Friday, November 4, 2011

'Lives Lost' In 27-Vehicle Motorway Pile-Up on M5 Motorway: Somerset, UK

Several people have been killed and as many as 35 injured in a collision involving 27 vehicles on the M5 motorway in Somerset.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman confirmed that "some" people have "tragically lost their lives".

There are reports that 10 others have sustained "life changing" injuries.

Some 20 light vehicles and six articulated lorries were involved in the smash on the motorway close to junction 25 near Taunton at around 8.30pm.

At least four people who were trapped have been cut free by firefighters.

Video footage from the scene shows several vehicles engulfed in flames and debris strewn across the road. A number of burning lorries are on their side. more

Blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng makes Chinese officials jittery: Is a new, modern Mao in the making?

I first interviewed blind activist Chen Guangcheng for CNN in 2002. We drove five hours from Beijing to visit him in Dashigu, a rural hamlet in Shandong province.

During our visit, he counseled a blind farmer who was being hounded by local officials to pay taxes he claimed he did not owe.

"Next time before you pay taxes, remember to ask for a receipt," Chen advised. "You should collect evidence, otherwise it's hard to investigate and prosecute."

The 39-year-old Chen is self-taught and is one of a small group of activists pushing the margins of political dissent in China. He told me he learned the legal ropes from listening to the radio and television and from books and newspapers read to him by his wife and father.

Blinded by a fever at age two, Chen has been jailed, tortured and is still being persecuted and held under house arrest for helping villagers fight for their legal rights.

In recent weeks, many Chinese micro-bloggers have been tweeting and calling for Chen's release. With the tweets, they post an iconic photo of him wearing dark glasses and some have even posted photos of themselves wearing dark sunglasses.

Chen has advocated non-violent means to resolve conflicts, which has garnered him widespread support in China and abroad -- including a recent Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

"He's against rioting," New York University professor Jerome Cohen noted. "He wants all their efforts to be channeled into legal institutions."

But the muckraking blind lawyer has made government officials uneasy.

Several months after my interview, Chen documented cases of allegedly forced abortions and sterilizations connected to China's one-child policy in his village. He helped victims to file a class action suit against local officials, prompting their anger and vengeance.

Soon after, he was locked up in prison for four years on charges of "disturbing public order." During that time, he was awarded the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award, given to emerging leaders in Asia. more

Magnitude 5.8 - VANUATU


  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude5.8
Date-Time
Location18.293°S, 168.309°E
Depth39.5 km (24.5 miles)
RegionVANUATU
Distances61 km (37 miles) S of PORT-VILA, Efate, Vanuatu
172 km (106 miles) NW of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu
328 km (203 miles) SSE of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
1869 km (1161 miles) ENE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 15.1 km (9.4 miles); depth +/- 8.8 km (5.5 miles)
ParametersNST=221, Nph=227, Dmin=462 km, Rmss=0.97 sec, Gp= 50°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=B
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusb0006k69

Japan gives $11.6 Billion to dismantle nuclear reactors - 4th Nov 2011

Reader Contribution;

Japan's government Friday approved spending $11.6 billion Cdn of public money to help the operator of the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant decontaminate the site and dismantle the reactors.

Japan's nuclear minister, Goshi Hosono, says the aid is meant as a preliminary installment to help cash-strapped Tokyo Electric Power Co. cover the massive cost of the work.

The 900 billion yen comes from the fund made up of all Japanese nuclear plant operators and the government.

The approval came after TEPCO and a state-backed fund submitted a business restructuring plan for TEPCO to cut more than 2.5 trillion yen ($32 billion) in costs over the next 10 years and reduce more than 7,000 employees.

Hosono said a more comprehensive final report is planned in March. Read More

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou Survives Confidence Vote - 4th Nov 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou Survives Confidence Vote Nation's Parliament
153 YES 145 NO

M5 Pile-Up Closes Motorway in Somerset, UK Injuring at least 30 People - 4th Nov 2011

At least 30 people have been hurt, some seriously, in a multi-vehicle collision on the M5 in Somerset with reports of possible fatalities.

Some 20 light vehicles and six articulated lorries were involved in the smash, according to fire and rescue services.

At least four people who were trapped have been cut free by firefighters.

The incident happened just before 8.30pm, near junction 25 on the northbound carriageway of the motorway.

Eyewitnesses have reported seeing burning vehicles and casualities and debris strewn across the road.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue said: "Four vehicles were reported to be on fire, including two lorries."

Police, fire and ambulance services are all at the scene and the motorway has been closed in both directions from junctions 23 to 26.

Motorists in Bridgwater and the surrounding area are being asked to avoid the road.

Police have said the motorway is likely to be closed for 24 hours.

Avon and Somerset Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call the collision unit on 101.

More follows...

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 302.6 km ( 188 miles), the quake hit at 22:01:12 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 151 km ( 93 miles) West of Hihifo, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the Fiji Region at a depth of 568.9 km ( 353.5 miles), the quake hit at 21:44:22 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 235 km ( 146 miles) Southeast of Lambasa, Vanua Levu, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia at a depth of 35 km ( 21.7 miles), the quake hit at 21:31:35 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 252 km ( 156 miles) Southwest of T.-Telukbetung, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake JUJUY, ARGENTINA - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Jujuy, Argentina at a depth of 244.8 km ( 152.1 miles), the quake hit at 21:20:36 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 41 km ( 25 miles) West of Abra Pampa, Jujuy, Argentina
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia at a depth of 305.6 km ( 189.9 miles), the quake hit at 21:05:14 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 263 km ( 163 miles) Northeast of Dili, Timor-Leste
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

El Hierro Eruption Recent Images taken by the scientists of National Geographic Institute - 4th Nov 2011






















4.4 Magnitude Earthquake EL HIERRO, CANARY ISLANDS - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck off the Coast of El Hierro, Canary Islands at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 20:36:26 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 50 km ( 31 miles) South of Fuencaliente de la Palma
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: from 28th of October 2011 there have been 700 Earthquakes in the Region - this latest 4.4 Magnitude earthquake has caused some Landslides in Sabinosa and on the slopes in the area of Guinea.

Sort out your own mess: Obama reads riot act to Europe over Greek meltdown as he vetoes EU bid to pull in more cash from IMF - 4th Nov 2011

Barack Obama today read the riot act to European leaders as he vetoed their bid to squeeze more money out of the International Monetary Fund - sending them begging back to China instead.

The U.S. President urged G20 leaders to swiftly sort out a eurozone rescue plan and he was forced to state he doesn't have one eye on his own prospects of staying in the White House.

President Obama's political fortunes and his economy are at risk, and at the G20 summit in Cannes, France, he pledged to be a partner in helping the Europeans cope with the economic emergency.

But his aides insisted that Europe's problem, brought on by the threat of a Greek default, was one it had to fix. The stakes in Europe are immense as he seeks a second term in a time of economic peril.

'Events in Greece over the last 24 hours have underscored the importance of implementing the (bailout) plan,' President Obama said. 'I'm confident Europe has the ability to meet this challenge. Read More

Tibetan sets light to himself outside Chinese embassy - 4th Nov 2011

This was the horrific scene in New Delhi as another young Tibetan exile sets himself on fire as a show of solidarity with other anti-China protesters.

Indian police managed to overpower the man and put out the flames engulfing his jeans as he lay on the ground outside the Chinese embassy.

Sherab TseDor, 25, shouted 'Free Tibet, Stop Killing in Tibet,' as police took him in a jeep to a hospital.

Police said the man suffered minor burns.

At least 11 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China in recent months protesting against Chinese restrictions of Tibetan religion and culture in the disputed state.

A Buddhist nun in south-west China, Qiu Xiang, 35, died overnight after setting herself on fire at a road crossing in Dawu County, in the Ganzi region of Sichuan Province.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed the incident related to 'pro-Tibetan independence forces' overseas. Read More

Nazi-saluting nationalists march through Moscow in 'Take back Russia' protest over Muslim migrants - 4th Nov 2011

Thousands of far-right Nazi-saluting nationalists marched in Moscow today in a 'Take Back Russia' protest at Muslim migrants.

Resentment is growing over the migrants from Russia's Caucasus and the money the Kremlin sends to those troubled regions.

Chanting 'Russia for Russians' and 'Migrants today, occupiers tomorrow,' about 5,000 demonstrators, mostly young men, marched through a working-class neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital.

Police stood shoulder-to-shoulder along the street, which was blocked to traffic.

Violently xenophobic groups have flourished in Russia over the past two decades, killing and beating non-Slavs and anti-racism activists, and crudely denouncing the influx of immigrants from the Caucasus and from central Asian countries that were once part of the Soviet Union.

They have drawn moral support from nationalism that has been encouraged by Vladimir Putin's rule as part of the Kremlin's attempts to rebuild a strong Russian state. Read More

5 foot blue shark washes up on a Beach in East Sussex, England - 4th Nov 2011

A dog walker was shocked to discover a five-foot killer shark washed up on a Sussex beach.

The rare Blue Shark had a giant bite mark in its side, meaning it could have been killed by an even bigger predator in the English Channel.

Walker Nikki Lambert showed her find on Camber Sands, East Sussex, to marine biologists who said it could have been attacked by a Great White.

She said: 'I could not quite believe it at first until I got a little closer.

'I have encountered driftwood washed up but not a shark.

'I was told that the only animals who would attack a Blue Shark like this would be a Great White Shark or a Killer Whale.'

Blue Sharks, which can grow up to 12ft long, are not considered to be aggressive but they have attacked and killed humans in other parts of the world. Read More

Stowaway illegal immigrant who committed 20 offences is awarded £17,000 compensation after being 'unlawfully' jailed for four months...

An illegal immigrant who arrived in the UK as a stowaway and then committed around 20 offences has thanked a judge after being awarded more than £17,000 compensation for being falsely imprisoned by Home Office officials for four months.

Judge Stephen Stewart QC concluded that 28-year-old Joseph Mjemer - who had used at least five aliases and claimed to be from four different countries - should be freed and paid damages by the Home Office for 'loss of liberty'.

The defendant who sat in court behind lawyers, told him: 'Thank you very much'.

Lawyers for Mr Mjemer had successfully argued that he was unlawfully held between January and May this year, while immigration officials tried to establish where he came from so they could deport him.

Mr Mjemer also argued that he had suffered psychiatric harm as a result of being illegally detained.

But the judge said there was no evidence of 'substantial deterioration' during the period of unlawful detention and rejected a claim for 'aggravated damages'. Read More

Tory revolt as Cameron pledges to increase Britain's contribution to the IMF - 'We Want a Vote' - 4th Nov 2011

Conservative MPs were teetering on the edge of revolt today after David Cameron confirmed the UK was ready to increase its contribution to the International Monetary Fund.

The Prime Minister said the IMF boost would be within the 'extra head room' agreed by Parliament this year as he spoke at the conclusion of the G20 summit in France.

However, the announcement created uproar within the Tory party with some right-wingers calling for a full vote on the move in Parliament which could see the Prime Minister's majority significantly reduced. Read More

China urges Iran flexibility, but opposes force - 4th Nov 2011

China's Foreign Ministry weighed in on the widespread anxiety over Iran's nuclear program on Friday, urging Iran to be flexible with the U.N. nuclear agency but staunchly deploring force amid talk of strikes against the country.

Hong Lei, the ministry spokesman, made the comments, state-run news agency Xinhua said on Friday. They come ahead of a report on Iran's nuclear program expected to be released next week by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"As a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran should fulfill the relevant international obligations," Hong told reporters.

The report is expected to focus specifically on research and development that Tehran may have carried out that would help it build a nuclear warhead. Iran said it is developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes but Western powers have long asserted that Iran aspires to build nuclear weapons. Read More

Why is unity so important to Europe? - 4th Nov 2011

Europe's leaders are battling to keep the eurozone and the wider European Union together in the face of a financial crisis that threatens to split partnerships forged over more than half a century.

So why are they putting so much effort into preserving unity? And can they prevent today's debts and differences from dividing the continent for decades to come?

Why is unity so important to Europe?

The answer lies in Europe's history: The continent has historically been split by long-running conflicts that pitted neighboring countries against each other.

But despite this, the nations of Europe also share much in common, as Professor John Loughlin, of the University of Cambridge's department of politics and international studies explained.

"In the 19th century there was an idea that Europe had a natural unity, that its constituent parts shared an identity, a culture, a history," he told CNN.

"People were keen to recover this 'lost unity' which dated back to before the fragmented days of the individual nation states, to previous unions, and even to the Roman Empire." Read More

Florida SWAT shoots homeless man Dennis Gaydos in the face

Dennis Gaydos, a homeless man from Palm Springs, was making his home outside of a church in the sunny Florida community without incident until a police intervention changed his life.

Gaydos says he was keeping to himself in his temporary home on the church grounds when the Palm Springs Police department SWAT team, dressed in full military garb, shot him multiple times with rubber bullets.

The close-range blast slashed off a portion of his right ear lobe and rendered his left eye a pulpy mess.

In the four years since the event, Gaydos has filed a federal lawsuit against Palm Beach County, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the Village of Palm Springs Police Department. The lawsuit, which was filed in late July, is in response to the SWAT team to removing him from his encampment and severely butchering him.

Other damages include “physical suffering, permanent disfigurement including the loss of use of a bodily function, injury and mental anguish.”

“What happened to Mr. Gaydos was outrageous,” says Kevin Anderson to Jose Lambiet of GossipExtra.com. Anderson, Gaydos’ police liability lawyer, adds that “the behavior of the police officers and deputies at the scene was simply unexplainable.”

The lawsuit states, with a deployed helicopter over head, “the plaintiff was overtaken by multiple deputies and police officers. The Plaintiff was not threatening harm to the officers or other individuals upon the defendants’ arrival.” more

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck Vanuatu at a depth of 145.8 km ( 90.6 miles), the quake hit at 15:43:45 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 44 km ( 27 miles) NNE of Luganville, Espiritu Santos, Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake BALI REGION, INDONESIA - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the Bali Region at a depth of 98.3 km ( 61.1 miles), the quake hit at 14:59:53 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 53 km ( 32 miles) Southwest of Mataram, Lombok, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 4th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 54.2 km ( 33.7 miles), the quake hit at 14:56:35 UTC Friday 4th November 2011.
The epicenter was 81 km ( 50 miles) SSE of Mito, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs shot Afghan "with a smile on his face" -- then boasted about how easy it is to get away with it

A U.S. Army sergeant accused of murdering three unarmed Afghan civilians casually shot one victim "with a smile on his face," then pulled a tooth from the dead man's mouth, a fellow soldier testified on Wednesday.

The chilling account followed testimony from several other ex-peers of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs who recalled that he referred to Afghan villagers as "savages" and once told another soldier, "the Army needs more people who can kill people."

The portraits of Gibbs as a cold-blooded, renegade squad leader with a deep ethnic hatred of the very people U.S. troops were supposed to be protecting from Taliban forces emerged during a third day of testimony in his court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma.

But defense lawyers sought to discredit the prosecution's star witness, former Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, with a video clip he shot of himself delivering a profanity-laced, racist diatribe against a group of Afghan men detained by U.S. troops.

Morlock's ranting, craven appearance in the video contrasted sharply with his calm, focused demeanor in court earlier this week, when he took the stand to paint Gibbs as the instigator behind murders of innocent villagers staged to look like legitimate combat engagements. more

China space station test modules dock in historic rendezvous

Two unmanned Chinese spacecraft have docked successfully and are orbiting the Earth together in a step towards China having its own manned space station.

The Shenzhou-8 craft that was launched on Tuesday docked with the already orbiting Tiangong-1 module, said Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space programme. The assembly had orbited Earth several times, with onboard instruments working normally, she said.

The US and Russia are the only other countries to have mastered space docking. It was "a milestone success and sets a sound foundation for continued missions", Wu said.

The joint assembly will fly for another 12 days doing tests, then a second docking will be followed by two days' flight. Shenzhou-8 is scheduled to return to Earth on 17 November.

"Our aim is to try our best to perform multiple tests within one launch so as to maximise our benefits through limited launches," Wu said.

China launched its own space station programme after being turned away in its repeated attempts to join the 16-nation International Space Station – largely because the United States is wary of the Chinese space programme's military links.

Experts see no explicit military function for the Chinese space station. more

Blast, fighting heard near west Afghan NATO compound

Suspected suicide attackers launched an assault near a base used by NATO-led forces in the western Afghan province of Herat on Thursday, authorities said, and gunfire was still being heard although there was no immediate word on casualties.

Herat government spokesman Mahuddin Noori said suicide bombers and gunmen had entered a separate compound used by a security firm near the NATO base and that fighting was continuing.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the explosion was about one kilometre from their Herat base. Italian troops are mainly based in Herat.

"There has been an explosion outside the compound," the ISAF spokesman said.

He said there were no details about possible casualties.

The Herat attack was the latest in a string of assaults across Afghanistan.

On Saturday, a suicide car bomber killed 13 ISAF troops and civilian employees, as well as four Afghans, in Kabul, the deadliest single ground attack against the coalition since the war began 10 years ago.

Another three Afghan civilians were killed in a suicide attack in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Monday, officials said. source

Mississippi voting on amendment to declare fertilized egg a person

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour came out in support Friday of an amendment to the state constitution that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception, saying that he cast his absentee ballot for the measure despite struggling with its implications.

"I have some concerns about it," he said in a statement. "But I think all and all, I believe life begins at conception so I think the right thing to do was to vote for it."

On Wednesday, Barbour said he was still undecided and said the measure was "too ambiguous."

Initiative 26 would define personhood as "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."

Though the text of the amendment is simple, the implications if it passes couldn't be more complex. If approved by Mississippi voters on Tuesday, it would make it impossible to get an abortion and hamper the ability to get some forms of birth control. more

Venezuela FM station says troops seize equipment

The owner of a radio station in western Venezuela says dozens of National Guard soldiers have seized broadcasting equipment as part of an investigation launched by the country's state telecommunications commission.

Jose Ramon Socorro says about 50 armed soldiers entered Kalor 91.1 FM and took away the equipment.

Socorro calls Thursday's incident an armed assault. He says the troops did not provide details on the reason for the investigation or confiscation.

Representatives of the state telecommunications commission have not answered telephone calls seeking comment.

Press freedom watchdogs have accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of trying to suppress the country's independent media. source

China jails grandmother who organised protest

A 65-year-old grandmother who organised a protest in Shanghai demanding better benefits for retirees has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail, a relative and court official said Thursday.

Zhang Weimin was sentenced this week for disturbing public order after she helped organise a peaceful demonstration of hundreds of retirees in the city in November last year, a relative who wished to remain anonymous told AFP.

A spokeswoman for the Shanghai Number Two Intermediate People?s Court confirmed the sentence.

Zhang is the leader of a group of Shanghai residents -- now retired -- who were sent to the far western region of Xinjiang in the 1960s to work as part of a policy of dispatching so-called "educated youth" to rural areas.

Many returned to the eastern commercial city from Xinjiang in the late 1990s, but they complain their pension and health benefits are lower than other Shanghai retirees.

Although Shanghai residents were sent to many parts of China at the time, the Xinjiang returnees are the best organised and have held weekly protests for nearly a decade, with participants sometimes numbering in the hundreds.

"They targeted her since she was the leader," said the relative, who declined to be named out of fear of reprisals by authorities.

Police also detained scores of supporters who showed up at the courthouse to rally around Zhang at her sentencing on Tuesday. more

Charge Inmates To Stay In Jail? Riverside County Eyes $5M Revenue Boost

If you do the time in Riverside County, you better have the dime to pay for it.

KNX 1070′s Mike Landa reports that’s the driving sentiment behind one Riverside County supervisor’s efforts to charge jail inmates for their time in custody.

Supervisor Jeff Stone introduced an ordinance this week seeking reimbursements for the cost of jailing inmates that an estimated $143 dollars per day.

Stone told the Riverside Press Enterprise the county could reap as much as a $5 million windfall from the move.

If an inmate is unable to cover the costs, the county would put a lien against any real property they may own.

“And we have probably about 25 percent of people that do white-collar crimes in this county, and those are the ones that are going to be put in the county jails, they’re going to be required to pay for their costs,” said Stone.

Stone also hoped to charge a fee to all visitors to county prisons, but lawyers argued such a move would be unconstitutional. source

"Glee" to feature "first gay sex scene" -- Appropriate? Inappropriate? Keep in mind many young people will be watching this

Gleeks you MUST tune in for next week’s episode of Glee, called “The First Time.” It’s without a doubt one of Glee‘s best installments ever and features two popular couples on the show having sex for the first time.

The couples losing their virginity? Finn and Rachel and…Kurt and Blaine! Yep, the couple — who was featured on the cover of EW’s Gay Teens on TV issue – finally decide to take the next step in their relationship. It’s all handled very delicately and is incredibly moving. I can’t think of another network series that’s taken a teenage gay relationship so far or been so progressive. The moment is instigated when another teen, Warbler member Sebastian (Grant Gustin), aggressively pursues Blaine. The trio actually have a very amusing triple date to West Lima’s only gay bar Scandals and run into none other than Karofsky (Max Adler). Look for a great moment between Karofsky and Kurt. source

Is this why our society is in trouble? Are youth being "programmed" with the wrong message?

NY Families Terrorized By Swarms Of Underground Mosquitoes That Invade Homes from Sewers (This is not a B-Movie)

An insect invasion is terrorizing New York City homeowners, making life miserable, even dangerous, for many families. Parents have been forced to take extreme measures to protect their children and their homes.

CBS 2’s Dave Carlin investigates the growing Upper West Side mosquito mystery.

These rare mosquitoes are extra blood-thirsty and active year-round. Carlin saw some of them in a lab after they were collected in the unlikeliest of places, Bernard Lagan’s home on West 84th Street.

“They trapped 150 mosquitoes in the basement in a 24-hour period coming from underground and into the basement and up in to the house through the air vents and it’s the same story as the other brownstones on this block,” Lagan told Carlin.

It’s an invasion that has almost every resident of 84th Street between Riverside and West End Avenue slapping, scratching and suffering.

“They’re hungry. They’re hungry,” said resident Susan Nicholson.

“Three on this ear; one on his cheek; one on his neck,” another woman said, illustrating the bites on one of her children. “And there are some on his arms going up his arm.” more

Denver Collects Fines On Drivers Who Stop At Red Lights



The city of Denver is bringing in thousands of dollars in fines every year by ticketing people who stop at red lights. They are ticketed because their tire goes over the white line that marks where the vehicle should stop.

The red light cameras at various intersections in the city will flash and the driver will be sent a $75 citation if the vehicle goes over the white line, even if the driver stops for the light.

“They are stealing money. Who has extra money to pay?” asked one driver.

“I think this is an injustice, it’s just completely unfair,” said another.

“I didn’t go through the red light. I just didn’t stop at the white line,” said yet another driver. “I feel it’s a frivolous charge. If an officer had been present, I would not have been given that ticket.” more

US Navy veteran could be evicted for hanging American flag

Edward Zivica, a 70-year-old who served in the Navy in the 1960s, faces a hard choice come Veterans Day next week: He can obey the rules and remain in his apartment complex, or he can follow his tradition of hanging the American flag outside his place.

The managers at his subsidized housing project here have given him notice he'll be evicted if he again violates the rules against putting anything on the exterior walls.

That notice came after the flag went up Oct. 27 for Navy Day, one of several that Zivica marks by hanging it outside the community room near the main entrance. He'd gotten a letter from the management in June telling him to quit.

Zivica was in the Navy's Submarine Service from 1960-67, according to the Eugene Register-Guard.

The flag, he said, was one the Army sent when his dad, a World War II veteran, died. Zivica says a brother also served in Korea, as a Marine.

He told the paper he doesn't have many options for housing, so he would knuckle under and sign a compliance notice, which he called "a confession" and "an apology."

But he also said he finds it hard not to hang the flag on Veterans Day.

"It's one of the biggest days of the year for us," he said. "... I guess we'll see what happens." more

Anxiety over upcoming test of US emergency system

It's only a test, but nerves are somewhat frayed over the first nationwide exercise of the system designed to alert Americans of national emergencies.

The test occurs at 1900 GMT Wednesday, November 9, and may last over three minutes -- longer than the typical 30 seconds or one minute for most broadcast test messages.

According to a message being circulated by local school and government officials, there is "great concern in local police and emergency management circles about undue public anxiety over this test."

"The test message on TV might not indicate that it is just a test," according to one email being circulated by a Washington area school district.

"Fear is that the lack of an explanation message might create panic. Please share this information with your family and friends so they are aware of the test."

The test is being conducted jointly by the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Weather Service.

"We're asking everyone to join us by spreading the word to your neighbors, co-workers, friends and family... please remember: don't stress; it's only a test," FEMA said in a blog post.

The test is part of the Emergency Alert System designed to transmit, via TV and radio, emergency alerts and warnings regarding weather threats, child abductions and other types of emergencies, according to officials.

While state and local tests already take place frequently, a simultaneous, nationwide test of the national EAS "emergency action notification" code has never occurred. source

Detroit Bus Drivers Refuse To Work: ‘They’re Scared For Their Lives’ After Teen Mob Attacks

People who catch the bus in Detroit may be waiting a while Friday morning. About 100 Detroit Department of Transportation bus drivers are at work, but are refusing to drive their buses.

WWJ’s Scott Ryan spoke with Henry Gaffney, spokesman for the D-DOT bus drivers union AFL-CIO Local 26, who said this was not an organized maneuver by the union. Gaffney said it’s a matter of bus drivers fearing for their safety, citing an incident that happened Thursday afternoon.

“Our drivers are scared, they’re scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit,” said Gaffney.

Speaking live on WWJ, Mayor Dave Bing spokesman Stephen Serkaian said they are working hard to resolve the matter and get drivers back on the road.

“We’re working diligently to work with the union and encouraging the drivers to get back on the buses and get on the street,” said Serkaian.

Gaffney said bus safety is an ongoing problem.

“If it’s to the point where if the driver is not safe on the bus, then the passengers are not safe, then the citizens are not safe. You know, what about them too? We have no security, you can’t get the police, nobody is doing anything to protect us. And I’ve been begging the mayor and the council for two years to do something to help us,” said Gaffney. more

Unable to pay bill, Detroit enclave turns off lights

As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes.

It wasn't always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out -- bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

"How can you darken any city?" asked Victoria Dowdell, standing in the halo of a light in her front yard. "I think that was a disgrace. She said the decision endangers everyone, especially people who have to walk around at night or catch the bus.

Highland Park's decision is one of the nation's most extreme austerity measures, even among the scores of communities that can no longer afford to provide basic services.

Other towns have postponed roadwork, cut back on trash collection and closed libraries, for example. But to people left in the dark night after night, removing streetlights seems more drastic. And unlike many other cutbacks that can easily be reversed, this one appears to be permanent.

The city is $58 million in debt and has many more people than jobs, plus dozens of burned-out or vacant houses and buildings. With fewer than 12,000 residents, its population has dwindled to half the level from 20 years ago.

Faced with a $4 million electric bill that required $60,000 monthly payments, Mayor Hubert Yopp asked the City Council to consider reducing lighting. Council members reluctantly approved it, even in an election year. more

Santa Job Slayed By Cash-Strapped County on Long Island

Even Santa's gotten the pink slip.

Officials on Long Island say there is no money in the budget to pay a man $660 for playing Santa at a general store run by Suffolk County.

David McKell, 83, has played Santa for nine years at the St. James General Store, which gets decorated like Santa's workshop. The retired police detective lieutenant and former state trooper sits in a rocking chair in the back, handing out candy canes and posing for photos with children.

Being fired as Santa is "really a shame," McKell told Newsday.

Officials are looking for volunteers to take shifts. Even the county executive, Steve Levy, has volunteered to wear the suit for a few hours. more

Inactivity boosts cancer risk, research finds: We're all in trouble

Too much time spent sitting increases the risk of developing cancer, even for those who exercise regularly. That’s according to research presented Thursday morning at the American Institute for Cancer Research's annual conference.

The AICR presented data suggesting that about 100,000 new cases of breast cancer and colon cancer per year can be associated with physical inactivity. One study presented at the conference and published in October in the journal Cancer Prevention Research found that among post-menopausal women, taking frequent breaks from sitting was associated with smaller waist circumference and lower levels of C-reactive proteins, both biomarkers associated with elevated risk of some cancers. In an analysis of data for 4,757 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) published in the European Heart Journal, even short periods of light activity -- frequently standing up and walking for as little as a minute at time -- reduced risk for such biomarkers as large waist circumference, elevated triglyceride levels and increased insulin resistance, which are linked to heightened cardiovascular disease but might also boost cancer risk.

Taken together and in the context of earlier research, the new information suggests that even small increases in our physical activity may pay off in spades. more

Iraqi cleric: US seeking to 'occupy' Mideast

U.S. plans to station troops across the Mideast after withdrawing from Iraq amount to occupying other Islamic countries, Iraq's most outspoken anti-American cleric said in an interview broadcast Thursday.

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said he's not satisfied with President Barack Obama's pledge to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, calling it a partial withdrawal because of the thousands of diplomats and security guards who will stay behind.

"The American occupation will stay in Iraq under different names," al-Sadr told Al-Arabiya TV in his first interview since Obama announced the troop pullout last month.

Al-Sadr noted the Pentagon's recent reminders that it will keep an estimated 40,000 troops across the region.

"America is not only occupying Iraq but also other Islamic countries," he said. "Occupying Iraq means occupying what is around Iraq, and then to control the Middle East."

The Pentagon is preparing to boost the number of U.S. forces just across the Iraqi border in Kuwait and across the region to prevent a power vacuum when the tens of thousands of U.S. forces who have served in Iraq are gone.

There are currently 33,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, the chief American military spokesman in Iraq, told a news conference Thursday that U.S. troops stationed around the Mideast are there as part of a partnership with their host nations.

Al-Sadr's political followers wield heavy influence in Iraq's parliament. His militia has been bent on driving the U.S. out of Iraq with rocket attacks, backed with Iranian funds and training. more

Union Chief: 'We Need More Militancy ... Blocking Bridges, Occupying Banks'

United Steelworkers international president Leo Gerard has a message to the flea party whiny-whiners still camping out instead of sleeping in their parents' basements -- playtime is over.

Just in case the Occupy movement fails -- in other words, when it fails -- Gerard is urging union members to fill that gaping void with "more militancy."

Here's a clip of Gerard making a pitch for this on Ed Schultz's radio show Monday and actually making Schultz sound reasonable by comparison (audio).

GERARD: You're damn right Wall Street occupiers speak for us. They do in Pittsburgh, they do in Chicago, they do in Oakland, they do in San Francisco, they do all across the country. And I think what we need is, we need more militancy.

SCHULTZ: What does that mean, more militancy?

GERARD: I think we've got to start a resistance movement. If Wall Street occupation doesn't get the message, I think we've got to start blocking bridges and doing that kind of stuff. This doesn't have to be this way. The economy doesn't have to be this way. It's being put this way because the Wall Streeters are getting their way. more

Anatoly Moskvina: Russian "Genius" Lived With 26 Corpses

A Russian man who speaks 13 languages and lectured at museums haad the corpses of 26 women in his small apartment.

Anatoly Moskvina, 45, had dug up many of the mummified bodies from graves and some were dressed up and arranged around his three-room apartment in western Russia, according to BNO News. The bodies were discovered after his parents came for an unexpected visit.

Russian media reported the bodies were females aged between 15 and 26 who died years ago.

Life News said Moskvina is a historian who sneaked into graveyards at night, dug up bodies and took them home in plastic bags.Back in his apartment, he dressed up the bodies as dolls wearing dresses and stockings.

Moskvina is believed to have slept in a coffin during one nocturnal cemetery, BNO News reported.

Neighbors told the news outlet Moskvina is a genius, who speaks 13 languages and has a vast knowledge of history. source

Greeks will have 'Bulgarian salary with London prices' -- Mothers unable to afford milk

reece's 340 billion euro debt has led to huge austerity cuts which have dramatically impacted the standard of living in the country.

Ilia Iatrou, a housewife and mother-of-two in Athens, said she could not afford to buy fresh milk anymore. Watch BBC video here

Kenya army warns of al-Shabab donkeys in Somalia: Once again, it's the animals that must suffer

Kenya's military spokesman has said large groups of donkeys in Somalia will be considered "al-Shabab activity" following reports the militants are using the animals to transport weapons.

Maj Emmanuel Chirchir used Twitter to warn Kenyans not to sell their donkeys to the Islamist group.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia to establish a buffer zone, after accusing al-Shabab of cross-border kidnappings.

Al-Shabab, which controls southern Somalia, denies the allegations.

It has accused Kenya of planning a full-scale invasion of Somalia.

On Tuesday, Maj Chirchir used official Twitter account to warn that al-Shabab camps near 10 Somali towns would soon be attacked and urged residents to leave.

However, no such attacks have yet occurred.

He has also posted video which he says shows a small al-Shabab boat being sunk, killing 18 militants and warned aircraft not to land in the Islamist-held town of Baidoa, following reports that al-Shabab had been flying in new supplies of weapons.

In his latest series of tweets, the Kenyan military spokesman said that the price of donkeys had risen from $150 (£100) to $200 following the increased al-Shabab demand for the animals.

"Any large concentration and movement of loaded donkeys will be considered as al-Shabab activity," he wrote, suggesting they would be targeted by Kenyan firepower. more

Nigeria: 'Maiduguri suicide bomber targets army base'

A suicide bomber has attacked the main military base in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, military sources have told the BBC.

The attacker died and one soldier was injured in the explosion at the headquarters of the Joint Task Force.

There have been three other explosions on Friday, one outside a college, the Borno state police chief told AP.

The Islamist Boko Haram group has carried out several similar attacks in Maiduguri and other Nigerian cities.

Boko Haram - which means "Western education is forbidden" - usually targets the police and government officials. source

Will this year's Hajj have an ‘Arab Spring’ effect?

he annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the world's largest gathering of Muslims - the biggest annual gathering of humanity, period.

So it's no surprise that Middle East experts expect this year's pilgrimage, the first to happen since the Arab Spring began last year, to be different.

The pilgrimage, called the Hajj, happens in the same global neighborhood as countries that have been roiled by protests, revolutions and war over the last 11 months.

But there's uncertainty about exactly how this Hajj, which officially begins Friday, will be different.

Some experts are watching for potential flare-ups in Saudi Arabia, a country governed by an unelected royal family and where freedoms are limited. They note that ordinary Saudis will be rubbing shoulders with Arabs making pilgrimages from countries that have staged anti-government demonstrations and have unseated long-entrenched regimes.

"This idea of freedom and dignity is spreading like wildfire, and at a gathering like the Hajj it's conceivable that the electricity coming from these ideas will be picked up," says Akbar Ahmed, the chair of Islamic Studies at American University. "This is what scares the Saudi bureaucracy."

"There are thousands of pilgrims who want to topple the established order of the Saudi monarchy," he says.

But Ahmed and others say the Hajj's effects on the Arab Spring are just as likely to be much broader, as many pilgrims share notes on uprisings and overthrows before returning home to countries ruled by despots. more