Thursday, November 17, 2011

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake OFF EAST COAST OF THE NORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND - 18th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand at a depth of 20.1 km (12.5 miles), the quake hit at 04:34:07 UTC Friday 18th November 2011.
The epicenter was 163 km ( 101 miles) Northeast of Gisborne, New Zealand
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Merkel tightens grip on eurozone: Why did Irish budget plans end up in Berlin?.... is the penny about to drop? - 18th Nov 2011

Fears that Germany’s grip on the eurozone is tightening increased last night after it emerged that details of Ireland’s budget plans were leaked to German politicians.

A document circulated in the German Bundestag revealed Dublin’s proposals to save the debt-ridden country £3.25billion.

The details were for next year’s budget, which have not yet been approved by the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

He was forced into an embarrassing denial that his plans were being inspected in Berlin.

Any suggestion that Ireland is running its austerity cuts past Europe’s economic powerhouse for approval will fuel concern that Germany is using its wealth as a lever to amass power over the 17-nation single currency bloc. Read More

Related article >>>>>>

New Zealand 5.2 Magnitude Earthquake and the 91 Dead Whales - 18th Nov 2011

This Morning a 5.2 Magnitude Earthquake struck off the Coast of New Zealand, this comes within 24 hours after the news broke that all 91 Whales stranded over the weekend in Australia and New Zealand had died.

Could there be a link between big earthquakes and Whale beaching?

Article 17th Nov 2011;

91 whales stranded in Australia and New Zealand died over the Weekend - 16th Nov 2011

Rescuers have been unable to save the last surviving sperm whale from separate mass-strandings in Australia and New Zealand that have seen 91 whales die since the weekend.

Though whale strandings are relatively common in both countries, the past few days have been particularly tough for conservation authorities.

In all, 24 sperm whales and two minke whales died in a stranding on and around remote Ocean Beach in Tasmania. In an equally remote New Zealand location, the tip of Farewell Spit in the South Island, 65 pilot whales died.

Note: On the 4th of March 2011, 50 whales where stranded in Japan. Only 22 survived. 5 days following the beaching on the 9th of March a strong 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake struck Japan which was followed by the 9.1 magnitude just 2 days later on the 11th March 2011.

On the 21st Feb 2011, 107 Pilot whales died Southern tip of New Zealand's South Island, within hours a 6.1 Magnitude hit near Christchurch. Source

Rise of the deadly superbugs that can't be beaten (and there are no new drugs on the way) - 18th Nov 2011

A deadly wave of superbugs resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics is set to threaten patients – with no new drugs on the horizon, warns a leading UK authority.

Over-use of existing medicines has been fuelled by complacency among governments and the public who fail to recognise the looming crisis, according to the British Society for Antimicrobial Therapy.

It says the ‘demise’ of antibacterial drug discovery by large pharmaceutical companies – deterred by poor profits and red tape – has largely gone unnoticed but will lead to untreatable infections.

Professor Laura Piddock, of the School of Immunity and Infection at Birmingham University and president of the British Society for Antimicrobial Therapy, said there is no sense of urgency about the situation because we have become so accustomed to getting antibiotics when we need them. Read More

Magnitude 5.2 - OFF EAST COAST OF THE NORTH ISLAND, N.Z.


  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude5.2
Date-Time
Location37.763°S, 179.418°E
Depth18.4 km (11.4 miles)
RegionOFF EAST COAST OF THE NORTH ISLAND, N.Z.
Distances158 km (98 miles) NE of Gisborne, New Zealand
281 km (174 miles) E of Rotorua, New Zealand
424 km (263 miles) ESE of Auckland, New Zealand
559 km (347 miles) NE of WELLINGTON, New Zealand
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 22.7 km (14.1 miles); depth +/- 8.9 km (5.5 miles)
ParametersNST= 46, Nph= 59, Dmin=100.2 km, Rmss=1.47 sec, Gp= 68°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=B
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc0006tze

Drunk zoo visitor ends up in hospital after climbing into monkey enclosure 'to play' - WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - 17th Nov 2011

An amateur cameraman has captured the insane moment a drunk zoo visitor jumped into a monkey enclosure to 'play with them', and ended up with severe bite marks after the animals attacked.

Joao Leite Dos Santos, a mechanic in Sao Paulo, Brazil, admitted that he had been drinking alcohol when he went to the Sorocaba Zoo on Sunday.

Thinking that it would be fun to join the zoo's colony of spider monkeys, he climbed over a fence and swam across a dividing pool to get closer to the animals, as amused tourists looked on. Read More


Occupy A Desk! Fed-up bankers hold rival protest AGAINST Wall St demonstrators as dozens are arrested in 'day of action' - 17th Nov 2011

New York is today facing major disruption as tens of thousands of protesters are expected to flood into Manhattan to support Occupy Wall Street as the movement celebrates its two-month anniversary.

But as protesters marched in Manhattan to begin a 'day of action' - in which they are expected to try to paralyse New York's subway system - two Wall Street bankers held a demonstration of their own.

Derek and John Tabacco, two brothers who work in the financial district, stood next to the Occupy protesters holding up signs reading 'Get a job' and 'Occupy a Desk', before others joined them.

Derek Tabacco was not happy as he tried to get to the offices of his financial technology company and was carrying a sign with a blunt message for the protesters.

'We work on Wall Street, we cannot get to work,' he told Fox News. 'These people are in our way.' He wants to 'deny these vagabonds a photo op in front of the global symbol of capitalism'.

John Tabacco, CEO of his stocks business LocateStock, was quoted by The Examiner last month saying protesters should instead be demonstrating in Washington D.C. against the Obama administration. Read More

Ducks born six months early and roses bloom in November, England - 17th Nov 2011

These three ducklings are the result of Britain's amazingly warm autumn - as the weather convinced their mother it was spring and therefore time to give birth.

Named Millicent, Margot and Mildred they were born in a pond in King's Somborne, near Winchester, Hants, and are now being kept alive in a makeshift incubator in a conservatory.

Another colourful symptom of the extraordinary weather is the sight of flowers in full bloom. One garden centre near Wolverhampton still has blooming roses in stock.

The balmy conditions have also resulted in an invasion of Mediterranean moths to the UK as well as a banana tree to bear fruit in a public park in Cornwall.

The warm weather is set to continue for the forseeable future with the south of England set to remain at around 60F (15C) for the rest of the week. Read More

Occupy Bristol: Anti-capitalist protesters set up slum city with wooden pallet shacks on historic civic green - 17th Nov 2011

Anti-capitalist demonstrators have constructed a ‘slum city’ made of wooden shacks on an historic civic green.

Campaigners camped in Bristol have replaced tents with huts built from discarded wood and pallets and fitted with front doors and windows.

Some have a range of home comforts including wood-burning stoves, wardrobes, sofas and kitchen tables and chairs.

Protesters said they eventually want to switch all the tents with what they described as ‘mini houses’ that will reach up to three storeys high.

The development came as protesters camped at St Paul’s Cathedral last night flaunted a demand to leave sparking a legal battle expected to cost taxpayers up to £1millon. Read More

Welcome Estonia! Great to have you here!

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake GUAM REGION - 17th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the Guam Region at a depth of 43.1 km (26.8 miles), the quake hit at 19:04:52 UTC Thursday 17th November 2011.
The epicenter was 185 km ( 115 miles) SSW of Hagatna, Guam
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Cameron heads to Berlin for Merkel showdown as Spanish bond yields hit 14-year high - 17th Nov 2011

David Cameron heads to Berlin today for crisis talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel against the backdrop of economic turmoil in Europe.

Bond yields in Spain soared today pulling the country deeper into the debt crisis. It paid the highest rate to sell its 10-year debt since 1997, just shy of the 7 per cent mark seen as unsustainable.

Tensions between Cameron and Merkel could be fraught after a key ally of the German politician said European nations were now speaking German in that they were backing Chancellor Merkel’s diktats.

The comments caused fury among senior Conservatives, who say Germany’s refusal to prop up the euro threatens to drag the UK economy down as well. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 17th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Tonga Region at a depth of 37.1 km (23.1 miles), the quake hit at 15:33:36 UTC Thursday 17th November 2011.
The epicenter was 173 km ( 107 miles) Northeast of Neiafu, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Severed head of Shetland pony Trigger found dumped after he was snatched from allotment , County Durham - 17th Nov 2011

A pony owner was distraught to find the severed head of her pet after it went missing.

Patricia Lister kept Trigger, a brown and white six-year-old Shetland pony, on an allotment to the back of the Frog and Ferret pub in Spennymoor, County Durham, for the last three years.

Her pet was reported stolen last Wednesday, but when Patricia went looking for him yesterday with relatives, she came across his severed head on a track ten minutes away from the allotment. Read More

Puerto Rico poised to surpass homicide record

Puerto Rico is having its deadliest year on record as authorities struggle to control a rampant drug war on the U.S. Caribbean territory.

Police said Wednesday that three people died overnight in separate incidents, raising the year's homicide toll to 995 on the island of 4 million people. That matches a 1994 record with six weeks left to go in the year.

Local authorities say 70 percent of the killings are drug related, and Pedro Toledo, who was chief of the police department in 1994, said violence has increased partly because drug traffickers are now being paid with weapons instead of money and because many youths in public housing complexes see selling drugs as a quick way to make money.

"We have a generation of young people who are violent, who take a gun and shoot, killing indiscriminately because they are expendable," Toledo said. "This is a generation that is going to be very hard to straighten out."

Both the unemployment and homicide rates in Puerto Rico are higher than in any U.S. state. The island's rate of 22.5 killings per 100,000 people is double that of Louisiana, according to a recent federal report.

Police make an arrest in only 43 percent of killings, compared with a U.S. national average of 66 percent, according to the report, which also accused the police department of corruption, unlawful killings and civil rights violations. more

Spain 10-yr debt costs to hit new high as crisis deepens

Spain will pay its highest cost of borrowing since the creation of the euro to sell 10-year debt on Thursday as the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis intensifies.

The Treasury aims to sell between 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) and 4 billion euros of a new 10-year benchmark bond that will take its 2011 borrowing to almost 90 percent of the targeted amount. France, whose yield premium over Germany hit a euro-era high on Tuesday on fears it may lose its top-grade AAA rating, is also due to sell 6-7 billion euros of debt.

The Spanish auction will be the last before a general election on Sunday which is widely expected to usher the centre-right People's Party (PP) into power.

With the crisis spreading to the 17-country currency's core, PP leader Mariano Rajoy will have little time to assure investors he can take control of Spain's finances and stop it becoming the fourth member of the bloc to require a bailout.

A successful Spanish T-bill auction on Tuesday and the recent rise in Spanish debt yields means the paper is likely to attract demand but the cost will be high, with an average yield of around 6.5 percent expected by analysts. The bond will carry a 5.85 percent coupon.

A 10-year yield of more than 7 percent is generally regarded as unsustainable for countries to finance their debts. more

Hungary sparks contagion fears

As shockwaves from the eurozone crisis radiate outwards, Hungary has felt the full force of their impact.

Budapest has endured three difficult bond auctions in a week, yields have shot up, and the forint has tumbled to record lows. That, in turn, is fuelling inflation and increasing the pain for hundreds of thousands of Hungarians who took out mortgages in foreign currencies when the forint was much stronger.

Fitch and Standard & Poor’s on Friday shifted their credit outlook for Hungary, rated on the lowest investment grade, to negative – making a downgrade to junk status appear only a matter of time.

With the highest government debt among central and east European countries, Hungary has seen credit flows slow as investors have fled risk and the growth outlook for its biggest market – the eurozone – has darkened.

There are now fears that Hungary’s predicament could foreshadow a new wave of contagion to CEE countries, which were particularly badly hit by the 2008 financial crisis. more

Desperate Dad Robs GameStop Store In Huntington Beach



Huntington Beach Police Tuesday searched for a desperate dad, who apparently turned to robbery to feed his kids.

The man robbed a GameStop store, telling the clerk that he was sorry, but that he needed money so his kids could eat.

The robbery took place on October 13.

Security photos depicted the man waiting until other customers left, and then handing over a piece of paper with a demand for $3,000.

The man then escaped with the cash. source

Nicholas Coyle: Arrested for killing rabbit with hockey stick (and then using dead body as a puck)

Nicholas Coyle, a Salve Regina University Lacrosse player, has been arrested in Newport on charges of animal cruelty after he allegedly killed a rabbit with a hockey stick and used the body as a puck.

WPRO's John DePetro said Newport Police arrested Coyle, 19, at 12:40 p.m. at his Newport apartment.

He was arraigned at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon at Newport County Court house on a felony charge of animal cruelty.

"I'm hoping that the judicial system will send a message that will deter others from getting involved in such heinous acts of animal cruelty and that these people will take heed to this," Dr. Finocchio told WPRO news. Finocchio said he hopes the court will take this crime serious and not just give Coyle a "slap on the wrist."

Salve Regina University released a statement commending students who came foward with information about the case and said that the school is conducting it's own investigation and will take "appropriate disciplinary action." The disciplinary action will not be disclosed to the public due to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Punishments range from probation to dismissal.

"Any form of abuse or torture of an animal is completely unacceptable and is contrary to the values of Salve Regina University," the statement said. more

Russia’s military chief warns that heightened risks of conflict near borders may turn nuclear

Russia is facing a heightened risk of being drawn into conflicts at its borders that have the potential of turning nuclear, the nation’s top military officer said Thursday.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, cautioned over NATO’s expansion eastward and warned that the risks for Russia to be pulled into local conflicts have “risen sharply.”

Makarov added, according to Russian news agencies, that “under certain conditions local and regional conflicts may develop into a full-scale war involving nuclear weapons.”

A steady decline in Russia’s conventional forces has prompted the Kremlin to rely increasingly on its nuclear deterrent.

The nation’s military doctrine says it may use nuclear weapons to counter a nuclear attack on Russia or an ally, or a large-scale conventional attack that threatens Russia’s existence.

Russia sees NATO’s expansion to include former Soviet republics and ex-members of the Soviet bloc in eastern and central Europe as a key threat to Russia’s security. more

Jeff Spires: Math Teacher Let Students Buy Grades

Students, tests and cash were the perfect variables to fatten high school math teacher Jeff Spires’ wallet, officials said, but administrators pulled the plug on him after several students brought his alleged pay-for-grades scheme to their attention.

Spires, who taught at Charlotte County High School in Charlotte County, Fla., was suspended without pay on Oct. 14 and resigned two weeks later.

He had been a teacher in the district since 2002 and told school officials he changed grades for money because he was having financial trouble amid a bankruptcy, arrests and jail time.

“Maybe I see the kids are as desperate as I am,” he told the school’s investigators.

According to a report issued by the school and shared by ABC affiliate WZVN in Fort Myers, Fla., Spires admitted that “he had taken money from two different math students in exchange for improving their grades in math class.”

All students had to do was staple the cash to the test or quiz they wanted Spires to amend, according to the report.

One unidentified junior reported paying the teacher as much as $40 at a time on two separate occasions in exchange for improving a couple of grades on his quizzes and tests. The student ended the quarter with a B, when he actually deserved a C for his work, the school found. more

"Colored Only" Sign Posted Over NY College Drinking Fountain

Campus police at an upstate New York college say they're investigating the posting of racist signs in two buildings at the school.

A sign reading "Colored only'' was found posted over a drinking fountain in the Humanities Building at the State University of New York at New Paltz, 65 miles south of Albany, reports The Times Herald-Record of Middletown.

The sign was found Nov. 8. The newspaper reports that three other similar signs were found in a dormitory later that week.

SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian has sent memos to students and faculty decrying the incidents. He is also proposing a Nov. 30 forum to discuss the racist incidents.

While there have been no arrests, campus police Chief David Dugatkin said Wednesday the investigation has turned up several potentially strong leads. more

Drone Gives Texas Law Enforcement Bird's-Eye View on Crime

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is weeks away from launching an unmanned aerial asset to help deputies fight crime. The ShadowHawk helicopter is six-feet long, weighs fifty pounds and fits in the back of an SUV.

“We can put it over a fire, put it over ahazmat spill, put it over a house with a suspect barricaded inside and literally give the incident commander the ability to look at the entire scene with a bird’s eye view, ” Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel said.

Sheriff’s deputies will fly the ShadowHawk with nothing more than a laptop computer and a remote control similar to that used for video games.

It’s equipped with an infrared camera that can clearly read a license plate from an elevation of twelve hundred feet. The helicopter cost upwards of $300,000 and was purchased with a grant from the federal government.

Vanguard Defense Industries built the helicopter. The company has also supplied aerial assets to US forces over seas.

Critics argue the drone-like vehicle isn’t safe, because it’s unmanned.

“I gotta tell you, it sort of looks like boys and their toys, ” said Terri Burke, Executive Director of the ACLU of Texas. “We’re giving up our privacy, we’re letting the government have way too much power.” more

91 whales stranded in Australia and New Zealand died over the Weekend - 16th Nov 2011

Rescuers have been unable to save the last surviving sperm whale from separate mass-strandings in Australia and New Zealand that have seen 91 whales die since the weekend.

Though whale strandings are relatively common in both countries, the past few days have been particularly tough for conservation authorities.

In all, 24 sperm whales and two minke whales died in a stranding on and around remote Ocean Beach in Tasmania. In an equally remote New Zealand location, the tip of Farewell Spit in the South Island, 65 pilot whales died.

Australian authorities were trying to guide the last surviving sperm whale to open water from Macquarie Harbour when the whale died late Wednesday. They had earlier managed to free two sperm whales from the harbor, which is located near Ocean Beach.

"We did everything possible to save this whale," said Liz Wren, a spokeswoman for the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. She said the whale appeared to be swimming strongly before it died at about 7 p.m.

Paradoxically, mass-strandings in most cases appear to be triggered by the survival strategy of a single whale, said Anton van Helden, a marine mammal expert at New Zealand's Te Papa museum. When a whale is sick or injured, it will often seek shallower water to recover, he said, so it doesn't have to swim so far to reach the surface and breathe.

Unfortunately, he said, a sick whale will often become beached as it tries to recover. It will then send a distress signal to other whales in its pod and they will join it as part of the group's strong social cohesion.

"The key thing about life in the ocean is that whales are highly dependent on one another to deal with any ailment," van Helden said. Read More

Note: On the 4th of March 2011, 50 whales where stranded in Japan. Only 22 survived. 5 days following the beaching on the 9th of March a strong 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake struck Japan which was followed by the 9.1 magnitude just 2 days later on the 11th March 2011.

On the 21st Feb 2011, 107 Pilot whales died Southern tip of New Zealand's South Island, within hours a 6.1 Magnitude hit near Christchurch.

The next financial crisis will be hellish, and it’s on its way

"There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner," says hedge fund legend Mark Mobius, "because we haven't solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis."

We're raising our alert status for the next financial crisis. We already raised it last week after spreads on U.S. credit default swaps started blowing out. We raised it again after seeing the remarks of Mr. Mobius, chief of the $50 billion emerging markets desk at Templeton Asset Management.

Speaking in Tokyo, he pointed to derivatives, the financial hairball of futures, options, and swaps in which nearly all the world's major banks are tangled up.

Estimates on the amount of derivatives out there worldwide vary. An oft-heard estimate is $600 trillion. That squares with Mobius' guess of 10 times the world's annual GDP. "Are the derivatives regulated?" asks Mobius. "No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes."

In other words, something along the lines of securitized mortgages is lurking out there, ready to trigger another crisis as in 2007-08.

What could it be? We'll offer up a good guess, one the market is discounting. more

Middle-class areas shrinking in US: study

The number of middle-income neighborhoods in the United States has dwindled significantly over the past 40 years, as the rich-poor divide deepens across the country, a study released Wednesday showed.

In 2007, nearly a third of American families -- 31 percent -- lived in either an affluent neighborhood or a mainly low-income one, up from just 15 percent in 1970, according to the study conducted by Stanford University, and released in partnership with the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of American families lived in middle-class neighborhoods in 2007, down from 65 percent in 1970.

"Mixed income neighborhoods have grown rarer, while affluent and poor neighborhoods have grown much more common," the study said.

For the study, researchers used data from 117 metropolitan areas, each with more than 500,000 residents. In 2007, those areas were home to 197 million people -- or two-thirds of the US population.

The findings come amid the ongoing protests of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is in part aimed at highlighting economic inequality in the United States, and as the US struggles to rein in 9.0 percent unemployment. more

U.S. Banks Face Contagion Risk on Europe Debt

U.S. banks face a “serious risk” that their creditworthiness will deteriorate if Europe’s debt crisis deepens and spreads beyond the five most-troubled nations, Fitch Ratings said.

“Unless the euro zone debt crisis is resolved in a timely and orderly manner, the broad credit outlook for the U.S. banking industry could worsen,” the New York-based rating company said yesterday in a statement. Even as U.S. banks have “manageable” exposure to stressed European markets, “further contagion poses a serious risk,” Fitch said, without explaining what it meant by contagion.

The “exposures” of U.S. lenders to major European banks and the stressed nations of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, known as the GIIPS, are smaller than those to some of the continent’s larger countries, Fitch said.

The six biggest U.S. banks -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley (MS) -- had $50 billion in risk tied to the GIIPS on Sept. 30, Fitch said. So-called cross-border outstandings to France for all except Wells Fargo were $188 billion, including $114 billion to French banks. Risk to Britain and its banks was $225 billion and $51 billion, respectively.

Europe’s debt crisis has toppled four elected governments, with the last two, in Greece and Italy, falling last week. Italian bond yields remained at about 7 percent -- the threshold that led Greece, Portugal and Ireland to seek bailouts -- and shares of French banks, including BNP Paribas (BNP) SA and Societe Generale (GLE) SA, dropped amid concern they’ll need more capital. more

One in four American women take medication for a mental disorder

More than one in four American women took at least one drug for conditions like anxiety and depression last year, according to an analysis of prescription data.

The report, by pharmacy benefits manager Medco Health Solutions Inc, found the use of drugs for psychiatric and behavioral disorders in all adults rose 22per cent from 2001.

The medications are most often prescribed to women aged 45 and older, but their use among men and in younger adults climbed sharply.

In total, more than 20per cent of American adults were found to be on at least one drug for mental health disorders.

A number of celebrities have gone public in recent years with their battles with mental health disorders.

They include Catherin Zeta-Jones, who was treated for a form of bipolar disorder earlier this year due to the stress of coping with her husband Michael Douglas's fight with cancer.

Model Brooke Shields admitted suffering postpartum depression after the birth of her baby in 2003, while fellow big screen icon Carrie Fisher, of Star Wars fame, told how she had turned to electroshock therapy to treat the worst symptoms of her chronic depression. more

Fed Now Largest Owner of U.S. Gov’t Debt—Surpassing China

At the close of business on Tuesday, the debt of the federal government exceeded $15 trillion for the first time--with the largest single owner of the publicly held portion of that debt being the Federal Reserve.

Over the past year, as the Federal Reserve massively increased its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities and entities in China marginally decreased theirs, the Fed surpassed the Chinese as the top owner of publicly held U.S. government debt.

In its latest monthly report, the Federal Reserve said that as of Sept. 28, it owned $1.665 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. That was more than double the $812 billion in U.S. Treasury securities the Fed said it owned as of Sept. 29, 2010.

Meanwhile, as of the end of this September, entities in mainland China owned $1.1483 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities, according to data published today by the U.S. Treasury Department. That was down slightly from the $1.1519 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities the Chinese owned as of the end of September 2010, according to the same Treasury Department report.

Thus, at the end of September 2010, the Chinese owned about $339.9 billion more in U.S. Treasury securities than the Fed owned at that time. By the end of September 2011, the Fed owned about $516.7 billion more in U.S. Treasury securities than the Chinese owned.

The U.S. Treasury Department divides the federal government’s debt into two general categories: debt held by the public—the type owned by the Chinese and the Federal Reserve—and “intragovernmental debt,” which consists of what essentially are IOUs the Treasury gives to government trust funds such as the Social Security trust when it takes and spends their money on other things. more

"How the Occupy Wall Streeters threw it all away"

Only a first-year journalism student or my most thick-headed colleagues would deny that we reporters are a largely bourgeois bunch who have trouble dealing with the unconventional.

Collectively, we appreciate the order of things, which after all has been pretty good to us. We respect institutions and we like a nice, simple narrative, a natural beginning and a natural end to the stories we cover.

This attitude probably explains the subtext of relief in the coverage of those municipalities across America that are sending in their police to eject the anarchistic, smelly, sometimes weird Occupy Wall Street encampments that took over public spaces here this autumn.

For much of the media, the OWS movement was becoming a repetitive bore, a story that just went on and on and on without ever seeming to get to the point.

At first, no question, this movement did touch the national consciousness, a rare enough feat, given the self-absorbed, capricious nature of the American public mind.

Polling now suggests that support is souring, which is probably why local politicians are sending in the cops all of a sudden.

But for a while there, interest in the Occupiers was soaring, and most of the people who noticed them sympathized with their message, such as it was. more

Bill would make wearing masks during riots a crime: Canada

A private member's bill set for debate Thursday in Ottawa would make it a crime to cover your face with a mask or other means during a riot.

The bill by Conservative MP Blake Richards was introduced in the House of Commons last month and is set to be debated for the first time. It seeks to amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence to wear a mask, or otherwise disguise or conceal one’s identity during riots or unlawful assemblies.

“When trouble starts, people intent on criminal activity depend on being able to 'mask up' to conceal their faces with bandanas, balaclavas or other means to avoid being identified and being held accountable for their actions,” Richards said in a statement last month when the bill was tabled. “Wearing a mask in these circumstances is an aggravating factor for their behaviour that should be reflected in the law."

Richards said this is a measure that police have asked for and that it would be a new tool for them to help control "unruly mobs" and help identify offenders following a riot.

The Alberta MP's bill exempts people from the bill that have a "lawful excuse" for covering their face. It does not define what a lawful excuse would be under the proposed legislation.

If Richards's bill becomes law, a person found guilty of breaking it could be jailed for five years. more

Weather harder to predict, Environment Canada warns

A senior climatologist with Environment Canada says the country should expect a cold winter, but warns that forecasting is getting more and more difficult.

"It's almost as if you can't look at the past to tell us what the future is," David Phillips told CBC News.

"There's a new norm: Expect the unexpected."

Phillips said the long-term models show that most of the country will be colder than normal because of La Nina, El Nino's lesser known counterpart.

El Nino and La Nina are two phases of a semi-regular temperature cycle in the tropical Pacific Ocean: El Nino is characterized by warmer-than-normal ocean surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific, while La Nina occurs when the ocean is cooler than normal.

These fluctuations in water temperature affect the air pressure above the ocean and have a dramatic impact on the weather around the Pacific Ocean and the world.

This winter, that should mean cold temperatures. more

Rice containing radioactive caesium found in Japan

Radioactive caesium has been detected above the safety level in rice for the first time in Japan since the nuclear crisis began at the Fukushima plant.

The sample came from a Fukushima city farm about 60km from the plant.

The government is considering banning shipments from the area it was found.

There have been a series of scares over radiation in food in Japan in recent months - in beef, mushrooms and green tea among other products - but never before in the country's staple, rice.

Now caesium in concentrations above the official safety limit has been detected in a sample from a farm in Fukushima city.

The rice was being prepared for market, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said none had been sold.

The discovery highlights the difficulty of tracking the radiation which has been spread across eastern Japan by wind and rain.

Local governments in rural areas have set up testing centres to try to ensure contaminated products do not get into the food chain. more

Syria in a "civil war situation": Russian Foreign Minister



Army defectors in northwestern Syria -- armed with rocket-propelled grenades -- attacked a pro-government youth group office and clashed with Syrian security personnel Thursday, activist groups said.

Security forces also arrested dozens during raids in Harasta, the location of the air intelligence base outside Damascus that was attacked a day before by the Free Syrian Army, a band of military defectors confronting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The developments stoke fears that the violence will spread.

"This was quite similar to a true civil war," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday about the strike on the air intelligence base. more

Drone strike kills 6 militants in Pakistan: officials

A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region killed six suspected militants on Thursday, intelligence officials told CNN.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said the suspected drone fired four missiles on a militant hideout in the area of Razmak in North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Based on a count by the CNN Islamabad bureau, Thursday's suspected drone strike was the 64th this year compared to 111 in all of 2010.

The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media. more

6 killed as storms sweep across Southern US



Search teams combed through rural South Carolina Thursday morning, a day after strong storms swept through the Southeast, killing at least six people and causing injuries in several states.

At least three people died and five others were taken to hospitals after a storm hit York County in South Carolina, according to the sheriff's office.

"This is considered a search-and-rescue operation at this time," said Lt. Mike Baker of the county sheriff's office.

The county coroner's office said authorities are unsure whether the number of deaths will go up.

Two people, an adult and a child, died when a home collapsed Wednesday night in Davidson County, North Carolina, according to Lt. Alton Hanes, a spokesman with the county's emergency operations center.

A sixth person died in Forsyth County, Georgia, Wednesday when a tree fell on a car, the fire department said. more

Oleg Deripaska, and the Russian rise of the oligarchs



Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian business is dominated by a handful of men known simply as the oligarchs.

In the 1990s many of them carved up Russia’s newly privatized state-owned assets. Huge fortunes were built as the Red Empire collapses around them, and Russian oligarchs joined the world’s super rich.

Among them is Oleg Deripaska. He was still a student at the start of the 1990s, but his rise was meteoric. By the end of the decade, the nuclear physics graduate from Moscow State University controlled most of Russia’s aluminum industry and his company, Rusal, is now the world’s biggest producer.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, he talks about the role of Russia in the EU crisis, and whether Russia is underperforming the rest of the developing world.

“No, never,” said Deripaska, asked whether Russia should help the debt-laden eurozone.

“Russia should deal with our own problem – lack of infrastructure, development in Siberia and the Far East, more emphasis on agriculture and development of agricultural food processing,” he said. “Europe will benefit from our strong market and our opportunity to invest in Russia.”

He points out that the Russian economy is on track for more than 4 percent growth this year, and a government debt to GDP ratio that stands below 12%, and total foreign debt to GDP ratio that is below 30%. more

Yemen is experiencing two revolutions, says female activist

It's hard not to become distressed, when I'm carefully following the situation in Yemen since violence got worse. It's even more troublesome not to become distressed thinking that there is a bleak future waiting for Yemen.

The fight by the security forces against unarmed protesters is indeed inhuman. More than 2,000 protesters have been murdered and more than 8,000 wounded by security forces across Yemen.

Admittedly, the uprising has a long way to go but one of its great merits so far is the exceptional participation of women.

I have been astonished by the growing numbers of female protesters as the uprising has proceeded. It started with just a few women; then day after day the number multiplied.

Thousands of female protesters have been actively participating in demonstrations across the country since February 2011. Female doctors have been playing an important role treating wounded protesters and female activists have been running seminars on political issues. more

Cities face Occupy movement's 'mass day'



Protesters in New York launched what they called an effort to "shut down Wall Street" Thursday morning at the beginning of a nationwide day of what could be the Occupy movement's largest protests yet.

From New York to Los Angeles, organizers were calling for a "mass day of action" to mark two months since the movement began.

A heavy police presence was in place as protesters kicked off the effort with the early morning demonstration against Wall Street.

CNN personnel could see about a dozen people arrested, including a retired Philadelphia police captain, Ray Lewis, who had joined with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. CNN saw him arrested and as he stood with other protesters in the middle of a street near Wall Street on Thursday morning.

On its Twitter Feed, Occupy Wall Street reported the arrest and added the hashtag "#shame."

Earlier, on CNN's "American Morning," Howard Wolfson, a New York City deputy mayor, vowed, "We'll make sure, if people want to peacefully protest, they have the right to." But, he added, "if people break the law, we'll have to deal with that."

"If they attempt to enter a building they're not allowed in, that's breaking the law. If they want to express their concerns about Wall Street, that's totally fine," Wolfson said.

"It could be a very fluid situation," he said, noting that "police on the ground are very well trained to deal with these situations." more

Occupy Wall Street Live - 17th Nov 2011


Eurozone bond yields continue to climb with the exception of Germany - 17th Nov 2011

European bond yields climbed again Thursday -- with the exception of the yield of Germany, the bastion of stability in the eurozone -- despite the European Central Bank's repeated bond-buying sprees.

Italy's key bond yield moved up again to above 7%, a benchmark that prompts traders to nervously contemplate the specter of another bailout.

The European Central Bank has been regularly snapping up bonds to try and bring some stability to the market. But yields for most eurozone countries keep going up anyway, fueling fears on Wall Street of a European contagion.

On Thursday, the ECB bought up Spanish and French bonds, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Colin Tan.

Europe's credit crunch fears are growing

Spanish bond yields were trading at 6.75%, managing to stay below 7%, the level that Greek, Irish and Portuguese bond yields exceeded before those countries required bailouts from their European neighbors.

French bond yields were also moving up, but the yield managed to maintain a relatively low level, of 3.79%. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake GUATEMALA - 17th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck offshore Guatemala at a depth of 96.6 km (60 miles), the quake hit at 13:31:11 UTC Thursday 17th November 2011.
The epicenter was 26 km ( 16 miles) SSW of San Marcos, Guatemala
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE GUATEMALA - 17th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck offshore Guatemala at a depth of 80 km (49.8 miles), the quake hit at 13:06:42 UTC Thursday 17th November 2011.
The epicenter was 30 km ( 18.6 miles) Southwest of Tiquisate, Guatemala
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE GUATEMALA - 17th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck offshore Guatemala at a depth of 38.7 km (24 miles), the quake hit at 12:44:48 UTC Thursday 17th November 2011.
The epicenter was 57 km ( 36 miles) SSW of Retalhuleu, Guatemala
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 17th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of just 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 12:38:32 UTC Thursday 17th November 2011.
The epicenter was 29 km ( 18 miles) Southeast of Ercis, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Worldwide Protests As Euro Crisis Deepens - Merkel !! Does this still sound like everyone is behind the Euro? 17th Nov 2011

Protesters are preparing to vent fury at their economic plight in New York and Athens - as the euro debt crisis threatens to engulf Spain and France.

The cost of borrowing for Spain's government has soared to a dangerous new high.

Ten-year bond yields have risen to a record high of 6.8% - with 7% seen as the territory for a financial bailout.

The spread between French and German bonds is wider than ever, with concerns growing that France could lose its triple-A credit rating.

Investors have shied away from buying debt in countries seen as being in the eurozone firing line because of the potential risks associated with nations such as Italy, Spain and France.

Instead they have flocked to buy debt from Germany and the UK - seen as safe havens.

Greece has already had to change its government as it battles to introduce sweeping austerity measures in order to stay solvent and part of the eurozone.

Some 7,000 police officers have been sent on to the streets of Athens as the city braces for anti-austerity demonstrations arising from the annual November 17 march.

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the day in 1973 when military tanks quashed a student rebellion at the Athens Polytechnic.

Skirmishes traditionally mar the march, but authorities fear the threat of trouble this year is much more acute thanks to anger at the price being paid by ordinary workers for the country's economic mismanagement.

In New York, protesters and city officials expect thousands of demonstrators to pour into the Wall Street area from 7am (1200 GMT) to try to stop workers from getting to their desks in the financial district. Read More

Fukushima Disaster: Government Announced, Most Radioactive cesium piled up within 2 centimeters of soil surface - 17th Nov 2011

Most of the radioactive cesium emitted by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has piled up within two centimeters of the soil surface, the government has announced.

The Cabinet Office's Team in Charge of the Lives of Disaster Victims announced on Nov. 16 the detailed results of its survey on cesium dosage and accumulations in the soil, forests, buildings, rivers and other environments. Based on the results, the Cabinet Office has concluded that "most of the cesium can be removed if the top two centimeters of the soil is scraped away from its surface."

The survey, conducted between July and September, covered the Fukushima Prefecture town of Tomioka, which is designated as a no-go zone, and the town of Namie, which has both a no-go zone and an evacuation preparation zone. Officials said 80 to 97 percent of cesium detected in those areas' schools, parks, rice paddies and other locations was found within two centimeters of the soil surface. Read More

Half of radioactive materials from Fukushima fell into sea: study - 17th Nov 2011

More than half of the radioactive materials that were emitted into the atmosphere in the days after the Fukushima nuclear disaster have since fallen into the ocean, according to a recent simulation by a team of researchers.

Between 70 and 80 percent of the radioactive cesium from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Fukushima Prefecture had fallen into the sea by April, with the rest having fallen on land, according to the simulation done by the Meteorological Research Institute in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, and other researchers.

"The Fukushima nuclear power plant is located on the eastern edge of Japan, so only small amounts ended up falling on land because (such materials) get carried by the westerlies between March and April," said Yasumichi Tanaka, a senior researcher at the Japan Meteorological Agency institute and a member of the research team. However, it suggests the fallout that did not make landfall polluted the ocean, he added.

A simulation model applied in the study was developed by the institute and the agency, and was used to see how such radioactive isotopes as cesium-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137 got dispersed in the days after the disaster triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

On the premise that the materials were dispersed with each particle being the size of less than 1 micrometer, the simulation showed they largely completed a trip around the globe in roughly 10 days after first crossing the Pacific. Read More