Wednesday, October 19, 2011

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 20th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Kermadec Islands at a depth of 34.7 km (21.6 miles), the quake hit at 03:38:58 UTC Thursday 20th October 2011.
The epicenter was 172 km ( 107 miles) ESE of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Rotten regimes will plunder aid millions: As Britain gives more, fraud will grow, warns MPs - 20th Oct 2011

Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money could be lost to corrupt regimes as a result of the Government’s ballooning aid budget, a hard-hitting report by MPs has warned.

The Public Accounts Committee added that the Department of International Development had a ‘poor understanding’ of the scale and likelihood of aid being lost to fraud.

The MPs said the department was directing increasing amounts of money towards conflict-ridden countries such as Somalia and Pakistan, creating a ‘danger’ that it will be siphoned off by corrupt officials.

The report is yet another damning assessment of DfID, which is enjoying a 34 per cent spending increase in real terms at a time when other Whitehall departments are having their budgets slashed.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged that foreign aid will rise from £8.4billion this year to £12.6billion in 2015 – equal to £479 for every household in Britain.

In March, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the Government will pour billions of pounds of aid money into some of the world’s most corrupt regimes in a bid to tackle poverty. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF NEW ZEALAND - 20th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Off the Coast of New Zealand at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 02:21 UTC Thursday 20th October 2011.
The epicenter was 30 km ( 18.6 miles) South of Gisborne, New Zealand
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake ISLAND OF HAWAII, HAWAII - 20th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii at a depth of 18.8 km (11.7 miles), the quake hit at 00:10:04 UTC Thursday 20th October 2011.
The epicenter was 21 km ( 13 miles) Southeast from Waimea, Hawaii
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

This earthquake has been followed by 12 earthquakes within the last 3 hours ranging from 2.5 - 3.6 Magnitude with and average depth of 17.5 km

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake GUATEMALA - 20th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Guatemala at a depth of 79.9 km (49.6 miles), the quake hit at 00:05:08 UTC Thursday 20th October 2011.
The epicenter was 9 km ( 5 miles) SSW of Escuintla, Guatemala
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Tory mutiny over Europe: Cameron rushes forward referendum debate as backbench revolt grows - 20th Oct 2011

David Cameron is to rush forward a landmark Commons vote on Britain's relationship with Europe.

The move comes amid 'complete panic' in Tory high command about growing support in the party for a referendum.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary William Hague were expected to miss a crunch Commons debate due next Thursday, since they are travelling to a summit in Australia.

However, they have now insisted it is brought forward to Monday so they can attend.

The move dramatically raises the stakes in the row and is a sign of profound anxiety in Downing Street about mounting Eurosceptic sentiment on the Conservative backbenches. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Eastern Honshu, Japan at a depth of 14 km (8.7 miles), the quake hit at 21:21:40 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 40 km ( 24.8 miles) South of Koriyama, Honshu, Japan
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF AISEN, CHILE - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck off the Coast of Aisen, Chile at a depth of 15.3 km (9.5 miles), the quake hit at 20:45:11 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 411 km ( 255 miles) West of Coihaique, Aisen, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Protesters Vow To Bring Greece To Standstill - 20th Oct 2011

Protesters have vowed to bring Greece to a standstill on day two of a general strike as the government prepares to give the green light to a controversial austerity plan.

Yesterday hundreds of youths smashed and looted stores in central Athens and clashed with riot police during a massive anti-government rally.

More than 100,000 people took to the streets of the Greek capital to demonstrate against the austerity bill.

The plan includes new tax hikes, more pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants and the suspension of collective labour contracts.

It won initial approval in the 300-member Parliament late on Wednesday, with 154 deputies voting in favour on principle and 141 against.

A second vote on the bill's articles is expected later today. Read More

2.7 Magnitude Earthquake WASHINGTON (not far from the MEGLER Station) - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 2.7 earthquake has struck Washington at a depth of 11.5 km (7.1 miles), the quake hit at 19:51:08 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 4 km ( 3 miles) Northeast of Amboy, Washington
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Note: Finally a earthquake has been registered by USGS near the Megler Station, are they sure it is a 2,7 Magnitude or did they pick the smallest spike on today's chart?

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO - 19th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck offshore Chiapas, Mexico at a depth of 85.1 km (52.9 miles), the quake hit at 19:03:18 UTC Wednesday 19th October 2011.
The epicenter was 75 km ( 46 miles) WNW of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Hoax WARNING: Internet scammers send out fake rebate email in bid to steal bank details - 19th Oct 2011

Internet scammers were today trying to trick taxpayers into giving away their bank details after it was revealed that millions are in line for a rebate.

Six million people are set to receive a windfall of around £400 each as HM Revenue and Customs clears a Pay As You Earn backlog.

Emails claiming to be from HMRC are currently circulating, telling recipients they were in line for a payout and inviting them to enter their personal details.

But HMRC said it would never contact those who are owed money in this way, and have warned recipients to delete the message.

A spokeswoman for HMRC said: 'We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. Read More

Megler, Washington Seismic update 19th Oct 2011

As you can see from today's Seismogram activity is still increasing today - Anyone have any insight on this yet?

More than 700 dead as flooding hits southeast Asian countries - 19th Oct 2011



At least 745 people have died in flooding in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines since July, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said.

Thailand has been hit the hardest, with 315 people killed in that time frame, officials said.

Monsoon rains across Thailand have affected millions of people in 61 of its provinces, the country's Flood Relief Operation Command reported.

Cambodia, meanwhile, reported 247 dead since July. Source

125,000 displaced in Mexico floods

Some 125,000 people have been forced out of their homes and 500 kilometers (300 miles) of roadways have been washed away in flooding in southeast Mexico, Tabasco state Governor Andres Granier said Wednesday.

"We flew over the rivers and municipalities and we can say that Tabasco is practically under water," he told W Radio.

Granier said he asked for federal government for aid to help deal with the crisis. Hardest hit was Cardenas, a city of 250,000 which is around one-third under water, according to local officials.

The region, along with nearby Central American nations, have been hard hit by exceptionally heavy rains since July.

Mexico has seen 40 deaths and 400,000 displaced due to floods and mudslides over that period, after a 2010 season that was even worse.

Officials in Central American states of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica reported 90 dead and 700,000 displaced in the past week after the region was hit by as much as 120 centimeters (47 inches) of rain in some areas.

Meteorologists say the rain is caused by two different low-pressure weather systems, the first from the Pacific and the second from the Caribbean. more

Kenyan troops enter Somalia to attack rebels

Kenyan military forces moved into southern Somalia on Sunday, an official and residents said, a day after top Kenyan defense officials said the country has the right to defend itself after a rash of militant kidnappings inside Kenya.

Late Sunday evening, a military helicopter crashed and caught fire inside Kenya from an apparent mechanical malfunction, a diplomat and a resident said. No civilian casualties were reported but the status of the pilots on board was not immediately known.

Residents in southern Somalia said that columns of Kenyan troops had moved in and that military aircraft were flying overhead. Resident Ali Nur Hussein said Kenyan troops arrived in tanks and military trucks, and that troops were coordinating with Somali government soldiers.

Kenya's government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, said Kenyan troops ``are pursuing al-Shabab across the border.'' He did not give any other details.

In response, al-Shabab, Somalia's most dangerous militant group, tried to raise the alarm in areas it controls. Residents in the town of Qoqani who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals said militants were going into homes and forcibly recruiting new fighters. more

Army of stones: Serb barricades stand firm



As the deadline for Serbs in northern Kosovo to dismantle their border barricades nears, they remain firm in their protest. The barricades are meant to stop attempts by Kosovan police, and NATO and EU forces to take over border crossings with Serbia.

Stones and sand of the barricades are the only weapons the Serbs living in Kosovo have in their arsenal to make the others listen to them.

The roadblocks they have set up throughout the northern part of the region are making headlines and getting feedback.

Local resident Voityla is reading a leaflet that KFOR, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, has been distributing here recently: “We ask you not to participate in any event that may threaten your safety or may have negative consequences for you and for your country!“

He comments: “Bastards! They are talking about us! While they are the only negative here.”

“Look at their propaganda! We will not buy it! We don’t want them here, those occupiers; we don’t even want to talk to them!” he adds as he crumbles the leaflet and throws it into a campfire.

Unlike the barricade sentries, the mayor of the Northern Kosovo town of Leposovic is talking to KFOR. Branko Ninic has been among the four delegates from Serbs to negotiate with the peacekeepers on dates and terms for the barricades’ removal.

KFOR announced a Monday deadline, but then postponed it till Tuesday. The Serbs have claimed they need even more time. more

Somali militants threaten Kenyan skyscraper attack

Somali militants threatened to bring down Nairobi skyscrapers after Kenya sent hundreds of troops into Somalia. The threat emanated from the same lawless country in which the al-Qaida masterminds behind 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies sought refuge.

The Kenyan invasion comes at a time when al-Shabab has been weakened by famine in its strongholds, has been pushed from the capital of Mogadishu by African Union troops and finds itself increasingly challenged by clan militias.

The U.S. has also launched airstrikes against al-Shabab leaders amid concerns over terrorist training camps in the failed state of Somalia. The men who masterminded the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania found shelter in the chaos of its 20-year-old conflict.

Al-Shabab lashed out in a news conference and an eloquent English statement on Monday, saying that the “bloody battles that will ensue as a result of this incursion will most likely disrupt the social equilibrium and imperil the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.”

The statement urged Kenyans to tell their “saber-rattling politicians” to not let the “flames of war” spill over into Kenya, destroying the East African nation’s sense of stability.

“Your skyscrapers will be destroyed, your tourism will disappear. We shall inflict on you the same damage you inflicted on us,” Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the Islamist militia al-Shabab, said at a Mogadishu news conference. more

NY cops probed over assaults on Occupy Wall Street protestors



New York police officers are being investigated over allegations they have used excessive force against Occupy Wall Street protesters.

­A video, taped last Friday, has given grounds for one of the inquiries. An officer, thought to be a deputy inspector, was filmed apparently grabbing an activist from behind and punching him in the face so hard that he fell to the ground.

An independent agency that deals with complaints against New York police says it is also looking into an officer using pepper spray on a peaceful female protester.

The anti-corporate campaign has been going on for more than a month now, and despite the police handling and the continuing arrests, the numbers of demonstrators are growing.

Zuccotti Park in New York City has become the scene of thousands of demonstrators who converged over the weekend to show their support for what they called an ‘International Day of Rage’ – referring to the “occupations” and demonstrations that had spread across the world.

Thousands converged in Times Square where they were peacefully demonstrating, only to be met with an unprecedented show of force by the NYC Police Department. Approximately 90 people were arrested for taking part in those demonstrations. RT also witnessed instances of police officers on horseback riding into the crowd, and police officers on scooters injuring several protesters who had gathered peacefully. more

Washington Father, Freemon Everett Seay, Arrested for Forcing Daughter Into Renaissance Battle

What began as a man’s attempt to discipline his child turned into a sordid case of abuse when police say a Washington man forced his 16-year-old daughter to don Renaissance armor and engage in a wooden sword battle for two hours.

Freemon Everett Seay, 38, and his daughter were fighting on Oct. 16 over her recent attempt to run away from home, an action he wanted to punish her for, Sgt. Ken Clark of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office told CBS Seattle.

“He started with switches off a tree. In Washington state, it’s all about reasonable action … (and) you can (legally) give a kid a spanking,” he said. “But this goes beyond discipline, and into the realm of abuse.”

Before beginning the fight, Seay put on armor and brandished a weapon, which he repeatedly used on the child.

Authorities say he forced his daughter to duel with him from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. When she was reportedly no longer able to stand on her own, he relented. But his daughter quickly took action, texting pictures of her bruises and injuries to friends, who promptly alerted the authorities.

By that afternoon, Seay and his wife were in police custody.

Julie Seay, the child’s stepmother, was not actively involved in the abuse, according to the police report. However, she was aware of what was happening, and allegedly made no motion to protect the child in any way.

“She had a responsibility to defend her stepdaughter,” Clark added. more

French warning to euro summit: Euro, indeed Europe, may be finished

France warned on Tuesday that European unity would be at risk if eurozone leaders failed to take bold action to tackle its sovereign debt crisis at a crucial summit this weekend.

In sharp contrast to signals from Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, playing down the chances of a breakthrough, President Nicolas Sarkozy said that “an unprecedented financial crisis will lead us to take important, very important decisions in the coming days”.

In sharp contrast to signals from Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, playing down the chances of a breakthrough, President Nicolas Sarkozy said that “an unprecedented financial crisis will lead us to take important, very important decisions in the coming days”.

Raising the sense of urgency, the French president added: “Allowing the destruction of the euro is to take the risk of the destruction of Europe. Those who destroy Europe and the euro will bear responsiblity for resurgence of conflict and division on our continent.”

As Moody’s, the US rating agency, warned that France could see its credit outlook cut as a result of the growing sovereign debt emergency, Mr Sarkozy alluded to his country’s vulnerability were the eurozone to fall apart. “France on its own cannot cope.” more

Stanley Thornton Jr: Man living as an ‘adult baby’ is cleared of Social Security fraud, demands Senator's apology (and will still get monthly checks)

The California man who lives part of his life as an “adult baby” and collects Social Security disability payments says the federal agency has cleared him of wrongdoing and will continue sending checks.

Stanley Thornton Jr. now wants an apology from Sen. Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who called for the benefit review because the investigation disrupted the final months of life for his roommate Sandra Dias, who playacted as his mother, spoon-feeding him and helping him into his baby clothes until her death in July.

“We recently reviewed the evidence in your Social Security disability claim and find that your disability is continuing,” the agency said in an August letter that Mr. Thornton posted on the website he maintains to document his adult baby lifestyle.

Mr. Thornton first gained prominence after he appeared on a reality television show and later after Mr. Coburn asked for the Social Security Administration to investigate him. The lawmaker questioned why he was receiving taxpayer-funded Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, commonly called disability checks, given the woodworking skills he demonstrated in May on the National Geographic channel television show “Taboo.”

Dias died July 7, and Mr. Thornton moved out of the apartment they shared. He told The Washington Times they had made payments based on their combined disability checks, which came to about $860 a month for each of them, and he could no longer afford the home on his own. more

NATO gives Serbs until Monday to clear barricades as border tensions ratchet



KFOR delivered an ultimatum to ethnic Serbs in Kosovo manning barricades at a border crossing in the breakaway region's north: remove the obstacles by Monday, or else the international peacekeepers will step in and clear the road themselves.

KFOR Commander Erhard Drews insisted that the barricades are preventing the freedom of movement in Kosovo for residents, as well as for KFOR and EULEX soldiers.

However, the Serbs complain that they have been given too little time to comply. The roadblocks have now been in place for nearly a month, set up in protest against NATO and EU forces taking over a checkpoint and allowing Kosovar customs officers to be stationed there.

Late last month some of the barricades were bulldozed, resulting in violence. Peacekeepers used rubber bullets and teargas against the Serbs.

NATO's actions would be legitimate if not for the fact that they also serve the interests of Kosovar officials, said Nikola Tanasic, a political analyst at the New Serbian Political Thought magazine.

“The Serbian authorities and authorities in Kosovo recognize NATO’s right to enforce the law in Kosovo, but the problem is that NATO recognizes the Kosovar officials that are currently trying to implement their laws and their checkpoints at the border between northern Kosovo and central Serbia,” he said. “That is unacceptable for the Serbs. Were it only for NATO convoys, there would be no problem whatsoever. The problem is that they themselves carry in Albanian officials from the Kosovar government.” more

Tornado leaves 2-mile trail in South Florida - 19th Oct 2011

A tornado left a 2-mile long trail of damage, peeling off roofs and tossing cars in a suburban South Florida neighborhood, officials said Wednesday. Minor injuries were reported.

The tornado that struck Broward County late Tuesday had a preliminary rating of EF2 on the scale measuring tornado strength, said Dan Gregoria, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.

The storm system soaked an already soggy region, leaving behind damaged property, blocked roads and fallen trees. Weather service officials were investigating reports of another possible tornado in Martin County that destroyed a barn and a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Indiantown.

"You could see the rotation of the whole storm system on Doppler radar," Gregoria said. "It was really strong, and we were concerned about a strong tornado going across the metro area."

About two dozen homes were damaged in Plantation and Sunrise, though no serious injuries were reported. Read More

Syrian tank forces kill 25 in opposition hotbed Homs

Syrian tank forces killed at least 25 people in a thrust into the opposition hotbed of Homs aimed at stemming growing armed resistance to President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on a seven-month-old popular uprising, residents said.

It was one of the highest daily death tolls in the large central Syrian city that has seen some of the most extensive protests in a tide of unrest where protesters are demanding an end to 41 years of repressive Assad family rule.

The clashes on Monday followed the deployment of loyalist militiamen in Sunni Muslim districts, fanning tension between the city's Sunni majority and members of Assad's minority Alawite sect, residents told Reuters by telephone.

Mindful of the threat of civil war in Syria, which straddles major fault lines of Middle East conflict, the Arab League offered on Sunday to host talks in Cairo between the opposition, who have formed a National Council, and the Damascus leadership.

But Syria's representative to the League said Syria had major reservations about the offer, while the opposition Syrian National Council said it could not engage in talks while Assad's military continued to storm restive cities and towns.

In Homs, 140 km (90 miles) north of Damascus, tanks firing heavy machineguns swept into Sunni districts of Bab Sbaa, Bab Dreib and Bab Amro where large protests demanding the removal of Assad have taken place regularly, residents and activists said. more

Fukushima City begins decontamination work (Take your time, don't strain yourself)

Fukushima City has launched a massive campaign to clean up radioactive materials, with the ultimate goal of decontaminating all homes and public facilities.

The city is located about 60 kilometers from the disaster-stricken Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Decontamination work began on Tuesday morning in the Onami district, where radiation levels are relatively high.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was on hand for about 20 minutes to inspect the work in Onami.

A team of professional workers used water jet cleaners to clean roofs and ditches. They also cut away vegetation in gardens and removed a layer of top soil.

Fukushima City's ultimate goal is to decontaminate 110,000 households, public facilities, and roads near schools by the end of fiscal 2012.

The city plans to ask residents and volunteers to help clean up areas where radiation levels are not too high. more

Death toll by unidentified disease reach to 6, Nepal - 19th Oct 2011

One more person has died in Saptari district due to an unidentified disease on Wednesday, death toll reaching to six in total. Budhani Devi Yadav (45) of Pakari VDC-9 in the district died due to the unidentified disease, today.

She was ill for the past two days and doctors who were involved in her treatment said she died after the disease was not identified, according to Binod Kumar Yadav, son of the deceased. Earlier on Monday, Bishwojit Adhikari, 10th grader at Motherland English Boarding School, Kanchanpur, lost his life due to the disease.

Similarly, two persons of Jagatpur VDC, one of Piprapurba VDC and one of Mahadeba VDC had also lost their lives due to the unidentified disease. Source

Floodwater approaching northern Bangkok

Residents and troops are piling up sandbags along canals in northern Bangkok to try to stop floodwater from reaching central parts of the Thai capital.

Floods caused by the record rainfall have so far killed 315 people and affected more than 2.4 million people.

6 industrial complexes have been inundated, damaging facilities of about 430 Japanese-affiliated companies.

Flood damage is spreading downstream along the Chao Phraya River, and approaching Bangkok.

On Monday, Bangkok's governor ordered about 1.2 million sandbags to be placed along canals branching from the river.

Local people and troops are piling up sandbags up to a height of about 1.5 meters.

The entrance way to the Nava Nakorn industrial complex, north of Bangkok, is totally inundated, and the only access is by boat. more

Bird and fish die-off reported on Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada

Botulism is the likely killer of hundreds of birds and fish found washed up on the shores of Georgian Bay from Collingwood all the way to Parry Sound, says the Ministry of Natural Resources.

“The cause of the die-off is unknown,” the ministry stated in a press release, “but botulism is typically the cause of this type of occurrence.”

The first reported die-off came Aug. 22 in southeastern Georgian Bay, when the ministry was notified of the unexplained deaths of eight lake sturgeons and one carp.
Sporadic reports were received in the following weeks, but the number and distribution increased recently.

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park staff have disposed of about 120 dead sturgeons to date. Dead channel catfish, freshwater drum, carp, lake whitefish and one largemouth bass have also been reported.

Dead waterfowl have included loons, mallards, grebes, terns, mergansers, gulls, cormorants and Canada geese. In total, more than 300 dead birds have been reported.
A sturgeon and a grebe were sent for analysis. Although botulism could not be ruled out, the results were inconclusive. Additional samples were sent for analysis on Oct. 6. Results are still pending.

Botulism is a serious neuromuscular illness caused by a toxin that is produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum. The threat to humans is minimal, although dead birds and fish should not be eaten.

The public can report incidents of fish die-offs by calling 1-866-929-0994 or 1-877-TIPS-MNR (1-877-847-7667). Source