Sunday, December 4, 2011

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 5th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10.3 km (6.4 miles), the quake hit at 01:01:11 UTC Monday 5th December 2011.
The epicenter was 116 km (72 miles) East of Mito, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN NEW GUINEA REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 5th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the Eastern New Guinea Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 85.4 km (53.1 miles), the quake hit at 00:14:06 UTC Monday 5th December 2011.
The epicenter was 73 km (45 miles) Northwest of Lae, New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake OFF COAST OF LIBERTADOR O'HIGGINS, CHILE - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck off Libertador O'Higgins, Chile at a depth of 17.6 km (10.9 miles), the quake hit at 22:49:27 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 185 km (114 miles) WSW of San Antonio,, Valparaiso, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 14.7 km (9.1 miles), the quake hit at 22:15:05 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) SSW of Van, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SERAM, INDONESIA - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Seram, Indonesia at a depth of 181.6 km (112.8 miles), the quake hit at 21:45:27 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 60 km (37 miles) WSW of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Merkel And Sarkozy To Thrash Out Eurozone Plan - 5th Dec 2011

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are due to meet in Paris at the start of a crucial week for the eurozone.

They will present their plans to deal with the economic crisis at an EU leaders' summit in Brussels on Friday.

Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy are expected to discuss plans for greater fiscal unity among eurozone countries.

The German chancellor wants the European Union to oversee the budgets of all 17 euro-currency nations.

On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warned the eurozone is "skating on very thin ice" ahead of the summit, which is being seen as possibly the last chance to avert a breakdown of the euro.

Meanwhile, Italy's government approved tough new austerity measures over the weekend, which will be presented to parliament.

The country's new prime minister, Mario Monti, is hoping the cuts will save the government 20bn euro. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Eastern Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:20:05 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 18 km (11.2 miles) Northeast of Tono, Honshu, Japan
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Scientists predict possible earthquake, tsunami in Nigeria - 17th MARCH 2011

After the earthquake and tsunami that struck north eastern Japan last Friday, the question on the lips of most Nigerians is “can such happen in the country?”

A REVIEW of earthquake occurrences and observations in Nigeria by Ofonime Umo Akpan and Tahir Abubakar Yakubu published recently in EARTHQUAKE SCIENCE indicates that although Nigeria is not located within the major seismic zones of the world; several minor earthquakes have been experienced in some parts of the country, over the years.

The first widely reported occurrence of an Earth tremor in Nigeria was in 1933. Other events were reported in 1939, 1964, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2006. The intensities of these events ranged from III to VI based on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. Of these events, only the 1984, 1990, 1994 and 2000 events were instrumentally recorded. They had body wave magnitudes ranging from 4.3 to 4.5, local magnitudes between 3.7 and 4.2, and surface wave magnitudes of 3.7 to 3.9.

Last year, Nigerian scientists at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) warned that Nigeria should be prepared for earthquake experience.

In a publication in a journal, the scientist said:
“At exactly 3:10 GMT on September 11, 2009, an earth tremor occurred in the Abeokuta environs, Ogun State. This earthquake was felt mainly in most parts of Ogun State and some parts of Lagos State.”

The NARSDA researchers said the tremor is a sign that Nigeria is not immune from earthquake occurrence. In fact, one of the researchers from the Geology Department of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Osun State, Dr. Abraham Adekunle Adepetumi told The Guardian that the country is not in the earthquake-safe region.

“The Empirical Earthquake Recurrence Model – a time-dependent model – was employed to predict the probabilistic occurrences of earthquakes in the Ijebu-Ode and environs between the year 2008 and 2028. Read More

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake PAPUA, INDONESIA - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck Papua, Indonesia at a depth of 41.6 km (25.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:53:03 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 76 km (48 miles) North of Tanahmerah, Irian, Jaya, Indonesia
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake PAPUA, INDONESIA - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Papua, Indonesia at a depth of 40.9 km (25.4 miles), the quake hit at 18:40:24 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 76 km (48 miles) North of Tanahmerah, Irian, Jaya, Indonesia
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

D-FOX: Please contact us if you can read this.

To D-fox: if you're reading this, please contact us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com. It's important -- we believe.

Cornel West: Ultimate Fight For Entitlements Will Be In "The Streets"

"I think the problem is that the poor children, keep in mind it's 42% of poor children who live at or near poverty, it's 25% in poverty. Our audience needs to keep that in mind." Cornel West said on MSNBC this afternoon.

"Poor children need more than just a $1,000 for their family, they need a war against poverty to make it a major priority in the way which we have a priority for Afghanistan, and a priority to bail out banks, and a priority to defend corporate interests when it comes to environmental issues," West said about more and new entitlements for the poor.

Professor West didn't just call for another war on poverty (the first war was fought by Lyndon B. Johnson), but went on to say that the push for more entitlements "is going to be fought in the streets." West showered the Occupy movement with praise for making people aware of the issue.

"It's a major question of priorities here. That's why the Occupy movement is so important because some of this is going to be fought in the streets. Civil disobedience does make a difference," he said. more

Image shows Iranian missile site was destroyed: Not an "accident" as was claimed?

Two weeks after a mysterious explosion at an Iranian missile base, a Washington-based research group has released a satellite image showing extensive damage to the site.

The image of the compound, near the city of Malard, doesn’t provide any clues as to what caused the Nov. 12 explosion, which Iranian authorities described as an “accident” involving the transport of ammunition. But it does make clear that the facility has been effectively destroyed.

(For comparison’s sake, see below for a satellite image taken in September.)

Paul Brannan, a senior analyst for the Institute for Science and International Security, which specializes in the study of nuclear weapons programs, said it’s impossible to tell from the image whether the blast was caused by sabotage, as has has been speculated in this explosion and others at transport facilities, oil refineries and military bases in Iran.

When performing work with missiles, there are a variety of “volatile processes” that could cause an explosion, Brannan said.

Brannan said ISIS had recently learned from “knowledgable officials” that the blast had occurred just as Iran had achieved a milestone in the development of a new missile and may have been performing a “volatile procedure involving a missile engine at the site.”

As with the cause of the blast, the nature of that milestone is unclear. source

Laptop Wi-Fi found to "nuke sperm": Are the effects of electro-magnetic radiation worse than we realize?

The digital age has left men's nether parts in a squeeze, if you believe the latest science on semen, laptops and wireless connections.

In a report in the venerable medical journal Fertility and Sterility, Argentinian scientists describe how they got semen samples from 29 healthy men, placed a few drops under a laptop connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi and then hit download.

Four hours later, the semen was, eh, well-done.

A quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming around, for instance, compared to just 14 percent from semen samples stored at the same temperature away from the computer.

And nine percent of the sperm showed DNA damage, three-fold more than the comparison samples.

The culprit? Electromagnetic radiation generated during wireless communication, say Conrado Avendano of Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba and colleagues.

"Our data suggest that the use of a laptop computer wirelessly connected to the internet and positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality," they write in their report. more

OWS Protestors struggle to keep their camps open as the movement continues

Pits add to Stonehenge mystery

Researchers say they've found two pits to the east and west of Stonehenge that may have played a role in an ancient midsummer ceremony. The discovery suggests that the 5,000-year-old circle of stones we see today may represent just a few of the pieces in a larger geographical, astronomical and cultural puzzle.

The previously undetected pits could provide clues for solving the puzzle.

"These exciting finds indicate that even though Stonehenge was ultimately the most important monument in the landscape, it may at times not have been the only, or most important ritual focus, and the area of Stonehenge may have become significant as a sacred site at a much earlier date," Vince Gaffney, an archaeology professor at the University of Birmingham, said in a news release issued over the weekend.

The pits, which measure about 16 feet (5 meters wide) and at least 3 feet (1 meter) deep, have been covered over for centuries and can't easily be spotted on the ground. But they showed up in a survey that was conducted using non-invasive mapping techniques such as ground-penetrating radar and magnetometry. The survey is part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, which was initiated last year with backing from the University of Birmingham's IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Center and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna.

The placement of the pits is intriguing: They were found on the eastern and western sides of the Cursus, a racetrack-style enclosure north of Stonehenge itself that spans 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) from east to west and is up to 100 yards (meters) wide. From the perspective of an observer standing at the Heel Stone, a massive upright stone just outside Stonehenge's main circle, the sun would rise just above the eastern pit on the day of the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. The same observer would see the sun set that evening in line with the western pit. more

How to Know When the Euro Crisis Reaches a Tipping Point

Two huge financial dangers that still seemed somewhat unlikely a few months ago now appear hard to avoid. First, the common euro currency is in deep trouble, and European governments are frantically trying to save it. Second, the chances of a worldwide recession are increasing because of these attempts to stave off the euro’s collapse. Although the problems have been going on for some time, they’re about to get much worse. To know when the crisis is reaching a tipping point, keep your eye on global government bond yields.

Although European leaders are still behaving as though the euro can be saved, behind the scenes banks are preparing for the breakup of the Eurozone. One of the effects of what the banks are doing is that global bond yields are diverging. Where banks cut back their bond holdings, countries have to pay higher yields. By contrast, in those countries where banks are willing to park their money for safekeeping, governments don’t have to pay very high yields. more

How climate change devastates lives



Richard Leakey has spent a lifetime exploring Kenya's Turkana Basin searching for the origins of man.

Each layer of sediment, says the paleoanthropologist and founder of the Turkana Basin Institute, helps to tell the narrative of human evolution.

"You get the whole story of life represented going back from the present right back to the beginnings of an ape that has two legs as opposed to four," Leakey said.

"So the whole story of humanity you can actually trace to the Turkana Basin."

But Leakey says these ancient hills tell another story, a history of climactic changes that gave rise to some species and led to the extinction of others. more

"China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third World War": Major General Zhang Zhaozhong

Syria: security forces have killed at least 256 children since start of protests

Syrian security forces have killed at least 256 children since the onset of protests against Bashar al-Assad, shooting dead a two-year-old girl to prevent her from "growing into a demonstrator", according to UN investigators.

The most authoritative inquiry into Syria's violence has uncovered "gross human rights violations" amounting to "crimes against humanity".

Geoffrey Robertson QC, a human rights lawyer, said the British Government should respond by urging Syria's referral to the International Criminal Court by the UN Security Council.

"That would be the next logical step short of armed intervention," he added. "It would send a chill up Assad's spine."

The UN commission of inquiry, established by the Human Rights Council in August, disclosed previously unknown atrocities committed by Mr Assad's forces. Children appear to have been singled out for abuse, with some being tortured "to death" in custody.

Others suffered serious sexual violence. One witness told the investigation that he saw a "15-year-old boy being raped in front of his father". Another testified that he witnessed the rape of an 11-year-old boy "by three security services officers". more

Europe's shrinking money supply flashes slump warning

All key measures of the money supply in the eurozone contracted in October with drastic falls across parts of southern Europe, raising the risk of severe recession over coming months.

The three main gauges – M1, M2, and M3 – have each begun to decline in absolute terms after slowing sharply over the Autumn.

The broad M3 measure tracked closely by the European Central Bank as an early warning indicator shrank last month by €59bn to €9.78 trillion, a sign that Europe's long-feared credit squeeze is underway as banks retrench to meet tougher capital requirements.

"This is very worrying," said Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research. "What it shows is that the implosion of the banking system on the periphery is now outweighing any growth left in the core. We are seeing the destruction of money and it is a clear warning of serious trouble over the next six months."

"This is the first sign of an emerging credit crunch," said James Nixon from Societe Generale. Banks cut their balance sheets by €79bn in October, while mortage lending saw the biggest drop since December 2008.

Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors said "narrow" M1 money – which includes cash and overnight deposits, and signals short-term spending plans – shows an alarming split between North and South. more

Prepare for riots in euro collapse, Foreign Office warns

British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain.

As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.

Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.

The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.

A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.

“It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph. more

Number of N.J. residents receiving food stamps doubled in last four years

The number of New Jersey residents receiving food stamps has doubled in the past four years and is at its highest level in more than a decade as the nation’s still sputtering economy continues to take its toll on the poorest residents of the Garden State, state and federal data show.

As of September, the most recent data released by the state Department of Human Services, more than 400,000 households and nearly 822,000 people were enrolled in the food stamp program, meaning nearly one out of every 10 residents in New Jersey receives assistance.

Larena Reed a 49-year-old Newark resident, has been on food stamps since 2007. The former county worker, nurse and security officer now spends much of her time tending to her elderly mother, and although she doesn’t like being enrolled in the food stamp program, it’s become a necessity.

"All over the economy is so bad. We need these food stamps, there just isn’t enough money or jobs," Reed said Saturday while shopping at ShopRite in Hillside. "I don’t want welfare, (and) I can’t get unemployment anymore. We at least need food stamps to feed our family."

It’s a stark reminder that even one of the nation’s wealthiest states — New Jersey ranked number two in household income last year — is far from immune to the effects of the sustained economic slump. more

Secret Fed Loans Helped Banks Net $13 Billion: US

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger. more

NASA Shuttle Mission STS-80 - Unidentified Objects with Flightpath Tracking Enhancements

Reasons to vote Ron Paul in 2012

"The Universe Will Provide" -- Has Western arrogance gone too far?

Return to sovereign currencies wouldn't be as traumatic as assumed: The Great Euro Scam?

The currency team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have taken a stab at what "fair value" would be for the major legacy currencies in the euro in the event of a breakup. And they've come up with some quite surprising results.

The conclusion is that Spain, Italy, Portugal and France are all overvalued against the US dollar as things stand, with Spain the most at around 20pc. That's not so surprising, you might say, and if anything probably understates the true position.

But look at the countries thought to be undervalued. Ireland, on the Merrill Lynch analysis, is the most undervalued even though it is undoubtedly completely bust, while Germany, which conventional wisdom would say was massively undervalued as a result of its membership of the euro, is actually only quite marginally undervalued – by around 5pc. If Germany left, says the team, then the euro fair value would fall only 2pc against the dollar. If Italy left, it would rise only 3pc.

These are not big swings. The trouble with this sort of analysis is that there is a world of a difference between academic modelling of fair value and where a currency actually trades. Any break-up or withdrawal from the eurozone would unlikely be orderly. There would be large shocks to all currencies involved, and no model can fully account for these. Currencies often show extreme deviation away from fair value. more

OECD warns of worldwide depression if no action is taken over the euro crisis

In predicting a "mild" recession for the UK and the eurozone for this quarter and next in its latest economic outlook, the OECD stresses that this is assuming nothing untoward happens on the Continent, and that policy-makers take sufficient action to avoid disorderly sovereign defaults, a sharp credit contraction, systemic bank failures and excessive fiscal tightening.

Given that as things stand there is virtually no sign of them taking such action, for the OECD to make this forecast of a relatively mild and short lived recession its "baseline scenario" might seem a trifle optimistic. For those who prefer more scary assessments, here's the OECD's "worst case scenario", by which it means a disorderly breakup of the eurozone.

If everything came to a head, with governments and banking systems under extreme pressure in some or all of the vulnerable countries, the political fall-out would be dramatic and pressures for euro area exit could be intense. The establishment and likely large exchange rate changes of the new national currencies could imply large losses for debt and asset holders, including banks that could become insolvent. Such turbulence in Europe, with the massive wealth destruction, bankruptcies and a collapse in confidence in European integration and cooperation, would most likely result in a deep depression in both the exiting and remaining euro area countries as well as in the world economy.

In the OECD's opinion, there is only a small probability of this occurring. Actually, I would have thought this is fast becoming the most likely scenario, since there is zero evidence of Continental policymakers grasping the true enormity of the danger they are in. more

Should the Fed save Europe from disaster?

The dam is breaking in Europe. Interbank lending has seized up. Much of the financial system is paralysed, setting off a credit crunch just as Euroland slides back into slump.

The Euribor/OIS spread or`fear gauge’ is flashing red warning signals. Dollar funding costs in Europe have spiked to Lehman-crisis levels, leaving lenders struggling frantically to cover their $2 trillion (£1.3 trillion) funding gap.

America’s money markets are no longer willing to lend to over-leveraged Euroland banks, or only on drastically short maturities below seven days. Exposure to French banks has been slashed by 69pc since May.

Italy faces a “sudden stop” in funding, forced to pay 6.5pc on Friday for six-month money, despite the technocrat take-over in Rome.

German Bund yields have risen to 59 basis points above Swedish bonds since Wednesday’s failed auction. German debt has been relegated suddenly against Swiss, Nordic, Japanese, and US debt. As the Telegraph reported two weeks ago, Asian central banks and sovereign wealth funds are spurning all EMU bonds because they have lost confidence in a monetary system with no lender of last resort, coherent form of government, or respect for the rule of law.

Even if EU leaders could agree on fiscal union and joint debt issuance – which they can’t – such long-range changes cannot solve the immediate crisis at hand. The push for treaty changes has become a vast distraction. more

IMF drawing up £500bn package to save Italy, Spain and the euro

The International Monetary Fund is being lined up potentially to help Italy and Spain amid growing fears that a European rescue scheme will not be able to prop up the countries.

Reports in Italy suggested that the IMF is drawing up plans for a €600 billion (£517 billion) assistance package for the country. Spain may be offered access to IMF credit, rather than a rescue package, to avoid it being “picked off” by the markets in the coming weeks.

Any IMF involvement in European rescue packages would be partly underwritten by British taxpayers, which could leave this country liable if Italy and Spain did not repay any international loan.

Britain provides 4.5 per cent of the IMF’s funding and would, therefore, face a potential liability to an Italian package of up to €27 billion (£23 billion).

An IMF rescue package involves a country being offered hundreds of billions of euros in return for agreeing to launch a major austerity programme to cut spending. A credit line is a more flexible arrangement which gives countries short term access to international finance.

Italy and Spain are likely to be forced to accept some international help as the cost of their debts has risen to unsustainable levels of about seven per cent. more

House prices fall for tenth consecutive month

Official house price figures show that property values have fallen for ten consecutive months and are down over 3pc on last year.

Land Registry figures showed that the house price index decreased 3.2pc in October, with the rate of declining speeding up from 2.6pc in September. London is the only exception to these house price falls, while the North East recorded the biggest fall in October.

The average house price in England and Wales dropped to £159,999 to £161,461 the previous month, and economists warned that the future direction for prices would continue this downward trend. Average house prices for the UK peaked at £166,568 in August 2010.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist for Global Insight, said that he expects house prices to fall by 5pc from current levels by mid 2012.

"We suspect that consumers' squeezed purchasing power, a markedly weakening labour market and major concerns over the economic outlook will limit potential buyers and weigh down on house prices," he said. "On top of that, there still seem to be significant difficulties in getting a mortgage for many people, notably including the need to raise high deposits (particularly for first time buyers). And there is significant concern that banks' future ability to lend to home buyers could be hit by difficult wholesale funding conditions."

Lucy Pendleton, from London estate agent James Pendleton, warned that London may not be immune from further falls. "With this latest house price data, Londoners have had a major reality check. The capital is not immune to the collapse in business and consumer confidence - and the unravelling of the eurozone. more

Value of private sector pensions plummet by 16.7pc this year

When it comes to pensions, public sector workers are much better off than their private sector counterparts, a leading pensions expert says.

Many private sector workers retiring today will be 16pc worse off in retirement than private sector workers who retired a year ago because of falling annuity rates and volatile stock markets.

Someone with £100,000 at the beginning of the year would have been able to buy an income of £6,474. Today, that pension fund would be worth just £91,163 - this would only be able to secure an annual income of £5,387 - a drop of £1,087.

Unlike public sector pensions, private sector pensions in so-called defined contribution schemes are affected by stock markets and annuity rates, which dictate your pension income. Since the beginning of the year, the average balanced managed fund has lost around 8.8pc. At the same time, annuity rates have fallen from 6.74pc for a 65 year old man to 5.91pc (level single life annuity). The combined effect of these market movements has been to drive down the pensions purchasing power of someone in a typical private sector money purchase pension by 16.7pc.

Tom McPhail, pensions expert at Hargreaves Lansdown said that when it comes to pensions, public sector workers are very much better off than their private sector counterparts. They also earn on average 7.8pc more than private sector workers (source ONS).

He added: "Life expectancy in retirement has increased substantially in recent years, from around 14 years at age 65 in 1980 to around 21 years in 2010; to date this has not been offset by commensurate increases in member contributions from public sector workers. Members are receiving larger pensions simply by virtue of their longer life expectancy so for the unions to argue that their members are having to pay more to get less ignores the fact that they will be getting their incomes paid for several more years. more

Carbon footprint of the world's biggest cities

The above graphic details the world's 10 most populated cities and their annual carbon emissions. There is currently no standard approach by which cities measure their carbon output. The figures represented within this chart are drawn from cities' own inventories, the methodologies for which vary from city to city. Click here to access the interactive graphic

Isabel's misery touches Taiwan: Modern slavery is still very much alive



A Taiwan girl whose story of being sold into slavery was featured in the CNN Freedom Project has met with the country's foreign minister.

Isabel's story of abuse sparked a media storm in Taiwan and CNN has learned several people have come forward claiming to be the mother or sister of Isabel.

Isabel was sold by her mother when she was about seven to a wealthy family who later moved to California.

She endured a childhood of cooking, cleaning and beatings while she lived off the family's discarded scraps. She only escaped when she was in her 20s but no criminal charges were brought against the family who made her childhood a living hell.

The Taiwan government has offered to reunite Isabel with relatives if they determine anyone who is definitely related to Isabel – and if Isabel wants a reunion. And, surprisingly, the young woman seems to want to reunite with her mother who sold her off to slavery.

Foreign Minister Timothy Yang said: "We have to verify carefully. We don't want to have more damage to her feelings so I will do my very best and will ask my colleagues back home ... to help me make sure it's the right family she's looking for.

"I know from my talk with her she's very much worried about her mother. She wants to go back to Taiwan to see her mother and that is something we can arrange. I can help."

He said: "I want to say thank you for CNN, reporting the story of Isabel touched our people a bunch and we were really shocked to hear her story but now my government and my ministry decided that we will do our very best to help her.

"I know Isabel is now enjoying her life very much and she is grateful to all the people who helped her including CNN and all the social workers and thankful to people who expressed sympathies and concerns to her." more

New Police Device Can Track 30 Potential Speeders At a Time



Police officers and their radar guns can only catch one speeder at a time. Speed cameras are in the same boat, though they can photograph more than an officer handing out tickets. But both of these methods may soon step aside for a new device is that can track more than 30 cars at the same time.

Police officers and their radar guns can only catch one speeder at a time. Speed cameras are in the same boat, though they can photograph more than an officer handing out tickets. But both of these methods may soon step aside for a new device is that can track more than 30 cars at the same time.

Cordon, a program developed by Peak Gain Systems, can monitor the speed and license plates of traffic that’s coming and going spanning across four lanes. And, according to Gizmodo, it can see this information for up to 32 cars at the same time. more

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia at a depth of 35.1 km (21.8 miles), the quake hit at 18:09:47 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 393 km (244 miles) West of Sibolga, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Mount Gamalama in Indonesia's Maluku Erupts - 4th Dec 2011

Mount Gamalama in Indonesia's North Maluku province erupted at 23:00 local time on Sunday (1400 GMT), releasing volcanic ashes.

There is no death or material loss due to the eruption.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of the Center of Data, Information and Public Relation at the National Agency of Disaster Management (BNPB), said in a statement that people living around the foot of the volcano have took refuge to safer places.

However, some of them chose to stay at their houses. "The Regional Agency of Disaster Mitigation (BPBD) of North Maluku province keeps coordinating with related institutions for emergency handling. It keeps monitoring and recording (the situation)," said Nugroho.

Some parts of the provincial capital city of Ternate were covered by ash rain and blackout was occurred at the foot of the volcano.

People were urged to stay calm.

"Yes it erupted but we asked people to stay calm," Surono, head of the Center of Vulcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation ( PVMBG) told the country's largest news portal detikcom. Source

WWII bomb in Rhine near Koblenz successfully defused - 4th Dec 2011

Bomb disposal experts in the German city of Koblenz have successfully defused two bombs from World War II found in the riverbed of the Rhine.

They were discovered when water levels fell because of a prolonged dry spell.

The bigger of the two bombs weighed 1.8 tonnes and was dropped by the Royal Air Force between 1943 and 1945.

Nearly half the city's population - 45,000 - has been evacuated, including the inhabitants of two hospitals, seven nursing homes and a prison.

It is the biggest bomb disposal operation in Germany since 1945.

'Relief'

The smaller of the two bombs - weighing 125kg (275lb) - was dropped by US forces. Experts said it was the more dangerous of the two. Read More

Kent police appeal for calm over injured baby..... Well get the courts to do their jobs then!!

Candlelit vigil for child held in Gravesend amid 'highly charged' atmosphere over couple who were arrested and bailed.

Police appealed for calm on Sunday after more than a 100 people staged a vigil in Kent for a baby who had been admitted to hospital in a critical condition.

The boy, believed to be one month old, was taken to Darent Valley Hospital in Kent on Thursday before being transferred to King's College Hospital, south-east London, where police said his condition is serious but stable.

A 35-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, both from Gravesend, Kent have been arrested in connection with the incident and released on bail pending further inquiries.

On Saturday evening more than 100 people attended a vigil in Westcourt, Gravesend, where candles were lit and a minute's silence held. The group then moved to a second address before dispersing at about 11.30pm.

Superintendent Stuart Kehily, of Kent police, appealed for calm from the "highly charged" local community on Sunday until the full facts of the incident were known. Read More

Wall Collapse Kills 11 People In Central Indonesia - 4th Dec 2011

Police say 11 people were killed when a high concrete wall collapsed in a housing complex on central Indonesia’s Sulawesi island.

South Sulawesi police chief Maj. Gen. Johny Waenal Usman says the 23-foot-high (7-meter-high) wall collapsed and buried several houses Sunday in a housing estate in Makassar, the largest city on Sulawesi.

Usman says rescuers found 11 bodies, including a 7-year-old boy, buried under debris. Eight injured people were taken to hospitals, many with cuts, broken bones and head wounds.

Police are investigating the cause of the incident, which occurred during a heavy downpour.

Last week, a busy bridge collapsed on central Indonesia’s Borneo island, leaving at least 21 people dead and scores missing and feared dead. Source

Iran downs US drone, threatens reprisal: reports - 4th Dec 2011

Iran's military said it shot down a US Army drone inside its territory near the Afghan and Pakistani borders on Sunday, and threatened to retaliate for the violation, Iranian media reported.

The Al-Alam Arabic language satellite channel, quoting a military source in Iran's joint chiefs of staff, said late Sunday the RQ-170 unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down "a few hours ago."

The Fars news agency, which has close ties to the Revolutionary Guards responsible for Iran's air defence and ballistic missile systems, said the drone had made an incursion into Iran's eastern airspace.

"Our air defence and electronic warfare units managed to identify and shoot down an advanced unmanned spy aircraft -- an RQ-170 -- after it briefly violated the eastern border territory," Fars said, quoting an unnamed military source.

The drone "was downed with slight damage. It is now under the control of our forces," the source added.

The source warned that Iran's armed response would "not be limited to our country's borders" for the "blatant territorial violation." Read More

Rare turtle gets a lift home after swimming from the Gulf of Mexico to the Netherlands.

2.2 Magnitude Earthquake In Cornwall is felt by Residents - 4th Dec 2011

A small earthquake shook houses overnight in Cornwall, it has emerged.

The 2.2-magnitude quake hit Bodmin at 2.40am on Sunday and lasted just a few seconds, the British Geological Society said.

There were no reports of damage but the tremor could be felt in Bodmin, Liskeard, St Austell, Padstow, Camborne, Wadebridge and Callington.

Sue Dibble, from St Tudy, told the BBC: "It was very loud, like a whooshing and the house and bed were shaking. I thought I'd imagined it."

A number of earthquakes are felt by people every year in the UK, but most of these are very small and cause no damage, the society said.

The largest known earthquake in the UK occurred in the North Sea on June 7 1931, 60 miles offshore near the Dogger Bank with a magnitude of 6.1. Source

Note: They mention 2.2 Magnitude in this article, you will find the reported stations here >>>>>

You will notice from the data listed that NOT ONE station measures this earthquake under 2.8 Magnitude, in fact 50% of the stations measure this earthquake between 3.0 and 3.4 Magnitude....not sure where they got the 2,2 Magnitude from.

Russians vote amid cyber-attack claim - 4th Dec 2011



As Russians headed to polls Sunday for national parliamentary elections, opposition websites, radio stations and an election monitoring group claimed they had come under online attack.

The Golos election watchdog organization said callers reported about 1,000 elections violations on a telephone hotline while its website was under cyber attack. Russia's Interfax news agency reported that several other radio and newspaper websites had reported attacks.

The allegations came as voters cast their ballots in polls for the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament.

"It's a very important test for the ruling party," Dmitry Babich, a political analyst with Russia's RIA Novosti news agency, told CNN.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, recently tapped by his United Russia Party to be its presidential candidate next year, has accused the West of trying to influence the elections. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Kamchatka, Russia at a depth of 10.7 km (6.6 miles), the quake hit at 15:55:26 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 46 km (28.5 miles) East of Ust-Kamchatsk, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR, MEXICO - 4th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Baja California, Mexico at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 15:35:39 UTC Sunday 4th December 2011.
The epicenter was 50 km (31 miles) WNW from Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time