Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Landslide kills 25 on Philippine island ravaged by rain

A landslide in a remote area of the southern Philippines has killed 25 people and left more than 100 missing, the governor of the local province said Thursday. It is the latest natural disaster to strike the island of Mindanao after a tropical storm killed more than 1,200 people there last month.

The weather again appears to have played a part in Thursday's disaster, which took place in an area where small-scale miners go in search of gold. Almost constant rain since mid-December had left the soil heavily waterlogged, said Gov. Arturo Uy of Compostela Valley Province.

The landslide happened around 3 a.m., according to a statement from the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Several people injured by the landslide have been taken to local hospitals, Uy said. Search and rescue operations are continuing.

The area was known to be dangerous, Uy said, noting that it had been evacuated for a period last year after a deadly landslide struck in April not far from the site of Thursday's disaster. more

New Information In Lawrence Murder Case

Detectives investigating the killing of Stephen Lawrence say they have received new information in the past 24 hours about his death.

It comes as Gary Dobson and David Norris begin life sentences for their parts in Stephen's murder.

Scotland Yard said they have received a number of phone calls in light of the pair's conviction and sentencing.

Earlier, Britain's top policeman warned the others involved in the killing they "should not rest easily in their beds". more

GlaxoSmithKline fined just £60,000 For 'Experimenting' With Babies in Argentina

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has appealed against a fine issued by an Argentine court relating to the deaths of 14 babies in clinical drug trials.

The world's second-largest drug manufacturer was fined just 400,000 pesos (£60,000), after a report issued by the National Administration of Medicine, Food and Technology (ANMAT) said the babies died during illegal lab vaccine trials.

The allegations include experimenting with human beings and falsifying parental authorisations so that the babies - primarily recruited from poorer families around the country - could take part, according to the Buenos Aires Herald.

Since 2007, a total of 15,000 babies have undergone lab testing in GlaxoSmithKline's Argentine labs, said the paper.

Judge Marcelo Aguinsky found the company responsible for "irregularities" in the recruitment of young children, and also fined two doctors nearly £45,000 each.

A source in Judge Marcelo Aguinsky's office said consent forms were signed by illiterate parents or people who did not have custody of the children.

London-based GlaxoSmithKline PLC said the babies were given placebos during the study and that no links were found between the vaccine and the deaths - a position supported by Argentine health officials. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS - 4th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the Santa Cruz Islands at a depth of 101.6 km (63.1 miles), the quake hit at 18:57:00 UTC Wednesday 4th January 2012
The epicenter was 489 km (304 miles) East of Kira Kira, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

EU agrees to embargo on Iranian oil

European governments have agreed in principle to ban imports of Iranian oil, EU diplomats said Wednesday, dealing a blow to Tehran that crowns new Western sanctions months before an Iranian election.

The prospective embargo by the European Union, along with tough U.S. financial measures signed into law by President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve, form a concerted Western campaign to hold back Iran's nuclear program.

Iran says the program is strictly non-military, but Western countries say a November U.N. report shows it has sought to build an atomic bomb. Talks between Tehran and major powers broke down a year ago.

Diplomats said EU envoys held talks on Iran in the last days of December, and that any objections to an oil embargo had been dropped - notably from crisis-hit Greece which gets a third of its oil from Iran, relying on Tehran's lenient financing. Spain and Italy are also big buyers.

"A lot of progress has been made," one EU diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The principle of an oil embargo is agreed. It is not being debated any more."

A U.S. Treasury official said Washington supported the European proposal to ban purchases of Iranian crude and believes Tehran's oil revenues can be choked off without disrupting global oil markets. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR NORTH COAST OF NEW GUINEA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 4th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck near the North Coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 122.5 km (76.1 miles), the quake hit at 18:14:524 UTC Wednesday 4th January 2012
The epicenter was 133 km (82 miles) Southeast from Wewak, New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 4th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Tonga Region at a depth of 20.5 km (12.7 miles), the quake hit at 18:04:30 UTC Wednesday 4th January 2012
The epicenter was 191 km (119 miles) Northwest of Niue Island
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Michele Bachmann quits White House race just six months in after disastrous Iowa result and warns U.S. is in 'serious trouble'

Michele Bachmann has ended her run for the White House after a disastrous sixth-place showing in Iowa early this morning that saw her campaign collapse in the state where it began six months ago.

'I am not motivated in this quest by vain glory or political power,' the Minnesota Representative said. Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice and so I have decided to stand aside.'

She added that she decided to run for the presidency in March 2010 after being 'deeply troubled by the state of our country' when President Obama's healthcare reforms, or 'Obamacare', were passed.

'The evening that Obamacare was passed, I believed firmly what Congress and Obama had done endangered the very survival of the United States of America.

'2012 is our last chance and our only chance to repeal Obamacare. It violates our fundamental liberties as Americans (and) must be stopped. I'll fight for this country. Read More

11 hit by AH1N1 virus in Baguio, Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 1,105 cases of an influenza-like illness were recorded in Baguio City in 2011, according to health officials.

A significant rise in the figures was noted by authorities from December 11 to December 31 when 39 cases were reported, compared to 14 cases reported in the same period in 2010.

A total of 11 individuals, meanwhile, were confirmed carriers of the AH1N1 virus.

Officials of the Department of Health (DOH) warned that the virus may easily spread.

“Natra-transfer ang virus through respiratory secretion, through handshakes, kapag nahawakan ang door knob at droplet infection like sneezing,” said Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, chief of DOH’s Health Operations Division.

The number of individuals with pneumonia also increased due to the cold weather.

Health experts continue to advise the public to regularly wash their hands, drink lots of water and have a healthy diet to prevent illnesses. Source

Syrian rebels eye 'huge operations'

The Free Syrian Army plans to kick off "huge operations" this week against "vital interests" of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the force's commander said Wednesday.

"We prepared ourselves for this stage," Col. Riad al-Asaad told CNN in Turkey. "We can't force him off with the peaceful demonstrations, so we are going to force him by arms to leave."

The anti-government resistance movement, which emerged over the summer, comprises defectors from the massive and better-equipped Syrian army. The fledgling force is flexing its muscles amid international fears of a civil war that would destabilize both Syria and the greater Middle East.

But during the Arab League's monitoring mission in Syria, it suspended all but defensive actions against the regime, hoping the league could make progress toward establishing peace.

The league's fact-finding mission has been determining whether the Syrian government is abiding by a peace agreement to end the regime's 10-month-long crackdown against protests. Read More

Tycoon 'Killed By Poisoned Cat Meat Stew', China

Police investigating the sudden death of a billionaire fear he was killed when he ate the poisoned flesh of a cat.

Tycoon Long Liyuan died in Guangdong province in China after having dinner with two business associates on December 23.

The trio ate slow-boiled cat meat stew, a local delicacy. While all three men became sick, 49-year-old Mr Long died.

Officers initially detained the owner of the restaurant for allegedly serving unsanitary food, but the dead businessman's family refused to believe it was food poisoning and pressed police to make further checks.

Local official Huang Guang has now been arrested on suspicion of poisoning the dish with a toxic herb called Gelsemium elegans. Police say the pair had fallen out over money.

Mr Long attended the lunch to discuss plans to develop a piece of woodland, according to state newspaper Nanfang Daily.

One of the men present said the meal tasted "more bitter" than usual. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake PAKISTAN - 4th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Pakistan at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:51:50 UTC Wednesday 4th January 2012
The epicenter was 71 km (44 miles) North of Bela, Pakistan
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWESTERN KASHMIR - 4th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Southwestern Kashmir at a depth of 40.5 km (25.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:31:29 UTC Wednesday 4th January 2012
The epicenter was 20 km (12 miles) South of Srinagar, Kashmir
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Tons of dead fish appear on, then disappear from Norwegian beach

Tons of dead herring that washed up on a Norwegian beach on New Year's Eve are now gone, and no one is sure how they got there or where they went.

Local resident Jan-Petter Jorgensen told Norway's TV2 he went to look at the thousands and thousands of fish after seeing a Facebook posting about them, according to a report on The Foreigner.

Joregensen said it was fortunate the icy cold prevented the mass of dead fish from raising a stink.

“It is 15 degrees below zero today, so the cold means they don’t smell. Nevertheless, the smell will be pretty intense in the long run,” he said, according to The Foreigner report.

Turns out that wasn't a problem. Views and News from Norway reports that as of Tuesday, most of the dead fish were gone, perhaps pushed out to sea by tides and winds. The local mayor said they'll likely sink in the ocean, according to the report. Read More

Iran says U.S. warships in Persian Gulf spawn 'mayhem'



Another top Iranian official weighed in Wednesday about the tensions brewing between his country and the United States, the latest salvo in the war of words over the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.

"We have always stated that there is no need for the forces belonging to the countries beyond this region to have a presence in the Persian Gulf," Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said Wednesday, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported. "Their presence does nothing but create mayhem, and we never wanted them to be present in the Persian Gulf." Read More

Stephen Lawrence murder: three or four killers at large, says judge

Mr Justice Treacy today warned that three or four of Stephen Lawrence's killers remain "at large" and urged the police not to close its file on the murder.

Mr Justice Treacy expressed hope that the jailing of David Norris and Gary Dobson would not mark the end of the police investigation.

He acknowledged that the Metropolitan Police had been "shamed and humbled" over its conduct during the original inquiry but commended the hard work that eventually brought two of Mr Lawrence's killers to justice.

The judge made his appeal as Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that the remaining culprits "should not rest easily in their beds". Read More

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA - 4th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck British Columbia, Canada at a depth of 7 km (4.3 miles), the quake hit at 16:25:36 UTC Wednesday 4th January 2012
The epicenter was 109 km (68 miles) WSW of Mosquito Lake, Alaska
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

2.6 Magnitude Earthquake WASHINGTON - 4th Jan 2012

A magnitude 2.6 earthquake has struck Washington at a depth of just 0.8 km (0 miles - poorly constrained), the quake hit at 16:01:46 UTC Wednesday 4th January 2012
The epicenter was 8 km (5 miles) NNW of Entiat, Washington
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time