Tuesday, November 15, 2011

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 16th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 61.9 km (38.5 miles), the quake hit at 01:43:48 UTC Wednesday 16th November 2011.
The epicenter was 128 km ( 79 miles) NNE of Neiafu, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 16th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 37.7 km (23.4 miles), the quake hit at 00:43:58 UTC Wednesday 16th November 2011.
The epicenter was 197 km ( 122 miles) Northeast of Hachijo-Jima, Izu Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake PAPUA, INDONESIA - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck Papua, Indonesia at a depth of 8.9 km (5.5 miles), the quake hit at 23:42:28 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 86 km ( 53 miles) North of Tanahnerah, Papua, Indonesia
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands at a depth of 58.3 km (36.2 miles), the quake hit at 20:28:50 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 270 km ( 167 miles) SSW of Severo-Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake MOLUCCA SEA, INDONESIA - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Molucca Sea, Indonesia at a depth of 51.8 km (32.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:27:08 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 197 km ( 122 miles) SSW of Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck South of the Fiji Islands at a depth of 510.7 km (317.3 miles), the quake hit at 17:41:44 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 453 km ( 281 miles) SSW of Ndoi Island, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

AirTran sued over cockroaches on flight



You've heard of snakes on a plane, now here come bugs on a plane.

A North Carolina couple is suing AirTran Airways, alleging that cockroaches crawled out of air vents and overhead carry-on bins during a flight from Charlotte to Houston in September.

Attorney Harry Marsh and his fiancé Kaitlin Rush say the insects appeared soon after takeoff, and when Marsh pointed them out to flight attendants, they did nothing to help.

"These roaches and other pests caused great distress to a number of passengers throughout the flight," the complaint states.

All paying guests of the airline are entitled to "clean, pest-free" accommodations, it goes to to say.

The couple accuses AirTran of negligence and recklessness, infliction of emotional distress, nuisance, false imprisonment and unfair and deceptive trade practices, and is suing for more than $100,000 plus the price of their tickets. more

Press Suppression at Occupy Wall Street Raid?

Around 1:00am on Tuesday, Nov 15th, the NYPD moved in to clear Zuccotti Park of all protestors and equipment. Over the next 12 hours, both independent and mainstream journalists were prevented from covering the story, and 8 credentialed journalists (including AP, NPR, NY Daily News) were arrested. View their tweets here

Where you there? Are you from the press? Do you have any footage you can't get out into the open? Email us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com asap.

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake CASPIAN SEA, OFFSHORE AZERBAIJAN - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck the Caspian Sea, offshore Azerbaijan at a depth of 55 km (34.1 miles), the quake hit at 19:33:52 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 48 km ( 29.8 miles) South of Türkan, Azerbaijan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5 Ways We Ruined the Occupy Wall Street Generation

At this moment, a whole lot of people, most of them 15 to 20 years younger than me, are protesting in every major city. What are they angry about? A lot of things, some of which are partially my fault.

See, I'm a part of Generation X, the post-Baby Boom era kids who grew up on a mental diet of Beavis and Butthead and Alice in Chains. We wrote poems about how angry we were at our fathers, wore goatees like weapons and made panties burst into flames by playing Pearl Jam's Black on our acoustic guitars. We were a bridge from the Baby Boomers to all you guys who are in high school and college now. And I'm pretty sure we screwed up that handoff pretty badly. more

Italian crisis: Impossible to overcome while inside eurozone?



Silvio Berlusconi's party agreed that former EU commissioner Mario Monti should try to form a short-term government. This, however, will not help Italy emerge from the crisis while it is part of the eurozone, according to writer Charles Crawford.

­Italy's President, Giorgio Napolitano, is holding meetings with senior politicians to form a caretaker government. But according to writer and private consultant Charles Crawford, the problem is there are many factors affecting Italy that are not really under its control because it is in the Eurozone, and therefore it cannot avert financial disaster.

“One of the things they have to do is satisfy certain objective targets, namely finding a plan to pay back the money they owe to investors round the planet. The other thing they have to do is come up with subjective factors, namely to have people in charge of Italy who are convincing and credible. I think it is fair to say that Berlusconi had stopped being convincing and credible and Monti looks like a good choice,” he explained.

Greece has also installed a new government and a new Prime Minister, but simply changing the faces in power will not necessarily make much difference, believes Crawford, who says there are obvious similarities between Italy and Greece.

“All the countries in the eurozone which are getting these debt difficulties are having the same problem. This is because they are in the eurozone and cannot devalue their currencies. In effect they are left with borrowing money from the international market and the other eurozone members. They are left with reducing government spending, which is sacking people, which is not popular with the people who are sacked. They are reduced to putting up taxes, which is not popular with everyone else," he explained. more

Looting of Libyan treasure highlights illicit antiquities trade

The looting of a large collection of priceless coins, statues and jewelry from a bank vault during Libya's recent civil war has highlighted the risk of looting during times of conflict.

Interpol is hunting for the hoard of Roman and Hellenistic objects -- dubbed the "Benghazi Treasure" --stolen from the city's Commercial Bank in May 2011.

But the theft is not an isolated incident.

According to UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture Francesco Bandarin, the looting of antiquities and archaeological sites occurs regularly during times of conflict and even during peacetime.

It is a problem that the UN agency is constantly battling.

"In the present moment it is difficult for us to do much because the situation is still very precarious, there is no administration in place in [Libya], there are difficulties in communicating," said Bandarin. more

Photographer captures 'new slaves' of the Gulf

Pirates? Ravers? At first glance, the portraits are startling and confusing.

Hidden behind sunglasses and hats, their faces shrouded in brightly colored scarves and t-shirts, these striking, enigmatic figures could as easily be rebel fighters as models at an edgy runway show.

In fact, they are migrant construction workers of the United Arab Emirates, mostly men from India and Pakistan whose cheap labor has powered the rise of the country's skyscrapers.

The laborers -- often subjected to exploitative working conditions, according to Human Rights Watch -- are described by photographer Philippe Chancel as "the new slaves" of the Gulf.

"But they don't look like slaves," said the Frenchman, whose photographic study of the migrant workers was published as a book, "Workers Emirates," last month. more

Iran bans 'underground Baha'i university,' brands it 'extremist cult'

Today, Keivan Mohammad Hassan lives a peaceful life with his family as a civil engineer in Sacramento, California. But things could easily be very different.

Hassan believes that had he not fled his homeland as a refugee, he would likely number among the Iranian Baha'is facing years behind bars simply for working to provide younger members of their community a tertiary education.

"If myself and my wife were there, we would be imprisoned," he said.

Hassan, 31, is a member of the Baha'i Faith, Iran's largest religious minority with an estimated 300,000 members. Considered by the ruling clergy to be apostates, Baha'is have been persecuted in Iran since the faith arose there in the mid-19th century. more

House prices to fall back to 2002 levels, says Savills: UK

House prices are set to drop 11pc in "real" terms in the next five years, leaving them back at 2002 levels when the impact of inflation is stripped out, according to property broker Savills.

Weak economic growth and constrained access to mortgage finance will keep prices subdued, its research team expects. However, the rising cost of living will erode property values rather than a sharp headline price fall, under its new five-year forecasts.

"We would put it in the context of the final scene of The Italian Job," said Lucian Cook, a director of residential research at Savills. "It looks incredibly precarious but actually ... [the market] is not falling off the abyss."

The average house price will be £170,000 in 2016, compared to £161,000 today, and £184,00 in 2007, according to the agency's forecasts.

That signals that prices will rise just 6pc over the next five years in nominal terms, representing a "real" fall of 11pc when adjusted for the impact of inflation.

The number of sales will remain weak, so that in the decade to 2016 some 7m fewer house moves will have taken place than would have been expected on previous trends, according to the forecasts. more

Anonymous to attack the Al Queda next?

The Muslim Brotherhood is the latest organization named as a target for the hacker group Anonymous via a YouTube video. The string of (mostly false) hack alarms raises questions as to whether the movement has mutated into a prank club.

Anonymous’ threat against the Islamist movement operating in several Middle Eastern countries says the attack on its website will be carried out on November 11.

The video, featuring the trademark figure in a suit with a question mark in place of its head and speaking in a computer-altered voice, says the Brotherhood seeks “to destroy the sovereignty of the people of Egypt as well as other nations including the United States.”

The Anonymous hackers will allegedly launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the party’s website, which will make it unavailable to visitors.

The group has already marked several high-profile targets for attacks, including Facebook, Fox News TV channel, the New York Stock Exchange, Israeli official websites, the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas and next year’s Iowa Caucus among others. Many of the threatened attacks were widely publicized, but never actually materialized. more

Why Iran wants the bomb

Iran’s unanimous desire to have the security of nuclear weapons puts it on a collision course with the West.

For a country riven by violent political, religious and social divisions, the one issue that is guaranteed to unite Iran’s 75 million citizens is their country’s inalienable right to build an atom bomb.

Any discussion of its nuclear programme must, of necessity, commence with the oft-repeated Iranian caveat that its ambitions are peaceful, and that they are focused solely on the development of nuclear power, rather than building weapons. But that claim now looks increasingly threadbare following publication of this week’s uncompromising report by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which, for the first time, accuses Iran of trying to acquire a nuclear weapons arsenal.

That is certainly the conclusion most reasonable people will draw from the report, which provides a damning catalogue of wilful Iranian wrong-doing lasting more than a decade. It details Iran’s clandestine efforts to obtain fissile material whose usual application is for the production of nuclear warheads. It confirms that Iran is actively seeking to develop a long-range missile that can be fitted with a nuclear warhead. And it reveals that Iranian scientists – aided by a rogue nuclear expert from the former Soviet Union – have conducted experiments to develop a trigger mechanism for a nuclear weapon.

And yet, rather than being dismayed by the IAEA’s findings, which is the instinctive response of most Westerners, I suspect the majority of Iranians will be delighted that, for all their political and economic travails, the report shows that their country is still very much on course to join the world’s elite club of nuclear-armed powers.

We in the West might be horrified at the prospect of the mullahs getting the atom bomb, but Iranians have a very different take on their country’s nuclear ambitions. Whether they are Islamist hardliners devoted to the rigorous application of Sharia law, or party-going secularists from the prosperous suburbs of north Tehran, their ideological and political differences disappear the moment there is any discussion of Iran’s quest for nuclear parity with other world powers. more

World's last Sikh warrior lives in Wolverhampton: A lesson in war and honour

The world's last surviving Sikh warrior master who has devoted his life to learning an ancient martial art is - from Wolverhampton, it has emerged.

Former factory worker Nidar Singh Nihang, 44, was trained in the mysterious art of Shastar Vidiya by an 80-year-old guru from northern India.

Selfless Nidar has devoted his entire life to the ancient warrior culture and holds master-classes around the world.

But the father-of-four is now searching for a successor in order to pass the secrets of Shastar Vidiya to a new generation.

Nidar is inviting potential candidates to learn the ancient martial art at his Midlands home in Wolverhampton.

He said: ''Shastar Vidiya is a part of my history and culture and without it we lose our character.

''It has changed history and produced great warriors - for it to die out now would be a tragedy.

''Throughout the day, no matter what I am doing, Shastar Vidiya is always in my mind.

''I am the last known remaining master - it is my mission in life now to find a successor to carry on this great martial art.

''If I die with it, it is all gone.''

Nidar conducts a rigorous daily routine, awakening at dawn to recite ancient mantras followed by seven hours of writing and study.

After a late siesta listening to light classical Indian music, the expert swordsman embarks on six hours of martial yoga and Shastar Vidiya - before mediation and sleep at 2am. more

The folk memory that makes Germany reluctant to act over the euro: From inflation to Naziism

A fear that inflation leads to nationalist extremism lingers in Berlin – but European unity will not die if the Germans allow the euro to fail, argues Daniel Johnson.

A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of German domination. As the Heath Robinson structures of the European Union buckle under the weight of their own contradictions, the question on everybody’s lips concerns the Germans. What will they do about the eurozone crisis? Will they try to save the dream of a federal Europe – or let it go up in a puff of smoke?

In the old days, what gave European statesmen nightmares was known as “the German Question”: once it was united by Bismarck, Germany was too big and powerful to be balanced by the other Continental powers. After starting two world wars, the division of Germany was seen as the price of peace in Europe. At the time, the French writer François Mauriac observed with heavy-handed irony: “I love Germany so much that I am glad there are two of them.”

Today the German Question has returned in a new form. Silvio Berlusconi, like other fallen European leaders from Bertie Ahern to George Papandreou, could be forgiven for blaming the Germans for his defenestration. These days it is the call from the Berlin Chancellery, rather than the White House or the Kremlin, that Europe’s weaker brethren dread.

I recall vividly an occasion in 1991, soon after the putsch against Margaret Thatcher, when she presided over a small dinner of sympathetic young intellectuals. I congratulated the former prime minister on her resolute stand in the Cold War, alongside Ronald Reagan, which had done so much to bring down the Berlin Wall. The Iron Lady’s face darkened. In her most imperious tone, she expostulated: “Are you saying that I am responsible for that?”

German reunification was – and is – her deepest regret. She welcomed the liberation of Eastern Europe from communism, but she feared European monetary union, or what her lieutenant Nicholas Ridley called “a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe”. more

Abuses seen in Mexico's war on cartels

Nearly five years into its war against drug cartels, Mexico on Wednesday was rebuked by a human rights organization that found a pattern of abuses by security forces.

Human Rights Watch released a report based on interviews with victims, government officials and documents, concluding that the military and federal police offensive has resulted in a growing number of human rights violations that are not investigated adequately.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon deployed the first of more than 45,000 troops in 2006 to combat drug cartel violence, but, according to Human Rights Watch, instead of solving the problem, it has "exacerbated a climate of violence, lawlessness, and fear in many parts of the country."

The human rights organization conducted its research in five states in distinct parts of Mexico affected by the drug violence -- Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nuevo Leon and Tabasco. So the study included hot spots like Ciudad Juarez, which is in Chihuahua, while excluding other fronts in the drug wars, like Sinaloa or the border state of Tamaulipas. more

Al-Qaeda's North Africa branch says got Libya weapons

Al-Qaeda's North Africa franchise acknowledged it had acquired part of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi's arsenal, in comments by one of its leaders quoted Wednesday.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, believed to be one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), made the remarks to Mauritanian news agency ANI, which has carried interviews and statements from the group in the past.

"We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world," said Belmokhtar, an Algerian national.

"As for our acquisition of Libyan armament, that is an absolutely natural thing," he said, without elaborating on the nature of the weapons purportedly acquired.

Officials and experts have expressed concern that part of Kadhafi's considerable stock of weapons could end up in the hands of AQIM, which has bases in the Sahel and currently holds several foreign hostages. more

Drinking water from plastic pipes: Is it harmful?

Pipe-in-pipe systems are now commonly used to distribute water in many Norwegian homes. The inner pipe for drinking water is made of a plastic called cross-linked polyethylene (PEX). Are these pipes harmful to health and do they affect the taste and odour of drinking water?

Previous international studies have shown that plastic pipes can release substances that give an unwanted taste and odour to drinking water. It has also been suggested that some of these substances may be carcinogenic.

The aim of the study by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health was to investigate whether leakage products from these pipes are harmful to health and if they affect the taste and odour of drinking water.

These leakage products consist of residues of additives used during production to give plastic pipes their desired properties, as well as any susbsequent breakdown products. more

No 'smoking gun' in Iran nuclear report: analysts

The UN atomic watchdog's hardest-hitting report to date on Iran's suspected nuclear weapons drive is probably too weak to convince Russia and China of the need for more sanctions, analysts said Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a keenly awaited report circulated late Tuesday it had broadly "credible" intelligence suggesting Iran had done work towards building nuclear warheads.

Publishing reams of input from foreign intelligence agencies, and backed up by its own information, the IAEA said the Islamic republic had engaged in activities that could only conceivably have one purpose: producing the bomb.

These included computer modelling of a nuclear warhead; testing explosives in a large metal chamber at the sprawling Parchin military base near Tehran; and studying how to arm a Shahab 3 medium-range missile with an atomic warhead.

Significantly, although its findings concurred with a much-cited 2007 US intelligence report suggesting Iran had scrapped an official nuclear weapons drive in 2003, the IAEA also suspects some covert work had continued.

The United States said late Tuesday it would ratchet up pressure and consult its partners on possible new sanctions, while fellow permanent UN Security Council member France called Wednesday for "unprecedented sanctions." more

Growing doubts in Israel about strike on Iran

Experts and political figures on Wednesday expressed growing doubts of Israel launching a military strike aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear drive, although such an attack hasn't been ruled out.

Talk of a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran has increased in recent weeks, in the run-up to the publication of a major report by the UN's atomic watchdog which was released late on Tuesday.

In the report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had "serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear programme, giving its clearest indication yet that Tehran may be developing nuclear weapons.

Israeli commentators believe the "unprecedented severity" of the report increases the likelihood of more stringent international sanctions against the Islamic republic and reduces the immediate chances of an Israeli strike.

"Israel can not afford to act alone against Iran," said Uzi Eilam, former head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission.

"We must guard against hysteria. Iran is not an existential threat to Israel," he told army radio.

"Even if Iran manages to detonate a nuclear device as did North Korea, it will take six to seven years to equip its missiles with nuclear warheads," he added. more

Detroit in "extremely serious" fiscal shape: "State takeover may be an option"

Detroit is in "extremely serious financial condition," as it is projected to run out of cash next year and must take action to avoid a state takeover, Mayor Dave Bing said on Thursday.

Michigan's largest city is facing a projected cash shortage of about $150 million by the end of March, a statement from his office said.

To avoid having a state-appointed emergency financial manager, the city needs to address pension and healthcare costs and "inefficient services" such as transportation and lighting, while labor union contracts need to be renegotiated before their expiration next June, the statement said.

"City government has to live within its means," Bing said in the statement. "Continuing to do business the same way is not an option, given our extremely serious financial condition. The last thing I want is for Detroit to be run by an emergency financial manager, whether it's me or someone else."

The state said it is not contemplating appointing an emergency manager for Detroit right now.

Terry Stanton, a spokesman for the Michigan Treasurer's Office, said there has been "no predetermination on Detroit's financial status or next steps."

"The first and foremost goal is avoid the need for emergency managers in any Michigan community, including Detroit," Stanton said. "There is a clear process that would be followed and at this point, it's inappropriate to speculate on what may happen in the future." more

Brazil divided over an emerging middle class as many end up left behind

As Brazil's economy keeps growing, a record number of Brazilians are heading to the country's tropical beaches on package holidays. But not everyone welcomes the invasion of tourists or what that change symbolises: the rising affluence and aspirations of Brazil's expanding middle class.

Osmar and Maria Ferreira have never flown on a plane before. They have never been on a package holiday, either.

They are part of Brazil's growing middle class, who can now afford to do a lot of things for the first time.

Osmar is a retired painter and decorator from Sao Paulo, while Maria still works as a manicurist. Cheap credit means they can go on holiday now and pay later.

The couple are spending a week in Porto Seguro. They were taught in school about the historic site, where the first Europeans landed in Brazil around 500 years ago, but never dreamed they would get to see it themselves.

Brazil's economic success story has not only lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty. It has also raised the expectations of a new lower-middle class - known here as the "C class".

"Food is not the only thing we need to live," says Mr Ferreira, relaxing in a plastic chair by the green sea he has seen many times on TV. "This is living! Look how beautiful this place is." more

In Sweden, a generation of kids who've never been spanked



Ian Swanson was 5 when his family moved from the United States to Umeå, a small university town in northern Sweden. It was the place where he made his first friends, where he learned to read and where, like any kid, he was "into absolutely everything."

He occasionally got a spanking from mom, or a swat on the rear and a stern look from his dad. But he remembers one day when his kindergarten teacher, school principal and a social worker came to their home. They worried Ian wasn't fitting in; they wanted to talk about the "abuse."

Swanson remembers translating for his parents, who were still learning the language, too: "'You have to understand, things are different here.'"

In 1979, a few years before the Swanson family arrived, Sweden became the first country to ban physical punishment of children.

Since then, 30 more countries have passed bans on corporal punishment at home, and even more have banned it in schools, according to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. Just last month, Togo confirmed to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child that parts of its children's code are meant to ban physical punishment. more

Svay Pak: Cambodian village has disturbing reputation for child sex slavery



Svay Pak has a disturbing reputation. The village outside Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh is known as a place where little girls are openly sold to foreign predators looking for sex.

One of the girls who was sold into the sex trade told CNN that before she could read she was working in a brothel.

"I was about five or six years old," she said. "The first man said to me, 'I want to have sex with you.' At the time I didn't know what to do. No one could help me."

Dozens of girls have had the same experience in her neighborhood.

She says she was approached by a man while playing outside. He asked her to come over and talk to him, and before she knew it she was alone and being asked for sex. Some of the girls were actually sold into the sex trade by their own parents.

Many were housed with other girls her age in what looked like a cell. The room was pink had thick walls and no windows and was about 7 feet long by 7 feet wide. There were several rooms just like it stuffed into a building that had a gate over the front door and bars on the bathroom window. The brothel she lived in specialized in pre-pubescent girls.

The young girls were sought after by the foreign men who came to the area for one reason: They knew they could find young girls for sale. more

Keeping 'Civilization' at Bay (Vanuatu Chief)

Can all the world ever be this beautiful?

Why aren't people working together?

Forget China: Robot army mans warehouses and stops "wasteful human actions" (Can robots also spend wages back into the economy?)

Can we make rain with lasers? (Should we?)

Makoko: A look inside Nigeria's floating slum -- Photo Essay

Nigeria's Makoko slum is a shantytown on the edge of the port city of Lagos. The chaotic maze of wooden houses built on water is considered one of the city's liveliest neighborhoods.

Much of Makoko rests on structures constructed on stilts above Lagos Lagoon.

Residents travel through the neighborhood by canoe, boat or over a few wooden bridges and walkways. Small children as young as 6 can be seen rowing through the canals to and from home.

The area was established in the 18th century as a fishing village; many of the men living there today still work as fishermen. The population has not been officially counted, but residents say it is more than 100,000. more

Winter threatens Syrian refugees

Defecting soldiers gun down former colleagues in ambush on bloody day for Syria - 15th Nov 2011

Army defectors gunned down scores of their former comrades in southern Syria during a deadly ambush as President Bashar Assad comes under increasing international pressure to quit.

The fighting in the southern province of Daraa came on a particularly bloody day in Syria, with as many as 90 people killed across the country.

The attack by the army defectors suggests a new confidence among troops who have sided with the protesters and highlighted the potential for an armed confrontation to escalate.

Today Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan joined the international chorus calling for Assad to stand down claiming his brutal crackdown threatens to place him on a list of leaders who 'feed on blood'.

Erdogan's comments will come as a blow to Assad's regime as the two countries once cultivated close ties. Read More

Zuccotti Park Cleared by 1.000 Riot Police - but now judge says they can return - 15th Nov 2011

This is the empty camp in New York City at the centre of the global Occupy Wall Street movement - once home to hundreds of protesters, but cleared early this morning as 1,000 riot police moved in.

More than 200 people were arrested as police raided Zuccotti Park after Michael Bloomberg finally lost patience with protesters. Some of them have been there since it was set up in September.

The New York City Mayor said the park was evacuated overnight to 'reduce the risk of confrontation', but his move was undermined when a judge issued an order effectively allowing protesters to return.

A New York judge issued the temporary restraining order allowing protesters back and many were seen marching towards the camp this morning as City officials tried to decide what to do.

Justice Lucy Billings set a hearing for 11:30am local time today and said until then authorities would not be allowed to evict protesters or enforce rules over tent use, reported the New York Times. Read More

Dale Farm!' Just hours after £18 million eviction is complete travellers queue up to RETURN to the site - 15th Nov 2011

Travellers threatened to move back onto Dale Farm today, just hours after work to clear the site was officially completed.

Basildon Council has announced that all 51 plots on the infamous former scrapyard near the village of Crays Hill, Essex have now been cleared and bailiffs have left.

The six acres of land, which have been described by locals as an '£18m bombsite', in a reference to the cost of clearing it, now stand largely empty, although dozens of touring caravans are lined up around the edge of the land on the remaining hard ground.

New photos taken today have revealed the shocking state of Dale Farm which is now littered with craters where bailiffs have removed the concrete bases where the caravans stood.

One traveller, who gave his name only as Billy, said: 'We are going to be going back on there and it is going to be just like it was before. Read More

Turkey threatens to cut electricity as Syria is more isolated - 15th Nov 2011

Turkey threatened to cut off supplies of electricity to its neighbor Syria Tuesday, as the Damascus regime found itself under growing pressure from Arab, Turkish, European and North American governments for its ongoing lethal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

"We are supplying them (Syria) with electricity at the moment. If they stay on this course, we may be forced to re-examine all of these decisions," Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Tuesday, according to Turkey's semi-official Anatolian Agency.

Turkey, once a close political ally and strong trading partner of Syria, welcomed a decision by the Arab League last weekend to suspend Syria's membership in the alliance.

Days after the humiliating rebuke, a senior Arab League official told CNN the group was floating a plan to try to send some 500 observers to protect civilians in Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 3,500 Syrians have been killed since anti-government protests first erupted in March. Read More

Occupy Wall Street Over? New York police clear Zuccotti Park, 200 Arrested

New York police have dismantled the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park and arrested about 200 people following a raid in the early hours.

Protesters were ordered to leave at about 01:00 (06:00 GMT), before police began removing tents and property.

The New York camp was set up in September to protest against economic inequality - it inspired similar demonstrations around the world.

It was the latest camp to be cleared by police in US cities in recent days.

Following Tuesday's eviction, a New York state judge issued an order ruling protesters could return to the park, pending a hearing at 11:30 (16:30 GMT).

But the city's Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the park would remain closed while officials reviewed the legal situation.

In a news conference, Mr Bloomberg said there was a conflict between protecting public health and safety and protesters' First Amendment rights.

"Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest, but rather to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others," Mr Bloomberg said.

"The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out - but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others." more

Syrian opposition group calls for U.N. peacekeepers - 15th Nov 2011

A leading Syrian opposition group called for the introduction of U.N. peacekeepers in Syria Tuesday after talks with Russian government officials, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

Syrian National Council chairman Burhan Ghalioun also urged Russia to demand Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's resignation, according to Interfax, after meeting with officials at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Ghalioun, in a news conference held at Interfax's Moscow office, said that he was not asking for military intervention but rather "blue helmet" peacekeepers from the United Nations.

Russia has not changed its position on Syria's political crisis, Ghalioun said, giving Syria a sense of protection from international criticism, Interfax reported. Russia has previously accused the West of inciting opposition to the Syrian government.

Nonetheless, Ghalioun said both sides saw their talks in Moscow as "very positive," and that they had agreed to continue talking, the news agency said. The opposition group does not intend to talk to al-Assad or his family, however, Ghalioun was quoted as saying.

Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement that it was calling on all Syrian opposition groups to renounce violence and settle the crisis through peaceful dialogue with the Syrian government. Read More

Press Tours Stricken Fukushima Nuclear Plant (But do they see everything?)

Kenya set to attack Somalia

Kenyan forces are planning to carry out air strikes on Islamist rebel camps in southern and central Somalia and destroy weapons, according Kenyan military officials this week.

Military spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir used Twitter to warn residents of 10 Somali towns that they would be "under attack continuously".

He said that residents should stay away from al-Shabaab camps in the towns because Kenyan forces, which crossed the border into Somalia in mid-October to battle the militants, would be attacking soon.

The locations included the port town of Kismayo, an al-Shabaab stronghold, Baidoa, Afmadow and Afgoye, near the capital Mogadishu.

Chirchir said two consignments of weapons had been flown into Baidoa, 270 kilometres north-west of Mogadishu.

He said he did not know where the weapons came from but that they were destined for the southern frontline where Kenyan and Somali government forces, as well as allied militias, were trying to push al-Shabaab forces from the territory they controlled. more

Iran Admits Nuclear Sites Hit by 'Duqu' Cyberweapon

Iranian officials admitted Sunday that they had uncovered evidence of the Duqu computer virus -- labeled "Son of Stuxnet" by cyber experts -- at the Islamic Republic's nuclear sites, state-controlled IRNA news agency reported.

"We are in the initial phase of fighting the Duqu virus," Gholamreza Jalali, was quoted as saying. "The final report which says which organizations the virus has spread to and what its impacts are has not been completed yet."

Duqu is the second major weaponized virus to turn computers into lethal weapons with devastating destructive power.

The new program, discovered by Symantec in mid-October with the help of an unnamed research lab, uses much of the same code as the 2010 Stuxnet virus did. But instead of destroying the systems it infects, Duqu secretly penetrates them and, according to some experts, creates “back door” vulnerabilities that can be exploited to destroy the networks at any time its creators may choose.

The original Stuxnet malware was the culmination of a vast technical and espionage effort that had only one target in mind: the Iranian nuclear program. And is widely believed to be the work of the United States and Israel. Experts who looked at the program were amazed at its ability to penetrate Iran’s secure, highly protected security system and destroy it without being detected. more

‘Snatch squads’ caught on camera at London student rally



A YouTube video shot during the November 9 student rally in London allegedly shows plainclothes police acting as agents provocateurs among the protesting crowds.

The video uploaded by the user “noshockdoc” shows two people who first engage in rough handling of one of the rally protesters. Then, reportedly, the same people are shown along with six others detaining someone behind a police cordon.

RT got in touch with the creator of the video, a 40-year-old managing director of his own start-up company, who preferred to remain unnamed.

Not your stereotypical protester, as “noshockdoc” calls himself, he went to the demo to protest against the policy, which is bound to divide British education system into two tiers, based on wealth, not merit.

He says the episode shown on the video occurred during the end of the march and is very disturbing. It looked like a fight was provoked by plainclothes policemen, while their uniformed colleague turned a blind eye to it.

“A young member of the British public had been attacked and left visibly shaken, and the very person he would have expected to help him turned away. And on top of that it was a police officer that attacked him,” he told RT. more

14 November 2011 Last updated at 12:30 ET Share this page Email Print 409 Share Facebook Twitter Italy pays record debt intere

The cost of borrowing for Italy's government has reached a new eurozone record of 6.29% in its latest bond auction.

The news came as the yield on traded Spanish government bonds rose above 6% for the first time since August.

And official figures from Eurostat showed eurozone industrial production for September down 2% from August.

European markets reacted with uncertainty to the news, with the FTSE closing nearly 0.5% down on the day.

Frankfurt's Dax index closed 1.2% lower, while the Cac-40 index in Paris lost 1.3%. In New York, the Dow Jones fell 0.5% in morning trade.

Investors are looking to see if Italy can form a new government under the leadership of economist Mario Monti. more

State of Illinois to hold Catastrophic Earthquake drill -- Tuesday Nov 15

Mexican journalists report on drug cartels despite the risks - 15th Nov 2011

Three years after the killing of Mexican journalist Armando Rodriguez, his colleagues said they are more determined than ever to write about the nation's drug cartels despite the risks.

"Those who ordered the killing of Armando were wrong because those who are left are more seasoned and we are working," said Luz del Carmen Sosa, a reporter for El Diario de Juarez newspaper who took over Rodriguez's crime beat after his death. "Those who believed we were going to take step back, they were wrong."

On November 13, 2008, Rodriguez -- called "El Choco" by his colleagues because of his chocolate skin tone -- was about to take his two young daughters to school when a man approached the garage of his house and fired 11 shots into his chest. His daughters, one of whom witnessed the attack, have not spoken publicly since the incident and did not attend a memorial event for their father on Sunday. Rodriguez's wife declined an interview request from CNN.

His colleagues believe he was targeted because of his coverage of drug cartels in the border town of Ciudad Juarez. Read More

Mysterious disease claims one life in Surat, India - 15th Nov 2011

The outbreak of a mysterious disease has created panic among residents of Shekhpura village in Surat district. More than 80 people have been stricken by it and one woman has lost her life.

The district health department has sprung into action after learning about the outbreak.

The, disease, which surfaced a month back, has symptoms to those of chikungunya but blood reports fail to confirm the disease. It has affected one member of every family in a village with a population of 1,500.

Pravin Godhia, sarpanch of the village said, "Infected persons complain of high fever and acute pain in joints. The first case was detected in Patel Falia before it spread to the entire village. We have informed health officials, but apart from routine checking and distributing medicines, nothing much has been done." According to Patel, local doctors are unable to trace the disease as blood reports have been inconclusive.

While villagers are worried about the mysterious disease, panic spread after a woman suffering from the disease died while undergoing treatment at a private hospital on Sunday morning. The woman identified as Ila Patel, 34, is a resident of Patel Falia.

She was suffering from the disease for the past two weeks. "Ila was suffering from viral infection with certain symptoms of dengue. Other patients from the village also have the same symptoms. Dengue might have broken out in the village," said Suresh Chabbra, the doctor who was treating Ila.

Following the death, the district health department rushed a team of doctors to the village. Officials from the malaria department also visited the village and took blood samples of infected persons. The samples have been sent to the New Civil Hospital for further tests. At present, antibiotics are being distributed in the village. Source

Claims Dozens More Killed In Syria Battles - 15th Nov 2011

Syrian activists claim at least 50 people have been killed in intense clashes between army defectors and government forces.

The southern province of Deraa was the scene of some of the worst violence, with reports that dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed by renegade troops near the Jordanian border.

The attacks, reportedly carried out by an army unit that has defected to the opposition, are the latest evidence of a growing armed rebellion in Syria.

Syrian activists say President Bashar al Assad has intensified his military crackdown in towns and cities across the country in response.

The increasing violence comes amid growing international pressure on the Assad regime.

Jordan's King Abdullah has become the first Arab leader to explicitly call for the Syrian president's resignation, while the White House has re-iterated its calls for Mr Assad to go.

On Wednesday, the Arab League is due to meet in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to confirm its decision to suspend Syria - a move that has infuriated the regime.

The regional body has also pledged to impose economic sanctions, adding to the measures already in force by the EU and the US. Read More

6.0 Magnitude Earthquake SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck Sulawesi, Indonesia at a depth of 262.3 km (163 miles), the quake hit at 10:43:50 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 151 km ( 94 miles) WSW of Gorontalo, Sulawesi, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: USGS has this earthquake listed as a 5.5 Magnitude, this is the 2nd earthquake today to be downgraded below a 6.0 Magnitude even when the stations have measured it higher - Data from 15 stations located closest to the epicenter measure this earthquake 5.5 - 6.7 Magnitude, of the 15 stations, 14 measure this earthquake higher than a 5.7 Magnitude or higher. (9 of the 15 = 6.0 or higher)

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake SALTA, ARGENTINA - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Salta, Argentina at a depth of 43.1 km (26.8 miles), the quake hit at 10:20:16 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 158 km ( 98 miles) ENE of Salta, Argentina
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA REGION - 15th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Andaman Islands, India Region at a depth of 129 km (80.2 miles), the quake hit at 10:18:40 UTC Tuesday 15th November 2011.
The epicenter was 108 km ( 67 miles) Southeast of Port Blair, Andaman Islands, India
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: USGS has this earthquake listed as a 4.8 Magnitude - Data from stations located closest to the epicenter measure this earthquake 4.6 - 5.7 Magnitude, of the 5 stations, 3 measure this earthquake higher than a 5.3 Magnitude.

Occupy Raids: America land of the Free???

Ten Die and another 12 Injured as a House collapsed during a funeral gathering in central China - 15th Nov 2011

TEN people died and another 12 were injured when a house collapsed during a funeral gathering in central China, the state Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Eight people were killed immediately in the accident, which happened in Hunan province late on Monday, and another two died of their injuries in hospital, local officials told Xinhua.

The 12 injured are in a stable condition after the accident, which happened as villagers were making arrangements for the funeral of the home owner's uncle, Xinhua said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident. AFP's calls to the local hospital went unanswered. Source