Thursday, November 10, 2011

Snow is gone :(

We've taken down the snow since it seems to have been causing trouble for some users, sadly. We were really excited about it!

We'd also like to remind readers to turn off "Adblocker" or similar features on their browsers, since then they will no longer be able to view or press on our sponsor adverts, and that will result in a significant loss of support for us!

We appreciated your input on this guys, thanks for helping!

Brussels blew £3.7bn of taxpayers' cash on energy, agriculture and transport - 11th Nov 2011

Europe made £3.7billion of dodgy payments last year, incorrectly blowing taxpayers' cash on agriculture, energy and transport.

The wasted money was revealed as the European Court of Auditors refused to sign off the spending in the EU's accounts for the 17th year in a row.

In total, 3.7 per cent of the £101billion annual budget was 'materially affected by error', according to the auditors.

The scale of the errors was so high that it represents around a quarter of the cash that British taxpayers send to Brussels every year.

Some £1.1billion was spent incorrectly through the bloated and bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy.

More than double that, some £2.5 billion, was blown on cohesion funds, which cover spending on energy and transport, where there was an error rate of 7.7 per cent. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake EL HIERRO, CANARY ISLANDS - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck near El Hierro, Canary Islands at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 00:20:14 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 52 km ( 32.2 miles) South of Fuencaliente de la Palma
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE MARIANA ISLANDS - 10th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck South of the Mariana Islands at a depth of 26.9 km (16.7 miles), the quake hit at 22:17:34 UTC Thursday 10th November 2011.
The epicenter was 230 km ( 142 miles) Southwest of Hagnata, Guam
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Dramatic rescue of mother and baby elephant: The power of compassion and team work!

Most conservationists would agree that you should not interfere with mother nature. But there are exceptions to every rule.

Staff and tourists at Kapani Safari Lodge in Zambia were caught by surprise when a mother and baby elephant became trapped in mud.

Saying they couldn't just "stand by and watch them slowly die," what ensued was a dramatic rescue.

Together with the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) and the local wildlife authority, the team devised a plan to get the elephants out. The rest of the herd initially tried to help the screaming mother and baby escape, but they were stuck too deep.

Team managers from the conservation society slipped a rope around the baby and after a few attempts managed to pull her out of the muddy pit. The team says it took a lot of coaxing to get her out and on her feet though, adding that she "was terribly frightened and wouldn't leave her mum's side".

Getting the adult elephant out of the mud was a far more challenging task -- by the time the baby had been rescued, its mother was dehydrated and exhausted. But the SLCS team eventually pulled her out too, using a tractor and rope. more

911 Calls: Mystery 'Explosion'/Earthquake - Dalton, GA [Extended] Nov. 9

Nasa creates material that absorbs almost all light - 10th Nov 2011

Nasa engineers have come up with a material that absorbs more than 99 per cent of all light that strikes it.

Absorbent material usually pulls in ultraviolet and visible light - but this new material also captures infrared and far infrared light.

The development has even taken fellow Nasa scientists by surprise, and it promises to open new frontiers in space technology.

The team of engineers at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, reported the findings recently at the SPIE Optics and Photonics conference.

John Hagopian, leading the team, said reflectance tests were extremely positive, showing that the material has 50 times more absorbtion qualities than its rivals.

He said: 'Though other researchers are reporting near-perfect absorption levels, mainly in the ultraviolet and visible, our material is darn near perfect across multiple wavelength bands - from the ultraviolet to the far infrared.

'No one else has achieved this milestone yet.'

The material is a thin coating of carbon nanotubes - hollow and multi-walled tubes about 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. Read More

Police hunt sex attacker as young as 13 after girl of just FIVE is Sexually abused in play area of McDonald's, Ohio - 10th Nov 2011

Strolling along in scruffy jeans and sneakers, this is the young boy who police claim raped a girl of five in a McDonald's Playland.

The youth, who could be as young as 13, is said to have touched the girl before making her touch him in an inappropriate way.

He then walked out of the McDonald's as the victim burst into tears and went to her grandmother who was waiting nearby 'with the look on her face as if something was wrong'.

The police report said the boy had climbed into the play area specifically to molest her.

The incident happened at a McDonald's in Anderson Township, Ohio on October 29th but police have only just released the details.

The girl was inside the indoor play area on her own around 9pm when she was approached. The boy left moments before she reported the assault.

The woman who called 911 told police: 'There was an incident in the play area with an older child and a younger child which may have involved some sexual contact'

Police said that the suspect was wearing a University of Cincinnati jacket, is between 5 feet and 5'6" and 120 to 130 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Read More

Fossils show flood wiped out colony of dinosaur-era birds - 10th Nov 2011

The fosslised remains of a massive colony of prehistoric birds - with claws and saw-like beaks - are giving scientists a new glimpse of life at the time of the dinosaurs.

The new fossil find, which includes bones of adult birds and chicks, as well as clusters of broken and intact eggs, is the result of an ancient flash flood that wiped out an entire colony of the birds.

The birds belonged to the enantiornithines, the most abundant and diverse bird group of theprehistoric period. Almost all retained teeth and clawed fingers on each wing, but were in all other respects like modern birds.

According to scientists studying the fossil find, the flash flood disaster happened in the late Cretaceous Period, about 100 million years ago, in what is now Transylvania, Romania.

The jumbled remains, preserved in river-side limestone in the Sebes area of Romania, show that the colony was completely surprised by the flood.

Study researcher Dr Gareth Dyke, of the University of Southampton, said the find was important because it's the first evidence that ancient birds nested along the water like modern birds. Read More

Garrett McNamara sets world record after riding a 90ft wave in ..... Portugal - 10th Nov 2011

An extreme surfer is set to earn a place in the record books after riding a 90 foot wave.

Garrett McNamara caught the monster wave during the ZON North Canyon Project in Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal.

The coastline is home to a deep water canyon which funnels large swells from the Atlantic Ocean, creating record-breaking waves such as the one McNamara rode.

McNamara told Surfer Today: ‘I feel so blessed and honoured to have been invited to explore this canyon and its special town. The waves here are such a mystery.’ Read More


Lucas Papademos named as new Greek prime minister......Formerly Known as vice president of the European Central Bank

Former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos has been named as Greece's new prime minister, following days of negotiations.

Mr Papademos, 64, said he was taking over at a "critical point" for Greece.

Leaders of the three main parties making up a new government of national unity had been meeting the Greek president to try to reach a deal.

Greeks will hope the news provides the stability to get them through their debt crisis, correspondents say.

Mr Papademos, who is not a member of parliament, will head an interim government until elections can take place in February. Read More

Note: This is getting more ludicrous by the hour

And so it starts....UK Rail workers ordered to learn German so they can understand instructions for new track equipment from overseas

Railway workers are being made to take German lessons so they can understand safety instructions, it was revealed today.

But forcing engineers to work in a language they are not familiar with presents 'blindingly obvious' dangers to passenger safety, according to the Rail Maritime and Transport union.

Staff on a recent course in Kent were told they had to learn 21 jargon-heavy German phrases relating to instructions on hi-tech track equipment.

The edict comes at a time when rail franchises are being taken over by Germany's state-owned train company.

Rail giant Deutsche Bahn has recently acquired the Grand Central franchise, opening up an opportunity to use EU rules to start running services on the east and west coast. Read More

Italian crisis has put Britain in 'clear and present danger' warns Cameron as Cable warns of 'Armageddon scenario' - 10th Nov 2011

David Cameron today warned that the eurozone debt crisis has placed Britain in 'clear and present danger'.

The Prime Minister admitted that the government is preparing for 'every eventuality' as Italy struggles to repay her debts.

He called on eurozone leaders and the European Central Bank to act without delay to save the single currency.

Business Secretary Vince Cable also warned that Britain faces an 'Armageddon' scenario as a possible bail-out loomed for Italy.

The Bank of England, however, resisted further emergency action, despite fears that the economy will go into reverse by the end of the year, and today kept interest rates at a record low of 0.5%.

Speaking to business leaders in London, Mr Cameron said: 'What is happening in Italy is a warning to any country, any government, without a credible plan to deal with excessive debts and excessive deficits that you need a plan and you need to stick to that plan.

'Italy is the third-largest country in the euro. Its current state is a clear and present danger to the euro zone and the moment of truth is fast approaching. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake GREECE - 10th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Greece at a depth of 6.9 km (4.3 miles), the quake hit at 17:25:40 UTC Thursday 10th November 2011.
The epicenter was 27 km ( 16 miles) Northeast of Patras, Greece
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

More to follow

Israel defense sector 'hit by cyberattack'

Israel's military and intelligence services Web sites crashed for several hours last weekend in what appeared to be a cyberattack, an event that carried the potential of crippling the computer systems of the country's high-tech defense industry.

The Haaretz daily reported Monday that the shutdown was the "biggest computer crash in the history of Israel's online government."

The Web sites of the armed forces, the Mossad foreign intelligence agency and the General Security Service, Israel's internal security branch known as Shin Bet, and several government ministries broke down Sunday.

Authorities denied there had been a cyberattack and blamed a "malfunction" in "the IBM-manufactured storage component" of the government computer system.

The sites were down for several hours.

There was skepticism about the official explanation because the breakdown occurred just days after Anonymous, a shadowy group of global hackers and online activists, threatened to retaliate against Israel for its maritime blockade of the economically crippled Gaza Strip. more

Italy's Woes Signal 'Dangerous Phase' in EU Crisis: El-Erian

Italy's debt woes signal "a new, even more dangerous phase in Europe's debt crisis," Mohamed El-Erian, co-chief investment officer at PIMCO, said Wednesday.

El-Erian, who helps oversee more than $1.2 trillion at PIMCO, home to the world's largest bond fund, told Reuters that the European Central Bank [cnbc explains] can act as a circuit breaker but can only be effective if its actions are supported by a host of other measures.

PIMCO had $4.8 billion in exposure in Italian debt [cnbc explains] , according to the latest filings compiled by Thomson Reuters Ownership intelligence data.

"Domestic politics are undermining already complex relations among Italy and it's external creditors," El-Erian said.

The ECB, meanwhile, needs to ramp up its bond-buying program by five- or six-fold to relieve the market pressure gripping Italy and threatening the entire euro project.

With Italy facing a policy vacuum between the impending resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and elections in February, the ECB is under growing pressure from world leaders to do more in the absence of an effective political response.

The central bank bought 2-year and 10-year Italian bonds aggressively on the secondary market on Wednesday, traders said. more

young women nabbed In bloody satanic sex ritual after man, 18, was stabbed, slashed 300 times during two-day ordeal

Two young Milwaukee women were arrested this week after an 18-year-old Arizona man--who traveled to Wisconsin by bus after meeting one of the suspects online--told cops that he was held captive in the duo’s apartment for two days and slashed and stabbed more than 300 times as part of an apparent satanic sex ritual.

A Milwaukee Police Department search warrant for the East Knapp Street apartment where the man was held details his ordeal. The warrant authorized cops to seize an assortment of items from the residence, including “knives or other cutting instruments,” blood and DNA evidence, duct tape, restraining devices, and “Books or literature relating to Satanism or the occult.”

The police investigation began Sunday night after cops responded to a report of a possible stabbing. Officers found the Arizona man “bleeding from the neck, arms and back.” He told cops that after arriving at the home of a woman he met online, he “was bound and was stabbed numerous times over a timeframe of what he described as ‘two days.’”

The man was transported to a local hospital, where medical personnel “estimated the number of wounds to be in excess of 300,” according to a search warrant affidavit sworn by Detective Michael Walisiciwicz. “He suffered multiple puncture wounds as well as lacerations and slash wounds to his back, face, arms, legs and neck,” noted Walisiciwicz. more

New York City Mulling Using DNA To Catch Riders Who Spit On Bus Drivers

This crime was once considered rare: New York City bus drivers assaulted by people who spit on them.

But it’s so commonplace today, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering a plan to collect saliva samples from the scene of each disgusting crime to catch the spitters, reports CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

It happened to bus driver Lesley Davis. She was attacked by a young woman rider who did not like being told to stand behind the line.

“She would leave me a gift before she left the bus. She spit on me,” Davis said. “I felt violated.”

The MTA has confirmed incidents of spitting on transit workers, usually on buses but also on trains, are happening about 14 times every month.

“He was stepping off the bus, turned around and spit at me,” bus driver Jorge Medrano said.

“How can this be happening on the bus?” West Side resident Valerie Medina wondered. more

Ron Paul: Obama Presidency On The Verge Of Being A "Dictatorship"



Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says President Obama's continued use of the executive order "brings the modern presidency dangerously close to an elective dictatorship."

"That is arrogant," Paul said of Obama frequently using the executive order function as of late. "It is flaunting the Constitution and the whole principle of how we’re supposed to operate. The idea they can just do this and take over the legislative function and brag about it -- and Congress does nothing and the courts do nothing about it, it's very, very bad."

"He's dictatorial, is what he is," Rep. Paul said before the end of the interview. source

Alabama county files biggest municipal bankruptcy

Alabama's Jefferson County filed for bankruptcy court protection on Wednesday in the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Commissioners for the county, which is home to Birmingham, the state's biggest city and economic powerhouse, voted 4-1 to declare bankruptcy after meeting behind closed doors for two days in a last ditch-attempt to restructure its debt out of court.

A tentative deal reached with creditors in September to settle $3.14 billion in red ink had been widely expected to avert bankruptcy. But the deal fell apart over what the commission described as creditors' refusal to meet the terms of previously agreed economic concessions.

There was also frustration over the fact that the estimated savings from the September agreement had shrunk by about $140 million, commission sources said.

"In September 2011, the commission and receiver entered into a comprehensive term sheet setting forth a framework for the resolution of the sewer system crisis," the commission said in a press release announcing the bankruptcy filing.

"Creditors ultimately were unwilling to make the economic concessions contemplated in the term sheet and the receiver made additional demands inconsistent with the term sheet that the commission was unwilling to accept." more

Mother locked girl in closet for 6 hours over bad grades

A Costa Mesa woman is accused of hitting her daughter and locking her in a closet because the child earned bad grades, according to court records.

The 32-year-old woman is charged with one misdemeanor count of child abuse, Costa Mesa police told the Daily Pilot, which has decided not to name the mother to protect the identity of her daughter, a minor.

Authorities alleged that on Oct. 29 the mother hit her 13-year-old daughter three times with a stick and then locked her in a closet for six hours as punishment for "bad" grades, said Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Phil Myers.

He did not know the grades the girl earned.

A concerned party called police after the incident, he said.

Police arrested the woman within a couple of hours of the report. She was in custody at Orange County Jail until early Monday morning, when she posted bail and was released, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department records. source

Italy at Breaking Point, Merkel Calls for 'New Europe'

Italian borrowing costs reached breaking point on Wednesday after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's insistence on elections instead of an interim government opened the way to prolonged instability and delays to economic reform.

Italian 10-year bond yields shot above the 7 percent level that is widely deemed unsustainable, reflecting investors' concerns that they may not get their money back and prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to issue a call to arms.

Merkel said Europe's plight was now so "unpleasant'' that deep structural reforms were needed quickly, warning the rest of the world would not wait.

"That will mean more Europe, not less Europe,'' she told a conference in Berlin.

She called for changes in EU treaties after French President Nicolas Sarkozy advocated a two-speed Europe in which euro zone countries accelerate and deepen integration while an expanding group outside the currency bloc stayed more loosely connected — a signal that some members may have to quit the euro if the entire structure is not to crumble. more

Camp Pendleton: Authorities say Lance Cpl. Mario Arias Jr. was beaten to death by fellow Marine

A Marine found dead in his barracks room at Camp Pendleton early Sunday was beaten to death, a spokesman for the investigating agency said Tuesday.

Ed Buice of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said Lance Cpl. Mario Arias Jr. died from injuries he suffered at the hands of another Marine sometime late Saturday night or shortly after midnight. That Marine then jumped from a third-floor balcony of the barracks and suffered what Buice described as "significant" injuries.

Authorities are refusing to release that Marine's name and rank until charges are filed, Buice said.

"The pace of the investigation depends on his recovery," Buice said during a telephone interview from the agency's headquarters at Quantico, Va.

Arias' death is considered a homicide and the Marine who leaped from the balcony is the sole suspect. more

Carol F. Brown "fused" into reclining chair after being left to rot for 5 days after stroke by son

A suburban Kansas City woman was left sitting in a vinyl recliner for so long that her skin had fused to the chair and she had to be pried out to be taken to a hospital after suffering an apparent stroke, authorities said.

Carol F. Brown's adult son told a state official he had left his 74-year-old mother in the chair for five days without helping her get up to use the bathroom or bathe because he was honoring her wishes to die in her Independence home, according to court documents that described the woman as a "rotting corpse that was still breathing." Brown later died.

"It is an incredible story to me," Independence police spokesman Tom Gentry said Wednesday.

Police were contacted after Brown was taken to a hospital Oct. 27 and found to have a maggot infestation inside an open wound around her ankle, according to the court documents that said Brown's home was "filthy with a heavy smell of bodily fluids and feces."

Brown's son, James Owens, told an official with the Missouri Division of Senior and Disability Services that his mother had been in the chair since Oct. 23 and that he was honoring her wishes to be left to die, the documents said. more

China's export growth slows down as global demand falls

China's export growth slowed further in October as the eurozone debt crisis and fears of a slowdown in the US dented demand for its goods, figures show.

Shipments from China rose 15.9% from a year earlier, down from a 17.9% growth in September and 24.5% in August.

Meanwhile, imports grew 28.7%, resulting in a trade surplus of $17bn (£10.7bn)

The data has raised fresh concerns about the impact of a global slowdown on China's export-led growth.

"Export growth continued to drop last month against the backdrop of a sputtering economy in European countries, which is the largest export destination of our country," said Wang Hu of Guotai Securities in Shanghai.

"With the euro debt crisis spreading, we expect export growth to further decline in the months ahead." more

Western black rhino declared extinct: We've finally killed them all

No wild black rhinos remain in West Africa, according to the latest global assessment of threatened species.

The Red List, drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has declared the subspecies extinct.

A subspecies of white rhino in central Africa is also listed as possibly extinct, the organisation says.

The annual update of the Red List now records more threatened species than ever before.

The IUCN reports that despite conservation efforts, 25% of the world's mammals are at risk of extinction. As part of its latest work it has reassessed several rhinoceros groups. more

Renegade China soldiers 'killed' after Jilin emergency: Is China on brink of armed uprising?

Three Chinese soldiers who fled their barracks armed with a rifle and hundreds of bullets are reported to have been killed.

A fourth soldier who also fled from the Jilin city base was captured by police, state media reported.

The deaths were confirmed by officials on a microblog website, and the escape was reported by the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily.

But later, reports on both websites appeared to have been removed.

The government frequently takes down news stories and blog posts in a process dubbed "harmonising" by web users.

As of Thursday, the website of state-run outlet Chinese Radio International still had a report describing the incident.

It said the four soldiers - aged between 18 and 23 - had been trapped by police in Yingkou city, about 300 miles (480km) from Jilin.

Three were shot and killed at the scene, and the fourth captured.

As the authorities searched for the soldiers, an alert was put out in Jilin for banks and jewellers in the city to close.

No reason has been given for the soldiers' actions. more

(Although reasons for uprising in China are plentiful and really need no explanation.)

Eurozone's growth has stalled, says EU

The European Union has drastically cut its growth forecast for the eurozone in 2012, from 1.8% down to just 0.5%.

"Growth has stalled in Europe and there is a risk of a new recession," said European Commissioner Olli Rehn.

The low growth makes it harder for Europe to escape its debt crisis, with Italy's position seen as unsustainable.

Italy raised 5bn euros from a new issue of bonds on Thursday, but had to pay an interest rate of 6.087% to borrow the money for one year.

The financial markets remained jittery on Thursday as worries persisted about the high cost of borrowing faced by Italy.

The Dow Jones share index opened higher in New York, regaining some of its hefty losses from Wednesday. In late afternoon trading, the FTSE 100 in London was barely changed, while the Cac 40 in Paris and the Dax in Frankfurt were both slightly higher.

Earlier in the day, Japan's Nikkei share index had fallen by 2.9%, South Korea's Kospi shed 3.8% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 5.3%. more

Three die in Czech Aircraft Industries plant shooting

A gunman has shot dead two people before killing himself at an aircraft plant in the south-east of the Czech Republic, police say.

The shooting took place inside the Aircraft Industries plant, which produces civilian aircraft, in the town of Kunovice on Thursday morning.

A number of people were also wounded in the attack, described in one early report as a "rampage".

Czech media said all three of the dead were males.

"I've learnt there are three dead and one of the dead men is the gunman," regional police spokeswoman Jana Bartikova told AFP news agency.

The attack happened before noon (1100 GMT), another police spokesman told the agency.

Aircraft Industries, majority-owned by Russia's Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, produces the L-410 turboprop plane in Kunovice, about 260km (160 miles) south-east of Prague. source

Charting the wage gap between Canada's 99% and top 1%

n parks around the world, protesters continue to rally against the so-called one per cent of corporations and individuals who control the world's wealth. The charts below break down income distribution by income sectors and the top earners by province. Access interactive charts here

66-leg predator roamed ancient B.C. sea floor: Canada

Tracks left in a B.C. sea floor half a billion years ago have been linked to a bizarre ancient predator with 66 legs.

It is very rare for fossil tracks to be preserved on the sea floor, and it's even rarer to be able to identify them, said Nicholas Minter, the lead author of the study published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The footprints have given Canadian scientists the rare opportunity to indirectly observe the behaviour of a long-extinct animal known as Tegopelte gigas, which is distantly related to horseshoe crabs and millipedes.

"It's very exciting. It's like a detective story in some ways," said Jean-Bernard Caron, a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto who first discovered the tracks in B.C.'s Yoho National Park in 2000.

"It really adds to our record of early life. We never found [evidence of the] activity of these animals in that way before." more

Asteroid planning gap leaves Earth 'a sitting duck'

The massive coal black asteroid 2005 YU55 zoomed by Earth this week in harmless fashion, but interest groups say the relatively close encounter is a reminder the world is "a sitting duck in a cosmic shooting gallery," with no international plan in case of a disaster.

Ray Williamson is executive director of the Secure World Foundation (SWF), one of many groups that have submitted papers to a UN working committee looking to develop guidelines for member states on how to respond to near-Earth objects.

In a phone interview on Wednesday from the Denver, Colo., area, Williamson said there's an important need now for an international defence strategy that includes finding potentially hazardous objects such as asteroids, predicting their locations, and giving adequate warnings to citizens about when and how they will hit the Earth — even though such a disaster may be decades away. Among the foundation's recommendations is the establishment of a global Information, Analysis, and Warning Network. more

Jim O'Neill: 'World can't afford to see Italy fail'



With the flood of woeful financial news coming out of Greece and Italy, it’s easy to forget something Goldman Sach’s Jim O’Neill is quick to point out – the world doesn’t depend on Greece and Italy.

“This year the increase in China’s GDP will be the equivalent of creating three new Greek economies. The increase in the BRIC countries GDP’s –that’s China along Russia Brazil and India – will be close to the equivalent of creating another Italy,” said O’Neill, who coined the term BRIC to refer to the developing economic titans of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

“So yes, we’ve got enormous problems in the core of the developed world, but that isn’t the modern global economy. The world will probably grow by close to 4% next year despite the fact that the euro might be in recession.”

What’s happening in the eurozone is vital, yet steady growth out of the world’s largest economy, the U.S., suggests another global recession may not be inevitable, O’Neill told Global Exchange.

“In my judgment, first of all the U.S. is not heading for a double dip, the US economy actually recently has positively surprised many expectations and I think it’s going to be stuck with 2-3 percent growth for quite some time,” he said.

Still, the Italy crisis is taking the world into “new and dangerous territory.” more

General: Ashes from US service members' remains went to landfill



The ashes of cremated body parts from some of the nation's war dead were dumped in landfills until 2008, unbeknownst to their survivors, an Air Force general acknowledged Wednesday.

The practice was stopped, and remains from cremated body parts now are disposed of at sea, Air Force Chief of Public Affairs Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick said.

The landfill disposal of the ashes was first reported in The Washington Post.

Kodlick issued a statement describing instances prior to 2008 when families had authorized portions of remains to be disposed of. Another Air Force official, speaking on background, emphasized that these situations did not involve bodies but "parts of bone and other DNA material."

Military escorts accompanied the remains to a crematorium near Dover Air Force Base Mortuary, which processes remains of service members killed overseas, the statement said.

After cremation, the ashes were escorted back to Dover, Kodlick said, and then turned over to a contractor "for further incineration and disposition in accordance with medical disposition."

"The common practice was that any residual matter remaining after incineration was disposed of by the contractor in a landfill," Kodlick said.

"We could have done it better," he said. more

Silent victims: Iraqi women trafficked for sex

For thousands of Iraqi women and girls, the conflict that began in 2003 was only the start of their ordeals.

In the chaos of war and the confusion, lawlessness and poverty that followed, an untold number have become victims of sexual traffickers, some within Iraq and others sold over the borders.

But the problem of trafficking has gone almost unreported, kept in the shadows by a combination of corruption, religious and cultural taboo and lack of interest by the region's authorities in tackling it, researchers say.

A report released by the London-based non-governmental group Social Change for Education in the Middle East (SCEME) Wednesday hopes to change that.

Entitled Karamatuna, or Our Dignity, the study highlights the plight of girls as young as 10 or 12 who have been trafficked from post-war Iraq into countries including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for sexual exploitation.

Other victims trafficked within Iraq end up in nightclubs or brothels, often in Baghdad, the report says. Some of those brothels "have been established purely to meet the demand created by United States service personnel," it adds. more

Report: Ryanair considers serving in-flight porn

Duty-free shopping onboard may no longer be limited to watches and perfume. Ryanair is considering offering in-flight pornography to its passengers, according to a report on Tuesday in The Sun.

The racy content would be broadcast through a custom Ryanair app for smartphones and tablets. Michael O’Leary, chief executive of the Dublin-based discount airline, told the Sun, “Hotels around the world have it, so why wouldn’t we?” He said that pornography would be available only via the relative privacy of mobile devices and would not be shown on seat-back television screens.

This isn’t the first time O’Leary has displayed a “sex sells” ethos for his airline. In 2008, he made flippant comments to the media about offering “beds and b***jobs” in business class. The airline has also published an annual “Girls of Ryanair” calendar since the same year, featuring its female flight attendants in bikinis.
The Irish budget airline’s business model relies on controversial nickel-and-diming practices, or at least the threat of them. Airline officials discussed removing toilets or creating vertical “standing” seats to make room for additional seating, and converting toilets to a coin-operated system. more

China mine explosion kills 19, dozens trapped: Now a weekly occurrence?

A gas leak triggered an underground explosion that killed 19 miners Thursday in southwest China, state media reported, the latest fatalities in the nation's dangerous coal industry.

Twenty-four people are trapped underground after the coal mine accident in Qujing city, according to Xinhua news agency.

Rescue crews, including 30 firefighters and 300 medical workers, are working to reach the trapped miners, Xinhua said.

It was not immediately clear how many miners were working underground when the explosion occurred.

China, a large producer and consumer of coal, has one of the world's deadliest records for miners.

Last week, a mine explosion killed eight workers in the central Chinese city of Sanmenxia.

News of the injury and deaths of miners appear regularly in state media, with safety conditions, a lack of training and the flouting of laws contributing to the high number of deaths.

One of China's most dangerous year on record was 2002, with 6,995 deaths. source

The eurozone is tearing itself apart

The eurozone crisis has truly engulfed Italy -- but is it because the country is insolvent or simply unable to access funds easily in the financial markets?

If Italy is solvent, a distinction can perhaps be drawn between it and the countries surviving on bailout funds from Europe and the International Monetary Fund -- Greece, Portugal and Ireland. The solution, in this case, would be for the European Central Bank to provide cheap liquidity -- loans, effectively -- to the Italian government for a limited period of time. The markets would then be pacified and the crisis would begin to be resolved.

If only it were that easy. The distinction between being insolvent and unable to access funds easily in the financial markets might be natural to enterprises but it does not easily fit sovereign states. Italy is certainly finding it difficult to access funds -- the bond markets are gradually turning the tap off by pushing rates on ten year bonds above 7%. But how can we tell if it is insolvent?

Solvency means that Italy could be reliably expected to service its national debt out of its expanding gross domestic product (GDP). If lenders were confident about growth and sufficient tax revenues, they would continue to meet Italy's public borrowing needs. If they were not, the country would have a liquidity problem, as is currently happening. Solvency and liquidity are closely connected for sovereign states. more

Are we headed toward a two-speed Europe?

Italy struggles with uncertainty: Is it the next Greece?

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE GUATEMALA - 10th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck offshore Guatemala at a depth of 58.1 km (36.1 miles), the quake hit at 12:49:57 UTC Thursday 10th November 2011.
The epicenter was 69 km ( 43 miles) South of Escuintla, Guatemala
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Another 8 Dead as Clashes continue in Syria - 10th Nov 2011



Clashes continued in Syria Thursday leading to at least eight deaths, an opposition group said.

In Idlib, five people were killed in clashes with security forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. In one clash, four army soldiers were killed by gunmen who stormed a security checkpoint. In Homs, three people were killed, the organization said.

CNN could not confirm the reports. Tough media restrictions in Syria have made it hard to verify events on the ground.

More than 3,500 Syrians have been killed since the government crackdown on protesters started in mid-March, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated. Read More

China mine explosion kills 19, dozens more trapped - 10th Nov 2011

A gas leak triggered an underground explosion that killed 19 miners Thursday in southwest China, state media reported, the latest fatalities in the nation's dangerous coal industry.

Twenty-four people are trapped underground after the coal mine accident in Qujing city, according to Xinhua news agency.

Rescue crews, including 30 firefighters and 300 medical workers, are working to reach the trapped miners, Xinhua said.

It was not immediately clear how many miners were working underground when the explosion occurred.

China, a large producer and consumer of coal, has one of the world's deadliest records for miners.

Last week, a mine explosion killed eight workers in the central Chinese city of Sanmenxia. Read More

John Nesbitt, 62, and Linda Jones, 51, threw their pet dog into the sea - 10th Nov 2011

A couple were caught on camera repeatedly throwing their pet dog into the sea, a court heard.

John Nesbitt, 62, and Linda Jones, 51, hurled their four year old terrier dog called Jess into the sea from a slipway at Exmouth, Devon.

Jess narrowly missed smacking her head and feet on the concrete just below the surface of the sea as she twisted in the air. She was thrown in at least four times.

The court heard that the couple were photographed by eye witness James Clews, 24.

Jones and Nesbitt, both from Exmouth, Devon, were convicted of a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. The couple claimed they were just trying to keep their pet cool during a hot day in April. Read More

Conjoined Twin Tortoise - 8th Nov 2011



Filmed Conjoined twin Tortoise with 2 shells,2 tails, 8 legs. 1 head, 3 eyes, 2 mouths,2 noses

Soviet scientist denies helping Iran develop atomic bomb - 10th Nov 2011

A Soviet scientist has denied being the brains behind Iran's nuclear program, despite U.S. media reports that he helped put Tehran on the threshold of making an atomic bomb, a Russian newspaper said Thursday.

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog said in a report issued this week that it had strong indications that a foreign expert had helped Iran develop a "high explosives detonation system" but did not identify this person.

The Washington Post newspaper cited intelligence reports that named the foreign expert as Vyacheslav Danilenko and said he had assisted the Iranians for at least five years.

Kommersant, one of Russia's leading newspapers, said it had tracked down Danilenko, now 76. It said he had worked for decades at one of Russia's top secret nuclear weapons research centres, known in Soviet times as Chelyabinsk-70.

"I am not a nuclear physicist and am not the founder of the Iranian nuclear program," Danilenko was quoted as telling the newspaper. He declined any further comment, Kommersant said. Read More

Iran's Khamenei warns U.S., Israel against attack - 10th Nov 2011

Iran's Supreme Leader warned the United States and Israel on Thursday not to launch any military action against its nuclear sites, saying it would be met with "iron fists," state television reported.

"Our enemies, particularly the Zionist regime (Israel), America and its allies, should know that any kind of threat and attack will be firmly responded to...Our nation, the Revolutionary Guards and army...will answer attacks with strong slaps and iron fists," said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. Source

Thousands of Dead Salmon Discarded in Nanaimo River, Cedar, Canada - 9th Nov 2011

Filleted fish were found dumped in Cedar along with carcasses of elk and deer

Someone has dumped thousands of dead chum salmon in the Nanaimo River at the end of Raines Road in Cedar.

Many of the fish had been filleted and just the head and tail remain but the vast majority of the salmon seem to be intact.

Longtime Nanaimo sports fisherman Eric Barlow said looks can be deceiving.

"Look, the only reason to leave all the meat on them is to take the roe which can be sold for up to $6 to $8 a pound," he said.

This is not the first year Barlow has complained about the dumping of chum at this time of year.

"I've told fisheries officers about it and my friend recently reported it to fisheries but they don't seem to want to do anything about it."

He thinks the fact that the area at the end of Raines Road is on Snuneymuxw First Nation land forces Fisheries Canada officials to turn a blind eye to the dumping.

"This has been a dumping ground for one heck of a long time and it's a waste of food, as far as I'm concerned." Read More

Nearly 500 Birds Found Dead Near Wind Farm, West Virginia - 4th Nov 2011

With the deaths of nearly 500 birds at the Laurel Mountain wind facility recently, three of the four wind farms operating in West Virginia have now experienced large bird fatality events, according to American Bird Conservancy (ABC).

‘Wind energy has the potential to be a green energy source, but the industry still needs to embrace simple, bird-smart principles that would dramatically reduce incidents across the country, such as those that have occurred in West Virginia,' said Kelly Fuller, ABC's wind campaign coordinator.

Lights can leave birds fatally disorientated
There were three critical circumstances that tragically aligned in each of the three West Virginia events to kill these birds. Each occurred during bird migration season, during low visibility weather conditions, and with the addition of a deadly triggering element - an artificial light source. Steady-burning lights have been shown to attract and disorient birds, particularly night-migrating songbirds that navigate by starlight, and especially during nights where visibility is low such as in fog or inclement weather. Circling birds collide with structures or each other, or drop to the ground from exhaustion. Read More

Five deer found dead near Colfax home, California - 10th Nov 2011

A Colfax-resident reported five dead deer near her home since mid-September, and suspects they may have died from a common virus.

Fish and Game officials have yet to inspect the deer carcasses. One veterinarian suggested a virus could be one possible cause of death.

Kathleen Smith said the deer all have the same pinkish colored foam oozing from their mouths or nostrils. None of these deer appeared to have any other trauma or wounds, according to Smith. As an animal lover, she said she is afraid more deer could lose their lives.

“The one I found most recently, on her nose it was like somebody took this foam and put this pink shaving cream. Is somebody poisoning them, or is this a deer disease?” Smith said.

Over the six or seven years that she has lived at her home, Smith said she has never found so many dead deer. One was below her deck, while another was right off of her front step.

“I’ve lived here six or seven years and I have never seen this many die so close together. It makes me sad and it makes me concerned because could something transfer to livestock?” Smith said. “It’s been bothering me terribly.”

Smith said she originally called animal control, but later learned the Californian Department of Fish and Game is responsible for investigating the deaths of wild animals. Read More

RUSSIAN CRAFT ON MARS MISSION STUCK IN ORBIT - 10th Nov 2011

Reader Contribution;

A Russian spacecraft designed to bring back soil samples from one of the moons of Mars veered off course Wednesday after its launch, clouding hopes Russia could pull off its first interplanetary mission in more than two decades.

Russian space agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said an engine failed to fire on the unmanned Phobos-Grunt probe after it reached Earth's orbit, leaving Moscow with just two weeks to fix the problem before a window for reaching Mars closes.

Space officials initially said the $163 million craft had only three days of battery power left, but later said it could remain operational for two weeks. But they worried the 12.5-ton craft could plunge from its low orbit into Earth's atmosphere in days.

"The engine did not fire, neither the first nor the second burn occurred," state television quoted Popovkin as saying at Russia's Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.

The mission to bring back a sample of soil -- "grunt" in Russian -- from the Martian moon Phobos was supposed to reassert Russia's place at the front line of space exploration.

Failure would be a major blow to the pride of Russia's space industry, which was crimped by budget cuts and a brain drain following the 1991 Soviet collapse and suffered a humiliating series of setbacks this year.

If Moscow cannot bounce the craft out of orbit, the probe could plummet into the atmosphere, with some Russian media speculating smoldering chunks could crash back to Earth. Read More

BLASTS HIT EGYPT GAS PIPELINE TO ISRAEL, JORDAN - 10th Nov 2011

Reader Contribution;

An Egyptian pipeline delivering gas to Israel and Jordan was hit by two explosions Thursday, Egypt's security services and state media said, the seventh time it has been attacked by militants this year.

A first blast occurred around 1:00 am (2300 GMT Wednesday) 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the town of Al-Arish in the north of the Sinai peninsula, a security source said.

A second unexplained explosion took place near a pumping station in the same sector, the official news agency MENA said, adding that the army was deploying in the region.

The pipeline, which carries gas through the Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, had already been attacked six times since former president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February.

Witnesses said they had seen armed men at the scene of the first blast, the security source said. He did not know if there had been any victims.

MENA, also quoting witnesses, said a blaze could be seen after the explosion. Witnesses said two cars crowded with armed men were seen heading to the pipeline before the explosion, the news agency reported.

Previous attacks have disrupted gas deliveries to both destination countries several times, but it was not immediately clear what impact the latest incidents would have. Read More

Researchers say aliens may be in our solar system (we're just not looking hard enough to see them) - 9th Nov 2011

The White House this week issued a statement saying there was no existing evidence that aliens had attempted to contact earth - or in fact that they even existed.

But how can the Obama administration be so sure?

The question is being asked by scientists, who say that we have not looked closely enough at outer space - and that there might be large alien greetings signs within the solar system that we simply are missing.

And they add that our deep-space probes - Nasa's Pioneer and Voyager craft - may be equally too small for extraterrestrial civilisations to notice.

The White House was responding to an inquiry as part of the 'We The People' project, which allows members of the public to submit petitions requesting government action.

One petition asked for a formal acknowledgment of 'an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race'.

Phil Larson, who works on policy and communications for the White House's Office of Science & Technology Policy, replied: 'The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race.' Read More

First test of national alert system flops as many viewers don't get the message - So what happens in a REAL emergency?

It is a relic from the Cold War, designed to get information from the White House to the people, should the worst happen.

And there was something distinctly 20th century about the first test of the national alert system- immediately derided as 'a flop'.

Around the country, the planned interruption to all television, cable and radio channels at 2pm EST today came late or not at all, sparking fears about what would happen in a real emergency.

Some cable customers were diverted to another channel, or heard pop music instead.

The test was supposed to be transmitted on all television and radio stations within the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

The alert — broadcast from inside the White House — was scheduled to last for 30 seconds.

The idea was originally born in 1963 to allow the President to speak to the entire nation in the event of a nuclear attack or other emergency.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Communications Commission and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ran the test jointly.

Like existing local emergency alert system tests, an audio message was supposed to interrupt television and radio programming indicating: 'This is a test.'

But despite the technological advances of almost 50 years, the FCC and FEMA were unable to get the message across, raising concerns that, in the event of a national crisis, Americans could be on their own. Read More


Penn State students riot as university fire Coach Paterno AND force president to quit amid sex scandal - 10th Nov 2011

A riot involving thousands of Penn State football fans erupted last night at the announcement their long-term head coach Joe Paterno would be sacked with 'immediate effect' for his role in the sex scandal which has rocked the university.

The college's Board of Trustees also forced the resignation of president Graham Spanier after allegations that for years the school's former football defence coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused young boys.

Mr Paterno, 84, had said he would retire at the end of the 2011 season but the trustees stepped in to tell the legendary coach he will never take charge of another game following the allegations of a cover up.

Assistant coach Tom Bradley has been named interim football coach while Penn State provost, Rodney Erickson will become interim president. Read More

Note: Here is an Idea, why don't they use the same energy to fight for those poor boys that were molested.

3.2 Magnitude Earthquake OKLAHOMA - 10th Nov 2011

A magnitude 3.2 earthquake has struck Oklahoma at a depth of 4.9 km (3 miles), the quake hit at 08:36:38 UTC Thursday 10th November 2011.
The epicenter was 22 km ( 13 miles) NNE of Shawnee, Oklahoma
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

ANOTHER severed foot washes ashore in British Columbia - but this one is not like the others - 10th Nov 2011

The mystery of the feet washing ashore in Canada has widened with the discovery of yet another limb that has washed ashore of a lake in the region.

The latest severed foot was found by young campers in a size 12 men's hiking boot on British Columbia's Sasamat Lake over the weekend.

What separates this foot from the other 12 found in the British Columbia and Washington state since 2007 was that this was the first foot found in a hiking boot and not a running shoe.

The other key difference was that this was the first limb found in freshwater and not saltwater.

But still, authorities say the foot was separated from the rest of its body by natural causes and not a violent means.

Stephen Fonseca of the BC Coroners Service said: 'It would be very difficult for anybody to separate a body without leaving small impressions, little nicks on the bones.'

Mr Fonseca said that the previous cases have suggested that they are not dealing with a ruthless serial killer or another nefarious possibility.

He added: 'The information we’ve got from that would suggest we’re not dealing with anything suspicious.'

Last month, two of the feet were found to belong to a missing Canadian woman who jumped to her death.

The discovery appears to bolster the theory the human remains could be the result of suicides instead of foul play, as it was suspected earlier this year. Read More

Dow JONES tumbles THREE PER CENT amid growing concerns in Europe - 10th Nov 2011

Trouble on two fronts in Europe's debt crisis dragged the Dow Jones industrial average down 389 points Wednesday.

The S&P 500 lost 3.7 per cent, its biggest one-day drop since August, after Italy's borrowing costs soared and talks collapsed in Greece on forming a new government.

The euro dipped 2 per cent against the dollar and Treasury yields sank as money moved out of Europe and traders bought U.S. government bonds.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other large banks were hit hard on worries over their ability to handle a financial crisis that might be brought on by trouble in Europe.

Only one stock in the S&P 500 rose: Best Buy Co. Inc., up 1.4 per cent.

The yield on the benchmark Italian government bond spiked above 7 per cent, evidence that investors are losing faith in the country's ability to repay its debt. Read More