Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New San Francisco bridge built in China to be shipped to US: Globalism gone absurd

First, China made cut-price clothes and knick-knacks. Then it learned how to make mobile phones and iPads. Now it is making a 2,050ft-long bridge spanning the San Francisco bay.

Next month, four enormous steel skeletons, the last of the 12 segments of the bridge, will be shipped 6,500 miles from Shanghai to San Francisco before being assembled on site.

The bridge, which will connect San Francisco to Oakland on the other side of the bay, is a sign of how China has moved on from building roads and ports in Africa and the developing world and is now aggressively bidding for, and winning, major construction and engineering projects in the United States and Europe.

After building forests of skyscrapers in Beijing and Shanghai, showpiece buildings like the Bird's Nest stadium and the Guangzhou Opera House, and a high-speed rail network that is the envy of the world, Chinese construction companies are flush with cash and confidence. This week, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, lobbied David Cameron to give the contract for the UK's new high speed rail link to a Chinese company.

According to Engineering News Record, five of the world's top 10 contractors, in terms of revenue, are now Chinese, with likes of China State Construction Engineering Group (CSCEC) overtaking established American giants like Bechtel.

CSCEC has already built seven schools in the US, apartment blocks in Washington DC and New York and is in the middle of building a 4,000-room casino in Atlantic City. In New York, it has won contracts to renovate the subway system, build a new metro platform near Yankee stadium, and refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem river. (read more)

Dr. Marc Sircus: US nuclear 'Baby valley of death,' Millions to die


(Video shows night time radioactive steam escaping Fukushima)

Sunday, the prestigious Doctor Mark Sircus released a new report concurring with a host of scientists and other doctors giving evidence that people of Japan and United States have been subjected to dangerous levels of radiation since Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns, and also subjected to a tight cover-up by authorities and media, the result of which will be millions of baby deaths and new cancer victims. Japanese and American children are already suffering with symptoms that appear to be the first signs of Radiation Sickness.

"Finally, three months later, we are getting some numbers on what the real dangers are. And finally we can begin to understand the enormous cover-up of the nuclear doom that is reaching lungs all over the west coast of America, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii and at least half of Japan!" stated Dr. Mark Sircus.

Dr. Sircus Ac., OMD, is director of International Medical Veritas Association (IMVA) http://www.imva.info/. He was trained in acupuncture and oriental medicine at Institute of Traditional Medicine in Sante Fe, N.M., and at the School of Traditional Medicine of New England in Boston. He served at the Central Public Hospital of Pochutla in Mexico, and was awarded the title of doctor of oriental medicine for his work including one of the first nationally certified acupuncturists in the U.S. Dr. Sircus's IMVA is dedicated to unifying various disciplines in medicine with the goal of creating a new dawn in healthcare.

"For infants, it’s a terrible valley of death we have created for them." says Dr. Sircus. "As we shall see for years, all of them have been born with already polluted bloodstreams and now, the very young ones are dying in greater numbers on the west coast of the United States since Fukushima blew up." (read more)

Reader contributed.

"Americans will likely pay for Fukushima radiation deception"

Officials claim Japan fallout in U.S. are trace levels that are harmless - or are they?

In an exclusive interview with Deborah Dupré, the head of a major radiation and public health organization predicted that Americans will pay a high price for government and media cover-up and deception related to Fukushima radiation, such as telling the public that it only trace levels are reported and that these are harmless. Not only Californians are at risk.

Yesterday, The New York Times article by Matthew Wald reported, "Some researchers argue that all humans are regularly exposed to a low natural level of radiation, and that it is not harmful when below a certain threshold, although fetuses may be an exception."

Jospeh Mangano, MPH MBA is among what Wald described as the "vocal minority" arguing statistical evidence shows higher cancer rates among people exposed to tiny incremental doses. (read more)

Reader contributed.

Opec split threatens increase in Saudi oil production

A growing split between the world's biggest oil consumers and major Opec producers over prices means Saudi Arabia may no longer increase its oil output by as much as it pledged.

The International Energy Agency's (IEA) attempts to bring down the oil price have sparked a war of words with Opec, the 12-country cartel that produces 40pc of the world's crude ouput.

Opec is also divided between groups of members such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which would be happy with lower prices, and others such as Iran and Venezuela, which do not want to raise production and dampen prices.

Yesterday, Brent crude increased by $2.20 (£1.38) to $108.19, amid concerns about tensions in the oil market and a falling dollar.

Abdullah al-Badri, secretary general of Opec, accused the IEA of meddling in the market by releasing emergency stocks. "I hope this practice will be stopped and stopped immediately," he told a news conference in Vienna. "We don't see a good reason to release this quantity and I hope the IEA will refrain from using this practice."

Following his comments, a survey of Bloomberg analysts found that most think Saudi Arabia will lift production by only 500,000 barrels a day to 9.5m barrels today, rather than to above 10m. (read more)

France to invest one billion euros in nuclear power: Fukushima who? Is Chernobyl a type of dark bread?

France will invest one billion euros in future nuclear power development while boosting research into security, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday.

“We are going to devote a billion euros to the nuclear programme of the future, particularly fourth-generation technology,” Sarkozy told a news conference, reviewing the government’s “big loan” stimulus lending programme.

“We are also going to release substantial resources from the big loan to strengthen research in the sphere of nuclear safety,” he added.

Sarkozy said a moratorium on new nuclear reactors, as some countries have declared since the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, "makes no sense."

He said Monday, "there is no alternative to nuclear energy today."

France is more dependent on nuclear energy than any other country, with the majority of electricity coming from its atomic reactors. (read more)

UK's small businesses would be hardest hit by Greece default, Bank of England warns

Britain's small businesses would be the worst UK casualties of a Greek default if the repercussions spread through the financial system, Bank of England policymakers have warned.

“The small and medium-sized enterprise sector is particularly vulnerable to a banking crisis,” Adam Posen, an external member of the Monetary Policy Commitee (MPC), said. “When banks contract, banks then only do gilt-edged lending. We’re already seeing some of that.

“If there were to be a financial problem in the euro area, that would probably reduce liquidity for small and medium-sized enterprises in this country. That’s serious about employment, that’s serious about investment, that’s serious about inflation.”

His concerns were picked up by the Bank’s Governor Sir Mervyn King, who confirmed fears that Britain’s banks “could be drawn in” to a sovereign default crisis if it spreads beyond Greece.

“One of the things going on at present is a significant contraction of bank balance sheets,” he said. “The sector that is suffering most from that, is that those parts of the economy that have to rely on banks are suffering – and that is very much the SME sector.

“Lending to businesses by banks is still falling. That is not an environment that is easy for small business. Clearly that is a concern for the long-run health of our small business sector.” (read more)

Iran successfully test-fires 14 missiles during military drills

Iran has successfully test-fired 14 missiles during military drills, Iranian news agencies reported Tuesday.

Following the unveiling of several missile silos Monday, Tuesday's exercises are the second day of war games code-named the "Great Prophet Six."

According to Iran's IRIB news agency, the Islamic Revolutions Guards Corps fired three Shabab ballistic missiles and 11 Zelzal short-range missiles to test the missiles "'precision, navigation and interceptive capability."

Airing video of one of the facilities as it began a new round of military exercises, Iran announced Monday that it has built its first ballistic missile silos. The hardened, underground launch sites will allow Iranian commanders to fire missiles more quickly, Iran's state-run Press TV reported. A military statement carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency said the silos were capable of launching long-range missiles.

Iran's development of missile and nuclear fuel technology has led to U.N. sanctions and accusations from the United States that the clerical regime is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran says it has a right to peaceful nuclear technology, but the International Atomic Energy says it can't verify whether Tehran's nuclear program remains entirely peaceful.

The United States and the Soviet Union built more than 1,400 silos to protect their long-range missiles during the Cold War era. (read more)

Whittell High School Principal Crespin Esquivel Criticized For Delivering Graduation Speech In Spanish



He congratulated the graduating class of 2011, but one but one principal’s commencement speech actually offended some in the crowd.

The graduating class at Whittell High School has only 30 students. Just a few weeks ago during graduation their principal gave an encouraging speech congratulating his students and their parents.

“Class of 2011, I want to congratulate you for all your accomplishments this year,” said Principal Crespin Esquivel.

He then said the same thing in Spanish, making sure his commencement speech could also be understood by his Spanish speaking parents and students who make up the second largest group of the school.

“I figured why not do it in Spanish? I think it’s important for me to make sure all the families feel comfortable,” said Esquivel.

Maria: You never meant to offend anyone, correct?

Esquival: Absolutely not.

But it appears he did. One woman who sat through both speeches wrote a letter to the editor in a local newspaper saying Esquival “crossed the line”, “was inappropriate” and “took away from the recognition the students deserved.”

“[I] wouldn’t be offended. We’re a melting pot,” said one person we spoke with.

“No, I put my daughter in a school where she learns both English and Spanish,” said another person. (read more)

50 American Flags Stolen, Damaged In Uniontown

Community members are upset after thieves damaged or stole more than 50 American flags in Uniontown, Fayette County.

The flags line several streets for the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations there.

Red stripes spaced with white, 50 stars on a field of blue – it’s a design monumental to Americans – at least to most Americans.

“What they’re doing is just cutting them off the poles and letting them lay on the ground,” said Mike Gaydos, of American Legion Post 57.

Over the past two weeks, officials say more than 50 flags and poles have been stolen or damaged.

Keith Hillings and the local Elks Club place the flags along Gallatin Avenue.

“I rescue them. As we see them getting bent and broken, we go down the street, throw them on our trucks and we rescue them,” he said.

“It’s a shame. Every time we put up the flags, we lose flags,” added Gaydos. (read more)

Greek Military Coup not underway: Confirmed


The Coming Crisis has concluded that a Greek military coup is in fact not underway as was originally suggested by certain media outlets. We'll keep a close tab on the situation and investigate the degree to which the military and policing forces are involving themselves in the protest movement. Stay tuned.

Man keeps driving on highway after pedestrian flies through windshield and lands in passenger seat... then claims he didn't know they were there

A driver who hit a pedestrian along Interstate 45 in southeast Houston early this morning didn’t stop even though the victim smashed through his windshield and landed in the front passenger seat, officials said.

The collision occurred in the 12200 block of the southbound Gulf Freeway near Fuqua about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Houston Police Department.

Police said the victim, whose name has not been released, died at the scene.

No other injuries were reported.

Police said a man was driving his Ford Explorer on the freeway when it broke down. He pulled to the shoulder and got out and began trying to cross the freeway.

The man was hit by the driver of a black Mazada, police said. Police said the collision forced the victim’s body through the windshield and he landed in the front passenger seat inside the car.

The driver did not stop after the collision, police said. Police said he got off the freeway and drove a few blocks before a Precinct 8 Harris County Constable pulled him over at 11600 Kirkvalley near Beamer and the deputy noticed the car’s front was damaged. Then the deputy saw the victim in the car, police added.

Police said the driver told the deputy he had hit something on the freeway and that he didn’t know the victim was in the passenger seat beside him. (read more)

Radioactive water leaks from Japan's damaged plant

Tons of radioactive water were discovered on Tuesday to have leaked into the ground from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, the latest in a series of leaks at the plant damaged in a March earthquake and tsunami, the country's nuclear watchdog said.

More than three months after the disaster, authorities are struggling to bring under control damaged reactors at the power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

About 15 metric tons of water with a low level of radiation leaked from a storage tank at the plant on the Pacific coast, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it was investigating the cause of the leak which was later repaired.

Vast amounts of water contaminated with varying levels of radiation have accumulated in storage tanks at the plant after being used to cool reactors damaged when their original cooling systems were knocked out by the March 11 disaster.

Dealing with that radioactive water has been a major problem for Tepco, which is trying to use a decontamination system that cleans water so it can be recycled to cool the reactors.

But the system has encountered technical glitches and officials have said the water could spill into the Pacific Ocean unless the system was operating properly. (read more)

Population bomb: 9 billion march to WWIII

Sshh. Don’t tell anyone. But “while you are reading these words, four people will have died from starvation. Most of them children.” Seventeen words. Four deaths. That statistic is from a cover of Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 provocative “Population Bomb.”

By the time you finish this column, another five hundred will die. By starvation. Mostly kids. Dead.

But global population will just keep growing, growing, growing. Why? The math is simple: Today there are more than two births for every death worldwide. One death. Two new babies.

Bomb? Tick-tick-ticking? Or economic bubble? Population growth is a basic assumption hard-wired in traditional economic theory. Unquestioned. Yes, population is our core economic problem. Not a military problem. But the bigger this economic bubble grows, the more we all sink into denial, the closer the point of no return where bubble becomes bomb, where war is the only alternative.

Yes, folks, ultimately population growth is an economic nuclear bomb, tick-tick-ticking a silent countdown to global disaster. In denial, we march a self-destructive path to WWIII. (read more)

'Anonymous' hackers declare war on Orlando: Websites to be attacked over arrests of activists handing out food to homeless people

The hacker group Anonymous on Monday declared war against the city of Orlando, Florida, over the arrest of people handing out food to homeless people, according to a report in The Washington Post.

In a press release, the group announced the creation of "Operation Orlando" over the city's treatment of the Food Not Bombs group.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that what started as a spat over distributing food without a permit in a park had escalated, with Mayor Buddy Dyer describing the activists charged with the misdemeanor offense as "food terrorists."

This prompted one member, Ben Markeson, to threaten to file a defamation suit, the Sentinel reported.

The Anonymous press release said the city had "ignored our warnings, and our generous offer of a cease fire."

"On Wednesday last you not only arrested two more people for feeding but you arrested the worldwide President of Food Not Bombs Keith McHenry. This is a declaration of war," it said.

"Henceforth there will be no more cease fires, no more attempts to get you to resolve this issue with human decency. We will now treat you like the human rights abusers that you are," it added. (read more)

Iran test fires long-range missiles capable of striking Israel, U.S. bases



Iran's Revolutionary Guards tested 14 missiles on Tuesday, the second day of war games intended a show of strength to the Islamic Republic's enemies in Israel and Washington.

The Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles, with a maximum range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), were fired simultaneously at a single target, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division emphasized Iran's preparedness to strike Israel and U.S. interests in the event of any attack on Iran.

"The range of our missiles has been designed based on American bases in the region as well as the Zionist regime," Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh told the semi-official Fars news agency.

Washington and Israel have said they do not rule out military strikes on Iran if diplomatic means fail to stop it developing nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies its nuclear program is aimed at building bombs.
IRNA said the Guards fired nine Zelzal missiles, two Shahab-1s, two Shahab-2s and one upgraded Shahab-3 missile.

Iranian officials have previously announced that the Shahab 3 can reach targets up to 2,000 km away, putting Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf within reach.

A long-time enemy of the U.S., Iran has been emboldened by what it sees as U.S. military defeats in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries are still home to large troop numbers and Washington has other bases in the Gulf that Iran could choose to target.

"The Americans have reduced our labors," Hajizadeh told Fars. "Their military bases in the region are in a range of 130, 250 and maximum 700 km in Afghanistan which we can hit with these missiles."

The 'Great Prophet 6' war games, to be carried out on land and sea, are a "message of peace and friendship to countries of the region," Hajizadeh said on Monday. (read more)

Burlington Country apartment complex bans display of American flags, then quickly retracts after threat of media beat down



As people in the New Amsterdam Apartments in Marlton prepare for the 4th of July, red, white and blue started popping up around the complex.

That was until a flier prohibiting the hanging of flags or signs was delivered to mailboxes Friday.

“I was so upset. How can they ban the American flag?” wondered Lois Lawrence.

She’s lived in the complex for 13 years. Her father was in the military and her son-in-law is a deployed marine.

“I want him to come home safe. I want him to know I care,” said Lawrence, who says she tried reaching out to property management, but to no avail.

So she contacted Eyewitness News. Property Management said the flier did not properly relay an intent to improve curb appeal in the complex. Decorative garden flags are prohibited, but the American flag is always welcome.

Lawrence put two garden American flags she displayed inside her front door window back in her flower pot, no longer afraid they would be taken away and thrown out.

“I should be able to display the stars and stripes whenever I want,” said Lawrence.

Management thanked us for bringing the issue to their attention. The sales and marketing vice president says a new flier welcoming the flag is on its way to residents. (Source)

Obama Films Campaign Ad In White House, Possibly Violating FEC Laws (but it's ok, he can do whatever he wants)

NRO's Jim Geraghty raises the question of whether Barack Obama filmed a video for his reelection campaign in the White House, which may possibly be a violation of federal election laws.

RCP's Alexis Simendinger reports that the White House disputes any inference of wrongdoing. A presidential spokesman said that the video does not constitute fundraising under the law, that portions of the White House can legally be used for that purpose anyway, and that previous presidents have done so. Simendinger's complete story is here.)

In the video, President Obama promotes a "Dinner With Barack" raffle. To participate in the contest you need to donate at least $5 to the president's re-election campaign and your name will be raffled off to enjoy a dinner with the President, airfare and accommodations included. In a new web video, Obama announced Vice President Joe Biden will also be attending the dinner.

There is one problem, however. This campaign ad was most likely recorded in the White House, which may have violated FEC campaign finance laws. (read more)

World On Verge Of Economic Collapse As European Leaders Prepare For Greek Default

European leaders are now openly admitting they are preparing for an imminent default on Greek debt causing the bank ran media, who have been warning of “Armageddon Scenarios” and global financial meltdown Greek defaults, to suddenly develop schizophrenia throwing their propaganda machine in revers and run stories saying it is “no bid deal” if Greek defaults.

Truth be told, China is scared enough that they are stepped in to offer billions to suck up worthless European sovereign debt and billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros isn’t buying the Wall Street propaganda machine’s attempt to manipulate the market psychology either. He tells reporters that a Greek debt default will trigger a global economic collapse will begin with the Greek debt default and spread from there.

As I last wrote on Greece the Greek Army has threatened a military coup if politicians approve a new IMF Bailout loan, with an over 30% interest rate, needed to cover just the interest on the old bailout loan.

Of course that loan isn’t going to bailout the citizens of Greece, who are facing unimaginable austerity measures to pay back the loan, but the bailout is instead for to save the greedy bankers who put the nation in the situation there in by continuing to engage in the same scandalous financial practices that caused the financial meltdown in the first place.

Apparently, due the threat of the military coup along with military and police members join in the protests against the banks, European leaders are now accepting that Greek will not approve the bailout loan and instead saying they are preparing for Greek default on their debt. (read more)

Saxo Bank Quarterly Outlook Q3 2011: Maximum Uncertainty in the World

Uncertainty and erratic moves will be the norm rather than the exception reports Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, in its economic outlook for the third quarter of 2011. The second half of 2011 will be volatile and the uncertainty almost as great as during the financial crisis.

The most probable outlook for Q3 is that the world extends monetary stimulus across the global economies. This will bring marginal higher growth but also increase the burden on fiscal payments and a need for structural changes. Any long-term solution needs to be forward looking and involve an agenda for dragging Europe out of the low growth stalemate. A solution based on buying more time will only take us closer to the feared full blown Crisis 2.0.

With this in mind three major themes are identified:

--The EU and US debt issue: time is up and decisions are needed
--Asia/China growth slows down as they turn to fighting inflation in earnest
--Social tension needs addressing - otherwise not only do we lose the young generation but we also fail to provide a sense of unity, the very basis for sustainable growth, peace and prosperity.

Commenting on the outlook, Steen Jakobsen, Saxo Bank's Chief Economist said:

"The financial crisis was an opportunity missed for the policymakers and politicians alike. Only in times of distress are there consensuses for change but world leaders instead chose to pile more debt onto debt, merely transferring risk from the financial sector to the public sector. Two years later, and almost to the day, such policy and economic errors have compounded with almost nothing to show in terms of key parameters for long-term economic growth, like housing and employment."

"Demonstrations in the centres of Madrid, Athens, Lisbon and MENA are clear signs that something needs to be done to realign implemented policies with the required need for structural change. What the world needs to move forward is an agenda on growth and jobs, not on how to buy more time. The final six months of 2011 will be volatile and the only guarantee we can and will give is that uncertainty and erratic moves will be the norm rather than the exception." (read more)

Denmark lets another bank fail

Danish bank shares fell today on concerns about the health of the country's small lenders after Fjordbank Mors became the latest to fail over the weekend.

Fjordbank Mors is the nineth Danish bank to collapse following the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the second to trigger a state-managed closure in which senior bondholders as well as shareholders will bear part of the losses.

The failure of Amagerbanken in February set a precedent in the European Union by making unsecured senior creditors liable for bank losses, highlighting the Danish government's resolve to shield taxpayers from the costs.

Shares in Danske Bank, Denmark's biggest financial institution and the owner of National Irish Bank here, were down 4% toay, while shares in several small banks plunged.

Fjordbank Mors said after the market closed on Friday that it would ask state administrators to take it over and wind up its business as it no longer met the Financial Supervisory Authority's (FSA) increased solvency requirement. (read more)

Yemen Islamists tighten grip on southern cities

Islamic militants have consolidated their hold over a southern city in Yemen, forcing merchants to lower food prices and helping residents who want to flee shelling by government forces outside the city, residents said Monday.

In contrast, militants in control of another nearby city are enforcing a stringent version of Islamic rule, forcing women to stay home and trying to recruit young men to their ranks, according to residents there.

Government forces do not appear to have the will to fight the Islamists, raising fears that al-Qaida's most dangerous wing is making significant gains as the weakened regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh unravels in the face of an array of opponents.

So far, government troops and warplanes have only been shelling the two cities, Zinjibar and Jaar, in southern Abyan province, often missing their targets and hitting residential areas instead.

The recent advances made by the militants in the nearly lawless south are a clear attempt to exploit the power vacuum and turmoil caused by a popular uprising against Saleh that began in February. It gained momentum when a coterie of the president's close aides, military commanders and Cabinet ministers joined the protesters. (read m0re)

Dollar seen losing global reserve status

The US dollar will lose its status as the global reserve currency over the next 25 years, according to a survey of central bank reserve managers who collectively control more than $8,000bn.

More than half the managers, who were polled by UBS, predicted that the dollar would be replaced by a portfolio of currencies within the next 25 years.

That marks a departure from previous years, when the central bank reserve managers have said the dollar would retain its status as the sole reserve currency.

UBS surveyed more than 80 central bank reserve managers, sovereign wealth funds and multilateral institutions with more than $8,000bn in assets at its annual seminar for sovereign institutions last week. The results were not weighted for assets under management.

The results are the latest sign of dissatisfaction with the dollar as a reserve currency, amid concerns over the US government’s inability to rein in spending and the Federal Reserve’s huge expansion of its balance sheet.

“Right now there is great concern out there around the financial trajectory that the US is on,” said Larry Hatheway, chief economist at UBS. (read more)

Dems Push Ahead With DREAM Act, as ICE Offers New Guidelines for Illegal Immigrant Cases

Sen. Dick Durbin plans to make a full-court press Tuesday to revive the debate over a controversial proposal to give illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a path to legal status, as the Obama administration moves on a separate track to grant what some describe as "amnesty" to the same group.

Durbin, D-Ill., in announcing the first-ever Senate hearing on the so-called DREAM Act, said his proposal would "make our country stronger." Under the plan, which passed the House last year but died in the Senate, illegal immigrants who came here as children and complete two years of college or military service could earn legal status.

Several top administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, plan to testify before Durbin's subcommittee. The hearing and a recent memo from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggest officials are moving on two fronts to give illegal immigrant students a chance at staying. (read more)

Kabul Hotel Under Attack From Suicide Bombers; Gunshots, explosions heard

Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel is under siege from gunmen, with reports of at least five suicide bombers entering the building and several dead.

At least one of the attackers has blown himself up, reports say.

Afghan police have been fighting back with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades during the night-time raid.

There is no word on casualties inside. One local news agency is reporting 10 people have been killed and the head of Kabul's police force said three officers had been wounded.

A Canadian diplomat is reported to be among the dead.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to The Associated Press. (read more)

Philippine-US joint naval drill amid tension with China

The Philippines and the US have begun 11 days of joint naval exercises amid growing tensions with Beijing over disputed waters in the South China Sea.

US missile destroyers will join much older Philippine warships for the drills off the south-west Philippines.

In a BBC interview, President Benigno Aquino said he was concerned by China's encroachment into Philippine waters.

Several Asian nations claim parts of the strategically important waters that may also contain oil and gas deposits.

The naval exercises are an annual event and will be an important chance for Manila's badly equipped navy to learn new techniques.

But they come at a strategically important time, not far from the disputed region of the South China Sea in which the Philippines says China has made a series of recent incursions.

On Monday, the US Senate unanimously approved a motion deploring "the use of force by naval and maritime security vessels from China in the South China Sea".

Democratic Senator Jim Webb said South East Asian nations were worried about China's "pattern of intimidation". (read more)

34,000 Japanese children to get radiation meters

Radiation meters will be distributed to about 34,000 children living in the largest city near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to monitor their exposure levels.

The decision to hand out the meters in Kawamata, Fukushima prefecture, comes amid growing concern over the safety of children as the nuclear crisis at the plant drags on, posing potential long-term health risks.

City officials said Tuesday the devices, called dosimeters, will be distributed in September to children between ages four and 15 in the city, which has recorded relatively high radiation levels since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the plant. (read more)

Sudanese leader's visit emphasizes China's African agenda

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir finally kicked off his state visit to China Tuesday, receiving a red carpet welcome as the guest of Chinese president Hu Jintao.

Al-Bashir arrived in Beijing Tuesday, one day later than scheduled. It is not clear what prompted the delay.

The African leader's four-day visit stirred controversy even before his arrival.

Human rights groups had criticized China for inviting the Sudanese president because he is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war atrocities during the civil war in Sudan -- allegations al-Bashir denies.

"If China welcomes al-Bashir, it will become a safe haven for alleged perpetrators of genocide," said Amnesty International's Catherine Baber.

But China does not see the ICC's indictment as a reason to block al-Bashir's visit. "China is not a party to the Rome Convention, is not a member of the ICC, and is not legally bound to implement the ICC's decision," said Liu Guijin, China's special envoy to Africa. (read more)

Mickey Mouse tweet by Egypt's Sawiris angers conservatives

One of Egypt's richest men has been accused of mocking Islam after tweeting cartoons of Mickey and Minnie Mouse wearing conservative Muslim attire.

Telecoms mogul and Coptic Christian Naguib Sawiris apologised for re-posting the images on Twitter a few days ago, saying he meant no offence.

But several Islamic lawyers have filed a formal complaint and there are calls for a boycott of his businesses.

The outcry comes at a time of tension between Egypt's Christians and Muslims.

There are also concerns about the growing influence of the ultra-conservative Salafists in Egypt. Salafists take their inspiration from the early generations of Muslims who were close to the Prophet Muhammad and his message.

The tweeted images showed Mickey Mouse wearing a traditional Islamic robe with a full beard, while Minnie Mouse is wearing a niqab - a full-body veil - with just her eyes showing.

She is identifiable by her large ears and trademark pink hair ribbon. (read more)

We've been trying to find an image of this tweet, but have so far been unsuccessful. If you have this image or know where we can view it, please email us!

Cameroon bans night travel because of drink driving epidemic

Cameroon has banned all night-time public transport on roads to curb accidents caused by heavy drinking, the transport ministry says.

About 12,000 people died in road accidents last year, the ministry said.

The decision has been strongly criticised by many Cameroonians, who say it will affect their businesses and nightlife.

The ban means that buses and taxis must be off roads from 2000 GMT to 0400 GMT.

The ministry said night travel accounted for 35% of accidents, even though few people commuted at night.

The accidents were caused mainly by heavy drinking, it said.

About 12,000 people died last year in road accidents in Cameroon and another 12,000 were wounded, the ministry said.

The BBC's Randy Joe Sa'ah in the capital, Yaounde, says that while many people welcome moves to reduce fatalities, they believe poor roads are the main cause of accidents.

Only about 20% of Cameroon's roads are tarred, he says.

Many people are not sure how they will travel to and from work because some journeys last more than six hours, our reporter says. (read more)

Oil leaks at Pengrowth facility near Swan Hills, Province of Alberta, Canada - 27th June 2011

An explosion and oil spill Sunday at a Pengrowth Energy facility southwest of Swan Hills, Alta. is now under investigation by Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board.

The ERCB said light, sweet crude oil was released into Judy Creek and the nearby area.

The fire was extinguished and the spill was contained Sunday. The leak occurred in a short 1.5 kilometer pipeline that takes oil from one facility to another. The line has been shut down and depressurized, the ERCB said

The volume of the spill hasn't yet been determined, but ERCB spokesman Darin Barter said initial reports indicate it doesn't appear serious.

"It's what we would consider a minor spill with 95 per cent of the product coming out of the pipeline being water and five per cent oil," he said. "So it is a relatively small release. However, we're taking it very seriously, as is the company.".

The company has placed booms and absorbent materials in Judy Creek, and vacuum trucks and collection tanks are on site.

There have been no reports of wildlife being affected. There were no injuries and no communities are directly affected. Source

Out break of Measles has badly affected Sikwakataiya VDC in Mahottari district - Nepal - 28th June 2011

KATHMANDU, JUNE 28 - Out break of Measles has badly affected Sikwakataiya VDC in Mahottari district.The disease has affected more than 400 children of ward no. 2, 3 and 4 in the VDC at the same time.

Majority of the population belongs to Muslim community in the VDC. The disease has affected mostly the children of age 1-5 years. Two months ago, too, the disease was seen on five children in the VDC but now it has affected 80 per cent children in the village.

According to social worker Yunus Ansari, the VDC is being scared stiff from the disease after the epidemic of the disease was seen in the VDC and the access of the vaccine against measles could not reach in the VDC. Ministry of Health and Population has run a programme to provide vaccine against measles at free cost. Source

170 workers from Quang Thai Garment Company in HCM City, have come down with food poisoning and have been Hospitalised. - Vietnam - 28th June 2011

Nearly 170 workers from the Quang Thai Garment Company in HCM City were hospitalised due to food poisoning yesterday afternoon.

One hour after having a lunch of fried tuna, pork ribs, chicken and vegetables, the workers started suffering from rashes, sickness, nausea and exhaustion.

The food was provided by Anh Thu restaurant in Binh Hưng Hia ward of Binh Tân District.

The city's Food Safety and Hygiene Department said the restaurant had not been granted a food catering licence or a food safety and hygiene certificate.

Facilities in the restaurant were also below standards and staff were not properly trained.

The restaurant has been shut down and the Food Safety and Hygiene Department has taken food samples for testing. – VNS Source

Raad Salah BANNED from Britain Last week, strolls back IN through border controls unchallenged - 28th June 2011

A banned Islamic extremist has been allowed to walk through Britain’s border controls unchallenged.

Raad Salah was excluded from the UK last week by Home Secretary Theresa May, on the grounds that he holds hard-line anti-semitic views.

But when the political firebrand travelled here at the weekend, border guards, who are supposed to check all passengers against watchlists of fanatics, failed to spot him or turn him away.

Officials face a race against time to stop him making a speech to MPs this week. Left-wing Labour MPs have invited him to give a talk on the Israel-Palestine conflict – an event the Government fears will be a major embarrassment.

Whitehall sources say the Home Secretary, who is determined to take a tough stand against extremists views, is furious at the blunder.

Earlier this month, she unveiled the Prevent strategy which said ministers would no longer tolerate those who hold forth on views likely to foster hatred or division.

One possibility is that the UK BorderAgency failed to serve papers on Salah informing him that he had been excluded – effectively a travel ban designed to keep him out of the UK.

This could mean he did not know he wasn’t meant to travel. Alternatively, he may have used another name which officials failed to spot.

Either way, it is another massive blow to the reputation of UKBA, long derided as a shambles by MPs. Keeping out terror suspects and extremists on GoverLinknment watch lists is one of its most vital jobs. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 28th June 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck Fox Islands. Aleutian Islands in Alaska at a depth of 30.6 km (19 miles), the quake hit at 16:13:32 UTC Tuesday 28th June 2011.
The epicenter was 167 km (104 miles) East from Atka, Alaska

No tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect. No reports of Damage as yet.

Astronauts evacuate Space Station to avoid space junk hurtling towards them - 28th June 2011

The crew of the International Space Station was forced to evacuate today after a fast-approaching piece of space junk was detected.

The six astronauts sought refuge in two Russian Soyuz spacecraft until the debris had passed at 12.08pm GMT.

Radar-tracking had identified the space junk as it hurtled towards the ISS - it ended up passing within around 820ft.

Once the all-clear was given, the crew returned to their duties.

Safety procedures are initiated should an unidentified object be heading in the direction of the ISS. Read More

WHAT IS SPACE JUNK?

Since the first object, Sputnik One, was launched into space 53 years ago, mankind has created a swarm of perhaps tens of millions of items of debris.

The rubbish circling the planet comes from old rockets, abandoned satellites and missile shrapnel.

It is estimated that there are 370,000 pieces of space junk floating in Earth's orbit.

'Undesirable and dangerous' immigrant criminals can not be deported from Britain, say Euro judges , Easy for them to say they don't live in England

'Undesirable' and 'dangerous' immigrants who have committed serious crimes in Britain cannot be deported if they face 'ill-treatment' at home because it is against their human rights.

European judges ruled today that regardless of how bad their crimes are the convicts can never be sent back.

Today in the landmark decision two Somalis - Abdisamad Adow Sufi and Abdiaziz Ibrahim Elmi - won their appeal against deportation.

There are now fears that up to 200 more criminals could be allowed to stay by declaring they will be tortured if sent back to their country of origin.

Strasbourg judges ruled that the two Somalis could not be sent back to Mogadishu - despite serious convictions.

Both Sufi and Elmi have convictions for a number of serious offences.

In the case of Elmi, 42, it is robbery and supplying class A drugs cocaine and heroin and in that of Sufi, 24, it is burglary and threats to kill.

The European Court of Human Rights also awarded Sufi and Elmi, both currently in UK immigration detention centres, £12,500 and £6,700 respectively for costs and expenses in bringing the case.

Sufi, 24, claimed asylum in the UK in 2003 on the grounds that he belonged to a minority clan persecuted by Somali militia. His account was rejected as not credible and asylum was refused. Read More

Residents Flee in Panic as Lightning Strikes a block of Flats and sets it on Fire - 28th June 2011

Residents fled in terror today from a block of flats that was set on fire by a bolt of lightning as storms caused chaos across Britain.

The building in Bermondsey, south east London, was struck at around 2pm – the same time as a control tower at Gatwick Airport was hit, forcing flights to be suspended.

Meanwhile, tennis fans at Wimbledon were swamped by heavy rain – as were spectators watching the England vs Sri Lanka cricket Test match at the Oval.

Lightning also hit railway signals, causing serious delays to train services around the South East. It came after 33c heat yesterday also caused problems on the tracks.

Around a quarter of average monthly total of rain fell in the region this afternoon as flood alerts remained in place in parts of the Thames valley.

A spokeswoman for the Met Office said 9mm fell in Cavendish, Suffolk, between 3pm and 4pm

In Bermondsey, ambulance and fire crews raced to the tower block after a blaze broke out on the 17th floor. Some 40 residents fled as smoke billowed out of the 21-storey building. Read More

People Storm Texas Capital: "To the Elite, this is what's coming to every capital"



Every capital. Every city. Every town. Every nation.

Libya: Hospitals in rebel-held Benghazi 'face crisis'

A medical crisis is looming in eastern Libya with hospitals in Benghazi running short of supplies, the rebels' health minister says.

Stocks of drugs and other items such as surgical gloves are said to be running out.

Dr Nagi Barakat told the BBC that most emergency aid donated from abroad went straight to the front line.

He said that if a new offensive broke out, hospitals would face a major crisis.

On the cancer ward of Benghazi's children's hospital, most patients are not getting the right dosage. There aren't enough drugs to go round.

Dr Amina Bayou says she and her colleagues juggle supplies to give everyone a little.

"We try to divide the drugs between this patient and that patient. It's not good," she said.

"We are treating more than 200 children. We ask parents to go to Egypt to buy medicines and when they bring them back, we divide them up like parcelling out food."

In one room, a two-year-old called Bubaker lies listlessly. His leukaemia is advanced and he is not responding to treatment, says Dr Bayou, because the dose isn't strong enough.

Next door, six-year-old Melak is doing better. She too has leukaemia and is recovering from a severe lung infection. Doctors found anti-fungal drugs to treat her after a desperate search - the last medicine of its kind in all Benghazi. Without it, she would now be dead. (read more)