Tuesday, February 7, 2012

US-Israel hegemony over region does not serve Arab interests

The GCC should seize the initiative and propose talks if western powers are unable to start negotiations with Iran.

In spite of bluster from belligerent hawks in the United States and Israel, it is highly unlikely that either country will attack Iran in the near future. Israel will not dare attack Iran alone, while US President Barack Obama has made it clear — if not perhaps quite clear enough — that, after its costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has no intention of allowing itself to be pushed or pulled into another disastrous Middle East war.

The US is cutting $500 billion (Dh1.84 trillion) from its military budget over the next decade. It is trying to get out of Afghanistan without admitting defeat. Instead of ‘boots on the ground’, it is switching to cyber warfare and unmanned drones in its counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist efforts.

Instead of a hot war against Iran, the US and its European allies are waging economic warfare against Tehran with the declared aim of forcing it to suspend uranium enrichment. The undeclared aim would seem to be regime change.
On December 31, Obama signed into law a new set of sanctions against Iran’s oil exports and Central Bank. On January 23, the European Union followed suit. On the same day, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions on Bank Tejerat, Iran’s third largest bank. As the sanctions noose tightens, the Iranian rial has lost half its value since October. Read More

Foreign office briefing: Commitment to Iran gas pipeline could fire US fury

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan will not abandon the multibillion-dollar Iran gas pipeline project, despite the threat of sanctions from the United States if Islamabad went ahead with the plan.

“There is no change in our stance and we are working to complete the project by 2014. We believe that this project is beyond the scope of the relevant UN resolutions which we are obliged to comply with like all other member states,” said Abdul Basit, the foreign ministry spokesperson, on Thursday. The ‘scope’ he mentions refers to sanctions the UN imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme.

For this reason, Washington is pushing Islamabad to give up the plan to import gas from neighbouring Iran. However, the government has so far publicly resisted the pressure, arguing the project is vital for the country’s energy needs.

Basit said that Pakistan has studied the US legislation about sanctions on Iran and it is clear they do not cover the Pak-Iran gas pipeline. The spokesman added that Pakistan had repeatedly said that Iran’s nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through negotiation and dialogue by the international community. Read More

China to boost surveillance flights over disputed East China Sea areas

BEIJING — A Chinese maritime surveillance aircraft based in Shanghai will expand its coverage this year to include areas of the East China Sea disputed with Japan, according to recent reports by local media.

The reports quote officials of the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration as saying the range of the twin-engine Harbin Y-12 now includes what China claims as its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

That would encompass the disputed territory centered on the Senkaku Islands, as well as areas between the two countries where China has been drilling for natural gas, angering Japan.

Under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, countries are entitled to claim 200 nautical miles from their shores as their EEZs. The zones claimed by China and Japan overlap.

According to the Defense Ministry's latest white paper, China has been expanding and intensifying its maritime activities near Japan in recent years, with its ships engaging in gathering intelligence as well as monitoring activities for the protection of maritime rights and interests. Read More

China, India Keen to Access the Arctic Circle

Despite harsh weather conditions, the Arctic is becoming a global hot spot, with non-Arctic countries like China, India and Brazil pursuing “observer” status on the Arctic Council – an intergovernmental body promoting cooperation and environmental protection among countries that have territories in the Arctic area.

Experts believe that the increasing focus in the Arctic is drawn by its abundant natural resources, which will be extracted in the future if the region’s environmental conditions become friendlier and global warming melts more glaciers and sea-ice.

The United States Geological Survey, a scientific agency of the U.S. government, conducted an extensive study into the region in 2008. The agency predicted that the Arctic has an estimated 90 billion barrels of the world’s undiscovered oil resources and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas reserves. Read More

Explaining the left-right paradigm to a co worker!

US Drone Strike Kills 10 In Pakistan

A US drone has killed 10 suspected militants in northern Pakistan near its border with Afghanistan, according to security officials.

The drone programme, which is part of US counter-terrorism efforts, was suspended after a Nato air strike last November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

But attacks resumed last month and two missiles were fired at a house in the village of Thapi, in North Waziristan, on Wednesday.

Pakistan security officials said the building was completely destroyed and 10 suspected militants were killed.

Several militant groups have strongholds in the northwestern ethnic Pashtun tribal regions, taking advantage of the porous border with Afghanistan to conduct cross-border attacks. Source

Argentina Turns To UN Over Falklands Row



Argentina has vowed to formally complain to the United Nations about Britain sending one of its most modern warships to the Falkland Islands.


The country's President Cristina Fernandez announced plans to go to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly as tensions escalate.

She declared: "We will present a complaint to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, as this militarisation poses a grave danger to international security."

The sabre rattling between Britain and the Falklands is increasing ahead of the 30th anniversary of the war which broke out on April 2 1982. Read More

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake ALBANIA - 8th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Albania at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 04:28:22 UTC Wednesday 8th February 2012
The epicenter was 16 km (9.9 miles) Southwest of Pogradec, Albania
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake NEVADA - 8th Feb 2012

A magnitude 3.3 earthquake has struck Nevada at a depth of 26 km (16.2 miles), the quake hit at 04:16:24 UTC Wednesday 8th February 2012
The epicenter was 11 km (7 miles) Northwest of Trinity, Nevada
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND - 8th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Kermadec Islands, New Zealand at a depth of 54.7 km (34 miles), the quake hit at 01:58:43 UTC Wednesday 8th February 2012
The epicenter was 63 km (39 miles) ESE of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake NEGROS - CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES - 8th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Negros - Cebu Region, Philippines at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 01:53:01 UTC Wednesday 8th February 2012
The epicenter was 66 km (41 miles) North of Dumaguete, Negros, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEGROS - CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES - 8th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the Negros - Cebu Region, Philippines at a depth of 11.8 km (7.3 miles), the quake hit at 00:41:03 UTC Wednesday 8th February 2012
The epicenter was 54 km (33 miles) West of Cebu, Cebu, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

3.4 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF SANTA CATALINA, CALIFORNIA - 8th Feb 2012

A magnitude 3.4 earthquake has struck the Gulf of Santa Catalina, California at a depth of just 0.9 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 00:30:47 UTC Wednesday 8th February 2012
The epicenter was 9 km (6 miles) East of Avalon, California
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SVALBARD REGION - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Svalbard Region at a depth of just 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 23:37:03 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 201 km (124.6 miles) Southwest of Barentsburg, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck offshore Chiapas, Mexico at a depth of 64.6 km (40.1 miles), the quake hit at 22:30:34 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 119 km (73 miles) West of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake NEGROS - CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Negros - Cebu Region, Philippines at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 21:59:15 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 4 km (2.4 miles) Southeast of Magallon, Negros, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake NEGROS - CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the Negros - Cebu Region, Philippines at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles), the quake hit at 20:48:12 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 8 km (5 miles) Southeast of Buluangan, Negros, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake NEGROS - CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Negros - Cebu Region, Philippines at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 20:37:44 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 63 km (39 miles) WSW of Cebu, Cebu, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake NEW ZEALAND - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the King Country Region, New Zealand at a depth of 250 km (155 miles), the quake hit at 10:31:05 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) South of Ohura, New Zealand
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Israeli Embassies requesting gas masks and being distributed bomb shelter location lists: War "imminent"

Preparing for Iran strike? Foreign embassies in Israel have recently started to formulate contingency plans to evacuate their citizens from the Jewish State in case of a missile attack on Israel.

Senior officials in Jerusalem said that several diplomatic missions have shown great interest in preparing for various emergency situations, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.

In the framework of the preparations for possible fallout in case of an Israeli strike on Iran, foreign diplomats stationed in Israel requested that the Foreign Ministry equip them and their family members with gas masks.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has provided foreign embassies in Israel with a list of public bomb shelters across the country, as well as an instructional pamphlet in English produced by the IDF Home Front Command.

Diplomatic officials deployed in Israel are particularly concerned about the possibility of a missile offensive on the Jewish State that would prompt thousands of Israeli citizens with foreign passports to seek evacuation from country.

A senior European diplomat said that in such case, the European Union does not have the means to undertake a massive evacuation operation within a short period of time. more

Argentina president accuses Great Britain of 'militarizing the South Atlantic' as Falkland Islands tensions rise

Details forthcoming.

15 metres rogue-wave hit Huge cargo ship, Victoria, Canada

The cargo ship Dry Beam is moored at Ogden Point for repairs after losing part of its load when it was hit by a rogue wave about 480 kilometres off northern Vancouver Island on Thursday. The wave, believed to be between 10 and 15 metres high, slammed into the ship's port side and caused many of the raw logs on deck to shift.

The 186-metre cargo ship Dry Beam is moored at Ogden Point, its massive vertical support beams bent like matchsticks and its load of logs shoved askew by a rogue wave on the North Pacific.

The vessel was en route to Japan from Longview, Washington, when it ran into trouble, lost some logs and issued a mayday call Thursday night about 480 kilometres off northern Vancouver Island.

A rogue wave had pummelled the ship's left, or port, side and caused many of the raw logs on the deck to shift toward the starboard side.

None of the 23 Filipino crew aboard the 26,000-ton vessel was hurt. The damaged vessel limped into port at Ogden Point in Victoria on Sunday, escorted from the high seas by U.S. and Canadian coast guard vessels.

The wave that slammed into the port side was 10-to-15 metres high, said Capt. Jostein Hoddevik, principal surveyor with IMS Marine Surveyors of Burnaby. Read More

Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles Suspends over 120 Teachers while authorities investigate allegations of child sex abuse.

The entire staff at a school in California have been suspended while authorities investigate allegations of child sex abuse.

All 88 teachers and 40 support staff are being temporarily replaced at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles.

The wholesale substitution comes after two teachers were arrested following allegations of abuse.

Mark Berndt, 61, who has taught at the school for 32 years, has been charged with committing lewd acts on 23 children aged between six and 10.

Martin Springer, 49, is being held on suspicion of fondling two girls in his classroom.

It is not clear if the two are alleged to have operated in collusion with each other.

No other teachers have been accused. Authorities said the staff are being suspended because a full investigation of the allegations will be disruptive.

The case has prompted outrage, not least because parents allege they first made the school aware of their concerns four years ago and it failed to act.

One couple say they showed school authorities photographic evidence backing up their concerns about Berndt in 2008. Read More

Greek leaders to meet as euro exit openly discussed

Pressure is rising on Greece's national unity government to agree tough reforms demanded by the country's lenders.

The EU, IMF and European Central Bank have made further spending cuts, labour market reforms and bank rescues a condition of granting a new bailout.

Greek party leaders are to meet on Tuesday amid a general strike.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes told a Dutch newspaper that there would be "absolutely no man overboard" if Greece left the euro.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also told public radio that a Greek exit from the eurozone now would be less risky than if it had happened in 2010 when its debt crisis first broke.

"There is less risk now," Mr Rutte said. "It is in our interest that Greece remain [in the eurozone] and to achieve that it must do all it has promised to do but if that does not work out, then we are stronger now than a year and a half ago." Read More

Northern Vermont bass test positive for strontium, cesium

BRATTLEBORO -- Fish taken from a lake in northern Vermont had similar levels of strontium-90 and cesium-137 as fish taken from the Connecticut River near Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

During a Feb. 3 meeting of the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee in the Vermont Statehouse, committee members heard from Bill Irwin, chief of radiological health for the Vermont Department of Health.

"We got preliminary results from our fish sample analysis from Lake Carmi in northern Franklin County," Irwin told the Reformer on Monday.

Irwin said Lake Carmine, in Enosburg Falls, is about as far away from Yankee as you can get and still be in the Green Mountain State.

"The results are that cesium-137 and strontium-90 in Lake Carmi fish is in the same range as Connecticut River fish," said Irwin. "We take this as some evidence that all fish in Vermont are likely to have radioactive cesium and strontium at these levels and that, as we've hypothesized, it is from nuclear weapons fallout and the releases of Chernobyl. All of us are glad to have proof and not just conjecture."

The fish taken from Lake Carmi were small-mouth bass, he said, and were taken from the lake by Vermont Fish and Wildlife fisheries personnel.

Cesium was found in both edible and inedible portions of the bass, he said, while strontium was found only in inedible portions, which include bones, the head, fins and scales. Read More

Methane explosion at Ukrainian coal mine kills 1 injures 9 more

One Ukrainian coal miner was killed and nine were injured in a methane gas explosion at a coal mine in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, the emergency situations ministry reported Tuesday.

The explosion occurred around 22:52 local time (2152 GMT) Monday about 1,160 meters deep inside the Pivnichna coalmine.

There were 136 coal miners working in a shift at the mine when the accident happened, while 10 miners appeared to be close to the epicenter of the explosion, the ministry said.

The coalmine operation was temporary suspended and a special commission was created to investigate the accident, the ministry said.

Ukrainian coal mines are considered to be unsafe due to high concentration of methane gas that comes with the coal deposits, while sometimes the outdated technologies and equipment are also blamed. Methane gas explosions kill and injure hundreds of coal miners annually. Source

Locusts warning for farmers in South Australia

Farmers are being urged to spray for locusts as more become evident across areas of South Australia, including the mid-north.

Biosecurity SA has had reports of high numbers near Narridy, Yacka and Spalding.

Entomologist Kym Perry says farmers need to act to help prevent the current generation laying eggs which could affect their seeding work.

"Locusts are becoming more visible over the last few days. Now is actually the best time to spray hoppers and possibly even this week we'll see them on the wing and then they'll be much much harder to control," he said.

"Pretty soon they'll develop wings and become more mobile as adults. They may drift around looking for green feed.

"We think these ones are unlikely to last long enough until seeding time, but the big question is whether they'll lay more eggs and those eggs could develop into a population around seeding time."

Merle Hosking from Narridy in the mid-north says the locust swarms have almost destroyed her garden.

"They've burrowed into the agapanthus and eaten everything down the stem. The yuccas that were in the garden they've all been eaten and there's great holes in the spiky leaves. Even the cacti, they've attacked and it's just bare," she said. Read More

Radioactive Iodine-131 detected in Austria

VIENNA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Higher than normal levels of radiation Iodine 131 was measured in the air in Austria but without danger to the public health, said the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) on Monday, ruling out a source in Austria.

Traces of isotope were detected by the air-collecting station in Vienna from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. The Iodine-131 concentration was at an extremely low level of six microbecquerel per cubic meter of air, which could be detected only using highly sensitive analytical methods.

According to media reports, in the past two weeks, comparable size of radioactive Iodine-131 were also detected in atmosphere in other European countries, including Sweden, Finland, Germany and Poland. Read More

HANTAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN CHILEAN REGION

SANTIAGO, Feb 7 (NNN-Prensa Latina): The Chilean Ministry of Health declared a sanitary alert in the central southern region of Bio Bio on Monday, due to an outbreak of hantavirus in the zone.

The measure was decreed after two inmates of a local prison died of that disease, and three other prisoners were confirmed with the symptoms of the disease.

“It will be extremely rare that this disease was not hanta,” stated Health Minister Jaime MaƱalich, after mentioning that the country has to wait for the result of clinical tests to confirm it.

Although the disease is so far located in El Manzano prison, the alert is in force for the entire Bio Bio region, some 500 kilometers (311 miles) south of Santiago, MaƱalich said.

Hantavirus is a viral disease transmitted by wild rodents. The symtoms are hemorrhagic fever with kidney syndrome or the so-called lung syndrome, both with high mortality rates. Source

Facebook WWIII Alert: The good news is, it's NOT true. The bad news, you probably now have a computer virus

The fake news story directs users to a video, which then asks them to update their video player. The 'updated player' is in fact a Trojan that infects their PC

A fake news page saying, 'U.S. attacks Iran and Saudi Arabia, the begin (sic) of World War 3,' is the latest virus scam to circulate on Facebook.

The story uses CNN's logos, and appears to offer video footage of a breaking news story, but says users need to upgrade their Flash video software to watch.

When they 'upgrade', they in fact infect their PC with a trojan. Security experts Sophos reported at least 60,000 people have already fallen victim.

Cyber criminals have begun using fake news headlines to lure in victims on social networks such as Facebook.

Videos are often used as 'bait', because computer users are used to upgrading video software such as Flash, so installing software does not set off alarm bells. Read More

Dana Baker, 16, 'hanged herself after barrister's legal blunder caused trial to collapse'

A teenage victim of sex assault hanged herself after her barrister broke strict legal rules and caused the first court case to collapse.

Dana Baker, who was 16 when she died, hanged herself near a busy roundabout in Kidderminster, Worcestershire last March.

She was awaiting the retrial of karate instructor Jaspal Riat, 48, who had repeatedly assaulted her since the age of 13.

She had made a final cry for help on Facebook in the hours before she committed suicide, pleading: 'Lying here, trying to figure out what the hell I'm gonna do.'

Now it has emerged that the first trial was dramatically halted after the prosecutor David Jones - who was also a part-time judge - held a meeting with Miss Baker over lunch at his home, which broke the rules on witness contact.

The barrister with No5 Chambers in Birmingham resigned from the Bar soon afterwards. Read More

Russian Foreign Minister meets Assad

Russian FM Sergei Lavrov begins talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says Syria committed to stopping violence. Nick Rowlands reports

Five missing in Japan tunnel collapse

Five workers are missing after an undersea tunnel collapses at a refinery in Japan's Okayama Prefecture. Travis Brecher reports.

Greece on the brink....Again! Get on with it, the Suspense is Killing Me!

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Officials in Greece are under pressure to reach an agreement on a new bailout package, as the threat of a default hangs over the country.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with officials from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank Monday to try and hammer out the details of a €130 billion bailout deal.

Greece needs the money to avoid an all-but-certain default on a €14.5 billion bond redemption in March. The concern is that a so-called disorderly default could force Greece out of the euro currency union and shock the global financial system.

Papademos must also convince the leaders of Greece's three main political parties to back a package of fiscal and economic reforms that are a condition of the bailout. Read More

Obama Seeks to Cool War Fever While Keeping Up Pressure on Iran

Nobody likely envies the challenge President Barack Obama faces getting his “messaging” right on Iran. He must meet the demands of election-year politics and continue to press Tehran’s back to the wall over its nuclear program, all the while avoiding the eruption of a major new Middle East war.

In an NBC interview that aired Sunday, Obama sought to apply a cold compress to the fever of war hysteria that broke out in the media last week over a report that his own Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, believes Israel will start a war with Iran by launching air strikes on its nuclear facilities before June. The Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported the views attributed to Panetta, and the media frenzy intensified when Panetta pointedly declined to confirm or deny the report.

Obama, by contrast, told NBC’s Matt Lauer he didn’t believe that “Israel has made a decision over what they need to do” on the Iran issue, and vowed that “we are going to make sure that we work in lockstep as we proceed to try and solve this, hopefully diplomatically” – although he added that “all options” remain on the proverbial table. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake HONDURAS - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Honduras at a depth of 24 km (14.9 miles), the quake hit at 16:16:42 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 36 km (22 miles) Northeast of Siguatepeque, Comayagua, Honduras
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

3.1 Magnitude Earthquake OKLAHOMA - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake has struck Oklahoma at a depth of just 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 16:29:30 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 34 km (21 miles) ENE of Shawnee, Oklahoma
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA, INDONESIA - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the Banda Sea, Indonesia at a depth of 415.6 km (258.3 miles), the quake hit at 15:37:41 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 204 km (127 miles) NNE of DILI, East Timor
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Antarctic lake Vostok success 'uncertain'

It is not yet clear whether Russian scientists have succeeded in their quest to drill into Lake Vostok.

National media on Monday reported a breakthrough into the lake, the largest of more than 300 bodies of liquid water buried under Antarctica's ice.

But Valery Lukin, the Russian Antarctic programme director, has told Nature journal that the claim is premature.

He said data from a number of sensors monitoring the drilling had yet to be analysed.

"Only when I will have this I can say we penetrated [the lake]," Nature quoted him as saying. "We want to be sure we have really reached the surface of Lake Vostok."

Russian, British and US researchers are in a race to see who will be first to reach down into the waters of an Antarctic subglacial lake.

These bodies of water have been sealed off from the atmosphere for millions of years and so may contain life forms new to science.

The Russians have been leading the way with their drilling project in the east of the White Continent. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEGROS - CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the Negros - Cebu Region, Philippines at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:20:50 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 73 km (45 miles) SSE of Bacolod, Negros, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Venice Freezes As Deadly Chill Grips Europe

The famous waterways of Venice have frozen over as Europe continues to be gripped by a deadly chill.

The big freeze has caused traffic problems throughout Europe, blocking roads and shutting down airports.

Schools were closed in Rome as Italy struggled to cope with unusually heavy snowfalls.

Ten deaths in Italy have been linked to the extreme winter weather, including two people who were crushed under a collapsed roof south of Rome, and a 91-year-old woman in the northeast port of Trieste.

In the north, stranded people had to be rescued from their homes, with deep snow reaching 3m (10ft) in some areas.

Europe has struggled to cope with a week of bitter cold weather in which the number of dead, most of them homeless, continues to rise every day. Read More

Russia: Assad 'Wants Solution' To Syria's Woes



Russia's foreign minister said that President Assad is willing to seek a solution to the violence engulfing Syria - as his forces continue their attack on the city of Homs.

After talks in Damascus this morning, Sergei Lavrov said discussion were "very useful" and Mr Assad was "fully committed" to ending the bloodshed in his country.

Mr Lavrov said that the president expressed interest in an enlargement of the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria.

"We (Russia) confirmed our readiness to act for a rapid solution to the crisis based on the plan put forward by the Arab League," Mr Lavrov said.

Russia’s news agency Itar-Tass said that Mr Assad will soon announce a date for a referendum on a new Syrian constitution.

The promise of an olive branch comes as Homs remains under siege following a renewed crackdown on regime opponents. Read More

Ministry urges immediate control of Bird Flu virus in Vietnamin country

Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has sent an urgent dispatch on February 6 to all provinces and cities nationwide to urge implementation of proper measures to control an H5N1 virus flu outbreak in the country.

Since the beginning of this year, the bird flu virus has reappeared in four communes: in the northern province of Thanh Hoa, the central province of Quang Tri, and the Mekong delta province of Soc Trang. This resulted in authorities destroying 1,683 poultry immediately with a further 4,032 subsequently, most of which were ducks.

Other areas such as the northern provinces of Thai Nguyen and Nghe An, the southern provinces of Bac Lieu and Kien Giang, and Hanoi also reported dead poultry suspected from bird flu.

To make matters worse, two cases of human death from Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 in Kien Giang and Soc Trang were announced by the Ministry of Health in January.

Due to the seriousness and complications of this outbreak, along with unfavourable weather conditions and the increase in poultry slaughtering and lack of suitable vaccines, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has declared a large-scale outbreak of bird flu. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 59.9 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:37:54 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 31 km (19 miles) East from TOKYO, Japan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 7th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Hokkaido, Japan Region at a depth of 307.1 km (190.8 miles), the quake hit at 13:30:04 UTC Tuesday 7th February 2012
The epicenter was 44 km (27 miles) ENE from Wakkanai, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Cape Cod, Massachusetts stranded-dolphin death toll up to 92

(CNN) -- The unexplained beachings of scores of dolphins over the past month along Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is the largest "single-species event" of its kind on record in the northeastern United States, a marine mammal specialist said Monday.

A total of 129 common dolphins have been found since the animals began stranding themselves in early January, said Katie Moore, marine mammal rescue and research manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Team members have been able to successfully release 37 of the 54 they were able to recover alive, but 75 others were dead or had to be euthanized on the spot, for a total of 92 dead, Moore told reporters in a conference call.

Specially equipped trailers have been used to treat and transport the living dolphins. The ones that are healthy enough are taken to the outer Cape Cod coast to be released. Read More

Greece and Bulgaria battle flooding as Europe struggles with extreme weather

A swollen river in Greece bursts its banks, flooding homes and forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency Tuesday, officials said, as rescuers scrambled to a Bulgarian village nearly washed away when a dam collapsed, killing eight people.

Bulgaria's civil defense agency warned that two other, bigger dams were also on the brink of overflowing after days of heavy rain and residents were urged to prepare for an evacuation. Authorities have started a controlled release of water from the dams to prevent overflow.

Europeans across the continent have been battling more than a week of extreme weather, with thousands still trapped by snow in remote, mountain villages in the Balkans; hundreds _ most of them homeless _ dead after temperatures hit as low as minus 33 Fahrenheit (minus 36 Celsius); and authorities now facing the prospect of flooding caused by melting snow. Read More

Dead panther found in southwest Florida

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Officials say dead panther has been found along U.S. 41 in southwest Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that the remains of the 5-year-old uncollared male were discovered Monday morning. Experts believe the animal was killed by a vehicle.

This is the fifth Florida panther death in 2012. They have all occurred in Collier County.

Scientists believe there are more than 160 of the endangered cats left in the wild. Source

40 feet long dead shark found from Karachi sea

Karachi: The citizens of Karachi have found another entertainment as a fisherman brought 40 feet long dead shark from the Arabian Sea.

The fisherman brought the shark in Charai Fishery Karachi. Fish is still in the water while there is expected rush chances at beach in today’s evening.

Two cranes were called pull shark out of the water but failed. Later another crane completed the task. The length of the fish is 40 to 50 feet long and its weight is said to be 45 ton.

Sources say the shark was spotted unconscious ten days ago, 150kms away from the fishery. They added that auctioning for the shark had already begun, with bids ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000. Source

Dead sea birds no cause for worry, North Florida

Beachgoers may notice a high number of dead sea birds washing ashore on the First Coast lately.

Gary Anderson, a member of the Jacksonville Waterways Commission, just happened to be on the beach for a stroll on Friday and found about 10 dead sea birds in the area of First Street in Atlantic Beach. Concerned, Anderson began to investigate and found that there were well over a dozen dead sea birds, including gannets and pelicans, that were dead and washed ashore between Atlantic Beach and Guana Preserve in north St. Johns County.

Anderson was worried that there might be some unnatural factor at work.

But officials both with the Bird Emergency And Kare Sanctuary on Big Talbot Island and the Florida Fish and Fresh and Wildlife Conservation Commission advise beachgoers not to worry. The increase in dead sea birds is simply a result of the migration of those birds right now. Many of the birds simply become exhausted and die over open water and wash ashore. Read More