Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fungus from the Amazon devours plastic

Students from Yale University have made the amazing discovery of a species of fungus that devours one of the world's most durable, and therefore environmentally troublesome, plastics: polyurethane, reports Fast Company's Co-Exist. The new species of fungus, Pestalotiopsis microspora, is even able to consume polyurethane in zero-oxygen (anaerobic) conditions, which would be important in eating plastics in the deep dark layers of landfills where little sunlight, water, or oxygen is found.

Polyurethane is used for a wide-variety of everyday products from bedding to foam construction, and surfboards to watch bands. The plastic can often be recycled, but landfills still retain huge amount it, which may persist for hundreds of years. Read More

Gonorrhea Drug Resistance Alarming

Over the last three years, gonorrhea has become increasingly harder to treat with antibiotics, making it now a reality that perhaps we may be facing a gonorrhea strain for which no current medications would be effective, researchers from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine reported in NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine).

The authors explain that approximately 600,000 people are diagnosed with gonorrhea in the USA every year. It is now the second most commonly reported communicable disease in the country.

A disproportionate number of people from ethnic and racial minorities are affected by gonorrhea.

Ever since the first half of the last century, scientists have been battling against the drug-resistance progress achieved by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes the illness gonorrhea. In the 1940s it became resistant to sulfanilamide, then decades later penicillins lost their effect, and after that tetracyclines. Read More

Foreclosure Deal to Spur New Wave of U.S. Home Seizures, Help Heal Market

The $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosure abuses may result in a wave of home seizures, inflicting short-term pain on delinquent U.S. borrowers while making a long-term housing recovery more likely.

Lenders slowed the pace of foreclosures as they negotiated with attorneys general in all 50 states for more than a year over allegations of faulty and fraudulent paperwork used to repossess homes. With yesterday’s agreement, banks are likely to resume property seizures.

“The best thing about the settlement, frankly, is that it will be done,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for Seattle-based Zillow Inc. (Z), a provider of home-sales data. “The shadow of the settlement hung over the market for a year now.”

The backlog of foreclosures has trapped homeowners in properties they can no longer afford, depressed neighborhood prices by increasing the number of abandoned homes and led banks to tighten mortgage credit standards because of uncertainty about the cost of their potential obligations. Foreclosure starts fell 46 percent in December from October 2010, when the investigation into the so-called robo-signing of mortgage documentation began, according to Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac Inc. Read More

Graph of the Day: Map of All Mercury Emissions from U.S. Coal-fired Power Plants, November 2011

By Sue Sturgis
2 November 2011

Rank of coal-fired power plants among America's biggest sources of air pollution: 1

Of the five leading causes of death in the United States, number to which coal plant pollution contributes: 4

Number of U.S. water bodies impaired by mercury, a particularly toxic component of coal plant pollution: 3,781

Of the 50 U.S. states, number that have fish consumption advisories due to unsafe mercury pollution levels: 50

Factor by which one study found mercury concentrations in fish have increased from the 1930s to today: 10

Portion of U.S. women of childbearing age who have enough mercury in their bloodstream to put their offspring at risk of health effects: 1 in 6 Read More

Gorbachev: Russia faces turmoil as Putin won't change

(Reuters) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said on Thursday Russia faced turmoil because Vladimir Putin was unable and unwilling to carry out fundamental reform of a tightly-controlled political system.

Prime Minister Putin, facing the biggest protests of his 12-year rule, has tried to present himself to Russia's 109 million voters as a leader who can carry out gradual reform, after imposing order on the chaos of the 1990s.

But Gorbachev, reviled by many Russians for unleashing the bold reforms that helped sink the Soviet Union, said Putin's continued rule put Russia's future into question.

"I don't think he will be able to change course and I am saying we need a change of the entire system, not just handouts or sporadic steps," Gorbachev told students in a lecture at Moscow's International University. Read More

Russia alarmed by rash of teenage suicides

MOSCOW (AP) — A rash of teenage suicides in Russia has set off alarm bells and experts are urging the government to take immediate action.

Russia has the world's third-highest rate of suicide among teenagers aged 15 to 19, with about 1,500 taking their own lives every year, according to UNICEF. The rate is higher only in the neighboring former Soviet republics of Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Boris Polozhy of the Serbsky psychiatric center in Moscow said Friday that "until the highest authorities see suicide as a problem, our joint efforts will be unlikely to yield any results."

Two 14-year-old girls in a town outside Moscow killed themselves this week by jumping off of the roof of a 14-story building while holding hands. Several other teen suicides have been reported elsewhere in Russia. Source

Father Shoots Daughter's Computer For Disrespectful Facebook Post

Teacher Accused of Spraying Febreze on "Fishy" Student

An elementary school teacher in Newfoundland, Canada has reportedly been put on paid leave as district officials investigate a claim she sprayed a student with an odor eliminator to mask his fishy-smelling lunch.

Patti Rideout told CBC News she was “very hurt and very angry” after learning the teacher of her 10-year-old son, Christian Roberts, had put him in the hallway then sprayed him with Febreze last week.

Other kids at Twillingate Island Elementary School had teased him over the fried capelin meal she’d made him, she said.

"I feel like he's been embarrassed, bullied, and I think what she [did] was very disgraceful," Rideout told CBC News. "I think my son was treated not like a human being — I think he was treated like a dog, or a cat … I'm very hurt and very angry over this." Read More

U.S. extends travel warning to Mexico over violence

(Reuters) - Spreading drug violence, kidnappings and carjackings in Mexico have led the State Department to increase the number of places it says Americans should avoid for safety reasons for the second time in less than a year.

A travel advisory issued this week urged U.S. citizens to avoid all but essential travel to 14 states in northern and central Mexico, warning that U.S. citizens have fallen victim to drug-cartel related activity "including homicide, gunbattles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery."

Last April, it issued a warning about 10 states.

The latest advisory cites concerns about parts of Aguascalientes, Guerrero and Nayarit in central Mexico, and raises its advisory against non-essential travel to include Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa and Zacatecas as well as Tamaulipas and Michoacan. Read More

Google to pay users to browse - so the search giant can watch every link they click

Google is to pay computer users to browse the web so the search giant watches every link they click.

'Panelists' in the new Google Screenwise programme will be paid up to $25 in Amazon gift cards.

The payments offer an insight into how much web users' private data - usually harvested by giants such as Facebook and Google without payment - is worth.

Users have to download a browser extension, which allows Google to monitor which sites they visit and how they use them.

Popular blog Search Engine Land said, 'The timing of this program seems odd, especially considering the backlash that Google has faced over the upcoming changes to its privacy policy.'

'Even though this Screenwise program is completely opt-in, some critics are bound to question why Google needs more data about web searchers and the websites they visit.'

European regulators wrote to Google CEO Larry Page last week calling on the search giant to halt the introduction of its new 'one-size-fits-all' privacy policy. Read More

Air New Zealand plane quarantined in Auckland after 73 passengers display flu-like symptoms

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – An Air New Zealand plane was quarantined after landing at Auckland Airport carrying children with flu-like symptoms, TVNZ reported.

The Boeing 777-200 landed in Auckland Monday morning local time, with 274 passengers from Narita International Airport outside Tokyo.

A group of 73 children were among the passengers and suffering from the flu-like symptoms.

TVNZ, which earlier reported none of the passengers were allowed to leave the plane, said one passenger, Chris Auld wrote in a Twitter post that officials in masks were allowing many to leave.

"Majority of pax now being offloaded including me. Yay," he tweeted. "It took a while for them to get onboard the plane. Now moved most pax to a gate lounge."

The Ministry of Health said they are monitoring the incident, TVNZ reported.

"We've been briefed on the situation, and advised that it is Japan's flu season, there are no reports of new strains of flu there," said Minister of Health Tony Ryall.

"We're keeping a watching brief but been told there's nothing to suggest it's anything other than seasonal flu," he added, according to TVNZ. Read More

Shyness, grieving soon to be classified as mental illness...Is there going to be anything left of your Personality not classed an Illness?

Millions of healthy people - including shy or defiant children, grieving relatives and people with fetishes - may be wrongly labeled mentally ill by a new international diagnostic manual, specialists said on Thursday.

In a damning analysis of an upcoming revision of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health experts said its new categories and "tick-box" diagnosis systems were at best "silly" and at worst "worrying and dangerous."

Some diagnoses - for conditions like "oppositional defiant disorder" and "apathy syndrome" - risk devaluing the seriousness of mental illness and medicalising behaviors most people would consider normal or just mildly eccentric, the experts said. Read More

Libya Struggles to Curb Militias as Chaos Grows

TRIPOLI, Libya — As the militiamen saw it, they had the best of intentions. They assaulted another militia at a seaside base here this week to rescue a woman who had been abducted. When the guns fell silent, briefly, the scene that unfolded felt as chaotic as Libya’s revolution these days — a government whose authority extends no further than its offices, militias whose swagger comes from guns far too plentiful and residents whose patience fades with every volley of gunfire that cracks at night.

The woman was soon freed. The base was theirs. And the plunder began.

“Nothing gets taken out!” shouted one of the militiamen, trying to enforce order.

It did anyway: a box of grenades, rusted heavy machine guns, ammunition belts, grenade launchers, crates of bottled water and an aquarium propped improbably on a moped. Men from a half-dozen militias ferried out the goods, occasionally firing into the air. They fought over looted cars, then shot them up when they did not get their way.

“This is destruction!” complained Nouri Ftais, a 51-year-old commander, who offered a rare, unheeded voice of reason. “We’re destroying Libya with our bare hands.” Read More

LAPD Pioneers High-Tech Crime-Fighting ‘War Room’



LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The LAPD is fighting crime from a high-tech war room that gives it eyes all over the city. The surveillance hub is now a model for police forces around the world and KCAL9 got an exclusive tour inside from Chief Charlie Beck.

“We are targets on our own soil,” says Beck. “We have to be ready.”

What began as a grass roots idea following the 9/11 terrorist attacks is now a state-of-the-art real-time analysis critical response center. It’s called RACR, and it’s located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

“This is a system that cuts through the red tape, that gets information to the people that need it,” says Chief Beck. He calls it “the brains of the department, twenty-four/seven.” Read More

Detective: Josh Powell computer depicted parent-child sex

By NBC News, msnbc.com staff and news services

SEATTLE -- A computer in Josh Powell's former home in Utah had animated images that depicted "incestuous" sex between parent and child, Pierce County authorities said, and a state official said the material prompted a judge to order Powell to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation just days before he killed his children and himself.

Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer told The Associated Press on Thursday night that the images collected by investigators in Utah two years ago were realistic computer-generated depictions of "incestuous" parent-child relations.

The documents and images were recovered by police in West Valley, Utah, and sent to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department under a restrictive court order on Feb. 1, NBC station KING 5 reported. According to Washington's Department of Social and Health Services Public Affairs Senior Director Thomas Shapley, the material prompted the court to stop a process that likely would have returned Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, to their father's custody. Read More

China's Consumer Price Index Rises in January

Chinese Regime Intensifies Censorship of Sina Weibo

Greece Passes Austerity Bill As Riots Spread



The Greek parliament has approved an austerity bill aimed at securing a second bailout as riots spread across Athens.


Before the parliamentary vote, serious violence broke out in the capital and spread to other Greek towns and cities.

At least 10 buildings were set on fire, including a cinema and a bank, and shops were smashed up as masked rioters fought police. Dozens of officers and protesters were injured, while more than 20 suspected rioters were arrested.

:: See more videos and stories on our dedicated eurozone crisis page

The violence exploded after more than 100,000 protesters marched to parliament to demand a vote against the latest cuts.

Sky News Europe correspondent Robert Nisbet said: "The Greek people have been suffering, there is no doubt about that. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU - 13th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Vanuatu at a depth of 27.4 km (17 miles), the quake hit at 03:32:06 UTC Monday 13th February 2012
The epicenter was 115 km (71 miles) West of PORT-VILA, Efate, Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake MAULE, CHILE - 13th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Maule, Chile at a depth of 74.4 km (46.2 miles), the quake hit at 01:28:37 UTC Monday 13th February 2012
The epicenter was 78 km (48 miles) Northeast of Talca, Chile
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake MOZAMBIQUE - 13th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Mozambique at a depth of 10.8 km (6.7 miles), the quake hit at 00:49:31 UTC Monday 13th February 2012
The epicenter was 65 km (40 miles) NNE of Nacala, Mozambique
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 12th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the Andreanof Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska at a depth of 69.9 km (43.4 miles), the quake hit at 23:05:28 UTC Sunday 12th February 2012
The epicenter was 35 km (21 miles) Southwest of Adak, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake BURYATIYA, RUSSIA - 12th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Buryatiya, Russia at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles), the quake hit at 22:35:40 UTC Sunday 12th February 2012
The epicenter was 28 km (17.4 miles) Southwest of Taksimo, Buryatiya, Russia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Danny Abdul Dayem: More fictions (and changing stories) about his wounds and "beliefs" -- Who is he *really* and why is the mainstream peddling him?

Dear Jeremy Paxman & BBC,

With complete shock and horror, we followed your interview with the British citizen of Syrian descent Danny Abdul Dayem! He, clearly, was on a mission to take full advantage of the air time he was given to simply transmit the “Syrian revolution” propaganda. Instead of the usual quizzing and interrogation, on Newsnight, Danny was given an easy ride to say ALL he wanted without being challenged. We were, also, very alarmed by the different accounts he has given to different news channels, including Sky News, al Hiwar, Alarabiya (in Arabic) and the Guardian. Here are some of inconsistencies that some Syrian friends and I have noted;

•(@00.08): In the beginning of the interview, Danny’s answer to the first question summed the intended message all up; “yes, I’ve seen EVERYTHING”.

•(00.35): He gets away with a video that shows and proves absolutely nothing!!

•(@01.48): Danny claims that “three quarters of the shots are aimed and one quarter is just to scare people”. If this was, truly, the case then tens of thousands of Syrian protesters would have lost their lives, rather than the reported figure of 2600, which is in itself under dispute!

•(@02.34): He tells Jeremy that a car stopped two meters away behind him, and shot at him. Yet, the bullet managed to come from the waist and come out his back?!

•(03.08): Danny tells Jeremy Paxman that he was shot by a SINGLE bullet that went through his body and presumably left two scars.

(@0.49): In Sky News report, a single scar in the middle of Danny’s back is clearly shown!

http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16064474

(@13.50): This, again, contradicts him showing the presenter of al Hiwar channel TWO dressed wounds to the sides of his back after telling him how he was shot with TWO bullets, not one!



Click here for even more Danny-based nonsense, and more holes in the story about what's going on in Syria (re: nothing except a bunch of armed thugs roaming the streets and acting as a pretense for western military ambitions).

Danny Abdul Dayem: Terrorist? Actor? Why does his story continue changing (and not add up)?

I’m not going to discuss biased media especially NATO aligned warmongering mouthpieces, I’ll just put a small example and leave the readers to decide.

BBC has built credibility over decades of hard work by its earlier journalists and anchors, but when the battle is about Syria the credibility is worth risking for the BBC, even if it was earned with blood, sweat and lots sums of monies.

In this example the BBC presents a young guy, a holder of UK passport from Syrian origin, it adopts his story without any reasoning because he accuses the Syrian government security of shooting him while he was standing by during a ‘peaceful protests’ against the president of Syria, Dr. Bashar Al Assad.

On September 7, 2011 the BBC News posted an article titled UK Citizen Describes Being Shot in Syria, and here is what BBC wrote and I quote exactly the description:

“Danny Abdul Dayem who is a British citizen of Syrian descent was shot in Homs 10 days ago.

He and his family fled Syria arriving in the UK last night.

Forces loyal to the Syrian dictator, Bashr al Asad are said to have killed 14 civilians on Wednesday.

As ever, the details are very hard to come by, since foreign observers are banned from the country.

The attack came in Homs, which is Syria’s third city and has been under attack for days.”

You can watch the video clip of the ‘victim’ shot by “Forces loyal to the Syrian dictator” by clicking the link above under the title of the article or on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxzgF6xVF2A (Note the title of the video uploaded by an opposition figure).

That might sound fine, but why would BBC put its credibility at stake for such a weak story? There’s no other evidence except what the ‘victim’ says, and how do we know if what he says is correct or he might not have been shot during a street fight between gangs on a suburb street in UK for instance? more

Fate of former US Marine, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, who is about to be executed in Iran, puts nations on verge of war

Relations between the United States and Iran, already strained by U.S. sanctions on Iran's central bank and Iranian naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, are on the verge of spinning out of control.

What can push the two nations into a military confrontation is the fate of a former Marine, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati. A Revolutionary Court in western Iran sentenced the dual U.S.-Iranian citizen to death on January 9, claiming that he is a CIA spy. It is not often that the fate of entire nations hinges on that of a single individual, but the execution of a Marine by Iran will almost certainly inflame public opinion and tilt the balance toward war.

But perhaps what will save the day is an incident that placed friendship and trust, rather than enmity and paranoia, between Iranians and Americans. Days before the death sentence was passed on the Marine, American sailors rescued 13 Iranian fishermen held hostage for several weeks by Somali pirates who had seized their fishing vessel off the coast of Oman. more

Greece erupting into total chaos as police and protestors battle it out: PM calls for "calm" ahead of crucial vote

Keep close for more stories on Greece's precarious situation.

D-FOX: Please contact us if you can read this.

To D-fox: if you're reading this, please contact us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com. It's important -- we believe.

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE - 12th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck near the Dodecanese Islands, Greece at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:17:35 UTC Sunday 12th February 2012
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) South of Bodrum, Dodecanese Islands, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Syria: Truth, Lies and Propaganda

Shining Path rebel leader found dead, Peru

(Reuters) - The most important leader of Peru's leftist Shining Path insurgency has been found dead by security forces after being shot in a remote jungle rife with drug trafficking, President Ollanta Humala said on Sunday in his first major victory against what remains of the rebel group.

Artemio, the nom de guerre of Florindo Eleuterio Flores, headed a remnant group of guerrillas that went into the cocaine trade after the founders of the Maoist rebels were imprisoned during a bloody war against the state in the 1990s. Peru is the world's top grower of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

Peruvian anti-drug police had tried for years to arrest Artemio and the United States two years ago had offered a multimillion dollar reward for information leading to his capture. Read More

Girl rescued after avalanche buries village in Kosovo

Feb. 12 - Rescue workers save a young girl after her village in southern Kosovo was buried under 33 feet of snow as Europe struggles with the harshest winter in decades. Deborah Gembara reports.


Concerns build over Libyan fighters running jails

(Reuters) - The revolutionary fighters-turned-jailors who run what passes for a justice system in Libya's Gharyan region say they are making the best of a bad business.

"We need help from the government. We are paying for food and medicine from our own pockets," said Ayad Sager, still dressed in desert camouflage fatigues, with an AK-47 assault rifle slung around his shoulder, three months after the end of the civil war.

Sager says he and 60 of his veteran revolutionary fighters volunteer in shifts to run Guwasim prison, 50 miles south of Tripoli, to "maintain security" in the absence of any real authority imposed by the interim government.

International human rights organizations and observers say the reality is infinitely darker, however. The prisons are being used as sites to wreak revenge against those who fought for former leader Muammar Gaddafi and also as bargaining chips in the struggle for who ultimately will hold power in Libya, they say. Read More

Arab League backs Syria opposition, calls for peacekeepers

(Reuters) - The Arab League threw its support on Sunday firmly behind the opposition mounting an uprising against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, and called for the U.N. Security Council to send peacekeepers to halt bloodshed.

A resolution approved by Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo called for "opening communication channels with the Syrian opposition and providing all forms of political and material support to it." It also urged the Syrian opposition to unite.

The resolution solidifies Assad's ostracism among his Arab neighbors and will add to diplomatic pressure on Russia and China, which vetoed U.N. action on Syria on February 4, to lift their objections and allow the world body to act.

It said violence against civilians in Syria had violated international law and that perpetrators deserved punishment. It scrapped an Arab League monitoring mission.

The resolution did not make clear whether the proposed joint U.N.-Arab peacekeeping force would involve armed troops, as in previous U.N. missions. Read More

Greeks hurl petrol bombs as lawmakers weigh austerity

(Reuters) - Black-masked protesters throwing petrol bombs created a wall of fire on Sunday outside Greece's parliament as lawmakers inside looked set defy public rage by endorsing a new austerity deal to secure an EU/IMF bailout and avoid national bankruptcy.

Lawmakers came under intense pressure from both sides, with tens of thousands of demonstrators pouring into Syntagma Square in front of parliament, while the government warned that rejection would demand "unimaginably harsher" sacrifices by Greeks.

In running battles, protesters threw homemade bombs made from gas canisters as riot police advanced across the square on the crowds, firing tear gas and stun grenades. Loud booms From the protests could be heard inside parliament.

"Tear gas has reached the parliament chamber," said leftist lawmaker Panagiotis Lafazanis. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake ASCENSION ISLAND REGION - 12th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Ascension Island Region at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles), the quake hit at 18:09:21 UTC Sunday 12th February 2012
The epicenter was 173 km (107 miles) ENE of Ascension Island
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

CNN Danny in the headlines Sept 2011: UK citizen describes being shot in Syria



British-Born Syrian 'Shot For Protesting' (7th Sept 2011)

Street Clashes As Greece Gears Up For Cuts



Street clashes have been breaking out in Athens as tens of thousands of people gather in anticipation of parliament's vote on a fresh raft of austerity measures.


The country's prime minister, Lucas Papademos, has warned of "uncontrolled chaos" if if the spending cuts are not approved.

Sky's Europe correspondent Robert Nisbet, in Athens, said thousands of police were in the area of the parliament building to deal with violence.

As many as 30,000 protesters have arrived and more are coming all the time, including families with children, Nisbet added.

Tear gas has been fired into the crowd and police are armed with water canons. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake BABUYAN ISLANDS REGION, PHILIPPINES - 12th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Babuyan Islands Region, Philippines at a depth of 22.7 km (14.1 miles), the quake hit at 14:37:13 UTC Sunday 12th February 2012
The epicenter was 121 km (75 miles) NNE of Laoag, Luzon, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

The Media never Lies?

Turkish fighter jets target militants in northern Iraq, military says

(CNN) -- Turkish fighter jets targeted suspected Kurdish militants in overnight airstrikes along the country's border with Iraq, the military said Sunday.

The airstrikes targeted a shelter and a cave believed to be used by militants in Zap and Hakurk areas of northern Iraq, the military said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party have been waging a guerrilla war against the Turkish state since the early 1980s. More than 30,000 people, most of them ethnic Kurds, have been killed in the conflict.

The Kurds are Turkey's largest ethnic minority, and for decades, they have been targeted by discriminatory state policies that banned Kurdish language and education. Source

Philippines Earthquake 67 Still Missing and Feared Dead

The death toll in a magnitude-6.9 earthquake in the central Philippines rose to 41, with 67 people still missing and feared dead, the Office of Civil Defence said on Sunday.

The toll rose after rescue teams recovered two bodies from landslides caused by February 6 quake in Negros Oriental province, 570 kilometres south of Manila.

The civil defence office said 28 were still missing in the village of Planas in Guihulngan City and 39 in the village of Solonggon in nearby La Libertad town.

Rescue operations were being hampered by strong aftershocks and intermittent heavy rains threatening to cause more landslides, authorities said.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos earlier said he feared that the chance of finding survivors among the missing was slim because of the landslides.

Captain Anacito Naz, civil-military operations chief of the army in the province, said heavy equipment had reached the two landslide sites to help in rescue operations.

The military has also been distributing relief goods to more than 80,000 residents, who were staying in makeshift tents or evacuation centres for fear the aftershocks would cause their houses to collapse.

The quake destroyed more than 5,600 houses, while partially damaged 5,002. Many roads cracked while three key bridges in the province collapsed. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 12th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck near the Kermadec Islands Region at a depth of 53.8 km (33.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:13:35 UTC Sunday 12th February 2012
The epicenter was 151 km (94 miles) Southeast of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Hundreds of families evacuated due to flash floods in Southern Philippines

MANILA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of families were evacuated Sunday as a low pressure area brought more rains in southern Philippines resulting to flash floods, a senior government official said.

Undersecretary Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said a flash flood occurred in three villages in Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental province at around 2:00 a.m..

As a result, he said, 149 families or 699 people were evacuated to a church and a village hall.

At least four villages were also hit by flooding in Surigao del Norte province, where 166 families or 670 individuals were evacuated, said Ramos.

Ramos said alert levels were raised in four rain gauge stations in central and southern Philippines. Read More