Tuesday, October 18, 2011

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN IRAN - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Southern Iran at a depth of 34 km (21 miles), the quake hit at 03:10:25 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 50 km (31 miles) North of Lar, Iran
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN IRAN - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck Southern Iran at a depth of 40.3 km (25 miles), the quake hit at 02:52:44 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 51 km ( 31 miles) North of Lar, Iran
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

NOTE: This earthquake is more likely a 5.8 up to 6.0 Magnitude, several of the stations have this earthquake 6.0 - 6.4 Magnitude, once I have checked them all will add the times and data below.

Station – ILGA – 02:57:28 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – ANTO – 02:57:27 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – ABKAR – 02:57:29 – 6.0 Magnitude

Station – BOLV – 02:57:36 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – KULA – 02:57:53 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – MANT – 02:57:54 – 6.1 Magnitude

Station – ISK – 02:57:59 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – ZKR – 02:58:04 – 6.0 Magnitude

Station – CHOS – 02:58:11 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – SANT – 02:58:10 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – IDI – 02:58:13 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – ALN – 02:58:18 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – GVD – 02:58:19 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – KERA – 02:58:23 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – GHRR – 02:58:30 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – VRI – 02:58:35 – 6.0 Magnitude

Station – SRS – 02:58:34 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – HUMR – 02:58:37 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – AGG – 02:58:36 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – MKAR – 02:58:37 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – OBN – 02:58:47 – 6.1 Magnitude

Station – TIR – 02:58:57 – 6.0 Magnitude

Station – KMBO – 02:59:20 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – CUC – 02:59:23 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – MORC – 02:59:35 – 6.1 Magnitude

Station – CLTB – 02:59:39 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – VSU – 02:59:40 – 6.4 Magnitude

Station – AQU – 02:59:41 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – VSL – 03:00:05 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – CHTO – 03:00:30 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – MAHO – 03:00:37 – 6.1 Magnitude

Station – KEV – 03:00:52 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – RJF – 03:00:53 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – EIBI – 03:00:54 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – EPOB – 03:00:56 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – ERTA – 03:01:01 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – OKGL – 03:01:02 – 6.2 Magnitude

Station – ESAC – 03:01:05 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – EMOS – 03:01:06 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – ATE – 03:01:06 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – FLN – 03:01:05 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – YSOS – 03:01:10 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – ETOB – 03:01:13 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – ABPO – 03:01:16 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – SGMF – 03:01:16 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – ENIJ – 03:01:18 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – SESP – 03:01:19 – 6.0 Magnitude

Station – QUIF– 03:01:19 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – EBER – 03:01:22 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – EQES – 03:01:22 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – DYA – 03:01:25 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – ESK – 03:01:26 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – SELV – 03:01:26 – 5.9 Magnitude

Station – PAB – 03:01:29 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – EGOR – 03:01:29 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – EADA – 03:01:30 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – EMIJ – 03:01:32 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – ECAB – 03:01:36 – 6.1 Magnitude

Station – ECEU – 03:01:37 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – ESPR – 03:01:38 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – MTE – 03:01:47 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – PESTR– 03:01:47 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – PVAQ – 03:01:50 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – PFVI – 03:01:57 – 6.0 Magnitude

Station – MYKOM – 03:02:03 – 5.6 Magnitude

Station – KBS – 03:02:05 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – YHNB – 03:02:44 – 6.0 Magnitude

Station – LBTB – 03:02:45 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – DBIC – 03:02:45 – 5.8 Magnitude

Station – INCN – 03:02:47 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – KKM – 03:03:03 – 5.7 Magnitude

Station – SUMG – 03:03:16 – 6.1 Magnitude

Station – KAPI – 03:03:58 – 6.3 Magnitude

Station – COLA– 03:05:18 – 5.9 Magnitude

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KYUSHU, JAPAN - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Kyushu, Japan at a depth of 37.1 km (23.1 miles), the quake hit at 02:36:44 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 34 km ( 21 miles) Southwest of Miyazaki, Kyushu, Japan
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN IRAN - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Southern Iran at a depth of 38.9 km (24.2 miles), the quake hit at 00:58:07 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 98 km ( 60 miles) SSW of Lar, Iran
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake TIMOR REGION, INDONESIA - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Timor Region, Indonesia at a depth of 29.2 km (18.1 miles), the quake hit at 00:50:44 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 129 km ( 80 miles) Southwest of Dili, Timor-Leste, Indonesia
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA REGION, LEEWARD ISLANDS - 18th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck the Antigua and Barbuda Region, Leeward Islands at a depth of 25.5 km (15.8 miles), the quake hit at 23:49:42 UTC Tuesday 18th October 2011.
The epicenter was 10 km ( 6.2 miles) NNE of Codrington, Barbuda
No Tsunami Warnings Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS - 18th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Santa Cruz Islands at a depth of 74.3 km (46.2 miles), the quake hit at 23:32:54 UTC Tuesday 18th October 2011.
The epicenter was 110 km ( 68 miles) SSE of Lata, Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warnings Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA - 18th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Kepulauan Mentawai Region, Indonesia at a depth of 40.8 km (25.4 miles), the quake hit at 18:19:22 UTC Tuesday 18th October 2011.
The epicenter was 172 km ( 106 miles) WNW of Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warnings Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

US forces 'massing on Afghanistan-Pakistan border'

US forces are massing on the Pakistan border in eastern Afghanistan amid reports of an imminent drone missile offensive against fighters from the feared Haqqani Network, a Taliban faction which operates from safe havens in Pakistan's North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan Army sources have confirmed.

The scale of the American build-up, including helicopter gunships, heavy artillery and hundreds of American and Afghan troops, caused panic in north Waziristan where tribal militias who feared they could be targeted gathered in the capital Miranshah to coordinate their response.

Local officials in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) warned that Pakistan's armed forces would repel any incursion across the border by American forces, but military sources in Islamabad and Afghan officials suggested the build-up was part of a coordinated operation.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad have deteriorated dramatically in recent months as American officials increased pressure on Pakistan to launch an offensive against the Haqqani Network, which mounts attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan from bases in North Waziristan.

Islamabad has fiercely resisted American pressure, claiming its forces are overstretched and stating its priority is to fight Taliban factions which have declared war on Pakistan, rather than those, like the Haqqanis, who focus on cross-border attacks on Nato forces.

Last month Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently accused Pakistan's ISI intelligence service of plotting the attack on the US embassy in Kabul with Haqqani network fighters and claimed the militant group was a "veritable arm" of the ISI. more

'Occupy' movement reaches New Zealand

Almost 2000 protesters with tents and sleeping bags plan to occupy Auckland's Aotea Square for the next six weeks as part of a worldwide grassroots movement against corporate greed and inequality.

The movement, which started when Occupy Wall St activists pitched tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange last month, goes global today with occupations in more than 900 cities including Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

By 4pm yesterday 1859 people had said on the group's Facebook page that they would be attending the Auckland event, Occupy Queen St, which starts at 3pm. The group plans to march up Queen St, rally in a "festive" atmosphere on the Wellesley St corner, then begin an "occupation" of Aotea Square until November 30.

It urges people to bring tents, food, water, sleeping bags, musical instruments and media devices to get protest images out to the world.

The movement, which swelled to 20,000 in New York last week, targets bankers and business leaders who have held on to extreme wealth in the recession with a slogan of "We are the 99 per cent" - the rest of the population.

The Luxembourg Wealth Study shows the United States is by far the most unequal developed country with the top 1 per cent of Americans owning 33 per cent of the nation's wealth.

Australia and New Zealand are not part of the study, but a 2006 Statistics NZ survey found the top 1 per cent of New Zealanders owned 16 per cent of our wealth, higher than every country in the study except the United States and Sweden.

What the 1pc own
percentage of nation's wealth the top 1 per cent own

USA 33pc
Sweden 18pc
NZ* (estimate) 16pc
Canada 15pc
Germany 14pc
Finland 13pc
Italy 11pc
Britain 10pc source

Biggest Squeeze On Incomes Since The 1970s - 18th Oct 2011

Inflation is now digging deeper into household wages than it has done since the oil crisis of the late 1970s.

That is the depressing fact buried in the new inflation data – yet more evidence of the long-lasting and painful squeeze Britons are facing on their standards of living.

In normal times, wages ought to rise faster than inflation, leaving households with enough cash to spend, and drive forward the broader economy. But in the past few years, the relationship has been reversed.

As you can see from this chart, inflation has been far higher than wages, excluding bonuses.

The disparity in September - assuming wage inflation remains the same - is, at 3.6%, the biggest negative effect on wages since those earnings figures began in 2001, though that is not represented in the chart. Read More

Fukushima Disaster BBC Report on Radiation Exposure - Physical Effects and Perceptions (Propaganda at its finest)

Arnie Gundersen's presentation to San Clemente, Part 2: Mistakes at Fukushima-What Can We Learn?

Micro earthquakes struck during the nation's largest New Madrid EQ disaster drill -- looming danger?

Eurozone under pressure to find solution to the debt crisis

An emergency summit of the European Union has been postponed by six days to October 23, giving German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy the necessary time to develop a comprehensive coordinated approach to the debt crisis in Europe, in cooperation with EU President Herman Van Rompuy.

The crisis is clearly putting solidarity within the 17-nation currency zone and the EU to the test.

Whatever master plan the leaders come up with will be difficult to realize: ever since the finance and debt crisis took hold of Europe, there have been leadership changes in seven of the 17 eurozone countries.

Elections are coming up in three more states - including Slovakia, where the ruling coalition fell after parliament in Bratislava earlier this week rejected the first proposal to ratify a deal to bolster the eurozone emergency fund.

Political turmoil

Italy is also looking at a confidence vote in Silvio Berlusconi's government. Sarkozy has lost his majority in the senate, just months ahead of presidential elections in France.

In Germany, the government coalition is at odds over the euro crisis. Belgium is ruled by an interim government, the Netherlands by a minority government. Only four eurozone member states can boast a truly stable government: Luxembourg, Austria, Estonia and Malta.

It takes just one glance at the political map of eurozone countries to realize the difficulties of pushing through bailout fund deals when EU summits are attended by ever-changing ranks of government leaders. more

Alleged Iran plot may have violated U.N. treaty

An alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States may have violated a U.N. treaty protecting diplomats and could escalate the crisis to an international court.

U.S. authorities have arrested Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar for the alleged plot and accused a second Iranian man, Gholam Shakuri, who is believed to be at large in Iran and a member of the country's elite Quds Force.

If they were involved in a plot to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, that would likely violate the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons.

The treaty, which Iran signed in 1978, would require Tehran to consider prosecuting Shakuri in its court system or extradite him to a requesting country, potentially the United States or Saudi Arabia, both longtime foes.

An important sticking point to any prosecution or extradition is that Iran has fiercely denied the allegations and is unlikely to turn Shakuri over to any country.

"This is one of those areas where there's not really too much fuzziness. It's very clear that these kind of people (diplomats), these kind of officials, they're immune from attack," said David Kaye, executive director of the UCLA School of Law's International Human Rights Law Program. more

Russia's banks: Liquidity problems or not?

Amidst conflicting data about the liquidity state of the Russian banking system Business RT spoke with Aleksey Terekhov, Vice President at FBK and Dmitry Vinogradov, Head of strategy and banking at UBS, about the risks in the system.

Aleksey Terekhov, banking analyst at FBK

RT: Are there any indications Russian banking can face serious problems?

AT: “Currently Russian banking is facing certain problems, with the Agency for Deposit Insurance saying people have started to rely less on banks and are bring less of their savings to deposits. This is coupled by an almost flat dynamic in monetary base growth this year. All this points to the threat of insufficient liquidity, which was actually the case in 2008, before the current crisis unfolded. ”

RT: Does Russian banking have enough reserves?

AT: “Talking in the language of figures, the ratio of reserves to loans currently stands at 4.6%, which is 1% down year on year, but is still not too optimistic, as equity capital has grown just 3-5% in the same period. M2 indicator is also slowing. So, it’s clear that liquidity threat is there and if these trends develop, the situation can become dangerous. ”

RT: What can be done to avoid 2008 scenario?

AT: “Not to fall a victim of an inflationary threat. I think, if Russian financial authorities now choose to focus on targeting inflation and strong rouble, which basically would mean taking money out of the system, problems can unfold.” more

Air Force finds out about drone virus from the Internet

Some people go online for sports scores; others log on to check email. Military personnel with the US Air Force, however, recently used the Web to learn that their controversial and exuberantly expensive drone fleet had been hacked.

So did everyone else.

Wired.com’s Danger Room ran a report recently about a computer virus that had infiltrated the systems of the unmanned robotic drone aircraft fleet of the US Air Force. Sadly, some of the men and women directly responsible for overseeing the Air Force’s computer networks did not become aware of the infection until they laid their eyes on that same, publically available report.

“It was not highlighted to us,” one source involved with Air Force network operations anonymously remarked to Danger Room. “When your article came out, it was like, ‘What is this?’”

What “it” was, was a common malware that can lift log-ins and passwords from otherwise secured networks, The Associated Press reports today. That virus is so commonplace, they suggest, as it is regularly used to steal personal info from popular online gaming sites such as Mafia Wars and Internet gambling portals.

Wired reports that a key-logger virus ended up inside the systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada two weeks ago, infecting information inside the unmanned cockpits of the military’s drones. While some officials quickly became aware of the infection, cybersecurity specialists who are hired to investigate networks infiltrations like these were unaware of the problem until Danger Room’s report was published. more

'Thousands of children' sexually exploited by gangs

Thousands of children in England are being horrifically abused by gangs, the deputy children's commissioner has said, as she launches an inquiry.

Current estimates say up to 10,000 children could be affected by the sexual abuse, but it is feared the true figure could be much higher.

Sue Berelowitz said: "Right now thousands of children are being horrifically abused by gangs."

She is mounting a two-year inquiry into the scale and scope of the problem.

The exploitation involves children as young as 11 being targeted by groups of men or gangs. They are given gifts and attention, then sold or passed on to others once they are trapped.

The issue reaches across all races and classes, said Ms Berelowitz. more

Occupy Canada rallies spread in economic 'awakening'

Canadian organizers are revving up their plans for the Occupy Wall Street-conceived global action day, the most adventurous idea yet for a movement that some experts say has the potential to trigger a major shift in the economic thinking of governments and big corporations.

The number of Occupy Canada cities for Saturday's rallies has grown to at least 15, while the international total is now more than 1,500. At least 20 cities also have Facebook pages dedicated solely to the movement.

As of Thursday noon ET, Occupy Canada's Facebook page garnered more than 12,000 "likes" and more than 17,700 people were "talking about this." Offshoot Occupy@ cities include Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, several other cities in B.C., Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Edmonton, Calgary, Saint John, Moncton and St. John's.

Leading up to Saturday, the various Occupy Canada cities are firming up where their efforts will take them through so-called general assemblies. Organizers are keeping a low profile, calling the day of action "leaderless" and "non-violent," with few going by name and most posting information on Facebook and Twitter.

Charlottetown college student Marlee Cameron, for one, feels the grassroots movement to bring "structural change to P.E.I." is so important that she has sent her message to the media. more

Hospital Drug Shortages Threaten Patient Health, Prove Costly

“How can they write me an IOU for medication?”

That’s Alex Aiello, and he's been battling leukemia since April 2009.

Aiello, 26, was on his last few courses of Atra, a drug known to raise cure rates to 80 percent from the usual 40 percent. But when he went to the pharmacy at Massachusetts General Hospital to get his medication at the beginning of September, he was told there wasn’t any.

“It’s just shocking to see how supplies are low of a major drug to help you fight leukemia,” he told me.

Aiello’s doctor, Eyal Attar, uses much stronger language. “It’s absolutely outrageous that we cannot have these drugs available in our country – with one of the most advanced medical systems available to treat our patients. It is very frustrating and it makes me, quite frankly, angry.”

Aiello’s is not an isolated case. According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, 99.5 percent of hospitals have experienced a drug shortage in the past six months. And 82 percent have had to delay treatment, while more than 50 percent report that they were not able to provide patients with the recommended treatment.

“We’re forced to go to a different regimen,” says Emory University Hospital medical oncologist Donald Harvey. “Sometimes that regimen may be inferior. Instead of changing from one therapy to another, we simply put it off in the cases of say, bone marrow transplants. And so we place that patient at potential risk because we’re having to delay that therapy.” more

Russian Rocket Failure Shouldn’t Force Space Station Evacuation, NASA Tells Lawmakers

The International Space Station likely won't have to be evacuated despite the recent failure of a Russian rocket launched toward the orbiting lab, a panel told U.S. lawmakers Oct. 12 on Capitol Hill.

On Aug. 24, Russia's Progress 44 cargo vessel crashed in Siberia after the third stage of its Soyuz rocket failed. That rocket is similar to the one NASA and other space agencies depend on to loft astronauts, raising doubts about whether the issue could be fixed in time for a new crew to get to the station before its three remaining residents depart for Earth on Nov. 22.

A Russian commission recently pinpointed the Soyuz problem as a quality-control issue, not a major design flaw. And an independent NASA team agrees with that assessment, officials announced today, meaning the next manned Soyuz launch should take place as planned on Nov. 14.

That time frame would keep the orbiting outpost staffed, giving the new three-person crew about five days to learn the ropes from the departing space flyers.

"NASA's confident that our Russian partners identified the most likely failure cause and has a sound return-to-flight plan," Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's human exploration and operations directorate, told members of the House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space and Technology. more

Occupy Wall Street gets support from the rich 1 percent via Tumblr

We just love it when a group of people can put themselves in the shoes of others.

That's why we heart a new blog called "We are the 1 percent. We stand with the 99 percent." Just like the previous blogs that have popped up, this one speaks for the unique group of individuals who were lucky enough to be born rich.

Occupy Wall Street uses social media to spread nationwide
Occupy Wall Street's Tumblr is heart-wrenching
Funniest #OccupySesameStreet tweets

"My family doesn't need our second home. My friends really badly need healthcare. I want EVERYONE I love to have enough! I will continue to fight for wealth redistribution. I am the 1%. I stand with the 99%," one of the captions said.

There's something very powerful about a collection of photographs with earnest words of Americans in support of other fellow patriots, from coast to coast. Regardless of the side of the wealth distribution scale you stand in, it's so nice to see people communicating in a positive way, isn't it? more

Gucci workers 'tortured' during shifts

Employees of luxury goods manufacturer Gucci were subject to "torture", being made to stand for 14 hours a day, pay for goods stolen by customers and being forced to ask for toilet breaks.

Allegations of the demeaning treatment at a Gucci outlet in Shenzhen have led to two managers being replaced.

In an open letter, workers at the Gucci outlet said the cruel behaviour extended to pregnant employees not being allowed food or water during their shifts.

"It was a kind of torture for us to stand for more than 14 hours a day," the letter detailed. "No short rest, water or food was allowed even for a pregnant employee."

The abuse was so severe it was claimed some workers suffered miscarriages as a result.

Gucci, owned by giant French group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, said it had engaged external experts to conduct a review of what had happened. The Chinese city of Shenzhen is also understood to be investigating what had occurred. more

House prices fall £5,000 in year to September: UK

The average British home lost £594 in value in September alone, and £5,240 in the past year.

House prices fell by 0.3pc in September, wiping just £594 off the cost of the average home, according to the latest LSL Property Services/Acadametrics House Price Index.

This ends a two-month run of modest rises, but on an annual basis the cost of the average home has slipped by 2.3pc – or an average of £5,240 – over the past year.

According to research, the average home in England and Wales is now worth £218,650. The largest monthly growth was recorded in Greater London, with a monthly increase of 1.1pc.

Dr Peter Williams, housing market specialist and chairman of Acadametrics, said: "This monthly fall is small and, when combined with the positive movements in July and August during the quarter, means that the housing market is probably best described as 'stationary'."

The average price of a property has increased by 9.2pc since the trough of the last housing recession in April 2009 – an increase of more than £18,400. However, it is still 5.7pc below that of house price peak of February 2008. more

Surge in £5 cash machines: Small bills a sign of the times?

The number of cash machines dispensing £5 notes has increased sixfold in just two years following a campaign by consumer groups to help people in economically-deprived areas.

There are now 3,954 cash machines across the UK that dispense five pound notes, up from just 670 machines in 2009.

The increase follows a campaign by the Link Consumer Committee, which includes members of Citizens Advice and Consumer Focus as well as representatives from Link, the company that operates the UK’s network of cashpoint machines.

The campaign was launched to allow greater flexibility and encourage financial prudence among people who have a low amount of savings in their bank accounts.

In 2010 the Bank of England asked the ten largest bank and building society ATM operators to ensure that £5 noted comprise a minimum of 1.2 per cent of the value of their ATM dispense. Link said that the banks' response was "very positive".

In its annual report, Link also said that over 95 per cent of the poorest areas in the UK now have free-of-charge cash machines, ahead of the Government’s target. more

Is America still exceptional?

Over at Foreign Policy.com, prominent realist Stephen Walt has a thought-provoking article exposing “The Myth of American Exceptionalism.” His basic point: U.S. officials - and the American public - need to get over their conceit that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation and an inevitable force for global good.Failure to do so blinds U.S. policymakers, encourages idealistic crusades that lead the country into quagmires and exposes the country to inevitable charges of hypocrisy as it confronts a complicated world. And while the notion of a benevolent American hegemony may be seductive to many Americans, one should not be surprised if others around the world regard the United States with a gimlet eye, given America’s checkered history of meddling in others’ affairs for narrow political, strategic, or pecuniary gain - to say nothing of its insistence on perpetual global military dominance.

The notion that the United States is unique among nations, of course, has been a touchstone of U.S. foreign policy from the republic’s founding. Historically, it has been invoked by both Democratic and Republican Presidents alike - from Woodrow Wilson, JFK and Bill Clinton to Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush.

But recently it is Republicans who have claimed a monopoly on the concept, blasting the Obama administration - and President Obama himself - for failing to pursue a sufficiently “pro-American” foreign policy. more

The Iran-Saudi Proxi War

The end of America's Pacific century

The United States has long styled itself a Pacific power. It established the model of counterinsurgency in the Philippines in 1899 and defeated the Japanese in World War II. It faced down the Chinese and the North Koreans to keep the Korean peninsula divided in 1950, and it armed the Taiwanese to the teeth. Today, the US maintains the most powerful military in the Pacific region, supported by a constellation of military bases, bilateral alliances, and about 100,000 service personnel.

It has, however, reached the high-water mark of its Pacific presence and influence. The geopolitical map is about to be redrawn. Northeast Asia, the area of the world with the greatest concentration of economic and military power, is on the verge of a regional transformation. And the United States, still preoccupied with the Middle East and hobbled by a stalled and stagnating economy, will be the odd man out.

Elections will be part of the change. Next year, South Koreans, Russians, and Taiwanese will all go to the polls. In 2012, the Chinese Communist Party will also ratify its choice of a new leader to take over from President Hu Jintao. He will be the man expected to preside over the country's rise from the number-two spot to the pinnacle of the global economy.

But here's the real surprise in store for Washington. The catalyst of change may turn out to be the country in the region that has so far changed the least: North Korea. In 2012, the North Korean government has trumpeted to its people a promise to create kangsong taeguk, or an economically prosperous and militarily strong country. Pyongyang now has to deliver somehow on that promise - at a time of food shortages, overall economic stagnation, and political uncertainty. This dream of 2012 is propelling the regime in Pyongyang to shift into diplomatic high gear, and that, in turn, is already creating enormous opportunities for key Pacific powers. more

Thanks to the FDA, You Really Have No Idea What's In Your Food

For years, polls have shown that about 90 percent of Americans support the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). That's about as close to a consensus as you're going to get in this country. But amazingly, in this supposed bastion of freedom and democracy we're denied the fundamental right to know what's in our food -- a right that more than 50 other nations, including China and Russia, offer their citizens.

That's China and Russia, as in the big scary authoritarian countries known for communism, corruption and rampant human rights violations. They're at least doing a better job of trying to look like they care about protecting the freedom to choose what people put in their bodies. In the U.S., it's estimated that 60-70 percent of processed food may contain some GMO, but the food is not required to be labeled. This glaring disconnect between America's purported democratic ideals and the reality of how public agencies like the Food and Drug Administration can knowingly fail its citizens might be about to crumble, says Andrew Kimbrell of the Center For Food Safety.

His organization is part of a broad coalition of groups petitioning FDA for mandatory labeling of GMO-containing foods. Hundreds of other organizations have joined the effort, including consumer advocates, farmers, concerned parents, businesses, environmentalists, food and farming organizations, and members of the health care and faith-based communities. The goal of the coalition, called Just Label It, is to collect enough citizen signatures to its petition that the FDA will have to take action. Or force President Obama to make the FDA act. more

Why Corporate Elites Should Be Petrified of Occupy Wall Street

Ketchup, a petite 22-year-old from Chicago with wavy red hair and glasses with bright red frames, arrived in Zuccotti Park in New York on Sept. 17. She had a tent, a rolling suitcase, 40 dollars’ worth of food, the graphic version of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and a sleeping bag. She had no return ticket, no idea what she was undertaking, and no acquaintances among the stragglers who joined her that afternoon to begin the Wall Street occupation. She decided to go to New York after reading the Canadian magazine Adbusters, which called for the occupation, although she noted that when she got to the park Adbusters had no discernable presence.

The lords of finance in the looming towers surrounding the park, who toy with money and lives, who make the political class, the press and the judiciary jump at their demands, who destroy the ecosystem for profit and drain the U.S. Treasury to gamble and speculate, took little notice of Ketchup or any of the other scruffy activists on the street below them. The elites consider everyone outside their sphere marginal or invisible. And what significance could an artist who paid her bills by working as a waitress have for the powerful? What could she and the others in Zuccotti Park do to them? What threat can the weak pose to the strong? Those who worship money believe their buckets of cash, like the $4.6 million JPMorgan Chase gave to the New York City Police Foundation, can buy them perpetual power and security. Masters all, kneeling before the idols of the marketplace, blinded by their self-importance, impervious to human suffering, bloated from unchecked greed and privilege, they were about to be taught a lesson in the folly of hubris.

Even now, three weeks later, elites, and their mouthpieces in the press, continue to puzzle over what people like Ketchup want. Where is the list of demands? Why don’t they present us with specific goals? Why can’t they articulate an agenda? more

Why the Whole Idea of the U.S Achieving 'Energy Independence' Is a Sham That Enriches Big Oil and Coal

Whether it is the hucksters pushing for the Keystone XL pipeline to cut across the Heartland, or the coal barons who are ramping up their exploits in Powder River Basin, a familiar refrain can be heard echoing throughout their propaganda: America must produce its own energy and stop relying on "terrorist" countries to keep our homes heated, cars running and economy kicking.

"The United States consumes 15 million barrels of oil per day and imports 11 million," Russell K. Girling of the TransCanada Corporation, which is to build the Keystone pipeline, recently wrote in The Hill. "Keystone XL offers Americans the choice of receiving their oil from a friendly, secure supplier in Canada, instead of importing crude from unstable, volatile foreign nations such as Venezuela, Libya and other areas of the Middle East."

In late August, Oil Change International shattered the myth that the Keystone XL, which is to transport tar sands from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas, will be used domestically. Refiners based in Port Arthur, where the oil will end up, are focused on exporting oil to Europe and Latin America. The majority of the heavy tar sands oil extracted in Alberta will never end up being burned in the United States.

"To issue a presidential permit for the Keystone XL, the administration must find that the pipeline serves the national interest," says Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. "An honest assessment shows that rather than serving U.S. interests, Keystone XL serves only the interests of tar sands producers and shippers, and a few Gulf Coast refiners aiming to export the oil." more

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake JUJUY, ARGENTINA - 18th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Jujuy, Argentina at a depth of 174.3 km (108.3 miles), the quake hit at 15:48:43 UTC Tuesday 18th October 2011.
The epicenter was 121 km ( 75 miles) WNW from San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Over 60 Radioactive samples Found in one weekend at Dalgety Bay, Scotland - 18th Oct 2011

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has been combing the shore beside Dalgety Bay Sailing Club to remove cancer-causing contamination and identify the source of radioactivity at the site, which was first identified in 1990.

Last week SEPA cordoned off an area of the shore after a sample 10 times as radioactive as anything previously found at the beauty spot was dug out of the sand.

The lump of clinker could have caused skin burns had it been picked up by a member of the public, said a SEPA radiation expert.

Although the lump was too large to be ingested, an equivalent dose, if consumed, could have caused ''severe radiation effects'' including an increased risk of developing cancer.

On Friday 17 radioactive particles were recovered, while 33 were found on Saturday and 33 on Sunday. The total number of particles recovered since SEPA's monitoring programme started on September 12 is around 200. Read More

Freak tornado rips roof off nursery leaving terrified toddlers surrounded by the wreckage, Cumbria - 18th Oct 2011

A freak tornado ripped off a nursery roof leaving frightened toddlers surrounded by wreckage.

The twister destroyed a shed on the street in Mirehouse, Cumbria, smashed windows of neighbouring houses and left rubble strewn across the playground of Tamalder Childcare.

Four panicked staff members managed to help the ten children in the building to escape after the whirlwind hit at 4.30pm yesterday.

'It looks like a bomb exploded,' said nursery owner Donna Duff. 'There is no roof on it whatsoever.

'The full roof has been taken off with bricks still attached. It was thrown on to the playground.

'It has just been lifted and thrown. The guys next door said they saw a twister.

Read More

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA - 18th Oct 2011

A magnitude 3.3 earthquake has struck Adelaide, South Australia at a depth of 17 km (10.6 miles), the quake hit at 15:52:25 UTC Tuesday 18th October 2011.
The epicenter was 12 km ( 7 miles) SSW of Adelaide, South Australia
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Seismic Activity Megler, Washington still NO earthquakes listed? Do the People who live on the Cascadia Faultline not deserve to know what is going on

Are we the only ones worried about why there are no listings of the activity which has been increasing during the past two weeks at the Megler station in Washington?

I have searched and even earthquake tracker shows only 1 earthquake for this area which was a 2.7 Magnitude 9 Months ago.

The Cascadia Fault line has been rumbling for months, had a undersea eruption and was hit by a 6.4 Magnitude on September the 9th 2011 followed by a 5.9 Magnitude just 5 days ago on the 13th October.

USGS was good enough to list 1 earthquake measuring at 2.8 Magnitude in Oregon this morning in addition to a 2.6 Magnitude Southern Yukon Territory, Canada, but these do not explain the activity showing in the area.

I will show you an example of the Station on September the 5th followed by the image from today's data.

We would really appreciate if someone could clarify this for us, not buying the story about it being severe winds affecting the stations.

Deadly European Virus found in British Columbia Salmon - 17th Oct 2011

Reader Contribution;

Experts say a highly infectious virus found in wild salmon on B.C.'s central coast could have a devastating impact on the province's wild salmon and herring.

Simon Fraser University Prof. Rick Routledge discovered the disease known as Infectious Salmon Anemia, or ISA, in two of 48 sockeye smolts collected.

The infection was diagnosed by Dr. Fred Kibenge, an employee at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I., who notified the CFIA.

Routledge, who's doing a long-term study on the collapse of Rivers Inlet sockeye, says the exotic disease could have a devastating impact on wild salmon in B.C.

Alexandra Morton, a biologist and long-time critic of salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, says the European strain of the virus could only have come from the farmed Atlantic salmon in the area.

Routledge says the possible impact of the virus can't be taken lightly and there must be an immediate response to assess the extent of the outbreak and the possible source. Read More

Ancient Aliens Season 3 Episode 11 - Aliens and The Founding Fathers

Occupy Toronto protesters plan another march

Demonstrators appear to be planning more disruptions Tuesday as part of the ongoing Occupy Toronto protests.

On Monday, a group of about 100 people brought traffic to a halt at Yonge and Dundas streets during rush hour.

TTC streetcars were allowed to pass but drivers were stuck in traffic for an hour. It was one of a number of marches and demonstrations of various sizes held Monday as part of the Occupy movement.

The Canadian Occupy groups involved in the protests take their inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has been staging protests in New York for more than a month. The movement is driven by a handful of different issues, including addressing corporate greed and economic disparity.

The CBC’s Trevor Dunn visited the demonstrators’ tent camp in downtown Toronto Tuesday, which was first set up at St. James Park on Friday. He said demonstrators appear to be planning another march for later in the day.

“It’s going to happen after 12 o’clock right after the group’s general meeting. They’re going to use that meeting to decide where they’re going to go.” more

ADHD guidelines add Ritalin as option for 4-year-olds

Four-year-olds showing debilitating signs of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder should be evaluated by doctors, revised guidelines say.

Previously, recommendations and diagnosing and managing ADHD started with children aged six to 12. Since 2001, emerging evidence pointed to expanding the age range to include preschool-aged children and adolescents, the American Academy of Pediatrics said.

The revised guidelines suggest doctors first prescribe behaviour therapy for preschoolers, and that methylphenidate or Ritalin may be prescribed if that does not significantly improve “and there is moderate-to-severe continuing disturbance in the child’s function,” the group’s 14-member committee said.

Behaviour therapy includes training parents and teachers on techniques to help children manage their anger, such as using positive reinforcement and punishing when a child fails to meet goals.
A student at the Center for Attention and Related Disorders camp in New Fairfield, Conn. that provides structure for for children who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity. New guidelines say the diagnosis should be considered in children as young as four.A student at the Center for Attention and Related Disorders camp in New Fairfield, Conn. that provides structure for for children who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity. New guidelines say the diagnosis should be considered in children as young as four. Brendan Smialowski/Getty

Treating children at a young age is important because identifying them earlier and offering treatment increases their chances of succeeding in school, said Dr. Mark Wolraich, the lead author of the report in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics.

ADHD is the most common neurobehavioral disorder in children, occurring in about eight percent of children and youth, according to the report. (Maybe that's because children are meant to be children, to run around and play, instead of sitting like obedient robots in classrooms?) more

Inflation Pressures Intensify as Producer Prices Jump Higher

U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in September to record their largest increase in five months as gasoline prices surged, a government report showed on Tuesday.

The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted index for prices received by farms, factories and refineries, increased 0.8 percent after being flat in August. Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to increase 0.2 percent.

Excluding volatile food and energy, wholesale prices rose 0.2 percent last month after inching up 0.1 percent in August. That was above economists expectations for a 0.1 percent gain.

But the strong rise in wholesale prices last month is unlikely to spark a broad increase in inflation [cnbc explains] pressures given the weak economic environment.

It will probably have little impact on the Federal Reserve, which focuses on core inflation, as it weighs options to help the anemic recovery and pull down an unemployment rate stuck above 9 percent. more

US Army to fly 'kamikaze' drones

A miniature "kamikaze" drone designed to quietly hover in the sky before dive-bombing and slamming into a human target will soon be part of the US Army's arsenal, officials say.

Dubbed the "Switchblade," the robotic aircraft represents the latest attempt by the United States to refine how it takes out suspected militants.

Weighing less than two kilos, the drone is small enough to fit into a soldier's backpack and is launched from a tube, with wings quickly folding out as it soars into the air, according to manufacturer AeroVironment.

Powered by a small electric motor, the Switchblade transmits video in real time from overhead, allowing a soldier to identify an enemy, the company said in a press release last month.

"Upon confirming the target using the live video feed, the operator then sends a command to the air vehicle to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target," it said.

The drone then flies into the "target," detonating a small explosive.

The California-based firm also said the drone can be called off at the last moment, even after a kill mission has been ordered. That feature provides troops with "a level of control not available in other weapon systems," it said.

The United States currently uses larger Predator and Reaper drones to hunt down suspected militants in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The robotic planes fire powerful Hellfire missiles and drop heavy bombs that can cause civilian casualties and extensive damage, which has fueled popular anger with the United States in Pakistan. more

Former LA Fire Chief’s Son Accused Of Bribing TSA Agent, Smuggling Pot Onto Flight



The son of Los Angeles’ former fire chief, Millage Peaks, has been arrested for allegedly bribing a TSA agent to help him smuggle marijuana on board a flight.

Authorities arrested Millage Peaks Jr., 23, Sunday morning on charges of smuggling 10-15 pounds of pot on a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Boston.

“It’s a fair amount. I think it was purchased for about $38,000 and was gonna be resold for some amount greater than that,” said Robert Little, Peaks’ attorney.

Peaks Jr. admitted he bribed a TSA agent, Dianna Perez, to let his suitcase go through security screening for an American Airlines flight. He and Perez also said that they had worked together before and that several thousands of dollars had exchanged hands.

Perez, 28, was also arrested. She was charged with accepting the alleged bribe.

Peaks Jr. has been charged with bribing a public official, according to the FBI. more

China growth slows to 2-year low



China's economic expansion slowed in the third quarter to its weakest pace in more than two years as euro-debt strains and a sluggish U.S. economy took a toll, but healthy domestic drivers suggest little room to relax monetary policy near term.

GDP grew 9.1 percent from a year earlier, the third consecutive quarterly slowdown in growth after 9.5 percent in the second quarter and 9.7 percent in the first.

In contrast, other figures on Tuesday suggested the domestic economy was growing healthily. Fixed-asset investment, the main driver of growth in world's second-biggest economy, and retail sales were stronger than expected.

The domestic strength and inflation of more than 6 percent argue for the central bank to keep a tight rein on monetary policy even though overall growth is slowing.

"GDP growth was surprising for the market on the downside," said Stephen Green, economist at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong. "There is clearer deceleration in the third quarter. No change in policy. Small signs of ad-hoc loosening but no macro change in policy."

Asia stocks eased and some commodity prices fell after the growth data, which was slightly below forecasts of 9.2 percent and the weakest since 8.1 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

Most analysts said the data pointed to an economic soft landing, rather than a crash. But the economy would be at risk of a more severe downturn if the euro-zone debt crisis and the U.S. economy lead to another global recession. more