Monday, March 12, 2012

Imam killed in Belgian mosque attack, police say (It's fine though because he's a muslim, right?)

An apparent arson attack on a mosque in the Belgian capital killed the institution's imam and left another person injured, a police spokeswoman said Monday.

A suspect was in custody in the deadly fire, which occurred about 6:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m. ET) in the Anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels, police spokeswoman Marie Verbeke said. No further details about the suspect were immediately available.

The 46-year-old imam is believed to have died of smoke inhalation, while the surviving victim was treated for the same thing, Verbeke said. source

More than 200 die in South Sudan tribal feud, official says

More than 200 people in South Sudan have been killed in a three-day spree of cattle-rustling attacks that ended Sunday, a state governor said Monday.

Kuol Manyang, governor of Jonglei state, said members of the Murle tribe attacked several groups of ethnic Lou Nuer who were in temporary camps where they had brought their herds for grazing.

"The attack has taken place over a wide area in the marshes, the wetlands," Manyang said, adding that security forces were unable to deploy to the remote region of Nasir County in the state of Upper Nile, as it is inaccessible by road.

Manyang, who is a member of the Dinka tribe, said the Murle crossed from Pibor County, in Jonglei, into neighboring Ethiopia, then traveled north before re-entering South Sudan to carry out the attacks.

"They took the cows and crossed back into Ethiopia," he said. "They are crossing now into South Sudanese territory." more

Tens of Thousands of Turkeys Destroyed in Israel

Fearing the outbreak of bird flu in Moshav Shalva near Kiryat Malachi, Israel’s veterinary officials gave the order to destroy tens of thousands of turkeys. In addition, a quarantine was placed on that community along with surrounding communities to prevent the spread of the illness which would be devastating for the local poultry market as well as posing health concerns.

Health officials have vaccinated 50 people as well as ordering the elimination of 50,000 birds. 11,000 turkeys were destroyed in Shalva and 40,000 turkeys were destroyed in Cholit, located near Kerem Shalom in the south.

Dr. Nadav Gallon placed a quarantine of tens of kilometers on the communities in an effort to contain the situation. Health officials add humans can become infected by direct contact with infected birds, their waste product or with infected items.

Regarding ingestion of poultry, officials add that heating food over 70C (158F) will effectively destroy the germ as well so there are no concerns over eating poultry. Source

Hong Kong: 2 New Outbreaks of Bird flu (H5N1) found in wild birds

HONG KONG - The country's veterinary authorities have reported two new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu in wild birds.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was sent follow-up report no. 11 last week (9 March).

A peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus calidus) was collected on 3 March 2012 at Ma On Shan. The peregrine falcon is a rare winter visitor in Hong Kong.

A black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) was collected on 2 March 2012 at Tuen Mun. The black-headed gull is a common winter visitor in Hong Kong.

An intensive surveillance system is in place for all poultry farms, poultry markets and pet bird shops in Hong Kong. The H5N1 infected wild birds and goose carcass from unknown source were detected in ongoing surveillance programme on wild birds. The dates of the outbreaks are the same as the dates the birds were collected (i.e. 17 December 2011, 30 December 2011, 1 January 2012, 12 January 2012, 20 January 2012 , 30 January 2012 , 6 February 2012, 7 February 2012, 8 February 2012, 24 February 2012, 25 February 2012, 27 February 2012, 2 March 2012 and 3 March 2012 respectively).

A total of 19,451 poultry, including 15,569 chickens, 810 pigeons, 1,950 pheasants and 1,122 silky fowls were culled in the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market on 21 December 2011. The Wholesale Poultry Market was closed. Importation of live poultry and movement of poultry in local farms is banned for 21 days. Read More

Bird flu case registered in South Korea

The first case of bird flu was registered in South Korea over the last ten months, local authorities reports.

Forty chickens died in one of the bird farms in Chungcheongnam-do province. The tests should show the type and degree of danger of the infection.

In case of negative test results the authorities will have to introduce restrictions on the export of all domestic poultry, ITAR-TASS reports. Source

Obama welcomes drop in U.S. oil imports amid high gas prices

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama, arming himself against election-year attacks on his energy policies amid painfully high gas prices, welcomed a report on Monday showing a one million barrel-per-day decline in U.S. oil imports in 2011.

Obama is stepping up defense of his record amid concern that rising oil prices may lift the price of gasoline at the pump to $5 a gallon in some parts of the country this summer, which could pose a threat to the Democratic president's bid for re-election on November 6.

"Today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future," Obama said in a statement on the progress report on energy security. "We have made progress."

The report showed U.S. oil imports declined to 8.4 million barrels a day by the end of 2011 compared with 11 million barrels a day when Obama took office in January 2009. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA - 12th Mar 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 17:55:10 UTC Monday 12th March 2012
The epicenter was 251 km (156 miles) North from Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

2 Children die of food poisoning, over 2 dozen hospitalised‎, Ghazipur District, India

VARANASI: Two children died of food poisoning while more than 30 were admitted to a community health centre in Ghazipur district on Sunday night.

The food and civil supply department officials collected samples of food articles while police registered a case against unidentified food vendors in this connection. According to reports, Gudar Shah Ki Mazar is located in Sai Ki Takia area under Khanpur police station limits. The annual 'urs' of the Mazar was observed on Sunday when thousands of people thronged the site to take part in the event. A fair was also organised at the site in which scores of food article vendors had set up their shops.

After consuming food articles like chaat-chhola and others at the shops, the health of dozens of people started deteriorating in the night. On noticing sharp deterioration in the health condition of Ramesh Yadav alias Sonu (13) of Belahari village and Atiq Khan (12) of Baheri village, their family members also rushed them to a local hospital but they died on the way. The condition of over three dozens persons who were also admitted to the same CHC started improving by Monday morning and many of them were discharged too. Read More

Mustard leak at Blue Grass Army Depot poses no threat, officials say, Kentucky

Low levels of mustard agent vapor were detected in an igloo Monday morning at Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, officials said.

At this time the leak poses no danger or risk to the citizens of Madison or surrounding counties, a release from Blue Grass Chemical Activity said.

The vapor was detected inside an igloo containing 155mm projectiles. The vapor was discovered during routine monitoring.

Toxic chemical workers have connected a 1,000-cubic-feet-per-minute filter to the rear vent of the igloo. Ambient outside air is drawn in the front vent, through the length of the igloo, and out the rear vent into filters that capture all agent particles. This prevents any agent from escaping into the outside atmosphere.

Madison County Emergency Management and the state Kentucky Division of Emergency Management were notified about the vapor leak. Read More

New rabies virus discovered in Tanzania

The virus was identified as part of a rabies surveillance research project funded by the Wellcome Trust and was investigated following an unusual incident when a child was attacked by a civet – a cat-like nocturnal mammal – in a part of the Serengeti which was thought to be rabies-free.

The samples that were collected tested positive for rabies at the Central Veterinary Laboratory, Dar es Salaam. Subsequent genetic tests showed that the virus was a new type of rabies virus that had not been previously described, but was similar to a bat rabies virus isolated in the Caucasian region of Eastern Europe.

Scientists believe the new virus is likely to originate in bats and that cross-over infection to civets and other mammalian species is likely to be relatively rare. However further studies are planned to determine the extent of infection and the degree of risk to human and animal health.

Professor Sarah Cleaveland, of the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: “The vast majority of human deaths from rabies are caused by bites from domestic dogs with rabies, which can be effectively controlled through mass dog vaccination campaigns.

“This new virus is unlikely to pose a threat to humans on the scale of that of dog rabies. However this research highlights the need for vigilance and maintaining good levels of surveillance. Read More

American woman Abandons adopted Russian twins on freezing street with just a note saying: 'I've given them up'

Twins adopted by an American woman, 28, were found abandoned on a freezing Russian street with a note saying she no longer wanted them.

Sasha and Masha are just 15 months old and the 'cruelty' of the mother's rejection has led to a demand from the Kremlin's children's tsar Pavel Astakhov for a total ban on adoptions to American parents.

He branded the woman - who has not been identified and is now on the run - as an 'absolutely immoral person', and the case has been dubbed an 'outrage' by the Russian media.

It has alarming echoes of a 2010 episode in which Tennessee woman Torry Hansen sent her adopted seven-year-old Russian son Artem Saveliev on a plane back to Moscow alone with a message saying: 'I no longer wish to parent this child.'

Custodial staff in Russia's second city of St Petersburg discovered the twins - a boy and a girl - in sub-zero temperatures close to the front door of their institution. Read More

It's the Wei of the future: BBC launches cartoon Mandarin lessons to prepare children for a Chinese-dominated global economy

Children as young as four will learn to speak Mandarin thanks to a BBC series that starts today.

An animated bug called Wei, who wears rollerskates and a crash helmet, will teach young viewers basic vocabulary such as the words for 'hello', 'thank you', the names of colours and numbers up to 10.

It has been suggested that the decision to include Mandarin alongside the two other 'priority' languages - French and Spanish - was driven by calls for children to be prepared for a global economy dominated by China.

Makers of the show, which will be broadcast on CBeebies, promise to expand youngsters' horizons, 'extending their cultural knowledge and understanding of the world around them'.

Other languages featured in the 11-minute episodes include Polish, Urdu, Punjabi and Somali, as well as Welsh. Read More

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 12th Mar 2012

A magnitude 3.0 earthquake has struck Northern California at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles Poorly constrained), the quake hit at 16:30:09 UTC Monday 12th March 2012
The epicenter was 2 km (1.2 miles) WSW from Anderson Springs, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Pensioner, 79, held hostage for two days is freed as knife-wielding son, 40, surrenders to police

An armed siege at a pensioner's home ended today when her 40-year-old son who held her at knife-point gave himself up.

A police spokesman said the man was talked out of the home in Sandwell, West Midlands, by police and arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment.

The 79-year-old mother is receiving medical attention at the scene but is understood not to be injured. Read More

Metalworkers cooked to death inside giant Austrian oven after door closed and 800C furnace was accidentally switched on

An Austrian metalworker accidentally switched on an oven that two colleagues were inside cleaning - leaving them to slowly cook to death.

Detectives investigating the horrific deaths in the massive oven say the pair had tried to rip the insulation off the wall of the oven and clawed at the door in a desperate bid to get free.

The tragedy happened when the automatic door of the oven at the factory owned by the Salzburger Aluminium AG company in Lenz closed.

The giant oven which reaches a temperature of 800 degrees centigrade was then switched on.

Now detectives say the two men who had been sent inside to clean the oven had actually finished the job and left before returning a second time without informing colleagues.

They also failed to instigate any of the four security measures including putting up a sign indicating that they were inside, and also failing to secure the door so that it stayed open.

As a result the door had somehow swung shut and the colleague, believing the cleaning work had finished because he had already seen his colleagues outside and noting the door was closed, had switched the oven on. Read More

Chris Bowman a Decathalon coach accused of sexually abusing 11-year-old boy has trial delayed so he can train athlete for Olympics

A sports coach accused of sexual activity with an 11-year-old boy has had his trial delayed - so he can train an athlete for the Olympics.

Decathlon trainer Chris Bowman, 48, who has been charged with abusing the youngster while in a position of trust.

The coach - who is mentoring Commonwealth Games medallist decathlete Martin Brockman - was told he would face trial after denying the charge.

But Judge Michael Carroll, sitting at Maidstone Crown Court in Kent, put his trial back until the end of August after hearing that he was preparing Brockman for the Olympics.

Friday's decision was today branded a ‘disgrace’ by outraged child protection groups.

Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association for the People Abused in Childhood, said: ‘It really is quite a bewildering decision.

‘This man is still innocent until proven guilty, but given the nature of the alleged offence it would be wholly inappropriate for him to stay in his position as a sports coach. Read More

Colonel Gaddafi 'gave French President Nicolas Sarkozy £42MILLION to fund his 2007 election campaign'

Nicolas Sarkozy received up to £42million from Colonel Gaddafi to fund his election as French president, it was sensationally claimed today.

Extraordinary evidence made public in Paris is said to prove that the two former close allies had an illegal financial arrangement which propelled Mr Sarkozy to power in 2007.

A governmental briefing note published by Mediapart, the hugely respected investigative website, points to numerous visits to Libya by Mr Sarkozy and his colleagues which were aimed at securing funding.

One, which is referred to in the note as having taken place on October 6, 2005, led to 'campaign finance to NS (Nicolas Sarkozy)' being 'totally solved'.

At the time Mr Sarkozy was an ambitious Interior Minister who was raising money for his presidential election campaign, even though taking cash from a notorious tyrant would have broken political financing laws.

Mediapart claims that €50million referred to in the note was laundered through bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland. Read More

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN - 12th Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the Hindu Kush Region, Afghanistan at a depth of 54 km (33.6 miles), the quake hit at 14:05:21 UTC Monday 12th March 2012
The epicenter was 146 km (90 miles) Northwest of Gilgit, Kashmir
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake PAKISTAN - 12th Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Pakistan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:01:35 UTC Monday 12th March 2012
The epicenter was 47 km (29 miles) SSE of Mingaora, Pakistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Animal Body Parts Dumped In Desolate Area Of Suffolk County‎, New York



DEER PARK, N.Y.(PIX11)— A remote stretch of roadway in Suffolk County has become a dumping ground for mutilated animals.

"We found about 12 bags, with about 20 or so dead chickens, dead roosters, and we found one bag that had two small goat heads in it," said Detective Paul Llobell of the Suffolk County Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals.

"We are not sure if it is actual animal torture, animal neglect -- or maybe it could be part of a religious sacrifice." Llobell told PIX11 News.

A necropsy -- the animal equivalent of an autopsy -- will be preformed to determine the cause of death. It is possible the animals came from a farm, that fell on hard times. Town of Babylon Animal Shelter Director Chirs Elton said if animal owners can no longer afford to feed their animals, help is available. "They can call us... if we can't directly help them out we can help them to place the animal," he said.

Right now, the Suffolk County SPCA is investigating this as a cruelty case. Read More

Animal attacks on the rise in Rajasthan, India

JAIPUR: In a sign of intensifying man-animal conflict in parts of Rajasthan, four persons were killed in animal attacks in less than one month, jerking the government into action.

Morpali Meena (55) and Ashfaq (20) were mauled by tigers in Ranthambore National Park area in Sawaimadhopur on February 16 and March 8 respectively.

In Dholpur, a bear killed middle aged men Rambabu Gujjar and Tej Singh Kushwaha and injured a few others in March. The animal was later killed by villagers.

Expressing concern over the incident, state Forest Minister Bina Kak said, "I am worried with this rising trend (of man-animal conflict) and have directed officials to make more efforts for controlling such incidents.

"I have asked officials to increase the height of the forest wall around Ranthambhore park from existing six feet to stop illegal entry of people who go there to collect firewood," she said.

"Tracking of wild animals, particularly those of big cats, will also be strengthened and senior officials will have to monitor the activity closely," she said. Read More

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 12th Mar 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands at a depth of 131.6 km (81.8 miles), the quake hit at 12:32:49 UTC Monday 12th March 2012
The epicenter was 16 km (10 miles) West from Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

3.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE OREGON - 12th Mar 2012

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake has struck offshore Oregon at a depth of 0 km (0 miles Poorly constrained), the quake hit at 11:37:20 UTC Monday 12th March 2012
The epicenter was 30 km (18.6 miles) WNW from Yachats, Oregon
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Dead reef shark found buried in sand, Florida

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Children at a South Florida beach made an unusual discovery in the sand.

7News viewer Linda Williams sent in photos of a dead reef shark, partially buried in the sand on Pompano Beach, Sunday morning.

A group of people passing by noticed the 80-pound shark, which had a fishing hook and line sticking out of its mouth.

Authorities were called to haul the shark away. "Apparently, someone was out fishing last night, and they brought it in to shore to bury it in the sand but didn't do too good of a job," said Chris Williams, who found the shark. "Its head was popping out, so we brought it back up and found Ocean Rescue, and they took it away."

The species is considered near threatened, and it is illegal to fish for them commercially. Source

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake AZORES ISLANDS REGION, PORTUGAL - 12th Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the Azores Islands Region, Portugal at a depth of 13 km (8 miles), the quake hit at 12:10:21 UTC Monday 12th March 2012
The epicenter was 170 km (105.4 miles) Southeast of Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores Islands, Portugal
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Carp kill sinks fishing at pans, South Africa

HUNDREDS of big carp have died in one of the major pans at Strandfontein wastewater treatment works adjoining Zeekoevlei, temporarily ruining one of the Peninsula’s premier freshwater fishing spots.

The pans are also a major birding area, and when the incident occurred last weekend anglers and birders were ordered to leave by security staff.

This prompted speculation there had been a sewage or chemical spill into the pan, but the City of Cape Town said the fish die-off was caused by natural oxygen depletion.

“Flippen heartsore!” commented one angler on the online forum of Sealine (SA African Angling and Boating Community) that was headed “J-Dam terrible news”.

Another posted: “Hundreds of dying fish! All from 2-15kg. A couple of guys tried to ‘help’ the fish back into the water, but they just beached themselves again. There were also two guys picking up bucket loads of the fish and driving off with them. One of the most tragic things I have ever seen!”

Ossie Asmal, director of environmental resource management at the city council, confirmed that about 500 carp, “all of a larger size”, had died in the pan, but said it had not been caused by any toxic or sewage spill. Read More

Great white found dead on beach, South Africa

A 4.3m female great white shark was found dead at Fish Hoek beach on Sunday morning, says the SA Whale Disentanglement Network’s Mike Meyer.

Shark Spotters research manager Alison Kock said the shark had been caught in “experimental” fishing gear owned by Whelk Fisheries.

“The gear was placed on the sea floor and had a jar of sardines attached to it as bait. The shark was found with a rope around its gills. At the moment, we are unsure how it got entangled or why she couldn’t swim away,” Kock said.

Meyer said the carcass was discovered just before noon and was found tangled in a “new kind of experimental net”.

“She was found trapped in the ropes and had probably been dead for some time. We suspect that she drowned after being held in one place for a long time and eventually she couldn’t breathe.” Meyer said they would “try to get out” what they could from the carcass to determine the exact cause of death.

“We are very concerned about the matter and have reported the incident to the Department of Agriculture,” he added.

Whelk Fisheries’ Judian Bruk said the ropes were 2m long and were “more like two hoop nets on top of each other, used to catch sea snails”. Read More

Carp dead at Danson lake, UK

AN OUTBREAK which killed around 40 carp in Danson lake on Friday could have been triggered by people releasing fish, Environment Agency experts say.

Tests revealed no problem in water quality and only carp were affected, leading environment officers to believe a disease or parasite may be responsible and could have been caused by people releasing fish into the water.

The Environment Agency said if it knew people had put fish in the lake, it could help to limit the impact on wildlife.

Dog walker Celia Turner said: “I was just walking my dog and there were quite a few large dead fish. The birds are pecking at them – it was really horrible.”

The Environment Agency and Bexley Council are investigating and said more tests on the water and the fish will be carried out.

Environment Officer, Matt Higginson said "It's always sad to see fish die in this manner. We were on the site very quickly, but it's very difficult to prevent these sorts of outbreaks.” Read More