Friday, December 23, 2011

No Christmas For Millions Of American Families This Year

For millions of American families, there will be no Christmas this year. The sad truth is that an increasing number of families simply do not have money for Christmas presents or any other luxuries right now. The number of Americans that fell into poverty set a new all-time record last year and extreme poverty is at the highest level ever measured in the United States. This Christmas, a lot of American families will be deciding whether to spend the little money that they do have on food, heat or medicine. All over America, the poor are getting poorer and each year the economic pain seems to get even worse. But there are also many American families that will have no Christmas this year for other reasons. Some are just sick and tired of all of the materialism that is involved in Christmas. Others are trying to be "politically correct" and don't want to offend anyone. There are even a growing number of Americans that are Christians but that believe that Christians should not celebrate Christmas for spiritual reasons. Once upon a time, Christmas was pretty much considered to be a nearly universal holiday in the United States, but that just is not the case anymore. There are millions upon millions of Americans that simply will not be celebrating Christmas at all this year.

Perhaps you and your family are swimming in Christmas gifts this year. But when you don't have enough money for even the basics, buying Christmas gifts can be an extreme financial burden.

What some people are willing to do to buy Christmas gifts is absolutely incredible. For example, one soldier up in Michigan actually pawned his Purple Heart medal so that he could pay his Christmas bills.

Can you imagine? more

Air Jordan Riots: Atlanta Concord Mall trashed by mindless shoppers



Police officers were called in to break up fights and restore order at a mall where shoppers sought to take advantage of the overnight sale of a new Nike shoe.

The disturbance started inside Carolina Place Mall in North Carolina after shoppers queued to buy a retro version of a classic Air Jordan model.

Witnesses said as mall officials opened the doors, crowds of people pushed their way in. Watch an even better BBC video here

Three of the world's rarest turtles wash up on Britain's beaches - 23rd Dec 2011

Three of the rarest turtles in the world have been washed up on Britain’s beaches.

Conservationists say they were dragged thousands of miles by the massive currents which caused storms in Scotland earlier this month.

Two young Kemp’s ridleys and one green turtle were blasted off course from their normal base in the warm waters off the coast of Florida and the Caribbean and died of the cold.

But the Marine Conservation Society has warned more are likely to be discovered over Christmas and the New Year and urged the public not to throw them back into the water.

As it was revealed winter weather caused the turtles to wash up, forecasters said today that Britain will bask in one of the warmest Christmas Day since 1896 and nowhere will see snow. Read More

Note: Just 11 days ago One of these rare Turtles washed up in the Netherlands for the 2nd Time. - Article >>>>>>>>

Syria blames al-Qaida after two car bombs kill dozens in Damascus - 23rd Dec 2012

Two huge explosions tore through the Syrian capital Damascus, leaving dozens dead and up to 100 wounded in an attack which officials and state television blamed on al-Qaida suicide bombers.

Opposition activists however pointed the finger at the regime of Bashar al-Assad, accusing it of plotting the blasts to reinforce its narrative that, rather than protesters seeking democratic reform, the nine-month uprising is being driven by Islamists bent on chaos.

The car bombs were detonated shortly after the arrival of Arab League observers in Damascus to monitor the regime's promise to end its bloody crackdown on the protest movement. It is the first time large bombs have been detonated in the capital since the revolt began in March.

Officials said around 40 people, mostly civilians, were killed. "We said it from the beginning, this is terrorism. They are killing the army and civilians," said the deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mekdad.

But opponents of the regime were quick to question this. Omar Idilbi, a member of the opposition group the Syrian National Council, described the explosions as "very mysterious" because they happened in heavily guarded areas difficult to reach by car. Read More

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF AFRICA - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck South of Africa at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 19:12:33 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 904 km (561 miles) Southwest of Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

David Cameron pledges to protect Falklands in the face of Argentina tension - 23rd Dec 2011

David Cameron has promised the Falklands Islands he will defend their sovereignty in a supportive Christmas message, amid growing tensions with Argentina.

Almost 30 years since Britain fought off Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands, the Prime Minister reassured the islanders that they would be allowed to decide their own destiny.

“Let me be absolutely clear,” he said in a radio address. “We will always maintain our commitment to you on any question of sovereignty.

“Your right to self-determination is the cornerstone of our policy. We will never negotiate on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless you, the Falkland Islanders, so wish. No democracy could ever do otherwise.”

Tensions with Argentina have resurfaced since a British company claims to have found large quantities of oil in the sea surrounding the islands.

Last week Argentina issued a new threat that it will put up an “eternal fight” for the islands, as Brazil and Uruguay also agreed to blockade ships carrying the “illegal” Falklands flag. Read More

Flash floods hit several areas in Singapore - 23rd Dec 2011

Prolonged heavy rain over the southern and central parts of Singapore on Friday afternoon led to flash floods in several areas.

National water agency PUB said that from 2.20pm to 5.20pm, Orchard Road saw a total recorded rainfall of 152.8 millimetres.

However, PUB said there was no flooding at Orchard Road. Instead, water ponded at the open area of Liat Towers, the underpass between Lucky Plaza and Ngee Ann City, and the basement of Lucky Plaza due to the sustained heavy downpour.

This activated the flood barricades at Liat Towers. But it wasn't enough to stop the water from entering.

Seng Woon Fa, marketing and brand manager at Wendy's Restaurant, said: "The water started coming in at 5pm. By 5.20pm, we started to evacuate all our customers.

"The barricade at the outer level and inner level does not work because the water came in too suddenly and probably there is something wrong with the system... Our daily business will be affected about 60 per cent."

Mr Seng said he will try to resume business as soon as possible once all equipment in the restaurant has been checked after cleaning up and it is safe to switch the power back on.

Elsewhere, flash floods occurred at Cuscaden Road, Newton Circus, Kampong Java, Lincoln Road, Wee Nam Road, Cambridge Road, the junction of Moulmein Road and Thomson Road in front of United Square, and the junction of Bukit Timah and Sixth Avenue. Read More

Colombia 'fuel thieves' spark pipeline blast - 23th Dec 2011

Deadly explosion on state-run installation kills at least 11 and destroys 30 homes in Risarald province.

An explosion at a fuel pipeline in Colombia has killed at least 11 people, injuring many more and destroying dozens of homes.

The explosion, blamed by authorities on fuel thieves, occurred in the central province of Risaralda about 170km southwest of the capital of Bogota, said Carlos Mario Garcia, an emergency management official.

The blast on the pipeline, which carries gasoline and diesel and is run by state-owned Ecopetrol, also destroyed 30 houses, Garcia said.

"Ecopetrol regrets the incident in which several people were killed and others injured when an explosion occurred in the Salgar-Cartago pipeline ... apparently caused by people who were stealing fuel," the company said in a statement.

The Mining and Energy Ministry said the number of fuel thefts has fallen in recent years as the military has clamped down on illegal groups. In the past, such groups have financed themselves largely by stealing and selling crude oil, gasoline and diesel. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of 7.6 km (4.7 miles), the quake hit at 17:37:30 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 21 km (13 miles) ESE of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: Additional Aftershocks

15:33 UTC - 3.7 Magnitude - Depth 9 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
16:35 UTC - 3.5 Magnitude - Depth 10 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
16:54 UTC - 4.2 Magnitude - Depth 15 km - 20 km East of Christchurch
16:58 UTC - 3.3 Magnitude - Depth 7 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
17:57 UTC - 4.2 Magnitude - Depth 8 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
18:12 UTC - 3.8 Magnitude - Depth 11 km - 20 km East of Christchurch

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN ALASKA - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Southern Alaska at a depth of 37.6 km (23.4 miles), the quake hit at 17:22:36 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 28 km (18 miles) WSW from Anchorage, Alaska
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

The War on Christmas is real, and the atheist barbarians are winning it

There are two wars on Christmas: one public and baloney, one conceptual and terrifying. The first usually involves a group of “Bah! Humbug!” atheists trying to ruin everybody’s fun. Take this story from Santa Monica, California. For decades Palisades Park has displayed traditional religious tableaux at Christmas – the Virgin and Child, the three wise men, shepherds etc. But this year a lottery system was introduced to allow other religious groups to compete for spaces. Incredibly, a bunch of atheists won and were permitted to put up images of Satan, Jesus and Father Christmas, with the tagline: “37 million Americans know a myth when they see one… What myths do you see?” All good family fun.

Anti-social displays of bad taste are becoming common in the United States of America. The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue reports the following outrages: “In a South Carolina cancer center, a 67-year-old volunteer Santa was evicted because of the “different cultures and beliefs of the patients we care for” … In an elementary school in Stockton, California, poinsettias were banned but somehow snowmen were permitted; they justified their censorship by saying there was a Sikh temple in the city … A skeleton St. Nick was found hanging from a cross on the grounds of the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, Virginia.”

Getting over-excited about this sort of thing is, of course, exactly what the perpetrators want. The kind of tragic busybody who takes the time to write a letter protesting a display of poinsettias as an affront to multicultural tolerance probably spends Christmas horribly alone and is just desperate for attention. The best thing to do is to ignore them (as so many public officials have done). Or else, you could wait until they fall asleep after a marathon Battlestar Galatica session and then cover their entire front lawn in a pattern of poinsettias that reads, “Merry Christmas.” more

Christchurch: One in 10 set to leave for good as Christchurch is rocked by yet ANOTHER violent earthquake - 23rd Dec 2011

Christchurch is today facing a grim future after being hit by yet another violent earthquake, its third major tremor in 15 months - with scientists predicting many more to come.

Experts predict the quakes will continue to hit New Zealand's second city for the next four years as residents rapidly lose the will to stay with the cost of making good after each disaster spiralling upwards.

The latest quake was registered at 5.8 magnitude, and although no lives were lost fears are growing that Christchurch could soon become a 'ghost town'.

One in 10 residents is preparing to leave the region as it becomes increasingly difficult to rebuild property and then insure it, say worried economists.
People fled into the streets and flights were diverted when today's quake, and its subsequent four aftershocks, hit with buildings swaying in the city and at the airport shortly before lunchtime.

It was not immediately known if anyone had died - but one person was injured at a city mall, four people were rescued after being trapped by a rock fall and 60 were treated for minor injuries.

There were no immediate reports of widespread damage and a tsunami alert was not issued. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake ADMIRALTY ISLANDS REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Admiralty Islands Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:54:05 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 153 km (95 miles) Southeast of Lorengau, Manus Island, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck near the Coast of New Zealand at a depth of 12 km (7.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:49:23 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) East of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Jobless Survive Christmas In Tent City, USA - 23rd Dec 2011

Off a busy road near the New Jersey town of Lakewood, people are setting up camp. This "tent city", as it is called, is just an hour's drive from the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

The camp organisers say in just one year, the number of residents has jumped from 40 to about 70.

Many of them are long-term homeless; people with addiction and mental health issues.

But the most recent arrivals are mainly those who lost everything in the 2008 financial crisis, and who eventually slipped through the safety net.

They simply have nowhere else to go.

One of them is 61-year-old Marilyn Berenzweig, who used to be a textile designer in Manhattan.

Both she and her husband lost their jobs, and they eventually ended up at the camp.

She told Sky News Online: "In time we will be entitled to our pensions, but at this point we are between a rock and a hard place.

"We are too old to be retrained for the job market, not that there are any jobs, and we are too young for social security, so you know, we just have to wait it out."

Nearby, Angelo Villanueva is waking up after a night shift picking up scrap at a local recycling plant.

He used to be a skilled mason, but after 20 years in the industry, the 46-year-old lost his job and did not have a support network he could rely on to keep him off the streets.

He was forced to sell his car, and then his home. Read More

Damascus 'Suicide' Car Bombs: 40 Dead and more than 100 Injured - 23rd Dec 2011

At least 40 people have been killed and 100 injured in two explosions at security bases in Damascus, which according to state TV were the work of terrorists.

Media reports said the explosions were caused by car bombs and happened in the Kfar Sousa district of the capital close to a complex housing security and intelligence services.

Unconfirmed reports are that among the dead were detainees who were killed in buses near the scene, along with military personnel. Members of the Arab League delegation which is in the country to assess the situation, also visited the scene.

Sameer Seif el-Yazal, head of the first observers party, said: "We are here to see the facts on the ground... What we are seeing today is regretful, the important thing is for things to calm down."

Residents in Damascus reported hearing gunfire and ambulance sirens for a few minutes following the explosions.

State TV suggested the blasts could be the work of al Qaeda-linked militants. The Syrian state has blamed terrorists and foreign interference for the ongoing protests against President Bashar al Assad. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck near the Coast of New Zealand at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles), the quake hit at 12:30:11 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) Southeast of Christchurch, New Zealand

No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: Additional Aftershocks

04:33 UTC - 3.7 Magnitude - Depth 12 km - 20 km East of Christchurch
06:45 UTC - 3.6 Magnitude - Depth 15 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
06:53 UTC - 3.9 Magnitude - Depth 5 km - 20 km Northeast of Christchurch
09:13 UTC - 3.3 Magnitude - Depth 11 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
09:49 UTC - 3.2 Magnitude - Depth 10 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
10:51 UTC - 3.6 Magnitude - Depth 15 km - 10 km Northeast of Christchurch
11:11 UTC - 3.2 Magnitude - Depth 10 km - 10 km East of Christchurch
11:15 UTC - 3.6 Magnitude - Depth 5 km - 20 km East of Christchurch
13:07 UTC - 3.2 Magnitude - Depth 7 km - 10 km East of Okato

13:10 UTC - 3.9 Magnitude - Depth 9 km - 20 km East of Christchurch

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF CALIFORNIA - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Gulf of California at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 12:32:44 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 65 km 40 miles) South of Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake PAKISTAN - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Pakistan at a depth of 34 km (21.1 miles), the quake hit at 12:02:06 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 72 km (44 miles) North of Jacobabad, Pakistan
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Rare lenticular clouds over West Yorkshire