Saturday, April 7, 2012

Greenpeace Ship Heads for Elgin Platform Gas Leak

Hong Kong Protest Against Chinese Communist Party on Tomb Sweeping Day

"Darkness threatens mankind": Pope

Pope Benedict XVI, carrying a tall, lit candle, ushered in Christianity's most joyous celebration with an Easter vigil service Saturday night, but voiced fears that mankind is groping in darkness, unable to distinguish good from evil.

Easter for Christians commemorates Christ's triumph over death with his resurrection following his crucifixion.

"Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies," Benedict, wearing white robes in a symbol of new life, told the faithful in a packed St. Peter's Basilica.

Still, Benedict worried in his homily: "The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil."

"The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general," the pope said.

"If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other 'lights,' that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk," Benedict added. more

Man kills 4, wounds 3 in Hungary sword attack

Police in Hungary say a 24-year-old man killed four people with a sword and injured three others after a family argument.

Laszlo Garamvolgyi of the Hungarian police told reporters that the killer used "weapons that were able to stab and cut, and the crime was brutal," according to state-owned Hungarian news agency MTI.

Garamvolgyi said a family argument led to the attack.

The incident occurred in Kulcs, a small town south of the capital, Budapest.

Csaba Kiss, the mayor of Kulcs, said locals described the family as normal and hard-working.

Police said 135 officers were involved in the operation to capture the man, alongside members of the country's counterterror unit.

Janos Hajdu, director of the terror unit, told reporters the suspect was carrying "sharp weapons" but did not resist arrest, state-run Hungarian TV reported. more

Anonymous Launch Attack On Home Office Website

Hackers group Anonymous claims it has taken down the Home Office website in a distributed denial-of-service attack.

A message on the group's Twitter account read: "TANGO DOWN - http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk For your draconian surveillance proposals! Told you to #ExpectUs!

Visitors attempting to access the Home Office site were told that it was temporarily unavailable.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We are aware of some reports that the Home Office website may be the subject of an online protest. We have put all potential measures in place and will be monitoring the situation very closely."

"If a successful denial of service attempt does occur tonight, we will liaise with the technical team and update as necessary."

A distributed denial-of-service attack prevents legitimate users from visiting sites by flooding them with unwanted internet traffic.

More to follow...

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE - 7th Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a depth of 16.7 km (10.4 miles), the quake hit at 20:37:52 UTC Saturday 7th April 2012
The epicenter was 1096 km (681 miles) Northeast from Natal, Brazil
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA, INDONESIA - 7th Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the Banda Sea, Indonesia at a depth of 76.4 km (47.5 miles), the quake hit at 20:09:40 UTC Saturday 7th April 2012
The epicenter was 219 km (136 miles) NNW of Saumlaki, Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA, INDONESIA - 7th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Banda Sea, Indonesia at a depth of 106 km (65.7 miles), the quake hit at 20:05:58 UTC Saturday 7th April 2012
The epicenter was 170 km (105.4 miles) West of Tual, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Opposition: 110 dead as Syrian forces target civilians



(CNN) -- Syrian forces are targeting civilians displaced from their homes by earlier fighting, an opposition group said Saturday, three days before a deadline for government forces to withdraw from cities.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria said the regime is targeting villages and farms around the eastern city of Rastan, where fighting a month ago forced out more than 80 percent of the city's residents. They escaped to the nearby area but are now coming under attack, according to the group, which is a network of opposition activists.

The death toll has risen to 121, including eight women and five children, the LCC said Saturday. The breakdown of those deaths are 59 in Hama, 28 in Homs, 13 in the Aleppo suburbs, 19 Idlib, one in Daraa, and one in Douma in the Damascus suburbs, the LCC said. Read More

Humberside Car Crash Kills Three People

Three people have been killed after two vehicles collided on the A614 in East Yorkshire, police say.

Two others were taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries after the accident in the village of East Cowick.

"Humberside Police called at 1.35pm today reporting a serious two-vehicle road traffic collision on the A614 at East Cowick, Goole," a spokesman said.

"Police, ambulance, air ambulance and fire brigade were in attendance."

The road was expected to be closed until 9pm.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service confirmed two patients had been airlifted by helicopter from the scene to Leeds General Infirmary.

A spokeswoman said she could not confirm the nature or seriousness of their injuries.

More to follow...

Dutch government wants to block the publication of a controversial Killer Bird Flu

The Dutch government wants to block the publication of a controversial article on a deadly bird flu strain engineered by the Rotterdam Erasmus Medical Centre to prevent the information from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Last week the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity dropped its opposition to the publication of two articles that were to appear in two leading scientific journals, Science and Nature. Earlier this week, US scientists who conducted similar research announced their results at an international conference. The Dutch Economy Ministry first wants the Rotterdam researched to apply for an export permit.

The Dutch research team, led by Ron Fouchier, caused controversy last year because it had developed a bird flu strain that could be transmitted by air. Though the lab research involved ferrets, the new strain could conceivably also infect people. Mr Fouchier described the virus as “probably one of the most dangerous viruses one can make.” Soon after Japanese-American researchers reached the same conclusion. Read More

Nevado de Ruiz volcano showing renewed activity, Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia — Authorities in Colombia say a towering volcano is showing renewed activity and could erupt in weeks or days.

Gas and vapor has been rising periodically from the Nevado de Ruiz volcano since February and the country’s geology institute says people in some areas are reporting “strong odors of sulfur.”

As of Friday, officials have not yet ordered any evacuations around the 17,457-foot (5,321-meter) volcano roughly 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of the country’s capital, Bogota.

A 1985 eruption at the volcano brought a river of rocks and mud sweeping across the town of Armero, killing 25,000 people. Source

Cleveland volcano: Eruptions Continue

ALEUTIANS -- Alaska's Cleveland volcano in the Aleutian Islands is continuing to erupt.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory said Friday that low-level eruptions continue to occur inside the volcano located on a remote, uninhabited island 940 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The volcano's lava dome in the summit crater was destroyed during a short explosive eruption on Wednesday. The resulting ash cloud reached about 15,000 feet above sea level.

It was the third lava dome that has been destroyed by explosive events since the eruptions began in July 2011. Source

Peru's thousands of beached dolphins a mystery

When a retired fisherman called to report that about 1,500 dolphins had washed up on Peru's northern coast, veterinarian Carlos Yaipén's first reaction was, "That's impossible."

But when Yaipén traveled up the coast last week, he counted 615 dead or dying dolphins along an 84-mile stretch of coastline.

Now, the death toll could be as high as 2,800, based on volunteers' counts. Peru's enormous dolphin die-off is among the largest ever reported worldwide. The strandings, which began in January, are a marine mystery that may never be unraveled. Experts say the causes could be acoustic impact from testing for oil, or perhaps an unknown virus or other pathogen. Little marine research takes place in Peru, and even in the United States, of 55 marine mammal strandings since 1991, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has classified 29 as "undetermined."

All of the 20 or so animals Yaipén has examined showed middle-ear hemorrhage and fracture of the ear's periotic bone, lung lesions and bubbles in the blood. To him, that suggests that a major acoustic impact caused injury, but not immediate death. Most of the dolphins apparently were alive when they beached, or had died very recently. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SALTA, ARGENTINA - 7th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Salta, Argentina at a depth of 173.3 km (107.7 miles), the quake hit at 18:18:36 UTC Saturday 7th April 2012
The epicenter was 41 km (25 miles) West of San Antonio de los Cobres, Salta, Argentina
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Oil poisoning? Alarming sea animal deaths on India's west coast, after two more Whales wash up Dead

Two giant Baleen's humpback whale sharks washed up dead on the Mumbai and Thane beaches in separate incidents last week. This was preceded by a Bryde's whale shark getting washed ashore at a beach in Ratnagiri, around 250 km south of Mumbai.

In the past couple of months alone, over a dozen dead dolphins, usually seen frolicking in the calm blue-green Konkan coast waters, washed up on different virgin beaches in the region.

Conservationists suspect chemical or oil poisoning.

"All these instances are not natural. There's something more serious than we are aware of and it needs a detailed probe," said a visibly disturbed Vishwas (Bhau) Katdare, who is spearheading conservation efforts for turtles, vultures and other animals in the Konkan through the NGO Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra (SNM).

At times, a turtle or a huge fish may get entangled in the thousands of fishing nets cast off the coasts, Katdare said. Read More

SM 2000 turboprop plane crashed during a training flight in Russia, Killing 4 People

Moscow: At least four people died when an SM 2000 turboprop plane crashed during a training flight in Russia, an official said.

The plane crashed in central Russia's Kaluga region Friday.

Four people died -- a woman and three men, the official said.

The SM 2000 is a light multipurpose six-seat single-engine aircraft, able to cover distances of up to 1,600 km. It is produced by the Smolensk Aircraft Plant in western Russia. Source

Storms Turn Deadly In Bangladesh Killing at least 17 People

DHAKA, Bangladesh (April 7, 2012)--News reports say storms that produced heavy rain and strong winds killed at least 17 people and injured dozens more in Bangladesh.

Two newspapers reported that Friday's storms damaged mud-and-straw huts and felled trees in 10 of the country's 64 districts.

The reports say most of the deaths occurred from lightning.

Some victims were buried under their collapsed houses.

Official confirmation of the reports was not immediately available.

Rainstorms are common in Bangladesh, a tropical delta nation of 160 million people. Source

Hailstorm hits Hyderabad city, India

HYDERABAD: Parts of Hyderabad on Friday evening witnessed heavy hailstone showers. Nagole, LB Nagar, Koti, Charminar and Shamshabad areas recorded heavy fall of hailstones and other parts remained cloudy, according to the Hyderabad Meteorological Centre. Met department officials said it was a normal phenomena in summers.

"The first showers in summers will generally carry hail stones. The change in weather is due to upper air cyclonic circulations flowing from the Chhattisgarh region to South Tamil Nadu through South Telangana and also due to the formation of similar circulations over West Bengal," said RV Subba Rao, assistant meteorologist at the Hyderabad Centre. Because of summer convective clouds, rainfall would be less with heavy flow of winds which might result in hailstones, he added. Read More

Russian 1.6-ton military satellite to hit Pacific Ocean

MOSCOW, April 6 (UPI) -- Russian space officials say a defunct 1.6-ton military satellite is expected to fall into the Pacific Ocean early Saturday.

The Molniya-1-89 satellite, currently orbiting 1,500 miles above the earth, is being monitored by the Space Defense Force, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.

"Fragments of the Molniya satellite that do not burn up in the upper atmosphere may reach the earth's surface on Saturday, April 7," he told RIA Novosti.

The satellite is expected to fall in the Pacific between New Zealand and Antarctica.

The Molniya-1-89 military communication satellite was launched in August 1996 from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia. Read More

Mysterious Radioactive Particles Found At Idaho National Laboratory advanced test reactor complex

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- Federal officials are trying to figure out the source of radioactive particles at the Idaho National Laboratory advanced test reactor complex after a contractor came across traces of cesium and cobalt on construction debris.

"It may have come from some past decontamination and demolition projects that we've done at that particular site where we've torn down old buildings,” said Brad Bugger of the Department of Energy on Friday.

With so many unanswered questions about the source of the problem, the DOE can provide at least one answer.

“There’s really no concern for people who are off-site,” said Bugger. “It doesn’t pose a real health threat unless you would get it onto your skin and it would be attached to you skin and you would have a prolonged exposure to it.” Read More

Colorado Fires: Crews battle wildfires around state amid strong winds

Crews vigorously attacked a wildfires that erupted Friday around the state as high winds threatened to spread them quickly.

Most of the fires were contained by nightfall, although crews were on the scenes overnight to ensure nothing reignited.

A 100-acre wildfire 2 miles north of Gunnison prompted evacuations of 58 homes before firefighters contained it Friday, Gunnison County officials said.

A smaller fire west of Gunnison was still burning on about 40 acres in 40 mph gusts Friday evening. Sheriff’s officials said residents could start preparing to leave just in case.

The smaller fire was reported in Little Blue Canyon between Gunnison and Montrose. It wasn’t clear how either fire started.

Meanwhile, about 35 miles southwest of Denver, firefighters planned to stay overnight at a 5-acre wildfire on grassy terrain in the Pike National Forest in Jefferson County. The fire was about 15 miles from where a March wildfire scorched 6 square miles and killed as many as three people. Read More

Polar bear warning issued by Northern Peninsula highway

Police urged the public on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula to stay clear of a polar bear that had been seen by the main highway in the area.

The warning, issued by the RCMP and the provincial Department of Natural Resources, marks at least the eighth warning about polar bears in the province in the last few weeks.

The bear was seen on Route 430, which stretches the long and often hilly terrain of the Northern Peninsula, near Three Mile Lake. The bear was seen heading north toward Bird Cove and Shoal Cove West.

People in the area were asked not to travel alone.

"Do not approach the bear and avoid the use of any snowmobiles at this time. The noise may attract the bear," the warning said.

While polar bears are far from rare in Newfoundland and Labrador, there has been an uncommon frequency in sightings this spring, particularly around the island.

Two bears have been shot and killed. In one instance in late March, a bear had killed livestock and was trying to enter homes in Goose Cove, near St. Anthony. Read More

Mysterious Arctic Illness May Have Spread to Polar Bears

A mysterious disease that swept through populations of seals in the Canadian, Russian and American Arctic last year and was associated with high levels of mortality, may have spread to one of the seals’ principal predators.

Scientists with the United States Geological Survey reported observing polar bears with hair loss and skin lesions in the Beaufort Sea, near Barrow. These symptoms are similar to those that affected ice seal populations in the same area last summer, although whether they are suffering from the same illness remains unknown.

It should also be noted that Pacific walruses with similar symptoms were also observed near Barrow last year and they appeared otherwise healthy. So far, so do the polar bears.

Nonetheless, the appearance of this disease among polar bears, a threatened species, is disturbing. At the very least, it should serve as a caution flag to scientists and government officials. With polar bears already vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and now showing signs of a new emergent illness, this is not the time to be playing Russian roulette with the Beaufort Sea population either by rushing ahead with offshore oil exploration and drilling or by continuing Canada’s commercial trade in polar bear skins. Read More

Argentina Bus Crash kills 11 with at least 50 more Injured

(CNN) -- At least 11 people died and another 50 were injured when the driver of double-decker bus traveling from Bolivia to Argentina lost control of the vehicle, which veered three meters off a cliff, Argentinean state media said.

The crash took place Friday evening in the village of Barcena, about 38 kilometers (24 miles) north of the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, the Telam news agency said.

The bus belonged to Bolivian company Potosi. Read More

Three Palestinians were hanged in Gaza

(CNN) -- Three Palestinians were hanged in Gaza on Saturday, one of them for "collaborating" with the Israelis, the territory's ruling Hamas government said.

The other two were convicted of murder, the Ministry of Interior and National Security statement said. One was also found guilty of one count of sodomy with a child under 16.

The sentences were carried out according to legal procedures and all three had exhausted their right to appeal, the statement said.

Hamas, a militant Islamist group, has controlled Gaza since 2007, when it seized power from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority after a short-lived coalition government failed. Hamas had won legislative elections in January 2006. Read More

Gunmen attack Yemen's main airport



Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Gunmen loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh attacked the country's main airport with mortars Saturday, forcing authorities to cancel flights, witnesses and officials said.

Two officials at Sanaa International Airport told CNN that the former commander of Yemen's air force had warned he would bring down any civil aircraft departing or arriving the airport unless his demands are met.

The commander, Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, is one of several relatives of the former president who were replaced in a major military shakeup. Al-Ahmar refused to give up his post.

Ali Saleh was forced to step down from power in February. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF NAYARIT, MEXICO - 7th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck off the Coast of Nayarit, Mexico at a depth of 15.5 km (9.6 miles), the quake hit at 15:30:38 UTC Saturday 7th April 2012
The epicenter was 192 km (119 miles) Southwest of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Pakistan Avalanche: Rescuers Recover Victims



The first bodies have been recovered after a devastating avalanche engulfed a Pakistan army base in the Himalayas, Sky sources say.

A security official said more than 12 bodies have been recovered from the Gayari sector of Siachen in the country's north.

The avalanche buried more than 100 soldiers at the base early this morning.

Troops with sniffer dogs, aided by helicopters, have been trying to find signs of survivors in the snow.

A team of doctors and paramedics has also been sent to the mountainous area, a security official said. Read More

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 7th Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck the New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 39.6 km (24.6 miles), the quake hit at 11:58:07 UTC Saturday 7th April 2012
The epicenter was 61 km (38 miles) South from Kandrian, New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Note: Earthquake has been downgraded from 6.0 Magnitude to 5.8 Magnitude

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake LAKE BAYKAL REGION, RUSSIA - 7th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck the Lake Baykal Region, Russia at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 10:20:39 UTC Saturday 7th April 2012
The epicenter was 61 km (37.8 miles) North of Kabansk, Russia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Motorbike bomb kills two al Qaeda militants by Accident

Apr. 6 - Two al Qaeda militants were killed after a bomb they were carrying on their motorbike accidentally detonated. Deborah Gembara reports.

Anti US protests sparked by bounty

April 7 - A 10 million dollar bounty on a Pakistani Islamist leader prompts anti U.S. protests across the country. Julie Noce reports.

Robert Bales: Lawyer wants military counsel fired

(Reuters) - The civilian attorney representing the U.S. soldier accused of murdering 17 Afghan villagers wants to replace the military lawyer assigned to the case after disagreements over how to handle his defense.

"You are fired, sorry, but we have much more experience than you," Seattle-based John Henry Browne, the outspoken lawyer who has been the public face of the defense of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, said in an email to military lawyer Major Thomas Hurley.

The Army assigns defense counsel such as Hurley to soldiers facing court martial but defendants also have the right to hire additional civilian counsel, in this case Browne. Any change in military counsel would have to be approved by the Army. Read More

Yemen in major military shakeup

(CNN) -- A number of relatives of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh were replaced Friday in a major shakeup of the military, though two prominent members of his family remained in powerful military posts.

Friday's moves were announced in a statement by a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington and attributed to the current president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

"President Hadi promised major change in the military, and tonight that promise was delivered," said Mohammed Albasha, the embassy spokesman. "This is the biggest military shakeup in modern Yemen history."

One of the Salehs sacked in the shuffle was the former president's half-brother, Gen. Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmar, who had been head of air force. He is now an assistant to the minister of defense.

Another of the sacked Salehs was the former president's nephew, Tareq Saleh, who had been head of the presidential guard. Read More