Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thank you, United Kingdom!

We'd like to thank the United Kingdom for being the foremost nation in following the big banner on the top and assisting us in (nearly) meeting yesterday's goal. We appreciate that when you took the time to enjoy our site, you spent 5 seconds out of your day to contribute back and help us out with your once-a-day.

We'll keep up our end of the bargain by delivering the best news out there.

-- Matt & Lynsey

Cameron May Veto EU Treaty Plan To Defend UK...But will he?

David Cameron has said he will veto plans for a new EU treaty unless European leaders agree to a list of British demands.

The Prime Minister has insisted that if eurozone countries want to use the "institutions of Europe" to rescue the single currency, they will have to back a number of "British safeguards" in return.

During emergency talks in Paris on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy renewed calls for reform on the treaty.

The aim would be to allow far tougher rules and sanctions governing the eurozone in future to reassure markets about the euro's long-term stability.

Mr Cameron said he was heading to talks in Brussels later this week "to defend and promote British interests".

"Now, the most important British interest right now is to sort out the problem in the eurozone that is having the chilling effect on our economy that I have spoken about," he said. Read More

US Drone Lost Over Iran Was On CIA Operation - 7th Dec 2011

The US military has said a missing unmanned spyplane was involved in a joint CIA military operation on Afghanistan's border with Iran.

The Pentagon has admitted the RQ 170 Sentinel drone is lost somewhere in Iran.

But the US disputes Iranian claims to have shot down the state-of-the-art spy aircraft.

News of the CIA involvement is causing controversy in Washington.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich told Sky News the involvement of America's spy agency was a worrying development.

"We have to be very careful that we don't stumble into a wider war here. If we are in Iran's airpace with anything that belongs to the US, that's a provocation," he said.

The revelation coincides with speculation a covert war is being waged in Iran by America and Israel to thwart Iranian nuclear ambitions.

A series of events remain unexplained. Iranian scientists have been assassinated, in one case by a bomb strapped to his vehicle by a hit team on a motorbike.

A huge explosion at a top secret missile base in the Iranian desert appears to have killed the lead scientist on missile development. Read More

We have to be very careful that we don't stumble into a wider war here. If we are in Iran's airpace with anything that belongs to the US, that’s a provocation.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Piranha Attack: Bolivian Teenager attacked and Killed as he Jumped out of a Canoe in Rosario del Yata, La Paz - 7th Dec 2011

A teenager has been attacked and killed by piranhas in northeastern Bolivia.

Police have said the 18-year-old was drunk when he jumped out of a canoe in Rosario del Yata, 400 miles north of the capital of La Paz.

A spokesman said the man bled to death after the attack.

He was killed last Thursday but news of the incident has only just emerged.

The victim is believed to have been a fisherman who knew the Yata river well.

Despite the reputation piranhas have received from Hollywood movies, fatal attacks on humans are rare. Source

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 7th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 29.3 km (18.2 miles), the quake hit at 04:08:36 UTC Wednesday 7th December 2011.
The epicenter was 132 km (82 miles) Northeast of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake LEYTE, PHILIPPINES - 6th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Leyte, Philippines at a depth of 47.2 km (29.3 miles), the quake hit at 19:31:47 UTC Tuesday 6th December 2011.
The epicenter was 66 km (41 miles) WNW of Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 6th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 110.8 km (68.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:39:13 UTC Tuesday 6th December 2011.
The epicenter was 140 km (86 miles) South of Hihifo, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN - 6th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the North Atlantic Ocean at a depth of 15.2 km (9.4 miles), the quake hit at 18:18:38 UTC Tuesday 6th December 2011.
The epicenter was 757 km (470 miles) East of Bridgetown, Barbados
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN SULA, INDONESIA - 6th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Kepulauan Sula, Indonesia at a depth of 44.8 km (27.8 miles), the quake hit at 18:16:43 UTC Tuesday 6th December 2011.
The epicenter was 220 km (136 miles) SSW of Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

County Displays Crucified Santa on Courthouse Lawn: Does the law trump common sense?

A Christmas display outside the courthouse in Leesburg, VA featuring Santa Claus crucified on a cross was torn down by an angry resident in spite of arguments by elected leaders that the display was Constitutionally-protected free speech.

“I am shocked that the county would allow such a thing as a crucified Santa on the courthouse lawn,” Elizabeth McGuirk, a mother of three told Leesburg Today. She it would “seriously disturb my children.”

“Disgusting, outrageous and absurd,” Supervisor-elect Ken Reid told MyFoxDC.com. “This fellow crossed the line. I’m worried about kids seeing this at the parade Saturday.

The display was erected by Jeff Heflin, whose application was submitted and approved by the Loudon County Board of Supervisors.

“The county would not dismantle it, the county gave it permission for it to be there,” Supervisor Steven Miller told the local newspaper. “We had the same thing happen a year ago when Ed Myers put up some vulgar parody lyrics of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Well those came down within an hour and that’s vigilantes.” more

Syria descends further into open warfare with clashes on Turkish border: Middle East war may be imminent

Syria descended further into open warfare with armed clashes in the south and on its border with Turkey yesterday, with state media additionally pointing to the involvement of Turkish armed forces.

In one of the most serious clashes to date, the Syrian authorities said they had repelled an incursion by 35 "armed terrorists" over the border in the province of Idlib.

They claimed some were wounded, and were ferried away from the battle by Turkish military vehicles to Turkish army aid stations.

"The border guards forces suffered no injuries or losses," the state news agency said. "They warned they would stop anyone who even thinks of touching Syria's security or its citizens."

Turkey has provided a base and diplomatic cover to the Free Syrian Army, a growing band of defectors, and it is unlikely that an open attack with such a large group of men could have been planned without their awareness.

That alone is enough to draw the two former allies closer to open war, though both are likely to try to avoid it. Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, has already admitted he considers that a buffer zone inside Syria for refugees from the fighting might have to be considered, with outside military intervention if necessary. more

Ginger Cheater Mad Girlfriend is the making of another video of today's Real Society, New Jersey 30th Nov 2011

Killer whales are spotted 100 yards off CORNISH coast, England, Surfers WARNED: Don't go in the water - 6th Dec 2011

Marine experts today warned people not to enter the water after two killer whales were spotted 100 yards off the English coast.

The 'enormous super predators' were described as unpredictable and could attack surfers and bathers mistaking them for prey.

A mother and calf were spotted off the coast of Padstow, Cornwall - just 15 miles from the surfing mecca of Newquay - and experts warned the giant whale may inadvertently harm a human or attack while protecting its young.

Peter Richardson, of the Marine Conservation Society, said: 'Obviously we wouldn't recommend getting into the water with a killer whale.

'They are enormous super predators and are therefore unpredictable.

'There is a pod of killer whales in Scotland and they could be travelling around the country. Read More

How the world's first cyber super weapon 'designed by the CIA' attacked Iran - and now threatens the world - 6th Dec 2011

The CIA could have been behind a computer virus dubbed the world's first cyber 'super weapon' that attacked an Iranian nuclear plant, experts claim.

The launch of Stuxnet in 2010 marked the transformation of viruses into weapons of war.

Experts believe it was so sophisticated that it could have only been invented by designers with the backing of a nation state, with the spy arm of the U.S government being the main suspects.

It was purpose-built to attack Iran's Busehr nuclear plant, overriding and controlling circuits inside the plant to cause physical damage.

It was the first malware that could truly be described as a 'cyber-weapon'.

'With Stuxnet we have opened a new chapter in human history,' says Ralph Langner, the security expert who unravelled the attack. 'There is now no way we can stop or control the proliferation of cyber-weapons.'

To begin with, the sheer sophistication of the attack was what dazzled experts - it exploited four separate vulnerabilities in Windows to penetrate and override industrial control systems designed by Siemens.

It would have taken experts months to design.

But in the wake of Stuxnet, it's become clear that the weapon was almost over-designed for the job. Read More

Paddy Doherty faces jail for bare-knuckle fight with cousins outside PC World - 6th Dec 2011

Reality TV star Paddy Doherty is facing up to three years jail over a bare-knuckle brawl which police linked to an underworld shooting.

The 52-year old Celebrity Big Brother winner was left bloodied and bruised with part of his ear bitten and hanging off after he took on his cousins Johnny and Dougie Joyce in a street fight outside a PC World store in Manchester.

The brawl was filmed on a mobile phone and uploaded to YouTube and a witness was overheard baying for blood shouting: 'Come you dirty Doherty b******, give it to him Johnny, give to the dirty tramp, floor the dirty tramp.'

During the video a blood-spattered Doherty - who also featured in Channel 4 show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - was seen perched on his toes like a boxer, grunting 'like a bull' and holding his fists up to protect himself as he landed in a heap with Johnny Joyce.

Doherty admitted affray after the brawl and had been expected to give evidence against his cousin Johnny, who was accused of causing him grievous bodily harm.

The GBH charges against Johnny Joyce, 21, were dropped. Instead, he and his 23-year-old brother Dougie - who filmed the violence on a mobile phone - and Doherty were all charged with affray.

Doherty, who has also appeared on Britain’s Deadliest Men, pleaded guilty to the charge at Manchester Crown Court last week. Read More

Cores reveal when Dead Sea 'died'

Sediments drilled from beneath the Dead Sea reveal that this most remarkable of water bodies all but disappeared 120,000 years ago.

It is a discovery of high concern say scientists because it demonstrates just how dry the Middle East can become during Earth's warm phases.

In such ancient times, few if any humans were living around the Dead Sea.

Today, its feed waters are intercepted by large populations and the lake level is declining rapidly.

"The reason the Dead Sea is going down is because virtually all of the fresh water flowing into it is being taken by the countries around it," said Steve Goldstein, a geochemist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, US.

"But we now know that in a previous warm period, the water that people are using today and are relying upon stopped flowing all by itself. That has important implications for people today because global climate models are predicting that this region in particular is going to become more arid in the future," he told BBC News. more

80-Year-Old Priest Severely Beaten In Rectory

It was a scene of sheer terror overnight, two men accosted an 80-year-old Roman Catholic priest as he lay sleeping in his South Side rectory and brutally beat him.

As CBS 2′s Susanna Song reports, police say shortly before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, the suspects broke into the rectory at St. Margaret of Scotland Church, at 9849 S. Throop St. in the Longwood Manor neighborhood, and found the Rev. Dan Mallette sleeping.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is a parishioner at the church, and was with Father Mallette since early Tuesday morning. He said Mallette was the victim of “a vicious, vicious assault.”

“He was completely taken by surprise,” Dart said. “He was sound asleep in his bed, and was awoken by two people standing there demanding money and threatening to kill him.”

Dart says Mallette was beaten severely, and suffered broken ribs and facial injuries.

As of Tuesday morning, Mallette was back home in his rectory after being treated and released from Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Police say the robbers did get away with some money.

In spite of the injuries, longtime friend and parishioner William Harris says Mallette is keeping his spirits up.

Still, Harris said, “He is in a lot of pain – a couple of broken ribs, stitches, black eyes – he was beaten pretty badly.” more

Emma West Pleads Not Quilty after court views video of Tram racist rant - 6th Dec 2011

A woman accused of launching a vile racist rant on a tram broke down in tears in court as she viewed the video footage that became an internet hit, and then pleaded not guilty.

Emma West, 34, appeared at Croydon Magistrates’ Court charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

She bowed her head and sobbed as the three magistrates watched the footage, which has now been seen more than 11 million times online.

After the foul-mouthed video was played to the packed court, the court clerk asked West, of New Addington, how she wanted to plead.

'Not guilty,' she said.

Wearing a blue blouse and a black cardigan, she wiped tears from her face during the hearing. Read More

Iran's Revolutionary Guards prepare for war

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been put on a war footing amid increasing signs that the West is taking direct action to cripple Iran’s nuclear programme.

An order from Gen Mohammed Ali Jaafari, the commander of the guards, raised the operational readiness status of the country’s forces, initiating preparations for potential external strikes and covert attacks.

Western intelligence officials said the Islamic Republic had initiated plans to disperse long-range missiles, high explosives, artillery and guards units to key defensive positions.

The order was given in response to the mounting international pressure over Iran’s nuclear programme. Preparation for a confrontation has gathered pace following last month’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that produced evidence that Iran was actively working to produce nuclear weapons.

The Iranian leadership fears the country is being subjected to a carefully co-ordinated attack by Western intelligence and security agencies to destroy key elements of its nuclear infrastructure.

Recent explosions have added to the growing sense of paranoia within Iran, with the regime fearing it will be the target of a surprise military strike by Israel or the US. more

3 elderly women say TSA agents made them pull down pants, underwear

With age come such things as catheters, colostomy bags and adult diapers. Now add another indignity to getting old — having to drop your pants and show these things to a complete stranger.

Two women in their 80s put the Transportation Security Administration on the defensive this week by going public about their embarrassment during screenings in a private room at John F. Kennedy International Airport. One claimed she was forced to lower her pants and underwear in front of an agent so that her back brace could be inspected. Another said agents made her pull down her waistband to show her colostomy bag.

While not confirming some of the details, the TSA said a preliminary review shows officers followed the agency's procedures in both cases. But experts said the potential for such searches will increase as the U.S. population ages and receives prosthetics and other medical devices, some of which cannot go through screening machines. more

3 Black Teens Sought In Armed Robbery Of Delaware Delivery Driver

Police in Delaware are searching for three suspects who robbed a delivery driver at gunpoint this past weekend.

The incident happened at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday in a parking lot on Elkton Road in Newark.

The driver told police he had just made a food delivery and was walking back to his car when he was approached by a black male who displayed a handgun and demanded his cash.

When the driver produced his cash, two additional black male suspects grabbed the cash while the suspect with the handgun removed the victim’s wallet from his pants.

All three suspects then ran away. All three are described as high school-aged black males wearing black clothing.

The victim was not injured.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Nicholas Sansone at 302-366-7110 ext. 135 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333. more

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah makes rare public appearance -- Preparing for war?

The leader of the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah has made his first public appearance for several years at a rally in Beirut.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah normally speaks to his supporters via video-link, but on Tuesday he addressed a crowd marking the religious festival of Ashura.

He said his appearance in the suburb of Dahiya was a message to those who believed they could "threaten us".

He has rarely been seen in public since Hezbollah's war with Israel in 2006.

The 34-day conflict left more than 1,200 Lebanese dead, most of them civilians. Some 160 Israelis, most of whom were soldiers, were also killed. more

US 'concerned' over drone lost near Iran border

US officials have expressed concern at the loss of a drone near Iran's eastern border with Afghanistan.

A Pentagon spokesman said the US was worried especially as the unmanned aircraft was "in a place where we're not able to get to it".

Iranian media say the drone was shot down and was now in the hands of the armed forces. It said the plane had suffered minimal damage.

The drone, known as a Sentinel, is the first such loss by the US.

US Navy Capt John Kirby said the US was concerned about any opportunity for Tehran to acquire information about the technology.

"I think we're always concerned when there's an aircraft, whether it's manned or unmanned, that we lose, particularly in a place where we're not able to get to it," the Pentagon spokesman said. more

Mogadishu 'suicide car bomb kills Somali police'

At least five people, including a Somali policeman, have been killed as a car exploded while it was being searched in Mogadishu, sources say.

Police officers stopped the car in the busy K4 junction of the capital.

Police have confirmed the deaths of an officer, a civilian and the driver, who had allegedly set off the explosives.

Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, has staged several suicide attacks in Mogadishu as it battles the UN-backed government.

Meanwhile, Kenya says more than 40 al-Shabab fighters and 11 Somali soldiers were killed in a battle in the southern town of Hawo, near Afmadow, at the weekend.

There is no independent confirmation of the Kenyan claims.

Kenya has sent troops into Somalia to tackle al-Shabab, after accusing the militants of a spate of kidnappings - charges it denies. more

Detroit Ending Free Police Escorts For Funerals (Out of cash)

Getting a police escort for a funeral procession was a common service at one time. But as WWJ’s Rob Sanford reports, budget concerns have forced Detroit to join other major cities in ending the practice.

Budget deficits and declining personnel are the major forces behind the Detroit Police Department’s decision to end free funeral escorts. Police Chief Ralph Godbee said it’s a drain on resources and is unfair for officers to accompany some processions and not others.

Godbee said he plans to talk with funeral homes about offering police escorts for customers who chose it as part of the cost of a funeral. It’s not clear how much the service costs and there are no rules to cover who gets a police escort and who doesn’t.

The Motor City is one of the last major cities to offer the free service, but it’s been determined it’s just too expensive to continue. Other cities that have recently made the same decision include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Atlanta, some citing traffic safety issues. more

Moscow Police Clash With Anti-Putin Crowds - 6th Dec 2011



Police in central Moscow have clashed with demonstrators gathered for a second day of protests against alleged vote fraud in parliamentary elections - as Russia's opposition leader is arrested.

Thousands of troops have been deployed in the Russian capital as unprecedented numbers of people protest over the weekend's results.

The Interfax news agency has reported that liberal opposition party leader Boris Nemtsov is among the hundreds of people who have been arrested.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party saw a significant drop in support in Sunday's election but it will still have a majority in parliament.

Opponents have said even that victory was due to massive vote fraud.

The election results have caused an international war of words after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested the vote had been neither free nor fair and urged that reports of fraud were investigated. Read More

Thousands demonstrate against government after Russian elections

Thousands of people gathered in this capital Monday night to protest Sunday’s surprisingly controversial parliamentary elections, shouting “Russia Without Putin” and “We Need New Elections.”

Interior Ministry had brought more than 50,000 troops into Moscow for the election weekend, and they remained on the alert. Some took up posts around locations where demonstrations are usually held.

Popular blogger Alexey Navalny was arrested with nearly other 300 people around Chistye Prudy, a park and metro station. From the riot police van, he tweeted an image of a crowd of men grinning. Navalny wrote, “I sit with the boys on the riot police bus. They all convey greetings.”

The police put the number of people at the Chistye Prudy protest at 700, but reporters estimated that there were at least 5,000 people there. more

Russian opposition leader arrested at rally - 6th Dec 2011

A Russian opposition leader was arrested at an anti-government rally in Moscow on Tuesday, he told CNN by phone, as demonstrators protested against the results of Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister turned government opponent, was detained at a rally held to voice discontent over alleged fraud in the elections, which returned Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party to power with a greatly diminished majority.

The opposition Other Russia party sent out invitations to the protest via Facebook under the title "Is the Revolution Continuing? Yes!"

About 800 people said they were coming to the rally, but protesters appeared to have largely dispersed as security forces moved into the area, a CNN correspondent at the scene said.

Putin's United Russia is holding a separate rally. Police said there were about 8,000 people there. Read More

Overfishing dramatically depleting ocean stocks

Overfishing is taking a heavy toll on marine predators such as sharks, tuna and swordfish, says a new study by scientists at the University of British Columbia.

The study, published online Monday in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, says predator species in north Pacific and Atlantic waters have dropped by more than 90 per cent since the 1950s.

The study found that predator species are also experiencing a dramatic decline in the south seas as those species are caught and sent to northern markets for consumption.

"It's important because fish are the last food we harvest from the wild at any type of scale," said lead author Laura Tremblay-Boyer. "When you eat fish, it's usually a predator fish. Whether it's a fish stick or you're at the restaurant, it most likely comes from another country."

Tremblay-Boyer, now a PhD student at UBC, said she conducted the research while finishing her master's degree.

Because it's impossible to count fish in the world's oceans, Tremblay-Boyer and her fellow researchers developed a model that analyzed data such as ocean temperature, the presence of algae, and the distance in the food chain that predator species were to the algae, much like a food pyramid.

The scientists also used a global database of fisheries catches between 1950 and 2006. more

Workplace fraud cost $3.2B last year

Fraud in the workplace cost Canadian small businesses $3.2 billion last year, an accountancy group says.

The report published Tuesday by the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA) found some 290,000 small and medium-sized enterprises were victimized by some sort of occupational fraud last year.

The survey of firms with less than 500 employees found that one in four, or 26 per cent, of companies had been cheated by an employee. The most common examples would be misappropriation of either company assets and inventory, or straight cash.

"The financial loss is one thing, but it’s staff morale and management confidence that really take a hit,” CGA vice-president of research Rock Lefebvre said. "The reputation, value, and public and client trust of these companies also suffer."

Among those victimized, 20 per cent of companies said they experienced instances of employee fraud at least four times during the year.

Eye-popping figures like that came alongside others that suggested small businesses aren't taking the issue seriously enough. Eighty per cent aren't prepared to deal with fraud in the workplace, the CGA says, and almost 60 per cent don't go through regular assessments of how at risk they are to fraud. more

Dr. Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey charged with child molesting and bestiality is back at work at the Centers for Disease Control.

The senior government scientist facing child molestation and bestiality charges has returned to her high-powered job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey, 44, is accused of engaging in 'immoral and indecent' sex acts with a a six-year-old boy.

She and her live-in boyfriend, 42-year-old Thomas Westerman, were arrested in October and are both free on bail. Mr Westerman is charged with two counts of child molesting.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Dr Lindsey has returned to work at the government's top research lab for communicable diseases and medical and health issues.

The CDC will not comment on her case, though officials said they are aware of the charges. Read More


4.5 Magnitude Earthquake TURKEY-IRAQ BORDER REGION - 6th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the Turkey-Iraq Border Region at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 15:46:27 UTC Tuesday 6th December 2011.
The epicenter was 58 km (36 miles) South of Hakkari, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake HALMAHERA, INDONESIA - 6th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Halmahera, Indonesia at a depth of 136.7 km (84.9 miles), the quake hit at 15:04:21 UTC Tuesday 6th December 2011.
The epicenter was 76 km (47 miles) NNW of Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Hockey fights 'may' increase risk of degenerative brain disease -- Are you not entertained?

Researchers at Boston University say it's important not to over-interpret results from a study of former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard's brain that show early signs of a neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated brain trauma.

"However, based on the small sample of enforcers we have studied, it is possible that frequently engaging in fist fights as a hockey player may put one at increased risk for this degenerative brain disease," said Dr. Robert Cantu, co-director of the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE).

Boogaard's brain showed evidence of early stages of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

The 28-year-old Boogaard died in May of an accidental overdose of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone. His family donated his brain to the Boston University facility for study.

CTE can only be diagnosed by examining brain tissue post-mortem.

In 277 NHL games, Boogaard scored three goals, had 589 penalty minutes and reportedly participated in 61 regular season fights, according to the Boston University report.

He reportedly fought 174 times in pro hockey.

Boogaard had not played since Dec. 9, 2010, due to fight-related injuries, including a reported concussion. more

World feels effect of Eurozone crisis

Syrian opposition leader warns Iran, Hezbollah



Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement are risking their future ties with Syria by supporting embattled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad now, the head of a leading Syrian opposition group says.

Burhan Ghalioun, the chairman of the Syrian National Council, told CNN in an interview airing Tuesday that Iran is "participating in suppressing the Syrian people" by backing al-Assad, whose family's 40-year regime has been a longtime Iranian ally. He also warned that the crackdown could lead to international military intervention.

"I hope that Iranians realize the importance of not compromising the Syrian-Iranian relationship by defending a regime whose own people clearly reject it and has become a regime of torture to its own people," Ghalioun said. Tehran must understand "that this is the last chance to avoid an unwanted fate to the Syrian-Iranian relationship," he said.

As for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that was allied with Syria during the years that Damascus dominated its smaller neighbor, Ghalioun said, "The Syrian people stood completely by Hezbollah once. But today, they are surprised that Hezbollah did not return the favor and support the Syrian's people struggle for freedom." more

France admits lapses after breach of nuke reactor security

France's interior minister admitted Monday that lapses in security made it possible for Greenpeace activists to gain entry to a nuclear power plant southeast of Paris.

Interior Minister M. Claude Gueant said there have been lapses in the nuclear plant's security system and has ordered a search of all nuclear plants, a spokesman for the ministry told CNN.

The environmental activist group said on its website that members gained entry to the plant at Nogent-sur-Seine at dawn and managed to climb the dome of one of its two reactors "in order to spread the message: 'Safe nuclear does not exist.'"

"This action shows how vulnerable the French nuclear centrals are: Peaceful activists have managed with a few means, to reach the heart of the nuclear central! Why? How? Because the security device is insufficient," the website stated.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, called the act "irresponsible," but said that the government will "absolutely publish all" of the audits related to plant security. source

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito working on book deals

Amanda Knox may be one step closer to telling the world her side of the story about her saga of being wrapped up in an Italian murder trial that caught the world's eye.

Knox, who recently returned home to the United States after winning an appeal of her conviction, has officially inked a deal with attorney Robert Barnett to represent her when it comes to book deals.

Knox was convicted in 2009 of murder, sexual assault, possession of a weapon, interfering with a crime and theft in relation to the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher. But during an appeal this year, a jury cleared Knox of those charges, freeing her. The court also cleared her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

"[Barnett will] represent her in discussions with various book publishers who have expressed an interest in Amanda writing a book," David Marriott, the Seattle public relations specialist hired by the Knox family during her trial told CNN by e-mail. "Mr. Barnett will also assist Amanda and her family in evaluating other opportunities as well."

Barnett is well-known for brokering major book deals with several high-profile figures including: President Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush, Bob Woodward and Sarah Palin among several other notables.

Marriott told CNN they had no further details to share about where they were in the process or whether Knox already had anything written. Knox's family has said she enjoys writing and thought she would be interested in sharing her ordeal with others either through writing a book or becoming an advocate. more

Cost of elaborate funerals puts strain on Africans

From buying expensive caskets and tailoring new clothes to slaughtering animals and organizing a massive feast, little expense is spared in South Africa's elaborate funeral celebrations.

Here, as in other communities across Africa, the financial and social resources invested in funerals are matched by no other rite of passage.

"In the west, marriages are often the biggest life-cycle events. In Africa, it's funerals by far," said professor Michael Jindra, co-author of "Funerals in Africa: Explorations of a Social Phenomenon."

Jindra explains that such large events, designed to pay respect to the dead and honor one's roots, also provide a kind of "social glue" for communities in many African societies: They are at the heart of social and cultural life, with status concerns, succession issues and family bonds also at stake. more

Ratings agency jumps into euro dilemma

As eurozone leaders prepare to meet in what some are calling a last-ditch effort to prevent a break-up of Europe's monetary union, the ratings agency S&P warned that 15 eurozone nations -- including top ranked Germany and France -- may face possible downgrade in the next 90 days.

The move echoes a similar step in August when the S&P cut the credit rating of the U.S. from a top-ranked AAA to AA+ after political wrangling in Washington over the growing deficit in the world's largest economy.

News of the possible downgrade in Europe caused a market rally in the U.S. to fizzle, and all major indices in Asia dipped today by more than 1%. more

'HIV Healing' Church Will Not Be Punished - 6th Dec 2011

A church that Sky News exposed as claiming to offer HIV healings will keep its charitable status.

The Synagogue Church of All Nations, which is based in Southwark, south London and is a registered charity, told three undercover reporters it could cure their HIV.

Pastors said they would no longer need to take their medication: "Somebody that is healed does not need to take tablets."

One of our reporters was also told she would be safe to have children: "There's numerous testimonies of people who, by God's grace, are now healed and set free, and are living exactly as you said, you know they've got children, and they're perfectly happy."

However, the Charity Commission has said it will not take any action.

In a statement it said: "It is the commission's opinion that we have no regulatory role in relation to this.

"We would not regard something as dangerous or damaging where the choice of whether to take part is made by a fully consenting adult." Read More

Call it a comeback for Assange? Maybe



In the past few days, the WikiLeaks saga has taken two sharp turns.

On Thursday, 287 documents appeared on the WikiLeaks site about the global surveillance and arms industry. The dump provided many documents to mine, and it's still unclear what they might all mean. The Washington Post and other outlets called it a comeback for the site and for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

And on Monday, Assange won the right to fight his extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. This is the latest (and last) chance Assange will get to avoid answering allegations made by two women in 2010 that he forced them to have sexual relations. Assange has not been charged with a crime. Sweden is seeking him for questioning.

Swedish officials have said that the sex crime case has nothing to do with WikiLeaks or anything published on the site, including a trove of classified American intelligence in 2010 and early 2011. But Assange has repeatedly said that he believes the Swedish case is a ruse, and that if he is extradited to Sweden he'll be more vulnerable to extradition to the U.S., where he could be prosecuted in relation to WikiLeaks' release of classified U.S. information.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, has said that Assange should be prosecuted for espionage. He also has said that the U.S. should classify WikiLeaks as a terrorist group so that "we can freeze their assets." King has called Assange an enemy combatant. more

Radiation traces found in Japanese baby formula

Traces of radiation spilled from Japan's hobbled nuclear plant were detected in baby formula in the latest case of contaminated food in the nation.

Major food and candy maker Meiji Co. said Tuesday it was recalling canned powdered milk for infants, with expiration dates of October 2012, as a precaution.

The levels of radioactive cesium were well below government-set safety limits, and the company said the amounts were low enough not to have any affect on babies' health even if they drank the formula every day.

Experts say children are more at risk than are adults of getting cancer and other illnesses from radiation exposure.

"There is no problem because the levels are within the government limit," Kazuhiko Tsurumi, a Health Ministry official in charge of food safety, said of the radiation in Meiji milk.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan sent three reactors into meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi plant, which have been spewing radiation into the air and ocean.

Some of that radiation has crept into food, such as rice, fish and beef. But this was the first time radiation was reported in baby formula. more

Dozens killed in rare Afghanistan attack



Twin suicide bombings killed dozens Tuesday in Afghanistan, most of them in a mass-scale sectarian attack on Shiite worshippers unlike anything the country has seen in its decade-long war.

The terrorist attacks in the cities of Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif killed 58 people and wounded scores of others, officials said.

A suicide bomber detonated a device at a Shiite shrine in Kabul as worshippers were marking the Shiite holy day of Ashura, Afghan Health Ministry spokesman Kargar Norughli said. Fifty-four people were killed and 150 were wounded, said Afghan Health Ministry spokesman Kargar Norughli.

Four people were killed by an explosion at a roundabout on a busy street in Mazar-e Sharif, the provincial capital of Afghanistan's northern Balkh province, police official Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai said. Another 21 were wounded in that attack.

"The enemies tried to spread fear in this important holiday in the city," Ahmadzai said. more

Tsunami that struck Japan in March resulted from merging waves

The devastating wall of water that struck Japan in March was the result of at least two waves that combined to create a more powerful tsunami, U.S. scientists said Monday.

Ocean ridges and mountain ranges below the surface of the water channeled the waves created by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan, bringing them together far out at sea to form a "merging tsunami," according to researchers from NASA and Ohio State University.

The earthquake and tsunami together killed 15,840 people, according to the most recent death toll, and set off a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Satellite data have enabled the researchers to come up with an account of the formation of the tsunami and its destructive force.

"Nobody had definitively observed a merging tsunami until now," Y. Tony Song, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. more

Youssif: Burned Iraqi boy's road to recovery



Youssif shows off his "certificate of citizenship," an award given to the Iraqi boy by his school in Los Angeles for being exceptionally nice.

"One kid got hurt, and I helped him," Youssif says. Another boy had gashed his arm, and Youssif applied an ice pack and helped stop the bleeding.

He smiles and proudly clutches the award. He says he likes to help kids who get hurt because he once was.

Seeing Youssif now, it's hard to believe he's the same boy CNN met in Baghdad four years ago -- the young boy who was grabbed by masked men, doused in gas and set on fire. Gone is the sullen, angry child, the one who withdrew when asked questions about his pain and what happened that day.

He was so savagely disfigured it looked as though his face melted and then froze into rivers that cut through swollen hard flesh.

Since then, he's undergone dozens of facial reconstructive surgeries in California and been through extensive counseling with his family. He still has scars from the attack, but it's his upbeat attitude that's most impressive. more

Mugger Anthony Miranda chooses wrong victim: ultimate fighting champ

A convicted felon chose the wrong victim when he tried to rob an ultimate fighting champion Friday night on the Southwest Side and ended up with two black eyes and a gunshot wound to the ankle.

Police say 24-year-old Anthony Miranda walked up to a car which was parked near 55th and Kenneth about 11:30 p.m. and asked the driver for a lighter.

When the driver said he didn’t have one, Miranda allegedly pulled a handgun, pointed it at the driver and demanded money. And even after getting some money, he ordered the driver out of the car, police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.

At some point, Miranda’s attention was diverted and the victim was able to grab control of the gun and the two wrestled.

During the fight, Miranda accidentally discharged his gun, shooting himself in the ankle, Mirabelli said.

The victim -- who told police he’s a martial arts expert and ultimate fighting champion -- was able to pin Miranda down until police arrived. Police arrived to find Miranda with a face full of lacerations and two black eyes. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital for treatment, police said.

Miranda, a convicted felon, is charged with armed robbery and aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class X felony. more

Giant asteroid Vesta Images reveal it could be 'more like a planet' say scientists - 6th Dec 2011

Vesta is the second-largest object in the asteroid belt - 320 miles across - and is being probed by a hi-tech robot 'surveyor' that will then move on to its bigger 'sister' asteroid Ceres.

New views sent back by the probe, Dawn, this week, reveal an object more like a planet than an asteroid - and scientists say they now consider it a 'transitional body' between the two.

The Dawn spacecraft has been beaming back images since July - the latest show a rugged surface is unique compared to the solar system’s much smaller and lightweight asteroids.

Impact craters dot Vesta’s surface along with grooves, troughs and a variety of minerals.

'Vesta is unlike any other asteroid,' said mission co-scientist Vishnu Reddy of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany. The new findings were presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

This image using color data obtained by the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows Vesta's southern hemisphere in color, centered on the Rheasilvia formation - the different colours reflect different minerals in the surface. Read More

Snow and Icy Conditions in Scotland and England claims 2 Drivers - 6th Dec 2011

The Big Freeze of winter 2011 has claimed its first lives as two truck drivers died in separate incidents on snow-bound roads, and forecasters warned more severe weather is on the way in the next 48 hours.

One 43-year-old driver was killed when his 40-tonne lorry crashed on the M73, forcing police to close shut a busy stretch of the motorway at Baillieston, Glasgow.

Diesel spilled across the road forcing a second lorry to jackknife.

A second truck driver died in a separate incident when his vehicle skidded off a trunk road in north Lincolnshire after driving conditions turned treacherous.

Humberside Police said the white Scania lorry, which was fully loaded with meat, left the westbound carriageway of the A160 in South Killingholme at about 4.14am.

Another driver was suffered chest injuries in an accident on the A9 near Dalguise in Perthshire, Scotland, as temperatures plunged as low as -7.7C as up to six inches of snow fell north of the border. Read More

Iran's Revolutionary Guard put on high alert as tensions with the West reach boiling point - 6th Dec 2011

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have been put on a war footing after the West ramped up sanctions in a bid to cripple the country's nuclear programme.

General Mohammed Ali Jaafari, commander of the unit, increased its operational status in the face of mounting international pressure to halt uranium enrichment.

The Islamic Republic fears it is under attack by Western intelligence agencies after two mysterious explosions at missile and nuclear facilities in the last month.

The blasts, at its main missile testing facility in Bid Kaneh on November 12 and last week at Iran's uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan, have fuelled paranoia it could be the target of a military strike by Israel or the U.S.

Iran's military claimed to have shot down an unmanned U.S. RQ-170 spy drone yesterday and the deaths of several key nuclear scientists in the country have also increased tensions.

Those incidents have raised speculation that military action may already be under way in the Middle East country.

Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Los Angeles Times: 'It looks like the 21st century form of war. Read More