Saturday, January 21, 2012

Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary: Has he just become the Republican candidate?



CNN projects that Newt Gingrich will win Saturday's South Carolina GOP presidential primary, a development that would mark a stunning turnaround for a campaign that observers had left for dead -- again -- just weeks ago.

According to exit polls, Gingrich had 38%, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney getting 29% and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum getting 17%. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas had 15%, according to the exit polls.

"Thank you South Carolina!" Gingrich's campaign posted to Twitter after polls closed at 7 p.m. ET, adding a link to his campaign donation website. "Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida."

This would be the first time since 1980 that three different GOP candidates won nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Less than a week ago, Romney, the New Hampshire winner, was looking at a double-digit lead in most polls of likely voters in South Carolina's primary, a big lead in Florida and the possibility of a clear path to the GOP nomination. But Gingrich turned in two strong debate performances in the state this week while Romney was put on his heels by his rivals. more

Cuba flights to Ottawa, Toronto, report sick passengers -- 3rd flight in a week from Caribbean carrying ill people

At least 11 people arriving in Ottawa and Toronto aboard flights from Cuba on Friday complained of a stomach illness, officials said.

It marked the third time in a week passengers arriving from the Caribbean nation reported being ill.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed passengers on at least three flights to Canada from Cuba had reported gastrointestinal illnesses. As well, passengers from a fourth flight —which arrived in Toronto Friday afternoon — reported similar symptoms.

The first report came from a flight from Cuba to Ottawa on Tuesday, with seven people reporting similar symptoms. On Thursday, a flight from Cuba to Toronto arrived with 20 passengers reporting similar complaints.

Ottawa and Toronto public health officials, alerted to the trend, were ready when flights landed in their respective cities Friday.

Air Transat Flight 677 with 260 passengers returning from the Cuban tourist destination to Ottawa was delayed and then briefly assessed by quarantine officers at the Ottawa airport early Friday morning after 14 passengers complained of illness.

Paramedics spokesman J.P. Trottier said the illness appeared to be viral.

"Only two were exhibiting signs of symptoms of what we would determine as flu-like symptoms, being nausea, vomiting and diarrhea," said Trottier. more

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake NEW ZEALAND - 21st Jan 2012


A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the Hawke's Bay Region, New Zealand at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:49:07 UTC Saturday 21st January 2012
The epicenter was 30 km (18.6 miles) Southeast of Havelock North, New Zealand
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Pro-life groups call for Pepsi boycott over aborted fetal cell lines? - Article May 2011

Scores of prolife groups are calling for a public boycott of food giant, PepsiCo, due to its partnership with Senomyx, a biotech company that uses aborted fetal cells in the research and development of artificial flavor enhancers.

LifeSiteNews previously reported on Senomyx’s partnership with major food corporations, most notably PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and NestlĂ©.

Pro-life watchdog group, Children of God for Life (CGL), is now joined by major pro-life organizations calling upon the public to target PepsiCo in a boycott.

Pepsi is funding the research and development, and paying royalties to Senomyx, which uses HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney cells) to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.

“Using isolated human taste receptors we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor,” says the Senomyx website.

“What they do not tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors,” stated Debi Vinnedge, President for CGL, the watch dog group that has been monitoring the use of aborted fetal material in medical products and cosmetics for years. Read More

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO - 21st Jan 2012

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck offshore Chiapas, Mexico at a depth of 66.1 km (41.1 miles), the quake hit at 18:47:15 UTC Saturday 21st January 2012
The epicenter was 91 km (56 miles) West of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Military rescues hundreds stranded by snow in Kashmir

The Indian Air Force (IAF) began airlifting Saturday passengers stranded after heavy snowfall caused the blockage of the only highway linking two cities in Kashmir.The IAF flew sorties to evacuate the passengers stranded in the winter and summer capitals of Indian-administered Kashmir.

The passengers, who had been waiting for the re-opening of the highway, have been asking to be rescued for the past few days forcing the authorities to seek military help.

Kashmir divisional commissioner, Asghar Samoon who has been overseeing the operation said 600 passengers stranded in winter capital Jammu and in summer capital Srinagar were transported by the IAF planes Saturday.

"We will try to airlift as many passengers as we can provided the weather permits," Samoon said, adding that those stranded in Srinagar included tourists and students who were in vacationing in Kashmir.

The 300-km mountainous highway that connects landlocked Indian-administered Kashmir to the rest of India has been blocked to passenger traffic for several days as it was hit by landslides triggered by heavy snowfall.

The highway opened briefly three days ago and authorities allowed only trucks carrying essential commodities to travel on the road.

Nearly 3,000 vehicles mostly trucks are stranded at various points on the highway, according to a senior officer of the Border Roads Organization, which maintains the highway. more

Bird flu alert raised after death of Jakarta siblings

PDY brought a sick pigeon to his home last December in Sunter Agung, Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, oblivious to the dangers of contact with fowl that might carry the lethal H5N1 virus.

The 23-year-old, who was known to love pigeons, had offered to look after the sick bird, which belonged to his friend. He tried to heal the bird, but to no avail. He then took it to a car repair shop near the Sulianti Suroso Hospital, a referral infirmary for bird flu patients, where he had kept other pigeons.

The bird died on Dec. 31, but on New Year’s Eve, PDY had a high fever. The family thought he had a usual fever and gave him pills, but only to find his condition worsening. He was eventually taken to Satya Negara Hospital, wherein he was diagnosed as having symptoms of bird flu. He died a few days later.

While his relatives mourned his death, his five-year-old sister, identified as ASR, was rushed to Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta
after showing similar symptoms. She was initially cleared of the
H5N1 infection, but further tests proved she was bird flu positive. She died on Jan. 16, but this was only revealed by the Health Ministry on Thursday.

Their mother, Sriyati, refused to talk to journalists about the deaths of her children, saying, “It’s just very sad. I can’t remember much about how they became infected.”

Radi Permana, a relative of the victims, told The Jakarta Post that PDY and ASR were very close. “He often took his sister to the car repair shop and showed her the pigeons,” he said. Read More

ONE Lab Halts Mutated Bird Flu for 60 Days as ‘More labs are close to H5N1 mutations’

NEW YORK: An international debate over whether to censor new research on bird flu may soon prove academic, as other laboratories close in on similar findings showing how one of the most deadly viruses could mutate to be transmitted from one person to another.

Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands is pushing for openness.
He is the lead researcher on one of the studies that showed how the H5N1 virus can be transmitted through airborne droplets between ferrets, a model for studying influenza in humans.

In December a US advisory board asked two leading journals, Nature and Science, to withhold details of the research for fear it could be used by bioterrorists.

Bird flu is already one of the most deadly, though it can only be acquired through contact with infected birds.

The potential for it to pass between people, through sneezes and coughs, sparks fears of a global pandemic worse than the 1918-19 Spanish flu outbreak that killed an estimated 20 million to 40 million people. Read More

New Zealand Whale Deaths as 4 more are stranded on Papamoa Beach

The Department of Conservation sees no link between the Rena crisis, and the stranding of four whales at Papamoa Beach.

Samples have been taken from the animals, which died on the beach yesterday.

They'll be tested to ascertain whether the animals ingested oil or debris from the wreck.

DOC believes the pod stranded when one of the juveniles got into trouble feeding in shallow water, and the others went to support it. Source

Iranians worry about possibility of war amid tensions with West

REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT— The deepening standoff between Tehran and the West over Iran's nuclear program has Iranians chatting nervously in butcher shops, grocery aisles and money exchanges.

In a Tehran supermarket, Ali and his wife, a well-to-do couple in their 40s, were filling cart after cart with bags of groceries, prompting a bottleneck at the counter. When asked by other shoppers why he was buying so much, Ali responded he was stocking up for "when the U.S. will come and bombard" the Islamic Republic.

"I mean it," said Ali, who like many here would not give his last name. He pointed at other frowning customers. "Look at the faces of people here. They are worried."

The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, but Tehran insists its program is for solely civilian purposes. Earlier this month, Iran announced that it had begun to enrich uranium at a new underground bunker. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the decision, saying it put Iran "a significant step closer" to gaining the ability to produce weapons-grade fuel.

On Jan. 11, an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in a Tehran car explosion, an act that Iran's supreme leader says was orchestrated by U.S. and Israeli spy agencies. The killing came shortly after Israel's military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, warned that the Islamic Republic could expect "unnatural events" taking place in 2012. Read More

INFLUENCE GAME: Online companies win piracy fight

Outspent but hardly outgunned, online and high-tech companies triggered an avalanche of Internet clicks to force Congress to shelve legislation that would curb online piracy. They outmaneuvered the entertainment industry and other old guard business interests, leaving them bitter and befuddled.

Before Senate and House leaders set aside the legislation Friday, the movie and music lobbies and other Washington fixtures, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, had put in play their usually reliable tactics to rally support for the bills.

There were email campaigns, television and print ads in important states, a Times Square billboard, and uncounted phone calls and visits to congressional offices in Washington and around the country. That included about 20 trips to the Capitol by leaders of the National Songwriters Association International, often accompanied by songwriters who performed their hits for lawmakers and their staffs.

"We bring our guitars on our backs," said songwriter Steve Bogard, the association's president.
Such campaigns are often music to the ears of lawmakers. This time, however, it was smothered by an online outpouring against the legislation that culminated Wednesday. According to organizers, at least 75,000 websites temporarily went dark that day, including the English-language online encyclopedia Wikipedia, joined by 25,000 blogs.

"The U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet," said a message on Wikipedia's home page, which was shrouded in shadows and provided links to help visitors reach their members of Congress.

Thousands of other sites posted messages protesting the bills and urging people to contact lawmakers. Protest leaders say that resulted in 3 million emails. Read More