Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Teenage Girls Shot In West London - 30th Sept 2011

Three teenage girls are in hospital after being shot in west London, after a suspected drive-by shooting.

Police officers were alerted to the shooting just after 7pm at John Fearon Walk, off Dart Street, in Westminster.

The victims - aged 17, 18 and 19 - were hit but their injuries are not life-threatening.

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the 18-year old was treated for gunshot wounds at the scene.

"She was taken to hospital as a priority, escorted by the air ambulance doctor," she said.

"Two further patients reported to be female teenagers with gunshot wounds made their own way to hospital."

At this stage, no one has been arrested.

According to Sky sources, a single shot was fired in the incident, which is being investigated under Operation Trident.

A Met Police spokesman said: "We have got officers down there trying to piece together what is going on.

"At this stage we are doing all we can."

Detectives hunting for a gunman were understood to be looking at whether the attack was a botched drive-by shooting.

:: Anyone with information can call police on 101, or if you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Source

Giant Sun Spot Turns Toward Earth – More Large Flares Possible?

Stretching for more than 100,000 km (62, ooo miles) from end to end, solar Active Region (AR) 1302 is slowly coming into position where it directly faces the Earth. The region contains a “behemoth” sunspot — several times larger than the Earth — named sunspot 1302.

The sunspot has already been the source of two ‘X-class’ solar flares (‘X’ signifying the most extreme, or largest); the first, measuring an X1.4, on September 22, and the second, an X1.9, coming just two days later on Sept. 24.

The “extreme ultra-violet flash” was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

SDO also captured a dark, shock wave racing away from the flare site. Astrophysicists believe it to be a sign that a coronal mass ejection (CME) had also occurred (see video below).

The AR has also seen several lower magnitude flares since the X1.9 blast, with M8.6 and M7.4 flares erupting on Sept. 24, and a second M8.8 flare early on Sept. 25.

None of the flares has been aimed at the Earth, but as the the Suns rotates the AR will orient itself more directly in-line with Earth. Will we be the “target” of one or more large flares? That of course is the question. AR 1302 remains active as it slowly turns towards us. Scientists are, so far, not making any guesses.

http://planetsave.com/2011/09/27/giant-sun-spot-turns-toward-earth-more-large-flares-possible-video/

Syria Opposition Seeks No-Fly Zone (Sound familiar?)

Syrian opposition groups are calling for the first time for an international intervention to protect civilians from the Assad regime's ongoing military onslaught, including the establishment of a United Nations-backed no-fly zone.

The opposition's formal calls drew a tepid response Wednesday from the Obama administration and European governments, who said there is currently little appetite to reprise the type of air campaign that helped dislodge long-serving Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi last month.

But diplomats from leading Arab governments said they have increasingly discussed the possibility of some sort of humanitarian intervention as the Syrian conflict's civilian death toll has climbed.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203405504576599150728062020.html?mod=world_newsreel

Climate change could cost billions a year by 2020

Climate change could cost Canada billions a year as early as 2020, depending on how severe it is and how well the country adapts, says a report released Thursday morning.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy looked at the cost of climate change on Canada's prosperity, public health and in coastal areas affected by weather events.

The government-funded think-tank estimates the cost of climate change for Canada could start at roughly $5 billion per year in 2020 and increase to between $21 billion and $43 billion per year by 2050. The average annual cost of climate change is expected to be roughly 0.8 per cent to 1.0 per cent of GDP by 2050, the report says.

It also found that climate change could result in additional deaths from heat and air pollution. Looking at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, the report projects three to six deaths per 100,000 people per year in the 2020s, with impacts worsening in future decades.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/09/29/pol-ntree-report-climate-change-costs.html

China 'shadow-boxing' US at sea: Philippines' Ramos

Philippine ex-president Fidel Ramos said Wednesday that China's recent assertiveness over sea disputes was motivated by a desire to challenge US power, as he predicted more tensions to come.

On a visit to Washington, Ramos described China and the United States as "shadow-boxing" over the South China Sea and East China Sea where Beijing has growing friction with countries including the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

"China's proximate aim, it seems to me, is to limit American freedom of access" and "erode the credibility of Washington's security guarantees to the East Asian states, including and especially the Philippines," Ramos, who was president from 1992 to 1998, said at the Heritage Foundation think-tank.

"We, where we come from, expect South China Sea tensions to continue because the root cause is really China's perceived need to break out from under the strategic dominance of the Western allies," Ramos said.

However, Ramos said he did not expect military confrontation due to the vast US military superiority over China. He called for governments to shift away spending from the military to fighting "real enemies" such as poverty.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.a74b73b5ae6d1ed2253441687f7eeda4.e21&show_article=1

Mexico Fears Rise of Vigilante Justice

A self-styled drug-trafficking group calling itself the "Zeta Killers" claimed responsibility this week for the recent murders of at least 35 people believed to belong to the Zetas, Mexico's most violent criminal organization.

The claim by the "Mata Zetas" has stoked fears that Mexico, like Colombia a generation before, may be witnessing the rise of paramilitary drug gangs that seek society's approval and tacit consent from the government to help society confront its ills, in this case, the Zetas.

On Wednesday, Mexico's national security spokeswoman Alejandra Sota vowed in a statement that the government would "hunt down" and bring to justice any criminal group that takes justice into its own hands.

The issue surfaced last week after 35 bodies were dumped just blocks away from a hotel in the port city of Veracruz where Mexico's state attorney generals were due to hold a meeting the following day. Two days later, after the convention kicked off, an additional 11 bodies were found in different parts of the city.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204226204576599161405735224.html...

Thieves take Douglass High's football gear right before Homecoming

Stolen football equipment threatened not only the season but also Friday's big event at Frederick Douglass College Preparatory Academy for Young Men -- the Detroit school's Homecoming game.

As the junior varsity football team prepared to pack up equipment Monday afternoon and head out for a game, coaches discovered the field house had been broken into and looted. Again. The school canceled the JV game.

The looted field house already was a virtual shell because electrical wiring, copper plumbing and toilets had been stolen three years ago. This time, thieves made away with the students' pads, helmets, some shoes and footballs.

By the next morning, there was hope as the team practiced and the coach yelled, "They tried to steal our season from us, but we won't let them." News of the theft attracted attention from local businesses looking to help. Other schools offered equipment. The team scored its first donation -- a $3,000 check from Bob Maxey Ford dealership.

It appears the season will go on with help from donations, said Michael Hamlett, the athletic director

http://www.freep.com/article/20110928/NEWS01/109280396/Thieves-take-Douglass-High-s-football-gear-right-before-Homecoming?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

China Launches 1st Space Lab Module Into Orbit for Docking Tests

China successfully launched its first space lab module into orbit in an impressive nighttime display today (Sept. 29).

The unmanned Tiangong 1 module lifted off on a Chinese Long March 2F rocket at 9:16 p.m. Local Time (1316 GMT/9:16 a.m. EDT) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The spacecraft launched just days before China's National Day holiday, which occurs Saturday (Oct. 1).

"It’s absolutely an accomplishment," said Victoria Samson of the Secure World Foundation, an organization dedicated to the peaceful use of outer space. However, Samson, director of the foundation's Washington office, added that the launch of Tiangong 1 represents an achievement that other countries, including the United States, managed decades ago. [Photos: China Launches First Space Lab, Tiangong 1]

"They're doing their version of Spacelab, but that's something we did back in the '70s," she said.

The Tiangong 1 module, which is expected to remain in orbit for two years, is considered an important steppingstone in the country's effort to construct its own crewed space station. The prototype space lab measures 34 feet (10.4 meters) long and 11 feet (3.35 meters) wide and weighed about 8.5 metric tons on Earth.

http://news.yahoo.com/china-launches-1st-space-lab-module-orbit-docking-132401000.html

El Centro, California has 32% unemployment rate -- Stats for most unemployed American cities

Unemployment rates fell in roughly two-thirds of large U.S. cities in August, despite zero job growth nationwide.

Here are the cities with the highest and lowest rates:

Highest unemployment rates August 2011
El Centro, Calif. 32.4
Yuma, Ariz. 29.4
Merced, Calif. 17.5
Yuba City, Calif. 17.0
Stockton, Calif. 16.1
Modesto, Calif. 16.0
Fresno, Calif. 15.8
Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 15.7
Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 15.3
Palm Coast, Fla. 14.9

Lowest unemployment rates August 2011
Bismarck, N.D. 3.0
Lincoln, Neb. 3.6
Fargo, N.D. 3.9
Portsmouth, N.H. 4.4
Rapid City, S.D. 4.5
Sioux Falls, S.D. 4.5
Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb. 4.6
Burlington, Vt. 4.6
Midland, Texas 4.8
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La. 4.9

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...

Vaccine could reduce HIV to 'minor infection'

Spanish researchers found that 22 of 24 healthy people (92 per cent) developed an immune response to HIV after being given their MVA-B vaccine.

Professor Mariano Esteban, head researcher on the project at the National Biotech Centre in Madrid, said of the jab: "It is like showing a picture of the HIV so that it is able to recognise it if it sees it again in the future."

The injection contains four HIV genes which stimulate T and B lymphocytes, which are types of white blood cells.

Prof Esteban explained: "Our body is full of lymphocytes, each of them programmed to fight against a different pathogen.

"Training is needed when it involves a pathogen, like the HIV one, which cannot be naturally defeated".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8794846/Vaccine-could-reduce-HIV-to-minor-infection.html

Rampant cheating at Chinese games exposed; China's "cheating" culture now in full bloom

The Chinese desire to win at all costs has created a culture of rampant cheating among athletes, including one team of men who donned wigs to compete in a female dragon boat race, according to a report by sports officials.

Chinese athletes, spurred on in some cases by the State sports system, have an unfortunate reputation for winning at any cost.

Last year, at least 30 runners in Fujian welshed their way into the top 100 of the province's International Marathon by hopping onto public transport or by hiring ringers to stand in for them.

Meanwhile, the Beijing Olympics in 2008 saw questionable judging in the shooting, gymnastics and boxing competitions and allegations that China had fielded under age gymnasts.

The latest controversies came in the south western province of Yunnan after officials detailed some of the cases they had uncovered in recent years.

The report said 110 athletes had faked their ages at the annual Provincial Games in 2010, many of them swimmers.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8796527/Rampant-cheating-at-Chinese-games-exposed.html

18 'killed by one-punch attacks' in Northern Ireland

Eighteen people have died in Northern Ireland from "one-punch attacks" in the past seven years, police have said.

The PSNI has launched a new poster campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

Targeted at men aged 18-25, it highlights the risks of getting involved in an argument or fight which could lead to serious injury or death.

Det Ch Insp Karen Baxter said the majority of such incidents were fuelled by alcohol.

"With just one punch, lives have been destroyed and families lives have been wrecked," she said.

"Raising awareness of one punch is timely given the number of students and young people who are embarking on a new term at college or university across towns and cities in Northern Ireland.

"As Halloween and the festive season approaches it is a very busy time socially for people - our message is to enjoy their night out, but most importantly - to stay safe."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-15095811

Iran offensive kills 180 Kurdish rebels: Guards

A deputy chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday the force had killed more than 180 Kurdish rebels in a summer offensive along the northwestern border with Iraq, Fars news agency reported.

"Our forces have killed over 180 members of this terrorist group and wounded 300 more," it quoted Brigadier General Abdullah Araqi, deputy commander of the Guards ground forces, as saying.

Araqi said a number of Iranian fighters had also been "martyred" during operations to reclaim the area, but did not elaborate.

Tehran launched a chain of operations against the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) in July and began shelling districts near the border with Iraq, killing dozens including the rebels' deputy commander.

On September 21, the Guards said they had forced the armed rebels out of northwestern Iran.

Araqi said the rebels "accepted all of the Islamic republic's conditions... we told them to retreat one kilometre (less than a mile) away from the Iranian border and to cease carrying out armed actions on Iranian territory."

Iran accuses Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region of providing the PJAK with a vast safe haven along the border.

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Iran_offensive_kills_180_Kurdish_rebels_Guards_999.html

Iran: Executions point to 'killing spree'

A sharp rise in the number of executions reported in Iran is raising suspicions that the Tehran regime has, in the words of a British newspaper, engaged in "a judicial killing spree" to intimidate its opponents.

Human rights organizations say this underlines the alarm within the regime that Iran could be infected by the wave of pro-democracy uprisings that have swept the Arab world since January and toppled three dictators.

The Tehran regime has cracked down hard on political dissidents since a major confrontation with protesters during the hotly disputed 2009 presidential election when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a second four-year term.

Thousands of dissidents were arrested and reportedly continue to be harassed and persecuted.

Amnesty International said there were 253 reported executions in the first six months of 2011, with another 300 people believed to have been killed. These included the first executions of juvenile offenders in the world this year.

In February, Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist and former judge awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, accused Tehran of using criminal charges, narcotics in particular, to mask executions for political purposes. more

N. Korea tells UN rival South seeking 'road to war'

North Korea on Tuesday accused the rival South of seeking "the road to war" but called again for international talks on its nuclear arsenal.

South Korea's conservative government has taken relations with the North "to their worst state with widespread atmosphere of war and confrontation," the North's Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-Yon told the UN General Assembly.

Pak blamed what he called the South's plan to achieve unification of the Korean peninsula "through absorption" after a collapse in the Stalinist North.

"The so-called 'unification through absorption' is the road to war," he said, while a federal formula for an eventual merger agreed by their leaders in 2000 "leads to peace."

Pak's conflict warnings reflect the icy state of relations between the two, who have never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War with a full treaty.

The South has taken a hard line with its neighbor over the past year since two deadly attacks blamed on the North's military -- the sinking of a warship in March 2010 and the shelling of a frontier island last November.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/N_Korea_tells_UN_rival_South_seeking_road_to_war_999.html

Debt crunch threatens China and emerging markets

Europe's banking woes have begun to set off a funding crunch in the emerging markets of Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, leaving them nakedly exposed as the rich world slides into a double-dip downturn.

Corporate bond issuance has collapsed by three-quarters over the past three months in these regions, touching the lowest level since depths of the Great Recession in early 2009, according to Bloomberg data.

Contagion has spread to Chinese "Dim Sum" bonds issued in yuan on the offshore market in Hong Kong, where companies linked to China's property market and building sectors have taken a beating. Yields on Dim Sum bonds jumped by 105 basis points to 5.85pc in August, the worst month since the instruments were created.

While China dances to its own tune, fears are growing that a global relapse could strike as the country's debt excesses come back to haunt it. The Shanghai bourse tumbled on Wednesday to a 14-month low and is now 60pc below its 2008 peak.

Property groups China Vanke and Poly Real Estate have led the falls. Some developers have already cut home prices by 20pc to clear the glut. Standard & Poor's expects credit conditions for Chinese builders to "become increasingly severe". The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China said on Wednesday that it plans to raise up to $11bn in fresh capital to shore up its defences.

Morgan Stanley said emerging economies have $1.5 trillion of external debt that has to be rolled over on a 12-month basis. Most of it is owed by companies and issued in dollars.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8795416/Debt-crunch-threatens-China-and-emerging-markets.html

Buy to let: rising rents cause problems for tenants in UK

Rents have increased for the third consecutive quarter, according to research by Paragon, the buy to let lender.

But rising rents appear to be causing problems for many tenants. According to new research from the Money Advice Trust, the number of calls it receives about rent arrears has risen by 84pc in recent years.

A spokesman said: "Many first time buyers cannot get a mortgage so demand for rented property have risen. But with landlords pushing up rents this has left some people struggling to meet bills, particularly as this has coincided with a rise in inflation, particularly of food and fuel costs."

According to Paragon, a third of landlords increased rents across their property portfolios in the third quarter of this year – compared with just 29pc in the previous three months. Just over 10pc of landlords said their rental income had increased by between 2pc and 4pc, while 13pc of landlords increased rents by more than 4pc.

Only 4pc of the landlords surveyed for the quarterly report said they had experienced a decrease in their rental income.

However, it is professional landlords rather than small scale buy-to-letters who are pushing through the biggest increases.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/8794511/Buy-to-let-rising-rents-cause-problems-for-tenants.html

German parliament votes to ignore the people in a dangerous European precedent

Well, so much for democratic accountability. Who cares what the people think when the most precious political project of the generation is at stake?

Germany's parliament has voted overwhemingly to give more powers to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) so that yet more German taxpayers' money can be poured into the bottomless pit of Greek debt. In the face of huge public resentment, Germany's political class has decided to put "saving the euro" above all other considerations. Its obligation to its own national electorate has been deemed inconsequential in this hopeless last-ditch attempt to salvage an unworkable system. For there can be little question that this further dollop of superglue will provide only the briefest illusion of stability to the doomed single currency. The folly of the European project seems destined to play itself out to the inevitable tragic end: having made a catastrophic mistake, the only option that Europe's leaders can countenance is to compound it. Double or quits. The consequences of this delusion are too frightening to contemplate.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/janetdaley/100108130/german-parliament-votes-to-ignore-the-people/

Mystery as beached whale found in field in Yorkshire 800 meters in from coast -- why has no one answered this mystery?

A young whale which died after it beached in the Humber Estuary is probably of a species rarely found stranded on the British coast, conservationists have said.

Experts examining the 33ft (10m) long animal, which died about 875 yards (800m) from the shoreline, say they are 95% sure it is a female sei whale.

The animal was trapped in shallow water near the East Yorkshire village of Skeffling, on the north bank of the River Humber.

Andy Gibson, of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said Sei whale strandings were very rare.

He said there had only been three strandings of this species in UK waters in the last 20 years.

''It is sad. It was in shallow water of about 1.2m (4ft) to 1.6m (5.25ft), making contact with the bottom,'' Mr Gibson said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8796084/Mystery-as-beached-whale-found-in-field-in-Yorkshire.html

Hugo Chavez in hospital 'for kidney failure' -- in critical condition

Hugo Chavez, who has been fighting cancer, was rushed to a military hospital for emergency care following kidney failure, according to reports.

The leftist, staunchly anti-US stalwart Chavez went into the Military Hospital in Caracas on Tuesday morning, the report on the newspaper's website said, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of the case.

"He was in fairly serious overall condition," a source told the Miami-based Spanish-language daily. "When he arrived, he was in quite serious shape and that is why he was brought in for emergency care."

Venezuela's Information Minister Andres Izarra appeared to deny the report in a posting on the micro-blogging website Twitter.

"Those who should be admitted are the journalists of the Nuevo Herald, except into a madhouse (instead of a hospital)," Izarra tweeted, without providing further details.

On Sunday, Chavez sought to assure Venezuelans he was healthy, telling them that cancer-fighting chemotherapy treatment has not left him with any debilitating side effects.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/8796505/Hugo-Chavez-in-hospital-for-kidney-failure.html

Australian koalas' loud noises 'made by human-style voice boxes'



Male koalas in Australia bellow so loud during mating season because their voice boxes are akin to those found in humans, scientists have discovered.

Despite the tree-dwelling mammal having a cute and furry appearance, a 15 pound koala is as loud as a cow weighing more than a tonne, a study found.

Researchers discovered the marsupial emitted a louder sound as a way of attracting sexual partners during mating season.

The team of Australian and Austrian scientists, writing in The Journal of Experimental Biology, also found their cries were a way of boasting about their body size and intimidate rival lovers.

Using complex medical imaging they discovered the sounds were louder because their larynx had “descended” and sat deeper in their throat and chest than other species.

This was similar to human development because as a person grows up, their larynx also becomes lower, and deeper, as they learn more complex language and speech.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8795963/Australian-koalas-loud-noises-made-by-human-style-voice-boxes.html

Shooting on Crowded Street Outside Brooklyn McDonald's in broad daylight

View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.



Police have released video of a shooting on a crowded street in Brooklyn in the hope that the public can help identify the gunman.

The shooting happened at about 3 p.m. Tuesday in front of a McDonald's restaurant at 2154 Nostrand Ave., according to police.

Video of the incident first shows the two accomplices in the shooting: One of the men, dressed in all black, is on seen on the left side of the screen walking backwards and handing a black bag to the other man, who's wearing a white t-shirt and dark jeans.

The man in the white t-shirt then removes a .32-caliber S&W revolver from the bag, places it in his waistband and hands it over to the gunman, seen wearing a red jacket and light colored pants.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/VIDEO-Shooting-on-Crowded-Brooklyn-Street-130751403.html

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN - 29th Sept 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Ryukyu Islands, Japan at a depth of 44.9 km (27.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:26:56 UTC Thursday 29th September 2011.
The epicenter was 49 km ( 30 miles) North of Naha, Okinawa, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries reported at this time

Amazing Santiago Chile UFO Sighting from 2008/09 -- Buried (completely) but not forgotten

Typhoon Nesat shuts down Hong Kong, threatens Vietnam

Hong Kong schools, financial markets, and businesses have shut as Typhoon Nesat brought howling winds, squalls of rain and rough seas to the territory.

The city issued a number eight storm signal before 05:00 on Thursday (21:00GMT on Wednesday).

All ferry services and some bus services have been cancelled and trains are operating at a reduced frequency.

Few people were on the streets, with 100km/h (60mph) winds shredding umbrellas and making it hard to walk.

Local radio reported that two people, including a taxi driver, were injured when scaffolding collapsed onto a taxi.

And a large cargo barge crashed into the seafront after slipping its moorings, television footage showed. About 50 people had to be evacuated from a nearby block of flats.

Some flights have been delayed.

Lynn Chan, a lawyer who works in the city's central business district, said she struggled through the wind and rain only to find her office was closed.

"I am the only person here," she said.

"I guess I should have listened to the news** before I set out."

(**The Coming Crisis)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15103005

Germany approves expansion of European bailout fund (and the black hole gets deeper)

Germany's parliament voted Thursday to increase the powers of Europe's bailout fund, as Greece's debt woes fuel fears of a wider financial crisis.

The vote passed by a large majority -- 523 in favor to 85 against, with three abstentions -- which should boost confidence in European markets.

Expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility -- Europe's bailout fund -- so it can increase its lending capacity from around €250 billion to €440 billion must be ratified by a number of European countries.

Germany's parliamentary approval follows votes in favor this week from Austria and Finland.

But the vote in Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, was seen as particularly crucial because it is the eurozone's biggest economy, and its Chancellor Angela Merkel is a key figure in attempts to pull the bloc out of its crisis.

The bailout fund is being increased after the initial fund, which was put in place after Greece's €110 billion bail out last May, was tapped by Ireland and Portugal, before Greece returned for more help.

The original fund was meant to stem the crisis but this has not happened. Instead, the crisis has intensified, feeding global instability and driving the eurozone to the edge of recession.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/29/world/europe/germany-europe-bailout/?hpt=hp_t1

Making fuel out of thin air: From CO2 to liquid fuel?

Wouldn't it be great if you could simply grab carbon dioxide from the air and turn it back into fuel?

According to Germany-based renewable energy start-up Sunfire, you can.

"In fact, the idea has been around since at least the 70s," says Christian von Olshausen, the company's Chief Technology Officer. But the process is expensive. "For as long as fossil fuels have been cheap and readily available, there's not been sufficient demand," he adds.

Now -- with the world's finite stock of crude oil on the wane, and amidst pressure to reduce global carbon dioxide (C02) emissions -- the idea of converting those very carbons back into what Olshausen calls "synthetic fuels" is becoming more financially viable.

"The combustion of synthetic fuel does not increase the amount of C02 in the atmosphere," he explains. "This is because the carbon is being continuously recycled."

Synthetic fuel can come in the form of everything from diesel to gasoline to wax. But while the process is simple in theory (see factbox), it is unwieldy in practice -- demanding ultra-high temperatures which gobble up electricity.

"The operation is only practical now that we have relatively cheap sources of renewable electricity to power it," says Olshausen.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/29/business/carbon-fuel-recyling/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Fresh clashes rock Yemeni capital

Fighting erupted Thursday morning between government troops and fighters loyal to a tribal leader in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a.

Republican Guards clashed with troops loyal to Sadeq Ahmar for two hours, witnesses said.

Two tribesmen died and five others were injured, according to Abdul Qawi al-Qaisi, the spokesman for the tribal leader.

"The Republican Guards attacked as usual. Who else is blood thirsty? They killed one and injured a number of others," the spokesman said.

At least 23 houses in the area were damaged, eyewitnesses said.

CNN could not independently confirm the number of casualties or the damage.

"We can't even hope for peace in this country. As soon as one quiet day passes, the government starts clashing with either tribes or soldiers who joined the call for change in Yemen," said Saleem al-Mansoor, a resident of Sofan district, where the clashes took place.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/29/world/meast/yemen-unrest/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

New study maps sea turtle danger zones

A comprehensive new study identifying the most threatened sea turtle populations worldwide has been published by conservationists.

The report, jointly produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG), is the first comprehensive appraisal of global sea turtle populations, say the authors, and will provide a blueprint for future conservation efforts.

"This assessment system provides a baseline status for all sea turtles from which we can gauge our progress on recovering these threatened populations in the future," Roderic Mast, co-chair of the MTSG said in a statement.

"Through this process, we have learned a lot about what is working and what isn't in sea turtle conservation, so now we look forward to turning the lessons learned into sound conservation strategies for sea turtles and their habitats," Mast added.

Almost half of the world's most threatened sea turtle species can be found in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean and on nesting beaches lying within Exclusive Economic Zones in countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, according to the report.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/29/world/asia/turtles-hotspots-report-conservation/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Typhoon Nesat storms into southern China

A powerful typhoon arrived in southern China on Thursday after skirting Hong Kong and bringing death and widespread flooding to the Philippines earlier this week.

Typhoon Nesat made landfall on the eastern tip of China's Hainan island at 2:30 p.m. local time, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Hainan authorities closed schools, suspended ferry services and recalled fishing boats as the storm made its way across the South China Sea from the Philippines, where it killed 35 people and left another 45 missing.

Some 67 flights were cancelled at the island's two airports, Xinhua said.

The storm swept past Hong Kong earlier in the day, forcing the stock market to suspend trading and shops and businesses to close but causing little damage. The Asian financial centre's normally bustling streets were eerily quiet, with few people venturing outside to brave the rain and fierce winds.

Two people were injured when bamboo scaffolding was blown over and collapsed onto a taxi, while a man was injured by a falling tree, local broadcaster RTHK said. A barge ripped free from its moorings in the rough seas slammed into a seawall on Hong Kong Island, forcing some nearby apartments to be evacuated, news reports said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/09/29/typhoon-hong-kong-china.html

Job fair proves frustrating for would-be workers


Disappointment and frustration were recurring themes at one of Canada's largest job fairs this week. Thousands of employment seekers crowded into the National Job Fair and Training Expo, which ran Sept. 27-28 at Toronto's Metro Convention Centre.

The fair attracted a wide range of would-be workers, from skilled tradespeople to recent graduates. Stiff competition and a lack of entry-level positions were among the difficulties listed by job fair attendees, some who have been hunting for work for months.

"I've been unemployed now for almost five months. I need a job," medical secretary Erika Pahapill said. "I came down here with the impression companies would be aggressively hiring. I thought I'd possibly leave with a job today."

Pahapill's frustration with the lack of opportunities presented at the job fair was shared by recent university graduate Sean Forbes. A nuclear engineer on the job hunt since graduating in April, Forbes said he is now looking for work overseas.

"I'll take project management, basically anything that's available. There's just no jobs, I don't understand it," Forbes said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/09/28/f-jobless-fair.html