Tuesday, October 25, 2011

U.S. mission in Africa will be short-term, administration official says - 26th Oct 2011



The current mission deploying approximately 100, mainly U.S. special forces to Africa will be "short term" and not open-ended in nature, Obama administration officials told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday.

"We don't have a specific timetable, we are talking I think months, but I wouldn't put a number on it at this point," Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow told committee members.

President Barack Obama notified Congress earlier this month about the mission, as required under the War Powers Act. The U.S. troops are serving in a mostly advisory role to forces from Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic to assist them in dismantling the notorious Lord's Resistance Army and hunt down its elusive leader, Joseph Kony. The group has terrorized central Africa through its abduction of children to serve as soldiers in a campaign of rape, pillaging and murder over two decades.

While the mission does not call for the U.S. troops to engage in direct combat operations, they are carrying weapons to be used in self-defense should the need arise, which triggered the requirement to notify Congress of their deployment. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA - 26th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Kepulauan Mentawai Region, Indonesia at a depth of 20.3 km ( 12.6 miles), the quake hit at 03:38:50 UTC Wednesday 26th October 2011.
The epicenter was 173 km ( 107 miles) SSW from Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Thai flood causes dike breakage, threatening area village - 26th Oct 2011



Residents of Thailand's Muang Ake village are being urged to evacuate the area early Tuesday morning, according to Thailand's Flood Relief Operations Center.

The center's director said parts of a dike at Tambon Lak Hok, Muang District, Pathum Thani province have broken and a mass of water is expected to flow into the village.

Flood waters could reach almost five feet (1.5 meters) in the village. The FROC said the Royal Thai Armed Forces will have vehicles at Rangsit University in Muang Ake village and will be moving residents out of the area.

In addition, the Thai Cabinet announced Tuesday public holidays for the end of the month due to anticipated high tides, which could further devastate the flood-ravaged country.

The holidays will be from Thursday to next Monday and will be effective in 21 provinces that are still under water, including Bangkok and its suburban provinces, a government spokeswoman said. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 26th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 10 km ( 6.2 miles), the quake hit at 03:16:19 UTC Wednesday 26th October 2011.
The epicenter was 19 km ( 11 miles) Northwest of Van, Turkey

459 Dead - 1300 Injured and hundreds more Missing
over 200 Prisoners have escaped after setting fire to their cells as the guards refused to let them out.

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 26th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 10.1 km ( 6.3 miles), the quake hit at 02:59:08 UTC Wednesday 26th October 2011.
The epicenter was 19 km ( 11 miles) NNE of Van, Turkey

459 Dead - 1300 Injured and hundreds more Missing
over 200 Prisoners have escaped after setting fire to their cells as the guards refused to let them out.

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS - 26th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck South of the Fiji Islands at a depth of 36 km ( 22.4 miles), the quake hit at 00:13:22 UTC Wednesday 26th October 2011.
The epicenter was 300 km ( 186 miles) NNE of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 4.5 km ( 2.8 miles), the quake hit at 23:39:15 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 25 km ( 15 miles) ENE of Van, Turkey

459 Dead - 1300 Injured and hundreds more Missing
over 200 Prisoners have escaped after setting fire to their cells as the guards refused to let them out.

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake GREECE - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Greece at a depth of 33.4 km ( 20.8 miles), the quake hit at 22:33:08 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 32 km ( 19 miles) North of Zakynthos, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake AISEN, CHILE - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Aisen, Chile at a depth of 13.4 km ( 8.3 miles), the quake hit at 22:08:43 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 53 km ( 32 miles) WSW of Coihaique, Aisen, Chile
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Vanuatu at a depth of 150 km ( 93.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:34:20 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 58 km ( 36 miles) NNE of Santo (Luganville), Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck The Izu Islands, Japan at a depth of 10.2 km ( 6.3 miles), the quake hit at 19:34:12 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 180 km ( 111 miles) Southwest of Hachijo-Jima, Izu Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

'Occupy Frankfurt' protesters defy the cold

Thousands of 'Occupy' protesters took to the streets again this weekend in Germany. Some are permanently camped out in Frankfurt's banking district, despite the onset of winter.

Shortly after nine a.m. there is still dew on the grass. Most of the 70 colorful tents in a park in the middle of Frankfurt's banking district are closed. It looks like the campers are still asleep. But some of them are already up in search of coffee in front of the big white tent.

Luc, a student from Canada, is standing behind a camping table holding a thermos flask. "I'm backpacking through Europe at the moment. Two weeks ago I was in Berne and then I hitchhiked to Frankfurt," he says.

Since then, he's been working non-stop in the kitchen tent, keeping around 100 protesters fed and watered. "If we have enough ingredients, we make food. We have sandwiches all day and there's hot food whenever we manage to get it something done," he explains. more

Aussie coast fears rogue shark may have killed 3

The sudden death of an American diver in the jaws of a great white shark off Australia's southwest coast has raised the specter of a rogue man-eater preying on a renowned aquatic playground and killing three men in two months.

Scientists say three sharks more likely are responsible, and the three cases are sheerly unfortunate encounters with nature.

Australia's southwest corner has been better known for whale and dolphin-watching cruises, white sandy beaches, world-class surf breaks and the peppery shiraz of its Margaret River premium wineries than for fatal shark attacks.

"This is a unique set of circumstances, and I'm desperately … praying this is not the beginning of a new trend … and we're going to have these on a regular basis," Western Australia state Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said on Sunday, referring to the three recent deadly attacks. more

Seven dead in Thai South attacks

Suspected Muslim insurgents have killed at least seven people in back-to-back shooting and bomb attacks in Thailand`s troubled south, police said Monday.

On Sunday evening an unknown number of gunmen dressed as women, travelling in three pick-up trucks, opened fire on a checkpoint in the main town of Narathiwat province killing two rangers.

Shortly afterwards a bomb exploded at a nearby supermarket, followed by a second bomb at another supermarket about 300 metres (yards) away, causing fires that spread through shophouses and took three hours to extinguish.

Police said they found two charred bodies of the male owner and a female teacher in the first shop, while a young boy and his parents were found dead in the second.

Another seven people suffered burns in the attacks, which happened within the space of half an hour -- the latest in a series of increasingly brazen attacks by the shadowy militants.

Thailand`s southernmost provinces have been plagued by more than eight years of conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 4,800 people, both Muslims and Buddhists.

Late last month, more than a dozen suspected insurgents attacked a school in Narathiwat, killing four soldiers and seriously wounding one child. more

Chinese boy run over: Villagers left his body under truck for 7 hours because they wanted "immediate compensation" -- Where have the humans gone?

In case you're wondering, yes, the man on the right is, in fact, smiling.

A 5-year-old boy killed in a traffic accident in Sichuan province was buried on Sunday, ending a three-day uproar over the cause of his death.

On Thursday morning, Xiong Maoke, a kindergarten student, in Yunfeng village in Luxian county, was on his way home when he was hit by a truck.

He died immediately, but his body was not removed from under the wheels of the truck until seven hours later because villagers demanded instant compensation, said county officials at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

Villagers had claimed that the truck hit Xiong, knocking him down, rolled backwards, then moved forward with the boy trapped under the wheels, dragging him for about 10 meters.

However, an investigation found no evidence that the boy had been run over twice, said Li Zekun, head of the Luxian county traffic police team.

Medical experts found that the boy died of traumatic brain injury, and they inferred that the boy was hit while standing.

After the incident, the truck driver Ao Yong applied the emergency brake and the truck produced a long drag mark before it stopped, Li said.

Unlike the heartlessness shown by the two drivers and passers-by in the case of Yue Yue in Guangdong, 35-year-old Ao, a native of Luxian, was the first to call the police.

Ao had been transporting cement from neighboring Chongqing municipality to Luxian when his truck hit the boy.

Getting out of the truck, Ao found Xiong trapped under a front wheel. Because of the severe condition of the boy, he did not dare to move him and he immediately contacted the police.

When Ao was arrested he pledged to pay as much as Xiong's mother demanded. source

*CoughChinesePropagandaCough*

Nighttime storm tears roof off Faro airport in Portugal’s Algarve; 5 hurt, flights disrupted

Authorities say an overnight storm tore part of the roof off Faro airport in Portugal’s southern Algarve region, injuring five people and disrupting flights.

Roof panels over the departure terminal’s check-in area peeled off when the storm hit at around 5 a.m. Monday.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the airport as authorities canceled or delayed departures and diverted incoming planes.

Local media said the damage to the airport meant cafes and restaurants did not open, leaving waiting passengers without food or drink. more

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Eastern Honshu, Japan at a depth of 16 km ( 9.9 miles), the quake hit at 17:08:52 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 8 km ( 4 miles) East of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Baby, mother and grandmother pulled alive from rubble in Turkey: Three generations saved!

Mexican ID Becomes Valid ID in Sonoma County, USA

In Sonoma County, a California driver's license is accepted as valid identification -- but so is a card issued by the Mexican consulate.

Mexican nationals will be able to give their country's state-issued identification cards as valid ID to Santa Rosa police officers and Sonoma County sheriffs, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

The idea is to reduce the immigration-related duties of local cops, the newspaper reported. Accepting Mexican consulate-issued cards will reduce the number of people booked into jail for lacking ID, and ergo, will reduce deportations from Santa Rosa County Jail, the newspaper reported.

"Today is a great day," Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Dueñas said. "We're now going to accept the matriculár consular ID."

Advocates for immigrants point out that almost half of the 921 immigrants turned over to ICE authorities by the jails had not committed a crime, and another third had committed minor offenses, the newspaper reported. more

St. Mary's Cathedral bell stolen by copper theives in San Fransisco

The bell at St. Mary's Cathedral rang through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. It survived when an arsonist torched the old cathedral in 1962. And although it was replaced with an electronic chime in the 1970s, for decades it stood strong on a wooden platform outside the rebuilt church.

But sometime in the last month, metal thieves made off with the 122-year-old, 2.7-ton bell.

"It is a very historic and valuable item, it is a memory of the Catholic Church in San Francisco," said George Wesolek, communications director for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. "It is kind of an ignoble end for the bell if they succeed."

Nobody realized the bell was missing until Sunday morning. A parishioner mentioned that it wasn't where it was supposed to be, a secluded outside corner of the cathedral on Geary Boulevard and Gough Street. Then everyone realized that they couldn't remember seeing the bell for the last month. more

Now Obama Administration wants to vaccinate your Children with anthrax to test if they can survive bioterrorism attack

The Obama administration is considering whether scientists should inject healthy children with the anthrax vaccine to see if it would protect them from a bioterrorism attack.

A working group of federal advisers endorsed testing last month and the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) will meet on Friday to vote on its recommendation.

But critics have called the plans unethical, unnecessary and dangerous and children should only be vaccinated in the face of an actual threat.

Daniel B. Fagbuyiof, of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, told the Washington Post: 'At the end of the day, do we want to wait for an attack and give it to millions and millions of children and collect data at that time?

'Or do we want to say "how do we best protect our children?"

'We can take care of grandma and grandpa, uncle and auntie. But right now, we have nothing for the children.' Read More

Hunt for serial rapist who attacked four middle-aged alumnae of SAME college sorority (Delta Sigma Theta) in their homes

Police are hunting a serial rapist who has targeted alumnae of a college sorority.

At least four women from the Delta Sigma Theta sorority have been attacked in their Dallas-area homes.

The women told police their assailant had personal knowledge about them.

Investigators said four alumnae of the same sorority - black women in their mid-50s to early 60s - were raped over the last 11 months.

Two of the rapes took place in Plano while the others were in Corinth and Shady Shores.

An email alert has been sent to all members of the Delta Sigma Theta to warn them about the attacks.

The most recent rape took place on Friday in Shady Shores when the attacker broke into the victim's home. more

Italian government on brink of collapse

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/21d5c8be-feeb-11e0-9b2f-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1bog3PH6y

Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition government in Italy appears in danger of collapsing over European Union demands for a demonstration of concrete action on economic reform by Wednesday’s summit of eurozone leaders.

The EU ultimatum delivered to Mr Berlusconi in Brussels on Sunday risks breaking his coalition instead of giving it an external impetus to move ahead on measures to cut Italy’s debt and promote economic growth.

The ultimatum was delivered as part of efforts to resolve the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, but the Italians’ failure to reach agreement on reform threatens EU leaders’ stated goal of finalising at Wednesday’s summit a comprehensive solution to the crisis.

Talks on Tuesday morning between Mr Berlusconi and his Northern League coalition partners failed to resolve the deadlock – centred on proposed pension reforms – after negotiations into Monday night made little progress. more

Police destroy Joann Rice's home in "search for suspect", then just leave when they realize they made mistake (after seizing her daughter, of course)



The San Jose Police Department stormed into a Stockton home searching for an accused killer, but they left without him, and left behind a complete mess.

“I feel like a war was taken on here, and we lost,” homeowner Joann Rice told CBS13.

Almost all of the windows are smashed in, there are holes in the wall, and there’s a layer of tear gas in the air so thick breathing it in makes you cough.

That is the home Rice came back to after the San Jose police held a fruitless 12-hour search on Saturday for Steve Ruiz, the man accused of killing a Hells Angels member at a funeral.

“He wasn’t here, he was never here and he wasn’t in the house,” she said.

Rice said her daughter was an acquaintance of Ruiz, nothing more.

“When she opened the house at 7 in the morning she asked them to come in, all they kept saying is, ‘Are you in danger? Are you in danger for your life?’ She kept saying, ‘No, my kids are in here, you can come in here if you like,’” Rice said.

Rice says police didn’t listen. They grabbed her daughter and threw her in a police car for four hours and then into a jail cell. more

How 'interstellar pile-ups' create the huge black holes at the centre of galaxies - 25th Oct 2011

LinkSupermassive black holes sit at the hearts of most of the galaxies we can observe from earth - and astronomers believe there is one at the centre of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

The huge interstellar objects grow up to masses billions of times that of our sun - and, while growing, can outshine the entire galaxy that surrounds them.

But how and why they form is a mystery. Now scientists believe that collisions with smaller galaxies may explain why such enormous objects develop.

The growth of supermassive black holes has been mysterious because the glaring light of a growing supermassive black hole can outshine the entire host galaxy, making it difficult to observe.

It's been known for some time that supermassive black holes are usually found in the most massive galaxies, and that their size is proportional to the 'bulge' in the centre of the galaxy - ie the mass of the stars in the middle.

A new survey by an international team headed by Dr John Silverman of the University of Kashiwa, Japan, hints that the holes grow when two galaxies 'collide'. Read More

Teen violence linked to heavy soda diet: study

Researchers in the United States said on Tuesday they had found a "shocking" association -- if only a statistical one -- between violence by teenagers and the amount of soda they drank.

High-school students in inner-city Boston who consumed more than five cans of non-diet, fizzy soft drinks every week were between nine and 15-percent likelier to engage in an aggressive act compared with counterparts who drank less.

"What we found was that there was a strong relationship between how many soft drinks that these inner-city kids consumed and how violent they were, not only in violence against peers but also violence in dating relationships, against siblings," said David Hemenway, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"It was shocking to us when we saw how clear the relationship was," he told AFP in an interview.

But he stressed that only further work would confirm -- or disprove -- the key question whether higher consumption of sweet sodas caused violent behaviour.

The new study was based on answers to questionnaires filled out by 1,878 public-school students aged 14 to 18 in the inner Boston area, where Hemenway said crime rates were much higher than in the wealthier suburbs.

The overwhelming majority of respondents were Hispanic, African-American or mixed; few were Asian or white.

Among the questions were how much carbonated non-diet soft drink, measured in 12-ounce (355-millilitre) cans, the teens had drunk in the previous seven days.

They were also asked whether they drank alcohol or smoked, carried a weapon or showed violence towards peers, family members and partner.

What emerged, said Hemenway, was evidence of "dose response," in other words, the more soda was consumed, the likelier the tendency towards violence. more

Thai floods reach northern Bangkok

Thailand’s worst floods in half a century have reached the capital Bangkok, as officials struggle to control a torrent of water that is threatening to engulf the nation’s political and economic heart.

City officials ordered the evacuation of six northern districts as the floodwaters approached.

Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s recently elected prime minister, said on a visit to the government’s flood relief operations centre on Monday that she hoped the water level in the capital would not rise above one metre.

But, with Ms Yingluck having consistently taken a more optimistic tone than the governor of Bangkok, who represents the opposition Democrat party, residents said they were preparing for the worst and have been stocking up on food and water. Some supermarkets have run out of supplies.

At least 350 people have been killed, several million forced out of their homes and big industrial estates and key infrastructure destroyed. Monsoon rains have pounded south-east Asia since July, wiping out large swaths of rice crops and raising the spectre of “serious food shortages”, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. more

Winter Storm Warning For Denver Metro And Beyond



It’s hard to believe after our sunny and record setting Monday that one-two punch of winter weather is on its way into Colorado!

Winter Storm Warning For Denver Metro And Beyond

An unidentified man enjoys the sunshine in Denver on Monday. (credit: CBS)
Denver’s high soared to 80 degrees on Monday, breaking the former record high of 79 degrees first set in 1992. (Full Story)

A very cold airmass will now be pushing southward from Canada during the day Tuesday. This moist cold air will be mixing with a shot of tropical moisture working its way up across southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. This will produce a prime situation for upslope flow and wet, heavy snow over the Front Range.

There is a Winter Storm Warning for all of the Colorado mountains, the Front Range and the Denver Metro Area Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon. In the mountains the warning is from 6 p.m. Tuesday through 6 p.m. Wednesday. And for the Denver metro area and Front Range it is from 9 p.m. Tuesday through 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Snow potential for the Denver metro area could reach 6 to 12 inches. In areas above 6,000 feet into the foothills and mountains snow accumulations could be between 8 to 16 inches of snow. more

Black teen mobs harass White motorists in Peoria

Two motorists were accosted by groups of teenagers within a few days of each other in an area near the site of a similar incident over the summer that drew national attention.

A group of about 50 young people on West Thrush Avenue near North Sheridan Road in June caused a disturbance by blocking the roadway and, according to one resident but not others, shouting race-related remarks.

Comments related to race also were part of one of the incidents last week.

A Meals on Wheels delivery driver was making his way to a home in the 800 block of West Nowland Avenue about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday when he encountered a group of 15 teens - 13 males and two females - walking down the middle of the road.

The group would not yield to the motorist, who followed him until reaching the house where he had to make the meal delivery. As he exited to take the food to the door, he was verbally attacked, according to a report on the incident.

One teen called him "honky," while another threatened to "kick his white (expletive)." more

Steven Hawkins: My 28,000 images of child porn are just like stamp collecting: Married civil servant's excuse for sickening stash

A civil servant who downloaded more than 28,000 indecent images of children from the internet said his sordid habit was no different to 'stamp collecting'.

Steven Hawkins, of Hilperton, near Trowbridge, Wiltshire, catalogued and stored the vile pictures and films on CDs and DVDs, many of which he then protected with ten layers of encryption.

But the married 53-year-old told the police he got no sexual gratification and that he hoarded the vile images in the same way people collect stamps or coins.

Now MoD civilian worker Hawkins, who the court heard held a 'responsible job with the Navy', has been jailed for a year.

And Judge Euan Ambrose, sitting at Swindon Crown Court, told him: 'It is very far from stamp collecting. Read More

Dead body found in Walt Disney World parking lot

A dead body was found in a Walt Disney World parking lot early Tuesday morning.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says the body was found around 1:00 a.m. by a securty guard in a Disney cast member employee parking lot.

Police have not released the identity of the individual or how the person died but the Orange County Sheriff's Office says the death was not a homicide.

Deputies say the parking lot where the body was found is near a construction site and several buildings. It is in an area of the property not directly connected to the theme parks or hotels. more

Occupy Maine camp attacked with chemical bomb



Occupy Maine protesters camped out in Portland's Lincoln Park were attacked early Sunday morning when someone lobbed a chemical bomb at them. No one was seriously injured when the small, homemade bomb exploded near the camp's main meeting area around 4am.

Witnesses say they saw a small, silver sedan circle the park several times with the occupants yelling obscenities before the bomb exploded with a loud bang, followed by a thick cloud of smoke and foul smell.

"We had a car go by a couple times, honk at us, yell at us, tell us to go get jobs and call us evil names," said Stephanie Wilburn, describing what she and other members of the overnight guard detail in the camp saw and heard. "It came back around, it slowed down and then sped up."

They heard a loud clanging sound and went to check it out, but found nothing. After roughly 45 seconds had passed, the bomb exploded.

"It was like a 12-gauge shotgun boom with no reverberation, lots of smoke," described Wilburn. "It smelled really bad."

Portland Police were called to the scene and recovered evidence they hope will lead to the person responsible for the attack. more

Europe: Grimmer by the minute

European leaders insist they are making progress on a comprehensive plan to tackle the eurozone's debt and banking crisis.

But the details are foggy and last-minute delays suggest that significant disagreements remain unresolved.

On Wednesday, government heads from all 27 members of the European Union will gather for a second time, following a summit over the weekend.

EU politicians have promised to deliver an ambitious and durable solution to a crisis that poses the biggest threat to the euro since the common currency was launched over a decade ago.

"The sovereign debt crisis threatens the very existence of the eurozone," said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global. "It is therefore absolutely imperative that European policymakers finally deliver a major package."

The latest talks have focused on a three challenges: restructuring the Greek government's crushing debt load, strengthening European banks and boosting the effectiveness of a limited rescue fund.

While the stakes are high, expectations are dim. It took three months for comparatively modest crisis measures announced in July to be approved by all 17 euro area governments. more

Turkey quake death toll rises to 432

The death toll from the powerful earthquake that hit eastern Turkey over the weekend has risen to 432, officials say.

The prime minister's office said Tuesday that 1,352 people were injured in Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake.

Earlier Tuesday, a two-week-old baby girl was pulled alive from the rubble of an apartment building 72 hours after the earthquake rocked eastern Turkey, flattening more than 2,000 buildings.

Television footage showed rescuers in orange jumpsuits clapping as the baby, Azra Karaduman, was removed from the wreckage. A rescuer cradled the naked baby, who was wrapped in a blanket and handed over to a medic.

The baby's mother, Semiha, was still alive, pinned next to a sofa inside the flattened building in Ercis, the hardest-hit city. The father was also in the rubble, but it was unclear if he survived. more

Syria 'using hospitals for torture'

Patients in government-run hospitals in Syria are being tortured in an attempt to suppress dissent, an Amnesty International report alleges.

The 39-page report claims patients in at least four state hospitals have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including by medical staff.

Many injured civilians consider it safer not going to hospital, it says.

Syrian authorities have denied torturing opponents of the government.

Anti-government protests, which first broke out in March, have continued despite President Bashar al-Assad's attempts to stifle them.

The UN says more than 3,000 people have died in seven months of unrest, which Syria has blamed on "terrorists" and "armed gangs".

International journalists face severe restrictions on reporting in Syria, and it is hard to verify reports. more

Lack of outdoor play linked to short-sighted children

The time children spend outdoors could be linked to a reduced risk of being short-sighted, research suggests.

An analysis of eight previous studies by University of Cambridge researchers found that for each additional hour spent outside per week, the risk of myopia reduced by 2%.

Exposure to natural light and time spent looking at distant objects could be key factors, they said.

The studies involved more than 10,000 children and adolescents.

Researchers are presenting their findings at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting in Florida.

Dr Justin Sherwin and his research team concluded that short-sighted children spent on average 3.7 fewer hours per week outdoors than those who either had normal vision or were long-sighted.

But they said the reasons why were not yet clear.

They expected to find that children who spent more time outdoors also spent less time doing activities like reading, studying or playing computer games, but no such link was found in two of the eight studies which looked at this relationship.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

Any increase in time spent outdoors must be weighed against exposure to UV radiation.”

Dr Justin Sherwin University of Cambridge

However, Dr Sherwin said they would now need more precise data to try to understand which factors, such as increased use of distance vision, reduced use of near vision, natural ultraviolet light exposure or physical activity, are most important.

There are also other factors to consider, he said. more

Utah highway shut after 20m bees escape from lorry

A highway in the US state of Utah was temporarily closed after a lorry carrying at least 20 million bees overturned, freeing the insects.

The bees were being transported to California, ready to pollinate an almond crop next spring.

Interstate 15 was closed down for several hours while local beekeepers worked overnight to recapture the bees.

The trip was among the last of 160 truckloads of bees being sent south from Adee Honey Farms in South Dakota.

Authorities closed the southbound lanes of the highway, near the Arizona border, for several hours on Sunday night. The road reopened early on Monday morning, but officials have warned drivers to keep their windows closed.

"The driver lost control, hit the concrete barrier and rolled over," said Corporal Todd Johnson of the Utah Highway Patrol. "Of course, we then had bees everywhere." more

Libyan fuel depot explosion kills dozens

Dozens of people are dead after a blast tore through a fuel depot in the Libyan city of Sirte, local officials say.

The exact number of people killed in Monday's blast is not yet clear.

A local resident told Reuters that about 50 people were killed. The Telegraph, meanwhile, cites a National Transitional Council official, who put the figure at roughly 100.

Jalal al-Gallal, a spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council, said Tuesday he did not have further details about the explosion. He said Ali Tarhouni, a cabinet minister, would provide details in a news conference later in the day.

The explosion in the coastal city was likely the result of an accident, reports said. more

Libya the New Iraq: NATO may continue Libya mission, Panetta says,.. Anyone Surprised? - 25th Oct 2011

Despite the death of former leader Moammar Gadhafi and the new government's declaration of liberation, NATO may not end its mission in Libya as quickly as expected, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday in Japan.

Last week, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, commander of NATO's military forces, recommended that NATO wrap up its mission in Libya by October 31. NATO ministers gave preliminary approval to that plan.

But Panetta said at a news conference during his visit to Japan Tuesday that the National Transitional Council -- Libya's new government -- wants NATO to stick around.

"I noticed today that there were comments from some of the Libya leadership asking that NATO continue its mission during this interim as they are trying to establish some of their governance," Panetta said.

He said he would leave such decisions up to NATO while the United States looks at its long-term relations with Libya's military. Read More

Kenya on edge after attacks: Is war coming?

Occupy London Protest Expanding

New York couple tries to trademark 'Occupy Wall St.'

A Long Island couple wants to trademark the slogan "Occupy Wall St." with the intent to sell sweatshirts, T-shirts, bumper stickers and hobo bags, among other merchandise.

"I'm no marketing genius, but when you got something that's across 50 states, it's a brand now," said 44-year-old Robert Maresca of West Islip, New York.

Maresca's wife, Diane, filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on October 18 and paid a fee of $975.

The move has some Occupy Wall Street supporters perplexed.

"The goal of OWS is not to become a profitable business," said Tyler Combelic, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman. "Anything that misconstrues it as such, such as trademarking for the sake of profiting, is missing the point of protest."

But Robert Maresca sees things differently.

"I'm the best person they could imagine buying the slogan, because no one has their interest more than myself," he said. "This is an important slogan; somebody else might have gotten a hold of it." more

Category 2 Rina poised to hit Cancun, Yucatan

Worried travelers and those living on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula were waiting and watching Hurricane Rina on Tuesday after the storm intensified to a Category 2 and appeared poised to make a near-direct hit on the resort town of Cancun later this week.

Rina's maximum sustained winds were near 100 mph Tuesday morning, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. "Additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so and Rina could become a major hurricane by tonight or early Wednesday," forecasters said.

Forecast models show Rina strengthening into a major, or Category 3, hurricane before approaching the Yucatan. The projected path shows Rina back at Category 2 intensity when it takes aim at Cancun on Thursday.

Those headed for Cancun posted on some online travel forums seeking advice.

"I don't mind staying in the hotel as long as they don't evacuate us" and the power stays on, one person, who is planning to travel to Cancun on Saturday, wrote on tripadvisor.com.

"So how bad does the weather need to get before they cancel a flight?" another person wrote on a Cancun forum. "We're wiling to chance it." more

Last rare rhinoceros in Vietnam killed by poacher, group says

Vietnam's rare Javan rhinoceros was declared extinct in that area after poachers killed the last remaining animal in the country for its horns, the World Wildlife Fund said.

“Vietnam must see this loss as another warning sign of its looming wave of species extinctions,” Dr. Barney Long, WWF’s Asian species expert, said in a statement. “The single most important action that is needed to save remaining threatened species like tigers and elephants is protection.”

The country had been struggling to keep the population alive amid widespread poaching that the WWF said was the cause of many Asian rhino species being brought to the "brink of extinction."

The WWF said people in certain parts of Asia believe the horns, when ground down and dissolved in boiling water, help treat typhoid fever or even cancer, the WWF said, noting that there has been no scientific proof of that.

The group said trying to bring the species back into the area won't work.

“Reintroduction of the rhinoceros to Vietnam is not economically or practically feasible," WWF’s Asian Elephant and Rhino Program Coordinator Dr. Christy Williams said. "It is gone from Vietnam forever."

So now, the Javan rhino only exists in one area in the world, according to the WWF. more

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWEST INDIAN RIDGE - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Southwest Indian Ridge at a depth of 9.8 km ( 6.1 miles), the quake hit at 11:01:10 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 1073 km ( 666 miles) SSE of Port Louis, Mauritius
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Libya oil eyed by Western companies (No surprise there)

Western oil companies are eager to jump back into Libya, but without strong oil laws there they are hesitant to invest the billions of dollars needed to boost production.

Before the fighting broke out, the country produced about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day. Of that, the Libyan National Oil Company controlled about 1.1 million.

A handful of Western oil companies, including Italy's Eni (E), France's Total (TOT) and ConocoPhillips (COP, Fortune 500), Marathon (MRO, Fortune 500), Hess (HES, Fortune 500) and Occidental (OXY, Fortune 500) account for most of the remaining oil, with Eni being the largest player.

But under Moammar Gadhafi the terms of those deals were strict. The dictator effectively imposed a 93% tax on any oil the companies produced in Libya. more

Japan's quake debris moving towards Hawaii

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 7.3 km ( 4.5 miles), the quake hit at 14:55:07 UTC Tueday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 37 km ( 23 miles) NNE of Van, Turkey

432 Confirmed deaths - 1300 Injured and hundreds more missing.

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake CRETE, GREECE - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Crete, Greece at a depth of just 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:41:10 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 28 km ( 17.3 miles) Southeast of Koutsouras, Crete, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake CAUCASUS REGION, RUSSIA - 25th Oct 2011

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck the Caucasus Region, Russia at a depth of 40 km ( 24.8 miles), the quake hit at 13:01:01 UTC Tuesday 25th October 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km ( 12.4 miles) West of Guyguqey, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Occupy London Expanding - 25th Oct 2011

Ireland Flash Floods: Search Teams Recover the Body of Missing Policeman and a Woman Swept away during the Floods - 25th Oct 2011

Search teams have recovered the bodies of a missing police officer and a woman after flash floods in Ireland.

Ciaran Jones, 25, had been directing traffic to safety at Ballysmutton Bridge near Blessington in County Wicklow when he was swept away.

A Garda helicopter, the Irish coastguard and several mountain rescue teams joined the search for the police officer.

A woman's body has also been recovered from a flooded basement flat in Dublin.

Dublin City Council implemented its major emergency plan when the worst flooding in decades hit the Irish capital. Read More

Azra Karaduman a 14 day year old Baby Survives 46 Hours In Rubble After the Turkey Earthquake - 25th Oct 2011

A 14-day-old baby has miraculously survived 46 hours trapped in rubble after a powerful earthquake struck in southeast Turkey.

As the death toll neared 400 and rescuers hopes of finding more survivors alive were fading, they plucked the newborn to safety.

The little girl, named locally as Azra Karaduman, was quickly wrapped in a blanket and whisked away in an ambulance to the sound of overjoyed rescuers clapping.

Search and rescue workers are now trying to reach the infant's mother who is also reportedly alive but buried in the wreckage of their home in the town of Ercis.

Her father is believed to be still missing, local reports said. Read More

Downpour floods homes and shops as torrential rain hits the United Kingdom - 22 FLOOD ALERTS ISSUED - 25th Oct 2011

Reader Contribution;

Floods swept through homes and businesses last night, as torrential rain and strong winds brought an end to the second wave of autumn sunshine.

After a sunny weekend and temperatures up to 20c last week, dark clouds descended on the west of the country from Sunday night – and the rain had barely stopped by nightfall yesterday.

Water was pumped out of homes and shops in Cornwall by firemen, with coastal areas bracing themselves for a month’s worth of rainfall in just a few hours.

The Environment Agency, which has issued 22 flood alerts along the country’s shoreline, warned those at risk to sandbag their properties.

A spokesman said: ‘Today’s forecast means that there is a strong likelihood of property flooding. We are urging people to protect themselves and their properties. Read More

Yemeni Military Cargo Plane Crashed while Landing Killing at least 4 People - 25th Oct 2011

A Yemeni military cargo plane crashed Tuesday while landing at a base in the southern province of Lahej killing at least four of 15 people on board, a military pilot said.

"Three Syrian technicians and one Yemeni were killed," the source at Al-Anad base told AFP, adding that eight Syrian engineers and seven Yemenis were on board the Russian-made plane.

"It exploded upon hitting the runway," he said.

The pilot stressed that the Antonov plane was not carrying weapons.

Al-Anad airbase was built by the British who ruled south Yemen until it became independent in 1967. Read More