Monday, October 10, 2011

OIL SPILL: New Zealand freight ship perilously close to breaking up and spilling 1700 tons of oil, CONTRARY to official information -- BREAKING NEWS.

Very important, please read (especially for those in New Zealand):

The Coming Crisis has acquired inside, verified information regarding the New Zealand Bay of Plenty oil spill. Contrary to media reports, the ship is in fact perilously close to breaking up, and is currently projected to lose structural integrity within the next 24 hours on a nearby reef.

Should the vessel break up as expected, it will release 1700 tons of oil, and will likely result in a massive environmental catastrophe. Added to this, several container ships on board the vessel contain cargo which, if combined with water, will dispense highly toxic fumes.

An Alert may be issue in the coming hours. Please spread this information and check back frequently for emergency instructions and updated information.

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 11th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 33.8 km (21 miles), the quake hit at 03:26:12 UTC Tuesday 11th October 2011.
The epicenter was 234 km ( 145 miles) ESE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 11th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 27.4 km (17 miles), the quake hit at 02:48:49 UTC Tuesday 11th October 2011.
The epicenter was 338 km ( 210 miles) East of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake TAJIKISTAN - 11th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Tajikistan at a depth of 41.2 km (25.6 miles), the quake hit at 01:17:22 UTC Tuesday 11th October 2011.
The epicenter was 141 km ( 87 miles) Northeast of Kulob (Kulyab), Tajikistan
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION- 11th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Kermadec Islands Region at a depth of 30.9 km (19.2 miles), the quake hit at 00:50:54 UTC Tuesday 11th October 2011.
The epicenter was 266 km ( 165 miles) NNE of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake GUATEMALA - 11th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Guatemala at a depth of 10.6 km (6.6 miles), the quake hit at 00:20:11 UTC Tuesday 11th October 2011.
The epicenter was 23 km ( 14 miles) Southwest of Coban, Guatemala
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN - 10th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the Hindu Kush Region, Afghanistan at a depth of 187.4 km (116.5 miles), the quake hit at 22:54:18 UTC Monday 10th October 2011.
The epicenter was 76 km ( 47 miles) Southeast of Faizabad, Afghanistan
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 10th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Izu Islands, Japan Region at a depth of 48.6 km (30.2 miles), the quake hit at 21:29:12 UTC Monday 10th October 2011.
The epicenter was 308 km ( 191 miles) North of Chichi-Shima, Bonin Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEW ZEALAND - 10th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck New Zealand at a depth of 100 km (62 miles), the quake hit at 23:17 UTC Monday 10th October 2011 - (12:17 NZDT Tuesday 11th October 2011)
The epicenter was 50 km ( 31 miles) Southwest of Milford Sound, New Zealand
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

New Zealand oil spill worsening?

Chinese sailors slain in 'gruesome' Mekong River murders

At least 12 Chinese sailors have been killed after their cargo ships were attacked on the Mekong River in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Yunnan Province has said.

The ministry's website stated that two Chinese cargo ships -- the Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8 -- were attacked with gunfire on October 5. According to the initial investigation, all six sailors from Hua Ping and six of the seven sailors from Yu Xing 8 were found dead, while one remained missing.

Though still in the early stages of their investigation, Thai police say they cannot rule out the involvement of drug gangs in the killings.

Chiang Rai police colonel Popkorn Khuncharoensuk told CNN that the two ships were raided by a joint task force of army, marine police, local police and paramilitary following the attack, and found almost one million amphetamines on the vessels.

"This is the most gruesome incident I have ever seen," Popkorn said.

According to Popkorn, one of the bodies was found aboard the Hua Ping, while the rest were found in the Mekong River near Chiangsaen port. Three of the bodies remained unidentified, and some were found with their hands cuffed or tied.

"I can't rule out all possibilities, but initially there appears to be drugs involved," Popkorn said. "But we can't just quickly jump to the conclusion that it was carried out by drug gangs. The case is complicated, and we have to be very thorough."

The violent incident has unnerved many of those who ply their trade on the river. more

How the euro became a broken dream

The euro, which created the world's largest trading power, was designed to link together the European nations for trade and political purposes. It was born amidst political and economic upheaval as Germany headed towards reunification - with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 - and communism disintegrated in Eastern Europe. The European Union was put in place after World War II, but as the economic winds shifted the drive to create a single economic and political bloc intensified.

The Treaty on European Union, known as the Treaty of Maastricht, was signed in the Netherlands city of Maastricht on February 7, 1992, before entering into force in 1993. It created the structure for a single currency, later named the euro, to be born. The currency's symbol was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon, with the notes and coins available by 2001. They were issued by the European Central Bank, which was based in Frankfurt to placate Germany's loss of its beloved Deutschmark.

But now the European dream -- which has the euro at its centre -- has been hobbled. Eurozone members, led by Germany, are being forced to bail out the weaker economies in a financial crisis which is threatening to drag the bloc into a recession and is reverberating across the globe. more

40-year low in America's view of Wall Street: Anger at all-time high

The Occupy Wall Street protest may be the answer to a favorite question of social scientists ever since the bank bailouts of 2008 -- where is the social movement? Americans are famously willing to tolerate a relatively large amount of income inequality (especially compared to our European counterparts). Americans love meritocracy, and are typically quite happy to see hard work rewarded, even to the tune of millions of dollars, as is often the case on Wall Street. But there is a catch — we want the rules of the game to be fair.

Recent scandals involving Wall Street banks and financial institutions, headed by some of the world's most well-paid managers, executives and analysts, have many Americans asking themselves whether this game is rigged. It is this sense of injustice, coupled with economic insecurity, that animates changes in Americans' attitudes toward Wall Street. It's not just a small number of Americans, those who are actually "occupying" Wall Street, who feel such injustice. That's just the tip of the iceberg. more

Afghan boy reveals realities of war

Insiders Reveal Fukushima Secrets

Battle for Libya ‘far from over’



As the latest assault on Sirte, the hometown of Muammar Gaddafi, is underway and there are no signs that NATO is going to leave Libya anytime soon, the conflict in North Africa seems to be far from its end.

Reports say the interim government's troops have now largely taken Sirte, but are still meeting pockets of heavy resistance.

Hundreds of vehicles are pouring into the outskirts as the city is pounded with heavy shelling.

Though thousands of civilians have left the city, many more are thought to have remained.

The assault comes after Colonel Gaddafi, in an audio message, urged Libyans to resist the interim leaders.

“The battle is far from over,” says activist and journalist Sukant Chandan.

It is now clear to the world that civilians are being targeted in Sirte, he says quoting the AFP reports on civilian casualties. “Nevertheless Sirte is still resisting.”

He points out that the media have stopped talking about another Gaddafi stronghold, Bani Walid. “Basically the pro-NATO rebels in Libya have given up taking Bani Walid,” he believes.

There are no signs whatsoever that NATO is going to leave, Chandan says. “NATO just said that it will intervene even further if relationship among the rebels continues to worsen.” more

US has failed across the board in Afghanistan



As America marks the 10th year of war in Afghanistan, the world is calling it the longest and the most expensive US war ever. And as Michael Shank from George Mason University told RT, the war is a failure in all ways.

­“The war in Afghanistan is costing $1 million per soldier per year, so we are spending $325 million per day, $10 billion per month and $120 billion per year,” he said. “The history books will look at the success and sustainability of the strategies, and I would argue they are not successful and neither are they sustainable. We have tried every military strategy under the sun from counter-terrorism to counter-insurgency. That is not sustainable, neither is the development strategy. If we look at our diplomacy strategy, it failed as well,” he added.

It has been estimated that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have cost the US a staggering $3.7 trillion so far. In times of financial hardship in the US and the world, this cannot be justified at any level, believes Shank.

“And if we end the wars now, we will save $1.4 trillion. The money we spent we did not actually have – that was all debt-funded and deficit-funded. We need to reduce the heavy military footprint and air print that is costing our coffers incredible amounts of money and pursue lighter footprints,” he stated.

Just a few days before 9/11, the Taliban offered to give up Osama bin Laden, and continued to do so after the campaign began. But the US did not take them up on that. According to Shank, the Taliban leaders went to negotiations several times, and were killed on the way.

“The real problem killing the top Taliban brass is that they were willing to negotiate. Now that you are killing them off, you have a younger breed, and they are less willing to negotiate. They have been fighting for fewer years. They are not that tired of the fighting. So when you are killing the top Taliban elder leadership, you are also killing off those most willing to negotiate,” he explained. more

“Occupy Wall Street” arrests – strategic attack



Echoes from the 'Occupy Wall Street' protests have reached the US capital as crowds march through downtown Washington DC. Activist Yotam Marom was arrested in downtown Manhattan and shared his views with RT.

­On Wednesday police used pepper spray and batons to disperse tens of thousands of people walking from lower Manhattan to Wall Street.

"Occupy Wall Street" activist Yotam Marom took part in the mass rallies a week before the Brooklyn Bridge demonstrations. He told RT there was an interesting contrast in the way police responded to the first two demonstrations in America.

“The first mass arrest was just an act of desperation. The police just did not know how to end the march as this happened for the first time. And the arrests that happened on the Brooklyn Bridge were quite different. That was a strategic attack to arrest an enormous amount of people and to scare away the community groups from coming to join the movement,” he explained.

Marom also added the police really became heavy-handed with time.

“I have been hit with a metal baton. I have friends who were pepper-sprayed and beaten with metal batons as well. I think it reflects a lot of fear and an incredibly stupid approach,” he stated. more

Without a job, California woman forced to live a lie

Sukhraj Beasla's parents boast that their successful daughter works at a bank. The problem is that it's all a lie -- she was laid off more than two years ago.

The tentacles of this lie taunt her, adding to mounting familial pressure to get it together.

When Beasla visits her parents in Northern California and they go out to dinner or their temple, they brag right along with the other parents. Beasla has no choice but to play along with the lie.

"I have to go there and tell them I was able to get my next promotion and that I'm on track and that there's no way the company would let me go because I'm such a valuable asset and all this bulls***," Beasla said.

Beasla, who is 30, has been living off part-time work since she lost her job in February 2009 as a project manager and later as a trust manager for LaSalle Bank.

She earned an annual salary between $65,000 to $70,000 and was about to be promoted to an assistant vice president, but layoffs came instead.

Now she's making roughly $1,200 in a bad month and $2,000 when times are good. Her estimated yearly income will be from $15,000 to $25,000 this year. more

Occupy Wall Street protests spread from New York to other cities in the US (Photo gallery)

Amanda Knox: the wealth that awaits her

Amanda Knox will be rich when her story is finally told, but her troubles may be far from over.

What a difference a week makes. Seven days ago, Amanda Knox was languishing in an Italian jail cell, imprisoned for the savage murder of her flatmate, Meredith Kercher. Today, after being dramatically cleared in a late-night court hearing in Perugia, the 24-year-old has been buoyed by her return home to Seattle and is making plans for a new life. Internationally famous, she is poised to become a millionairess several times over.

A book is planned, talk-show hosts are falling over themselves for a lucrative first interview, and actresses are lining up to play the fresh-faced young woman in a movie of her extraordinary story.

On Tuesday, Amanda’s father, Curt, returned to the family home. His daughter was at a secret location, he said, but hopes to resume her course at the University of Washington, where she enrolled before her ill-fated Italian trip. He told reporters: “Amanda needs some time to readjust. She’s overwhelmed. It will be nice to see what normal life is like again.”

Normal life is likely to prove impossible for Amanda for some time, however. She has been thrown into a whirlwind of enticing interview offers, Hollywood agents, buy-up merchants and scandal vultures, as America clamours to hear her voice. In addition, she could still face an appeal trial.

Mindful, though, of appearing too triumphalist, the Knox family have avoided any big public celebrations. Perhaps they’ve learnt the lessons of two British women who have walked this path before: Louise Woodward and Joanne Lees. Both women achieved worldwide notoriety for crimes they did not commit. Both have lived in the shadow of innuendo and doubt. And as we shall see, the lives of Woodward and Lees have been indelibly marked by their experiences. more

Value of private pensions falls by nearly a third in three years

Workers nearing retirement face a "double whammy" from turmoil in financial markets that will leave them with pensions almost a third lower than those who finished work three years ago.

Research published today suggests that many people with private pensions will be as much as 30 per cent worse off compared with those with similar savings who finished work in 2008, because of a combination of tumbling stock markets and interest rates at a record low.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountants, said those facing retirement this year would be left "between a rock and a hard place", forced to consider putting off claiming a pension until market conditions improve.

The warning comes after the Bank of England resumed its quantitative easing programme, injecting £75 billion of new money into the economy. That decision alarmed pension managers, who said this would make it harder to fund retirement schemes.

Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, said the move was needed because the world was threatened with the worst financial crisis in history as major economies slowed and the banking system started to freeze.

Europe's financial woes deepened further last night as Fitch, a credit ratings agency, downgraded Spanish and Italian debt and issued a "health warning" about their banks. more

Hands Off Our Land: Loss of green spaces breeds social strife, warns Mears

Ray Mears, the survival expert, has joined a growing chorus of voices concerned about unrestrained development, warning that a shortage of green spaces can lead to the sort of social disruption witnessed during the summer's riots.

Responding to the Government's proposed radical planning reforms, Mears said that a rising population was not an excuse to create a concrete jungle.

The 47 year-old, whose television series have demonstrated ancient survival skills, urged politicians to recognise the importance of Britain's remaining areas of wilderness.

"You can still get away from everything. Despite the populous nature of our country, there are still great opportunities for feeling a sense of wildness," he said.

He warned that open spaces were constantly under threat from developers.

His comments come after The Telegraph launched the Hands Off Our Land campaign. Explaining his fears, Mears, who returns to ITV1 next Friday with the second series of Wild Britain, said: "Roads are much busier than they were. There are a lot more people around. We need to develop a new reverence for wild places. They are more important and more under threat than ever before." more

Mental illness 'rampant' in Somalia

The evidence of this can be found almost everywhere, as most of Somalia’s mentally ill are either simply chained to beds or left to roam the streets, leaving them with permanent trauma and physical injuries.

Somalia has one of the world’s highest rates of mental-health disorders. An estimated one-third of its eight million people are affected by some kind of mental illness, yet there are only three trained psychiatrists in the entire country to care for them, according to the World Health Organisation.

“Degrading and dangerous cultural practices such as being restrained with chains are not only widespread but also socially and medically accepted,” the WHO said in a recent study of Somalia’s mental health care.

One man is devoting his time and energy to fight these cultural practices and thereby giving hope to Somalia’s mentally ill.

Dr Abdirahman Ali Habeeb, is a psychiatric nurse by training, but prefers the title doctor. He does almost everything a doctor would do and more.

A tireless and passionate advocate for the mentally ill, Dr Habeeb opened his first mental-health clinic in Mogadishu in 2005. He now operates a network of eight clinics and rehabilitation centres countrywide, with limited help from the WHO and other international donors. Five of his clinics are in Mogadishu.

He also goes into remote parts of the country to save mentally ill patients - some of who have remained in chains for decades.

“The bombardments, shootings and mortar shellings is what is causing the increasing number of mentally ill in Mogadishu," he says. more

In Pictures: Ten years of war in Afghanistan

A war launched in Afghanistan by the US and its allies to topple the Taliban regime and hunt down al-Qaeda members has dragged on for ten years. The military intervention promised a new beginning for Afghans, tired of decades of factional fighting followed by the Taliban's oppressive rule.

In the 10 years since, much has been achieved in the war-torn country: girls have returned to school, a constitution has been adopted, elections have been held, and major steps have been taken to institutionalise democratic governance. But the ten years have also cost tremendous human life, both Afghan civilians and coalition soldiers. The Taliban continue to launch major attacks on urban centers as the future of a negotiated settlement grows bleak after the recent assassination of Karzai's peace envoy, Burhanuddin Rabbani. view gallery here

New Zealand fears oil spill disaster: Could cause damage for "decades"

New Zealand is bracing for an environmental disaster amid fears that a container ship stranded off the North Island could break up and spill oil into the pristine Bay of Plenty, the environment minister has said.

Nick Smith told local media on Friday that the accident "has the potential to be New Zealand's most significant maritime pollution disaster in decades".

The 47,000 tonne container vessel Rena, which hit a reef off the coast of Tauranga earlier this week, has already created an oil slick more than five-kilometres long that has killed a number of sea birds.

It is not known why the ship ran aground in the early hours of Wednesday morning. None of the 25-man crew were injured in the accident.

Officials said the pollution would be far worse if the ship broke up on the Astrolabe Reef, releasing the 1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board into a marine environment that is home to whales, dolphins, seals and penguins. more

Batten Down The Hatches, A Big Storm's Coming in America

When the Economic Cycle Research Institute's (ECRI) Lakshman Achuthan makes a recession call, you can be sure the economy is in deep trouble. ECRI is so afraid of making a premature call, of crying wolf, that when they finally do make the call, the train has already left the station. Achuthan hit the media circuit last week, saying that a recession in the United States is "inescapable," meaning the economy is already contracting. I last discussed a new recession in The Economy Is Worse Than You Thought (August 31).

Most Americans think the so-called "Great" Recession, or the Housing Bubble Recession as Eric Janszen likes to call it, never ended. And rightly so. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) officially calls recessions according to where they think we stand in the business cycle, which tracks expansions and contractions in the economy. The main indicators of recession are real (inflation-adjusted) GDP and GDI (gross domestic income), but there are other indicators as well (falling income, job losses, etc.).

The world changed in 2007-2008. Actually, the Empire's decline began in the early 1980s, but that's another story. It would be more accurate to say the shit hit the fan in 2007-2008 after a long build-up. When I started this blog in January, 2010, I ridiculed the "business cycle" view of what was happening early on (March 4, 2010). My view has not changed since. Given that current and recent GDP is consistently overstated, and thus revised downward after the fact, I don't put much stock in the quarterly growth numbers since the "Great" Recession began. That said, the BEA says the economy grew at an anemic 1.3% annual rate in the first half of this year.

I was warning of a "double dip" in 2010 on this blog, but that did not come to pass, at least officially. There was still stimulus money circulating in the economy, and increased Medicare/Medicaid payouts alone are almost enough to keep personal consumption (PCE) in positive territory, all else being equal. Today the situation has gone from bad to much, much worse. more

The Shortchanged Generation: Young Americans are Finished

Some new census data released last week reveals just how bad off young Americans are. Follow that link if you want the grim details.

In a Scripps Howard editorial, Dale McFeatters called young Americans The Shortchanged Generation. The shattered American Dream is now an "historical curiosity" for them.

New census data released this week demonstrate the chilling impact the recession has had on the current crop of young Americans, to whom the American dream is increasingly becoming a historical curiosity.

Certainly the tradition of striking out on one's own is fast waning. The census says that 5.9 million Americans ages 25 to 34 are living with their parents, an increase of 25 percent from before the recession. Men are now twice as likely as young women to live with their parents. As an expression, "empty nesters" is almost quiz-show material.

They are delaying the traditional middle-class aspirations of marriage, buying a home and starting a family. Well, they do start families, but typically out of wedlock, meaning the mother likely faces a life of poverty. One in four families is headed by a single parent, a record high, according to the census. Homeownership, which would include the traditional "starter home" of young couples, is down for the fourth straight year.

Since the earliest days of the country, when things didn't work out in one region, young and not-so-young settlers packed up and set off in search of better land and opportunities. "Go west, young man," was Horace Greeley's famous 1865 injunction.

But young people today mostly aren't going west, or anywhere else, in search of opportunity. The census says that the share of young adults 18 to 34 making long-distance moves last year fell to a post-World War II low.

If there is a root cause, it is joblessness. Only 55.3 percent of young adults 16 to 29 were employed last year, according to the census, down from 67.3 percent in 2000 and again a post-World War II low.

It gets worse. More and more Americans 65 and older are electing to stay in their jobs. And when the economy turns around, bright, young job-seekers with fresher and better skills will come flocking out of the colleges, to take the jobs that in normal times their older brothers and sisters would be holding.

Until a better name for this hard-luck cohort comes along, the Shortchanged Generation will do.

Is it any wonder that a few young Americans want to occupy Wall Street? And what have they gotten in return for their efforts? Mostly ridicule and scorn. Some jackass, disparaging the protesters, said that they should move their encampment uptown to where the Big Banks are. This country can't suck enough. source

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN GREECE - 10th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Southern Greece at a depth of 15.3 km (9.5 miles), the quake hit at 19:07:03 UTC Monday 10th October 2011.
The epicenter was 25 km ( 16 miles) North from Kalamata, Greece
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Jellyfish cripple Norway ferry for Hours - 10th Oct 2011

LinkPassengers on a Norwegian ferry had to sit for hours on a Norwegian ferry after large numbers of jellyfish blocked its filters.

The problem was discovered when the MF ‘Malangen’ got stranded on its voyage, Sunday, between Hansnes and Vannøya in Karlsøy Municipality, Troms.

Efforts by the crew to clean the filter initially succeeded, but it became blocked once more just a few minutes later, forcing the ferry to stop for over two hours.

Personnel finally managed to clear the filter long enough to allow the vessel to restart its engines and sail to the quayside using propellers to clear the jellyfish invasion, which the captain believes was caused by winds in the area.

NRK reports all the passengers got home. Source

Food poisoning lands 141 pupils in hospital in north China - 10th Oct 2011

One hundred and forty-one primary school students fell ill after eating at their school on Monday in north China's Shanxi Province, local authorities said.

The sickened students study at the Xinxiao Bilingual Experimental School in the province's capital of Taiyuan, according to a spokesman from the city's Xinghualing District government.

The students, aged from eight to 12, experienced stomachaches and nausea and have been sent to seven major hospitals in Taiyuan.

Initial tests showed the cause to be a food-borne gastrointestinal infection, with treatment currently under way, said Li Runsen, director of the medical affairs office of the Shanxi Provincial Children's Hospital.

Twenty-four of the students have already left the hospitals, while the other 117 are continuing to receive treatment. Twelve of the students were described as being in "relatively serious" condition, with persistent fevers and stomachaches, Li said. Source

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 10th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Kermadec Islands Region at a depth of 50.3 km (31.3 miles), the quake hit at 18:14:24 UTC Monday 10th October 2011.
The epicenter was 162 km ( 101 miles) East of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Think Occupy Wall St. is a phase? You don't get it

Like the spokesmen for Arab dictators feigning bewilderment over protesters' demands, mainstream television news reporters finally training their attention on the growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement seem determined to cast it as the random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos. They couldn't be more wrong and, as time will tell, may eventually be forced to accept the inevitability of their own obsolescence.

Consider how CNN anchor Erin Burnett, covered the goings on at Zuccotti Park downtown, where the protesters are encamped, in a segment called "Seriously?!" "What are they protesting?" she asked, "nobody seems to know." Like Jay Leno testing random mall patrons on American History, the main objective seemed to be to prove that the protesters didn't, for example, know that the U.S. government has been reimbursed for the bank bailouts. It was condescending and reductionist.

More predictably perhaps, a Fox News reporter appears flummoxed in this outtake from "On the Record," in which the respondent refuses to explain how he wants the protests to "end." Transcending the shallow partisan politics of the moment, the protester explains "As far as seeing it end, I wouldn't like to see it end. I would like to see the conversation continue."

To be fair, the reason why some mainstream news journalists and many of the audiences they serve see the Occupy Wall Street protests as incoherent is because the press and the public are themselves. It is difficult to comprehend a 21st century movement from the perspective of the 20th century politics, media, and economics in which we are still steeped. more

On The Meaning Of "Occupy Wall Street"

I want to make it clear that those occupying Wall Street have my full support, sympathy and admiration. Glenn Greenwald describes the ridicule these protesters have received in What's behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests? This paragraph summarizes my own view.

Personally, I think there's substantial value even in those protests that lack "exit goals" and "messaging strategies" and the rest of the platitudes from Power Point presentations by mid-level functionaries at corporate conferences. Some injustices simply need anger and dissent expressed for its own sake, to make clear that there are citizens who are aware of [the status quo] and do not accept it.

This is a large part of what DOTE is all about, to make it abundantly clear that there are citizens—citizens, not consumers—who are fully aware that America sucks and do not accept it. Doing something about it is a different story, as I shall explain below.

Now, I could ramble on about how the mainstream media has largely ignored the protests, how NPR was dragged reluctantly into reporting on them. (They finally relented.) I could mention that the Comedy Channel has had only one, short segment on the protests. It was on the Colbert Report, back on September 21st, and that humorous "report" was extraordinarily lame.

What's wrong, Stephen? Cat got your tongue? How about it, Jon? You control the editorial content. Do young people occupying Wall Street make you nervous? It's not like taking easy swipes at mean & stupid people on Fox News or in the Congress, is it? This isn't an easy partisan issue inside the box, is it? That's your specialty. Your advertisers would become completely unhinged if you took those young people seriously, wouldn't they?

And I could ramble on about how your right to freedom of assembly hardly exists anymore. I could talk about the Police Riot we've seen lately in lower Manhattan, how the people who went there to say loudly to anyone who would listen "America Sucks! Sucks Big Time!" were kettled, maced, beaten over the head and otherwise abused. (At least I learned a new word, and it wasn't "maced".) I could show you lots videos of this Police Riot. I could ramble on about Fascism.

Instead, I want to focus on what I see as the most important meaning of occupying Wall Street. more

More Signs Of Decay In America

The bad news just keeps rolling in. Keeping up with it is almost a full-time job. Here's a recent sample featuring wage slaves, vanishing pensions and soaring health care costs.

1. It's Not Too Late To Revive Slavery

A recent report notes that it's not enough to create jobs. You've also got to create jobs which pay a living wage. Imagine that! What are these guys? Socialists? From Not getting by on minimum wage (September 27, 2011)—

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Most experts agree that to get out of the economic slump, we need more jobs.

But another problem is that millions of Americans already have jobs that don't pay very much.

Getting the economy going will require more than just creating a large number of low-wage positions, said Paul Osterman, economics professor at MIT. Raising the minimum wage to get more cash to the working poor is just as crucial, he said.

About 20% of American adults who have jobs are earning only $10.65 an hour or less, according to Osterman's analysis. Even at 40 hours a week, that amounts to less than $22,314, the poverty level for a family of four.

The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour (18 states set their own rates above the federal level, maxing out at $8.67 an hour in Washington State).

Here's the kicker.

But increases have not kept up with inflation. When adjusted for inflation, the highest federal minimum wage was in 1968, when it was the equivalent of $10.38 in today's dollars...

With a greater percentage of the nation's income going to corporate profits than ever before, Osterman argues that businesses can afford a higher minimum wage.

"There needs to be standards in the job market," he said. "If the object is simply to minimize costs, we can use slaves again." more

All change, all the same: Afghan Taliban 10 years on

In the 10 years since being toppled from power by invading US troops, the Taliban have transformed from media-shy mullahs into a technology-savvy guerilla force who could still end up back in government.

Ousted just weeks after a foreign assault started on October 7, 2001, the Taliban retreated, at least partly to Pakistan, and were written off by Western militaries as a spent force.

But they rebuilt and re-emerged to lead an increasingly brutal insurgency with a new generation of fighters motivated by the presence of 140,000 foreign troops -- and some shifts in emphasis, if not belief.

Until earlier this year, Mullah Noor-Ul Aziz was the Taliban's shadow governor in Kunduz, north Afghanistan and before that was a commander in charge of 300 fighters in the southern province of Helmand.

"About 10 percent were old fighters and 90 percent were new recruits," he told AFP, of his former men.

"Lots of new fighters have joined the Taliban because of the tyrannies of the foreign forces, because of the killings of innocent civilians by the foreign forces." more

Cyber-fraud tops $93 billion a year in Latin America

Fraud in online commerce and theft of confidential data, known as phishing, at banks in Latin America together top 93 billion dollars in yearly losses, an IT conference heard Wednesday.

The hardest-hit countries are Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, according to the first such report to the LACNIC regional domain name registration conference here.

"The scope of cybercrime in Latin America is really worrisome, with very likely scenarios of cyber-attacks and worrisome consequences for the population which include phishing losses to banks topping 93 billion dollars a year," according to the investigation, called the Proyecto Amparo (Support Project).

"Threats are becoming more complex and more sophisticated," said the report by Patricia Prandini and Marcia Maggiore from the Montevideo-based group.

They warned that the "criminal business model is expanding exponentially day by day."

When banks are hit by a cyberattack the average cost is 50,000 dollars, or 50-60 dollars per affected account, the study added. source

Israel a 'threat' to region because has atomic bomb: Turkey

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday branded Israel as a "threat" to its region, accusing it of owning nuclear weapons, in a defence of Palestinians.

"I right now see Israel as a threat for its region, because it has the atomic bomb," Erdogan said in a foreign policy speech during an official visit to South Africa.

Israel has never officially admitting to possessing nuclear weapons, but is widely believed to be the only Middle East country to have them. Others including Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya are suspected of trying, or having tried in the past, to follow suit.

Turkey downgraded relations with one-time ally Israel after the latter refused to apologise for its raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists died on May 31, 2010.

Last month, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and froze military ties and defence trade deals. Ankara has also threatened to send warships to escort any Turkish vessels trying to reach Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Erdogan's remarks came in response to comments from an Israeli embassy diplomat in South Africa, who blamed radical Islamic organisation Hamas for launching rocket attacks into Israeli territory.

"I have asked many Israeli officials, how many Israelis, have been killed by rockets launched from Gaza and Palestine. I could not get an answer," Erdogan said. more

Nuclear contamination found beyond Japan no-go zone

High levels of radioactive contamination have been found in soil in the capital of Japan's Fukushima prefecture, a study showed Wednesday, prompting calls to make the area a voluntary evacuation zone.

Some 307,000 becquerels of caesium per kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of soil was detected in an independent survey conducted on September 14 by a radiological engineering expert and citizens' groups.

The Japanese government's legal limit is 10,000 becquerels per kilogramme.

The contamination is believed to have been caused by radiation that has leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The development comes days after Japan lifted evacuation advisories for five areas between 20-30 kilometres from the nuclear plant and as it looks to convince tens of thousands of people that it is safe to return home.

The groups tested soil samples from several areas near central Fukushima some 60 kilometres (35 miles) away from the plant.

"We are urging the central and local governments to have children and expecting mothers evacuated from the areas," said Takeshi Sakagami, a member of Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants. more

Recession was deeper and recovery slower than expected

Britain suffered a deeper recession than previously thought and is recovering even more slowly than had been believed, official figures show.

The revelation came as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) unexpectedly downgraded its estimate of economic growth for the three months to June from 0.2pc to 0.1pc as part of a major recalculation of historical data. At the same time, it revised down its estimate for the three months to March from 0.5pc to 0.4pc.

Given the 0.5pc contraction in the final three months of 2010, the new figures revealed that the economy has flatlined for the past nine months. An examination of the detailed revisions showed that, technically, the economy is still marginally smaller than it was at the end of September last year.

Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, said: "These deeply concerning figures show the British economy has stagnated since the autumn of last year, well before the eurozone crisis... They show things are even worse than we thought."

As part of the biggest revision to the classification and calculation of British GDP data in at least 15 years, the ONS said that it now believed Britain’s economy shrank by 7.1pc between March 2008 and its end in June 2009, making the recession deeper than the previous estimate of 6.4pc but three months shorter than thought.

The changes also revealed that the country has more catching up to do to regain its pre-recession level of output. The economy is currently 4.4pc smaller than its peak in March 2008. Before the latest revisions, the shortfall was estimated to be just 3.9pc. more

With inflation approaching 5pc, do we really want more QE?

On the basis that inflation is better than depression, I suppose it is just about possible to go along with the Monetary Policy Committee's decision to increase "quantitative easing" by a further £75bn.

But I worry about it. I worry both that it will be ineffective in terms of stimulating investment and growth, I worry that it is going to be very difficult for the Bank of England to unwind these now vast holdings of government debt, I worry that we are now perilously close to outright monetisation of the deficit (a policy approach which all economic history shows ends in abject disaster), and I worry that ultimately, it's bound to be inflationary.

In a speech two or three weeks back, Adam Posen, until recently an outrider on the MPC in demanding more QE, said that such fears were "unfounded" and "unwarranted", but answer me this. How's the further plunge in the value of the pound that greeted this announcement not inflationary? Even the Bank of England's own analysis of the effect of QE to date, which is based on quite questionable methodology, estimates that it has added 0.75 to 1.5 percentage points to CPI inflation for a maximum gain in real GDP of 2pc. That doesn't seem to me to be a particularly good trade off.

And you cannot help but think that the long term impact of all this money printing is almost bound to be highly inflationary. Already, the Bank of England has bought up around 20pc of the national debt, equal to some 14pc of GDP. This will expand it to close to 30pc.

Since a fair old chunk of this debt is in the form of inflation protected gilts, which have not been part of the asset purchase programme, the proportion of the conventional gilts market that will be sitting on the Bank of England's balance sheet by the end of the latest batch of purchases is going to be rather more than a half. When something looks mad, it generally is. Yields on ten year gilts are already at historic lows at less than 3pc. Is it really sensible to be driving them even lower? more

Occupy Wall Street protesters don't have answers but, for the moment at least, that's not the point

It’s day 20 for some of those who have made Manhattan’s Zuccotti Square home. The smallish site near the southern tip of the island has become the centre of Occupy Wall Street, a protest group that has issues with America’s banks.

This week they got a sympathetic ear of sorts from the man responsible for regulating the country’s financial system. Asked by a Congressman about the protests, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday that, given the economy’s slow emergence from recession, some public anger at the financial institutions that helped cause the crisis is justifiable.

It may be just minutes from Wall Street but a visit to Zuccotti Square quickly reveals that the grievances and concerns clustered there stretch well beyond how much Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein takes home each year. There was, though, the almost compulsory banner accusing him of greed.

Drawn broadly from the left of the political spectrum, there were those decrying the development of oil sands in Canada, alleging exploitation by mining companies in South Africa and lambasting Washington for spending billions of dollars on the Iraq War. more

Why it can take 22 years to pay off your credit card

David Cameron this afternoon said households were paying off their personal debts to help Britain recover from what is "no normal recession", but for those who opt for the minimum repayment, it could be 2033 before they clear their balances.

The Prime Minister told delegates at the Conservative Party conference today that the country has been suffering from a debt crisis and "that's why households are paying down their credit card and store card bills".

It certainly makes sense to pay down your debts if you are in a position to do so. Figures from Moneynet.co.uk have revealed that should consumers with a credit card balance of £2,000, who repay just the bare minimum amount each month, 22 years to clear the balance of just £2,000 – paying an extra £2,275 in interest in doing so.

If a borrower with a £2,000 debt makes monthly repayments of £50 it will still take in four year and 11 months to pay down the debt, at an interest cost of £939.

It would take 28 years and three months to repay a £5,000 card debt repaying the minimum each month. You would pay £5,912 in interest.

According to figures from the Bank of England, consumers have racked up a £57bn bill from credit cards but increased competition in the market will give many borrowers time. more

Pilot admits to spraying vast areas with highly toxic silver iodide -- and contracted by "foreign governments"

Drunk driving down... because no one can afford to go out

Drunken driving incidents have fallen 30 percent in the last five years, and last year were at their lowest mark in nearly two decades, according to a new federal report.

The decline may be due to the down economy: Other research suggests people are still drinking as heavily as in years past, so some may just be finding cheaper ways of imbibing than by going to bars, night clubs and restaurants.

"One possibility is that people are drinking at home more and driving less after drinking," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC statistics - released Tuesday - are based on a 2010 national telephone survey of about 210,000 U.S. adults. The respondents were kept anonymous.

Nearly 1 in 50 said they'd driven drunk at least once in the previous month. That equates to about 4 million Americans driving drunk last year.

About 60 percent said they drove drunk just once, but some said they did it daily.

That led to a CDC estimate of more than 112 million episodes of drunk driving in 2010. That's more than 300,000 incidents a day.

CDC officials lamented that finding; still, it was the lowest estimate since the survey question was first asked in 1993, and down significantly from the 161 million incidents in the peak year of 2006.

Young men ages 21 to 34 were the biggest problem, accounting for just 11 percent of the U.S. population but 32 percent of the drunken driving incidents. more

44.75 million doses of anthrax vaccine ordered by the US Government, 8.5 million of which are needed "immediately"

5 Sci-Fi Ad Techniques That Are About to Make Life Creepier Read more: 5 Sci-Fi Ad Techniques That Are About to Make Life Creepier

We are in the middle of a great cultural arms race between advertisers with tons of money and state of the art technology and the common man's ability to ignore the ads those advertisers create. You've seen hundreds of ads today -- how many did you actually remember?

Don't think for one second that ad executives are giving up. It's all about using futuristic technology to make their ads more and more invasive.

So you're strolling down the street, just minding your own business, when you suddenly pass by a billboard. You pay it the exact same attention you pay to every cityscape ad, which is an amount somewhere between "jack" and "shit." That is, until you suddenly hear a creepy-ass female voice whispering right in your ear:

"Who's there? Who's there? ... It's not your imagination." more

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake MICHOACAN, MEXICO - 10th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck near Michoacan, Mexico at a depth of 91.5 km (56.9 miles), the quake hit at 16:06:23 UTC Monday 10th October 2011.
The epicenter was 91 km ( 56 miles) South of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

15 Hospitalized for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Texas Salon - 10th Oct 2011

Fifteen people -- many of them teenagers getting ready for homecoming -- were taken to the hospital after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning at a hair salon in Frisco, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Firefighters evacuated 50 people from the salon and neighboring businesses Saturday evening, after being alerted to the incident, which was caused by a vent pipe that was disconnected from the water heater at the salon.

Witnesses said many of the customers suddenly felt dizzy; with some fainting.

Despite 15 people being hospitalized and others being hooked up to oxygen tanks at the scene, no one was reported to be seriously hurt.

Frisco Fire Department battalion chief Shaw Eft said it was lucky no one died.

"It was a close call, but fortunately, people started complaining of the headaches, and the light headedness and dizziness," Eft said. Read More

Meteorite lands on home of Mrs Comette, France - 10th Oct 2011

A meteorite chose the roof of a house belonging to a Mrs Comette in the southern suburbs of Paris to make its acquaintance with the planet Earth.

The astral surprise hit the roof of the home in Draveil while the Comettes themselves were on holiday. On returning they discovered the encounter after a water leak led them to the roof, reported newspaper France Soir.

"We got the roofer out and he was amazed" said Martine Comette. "He said you'd have to be superman to break a roof tile like that. It must be a meteorite."

The roofer was proved right when Alain Carion, a mineral scientist, authenticated the 88 gram meteorite. He described is as a "stone of black crusted rock which characterizes its passage through the atmosphere."

"This is super rare," he said. "There have been only 50 meteorite falls in France over the last four centuries."

The scientist believes the egg-shaped meteorite came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The meteorite that hit the Comettes was small-fry compared to some of the largest ever discovered. The biggest meteorite is believed to be the Hoba, a 60-tonne boulder which fell in Namibia around 80,000 years ago. Read More

Tornado hits San Antonio, Texas - 10th Oct 2011

A strong storm system that spawned a small tornado early Sunday near Lackland Air Force Base knocked out power for thousands of residents and dumped more than 2 inches of rain on San Antonio, San Antonio Express-News reported. No injuries were immediately reported, the paper said.

The tornado was about 1.5 miles long and 50 yards wide and touched down near Loop 410 and Medina Base Road about 1:20 a.m., the National Weather Service told the paper. The twister damaged several homes and a post office, where the storm tossed around postal trucks and bent lights in a parking lot, before dissipating at Allenhurst and Springdale drives, the weather service said.

The tornado's strength had not been determined, a forecaster said Sunday. The National Weather Service told the paper that the investigation would continue today. Source