Sunday, January 1, 2012

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake HALMAHERA, INDONESIA - 1st Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Halmahera, Indonesia at a depth of 87.1 km (54.1 miles), the quake hit at 21:07:28 UTC Sunday 1st January 2012
The epicenter was 182 km (113 miles) Northeast of Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Iran Test Fires New State of the Art Radar-Evading Missile - 1st Jan 2012

Iran has test fired a new medium-range missile capable of avoiding radar detection, raising the stakes in its defiance of the West.

The launch was part of a 10-day military exercise being conducted in the Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz.

The drill is taking place as the country's relationship with the West is under increasing strain over its nuclear ambitions.

Exercise spokesman Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi told State TV the missile that was tested is one of the newest in the Navy's arsenal.

"It's equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a built-in system that enables it to thwart jammers," he said.

He denied claims the latest sea manoeuvres serve as practice for closing the vital waterway - as threatened by Iranian officials last week if the West blocks Iran's oil sales.

The Strait is the passageway for one-sixth of the world's oil supply.

The missile test comes a day after the US slapped new sanctions on financial institutions in Tehran for its controversial atomic programme.

The West fears Iran is secretly trying to develop atomic weapons - an allegation that Tehran denies.

As the diplomatic skirmishing continues, Iranian scientists have produced what they say is the nation's first nuclear fuel rod. Read More

Occupy activists retake Wall Street while police focus on New Year’s Eve in Times Square - 1st Jan 2012

The Occupy Wall Street movement made a surprise invasion of Zuccotti Park last night while the police focused on New Year's Eve celebrations elsewhere in New York.

Around 800 demonstators piled up metal barricades, hoisting American flags and banners while scuffles broke out between activists and police.

Shortly before midnight, 100 NYPD officers had surrounded the park in downtown Manhattan with reports of pepper spray being used.

One individual was arrested after an officer was stabbed in the hand with scissors. The policeman was taken to Bellevue Hospital and believed to be in a stable condition.

Zuccotti Park hasn't been occupied since police cleared it on November 15 in an early morning raid. The movement escalated at 8pm last night, when around 100 protesters entered the park and erected a small tent.

The New York Times reported: 'By about 10.30 pm, there were more than 300 people inside... One man carried a big white placard that read - New Years Revolution.' Read More

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - 1st Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of 12 km (7.4 miles), the quake hit at 20:01:43 UTC Sunday 1st January 2012
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) Northeast of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Euro Leaders Aim to Buy Time to Save Currency - 1st Jan 2012

European leaders return to work this week seeking to buy time for the Spanish and Italian governments to wrest control over their debt and rescue the single currency from fragmentation as the region’s crisis enters a new year.

Some 157 billion euros ($203 billion) in debt will mature in the 17-member euro area in the first three months of 2012, according to UBS AG. By the end of that period, leaders have pledged to draft a stricter rulebook on reining in debt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet in Berlin Jan. 9 to flesh out the details.

“The path to overcoming this won’t be without setbacks, but at the end of this path, Europe will emerge stronger from the crisis than before,” Merkel said in a New Year’s television speech that aired yesterday. She said that her government will do “everything” to bring the euro out of the slump.

On the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro bank notes that replaced national currencies, the euro for the first time had two consecutive annual losses against the U.S. dollar and plunged to a record low against the yen. European leaders are struggling to hold the monetary union together in the face of credit downgrades, emerging splits in the European Union and a looming recession that could compound rising debt. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake BOUGAINVILLE REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 1st Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 146 km (90.7 miles), the quake hit at 19:32:51 UTC Sunday 1st January 2012
The epicenter was 183 km (114 miles) Northwest of Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Kiaran Mark Stapleton, 20, Charged with the Murder of Anuj Bidve - 1st Jan 2012

A man has been charged with the murder of an Indian student on Boxing Day.

Kiaran Mark Stapleton, 20, from the Ordsall district of Salford, will appear before Manchester City magistrates' court on Monday morning.

Anuj Bidve, 23, died from a single gunshot wound to the head in the apparently motiveless attack in Ordsall in the early hours of December 26.

Mr Bidve was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University, and was described by tutors as "an outstanding applicant at the very beginning of a promising career".

The announcement came as two officers from Greater Manchester Police flew out to India to meet Mr Bidve's family.

His father, Subhash Bidve, has been critical of the way the British and Indian authorities have handled the case.

He found out about his son's death on Facebook at home in Pune, India, before police in the UK could contact him.

A total of five people have been arrested by police hunting the killer. On Saturday a 19-year-old man was bailed until the end of March.

Three others, a 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys, were also released on bail pending further inquiries.

The victim was in a group of nine male and female Indian students visiting Manchester for a short break over Christmas. Read More

Southern California Arson Fires rises to 39 - 1st Jan 2012

The number of fires believed to be linked to an arson spree has risen to 39 across the Los Angeles area, fire officials said Sunday.

A total of 32 fires have been set in Los Angeles and seven others in neighboring West Hollywood since the suspected spree began Friday, Assistant Chief Patrick Butler of the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Seven of those fires occurred Saturday night, with one described as "significant," though only cars were damaged, fire officials said.

A joint task force comprised of city and county fire officials and police departments is investigating the string of fires.

Despite a $60,000 reward, authorities had not made an arrest by Sunday. Police are asking residents in the area to bring forward any surveillance video from their properties that might show suspicious activity. Residents are also being encouraged to follow the "see something, say something" motto and report suspicious behavior to authorities.

Officials sought Sunday to show their commitment to finding the person or people behind the fires. Read More

4 killed as violence persists in Pakistan - 1st Jan 2012

A series of explosions in western Pakistan killed four people Sunday, including a young boy, authorities said. Fourteen others were wounded.

A blast in Pakistan's volatile Balochistan province left three members of the country's security forces dead, and two more wounded, military and police officials said. The victims were part of a convoy escorting civilians through the Zain Koh area of Dera Bugti, said Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, a police official.

Nine people were wounded when militants lobbed a hand grenade at a shop in the provincial capital of Quetta, speeding away from the blast. No deaths were reported in the attack, but one person was in critical condition, said Nazir Kurd, another police official.

The attacks came just two days after an explosion outside the home of a former lawmaker in Quetta killed 13 people.

Also Sunday, a 7-year-old boy died in a roadside bombing in Pakistan's tribal Bajaur agency, said Islam Zeb, a government official. Three others were wounded in that attack. Source

Argentinian governor Carlos Soria Shot to death - 1st Dec 2012

Authorities were investigating Sunday after a gunshot wound to the face killed the governor of Argentina's Rio Negro province, state media reported.

The shooting occurred around 4:45 a.m. Sunday in Gov. Carlos Soria's official residence, the state-run Telam news agency reported.

A province spokesman confirmed his death, but did not provide additional details about the shooting, the agency said.

Soria, 61, became the provincial governor December 10 after a political career that spanned decades and included stints as a national lawmaker and the head of Argentina's intelligence agency, Telam said. Source

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Bird Flu death man may of 'caught virus after jogging in park' in China - 1st Jan 2012

A jogger who died from Bird Flu may have caught the deadly virus after running through a wetlands park full of migratory flocks, medical officials in China claimed on Sunday.

The 39-year-old Chinese man, identified only by his family name, Chen, died of multiple organ failure on Saturday – a week after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia in the southern industrial city of Shenzhen, located just across the boarder from Hong Kong.

"We discovered he had taken five days' leave before he fell sick. He went jogging every morning in an area where there are many migratory birds," said Chinese Health Ministry official He Jianfeng.

The medical team are now probing whether Mr Chen, a bus driver, contracted the deadly H5N1 avian flu strain from the wintering wild flocks or via their droppings during his regular morning jogs through the Waterlands Resort wetland park.

He had had no direct contact with poultry – the source of most bird-to-human contagion – and had not travelled in the past month, Mr He said.

Mr Chen is the first fatal case of the H5N1 virus in China in 18 months. Source

NOTE: While this case has dominated the headlines around the world, nothing is being mentioned in mainstream news about Gladys Gombami-Dube the mainstream MDC senator for Mabutwen, Zimbabwe.

Family spokesperson Samuel Gombami who is brother to Gladys’ husband Fanuel said that postmortem results released on Tuesday in Harare shows that she died of bird flu.

Gombami-Dube, 48, died after complaining of disorientation and dizziness while travelling home to Bulawayo from a funeral in Gokwe on Boxing Day. WHY IS THIS NOT NEWS? (Article posted on CC 31st Dec 2011 >>>>>)

Source

Iran reports successful medium-range missile test - 1st Jan 2012

Ground-to-air naval test firing follows previous day's claim of nuclear fuel breakthrough.

Iran has claimed to have successfully tested a new medium-range ground to air missile during naval exercises in the Gulf, amid rising tensions over the country's nuclear programme.

State news agency Irna on Sunday quoted Iran's naval commander, Mahmoud Mousavi, as saying the missile was equipped with the latest technology and intelligent systems. The missile test was made during 10 days of naval exercises to the east of the Straits of Hormuz, the narrowest section of the Gulf, which Iran has threatened to close in the event of western sanctions on its oil exports.

The exercises come a few weeks before EU foreign ministers meet to consider further sanctions, possibly including an oil embargo against Tehran, after an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report in November confirmed western allegations that Iran had worked on nuclear weapons designs, at least until 2003, and may have carried out experiments more recently.

Amid constant speculation that Israel or the US could use air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Iran has attempted to buy long-range surface to air missiles from Russia. After Moscow cancelled the deal to sell its S-300 missiles last year, Tehran said it would develop its own as an independent deterrent against attack. Sunday's announcement appeared designed to show it was making progress. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 1st Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck Northern Sumatra, Indonesia at a depth of just 1 km (0.6 miles - poorly constrained), the quake hit at 18:09:01 UTC Sunday 1st January 2012
The epicenter was 57 km (35.3 miles) Northeast Meulaboh, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

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Iran defiant as US unleashes new sanctions - 1st Jan 2012

Iran defiantly announced on Sunday that it had tested a new missile and made an advance in its nuclear programme after the United States unleashed extra sanctions that sent its currency to a record low.

The developments raised the stakes in a budding confrontation between the longtime foes, as concerns mounted that Iran could make good on threats to close the world's most important oil route, the Strait of Hormuz, if it is backed into a wall.

Ten days of Iranian naval war games are to climax on Monday with vessels practising "a new tactical formation" to be used to close the strait if so ordered, navy spokesman Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

On Sunday, "for the first time, an anti-radar medium-range missile was successfully fired during the massive naval drills," Mousavi said, according to state media.

The Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation followed that up with its own announcement that its scientists "tested the first nuclear fuel rod produced from uranium ore deposits inside the country."

The statement suggested Iran had made progress in becoming a self-sufficient nuclear nation and had technological prowess the West thought it lacked. Read More