Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Supporters of Julian Assange have rallied as he faces extradition to Sweden

SUPPORTERS of Julian Assange have rallied around the WikiLeaks boss after he suffered a potentially lethal blow in his legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden.

The Australian-born driving force behind the controversial secret-spilling website has lost his British High Court appeal and is considering his next move.

Mr Assange, 40, has been fighting a European Arrest Warrant for his return to Sweden to answer allegations of sex offences from August last year.

He and his lawyers have a fortnight to decide whether to try to take his case to the Supreme Court, the final port of call in the British justice system.

Mr Assange's legal team must convince the courts on a point of law of general public importance that his case deserves to be heard in a third and final appeal in Britain's highest court.

Mr Assange tried to sound defiant on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice but there was a touch of resignation about his demeanour.

"I have not been charged with any crime in any country," he said. more

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake COSTA RICA - 2nd Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck Costa Rica at a depth of 39.6 km ( 24.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:01:33 UTC Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
The epicenter was 87 km ( 54 miles) WSW of San Jose, Costa Rica
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

More to Follow

Four foot shark is discovered on double yellow lines in Welsh seaside town - 2nd Nov 2011

Double yellow lines are not normally reserved for anything or anyone - except perhaps the odd rogue car, van or lorry.

However, people in Aberystwyth, Wales, which famously has no traffic wardens, were astounded to discover a dead shark washed up in their no-parking zone instead.

Bank worker Tom Huxley came out of a friend's house and was hit by they smell of rotting fish, but when he went to investigate he found the body of a 4ft blue shark lying inches from the road markings.

Mr Huxley, a former Aberystwyth University student, took a photo the fish outside the Gwesty Cymru hotel on 24 October.

It is not known how the shark came to end up on the road, but experts at Swansea University's Department of Bioscience believe it was washed up in recent stormy weather. Read More

Antonio Horta-Osorio a 'Overworked' CEO of taxpayer-backed Lloyds bank takes medical leave six months after receiving £8m golden hello - 2nd Nov 2011

Lloyds' job-cutting chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio is taking a break due to ill-health, the taxpayer-backed bank said today.

The announcement came so suddenly that his replacement was not named until hours later.

Tim Tookey, the finance director who is due to leave early next year as part of a sweeping clearout of the bank's old guard, will take over until the 47-year-old boss's return, Britain's biggest retail bank said.

Portuguese-born Mr Horta-Osorio has embarked on a plan to cut some 15,000 jobs to get crisis-hit Lloyds back on track since he took over as CEO in March.

At that time he was understood to have received a 'golden hello' payment of up to £8.6million.

His basic salary is £1.03million a year but this is only a fraction of his total possible annual package.

He is understood to be suffering from fatigue due to overwork and has taken leave following medical advice. Read More

3.8 Magnitude Earthquake CANARY ISLANDS, EL HIERRO - 2nd Nov 2011

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake has struck the Canary Islands, El Hierro at a depth of 23 km ( 14.2miles), the quake hit at 18:10:39 UTC Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
The epicenter was 80 km ( 49.6 miles) South of Fuencaliente de la Palma, Canary Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note; Due to increased activity on the north of El Hierro with over 350 earthquakes in the past 2 days and rising magma, the chances of an Volcanic eruption taking place in the North are highly Likely.

The Emergency services have since last night (1st Nov 2011) brought in a further 17 trucks and supplies and will be setting up shelter in case a evacuation has to take place immediately.

Libyan war over, but fighting continues among regional militias - 2nd Nov 2011

The Libyan war may be over, but rivalries rage on among some regional militias, leading to a mutual distrust that poses a challenge to the new leadership.

Earlier this week, the rivalry was evident when dozens of fighters clashed at a Tripoli hospital in what residents said was the biggest armed confrontation in the capital in weeks.

Clashes erupted at 2 a.m. Monday when a half dozen former rebels from Zintan city in the western mountains stormed the hospital, according to doctors.

Some of the former rebels were drunk, and demanded staff hand over a wounded fighter shot earlier that day, according to the doctors, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.

The patient and the body of a dead fighter had been taken to the hospital earlier, the doctors said, and the former rebels wanted to kill the wounded man.

Hospital staff declined to hand over the patient, who was undergoing surgery. Read More

Asteroid 2005 YU55 will zip by Earth next week -

A close encounter of the harmless kind comes next Tuesday when an aircraft-carrier-size asteroid races past Earth.

The asteroid, dubbed 2005 YU55, will come within 202,000 miles of Earth, closer than the moon, before zipping farther into space. Carbon-colored and dark, the asteroid measures some 1,300 feet wide. It will be the closest visit by a space rock this size in more than three decades.

"This is not a potentially hazardous asteroid, just a good opportunity to study one," National Science Foundation astronomer Thomas Statler says. NASA and the NSF plan a series of radar telescope and other observations starting Friday, aimed at mapping the asteroid's surface and chemistry.

"The radar measurements should be pretty spectacular," Statler says. Read More

Note: to put the distance in context, the Moon is about 221.463 miles from earth

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake PACIFIC-ANTARCTIC RIDGE - 2nd Nov 2011

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge at a depth of 1.1 km ( 0 miles), the quake hit at 14:59:26 UTC Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
The epicenter was 1764 km ( 1096 miles) West of Swain's Island
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: This earthquake was posted earlier as a 5,5 Magnitude which matched stations to what USGS was reporting.

USGS has since then upgraded this earthquake to a 6,2 Magnitude poorly constrained with a depth of just 1.1 km. - I have checked the stations and more data has come in from two stations located 30 km from the epicenter which measured this earthquake at a 6.2 Magnitude.

Anonymous goes after deadly Mexican drug cartel

In an attempt to save one of its own, the hackivist group, Anonymous threatens one of most notorious Mexican drug cartels, Los Zetas.

­In the latest video released by Anonymous, the group demands the release of one of its members who was kidnapped during a protest in Veracruz, Tamaulipas.

“You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him,” demands a man in a Guy Fawkes maskmade famous by the movie “V” for Vendetta.

The masked man goes on to say, “If not, the names and addresses of corrupt police, taxi drivers, and journalists, among others, will be released. It won't be difficult; we all know who they are and where they are. "

Many intelligence experts believe if Anonymous keeps its word the situation in Mexico can only get bloodier.

According to the Mexican government from December of 2006 to the start of 2011 more that 34,000 people have been killed as a result of the continued violence, drugs, weapons and human trafficking.

The latest incident of violence occurred in Boca del Rio where 35 bodies were dumped on the main highway during rush-hour.

The drug cartel situation has become so unmanageable by local authorities that the Mexican government has called in the Military to assist in breaking up the drug cartel operations.

The Anonymous video addressed the concerns of the Mexican people by saying “Veracruz, Mexico and the world are tired of the criminal group the Zetas, which is dedicated to kidnapping, stealing and extortion."

Even though Anonymous isn’t a violent group they have waged a war against Los Zetas.

"We cannot defend ourselves with weapons, but we can with their cars, houses, bars," the message adds, referencing assets owned by cartel supporters. more

Gaza militants fire rockets, testing truce

Gaza militants fired rockets at southern Israel on Monday, in violence that tested a shaky truce brokered by Egypt after a border flare-up that has claimed the lives of a dozen Palestinian gunmen and an Israeli civilian since the weekend.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said four rockets slammed into the Ashkelon and Beersheba regions as darkness fell on Monday, while a fifth was intercepted by a missile defense shield which witnesses said set off a loud explosion.

There were no reported injuries.

Israel, saying it had targeted a rocket-firing squad, killed two militants with an air strike in southern Gaza just after midnight on Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing parliament at the opening of its winter session, said Israel would use its "force and determination" against militants and follow a policy that "if someone rises us to kill you, you kill him first."

There were no immediate claims of responsibility issued for Monday's rocket fire. More than three dozen other rockets fired at Israel since the weekend were claimed by the Iranian-allied Islamic Jihad group, a rival of Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers. more

Judge tells Tennessee to stop arresting Occupy protesters

A judge told Tennessee officials on Monday to stop enforcing new rules that have been used to arrest Occupy protesters in Nashville.

The decision was a victory for the fledgling movement and for the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, which sought a temporary restraining order to block a curfew put in place last week.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger issued the order, which state officials did not fight.

"Political expression deserves the highest level of protection and it was unacceptable for the state to suddenly shut down protesters' speech and forcibly oust them from Legislative Plaza that has long been used as a place for peaceful expression," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director at the ACLU of Tennessee. more

Iran demands US apology over 'assassination plot'

Iran has demanded an official apology from the Obama administration over US claims that Tehran plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

Iran has raised the stakes in its row with the US over the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington by demanding an official apology from the Obama administration over the claim that Tehran was responsible.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran, which hosts the US interests section in the Islamic republic, passed a letter from the Iranian government to US officials on Friday outlining Iran's formal complaint over accusations that military factions inside the regime were directly linked to the alleged plot.

"In a recent letter to the US government, Iran has insisted that American authorities must publicly apologise to the Iranian government and its citizens for the false accusations they publicised against Tehran in violation of international norms and regulations," Iran's state-run Press TV reported.

US officials claimed to have uncovered an Iranian plot to assassinate Adel al-Jubeir in a sting operation involving the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The US said Iran was attempting to hire a member of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the killing but failed because the gang member was actually a US informant. more

Dozens of houses collapse in China quake

A moderate earthquake in remote northwestern China has destroyed dozens of houses and damaged many more, but there have been no reported casualties, government officials and state media said Tuesday.

More than 50 houses collapsed and hundreds of homes were damaged after the 5.4-magnitude quake jolted the border area of Yining and Gongliu counties in Xinjiang, the local earthquake bureau said on its official microblog.

The quake, which the US Geological Survey revised down to 5.4 from an initial reading of 6.0, struck at 8:21am (0021 GMT) around 96 kilometres (59 miles) east of the city of Yining, at a depth of 27 kilometres.

The China Earthquake Administration said the quake was believed to have caused "major damage" and "strong shaking" was felt in neighbouring counties, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A special working group had been dispatched to the area to assess the damage and coordinate relief efforts, it added.

Xinjiang is a vast region with a population of around 20 million, of which roughly nine million are Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking mainly Muslim ethnic minority. more

Syria plants land mines along Lebanese border as crisis deepens in Damascus

Syria has planted land mines along parts of its border with Lebanon, further sealing itself off from the world and showing just how deeply shaken Bashar Assad’s regime has become since an uprising began nearly eight months ago.

Although Assad’s hold on power is firm, the 46-year-old eye doctor is taking increasingly desperate measures to safeguard his grip on the country of 22 million people at the heart of the Arab world. A Syrian official confirmed to The Associated Press that troops were laying the mines, saying they were aimed at stopping weapons smuggling into the country during the uprising.

“Syria has undertaken many measures to control the borders, including planting mines,” a Syrian official familiar with government strategy told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Witnesses on the Lebanese side also told the AP they have seen Syrian soldiers planting the mines in recent days.

But the verdant mountains and hills along the frontier are used by refugees fleeing Syria’s deadly military assault on protesters and by Syrians who have jobs and families on the Lebanese side. The decision to plant mines — terrifying weapons that often maim their victims if they don’t kill them — suggests the regime is trying to contain a crisis that is spinning out of its control. more

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake PACIFIC-ANTARCTIC RIDGE - 2nd Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge at a depth of 3.9 km ( 2.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:59:28 UTC Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
The epicenter was 1764 km ( 1096 miles) West of Swain's Island
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Israel Considers Pre-Emptive Attack On Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to rally support in his cabinet for an attack on Iran, according to government sources.

The country's defence minister Ehud Barak and the foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman are said to be among those backing a pre-emptive strike to neutralise Iran's nuclear ambitions.

But a narrow majority of ministers currently oppose the move, which could trigger a wave of regional retaliation.

The debate over possible Israeli military action has reached fever pitch in recent days with newspaper leader columns discussing the benefits and dangers of hitting Iran.

Mr Lieberman responded to the reports of a push to gain cabinet approval by saying that "Iran poses the most dangerous threat to world order."

But he said Israel's military options should not be a matter for public discussion. more

Germany warns Greece over rescue

The eurozone plan to save Greece from bankruptcy is not up for renegotiation, Germany has warned, ahead of emergency talks with Greece and France.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would make it clear in talks with the Greek PM that the plan was needed.

French PM Francois Fillon said Greece had to say "without ambiguity" whether it wanted to stay in the eurozone.

Greek PM George Papandreou is to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Mrs Merkel later on Thursday.

Mr Papandreou announced a referendum on the eurozone rescue plan on Tuesday. Overnight, Greece's cabinet gave unanimous backing to the vote, which could take place in December.

He told an emergency cabinet meeting a referendum would offer "a clear mandate" for austerity measures demanded by eurozone partners.

Earlier, stock markets recorded big drops amid shocked reactions in eurozone capitals to the referendum announcement. more

Japan nuclear plant may have new problem

Radioactive particles associated with nuclear fission have been detected at Japan's tsunami-damaged atomic power plant, officials said Wednesday, suggesting one of its reactors could have a new problem.

The fresh concerns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility came as a reactor in southern Japan was restarted and brought back online, marking a first since the March 11 disaster created an outcry over the safety of Japan's nuclear power sites.

Utility officials said gas from inside the Fukushima plant's No. 2 reactor indicated the presence of radioactive xenon, which could be the byproduct of unexpected nuclear fission. Boric acid was injected through a cooling pipe as a precaution because it can counteract nuclear reactions.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, said there was no rise in the reactor's temperature or pressure. The company said the radioactive materials had not reached the point when nuclear reactions are self-sustaining and the detection of the xenon would have no major impact on workers' efforts to keep the reactor cool and stable. more

Israeli army tests rocket system: Bom, Bom, Bom go the war drums...

Israel has tested a rocket propulsion system from a military base in the centre of the country, the defence ministry said.

Israeli media reports said a ballistic missile had been fired.

The test came amid speculation in Israel that the government could be preparing a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The defence ministry said the test had long been planned. Israel successfully tested a ballistic missile in 2008.

"Israel today carried out the test of a rocket propulsion system from the Palmachim base," near Rishon LeZion, a military statement said.

"This had been planned by the defence establishment a long time ago and was carried out as scheduled".

The statement gave no details on what type of rocket had been tested, but Israel's Haaretz newspaper said a new type of ballistic missile was being tested.

A trail of white smoke could be seen across large areas of central Israel, newspapers reported.

Haaretz reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been trying to persuade his cabinet to back military action against Iran. more

Elderly Man Allegedly Beaten To Death At Lakewood Walmart



A 47-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly beating an elderly man to death with a baseball bat at a Lakewood Walmart store.

Witnesses say the suspect, who appeared to be homeless, approached a 74-year-old man in the store’s sporting goods section Tuesday and asked if he could spare some change.

The suspect allegedly became upset with the way the man responded, and beat him with a baseball bat.

Surveillance cameras captured video of the suspect leaving the store and authorities eventually brought him in for questioning. However, he has yet to be charged in the deadly attack.

Sheriff’s deputies evacuated the store at 2770 Carson Street shortly after 4 p.m. more

Meditation improves the immune system, research shows -- Anything that disarms the ratrace mentality likely would

Meditation improves the immune system, reduces blood pressure and even sharpens the mind, according to research.

The practice - an essential part of Buddhist and Indian Yoga traditions - has entered the mainstream as people try to find ways to combat stress and improve their quality of life.

Now new research suggests that mindfulness meditation can have benefits for health and performance, including improved immune function, reduced blood pressure and enhanced cognitive function.

The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, draws on existing scientific literature to attempt to explain the positive effects.

The goal of this work, according to author Britta Hazel, of Justus Liebig University and Harvard Medical School, is to "unveil the conceptual and mechanistic complexity of mindfulness, providing the big picture by arranging many findings like the pieces of a mosaic."

The authors specifically identify four key components of "mindfulness" - the state of meditation - that may account for its effects: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and sense of self. Together, these help us deal with the effects of stress. more

North Georgia Men Arrested, Charged in Plots to Purchase Explosives, Silencer and to Manufacture a Biological Toxin

Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga.; Dan Roberts, 67, of Toccoa, Ga.; Ray H. Adams, 65, of Toccoa; and Samuel J. Crump, 68, of Toccoa, were arrested today relating to plans to obtain an unregistered explosive device and silencer and to manufacture the biological toxin ricin for use in attacks against other U.S. citizens and government personnel and officials.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates said, “These defendants, who are alleged to be part of a fringe militia group, are charged with planning attacks against their own fellow citizens and government. To carry out their agenda, two of the defendants allegedly purchased purported explosives and a silencer, while the other two defendants took steps to attempt to produce a deadly biological toxin. While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security.”

FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin said of today’s arrests, “The FBI will act swiftly within its authority when any group or individual seeks to advance its rhetoric or ideology through force or violence. In this matter, the FBI’s Atlanta Division Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) was well positioned to address this investigation and to prevent harm to the general public.”

According to the criminal complaints, federal search warrants and documents in the public record, Thomas, Roberts, Crump, Adams and others were members of a militia organization and began participating in clandestine meetings of a fringe “covert” operations team starting in approximately March 2011. During these meetings, the complaints charge that the men discussed multiple criminal activities, ranging from murder; theft; manufacturing and using toxic agents; and assassinations in an effort to undermine federal and state government and to advance their interests. more

Pro Surfer At San Francisco Event Withdraws After Seeing Large Shark -- Seriously, what's with all the sharks lately?



A professional surfer competing in a contest Tuesday in the cold waters of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach left the waves before the end of his heat after saying he saw a large shark.

Surfer Dusty Payne, 22, of Hawaii left the surf while competing against Jordy Smith of South Africa. Payne said he spotted a large shark fin just outside the “lineup,” where surfers sit in the water and wait for their turn.

“I was just sitting there, and I was waiting for a wave. I’ve seen dolphins before, and it wasn’t a dolphin,” Payne said during an interview on the beach with the Rip Curl Pro Search event’s camera crew. “It was the biggest fin I’ve ever seen in my life coming straight at me.” more

"Global Warming is over," says expert -- Is it?

IT'S one of the hottest feuds in science - climate chance zealots insist that we're still destroying the planet but now another scientist has warned the cast-iron evidence just isn't there.

FOR a minute there it seemed the global warming debate had finally been resolved.

While for years scientists and sceptics have raged against each other on the crucial topic, new research hailed “the most definitive study into temperature data gathered by weather stations over the past half-century” seemed to come to an authoritative conclusion.

Global warming IS real it said, strengthening the need for us all to reduce carbon emissions and boost efforts to try to save the planet.

And this research was headed by a physicist who had previously been a sceptic of global warming and an outspoken critic of the science underpinning it, lending the results even greater credibility. more

Web Security Expert Warns Of Cyber World War with Devastating Consequences

A leading internet security expert has warned that a cyber terrorist attack with "catastrophic consequences" looked increasingly likely in a world already in a state of near cyber war.

Eugene Kaspersky is not given to easy hyperbole. But the Russian maths genius who founded an internet security empire with a global reach, clutched at his thick mop of hair with both hands.

"I don't want to speak about it. I don't even want to think about it," he said.

"But we are close, very close, to cyber terrorism. Perhaps already the criminals have sold their skills to the terrorists - and then...oh, God."

Speaking privately at the London Cyber Conference, Kaspersky told Sky that he believed that cyber terrorism was the biggest immediate threat to have emerged to confront nations as diverse as China and the US.

"There is already cyber espionage, cyber crime, hacktivisim (when activists attack networks for political ends) soon we will be facing cyber terrorism," he said. more

Will Occupy Wall Street withstand the winter cold?

A weekend of low temperatures and snow showers in New York offered a taste of what's to come in winter for the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park.

Seven weeks in, the resourceful protesters at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park are trying to stay warm and get their message out.

Chris has found a way to do both - pedalling away on a stationary bike-powered generator.

The New York fire department took away the protest's gas-powered generators on Friday, saying they were a fire risk.

Soon afterwards a local sustainability group came round with bicycle-powered generators. Pedal power is now keeping the laptops, phones and cameras of the protesters' media centre in business.

But even the most productive cyclists can't produce enough energy to power heaters.

Thorin Caristo, a spokesman for the protesters, says they're looking into the legality of small propane heaters, so they can stay warm as the temperature plummets. Solar panels produce only limited energy - the shaded park receives just one full hour of sunlight a day. more

Abuse of painkillers reaches 'epidemic' levels in US

Abuse of prescription painkiller have reached "epidemic" levels in the US, a government report says.

Overdoses of pain relievers cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, the report has found.

It says sales and prescriptions of the drugs rose sharply in recent years and this was linked to the rise in overdoses.

Narcotic painkillers are prescribed to relieve chronic pain but the drugs can be "highly addictive", the report says.

The report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said fatalities caused by narcotic pain relievers have more than tripled in the last 10 years - equivalent to 40 deaths a day.

Last year, a national survey on drug use and health showed that one in 20 Americans over the age of 12 said they had used painkillers for non-medical reasons.

Named as the fastest growing drug problem facing the US, narcotic painkillers are increasingly used recreationally - for the high they cause. more

Fracking tests near Blackpool 'likely cause' of tremors

It is "highly probable" that shale gas test drilling triggered earth tremors in Lancashire, a study has found.

But the report, commissioned by energy firm Cuadrilla, also said the quakes were due to an "unusual combination of geology at the well site".

It said conditions which caused the minor earthquakes were "unlikely to occur again".

Protesters against fracking, a gas extraction method, said the report "did not inspire confidence".

Six protesters from campaign group Frack Off climbed a drilling rig at one of Cuadrilla's test drilling sites in Hesketh Bank, near Southport, ahead of the report.

They oppose fracking, a controversial extraction method which blasts water into rock to release the shale gas, because they fear it is not safe. more

Somali famine 'a crisis without a foreseeable end'

Hundreds of Somalis continue to cross the border to seek help in Ethiopia, three months after famine was declared in the region.

Drought has long been blamed for its part in the crisis but there are now fears that seasonal rains could increase the risk of disease for those living in emergency camps. Watch BBC video here

Libyan war over, but fighting continues among regional militias: Welcome to "Freedom and Democracy"

The Libyan war may be over, but rivalries rage on among some regional militias, leading to a mutual distrust that poses a challenge to the new leadership.

Earlier this week, the rivalry was evident when dozens of fighters clashed at a Tripoli hospital in what residents said was the biggest armed confrontation in the capital in weeks.

Clashes erupted at 2 a.m. Monday when a half dozen former rebels from Zintan city in the western mountains stormed the hospital, according to doctors.

Some of the former rebels were drunk, and demanded staff hand over a wounded fighter shot earlier that day, according to the doctors, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.

The patient and the body of a dead fighter had been taken to the hospital earlier, the doctors said, and the former rebels wanted to kill the wounded man.

Hospital staff declined to hand over the patient, who was undergoing surgery.

Tripoli fighters in charge of hospital security forced them out , but not before the returning fighters shot rounds in the hospital.

Both groups called for backup, which arrived as fighting raged around the hospital grounds until 5 a.m. Witnesses said both sides were using heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft guns. more

Japanese plant starts first nuclear reactor since tsunami crisis: Bad idea?

A Japanese power company restarted a nuclear reactor this week, the first to come back online since a March earthquake and tsunami in the nation.

The March 11 disasters sparked a nuclear crisis and a backlash that postponed plans to reopen reactors shut down because of damage, inspections or unrelated technical problems.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it has started generating electricity from the No. 4 reactor late Tuesday at the Genkai nuclear power plant in western Japan.

The reactor was taken offline in October after technical problems.

Company officials won approval from a local governor and a mayor to bring the reactor online, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

Nuclear safety critics criticized the reopening, with the power company receiving more than 200 calls Tuesday from citizens who opposed the move.

Another power company said it may have suffered a setback in its efforts to handle damaged nuclear reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it detected the chemical element xenon in a nuclear reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a sign that nuclear fission may have occurred.

The power company said it began injecting boric acid into the cooling system and has not seen a temperature change that would suggest nuclear fission has occurred.

The reactor, No. 2, was one of several damaged in the wake of the historic March 11 disaster. more

Israel to speed up settlement construction in Jerusalem, West Bank as Mideast tensions simmer

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called for speeding up the construction of 2,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The announcement from his office comes in retaliation for the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO's vote, a day earlier, to accept a Palestinian bid for full membership.

According to a senior Israeli official, the plan involves building 1,650 units in East Jerusalem and the rest in the West Bank settlements of Efrat and Maaleh Adumin.

The construction will take place in areas that are expected to be part of Israeli territory in any future peace agreement, and there is no contradiction between it and the various peace plans that have been on the table, the official said.

Palestinians claim the land Israel occupied in East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the 1967 war as part of a future Palestinian state.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said repeatedly that the Palestinians will not return to negotiations until Israel halts all settlement construction and accepts 1967 border lines.

Israel, for its part, has maintained that negotiations should begin with no preconditions.

"You cannot expect Israel to continue to be restrained when the Palestinian Authority leadership repeatedly slams the door in our face," said the Israeli official, who was not authorized to speak to the media. more

Is China's property bubble about to burst?

In an interview with the New York Times last year, leading hedge fund manager Jim Chanos described China’s property market as “Dubai times a thousand."

He was of course referring to the collapse of the Gulf state's overheated real estate market in 2009 after a six-year boom.

In another interview with Bloomberg during the same period, Chanos said China – which has enjoyed its own boom – was on a “treadmill to hell.”

"They can’t afford to get off this heroin of property development," he claimed. "It's the only thing keeping the economic growth numbers growing.”

A year on and the prominent China-watcher says the treadmill has only gotten “bigger and faster…than ever.”

He told Bloomberg that China continued to rely on real estate for economic growth, pointing out that consumption as a percentage of GDP had dropped and that fixed-asset investment is “what’s driving everything,” citing an increase of 24% year-on-year compared to 9% GDP growth.

Home prices in China fell for the first time this year at the turn of Q3, dropping 0.23% last month from September when they fell 0.03%, according to SouFun Holdings, China’s largest property website.

Meanwhile, major property developers in China have started cutting prices on new projects, sparking confrontations with angry purchasers at developers’ offices last week. In fact, housing prices in tier one cities could fall by as much as 30%, according to Ba Shusong, a researcher at the State Council’s Development Research Center. more

Mexican authorities find 8 bodies in Veracruz as unrecognized war rages

Authorities found eight bodies in a remote area in the Mexican coastal state of Veracruz Tuesday, officials said.

An anonymous tip led investigators to the scene, near a river that is a popular tourist attraction in the municipality of Boca del Rio, the Veracruz state government said in a statement.

Security forces were searching the area for suspects, the statement said.

In recent months, violence has surged in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, which is the third most populous state in Mexico, with more than 7 million residents.

In September, 35 bodies were abandoned in a roadway during rush-hour traffic in a popular tourist area of Boca del Rio, two days before a meeting of high-ranking state prosecutors and judges there.

In October, Mexican federal authorities announced plans to step up security in the state to help local police fight organized crime.

Several days later, a total of 32 bodies were found in three locations in Boca del Rio.

More than 43,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on cartels in December 2006, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. source

White bear cubs risk being shot in B.C. town of Elkford

A pair of rare white bear cubs and a young black bear sibling have become a nuisance in a small town in eastern B.C., and local residents are being urged to help the animals avoid being shot by conservation officers.

The three cubs, from two different mothers, have been gorging on garbage and the last of the season’s fallen fruit around the community of Elkford, just inside the B.C. border, about 130 kilometres southwest of Calgary.

“They've been spotted in someone's kitchen, on patios and in yards,” said Elkford spokeswoman Randi McDonald.

The district planned a special meeting Tuesday night to try to agree on a strategy, McDonald said.

McDonald has been speaking in schools and has had flyers distributed to every home in town as part of a campaign to encourage the bears to leave. If residents clean up their garbage and fruit trees, it would eliminate the bruins’ food supply.

“We don't want to see any animal destroyed because of human negligence, so we are really asking the community to step up,” McDonald said. more

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 2nd Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 22 km ( 13.6 miles), the quake hit at 13:24:02 UTC Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
The epicenter was 25 km ( 15.4 miles) Southeast of Ercis, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Death in the desert: Tribesmen exploit refugees' battle to reach Israel



"I wanted to build a good future for my family, but I failed," a weak Issam Abdallah Mohammed said in a videotaped statement.

The refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan was trying to illegally cross the border from Egypt to Israel when he was discovered and shot by Egyptian border guards.

Less than an hour after taping the statement, Issam was dead, succumbing to the wounds inflicted by the gunshots.

Every year, thousands of refugees, mostly from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, attempt the dangerous journey from their war-torn countries to Israel in search of economic prosperity and stability.

Very few make it, and the results of the failed migration can be seen in the morgue of the central hospital in the Egyptian port town of El Arish.

When a CNN crew visited there recently, all the refrigeration units were broken, leaving a biting stench of decaying corpses in the air, which staff members attempted in vain to cover up with chlorine-based cleaner and incense.

On any given day, the morgue will be packed with the bodies of African refugees who died trying to make it to Israel. more

High Levels of Radiation near Tokyo supermarket unrelated to Fukushima crisis - 2nd Nov 2011

A high level of radiation detected near a supermarket in Tokyo appears to be unrelated to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, science ministry officials said Tuesday.

An investigation by the ministry detected a high radiation level of around 40 millisieverts per hour near a bottle found 40 centimeters deep in the ground near the supermarket in Setagaya Ward.

If a person were continually exposed to such a level of radiation for two and a half hours, the risk of dying from cancer would increase by 0.5 percent, the officials said.

Although the source of the radiation has not been determined, lead and bismuth, released when radium-226 decays, were detected after workers dug into the ground, they said.

Radium is not among the radioactive substances released by the Fukushima plant since it was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said earlier.

The radiation level on the surface of the ground nearby was around 1 millisievert per hour, the officials said. The exposure limit set for ordinary people is 1 millisievert per year.

A resident reported high radiation readings in the area on Friday, prompting the ministry to take measurements, with up to 170 microsieverts per hour recorded at one spot on the surface of a pavement near the supermarket and up to 110 microsieverts per hour recorded at another spot near the shop's entrance. Read More

Note: In just the past few weeks there have been at least 5 reports of high radiation levels recorded at least 200 km from Fukushima, ALL have stated this has absolutely nothing to do with the huge ongoing Nuclear Disaster. One report even stated that someone kept a box of bottle in his house filled with radiation!.

These cases are only being discovered because worried residents have been taking their own measurements, and even though the government and TEPCO continue to announce to the world it is safe, they continue to turn up in Hazard suits.

Even the publicity stunt where one of the officials drank a glass of PURIFIED water was beamed across the world with a new made up headline "Official drinks water from puddle at Fukushima"

Schoolgirl in Fukushima exposed to high level of radiation in September - 2nd Nov 2011

FUKUSHIMA -- A young girl was found to have been exposed to 1.7 millisieverts of radiation in September due to the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, city authorities have revealed.

The Fukushima Municipal Government announced on Nov. 1 that a third-year elementary school girl in the city was exposed to the high level of radiation in September alone, with her three brothers also having been exposed to 1.4 to 1.6 millisieverts of radiation in the same month. Their residence was located close to a highly-radioactive spot, and the family has since moved outside Fukushima Prefecture.

"The radiation level would not affect their health," a city official said.

The result came after the city distributed personal dosimeters, called "glass badges," to 36,989 residents, including pregnant women and children.

The city has collected the individual dosimeters from 36,478 residents for analysis and found that 99 percent of them had been exposed to no more than 0.3 millisieverts of radiation in September . Read More

TEPCO finds sign of fresh nuclear fission at Fukushima reactor - 2nd Nov 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that it has detected signs of a recent nuclear fission in the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, but ruled out the possibility that a major criticality accident had occurred.

The plant operator injected early Wednesday water containing boric acid to control a possible nuclear reaction at the reactor, where nuclear fuel is believed to have melted when the cooling system failed following the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The company said the reactor's temperature and pressure were stable.

As for the possibility of criticality, in which nuclear fuel sustains a fission chain reaction, the utility's spokesman said such a phenomenon may have happened "temporarily or partially," Read More

What is Nuclear Fission?

Nuclear fission occurs when the mass number of an element splits.

The product is a new element and released neutrons

Nuclear fission releases heat energy

This heat is harnessed in nuclear power stations to boil water, which is used to drive turbines and machinery

The amount of energy produced by each reaction is very small billions of reactions occur every second

The waste products from these reactions are radioactive, which is why many people worry about nuclear power plants. Source

Fission is usually an energetic nuclear reaction induced by a neutron, although it is occasionally seen as a form of spontaneous radioactive decay, especially in very high-mass-number isotopes.

The unpredictable composition of the products (which vary in a broad probabilistic and somewhat chaotic manner) distinguishes fission from purely quantum-tunnelling processes such as proton emission, alpha decay and cluster decay, which give the same products every time. Wikipedia

Department of Homeland Security to step up monitoring of Twitter and other social network sites - 1st Nov 2011

The wave of uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East that have overturned three governments in the past year have prompted the U.S. government to start developing guidelines for culling intelligence from Twitter and other social media networks.

Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Caryn Wagner said the use of such technology in uprisings that started in December in Tunisia shocked some officials into attention.

It prompted questions of whether the U.S. needs to do a better job of monitoring domestic social networking activity.

She said: 'We're still trying to figure out how you use things like Twitter as a source.

'How do you establish trends and how do you then capture that in an intelligence product?'

Wagner said the department is establishing guidelines on gleaning information from sites such as Twitter and Facebook for law enforcement purposes, the Associated Press reports. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake IRAQ - 2nd Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Iraq at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 11:43:04 UTC Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
The epicenter was 25 km ( 15.5 miles) Northwest of 'Aqrah, Iraq
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Millions STILL without power after snowstorm... while Halloween is postponed and homeless people give Occupy protesters tips on keeping warm

Millions of people in the U.S. Northeast are still without power, schools are closed and downed trees are snarling traffic as the clean-up continues from last weekend’s rare and deadly snowstorm.

The huge storm that raged from West Virginia to Maine from Saturday until late on Sunday has now been blamed for at least 13 deaths, most on slippery roads.

Halloween fun was postponed as ghoul and goblin decorations were blanketed with record snowfall for October in many places, such as 32 inches measured in the western Massachusetts town of Peru.

Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York are battling to stay warm and dry after the snowstorm, four days after authorities confiscated their generators for safety reasons.

Some of the demonstrators - who have camped in a Manhattan park for six weeks to protest against economic inequality - got tips on how to deal with the cold weather from homeless people. Read More

Jose Concepcion Sifuentes, 23, charged with the Murder of 10 year old Jasmen Gonzalez - 2nd Nov 2011

Texas police have charged a man in the murder of a ten-year-old Oklahoma City girl who was abducted from her relative's home, sexually assaulted and stabbed to death, according to police.

Twenty-three-year-old Jose Concepcion Sifuentes, described as a family friend, was questioned on Monday as a person of interest in the death of Jasmen Gonzalez, whose body was found on Sunday.

He was charged with the girl's murder after incriminating evidence was found in his vehicle and apartment, according to new reports.

According to a search warrant affidavit obtained by Fox News, police retrieved 'a knife with a black handle, yellow rubber gloves, hair, half of a golden charm, and samples of suspected human blood'.

Tests were underway on the items recovered at press time.

The network reports Sifuentes was has been moved from jail in Carrolton where he was being kept on an immigration hold as a 'person of interest' in the case, to Lew Sterret Justice Center in downtown Dallas.

The Dallas County medical examiner's office said on Monday that Jasmen Gonzalez died of a single stab wound to the chest. Read More

Julian Assange Loses Court Bid Against Extradition - 2nd Nov 2011

WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has lost his High Court bid to block his extradition to Sweden to face sex crime allegations.

Two judges rejected the argument made by his lawyers that extradition of the Australian would be "unfair and unlawful".

The 40-year-old is wanted in Sweden to answer accusations of "raping" one woman and "sexually molesting and coercing" another in Stockholm in August last year.

Assange, whose website embarrassed governments and businesses by publishing leaked diplomatic cables, denies the allegations and claims they are politically motivated.

The whistleblower arrived at court wearing a navy blue suit and a Remembrance Day poppy and was mobbed by supporters as he entered the building.

But the High Court upheld the ruling made by District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in February that he should be extradited to face investigation. Read More

Rare albino snake with two heads bred in Florida - 2nd Nov 2011

The odds of a two-headed, or bicephalic, snake being born are 10,000 to one, but nevertheless, this albino Honduran milk snake was recently hatched in the U.S.

Staff at conservation group Sunshine Serpents in Florida were incubating seven milk snake eggs, but got a huge shock when nine heads emerged, because as well as the two-headed snake, one egg contained twins.

Owner Daniel Parker, a University of Central Florida biologist, said: ‘I did a double take. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.’

Often, the term albino refers to white colouring, but for snakes, it simply means a lack of dark pigmentation.

Biologist Parker says two-headed snakes have been documented to live as long as 20 years in captivity.

With two brains giving commands to a single body, he says the snake, which isn’t venomous, would have a difficult time surviving in the wild. Read More

Thousand people an hour sign up to e-petitions website calling for debate on migration..But will anyone listen and act? -

A petition calling for drastic action to prevent the UK's population soaring to 70million was yesterday backed by 1,000 people every hour.

The huge response to the campaign by Migration Watch means it is already one of the most popular e-petitions on the Downing Street website.

By 6pm yesterday – 18 hours after its official launch – there were 18,000 signatures.

Late last night, the total stood at 24,000.

It means the campaign to secure a Parliamentary debate on the need for stricter border controls to bring population growth under control is already almost a fifth of the way to its target of 100,000 names.

Any petition which reaches 100,000 must be considered by a committee of MPs for a full debate. Read More

Petition: Sign Here >>>>>>>>>>

Archbishop of Canterbury turns on the City as St Paul's protesters win eviction reprieve - 2nd Nov 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury last night declared war on the City of London by calling for a ‘Robin Hood tax’ on bankers.

His intervention came as planned legal moves to evict the St Paul’s protesters were suspended and the cathedral turned away from eviction action.

Rowan Williams said the fortnight-long occupation had served to highlight ‘a widespread and deep exasperation with the financial establishment’.

In an equally dramatic move, St Paul’s clerics distanced themselves from large financial donors who effectively bankroll the cathedral, saying ‘God will provide’. Read More

Holidaymaker forced to flee as landslide leaves caravans dangling on the brink of 200ft drop, South Wales - 2nd Nov 2011

Dangling over a 200ft drop, these caravans were caught in a landslide that almost claimed a woman’s life.

The holidaymaker, who was said to be petrified, was led to safety after part of the cliff beneath her mobile home suddenly gave way.

The 14 other caravans that almost hit the beach below were unoccupied.

A geologist was brought in last week after cracks appeared at the top of the cliff at Porthkerry near Barry in South Wales.

But at about 8pm on Monday a 60-yard section collapsed. Witnesses said it sounded like fireworks going off. Read More

Militia members plotted to kill federal officials, prosecutors say - 2nd Nov 2011

Federal agents charged four Georgia men they say are part of a fringe militia group with plotting to attack government officials with explosives and the biotoxin ricin, prosecutors in Atlanta announced Tuesday.

A government informant recorded the men discussing plans to manufacture ricin, a highly poisonous substance derived from castor beans, and attack Justice Department officials, federal judges and Internal Revenue Service agents, according to court papers released Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said the public was never in imminent danger.

All four suspects were in custody and are scheduled to make their initial court appearances Wednesday in Gainesville, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, the U.S. attorney's office announced.

"When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die," an arrest affidavit quotes one of the defendants, Frederick Thomas, as saying during one recorded conversation. Read More