Saturday, October 22, 2011

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF NEW ZEALAND - 22nd Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck off the Coast of New Zealand at a depth of 50 km (31 miles), the quake hit at 13:19 UTC Saturday 22nd October 2011.
The epicenter was 40 km ( 24.8 miles) North of Te Kaha, New Zealand
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 22nd Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 48.3 km (30 miles), the quake hit at 19:49:08 UTC Saturday 22nd October 2011.
The epicenter was 181 km ( 113 miles) ENE from Kandrian, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time.

Banks Cashing in Again as EURO Finance Ministers Agree to a 100 Billion EURO deal to Recapitalise Banks

European Finance Ministers agreed to a 100 Billion Euro Deal to recapitalise Banks, No real big shock here, it is nearing Christmas and the bankers need their bonuses.

Do you not find it strange that after all these months of talks they can't solve the debt crisis in Europe, but the minute the banks need a bailout they can make a deal in hours.

Baby Lisa's parents hit back: Smell of death picked up by police cadaver dog could be DECADES old, says lawyer

A lawyer for Baby Lisa's parents has hit back at reports of police cadaver dog smelling the scent of a dead body on a bedroom floor in the house.

Cyndy Short the cadaver dog development could be misleading detectives because the scent could be decades old.

Miss Short told Good Morning America: 'My understanding is that there are cold cases where dogs have hit on scents of decomposition that have been in the home for as long as 28 years.

'This is an old home - 63 years old. There could be a lot of other explanations for that.'

But former FBI agent Brad Garrett said the dog have a great accuracy record.
He said: 'In studies done of cadaver dogs where the dog has direct access to the scent and its reasonably fresh - its above 90 per cent.'

On Friday it emerged that a cadaver dog got a 'positive hit' during a search at the home in Kansas City, Missouri, where the 11-month-old vanished two weeks ago. Read More

Is mysterious translucent jelly found in Cumbrian Fells Star Jelly?

Within the past week the mysterious translucent jelly has materialised in and around the fells of Patterdale, Cumbria.

While some put the mysterious goo down to meteor showers, others say the strange substance appears during rutting season.

A similar incident inspired the film 'The Blob' when in 1950 four policemen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, came across a huge disk of quivering jelly which measured six feet in diameter. Read More

Wiki: Star jelly (also called astromyxin, astral jelly, pwdr sêr, star rot, or star shot) is a gelatinous substance, which, according to folklore, is deposited on the earth during meteor showers.It is described as a translucent or grayish white gelatin which tends to evaporate shortly after having fallen. Explanations have ranged from the material being the remains of frogs and toads, or of worms, to the byproducts of cyanobacteria, to paranormal origins. Reports of the compound date back to the 14th century and continue to the present.

History Channel's Ancient Aliens S03E12 Aliens and Deadly Cults 720p

Uturuncu: Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery

Should anyone ever decide to make a show called "CSI: Geology," a group of scientists studying a mysterious and rapidly inflating South American volcano have got the perfect storyline.

Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak's past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.

It's a mystery they've yet to solve.

Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.

"I call this 'volcano forensics,' because we're using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon," said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team.

Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising — blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.

"It's one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth," de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet."What we're trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we'll try to understand what it's going to lead to." more

Guts but no glory: Gaddafi images over-the-top



Libya is turning a new page in its history following the killing of its former leader Muammar Gaddafi. But the footage of Gaddafi's dead and broken body was so graphic; some are wondering why it was broadcast for the public to see.

On Friday, the United Nations human rights office has urged for inquiry into Gaddafi’s death.

“It is unclear how he died. There is a need for an investigation," Reuters quotes UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville as saying at a news briefing in Geneva.

Referring to separate cell phone images showing a wounded Gaddafi first alive and then later dead amidst a jumble of anti-Gaddafi fighters after his capture in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, he added: "Taken together, they were very disturbing."

But for now, the death of Gaddafi is being applauded around the world.

But the frenzied mob cheering the colonel’s death is about as far as it gets from a trial at The Hague. Even by those who champion democratic justice.

The death of the former Libyan strongman was hailed by the British prime minister. Earlier in September, David Cameron pledged that Britain would help hunt down the Libyan leader.

“People in Britain salute your courage and while we are proud of the role we played to help, we know this was your revolution from your bravery. You showed the world you would get of a dictator and you would choose freedom,” he said.

The declaration comes as a far cry from Cameron’s insistence back in March that Gaddafi be put on trial at the International Criminal Court.

NTC fighters were even dissuaded from their shoot-to-kill policy – agreeing in August they would take him alive. more

Woman passenger's jet rage at Nick Clegg over his support of Human Rights Act

Nick Clegg faced the air rage of a passenger angry at his party’s opposition to the scrapping of the Human Rights Act.

The Lib Dem leader was verbally abused by a woman on his flight from London to Cairo, which he was visiting to hold meetings with Egyptian leaders.

Eyewitnesses said the passenger had to be ‘physically restrained’ from attacking the Deputy Prime Minister over his decision to block the Coalition from getting rid of the Act.

Mr Clegg was visiting Cairo to announce a £5million aid boost to stimulate jobs in the north African country, which was the scene of a revolution in the Spring.

The incident demonstrates the anger of many people over the Lib Dems’ opposition to reform of the legislation, which was brought in by Tony Blair.

David Cameron pledged while in opposition to scrap the Human Rights Act, which he said prevented Britain from deporting foreign terrorists.

But the creation of the Coalition means the Tories are unable to fulfil their election pledge, because the Lib Dems would never agree. Read More

Note: Heroes tab added for the Woman not Nick Clegg

Megler, Washington - Seismogram Update 22nd Oct 2011

Still active, still no information available about what is going on in the area.

Pentagon chief visits Asia to sell arms

On his first trip to Asia as defense secretary, Leon Panetta intends to stress a U.S. commitment to strengthening ties with key allies and partner countries while keeping a wary eye on China's military buildup.

Panetta was embarking Friday on a weeklong tour, with stops in Indonesia, Japan and Korea. In addition to meetings with government officials, he planned to hold town hall-style sessions with U.S. troops in Japan and Korea, where land, air and naval bases form the core of the U.S. military presence in Asia.

Panetta's trip comes amid a broad effort by the Obama administration to shift more of its national security focus toward Asia. Now that the Iraq war is ending and the administration has set 2014 as the target date for completing its combat mission in Afghanistan, the White House wants to attend more closely to relationships and rivalries in the Asia-Pacific region, where fears of China are on the rise.

President Barack Obama himself plans to visit Bali in November to attend an East Asia summit meeting, following a visit to Australia. He also will host a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Hawaii in November.

In Indonesia, the first stop of his week-long Asia tour, Panetta planned to attend a meeting of defense ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The talks will be held on Bali, the resort island where a terrorist bombing in 2002 killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks since then. more

Fazlullah vows new war in Pakistan

Afghanistan-based Taliban leader Maulvi Fazlullah, a leading figure in the insurgency, has vowed to return to Pakistan to wage war as the country came under renewed American pressure to tackle militancy.

“We sacrificed our lives, left our homes and villages for the sake of Sharia (Islamic Law) and will do whatever we can to get Sharia implemented in the Malakand region and rest of Pakistan,” Sirajuddin Ahmad, a close adviser, told Reuters, describing Fazlullah’s position.

He was answering written questions submitted by Reuters.

The Taliban threat was issued as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top US military and intelligence leaders delivered a tough warning to Pakistan to crack down hard on militant groups, an issue heavily straining ties between the uneasy allies.

Fazlullah was the Taliban leader in Swat Valley, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Islamabad, before a 2009 army offensive forced him to flee.

Also known as FM Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, he regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds, and poses a threat to Pakistan once again, said army spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas.

The Pakistani Taliban, which is separate from but aligned to the Afghan Taliban fighting foreign forces in Afghanistan, has declared war on the Pakistani state for providing support to the US-led war on militants in the region. more

Richard Jones shoots up bar with AK-47, still on loose

Bar Shot Up With AK-47, Suspect Still At-Large: MyFoxPHILLY.com



Philadelphia police are looking for a man who they say shot up a Southwest Philadelphia bar with an AK-47 assault rifle.

Police say Richard Jones, 26, drove up to a bar at Westminster and Belmont avenues, jumped out of his car and started shooting Tuesday.

When he finished, he ran to catch his car, which had rolled down the street.

Police say about a dozen people were inside the bar at the time of the shooting. Fortunately, no one was hurt. source

October 21, 1948: Mass bird die offs throughout the United States that remain unexplained

The Bird Man told us that there would be a terrible dearth of birds in Florida this winter owing to the catastrophe in September when hundreds of thousands of birds hurled themselves against the Empire State Building in New York, and whole feathered populations were wiped out.

"They were all on the way south for the season," he said sadly, "so don't take out the bird-houses or build bird cafeterias in the trees. There will be far fewer occupants. An awful thing, all those warblers and oven-birds, from all over the North-eastern United States and from Canada, hurling themselves against the tallest building in the world."

"What made them do it?" we asked him, for the bird man is a philosopher as well as an ornithologist. His obsession is birds, just as some people down here in Florida pursue tree snails, sea shells, orchids, or Seminole Indians. There was no theory to account for such a tragedy, he told us. The scientists were baffled, particularly as the same thing had occurred simultaneously on the same morning in cities all the way from Boston to Nashville. It was just as though the bird world, all over America, had suddenly grown tired of living and had decided on complete mass suicide.

"We might lay it down to fog, or atmospheric pressure," he continued, and his voice trailed off into the murmur. "Of course, there are always superstitions among the Indians and other primitive peoples…"

"Perhaps they were dazzled by too much light," contributed my husband; "they might have crashed into the Empire State Building just as they so often batter themselves against light- houses all along the Atlantic Coast."

"There couldn't have been fog in all those cities at once," I pointed out; "in Nashville and San Antonio and Philadelphia, for instance. And birds have been avoiding the great buildings for generations. One of the first things their mothers must have taught them is what they learned from their own mothers. 'Watch out for tall buildings when you are flying.' Just as we tell [our] children to watch out for traffic." more

Reserve Bank of India warns of another global financial crisis

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned of another financial crisis brewing, as global liquidity becomes a concern amidst central banks pegging their lending rates at near zero levels, leaving scope for another asset bubble to take down the global financial system.

"There is, thus, incontrovertible evidence that there is yet again a huge under-pricing of risks in the financial system and, therefore, it is not a question of if, but when, the generic asset bubble caused by manifold increases in balance sheets of central banks will burst," said RBI, executive director, VK Sharma in his address in Singapore on 'Identifying Systemic Risks in the Global Markets - Lessons Learnt from the Crisis'. He spoke about what has been done by Asian central bankers in detecting and mitigating risks of future crises similar to the one in 2008-09.

One of the major worries this time around, which did not exist back then, is global liquidity, Sharma said. Balance sheets of major banks have grown by almost three times from pre-2007 levels, while near-zero policy rates have added $4 trillion in incremental central bank liquidity. Sharma mentioned that the US has been keeping excess reserves of about $1.5 trillion with the Federal Reserve rather than lending it to small businesses and households.

"Alongside, non-financial corporations in the US are reportedly sitting on cash and liquid assets worth $2 trillion which they do not know what to do with it. In this background of huge deluge of global liquidity, there are unmistakable signs of asset bubble inflating again in almost a replay of the last global financial crisis." Sharma said. more

Class action: OWS first salvo in US class war?



A class war once seemed impossible in a country where being wealthy is part of the national dream. But as thousands march on Wall Street and in other parts of America, digging in with anti-corporate protests, many ask whether US is facing one.

­It is week five of the Occupy Wall Street rallying call against bloated banks and Washington's weakness in doing anything about it. And the growing gap between rich and poor is something which could cost the government dear.

“The rich are getting richer and the middle class is collapsing,” says Bernie Sanders, United States Senator for Vermont. “Class war is being waged in America, today. Unfortunately, the wrong side is winning.”

The so-called “one per cent” of winners are the nation’s top corporations, which this year – despite the economy’s very slow growth – have nonetheless made record profits.

But thanks to various loopholes, “these corporations pay little or nothing in taxes,” Sanders said.

The corporations say they need the tax breaks to be able to invest more and to hire more staff.

America’s second largest energy producer, Chevron, is now lobbying not to let the government tax them more.

And to RT’s question, “How many Americans has Chevron hired since the tax breaks were introduced in 2004,” the CEO of the company, John Watson, answered: “They are up slightly – a few thousands in our upstream business over the years, but not significantly on our Chevron payroll.”

Just a few thousand jobs for the billions of dollars in tax stimulus that the government gave them.

Economists say America’s largest corporations are sitting on more than $3 trillion and not investing in the economy.

Unemployment in the US remains over 9 per cent.

“I have enough money to survive my lifetime,” says an ordinary elderly US citizen and grandfather. “But it’s my great grandkids…My grandkids, they can’t make it.” more

New Photos of Fukushima Unit 3 TEPCO Trouble by Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds

Japan: Fukushima Update with Arnie Gunderson - October

In nod to European missile defense, Russia rolls out Iskander missiles

he missile brigade of the Western Military District has become the first unit of the Russian Armed Forces to make the switch to Iskander tactical missile systems, military spokesman Col. Andrey Bobrun told Interfax-AVN on Thursday.

­As the rhetoric between Russia and the US heats up over the latter’s plan to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, the Russian military said it is introducing a state-of-the-art missile system to defend the western part of the country.

"The Western Military District's missile brigade, the first one in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation that has been fully equipped with the most advanced missile systems, known as Iskander, launched tactical exercises at a training range in the Leningrad region today," Bobrun said.

The Iskander missile systems are expected to eventually phase out the Tochka tactical missile systems, which have been used by the Armed Forces since the 1970s.

Bobrun said the new missile system clearly outperforms its predecessor.

"The Iskander complex outperforms its predecessor in all characteristics, including its flight range, target accuracy, warhead weight, ammunition quantity and its speed of movement on paved roads, as well as the cross-country terrain," he said. more

EU Considers Ban on Country Ratings

This week alone has seen a ratings downgrade for Spain as well as a threat by agencies to review France's AAA status -- and the markets have taken notice. Once again, it would seem, ratings agencies are making things difficult for European countries.

Now, the European Union is considering doing something about it.

European Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier is considering a move to ban the agencies from publishing outlook reports on EU countries entangled in a crisis, according to a report in Thursday's issue of the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

In an internal draft of a reform to an EU law applying to ratings agencies obtained by the paper, Barnier proposes providing the new EU securities authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), with the right to "temporarily prohibit" the publication of forecasts of a country's liquidity.

The European Commission is particularly concerned about countries that are negotiating financial aid -- for example from the euro rescue backstop fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), or the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A ban could prevent a rating from coming at an "inopportune moment" and having "negative consequences for the financial stability of a country and a possible destabilizing effect on the global economy," the draft states. more

The 'Absurd Logic' of Leveraging the EFSF

Following the news that Berlin and Paris remain divided on how to make the euro-zone bailout fund more effective, European efforts to stem the debt crisis have taken another blow thanks to a split between the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

The IMF has rated EU projections for Greece's debt as too optimistic, and wants to delay approval of the next tranche of aid until after the Brussels summit this weekend to see if a clearer picture emerges, EU officials said.

Without a loan payment of €8 billion euros from the EU and IMF, Greece faces a default next month, a development that could also threaten to drag Spain and Italy into the mire through a contagion effect. Euro-zone leaders are racing to agree on new steps to reduce Greece's debt, strengthen the capital of banks and leverage the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) euro backstop fund to stem contagion to bigger economies -- but progress appears slow. more

Should George Bush / Obama face the same fate as Gadaffi for their own crimes against humanity?

‘Young Scots facing jobs crisis’ -- 25% now out of work

A QUARTER of young men in Scotland are out of work, prompting fears of a growing “youth unemployment crisis”.

More than 80,000 men and women aged between 18 and 24 are looking for a job, according to figures yesterday from the Office for National Statistics.

This is up from 33,000 in early 2008 and means that 20.7 per cent of this age group – or one in five – are now jobless.

For young men the situation is worse, with 25.8 per cent of males aged 18 to 24 not working, according to the statistics.

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said: “Behind these figures are thousands of tales of tragedy, as bright kids leave school with no jobs, no training, no chances.

“Scotland is now in the grip of a systemic youth employment crisis and the Scottish Government has a profound responsibility to act. If they haven’t already got the message, these figures should act as a wake-up call.”

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray added: “These figures paint a depressing picture of a generation of young Scots rich in talent, full of potential and with a hunger to work but let down by an SNP government whose economic plan isn’t working.”

Other figures released by Labour showed that last month, 4.1 per cent of Scots were out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance, a higher rate than the 3.8 per cent recorded south of the Border. more

Majority of Britons favour UK break-up: Scotland to become independent soon?

ALEX Salmond has claimed there is “a deep undercurrent of support” for Scottish independence across the UK and a demand for a “new relationship” between the nations of the British Isles.

It came as a UK-wide poll of 2,000 people showed majority backing for the creation of an independent Scotland and the end of the 300-year-old Union.

But the First Minister rejected calls to bring forward the date for an independence referendum, expected in 2014 or 2015, saying “no amount of blustering” from Prime Minister David Cameron would change his mind.

Mr Salmond seized on the ComRes poll, which showed a six-point surge in British support for separatism since May, as evidence of a “substantial amount of support” among “ordinary folk in England” for the SNP’s flagship policy of a spilt with the UK.

The poll showed 39 per cent of those surveyed throughout the UK agreed Scotland should be independent, with 38 per cent disagreeing.

The result could have far-reaching ramifications for the independence poll, with unionist MPs taking less interest in the vote if their constituents are supportive of a break-up of the UK.

A separate poll, the latest Scottish social attitudes survey, published yesterday, added weight to Mr Salmond’s suggestions, showing 74 per cent of Scots believe the Scottish Government should have most influence over their everyday lives. more

General Electric creating 2000 jobs... in India: "Screw you, America"

The US based company General Electric (NYSE:GE) has announced that they plan to build a $200 million multi-product plant in Pune, India, part of the company’s strategy to localize production while expanding in the Indian market space by 20-30 percent over the next year.

Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric (NYSE:GE) chairman, said that, “Our new integrated manufacturing facility is coming up near Pune on a 68-acre plot for making a wide portfolio of products for the Indian market. The company says 2,000 jobs will be created and the facility will begin with 450,000 square feet that can be expanded up to 1 million square feet if needed.” more

Debt Champions

Keiser Report: Live by Fraud, Die by Fraud (E198)

Documentary: The War You Dont See (A Guerra que voce nao ve)

A Guerra que voce nao ve - The War You Dont See (2010) Legendado PT from MDDVTM TV11 on Vimeo.



Editor's Note: Up until now we have only been able to publish the trailer for this movie. John Pilger's film documentary has been widely censored in the United States. But our intrepid Axis readers who offer penetrating insights in our Readers Comment section, The Black Widow and The Dream found it on Vimeo after a long and tedious search. We are grateful to them for finding the full movie and sending it to us. The Dream reports that it is listed as "See the Video Free Online" in many places on the web, only to find that it had been removed. Pilger's film is definitely one that you'll want to see and one the real state terrorists don't want you to see. A description of the film can be found below the video. source

Foreclosure deal near as banks win more immunity: This is why we protest

Talks between U.S. states and top banks over mortgage abuses are nearing agreement on a major sticking point that has bogged down settlement negotiations for more than a year.

A deal could be reached by the end of the month, according to three people familiar with the talks.

Under the proposed terms of the settlement -- which could total $25 billion -- banks would get broad legal immunity from state lawsuits in exchange for refinancing underwater loans, those mortgages where borrowers owe more than their homes are worth, the sources said.

The deal could provide some relief to the battered U.S. housing market and clear up some uncertainty about banks' legal exposure that has been a drag on their shares.

Banks have been holding out on a multi-billion-dollar settlement because they wanted broader legal immunity than state attorneys general were prepared to offer.

Originally, the states were only considering immunity for shortcuts taken during mortgage servicing and foreclosures, including the so-called "robo-signing" of documents to evict people behind on their mortgages. more

America’s Secret Empire of Drone Bases

They increasingly dot the planet. There’s a facility outside Las Vegas where “pilots” work in climate-controlled trailers, another at a dusty camp in Africa formerly used by the French Foreign Legion, a third at a big air base in Afghanistan where Air Force personnel sit in front of multiple computer screens, and a fourth at an air base in the United Arab Emirates that almost no one talks about.

And that leaves at least 56 more such facilities to mention in an expanding American empire of unmanned drone bases being set up worldwide. Despite frequent news reports on the drone assassination campaign launched in support of America’s ever-widening undeclared wars and a spate of stories on drone bases in Africa and the Middle East, most of these facilities have remained unnoted, uncounted, and remarkably anonymous -- until now.

Run by the military, the Central Intelligence Agency, and their proxies, these bases -- some little more than desolate airstrips, others sophisticated command and control centers filled with computer screens and high-tech electronic equipment -- are the backbone of a new American robotic way of war. They are also the latest development in a long-evolving saga of American power projection abroad -- in this case, remote-controlled strikes anywhere on the planet with a minimal foreign “footprint” and little accountability.

Using military documents, press accounts, and other open source information, an in-depth analysis by TomDispatch has identified at least 60 bases integral to U.S. military and CIA drone operations. There may, however, be more, since a cloak of secrecy about drone warfare leaves the full size and scope of these bases distinctly in the shadows. more

Flood costs Nebraska $189 million in agricultural activity

The Nebraska Farm Bureau has confirmed what Nebraska farmers have known for months: This year's flood was economically devastating.

With farmland in 14 Nebraska counties under Missouri River floodwater, the state lost nearly $189 million in economic activity from agriculture this year, a study released Tuesday by the bureau said.

Bureau President Keith Olsen said the loss goes beyond the corn and soybeans farmers planted before the water started to rise.

"There's a number of farmers who either lost all or part of their crops for the year," Olsen said. "It impacts the whole community. You don't have the harvest expense -- people buying fuel or hiring help."

The state also lost $57.8 million in wages from the flood, the study found.

Business dropped off at grain elevators in the counties affected by the floodwater. Burt and Washington counties, the hardest hit, lost more than $28 million. The two counties each saw several fields swamped when the water rose in early summer.

In Southeast Nebraska, Nemaha County lost more than $12 million, the study said, and was the state's fourth-worst hit. Richardson and Otoe counties also were hit hard, losing $8 million and $6 million, respectively. Cass County also lost $6 million. more

Pepe Escobar: Oil behind US nose poking in Uganda

Pakistan Army Chief warns US, flexes nuke muscle

Texas Gulf Coast Sees Largest Algae Bloom In Years

Historic drought conditions are fueling the largest algae bloom in more than a decade along the Texas Gulf Coast, killing fish, sparking warnings about beach conditions and making throats scratchy, researchers said Monday.

The extent of the so-called red tide bloom came as no surprise to biologists because the microscopic algae love warm, salty water. Since March, Texas has recorded seven of the 10 driest months in 116 years, so scientists had anticipated a red tide.

Earlier this summer, Texas Parks and Wildlife marine biologist Meridith Byrd said she hosted a meeting of researchers to discuss how best to respond.

"People have gone back and looked through the weather patterns and records and noted that red tides tended to occur in dry years." Byrd said.

In a wet year, when plenty of freshwater is flowing into Texas bays from rivers the salinity levels stay lower and stop any red tide that might try to encroach from deeper in the Gulf of Mexico, she said. That hasn't been the case this year.

The geographic scope of this red tide – affecting areas from Galveston to South Padre Island – is the largest since 2000, Byrd said from her office in Victoria. A variety of dead fish have been reported washing up in places since last month – including a 6-foot tarpon on Padre Island this weekend, but so far this bloom hasn't produced a fish kill as severe as others, Byrd said. more

Evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts

Far from being "alarmist," predictions from climate scientists in many cases are proving to be more conservative than observed climate-induced impacts.

The warnings were dire: 188 predictions showing that climate-induced changes to the environment would put 7 percent of all plant and animal species on the globe - one out of every 14 critters - at risk of extinction.

Predictions like these have earned climate scientists the obloquy from critics for being "alarmist" - dismissed for using inflated descriptions of doom and destruction to push for action, more grant money or a global government.

But as the impacts of climate change become apparent, many predictions are proving to underplay the actual impacts. Reality, in many instances, is proving to be far worse than most scientists expected.

"We're seeing mounting evidence now that the scientific community, rather than overstating the claim or being alarmist, is the opposite," said Naomi Oreskes, a science historian with the University of California, San Diego. "Scientists have been quite conservative ... in a lot of important and different areas." more

Eurasian Union idea takes shape: What does this mean for the West?

The idea to form the Eurasian Economic Union has taken a specific shape, as prime ministers of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan coordinated a relevant draft declaration. The declaration is expected to be signed by the three sides’ presidents as early as in December this year, Russian PM Vladimir Putin said summing up the results of the two-day meeting with his CIS counterparts in St. Petersburg. The discussion mainly focused on the integration processes across the post-Soviet space.

The degree of integration within the Commonwealth of Independent States becomes clear after a mere look at the meeting’s agenda. The first day witnessed negotiations between CIS heads of government resulting in a historical agreement to create a free trade zone on the territory of the eight countries. The second day saw the dialogue continue in the five-party format of the EuroAsian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and the Customs Union trio. One of the focal points was the common economic space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan - the three countries that coordinated a draft declaration on the Eurasian Economic Union.

Ideas of the new integration project were recently outlined by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in his interview with the Izvestiya newspaper. “The establishment of a customs union and common economic space lays the foundation for a future Eurasian Economic Union. We suggest creating a powerful supra-national union capable of becoming a pole in the modern world, and at the same time an effective connection between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region,” the article reads. more

The US power grab in Africa

Beware of strangers bearing gifts. Post-modern Amazon and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally landed in Tripoli - on a military jet - to lavish praise on the dodgy Transitional National Council (TNC), those pportunists/defectors/Islamists formerly known as "North Atlantic Treaty Organization rebels".

Clinton was greeted on Tuesday "on the soil of free Libya" (her words) by what the New York Times quaintly described as an "irregular militia" (translation: a heavily armed gang that is already raising hell against other heavily armed gangs), before meeting TNC chairman Mustafa Abdel-NATO (formerly known as Jalil).

The bulk of the US gifts - US$40 million - on top of the $135 million already disbursed since February (most of it military "aid") is for a missile scramble conducted by "contractors" (ie mercenaries) trying to track the tsunami of mobile anti-aircraft rockets that by now are already conveniently ensconced in secret Islamist warehouses.

Clinton told students at the University of Tripoli, "We are on your side." She could not possibly connect the dots and note that the shabab (young people) who started demonstrating against Muammar Gaddafi in February have absolutely nothing to do with the TNC's opportunists/defectors/Islamists who hijacked the protests. But she did have time to unveil another US foreign policy "secret" - that the US wants Gaddafi "dead or alive", George W Bush-style (or as the beneficiary of targeted assassination, Barack Obama-style). more

France: "If there isn't a solution by Sunday, everything is going to collapse"

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has raised the stakes dramatically in Europe's debt crisis.

"If there isn't a solution by Sunday, everything is going to collapse," he told his inner circle before an emergency trip on Wednesday night to see German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Frankfurt.

The talks are deadlocked, reflecting a deep rift between Euroland's two great powers. The French fear the EU's €440bn EFSF rescue fund will not be enough to shore up monetary union without mobilising the might of the European Central Bank as lender of last resort. It is a view shared by UBS, Citigroup, RBS and the US Treasury.

Mr Sarkozy wants the fund to operate as a bank, able to leverage its rescue power by tapping the ECB's credit window. This is less likely to endanger France's AAA credit rating. Yet the idea is anathema to Germany and Bundesbank purists.

Paris has grave doubts about Mrs Merkel's demand for larger "haircuts" – perhaps 50pc – for Greek bondholders. Such a move risks triggering default, crystallising crippling losses for French banks and courting "Lehman-style" contagion.

Mr Sarkozy's task is made harder by bail-out fatigue and mounting euroscepticism in the Bundestag. "It is not just Merkel we need to convince, the coalition is divided," he said. more

In Syria, protests mutate to armed resistance amid economic meltdown

The cell phone video stutters as it records the movement of soldiers and Syrian militia on the streets from an upstairs window. A whispered commentary describes the scene. Another video shows vehicles riddled with bullet holes, shattered apartments, glass shards and concrete lumps mixed with patches of blood. In yet another, protesters flee as heavy-caliber weapons fire ricochets off buildings.

All are scenes purportedly filmed in recent days in Homs, Syria's third-largest city. Security forces have sealed off entire neighborhoods; others are blocked by barricades thrown up by protesters. At night, street rallies take place in areas "liberated" from government control. The many videos uploaded on social media sites, as well as residents' accounts, suggest some neighborhoods in Homs -- at the heart of opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad -- are beginning to resemble Sarajevo at the height of the Bosnian civil war.

That resistance is now becoming more organized and armed. Army deserters calling themselves the Free Syrian Army are helping with the defense of districts opposed to the regime. Some opposition activists say it's time for the international community to declare a no-fly zone over Syria, as it did in Libya, to blunt the regime's overwhelming military advantage. (There is no sign that Western powers are willing to do this.)

Confrontations are also taking on sectarian overtones that could lead to a wider explosion of communal violence. There have been sectarian shootings and assassinations of prominent local people outside their homes. Residents say the government has begun deploying largely Alawite militia in Sunni neighborhoods such as Khaldiye, Bab Sbaa, Bab Dreïb and Bab Amro. Though Syria is majority Sunni, its leadership tends to belong to the Alawite sect. more

Women rescue Cambodian sex slaves -- while one of their daughters remains kidnapped and missing

The scary prospect of global drone warfare

Drone technology is spreading rapidly. As many as 50 countries are developing or purchasing these systems, including China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran.

Even non-state actors are involved. Hezbollah reportedly has deployed an Iranian-designed drone. Iran is developing a new drone aircraft with a range of more than 600 miles. These systems are used mostly for surveillance, but it is not difficult to equip the aircraft with missiles and bombs. Recently in Massachusetts, a man was arrested for plotting to place explosives on a drone aircraft and fly it into the Pentagon or the Capitol building. Private contractors are getting into the business as well. We now have companies offering drones-for-hire.

What kind of a future are we creating for our children? We face the prospect of a world in which every nation will have drone warfare capability, in which terror can rain down from the sky at any moment without warning.

Military planners are developing technologies for autonomous drones, aircraft that are supposedly "intelligent" and can make their own decisions on when to unleash lethal force. Will we give machines the power to kill people? more

Can China Reinvent Itself?

Can China reinvent itself? by Giles Chance, author of "China and the Credit Crisis: The Emergence of a New World Order."

If a Chinese person who died in 1980 was to revisit China today, what would surprise him most? Would it be the highway system and the fact that today, most cars in China are driven by private individuals? Would it be the Chinese digital mobile network, or the I-Pad? I suspect it would be none of these things. I think that what would astonish our recent ancestors most would be the variety of food on display in Chinese supermarkets (of course, there were no Chinese supermarkets in 1980), and the quantity of food that Chinese families eat every day.

But if we were to return to China in thirty years’ time from today – in 2041 - would we be as amazed as our ancestor of 1980? The Chinese economy finds itself in 2011 at a crossroads, as China continues to struggle with the inflationary after-effects of its huge post-crisis spending package, and as the Chinese Government attempts to rebalance China’s and the world economy by switching growth away from exports towards domestic demand. In its eastern provinces, China has reached middle-income status. Many of the countries reaching this intermediate level of economic development stagnate. And China faces an increasing economic headwind from an aging population, aggravated by the legacy of China’s one-child policy. more

Student Loan Debt Hits Record Levels, Now Greater than Credit Card Debt

Students and workers seeking retraining are borrowing extraordinary amounts of money through federal loan programs, potentially putting a huge burden on the backs of young people looking for jobs and trying to start careers.

The amount of student loans taken out last year crossed the $100 billion mark for the first time and total loans outstanding will exceed $1 trillion for the first time this year. Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards, reports the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Students are borrowing twice what they did a decade ago after adjusting for inflation, the College Board reports. Total outstanding debt has doubled in the past five years — a sharp contrast to consumers reducing what's owed on home loans and credit cards. more

Has Market Sentiment Diverged From Reality?

If there's nothing to fear but fear itself, as U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt contended during the Great Depression, then the world economy in 2011 has reached an interesting juncture between sentiment and reality.

The grim facts of the now four-year-old credit crisis and western economic funk are undeniable, even if still some distance from the ravages of the 1930s.

And there are some who argue the unhappy confluence of crippling household and government debt, policy exhaustion, aging populations and resource scarcity spells a long depression-like period of near-zero Western economic growth ahead.

But there is also a danger that all the negativity itself will push the global economy over the edge. As Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO of the largest U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa Inc, said last week: "It almost looks like the world is worrying itself into another recession."

The stability of the modern interlinked world economy, with its rapid transmission of information and shocks globally, has never been more dependent on confidence—confidence in the smooth functioning of markets, the predictability of government policy and future employment. more

Gloom Grips Consumers, and It May Be About Home Prices

Ernest Markey lost his stone-cutting business in 2009. He then sold his home for half a million dollars less than its value at the peak of the housing bubble and moved with his wife, Marie, to a smaller home in a less affluent suburb. They gave up two new cars and bought one. Used.

The Markeys have since patched together a semblance of their old life, opening a new stone-cutting shop. But they do not expect that they will ever recover financially from the loss of equity in their old home.

“For two years I kept thinking that things would get better,” Markey, 51, said as he stood in his empty store on a recent weekday. “Now I think the future doesn’t look so good.”

The United States has a confidence problem: a nation long defined by irrational exuberance has turned gloomy about tomorrow. Consumers are holding back, businesses are suffering and the economy is barely growing.

There are good reasons for gloom — incomes have declined, many people cannot find jobs, few trust the government to make things better — but as Federal Reserve [cnbc explains] chairman, Ben Bernanke, noted earlier this year, those problems are not sufficient to explain the depth of the funk. more

Did a slap start a global revolution?

Obama's bus tour costing taxpayers thousands

If Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain or any of the other presidential challengers were to embark on a three-day bus trip like the one now underway by President Obama, it would cost their campaigns tens of thousands of dollars. Perhaps more.

They would have to pay a variety of expenses, including:

air travel to their first destination
leasing of one or more buses appropriate to the journey
rental for halls or meeting rooms for their candidates' appearances
the cost of lodging and meals for their candidate and staff

But not the Obama campaign. The White House declared that Mr. Obama's three-day trip through North Carolina and Virginia are official events and not campaign appearances, even though the two states are known to be political objectives of his re-election bid.

So Mr. Obama's expenses are borne by taxpayers, including:

the pro-rated costs of his flights aboard Marine One and Air Force One that brought him to his first stop yesterday in Asheville, NC
the two buses used by him and his staff, owned and operated by the United States Secret Service
costs associated with setting up speech sites including microphones, speakers, amplifiers, teleprompters and TV lights
lodging and meals for the president and his political staff

It's an advantage enjoyed by every incumbent president seeking re-election -- and a disadvantage endured by his challengers. And though the White House has said the trip is not political, Mr. Obama has repeatedly used his speeches to take Republicans to task for opposing the provisions of his jobs bill. more

plan would offer tax break for hiring felons -- what about citizens who haven't broken any laws?

San Francisco businesses that hire people with felony convictions would get a tax break, under legislation expected to be introduced today.

"Ex-felons are among the most challenged populations in getting work," said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who is crafting the plan.

Persuading an employer to hire a convicted felon, particularly in this economy when the unemployment rate is hovering just under 10 percent, is difficult, especially when there's a wide pool of job applicants without felony records.

But offering businesses a monetary incentive may get them to consider hiring someone with a criminal past, said Mirkarimi, who chairs the Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee and is a candidate for sheriff in the Nov. 8 election. more

Top Income in U.S. Is...Gasp!...Wash. D.C. Area

Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show.

The U.S. capital has swapped top spots with Silicon Valley, according to recent Census Bureau figures, with the typical household in the Washington metro area earning $84,523 last year. The national median income for 2010 was $50,046.

The figures demonstrate how the nation’s political and financial classes are prospering as the economy struggles with unemployment above 9 percent and thousands of Americans protest in the streets against income disparity, said Kevin Zeese, director of Prosperity Agenda, a Baltimore-based advocacy group trying to narrow the divide between rich and poor.

“There’s a gap that’s isolating Washington from the reality of the rest of the country,” Zeese said. “They just get more and more out of touch.”

Total compensation for federal workers, including health care and other benefits, last year averaged $126,369, compared with $122,697 in 2009, according to Bloomberg News calculations of Commerce Department data. There were 170,467 federal employees in the District of Columbia as of June. The Washington area includes the District of Columbia, parts of Northern Virginia, eastern Maryland and eastern West Virginia. more

NASA and space agencies purposefully omitting information regarding space events and objects?

PART ONE:



PART TWO:

FOX News Mocks Occupy Wall Street -- Don't worry, the Coming Crisis has got your back

Anti-capitalist protests held in 951 cities worldwide (probably more)

Protesters torched cars, smashed up banks and set fire to a military building in Rome in the worst violence of worldwide demonstrations against corporate greed and government cutbacks.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of the Italian capital for a march that turned violent and equal numbers rallied in Madrid and Lisbon, while Wikileaks founder Julian Assange joined angry demonstrators in London.

The protests were inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in the United States and the "Indignants" in Spain, targeting 951 cities in 82 countries across the planet in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

It was the biggest show of power yet by a movement born on May 15 when a rally in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square sparked a worldwide movement that focused anger over unemployment and opposition to the financial elite.

"I think it is very moving that the movement that was born here has extended throughout the world. It was about time for people to rise up," said 24-year-old Carmen Martin as she marched towards Puerta del Sol.

In the Portuguese capital, where some 50,000 rallied, Mathieu Rego, 25, said: "We are victims of financial speculation and this austerity programme is going to ruin us. We have to change this rotten system."

The protests received unexpected support from Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi, a former executive at Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs set to take over as president of the European Central Bank.

"They're angry against the world of finance. I understand them," he added, though expressing regrets at reports of violence. more

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN ALASKA - 22nd Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Southern Alaska at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:32:20 UTC Saturday 22nd October 2011.
The epicenter was 56 km ( 35 miles) Southwest of Skwentna, Alaska
No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

42 children sickened in north China food poisoning incident

Forty-two children have been sickened in a food poisoning incident at a kindergarten in north China's Hebei Province, local authorities said Friday.

On the afternoon of Oct. 15, 42 children began showing symptoms of diarrhea and fever at the Minzu Kindergarten, located in the Qiaoxi district of the city of Zhangjiakou, according to a statement from the publicity department of the district committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

All of the sickened children were taken to a local hospital for treatment. As of Friday, four of the sickened children remain in the hospital, while the others have all been discharged, according to the statement.

A test of the kindergarten's food, drinking water and tableware showed the incident was caused by a minor bacteria infection, it said.

In another food poisoning case, 22 students became ill on Monday after eating food contaminated by rat poison at the Xiaoliuzhai Primary School in the city of Wenshan in southwest China's Yunnan province, resulting in one death. Five of the students remained in serious condition as of Wednesday. source

‘High-class terrorists running US, UK and France’



As some European leaders demonstrate a celebratory mood over the violent death of Colonel Gaddafi, they are no less terrorists themselves, claims international consultant and author Adrian Salbuchi.

­Salbuchi said Gaddafi’s death was undoubtedly a message for the whole world, as it is not just about Libya.

“We are seeing how Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State expressed it very clearly: ‘We came, we saw, he died,’ and then started laughing. This is a message to the world of how this new world order model actually works,” he stated. “When they decide to change the regime, they do so with the utmost violence, and it is a whole model. First they target a country by calling it a rogue state; then they support local terrorists and call them freedom fighters; then they bring death and destruction upon civilians and they call it UN sanctions. Then they spread lies and call it the International Community’s opinion expressed by the Western media. Then they invade and control the country and call it liberation and finally they steal appetizing oil and call it foreign investment and reconstruction,” Salbuchi explained.

At the moment Western powers are hailing a democratic future for Libya. When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 the US also thought it was all over – but it had only just begun. And according to Salbuchi, it is going to be the same, or even worse, for Libya.

“I think one of the reasons why Gaddafi’s country has been invaded and he has been killed is because he had plans to introduce the gold dinar as a golden currency that could very easily have become a major currency at least in North Africa and in the oil market,” he said. “Don’t forget Libya has the ninth-largest oil reserve in the world and the main oil reserve in all of Africa, so I think this definitely smells of oil and greed on the part of Western companies. They are just using this to justify they have supported the worst terrorists probably because in the White House and Palais de l'Élysée in France, and at 10 Downing Street, we also have very high-class terrorists and mafias running those countries and the better part of the world,” he pointed out.

He added the US, France, Britain and NATO should be held accountable for the sectarian violence, should it take place in Libya. more

Doomed German Satellite to Fall to Earth This Weekend

A defunct German satellite is expected to fall to Earth this weekend, with experts predicting that up to 30 big pieces of the junked spacecraft could hit the planet. But exactly when and where the satellite will fall remains a mystery.

The 2.7-ton Roentgen Satellite, or ROSAT, will likely plummet to Earth on Saturday or Sunday (Oct. 22 or 23), according to the latest update from the German Aerospace Center.

"Currently, the re-entry date can only be calculated to within plus/minus one day," agency officials said in a statement. "This time slot of uncertainty will be reduced as the date of re-entry approaches. However, even one day before re-entry, the estimate will only be accurate to within plus/minus five hours."

ROSAT weighs about 5,348 pounds (2,426 kilograms) and launched into orbit in June 1990 as part of a joint mission by Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1998, the satellite's star tracker failed, which caused its X-ray sensors to point directly at the sun. This permanently damaged the spacecraft, and ROSAT was officially decommissioned in February 1999. [Photos of Doomed ROSAT Satellite]

The falling German satellite's impending plunge through the atmosphere comes about a month after an old NASA climate satellite also fell uncontrolled to Earth, in what was a much publicized event. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) splashed into the Pacific Ocean, well away from the North American coastline, on Sept. 24. more

Zurana Horton, pregnant mom, dies shielding schoolchildren from rooftop gunman in Brooklyn

A gunman perched on a Brooklyn rooftop opened fire Friday, grazing an 11-year-old girl and killing a pregnant woman who was shielding several of her kids.

A second woman was wounded when the the gunman unleashed a hail of bullets from atop a building near Public School 298 in Brownsville about 2:30 p.m., police said.

Zurana Horton, the 33-year-old pregnant woman, was hit in the head in front of the Lucky Supermarket at Pitkin Ave. and Watkins St. after she threw herself over a group of children, cops and witnesses said.

"Moments before, she was seen hovering over several children to protect them," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

The second woman was shot in the arm and chest. The 31-year-old was listed in stable condition at Brookdale University Hospital. The 11-year-old girl, identified as Cheanne McKnight, a 6th-grader at P.S. 298, was being treated at Brookdale for a graze wound to the cheek.

A source said Horton, a mother of 13, had just picked up one of her kids from nearby P.S. 298. A teacher ran to her side and whisked at least one of her children into a nearby firehouse for safety. more

Drivers face drug checkpoints on highways near Flint: Please have your "papers" ready

Motorists driving on expressways around Flint are getting surprised by a stunning tactic that the Genesee County sheriff has been using to fight the flow of illegal drugs -- one that legal experts said will not withstand a court challenge.

At least seven times this month, including Tuesday, motorists have said they have seen a pickup towing a large sign on I-69 or U.S.-23 that depicts the sheriff's badge and warns: "Sheriff narcotics check point, 1 mile ahead -- drug dog in use."

The checkpoints are part of a broad sweep for drugs that Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell and his self-titled Sheriff's Posse said are needed, calling Flint a crossroads of drug dealing because nearly a half-dozen major roads and expressways pass in and around the city. Pickell said he decided to try checkpoints when he learned that drug shipments might be passing through Flint in tractor-trailers with false compartments. more

Gaddafi's death breached the law, says Russia

As politicians in Western capitals were taking quiet pleasure in the capture and killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi yesterday, opinions elsewhere were divided.

In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Geneva Conventions had been breached with the killing of Colonel Gaddafi.

"We have to lean on facts and international laws," Mr Lavrov said. "They say that a captured participant of an armed conflict should be treated in a certain way. And in any case, a prisoner of war should not be killed."

Russia has been critical of Nato military action in Libya, saying that it has gone well beyond the stated mission of saving civilian life. The main concern for Moscow now is whether the new Libyan authorities will honour contracts signed by the Gaddafi regime. As well as the oil and arms trade, Russian Railways had secured a £2bn contract to construct a railway line between Sirte and Benghazi. Moscow recognised the National Transitional Council as the official government of Libya last month and said it expected all existing contracts to be honoured.

China, which like Russia abstained in the Security Council vote on whether to use force against Colonel Gaddafi's troops, was quicker yesterday to change its tune. Beijing initially refused to support the rebels and had been highly critical of the bombing campaign. But as realities on the ground altered, in recent weeks the Chinese government had started to engage with the rebel movement.

"A new page has been turned in the history of Libya," a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said yesterday. "We hope Libya will rapidly embark on an inclusive political process ... and allow the people to live in peace and happiness," she said. more

Germany warns Facebook over face-recognition app

Facebook has until November 7 to bring its facial recognition software into conformity with privacy laws in Germany and the European Union or face legal action, a government lawyer told AFP Friday.

"We have had extended negotiations with Facebook and have clearly stressed our position," Johannes Caspar, a lawyer working on the case, told AFP.

"We have given them until November 7," to change the application to conform with privacy laws, he added.

Now was the time for Facebook to make a decision, he said.

"If our demands are not met, we will be obliged to take the legal path...," to force them to conform with the law, he said.

Facebook's controversial application, which has been very popular with users, allows users to identify people through online photos.

But for Berlin, it violates both German and European data protection laws. Germany has accused the US-based company of collecting data without the explicit consent of Facebook users.

"When the data are recorded, Facebook has to have the explicit consent of the person concerned, which is not the case at the moment...," Caspar said.

In August, the Hamburg-based lawyer called on Facebook to delete all the data collected by the biometric facial recognition application, although he did not go as far as to call for the application itself to be withdrawn.

Facebook refused to comply with the request. more

Great White shark kills US diver in Australia; second attack in 12 days

A Great White shark has killed a US diver in what is thought to be the second fatal shark attack in Western Australia in 12 days.

The diver, 32, who has not been named, was diving alone off Rottnest Island near Perth on Saturday.

Witnesses on his boat saw a large amount of bubbles surfacing, followed by the diver's body which police said had obviously fatal injuries.

Two people on the boat described the shark as a 3-metre (10ft) Great White.

Sharks attack more often in cloudy weather and police said the day had been overcast.

The man's name and hometown have not been released, but authorities said he was living in Australia on a working visa. more

Turkey and Iran 'collaborating against Kurdish rebels'

Turkey and Iran have vowed to co-operate to defeat separatist Kurdish militants, on the third day of a Turkish offensive on its Iraq border.

The Kurdish militants posed a "common problem" for Turkey and Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on an unscheduled trip to Ankara.

Turkey vowed jointly to "totally eliminate" the "terrorist threat".

Turkey's latest offensive was triggered by rebel attacks which killed 24 Turkish soldiers on Tuesday.

Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships flew bombing sorties against the main base of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels in Iraq, the Qandil Mountain on the Iraq-Iran border, local media reports said.

Hundreds of Turkish soldiers - said to include commandos and special forces - were hunting PKK fighters around the Zap river a few kilometres inside Iraqi territory, Reuters news agency quoted Turkish security officials as saying. more

Greece may need 60 percent bond writedown; EU at odds

Private holders of Greek debt may need to accept losses of up to 60 percent on their investments if Greece's debt mountain is to be made more sustainable in the long-term, a downbeat analysis by the EU and IMF showed on Friday.

Euro zone finance ministers threw Greece a lifeline on Friday by agreeing to approve an 8 billion euro loan tranche that Athens needs next month to pay its bills.

But the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- the so-called troika -- issued a gloomy report on Greece's ability to pay its debts.

Among three scenarios it examined, the only one that would reduce Greece's debt pile to 110 percent of GDP -- a level still regarded as high -- was one in which private bond holders agreed to a 60 percent haircut.

"To reduce debt below 110 percent of GDP by 2020 would require a face value reduction of at least 60 percent and/or more concessional official sector financing terms," the debt sustainability report, obtained by Reuters, showed. more

Soaring fuel prices push Queen towards "fuel poverty"

The Queen is coming perilously close to joining millions of her subjects in “fuel poverty” as energy bills for four palaces and a draughty castle absorb a rising share of her income.

About 4m households in England have fallen into fuel poverty, a situation in which a homeowner must spend 10 per cent of their annual income to keep their abode acceptably warm.

The royal household is aware of its predicament. Signs in Buckingham Palace headlined FUEL ECONOMY sternly warn: “The attention is drawn of all members of staff to the need to switch off unwanted lights. By Order of The Master of The Household.”

The Queen herself prowls the corridors, switching off superfluous lights, a Buckingham Palace employee said.

Royal accounts show the Queen’s electricity and gas bill was £2.2m in 2010-11, or 6.9 per cent of the monarchy’s total income from the government. more

Meteorite crashes into sea sparked a search and rescue mission , Coast of Whitstable, England - 22nd Oct 2011

A meteorite falling into the sea sparked a search and rescue mission last night after two people reported they saw a plane crash into the water off the coast of Whitstable.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called out after a pilot and another person both reported they saw what the thought was an aircraft crashing into the sea.

However, after firefighters from Whitstable and nearby Herne Bay scoured the area, no trace of the aircraft could be found.
Air traffic controllers, reported they didn’t have any planes missing, so eventually the search was called off, and put down to a meteorite falling to Earth.

Hundreds of meteorites are expected to streak across the sky this weekend as the Earth passes through a cloud of dust left by behind by a comet called Giacobini-Zinner.

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: "Two independent calls came in reporting a plane had crashed off the coast.

"Even a pilot who was looking out of his window reported a plane was in distress and had gone into the sea. Read More