform their customers that trading gold and silver over the counter will soon be illegal. (read more)

Teenage Flash Mob Robberies on the Rise

The same technologies that for years have brought together the mostly benign and goofy "flash mobs," in which groups suddenly break into dance at a mall or stumble around like zombies at train stations, is being used to plan and execute bold robberies.

Called “flash robs,” these crimes are being organized by young teenagers through various social media outlets, most notably Twitter. Police say the suspects select a time and place and enter the store in droves taking what they want and leaving before security or police can catch them.

Some of the most brazen robberies take place in the light of day and on busy streets despite all the security cameras and the watchful eyes of workers.

“Young people are risk takers; they do things in groups far more than adults do. A medium like Twitter plays into the characteristics of young person’s behavior,” Scott Decker, a professor of criminology at Arizona State University, told FoxNews.com.

Because of these flash plots, police have begun to more closely monitor social media sites, reports the Chicago Sun Times.

The pack mentality emboldens the thieves to strike fast, so fast that the store clerks don’t have time to react.

“Over 90 percent of crimes committed by young people are done so in a group,” Decker told FoxNews.com. (read more)

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/18/top-five-most-brazen-flash-mob-robberies/#ixzz1Pjkjbozw

Ron Paul: Economic collapse will be worse than 1970's



The Federal Reserve is like a drug addict, according to presidential candidate and Congressman Ron Paul, notorious for his hatred of the Fed and love of gold.

In a recent interview with TheStreet, Dr. Paul likened the Fed to a drug addict unable to stop printing money as no one wanted to go through the pain of withdrawl. The libertarian Congressman, however, believes that Congress will raise the debt ceiling before August 2nd despite that fact that the U.S. is more than $14 trillion in debt, with $275 billion of interest payments due in 2011 alone, according to TreasuryDirect.gov.

According to Erik Oja, U.S. banks analyst at Standard & Poor's Equity Research, the Federal Reserve has committed, not necessarily spent, $14 trillion through its two rounds of quantitative easing programs, plus TARP and TALF, life lines for the financial system during the recession. Banks are holding excess reserves of $1.55 trillion and including their required reserves, their lending capacity is more than $1.58 trillion. As a result, if that money is loaned out then potential inflation is much higher than what is reported currently. (read more)

New report shows early chaos at Japanese Fukushima nuke plant

A new report says Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant was so unprepared for the disaster that workers had to bring protective gear and an emergency manual from distant buildings and borrow equipment from a contractor.

The report, released Saturday by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., is based on interviews of workers and plant data. It portrays chaos amid the desperate and ultimately unsuccessful battle to protect the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant from meltdown, and shows that workers struggled with unfamiliar equipment and fear of radiation exposure.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant's power and crucial cooling systems, causing three reactor cores to melt and causing several explosions.

TEPCO has been criticized for dragging its feet on venting and sea water cooling - the two crucial steps that experts say could have mitigated the damage. Company officials have said the tsunami created obstacles that were impossible to anticipate. An investigation by an independent panel is pending.

The report revealed insufficient preparations at the plant that TEPCO hadn't previously acknowledged. It said plant workers had a disaster drill just a week before the tsunami and "everyone was familiar with emergency exits," but it apparently did not help them cope with the crisis. (read more)

3 firefighters fired for looting Joplin businesses night of May 22 tornado



Three firefighters are fired and the Baxter Springs fire chief is placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway into the looting of Joplin businesses on the night of the May 22nd tornado.

In a statement from Baxter Springs Mayor Jennifer Bingham, she says the city of Baxter Springs upholds a zero-tolerance policy and as a city we will stand united against any such behavior.

It is unclear yet whether three unnamed firefighters were on duty at the time of the looting.

Last Saturday, Fire Chief Les Page was asked to take an administrative leave of absence.

Mayor Bingham says Page was not involved in the wrongdoings of the three firefighters. He has been with the department for nearly 40 years. In his absence Art Mallory has been named acting fire chief.

At this point Joplin authorities have not yet filed charges against the three firefighters. (Source)

Weekly announcements -- June 19, 2011

Hello everyone! We hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their summer. That is, enjoying it as much as they possibly can considering everything that's going on these days. Is it just us, or do things appear to be getting worse financially, weather-wise and in regards to wars and other disasters, almost seemingly by the hour?

We'd like to remind everyone of the July 4th nationwide protests, and encourage you to all take part. We first took notice of them because of John DeHart, so check it out and get involved. Feel free to use our forum to organize yourselves.

We've also put up some new categories to make it easier to find stories. We'll likely be adding more as we go along, so stay tuned.

We're also going to be opening up a small space on the website on the top left for sponsors wanting to advertise their small business or institution, and will use this revenue to help keep The Coming Crisis going, to develop the website and to carry out other truth-seeking projects we have in mind. If you're interested in helping out, get in touch with us!

Take care everyone.

-- Matt & Lynsey

*****
Make sure you access our proper domain name, www.ComingCrisis.org, for more instructions as to where to find our new location in the event of an emergency. We have backed up all our posts and are prepared should such an event occur.

If you're in Europe, you can similarly find us through:
www.ComingCrisis.co.uk

Our Twitter feed for major breaking news and emergency instructions is:
http://twitter.com/ComingCrisis


Our discussion forum can be found at:
http://comingcrisis.forum-motion.net

Contact us with questions, comments and stories of your own at:
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D-FOX -- Please contact us if you can read this.

To D-fox: if you're reading this, please contact us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com. It's important -- we believe.

John McCain: Illegal immigrants caused Arizona wild fires

Obama and Boehner team up for golf: Obama wins, America loses

Hackers nab data of over 1 million online game customers

Hackers have stolen personal information from over 1.2 million customers of the Japanese gaming company SEGA, according to a company statement.

The breach occurred Friday and targeted user data from subsidiary "SEGA Pass", which is operated by Britain-based SEGA Europe Limited (SEL).

The service was "illegally accessed from outside and personal information of all 1,290,755 customers of the service... were brought outside of the system," according to SEGA. The information included names, birth dates, e-mail addresses and "encoded passwords," the statement said.

But the company emphasized that it "does not hold any confidential information such as credit card information." SEGA says it shut down service as soon as it confirmed the illegal access and sent affected customers an e-mail apology.

The company says it is investigating the cyber break-in.

SEGA published the statement explaining the data hacking in Japanese on the Japanese website only. English language users were greeted only with messages that the SEGA Pass service was momentarily down.

"Sorry, the website is temporarily unavailable due to Maintenance work," one message says. "We will be up and running again soon!" (read more)

7-alarm blaze erupts at New Jersey former chemical plant Hazmat teams sent to site, which is across the Delaware River from Philadelphia

Firefighters battled a seven-alarm blaze at a former chemical factory in New Jersey on Sunday.

According to The Associated Press, the fire was reported around 5 a.m. ET at the now-vacant Concord Chemical plant in Camden, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

Hazmat crews were sent to the scene to investigate whether any chemicals remained on the site.

WPVI reported that nearby homes were being evacuated.

The Associated Press quoted a Camden County Department of Public Safety official as saying that part of the building had collapsed.

According to The Weather Channel, winds were "calm" in the area on Sunday morning.

The incident came just days after flames leveled an abandoned tire business and most of the two surrounding city blocks in Camden.

Three firefighters and one civilian were hospitalized for smoke inhalation after Thursday's blaze. That fire damaged at least 23 buildings. Source


Caylee Anthony's autopsy was 'shoddy' and duct tape said to have suffocated her 'was applied after death' - 19th June 2011

The autopsy done on little Caylee Anthony's body was 'shoddy,' a renowned forensic expert said in court today.

Dr Werner Spitz, who spoke for the defence in Casey Anthony's murder trial, also said the duct tape Florida prosecutors say suffocated the child was not applied until after her body had decomposed.

Dr Spitz, who has contributed expert opinion in several high-profile cases including O.J Simpson and record executive Phil Spector, spoke on the third day of the defence's case.

He also testified it was a failure that the two-year-old's skull was not opened during the official autopsy.

Dr Spitz himself conducted a second autopsy later.

'The head is part of the body and when you do an examination you examine the whole body,' he said.

'That to me is a signal of a shoddy autopsy.'

Casey Anthony, 25, has pleaded not guilty to killing her daughter in the summer of 2008.

If convicted she faces a possible death sentence. The defence maintains the little girl drowned in her grandparents' swimming pool.

Dr Spitz said he had intended to attend Caylee's original autopsy after her remains were found in a wooded area in December 2008.

He was denied.

He eventually came to Orlando to conduct his own exam and visited the crime scene, reviewed photos and read the official autopsy reports. Read More

Dalia Dippolito Branded 'Pure Evil' by a Judge as he Jails her for 20 Years over the Plot to Kill Her Husband - 19th June 2011

A newly-wed who tried to hire a hitman to kill her husband was branded 'pure evil' by a judge who jailed her for 20 years.

Former escort girl Dalia Dippolito wiped away tears as she was given the long sentence by a court in Florida.

The 28-year-old had tried to hire a hitman to kill her husband of just six months in an attempt to get her hands on their home.

Her attempts to find a killer backfired when an undercover detective posed as a potential assassin and she was caught out in an elaborate sting operation.

Police in Boynton Beach, Florida, staged a fake CSi scene to fool Dippolito into thinking the murder of her husband Michael had been carried out.

She was captured on TV cameras weeping after being told her husband had been murdered as she returned from a morning job.

She later looked on dumbstruck after her husband was led into a police station and her murder-for-hire plot was exposed.

Jailing Dippolito for 20 years, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath called her plot 'pure evil', and said she was taking advantage of her husband Michael, describing him as a 'a guy that was gullible.' Read More

Home owners on brink of repossession told not to worry... as it will take banks 62 years to clear backlog - 19th June 2011

Home-owners on the brink of having their homes repossessed may be offered an unexpected reprieve, after it emerged it may take up to 62 years for banks and the courts to process the backlog of claims.

At the current rate of repossession, analysts calculated it would take lenders in New York state 62 years to process the 213,000 threatened houses - the longest in the country.

In New Jersey it would take a staggering 49 years to clear the backlog, while it would take a decade to repossess all the outstanding homes In Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois - all of which use the courts to process claims.

Speaking to the New York Times, Herb Blecher from Real estate data firm LPS Applied Analytics said: 'If you were in foreclosure four years ago, you were biting your nails, asking yourself, ‘When is the sheriff going to show up and put me on the street.'

'Now you’re probably not losing any sleep.'

For those in the 27 states who do not use a court based repossession process, the outlook however is not so rosy.

LPS calculated that in California it would take just three years to clear the backlog, while in Nevada and Colorado it would take only three.

Despite the grim outlook for some, repossessions are down nationally by a third since last fall.

The news came as it emerged almost one in every 100 households are receiving foreclosure notices in a Western state. Read More

More than five million hit by devastating floods in eastern China after torrential rain - 19th June 2011

Devastating floods in eastern China have hit more than five million people in eastern China.

The flooding triggered a mudslide that buried houses and killed two people in Zhejiang Province's Changshan county, while two more were killed and two left missing in Hubei Province.

Torrential rains have left one million acres of farmland in the provinces under water, said the official Xinhua News Agency.

So far 7,000 homes have been destroyed, more than a million people evacuated,1,000 business operations suspended and 5.7 million Chinese have had their lives disrupted.

Local authorities are distributing aid, handing out a box of instant noodles and a carton of bottled water. But villagers have reported that survival is difficult, especially for those still trapped by the flood waters.

The rains follow the worst drought in China in over 50 years, which has decimated crop yields. The estimated cost of the damage is five billion yuan (£477 million).

Earlier this month flooding in eastern and southern China left more than 170 people dead or missing.

Farmers said the flooding was the worst in 20 years, reducing vegetable output by 20 per cent and also causing shortages of fruits and grains. Prices for green vegetables were up 40 per cent.

China has mobilised troops to help with its flood relief operation and raised its disaster alert to four - the highest level on the scale. Read More

London to Tokyo in two hours: Blueprints for 3,000mph hypersonic plane are unveiled... but it'll take 40 years to build - 19th June 2011

Plans for a pollution-free ‘rocket-plane’ which could cut the flying time from London to Tokyo by more than a quarter to just two-and-a-half hours have been unveiled in Paris.

The 3000mph hypersonic jet, codenamed ZEHST, would travel 20 miles up in the sky and cut the journey time from the minimum 11 hours 20 minutes it currently takes to reach Japan.

It could be in the skies within a decade, with commercial flights at four times the speed of sound pencilled in for 40 years-time.

New York would take less than an hour-and-a-half, while popular holiday destinations in southern Europe like Nice or Malaga would take a few minutes.

Even the journey to Sydney, Australia, which currently take the best part of 24 hours, would be cut to around three-and-a-half.

‘I imagine that this is the plane of the future,’ said Jean Botti, of European space agency EADS, as he unveiled the project the day before the Paris Air Show opens.

ZEHST stands for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation, which effectively means that the plane will cause no pollution whatsoever, said Mr Botti.

Instead it will be powered by oxygen and hydrogen, which will produce an exhaust made of nothing but water vapour.

Its cruising altitude will be 20 miles up, compared to the 32,000 odd feet which passenger jets reach today.

Take-off engines will be powered by biofuel made from seaweed, before rocket engines are used at altitude.

‘There will be no pollution because the plane will be in the stratosphere,’ said Mr Botti, pointing out that the plane will glide back to earth on no engines before they are reignited to land.

Mr Botti added: ‘It will be flying at the edge of space. It won’t be a rocket. It won’t be a plane. It will be a rocket-plane.’ Read More

Could a huge solar flare blow out the national grid and leave Britain without electricity? - 19th June 2011

An enormous solar flare expected to hit Britain could blow out the national grid leaving the entire country without electricity, scientists have warned.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is considering a raft of options to protect electricity supplies including switching off the national grid entirely causing temporary blackouts.

It is believed that as the sun reaches a peak in activity over the next two years it could unleash a 'class 5' flare, which might knock out computer systems and even throw satellites off course.

Scientists believe the flare would be up to five times more powerful than one which hit Quebec in 1989 and left six million people without power.

The initial blast from the solar flare could reach the earth in a matter of minutes. This would be followed by a second, potentially more dangerous wave of energy which would take up to three days to arrive.

It means the government would have enough time to implement a contingency plan.

This could include switching off the electricity network entirely and ensuring planes are flown at lower altitudes in order to reduce their exposure to radiation.

Ministers are also considering upgrading the nation's power line transformers to make them strong enough to withstand a solar attack.

The government's chief scientist, Sir John Beddington, has warned Mr Huhne that the massive blast of energy from the sun could also affect Britain's defence systems.

Mr Huhne told the Sunday Times: 'The latest scientific research raises the possibility of a severe event with the potential to hit many parts of the grid simultaneously

'That is why the department of Energy and Climate Change is working with the national grid and experts from the UK and US to consider developing better hardware and early warning systems to guard against potential risk from such an event.'

Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory reported earlier this month that the sun has woken up from a prolonged period of sleep. Read More

11 workers missing after building collapses in eastern China, 5 others rescued - 19th June 2011

BEIJING — State media say rescuers are searching for 11 workers who were buried when an office building they were renovating in eastern China collapsed on top of them.

The Xinhua News Agency says five other workers were rescued from the rubble and hospitalized in stable condition.

It says authorities are investigating the cause of the accident early Sunday in Wuxi city in Jiangsu province. Source

Mudslide Kills Four in Central Georgia - 19th June 2011

Mudslide in central Georgia killed at least four people last night and damaged key road at a two-kilometer tunnel in Rikoti pass linking eastern Georgia with the western part of the country.

Heavy rains sparked a mudslide that hit a roadside restaurant, buses and cars at Rikoti. Two employees of the restaurant were killed.

Heavy rains damaged roads and flooded houses in several villages of the Khashuri district as well in Shida Kartli region.

Bridges and roads were also damaged by the flooding in another part of the country – Dusheti district in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region.

In last few days significant damage has been caused by heavy rains in other parts of the country as well, in particular houses and farmlands were flooded in several villages of Akhmeta, Kvareli, Gurjaani and Telavi districts of the Kakheti region. Source

Mystery disease kills 22 children in Bihar, India - 19th June 2011

At least 22 children below the age of six years have died and 35 others hospitalised due to a mystery disease during the past one week in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, official sources said.

While four children died at the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), three others died at Kejriwal hospital in Muzaffarpur town, the sources said.

SKMCH Paediatrician Dr Braj Mohan confirmed the death of four children at the hospital since yesterday.

Twenty other children were still being treated at the hospital till date, Braj Mohan said.

Superintendent of Kejriwal hospital Dr Bibi Giri said three children below the age of six years due to suspected encephalitis at the hospital during the past 24 hours.

He said 15 others were still admitted for treatment at the Kejriwal hospital.

State health department have sent a team of experts from Regional Malaria Research Institute ((RMRI)led by Dr Krishna Pandey from Patna. The team had already collected the blood samples and returned to Patna, principal secretary (health), Amarjeet Sinha said.

The blood samples were sent to a specialised laboratory in Pune for examination and obtaining report to diagnose the disease children suffer in Muzaffarpur. Source