Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nebraska National Guard Water Rescue Drills Prepare For Major Flooding From Levee Breaks



Reader contribution.

As Fire Rages at Los Alamos National Lab, Plans in the Works to Build a Plutonium Bomb Factory

Los Alamos National Lab is proposing to build a massive plutonium bomb factory -- and that has many nearby residents concerned.

The Las Conchas Fire in New Mexico is still burning. It is rapidly growing by the day. On June 29, I did a phone interview with Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico and his colleague Scott Kovac; and sit down conversation with Marian Naranjo, a prominent native American elder and activist from the Santa Clara Pueblo and Joni Arends, executive director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. As you’ll see, the Las Conchas Fire has woken us up. It is time we learn from this deadly fire and stop a proposed plutonium bomb factory at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). I’ll tell you how your voice is crucial in this matter, but first here is an update on the fire that is also burning Santa Clara Pueblo lands.

On the morning of June 28, when I posted my first piece on the subject, the Las Conchas Fire had burned about 50,000 acres. As of Tuesday, July 5th it had burned 127,821 and is the largest fire in New Mexico history. Mother Nature is in a frenzied state right now and breaking record after record on wildfires across states. Last month Arizona broke their record with the Wallow Fire.

If you’re not right underneath the smoke it is difficult to get a sense of the scale of a large fire. NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over the area on June 28. Following day NASA released a photo of smoke over land that you can check out here. Last year smoke over Moscow made international headlines. Siberia was ablaze also and NASA released a fascinating image of smoke over Siberia and the adjacent Arctic Seas, also taken by the Aqua satellite that you can check out here. According to NASA the fires over central Russia, Siberia and Canada during summer 2010 created an enormous poisonous ring around the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately it didn’t get coverage in the US press and media. Nevertheless very large fires send a lot of toxic pollutants into the air that are hazardous to human health. (read more)

Roman-era shipwreck reveals ancient medical secrets

A first-aid kit found on a 2,000-year-old shipwreck has provided a remarkable insight into the medicines concocted by ancient physicians to cure sailors of dysentery and other ailments.

A wooden chest discovered on board the vessel contained pills made of ground-up vegetables, herbs and plants such as celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, alfalfa and chestnuts – all ingredients referred to in classical medical texts.

The tablets, which were so well sealed that they miraculously survived being under water for more than two millennia, also contain extracts of parsley, nasturtium, radish, yarrow and hibiscus.

They were found in 136 tin-lined wooden vials on a 50ft-long trading ship which was wrecked around 130 BC off the coast of Tuscany. Scientists believe they would have been used to treat gastrointestinal complaints suffered by sailors such as dysentery and diarrhoea.

"It's a spectacular find. They were very well sealed," Dr Alain Touwaide, from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington DC, told The Sunday Telegraph. "The plants and vegetables were probably crushed with a mortar and pestle – we could still see the fibres in the tablets. They also contained clay, which even today is used to treat gastrointestinal problems."

The pills are the oldest known archaeological remains of ancient pharmaceuticals. They would have been taken with a mouthful of wine or water, or may have been dissolved and smeared on the skin to treat inflammation and cuts. (read more)

China's Empty City: government stimulus & central planning at work -- is the bubble about to burst?



Reader contributed.

The Keiser Report Episode 161: Bernanke's Greek Fire Sale



Reader contributed.

Dennis Kucinich interview, Obama's War on Libya



Reader contributed.

Dennis Kucinich's Passionate Speech In The House Defending Constitution Against Libya War (Video)

Reader contributed.

Minnesotans Feeling Effects of Government Shutdown While Politicians Cash In (Like Usual)



Reader contributed.

UK: Inflation 'to hit 5pc within months'

Inflation should stick at a two-and-a-half-year high in figures out on Tuesday, before resuming its relentless climb upwards, economic analysts predict.

Data for June is expected to show that for a third month in a row the yearly rise in prices was 4.5pc, the steepest rate since October 2008 and more than double the Bank of England's official 2pc target.

The impact of sharply climbing food prices, driven up by weather-related disruption, speculation and global demand outstripping supply, is expected to have been balanced by an easing in the speed at which fuel costs are rising. However, the pause in the clmbing inflation rate looks likely to be only temporary as the annual rise in prices, as measured by the consumer prices index (CPI), should hit 5pc within months.

That would represent a higher peak than previously anticipated by the Bank, which has had to revise its forecast upwards to reflect rises in energy prices.

British Gas on Friday announced it was raising its gas and electricity prices by an average of 18pc and 16pc respectively from August 18.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, expects other utility providers to follow British Gas and Scottish Power in announcing similar rises. "Inflation is likely to be driven up by higher utility charges kicking in," he said. (read more)

The West is in for a rude awakening after years of abusing 'risk-free' debt

The global economy faces a unique double threat. The eurozone, of course, remains on the brink of a major, perhaps terminal, crisis. Then there's the small matter of the US Congress possibly "closing down" the government of the largest economy on Earth.

Although separate, these dangers are intimately related. Both have their roots in grotesque and utterly unsustainable levels of government debt. For it's the massive sovereign liabilities not just of the eurozone "periphery", but some of the "core" nations too, that could yet cause the single currency to break up – an end-game "cranks" like me have been predicting for almost 20 years, but which now even the most slavish Europhiles must accept is possible. A "euroquake", were it to happen, would send financial shockwaves across the world.

Similarly, it is the possible refusal of American lawmakers to raise their country's sovereign debt ceiling that could yet cause a "run" on US Treasuries. This outcome too, were it to take place, would seriously undermine global markets given the habit, nay culturally conditioned reflex in some cases, of so many big institutional investors to use Uncle Sam's IOUs as a "safe haven" to park their funds.

Commentary on these twin tribulations has focused on whether, by this time next year, either will have sparked another "Lehman moment", or whether both the eurozone and the US will have "gotten away with it" and "muddled through". I certainly hope it's the latter. But I can't help thinking that, even if the fudge is liberally applied, arms being twisted and political deals done to stave off an immediate crisis, the current predicaments of both the US and eurozone will still have an enormously detrimental impact on the Western world, the implications staying with us for decades to come.

For even if we get through this, something has "snapped", if not yet in terms of how the West perceives itself, then in terms of how we are viewed by the rest of the world.

On Friday, the eurozone's debt crisis intensified, amidst the first serious signs that "fiscal contagion" is spreading to Italy. Domestic political tensions – with Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's ludicrous prime minister, attacking the finance minister, Giulio Tremonti – caused Italian bond yields to leap to a nine-year high. Without Tremonti to rein him in, Berlusconi would surely show the same irresponsibility towards Italy's finances as he has in so many other aspects of his so-called leadership. That's why, as Berlusconi threatened to sack Tremonti, investors felt Italian default risks were more acute and demanded higher returns to hold Italy's sovereign debt. (read more)

Atlantis mission heralds end to manned space exploration



When the final mission of the space shuttle Atlantis takes off, it will end an era of manned space exploration.

In The Right Stuff, his book on the beginnings of the space age, Tom Wolfe asked: “What is it that makes a man willing to sit on top of an enormous Roman candle and wait for someone to light the fuse?”

The answer is the same instinct that motivated men in earlier times to risk their lives crossing the oceans or walking to the poles: a sense of adventure and a desire to find out what was there.

The pioneer astronauts of whom Wolfe wrote must have hoped that by now, we would be making regular trips to the Moon or Mars – and beyond. Yet at around 5.30pm today, when the space shuttle Atlantis takes off (weather permitting) from Cape Canaveral, the era of manned space exploration will essentially draw to a close.

For the next few years, the Russians will keep the International Space Station going – but it is due to be decommissioned in 2020. The Chinese are thinking of a manned mission to the Moon, but have made no specific plans or pledges.

Buccaneering entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson are developing craft to take a few wealthy tourists into space, but only into a low – and brief – orbit. (read more)

Is a "pole shift" of the Earth's axis coming or underway? Fact or fiction?

7.0 magnitude quake strikes off coast of Japan -- close to where previous mega-quake struck

A major earthquake struck off northeastern Japan Sunday, prompting tsunami advisories for several coastal regions, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, according to the Japanese news agency Kyodo.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 10:57 a.m. at the epicenter, about 130 miles east of Sendai.

The earthquake was more than 20 miles deep and had a magnitude of 7.0, the USGS said.

The JMA measured the magnitude of the quake at 7.1.

Tsunami advisories were issued for the coastal regions of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the JMA said.

The areas were among the hardest hit by this year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Officials in Ofunato, a city in Iwate, advised residents to evacuate.

The JMA forecast the height of the tsunami could reach half a meter (about 20 inches).

No immediate abnormalities were reported at nearby nuclear facilities, according to Kyodo.

Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 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.

Tremors from Sunday's quake were felt as far away as Tokyo.

"It's just a continuing of the aftershocks of that devastating 9.0," said Dale Grant, a geophysicist with the USGS, referring to the March quake. "These kinds of aftershocks are likely to occur for some time." (source)


Magnitude7.0
Date-Time
Location38.040°N, 143.287°E
Depth34.9 km (21.7 miles)
RegionOFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances212 km (131 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
239 km (148 miles) ENE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
250 km (155 miles) E of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
409 km (254 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 14.1 km (8.8 miles); depth +/- 4.2 km (2.6 miles)
ParametersNST=310, Nph=311, Dmin=441.9 km, Rmss=0.8 sec, Gp= 32°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9
Source
  • USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc0004sg6

Iran launches missiles to Indian Ocean for first time as sabres rattle in the Middle East

Iran said on Saturday it test-fired two long-range missiles into the Indian Ocean earlier this year, the first time it has fired missiles into that sea, according to state television.

"In the month of Bahman (Jan 21-Feb 19) two missiles with a range of 1,900 km (1,180 miles) were fired from Semnan province(in northern Iran) into the mouth of the Indian Ocean," Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division, told a news conference some of which was shown on television.

Iran usually tests its missiles in extensive deserts in the heart of the country, so the firing into the Indian Ocean is an unusual move, aimed to prove Tehran's longstanding claims it can hit targets beyond its borders.

Television showed a missile being fired but the announcer did not specify if the pictures were of the Indian Ocean test-firing. No pictures were shown of a target being hit at sea.

The announcement came after a 10-day military exercise by the elite Guards that was designed to deter Iran's enemies by showing Iran is ready and able to hit back at U.S. bases in the Middle East and at Israel.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military strikes on Iran if necessary to stop it getting nuclear weapons.

Iran says it has home-made missiles with a range of 2,000 km, designed specifically to hit U.S. interests and Israel. But it denies it is seeking nuclear bombs and the means to deliver them. (read more)

Arab Spring or summer of discontent?

Protests have rekindled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on a grand scale. Hundreds are expressing their frustration at what they see as a snail’s pace of change after the Arab uprisings that began in Tunis six months ago.

Now is a good time to take stock since Mohamed Bouazizi, the fruit seller, lit himself on fire as he was unable to see a way out of poverty. Protestors took to the streets, putting their lives on the line, and expectations were high that change would follow. But we are witnessing a dangerous reality gap of what protestors expect and what governments have been able to deliver.

Mustapha Kamel Nabli Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia says that reality gap has widened and he is urging regional and global investors to speed into action to assist in the recovery effort.

“If we do not act now we will see failure after the success of the uprising,” said Nabli during a World Economic Forum webinar with government and business leaders.

He underlined the absolute collapse in tourism receipts, which has taken $1.5 billion out of the economy this year.

In Tunisia, we hear very little about the day-to-day struggle to sew together the fabric of society torn apart after the Arab Spring. Headline economic numbers look promising - 5% per year for a decade - but they mask real discontent in the bottom rungs of society. Now the challenge is to push through political reforms, while improving conditions and cutting red tape to attract foreign direct investment.

Unemployment, already in the double digits, will rise even faster in this period of transition, according to Masood Ahmed, director of the Middle East and Central Asia for the IMF. While policy makers and businessmen have been looking for stability at all costs, Ahmed suggests there has been almost “too much emphasis on stability in the past.” As a result, the Middle East was bypassed for Asia which offers faster growth and more open economies. (read more)

"The worst is yet to come," Rebekah Brooks tells journalists as they ask searching questions about paper's demise

Rebekah Brooks told News of the World journalists there were worse revelations to come in the hacking scandal during a heated meeting which saw them vent their fury at her ‘betrayal’.

The embattled chief executive said that in a year’s time staff would all understand why the company had decided to close the newspaper.

They were also told their newsroom in Wapping, East London, was effectively being sealed off and they claim they are all being treated like ‘potential suspects’.

Some challenged her about her decision to stay on at the helm during the meeting, which was covertly recorded and leaked to Sky News.

In the recording one member of staff accuses Mrs Brooks of arrogance in believing that they might want to work for her again, followed by a ripple of applause.

TV editor Tom Latchem is said to have put Mrs Brooks on the spot, saying that if she had fallen on her sword on Monday, when the Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal broke, it might have saved 200 jobs.

In response, sources at the meeting told how Mrs Brooks provoked more derision by claiming she had stayed on to be the ‘conductor’ for the crisis, and declared she felt ‘betrayed’ by the allegations of wrongdoing. (read more)

News of the World closing was pre-planned... four months ago -- and the story continues to get stranger

On Thursday afternoon, James Murdoch assembled senior executives in the top-floor boardroom in the News Corporation’s London headquarters and told them of a momentous decision: to shutter the 168-year-old tabloid at the center of a deepening phone-hacking scandal and the original heart of the Murdoch media empire in Britain.

Hours earlier, he had prevailed on his father, Rupert, and his chief lieutenant, Chase Carey, in a phone call from London to Sun Valley, Idaho, where they were attending a conference, according to two people briefed on the matter. Under pressure to quell the scandal and preserve a lucrative deal for a pay-television company, James Murdoch argued that closing the newspaper was necessary to restore respect to the company, they said.

Now James Murdoch faces a new test as he jockeys to one day run his father’s company and salvage the biggest deal in the Murdochs’ history, a $12 billion takeover of British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB. With the scandal mushrooming as two former employees were arrested and new charges surfaced that executives had tried to obstruct investigations, he could emerge as the company’s decisive new leader, or as the tainted son who mismanaged one of the greatest crises the family business has faced.

The struggle is both a generational shift and economic one: how best to respond to changes that face the news industry, and who at News Corporation is best equipped to decide.

Mr. Murdoch appeared to act quickly to close The News of the World, Britain’s largest-circulation Sunday paper, which his father has owned for more than four decades.

Yet the decision was nearly four months in the making, and was as much an effort to shed jobs and save money in a beleaguered industry and shift resources to broadcasting as it was a response to the outcry over the scandal’s new revelations, according to the two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal concerns. Some employees are expected to move eventually to the Murdochs’ other tabloid, The Sun, when it expands to publish on Sunday, they said. (read more)

"US Debt an economic disaster of biblical proportions"

o use the terminology the Obama administration is using as they push for a debt ceiling increase, the United States is headed for an economic “disaster of biblical proportions.”

The administration says that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, there will be “catastrophic economic and market consequences.” At the recent Twitter town hall, President Obama compared the mainstream conservative position on the debt ceiling negotiations to “a gun against the heads” of Americans.

As I recently wrote in a post for On Faith, our nation’s current debt crisis is a moral problem, and it is important to examine how we got in this situation so we can determine how to get out of it.

While revenue is projected to maintain, and even exceed, its yearly average, spending is increasing from the average 20 percent of GDP to 24.7 percent of GDP this year. With this increase in spending, we have seen an explosion in debt. Since President Obama took office in January 2009, the national debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to $14.3 trillion; that’s a 33 percent increase in the national debt in two and a half years. That pace is unsustainable, and in a word, immoral.

Conservatives in Congress have had enough of the insanity. Congresswoman Diane Black, (R-Tenn.) along with 76 freshmen members of Congress, is urging “the president to stop sitting on the sidelines of this debate” and put forward “a package of significant spending cuts and structural reforms.” The American people sent a clear message to Washington last November: cut spending and stop saddling our children and our grandchildren with this uncontrollable debt. (read more)

Why Turkey Should Prepare Itself for an Economic Collapse

The Turkish Central Bank is engaging in reckless policy. Those invested in the country should prepare themselves for the consequences.

Despite a rising rate of inflation, the Turkish Central Bank is maintaining a policy of keeping interest rates low. The bank may be hoping to prevent the country's currency—the lira—from appreciating.

If the lira remains comparatively cheap, Turkish exports should benefit on the global market. As goods from Turkey are priced in the lira, a depreciated lira may make the goods more attractive to foreign consumers.

That may keep Turkish goods in demand, and workers in Turkey employed.

However, the policy may backfire. As Bloomberg reports, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist anticipates inflation to rise to 7.5% by the end of the year.

An economy can tolerate a higher rate of inflation for some time, but not for the longer-term. As last month's riots in South China showed, inflation may lead to severe civil unrest—especially in developing economies like Turkey.

At some point, policy makers in Turkey may have to reverse course and tighten to prevent inflation from spiraling out of control. When that happens, investors might anticipate a severe recession, as credit markets in Turkey dry up.

Additionally, through its efforts of keeping the lira below true market value, Turkey is artificially stimulating its export industries. When the Bank of Turkey is forced to reverse policy to salvage the lira, those industries will suffer, as they were disproportionately strengthened by the bank's current policies.

In the long-term, demographics favor Turkey's continued economic rise. Yet, the country may soon enter a rough patch due to the mistakes of its policy makers. (read more)

A Financial Permanent Crisis

As the financial world breathed a collective sigh of relief as the Greek Parliament voted to impose further austerity measures on the people of Greece, I wondered aloud to no one in particular how many times we’d have to see this movie before people finally realize that this crisis is a permanent one. There are many analogies that we could use to illustrate what has gone on, but probably the best is a trauma patient coming into the hospital with a severed carotid artery. Instead of performing surgery and repairing the wound, doctors throw the unlucky fellow on a gurney with a piece of gauze taped over the incision. Every so often they check back in, throw another piece of gauze on it and walk out, never fixing the problem. That is precisely what is going on with regards to the Eurozone mess. And America’s too. Lots of tape and gauze with precious little in the way of real solutions has been the norm for quite some time now and there is no reason to think that this will change unless it is out of dire necessity.

In my opinion, there are (at least) three overriding macro themes that are driving this crisis, and will continue to do so. Like most other recent economic and financial dislocations, it will go until it doesn’t. Looking at the macro drivers below, it is easy to see why this is the case: old habits die hard and most importantly, this crisis, along with most others, is insanely profitable for a select few. (read more)

The ‘Jobless Recovery’ that Never Was

What is the job market is saying about the U.S. economy? And how should it affect the way you invest? Let's examine these questions together.

If you want to know why the housing market is still in a depression or why consumer spending is so fickle, you can blame the bleak employment picture.

The so-called “jobless recovery” that our generation of economists predicted is unfortunately not coming true. In fact, various measures of nationwide unemployment show that a lack of employment and underemployment is hindering economic growth. What is a “jobless recovery” and is it really possible?

The term “jobless recovery” was first coined in the 1930s to describe a scenario of increases in gross domestic product (GDP) with high or rising unemployment. Today, certain economists argue that a “jobless recovery” could very well happen again because it existed in the past.

During the Great Depression unemployment remained high even though GDP statistics reflected economic growth. But is it historically accurate to describe that horrific decade from 1930-40 as a “jobless recovery?” Would individuals who lived through that period agree? Any such declarations of a “jobless recovery” during the Great Depression are highly controversial and ignore that much of the nation remained mired in poverty.

Evaluating the true level of nationwide unemployment is messy. Even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports these numbers on a monthly basis, the figures are often under-reported or skewed by the media, BLS or both.

For example, the media regularly quotes the “headline” unemployment figure (also known as the U-3 number) even though other data sets from the BLS paint a more accurate picture of the job market. The U-6 number is far more complete because it includes discouraged workers, marginally attached workers, plus workers that are forced to work part-time because they are not able to find a full-time job. (read more)

Internet providers "to act" against online pirates

Consumers who illegally download copyrighted films, music or television shows might see their Internet speed slowed or access restricted under an industry anti-piracy effort announced on Thursday.

U.S. Internet service providers, including Verizon Communications Inc, Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc, Cablevision Systems Corp and AT&T Inc agreed to alert customers, up to six times, when it appears their account is used for illegal downloading. Warnings will come as e-mails or pop-up messages.

If suspected illegal activity persists, the provider might temporarily slow Internet speed or redirect the browser to a specific Web page until the customer contacts the company. The user can seek an independent review of whether they acted legally.

Internet access will not be terminated, according to a statement from the industry partners behind the effort. The coalition includes groups representing movie studios, independent film makers and record labels.

The group argues that content piracy costs the U.S. economy more than 373,000 jobs, $16 billion in lost earnings and $3 billion in tax revenue each year.

Industry officials said they thought most people would stop copyright violations once they were warned about illegal activity. The warnings also might alert parents unaware of their children's activity. (read more)

Exxon Mobil to face lawsuit over alleged human rights violations -- including murder and torture in Indonesia

Global energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp. will be forced to face a lawsuit over alleged murder and torture committed by company agents in remote Indonesia, after a federal appeals court said Friday that corporations cannot claim immunity from liability.

A divided 2-1 panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reinstated a massive lawsuit filed by 15 Indonesian villagers from the oil-rich province of Aceh. They claim government security forces working for Exxon Mobil committed brutal oppression while guarding a natural gas facility in 2000-01.

At issue is whether foreign nationals can go into U.S. courts to press civil claims stemming from actions overseas by non-American citizens in a time of martial law. The decision will have widespread implications for multinational corporations doing business in other countries.

"It would create a bizarre anomaly to immunize corporations from liability for the conduct of their agents in lawsuits brought for 'shockingly egregious violations of universally recognized principles of international law,'" wrote Judge Judith Rogers in a detailed, 112-page opinion. "The law of the United States has been uniform since its founding that corporations can be held liable for the torts committed by their agents. This is confirmed in international practice, both in treaties and in legal systems throughout the world." (read more)

Report: Plane crash in Congo kills at least 90 people

At least 90 people died when a passenger plane crashed Friday at the Kisangani airport in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the state news agency reported.

The Boeing 727 was trying to land in bad weather in the afternoon, Hewa Bora Airways said.

The plane was originally headed from the capital of Kinshasa to the eastern city of Goma when it tried to make a scheduled stop in Kisangani, according to ACP, the state news agency.

The plane crashed amid heavy rainfall and hit an obstacle on the ground, ACP reported, citing a source close to the airline.

"Our thoughts first go to the victims and their families," Hewa Bora Airways said in a statement. (read more)

Katla Volcano in Iceland Remains Dorment, But there is increased Seismic Activity - 9th July 2011

A glacial flood affected South Iceland last night, likely caused by draining of geothermal melt water from underneath the east side of the Myrdalsjokull glacier.

Scientists have been speculating that the glacial outburst may have been caused by a very small volcanic eruption; but no visual or seismic evidence to confirm that theory has yet come to light.

The flood peaked last night and engineers are already working on repairing damage to local roads. The sudden outburst knocked out a bridge on the Route 1 highway, leaving the road closed. Icelandic interior minister, Ogmundur Jonasson told reporters that fixing the road is his top priority and the Icelandic Roads Administration is already working to build a temporary replacement bridge. It is hoped the road will open again in two to three days’ time. Read More

Note how this article mentions NO SEISMIC EVIDENCE Well see the Map and charts below proving otherwise as for the past few hours and during the past few days there has been a noticeable increase in Activity at Katla.

Coming Crisis Alert Information Page -- July 9, 2011

WARNING AREA AND DURATION:

Pacific Ocean region, until Sunday, July 10, 2011.
EVENT CONCLUDED: Japan 7.1 quake, July 9, 2011.

New alert being issued for Pacific, until Monday July 11, 2011 at 6pm EST.
Same information (see below).
ALERT LIFTED.

EVENT INFORMATION:

A severe uptick in quake activity, including an increase in global seismic monitoring activity, suggests that a large quake may be in the process of forming. While this is not 100% certain, indicators and reference to past data suggest that this is a possibility warranting an alert.

EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS:

1) If you live in the pacific region, please stay close to radios to receive tsunami warnings and government instructions.

2) Unless necessary, it might be wise to remain off beaches or coasts for the next few days.

3) Please revisit The Coming Crisis as necessary to receive further information for this event.

Casey Anthony to receive $1 million for her story?

Secret agents raid Apple store webcam 'artist'

The US Secret Service has raided the home of an artist who collected images from webcams in a New York Apple store.

Kyle McDonald is said to have installed software that photographed people looking at laptops then uploaded the pictures to a website.

Mr McDonald said he had obtained permission from a security guard to take photos inside the store.

Apple declined to comment. However, the Secret Service confirmed that its electronic crime division was involved.

A spokesperson told the BBC that the investigation was taking place under US Code Title 18 /1030 which relates to "Fraud and related activity in connection with computers."

Offences covered by the legislation carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Writing on Twitter, Mr McDonald said: "@secretservice just stopped by to investigate [web address removed] and took my laptop. Please assume they're reading any e-mails you send me."

No arrests had been made in the case as of 8 July. (read more)

Horse dies during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race -- and more will likely follow for entertainment's sake

Despite an extensive overhaul to its animal care standards, the Calgary Stampede got off to a rocky start Friday night when a horse had to be euthanized after breaking its leg during the chuckwagon races.

"The leg injury was considered a catastrophic injury, so our veterinarian made the decision to euthanize the horse immediately," said Stampede spokesman Doug Fraser."Honestly, we're greatly saddened by what happened today. We take the care of our animals very seriously."

Fraser said the accident was not the result of a crash and happened between turns on the chuckwagon race course.

No riders or other animals were hurt.

How the chuckwagon races are run, as well as standards for other events at the rodeo, have been greatly overhauled in the last year since six horses died at the Stampede's 2010 edition.

Two died of heart attacks, two were destroyed after suffering injuries and another broke its back from bucking too hard.

The sixth died after experiencing health difficulties 40 minutes after a chuckwagon race. (read more)

Malaysia: Police fire tear gas at banned rally

Police in Malaysia have used tear gas and water cannons against thousands of people assembling for a banned protest in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Police say they arrested some 1,650 people before the rally was broken up.

Opposition activists called the protest to urge the government to implement electoral reform.

The police threw up a cordon around central Kuala Lumpur from midnight on Friday, blocking major roads and suspending public transport.

Riot police armed with batons confronted the thousands of people who had slipped through the security net, dispersing them with volleys of tear gas.

Crowds around the city's main bus station were also hosed down by water cannons.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was one of a small number of people who were injured. He was taken to hospital after he fell to the pavement after a tear gas attack. (read more)

Somalis gather in internal camps to escape drought

Camps of people fleeing East Africa's worsening drought have started forming inside Somalia, says medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres.

One camp had more than doubled in size in a matter of days, and now holds around 5,000 people.

The aid agency can provide medical help, but has no food to give them.

Until now Somalis have been pouring across the borders to Ethiopia and Kenya, arriving at giant refugee camps which are severely overcrowded.

Joe Belliveau of MSF told the BBC the development of camps inside Somalia was a "most desperate and vulnerable moment."

This is a rare glimpse of the situation inside Somalia itself.

MSF is one of a few aid agencies still managing to operate in those areas of Somalia controlled by the militant Islamist group, al al-Shabab.

Mr Belliveau said there has been a rapid growth of camps in the lower Juba valley. (read more)

Mexico: At least 17 killed in bar massacre

At least 17 people were killed and several wounded when gunmen opened fire on customers and staff in a bar in Monterrey, Mexico, local officials say.

The gunmen burst into the city-centre bar late on Friday.

Monterrey, in north-eastern Mexico, has been the site of a bloody turf war between drug cartels for several years.

More than 34,000 people have been killed in the last four years in Mexico's crackdown on the drug gangs, the government said in January.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a visit to Mexico on Friday that she was "deeply concerned by the very high and still escalating levels of violent crime in some parts the country.

"Organised crime, with its brutal actions and methods, threatens the very core of the state and attacks the basic human rights we are struggling so hard to protect," she said in a statement.

Ms Pillay said she was also concerned by "increasing reports of rights violations and excessive use of force by state agents in the course of their actions against organised crime".

She added: "Torture as a practice must be stopped." (source)

US 'within reach of strategic defeat of al-Qaeda' (Uh-huh)

New US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said the US is "within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaeda".

Mr Panetta said that following the killing of Osama Bin Laden, key leaders in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere had been identified and would be targeted.

He offered the upbeat assessment during his first visit to Afghanistan since taking over at the Pentagon last week.

Earlier, a member of Afghanistan's intelligence service shot dead two US soldiers in the Panjshir valley.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) officer, a bodyguard for its deputy director, was killed when another US soldier returned fire.

The soldiers were accompanying a Provincial Reconstruction Team when they were stopped by the officer. It is believed there was an argument when they asked him to remove his vehicle from a bridge.

He had been on holiday in the north-eastern area at the time.

Afghan soldiers and police have turned on Nato-led troops in the past, but it is thought to be the first such incident involving an NDS official. (read more)

Many conservationists have been united in animosity toward Tanzania's plan to build the so-called Serengeti Highway. The road, after all, would divide Serengeti National Park, threatening one of the world's last great large-mammal migrations.

It seems natural, then, that many celebrated late last week after reports of the highway's cancellation seeded a flurry of optimistic headlines: "Serengeti Highway Canned: Victory for Animals!", "Breaking News: Serengeti Highway Halted," "Victory for environmentalists. ... "

But after a closer look at the official Tanzanian statement behind the reports, it's questions, not toasts, that are being raised, and conservationists are divided as to whether it means the highway is truly canceled.

(See "New Public Road to Split the Serengeti?")

A Road Through "Everybody's Image of Africa"

Tanzania sparked an international uproar last summer when it announced plans to move forward with the construction of a 33-mile (53-kilometer) stretch of commercial highway that would cut through Serengeti National Park and potentially disrupt the annual migration of more than a million wildebeest traveling in search of grass and water (see a map of proposed route and wildebeest migration).

A UN World Heritage site, the park—the world's largest protected grassland and savannah ecosystem—is also home to zebra herds and predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas, as well as more than 450 bird species.

"It's not all of Africa. It's not even most of Africa ... But it's everybody's image of Africa," said Stuart Pimm, a conservation ecologist at Duke University who is also a contributor to the National Geographic News Watch blog. (Read Pimm's 2010 commentary "The Serengeti Road to Disaster.")

Officially, the road was supposed to boost Tanzania's economy by linking isolated, impoverished Serengeti villages outside the park with the Tanzanian city of Arusha, to the east, and the shores of Lake Victoria and other central African nations, to the west.

Some conservationists, though, have speculated that the real motive for the road is to accommodate mining interests or to lay the groundwork for a railway. (read more)

President Obama Executive Order 13575: Rural councils and the socialism of agriculture

The changing tide of Europe's trade with Asia

You can tell a lot about the state of European trade by strolling along the docks at the Port of Hamburg.

As the continent's second largest container port, it handles over 120 million tons of cargo a year, so the flow of trade coming in and out of its busy harbor is a bellwether for the trading winds of EU nations as a whole.

It's no surprise that, of Hamburg's top 10 trading partners, six are from Asia -- with China alone accounting for over half of all trade in 2010.

The surprise is that, while much of this partnership is down to Europe's appetite for cheap shirts and electrical appliances, the dominance of Asian countries on the chart is due -- in increasing measure -- to the growth of demand for European goods in the east.

"Exports to China surged by 23.6% in 2010," says Claudia Roller, Port of Hamburg marketing CEO. Roller also points out that most of Hamburg's top trading partners in Asia shipped in nearly as much as they shipped out last year (as shown on the interactive above).

Indeed, latest figures from the World Trade Organization (WTO) indicate that China is today the EU's second biggest export market, usurping the likes of Japan and Russia and biting at the heels of the United States -- for decades Europe's biggest customer. (read more)

What To Use For Currency In Financial Collapse

If you’re like me, I’m sure you thought about this many times. You’ve run the scenario of a financial collapse or other National emergency through your mind. That’s what people who are preparing for an emergency do.

I’ve bet you’ve thought about these questions more than once; What would happen to our financial markets? How about our currency? Would it still be worth something…anything? What should you use as currency in case of a financial crisis? One where our money is worthless and is not being accepted for goods and supplies.

I don’t know the answers to these questions anymore than anyone else does. Oh, I can speculate with the best of them and that’s what I’m doing in this blog post. There are too many variables involved to say what would happen in the case of a Global or National financial meltdown.

Should a situation like that arise, here are a few things I thought could be bartered or sold for things you need should we wake up one morning and find that our Greenbacks are worthless and your local Grocer wants something besides the Almighty Dollar in exchange for a sack of potato’s.

So besides the obvious alternatives to dollars such as Gold and Silver, here are a few extra items I’m putting back in case I need to barter for something down the road. (read more)

New Investment Strategy: Preparing for End Times

Investment professionals have a new pitch: The sky could soon be falling.

While Greece took a step back from the brink on Wednesday, the possibility of a default remains a fear. Europe’s debt crisis, as well as natural disasters and political uprisings, are prompting investors both big and small to seek out investments that promise to protect their portfolios in the event of economic Armageddon.

Worried that Greece could go belly up? So-called black swan funds — named for rare and unexpected events — offer a way to profit in the event of a market collapse. Think a slowdown in the United States or China could set off a global economic crisis? New exchange-traded funds are popping up to help pad investor confidence.

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 9th July 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Kermadec Islands Region at a depth of 23.4 km ( 14.5 miles), the quake hit at 15:25:38 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011.
The epicenter was 66 km (41 miles) East of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands

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

IMAGE: Red is the past 24 Hours

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 9th July 2011

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck Kermadec Islands Region at a depth of 23.3 km ( 14.5 miles), the quake hit at 15:02:29 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011.
The epicenter was 79 km (49 miles) East of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands

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

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF EAST COAST OF THE NORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND - 9th July 2011

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck of the Coast of the North Zealand at a depth of 18.3 km ( 11.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:40:45 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011.
The epicenter was 303 km (188 miles) North East of Rotorua, New Zealand

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

NASA Live Broadcast Shows UFOs - Cuts Video Stream! - July 8, 2011

James Hackemer a Iraq war veteran dies after he was flung off the Ride of Steel roller coaster at 50 mph in New York - 9th July 2011

An Iraq war veteran who lost both his legs to an IED attack has died after being flung from a roller coaster.

Sergeant James Hackemer, 29, died after falling from the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park, Syracuse, New York.

He was visiting the park with his daughters, sisters and other members of the family. He was on the ride with his nephew, Ashton, a sophomore at the University at Buffalo, when the tragic accident happened.

According to park officials, Mr Hackemer was travelling at 50 mph in the front row of the roller coaster when he was ejected.

Investigators say nothing mechanical was wrong with the ride and both the safety harness and restraining bar were working. Read More


Gina Robins 'microwaves kitten after party row with neighbour' - 9th July 2011

A woman has been accused of microwaving her neighbour's kitten after she was allegedly thrown out of a party.

Gina Robins, 30, faces one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the pet by putting it in the appliance at a house in Torquay, Devon, on February 16.

It is claimed the short-haired kitten, which was only a few months old, suffered devastating injuries and died.

Robins, wearing a black dress and a white coat, pleaded not guilty when she appeared before magistrates and only spoke to confirm her name and address.

The case is being brought forward by the RSPCA after its owner made a formal complaint.

Robins, of Torquay, was granted bail and is due back before magistrates on August 12 for a pre-trial review.

The charge was brought under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

RSPCA spokesman Sophie Wilkinson said: 'We can't comment on an active case but we would urge that if anybody had any concerns about animal welfare to call the RSPCA immediately.' Source

Pure EVIL Thugs use hunting rifles to wipe out farmer's entire flock - 9th July 2011

farmer’s flock of sheep has been wiped out after armed thugs gunned down a field full of lambs.

Barbaric thieves used hunting rifles to kill Vernon Phipps' animals, before throwing 26 of the lambs' lifeless bodies into a van.

The gang raided Mr Phipps’ field near Chipping Warden, in Northamptonshire overnight on 29 June, armed with hunting rifles.

They blasted the terrified animals with execution-style shots to their necks after storming the isolated field.

Following their brutal killing spree they piled up the bloody carcasses into a van, leaving ten sheep mutilated.

One lamb was found dead in the field and another seven had to be put down due to their serious injuries.

Only three sheep survived the bloody slaughter, just two lambs and a ewe who are currently being cared for by a vet.

The motive for the killings is unknown although police believe the gang targeted the animals for their meat.

It was Mr Phipps and his partner Jayne Kingdon who discovered the carnage after spotting just one dead sheep.

The 53-year-old farmer, who has kept sheep for 20 years, went to investigate further and was met with horrific scenes. Read More

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 9th July 2011

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck Kermadec Islands Region at a depth of 19.4 km ( 12.1 miles), the quake hit at 13:54:20 UTC Saturday 9th July 2011.
The epicenter was 74 km (46 miles) East of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands

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

Scientists monitor Iceland’s Katla volcano amid flooding - 9th July 2011

Scientists are monitoring Iceland’s Katla volcano amid signs that a small eruption may be taking place.

The acting head of the Civil Protection Agency Iris Marelsdottir, says flooding is taking place near the volcano, caused by the melting of its ice cap.

But she says the flooding may have other causes — such as high geothermal heat — so it not yet clear whether there is an eruption.

Katla typically awakens every 80 years or so, and last erupted in 1918.

Iceland, in the remote North Atlantic, is a volcanic hotspot. In April 2010 ash from an eruption of its Eyjafjallajokul volcano grounded flights across Europe for days, disrupting travel for 10 million people.

Katla sits beside Eyjafjallajokul. Source

Related News:

Earth scientists who flew across Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland, which covers the volcano Katla, this morning noticed cracks in two calderas in the southernmost part of the glacier. However, there were no indications that a volcanic eruption had started underneath the glacier.

“There are signs of flooding from two calderas in the southernmost part of the Katla crater and indications of activity elsewhere,” geophysicist Einar Kjartansson told mbl.is. He believes the glacial flood which destroyed the bridge across Múlakvísl on the Ring Road last night has subsided.

The Múlakvísl flood came from underneath the glacial tongue Höfdabrekkujökull and Kjartansson said the glacial ice is considerably cracked where the flood emerged. Glacial ice is stranded in a large area which indicates that the flood is coming to an end.

While there are no indications that a volcanic eruption has started in Katla, Kjartansson would not rule out that it could have happened last night. The Icelandic Meteorological Office’s automatic sensors show changes which could indicate a small eruption. But that isn’t certain. Source