Monday, February 20, 2012

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 21st Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Fiji Region at a depth of 592.4 km (368.1 miles), the quake hit at 04:36:27 UTC Tuesday 21st February 2012
The epicenter was 324 km (201 miles) Northwest from NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Google Testing Experimental Devices In Hundreds Of Employees’ Homes

SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) — Google is testing 252 “mystery” devices in its employees’ homes, but what the device is, nobody outside of Google knows.

Google recently applied for an experimental license with the Federal Communications Commission for an unnamed entertainment device.

The device is still early in development as testing is set to see if the device works properly and to “reveal real world engineering issues and reliability of networks.”

One possibility that was suggested was the device is related to the Android@home framework, where Google promises to allow users to control appliances such as lights and alarm clocks through an Android device. Read More

‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World: American constitution becomes unfavourable

WASHINGTON — The Constitution has seen better days.

Sure, it is the nation’s founding document and sacred text. And it is the oldest written national constitution still in force anywhere in the world. But its influence is waning.

In 1987, on the Constitution’s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that “of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version.”

A quarter-century later, the picture looks very different. “The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,” according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia. Read More

'Green' yoga teachers could kill

Performing yoga while being instructed by an inexperienced teacher can be deadly as they sometimes put pupils in life threatening positions, an expert on the activity has warned.

Over-eager "green" teachers are leading beginners to perform certain relatively advanced poses that can trigger lethal strokes if executed incorrectly.

Exercises like the plough and shoulder stand require participants to "crank your head around a lot", which could result in the linings of arteries running through the spine in the neck to be torn, according to William J. Broad, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science author.

Blood clots can then form, which can cause ischeamic stroke if they become lodged in the brain. Read More

3D printer builds new jaw bone for transplant

An 83-year-old woman has become the first person to have a 3D printer-created jaw fitted.

The artificial jaw was made from titanium powder, heated and built-up in layers in a 3D printer to create a working lower jaw which was then finished with a bioceramic coating.

The implant, which was designed and built by LayerWise, a Belgian metal parts manufacturer, was fitted in an operation in the Netherlands in June last year.

Dr Jules Pokens, of Hasselt University, led the team of surgeons. He said: "The new treatment method is a world premiere because it concerns the first patient-specific implant in replacement of the entire lower jaw."

He added: "Shortly after waking up from the anesthetics the patient spoke a few words, and the day after the patient was able to speak and swallow normally again." Read More

Gadgets worth £762 million sent to landfill

Unwanted electrical goods worth £762 million are thrown away every year, according to new research.

New figures show more than 17 million mobile phones, music players, satnavs and other devices are sent straight to landfill.

But the one in three adults who throws away one of the items would have received an average of £43.54 from a recycling centre, according to mobile phone provider O2.

Despite containing harmful materials including lead and cadmium, it is not illegal to send the electricals to landfill.

Supermarkets including Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda as well as Boots and Royal Mail are among the companies that offer cash for used goods in reasonable conditions.

Susanne Baker, senior policy adviser on climate change at EEF, the association representing British manufacturers, told the Independent: "Electronic equipment in particular is rich with materials which are in high demand but scarce supply. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 21st Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 33.6 km (20.9 miles), the quake hit at 03:54:36 UTC Tuesday 21st February 2012
The epicenter was 127 km (78 miles) ESE of Mito, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Britons turn down free cash

Cash was offered by five women to commuters at busy bus stations up and down the UK but an average of only eight people at each station, out of thousands of bus travellers, took up the offer.

Women wearing a sandwich board that read "Ask me to pay your bus fare and I will" were positioned at bus stations in Newcastle, Medway, Manchester, Perth and Leicester, but were mostly just ignored.

The experiment ran during morning rush hour each day for a week and just 38 people in total across the country accepted the offer.

When questioned, the minority who did eventually accept the free cash admitted they were reluctant at first because they thought the offer was too good to be true. Read More

Israel to build migrant detention camp

Israeli planning authorities on Tuesday approved construction of a detention centre for illegal immigrants, at a projected cost of 250 million shekels ($67 million, 51 million euros), the defence ministry said.

The formal authorisation follows a November 2010 cabinet decision to build a facility for mostly African migrants smuggled across Israel's borders but who for legal reasons cannot immediately be deported to their countries.

Tuesday's defence ministry statement said that the new facility to be built in the south of the country would start receiving detainees within the first half of 2012.

It said that it would have an initial capacity of 3,000 people, rising to 11,000 by completion.

"The majority of the structures will be mobile and/or collapsible," it said so that they could be used again for future projects.

Israel is erecting a giant security barrier along its 240-kilometre (150 miles) border with Egypt's Sinai peninsula and plans to put up a similar structure along its 238 kilometre (148 miles) frontier with Jordan. Read More

Shippensburg University To Offer Plan B Contraception From Vending Machine

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (CBS) – At Shippensburg University, students can now get more than snacks from a vending machine.

The college is now making the “morning after” pill available through a vending machine.

The “Plan B” emergency contraception can be obtained through a vending machine in the health center and each dose costs $25.

University officials say they will not make any money from the sales.

“The machine is really used as much for privacy as anything else,” Dr. Roger Serr, Vice President of Student Affairs said.

The pill can be legally sold over-the-counter to anyone 17 years of age or older.

Plan B contains hormones which are meant to disrupt ovulation or prevent fertilization from occurring. Read More

Air Marshals Gone Wild! Tales Of Sexism, Suicide and Bigotry

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Managers at the Federal Air Marshal Service regularly made fun of blacks, Latinos and gays, took taxpayer-paid trips to visit families and vacation spots, and acted like a "bunch of school kid punks," current and former air marshals tell ABC News.

One supervisor was even photographed in 2006 asleep on a flight, carrying a loaded pistol, the air marshals said. Read More

Greece Bailout Agreement Reached...That should keep them going for couple more months



After a marathon 13 hours of talks, eurozone finance ministers have finally struck a deal for Greece's second bailout package worth 130bn euro, EU officials have confirmed.

The programme for Greece will involve finance and aims to cut the struggling country's debts to 121% of GDP by 2020.

Greek debt currently sits at around 160% of GDP.

Details were still being worked out in the early hours of Tuesday, hours after discussions began in Brussels.

The deal is seen as an important step in reducing risk of a Greek monetary union exit, amid fears of currency chaos across the 17 eurozone states.

Greece desperately needs the rescue package to avoid a calamitous default next month when a 14.5bn euro bond issue comes due.

:: Is Greece being forced out of the euro?

"Now it's down to work on the statement," one official involved in the negotiations told Reuters.

More follows...

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE - 21st Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 03:20:17 UTC Tuesday 21st February 2012
The epicenter was 1231 km (764 miles) North of Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco, Brazil
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 20th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the Tonga Region at a depth of 34.4 km (21.4 miles), the quake hit at 23:54:20 UTC Monday 20th February 2012
The epicenter was 156 km (96 miles) Northeast of Neiafu, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 20th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 176.8 km (109.9 miles), the quake hit at 20:59:08 UTC Monday 20th February 2012
The epicenter was 99 km (61 miles) Southwest of Rabaul, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Eurozone finance ministers seal a deal for a massive new bailout of Greece, according to Reuters

Details forthcoming.

Slaves at the root of the fortune that created Richard Dawkins' family estate

He has railed against the evils of religion, and lectured the world on the virtues of atheism.

Now Richard Dawkins, the secularist campaigner against "intolerance and suffering", must face an awkward revelation: he is descended from slave owners and his family estate was bought with a fortune partly created by forced labour.

One of his direct ancestors, Henry Dawkins, amassed such wealth that his family owned 1,013 slaves in Jamaica by the time of his death in 1744.

The Dawkins family estate, consisting of 400 acres near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was bought at least in part with wealth amassed through sugar plantation and slave ownership.

Over Norton Park, inherited by Richard Dawkins's father, remains in the family, with the campaigner as a shareholder and director of the associated business. more

30 prisoners escape after riot in northern Mexico, governor says

Monterrey, Mexico (CNN) -- Dozens died and 30 inmates escaped during a weekend prison riot in northern Mexico, an official said Monday.

The prison's director and 18 guards have been removed from their positions and are under investigation, Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina told reporters.

Authorities are offering a reward of 10 million pesos ($785,000) for information leading to the missing prisoners, Medina said. Preliminary reports indicate the escapees were members of the Zetas drug cartel, he said.

A fierce rivalry between drug cartels likely fueled the fighting that killed 44 people Sunday inside the prison in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, state security spokesman Jorge Domene told reporters.

Prisoners could have used the riot to engineer their breakout, Domene said Sunday. He did not say how prisoners inside acquired the clubs, stones and sharp objects they used in the fighting. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO - 20th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck offshore Chiapas, Mexico at a depth of 63.4 km (39.4 miles), the quake hit at 19:09:43 UTC Monday 20th February 2012
The epicenter was 73 km (46 miles) WSW from Suchiate, Chiapas, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Why Damascus remains eerily calm

Despite their pain and suffering, Syrians' struggle against tyranny shows no signs of slowing down.

A year ago, inspired by the success of revolts in the Arab world, Syrians rose against the authoritarian regime of President Bashar Assad, seeking to replace it with a democratic system of government.

Their remarkable bravery and unrelenting determination notwithstanding, Syrians are still far from achieving their goal, a dream that is five decades old. Instead, mostly because of al-Assad’s systematic and lethal repression campaign, Syrian society is inching closer to full-blown civil war, one that threatens to tear the country apart a la 1975-1990 civil war Lebanon and engulf other parts of the Middle East in sectarian conflict.

Why has Syria taken a different course from Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya?

Though each of these countries is unique in its geography, political history, and social fabric, Tunisians, Egyptians, and Libyans had to go through some familiar processes before they were able to topple their national governments.

Tunisia’s uprising was shockingly fast; Egypt’s was blessed by the army; and Libya’s was bolstered by NATO’s jets. But all three underwent similar and necessary processes of social mobilization and organization that Syria has yet to experience. Read More

U.S. military chief dubious about arming Syrian rebels



(CNN) -- The United States is not interested in providing weapons to opposition forces in Syria until it has a better picture of what those forces are, the top U.S. military officer said in an interview aired Sunday.

"I think it's premature to take a decision to arm the opposition movement in Syria, because I would challenge anyone to clearly identify for me the opposition movement in Syria at this point," Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

More than 50 prominent U.S. conservatives signed an open letter last week urging the Obama administration to "take immediate action" against the Syrian regime, including "self-defense aid" to an armed opposition led by defected government troops. Among the signatories were some of the leading voices in support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as well as the former head of the U.S.-led occupation government there. Read More

U.N. To Vote on New Syria Resolution

Hong Kong's Light Polution

Media shown round Fukushima nuke plant as police resume search of victims nearby

For most journalists, the freebie press trip can offer a unique chance to explore the most exotic reaches of the globe.

But not for this poor bunch.

They were instead given a somewhat unglamorous tour around the radiation-infested Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

Dressed top-to-toe in protective white overalls and wearing gas masks and helmets, they were shown around the site ahead of the one-year anniversary of the disaster.

The crisis, triggered by an earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, caused a string of fires, explosions and radiation leaks which amounted to the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Radiation leaks from Fukushima forced at least 80,000 people living within a 12-mile (20-kilometre) radius to abandon their homes and the search for bodies in the no-go zone continues to this day.

Yesterday, around 300 police officers began the first of a three-day operation in the Ukedo district of Namie town, where around 120 people died or are still missing. Read More

Dead whale washes ashore at Ocean View

NORFOLK -- A dead whale on the beach in Norfolk is attracting a crowd of people who want a up-close look at the mammal.

The 42-foot male sei whale washed up near 1st View Street on Sunday.

The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team says it's likely the whale was struck by a boat because of the "deep 1.5 foot gash on the back of its head, which fractured its, coupled with traces of orange and brown paint or rust."

A necropsy will likely be performed on Tuesday or Wednesday. Until then, team members are monitoring the whale. Even in death, whales such as the sei whale are protected by the federal marine mammal protection act and people should stay away from the animal, but looking and taking pictures is certainly allowed, officials stated.

Aquarium officials say sei whales follow prey inshore. A female sei whale stranded in Sandbridge last March and died as a result of a boat strike and ingesting plastic. Read More

Animal diseases increasingly plague the oceans

VANCOUVER - When dead sea mammals started washing ashore on Canada's west coast in greater numbers, marine biologist Andrew Trites was distressed to find that domestic animal diseases were killing them.

Around the world seals, otters and other species are increasingly infected by parasites and other diseases long common in goats, cows, cats and dogs, marine mammal experts told a major science conference.

The diseases also increasingly threaten people who use the oceans for recreation, work or a source of seafood, scientists told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held this year in this Western Canadian city.

The symposium "Swimming in Sick Seas" was one of many sessions at this year's AAAS that drew a bleak picture of the state of the world's oceans, which are increasingly acidic, warming in some areas and being inundated with melting ice or other climate change effects. Read More