Wednesday, August 31, 2011
August Dollar Drive / Weekly Announcements -- August 31, 2011 (new posts appear below until midnight)
1. August Dollar Drive progress: We are currently under 10% of this month's fundraising goal. If you're able to spare just a dollar, consider donating it to this month's dollar drive. Click on the banner above to donate your dollar, or to find out more information. We'd like to thank every generous person who has contributed so far; we write a personal letter of thanks to every donor.
2. New categories: We've added three new categories, including "Editorials", "Weekly Announcements" and "Photo Galleries". Click on the "Categories" page link up top to find out what these new post categories entail.
3. Why not tell a friend about The Coming Crisis? The more people that know the true news, the better. They might even have an important piece of information of their own to share. Spread the word on your social networks, or simply tell a friend to stop on by.
4. We're looking for a highly confident salesperson to take up a commission-based role within our team. If that's you, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Matt & Lynsey
Police say the shirtless boy and a friend were throwing rocks at a black Toyota RAV4 in the Linda Vista neighborhood Monday afternoon when a passenger fired a crossbow out the window.
The boy was shot in the right side and was taken to a hospital. The San Diego Union-Tribune says his injuries are not life-threatening.
His name wasn't released.
Nobody has been arrested. source
Is Elenin is No More? Comet spotted breaking up in deep space, although some argue this isn't so -- Investigation ongoing
Beijing has been promoting the use of the yuan beyond its borders since 2009 to settle trade transactions. The resulting build-up of deposits in Hong Kong has spawned a thriving yuan bond market.
Internationalizing the yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB), brings with it a host of financial and political benefits. Notably, it allows China to build up claims on the rest of the world in yuan rather than increasing exposure to foreign currencies, especially a dollar that it distrusts.
But the consensus has been that China, as is its wont, would tread gingerly. The ruling, risk-averse Communist Party would keep capital controls in place, thus retaining its grip over the exchange rate and interest rates but preventing the yuan from becoming a truly international currency. more
Many of these abuses have been documented on video, the group adds. Most occurred near the protest hotbeds in Homs and Daraa, but deaths were reported in other places as well. Amnesty has the names of 3,000 people in detention, but there are said to be 12,000 to 15,000 detained overall. “We know that torture has been widespread over many years,” Sammonds says. “It has gotten much worse.” The group says this level of torture hasn’t been seen in Syria since the 1980s. more
During a public board meeting, National Transportation Safety Board investigators delivered their final report on the matter, sharply criticizing pipeline owner Pacific Gas and Electric for the explosion in San Bruno, saying the pipe was inadequate from the time it was installed in 1956.
That was compounded "by a litany of failures" over several years, including poor record-keeping, inadequate inspection programs, and "an integrity management program without integrity," NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said.
"It was not a question of if this pipeline would burst," she said. "It was a question of when."
Hersman said the probe yielded "troubling revelations about a company that exploited weaknesses in a lax system of oversight, and government agencies that placed a blind trust in operators to the detriment of public safety." more
A blast in the pipeline linking two oil tanks triggered the fire, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Public Security, but the cause of the blast is still being investigated, according to a staff member surnamed Sun with the publicity department of the Dalian government.
The fire occurred in a refinery owned by PetroChina in Dalian, one of China's leading oil producers, at 10:06 am but was put out at 1:20 pm after the government dispatched more than 50 fire trucks to battle the blaze, according to a statement given by the publicity department of Dalian government to the Global Times on Monday.
"All people, including government leaders and firefighters, left the accident site after the blaze was put out," Sun told the Global Times on Monday.
Jiang Zhigang, a Dalian resident who lives two kilometers from the site, told the Global Times that he heard an explosion at around 10 am, when the accident occurred, and nearby residents could smell a pungent odor at the time. more
The enlistment of settlers, which has already opened with a training session for their local security officers, is part of the military's comprehensive "Operation Summer Seeds" for dealing with possible violence as the UN considers whether or not to recognise a Palestinian state.
According to a document leaked to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the defence establishment's working assumption – challenged by the moderate Palestinian leadership in Ramallah – is that the UN move will trigger "mass disorder". This includes, Israel contends, "marches toward main junctions, Israeli communities, and education centers; efforts at damaging symbols of [Israeli] government". more
"There is a greater risk of losing the ISS when it's unmanned than if it were manned," Michael Suffredini, the ISS program manager for the US space agency, said on a conference call with reporters.
"The risk increase is not insignificant," he added.
Russia on Monday delayed its next manned Soyuz spacecraft mission to the ISS by at least a month after an unmanned cargo vessel using a similar rocket crashed into Siberia instead of reaching orbit on August 24.
The station crew normally consists of six -- currently three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese -- working six-month rotations.
Neither NASA nor the Russian space agency will allow the astronauts aboard the space station to remain beyond a mandated six-month limit because of the risk posed by exposure to radiation. more
Onyango Obama, who is from Kenya and is known as the president's Uncle Omar on his father's side, had lived a quiet life in Massachusetts until last Wednesday, when police said the car he was driving darted in front of a police cruiser, nearly causing the officer to hit his car.
The federal officials, who spoke about Obama's immigration status on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the case, said Obama had been told to leave in 1992, but he did not go.
Obama is the second relative of the president to have defied a deportation order, reigniting debate over illegal immigration and raising questions about how a man who had lived in the United States illegally for years had managed to secure a job, a Massachusetts driver's license, and apparently, a federal Social Security number, without being detected by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. more
The case was filed by California attorney Orly Taitz, who has battled many of the major court challenges to Obama's eligibility based on a lack of evidence that he qualifies under the U.S. Constitution's requirement that a president be a "natural-born citizen."
The case at hand was filed against the Social Security Administration because Obama's number indicates a Connecticut residency, yet there is no evidence he ever lived in the state. He claims he grew up in Hawaii and apparently had a Social Security number there, as he reported he worked in a Honolulu ice-cream shop.
There has been no evidence he ever lived in Connecticut, and investigators have described the circumstances as suspicious.
The judge, Royce Lamberth credits Taitz for her dedication to her cause, but boasted that "today is not her lucky day." more
The Israeli Navy (INF) has decided to boost its presence and patrols near Israel's maritime border with Egypt due to a viable terror threat in the area, as Iran announced it was set to send its 15th fleet to the Red Sea as well to "convey message of peace and friendship to all countries".
Israeli security sources told the Associated Press on Tuesday that two additional warships have been dispatched to Israel's Red Sea border with Egypt. Another source said that the operation was routine, telling Reuters that "two naval craft have been sent to the Red Sea. This is not unusual." more
They claim that the ruins found through ground radar measurements rival the Colosseum and the Ludus Magnus in Rome in their structure. The Ludus Magnus is the largest of the gladiatorial arenas in the Italian capital, while the Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman empire.
A statement on Tuesday from the Carnuntum archaeological park gave no details about when the find was located and excavated. source
The most recent heist occurred Tuesday when thieves crashed a Jeep into Angie's Beauty Supplies in Atlanta. Video showed the culprits head straight for the shop’s most expensive fake tresses.
“The suspects took an undetermined amount of hair extensions and other items prior to leaving the store,” said Atlanta Police Officer Kim Jones. The thieves left the Jeep in the store.
“The suspects left the scene in a dark colored minivan,” Jones said.
This is the second time in four months that Angie's has been the victim of a smash and grab for hair extensions.
Atlanta police say they’ve seen a rise in robberies at hair salons and beauty supply shops. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that last week that thieves stole $50,000 in hair extensions from another beauty supply store. source
Elwood police Cmdr. Patrick Kerr said Juan J. Hernandez and William Chaban stole truckloads of merchandise from the Georgia-Pacific facility in Elwood between February and April.
The investigation began May 18 when the company told police pallets of bath tissue and Dixie cutlery meant for big-box retailers were missing.
Kerr said police got a tip to look at local flea markets, and on June 4 found two vendors at Derald’s Flea Market in Joliet selling items stolen from Georgia-Pacific.
Officers seized about $1,000 in merchandise and learned it had been supplied by Hernandez, 25, an inventory control specialist at the warehouse, police said.
On July 20, police searched two units at a Joliet storage facility and found more than $10,000 in paper products and plastic cutlery, Kerr said. more
Police in Fayette County are looking for a well-dressed burglar.
The man, wearing a suit, collared shirt and a tie, climbed on top of the counter at the Family Dollar on Gallatin Avenue in Uniontown on Sunday to search the register.
When he realized it was empty, he grabbed some pennies off the counter and took off.
The theft was captured on surveillance video.
The suspect’s snazzy attire has people talking.
“He should have been at the courthouse or somewhere like that instead of Dollar General,” Christopher Soliday said.
Store employees and police aren’t laughing. They need your help to identify the man so-called “penny bandit.”
“He had some courage to do it right here on Gallatin Avenue,” Soliday continued.
“It’s a well-ran road, cops are always on patrol – must have been in desperate times.” more
"WikiLeaks.org is presently under attack," the group said on Twitter late Tuesday. One hour later, the site and the cables posted there were inaccessible.
WikiLeaks updated its Twitter account to say that it was "still under a cyberattack" and directed followers to search for cables on a mirror site or a separate search system, cablegatesearch.net.
The apparent cyberattack comes after current and former American officials said the recently released cables—and concerns over the protection of sources—are creating a fresh source of diplomatic setbacks and embarrassment for the Obama administration. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
The Associated Press reviewed more than 2,000 of the cables recently released by WikiLeaks. They contained the identities of more than 90 sources who had sought protection and whose names the cable authors had asked to protect. more
Alena Larrazabal, 32, was hospitalized after she was found stark naked crawling down a busy Stock Island street Monday afternoon by a couple of deputies, according to a Monroe County Sheriff's Office arrest report.
Police say an incoherent Larrazabal was meandering on her hands and knees as cars swerved to avoid hitting her. At one point, she rolled on to her back and spread her legs before continuing her crawl, the report said.
As the deputies tried to get Larrazabal out of harm's way, she began to fight with them. With the help of some paramedics, they were able to get her strapped down to a stretcher, and she was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. more
Police arrived at the home in Yorktown after receiving a call about a domestic dispute around 10 a.m., according to the Virginia Gazette.
They were talking with the ex-wife when a deputy saw a white Ford Explorer towing a utility trailer. The trailer was on fire, and a man identified as her ex-husband was behind the wheel.
Firefighters arrived, and authorities attempted to get the man to exit the SUV. That's when they noticed a cable tied to a nearby tree was wrapped around his neck.
Officers pleaded with the man to surrender, but instead he hit the gas. He was pulled from the car, and his head was yanked clean off his body. The vehicle continued moving for about 150 yards.
"Nobody has ever heard of anything like this," Sheriff Danny Diggs said, according to The Associated Press. "It's a really bizarre incident." more
Oh—so you actually doubt he’ll go to hell? With the stuff he’s pulled? Cabrón, please . . .
It is remarkable that relatively few people seem outraged by Mr. Cheney. Here is the man who, as Vice-President of the United States, violated some of the most important rights, freedoms and liberties that America has defended for over two-hundred years. Not only did he commit what in other times would have been considered war crimes and crimes against humanity—he is proud of having done so!
He boasts about the torture he ordered, he defends the wars of aggression that he fomented, and he is silent about the sweetheart deals he gave his former employer, Halliburton, in the “reconstruction” of countries that he helped destroy.
In short, he violated every rule in the book—yet no one is throwing the book at him. There are no Congressional hearings into his violation of the Constitution. There are no prosecutors sharpening their chops, getting ready to indict him on charges of corruption.
Most of all, there is no public outrage at him. more
There is no longer any excuse for believing that the Great Recession and its aftermath was a more or less typical economic downturn to be followed by a robust recovery. That’s a pipedream. What we are experiencing is an economic disaster, the worst reversal to hit the U.S. since the 1930s. The human suffering is profound. Some 14 million Americans are officially counted as unemployed. Nearly half have been out of work for six months or more, and many have been jobless for a year or two or longer.
Poverty is once again on the march, moving like Patton’s Third Army through communities that had never had more than a tenuous hold on the American dream. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, the minimum wage or just above, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle class standard of living.
Starved of tax revenues, the federal budget is submerged in a vast ocean of red ink. One of the tragic results is that social services are under furious attack at the same time that the need for such services has grown enormously. If dramatic steps are not soon taken to put millions of jobless Americans back to work, the quality of life for much, if not most, of the population will be irreparably damaged. The American dream itself is at risk. more
The Republicans, and not just the adherents of the Tea Party -- have elevated the refusal to countenance any increase in taxes for the super-rich -- even through the closing of tax loopholes -- to the highest level of principle.
Instead, the rich and the powerful, and those who speak for them and govern on their behalf in both parties in Washington, in London, Paris, Berlin and Ottawa, are imposing policies of austerity on their peoples, in the case of the Euro Zone, particularly on the Greeks, Spaniards, the Portuguese, and the Irish. The details of the programmes differ, but the common consequence is a sharp spike in long-term joblessness, particularly for the young and for racial minorities. Poverty, homelessness, and desperation haunt North America and Europe.
Governments, right-wing politicians and their media outlets have laboured mightily, and not without success, to divert the anger of people away from financiers and corporate bonus-recipients and onto public sector employees, union members, immigrants, and those who have pensions. It's the old, old, divide and conquer story. Without such tales, the privileged would soon be toppled from their positions of power. more
The similarities are striking. In both the financial crisis and Irene, the government actions taken were exceptional and involved depriving people of private property without the due process required under the Fifth Amendment.
In the financial crisis, Bush and Paulson seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in what Paulson later described as an ambush. They did in essence the same thing at AIG, without shareholder approval, in what AIG’s former chairman Maurice Greenberg, a large shareholder, has called a violation of the law of Delaware, in which AIG was incorporated.
In Irene, the mayor and the governor took away not a company that belonged to shareholders, but rather the use of apartments and houses and commercial properties that had been owned or rented by individuals. more
suspicious package arrived at the mail center of an Air Force base in southern Illinois, THREE Hospitalised - 31st Aug 2011
The incident prompted the partial evacuation of the facility.
The Chicago Tribune reports that two U.S. Postal Sevice workers and an Air Force serviceman "developed respiratory or skin reactions around 9 a.m. Wednesday in reaction to something in the mail room."
Col. Michael Hornitschek told the Tribune that officials had isolate a package believed to be the cause, which is now being examined by hazardous material specialists.
The three people who fell ill were treated and released, and fourteen other people were decontaminated.
The base's education center, bowling alley and other services near the mail center were evacuated as a precaution, but Hornitschek said there is no threat to the local community, and he downplayed the possibility of terrorism. The investigation of the package is proceeding according to protocol.
“Scott AFB emergency responders are well-trained professionals who provided immediate response. They are working diligently to render the area safe and investigating the source of the package,” Hornitschek said in a statement, according to ABC news. Source
International Space Station could be unmanned for first time in decade after Russia postpones next mission following crash - 31st Aug 2011
Roskosmos said today that the next manned mission would be put back by at least a month following the destruction of a cargo craft carrying food and fuel last week.
It said that the decision will allow time for safety checks to be carried out, but any further delays could leave no option but to bring the cosmonauts currently onboard back to Earth.
In a brief statement, the agency set no new dates for missions.
But Russian sources said that three of the six man crew currently in space would now return on September 16, instead of September 8.
The delay means that their replacements will not blast off for the station until late October or early November, instead of on September 22.
Alexei Krasnov, who is in charge of manned flights at Roskosmos, said: 'If for any reason we will not be able to deliver the crew before the end of November, we will need to review all possibilities including leaving the station unmanned.' Read More
The Yorktown man was found by police as he sat in a van with a wire tied around his neck and to a nearby tree.
As officers tried to talk him out of the van, which was attached to a burning trailer, the man accelerated hard yanking him out of the vehicle - separating his head from his body.
The 46-year-old man's name has been withheld by deputies while they notify members of his family.
They said he had recently been living in Chicago.
police were initially called to reports of a domestic disturbance at 10 am this morning.
The man however left shortly before they arrived.
A few minutes later there were reports of a trailer on fire at the nearby intersection of Holmes Boulevard and Wolftrap Road.
As fire-fighters arrived they found the man inside the Explorer SUV with the burning trailer attached.
After rescuers attempted to get the man out of the vehicle he accelerated away.
The SUV came to a rest 150 yards further down the road. Source
Horror on the M25 after husband stabbed his ‘beautiful, ambitious’ wife to death in car being driven by his father - 31st Aug 2011
Kashif Baig claimed he saw beams of light coming from her eyes and thought he would die if they touched him.
The 31-year-old from Crawley, West Sussex, launched a frenzied attack on Shehlah, 27, while they were being driven along the M25 by his father.
Mumtaz Baig tried to stop his son but was threatened with the knife and told to keep driving while his daughter-in-law bled to death from a severed artery.
Baig's father managed to drive back to Crawley and raise the alarm just after 6pm on November 16 last year.
Police arrested Baig after finding Shehlah's blood-soaked body slumped in the back of his father's VW Passat.
Baig attacked the police when they went to arrest him, trying to strangle one officer and head-butting another.
He sobbed and rocked from side to side in the dock as he was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act at Lewes Crown Court yesterday.
The 31-year-old had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at an earlier hearing. Read More
Fears homelessness could spread to middle class as economic downturn and welfare cuts take hold - 31st Aug 2011
A report by Crisis, a charity for the homeless, says that the ongoing downturn has led to increases in the number of people in social housing and temporary accommodation.
The number of people sleeping rough also seems to have risen, but the report highlights the plight of the 'hidden homeless' forced to occupy unsuitable housing.
Crisis has called for the Government not to cut housing benefit, and to push on with plans to build thousands of new homes to reduce the pressure on demand for housing.
Without these moves, the charity warns, homelessness might no longer be restricted to the poorest in society.
According to the Guardian, the report says: 'Any significant reduction to the welfare safety net in the UK as a result of Coalition reforms may, of course, bring the scenario of middle class homelessness that much closer.'
The charity also claims that over 600,000 households are now over-crowded, causing a 'hidden homelessness' in the most popular areas, such as London and the south-east. Read More
Barbara Kuligowska the Cleaner who stole £90,000 of jewellery from Tory minister's wife walks free from court because she is a single mother
Barbara Kuligowska, 30, took the jewellery from Sallie, wife of Tory energy minister Charles Hendry, while she was cleaning their Westminster home.
The Polish worker was employed by the couple at their six-bedroom house for four years.
Among the jewellery she stole from them was a pair of Cartier earrings worth £25,000 and a diamond studded elephant brooch worth £8,950.
Southwark Crown Court heard Kuligowska had stolen the items and sold them for a fraction of the cost 'to make ends meet.' She was said to have pocketed as little as £6,000 from the sale of the items.
Several items later turned up on the internet and in pawnbrokers in London. However, the vast majority of the jewellery has not been recovered.
But Kuligowska, a mother of one, walked free after the judge, Peter Susman QC, handed her a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and ordered her to perform 60 hours unpaid work.
He said: 'This was a very serious offence indeed. Read More
Indian youths perform incredibly dangerous 'train surfing' stunt routine while hanging off carriage - 30th Aug 2011
Videos of these 'train surfing' youths from India appeared on the internet after one passenger filmed their crazy stunt from the window of a carriage.
The three youths cling to the side of a train as it leaves a station, sliding along the platform before jumping onto the carriage as it rumbles out into the countryside.
Defying death as they speed past pylons and posts the crazy gang fool around on the side of the train slapping pylons and posts they pass by. Read More
Why don't courts ALWAYS deal with criminals as quickly as the rioters? Police chief slams sluggish justice - 31st Aug 2011
Head of Humberside Police Tim Hollis praised the 'rapid and robust' response but also demanded to know why it normally takes courts so long.
He wrote in the Yorkshire Post: 'We really did see rapid and robust justice with offenders being arrested, charged, put before the courts and sentenced in days.
'This undoubtedly contributed to taking the momentum out of the disorder – but for the police and public it did raise the question as to why cases take so long to get to court in the normal course of events.'
Chief Constable Hollis also questioned 'why imprisonment is not used more effectively at an early stage for those who make the lives of the law-abiding a misery on a more routine basis'.
In the aftermath of the riots, courts were organised to run overnight and David Cameron joined politicians praising judges and magistrates for taking a tough line.
In all 1,474 suspects had been before the courts, nearly two-thirds of them in London, according to the most recent Ministry of Justice figures last week.
The prison population has risen by 1,300 since the start of August, reaching 86,821 last week. There remain 1,517 spare places in the prison system. Read More
Susan Smith arrested on maternity ward for sending pictures of friend's naked toddler to paedophile - 31st Aug 2011
Susan Smith was arrested while she was on a maternity ward at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Lancashire, soon before she gave birth.
Smith, 42, of no fixed abode, was charged soon after and later pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to two counts of taking an indecent photograph of a child and two counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child.
She took the pictures of the toddler at a house in Blackpool while the girl's mother was asleep.
She then sent the picture to a man, who was not named, convicted for indecent exposure.
Smith's crime only came to light when someone borrowed her phone and found the pictures and contacted police.
Soon after she was arrested, Smith gave birth while under police guard. Read More
Before being contained, the raging fire caused swathes of cedar trees to explode into flame as the wind-whipped blaze reached them in the North-East of the city.
Oklahoma City set a record for the number of days in a year with temperatures above 100 and the near unrelenting heat wave this summer meant conditions were ideal for grass fires.
Dee Corley, a stable owner in a nearby area, took in horses that had been evacuated while an employee picked up wandering strays to prevent traffic accidents.
She took in 25 horses as well as 11 dogs and two cats before the fire was eventually contained late on last night. Read More
ANOTHER severed foot washes ashore in British Columbia, Canada – totalling a dozen in four years - 31st Aug 2011
Yet another human foot washed ashore in Vancouver on Tuesday, the latest in 12 such cases since 2007.
The limb, which like the others was inside a rubber-soled shoe, was discovered by a passer by in a creek close to the centre of the city.
DNA testing is underway but police are currently at a loss to explain how it got there.
The grim discovery brings to a dozen the number of human feet which have been discovered since 2007, prompting a fresh flurry of speculation as to how they got there.
What seemed initially like a bizarre coincidence has become the subject of a major investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and British Columbia's coroner's office.
Nobody, however, has been able to offer a definite explanation as to what is happening - or identify whom all of the feet belong to.
The latest limb to be found was found floating in the water along the shore of Vancouver's False Creek, which wraps around the downtown area.
Part of leg was still attached, police said. Read More
Jack the Ripper Unmasked? First picture of executed New York murderer identified as serial killer by his own lawyer - 31st Aug 2011
Astonishingly, it is also the first time anyone has attempted to put together an efit of George Feigenbaum, one of the men most likely to be Jack the Ripper.
The 54-year-old German merchant seaman went to the electric chair in New York in 1894 after the brutal murder of his landlady Juliana Hoffman.
A psychopath with a self-confessed penchant for mutilating women, even his own lawyer believed he was the Ripper. Read More
SIR JOHN WILLIAMS
He was an obstetrician, someone who specialises in pregnancy and women’s reproductive tracts, and treated Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Beatrice.
One of his descendants, Tony Williams, put him forward as the Ripper in 2005 book Uncle Jack, which he co-wrote with Humphrey Price.
Their argument is that he killed the women as part of his research into infertility.
Historian Mei Trow points the finger at mortuary attendant Robert Mann. He was well educated in anatomy, lived locally and came from a poor background.
The first two victims, Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman, are known to have been delivered to his mortuary.
He killed the women after being driven insane by syphilis, according to an article in The Criminologist in 1970 by Dr Thomas E A Stowell.
MONTAGUE JOHN DRUITT
Druitt was a barrister who came under suspicion because he committed suicide just after the final murder. However, he lived in Kent – and most Ripper experts believe the suspect was local to Whitechapel.
DR THOMAS NEILL CREAM
Cream, a doctor specialising in abortions, was hanged in 1982 for several murders he committed in London and his last words were reportedly ‘I am Jack…’.
The photos, provided by GeoEye, show broken sections of bridges, erosion and other damage after the hurricane tore up the East Coast.
In the northeast, Irene shifted to a tropical storm and dumped rain that spawned widespread flooding.
On Wednesday, President Obama has signed a disaster declaration for North Carolina and New York as those states turn their sights to recovery.
The White House said Wednesday that Obama signed the order for seven North Carolina counties where the storm first hit on Saturday.
The declaration authorizes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-coast loans to cover uninsured property loss and other programs to help people and businesses affected by Irene.
Gov Beverly Perdue had submitted the request for the disaster declaration on Monday. Read More
Villagers' fury as sea defence project is rejected because 20 small sea snails MIGHT be living nearby - 31st Aug 2011
The owners of 1,350 properties at Pagham Harbour, West Sussex, have been told there is a one in 200 chance their homes will flood every year for the next century.
The warning came after a submerged shingle bank in the harbour was displaced changing the direction of the current towards the shore and eroding the beach.
A plan to redirect the flow of water away from land - which most local people are in favour of - has been thrown into jeopardy after the discovery of a rare snail colony.
The two millimetre-long Defolin's lagoon snail is already a protected marine species. Conservationists are hoping to protect it further by using new legislation to make Pagham Harbour a Marine Conservation Zone. Read More
Young couple plunge to their deaths from 12th floor flat as police officers enter their home - 31st Aug 2011
Neighbours said they heard the pair arguing moments before they fell from the window in Wortley, Leeds.
One report suggested the man and the woman may have been holding hands as they plummeted to the ground at the foot of the 16-storey block.
West Yorkshire Police arrived at the scene at around 4am after receiving a call from a flat in Clyde Court, Leeds, which made them 'concerned for the welfare' of the two occupants.
'A short time later officers entered the property and a 20-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man fell from two windows to the ground below,’ a police spokesman said.
'The circumstances surrounding their deaths are being investigated, however the deaths are not being treated as suspicious.'
Amanda Randle, 23, who lives on the second floor, said she heard the couple's bodies hit the ground.
'I thought I heard a gunshot or someone throwing rubbish out, then I looked out of the window and there were two bodies lying on top of each other,’ she said. Read More
Judit Nadal, a leading scientist has died after G-Wiz car imploded as she drove to child's school for parents' evening - 31st Aug 2011
Judit Nagy, 47, died when her tiny electric car, a G-Wiz, collided with a Skoda Octavia as she made her way to the parents' evening of one of her four children.
Dr Miguel Nadal said that his wife was rushing to her 11-year-old son's school on October 18 last year because she was late.
He also told North London Coroner's Court that she was not wearing a seat belt because she thought it would crumple her coat.
Dr Nadal told the court: 'My wife said with a panic something like "I think I have made a mistake". I think she had moved out at that stage and seen the vehicle bearing down at her...
'I said "Well get off your phone then and concentrate".'
Dr Nadal, from Golders Green, North London, took his iPhone from his ear as the line went dead.
Seconds later he heard the sound of the crash because the collision had happened so close to the home the couple shared with their four children.
The court heard Dr Nagy was trying to turn right in her car, which is classed as a quadricycle, making it exempt from normal vehicle testing, when Marcel Jorja in his Skoda Octavia drove into the side of her.
It is believed that both had moved on a green light but he had right of way. Read More
Benedict Garrett AKA Johnny Anglais works as stripper and runs porn website can carry on teaching -31st Aug 2011
Benedict Garrett, 31, who moonlighted under the alias Johnny Anglais, was given a slap on the wrist by the General Teaching council - but was told he is free to continue teaching children as long as he steers clear of his extra-curricular employment.
The disciplinary committee heard that Mr Garrett, who was head of personal, social and health education at Beal High School in Ilford, east London, had been stripping in clubs and working as a naked butler in his spare time.
Chairman of the panel Derek Johns, today told him that the committee was 'content' he would not repeat his behaviour if he carried on teaching.
He said: 'You have stated that you will continue to advocate the morality and acceptability of your involvement in the adult industry and argue that it should not be inappropriate for a teacher to work as a stripper or in pornographic films.
'However, the committee is content that you recognise the widely held public view that such work is not acceptable conduct for a teacher.
'Therefore, in relation to risk of repetition, the committee considers it is unlikely that you will seek to return to the teaching profession whilst working as a stripper or in pornographic films.'
Mr Garrett, who uses the pseudonym Johnny Anglais, had admitted working in the adult industry but argued that it did not amount to unacceptable professional conduct since none of his behaviour was illegal. Read More
Speaking in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on Monday (29 August), the minister said: "European elites, including German elites, must decide if they want the euro to survive - even at a high price - or not. If not, we should prepare for a controlled dismantling of the currency zone."
He added: "We have a simple choice: Solidarity or the collapse of Europe."
Rostowski criticised the German "elite" after German President Christian Wulff last week said the European Central Bank (ECB) should not buy struggling Italian and Spanish bonds.
The Polish minister said the ECB programme is an essential stop-gap measure until the EU crisis-fund, the EFSF, is given new powers to buy sovereign debt.
He indicated that eurozone countries will have to pour more cash into the €440 billion EFSF to make it fit for purpose. more
"can't you see my signals turn from green to red
And with you I can see a traffic jam straight up ahead."
In global financial markets, the signals have changed from green to red. But rather than a simple traffic jam, a full scale credit crash may be ahead.
In financial markets, facts never matter until they do but there are worrying indications.
Fact 1 - The European debt crisis has taken a turn for the worse.
There is a serious risk that even the half-baked bailout plan announced on 21 July 2011 cannot be implemented.
The sticking point is a demand for collateral for the second bailout package. Finland demanded and got Euro 500 million in cash as security against their Euro 1,400 million share of the second bailout package. Hearing of the ill-advised side deal between Greece and Finland, Austria, the Netherlands and Slovakia also are now demanding collateral, arguing that their banks were less exposed to Greece than their counterparts in Germany and France entitling them to special treatment. At least, one German parliamentarian has also asked the logical question, why Germany is not receiving similar collateral.
Of course, Greece, which does not have two Euros to rub together, doesn't have this collateral and would need to borrow it. more
What really spooked the markets this past month were the Michigan Consumer Sentiment's plunge, the early release of Q2 GDP, and the Philadelphia Fed Survey, all of which showed declines and were well below the consensus forecast. Other regional Fed manufacturing surveys like the New York Empire Index and the Richmond Fed's Manufacturing Index data for August also showed contractions and sent the markets lower. more
The mood here in the Grand Tetons, where central bankers and private economists from around the world gather each August, was distinctly gloomy.
The angst was underscored in a blunt speech by the International Monetary Fund's new managing director, Christine Lagarde. "We risk seeing the fragile recovery derailed," she said Saturday. Those risks have been aggravated, she said, by the public's sense that policy makers' response has been inadequate. "We are in a dangerous new phase," the former French finance minister said.
WSJ's Paul Vigna previews the day in markets activity, including how Asia reacted to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's comments about the health of both the U.S. and the world economies. AP Photo/Reed Saxon
What Ms. Lagarde said publicly, several central bankers expressed privately. The central bankers' problems are compounded by internal divisions and current realities. Several U.S. Federal Reserve officials have doubts about how much more they can do to resuscitate a U.S. recovery that is falling short of Fed expectations. Most European Central Bank officials believe the solutions to Europe's sovereign-debt, governance and banking woes lie with elected leaders, not the ECB. more
The country's gross domestic product fell 0.1 per cent in the April-June period, or 0.4 per cent on an annualized basis, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.
Economists were expecting growth would be flat in the period.
The decline was due largely to a 2.1 per cent drop in exports, the agency said.
"This morning's report is a reminder that Canada is not an island, and is vulnerable to external economic shocks," TD economist Diana Petramala said.
Although the overall economy shrank slightly, two key sectors recorded much larger declines — oil and gas extraction dropped 3.6 per cent, and output in the manufacturing sector declined by 0.9 per cent. more
Some of the victims were as young as 13, Amnesty International said Tuesday. It said that in recent years the annual number of deaths behind Syrian bars has been about five.
"These deaths behind bars are reaching massive proportions, and appear to be an extension of the same brutal disdain for life that we are seeing daily on the streets of Syria," said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International's researcher on Syria.
Sammonds also said the group had heard accounts of horrific torture. "We believe the Syrian government to be systematically persecuting its own people on a vast scale," he said.
The victims, all men or boys, were arrested after mass protests began in March. All the victims are believed to have been detained because they were suspected of being involved in the protests, Amnesty said in a report.
In at least 52 of the cases there was evidence that torture or ill-treatment caused or contributed to the deaths, the report said. more
Rene Wissink, manager of resource conservation at the park, said the attack occurred at about 6 p.m. PT Monday on the beach of a popular day-use area at Kennedy Lake, 16 kilometres east of the community of Ucluelet.
Wissink said the child's family appears to have done everything right to scare off the animal.
"When the attack occurred, they stood their ground, they made a lot of noise, they frightened the cat off right away so the contact was very, very brief," he said.
The child required surgery and is reportedly doing well. The child's parents say they don't wish to speak publicly yet and will focus on remaining at their toddler's bedside. more
First the dot.com bust, then the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and other targets. The United States economy started the decade shaken to the core, but it responded with an astounding economic boom.
Ten years on, however, the US economy is in dire straits again, and most people are poorer than they were before. How did it happen? source
A raging wildfire in parched northern Texas burned out of control early Wednesday, destroying about 30 structures and forcing evacuations, a forestry official said.
"I don't think I have my head around it yet, it's just unbelievable," Linda Jackson told CNN affiliate KTVT-TV after losing her home to the fire. "I can't believe it."
The property was spared in April during another blaze, but Tuesday's fire burned everything they had.
"Before we knew it, it was coming," Jackson's husband, Paul, said. "(I'm) sick that I didn't get the pictures of our folks and things like that, that we didn't have time to get."
Fire containment is at or near zero, according to John Nichols with the Texas Forest Service.
"There's still a lot of work going on and a lot of stuff that's being threatened and they are doing the best they can to protect structures," Nichols said.
Some 125 homes were evacuated, the forest service said. more
At least 26 people have died and dozens wounded in the airstrikes in the Nuba Mountain areas of South Kordofan state, rights groups said.
The attacks started in June, and have forced more than 150,000 people to flee their homes, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a statement Tuesday.
"Displaced communities forced out of their homes by the repeated bombing live in harsh conditions in caves, on mountaintops, under trees, and in the bush far from towns."
Displaced families told researchers from the rights groups they were eating berries and leaves to survive, Amnesty said.
The researchers, who were on the ground, witnessed some of the attacks, according to rights groups. more
Shortly before 5 p.m. PT Tuesday, police were notified that the grisly find had been made in the water next to the Plaza of Nations marina in False Creek, Const. Jana McGuinness said in a release.
The area was cordoned off and the B.C. Coroner's Service was notified, McGuinness said.
She said there was no early indication of how the remains came to be there, and further forensic examination would be required.
The discovery is the 12th finding of purported human remains in a shoe in waters on the West Coast since August 2007. One of those discoveries proved to be the product of a hoax.
Some of the remains have been identified through DNA analysis, but the source of most of them is still not known. more
The residents of zoos are often the first to be neglected when cities are hit by man-made or natural disasters.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson discovered a dire situation Tuesday at the Tripoli Zoo, struggling to function as a nationwide conflict rages around it.
Robertson found the gates locked and was told the zoo was under renovation -- that there were no animals there.
But a big cat's roar told a different story, and Robertson followed the sound -- underscored by the echo of gunfire in the distance -- to find enclosures holding a tiger, lions, giant tortoises, hippos, hyenas, bears, monkeys, deer, emus and more. All the animals appeared undernourished and struggling as they waited for food and for water where there was little or none to be found.
A tiger, loose skin hanging on its frame, prowled its enclosure when it sensed visitors. more
China remained quiet Tuesday as a recently leaked video of a Chinese general's candid remarks -- apparently made at a corporate event in March -- on sensitive spying cases continued to draw international attention.
The ministries of defense and foreign affairs have not responded to CNN's inquiries, and numerous phone calls to National Defense University, where the general -- Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan -- teaches, went unanswered. State media made no mention of the story.
In a clip found on YouTube and smaller video-sharing sites, Jin -- with the help of slides -- presented eight major espionage cases. While some cases had been publicized, others had never been revealed or discussed in detail before, especially those involving senior officers of the normally secretive People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Jin talked about Senior Col. Xu Junping, who once directed the American and Oceanic department of the defense ministry's foreign affairs office but defected to the United States in 2000. Jin said Xu was extremely close to China's top military brass. more
The Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St. Petersburg has just installed the device from a Glasgow-based company to give it the option of liquifying bodies, according to the BBC, and will start using it in the coming weeks.
Known as alkaline hydrolysis to the pros, the body is submerged in a solution of water and potassium hydroxide, while the machine is pressurized to nearly 150 psi and heated to around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Around three hours later, the body is reduced to a skeleton, and the sterile mixture that contains the remnants of body tissue is drained into the municipal sewage system -- which a biochemist told the BBC is completely safe.
The skeleton is then ground up and delivered to the family just like the ashes from a traditional cremation. more
World's stateless living in limbo: 12 million people worldwide are stateless, with no right to work, go to school, get married or go to hospitals
One pranged sub, a crashed warhead, helmets gifted to Africa, and a £1.7m legal battle over furniture: How the hard-up MOD wasted £110m of our money
The gift to the African country’s government came to light as Defence Secretary Liam Fox pushes through massive budget cuts for our Armed Forces.
The accounts, submitted to the National Audit Office last month, show the MoD also paid £2.4million for rescue and repairs after the nuclear submarine HMS Astute ran aground on a training exercise, and a further £1.7million when a warhead crashed during testing in California.
The MoD is having to slash its £34billion budget by 8 per cent, cutting 17,000 personnel. Its accounts show 27 losses of over £250,000 – a total of £76.7million – during the last financial year and 16,000 losses under that figure, totalling £34million.
A department spokesman said: ‘As we acknowledged to the National Audit Office, the MoD has not managed its resources well for many years. The NAO has now acknowledged that improvements have been made.’
In total, more than £110million was wasted on blunders from scrapping plane contracts, accidents and legal rows last year and this rose to £290million when the losses from the previous year which hadn't been signed off were totted up. (more)
Contracts for rare earths shifting to quarterly basis due to price fluctuations and political uncertainties
Prices have increased by as much as three times since May, hurting companies such as Hitachi Metals Ltd., which makes magnetic and electronic materials, said Shinya Yamada, a Tokyo-based analyst at Credit Suisse AG. Higher costs may drive users to avoid applications based on the 17 chemically similar elements entirely, Yamada said.
China produces more than 90 percent of the world's rare earths, used in Apple Inc. iPads, Boeing Co. helicopter blades and Toyota Motor Corp. hybrid cars and wind turbines.
The nation has curbed output and exports since 2009, saying it wanted to conserve resources and protect the environment. Japan is the top buyer of rare earths.
"China changed its strategy from limiting export quotas to tightening regulations for digging and refining," Fujinori Sato at Sojitz Corp. said Thursday. "Prices may go up further later this year." more