Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kim Jong Il dies after massive heart attack at 69 leaving pariah nation rudderless as South Korea's Military goes on HIGH Alert

Kim Jong Il, North Korea's diminutive but ruthless dictator who has led the communist regime since 1994, has died. He was 69.

Kim's death was announced tonight by state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

In a 'special broadcast' today, North Korea's state media said Kim died of a heart ailment on a train due to a 'great mental and physical strain' on Saturday during a 'high intensity field inspection.'

Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but appeared relatively vigorous in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in numerous trips around the country carefully documented by state media.

The South Korean military declared an emergency alert minutes after news of his death went public.

Traffic in the capital was moving as usual Monday, but the eyes of people in the streets were flooded with tears as they learned the news of Kim's death. Read More

Rare tornado spotted hurtling across the Mediterranean, off the Coast of France -19th Dec 2011

Keen photographer Lionel Cironneau was in the right time at the right place when he took these stunning shots of a tornado.

The twister was spotted swirling off the coast of France at Nice near the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea.

The vast majority of tornadoes form in the U.S. although they do occur on other continents and have even been spotted in the U.K.

They are formed when moist air rises upwards to a great height before producing a thunder cloud. A rotating column of air links the cloud to the surface of the Earth, which is encircled at its base by debris and dust.

Most tornadoes have windspeeds of less than 110mph, measure 250ft across and can travel for several miles. Read More

Anti-Gadafi Leader Sues UK Over Rendition - 19th Dec 2011

The Libyan military leader who led the assault on Tripoli has begun legal proceedings against the British government, Sky News has learned.

Abdul Hakim Belhadj has accused the British security services of complicity in his rendition back to Libya during the days of ousted leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Sky News understands that Mr Belhadj is now suing the British government.

He is demanding a public apology, and an admission of acknowledgement that he had no links to al Qaeda and that his group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), were focused only on getting rid of Gaddafi's regime.

Mr Belhadj also wants an acknowledgement of regret by the British government that he and his wife were tortured at the hands of the Americans and the Libyans.

And he wants the Metropolitan Police to investigate MI6 officers who he alleges were complicit in his rendition.

Mr Belhadj claims he and his wife were detained in Thailand as they attempted to fly to the UK in 2004.

He says he was on a flight bound for London from Kuala Lumpur when Libyan and US agents, acting on a tip-off from MI6, arranged for him to be put on a CIA aircraft during a scheduled stop in Bangkok.

He then claims he was transferred to Libya via the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia.

During his time in Tripoli, Mr Belhadj alleges he was regularly tortured by Libyan security agents. He says he was savagely beaten, deprived of sleep to the point of delirium and hung from walls. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 19th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 04:13:51 UTC Monday 19th December 2011.
The epicenter was 78 km (48.3 miles) West of Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN IRAN - 19th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Eastern Iran at a depth of just 2 km (1.2 miles - Poorly Constrained), the quake hit at 01:52:56 UTC Monday 19th December 2011.
The epicenter was 140 km (86.8 miles) Northeast of Barn, Iran
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA - 19th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia at a depth of 171.2 km (106.4 miles), the quake hit at 02:00:32 UTC Monday 19th December 2011.
The epicenter was 313 km (194 miles) ENE of Dili, Timor-Leste
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 19th Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck Sulawesi, Indonesia at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles), the quake hit at 01:23:24 UTC Monday 19th December 2011.
The epicenter was 199 km (123 miles) NNW of Palopo, Sulawesi, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

South Korean military declares emergency alert as NK leader dies

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Monday placed all military units on emergency alert following the news of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death.

The JCS said it called an emergency meeting of officials handling crisis management and operations just after noon Monday, after the North Korean media reported Kim's death.

The JCS said it has increased its monitoring activities along the border along with the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command.

No unusual activity had been observed from the North, officials said.

Officials said they may raise the "Defcon," a five-stage combat alert level, from its current level of four to three. source

South Korean shares tumble on news of Kim's death

South Korean shares tumbled 4.87 percent soon after the announcement that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il had died.

The benchmark KOSPI fell 89.36 points to 1,750.60 minutes after the news before edging back up slightly.

North Korean state media said on Monday that the 69-year-old died of a heart attack on Saturday, plunging the impoverished nation into uncertainty.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) urged people to follow Kim's youngest son and heir apparent Kim Jong-Un, who is aged in his late 20s.

The North declared a period of national mourning from December 17 to 29.

South Korea's government went on an emergency footing after the shock news, the South's Yonhap news agency reported. It summoned a meeting of the National Security Council.

North and South Korea have remained technically at war since the three-year Korean conflict ended only in an armistice in 1953.

"The shock on the market will be inevitable in the short term," Hyundai Securities analyst Bae Sung-Young said. more

Zakaria: Will the North Koreans rise up?



I noticed a strange item in the news this week. An estimated 200 North Koreans are stranded in Libya right now, among them doctors and nurses whose services are much needed back home. Why are they there? Why can't they go back?

Well, it turns out that they were sent to Libya to earn desperately needed hard currency for North Korea's tyrant, Kim Jong-Il. But now, despite Gadhafi's death and the changing circumstances, he'd rather these essential workers stay away. The same goes for hundreds of other doctors, nurses, technicians and other workers in Tunisia and Egypt.

Why? The Arab spring.

The Dear Leader doesn't want these people, who have seen street protests succeed and dictatorships fall, to return and talk about it. In fact, editorials in South Korean newspapers say that only 1% of North Koreans have even heard of the Arab spring. But how you would have such an exact figure beats me.

What we can say for sure is that the North Korean press has simply not reported on any of the popular uprisings of 2011, obviously for fear of sparking protests within North Korea. In fact, Pyongyang issued a statement in March simply saying Libya's dismantling of its nuclear weapons program made it more vulnerable to western intervention. In other words, 'We, the North Koreans, will keep our nukes as our insurance policy against regime change.' So don't expect Pyongyang to disarm anytime soon. The regime interprets the fall of Gadhafi as a cautionary tale. Don't disarm; don't try to talk to the west; don't open up.

Meanwhile, the suffering of the North Korean people continues. Just last week, UNICEF reported that millions of children there are at risk of being severely malnourished. These children will be more vulnerable to disease and stunted growth. And there's little hope that the government has the ability to help even if it wanted to. more

COMING CRISIS ALERT: Militaries on Korean Peninsula now on "high alert"

Update: US and South Korean intelligence report no suspicious movements of North Korean troops, and from what information is available, the country seems to have achieved stability through a power-sharing agreement. This alert will be lifted, although we will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.

Update: Kim Jong Un and the North Korean military have apparently brokered an arrangement in which they will "share power", a drastic departure from the rule system of Kim Jong Il. What this means, and what exactly is going on behind the scenes remains uncertain. Additionally, the situation continues to remain unstable, mostly due to the fact that very little information escapes North Korea outside of intelligence and South Korean media reports. We will keep tabs on the situation should anything develop.


News reports around the world are indicating that the dictator Kim Jong Il is dead, and that South Korea's military has been placed on high alert due to possible destabilization or imminent armed conflict.

We will keep you updated as the situation unfolds.

If you are currently in South Korea or Japan, it is recommended that you keep close to TV or radio and check frequently for updates or government / embassy instructions.

Do not take this situation lightly; North Korea was highly unstable before the loss of leadership, and the potential for the situation to spiral is great enough to warrant heightened vigilance. Stay tuned.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dead

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is dead, North Korean state TV said Monday.

Kim, 69, died at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, state TV said.

A broadcaster reported that Kim died due to "overwork" after "dedicating his life to the people."

South Korean news agency Yonhap -- which based its reporting on its monitoring off North Korean state television -- said that Kim had died during a train trip.

South Korea's military declared an "emergency alert" following Kim's death, according to Yonhap.

The son of Kim Il Song, the founder of the communist nation, Kim Jong Il had been in power since 1994 when his father died of a heart attack at age 82.

The enigmatic leader was a frequent thorn in the side of neighboring South Korea, as well as the United States. There have been reports in recent years about his health, as well as that power will be transitioned to his son, Kim Jong Un. more

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 18th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 180.2 km (112 miles), the quake hit at 20:08:32 UTC Sunday 18th December 2011.
The epicenter was 135 km (84 miles) Northwest of Kandrian, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Heavy storms hit Victoria, Australia - 18th Dec 2011

Melbourne is bracing for flash flooding as thunderstorms head south across the state from Mildura, where 50mm or rain fell in just two hours.

State Emergency spokesman Lachlan Quick says the service received around 90 calls for help in Mildura on Sunday after the Murray River city was lashed by heavy rain and lightning.

He said most of the calls reported flood damage.

About 62mm was dumped on Stawell, in central Victoria, in just two hours, with 70 household requiring assistance from the SES.

Halls Gap and Ballarat are also in line for heavy falls.

Mr Quick said the storm front was expected to arrive in Melbourne before midnight and the challenge for the SES was to work out when and where it will hit. Source

Ayla Reynolds vanished from her bedroom in the middle of the night and authorities have not released any clues - 18th Dec 2011

A family in Maine is panicking after their 20-month-old daughter was reported missing yesterday morning after disappearing from her bed in the middle of the night.

Ayla Reynolds's father woke up in his Waterville, Maine, home to find her bed empty Saturday morning and he immediately called police.

The investigation is under-way and police have released no information regarding the case and have not made any mention of anything suspicious at the home or any sign of an intruder.

Ayla was last seen in her bed around 10pm Friday evening. Her father, whose name was not released, reported her missing at 8.51am the next morning.

Ayla's parents are separated but police confirmed that they have spoken to both parties and they are cooperating with the investigation.

The Waterville police have conducted searches in the neighborhood but have not found any leads.

'There's not much wooded area there,' said police chief Joseph Massey.

'It's mostly homes with lawns with light shrubbery, it produced nothing,' he continued. Read More

The foreign criminals who committed murders, kidnaps and rapes...after the border agency failed to kick them out of Britain

Foreign criminals released from jail have gone on to commit murders, rapes and kidnaps after border officials failed to deport them from Britain, it emerged today.

A confidential UK Border Agency document has revealed the extent of the government's failure to deport prisoners from the country once they have served their prison sentences.

The revelation, which will be an embarrassment for home secretary Theresa May, comes less than two months after it emerged that 4,000 foreign criminals who should have been deported are at large on Britain's streets.

Foreigners jailed for a year or more are meant to be automatically deported at the end of their jail terms.

But many of the dangerous individuals let out of jail have been able to reoffended while the Border Agency and Home Office struggle to secure their deportation arrangements.

Significant numbers have been arrested for violent crimes, including three murders, three kidnappings and 14 sexual offences, including rape.

The internal document reveals that Theresa May's problem of kicking foreign criminals out of the country is only getting worse, as attempts to deport them are proving 'almost futile'. Read More

Benjamin Cyster the Bare-chested riot thug who hit police officer with five stone concrete block hurled from building is jailed

A bare-chested thug who dropped a five stone concrete block off the top of a building onto a policeman has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Benjamin Cyster launched the deadly missile at an advancing line of police officers - catching PC Nicholas Fry square on the shoulder.

The 18-year-old thug was then heard saying: 'I want to find that copper I hit on the head. I want to do it again.'

PC Fry had been drafted in by Avon and Somerset police from nearby Gwent to help them quash riots that broke out over the opening of a new Tesco store in Bristol, in April.

But the officer was left nursing a fractured shoulder bone and nerve damage after the callous attack.

Cyster's violent behaviour was captured on CCTV and amateur mobile phone footage, which showed him hurling bottles and bricks at the store and a police Range Rover. Read More

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.

EU leaders battle financial turmoil, Herman Van Rompuy has urged them to look on the bright side - by sending them a collection of essays on happiness

Note: Herman Van Rompuy the First Class Idiot and yes OUR Unelected President..... unelected by the people of Europe.

With the EU battling against failing economies and a faltering single currency, world leaders are embroiled in a worrying and traumatic financial crisis this winter.

But thankfully their spirits have been raised by the president of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, who has urged leaders to look on the bright side - by sending them each a collection of essays on happiness.

The EU president's unusual attempt to put smiles on the faces of world leaders has seen him send the essays to the likes of David Cameron, Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy.

His Christmas gift will have all the more surprising to the world's most powerful politicians given Van Rompuy's reputation as dour and boring.Mr Cameron could be one leader most likely to appreciate a book on the meaning of happiness.

The Prime Minister shares Mr Van Rompuy's positive attitude, after championing a national 'wellbeing index' as a broader measure than simple economic growth. Read More

Boris: 'Bubblegum' treaty will mean the end of Euro within 12 months....he is rather optimistic

London Mayor Boris Johnson said European leaders should abandon 'hysterical' efforts to rescue the eurozone and recognise that some countries have to drop the single currency.

'I would be amazed if we were all sitting here next year and the euro had not undergone some sort of change,' he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

'I think it highly likely that there will be a realignment in the sense that some countries will fall out... and we all know who the likely candidates are.

'But there is such phobia about this and such a lot of political ego has been invested in the success of the euro project that people are failing to see that might be the best way forward.

'If we continually go on with these hysterical attempts to bubble gum the whole thing together we are just going to consign those periphery economies particularly to low growth and we are never going to get confidence back in the eurozone.'

The senior Tory played down calls for an immediate referendum on UK membership of the EU - saying it would be required if there was a 'treaty change that substantially affects the UK'.

'There is no immediate reason as far as I can see to get embroiled in an in/out referendum,' he added. Read More

50 dead as oil rig capsizes and sinks in 20ft waves while being towed through storm - 18th Dec 2011

At least 50 Russian crew were dead or missing today after an oil rig capsized and sank as it was being towed in a storm.

Fourteen workers were rescued from the stricken rig in the icy Sea of Okhotsk 200 kilometres (125 miles) off Russia's remote eastern island of Sakhalin.

An icebreaker and tugboat recovered four bodies from the water while four survivors suffering from hypothermia, were airlifted by helicopter to land.

They were then taken to hospital by road after the disaster struck at 12:45pm. The Kolskaya rig sank in less than 20 minutes in 20ft waves.

As rescue boats and helicopters hunted for survivors, the water temperature was one degree Celsius (33.8 Fahrenheit), giving survivors around 30 minutes before death, according to maritime and rescue websites.

In a statement on its website, Russia's federal water transport agency said: 'The Kolskaya keeled to its side ... and sank within 20 minutes.'

The 1985-built rig is owned by Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR), a Russian-owned offshore exploration firm.

A company spokesman said: ''There is no ecological danger. The vessel was carrying the minimum amount of fuel as it was being tugged by two craft.' Read More

New York Lift Fire: 47-year-old man hands Himself in to the Police - 18th Dec 2011

A man is being questioned by police after a woman was burned to death in a lift by an attacker in her New York apartment building.

Doris Gillespie, 64, was ambushed, sprayed with flammable liquid and then set alight. The incident was caught on CCTV.

A 47-year-old man, who has not been charged, walked into a police station overnight smelling of petrol and implicated himself, police said.

The attacker was seen entering the lift dressed as a pest controller, wearing gloves, with a protective mask on his head and a container on his back in Brooklyn, New York.

He then went to the fifth floor and lay in wait for his victim, who was returning home from shopping.

The attacker is reported to have first glued shut the locks on the woman's apartment and then doused the lift door with accelerant.

As she opened it, the man sprayed her in the face, then covered her from head to toe in flammable liquid. Read More

Hundreds Feared Dead After Boat Sinks off Indonesia en route to Australia - 18th Dec 2011

More than 200 people are feared dead after an overloaded boat packed mostly with Afghan and Iranian asylum seekers sank off Indonesia en route to Australia.

The boat had a capacity of 100 but was overloaded with about 250 people when it sank 40 nautical miles off eastern Java, in heavy rain and high waves, Indonesian officials said.

According to the authorities, 33 survivors were plucked from the sea after the vessel sank as it made its way to Australia's remote Christmas Island. It is believed two of the survivors are children.

"We sent out four boats and two helicopters, but so far we haven't spotted anyone else floating. It's very likely they have all drowned," National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Gagah Prakoso told the AFP news agency.

"It's impossible even for a good swimmer with a life vest to swim to shore safely in such extreme conditions. When boats sink like this, the bodies usually surface on the third day."

Bad weather and waves of up to five metres (16ft) hampered rescue efforts on Sunday, with 300 rescuers including navy and police officers searching the sea for bodies. Read More

Light Aircraft Collision, Pilot Killed close to Leicester Airport, Leicestershire, England - 18th Dec 2011

One man has been killed in a mid-air collision between two light aircraft in Leicestershire.

After hitting each other, the two planes landed near Gartree Road in Great Stretton, close to Leicester Airport, police said.

A Leicestershire police spokesman said: "One of the aircraft contained one person, a man, who died at the scene.

"The second aircraft contained two men who both received minor injuries."

Part of the area has been closed off to allow emergency services access to the scene.
The road is expected to remain closed overnight and motorists are being advised to seek an alternative route.

More to follow...

Storm death toll tops 650 in Philippines; hundreds missing - 18th Dec 2011



Devastation from a tropical storm that deluged the southern Philippines mounted Sunday, with the death toll rising to 652, the Philippine Red Cross said.

Hundreds are missing, the relief agency said, after entire villages were swept away.

The stench of death permeated the air as aid workers scrambled to help survivors.

The disaster has left heartbreaking scenes of families with children looking for ways to get by during the festive Christmas season.

"Do we still have Christmas, mother?" one crying little girl asked her mother, according to the Red Cross. "Will I get my toys and my new pair of shoes you promised?"

"Of course you will," the mother replied. "Christmas will always be around." Read More

Man Dies In Snowdonia Avalanche - 18th Dec 2011

A walker has died after getting caught in an avalanche and falling 500ft down a mountain in Snowdonia.

The unidentified man, who was believed to be in his 30s, fell on Y Garn - a peak more than 3,000ft high in north Wales.

He is thought to have met two female students at the summit and discussed the best way down, Chris Lloyd of Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue said.

But they made the mistake of walking along a large cornice of overhanging snow, which they thought was solid ground.

The snow gave way, causing an avalanche which swept up one of the girls and the man.

"She came to rest quite quickly, but sadly he was flushed about 500ft down the gulley," Mr Lloyd said, adding that the woman escaped uninjured.

"It is extremely unfortunate they have just made this error which is easily done walking on what you think is a big field of snow and not realising it is a ledge.

"It is tragic especially at this time of year. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake MORO GULF, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - 18th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Moro Gulf, Mindanao, Philippines at a depth of 603.3 km (374.9 miles), the quake hit at 16:24:01 UTC Sunday 18th December 2011.
The epicenter was 73 km (45 miles) Southwest of Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN SEA, OFF THE COAST OF MALTA - 18th Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the Central Mediterranean Sea, off the Coast of Malta at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles), the quake hit at 15:01:02 UTC Sunday 18th December 2011.
The epicenter was 114 km (70.6 miles) West of San Lawrenz, Malta
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

California cuts to affect students, poor, disabled

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday ordered $1 billion in midyear cuts to California's budget that will result in pain for students who rely on school buses to get to class, mothers who depend on child care subsidies to keep working and support programs for the developmentally disabled.

Brown, a Democrat, said that the state's revenues will fall about $2.2 billion below the $88.4 billion he and state lawmakers had hoped for when they passed the budget last summer.

The announcement was not surprising and could have been worse. The state's legislative analyst had predicted revenues would fall $3.7 billion below forecast.

Still, the automatic midyear reductions sparked outcry from advocates and invited lawsuits from school districts.

The cuts include up to $100 million each to the University of California, California State University, developmental services and in-home support for seniors and the disabled. Community college fees would increase $10 per unit from $36 to $46, and reductions would be made for child care assistance, library grants and prisons, among other programs.

School advocates warned that an estimated 1 million students — many of them with special needs or from low-income and rural areas — will be affected by the loss of home-to-school transportation funding. In addition, school districts will lose another $79.6 million under the trigger cuts. Read More