Friday, October 7, 2011

Whose House? Our House! Occupy Tampa March 10-6-2011

Occupy Tampa Speech 10-6-2011

Occupation USA: Coming to a city near you

Crisis grips North Korean rice bowl

In a pediatric hospital in North Korea's most productive farming province, children lay two to a bed. All showed signs of severe malnutrition: skin infections, patchy hair, listless apathy.

"Their mothers have to bring them here on bicycles," said duty doctor Jang Kum Son in the Yellow Sea port city of Haeju. "We used to have an ambulance but it's completely broken down. One mother travelled 72 kilometres (45 miles). By the time they get here, it's often too late."

It's also getting late for North Korea to get the massive amount of food aid it claims to need before the harsh winter sets in. The country's dysfunctional food-distribution system, rising global commodities prices and sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes had contributed to what appears to be a hunger crisis in the North, even before devastating summer floods and typhoons compounded the emergency.

The regime's appeals for massive food aid have gone mostly unanswered by a sceptical international community. Only 30 percent of a United Nations food aid target for North Korea has been met so far. The United States and South Korea, the two biggest donors before sanctions, have said they won't resume aid until they are satisfied the military-led communist regime won't divert the aid for its own uses and progress is made on disarmament talks.

South Korea also says the North is exaggerating the severity of its food crisis. Visiting scholars, tourists and charity workers have sent out conflicting views about it. more

‘European Central Bank puts last nails in its coffin’



The European Central Bank will provide shaky banks with $53 billion to prop them up against potential Greek fallout, ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet has announced. But the move will topple the whole EU financial system, an expert believes.

­Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Thursday, the ECB head, Jean- Claude Trichet, said that the bank would start a new covered bond purchase programme which would run for 12 months, starting from November.

The ECB intends to spend $53 billion – 40 billion euro – on covered bonds, assets backed by mortgage loans or public-sector lending and perceived as safe to own, and will offer banks two additional unlimited loans of 12- and 13-month durations.

But as economic analyst and author of the book 'The Currency Crash" Michael Mross believes, the move will only make the situation worse, as in his opinion the ECB “is committing suicide.” more

Gaddafi warns developing world leaders of similar fate

In audio recording released to Syrian television station, deposed Libyan leader warns against supporting Lybia's ruling transitional council.


BEIRUT - Deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi said leaders of the developing world who recognized Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) that ousted him with the aid of NATO firepower would suffer a similar fate.

"If the power of [international] fleets give legitimacy, then let the rulers in the Third World be ready," he said in an apparent reference to NATO's military support for NTC forces.

He made the comments in an audio recording obtained by Reuters on Thursday from Syria-based Arrai television. It was not clear when the message was recorded.

"To those who recognize this council, be ready for the creation of transitional councils imposed by the power of fleets to replace you one by one from now on," he said.

Gaddafi also called on Libyans to take to the streets, saying conditions in Libya were "unbearable".

"I urge all Libyan people to go out and march in their millions in all the squares, in all the cities and villages and oases," Gaddafi said.

"Go peacefully ... be courageous, rise up, go to the streets, raise our green flags to the skies," he added. more

Obama Accuses Pakistan Of Having Ties To Militants: What about America's ties?

U.S. President Barack Obama has accused Islamabad of having connections to what he called "unsavory characters" and said if it doesn't become more attuned to Washington's concerns, it could risk damaging the two countries' long-term relationship.

Speaking at a White House press conference, Obama gave his most detailed assessment to date of how the U.S. views Pakistan's strategic calculations in the war between insurgents and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

"Our goal of being able to transition out of Afghanistan and leave a stable government behind, one that is independent, one that is respectful of human rights, one that is democratic -- that Pakistan, I think, has been more ambivalent about some of our goals there," Obama said.

"And I think that they have hedged their bets in terms of what Afghanistan would look like. And part of hedging their bets is having interactions with some of the unsavory characters who they think might end up regaining power in Afghanistan after coalition forces have left."

He said, "There is no doubt that there's some connections that the Pakistani military and intelligence services have with certain individuals that we find troubling. And I've said that publicly and I've said it privately to Pakistani officials as well."

With his comments, Obama brought the U.S. view firmly into the public sphere and said out loud what U.S. officials have until now only said privately about the conflicting positions held by Washington and Islamabad with regard to Afghanistan's future.

Obama said Washington must "reorient" Pakistan's view. more

Protesters to "occupy" Washington against corporate greed

As ranks of protesters grew in New York in the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration, protesters are also converging in U.S. capital Washington D.C. for a planned " Occupy D.C." rally on Thursday, which is to take place at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Organizers told Xinhua that the rally is aimed at raising awareness of the American people in fixing the political system corrupted by corporate greed, and concentrating attention on people's needs.

Lisa Simeone, a spokesperson with the October 2011 movement, which is central in organizing the rally, said the protest has been in the making for about a year, and was scheduled to coincide with the start of the Afghanistan War. After the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in the U.S. city of New York took place, they decided to join the many occupations that's been going on around the country.

"Our main focus is that we are against corporatism and militarism," said Simeone in a telephone interview on Wednesday with Xinhua. She said that protesters want money out of politics, tax the rich and corporations, as well as cut military spending, end the wars and bring the troops home.

"People come to the rally for a lot of reasons," Jeremy Ryan, an activist participating in the rally told Xinhua in an earlier interview, noting many come because they are angry that big corporations are having too much influence on Washington politics.

"The over-arching theme" of the rally, said Simeone, is "human needs, jobs, homes, education, health care, not corporate greed." more

The Current State of the U.S. Economy

Protests on Wall Street turned violent Wednesday when police clashed with demonstrators marching through Lower Manhattan in the largest show of strength yet for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Police said late Wednesday that 28 people were arrested during the march, mostly for disorderly conduct, the New York Post reports. One police officer suffered minor injuries after being knocked off a scooter, according to the newspaper.

At one point, protesters were reportedly Maced and threatened with police batons when about 150 marchers demanded access to Wall Street from Broadway.

The protests against corporate America are expected to spread to New Jersey on Thursday as a show of solidarity with demonstrations that started last month outside the New York Stock Exchange.

Rallies are planned at the Statehouse in Trenton and in Jersey City. Protesters are expected to call for an end of corporate control of government, starting at 2 p.m.

The initial protests in New York City, called Occupy Wall Street, started Sept. 17 and have since spread to other cities. more

'Occupy Wall Street' Protests Turn Violent When Demonstrators Clash With Police

Protests on Wall Street turned violent Wednesday when police clashed with demonstrators marching through Lower Manhattan in the largest show of strength yet for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Police said late Wednesday that 28 people were arrested during the march, mostly for disorderly conduct, the New York Post reports. One police officer suffered minor injuries after being knocked off a scooter, according to the newspaper.

At one point, protesters were reportedly Maced and threatened with police batons when about 150 marchers demanded access to Wall Street from Broadway.

The protests against corporate America are expected to spread to New Jersey on Thursday as a show of solidarity with demonstrations that started last month outside the New York Stock Exchange.

Rallies are planned at the Statehouse in Trenton and in Jersey City. Protesters are expected to call for an end of corporate control of government, starting at 2 p.m.

The initial protests in New York City, called Occupy Wall Street, started Sept. 17 and have since spread to other cities.

In Los Angeles, police have begun arresting a group of anti-Wall Street demonstrators who entered a Bank of America during a downtown march by hundreds of protesters. more

Melting Arctic ice clears the way for supertanker voyages

The image above was made from observations collected by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer and shows the extent of sea ice melt. The yellow outline shows the median minimum ice extent for 1979/2000. Photograph: Aqua/NASA

Supertankers and giant cargo ships could next year travel regularly between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Arctic to save time, money and emissions, say Scandinavian shipowners.

New data from companies who have taken advantage of receding Arctic sea ice this year to complete several voyages across the north of Russia shows that the "northern sea route" can save even a medium-sized bulk carrier 18 days and 580 tonnes of bunker fuel on a journey between northern Norway and China. The voyage would normally take upwards of 40 days.

Even bigger fuel and time savings have been reported this week by Danish shipping company Nordic Bulk Carriers which says it saved a third of its usual costs and nearly half the time in shipping goods to China via the Arctic.

The route, which cuts around 4,000 nautical miles off the southern Suez route from the Atlantic to the Pacific, has barely needed an ice-breaker since July as annual sea ice melted to a near record low extent. "We saved 1,000 tonnes of bunker fuel – nearly 3,000 tonnes of CO2 – on one journey between Murmansk and north China," said Christian Bonfils, a director of Nordic Bulk Carriers in Oslo. more

Rise in cycling deaths highlights 'appalling' road layouts

On Monday, the fashion student Min Joo Lee, 24, became the 13th cyclist to be killed in London this year. She was hit by an HGV while navigating the Kings Cross one-way system near York Way.

The blogger Olaf Storbeck wrote that Joo Lee's death was sadly predictable given the "appalling" road layout in the area. He called it one of the "worst death traps for cyclists in London".

"The whole area around King's Cross is a complete and utter nightmare for cyclists ... in the last five years, four cyclists were killed in the proximity of King's Cross ... A nasty system of one-way roads and other restrictions makes it amazingly hard to avoid the busy roads as a cyclist. Apparently, nobody who is responsible for the road design in that area ever seriously thought about cyclists."

There is massive reconstruction going on in the Kings Cross area and the roads are clogged with construction and heavy goods vehicles.

The University of the Arts has recently relocated the to area. It opened last month and 3,500 students will attend the college each day. The roads around Kings Cross are now adorned by scores of bikes locked to street furniture. Joo Lee was a student at the college.

The Department for Transport (DfT) annual report on UK road casualties, released last week, shows that cyclist deaths across the UK rose by 7% last year, up from 104 in 2009 to 111 in 2010.

DfT statisticians analysed reported casualties by day and time of day. They found that 60% of cyclist casualties occur during the rush hours of 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm, and more road accidents happen on a Monday to Thursday (65%) than at the weekend (45%). The DfT report concludes that the cyclist deaths are likely to be related to school and work travel. more

Mark Boyle: I live without cash – and I manage just fine

In six years of studying economics, not once did I hear the word "ecology". So if it hadn't have been for the chance purchase of a video called Gandhi in the final term of my degree, I'd probably have ended up earning a fine living in a very respectable job persuading Indian farmers to go GM, or something useful like that. The little chap in the loincloth taught me one huge lesson – to be the change I wanted to see in the world. Trouble was, I had no idea back then what that change was.

After managing a couple of organic food companies made me realise that even "ethical business" would never be quite enough, an afternoon's philosophising with a mate changed everything. We were looking at the world's issues – environmental destruction, sweatshops, factory farms, wars over resources – and wondering which of them we should dedicate our lives to. But I realised that I was looking at the world in the same way a western medical practitioner looks at a patient, seeing symptoms and wondering how to firefight them, without any thought for their root cause. So I decided instead to become a social homeopath, a pro-activist, and to investigate the root cause of these symptoms.

One of the critical causes of those symptoms is the fact we no longer have to see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment and animals they affect. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that we're completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the stuff we buy. The tool that has enabled this separation is money.

If we grew our own food, we wouldn't waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn't throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn't contaminate it. more

Why do we throw away vast amounts of food? (Photo Essay)

Betraying savers and law-abiding citizens is neither modern nor compassionate

Someone will doubtless correct me, but I think it was Mark Twain who said that he wanted to die in Manchester, as the transition from life to death in that city would be scarcely perceptible. But the Tory Conference was not all that dull. Perhaps it gets more and more like the Edinburgh Festival – the best place to be is at the fringe.

At any rate, the crowds, even if the Conservative Party members were vastly outnumbered by the media folk, lobbyists and PR people, heard some polished performances from the big names.

There was some innocent enjoyment to be had from the spectacle of Boris Johnson being not only amusing, but desperately loyal. Then Michael Gove and IDS were effective and gave the Tories some cheer. Sadly for Theresa May a speech full of good things for the Tory faithful had the edge taken off it by some poor staff work and drafting over that wretched cat. She was of course substantially right, but her words allowed enough wriggle room for the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to delight the BBC with a weasel-worded attempt to rubbish the point she was rightly making about the impact of the Human Rights Act on the rights of law-abiding citizens to be protected from foreign criminals. more

Wall St heavyweight Larry Fink says protesters are not 'lazy people sitting around'

Larry Fink, one of the most powerful people on Wall Street, says that he understands what's prompting demonstrations against the country's financial system and that protesters are "not lazy people sitting around looking for something to do."

"The protesting is a statement the future is clouded for a lot of people," said Mr Fink, who founded BlackRock, the biggest asset manager in the world.

"These are not lazy people sitting around looking for someting to do. We have people losing hope and they're going into the street, whether it's justified or not," Mr Fink said at an event in Toronto according to Bloomberg News.

Organised by a group called Occupy Wall Street, the protests near Wall Street in Manhattan have entered their twentieth day and have since spread to cities including Boston, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco.

Although the protesters in Manhattan's Zuccotti Square have a broad church of causes, most are united by a belief that economic inequality is increasing in the US and that the political process has been captured by banks and major corporations.

President Barack Obama made his first public comments on the protests on Thursday, arguing that they voice "the frustrations that the American people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street. And yet you're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place." more

Angry savers target Bank of England

A giant papier mache piggy bank will take a hammering outside the Bank of England on Thursday as angry savers show the brutal effects of record low interest rates on their cash.

Campaigners warned that savers are being taken for "mugs" as soaring energy and household costs have exacerbated the bleak future they are facing.

A combination of high inflation and the Bank of England's base rate being held at a historic 0.5pc low has left savers struggling to find accounts which will give them a real return.

The consumer price index (CPI), a broad measure of the cost of living, increased to 4.5pc in August, moving closer to a three-year high.

Members of campaign group Save Our Savers will voice their anger outside the Bank tomorrow, at the same time as the next base rate decision is announced.

They will be accompanied by "Bertie the pig" who will take a bashing to reflect the pressure campaigners say they are under. more

India: Maoist attack kills four troops in Chhattisgarh

A landmine blast by suspected Maoist rebels in India's Chhattisgarh state has killed four paramilitary troops and injured several others, police said.

Forces from Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), one of India's armed police units, were travelling through conflict-torn Bastar region when their vehicle hit a mine.

The mine had been planted in the middle of a road on the national highway.

Maoist rebels say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous tribal people and the rural poor.

Police told the BBC's Salman Ravi in Raipur that the troops were on their way from the volatile district of Dantewada to Jagdalpur town when their vehicle hit the mine.

"This unit was deployed for anti-Maoist operations in Dantewada," police officer Surjit Singh said.

"The blast was powerful and the vehicle has been badly damaged."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15211046

Brazen Teenage Gang Robbing Straphangers During Rush Hour

Police are searching for teenage thugs targeting subway riders.

There have been at least three armed attacks recently. CBS 2′s Dave Carlin has seen pictures of the suspects and knows what they’re after.

A team of baby-faced bandits, young enough to still be in high school, is making life quite stressful in Gotham’s underworld.

Police circulating surveillance camera stills of four teenagers, including one female, allegedly working subway stations together, sometimes with a fifth suspect who has not yet been caught on camera.

“They look pretty young and it’s sad because they have such a great life ahead of them and there’s so much more they can be doing,” said Gwen Everett of Bed-Stuy.

The armed robberies are up to at least three since August, with a total of 10 victims.

Police told Carlin the suspects rob other groups of young people of their iPods, jewelry and cash, each time during crowded evening rush hours.

“By the time you know what happened they’re gone,” said Dan Parilis of Bushwick.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/10/06/police-seek-thugs-suspected-of-series-of-robberies-in-lower-manhattan-subways/

Israeli military simulates war call-up

The IDF is taking no chances on the eve of Yom Kippur. In an unusual and rare step, The IDF's General Staff alerted two reserve divisions as part of an emergency drill in army bases in central and northern Israel. The purpose of the exercise was to test the soldiers' level of response and readiness for war.

On Wednesday evening, at 6 pm, reserve soldiers received a phone call ordering them to report to their units immediately. The drill ended on Thursday at 4 pm.

The army decided to hold the exercise in the backdrop of recent developments in the Middle East and some 48 hours prior to Yom Kippur.

"The timing is more than a coincidence and is part of the army's preparation for the upcoming days in light of changes in the region," Head of the Operations Division's Inspection Department, Col. Shlomi Fayer said. "The two divisions were duly found to be highly ready and capable."

A check conducted by the Inspection Department revealed that 90% of the soldiers who were alerted reported for the drill. Commanders were on full attendance.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4132399,00.html

Rand Paul: Obama’s Rhetoric Could Turn ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Violent



Scaling the heights of hypocrisy once again, Barack Obama – whose 2008 campaign was funded by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley – sympathized with the OWS protesters yesterday while grandstanding as the man to bring Wall Street back in line, despite the fact that his own cabinet is full of former Wall Street executives and he is even more reliant on Wall Street for his 2012 presidential run.

“He’s almost saying, I support them, I’d be out there with them,” Napolitano remarked in reference to Obama’s speech yesterday.

“As far as this Occupy Wall Street movement goes, you know I see it sort of like a Paris mob,” Paul told Napolitano. “I see the president’s rhetoric of envy inflaming the public.”

“I see this enflaming this Paris mob that I hope ultimately doesn’t result in lawlessness where they say ‘gosh those nice iPads through the window should be mine and why don’t I throw a brick through the window to get them because rich people don’t deserve to have them when I can’t have one,” said Paul.

Napolitano pointed out that the protesters, besides calls to raise taxes which is nothing more than an Obama administration talking point and would only serve to cripple the middle class, do have legitimate grievances and that a proportion of them are End the Fed advocates.

The Kentucky Senator highlighted the hypocrisy of some of the protesters vowing not to work for a corporation while carrying around expensive consumer products.

http://www.infowars.com/rand-paul-obamas-rhetoric-could-turn-occupy-wall-street-violent/

Protesters To Be ‘Met With Force’ If They Target Officers

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly had some strong words for “Occupy Wall Street” protesters Thursday, blaming participants for starting skirmishes which led to more than 20 arrests on Wednesday.

“What they did is they counted. They actually had a countdown — 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 — they grouped together, they joined arms and they charged the police. They attacked the police. They wanted to get into Wall Street, they wanted to occupy Wall Street,” Kelly told reporters.

Police arrested 28 people Wednesday — mostly for disorderly conduct. There was at least one arrest for assaulting a police officer and police said one protester even knocked an officer off his scooter.

Kelly said that if demonstrators targeted the police, authorities would respond with “force.”

“They’re going to be met with force when they do that — this is just common sense,” he said.

The commissioner said protesters were told to stay within the barricades that police had erected and when they crossed over them they began hassling the cops.

“These people wanted to have confrontation with the police for whatever reason. Somehow, I guess it works to their purposes,” Kelly said.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/10/06/kelly-protesters-to-be-met-with-force-if-they-target-officers/

Hunger crisis grips North Korea as food runs short

In a pediatric hospital in North Korea's most productive farming province, children lay two to a bed. All showed signs of severe malnutrition: skin infections, patchy hair, listless apathy.

"Their mothers have to bring them here on bicycles," said duty doctor Jang Kum Son in the Yellow Sea port city of Haeju. "We used to have an ambulance but it's completely broken down. One mother traveled 72 kilometers (45 miles). By the time they get here, it's often too late."

It's also getting late for North Korea to get the massive amount of food aid it claims to need before the harsh winter sets in. The country's dysfunctional food-distribution system, rising global commodities prices and sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs had contributed to what appears to be a hunger crisis in the North, even before devastating summer floods and typhoons compounded the emergency.

The regime's appeals for massive food aid have gone mostly unanswered by a skeptical international community. Only 30 percent of a United Nations food aid target for North Korea has been met so far. The United States and South Korea, the two biggest donors before sanctions, have said they won't resume aid until they are satisfied the military-led communist regime won't divert the aid for its own uses and progress is made on disarmament talks.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44808274/ns/world_news-asia_pacific/#.To8ba3HgOI0

Hit-&-Run Driver Jumps From City Ave. Bridge

A hit-and-run crash led to bridge-jumping drama on the City Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia, according to police and witnesses at the scene.

Paramedics were called to the area late Thursday morning after witnesses said a woman driving a Mercury Mountaineer hit an Acura at Presidential Boulevard and then took off.

Hit-and-run victim Steve Iacona told NBCPhiladelphia he followed her, then physically tried to block her with his banged-up car.

Then, Iacona said, "I told her to get out of the car. I was on the phone with 9-1-1 at that point. She goes, 'Oh sorry,' grabs her bag and starts huffing it to the bridge and took a nice little swan dive."

Other witnesses said the woman jumped 70 feet down to the rail yard below.

It took firefighters about an hour to raise her to safety. Rescue crews used ropes and a body board to lift her.

Traffic was blocked for just over an hour during the rescue effort.

There's no word yet on the woman's condition or possible charges against her. Police said she is expected to survive.

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Hit--Run-Driver-Jumps-from-City-Ave-Bridge-131279204.html

World facing worst financial crisis in history, Bank of England Governor says

The world is facing the worst financial crisis since at least the 1930s “if not ever”, the Governor of the Bank of England said last night.

Sir Mervyn King was speaking after the decision by the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee to put £75billion of newly created money into the economy in a desperate effort to stave off a new credit crisis and a UK recession.

Economists said the Bank’s decision to resume its quantitative easing [QE], or asset purchase programme, showed it was increasingly fearful for the economy, and predicted more such moves ahead.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8812260/World-facing-worst-financial-crisis-in-history-Bank-of-England-Governor-says.html

Ten years on, a new generation has learned to oppose war

Ten years ago, in the wake of 9/11, the U.S. led the invasion of Afghanistan to capture Osama Bin Laden and defeat the Taliban.

Bush, enthusiastically supported by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, sought and received unprecedented powers from Congress, a vast increase in military spending took place, and war was on.

The world, barely recovered from the shock of 9/11 and seeing iconic buildings in New York and Washington in flames, did not really question the logic of this decision by Bush.

The invasion duly happened; predictably the Afghan forces were over-run and the hunt was on for Bin Laden.

There were many contradictions in all this.

Bin Laden and his companies had been associated with the U.S. and even reportedly the Bush family. The statements by Bin Laden were more concerned about U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia than anything else.

Far from being a clear declaration of war, the forces merely attacked and opponents were labeled by a hitherto unknown tag as "enemy combatants," rounded up at Bagram Air Base and flown off to the handily out of reach U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/07/opinion/ten-years-on-a-new-generation-has-learned-to-oppose-war/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

Security forces kill 8 in Syria, activists say

Security forces in Syria fired on protesters Friday, killing at least eight people and wounding many more as demonstrators took to the streets of suburban Damascus and other sites after weekly Muslim prayers, activists said.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported three deaths in Douma, outside the capital, three in the western city of Homs, one in the coastal city of Latakia and one in the suburbs of Hama, in the west.

Riad Saif, a former parliament member and now an opposition leader, was beaten in the Damascus neighborhood of Medan, security forces forcibly dispersed demonstrators in the northeastern city of Qamlishi, and a massive demonstration unfolded in the Idlib province town of Saraqeb, the LCC said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based activist group, also confirmed three deaths in the Damascus suburbs. It said forces opened fire and wounded more than two dozen people near a Homs mosque.

Anti-government demonstrations have raged in Syria for nearly seven months, and the Bashar al-Assad regime has launched a fierce crackdown on protesters. The death toll has exceeded 3,000, the observatory said. Most of those killed have been civilian protesters and others have been security forces.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/07/world/meast/syria-unrest/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

New Zealand battles to contain oil spill

Response teams battled Friday to contain a spill of oil from a large cargo ship stranded off the New Zealand coast.

The MV Rena, a Liberian-flagged vessel, started leaking oil early Wednesday off Tauranga, on the North Island, after the vessel struck a reef.

Some oil-soaked dead birds have been found in the area surrounding the ship, Maritime New Zealand said.

Four little blue penguins and two shags were rescued Friday afternoon from a nearby island by trained oiled wildlife responders, the government agency said, and are being treated.

Maritime New Zealand's commander at the scene, Rob Service, said teams were inspecting beaches where the public had reported sighting oil but none had yet been found.

Almost all the 1,700 cubic meters (450,000 gallons) of heavy fuel oil carried by the ship was still contained within the vessel's hull, he said in a prepared statement.

But the operation to remove the oil, being led by Svitzer Salvage, would be complex, he said, adding: "There is no way of doing this quickly."

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/07/world/asia/new-zealand-oil-spill/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Occupy Wall Street protests spread as Obama weighs in



The Occupy Wall Street protests are scheduled to go on Friday as the grassroots movement continues to grow, spread to other cities and grab the attention of the president.

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the demonstrators are giving a voice to those frustrated with the financial system as protests popped up in more than a dozen American cities.

Speaking at a White House news conference, Obama also defended the country's financial sector, which appears to have taken the brunt of protester criticism, focusing on Wall Street and its regulators' purported role in widening economic disparities.

"We have to have a strong, effective financial sector in order for us to grow," the president said Thursday.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/07/politics/occupy-wall-street/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Mexican navy discovers 32 bodies in residential neighborhood

Thirty-two bodies were discovered Thursday inside three houses in Veracruz, Mexico, the Mexican navy said in a news release.

The discovery of the bodies came during a military operation, dubbed Safe Veracruz, that was targeting organized crime in the region, the statement said.

The state of Veracruz, once popular with tourists for its beaches and sea activities, has been rocked in recent months by a series of brutal killings as violent drug cartels fight one another for control of the area while simultaneously battling Mexican authorities.

The military operation in the state's capital city of Veracruz came just days after Mexican President Felipe Calderon ordered troops to the region.

Twenty of the bodies were found at a house in a residential neighborhood in Veracruz, while 11 more were found in another home in a nearby subdivision, the statement said. Another body was found in a third house, it said.

The statement did not say what led authorities to the three homes.

The discovery of the bodies follows another two weeks earlier in the same region where authorities say they found 35 bodies piled into two trucks in the city of Boca del Rio. Two days later, 11 more bodies were discovered scattered across the city, authorities said.

More than 34,600 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on drug cartels in December 2006, according to government figures released in January. Other reports estimate that more than 40,000 people have been killed.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/07/world/americas/mexico-bodies-found/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Health officials probing what sickened Students at Falcon Middle School, Colorado - 7th Oct 2011

El Paso County health officials are investigating reports of an intestinal illness that appears to have sickened a large number of students of Falcon Middle School.

Falcon School District 49 officials reported the illnesses Thursday afternoon to the El Paso County Department of Public Health after an unusually high number of students either called in sick or complained of vomiting or diarrhea, said Dr. Bernadette Albanese, medical director of the department.

Though it’s unknown exactly how many students became ill, the number could be more than 100, she said. The school’s 2010 enrollment was about 900, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

While outbreaks of illnesses in schools or other institutions aren’t uncommon, she said it was unusual for such a large number of students to be ill on a single day. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake COLOMBIA - 7th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Colombia at a depth of 171.5 km (106.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:42:14 UTC Friday 7th October 2011.
The epicenter was 39 km ( 24 miles) SSE from Tulua, Colombia
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this tim

Mexican navy discovers 32 bodies in residential neighborhood - 7th Oct 2011

Thirty-two bodies were discovered Thursday inside three houses in Veracruz, Mexico, the Mexican navy said in a news release.

The discovery of the bodies came during a military operation, dubbed Safe Veracruz, that was targeting organized crime in the region, the statement said.

The state of Veracruz, once popular with tourists for its beaches and sea activities, has been rocked in recent months by a series of brutal killings as violent drug cartels fight one another for control of the area while simultaneously battling Mexican authorities.

The military operation in the state's capital city of Veracruz came just days after Mexican President Felipe Calderon ordered troops to the region.

Twenty of the bodies were found at a house in a residential neighborhood in Veracruz, while 11 more were found in another home in a nearby subdivision, the statement said. Another body was found in a third house, it said.

The statement did not say what led authorities to the three homes. Read More

Security forces kill 8 in Syria, activists say - 7th Oct 2011

Security forces in Syria fired on protesters Friday, killing at least eight people and wounding many more as demonstrators took to the streets of suburban Damascus and other sites after weekly Muslim prayers, activists said.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported three deaths in Douma, outside the capital, three in the western city of Homs, one in the coastal city of Latakia and one in the suburbs of Hama, in the west.

Riad Saif, a former parliament member and now an opposition leader, was beaten in the Damascus neighborhood of Medan, security forces forcibly dispersed demonstrators in the northeastern city of Qamlishi, and a massive demonstration unfolded in the Idlib province town of Saraqeb, the LCC said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based activist group, also confirmed three deaths in the Damascus suburbs. It said forces opened fire and wounded more than two dozen people near a Homs mosque. Read More

Now senior citizens and veterans take to the streets in Occupy Wall Street demonstrations - 7th Oct 2011

It started as a student protest, led by the disgruntled and disenfranchised youth.

But as the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have gained momentum, it has quickly become clear that fury against bankers is not a feeling restricted to just one demographic.

Among the protesters marching as part of the angry and struggling '99 per cent' were many older faces - one so elderly he required a zimmer frame to walk.

Others held up banners and yelled with voices just as strong as their young counterparts.

Protesters calling themselves 'the 99 per cent' continued to gather momentum in several cities across the country yesterday, with groups descending on on Washington D.C., Jersey and Texas.

The marchers - campaigning against America's richest 'one per cent' with perceived tax breaks and other perks - have swelled their ranks since mid-September, leading President Barack Obama to call the demonstrators a 'movement'. Read More

Carmela dela Rosa threw Angelyn Ogdoc off a 45-foot-high skywalk - because she was upset child was illegitimate

A grandmother has been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison for tossing her two-year-old granddaughter to her death from a pedestrian bridge at a shopping mall.

Last November Carmela dela Rosa threw Angelyn Ogdoc off a 45-foot-high skywalk like a 'piece of trash' at Tysons Corner Center, Virginia state's largest mall in the busy holiday shopping season.

Dela Rosa was upset that her son-in-law, James Ogdoc, had impregnated her daughter out of wedlock, prosecutors said - the couple married shortly before Angelyn was born.

'She was an angry, jealous and spiteful woman,' Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Morrogh said. 'There is no victim more innocent than a child, unable to defend herself.'

The jury rejected the woman's insanity defence, finding her guilty after a two-week trial and more than five hours of deliberations. Read More

Ceremonial Aztec platform used to burn snakes discovered under Mexico City's famous Templo Mayor ruin - 7th Oct 2011

Archeologists could be on the brink of discovering Mexico's first Aztec royal tomb after they unearthed a ceremonial carved stone platform beneath an existing ruin.

The platform, carved with snake heads, was found under Mexico City's Templo Mayor ruin, a complex of two huge pyramids and numerous smaller structures that contained the ceremonial and spiritual heart of the pre-Hispanic Aztec empire.

The find has raised hopes that there could be an emperor's tomb buried nearby.

No Aztec ruler's tomb has ever been located and researchers have been on a five-year quest to find a royal tomb in the area of the Templo Mayor.

Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology said the stone platform is about 15 yards in diameter and probably built around A.D. 1469.

The site lies in downtown Mexico City, which was built by Spanish conquerors atop the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 7th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands at a depth of 35.2 km (21.9 miles), the quake hit at 12:44:07 UTC Friday 7th October 2011.
The epicenter was 213 km ( 132 miles) East of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time.

Full-blown space storm could send 750 meteors streaking across the sky every hour - 7th Oct 2011

The sky could be lit up by a stunning stellar spectacle this weekend as the Draconid meteor shower intensifies into a full-blown space storm.

The Draconids streak through our atmosphere once every seven years and it's usually a fairly unremarkable event for astronomers, with just 10 or 20 meteors per hour.

But if forecasts are correct, a massive surge in the Draconids' activity could see rates peak at up to 750 meteors an hour on Saturday, potentially illuminating the evening with with thousands of shooting stars.

The meteors become visible as the earth crosses the orbit of the 21P/Giacobini-Zinner comet.

The comet's orbit path is filled with tiny particles - the size of a grain of sand. When our planet zips through this cosmic dust storm the particles disintegrate in our atmosphere and create streaks of light across the sky.

However, because this year's schedule of meteor showers happens to coincide with the full moon cycle, they may be difficult to spot with the sky so brightly lit. Read More

True radiation decontamination still a long way away, Japan - 7th Oct 2011

Though the government last month lifted the "emergency evacuation preparation zone" designation of some areas greatly affected by the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, radiation decontamination efforts are still taking place in areas with high levels of radiation.

The three main decontamination methods that have been highly publicized through media reports are: the stripping away of surface soil from school playgrounds and athletic fields, the removal of mud accumulated in gutters, and the washing of roofs using high-pressure water cleaners. While the first method is considered effective, the remaining two have been found to be effective only to a certain point, and some especially warn against overestimating the effects of high-pressure water cleaners.

"It might make you feel like you're decontaminating, but there's a limit to the amount of radioactive cesium that's caked onto roofs that can be eliminated with high-pressure water cleaners," says Kunihiro Yamada, a professor of environmental science at Kyoto Seika University. "The water cleaners wash surface dirt off, but then that tainted water goes into sewers and can contaminate rivers, thereby affecting farm goods and seafood. If people in highly populated areas were to begin using water cleaners, we may end up finding people forcing tainted water onto each other." Read More

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE KERMADEC ISLANDS - 7th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck South of the Kermadec Islands at a depth of 49.3 km (30.6 miles), the quake hit at 12:14:36 UTC Friday 7th October 2011.
The epicenter was 390 km ( 242 miles) South form Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Note: this earthquake was listed as a 4.8 Magnitude by USGS - Some stations have picked this as high as 6 magnitude and the BKZ station which is Black Stump Farm New Zealand picked the sensors of this earthquake up as a 7.4 Magnitude. I find it strange that USGS would pick a station from a longer distance to the epicenter to determine the size of this earthquake, only 1 station out of at least 60 showed it as a 4+

Exeter High School, New Hampshire evacuated after spill - five were hospitalized

Officials at Exeter High School are investigating how a container of sulfuric acid ended up in a trash compactor, resulting in a chemical leak and school evacuation Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Principal Vic Sokul said the goal of the investigation will be to determine the steps needed to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"I think eventually we'll get to the bottom of it, assess the situation and give it the appropriate response," he said.

School did resume as scheduled on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Sokul said the students were given 10 minutes at the beginning of the day to go back to the classrooms they were at during Tuesday's evacuation and retrieve any personal belongings that were left behind.

Sokul said the school was secured immediately after Tuesday's evacuation was ordered and there were no reports the following day of missing belongings.

"It went smoothly," he said. "There was no bad news from this event."

The chaotic events of Tuesday afternoon began at 11:25 a.m.

Sokul said a custodian notified the staff about the leak.

"After he had started the compactor he noticed a smell of a pungent odor and that smell kind of spread a little bit," he said.

Fire Chief Brian Comeau said first-responders found one plastic bucket of sulfuric acid on the school's loading dock at the rear of the building and a second bucket lodged in a nearby trash compactor. Read More

Central Illinois town evacuated following fiery train derailment - 7th Oct 2011

Authorities are evacuating the entire town of Tiskilwa following a major train derailment overnight that left multiple tanker cars exploding, according to fire officials and area residents.

Tiskilwa is a town of about 800 people located about 8 miles south of Princeton and 115 miles west of Chicago.

"It's a mess," said Mike McComber, owner of the Indian Valley Inn, a restaurant-bar where many town residents were taking refuge. "A quarter to a half mile of cars derailed. Many of them are on fire.

"Everytime one of them explodes, it sounds like a bomb is going off. Three have gone off so far."

At least six cars on the 112-car train were burning, and officials were worried about expanding liquid vapor explosions, said Capt. Steve Haywood of the Ottawa Fire Department. The fire still had not been brought under control by 5:15 a.m. and it probably would be permitted to burn out on its own he said. It was unclear how many cars derailed. Read More

Video Here >>>

Chemical Leak Prompts Evacuation in Cadbury Schweppes factory in Scoresby, Melbourne - 7th Oct 2011

A nitric acid leak in a factory on Friday led to evacuation of workers in Melbourne, Australia, Country Fire Authority (CFA) said.

CFA said 14 crews were working to contain the leak at the Cadbury Schweppes factory in Scoresby.

Fifteen people were originally evacuated from the factory early on Friday afternoon and about 60 workers from surrounding factories were then also evacuated.

"As the factory has released a cloud of high irritant vapor, CFA put out a warning for people to stay indoors, close all windows and turn off air conditioning." the CFA spokeswoman told reporters. "CFA crew members are investigating the leak and are fitted with gas suits."

The spokeswoman said at this stage there were no reports of injuries.

Nitric acid is a highly corrosive and toxic acid. Concentrated nitric acid and its vapors are highly corrosive to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. Dilute solutions cause mild skin irritation and hardening of the epidermis. Source

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN - 7th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Ryukyu Islands, Japan at a depth of 37.3 km (23.2 miles), the quake hit at 10:48:34 UTC Friday 7th October 2011.
The epicenter was 268 km ( 166 miles) South of Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Nobel Peace Prize 2011 is shared by Tawakkul Karman, Leymah Gbowee and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf - 7th Oct 2011

Three people have been awarded the 2011 Nobel peace prize.

Liberia's Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman were jointly awarded the honour.

Ms Johnson-Sirleaf, who is Liberia's president, was given the prize for her work with Leymah Gbowee.

The pair mobilised women against the civil war in their country.

Tawakkul Karman was recognised for her work as an activist for democracy and women's rights in Yemen.

The Nobel committee said they gave the award "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

Thorbjorn Jagland, the committee's chairman, said he hoped the prize would bring more attention to violence and sexual assaults of women and highlight the work of women in the Arab and African world.

The award includes a prize of $1.5m (£972,000). Source

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 7th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 37.4 km (23.4 miles), the quake hit at 09:25:52 UTC Friday 7th October 2011.
The epicenter was 226 km ( 140 miles) ESE of Yokohama, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Cell-Made Hootch Sickens 12 Utah Inmates with Botulism - 7th Oct 2011

A dozen inmates at the Utah State Prison are being treated for potentially deadly botulism after drinking alcohol made in a jail cell, state health officials say.

Eight of the 12 prisoners, including three who are in critical condition, are being treated at a hospital near the state prison at Draper, UT, about 20 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The four others remain in the prison.

The eight hospitalized inmates have received the antitoxin for botulism, which the Salt Lake Valley Health Department obtained from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The antitoxin has not yet been given to the four inmates being held at the prison infirmary because their symptoms have so far been mild.

This was the most recent incidence of botulism reported in the state since 2003.

The Utah State Prison inmates were infected by the botulinum toxin by drinking alcohol made in a plastic bag hidden in a cell. The prison moonshine is often referred to as "cell-brewed pruno."

While botulism can be deadly, with medical treatment most survive. Botulism can bring on paralysis and respiratory failure that requires weeks on a ventilator in order to recover. Read More

Low water level causes Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant to Automatically go into Shut Down, New Hampshire - 7th Oct 2011

The Seabrook Station nuclear power plant automatically shut down Wednesday due to a low level of water in the steam generator, say officials of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Seabrook, N.H., plant shut down at 12:27 p.m. as it was designed to do, after sensing low water levels in the steam generator, NRC officials said. NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci said the incident did not pose a threat to public health and safety, and there were no radioactive releases.

It was unclear last night whether the plant was back up and running, and the company that owns the facility, NextEra Energy Resources, could not immediately be reached. The plant is currently stable at normal operating temperature and pressure, NRC officials said.

NextEra Energy owns about 88.2 percent of the plant, and its share generates enough power to supply the daily needs of more than 900,000 homes, according to a website for the company. It was unclear last night if customers were affected.

The low levels of water were caused by a pump that stopped, which occurred during “a filling and venting of a condensate pump that was being returned to service following maintenance,’’ the NRC said. The exact cause of the pump stoppage is under investigation. Read More

Viral meningitis reported at West Geauga Middle School, Ohio - 7th Oct 2011

It has been reported that a female sixth-grade student at West Geauga Middle School is being treated for viral meningitis.

West Geauga Schools Superintendent Tom Diringer said that he could not confirm the case, but that it is “probably true.”

According to another news source, the student has been absent for several days and the school learned Thursday that the child is being treated for the illness.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Viral infections are the most common cause of meningitis; bacterial infections are the second most common cause.

Viral meningitis is serious but rarely fatal in people with normal immune systems. Usually, the symptoms last from seven to 10 days and the patient recovers completely.

Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, can be very serious and result in disability or death if not treated promptly. Often, the symptoms of viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis are the same. Symptoms can appear over several hours or develop in one to two days. Read More