Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Japan Braces For Typhoon Ma-On Expected To Hit Western Japan Overnight

8 Weeks To Palestine? Will war result?

To lunch with Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon where the talk is of little other than the proposed United Nations vote on full recognition of a Palestinian state as proposed by President Abbas.

The Minister opens with 'The way to end the conflict is not unilateral action, they must not change the rules of the game' . He continued ' It would be confrontational because it's against the agreements we have made. By breaking the agreements they also release us from the agreements'.

The vote may not happen. Many countries oppose it knowing it would be only symbolic and could lead to violence. But President Abbas has boxed himself in. If there is no vote, the pent up frustrations of Palestinians could erupt against both the Israelis and the Palestinian leadership. If there is a vote, and nothing changes, the same could happen.

Mr Ayalon warned against a third intifada. 'If there is violence they will lose all their achievements on the ground. Were the last two intifadas to their advantage? I don't think so'. Behind that statement is the truth that there has been an economic boom in the West Bank albeit one built somewhat on sand. There are new hotels, cafes, restaurants and businesses. These would all likely be smashed if there was another round of fighting. (more)

"Modern Poverty Includes A.C. and an Xbox"

When Americans think of poverty, we tend to picture people who can’t adequately shelter, clothe, and feed themselves or their families.

When the Census Bureau defines “poverty,” though, it winds up painting more than 40 million Americans — one in seven — as “poor.”

Census officials continue to grossly exaggerate the numbers of the poor, creating a false picture in the public mind of widespread material deprivation, writes Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector in a new paper.

“Most news stories on poverty feature homeless families, people living in crumbling shacks, or lines of the downtrodden eating in soup kitchens,” Rector says. “The actual living conditions of America’s poor are far different from these images.”

Data from the Department of Energy and other agencies show that the average poor family, as defined by Census officials:

● Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.

● Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.

● Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and — if children are there — an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.

● Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care. (more)

At least 14 arrested in operation targeting Anonymous hackers group

At least 14 people have been arrested as part of an ongoing operation targeting the notorious hacking collective known as Anonymous, a federal government official said Tuesday.

The arrests have taken place in locations including Florida, the San Francisco area in California and New Jersey, the official said.

Earlier, a senior federal law enforcement official said up to 15 total arrests are expected following the execution of more than 15 search warrants.

The warrants were being executed in New York and several other states Tuesday by the FBI as part of the investigation, according to the federal government official.

FBI agents spread out to about a half dozen locations on Long Island, in Brooklyn and in the Bronx, where they seized computers and other records, according to the federal government official, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the investigation.

In the past, Anonymous has launched attacks on websites belonging to the Church of Scientology, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America. (more)

Lindsay O'Brien: Pregnant, mugged by career criminal Vaughn Matthews. Solution? She beats him up and breaks his legs. Really.

When career criminal Vaughn Matthews decided to snatch a woman's purse and run from a stopped El train last Wednesday, he perhaps thought Lindsay O'Brien - who is nearly three months' pregnant - would be an easy target.

But the attempted robbery quickly turned into a street fight, and it was the criminal who ended up on the ground in agony, according to police.

O'Brien, 28, was on a westbound train at 63rd and Market Street about 1:30 p.m. when Matthews, 42, punched her in the forehead, grabbed her bag - which contained her laptop - and ran from the car, down a stairwell and onto the street below the station, police said.

O'Brien chased Matthews, who has an extensive criminal history - including assault, reckless endangerment and robbery charges, according to court documents - and fought him.

When O'Brien tried wrenching her bag from Matthews' grip, he twisted her right arm and broke her wrist.

O'Brien countered by kicking Matthews in his leg.

A visibly pregnant O'Brien told CBS that Matthews used his forearm to hit her in the abdomen.

That's when she planted a kick that broke Matthews' tibia in two places and sent him limping away, defeated.

O'Brien, whom police said is from Ridley Park, got her bag and was treated for her broken wrist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Police found Matthews lying on the ground on the corner of 62nd and Market, and arrested him after O'Brien identified him.

Matthews was admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital. Police said the man is still in the hospital and will undergo two leg surgeries. (more)

Sean Hoare: 'Someone's coming to get me' -- Terrified phone-hacking whistleblower feared for his life before he was found dead

The man who launched the entire phone hacking scandal had become a paranoid recluse who believed someone was out to get him, a friend has revealed.

Sean Hoare, who was found dead at his flat in Watford, Hertfordshire, yesterday, had spent much of the last weeks of his life 'hiding' in his flat with the curtains drawn.

Last night a friend and neighbour claimed Mr Hoare, 47, had become increasingly reclusive and paranoid in recent weeks.

‘He would talk about someone from the Government coming to get him,' he said.

'He’d say to me, “If anyone comes by, don’t say I’m in”.

'He was physically going downhill. He was yellow in colour and wasn’t looking well for the last month.

‘He had a constant struggle with alcohol and talked to me about how much he had put his wife through.

‘He did say something about phone hacking and I think that was his main worry. He had definite concerns with the media. He did mention he was paranoid and would mention conspiracy stuff.’

Former News of the World journalist Mr Hoare had accused former Tory media chief Andy Coulson of lying about his role in the affair.

He said that when editor of the paper, Mr Coulson actively encouraged his staff to intercept the calls of celebrities. (more)

Nabi anti-smoking vaccine fails in study -- there's even a vaccine for smoking now?

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals said Monday that its experimental anti-smoking vaccine NicVAX did not meet its main goal in a late-stage test, sending the company's shares plunging.

The company said about 11 percent of patients who were received a dummy shot were able to quit smoking, and patients who were treated with NicVAX quit at a similar rate. Nabi said it is evaluating the data and waiting for results from a second late-stage study.

"We are clearly surprised and deeply disappointed with the results of this first NicVAX Phase III trial," said President and CEO Raafat Fahim.

The company's stock dropped $3.93, or 70 percent, to $1.69 in midday trading.

The yearlong study involved 1,000 patients. They were considered to have quit if they had not smoked a cigarette in the last 16 weeks of the study. Quitting was self-reported by patients and also measured biologically.

NicVAX is intended to train the immune system to make antibodies that will attach themselves to nicotine. The goal is to keep the nicotine molecules from reaching the brain so people can quit smoking and not start again. (more)

Artists out of work and financially crushed from financial collapse -- what will become of civilization if this continues?

he gathers her rouge-colored lips forward in an effort to sustain the heavy soprano voice that emanates from deep inside her throat. Tonight she sings the part of Violetta, a courtesan in Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, but her audience at the Duane Park Cafe in lower Manhattan may recognize her from other opera arias. In the past, she has sung the parts of many strong-willed women, including a sexpot bohemian and a princess. On stage she performs the songs for each character with certainty and confidence. But when she is off stage she has trouble figuring out who she is.

Alyssa Bowlby is 30 years old. After graduating with a master's in music from the Peabody Institute nearly seven years ago, and relying on a handful of secondary jobs to earn a living in New York, she now defines herself as an opera singer, tutor, web designer and burgeoning life coach. Alyssa, like many young artists and creative professionals, has learned firsthand that success in college doesn't always guarantee a prosperous career. (more)

Ancient 'Frankenstein' Insect Discovered

Insect "Frankensteins" have been discovered among fossils from a deposit in Brazil. The prehistoric creatures had the wings and middle-body segments of a dragonfly's, wing veins arranged like a mayfly and a praying mantis's forelegs.

"It is a very strange mix of characteristics that are otherwise only known for the unrelated insect groups," said one of the researchers to discover this new group of insects, Günter Bechly, a paleontologist at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany.

From two adult and about 30 larval fossils that came from the Brazilian fossil deposit and are now contained in collections around the world, the researchers created a new order — a broad category that can contain many species — called Coxoplectoptera. This newly named group of insects is long gone; it has no modern descendants, and the fossils date back 120 million years to the early Cretaceous Period. [See image of fossil insect]

Bechly and fellow discoverer Arnold Staniczek, an entomologist at the museum, realized they had found something special when they came across one of the fossilized adult insects already in the museum's collection while working on a book on the Crato fossil deposit in Brazil from which it came. [Gallery of Colorful Insect Wings]

This deposit has produced tens of thousands of well-preserved fossils during a crucial period for insect evolution, according to Bechly. (more)

Eleven police killed, two beheaded in Afghan violence

Seven Afghan policemen were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the southern city of Lashkar Gah Monday, a government spokesman said, two days before NATO-led troops hand over security control to Afghan forces.

In western Afghanistan, two people were beheaded a week after they and 33 others were kidnapped, apparently for supporting the government, and in the south a police chief and three policemen were killed by a bomb.

Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the governor of southern Helmand province, confirmed the Lashkar Gah attack and said seven police were killed.

Lashkar Gah is the capital of volatile Helmand province and the most contentious of the first seven areas to be formally handed over by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force Wednesday. (more)

U.S. delivers ‘stern message’ to Libya: Gaddafi must go

A high-ranking U.S. delegation held direct talks last weekend with representatives of Moammar Gaddafi’s government, according to U.S. officials, who said the meeting was intended to deliver a “stern message” to the Libyan leader to step down.

The talks, held Saturday in an undisclosed Middle Eastern country, were thought to be the highest-level exchange between the two countries since NATO began its bombing campaign against Libyan government targets in March. But two U.S. officials familiar with the session insisted that no negotiations took place.

“It was the delivery of a message,” said a senior Obama administration official with detailed knowledge of the meeting. “The message was simple and unambiguous and the same message we deliver in public: Gaddafi must leave power so that a new political process can begin that reflects the will and aspirations of the Libyan people.”

Both U.S. officials agreed separately to discuss the secret meeting on the condition of anonymity.

Libyan leaders have made diplomatic overtures to several Western countries in recent days, intimating that Gaddafi is prepared to begin negotiating a possible political solution to the country’s worst crisis since he seized power in 1969. But while encouraged by the Libyan outreach, U.S. officials have insisted that any negotiations on the country’s future be conducted through a U.N. special envoy.

“We decided to do it face to face, to make clear that there was no hope of using any other separate channels,” a senior State Department official told reporters in New Delhi, where Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived Monday as part of a diplomatic swing through Europe and Asia.

The meeting was “a one-time thing,” the official said. (more)

Territorial disputes in South China Sea take center stage at Asian security forum

Territorial disputes and flare-ups in the South China Sea were expected to take center stage at Asia’s largest security forum this week, after Vietnam and the Philippines accused China of interfering in efforts to explore for oil and gas.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono noted ahead of closed-door talks that it’s been nine years since the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China agreed to negotiate a code of conduct in the potentially resource-rich waterway.

“Things do not necessarily have to be this slow,” he said, adding “some progress” was long-overdue.

He said ASEAN needed to signal strongly to the world that the situation in the sea, a strategical shipping lane, is “predictable” and “manageable.”

Southeast Asian ministers — on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali for their annual get-together — will be joined later in the week by officials from Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United States for the much more important ASEAN Regional Forum.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, now in India, will be among those attending. So will China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, and Pak Ui-Chun of North Korea.

Hot topics on the table include Pyongyang’s nuclear crisis, the slow pace of democratic reforms in military-dominated Myanmar and its bid to take over the ASEAN chairmanship in 2014 — something that is looking increasingly likely. They also are interested in international efforts to help end a border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, with the U.N. international court in The Hague on Monday ordering both sides to withdraw troops around a 1,000-year-old temple along the frontier.

Overshadowing talks, however, will be conflicting claims in the South China Sea.

The sparring is primarily over the Spratlys, nearby Paracels and Scarborough Shoal, a slew of tiny, mostly uninhabited islands, some no more than a half-submerged coral reef and surrounding waters. (more)

Genetically modified wheat has no place on the menu

Australia's reputation as an outstanding food producer is at risk.

We are proud to be two of Australia's leading chefs and food industry spokesmen. Making and serving fresh and tasty food is a great pleasure for us. We have built our lives and careers around this passion.

But we are disturbed by the prospect that Australia may become one of the first countries in the world to grow and eat genetically modified wheat. Wheat is a fundamental part of our daily diet, the basis of bread, pasta, noodles, pastries and many other foods.

Whether or not you agree with its methods, Greenpeace's destruction of GM wheat from a CSIRO trial site just outside Canberra last week has stirred up the debate. And the state of our food - and the ways it is produced - is a debate worth having. (more)

New DNA clue in cold case killing of teen bride Pia Navida

When Pia Navida first came to Australia from the Philippines in the early 1980s, she was a teenage bride who had just married an Australian.

But the marriage broke down and, less than a decade later, the 27-year-old's naked body was found by bushwalkers on February 1, 1992, near a trail in the Royal National Park at Bundeena. She had been bludgeoned to death.

By now, 19 years later, her killer, or killers, may have thought they had got away with it.

But a routine check of "cold cases" has uncovered new DNA evidence at the crime scene.

Detective Inspector John Lehmann, of the Unsolved Homicide Team, would not reveal exactly what that evidence is but he did say: "We've uncovered further evidence and that includes ... speaking to persons that were never spoken to in 1992."

Police now believe more than one person was involved in killing Ms Navida. (more)

14 militants killed in Northwest Pakistan

At least 14 militants have been killed and several others injured in two separate clashes between security forces and the armed men in Pakistan's northwestern Orakzai tribal region.

Dozens of militants attacked a security checkpoint in Khiljo area in the tribal region on early Saturday, sparking a gun battle that left eight militants dead, a Press TV correspondent reported citing local sources.

Three Pakistani troops were also injured in the assault. The injured soldiers were transferred to a local hospital where they are reported to to be in stable condition.

Another fighting between security forces and militants in Kachkai area of Orakzai has left six militants dead and 12 others injured.

There was no independent confirmation of the latest incident as the warzone is considered out of bounds for the media. (more)

Do China and India hold the key to gold trade?

Last year I touched on the three reasons why demand for gold was surging. Among the powerful driving forces is the very real fundamental role that growth in China is playing. I said:

“I think one thing that can be concluded from all of this is that demand for gold is likely to remain strong so long as the Euro crisis continues, the balance sheet recession in the USA continues and China remains the primary driver of the global economy. These look like pretty good bets to me.”

Yesterday, US Global Investors published a nice bit of research confirming the China theme. They show that there is a very strong relationship between rising incomes in China/India and gold prices:

“The key to this seasonal strength over the past few years has been demand from China and India. You can see from the chart that the rise in gold prices has been closely tied to the rise in gold demand from China and India. Back when the average per capita income in China and India was well below $1,000 a year, gold prices hovered just above $200 an ounce. As average incomes have approached $3,000 a year over the past decade, gold prices have followed. With the long-term outlook for wages in both these economies rather rosy, gold demand should continue to feel the trickle-down effect.” (more)

Soldiers in ‘confidence patrols’ to battle crime, Police Association: It’s recipe for disaster

In a bid to deter criminal elements the T&T Defence Force has implemented “confidence patrols” to be conducted only by soldiers. However, head of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association, Sgt Anand Ramesar, labelled the plan as “a recipe for disaster,” citing that soldiers were not trained to deal with members of the public. The directive to initiate the patrols was given around 6 pm on Sunday by commanding officer of the T&T Regiment Colonel Anthony Phillips-Spencer. It has come on the heels of a tour to Laventille last Wednesday by National Security Minister John Sandy who received an avalanche of complaints from residents. The first deployment of “confidence patrols” was at 7 pm on Sunday in downtown Port-of-Spain. Patrols, which will comprise between three to four soldiers, also will concentrate on “hot spots” in and around Port-of-Spain and environs.

According to Al Alexander, civil military affairs officer of the T&T Defence Force, the patrols will “last indefinitely as long as it was deemed necessary.” He said the intention of the patrols was to a provide a greater security presence to citizens. About 80 soldiers of the First Battalion of Camp Ogden, headed by Lieutenant Colonel Sheldon Subero, were chosen to pilot the initiative. The soldiers, who formed part of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), would focus on carrying out the patrols. Alexander said: “It wasn’t deliberate that soldiers alone be conducting these patrols. It’s just that we have the resources and there is the need to utilise it.” (more)

Droughts, floods may permanently plague U.S. midwest

Ron Paul: US Gov't Defaulting on the American People

Fannie, Freddie, and the Three “Crises”

There’s a lot of discussion now about the role of the GSEs in “the crisis.” Unfortunately, not everyone is talking about the same crisis. Some are talking about the housing bubble/crash, some are talking about the late 2008 financial crisis, and I believe both groups have the 2011 unemployment crisis in the backs of their minds (otherwise why is the debate seen as being so important?) After all, there is no similarly high-charged debate over the auto crisis/bailout/sales slump.

Let’s start with the housing crisis. A major theme of the Austrians is that too many houses were built in the mid-2000s, and the resulting slump has led to high unemployment. (more)

Japan Fukushima: Update - More Radioactive Beef, Typhoon Ma-on moves in

Yukari Mihamae becomes American hero for fighting back against TSA -- will others follow suit?



The Department of Homeland Security is taking the case of a Longmont woman who allegedly grabbing the breast of a TSA agent very seriously.

Yukari Mihamae, 61, was taken into custody at the screening area of the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport last Thursday. Police say she refused to go through screening and was argumentative.

Officials say she admitted to grabbing a TSA agent’s breast with both hands and squeezing and twisting, but has not given a reason why.

Mihamae, who had to spend a night in jail, is now charged with felony sexual abuse.

A CBS4 reporter briefly spoke to Mihamae on Sunday at her Longmont home but she said she had no comment about the case on the advice of her attorney.

Some Facebook users who are obviously frustrated with the strict procedures of the Transportation Safety Administration have set up a Facebook page expressing their support for Mihamae. The “Acquit Yukari Mihamae” page had more than 1,600 supporters on Monday.

News of its creation the brought some different reactions from travelers on Sunday at Denver International Airport.

“Calling it a felony is pretty silly and the TSA abuses people daily,” Drew Westphal, a resident of New York City, told CBS4. (more)

Air Traffic Controller Suspected Of Working Drunk

A Colorado air traffic controller is under federal investigation, suspected of being drunk while controlling live air traffic, the CALL7 Investigators have confirmed.

On July 5, Federal Aviation Administration officials tested a veteran air traffic controller for alcohol, sources told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia. It was a random test.

The controller was tested six and a half hours into his eight-hour shift and his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit, explained the sources. It is not known which "legal limit" as the permitted level for air traffic controllers is much lower than for operating a motor vehicle, which is .08%.

Air traffic controllers can be removed from work with any test above .02% and according to federal regulations, "All employees who are in alcohol TDPs (Testing Designated Positions) are prohibited from reporting for duty or remaining on duty while having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater on a confirmation test or off-duty concentrations that result in an arrest." (more)

'Bullet Tax' Proposed By Mayoral Candidate Otis Rolley -- wants to levy tax of $1 for every bullet sold

A mayoral candidate's plan to reduce violence in Baltimore includes a "bullet tax" that he said will increase the cost of committing a crime.

Otis Rolley said he would, if elected, propose a $1 per bullet tax on all bullet purchases in the city. He also said he wants to improve recruitment standards and training for the Baltimore City Police Department, work closely with the media to increase awareness of wanted suspects, and reduce the number of vacant properties.

Rolley released his plan Tuesday, citing recent holiday violence at the Inner Harbor and the city's reputation as one of the most violent in the country as reasons for change.

"It is unacceptable that too many of us feel unsafe in own city, own neighborhoods, even in our own homes," he said. (more)

Charles Sims shoots Jimmy Parker dead because of "dripping air conditioner"

A dripping window air conditioner led to the execution-style killing of a West Side man, police said Monday.

Charles Sims, 28, shot Jimmy Parker eight times about 2 a.m. on June 2, police said. Sims appeared in court Monday on a charge of first-degree murder. He is being held without bond.

Sims’ sister had complained to him that Parker dropped water on her from the window of an apartment building in the 5600 block of West Washington, police said.

But the water was simply condensation falling from an air conditioner in a third-floor apartment where the 29-year-old Parker was visiting a woman, Chicago Police Detective Anthony Noradin said.

The warm water fell on Sims’ sister when she returned home to the building shortly before midnight on June 1, police said. She called police to report the incident.

She also told her brother, who returned to the building and confronted Parker outside, police said. When Parker denied it, Sims punched him, police said.

Then Parker hit Sims, who allegedly pulled a 9mm handgun and shot Parker. Sims allegedly stood over Parker to finish him off, Noradin said.

“He administered a coup de grace of sorts,” he said. (more)

13 deaths in Midwest tied to heat wave

The heat was on Monday for millions of Americans from the Upper Midwest to Texas and Oklahoma, where roads buckled and poultry farmers deployed fans and watered rooftops to protect flocks.

The National Weather Service put 18 states stretching from North Dakota to Texas and East to Ohio under a heat warning, watch or advisory. It said as many 13 deaths in the past week in the Midwest could be blamed on the effects of the heat.

When humidity was factored in, the heat index made it feel as hot as 110 degrees in a broad swath of the nation.

"This is unusual," said Pat Slattery, spokesman for the Weather Service. "There's no sugar-coating anything here."

In steamy Oklahoma City, 13 state government buildings at the capitol were closed after a break in a water main that shut off air-conditioning systems.

Computer systems in Oklahoma's state agencies were turned off and 1,000 employees sent home, said spokeswoman Sara Cowden of the Department of Central Services.

"We're shutting everything down that generates heat," she said. (more)

Stress-related condition ‘incapacitates’ Michele Bachmann; heavy pill use alleged

In late July 2010, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s then-communications director, Dave Dziok, told his boss that he planned to take a new job with the public relations firm Edelman.

Dziok had worked for Bachmann for two and a half years, a relatively long period by the standards of her office, and was leaving on good terms.

Staff turnover can frustrate any employer, but Bachmann responded more dramatically. Dziok’s departure triggered a debilitating medical episode that landed the congresswoman in urgent care.

“Within 24 hours she was in the hospital,” a former aide says.

Bachmann was admitted to a Washington, D.C. hospital on Friday, July 30, and released that same day. She flew home to Minnesota to recuperate, missing a scheduled campaign event with Sen. Roy Blunt. (more)

Failure to raise debt ceiling would put economy in peril

Our nation is heading toward an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid defaulting on our debt. If Congress doesn't act quickly, the United States will face an economic disaster that could have easily been prevented.

The U.S. owes its creditors trillions of dollars. Our government has a responsibility to pay back that debt with interest, just as any American with a credit card knows. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee. Chairman Bernanke's message was very clear: a default will signal to the global financial markets that the United States is not a trustworthy borrower. The Treasury Department has also stated that defaulting on our debt would result in an almost 1 percent decrease in gross domestic product, hurting job creation and having a devastating effect on the economy. To put it bluntly: we can't afford a default.

If we don't raise the debt ceiling, the world will lose confidence in the U.S., and its credit rating will almost certainly be downgraded from its current, bulletproof triple-A grade. Losing our triple-A credit rating will increase our interest payments, adding at least $100 billion in new debt service payments for the country and making it more difficult to get our fiscal house in order.

The resulting turmoil across the world will seriously affect ordinary Americans. Banks set interest rates based on the returns they get from investing in U.S. Treasury securities. A default would mean higher interest rates, forcing consumers to pay more for mortgages, car loans and other borrowing. (more)

Garth Turner: There is no financial crisis coming, and you're all idiots

When this godawful blog started three years ago the smell of financial collapse hung in the air like a Wal-Mart fragrance. With its message of caution about what was to come (and it did), GreaterFool attracted an audience of doomers, nihilists, conspiracists, survivalists and hot chicks (I mean, look at me).

Times have changed, sort of, but a platoon of the nutbars hangs on. Clad only in spears and Depends, they stomp across this blog warning of systemic financial collapse, banking insolvency, sovereign debt defaults, hyperinflation, mayhem, currency debasement and the collapse of America. Must suck to be them. Because none of this will happen.

Oh sure, the US debt ceiling debate will go to the 11th hour and excite television anchors. But that’s politics, not economics. Yeah, the Greeks are toast. But that matters about as much as Iceland. Europe will quiver and wallow in self-pitying austerity for a few years. But no neo-depression. The US will stagger through the housing crisis and unprecedented deficit financing. But it will stay the world’s biggest economy. No default. And stock markets will swoon once or twice more, scaring the crap out of DIYers and guys drenched in leverage. But no 1932.

Corporate profits are sending a different signal. Earnings this year suggest markets are undervalued – which also means smart people buy the dips instead of running in panic. It was telling this week that IBM posted a profit surge ahead of expectations – telling because these guys make their money selling to other corporations, who are buying based on their own forecasts and balance sheets. Hell, even the casino dudes at Wynn Resorts are rolling in it again, with a doubling in profits thanks to an expansion in China and a recovery in Vegas.

Two company results don’t mean squat. But corporate profits in total at the end of 2010 hit an all-time high, and are on track to surpass that this year. The return on equity among big companies has surged relative to bond yields to a 13-year high. What does that mean? Well, the last time this happened, the stock market doubled in the next five years.

Corporate bosses, of course, shoveled jobs out the door in the crisis of three years ago, remade their businesses, expanded globally and rediscovered profits. (more)

18 Signs That Global Financial Markets Smell Blood In The Water

Can you smell it? There is blood in the water. Global financial markets are in turmoil. Banking stocks are getting slaughtered right now. European bond yields are absolutely soaring. Major corporations are announcing huge layoffs. The entire global financial system appears to be racing toward another major crisis. So could we potentially see a repeat of 2008? Sadly, when the next big financial crisis happens it might be worse than 2008. Back in the middle of 2008, the U.S. national debt was less than 10 trillion dollars. Today it is over 14 trillion dollars. Back in 2008, none of the countries in the EU were on the verge of financial collapse. Today, several of them are. This time if the global financial system starts falling apart the big governments around the world are not going to be able to do nearly as much to support it. That is why what is happening right now is so alarming. As signs of weakness spread, the short sellers and the speculators are starting to circle. They can smell the money.

Back in 2008, bank stocks led the decline. Today, that appears to be happening again. The “too big to fail” banks are getting absolutely pummeled right now. Most people don’t have much sympathy for the banksters, but if we do see a repeat of 2008 they are going to be cutting off credit and begging for massive bailouts once again, and that would not be good news for the economy.

In Europe, the EU sovereign debt crisis just seems to get worse by the day. Bond yields for the PIIGS are going haywire. The higher the yields go, the worse the crisis is going to get. (more)

Another mortgage crisis: robo-signing continues, loans missing, MERS under fire

s another mortgage crisis among us or is it the same crisis that has supposedly been resolved and rectified? Are all of the pieces that crashed housing still lying around acting as accelerant to the fire that is housing? Possibly.

This week, Reuters’ Scott Paltrow did an extensive study on robo-signing, missing promissory notes and the status of MERS, all of which were supposedly no longer problematic in the American mortgage world.

Recently, we asked who was to blame for the economic crisis? Fingers pointed everywhere with a large group blaming the robo-signing scandal (where banks didn’t manually review documents before foreclosure leading to illegal foreclosures on wrong addresses, homes paid in full and various other mistakes), including state and federal agencies seeking damages.

“The robo-signing debacle is commonly pointed to as a major cause of the economic downturn, as companies like Lender Processing Services (LPS) and CoreLogic, both having recently been sued by the FDIC who says they provided automated inflated appraisals causing banks to make investments on loans they otherwise wouldn’t have, thus taking a major financial hit.” (more)

Will Free-Marketeers Save Fannie and Freddie?

Here is one clear lesson from the economic meltdown of 2008: Any future U.S. administration will intervene directly and heavily if faced with a potentially devastating economic crisis. Market purists might not like it, but it is a fact I witnessed firsthand at the Treasury Department during the George W. Bush administration.

As a corollary, it is also true that the government will be compelled to step in if it becomes concerned that American families cannot obtain mortgages at reasonable interest rates. Indeed, it is inevitable that the government will also intervene if secondary mortgage markets -- that is, the trade in securities and bonds made up of bundled mortgages -- lock up.

The math is simple: Home mortgages represent $10 trillion out of $53 trillion in total U.S. credit market debt; remember that the Treasury and Federal Reserve felt compelled to stabilize money-market mutual funds in the fall of 2008 when they held just under $4 trillion.

Acknowledging these facts is central to solving a problem Congress is finally taking seriously: deciding the future of the government-sponsored enterprises at the center of the housing collapse, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (more)

New York city turning into literal police state with sensors, cameras, and more...

What if you could fix a traffic jam with a push of a button?

It might be just wishful thinking or it could become reality under a new high-tech traffic monitoring system unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg — optimistically called “Midtown in Motion.”

Traffic engineers in the city’s new high-tech Traffic Management Center don’t look like wizards, but they may have the ability to make traffic congestion disappear, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“This system is about to take a quantum leap forward,” Bloomberg said Monday.

The new program is sort of big brother-ish. An array of new traffic monitoring gear, including microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers will be used to measure traffic volume at 23 intersections. The technology will allow traffic experts to spot traffic tie-ups or unusual congestion and then do something about it.

“It will allow engineers to quickly identify congestion choke points as they occur and what’s most important, they’ll then be able to remotely alter traffic signal patterns to begin to clear up Midtown jams at the touch of a button,” Bloomberg said. (more)

Is Casey Anthony living it up in the Virgin Islands? Is this the reward for people who murder children?


Casey Anthony was seen on the remote island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands on Monday morning July 18 by locals and some tourist staying at the Sandcastle Inn on White Bay Beach. Several local residence of the sparsely populated tropical island who work at the Soggy Dollar Bar were certain that they saw the newly freed Anthony lounging on the beach in front of the small beachfront Inn.

Around 10:00 am several guests of the small hotel that offers only a handful of private bungalows hidden along a short stretch of beach were surprised to see a woman that looked to be Casey Anthony reading a magazine under the palms that shade the hotels grounds. Both the Bars staff and hotel guests say that Casey quickly disappeared back into her bungalow and they have yet to see her reappear since. (more)

Mum's stress is passed to baby in the womb

A mother's stress can spread to her baby in the womb and may cause a lasting effect, German researchers propose.

They have seen that a receptor for stress hormones appears to undergo a biological change in the unborn child if the mother is highly stressed, for example, because of a violent partner.

And this change may leave the child less able to handle stress themselves.

It has already been linked to mental illness and behavioural problems.

The findings, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, are based on a small study of 25 women and their children, now aged between 10 and 19.

And the researchers point out that the women involved in the study had exceptional home circumstances and that most pregnant women would not be exposed to such levels of stress day in and day out.

Furthermore, the researchers say the findings are not conclusive - many other factors, including the child's social environment while growing up, might be involved.

But they suspect it is the child's earliest environment, the womb, that is key. (more)

Sticks insects survive one million years without sex

Stick insects have lived for one million years without sex, genetic research has revealed.

Scientists in Canada investigated the DNA of Timema stick insects, which live in shrubland around the west coast of the US.

They traced the ancient lineages of two species to reveal the insects' lengthy history of asexual reproduction.

The discovery could help researchers understand how life without sex is possible.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

Asexuality does not always result in the rapid extinction of a lineage”

Dr Tanja Schwander Simon Fraser University, Canada

Scientists from Simon Fraser University, Canada, published their results in the journal Current Biology.

Certain species of Timema stick insects were known to reproduce asexually, with females producing young in "virgin births" without the need for egg fertilisation by males.

The insects instead produce genetic clones of themselves.

Dr Tanja Schwander and her team set out to test how old these species were, and therefore to find out how long they had reproduced in this way.

By analysing the DNA of the insects, scientists were able to trace back their lineages to identify when they became a distinct species.

The team discovered that five of the asexual stick insects were "ancient", dating back more than 500,000 years. Two of them were even older. (more)

Somalia famine aid hindered by armed groups

The United Nations said Tuesday it needs further safety guarantees from armed groups in Somalia if it is to help hundreds of thousands of people in need of emergency aid because of drought and conflict in the East African country.

Aid groups have struggled to reach many of those affected because armed groups banished them from large parts of southern Somalia starting in 2009.

With thousands of people now on the brink of starvation, Somalia's most dangerous militant group, al-Shabab, has promised aid groups limited access to areas under their control.

But the UN refugee agency, which has distributed aid to 90,000 people in the capital Mogadishu and in southwest Somalia in recent days, said this wasn't enough.

"The situation we have for humanitarian workers inside Somalia at the moment is not what we want it to be," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.

"We do have a very minimal presence, and we have regular visits into the country, but we need significantly better access than we have at the moment to address an emergency of this scale." (more)

Sweltering weather pushes limits in Canada and US

Much of Canada and the U.S. are entrenched in extreme heat and humidity that are making people cranky and prompting them to crank up air conditioners and electricity demand.

Temperatures of 30 C and higher – with the humidity making it feel more like upwards of 40 C – are also good reason to take precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and other health emergencies.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says high temperature records were broken again Monday across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

Humidex advisories have been continued for much of the Prairies, but there is a slight break for southern Ontario on Tuesday, she says.

"Today will be the most comfortable day this week for the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] with humidex in the low to mid-30s. High heat and humidity [are] back on tomorrow [Wednesday] with the peak heat on Thursday," when it will be 37 C in Toronto with a humidex in the high 40s.

The heat wave will continue on Friday and into the upcoming weekend for most of southern and eastern Ontario.

Tuesday will be one of the hottest days for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with humidex values soaring into the mid-40s in both provinces. "Although weather will remain hot and humid, temperatures will come down to the high 20s starting tomorrow," Watstaffe added. (more)

Are you seeing more road rage and rudeness on the road?

Canadian drivers could use a refresher course in etiquette, the Canadian Press reports.

A new poll released by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) Monday suggests there's been a sharp decline in manners on the road in the past five years, with three out of four survey respondents admitting they are observing more annoying behaviour on the road.

Among the irritations that ranked high on the poll, being cut off in traffic and road rage placed highest, getting a mention from 86 per cent of those surveyed. Other bad behaviours that were cited include talking on the phone while driving, tailgating, throwing trash out the window and not using signals.

John Vavrik, a psychologist at the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) told The Canadian Press the CAA poll results match up with the ICBC's findings.

"People generally feel there's a lack of courtesy, there's a lot of anger out there," he said. (more)

Iran to 'speed up' uranium enrichment at nuclear plants -- for energy or weapons?

Iran says it is installing newer and faster centrifuges at its nuclear plants, with the goal of speeding up the uranium enrichment process.

The foreign ministry says the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has "full supervision" of the operation.

The French government has condemned the move as a "new provocation".

France and other Western powers fear that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its programme is for civilian use.

Enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear purposes, but also to build atomic bombs. Tehran insists that it is refining uranium for electricity generation and medical applications.

"By installing the new centrifuges progress is being made with more speed and better quality," said Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.

He said the move showed Iran's success in pursuing its "peaceful nuclear activity", but did not say where the new generation of centrifuges would be installed, or provide details on the speed or capability of the machines. (more)

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake KYRGYZSTAN - 19th July 2011


A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck Kyrgyzstan at a depth of just 9.2 km ( 5.7 miles), the quake hit at 19:35:42 UTC Tuesday 19th July 2011.
The epicenter was 42 km (26 miles) South West of Farghona (Fargana), Uzbekistan
No damage or injuries reported at the time

Note: This earthquake was initially registered at a depth of 1 km and has since been changed to 9.2 km

Fisherman Catches Alaskan 'Loch Ness' Monster On Tape: Fact or fiction?



A video dating back to 2009 may provide new evidence of the existence of an Alaskan Loch Ness Monster, Discovery News reported.

The footage, shot by Alaskan fishermen in 2009, will make its public debut on "Hillstranded," a new Discovery Channel special that will air Tuesday evening at 10 p.m. EDT.

Some now claim the animal to be a “Cadborosaurus,” a reptilian creature named after Cadboro Bay, in British Columbia. Those lucky enough to have sighted this rare beast describe it as having a long neck, a horse-like head, large eyes, and back bumps that stick out of the water.

55-Foot Beached Chinese 'Sea Monster' Identified

Reports of Loch-Ness-like sightings have been popping up in the area since the 1930s, yet the only proof of Cadborosaurus’s potential existence are grainy photographs and tenuous eyewitness accounts.

Paul LeBlond, former head of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of British Columbia, believes the 2009 video “adds to its authentication.”

"I am quite impressed with the video," LeBlond, co-author of the book "Cadborosaurus: Survivor from the Deep," told Discovery News. "Although it was shot under rainy circumstances in a bouncy ship, it's very genuine."

Yeah, yeah. We at The Coming Crisis have a soft spot for mysteries, what can we say!

Rupert Murdoch Body Discovered was the Headline of the Sun newspaper as they were hacked Monday Evening by Lulzsec - 19th July 2011

News International has fallen victim to a notorious hacking group which took control of The Sun's website for several hours.

LulzSec, which has previously targeted companies including Sony, claimed via Twitter it was behind the hijack which started on Monday evening and continued into the early hours of Tuesday.

It comes weeks after the group said on its Twitter page that it would be halting its cyber attacks.

Internet users trying to access The Sun's site were redirected to another website containing a hoax story about Rupert Murdoch with the headline: "Media mogul's body discovered."

After that site stopped working, Sun readers were sent to LulzSec's Twitter account, which claimed to be displaying "hacked internal Sun staff data" in one entry.

A spokesman for News International, which publishes The Sun and is part of Mr Murdoch's global media empire, confirmed the company was "aware" of what was happening, but made no further comment.

The Sun's website later appeared to have been taken down completely. Read More

Marine biologists report outbreak of Portuguese Man-o-War, Maldives - 19th July 2011

An outbreak of Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish around the Maldives has sent guests at many of the country’s upmarket resorts out of the water and back to their villas.

The creatures, which can give a nasty sting, have been reported appearing in lagoons and housereefs around islands in atolls including North Male Atoll, Baa Atoll, North Ari Atoll and Gaaf Dhaal Atoll.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru reported a brief outbreak, while Huvafen Fushi in North Male Atoll has had the creatures washing up on the beach for eight days. Kuramathi in North Ari Atoll has also been affected.

Marine biologist Verena Wiesbauer Ali said seasonal outbreaks were not unusual. The creatures were not native to the Maldives reef ecosystem but swarms of them could become trapped by the reef and end up on the beach, she said.

“They can still sting for quite some time on the beach if the cells in the tentacles are still active, which can affect guests walking [barefoot],” noted Wiesbauer, who coauthored a first aid guide together with Dr Jens Lindner and Dr Reinhard Kilinger to the country’s toxic marine life after she was stung by a purple jellyfish while swimming, and was asked by an island doctor why she had eaten one.

Despite its appearance the Portuguese Man-o-War was not really a jellyfish, she explained, and that the usual treatment for jellyfish stings – vinegar, urine or alcohol – could discharge more of the toxic nematocysts in the sting. Read More

RUPERT MURDOCH ATTACKED by comedian Jonnie Marbles - 19th July 2011



A protester who has tried to attack Rupert Murdoch as he was being questioned by MPs has been named as comedian Jonnie Marbles by Sky sources.


Mr Murdoch's wife Wendi and his son James immediately jumped to his defence as the attack was launched while MPs were asking their final questions of the two men.

MP Chris Bryant condemned the attack in which he said the media mogul had a plate of foam pushed into his face.

Wendi Murdoch, who had been sitting behind her husband as he gave his evidence to the committee, appeared to strike back at the assailant.

The hearing was suspended as the man, wearing a checked shirt, was detained by police.

As he was led away in handcuffs, the man refused to give his name, saying: "As Mr Murdoch himself said, I'm afraid I cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation."

Describing himself as an activist and comedian, Mr Marbles wrote on Twitter just before the incident: "It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done befor £splat." Source

14 feared Dead as Army Helicopter crashes as it was sent to retrieve bodies of the 5 Soldiers which crashed in an earlier accident, Thailand

An army helicopter carrying nine people crashed in a hilly jungle along Thailand's border with Burma today while on a mission to retrieve the bodies of five soldiers killed in another helicopter accident at the weekend.

The US-made Black Hawk helicopter went down in poor visibility, raising to 14 the expected casualties from two air accidents in three days in western Phetchaburi province, army officials said.

The two helicopters had flown over a rugged, rain-soaked region that was hard for rescue teams to reach on foot. On board the Black Hawk were a television cameraman and eight army officers.

A Vietnam War era helicopter that crashed on Sunday killing five people had been despatched to the area to find government officials lost while working in the thick jungle.

Among officers presumed killed today were Major General Tawan Ruengsri, a regimental commander of forces west of Bangkok.

"Two groups of people in the area heard the Black Hawk's explosion, but the fate of those on board is yet to be determined," said army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

Military helicopter accidents are not uncommon in Thailand, with three Bell UH-1H helicopters crashing in the space of four months from June-October 2008, due to engine trouble or bad weather. Read More

Lebanon: Prisons See Institutionalised Injustice

When a British journalist formerly based in Lebanon, became the victim of a sexual assault in Beirut, she sought help at a local police station. As she was giving her statement, the police dragged her assailant into the room. The man had been beaten up, and was subjected to further violence in front of her.

"One of the officers took off his belt and began beating him with it for what felt like ten minutes." When the journalist asked the officers to stop, "they said it was the only way he would learn," she recalls.

"After that they made him strip down to his underwear in front of me and jog on the spot for about 30 minutes." she left feeling not only profoundly disturbed by the assault on her, but distressed at the extrajudicial punishment meted out to her attacker.

Such stories of ritual humiliation, mistreatment and beatings are familiar to many detainees in Lebanon. A lack of training and poor human rights awareness among police officers means many turn to violence to obtain confessions from suspects.

According to a report released earlier this year by the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH), around 60 percent of detainees experience some form of torture or mistreatment. One death as a result of torture was recorded in 2010, the report said.

Those suspected of espionage, drug dealing and religious extremism are most likely to be subjected to abuse by the police. All this takes place in a culture of impunity, says Wadih Al-Asmar, secretary- general of CLDH: "Police officers are not well trained and there is no real accountability. In the very few cases that have been investigated, the results remain confidential." (more)

Tropical storm Dora expected to become hurricane

Tropical Storm Dora is expected to intensify as it moves through the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico and will likely become a hurricane later Tuesday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Centre in Miami said early Tuesday that the storm was about 485 km south of Puerto Angel, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometres an hour. The storm is forecast to head north-northwest during the next couple of days as it intensifies.

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 119 kilometres an hour.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect yet in the U.S., though the surf will be dangerous along southern mainland Mexico Tuesday, the weather centre said.

Tropical Storm Bret, meanwhile, was in the Atlantic about 660 km south of North Carolina but was expected to weaken and avoid land. (source)

Europeans urged measles vaccines as cases rise -- Any excuse to jab, these days

he World Health Organization has warned that European cases of measles are on the rise and urged people to vaccinate themselves against the disease to prevent it from spreading.

The WHO European Region says it recorded more than 12,000 cases between January and May 2011— exceeding the total for 2010. It says the worst outbreaks were seen in France, with 7,324 cases, and in Spain, with 1,146 cases.

The agency warned Tuesday that unless people are immunized, the situation could get worse, especially because during the summer there are more public gatherings where the virus could be contracted.

WHO says it "urgently" recommends that all people check if they are immunized against measles "regardless of their travel plans" (source)

India: 'Massive' uranium find in Andhra Pradesh -- Great, so we can build more bombs or unsafe reactors?

India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh may have one of the largest reserves of uranium in the world, the country's chief nuclear officer says.

Studies show Tummalapalle in Kadapa district could have reserves of 150,000 tonnes of the mineral, Atomic Energy Commission chief S Banerjee said.

India has estimated reserves of about 175,000 tonnes of uranium.

Analysts say the new reserves would still not be sufficient to meet India's growing nuclear energy needs.

Mr Banerjee said that studies at Tummalapalle have shown that the area "had a confirmed reserve of 49,000 tonnes and recent surveys indicate that this figure could go up even threefold" and become one of the world's largest uranium reserves.

The uranium deposits in the area appeared to be spread over 35km (21 miles), he said, adding that exploration work was going on in the area.

Mr Banerjee said the new findings were a "major development", but India's own uranium reserves would still fall short of meeting its nuclear energy needs.

"The new findings would only augment the indigenous supply of uranium. There would still be a significant gap. We would still have to import," he was quoted as saying by The Hindu newspaper.

India is planning to set up some 30 reactors over as many years and get a quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy by 2050. (more)

Israeli commandos take over Gaza-bound ship: Didn't they learn from the US? Feeding people isn't allowed!

The Israeli military says commandos have boarded a French ship carrying 16 activists and journalists, including a Canadian, attempting to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

They reported no resistance.

Earlier, Israel Radio had broadcast the military's radio message to the ship, which notified activists on board that commandos would carry out a "very calm boarding" of the vessel. There appeared to be no radio response from the activists, who could not be contacted by phone.

The military has said it will stop any attempt to break the sea blockade of Gaza, which Israel has imposed for the past four years in what it says is a measure to prevent arms smuggling.

Last year, Israeli naval commandos clashed with knife and club-wielding activists on a Turkish ship trying to reach Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists. Both sides have said they acted in self defence.

The deadly clash forced Israel to ease a land blockade of Gaza, but the naval embargo remains intact on the ground. (more)

Chinese authorities probe 'terrorist' attack that left 2 hostages dead in Xinjiang

Assailants who held eight hostages and executed a deadly attack in China's Xinjiang region on Monday carried a flag with "Holy War" written in Arabic on it, a regional spokeswoman said.

The attack on a police station in the city of Hotan left two hostages and several assailants dead, said Hou Hanmin, spokeswoman for the northwestern Chinese autonomous region. Six hostages were rescued, she said.

"This is for sure a violent terrorist attack," Hou said Tuesday, "but we still need the police and relevant departments to further investigate which organization is related to the attack."

Hou also said the attackers carried an explosive device and a Molotov cocktail and set fire to the police station. (more)

Security forces kill 13 protestors in Syrian city of Homs



Security forces killed 13 people during overnight clashes in the western Syrian industrial city of Homs, a human rights group said Tuesday.

The military operation that caused the deaths continued Tuesday, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

CNN could not independently verify the information.

Government officials blamed the latest round of violence on "terrorists," according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

"The Interior Ministry will be firm in dealing with these armed and terrorist members and will use all means necessary to reduce their danger and preserve the safety of the homeland and the citizen," according to a SANA report.

Residents in Homs said they could hear bursts of heavy machine guns, and helicopters hovered over the city, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria. There were reports of house raids since the early morning hours in the Talbeseh neighborhood, said the umbrella group that organizes locals and eyewitnesses through the Internet. The group also said electricity was turned off in most of the city.

"Sporadic gunfire is nonstop since six last night as the security forces attack the Sunni neighborhood of al-Khaldiya," an eyewitness said as bullets were heard in the background. (more)

Record gold prices: How high will it go?

So gold has broken the $1600 barrier – a significant price milestone.

But as sure as we talk about it this week, we’ll likely be talking about another hundred-dollar price jump again soon as global investors head for safe havens. That’s because 2011 has been packed with crises of confidence around the world – and we may be in for more.

Simply put, crises are to the price of gold as matches are to bottle rockets: One makes the other go pop.

Major European and U.S.-based economic issues have been the fuel behind gold’s latest push since July 1. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Italy are dealing with huge sovereign debt issues. Meanwhile, the U.S. faces a partisan stalemate in Washington on the need to raise the debt ceiling to avoid an unprecedented default.

If these problems go unresolved, where would gold go?

Up, up and away, according to Puru Saxena, CEO of Puru Saxena Wealth Management in Hong Kong.

“Gold has now started a new rally and I wouldn't be surprised to see $1750 to $1800 by year end. By next spring, the price of gold could be even higher.”

And we can thank crises of confidence that have pummeled investor faith. Since the start of 2011, the rising price of gold has tracked political, natural and economic storms. (more)

iPhone 4 survives fall from skydiver's pocket -- and even receives a call!

Jarrod McKinney's iPhone 4 -- a notoriously fragile device -- cracked when his 2-year-old knocked it off a bathroom shelf.

"I was like, 'Man! That's all it takes to crack the glass?' " he said.

So it's easy to see why McKinney, a 37-year-old in Minnesota, would be "just absolutely shocked" when that same phone survived a fall from his pocket -- while he was skydiving from 13,500 feet.

He found the gadget, its glass surfaces shattered, on top of a building about a half-mile away from where he landed with his parachute.

Joe Johnson, a skydiving instructor, said he and a few friends watched from the ground below the two-story building as McKinney raised the phone above his head in triumph after he located it using a GPS tracking app.

Just to be funny, Johnson decided to call the busted phone.

He didn't expect the call to go through. But it did.

McKinney felt the phone vibrate and started laughing.

"They were all like, 'It works! It works!'" he said of his friends watching his rooftop search from the bottom of the building. (more)

"UK comfortably kills Afghans by drones"

The UK Royal Air Force's (RAF) commanders feel legally comfortable to kill civilians in Afghanistan using drone attacks , according to media reports.


The RAF has deployed one of its units called '39 Squadron' in Creech air force base near Las Vegas to commission unmanned drone attacks inside Afghanistan.

The drones were deployed to help occupation forces in Afghanistan defeat insurgency but they are killing a dozen civilians on a daily basis, yet Royal Air Force commanders say, "we are comfortable legally with what we are doing."

The RAF's elite unit was formed hastily in 2007 and stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada, to use technology to seek, track and attack Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan from thousands of miles away.

As recently as last week, on July 6, the UK military confirmed that one of its Reaper drones has mistakenly killed four Afghan civilians and injured two others.

The military blamed the killing of civilians on intelligence failure, refusing to acknowledge that one cannot claim to be conducting this high precision bombing from other side of the globe without inflicting casualties on the innocent.

While officials said the deaths are deeply regrettable, there was little prospect the use of the aircraft will be curtailed.

In just four years, the five Reapers at Creech have become an essential part of Britain's 21st-century weaponry, and there are already plans to buy a new fleet of a successor aircraft for use in the UK.

By 2030, almost a third of the RAF could be made up of remotely controlled planes - a remarkable increase and testament to the faith that commanders have in them. (more)

"A modest proposal for eurozone break-up"

The eurozone can in theory still be saved, if two sets of conditions are fulfilled; if the leaders of Germany, Austria, Finland, and the Netherlands accept fiscal union and a common pooling of debt, and can persuade their parliaments and courts to ratify such a revolution.

If the Germanic bloc agrees to tear up the mandate of the European Central Bank, letting it switch from inflation-targeting to job-targeting ("Unemployment must not exceed 10pc in two or more EMU states, or some such formula), effectively instructing the ECB to embark on Fed-style stimulus for three to five years.

This might allow Spain to work off a total debt load now topping 300pc of GDP without having to deflate wages and tip further into a Fisherite debt-deflation spiral. It might allow Italy at 250pc of GDP to claw back lost competitiveness without self-defeating perma-slump.

Yet such ECB stimulus would have a nasty side-effect: inflation threatening 5pc or 6pc in Germany. Berlin would find itself in much the same trouble as Madrid and Dublin six years ago: expected to twist itself in knots by undertaking massive fiscal tightening and financial repression to offset a massively inappropriate monetary policy.

I strongly doubt that the Bundestag, Tweede Kamer, or Finland's Eduskunta will accept such conditions. Why should they? The citizens of the German bloc never voted for an EU treasury, tax union, or debt pool, or for the emasculation of parliamentary prerogatives that this implies, if they were allowed to vote at all. Indeed, they were told this would never happen. Germany's Social Christian leader Edmund Stoiber japed after Maastricht that a future German rescue of any EMU state was as likely as "famine in Bavaria".

Given that these sovereign diets will not efface themselves lightly, the wise course is to prepare for an orderly break-up of monetary union. (more)

Face-Recognition Software Now On Smart Phones Of Law Enforcement

Propaganda vs. Journalism - Public Opinion Bought & Spun

Ilyas Kashmiri alive and active: report -- If so, who exactly has the US been killing?

"New Zealand Wake Up: Global Warming and Climate Change Scam"

Secret U.S. Torture Chambers in Somalia: Beacon of Freedom & Democracy?

"Al Queda Does Not Exist" -- Fantastic documentary everyone needs to watch

PART ONE:

Al Qaeda Doesn't Exist (Documentary) - 1 by corbettreport

PART TWO:

Al Qaeda Doesn't Exist (Documentary) - 2 by corbettreport

Panetta: Iraq needs to crack down on Shiite Militia (which would insta-start a war with Iran, conveniently)



U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated Monday that Iraq needs to crack down on armed factions that have been targeting U.S. troops with Iranian-supplied weapons.

"We are very concerned about Iran and weapons they are providing to extremists here in Iraq, and the reality is that we've seen the results of that," Panetta told troops in Baghdad. "In June, we lost a hell of a lot of Americans."

The remaining U.S. force of 46,000 has come under increased attacks in recent weeks, with 14 killed by hostile fire in June and three more in the first 10 days of July. The latest was reported shortly after Panetta arrived in Baghdad from Afghanistan, the scene of the other U.S. war in the region.

"We cannot just simply stand back and allow that to continue to happen," Panetta said.

The defense secretary said the United States will push Iraq to go after Shiite militia groups and will do so unilaterally as well.

"I want to assure you that this is something we're not going to walk away from," he said.

The strikes have increased, as Iraqi leaders debate whether to request an extension of the U.S. presence beyond the end of 2011 when the U.S. contingent is scheduled to withdraw. (read more)

Are fathers letting down their children?

The business of stimulating economies, creating jobs and mentoring young leaders starts in the cradle.

It is no secret that raising children to become working, responsible members of society is all about the quality of early parenting. However, South Africa, according to some of the country’s most powerful women, is failing to nurture the next generation of workers, leaders and innovators.

This crisis of parenting, which has long-term implications for the country, was highlighted recently at a women’s lunch I attended along with Wendy Luhabe, a prominent businesswomen, and Lulu Xingwana, a cabinet minister. These two ladies and others present expressed concern that South Africa’s children need to be better parented for the challenges that lie ahead.

The real worry for many is the huge number of single-parent families and the lack of male role models in children’s lives. Nine million, or nearly half of the country’s children, are growing up with an absent but living father, according to recent statistics.

With millions of children never knowing their father, Minister Xingwana accused South Africa’s men of avoiding the responsibility of parenting and questioned why so many men “don’t support their children.” (read more)