Sunday, October 23, 2011

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 24th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of just 11.2 km ( 7 miles), the quake hit at 00:50:48 UTC Monday 24th October 2011.
The epicenter was 13 km ( 8 miles) ESE of Van, Turkey

At least 217 dead as many as 1000 people missing, dozens of buildings have collapsed and rescue and search efforts are being hampered by dozens of strong aftershocks.

In excess of 200 recorded aftershocks since the yesterday 23rd October 2011

24th October 4.0 Magnitude or Higher.

4.1 Magnitude - 2 km Depth - 01:08:10 UTC
4.0 Magnitude - 2 km Depth - 01:39:16 UTC
4.4 Magnitude - 2 km Depth - 03:45:38 UTC
4.7 Magnitude - 2 km Depth - 04:43:01 UTC
4.0 Magnitude - 2 km Depth - 05:34:03 UTC
4.6 Magnitude - 12 km Depth - 05:54:58 UTC
4.5 Magnitude - 5 km Depth - 06:46:41 UTC
4.6 Magnitude - 134 km Depth - 08:12:25 UTC

National Transitional Council confirmed Saif was Captured NOW Libyan revolutionaries close in on Gaddafi's fugitive son Saif ..Which is it?

Libyan revolutionary fighters are surrounding an area where a fugitive son of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, is believed to have taken refuge.

Rebel fighters said they were deploying south of the town of Bani Walid to an area where they believed Saif al-Islam was hiding after his flight from his father’s hometown of Sirte on Thursday.

Bani Walid, 100 miles south-west of Tripoli, fell to revolutionary forces earlier this month after soldiers loyal to Gaddafi put up determined resistance for several weeks.

Saif al-Islam was widely reported to have been based in the town during its resistance, before moving to Sirte.

National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said Gaddafi’s Niger-based security chief Abdullah al-Senussi had been in contact with Saif al-Islam to try to help him escape to the neighbouring country, ‘but our brigades are encircling this area south of Bani Walid’. Read More

Note: Big headlines announced yesterday 23rd October that Saif was uninjured and captured according to the National Council so which is it? Are some people worried that any of the Gaddafi family is captured alive? I predict the next headline to say: "Saif killed in fighting" but before let's remind you of yesterday s main news

Gaddafi's eldest son Saif captured 'alive and uninjured' claim Libyan officials - 23rd Oct 2011

There had been various reports of Saif's condition following the death of his father, with some reports that he had been shot, and even some claims that he had lost both arms.

However, a National Transitional Council spokesman told NBC last night that Saif and Moussa Ibrahim, the former media frontman for the Gaddafi's regime, were captured in Nessma, near Bani Walid, while they were being moved to Misrata.

Turkey Earthquake: at least 217 dead and Hundreds more Still Missing -

At least 217 people have been killed and hundreds more remain trapped under rubble after a powerful earthquake struck southeast Turkey.

Dozens of buildings were destroyed by the 7.2 magnitude quake near the city of Van and the town of Ercis, close to the Iranian border.

Tens of thousands of people rushed into the streets after the first tremor and were digging with shovels and their bare hands to free those trapped.

US scientists recorded over 100 aftershocks in eastern Turkey within 10 hours of the quake, including one with a magnitude of 6.0.

Authorities advised people to stay away from damaged homes, warning they could collapse in the aftershocks.

Interior minister Idris Naim Sahin said at least 100 people were killed in Van, 117 others died in Ercis, and around 1,090 were injured.

But officials estimate the death toll could rise to 1,000 as many people remain unaccounted for. Read More

6.0 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 23rd Oct 2011

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of just 9.8 km ( 6.1 miles), the quake hit at 20:45:37 UTC Sunday 23rd October 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km ( 13 miles) WNW of Van, Turkey

85 Confirmed dead - As many as 1000 feared dead as many buildings have collapsed
excess of 60 big aftershocks

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 23rd Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of just 64.2 km (39.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:58:33 UTC Sunday 23rd October 2011.
The epicenter was 127 km ( 79 miles) East of Morioka, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

Police pepper-sprayed football fans performing traditional dance - 23rd Oct 2011

A video has revealed the dramatic moment when police used pepper spray to break up a group of Polynesian men and boys performing a traditional dance after a high school football game.

Police in Roosevelt, Utah, are being accused of overreacting after a pair of officers had tried to disperse a dozen or so performers blocking an exit after the Union-Uintah game on Thursday night.

The Haka dance has been popularised by rugby players in New Zealand who chant, beat their chests and gesture aggressively before matches. Read More


Occupy Chicago: 'Take me next!' Protesters chant as 100 are arrested Sunday morning at demonstration - 23rd Oct 2011

Anti-Wall Street demonstrators of the Occupy Chicago movement stood their ground in a downtown park in noisy but peaceful defiance of police orders to clear out, prompting at least 100 arrests early Sunday.

Occupy Chicago spokesman Joshua Kaunert vowed after the arrests that protests would continue in the Midwest city.

'We're not going anywhere. There are still plenty of us,' Kaunert told The Associated Press after the arrests, which took police more than an hour to complete. Read More


5.1 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 23rd Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of just 9.6 km ( 6 miles), the quake hit at 18:10:46 UTC Sunday 23rd October 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km ( 12 miles) WNW of Van, Turkey

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake JAVA, INDONESIA - 23rd Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Java, Indonesia at a depth of just 46.9 km (29.1 miles), the quake hit at 17:45:24 UTC Sunday 23rd October 2011.
The epicenter was 114 km ( 71 miles) Southwest of Tasikmalaya, Java, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No reports of Damage or Injuries r
eported at this time

D-FOX: Please contact us if you can read this.

To D-fox: if you're reading this, please contact us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com. It's important -- we believe.

BP to risk worst ever oil spill in Shetlands drilling



BP is making contingency plans to fight the largest oil spill in history, as it prepares to drill more than 4,000 feet down in the Atlantic in wildlife-rich British waters off the Shetland Islands.

Internal company documents seen by The Independent show that the worst-case scenario for a spill from its North Uist exploratory well, to be sunk next year, would involve a leak of 75,000 barrels a day for 140 days – a total of 10.5 million barrels of oil, comfortably the world's biggest pollution disaster.

This would be more than double the amount of oil spilled from its Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico last year, which had a maximum leak rate of 62,000 barrels a day in an incident lasting 88 days – and triggered a social, economic and environmental catastrophe in the US which brought the giant multinational to the brink of collapse.

The North Uist well, in a seabed block named after the Hebridean island but located 80 miles north-west of Shetland, is part of BP's ongoing attempts to open up the West of Shetland sea area, sometimes referred to as the "Atlantic Frontier", as a rich new oil province to replace the dwindling productivity of the North Sea. more

Road to hell paved with bank bailouts

I stumbled out into the autumn sunshine, figures ricocheting around my head, still trying to absorb what I had heard. I felt as if I had just attended a funeral: a funeral at which all of us got buried.

I cannot claim to have understood everything in the lecture: Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu theory and the 41-line differential equation were approximately 15.8 metres over my head. But the points I grasped were clear enough. We're stuffed: stuffed to a degree that scarcely anyone yet appreciates.

Professor Steve Keen was one of the few economists to predict the financial crisis. While the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United States Federal Reserve foresaw a "great moderation", unprecedented stability and steadily rising wealth, he warned that a crash was bound to happen. Now he warns that the same factors that caused the crash show that what we've heard so far is merely the first rumble of the storm. Without a radical change of policy, another Great Depression is all but inevitable.

The problem is spelled out at greater length in the new edition of his book Debunking Economics. Like his lecture, it is marred by some unattractive boasting and jostling. But the graphs and figures it contains provide a more persuasive account of the causes of the crash and of its likely evolution than anything that has yet emerged from Constitution Avenue or Threadneedle Street. This is complicated, but it's in your interests to understand it. So please bear with me while I do my best to explain. more

‘Star Wars’ as alternative to missile defense -- Russia's intriguing idea

In a move to overcome the Russia-US deadlock over the missile defense, Moscow has reportedly come up with a new initiative: a global system to guard against missiles – as well as asteroids and other threats from space.

According to the plan, the system would be created jointly by Russia and NATO under the control of the United Nations, reports Kommersant newspaper. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia has the veto right and, therefore, would be able to influence the development of the project.

The idea was put forward by Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow’s envoy to the security alliance, writes the daily, citing diplomatic sources.

The package of proposals has yet to be formalized. The idea has been nicknamed “Strategic Defense of Earth” as an allusion to “The Strategic Defense Initiative’ – better known as “Star Wars” – suggested by former US President Ronald Reagan in 1983.The costly and highly-criticized plan for ground and space-based systems intended to make America invulnerable to nuclear attacks.

The point of the Russian “Star Wars” initiative is to focus on fighting threats coming from space rather than just missiles. The Washington-backed missile defense shield is customized purely for countering missiles “launched somewhere in the Middle East,” a source told Kommersant. Moscow proposes a different approach. It would be an integration of anti-aircraft, missile and space defenses.

“Thereby, the system… would be targeted against possible threats to Earth coming from space, including asteroids, comet fragments, and other alien bodies,” the source is cited as saying. The system should be capable of both monitoring the space and destroying any dangerous objects as they approach our planet. more

Obama administration 'bailed out' GM salmon firm

The Obama administration awarded a coveted research grant to a financially strapped company working to put genetically modified (GM) salmon on American dinner tables, overlooking disclosures that the firm could run out of cash in early 2012, it has emerged.

Campaigners say the $500,000 grant to AquaBounty amounts to a bail-out for the firm's main investor, the business tycoon and former economics minister of Georgia, Kakha Bendukidze. They are also comparing it to the Solyndra controversy, which saw a solar company go bankrupt after receiving government loan guarantees.

"Certainly this does have shades of Solyndra. We have seen this company's stock plummeting for months and months – years actually – and what does the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) do but give this company money?", said Colin O'Neil, a policy analyst at the Centre for Food Safety, which opposes GM salmon.

"This is research that any public university or independent institution could be doing, so why is the USDA funding this interested company to do it?" he said.

The grant, awarded last month, comes at a critical juncture for AquaBounty.

After $67m and 16 years' waiting, the Food and Drug Administration could pronounce GM salmon fit for human consumption within weeks, the company's chief executive, Ronald Stotish, said. more

US hawks hover over Iran

History seems to be repeating itself as the hawks who called for the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein are now rattling their sabers for war against Iran. But why are those who once called for a new American Century hopelessly stuck in a bygone era?

­In a bellicose diatribe published in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard, senior editor William Kristol accuses Iran of having the blood of American soldiers on its hands. Claiming that “force” is the only language the regime understands, he proceeds to call on the US Congress to “consider authorizing the use of force against Iranian entities that facilitate attacks on our troops, against IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) and other regime elements that sponsor terror, and against the regime’s nuclear weapons program.”

In an October 17 Foreign Policy initiative (FPI) Bulletin, executive director Jamie Fly toes the same line, proclaiming:

“Until now, the president has chosen to be the hapless victim of Iran’s machinations. It is time for President Obama to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and stand up to tyrants who kill Americans and threaten our interests.

It is time to take military action against the Iranian government elements that support terrorism and its nuclear program. More diplomacy is not an adequate response.” more

‘US want share of Libya success’ -- willing to take success payments in oil drums



US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton says Washington wants to see the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi captured or killed. Professor Paul Sheldon Foote says that the Obama administration believes this killing would be a justified one.

The statement came during her surprise visit to Libya at a meeting with senior members of the country's National Transitional Council.

She has also pledged millions of dollars in new aid, including medical care for wounded fighters and additional assistance to secure weaponry, which many fear could fall into the hands of extremists.

Most of the new aid money will go toward finding and destroying thousands of Gaddafi-era shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that are unaccounted for since the fighting began.

"The United States was proud to stand for you in your fight for freedom and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey," Clinton proclaimed during talks with National Transitional Council Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil.

Addressing leaders of the interim body, Clinton noted that the fighting wasn't over yet but vowed that NATO would continue to protect civilians as long as the threat continues. more

UK CPI inflation rate rises to 5.2% in September

The rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation in the UK matched its record high in September, rising to 5.2% from 4.5% the month before.

An increase in energy costs was behind a large proportion of the rise.

The 5.2% rate is the highest CPI measure since September 2008, and it has never been higher since the CPI measure was introduced in 1997.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) - which includes mortgage interest payments - rose to 5.6% from 5.2%.

The latest RPI measure is the highest annual rate since June 1991.

The Office for National Statistics, which released the data, said in a statement: "By far the largest upward pressure to the change in CPI... came from increases in gas and electricity charges. more

Naveen Jain: Meet the Man Who Wants to Mine the Moon

The moon is made of far more valuable stuff than green cheese. And one man wants to capitalize on that fact.

NASA, which ended America's space shuttle program in June, says it wants to privatize spaceflight. Naveen Jain, co-founder and chairman of Moon Express, Inc., wants to go a step further: He wants to privatize the moon itself.

Jain's company plans to piggyback on private shuttle flights, using them to carry his lunar landers and mining platforms to the moon.

"People ask, why do we want to go back to the moon? Isn't it just barren soil?" Jain told FoxNews.com. "But the moon has never been explored from an entrepreneurial perspective."

Green cheese indeed -- there's cash in them lunar hills!

Our nearest neighbor in the sky holds a ransom in precious minerals, Jain explained: Twenty times more titanium and platinum than anywhere on earth, not to mention helium 3, a rare isotope of helium that many feel could be the future of energy on Earth and in space.

Beyond mineral resources, Jain imagines a variety of ways to capitalize on the public's lunar love.

"No one has ever captured people's fascination with the moon," he told FoxNews.com. "What if, say, we take a picture of your family on the moon and project it back to you? Or take DNA up there?" more

Dear White House: Please Tell Us the Truth About E.T.

When the White House promised to answer citizen petitions on the most pressing problems of the day, it may not have had extraterrestrial life in mind.

More than 10,000 petitions have poured in since the new initiative was announced last month in a bid to bring government closer to the people. And issues like massive federal deficits, two wars and high unemployment don't appear to be on the people's minds.

One petition wants to legalize raw milk sales. Others seek to mandate the spaying and neutering of pets, abolish the Transportation Security Administration and "formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race."

Stephen Bassett wants to end the "truth embargo," or what he believes is the government's deliberate decision to withhold what it has long known about the existence of extraterrestrial life.

"The fact is that there is an extraterrestrial presence. I know this because I'm familiar with the research and a couple hundred government witnesses have come forward in the last couple years," he said. "Acknowledging this E.T. presence is about open government."

Mr. Bassett decided to post a petition as soon as he heard about the opportunity and immediately sent a link to his 10,000-person email list. He posted to six Facebook pages and his Twitter account and the petition now has more than 9,500 signatories, making it the 20th most popular. source

Britain Would Strike First in Cyberwar, Government Says

Britain is prepared to strike first to defend itself against a cyber attack from an enemy state, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday.

His warning was the first clear signal that the UK has developed new weapons for the online battlefield.

Hague told The Sun that the globe was in the grip of a new and financially-crippling "arms race in cyberspace."

He said he could not guarantee that Britain would be able to repel a major cyber assault on the nation's essential infrastructure -- including water works, power plants and the air traffic control system.

But he said, "We will defend ourselves in every way we can, not only to deflect but to prevent attacks that we know are taking place."

Hague gave no clues on the makeup of Britain's new electronic arsenal, saying, "The rest of the world will have to guess."

The British government is pouring an extra £650 million ($1 billion) into developing deterrents to hostile viruses, which are being produced almost constantly. more

Kabul's 'unnoticed' child workers



From dusk until dawn, 12-year-old Fayaz toils at his uncle's blacksmith shop in Kabul.

While other kids his age are in school, he's swinging a heavy sledgehammer and doing physically exhausting work that he knows is not meant for a boy.

But he doesn't have much choice. It has been that way since he was 7, when his father got sick.

"Fayaz went to get the doctor, but the doctor didn't come because they couldn't afford the doctor's services. Later that night, his father died," filmmaker Jawad Wahabzada explained recently on CNN's "BackStory." "After that, Fayaz and his two brothers were forced by economic difficulties to work."

Fayaz is one of four young Afghans featured in the half-hour documentary "Unnoticed: Children of Kabul," which Wahabzada co-directed and produced along with iReporter Jon Bougher. Wahabzada said there are 50,000 to 60,000 kids working in Kabul.

"They all share a very similar story," he told CNN's Guillermo Arduino. "Usually either their father died or the father is disabled, mom can't work, so these kids are forced into child labor."

UNICEF has estimated that at least 30% of Afghan children age 5-14 are working in some form. But the issue goes far beyond Afghanistan's borders: UNICEF says that worldwide, approximately 158 million children between 5 and 14, one of every six children in that age group, are engaged in child labor. more

Sea Levels to Continue to Rise for 500 Years? Long-Term Climate Calculations Suggest So

Rising sea levels in the coming centuries is perhaps one of the most catastrophic consequences of rising temperatures. Massive economic costs, social consequences and forced migrations could result from global warming. But how frightening of times are we facing? Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute are part of a team that has calculated the long-term outlook for rising sea levels in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the atmosphere using climate models.

The results have been published in the scientific journal Global and Planetary Change.

"Based on the current situation we have projected changes in sea level 500 years into the future. We are not looking at what is happening with the climate, but are focusing exclusively on sea levels," explains Aslak Grinsted, a researcher at the Centre for Ice and Climate, the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. more

Radioactive cesium found in plankton off Fukushima nuclear plant

High concentrations of radioactive cesium have been found in plankton from the sea near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Researchers from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology collected plankton in waters up to 60 kilometers from the coast of Iwaki City in July. They found 669 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in animal plankton from waters 3 kilometers offshore.

They say a wide range of fish feed on animal plankton and that the contamination could accumulate in the food chain and have a more serious impact when it gets into relatively large fish.

The research group's leader, Professor Takashi Ishimaru, says the plankton were so heavily contaminated because sea currents continuously carried contaminated water southward from the nuclear plant. He says detailed studies are needed to determine how long the effect on fish will continue. source

Poachers Wiping Out Rare Monkey in Tanzania

An endangered Old World monkey species found in only two sites in Tanzania is in danger of being poached and eaten into extinction, researchers from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center reported last week.

The Sanje mangabey (Cercocebus sanjei) lives only in the Mwanihana Forest and the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve on the eastern slopes of Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains​. A ground-dwelling species, the monkey spends very little time in trees, making it vulnerable to hunting and traps. It was first observed by Western scientists in 1979.

Mokoro Kitenana, a field technician with the TFCG, told IPP Media that the researchers found many traps in the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve, as well as monkey meat for sale in nearby villages and scant evidence of remaining mangabeys in the forest. Not only does this bode poorly for the monkey itself, it could also affect the economy of the region: “If this is left to continue, the animals will be depleted from the mountains and that would be the end of tourists and foreign researchers visiting the Udzungwa Scarp,” he said.

An official with the reserve said that antipoaching patrols are being started.

According to a 2005 assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 40 percent of the 1,300 Sanje mangabeys estimated to exist lived in the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve at the time. more

Green sidewalk makes electricity -- one footstep at a time

Paving slabs that convert energy from people's footsteps into electricity are set to help power Europe's largest urban mall, at the 2012 London Olympics site.

The recycled rubber "PaveGen" paving slabs harvest kinetic energy from the impact of people stepping on them and instantly deliver tiny bursts of electricity to nearby appliances. The slabs can also store energy for up to three days in an on-board battery, according to its creator.

In their first commercial application, 20 tiles will be scattered along the central crossing between London's Olympic stadium and the recently opened Westfield Stratford City mall -- which expects an estimated 30 million customers in its first year.

"That should be enough feet to power about half its (the mall's) outdoor lighting needs," said Laurence Kemball-Cook, a 25-year-old engineering graduate who developed the prototype during his final year of university in 2009.

The green slabs are designed to compress five millimeters when someone steps on them, but PaveGen will not share the precise mechanism responsible for converting absorbed kinetic energy into electricity. more

The real Greek tragedy may be the climate

GREECE is going to default, one way or another, that much is clear. The bigger question is whether it will also leave the euro and what that would mean. What is so far underappreciated is that a Greek exit would have appalling consequences for the climate.

Just three months after a second bailout, Greece is failing to deliver its end of the bargain and bond markets are signalling that it will not repay all its debt. The International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank are struggling to deliver a third rescue package.

Even if that succeeds, the wild card remains Greek politics. The country is wracked with strikes, riots and protests. Deep cuts to jobs, wages and pensions were passed by a slender majority, and it would not take much of a political shift for Greece to abandon its debts - and the euro.

Departure would be economic suicide, though. Paul Donovan, a London-based economist at UBS investment bank, calculates the Greek economy would shrink by half in the first year. Moreover, a Greek exit would likely trigger a domino effect. Ireland, Portugal, Spain and even Italy could go too. It would be a short step to the break-up of the euro and a continent-wide credit crunch.

The climate always takes a back seat when economies turn sour, but the impact of a euro break-up would be profound. Any country leaving the euro would also breach the treaties of Maastricht, Lisbon and Rome, and therefore be forced to leave the EU. A euro break-up is likely to shatter the EU, and with it the hard won architecture of climate policy. more

US must stop promoting biofuels to tackle world hunger, says thinktank

America must stop promoting the production of biofuels if there is to be any real progress in addressing spiking global food prices and famine, such as seen in the Horn of Africa, an authoritative thinktank has warned.

A new report, the Global Hunger Index, warned that US government support for corn ethanol was a major factor behind this year's food price spikes – and was projected to fuel further volatility in food prices over the next decade.

Although the report noted some improvements over the past 20 years, 26 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, are still at extreme risk of hunger including Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Eritrea.

The hunger situation worsened most dramatically in the DRC with a 63% increase in hunger and undernourishment since 1990, the report warned. Burundi's hunger index rose by 21% and North Korea's by 18%.

And while Latin America, south-east Asia and the Caribbean made "remarkable progress" in reducing hunger, the report singled out India in particular for failing to improve the situation of its poorest people despite rapid economic growth since 2001.

India had "alarming" rates of hunger and undernourishment, putting it in line with the situation in sub-Saharan Africa. more

Being slightly poorer might actually enrich our lives

It is not just relations between families that have been disrupted by prosperity.

I was one of the luckier ones. My BlackBerry never actually collapsed in The Great Global Catastrophe last week – it just staggered a bit. But I was, nevertheless, absolutely furious. Not at the service disruption, which was a minor irritation, but because the public relations fiasco might push my favourite electronic device into extinction. And then I would be forced into buying one of those over-hyped, over-priced toys which the newly canonised Saint Steven of Apple had convinced people that they wanted.

The relentless pressure to upgrade, to keep up with the latest state-of-the-art innovations, may be at its most obvious and ruthless in the electronic gadget business. But that competitiveness (and the brilliant manipulation of public perceptions that it involves) is just a function of a wider cultural change: people could not be persuaded or bullied into buying things they did not know they needed if they were not quite so rich. (Or if society didn’t offer them so many simulacrums of personal wealth in the form of easy credit.)

Having lived in Britain since the 1960s, when even many middle-class homes did not have telephones, central heating or fridges, let alone the full panoply of home entertainment equipment that now counts as standard issue, I am astounded by the change in expectations. Am I grateful on behalf of a younger adult generation that takes for granted the ownership of a car, a warm house and the labour-saving appliances that make family life so much less exhausting? Of course I am. Do I think that this affluence and everything that it buys are undiluted blessings – that there has been no loss in this gallop into acquisitiveness? No, I do not. more

With 7 billion on earth, a huge task before us

Just 12 years after the arrival of the 6 billionth individual on the planet in 1999, humanity will greet the 7 billionth arrival this month. The world population continues its rapid ascent, with roughly 75 million more births than deaths each year. The consequences of a world crowded with 7 billion people are enormous. And unless the world population stabilizes during the 21st century, the consequences for humanity could be grim.

A rising population puts enormous pressures on a planet already plunging into environmental catastrophe. Providing food, clothing, shelter, and energy for 7 billion people is a task of startling complexity.

The world's agricultural systems are already dangerously overstretched. Rainforests are being cut down to make way for new farms; groundwater used for irrigation is being depleted; greenhouse gases emitted from agricultural activities are a major factor in global climate change; fertilizers are poisoning estuaries; and countless species are threatened with extinction as we grab their land and water and destroy their habitats.

The economic challenges are equally huge. Population is growing most rapidly in the world's poorest countries -- often the places with the most fragile ecological conditions. Poor people tend to have many more children, for several reasons. Many live on farms, where children can be engaged in farm chores.

Poor societies generally suffer from high rates of child mortality, leading parents to have more children as "insurance" against the possible deaths of children. Girls rarely make it to high school, and are often married at a very young age, leading to early childbearing. And modern methods of contraception may be unavailable or unaffordable. more

Mexico's newest export to US: Water

Mexico ships televisions, cars, sugar and medical equipment to the United States. Soon, it may be sending water north.

Western states are looking south of the border for water to fill drinking glasses, flush toilets and sprinkle lawns, as four major U.S. water districts help plan one of two huge desalination plant proposals in Playas de Rosarito, about 15 miles south of San Diego. Combined, they would produce 150 million gallons a day, enough to supply more than 300,000 homes on both sides of the border.

The plants are one strategy by both countries to wean themselves from the drought-prone Colorado River, which flows 1,450 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez. Decades of friction over the Colorado, in fact, are said to be a hurdle to current desalination negotiations.

The proposed plants have also sparked concerns that American water interests looking to Mexico are simply trying to dodge U.S. environmental reviews and legal challenges. more

U.S. citizens who've plotted terror in America

This week the U.S. Justice Department accused an Iranian-American, who allegedly has ties to Iran's elite Quds Force, of attempting to hire a man he thought was a Mexican cartel hitman to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Some question the plausibility of the circumstances that prosecutors have described involving Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old used-car salesman from Texas.

The alleged plot, if proven, would be but one of several terror schemes hatched by American citizens that were intended to occur on U.S. soil but were not carried out. Here are a few of those:

Iyman Faris

In 2002, Pakistani-American Iyman Faris worked as a truck driver in Columbus, Ohio. He was convicted of providing material support to al Qaeda for his role in a plot to attack the Brooklyn Bridge.

WikiLeaks documents released this spring reveal more details about Faris' role in the war on terror. Faris pleaded guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda and was sentenced in October 2003 to 20 years in prison. He's now behind bars in Florence, Ohio. more

One in seven nursing homes breaking the law on feeding patients

One in seven nursing homes is breaching the law by failing to ensure elderly residents have enough food and drink to prevent them becoming malnourished and dehydrated, inspectors have found.

A study by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found widespread examples of frail and vulnerable people not receiving the proper care and attention at mealtimes meaning many did not get sufficient nourishment.

Of the 599 nursing homes visited by inspectors between October 2010 and July 2011, 84 fell short of the legal requirement expected.

Among the most disturbing cases found was that of a dangerously underweight patient who was supposed to be receiving a high calories diet, but who was only eating two pieces of toast a day.

In another case a patient who was identified as requiring assistance to eat was simply handed a spoon.

Details of the survey have been highlighted just days after a similar study in NHS hospitals found that one in ten were failing to meet the legal requirement on nutrition. more

Animals 'shrinking' due to climate change

Polar bears are shrinking because of the impact of climate change on their natural habitats, along with many other animals and plants, researchers say.

Rising global temperatures and changes in weather patterns have knock-on effects which are already stunting the growth of a wide range of species.

The change could have a major impact on the expanding human population, with major food sources like fish likely to reduce in size and crops expected to grow smaller and less reliably than today.

Species which are unable to adapt quickly enough are at risk of extinction as ecosystems shift dramatically, altering the balance of food and other resources needed for survival.

Researchers argue that warmer and drier weather causes plants and animals to reach smaller sizes, while more variable rainfall levels raise the risk of failed crop years.

Over the past century animals including toads, tortoises, blue tits, Soay sheep and red deer have all started to reduce in size, they said.

Lower levels of sea ice have even resulted in polar bears getting smaller, according to a report in the Nature Climate Change journal.

Dr David Bickford and Jennifer Sheridan of the National University of Singapore wrote: "The consequences of shrinkage are not yet fully understood, but could be far-reaching for biodiversity and humans alike.

"Because recent climate change may be faster than past historical changes in climate, many organisms may not respond or adapt quickly enough. This implies that species may go extinct because of climate change." more

Stratega CEO admits Bush administrattion fabricated Iraq documents to start war -- where are the criminal charges, the justice? Is Iran the sequel?

For each job, 4.6 Americans are unemployed

For each job opening in the country, around 4.6 unemployed Americans remain without work, reveals statistics just published from the Department of Labor.

While it has been on surprise that unemployment figures have been on the rise, statistics out today from the Labor Department show that there around 300,000 more jobless Americans for each vacant position than there was only one month earlier.

The bad news doesn't stop there.

With the economy in turmoil overseas as well, experts suggest that it could be quite some time before the unemployment rate dips back down to a pre-recession number. US President Barack Obama has insisted that the passing of his American Jobs Act could bring businesses to making enough hires to get the United States out of its current job slump, but Congress shows no hopes of approving the bill. Unemployment has remained stagnant and gloomy since the president took office in 2009, a feat only accentuated by faltering markets both domestically and abroad.

"My view is they continue to stay with a tight belt and I think it means less hiring than they would have done otherwise,” General Electric Co Vice Chairman Michael Neal tells Reuters today.

Alocoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld echoed those sentiments, adding that weary in the workplace internationally is keeping both America and the eurozone from escaping a future that seems almost futile.

"I'm more concerned about lack of confidence than about market fundamentals," Kleinfeld said to Reuters this week. "It almost looks like the world is worrying itself into another recession and that should not be allowed to happen." more

Occupy Wall Street freeze frame: ‘The US could end up like Egypt or Libya’



As the protest movement spills out from the US and takes over the world, one award-winning director cuts the long story down to a short film, highlighting the double standards of US leaders.

“I’m Not Moving” is a brilliant title for this seven-minute edit of speeches by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – and protests across the US and in countries like Egypt and Libya. The short film shows both the unmoving position of US authorities when it comes to domestic matters, and the hypocrisy people in the US and all over the world are trying to fight. Director Corey Ogilvie says his main goal was to showcase one constant between these seemingly different events.

“If you watch the film,” Ogilvie told RT, “you will see there’s some shots, for example, in Egypt, the horses rode through the protesters and tried to suppress the protests. The exact same thing happened at the G20. Shot for shot, it was identical. If you look at the suppression of journalists in Egypt and Syria, shot for shot it is identical. So this film isn’t comparing the demands. What this film is doing is comparing the repression.”

The film – like the protest movement – has gone viral. In a worldwide bid for change, thousands upon thousands will take to the streets in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The “October 15 united for #globalchange” movement will be seen and heard in over 950 cities worldwide. 82 countries are on the list, preparing for one of the largest global rallies in years. It is the magnitude of the movement that is gathering attention from the likes of Corey Ogilvie. more

Five-star prison for elite criminals: Russia



A prison governor in the Volgograd region has been fired for providing crime-lord inmates with luxury prison cells.

The influential convicts, it turned out, had been granted various perks in exchange for money. These included soft furnishings, selections of imported spirits, plasma TVs and an aquarium.

The rooms were decorated with images of famous crime-lords and big Orthodox icons. Mobile phones and internet were available, as well as a big collection of clothes and perfumes.

The “elite” prisoners even dined in a separate canteen with a special VIP menu.

The “hotel” was uncovered during a random inspection by state authorities. Apart from the elite housing, the police discovered a stash of homemade knives and confiscated mobile phones.

“The prison’s employees at first refused to open the ‘secret’ rooms, saying there is no key or that they are not allowed to show the premises,” said an official representative of the Volgograd prosecutor, Oksana Cheredinina.

A similar scandal was discovered at another Russian prison earlier this year. Its inmates were given laptops and mobile phones so they could browse social networks and chat with their friends or post pictures. In other cases, inmates bribed prison employees to be relocated to more comfortable cells, ordered new wallpaper and tiles to redecorate their rooms, and even took vacations abroad.

Duma Deputy Gennady Gudkov even offered to legalize “elite” cells for those inmates who have the money.

“The purpose of a prison sentence is to isolate the criminals, not to make them live in bad conditions,” Gudkov said. source

UK joblessness soars to 8%, highest in 15 years

United Kingdom unemployment rose to the highest in 15 years in the three months through August, adding pressure on the government to loosen its fiscal squeeze as the economy struggles to avoid recession.

The jobless rate increased to 8.1 per cent from 7.9 per cent in the three months through July, the Office for National Statistics said in London yesterday. The number of unemployed increased to 2.57 million, the most since 1994. In September, jobless claims rose for a seventh month.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has pledged to maintain the biggest fiscal squeeze since World War II even as the outlook for the recovery deteriorates.

Bank of England policy makers restarted their asset-buying programme last week amid an escalating debt crisis in Europe and slowing global growth, a move Governor Mervyn King described as a response to what may be the worst financial crisis ever. more

Victimized a Second Time: State-Sanctioned Forced Evictions of Haiti’s Displaced Earthquake Survivors

We stood in a tight group, over a dozen blan huddled together, trying not to obstruct the narrow path between the makeshift shelters of corrugated metal, cardboard, plastic and tin. We listened to a community spokesperson, a representative of the group KOFAVIV (Komisyon Fanm Viktim pou Viktim, or Commission of Women Victims for Victims). She explained how she and the other displaced earthquake survivors, who had lost their homes in the quake, had been supported in their camp in the park across from St. Anne’s Church at first by Oxfam, but then Oxfam had picked up and left in May of this year. Despite the millions of dollars raised in both private donations and government funds in the weeks and months following Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, no other NGO had stepped in to provide for the camps’ residents. They were left to fend for themselves. Now, she worried that they were also threatened with eviction: there was a rumor that two representatives of a large NGO had been by that very morning, warning them to prepare to be evicted October 17. (Thankfully, subsequent investigation suggests that in this particular case, the imminent threat of eviction was merely a rumor.) But considering other recent forced evictions, the camp residents had good reason to be concerned, and we had no choice but to take the threat seriously.

How did the survivors of Haiti’s earthquake go from being the focus of an historic outpouring of solidarity and support in the days and weeks after the earthquake, to being victimized again – this time by human actions? more

'Occupy Wall Street' Harkens Back to Jarrow March of 1936

Occupy Wall Street Harkens Back to Jarrow March of 1936.

The “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS) movement, which started in New York City and now has spread across the country and even into other countries, reminded me of a similar event I had heard and read about that occurred 75 years ago.

In October 1936, amidst extreme poverty and high unemployment across Great Britain, 200 jobless men from the town of Jarrow in the northeastern part of England, marched 280 miles to the capital London to protest their appalling living conditions and the general economic misery afflicting Britain.

The march became popularly known as the ”Jarrow March” or the “Jarrow Crusade” – a landmark in British labor history.

Jarrow, in South Tyneside, was formerly a shipbuilding and steel manufacturing center which had collapsed into hard times due to the global economic depression of the 1930s. more

Ten times as many people are demonstrating in London for an EU referendum as in the City against banks: Who do you suppose will get more coverage?

t's not clear exactly how many people are encamped next to St Paul's Cathedral. Most estimates put the number at between 200 and 400, depending on precisely what time of day you do the headcount.

What is clear is that there are presently many more people in Westminster demanding a referendum on EU membership than in the City complaining about capitalism. I have just spoken at a rally of the People's Pledge, at which more than 2,000 people were present. What's more, we know that those 2,000 are representative of the country as a whole. They are a fraction of the 100,000 whose signatures triggered Monday's proposal for an In/Out referendum – a proposal which, as a poll in today's Daily Express reveals, more than two thirds of voters want their MP to back. A further 80,000 have pledged to vote only for pro-referendum parliamentary candidates.

It will be interesting to compare the amount of coverage generated by the two protests. Will the People's Pledge get ten times as much attention as the anti-capitalist sit-in, on the basis of the number of people at Westminster? Or perhaps 500 times more, on the basis of the number who signed the petition? Or will the MSM continue to cover the referendum wholly as a 'Tory splits' story? I think we all know the answer. source

Gaddafi should not have been killed: Russia



Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday responded to a broad array of questions by listeners of the Voice of Russia, Radio Russia and Ekho Moskvy radio stations.

Opening the Q&A session, Lavrov responded to the situation in Libya, where former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi died following a gun battle between government loyalists and members of the National Liberation Army.

Lavrov said Gaddafi had lost his legitimacy long ago, but his death on Thursday evokes some serious questions.

"It is no accident that the Office of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights stated today that all circumstances of his (Gaddafi's) death must be investigated and I fully agree that such an investigation will be conducted," Lavrov said in a live interview broadcast by Echo Moskvy, the Voice of Russia, and Radio Russia radio stations.

Lavrov stressed that in compliance with international law, the moment that a party to an armed conflict is captured special procedures should be applied to him or her, including assistance, as well as a ban on killing such a person.

The Russian Foreign Minister said that it appeared from video footage that the former Libyan leader was killed only after his capture.

"The footage that we saw on TV indicates that he [Gaddafi] was really captured when he was injured and that later, already in captivity his life was taken away from him," he said. more

Wall Street protests: NY police arrest religious leaders



More than 30 protesters, including Princeton professor and veteran civil rights activist Cornel West, and a clergyman of the Riverside Church have been arrested during a demonstration by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.

“About 32 activists were arrested for demonstrating peacefully,” RT’s Lucy Kafanov reports from New York, “and several religious leaders were also taken away.”­

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, 33 were arrested, including Reverend Stephen Phelps, an Interim Senior Minister of Riverside Church.

Also among those arrested was Carl Dix, a national spokesman for the Revolutionary Communist Party, as well as several other local religious leaders, including several members of the ministry.

According to an AFP report, a New York Police Department spokesman said the protesters had been arrested because they were "blocking the entrance" of the local police precinct in New York's Harlem neighborhood.

New York police widely use the practice known as stop-and-frisk, in which officers randomly stop people on the street and sometimes frisk them to determine whether they are carrying arms.

This practice has been criticized by civil rights groups. Several hundred people were demonstrating in Harlem over the controversial police practice. Opponents say the stop-and-frisk policy unfairly targets black and Latino New Yorkers. more

Occupy Israel: Tents down, struggle continues



Israel is another country which has recently witnessed weeks of protests and calls for social justice. But while the tent camps are gone, the change demanded by activists is nowhere to be seen.

­The streets of New York have been seeing anger, outrage, and protests for over a month now. And some 10,000 kilometers away in different streets, but with the same scenes, Israelis are pushing towards the growing worldwide Occupy movement.

“The politicians in the United States exaggerated in the same way as did the politicians in Israel,” says Dr. Elisheva Sadan from Hebrew University. “They went too far in taking for granted their citizens.”

Not that long ago Israelis, inspired by Occupy Wall Street, were calling to occupy Rothschild Boulevard. Yanina Lebed joined the protests from the very beginning. She was inspired by what happened in Cairo and called her tent “Tahrir Corner.”

“We also had carpets here, people were sitting and we were playing music every evening, people were coming and talking to us,” said Yanina Lebed. more

What keeps OWS together?

Russia demands end of Libya no-fly zone

Russia on Friday demanded that the UN Security Council immediately end the no-fly zone over Libya which was patrolled by NATO when it attacked targets of Colonel Moamer Kadhafi`s regime.

Russia presented a draft resolution to the other 14 members of the council aiming to end the sanction, the country`s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told reporters.

NATO members said the council would have to pass a new resolution on Libya after the death of the dictator on Thursday but that the north African country`s transitional government did not want the no-fly zone immediately lifted.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has said it will end its seven-month mission in Libya on October 31 but will issue a formal decision next week after consulting the United Nations and Libya`s interim authorities.

Russia, China and other emerging powers strongly criticized NATO`s airstrikes in Libya, accusing the alliance of breaching UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 which ordered sanctions against Kadhafi and allowed measures to protect civilians. more

Four More U.S. Bank Failures May Cost FDIC $358.8 Million

Regulators closed four banks in the United States on Friday, including one in Colorado with over $1 billion in assets, bringing the total number of closures this year to 84.

The largest of the failed banks, the Community Banks of Colorado, had $1.38 billion in assets and $1.33 billion in total deposits as of June 30, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said. It is the largest U.S. bank to fail since Aug. 19.

Bank Midwest N.A., Kansas City, Mo., agreed to assume all the deposits of Greenwood-based Community Banks of Colorado and to purchase essentially all of the assets. Its 40 branches will reopen Saturday as branches of Bank Midwest.

The Federal Reserve Board, which appointed the FDIC as the receiver of the Colorado-based bank, said it had been "critically undercapitalized" since July 29.

Two of the banks to fail on Friday were in Georgia, and one was in Florida.

In Georgia, regulators closed the Community Capital Bank in Jonesboro and Decatur First Bank in Decatur. more

Serbs stop NATO removing roadblocks in north Kosovo

Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs prevented NATO troops in Kosovo (KFOR) from removing roadblocks on roads to two contested border crossings between the country's volatile north and Serbia early Saturday, witnesses said.

Tensions have mounted in the north as Kosovo's government tries to stamp its authority over this largely lawless area, home to 60,000 ethnic Serbs, who want to stop Kosovo deploying its own police and customs at the Serbian border.

Mostly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo is Serbia's former southern province and declared independence in 2008 after a 1998-99 war and years under United Nations rule. The country is still patrolled by KFOR and EU law and justice mission, EULEX.

At a roadblock in the village of Zupce, about 80 km (40 miles) north of Kosovo's capital Pristina, Serbs sat in the road in front of armoured personnel carriers and an infantry cordon. more

'Occupy' protesters find allies in ranks of the wealthy

The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters — also known as the “99 percent” — have struck a chord with at least a few members of an unexpected audience: America’s rich and privileged.

United under the banner “We are the 1 percent: We stand with the 99 percent,” a band of entrepreneurs, trust fund babies, professionals and inheritors has taken to the web to share their abhorrence of corporate greed and support for tax code changes that would see them pay a higher share of their considerable wealth.

Among other things, they’re posting their stories on a Tumblr page created by Wealth for the Common Good and Resource Generation, two groups dedicated to working for "fair taxation and just wealth distribution."

Some are probably not actually in the top 1 percent wealthwise — calculated at earning a yearly salary of more than $506,000, according toThe Wall Street Journal— but all are certainly well off and supportive of reforms that would narrow the widening gap between America's elite and poorest citizens. more

‘EU turned into economic corpse’



A day before a nationwide referendum is discussed in parliament, a group of campaigners call for Britain to leave the EU. Douglas Carswell from the People's Pledge told RT the EU has changed in the past years and now presents an economic failure.

­Douglas Carswell, a conservative MP, supporter and counselor member of the People's Pledge, believes there are a number of reasons why the UK should leave the European Union.

“It is costing the UK a great deal of money, the country is spending billions of pounds bailing out the currency it did not even choose to join; but it is not just about economics, it is about democracy,” he explained. “For too long in this country we have left it to the political elite to decide these questions. If you believe in democracy surely you should trust the people; people need to have a say – should we stay in the EU, should we leave or should we fundamentally renegotiate our position within the European Union? It is time to have this debate and have this topic discussed publicly,” he added.

Public support for leaving the EU is quite high in Britain, but many politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, are opposed to the idea. But according to Carswell, the UK will eventually have the referendum. It is just going to take some time. more

Floodwaters reach central Bangkok

Military personnel and police officers are piling up sandbags in central Bangkok in a desperate attempt to prevent water from the Chao Phraya River from spreading further.

The flooding caused by record rainfalls reached the capital on Saturday, with water spilling onto the streets in residential areas along the river.

In some places, the water is as high as an adult's waist. Shopping areas and markets in an area about one kilometer from Chitralada Royal Palace are inundated.

The water is still about 5 kilometers from where the government's main facilities and companies' offices are located, and about 10 kilometers from the Sukhumvit district where many Japanese live. source

Earthquake Hits Turkey: 1,000 Reported Dead - 23rd Oct 2011

Reports are starting to come in that at least a 1000 people have lost their lives in the earthquake which hit Eastern Turkey today 23rd October 2011.

Reports are coming in from many areas requesting assistance and many buildings have collapsed. Rescue and search will furthermore be hampered by the strong aftershocks hitting the area with over 50 recorded since the earthquake hit.

More to follow

ROSAT: Parts of German satellite hits east of India - 23rd Oct 2011

Parts of a defunct German research satellite have returned to Earth and likely fallen into the Bay of Bengal, east of India, the chair of the German Aerospace Centre says.

Johann Dietrich-Woerner told CBC News on Sunday that the biggest piece could be 1.6 metric tonnes.

Scientists have been trying to establish how and where the satellite returned to the Earth, after warning that some parts might survive re-entry and crash at up to 450 kilometres per hour.

Andreas Schuetz, spokesman for the German centre, said initially that there immediate solid evidence to determine above which continent or country the ROSAT scientific research satellite entered the atmosphere.

But Dietrich-Woerner said scientists now believe it fell between Indian and Indonesia.

Most parts of the minivan-sized satellite were expected to burn up. The centre said the satellite entered the atmosphere Saturday between 9:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. EDT and would have taken only 10 or 15 minutes to hit.

Schuetz said it could take days to determine exactly where pieces of the satellite had fallen. Read More