Friday, September 16, 2011

Planet convulses in spasm of major earthquakes in 14 hour period (See, we're not paranoid at The Coming Crisis)

A magnitude- 6.2 earthquake struck off Japan’s battered northeastern coast Thursday, but there was no risk of a tsunami and there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake was centered off the coast of Ibaraki, about 140 miles east of Tokyo, at a depth of 6 miles. The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the quake. Nearly 20,000 people died or were left missing across Japan’s northeastern coast after a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. The disaster damaged a nuclear power plant, forcing another 100,000 people to leave their homes because of a radiation threat. The operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said the plant’s cooling functions were intact after Thursday’s quake and there was no change to radiation levels around the plant. The plant is about 80 miles northwest of the epicenter.

Also Thursday: The U.S. Geological Survey has registered a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that hit off the coast of Cuba. The quake happened early Thursday at 4:43 a.m. local time about 25 miles off Cuba’s coast and 375 miles southeast of Cuba’s capital Havana. USGS geophysicist Randy Baldwin says earthquakes are common in that area of the sea and no tsunami warnings have been issued. He also said the quake wasn’t expected to cause damage on land, citing its remoteness. more

The Ripple Effect: Water Shortages Likely In Most Populated Cities

The realization that our water is in fact a finite resource has become all the more clear over the last year where parts of the country have experienced the worst droughts in a century. The changes in global weather patterns and a rapidly growing population have also substantially affected the water supply.

In 2010, an article was written that examined the risk of water shortages across the country. The writers of the article looked at an October, 2010 report on water risk by environmental research and sustainability group, Ceres. They also considered a comprehensive July, 2010 report from the National Resources Defense Council which mapped areas at high risk of water shortage conflict. The analysis allowed officials to choose ten cities which are likely to face severe shortages in the relatively near-term future. The cities are:

10. Orlando, Florida

9. Atlanta, Georgia

8. Tuscon, Arizona

7. Las Vegas, Nevada

6. Fort Worth, Texas

5. San Francisco Bay Area, California

4. San Antonio, Texas

3. Phoenix, Arizona

2. Houston, Texas

1. Los Angeles, California

However, according to Natural News, these cities should not be the only ones concerned about future water shortages. According to U.S. government estimates, at least 36 states are expected to face water shortages within the next five years. more

The 13 Signs of a Societal Collapse

There are times when I sit and think about the collision course this country is on and the so-called leaders who put us here. It is excruciating to watch and see the signs that no one wants to see. Rather than being perceptive to what is going on around them, many have chosen to blindly go about their life and spend there hard-earned money on what the television tells them to buy instead of what they need in order to live.

We are quickly running out of time to prepare for what may be the biggest collapse we have seen in our lifetime. History has always repeated itself, and if we sit idly by and ignore these historical repetitions, then we have wasted the precious time we have left. Take notice of these significant signs and be ready for their impact:

--Wars over resources
--Exorbitant debt for country and countries around the world
--Hyper inflation
--Government corruption
--Currency manipulation
--Stock market manipulation
--Bank corruption
--High unemployment rates
--Civil unrest
--Bank runs
--Barriers around country’s borders
--Militarizing the police force
--Food shortages

I am terrified for our future, and frankly, fear that many of our dear friends and family members will fall victim to the dismemberment of our economic system and be caught in the crossfires of economic unrest, poverty and third-world country conditions. Like it or not, we are in an economic depression and a large percentage of the population is completely ill-equipped to survive it. Not only do many members of our community lack the resources and the knowledge to survive, but, as a whole, our nation is complacent, lazy, and lacks the values that those individuals had to get them through the first economic depression. Only the prepared will have a fighting chance at surviving what is to come. more

UK Unemployment rises above 2.5m milestone

Public sector job cuts imposed as part of the government's austerity drive have sent unemployment back through the 2.5m barrier, according to official figures released on Wednesday.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people out of work rose by 80,000 in the three months to July, reaching 2.51m, mainly due to a sharp rise in youth unemployment.

Despite ministerial hopes that the private sector will be able to compensate for the squeeze on the public sector, the ONS said the May to July period had seen the sharpest rise in unemployment in two years.

The unemployment rate using the internationally agreed yardstick for calculating joblessness rose to 7.9% for May to July, from 7.7% in February to April.

Officials said that employment in the public sector had fallen by 111,000 in the second quarter of 2011, the biggest drop since recent records began in 1999.

The government's alternative measure for unemployment – the claimant count – indicated that an additional 20,300 people were out of work and claiming benefits in August, a smaller increase than the City had feared following an increase of more than 30,000 in July. The claimant count total now stands at 1,580,900. more

America’s Dangerous Food-Safety System

Ten-year-old Shiloh Johnson lay in a hospital bed for 43 days as medical tubes protruding from her chest slowly drained suffocating fluid from her heart and lungs. Each day brought a new challenge, many of them life-threatening.

Her veins went flat, requiring nurses to insert an IV. Her kidneys went into failure, requiring dialysis. She suffered cardiac arrest and had to be revived. For three weeks she slipped into a coma, unaware that her mother was sitting alongside her day and night, in utter disbelief that a simple trip through a restaurant buffet line could wreak such havoc on her healthy, vibrant child.

Shiloh and several hundred others who ate at a restaurant in Locust Grove, Okla., back in 2008 were the victims of a virulent E. coli bacterium known as 0111, one of six strains that food-safety experts say are increasingly appearing in meats and other foods across the globe.

Despite the bacteria’s devastating effects in outbreaks from Oklahoma to Japan, the Obama administration took more than two years to officially recognize the six strains as something dangerous that should be screened by federal meat inspectors. Salmonella—which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and which is common in poultry and meat—also has routinely escaped monitoring by federal meat inspectors. An antibiotic-resistant form of salmonella was at the center of a massive recall of turkey meat this summer.

Monday’s decision to regulate the six E. coli strains comes after years of efforts by food-safety advocates like attorney Bill Marler, who celebrated the announcement: “I am more than a little pleased.” But there is much more to be done. “Food safety is one of the things you can’t rest on; government has done its responsibility and now industry has to step up.” He says he has a strong suspicion—and hope—that meat inspectors “will start looking at antibiotic-resistant salmonella in the same way.” more

Killer Pentagon Program Runs Amok: A Microcosm of America’s Decline

“Unless changes are made, continued waste and fraud will undercut the effectiveness of money spent in future operations, whether they involve hostile threats overseas or national emergencies here at home requiring military participation and interagency response. Responsibility for this state of affairs lies with Congress, the White House, federal departments, the military services, agency leadership, contractors, and individuals who abuse the system. Contract waste, fraud, and abuse take many forms: An ill-conceived project, no matter how well-managed, is wasteful if it does not fit the cultural, political, and economic norms of the society it is meant to serve, or if it cannot be supported and maintained. Poor planning and oversight by the U.S. government, as well as poor performance on the part of contractors, have costly outcomes: time and money misspent are not available for other purposes, missions are not achieved, and lives are lost. Commission on Wartime Contracting

Lives Lost, Damaged

Michael Bhatia, a former member of the US Army Human Terrain System (HTS), was said to have exercised “bad judgment” on the day of his death knowing that he was piggy-backing with US soldiers who were high value targets for the insurgents. Advised not to travel on that day by colleagues, he did so anyway. more

Imminent Financial Collapse in Europe?

Are we on the verge of a massive financial collapse in Europe? Rumors of an imminent default by Greece are flying around all over the place and Greek government officials are openly admitting that they are running out of money. Without more bailout funds it is absolutely certain that Greece will soon default on their debts. But German officials are threatening to hold up more bailout payments until the Greeks “do what they agreed to do”. The attitude in Germany is that the Greeks must now pay the price for going into so much debt. Officials in the Greek government are becoming frustrated because the more austerity measures they implement, the more their economy shrinks. As the economy shrinks, so do tax payments and the budget deficit gets even larger. Meanwhile, hordes of very angry Greek citizens are violently protesting in the streets. If Germany allows Greece to default, that is going to start financial dominoes tumbling around the globe and it is going to be a signal to the financial markets that there is a very real possibility that Portugal, Italy and Spain will be allowed to default as well. Needless to say, all hell would break loose at that point.

So why is Greece so important?

Well, there are two reasons why Greece is so important.

Number one, major banks all over Europe are heavily invested in Greek debt. Since many of those banks are also very highly leveraged, if they are forced to take huge losses on Greek debt it could wipe many of them out.

Secondly, if Greece defaults, it tells the markets that Portugal, Italy and Spain would likely not be rescued either. It would suddenly become much, much more expensive for those countries to borrow money, which would make their already huge debt problems far worse.

If Italy or Spain were to go down, it would wipe out major banks all over the globe. more

US Economy Goes From Bad to Worse: Economist

The US economy is going from bad to worse and will not fully recover until structural problems caused by the collapse of the housing market and the financial crisis are resolved, according to Capital Economics.

Predicting growth rates of 1.5 percent in 2012 and 2.0 percent in 2013, Roger Bootle, the managing director of Capital Economics believes there is a risk of the US economy falling back into recession [cnbc explains] over the next few years.

“Households have made only limited progress in reducing their debt burdens following the collapse of the housing bubble,” said Bootle in a research note on Wednesday.

“As the deleveraging continues, we expect spending to remain unusually weak over the next couple of years,” he said.

Investment by businesses remains one of the bright spots in the US, but Capital Economics believe renewed financial turmoil on financial markets risks future investment being put on hold by business leaders nervous about where this will all end.

“The crisis in Europe and a more widespread easing in global demand means that the export sector won't be able to offset the weakness in domestic demand,” warns Bootle. more

Windsor Rumble Intensifies: 'It was the loudest it's ever been'

It seemed as if the mysterious rumblings had subsided, according to Grete MaKenzie, but Sunday night through early Monday the low pitch humming came back with a vengeance.

“It was the loudest it’s ever been,” she said about the inexplicable rumblings she and thousands of Windsorites have reported hearing in the past eight months.

The 61-year-old said the noise woke her at home about 5:30 a.m. Monday in the 3000 block of Sandwich Street.

“Last night it was really bad,” said MaKenzie. “We went outside and it was almost like it was vibrating your eardrums.”

She said the noise comes and goes, but has been going on far too long.

“We need to identify it," she said.

The Ministry of the Environment has ruled out industrial sources as the culprit, but Coun. Al Maghnieh wants to know why.

“They’re not giving us answers,” he said.

Maghnieh believes the study is not complete. He said he’s received thousands of calls — mostly concentrated in the Windsor West area by Brighton Beach. more

UFO filmed and spotted by thousands of witnesses along US West Coast: Did you see it?

The jobless in New Jersey find refuge in Tent City



Cars and trucks cruise along Cedar Bridge Avenue, drivers listening to radio anchors reporting the headline that a record 46 million Americans are living in poverty, while 50 feet from the bustling boulevard, hidden by the woods that border the road, lies a shocking example of that shameful statistic.

Behind the trees, six dozen homeless Americans have set up camp, in tents, teepees and huts, residents of what they call Tent City. It's a place where those out of work and out of luck can drop out of society while living as cheaply as possible.

"It's a community here," said the Rev. Steven Brigham, who founded Tent City in 2006 as part of his Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church. "They have a sense of belonging."

In the past year Brigham has seen Tent City's population nearly double as the jobs recession drags on.

Angelo Villanueva jabs at a homemade punching bag he hung from a tree -- a plastic bag filled with dirt wrapped with tape. It's a "stress reliever," said Villanueva. He's a skilled mason who worked construction jobs for nearly two decades, then fell victim to a sucker punch from the housing collapse. Villanueva, also an artist who has been drawing sketches of Tent City, never dreamed that he'd be among the nation's homeless. more

Toxic smoke fears as industrial fire burns in Canberra, Australia

North Canberra residents were woken by a series of huge explosions and fireballs from a factory fire in Mitchell early this morning, as emergency services raised fears over the spread of toxic smoke plumes across the area.

Emergency Services have now confirmed that the smoke is dissipating, and the exclusion zone has been reduced back to just the suburb of Mitchell.

However all government schools on the northside of Canberra, including Belconnen, Gungahlin and the Inner North, will be closed.

Residents of Franklin, Crace, Harrison, Watson, Downer, Kaleen, Lyneham and Hackett had earlier been warned to stay indoors, close doors and windows and not use air conditioners or heaters.

About 100 people have been evacuated to Dickson College. more

US Jobless Claims Rise Again -- 428K Weekly First-Time Benefits Requests

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level in three months. It's a sign that the job market remains depressed.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications rose by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 428,000. The week included the Labor Day holiday.

Applications typically drop during short work weeks. In this case, applications didn't drop as much as the department expected, so the seasonally adjusted value rose. A Labor spokesman said the total wasn't affected by Hurricane Irene.

Still, applications appear to be trending up. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the fourth straight week to 419,500.

Applications need to fall below 375,000 to indicate that hiring is increasing enough to lower the unemployment rate. They haven't been below that level since February.

The economy added zero net jobs in August, the worst showing since September 2010. The unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent for the second straight month. more

U.S. drones strike another body blow to al Qaeda (or so we're told)



An American drone aircraft has killed another top al Qaeda operative in Pakistan. Abu Hafs al-Shahri, the terror group's chief of operations in Pakistan, was killed earlier this week.

CIA drone strikes made headlines from time to time, but they've been going on for years. It turns out, Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda has been severely crippled by them.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that the loss of al-Shahri is another body blow for al Qaeda's core.

In the past four months, at least three other senior terror leaders have been killed: Atiyah al Rahman, al Qaeda's most recent No. 2; Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior commander charged with planning foreign attacks; and Fazul Mohammed, one of the key operatives behind the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Earlier this month, senior leader al Qaeda leader Younis al Mauritani was captured in Pakistan.

All of these losses have occurred after bin Laden was killed on May 1.

Michael Leiter, who until July headed the National Counterrorism Center, says al Qaeda, now run by Ayman al Zawahiri, is critically wounded, but "there's nothing static about counterterrorism."

"Really, the ranks of al Qaeda in Pakistan have been very seriously thinned. So, I think they could still pull off an attack, but I think it is much less likely that they could pull off a catastrophic attack like 9/11," Leiter says. more

Central banks step in as European debt crisis goes global

As European banks find it increasingly harder to get cash they need to operate, central banks from around the world opened their vaults Thursday to head off another credit crunch like the one that crashed the financial system in 2008 and sent the global economy into a deep recession.

Exactly three years to the day after the collapse of Lehman Brothers touched off a credit panic, confidence in European leaders is fading as they scramble to head off a default on Greek debt and ease fears that Italy may headed for the same fate.

After a year and half of failed attempts at a solution, the world economy has entered A “dangerous new phase” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a Washington speech Thursday.

“Without collective resolve, the confidence that the world so badly needs will not return,” Lagarde said.

The crisis stems from a downward economic spiral that has trapped Europe’s weaker economies, starting with Greece. Burdened by a debt load that exceeds its gross domestic product, the Athens government has been forced to cut spending and raise taxes to convince stronger economies like Germany and France to backstop its bonds. But those budget cuts have sent the Greek economy lurching in reverse, shrinking economic growth and forcing deeper cuts in services and higher taxes. more

Central banks act as economy hits 'dangerous new phase'

Five central banks have announced a co-ordinated move to try to help the financial system, as the boss of the International Monetary Fund warns of a "dangerous" new economic phase.

The central banks are to provide commercial banks with three additional tranches of loans to help ease funding pressures.

Banking stocks rose sharply, with BNP Paribas up as much as 22%.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said "bold action" was needed.

Speaking in Washington, she said: "Uncertainty hovers over sovereigns across the advanced economies, banks in Europe, and households in the United States.

"Without collective, bold, action, there is a real risk that the major economies slip back instead of moving forward."

She added that the debt woes in the eurozone also risked harming economies in the developing world.

"If the advanced economies succumb to recession, the emerging markets will not escape," said Ms Lagarde. more

Gordon Brown fears euro crisis worse than Lehman as 1930s beckon

Gordon Brown has warned that Europe's fast-escalating crisis is now more dangerous than the Lehman Brothers disaster three years ago, threatening to tip the West into a 1930s-style slump unless global leaders work together to take dramatic action.

"The euro can't survive in its present form and will have to be reformed drastically," he told a mostly-Chinese audience at the World Economic Forum in Dalian.

The former Prime Minister said EMU's malaise is at root a banking crisis, not a debt crisis. "The European banks as a whole are grossly under-capitalised: they have liabilities far in excess of American banks. We have now got the inter-play with sovereign debt because we socialised the liabilities," he said.

"It has morphed into a sovereign debt crisis, and is more serious than 2008 because governments then could intervene to sort of out banks. Now both banks and governments have problems," he said.

"You cannot begin to solve this unless you realise that it is a banking problem and a growth problem, as well as being a fiscal problem. You have to take co-ordinated action in all three areas," Mr Brown said, echoing the views of the International Monetary Fund.

He added that the €440bn (£385bn) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bail-out fund will need "substantially more resources" to cope, with an expanded role for the IMF to shore up the whole EMU system. "People do not believe that Greece can pull through without a default," he said. more

China risks hard landing as global woes spread

China's carefully-managed soft landing is turning harder by the day, threatening to deflate the torrid credit bubble of the past three years.

"There is a large potential risk," said Zhu Min, the deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund and a former Chinese official.

Mr Zhu said China had doubled the loan ratio from below 100pc of GDP before the Lehman crisis to roughly 200pc today.

The danger is that this excess could start to unwind just as the West goes into a sharp downturn, and possibly a double-dip recession.

China and emerging Asia are fundamentally in weaker shape this time, having used up their "fiscal cushions", leaving them with little leeway to cope with a fresh global shock. Their monetary policies are already loose.

"We're at a key moment. They need to make sure their economies don't slow down too fast," he said at the World Economic Forum in Dalian. more

Rents rising at record rate in UK

Rents are rising at their fastest pace for a year, up to a record £713 a month.

The LSL Buy-to-let index showed that rents rose 1.2pc in August, leaving tenants struggling to pay monthly bills.

With mortgage finance hard to come by, demand for rented homes is stronger than ever, pushing up prices, Government figures show that one in six homes is now rented, a rise of 1pc since 2009.

Recent graduates moving for their first jobs have further exaggerated the long-term and growing demand from frustrated buyers," said David Newnes, managing director of LSL Property Service. "With significant improvement in the number of buyers able to secure a mortgage unlikely in the foreseeable future, competition for rental accommodation will not drop and further rent rises remain on the cards."

Jonathan Moore, from housesharing site Easyroommate, said that 200,000 more people had had to move into the rented sector in the last year. "Lenders' unrealistic deposit requirements, combined with hefty house prices have left the private rented sector groaning under the strain of demand from frustrated first-time buyers," he warned. "Such strong competition for limited accommodation is taking its toll on rents, and they will continue to climb for as long as the mortgage market remains at a standstill."

Although the news is bad news for tenants, buy-to-let landlords are seeing their income rise. The average yield on a property was 5.2pc in August. On a monthly basis, rents increased fastest in Wales and the South East, where they rose by 2.1pc. The next biggest increases were in London and the South West, where they rose by 1.5pc and 1.3pc respectively. Rents only declined in the Midlands compared to July, falling by 0.4pc in both the West Midlands and the East Midlands. more

Libya: RAF carries out biggest raid yet on Gaddafi forces

The RAF has stepped up it attacks on Col Gaddafi's forces carrying out its biggest ever raid on Libya, destroying more than 20 targets in a day.

The strikes come as defence sources suggest that a "final push" is beginning to develop to remove the former Libyan regime troops from their last strongholds.

SAS troops are now operating close to the front line helping coordinate attacks on the last four areas held by Gaddafi's troops.

They are also operating alongside MI6 and CIA officers who are attempting to hunt down Col Gaddafi, his sons and other former regime leaders.

As part of the intensifying attacks for the first time the RAF used a salvo of two dozen Brimstone missiles firing on multiple targets.

A formation of tanks and armoured vehicles was spotted shelling civilian areas in the regime held town of Sebha, deep in the desert 400 south of Tripoli. more

Israel reinforces West Bank ahead of Palestinian UN bid

Israel's military beefed up its forces in the West Bank on Friday ahead of expected Palestinian demonstrations ahead of their statehood bid at the United Nations on September 23, public radio reported.

The daily Yediot Aharonot said three battalions of reservists – some 1,500 personnel – have been mobilised and that units already operating in the occupied territory have been reinforced.

A fourth reserve battalion has been sent to the West Bank in case it is needed to replace an active unit that may be redeployed to the border with Egypt.

General Avi Mizrahi, the commander of central Israel which includes the West Bank, has issued strict orders to the military to act with restraint and avoid bloodshed if trouble erupts, the newspaper said.

It said troops in the Palestinian territory have been armed with anti-riot equipment including tear gas to enable them to control any protests without having to resort to live ammunition.

The military is also reported to have boosted its presence around Jewish settlements in the West Bank, both to protect them and to prevent attacks on Palestinians by extremist settlers. more

Dinosaur feathers found in amber

In science fiction, amber preserved the DNA that allowed rebirth of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. In real life, amber preserved feathers that provide a new image of what dinosaurs looked like.

"Now, instead of scaly animals portrayed as usually drab creatures, we have solid evidence for a fluffy coloured past," reports Mark A. Norell of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Examples of ancient feathers ranging from the simple to the complex are now being studied. They were preserved in amber found in western Canada, researchers led by Ryan C. McKellar of the University of Alberta report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

Amber, hardened tree resin, preserved a mixture of feathers from 70 million years ago. Other feathers contained in amber dating to 90 million years ago are less diverse.

Specimens include simple filament structures similar to the earliest feathers of non-flying dinosaurs – a form unknown in modern birds – and more complicated bird feathers "displaying pigmentation and adaptations for flight and diving," the researchers reported.

Indications of feathers have been found on much older fossils, and the new discoveries indicate feathers continued to develop into modern form before the extinction of dinosaurs, explained Norell, who was not part of the research team. more

Offshore wind turbines will attract killer starfish, warn oyster fishermen

Oyster fishermen supplying top Michelin-starred restaurants have warned that plans to extend a wind farm will attract thousands of starfish - which prey on the expensive shellfish.

The fishermen are furious that plans are being considered to increase the number of turbines from 30 to 47 at the Kentish Flats offshore wind farm, just six miles off the coast of Whitstable, Kent.

They say that starfish flocked to the area in 2005 when workmen laid cables for the 30 existing turbines, and that the construction of a further 17 would see them 'swamped with starfish'.

Starfish are attracted to areas when there is disturbance on the seabed - meaning there is more food available for them.

And as oysters are a favourite food for starfish, fishermen in Whitstable, Kent - which is the closest coastal town to the turbines - say they are worried their catch will be destroyed.

Whitstable is the country's foremost provider of oysters - which are used in top restaurants around the UK.

Fisherman Graham West, of West Whelks - which was set up in 1947 and provides oysters, lobsters, whelks and clams to top eateries - accused the owners of the wind farm, Vattenfall, of ignoring the concerns of local fishermen. more

GE responds to charges of crony capitalism: "Nuh-uh!"

General Electric, with a larger lobbying budget than any other company in America, has long lobbied for and profited from Big Government. Since Obama tapped GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt as Job Czar, this critique has spread throughout the Right.

When it came out that GE's U.S. corporate income tax bill for 2010 was $0, anti-GE sentiment grew on the Left and Right. Finally, at the latest Republcian debate Newt Gingrich attacked GE for profiting from Obama-style green-energy loopholes.

So today, GE responds: "There has been a lot of talk lately about GE and what some call crony capitalism. Unfortunately, those same people don’t want the facts to get in the way of their political rhetoric."

The statement begins by pointing out the ways in which GE does make things better: making better medical devices and better jet engines, and employing people in the process. Since I'm pretty harsh on GE, I'll say, good for them for engaging in commerce, which makes the world more prosperous. more

School minivan with capacity of 8 carries 66 in China



A school minivan with a capacity of eight persons was overloaded with 66 kids recently in Qianan, north China's Hebei Province, local police said.

Policemen of Qianan Traffic Police Brigade stopped a minivan that was suspected of overload and they were shocked to discover a large group of kids, four or fives years old, packed like sardines inside the minivan.

"There were 64 kids on the minivan with a capacity of eight persons besides a driver and a teacher," said Li Bing, policeman of Qianan Police Brigade.

The driver had removed the seats of the minivan and placed many benches instead to take more kids.

Policemen dispatched 12 police cars to sent the 64 kids home.

The driver was punished according to related laws and regulations. more

US Government Races to Close Billions in Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees

“Taxpayers have over $500 million at risk as a result of Solyndra’s bankruptcy,” House Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said on Wednesday. “We need to understand what happened and how we can avoid future losses.”

The Obama administration is in a race against the clock to close by month’s end more than a dozen renewable-energy loan guarantees totaling $9 billion. Of that, just over $3 billion would come from the federal government’s coffers.

It now has to do that amid an escalating political battle over a federally backed solar company spiraling into bankruptcy and facing an FBI probe. President Obama once praised the company, California-based Solyndra, as “the true engine of economic growth.”

At a House hearing Wednesday, there was bipartisan concern about risking more taxpayers’ dollars on renewable energy projects that ultimately fail. While Republicans’ rhetoric was more heated, Democrats agree it is a critical issue. more

Magnitude 5.5 - OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - Sept 16, 2011

Magnitude5.5
Date-Time
  • Friday, September 16, 2011 at 22:40:42 UTC
  • Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 08:40:42 AM at epicenter
Location40.288°N, 143.174°E
Depth5.4 km (3.4 miles) (poorly constrained)
RegionOFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances
  • 144 km (89 miles) E (99°) from Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
  • 185 km (115 miles) ENE (69°) from Morioka, Honshu, Japan
  • 216 km (134 miles) ESE (105°) from Aomori, Honshu, Japan
  • 595 km (370 miles) NNE (29°) from TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 18.6 km (11.6 miles); depth +/- 6.8 km (4.2 miles)
ParametersNST=273, Nph=273, Dmin=192.6 km, Rmss=0.92 sec, Gp= 97°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=7
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc0005w19

Magnitude 5.6 - OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - Sept 16, 2011

Magnitude5.6
Date-Time
Location40.122°N, 143.331°E
Depth17.6 km (10.9 miles)
RegionOFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances163 km (101 miles) ESE of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
192 km (119 miles) ENE of Morioka, Honshu, Japan
232 km (144 miles) ESE of Aomori, Honshu, Japan
584 km (362 miles) NNE of TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 17.5 km (10.9 miles); depth +/- 6.9 km (4.3 miles)
ParametersNST=216, Nph=216, Dmin=211.5 km, Rmss=1 sec, Gp= 94°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc0005vzu

Magnitude 6.2 - OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - Sept 16, 2011

Magnitude6.2
Date-Time
Location40.221°N, 143.050°E
Depth20.2 km (12.6 miles)
RegionOFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances137 km (85 miles) ESE of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
172 km (106 miles) ENE of Morioka, Honshu, Japan
205 km (127 miles) ESE of Aomori, Honshu, Japan
580 km (360 miles) NNE of TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 16.5 km (10.3 miles); depth +/- 7.6 km (4.7 miles)
ParametersNST=327, Nph=327, Dmin=199.3 km, Rmss=0.69 sec, Gp= 65°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=7
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc0005vyj

5.9 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 16th Sept 2011


A magnitude 5.9 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles), the quake hit at 21:08 UTC Friday 16th September 2011.

Time (JST)
Lat.
Long.
Depth Mag. Region
06:08 JST 17 Sep 11
40.2N 143.0E 20 km 5.9
Iwate-Ken
Oki
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Note: Give USGS a few hours I am sure they will catch up.

USGS decided to add the Japanese Earthquakes

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 16th Sept 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 20:16 UTC Friday 16th September 2011.

Time (JST)
Lat.
Long.
Depth Mag. Region
05:16 JST 17 Sep 11
40.2N 143.2E 10 km 4.5 Sanriku Oki
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

NOTE: This is the same area where the 6.6 Magnitude earthquake hit, and is now the 2nd 5.5 Earthquake and a 4.5 Magnitude to hit and USGS still not reported on this ?

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 16th Sept 2011

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 20:11 UTC Friday 16th September 2011.

Time (JST)
Lat.
Long.
Depth Mag. Region
05:11 JST 17 Sep 11
40.3N 143.4E 10 km 5.5 Sanriku Oki

No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

NOTE: This is the same area where the 6.6 Magnitude earthquake hit, and is now the 2nd 5.5 Earthquake to hit and USGS still not reported on this ?

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 16th Sept 2011

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:40 UTC Friday 16th September 2011.

Time (JST)
Lat.
Long.
Depth Mag. Region
04:40 JST 17 Sep 11
40.3N 143.6E 10 km 5.5 Sanriku Oki

No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

NOTE: This is the same area where the 6.6 Magnitude earthquake hit, why has USGS not reported on this 5.5 Magnitude?

Arizona air base on security lockdown, amid an unspecified security situation. - 16th Sept 2011

An air base in the US state of Arizona has been placed under partial lockdown, amid an unspecified security situation.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base officials said the measure was taken due to "suspicious activity". Traffic has been limited around the facility.

They denied a local media report that shots had been fired or that someone had been injured.

A fire spokeswoman told AP news agency two ambulances had been sent to the base, which is near Tuscon.

There are two elementary schools on the base, but there were no reports of harm to any students.

Local television station KVOA reported via its Twitter account that the Tucson Fire Department was responding to the base "for possible patient with multiple gun-shot-wounds".

But a short time later an unnamed base spokesman said: "No shots have been fired and no-one has been hurt.

"Reports of suspicious activity have caused DM [Davis-Monthan] officials to declare a higher state of security. We are conducting investigations." Source

6.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 16th Sept 2011

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:26:36 UTC Friday 16th September 2011.
The epicenter was 144 km (89 miles) ESE of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

New species of dolphin discovered off Australia - 16th Sept 2011

Australian researchers have discovered a new species of dolphin living right under their, uh, bottlenoses.

A population of 100 dolphins in Port Phillip Bay and 50 in the Gippsland Lakes on Australia's southern coast have been proven to be genetically unique from dolphins anywhere else in the world, Monash University doctoral researcher Kate Charlton-Robb said in a university release.

"We're very pleased to announce that yes it is a new dolphin species, and I have called it Tersiops Australis," Charlton-Robb said in an interview with Radio Australia.

The new species has been given the common name the Burrunan dolphin, meaning "large sea fish of the porpoise kind" in Aboriginal languages, she said.

The Burrunan dolphins were originally thought to be one of two bottlenose species, but researchers used DNA and skull comparisons to establish they were a new species.

Only three new dolphin species have been recognized since the late 1800s, Charlton-Robb said.

"This animal has been living right under our noses for so many years and just with combining those two different technologies, with looking at the skull morphology and the DNA, you know there's still really exciting discoveries to be made," Charlton-Robb told Radio Australia.

She said the discovery highlights the importance of conservation efforts. Read More

Lead poisoning scare shuts 2 Shanghai plants, China - 16th Sept 2011

Two plants in Shanghai -- including a unit of an American company -- were ordered to suspend production after children in the vicinity came down with lead poisoning, government authorities said Friday.

"A small amount of children living in Kangqiao (eastern Shanghai) area were found to have excessive levels of lead in their blood in early September," according to a statement from the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, 25 children were sickened, 12 who were hospitalized.

The local government responded on Wednesday by ordering the suspension of plants owned by Xinmingyuan Auto Accessories Co. and Johnson Controls.

According to environmental authorities, the two plants were emitting dust and smoke containing lead into the area.

U.S.-based Johnson Controls, which manufactures batteries, denied the accusation.

"We are aware of the questions that have been raised by concerned local citizens about their potential exposure to lead in the area," Yu Dan, a representative of Johnson Controls Shanghai, told CNN. "However, we have no reason to believe we are the source of the issue."

Johnson Controls said that its lead emissions in Shanghai are 1/7th the Chinese national standard, and that their plant employees are regularly tested to ensure blood levels are sufficiently low. The amount of lead emitted through waste water is 1/10 the Chinese national standard, the company said.

The plant belonging to Xinmingyuan Auto Accessories Co. was found to be using lead in its production without approval, the environmental bureau said. Read More

Dinosaur, bird feathers found discovered in 80-million-year-old amber provide new clues - 16th Sept 2011

We don't know exactly what dinosaurs looked like, but feathers discovered in 80-million-year-old amber provide new clues.

Paleontologists made this discovery of feather specimens near Grassy Lake in southwestern Alberta, Canada, and described the results in the journal Science.

Researchers don't know which feathers were actually from birds that flew and which might have been from theropod dinosaurs, but the filament structures resembles those seen in other non-avian fossils.

There appear to be two types in the sample: those resembling the feathers of modern birds, and "protofeathers," which are similar to the hair-like structures found in a halo around dinosaur specimens from China in early early Cretaceous rock. Those simpler feathers in the amber, which differ from what modern birds have, may have came from small, meat-eating dinosaurs.

"Short of finding a dinosaur trapped in the amber itself, it’s the best we can do," said Ryan McKellar, a paleontology graduate student of the University of Alberta and lead author of the study. Read More

Trapped Miners: Fourth Man Is Found dead - 16th Sept 2011

Police have found the body of the last remaining miner stuck in the flooded colliery in South Wales.

The development means Phillip Hill, 45, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, and Garry Jenkins, 39, have all perished in the tragedy near Swansea.

Their families had been waiting at a nearby community centre in the hope of good news as the search and rescue operation continued.

Police said all four bodies have now been removed from the scene but formal identification has yet to take place.

South Wales chief constable Peter Vaughan said: "We've tried to bring this safely to its conclusion. Unfortunately the conclusion we have is the one none of us wanted."

Mr Vaughan, who said an investigation would now be launched, added: "I can't begin to imagine what the families are going through." Read More

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU - 16th Sept 2011

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck Vanuatu at a depth of 113.1 km (70.3 miles), the quake hit at 18:23:26 UTC Friday 16th September 2011.
The epicenter was 142 km (88 miles) SSE of Isangel, Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Students accused of racism after painting themselves black, waving monkey mascots and chanting 'smoke more weed' - 16th Sept 2011


Freshman students participating in an Olympics event at their university have been accused of racism after they covered their skin with black paint, carried monkey mascots and allegedly chanted 'smoke more weed'.

Students at the University of Montreal's business school dressed up as Jamaican sprinters, wore rasta wigs and waved Jamaican flags for the event on Wednesday.

The event, organized by the sports and leisure committee at the university's Hautes √Čtudes Commerciales (HEC) business school, was part of an annual athletic week to encourage students to take part in extra-curricular activities.

One student, who is of Jamaican descent, took particular insult with them and said he felt both uncomfortable and shocked when he saw what they were wearing and heard what they were chanting.

Law student Anthony Morgan told CBS: 'They had reduced all of who I am and the history of Jamaica and culture of Jamaica to these negative connotations of weed smoking, black skin, rastas. Read More

US concerned about Taiwan candidate Tsai Ing-Wen: Possible

The Obama administration has warned that a victory by Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwanese opposition leader, in the island’s January presidential election could raise tensions with China.

A senior US official said Ms Tsai, the Democratic Progressive party leader who is visiting Washington, had sparked concerns about stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is “critically important” to the US.

“She left us with distinct doubts about whether she is both willing and able to continue the stability in cross-Strait relations the region has enjoyed in recent years,” the official told the Financial Times after Ms Tsai met with administration officials.

The surprisingly blunt statement comes as the administration is about to notify Congress that it will help Taiwan retrofit its fleet of F-16 fighter jets. The move will anger China even though it is far short of Taipei’s long-running request for new fighters.

For decades the Taiwan Strait has been one of the world’s most dangerous potential flashpoints. While Taiwan has not been controlled by a Beijing-based government for over a century, China calls it an inseparable part of its territory and insists it must be unified eventually, with force if necessary. more

Blackface Obama billboard sparks outrage

“Ick bin ein Obama (I am an Obama),” reads the poster at Berlin’s central Ernst Reuter Platz square, in an apparent play on John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. On the poster, a "black" Sonneborn smiles as he raises his arm in the air.

The billboard is the latest in Sonneborn’s campaign for his satirical political party Die Partei ahead of state elections in Berlin this Sunday. It’s meant to make fun of the entire German political establishment and go up to the edge of propriety – another poster is entitled “MILFS against Merkel” and the campaign has also mocked the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party.

But the latest one is upsetting to some because of the racial connotations of blackface theatre, which was widespread in America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Based on ugly stereotypes, blackface consisted of white performers painting themselves black for degrading minstrel shows. It it quickly died out in the United States after the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

In an interview with The Local on Thursday, Sonneborn, staying in character as the leader of Die Partei, said his billboard wasn’t racist.

He said he was “Germany’s Obama” and added he was mocking the “hype” surrounding the US president. Sonneborn, formerly editor-in-chief of the German satire magazine Titanic, said he wasn’t aware of the history of blackface and didn’t care if anyone was upset. more

Shape Up or Pay Up: Emanuel imposing health regulations / fines on workers

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving city workers an important health choice: enroll in a new wellness plan, expected to be unveiled Friday, or pay a higher premium.

The price if they don't enroll: $50 a month.

The program includes an initial screening that focuses on preventative care for asthma, heart disease and diabetes. City employees would then receive wellness training to achieve long-term health goals, including weight loss.

Smokers wouldn't be penalized, but they would be encouraged to quit. Advisers overseeing the program will monitor progress on a bimonthly basis, and those who reach their goals could see their health care premiums reduced. more