Monday, April 9, 2012

Resistance spread 'compromising' fight against malaria

Scientists have found new evidence that resistance to the front-line treatments for malaria is increasing.

They have confirmed that resistant strains of the malaria parasite on the border between Thailand and Burma, 500 miles (800km) away from previous sites.

Researchers say that the rise of resistance means the effort to eliminate malaria is "seriously compromised".

The details have been published in The Lancet medical journal.

For many years now the most effective drugs against malaria have been derived from the Chinese plant, Artemisia annua. It is also known as sweet wormwood.

In 2009 researchers found that the most deadly species of malaria parasites, spread by mosquitoes, were becoming more resistant to these drugs in parts of western Cambodia.

This new data confirms that these Plasmodium falciparum parasites that are infecting patients more than 500 miles away on the border between Thailand and Burma are growing steadily more resistant. Read More

Girl 'surfing' whale shark Sparks Outrage, Philippines



Social media networks in the Philippines have been buzzing with outrage after a photograph emerged of a girl standing on the back of a whale shark.

In spite of their size they only eat tiny plants and animals.

For many years, tourists have been able to swim alongside them, but now there are calls for tighter controls. Source

China land rights lawyer Ni Yulan and husband jailed

Disabled Chinese lawyer Ni Yulan and her husband Dong Jiqin have been jailed a year after they were detained.

Ms Ni was sentenced to two years and eight months, while her husband was handed a two-year term.

The couple are known for providing legal help to people whose homes have been seized by the government.

They were jailed on charges of "picking quarrels, provoking trouble and wilfully destroying private and public property", a court spokesman said.

The couple were detained last April as authorities rounded up scores of activists amid online calls for protests similar to those taking place at the time in the Arab world.

Their trial took place in December 2011, with the hearing closed to the press and foreign diplomats. Read More

Millionaire tax avoiders 'shock' chancellor

The chancellor has said he is "shocked" that some of the UK's richest people have organised their finances so that they pay virtually no income tax.

George Osborne told the Daily Telegraph the very wealthiest should be paying around a third of their income in tax.

He said he had seen "anonymised copies" of tax returns which showed him that some of the highest earners paid an income tax rate averaging at just 10%.

He said he would take "further action" but did not outline any new proposals.

HM Revenue and Customs provided the chancellor with the confidential tax returns submitted to the organisation by the UK's wealthiest people, the Telegraph reported. Read More

Legal action over Libya 'rendition'

The Commissioner for the British Indian Ocean Territory is being sued for complicity in the alleged rendition and torture of a Libyan rebel who is now head of the Tripoli Military Council.

Law firm Leigh Day & Co has filed legal papers against the Commissioner in the High Court on behalf of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who says he was rendered to Libya via British-controlled Diego Garcia in 2004.

Mr Belhadj, who has been hailed for his role in the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's regime last year, is already suing the UK Government, its security forces, and Sir Mark Allen, a former director of counter-terrorism at MI6.

The Libyan claims that evidence of the UK's role in the alleged rendition of him and his wife, Fatima Bouchar, is detailed in a number of documents held by the Libyan security services, which came to light after Gaddafi was ousted. Read More

Jake England and Alvin Watts the Tulsa shooting suspects confessed: report

(Reuters) - Two white men accused of shooting five black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing three of them, have confessed to authorities, media reports said on Monday, citing police and court documents.

Jake England, 19, has admitted to police that he shot three of the victims and Alvin Watts, 33, has said that he shot two others, a Tulsa police spokesman told the New York Times.

Three men and a woman were shot within a mile of each other in north Tulsa before dawn on Friday, police said. The body of a fifth victim was discovered outside a nearby funeral home in the predominantly black part of the city the same morning.

Police have described the shootings during the predawn hours of Friday as random because there is no evidence the suspects knew any of the victims. One witness said the gunman simply pulled his pickup truck to the side of the street and asked for directions before he opened fire.

England and Watts were arrested on Sunday in the shooting spree, which left residents on edge and prompted an intensive manhunt across Tulsa and surrounding areas. Read More

Robert Mugabe 'close to death' in Singapore

A newspaper in Zimbabwe is reporting that the country's dictator Robert Mugabe is close to death in a Singapore Hospital.

The Zimbabwe Mail says the Mugabe's family has flown to the hospital to be with him.

He's reported to have agreed to hand over power to Zimbabwe's defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The alarm was raised when the government postponed a cabinet meeting set for today.

"The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, wishes to inform all members of cabinet that sitting has been moved from Tuesday, April 10, to Thursday, April 12, 2012," said Mugabe spokesman George Charamba.

Officials say Mugabe is in Singapore to oversee the arrangements for his daughter Bona to study at university. However, there have been reports that he was flown to Singapore after collapsing in his home last week. Read More

Airlines change flight path to avoid North Korea rocket

Three Asian airlines are making changes to flight paths to avoid a North Korean rocket launch due to take place between 12 and 16 April.

Philippine Airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have announced changes to several routes.

North Korea has moved into its rocket into place on the launch pad and allowed journalists to view it.

Pyongyang says the rocket will put a satellite into orbit to mark the 100th birthday of late leader Kim Il-sung.

But opponents of the move fear it is a disguised test of long-range missile technology.

Philippine Airlines said in a statement that as the splashdown area of the rocket's second stage was anticipated to be ''just east of Luzon'', all flights passing through the area during the launch period would have their routes adjusted.

These include about a dozen flights between Manila and the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea. Read More

Syria Increases Attacks As Peace Plan Begins

The Syrian regime has escalated attacks on civilians as the deadline loomed to begin a UN-brokered peace deal to withdraw forces from urban areas.

The government of President Bashar al Assad is due to start to pull-back its troops this morning - ahead of a full ceasefire exactly 48 hours later.

But violence has intensified in several areas across Syria.

At least 150 people are reported to have been killed on Monday as troops launched new offensives in several areas.

Many of those who died were killed in attacks in the central province of Hama.

In the town of Latamna a residential building was shelled killing dozens, most of them reportedly women and children.

Local residents said snipers had been stationed on rooftops around the town and doctors had run short of medical supplies to treat the wounded. Read More

Abu Hamza Extradition To US Ruling Due Later today to Face Terrorist Charges

Human rights judges will rule later on whether to allow the Government to extradite radical preacher Abu Hamza to America to face terrorist charges.

A final ruling on six extradition cases is expected.

The verdict will effectively pass judgment on whether America's treatment of terrorist suspects could amount to "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" in breach of the European human rights code.

Hamza is serving a seven-year sentence in Britain for soliciting to murder and inciting racial hatred.

He has become the focus of growing concern over human rights rulings from Strasbourg which ministers claim could compromise national security.

The European Court of Human Rights halted extradition proceedings in July 2010, arguing it needed more time to consider complaints that transferring Abu Hamza and others wanted in the US risked breaching their rights by exposing them to possible life imprisonment without parole and solitary confinement.

Egyptian-born Hamza was granted British citizenship in 1986. Read More

Real IRA Vows to Continue Killing

Six men have been arrested after the Real IRA threatened to kill more policemen and soldiers.

They were detained after a masked spokesman for the group made the threat at an Easter Rising commemoration in Derry.

Police are now questioning them in Antrim

The Real IRA is a renegade faction which emerged following a split in the mainstream Provisional IRA (PIRA).

PIRA's alleged quartermaster general, Michael McKevitt, walked out when Sinn Fein joined the peace process.

McKevitt is serving a jail sentence for terrorist offences south of the Irish border.

He is the husband of Bernadette Sands McKevitt, sister of infamous hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Up to two dozen others defected with him, taking with them both weaponry and experience. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake CARLSBERG RIDGE - 10th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Carlsberg Ridge at a depth of 15.2 km (9.4 miles), the quake hit at 01:42:35 UTC Tuesday 10th April 2012
The epicenter was 660 km (410 miles) West of MALE, Maldives
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF CALIFORNIA - 9th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the Gulf of California at a depth of 14.6 km (9.1 miles), the quake hit at 21:37:091 UTC Monday 9th April 2012
The epicenter was 81 km (50 miles) Southwest from Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Anti-oilpatch activist Wiebo Ludwig dies at 70

Controversial Alberta anti-oilpatch activist and convicted bomber Wiebo Ludwig has died, his son Josh has confirmed.

Ludwig, 70, told CBC News last October that he had cancer of the esophagus and was not interested in undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

"Generally, they just extend your life a bit on all of those," he said. "And if that's all they're doing, I would just as soon sign off earlier."

Ludwig has long been a controversial figure in the Alberta oilpatch.

No one has ever been charged in the 1999 fatal shooting of teenager Karman Willis on his Trickle Creek farm.

In 2000, Ludwig was found guilty on five charges related to bombings and vandalism of oil and gas wells in northwestern Alberta. He served two-thirds of a 28-month prison sentence before he was released in 2001.

In January 2010, hundreds of RCMP officers searched his property looking for evidence related to six EnCana gas pipeline bombings. RCMP said they found his DNA on the envelope of a threatening letter sent to a local newspaper.

Ludwig was arrested and released after spending one night in jail. He was never charged.

In his interview last October with CBC News in Edmonton ahead of a screening of a documentary film about his life, Ludwig said he hoped he lived long enough to write a book about his fight.

"And probably publish it posthumously so they don't put me in jail," he said. source

Dead killer whale possibly linked to Canadian war games

The bloodied and battered corpse of a young killer whale whose death may be linked to Canadian war games has prompted an investigation by U.S. authorities.

The body of the southern resident orca — an endangered species in the United States — was discovered on Long Beach in Washington state in February, just days after HMCS Ottawa conducted sonar training exercises in the waters off Victoria, B.C.

A preliminary examination indicated significant trauma around the head, chest and right side of the orca known as L112, but results of necropsy and pathology tests and a scan of the animal's head are incomplete.

Just hours after the navy sonar tests were heard, southern resident killer whales were spotted in the same area in the Haro Strait that divides Canada and the United States.

The law enforcement office of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has launched an investigation into the death. more

Sanford Police Department reopens after Trayvon Martin protest: Mobs now rule in Florida

A group of students protesting the Trayvon Martin shooting on Monday blocked the entrance to the Sanford Police Department by kneeling in front of the doors, forcing the department to close. It has since been reopened.

No arrests were made in the protest, which came a day after the students, who call themselves the Dream Defenders, completed a 40-mile, three-day march from Daytona Beach to Sanford, where Martin, 17, was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in late February.

City officials and members of the U.S. Department of Justice observed the demonstration, which consisted of a handful of students -- some wearing hoodies -- blocking the entrance, with dozens of others standing nearby.

"The city of Sanford hopes the actions of the students will be as peaceful and orderly as the previous rallies and marches have been," said city manager Norton Bonaparte, Jr. "We want to be accommodating to all our visitors proving they act in a manner that is respectful to the people of the city."

Special prosecutor Angela Corey, who announced earlier Monday that she will not bring the case before a grand jury, spoke to the students via a conference call. Corey asked the students for patience and ensured that she is conducting a fair investigation. more

Partially Africanized bees found in East Tennessee

VONORE, TN. (WRCB) -- Tennessee's first case of partially Africanized bees was confirmed through genetic testing last week in a colony belonging to a beekeeper in Monroe County. The colony has been depopulated and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working with beekeepers in the area to determine if other bees could have been affected.

State Apiarist, Mike Studer, says it is no surprise that partially Africanized bees have made their way to Tennessee considering they have already been found in other states such as Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida.

"I'm actually surprised it's just now happening. We have been expecting this for some time," Studer said. "Citizens need to be vigilant, but there's no need to overreact. This is a situation that can be effectively managed through good beekeeping practices.

"We will be working with beekeepers to monitor their hives and to look for any signs of other aggressive bees in the area."

Test results show that genetically, the bees were less than 17 percent Africanized, far less than the 50 percent considered by USDA to be truly Africanized. The bee colony was purchased by the beekeeper last year from an out-of-state dealer.

The most important difference between an Africanized honey bee and our domestic European honeybee is their behavior. Read More

If you do disturb an Africanized honeybee colony, follow these steps to protect yourself.
  • 1. Run.
  • 2. Cover your head with your shirt or jacket while running because Africanized bees tend to sting the face and head.
  • 3. Never stand still or get boxed into a place outdoors where you cannot escape the attack.
  • 4. Seek immediate shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. Isolate yourself from the bees.
  • 5. Do not attempt to rescue a victim without the proper protective gear and training. Doing so could make you the second victim.

Dozens Of Homes Evacuated After Wildfire In Harford County

JOPPA, Md. (WJZ)– Whipping winds fueled a massive wildfire in Harford County Sunday afternoon. The fire became so big it threatened nearby homes forcing a mandatory evacuation.

Derek Valcourt has more on the fire and the efforts to control it.

The evacuation impacted dozens of homeowners. The fire itself consumed more than 18 acres.

More than 100 firefighters rushed to attack a wildfire ripping through the thick woods behind Dembytown Road in Harford County.

“The actual fire started coming closer to the house,” David Bobb said.

Bobb lives along those woods and could see the flames coming from his backyard.

“Very concerned for my house my neighbor’s house, our property, our kids,” he said. Read More

Real IRA Vows To Continue Its Deadly Attacks

The Real IRA has vowed to continue its attacks on members of the British security forces.

A masked man issued the threat during an Easter Rising commemoration in Derry.

The Real IRA is a renegade faction which emerged following a split in the mainstream Provisional IRA (PIRA).

PIRA's alleged quartermaster general, Michael McKevitt, walked out when Sinn Fein joined the peace process.

McKevitt is serving a jail sentence for terrorist offences south of the Irish border.

He is the husband of Bernadette Sands McKevitt, sister of infamous hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Up to two dozen others defected with him, taking with them both weaponry and experience. Read More

400 evacuated after flash flood at Turner Falls , Oklahoma



More than 400 campers at Turner Falls Park in Davis, OK, were evacuated Sunday after a flash flood. About 75 of them are expected to stay overnight at the Murray County Expo Center near Sulphur, OK.

Turner Falls flash flood causes evacuations of 400 campers
DAVIS — More than 400 campers were evacuated Sunday from Turner Falls Park after a flash flood.

About noon, campers gathered their personal belongings and left the campgrounds, but many vehicles remain stranded, American Red Cross spokesman Rusty Surette said.
No injuries were reported. Read More

Trayvon Martin death won't go to Florida grand jury

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Special prosecutor Angela Corey said Monday she will not take the Trayvon Martin shooting death before a grand jury.

Corey said she continues to investigate the case and will not involve a grand jury that had been set to meet Tuesday in Sanford, Fla.

Corey said her decision to skip the grand jury shouldn't be considered a factor in determining whether charges will be filed against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has admitted to fatally shooting the unarmed Martin.

The announcement means the decision on charges now rests solely with Corey, who had a reputation for not presenting cases before grand juries if it wasn't required. Under Florida law, only first-degree murder cases require the use of grand juries. Read More

Thunderstorm hits Sydney leaving Thousands without Power

THOUSANDS of Sydney homes and businesses have lost power as thunderstorms roll across the city.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Sydney, the Hunter region, the Mid North Coast, North West Slopes and Plains districts, forecasting damaging wind, hail and heavy rain.

Emergency crews are trying to restore power to 6000 homes in Ryde, Lindfield, Killara, St Ives, Frenchs Forest and Turramurra, all serviced by Ausgrid.

NSW State Emergency Services says it has received 53 calls for help so far during the storms, mostly for roof damage from heavy rain.

A spokesperson said the Hills district had been worst hit. Read More

Turkey-Syria border Tensions Escalate

ANKARA — Tension escalated on Monday between Turkey and Syria after shots fired from across the border injured six people in a Turkish refugee camp, angering Ankara a day before a visit by international envoy Kofi Annan.

Four Syrians and two Turks were wounded amid clashes between rebels and Syrian army forces on the other side of the border, the governor of Kilis province where the camp is located told Anatolia news agency.

"Ricocheting bullets from the Syrian side hurt four Syrians and two Turks -- a police officer and a translator -- on duty at the camp," governor Yusuf Odabas said, adding that the injuries triggered protests among the Syrians in the camp.

Diplomatic sources earlier put the number of injured at three, with two Syrians and a Turkish translator being hurt near the Syrian border. Read More

Libya probing oil firms' contracts under Gaddafi

(Reuters) - Libya has started investigating foreign oil companies over their past relationships with the former Muammar Gaddafi government, an investigator with the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) said on Monday.

Salem Qanan, who sits on the NTC's Oil Committee, said the government had requested documents from Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC), which is in charge of contracts between private companies and the state.

Qanan said his committee had received information from people who had worked in the energy sector during Gaddafi's rule that led it to believe there was reason to suspect the contracts agreed during that time.

"There are some suspicions over some contracts that were made by the NOC and foreign companies which seem to have been influenced by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi," he told Reuters on Monday.

Saif al-Islam is one of the sons of the former Libyan leader, who is in detention in Libya and wanted for trial both by the Libyan authorities and the International Criminal Court. Read More

Bomb kills 12 in southern Somalia market: official

(Reuters) - At least 12 people died in a bomb attack on Monday that targeted Somali and Ethiopian troops in a busy market in the southern city of Baidoa, witnesses and officials said.

It was the second blast in the country in barely a week. Last week, a female suicide bomber killed six people, including two top sports officials, in the theatre near the presidential palace in Mogadishu. Source

Rescuers rush to save China miners

April 9 - Rescuers pump water from a flooded coal mine in northeastern China in an effort to save trapped miners. Travis Brecher reports.

Iran rules out conditions to talks: Salehi

(Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran would not agree to world powers imposing pre-conditions ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks later this week, Iranian media reported on Monday.

"Setting conditions before the meeting means drawing conclusions, which is completely meaningless and none of the parties will accept conditions set before the talks," the Iranian parliamentary news agency quoted him as saying.

U.S. officials say that getting Iran to suspend high-level uranium enrichment and close a nuclear facility built deep under a mountain near the holy city of Qom are priorities for the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, which are set to resume in Istanbul on Saturday.

"These issues have been raised by the media and we cannot base our judgment on those concerns reflected by media coverage," Salehi added.

He said the Iranian negotiating team would ignore those reports and defend its position in the talks. Read More

Trayvon Martin shooting: Students protest as decision is Due on Possible Charges Against Zimmerman



Sanford, Florida (CNN) -- As controversy over the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin swirls, all sides are anxiously awaiting a possible decision this week by a special prosecutor on whether to bring charges against the neighborhood watch volunteer who killed the teen.

The case could be taken up as early as Tuesday by a grand jury expected to convene in Seminole County, Florida.

It has triggered a nationwide debate about Florida's "stand your ground" law -- which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury -- and race in America.

Thousands have converged on the town of Sanford, Florida, to join in protests calling for George Zimmerman's arrest in the February 26 shooting and criticize the police department's handling of the case. Read More

Pakistani rescuers resume search for 139 trapped in avalanche



(CNN) -- Rescue crews continued their frantic search Sunday at a Himalayan military outpost near the Indian border where a massive avalanche buried up to 139 people, most of them Pakistani soldiers.

A blanket of rock and snow covering one square kilometer -- about the size of a large city block -- slid over the base on the Siachen glacier early Saturday morning, entombing it under 70 feet of snow.

The Siachen Glacier, known as the world's highest battleground, is 6,300 meters (20,670 feet) high and spans 77 kilometers (47 miles) across the Line of Control that separates India- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

A press release Sunday from the Pakistani military indicated that 139 people were believed trapped in the avalanche -- a figure that is slightly higher than previously reported.

None of the searches thus far has led to the discovery of any survivors, and poor weather has hampered such efforts. Read More