Thursday, January 12, 2012

Young North Korean Defectors Face Bullying at School

About 1,500 young North Korean defectors attended primary and secondary schools in South Korea, and they often have trouble adapting to a new school life due to discrimination and cultural differences.

Some 256 North Korean students dropped out of school over the last four years, accounting for 7 percent of all North Korean schoolchildren here. That was seven times the overall dropout rate of 1 percent. Among the dropouts, 73 or 28 percent left school because they failed to adapt. It is estimated that there are many more such students who find it difficult to keep up with their schoolwork or are ridiculed or bullied by their classmates.

Young North Korean defectors often feel left out because they do not share the same cultural background and assumptions as their classmates. "It's hard for me to not just change my North Korean accent but to understand some South Korean abbreviations or the many foreign words other children are using naturally," a middle-school student said. "They were nice to me at first, but they found it more and more difficult to communicate with me because I grew up in a different environment." Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA- 13th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 14.5 km (9 miles), the quake hit at 04:12:41 UTC Friday 13th January 2012
The epicenter was 111 km (68 miles) ESE of Kandrian, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Nigeria's oil economics fuel deadly protests

On the streets of Nigeria, we bear witness to what many see as a bold decision on fuel subsidies is also uncovering decades of frustration and corruption.

On the heels of re-election, President Goodluck Jonathan lifted fuel subsides on petrol in an effort to cut $8 billion a year from the government's budget. Petrol was artificially low at U.S. 45 cents a liter and -- not surprisingly -- prices doubled overnight, both at the pump and on the black market.

Economists suggest the New Year's resolution pushed through by the president was the correct policy to implement on paper, but politics is eventually determined by what happens on the street. And the "street" right now is crying foul.

Nigerians launched a nationwide strike on Monday. Some protests over the end of fuel subsidies were marred by clashes that left 16 people dead and 205 injured, according to a tally collected Tuesday by the Nigerian Red Cross. Read More

Ten years of 'Gitmo' -- and more to come



Exactly 10 years ago Wednesday, the first batch of terrorist suspects seized in Pakistan and Afghanistan arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on board a C-141 transport plane. From freezing nights in the depths of the Afghan winter, the 20 detainees stepped into a tropical breeze looking dazed and bedraggled.

As more arrived over the next weeks, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described them as the "the worst of the worst." And a few weeks after GTMO (as it quickly became known) opened its doors, President George W. Bush said the detainees were not entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions -- because they were not part of a regular army.

Guantanamo's population grew rapidly to a maximum of 680 the following year, and expanded beyond "Camp X-Ray" to other blocks. In those early days, Human Rights Watch says, detainees were subject to "painful stress positions, extended solitary confinement, threatening military dogs, threats of torture and death" and other abuses. The Bush administration, while insisting enhanced interrogation techniques did not amount to torture, contended that exceptional methods were legitimate in the face of an ongoing threat from terrorism. Read More

Japan is ready to cut oil imports from Iran, finance minister says

Japan is prepared to gradually reduce the amount of oil it imports from Iran, Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Thursday, as the United States seeks to muster international support to put fresh pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.

Japan imports 10% of its crude oil from Iran at the moment, Azumi said at a news briefing after meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The country is ready to decrease that level "in a planned manner," he said.

"What I told the secretary is that we have already reduced Iranian oil imports by 40% in the past five years," Azumi said, standing next to Geithner. "The nuclear development issue is an issue that the international community cannot overlook, so we very much understand the U.S. action."

The United States is exploring ways to cut off Iran's central bank from the global financial system and reduce the country's oil revenues, Geithner said at the briefing. Read More

China's Toymakers Face Tough Year

China's Export Sector Faces Headwinds in the New Year

Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Denied Visitors in Isolated Xinjiang Jail

We begin today's broadcast with the latest on the plight of rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. On Tuesday, Gao's wife said her husband is being denied visitors while being held in a remote prison in China's Xinjiang region. Relatives were told Gao would only be allowed visitors after he completes a so-called three-month "education" program.

Public Reacts to Stricter Smog Readings in Beijing

140,000 Chinese Officials Investigated for Corruption in 2011

Manhunt Underway in Eastern China for Murder Suspect Zeng Kaigui

A manhunt is underway in eastern China. One-time policeman and now multiple murder suspect Zeng Kaigui is on the run. He's wanted in connection with at least six armed robberies and murders since 2004, the latest victim this past Friday.

Police are offering a $16 thousand reward for information leading to his capture.

Six million households have only five days' savings

Around six million households would be unable to survive for more than five days if they stopped being paid, such are the low levels of savings among Britons, new research shows.

A new report from First Direct, the bank, warns that one in three UK households have less than £250 in accessible savings.

A fifth of all households have no savings at all.

The bank said that £250 is the equivalent of three days’ average monthly household take-home pay. With average monthly outgoing currently at £1,536, these savings would last just five days.

Those aged between 25 and 34 are the least prepared for financial emergency, First Direct said after a survey of over 1,000 households.

Bruno Genovese, head of savings at First Direct, said: “These findings demonstrate a worrying lack of financial preparation among the British public. With the current climate of uncertainty, it is of utmost importance that families are setting aside a realistic sum of money to be used in emergencies.” Read More

Doomsday Clock ticks one minute closer to to Armageddon



The nuclear watchdogs at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reset the hands of the symbolic Doomsday Clock to five minutes to midnight.

The Bulletin, which is self-tasked with keeping the public cognisant of the world's nuclear peril, as well as other global threats such climate change, reset of the atomic clock in response to what it see as the world's peril.

"It is now five minutes to midnight," said Allison Macfarlan, a senior scientists at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947 – two years after the US dropped the first atom bombs on Japan in World War II – it was first set at seven minutes to midnight.

Since then the Bulletin's scientific board, which includes Professor Stephen Hawking and 18 other Nobel laureates, has been changed 18 times.

The latest recorded time was two minutes to midnight in 1953 as the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union escalated. In 2007 it was wound on to five minutes to midnight, to reflect the failure to solve problems posed by nuclear weapons. Read More

Lunar New Year Train Tickets Hard to Get—200 Million Chinese Travelers

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF ALASKA - 13th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the Gulf of Alaska at a depth of 8.1 km (5 miles), the quake hit at 01:38:32 UTC Friday 13th January 2012
The epicenter was 186 km (116 miles) East of Chiniak, Alaska
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - 13th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Kamchatka, Russia at a depth of 128.2 km (79.7 miles), the quake hit at 00:18:59 UTC Friday 13th January 2012
The epicenter was 43 km (26 miles) NNE from Petropavlovsk-kamchatskiy, Russia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 12th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 79.5 km (49.4 miles), the quake hit at 22:31:00 UTC Thursday 12th January 2012
The epicenter was 74 km (45 miles) SSE of Hihifo, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF AFRICA - 12th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck South of Africa at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:08:11 UTC Thursday 12th January 2012
The epicenter was 892 km (554 miles) Southwest of Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Iran, U.S. need a crisis exit ramp before a war is ignited

When two important countries appear to be goading each other into a dangerous and meaningless war, it can be useful to take a deep breath, lay the rhetoric aside for a moment, and go back to basics.

The past several weeks have seen a sharp increase in the three-decade war of words between the United States and Iran. Iran has held maneuvers in the critical Strait of Hormuz, combined with threats to interrupt commerce there. The United States has lost its third drone over Iran, and unnamed parties are conducting an unprecedented covert campaign of cyberwar and assassinations inside Iran. Iran says it has broken up a U.S. spy ring and has condemned a U.S. citizen to death.

President Clinton launched U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil industry by executive order in the election year of 1995; at that time, Iran had not a single centrifuge turning. After a decade and a half of the United States and the international community's escalating sanctions, Iran has more than 8,000 centrifuges spinning and a substantial stock of low-enriched uranium. This is the very definition of a failed policy.

The U.S. Congress in December passed a defense authorization bill that included provisions intended to bring down the Central Bank of Iran. Although President Obama expressed reservations, he signed it into law. This latest U.S. sanctions package is openly intended to deprive Iran of its oil revenues. By prohibiting other countries from dealing with Iran's banks, it is intended to prevent Iran from selling its oil. That is the equivalent of an act of war -- a financial blockade of Iran's oil ports that would deprive Iran of more than half its budgetary revenues. more

South African weathermen face jail or fines if they get it wrong... Predict Wrong in the UK and Receive a 30% increase in Bonuses

Weather forecasters in South Africa have been threatened with prison if their predictions prove incorrect.

Independent forecasters have been told they could be imprisoned for up to ten years - or fined up to £800,000 - if they issue incorrect severe weather warnings without official permission.

The astonishing threat is contained in a new law designed to prevent panic and economic damage caused by false predictions of gales, flash flooding or drought. Read More

Met Office forecasters who wrongly predicted freezing winter and BBQ summer receive 30% boost to bonuses
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Met Office staff have been 'rewarded for failure' after bonuses shot up by 30 per cent despite making 'dramatic mistakes', MPs have said.

Their anger is likely to be echoed by those whose holiday plans were ruined by mistaken forecasts.

The Department for Business revealed that staff at the Met Office received £3.36million in bonuses in 2010-11 compared with £2.59 million the year before. Read More

Nick Christie was Strapped to a 'Devil's Chair' and 'tortured by police until he died'

A mentally ill grandfather died after police officers strapped him naked to a chair, smothered him with a 'spit hood' and pepper-sprayed him 10 times during a 43-hour ordeal, it has been claimed.

Nick Christie, 62, was allegedly tortured in the 'Devil's Chair' at Lee County jail after being detained by Florida police officers in March 2009 following a 'mental breakdown'.

The hood, designed to stop him from spitting at officers, meant he could not escape the noxious spray's fumes - and he was never allowed to clean the residue from his body.

His family is now suing Lee County Sheriff's Department for 'wrongful death'. Read More


Dyson Allen held for starting fire in wardrobe that killed four children on mother’s birthday… who then posted Facebook tribute to the victims

This is the 18-year-old who has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a house fire left four siblings dead.

Dyson Allen, from Lytham, Lancashire, is believed to have been a friend of Reece Smith, 19, who died trying to save his young siblings.

He even posted a tribute to the victims on Facebook, saying 'you are all going to be remembered by allot of broken hearts'.

Allen, who also attended a memorial service for the children, was arrested following the fire last Saturday evening. He is not related to the family.

It was confirmed that the fire was started inside a wardrobe in one of the bedrooms at the house on Lytham Road, Freckleton.

Four people, 19-year-old Reece, four-year-old twin girls Holly and Ella Smith and Jordan Smith, two, were killed in the blaze during their mother Michelle Smith's 36th birthday party.

Allen was held yesterday at an address in nearby Lytham and is now being questioned by detectives at Blackpool police station. Read More

Warren Crago killed Big Issue seller for kicks released after just two years… and whines that he’s BORED

A sick thug who killed a Big Issue seller for kicks has been released from his custodial sentence after just two years and has taken to Facebook to tell of his ‘boredom’.

Warren Crago was 16 when he and two teenage friends beat homeless man Ralph Millward, 41, to death after finding him asleep on a pavement in Westbourne, Bournemouth.

Although a judge described the brutal attack as the 'worst case of mob violence imaginable', Crago and accomplice Craig Real were jailed for four years.

But after serving half of their sentence they are now back on the streets.

Crago, now 18, has gone on Facebook to write about being bored after getting out of ‘pen’. He is even using his police mugshot photo as his profile picture. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 12th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Tonga Region at a depth of 39 km (24.2 miles), the quake hit at 17:12:09 UTC Thursday 12th January 2012
The epicenter was 188 km (116 miles) ENE of Neiafu, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.