Monday, November 14, 2011

Spring in November! Butterflies on the wing, apple trees in blossom, United Kingdom - 15th Nov 2011

Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier every year. But rarely have the tinsel, baubles and lights springing up in the high streets seemed quite so incongruous.

For while we may be two weeks into winter, Britain’s gardens, parks and hedgerows are bursting with the signs of spring and summer — and a host of confused plants and animals.

The topsy-turvy weather saw this year’s Remembrance Sunday accompanied by real red poppies growing in hedgerows, apple blossom on trees and swallows arriving from Africa — all sights usually spotted earlier in the year.

According to the Met Office, September was the sixth warmest on record, while October was the eighth hottest. And in the past two weeks, the mercury has crept above 15c.

The mild autumn is the result of high pressure over Europe, which has sent warm southerly andLink south-westerly winds over the UK from Spain and the western Mediterranean.

This follows a remarkable year of weather — with a freezing, snowy winter, a hot early spring and a dismally grey and rainy summer. But the mild weather is unlikely to last much longer, and within weeks the country could be in the grip of another hard winter.

Which will come as a shock for these plants and animals that seem thoroughly baffled by our odd weather... Read More

Boy, 10, 'snatched from the street by paedophile' is found tied to radiator in flat, West Midlands - 14th Nov 2011

A boy of ten suspected to have been kidnapped by a paedophile was rescued after he was seen banging on a flat window shouting ‘please help, I’ve been kidnapped’.

He had been snatched off the street 300 yards from his home.

He was found naked and tied to a radiator with a white sheet in the empty flat two hours later after shouting to a passing woman for help.

The flat is part of a block which houses some ex-offenders 300yds from the victim’s own home and around 500yds from a school.

Jean Masih, 49, saw the boy at the window as she walked by the property in Oldbury, West Midlands, on Sunday morning on her way to a shop.

She had been looking out for him after relatives told her he had failed to return after going out to buy a fizzy drink. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF PANAMA - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck South of Panama at a depth of 29.2 km (18.1 miles), the quake hit at 01:49:03 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 317 km ( 196 miles) South of David, Panama
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

3.4 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL CALIFORNIA - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 3.4 earthquake has struck Central California at a depth of 3.8 km (2.4 miles), the quake hit at 00:40:18 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 28 km ( 18 miles) WSW of Cartago, California
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

3.2 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL CALIFORNIA - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 3.2 earthquake has struck Central California at a depth of 4.8 km (3 miles), the quake hit at 22:33:33 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 16 km ( 10 miles) WSW of Toms Place, California
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:08:15 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 30 km ( 18 miles) Northwest of Van, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

More to follow

Occupy Oakland Cleared by Police as hundreds of protestors are evicted in dawn raid - 14th Nov 2011

Riot-clad law enforcement officers cleared out Oakland's weeks-old anti-Wall Street encampment just before dawn today, arresting Occupy demonstrators and removing tents from a downtown plaza after issuing several warnings over the weekend.

Protesters appeared to put up little resistance and officers could be seen calmly leading some demonstrators away in plastic handcuffs.

Warnings from authorities had been similar to those issued before officers used tear gas and bean bag projectiles to clear the encampment on October 25.

Police made more than 20 arrests during Monday's raid, Mayor Jean Quan said.

After officers blocked off the streets surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza, some demonstrators gathered near the barricades and vowed to return.

'I don't see how they're going to disperse us,' 30-year-old Ohad Meyer said. 'There are thousands of people who are going to come back.' Read More

Gobi desert, China: Mystery of giant lines spotted by satellite - 14th Nov 2011

A Google Maps satellite has spotted a series of bizarre structures during a sweep of the Gobi desert in China.

The internet is buzzing with theories about what their purpose is, with suggestions ranging from giant QR readers to practise targets for military satellites.

To add to the intrigue, they are located on the borders of Gansu province and Xinjiang in northwestern China - an area that the superpower uses to build military, space and nuclear equipment.

In fact, some of the sites are less than 100 miles from Jiuquan, where China’s space programme headquarters and launch pads can be found.

Some internet users have been trying to overlay one of the strange structures on to various U.S. city maps, worried that there may be a sinister military purpose behind them.

Others have pointed out that if China wanted to attack a U.S. city, it doesn’t need a practise map in the desert.

What’s also fuelling the mystery is that it’s just too difficult to tell what the structures are made of – whether they are painted on or dug into the landscape.

However, upon zooming in, planes and burnt-out trucks can be seen on some of the photographs, which hints that they may indeed be targets of some kind. Read More

Obama doesn't rule out military option to deal with Iranian nuclear threat - 14th Nov 2011

Barack Obama is turning up the heat on Iran by not ruling out a military option to prevent the country from making nuclear weapons.

The U.S. President also warned he will consult with China and Russia on how to stop Iran making the weapons via its nuclear programme.

He delivered the strong ultimatum on Sunday that he is ‘not taking any options off the table’ but would strongly prefer a diplomatic outcome.

‘We will be consulting with them carefully over the next several weeks to look at what other options we have available to us,’ he said in Hawaii.

He was speaking at a press conference after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit where he met with the leaders of China and Russia. Read More

'France will be the next to crumble', warns Gordon Brown

France risks becoming the next victim of the sovereign-debt crisis “in the coming weeks”, Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, has warned.

Mr Brown’s prediction came as the difference between French borrowing costs and those of Germany hit record levels.

EU leaders urged France to draw up further austerity measures to meet its deficit reduction targets, amid fears the eurozone’s second biggest economy could crumble if Italy’s debt crisis spirals out of control. Mr Brown, speaking in Moscow, said: “France is in danger of being picked off by the markets in the coming weeks and months.”

He urged Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president and current G20 chairman, to draw up a “global growth agreement” with major powers such as China.

Such a deal could help to support the EU, whose bail-out mechanisms are not big enough to prop up a major nation.

Mr Brown’s speech echoed Olli Rehn, the EU economics commissioner. more

Modern-day highway robbers costing industry billions

They may no longer ride on horseback with long black capes and a pistol in their belts, but highway robbers are far from a thing of thing of the past.

Cargo crime -- where consumer goods are stolen in transit -- has risen dramatically over the last decade, according to logistics security specialists Freightwatch International. It says the number of known cases worldwide has increased by an average of 10-15% year on year.

Dan Burges, senior director of intelligence at Freightwatch, which is one of the few firms to compile global data on the subject, says that cargo theft accounts for $30-50 billion of company losses worldwide every year.

"But this is likely a very conservative estimate -- many thefts go unreported and there is no central gathering of data," he says.

The most recent Freightwatch figures indicate that South Africa, Mexico and Brazil are among the nations with the highest levels of cargo theft.

Trucks are by far the most popular target. Burgess says that in the U.S. last year, the average market value of a lorry-load of stolen pharmaceuticals -- the most valuable cargo by weight -- was over $3.5 million. more

Who are Boko Haram?

Blatantly Biased Tabloids and Clueless Mainstream Media Keep Missing the Obvious Big Story at OWS

"Occupy Wall Street, go home!" The New York Post has launched what can best be described, metaphorically, as an "all-out-war" on the protesters camping downtown in Zuccotti Park, making a naked effort to aid any ouster by throwing every filthy hippie stereotype in the book at the occupiers and seeing what sticks (so far, not much).

If the Post, and other media players, stepped away from Zuccotti Park, or flashpoint rallies, they might see something different: seriousness, cooperation, an "open-source movement " that is actually (really, it is!) different in key ways from other social justice coalitions that have come before it, instead of trying to fit this into a traditional media narrative.

Because while the Post's bias is clear, many other mainstream news outlets can be described as flummoxed at best, condescending at worst, when it comes to their coverage of a new movement that is leaderless, has no list of demands, and is aiming to be as much a state of mind as an organization, a multi-faceted sea-change rather than a single entity. more

New ‘poverty standards’ enrage Indians



The Indian government has announced a drop in the number of poor people in the country by massaging the criteria used to measure poverty. By its reckoning, less than a dollar a day is enough to get by – but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

­In India’s capital city, the sights and sounds of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies are everywhere. But intermingled with the new malls and shopping developments, slums are still home to about 40 million Indians.

Many of the people who live in those slums, however, do not even count as being poor thanks to a new definition that has moved India’s poverty line to 32 rupees – or 60 US cents – per day.

Ram Niwas works 12 hours, six days a week as a cobbler, and can make up to $US 2 per day. He sends most of his money back to his village to support the wife and three children he left behind. The fact that his country does not classify him as poor is shocking to him.

“Putting 32 rupees as the benchmark to decide the poverty line is wrong because one cannot do anything with that amount,” he says. “If someone like me who makes Rs 3000 per months is finding it hard to survive here, how can someone who earns only Rs 32 survive?” Niwas asks.

The people behind the new definition say that it is simply an adjustment based on the current economic climate. more

Israel to attack Iran by Christmas – report



The British media say Israel may launch an aerial strike on Iranian nuclear facilities as early as next month. The offensive will receive support from the US, the speculation goes.

The attack is meant to decapitate Iran’s nuclear program, which a recent report by the UN atomic watchdog said may have a military component.

The Daily Mail cites British government sources as saying that the cabinet expects Israel to attack Iran “sooner rather than later.”

“We’re expecting something as early as Christmas, or very early in the New Year,” a Foreign Office source is cited as saying.

The operation will receive logistical support from the United States, the newspaper reports. US President Barack Obama will allegedly have to back Israel to secure Jewish-Americans’ votes for the upcoming presidential election.

Earlier, the Guardian newspaper reported that the Ministry of Defense is drawing up contingency plans for Britain’s participation in a joint military operation against Iran. The report said such an attack would be carried out by Israel and probably the US after the presidential election in America.

The Daily Mail cites its sources as saying that Whitehall currently rules out Britain’s direct involvement in an attack on Iran. more

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds: Why is medical science put upon a pedestal when it's continuously wrong?

Twinkies. Nutty bars. Powdered donuts.

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most -- not the nutritional value of the food.

The premise held up: On his "convenience store diet," he shed 27 pounds in two months.

For a class project, Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub's pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned.

His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal. He now weighs 174 pounds.

But you might expect other indicators of health would have suffered. Not so.

Haub's "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent. more

Greek economy mired in recession (with a full blown world depression steadily on the way)

Bioterrorism threat seen in alien species

It's been the stuff of movies, science fiction and alarmist political rhetoric, but new scientific research shows an invasive species incompatible with a specific ecosystem could be deployed as unique biological weapons by terrorist individuals or organizations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines invasive species as non-native to an ecosystem and likely to cause environmental, health or economic harm.

The department's recent actions included detection or removal of species alien to North American locations. Some species spread disease among bats; others such as weeds displace or destroy vegetation in natural habitats.

More seriously for humans, invasive species could be manipulated to become biological weapons, researcher Lawrence Roberge said in a doctoral dissertation at Atlantic International University in Honolulu.

"In the hands of a rogue nation, terrorists, or an individual bent on destruction, an invasive species could have an affect similar to better known potential biological weapons such as smallpox or anthrax," said Roberge, an associate professor of anatomy and physiology at Laboure College in Boston.

In the study, Roberge explored multiple threats posed by invasive species consumed or carried by birds, feral pigs, ticks and various kinds of insects and plants. more

World has five years to avoid severe warming: IEA

The world has just five years to avoid being trapped in a scenario of perilous climate change and extreme weather events, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Wednesday.

On current trends, "rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change," the IEA concluded in its annual World Energy Outlook report.

"The door to 2.0 C is closing," it said, referring to the 2.0 Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) cap on global warming widely accepted by scientists and governments as the ceiling for averting unmanageable climate damage.

Without further action, by 2017 the total CO2 emissions compatible with the 2.0 C goal will be "locked in" by power plants, factories and other carbon-emitting sources either built or planned, the IEA said.

Global infrastructure already accounts for more than 75 percent of that limit.

To meet energy needs while still averting climate catastrophe, governments must engineer a shift away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels, the agency said bluntly. more

"The Idiot's Guide To Buying A Congressman"



I'm always grateful when great material just falls into my lap, although there is no dearth American horror stories to post on. The Raw Story's Jack Abramoff: ‘The whole system’ is corrupt' is case in point. Superlobbyist Abramoff just got out of jail, and being free to talk, told 60 Minutes all about how to buy a congressman.

Notorious former lobbyist Jack Abramoff is a free man again, after serving three and a half years in prison for corruption and fraud. In an interview aired by CBS on Sunday, he told correspondent Leslie Stahl about the tricks of his former trade.

Abramoff, who readily admits to his former corrupt activities, told Stahl, “I was actually thinking of writing a book — The Idiot’s Guide to Buying a Congressman — as a way to put this all down. First, I think most congressmen don’t feel they’re being bought. Most congressmen, I think, can in their own mind justify the system — rationalize it — and, by the way, we wanted as lobbyists for them to feel that way.”

So how it is done? It turns out that if you offer the congressman's chief of staff a job, he's in your pocket from that moment on.

“I spent over a million dollars a year on tickets to sporting events and concerts and what not at all the venues,” Abramoff boasted. He insisted, however, that the very best way to buy the favors of a Congressional office is to offer the chief of staff a job.

“When we would become friendly with an office,” he explained, “and they were important to us, and the chief of staff was a competent person, I would say or my staff would say to him or her at some point, ‘You know, when you’re done working on the Hill, we’d very much like you to consider coming to work for us.’ Now the moment I said that to them or any of our staff said that to ‘em, that was it. We owned them.”

He told Stahl that he exercised that kind of influence in a hundred different Congressional offices and that many members of Congress could have been charged with crimes for the favors they did him.

Apparently most of the high-ranking staffers in the congress really want to make the big bucks on K Street, which is lobbying central in the Imperial Capital. They would rather be the bribers, not the bribees. Who'd a thunk it? I found a transcript of the interview. I'll use that instead of depending on The Raw Story. more

America — A Swindler's Paradise

America has always been a strange place. We are famous for our sense of entitlement, of believing we are special, even blessed. In fact, Americans feel they are so deserving of a life of ease and wealth that they will trample over others, using any means necessary, ethical or not, to get achieve it. This might be considered the cultural shadow-side of our immature, flawed character. As Morris Berman says in Why America Failed: An Overview, "More" is not a real goal; it has no actual content.

I got the idea for the book from a number of sources, but one of the most important was a book published in 2004 called Freedom Just Around the Corner, by Walter McDougall at the University of Pennsylvania, a Pulitzer-prize winning historian. I want to stress that McDougall is a very centrist historian; there is nothing left-wing or radical about him.

But in the opening pages of his book he says that what most characterizes America, going back to the late sixteenth century, is hustling. American English, he writes, has more than 200 synonyms or related expressions for the word ‘swindle’, and when two Americans get together, they pretty much understand that the other person has an angle or agenda and is trying to promote it. We are a people relentlessly on the make, we are all encouraged to develop “The Brand Called You” and market it. It reminds me of the comment made by the comedian Chris Rock, that in the United States, when you are talking to someone, you are actually talking to that person’s agent.

We Americans don’t realize what a strange, and indeed perverse, way that is to live, because if everyone is doing it, it just becomes normal... more

How Does The Mainstream Media Work?

The elites who run this country exercise power in two ways, one private, one public. Politicians and policy are manipulated through registered lobbyists on Capitol Hill, and in private meetings at lavish fundraisers. It's all about money and access. All of this takes place behind closed doors, out of the public's sight. The manipulation of American citizens is carried out through the corporate owned media (image left, click to enlarge). There's nothing private about it; it's right there in front of you on the TV. How does this work?

The primary functions of the mainstream media (MSM) are to make money by catering to their advertisers and to maintain the socioeconomic status quo. Each goal reinforces the other, i.e. they are mutually supporting. Special interests seek to maintain their privileged status. This is accomplished by 1) narrowing the frame of debate; 2) omission of crucial information; 3) taking the political system seriously when it obviously should not be taken seriously; 4) propaganda telling us how well we're doing; and 5) distracting citizens with ever dumber (and ever more insidious) entertainments of various sorts—sitcoms, "news" shows, "reality" shows, gladiatorial contests, and so on, all interspersed with advertising so manipulative and shallow that one is constantly embarrassed to be a member of our species.

But the dumbing-down process through which harmless docility is encouraged and reinforced is subtle. In this conversation with David Talbot, Salon's Glenn Greenwald explains how it works, using the Occupy protests as an example. We'll have to overlook the fact that Salon also features many glowing reviews of various TV shows which serve the functions just described, regardless of their story-telling or entertainment value. more

The Union is too far gone to be saved: Is Scotland going to secede regardless of politics?

The Conservatives did something remarkable last week. They chose as their leader in Scotland a young lesbian who has held elected office for barely six months. This was a brave choice in a nation whose social views are nowhere near as liberal as its Left-wing politics would suggest, let alone for a party still identified in the popular imagination as the backward-thinking home of pearls and perms.

Ruth Davidson is 32, a kickboxer and a former member of the TA. She was elected to the Scottish Parliament in May almost by chance. Now this articulate, steely, former journalist finds herself responsible for David Cameron’s remotest outpost, charged with leading her reduced band of followers back into some kind of significance after a generation of irrelevance.

Her success should herald an exciting time for politics in Scotland. Everything about Ms Davidson proclaims a challenge to the established order and the old way of doing things. With Labour still leaderless following the elections that gave Alex Salmond and the SNP the first overall majority since the devolved parliament was created in 1999, surely now is the chance for the Tories to get back into the Scottish conversation?

The plain truth, though, is that her best efforts will not make a blind bit of difference in a debate that has long since moved on from whether the Conservatives can be heard in a country that has despised them since the days of Margaret Thatcher. Scotland is on course for a break with the Union that will lead if not to outright independence, then to a much more informal relationship akin to Catalonia’s place in Spain. more

88% of teens see online bullying

The vast majority of teens have witnessed online bullying, but say that two-thirds of their peers are mostly kind, according to new research.

Teens identified themselves as victims of bullying in 15 per cent of cases, the survey said. Nine out of ten claimed they ignored hurtful remarks on Facebook while eight out of ten said they either defended a victim or told the bully to stop. More than one in five, however, said they had joined in bullying, and eight per cent said it had caused a “physical fight”. One in four said that the experience had resulted in a “face to face argument or confrontation with someone”, and nearly the same number reported that the internet had cost them a friendship.

Approximately 13 per cent said it had either made them nervous about going to school or caused an argument with their parents.

The report’s author said “Social networking sites have created new spaces for teens to interact and they witness a mixture of altruism and cruelty on those sites”. Amanda Lenhart said “For most teens, these are exciting and rewarding spaces. But the majority have also seen a darker side. And for a subset of teens, the world of social media isn’t a pretty place because it presents a climate of drama and mean behaviour.”

The Pew Research Centre also said 95 per cent of American teens ages 12 to 17 are online and 80 per cent of online teens use social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter compared to 55 per cent five years ago.

Facebook is the "dominant" social media site, with 93 per cent of teen social media users having a Facebook account; 24 per cent have a MySpace account, and 12 per cent, a Twitter account. more

Do markets threaten democracy?

Yesterday I had a close encounter with BBC Radio 4.

On receiving an email yesterday afternoon asking whether I might be able to ‘help’ with a programme going out today, I called them back. A friendly woman replied. It turned out that they had spotted one of my earlier Telegraph Blog pieces and wanted to explore some questions on the eurozone.

The first of which was: Are the markets controlling governments and threatening democracy?

I said that that seemed a very odd way to put things. The whole point about the crisis engulfing the eurozone and European Union was that it was essentially a political, not economic event. Europe’s politicians had borrowed too much money and had set up policy arrangements of such complexity that they were unable to weather difficult times and now no longer looked credible. ‘Markets’ were not some mysterious, zombie-like formation attacking us from outer space, or a cruel scalpel in the hands of a cabal of cunning bankers. Markets were the savings of people in the UK, China and everywhere else around the world looking for a sensible investment.

In short, global funds were asking the EU a simple question: “Are you a safe investment?” Since the answers coming back were increasingly ambiguous if not downright weird, the world’s fund managers were deciding either not to invest in the EU space, or to charge the eurozone space higher rates of interest for borrowing money.

In other words, it was highly desirable for the markets to ‘control’ governments – and anyone else – in this way. Markets represented honest business dealing. What if things were the other way round and governments controlled markets? That was not a recipe for success, as the USSR had showed us over 70 years. more

Cramped Spanish cemetery warns grave owners to pay up or face possible eviction (That's right, eviction)

Pushed for space, a Spanish cemetery has begun placing stickers on thousands of burial sites whose leases are up as a warning to relatives or caretakers to pay up or face possible eviction.

Jose Abadia, deputy urban planning manager for northern Zaragoza city, said Monday the city’s Torrero municipal graveyard had removed remains from some 420 crypts in recent months and removed them to a common burial ground.

Torrero, like many Spanish cemeteries, no longer allows people to buy grave sites. It instead leases them out for periods of five or 49 years.

Abadia said the cases involved graves whose leases had not been renewed for 15 years or more. He said Torrero currently had some 7,000 burial sites with lapsed leases out of a total of some 114,000.

He said leases generally lapsed because the relatives or caretakers had died or had moved house and failed to renew the contract. He said in other cases, with the passing of years family descendants sometimes no longer wanted to pay for further leases.

He said the policy was a matter graveyard management and that graveyards were not limitless in space.

“If we keep on building and building spaces for human remains, where are we going to end up?” said Abadia. “It’s a problem that is affecting big city cemeteries more and more.”

The graveyard began looking for payment defaulters over the past two years. Abadia said the process of trying to notify relatives or caretakers and giving them a chance to decide what to do normally takes up to six months. more

Multi-target speed camera to monitor every passing car: Russia (And coming to America, soon)



A new super-intelligent speed camera recently tested in St. Petersburg is terrifying American petrol heads.

The new high-tech "Cordon" camera can process the speed and number-plate details of several cars at once.

The system colour codes each car, with red signaling the ones breaking the speed limit.

The technology, described as a "multi-target radar system," can be attached to any road-sign at any height.

It will be introduced in the US in 2012. This is bad news for those who like to put the pedal to the metal, and American bloggers are up in arms. more

Anonymous target 2012 presidential election

A new video posted to the Web over the weekend reveals plans from the hacking collective Anonymous to target the 2012 US presidential election, and it seems their first attack will be during next year’s Iowa Caucus.

In the YouTube clip uploaded in recent days, a digitized voice calls for other hacktivists aligned with Anonymous to wage an Occupy-style protest at the presidential candidates’ campaign offices in Des Moines, Iowa next month, and then help shut down the state’s caucuses slated to begin on January 3. Though Anonymous have often waged computer attacks and other demonstrations for political purposes, this would mark the first time the hacktivists have attempted to take down a presidential election in America.

The reason for the protests, says the Anonymous spokesperson, is that the Democratic and Republican parties are not worthy of representing the voices of the Americans whom they have disenfranchised.

“Both parties are funded by the same mega corporations,” the narrator announces in the brief video. “The same corporations that fund political campaigns; the same corporations that buy lobbyists; the same corporations that operate the United States governments.”

"Voting for these parties is unethical," the voice adds. "They have destroyed the American democracy." According to the Anonymous video, the candidates are committed to “serve the private interests of the major corporations” rather than the millions of Americans who must make a decision come Election Day. As a result, the collective is calling for the occupation of the offices on December 27, and from there is asking protesters to "peacefully shut down the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on January 3." more

‘Police brutality is a big problem in the US’



The OWS protests continue across the US and as the police continue to crackdown on protesters after violent clashes and arrests over the weekend, some activists believe that police have gone too far in their reliance on excessive force.

Activist Timothy Frawls told RT that the problem has a lot to do with the militarization of police, which was ramped up in the aftermath of 9/11.

“Police brutality is a big problem in the United States and the Wall Street protests are showing that,” Frawls said. “That is one issue that a lot of people are organizing around.”

“When there has been violence it is when there are dozens upon dozens of riot police in full gear," he added. “It is almost like the police looking for a fight. And with that kind of an attitude you are going to get one.”

Timothy Frawls says that ‘stop and frisk’ policy is a perfect example of New York police overusing their authority on a regular basis.

“I observed a march two weeks ago in Harlem that was against the NYPD’s policy of what they call ‘stop and frisk,’ which is they just stop people on the street and frisk them for some suspicion of wrongdoing,” he said. “But 90 per cent of the people who are stopped and frisked – and there are hundreds of thousands of them every year – go free, they are not even issued citations.” more

World on cusp of liquidity retrenchment - FSB boss

The new global financial regulatory policeman, Mark Carney, warned on Tuesday the world was "on the cusp of another retrenchment" in liquidity and urged careful management of European bank recapitalization.

In his first speech as head of the Financial Stability Board, the body responsible for implementing reforms to financial regulations, Carney, who also heads the Bank of Canada, urged European banks not to rely solely on asset sales to meet new international capital requirements.

The combination of bold moves by the European Central Bank and four trillion euros in unencumbered collateral at European banks should ensure that there is no European equivalent of a Lehman Brothers collapse, he said.

But the withdrawal of global liquidity as European banks deleverage needs to be well managed in order to limit the effects on the economy, said Carney. He predicted "at least" a brief recession in the euro area.

"As global liquidity recedes, volatility is increasing and activity falling. The effect on the real economy will soon be felt," he said in the prepared text of a speech he was delivering in London. more

Report: UN Peacekeepers Caused Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

More than half a million Haitians have contracted cholera, and an advocacy group has filed a complaint with the United Nations blaming the fast-moving epidemic on UN peacekeepers who allegedly allowed raw sewage to leach into a tributary of the nation's largest river.

After half a century without a single case of cholera, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti says, a country already ravaged by a massive earthquake, intractable poverty and waves of political instability has now seen five percent of the population contract the illness, and more than 6,000 people die from it, because of the reckless actions of peacekeepers from Nepal.

"The sickness, death, and ongoing harm from cholera suffered by Haiti's citizens are a product of the UN's multiple failures," states the complaint filed by the advocacy group, which represents more than 5,000 cholera victims and their families. "These failures constitute negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and deliberate indifference for the lives of Haitians." more

3-D Printers Will Build Circuit Boards ‘In 2 Years’

Before you know it, we’ll be building circuit boards with 3-D printers.

In other words, 3-D printers will help us manufacture PCs. Or even, other 3-D printers.

“Printing actual circuit boards is very close,” says David ten Have, CEO of 3-D printing outfit Ponoko. “Most of the assembly tools are completely automated anyway. I’m guessing 18 to 24 months.”

Ten Have is discussing a 3-D printing technique known as “additive printing.” Whereas a standard printer jets ink onto paper, a 3-D printer builds three dimensional objects by layering materials — plastic, metals, rubbers — on top of each other. Each layer is about one three-thousandths of an inch thick. Some 3-D printing techniques have been around for over 20 years, but they’re finally getting to the point they can be used by the average company — not just the massive corporation.

To build real-world circuit boards, ten Have explains, we need only two things. The first is file standardization. We need a common protocol that describes each design. Microsoft has made inroads here with its .NET Gadgeteer platform, but it’s far from standard. The second is a substrate material that works well with 3-D printers. With these two things in place, he says, a 3-D printer could select existing resistors, capacitors, and even microprocessors, and place them onto the substrate.

No, we’re not talking about printing the actual microprocessor. Asked when this will happen, ten Have laughs. “I don’t really know about that one,” he says. But he notes that some microprocessors are built with graphene, a typical 3-D printing substrate. more

Lost Civilization Discovered in Sahara Desert

New evidence of a lost civilization in an area of the Sahara in Libya has emerged from images taken by satellites.

Using satellites and air photographs to identify the remains in one of the most inhospitable parts of the desert, a team from the University of Leicester in England has discovered more than 100 fortified farms and villages with castle-like structures and several towns, most dating between AD 1 to 500.

"It is like someone coming to England and suddenly discovering all the medieval castles. These settlements had been unremarked and unrecorded under the Gadhafi regime," said project leader David Mattingly, professor of Roman archaeology at the university. The fall of the regime has opened up Libya to more exploration by archaeologists of its pre-Islamic heritage.

These "lost cities" were built by a little-known ancient civilization called the Garamantes, whose lifestyle and culture was far more advanced and historically significant than ancient sources had suggested. more

Cold fusion debate heats up after latest demo

Italian physicist and inventor Andrea Rossi has conducted a public demonstration of his "cold fusion" machine, the E-Cat, at the University of Bologna, showing that a small amount of input energy drives an unexplained reaction between atoms of hydrogen and nickel that leads to a large outpouring of energy, more than 10 times what was put in.

The first successful cold fusion experiment was reported two decades ago, but the process has forever been met with heavy skepticism. It's a seemingly impossible process in which two types of atoms, typically a light element and a heavier metal, seem to fuse together, releasing pure heat that can be converted into electricity. The process is an attractive energy solution for two reasons: Unlike in nuclear fission, the reaction doesn't give off dangerous radiation. Unlike the fusion processes that take place in the sun, cold fusion doesn't require extremely high temperatures.

But the experimentalists who have supposedly demonstrated cold fusion over the years have been unable to explain the underlying mechanism that drives the miraculous reaction they claim to observe, and so the scientific community has largely turned its back on this line of research. Most physicists — as well as the United States Department of Energy (DoE), academic journals, and the U.S. Patent Office — consider cold fusion machines to be hoaxes, because they say physics rules out the possibility of room-temperature nuclear fusion. more

Cities struggle to deal with occupy movement



Police in riot gear moved into the Occupy Oakland encampment early Monday, tearing down tents and arresting some protesters, the latest effort by city officials across the country to gain control over a movement that some leaders say has become a public safety and health threat.

Oakland, California, police, aided by dozens of officers from nearby jurisdictions, arrested 32 people in the effort to clear Frank Ogawa Plaza near City Hall before dawn Monday, Interim Chief Howard Jordan said. There were no reports of injuries or complaints of abuse, he said.

The camp had become an unbearable drain on city resources, an economic threat to nearby businesses and a danger to public safety, Mayor Jean Quan said.

"The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and this week a murder. We had to bring the camp to an end before more people were hurt," she said.

The developments in Oakland come amid rising concern from city officials around the country that the protests drain resources and threaten public health. What started as the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York in September has spread across cities worldwide as a call to action against unequal distribution of wealth and other issues. more

Was Israeli intelligence service behind blast at Iranian military base that killed top missile expert? - 14th Nov 2011

Dead: Brigadier General Hassan Moghaddam was fatally injured in the blast.

A senior commander of Iran's missile development programme has been killed in an explosion at a military base - prompting speculation that Mossad was involved.

Brigadier General Hassan Moghaddam was fatally injured in the blast, which killed 17 people in total, at a Revolutionary Guard compound 25 miles east of the capital Tehran.

Iranian authorities have claimed the explosion was caused by 'an accident' when ammunition was being moved.

But Moghaddam's high profile has led to speculation it was an act of sabotage by the Israeli intelligence service - or even its American counterpart the CIA - which is trying to halt Iran's nuclear weapons programme.

It comes in the same week the son of a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander was found dead in a Dubai hotel room. His father's website has called the death 'suspicious' but police have insisted it was not.

Moghaddam was said to be responsible for 'industrial research aimed at ensuring self-sufficiency of the Revolutionary Guards' armaments'.

Commentators on Iran believe this is a coded way of saying he was responsible for its missile inventory. Richard Silverstein, who regularly reveals information censored inside Israel, said on his blog that a source confirmed Mossad had worked with exile group the People's Mojaheddin of Iran (MEK) on the blast. Read More


Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Social networking pioneer who took on Facebook found dead at age of 22 - 14th Nov 2011

A 22-year-old social networking pioneer and Internet privacy advocate who dared to challenge Facebook and Google has died.

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, one of the founders Diaspora*, a new social networking site meant to give users more control of their information online, passed away suddenly on Saturday but the details of his death have not been released.

Mr Zhitomirskiy believed he could change the world by using software code that was open to everyone and making programs that protected users' privacy.

He and three friends, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, and Raphael Sofaer, launched a trial run of Diaspora* last year that attracted the attention of The New York Times and National Public Radio and left the tech world buzzing.

They were all students at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Mr Zhitomirskiy described himself on his Twitter account as a ‘free culture and open web enthusiast. Now one of the four Diaspora* bros.’ Read More

3.8 Magnitude Earthquake KATLA VOLCANO REGION, ICELAND - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake has struck the Katla Volcano Region, Iceland at a depth of just 2 km (1.2 miles - Poorly Constrained), the quake hit at 17:55:13 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 28 km ( 17.3 miles) Northwest of Vík í mýrdal, Iceland
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of just 1 km (0.6.2 miles - Poorly Constrained), the quake hit at 16:54:00 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 32 km ( 19.2 miles) Northwest of Özalp, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 8.3 km (5.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:47:16 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 24 km ( 15 miles) West of Van, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of just 1.5 km (0.9 miles - Poorly Constrained), the quake hit at 16:31:30 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 26 km ( 15.8 miles) West of Van, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

'Europe's toughest hour since World War II': Merkel's warning as 'Super Mario' reveals new cabinet of non-political experts - 14th Nov 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel today said Europe could be living through its 'toughest hour since World War Two' - as new leaders in Italy and Greece rushed to form governments to limit the damage from the eurozone debt crisis, and fears grew that Spain could now be at risk of a bailout.

Merkel told her conservative party in Leipzig: 'Europe is in one of its toughest, perhaps the toughest hour since World War II.

She also said she feared Europe would fail if the euro failed, and vowed to do 'anything' to stop this from happening.

But in a one-hour address to the Christian Democrats (CDU), she offered no new ideas for resolving the crisis that has forced bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and has raised fears about the survival of the 17-state currency zone.

She said: 'If the euro fails then Europe fails, and we want to prevent and we will prevent this, this is what we are working for, because it is such a huge historical project.'

Merkel's warning came as Italy's Prime Minister-elect started talks today to create a new government of non-political experts.

Mario Monti, dubbed Super Mario, set about creating his cabinet - which is tasked with overhauling an ailing economy to keep market fears over the country from threatening the existence of the euro. Read More

Rescue for the remaining Two surviving Sperm Whales continues in Tasmania whale tragedy after 22 Died - 14th Nov 2011

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 16:31:32 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 31 km ( 18.9 miles) Northwest of Edremit, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN PERU - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Southern Peru at a depth of 217.8 km (135.3 miles), the quake hit at 15:40:11 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 114 km ( 71 miles) West of La Paz, Bolivia
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Congo Volcano Becomes Tourist Trek Hot Spot - 14th Nov 2011

Major alert over illegal trade in nuclear materials - 14th Nov 2011

Police and other state organs are on alert against illegal trafficking of nuclear materials into the country, the director of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Robert Manumba has affirmed.

He confirmed that there were several incidents where radioactive materials have been brought into Tanzania or those legally acquired have fallen into improper hands.

He added that much concern will be when uranium mining starts after various deposits were found in the country.

“Some people have been caught with illegal possession of nuclear materials. Our scientific experts must work closely with the police to ensure the situation is brought to a control”, he told reporters after closing a week-long training course on combating illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials for police officers from various African countries.

He said police are worried over the mining of uranium, a radioactive mineral, set to commence shortly, as there was a likelihood of nuclear materials, which are hazardous to people’s health falling into the wrong hands of illegal traffickers or improperly trained practitioners.

He emphasised that police need specialised training on how to handle nuclear materials and deal with those involved in illegal trafficking. Read More

Fighting kills 17 in Yemen, U.N. envoy pushes for peace

At least 17 people were killed in heavy clashes in the Yemeni city of Taiz Friday, a day after a U.N. envoy began a new mission to push President Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit under a Gulf peace plan.

Witnesses and medical staff said at least 30 people were also injured when Saleh's Republican Guards shelled some districts in Yemen's third largest city, a hotbed of anti-Saleh protests, and in clashes some 200 km (120 miles) south of Sanaa.

Opposition tribal fighters, using automatic rifles and shoulder-held rocket launchers, killed two soldiers and wounded seven, according to a Defense Ministry statement. Witnesses said fighters destroyed one armored vehicle in al-Hasab.

Residents said it was some of the most intense shelling since an uprising demanding that Saleh end his 33 years in office began in February.

They said shells fired by government forces landed on houses across the city, killing people inside their homes. Hospital officials said an eight-year-old girl died when a shell crashed into her house in the al-Hasab neighborhood in western Taiz. Her mother was critically wounded.

Four women and two children also died in intense shelling of the al-Rawda and Zaid al-Moshki districts in central Taiz as well as Freedom Square, where the blasts prevented demonstrators from holding their weekly Friday noon prayers. more

Syria Hits Out At Arab League Suspension Threat - 14th Nov 2011

The Syrian government has described the Arab League's decision to suspend the country as an "extremely dangerous step".

Foreign minister Walid al Moualem made the comments as the regime demanded an emergency meeting of the regional body which has moved to punish Syria for its ongoing military crackdown.

Mr al Moualem also accused the United States of "incitement" for welcoming the move.

On Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria from Wednesday if the country does not halt violence against civilians.

The body has also promised to impose economic sanctions.

The decision sparked attacks on the Qatari and Saudi embassies in Damascus by mobs of pro-Bashar al Assad supporters, but Syrian security forces did not intervene to prevent the attacks.

Adding to the mounting international pressure on Mr Assad, is the news that the European Union is also set to extend its sanctions against Syria.

Ambassadors from 27 EU nations have identified a number of people who have been associated with the violence against civilians whose names will be added to the list of more than 50 people and companies who are already subject to sanctions. Read More

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake TIMOR REGION, INDONESIA - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the Timor Region, Indonesia at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:20:14 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 138 km ( 85 miles) ENE of Kupang, Timor, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Anders Behring Breivik refuses to recognize court, report says - 14th Nov 2011

Mass murder suspect Anders Behring Breivik appeared in an Oslo court Monday in connection with the killing of 77 people in attacks in July, Norway's TV2 reported.

He was not allowed to deliver a speech he had prepared, the station reported.

Breivik said he did not recognize the authority of the court on the grounds that he opposes the multi-cultural society it is part of, TV2 said.

He was stopped on several occasions when he started referring to himself as Commander of the Knights Templar, a title he used in his 1,500-page manifesto, the station reported.

He is accused of killing dozens of people in a bomb attack in Oslo followed by a shooting rampage on nearby Utoya island.

Until now, the proceedings for Breivik have been held behind closed doors.

But on Monday, the families of the victims were able to see Breivik as officers brought him in to Oslo City Court with his hands and feet cuffed, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The hearing was to determine whether to keep Breivik in jail until his trial in the spring. The decision is expected later on Monday. Read More

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake HAITI REGION - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the Haiti Region at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 11:53:35 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 60 km ( 37 miles) West of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake AZORES ISLANDS, PORTUGAL - 14th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the Azores Islands, Portugal at a depth of 8 km (4.9 miles), the quake hit at 11:34:57 UTC Monday 14th November 2011.
The epicenter was 148 km ( 91.7 miles) Northwest of Ribeira Grande, Azores Islands, Portugal
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Australia redback spiders in Britain: Creepy crawlies invading our homes from abroad - 14th Nov 2011

For almost 1,000 years, Britain has been able to defend itself against any wannabe-conqueror who fancied seizing the kingdom.

But after successfully seeing off the likes of Napoleon and Hitler, our shores have finally been breached by an army of lethal foreign invaders.

For a new survey shows that homes across Britain have become infested by killer spiders, biting ants and skin-crawling cockroaches shipped in from distant lands.

The survey of local authority pest control teams illustrates the wide variety of exotic pests now established in UK homes - and experts believe their numbers are increasing.

Among the most terrifying revelations are the numerous sightings of the redback spider - believed to be responsible for 14 fatalities in its native Australia. The pea-sized killer has been found in Scotland, Wales and the Midlands.

Victims of the redback bite can suffer extreme pain and swelling, chest pains, fever and respiratory failure. Around 250 cases are reported in Australia each year, with victims needing to be treated with anti-venom. Read More

Explosions rip through Tosoh Corp.'s chemical plant in western Japan, 1 body found - 14th Nov 2011

Two explosions ripped through a vinyl chloride monomer plant at Tosoh Corp's Nanyo complex in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Nov. 13, killing at least one person, police and firefighters said.

At around 3:25 p.m. on Nov. 13, two explosions sparked a fire at the No. 2 vinyl chloride monomer plant run by Tosoh Corp., a chemical and specialty materials company. The fire sparked by the blasts was put out at about 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 14, about 15 hours after the explosions.

The body of a man believed to be Masanori Nakamura, 52, an official of the plant, was later found.

Toxic hydrochloric gas flowed out from the plant, prompting the plant operator to urge local residents in the cities of Shunan and Kudamatsu to close windows and stay indoors. The plant operator lifted the requests at 6:10 a.m. on Nov. 14.

Police are investigating the case with views to possible manslaughter.

According to the operator, the plant was shut down after problems were detected on the morning of Nov. 13. Around 6 a.m. on that day, about 10 workers including Nakamura were engaged in operations to transfer chemicals such as vinyl chloride monomer into a storage tank. The pressure inside the plant dropped for an unspecified reason, and vinyl chloride monomer flowed outside and apparently caught fire before exploding. Source

Double dip recession fears as European debt crisis hits U.S. after export orders dry up......... Nothing to do with their $14 Trillion Debt

The tremors from Europe's financial upheaval have reached U.S. shores, rattling consumers and companies.

The consequences have been limited so far. Yet the United States and Europe are so closely linked that any slowdown across the Atlantic is felt here.

U.S. makers of cars, solar panels, drugs, clothes and computer equipment have all reported effects from Europe's turmoil.

The tremors from Europe's financial upheaval have reached U.S. shores, rattling consumers and companies.

The consequences have been limited so far. Yet the United States and Europe are so closely linked that any slowdown across the Atlantic is felt here.

U.S. makers of cars, solar panels, drugs, clothes and computer equipment have all reported effects from Europe's turmoil.

Worries that Europe's crisis could worsen and spread are spooking investors and consumers just as the holiday shopping season nears, the Associated Press reports. Read More