Friday, April 20, 2012

USA Today probing Pentagon alleges online harassment

The newspaper USA Today said Friday an editor and reporter probing Pentagon propaganda efforts have been targeted by an online "misinformation campaign."

Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created under the names of the reporter and editor with postings denigrating their professional reputations, according to the daily.

The timing of the online harassment coincided with stories by Pentagon correspondent Tom Vanden Brook, who has written about the military's "information operations" program that spent large sums on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The program has faced criticism in and outside the Defense Department as "ineffective and poorly monitored," the paper said.

The false online accounts, including a fake Wikipedia entry, started appearing only days after the reporter first contacted Pentagon contractors for the story, the newspaper wrote.

Two weeks after enterprise editor Ray Locker's byline appeared on a story on the same subject, a fake website under his name -- RayLocker.com -- popped up, the paper said. more

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA - 20th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck South of Java, Indonesia at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 21:45:27 UTC Friday 20th April 2012
The epicenter was 192 km (119 miles) South of Ambulu, Java, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA - 20th Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia at a depth of 11.8 km (7.3 miles), the quake hit at 19:34:05 UTC Friday 20th April 2012
The epicenter was 300 km (186 miles) SSW of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake MACQUARIE ISLAND REGION, AUSTRALIA - 20th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Macquarie Island Region, Australia at a depth of 7.3 km (4.5 miles), the quake hit at 18:02:27 UTC Friday 20th April 2012
The epicenter was 67 km (41 miles) SSW of Macquarie Island, Australia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

F1 In Bahrain: Timeline Of Protests

Here is a timeline of events in Bahrain leading to the controversy over the Formula One race this weekend.

February 14, 2011 - An anti-government "Day of Rage" inspired by popular upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia takes place. One protester is killed. The next day another person dies when police clash with mourners at the protester's funeral.

February 17 - Bahrain police storm Pearl Roundabout, the focal point of protests, on a Manama square, to clear activists camped out there. At least seven people are killed.

February 21 - Bahrain cancels Formula One motor race due to have been held on March 13. Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa says "the country's entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain".

March 3 - Tensions turn into clashes between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, the first direct confrontation between the two communities since February's large-scale protests.

March 14 - Around 1,000 Saudi troops are deployed in Bahrain at the ruling family's request to protect government facilities after mainly Shi'ite protesters overrun police and block roads.The United Arab Emirates says it will send 500 police. Read More

Swine Flu Jab Leads To the Development of Sleep Disorders

As per recent reports, it has been declared that many of the patients assisted with the swine flu vaccines have developed an overwhelming sleep disorder.

It has been recovered that almost 27 people, out of which majority portion includes children have been diagnosed of suffering from the disorder narcolepsy.

However, the medical officials have stated that still many of the people who might be suffering from the disorder are yet to be examined; this tends out to be a major concern for them.

Although, it has been declared that the Health Minister, James Reilly has claimed that all the patients who have been affected will be compensated, but at the same time, the major problem still remains unsolved. Read More

Super Salmonella Bacteria Found

Certain Salmonella bacteria, the microbes that cause food poisoning, have the potential to become as much as 100 times more virulent than normal, recent research has found. In the study, these super-bugs overcame the protective effects of a Salmonella vaccine, killing vaccinated mice.

The scientists found that some of the bacteria have the potential to become much nastier than others, a result that has implications for averting outbreaks among humans and animals, they write in a study published April 12 in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Led by Douglas Heithoff of the University of California, Santa Barbara, they used a technique called animal passage, in which a pathogen is weakened or strengthened by infecting an animal with it. Read MoreLink

Zimmerman photo clearly shows head injuries: Evidence mounts that he was, indeed, defending himself against Trayvon's attack

"The exclusive photo obtained by ABC News shows blood trickling down the back of Zimmerman's head from two cuts. It also shows a possible contusion forming on the crown of his head. The original police report that night notes that the back of Zimmerman's head was wet, and that he was bleeding from the nose and head.

Zimmerman told police that night that he shot and killed the teenager in self-defense after Martin punched him and pounced on him. Zimmerman told police that Martin then bashed his head into the concrete sidewalk during the altercation that took place in the tidy middle-class development of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla."
Photo Source
Read more

Spill causes die-off of salmon in Nooksack River

FERNDALE, Wash. (AP) — State and tribal environmental officials are seeking information about a spill that caused a small die-off of young salmon in the Nooksack River.

The Lummi Natural Resources Department are reporting 11 dead Chinook salmon smolts and more than a 100 dead pink and chum salmon found in a smolt trap at Hovander Park in Ferndale.

The Bellingham Herald reports the dead fish were found at midday Tuesday. The same trap was fine that morning.

Officials believe the die-off may have been caused by a spill or the dumping of chemicals into the river. Tests found a higher acidity level in the water and scientists observed the scent of juniper or an evergreen chemical cleaner nearby.

Water samples and fish carcasses have been sent for laboratory analysis. Source

What’s killing the fish in Meghalaya

Govt refuses to accept that uranium mining is the cause, blames the locals for coal mining with toxic substances.

THE DEATH of a large number of fish in West Khasi Hills district since 5 April has caused more than a ripple in the state. The Mukul Sangma-led Meghalaya government says preliminary investigations suggest that the death of fish in Ranikor river is due to ‘use of toxic substances by locals’ in coal mining.

The delay in solving the mystery has pitched the powerful Khasi Students Union (KSU) against the government. “We have collected samples of dead fish as well as river water from different locations and we will send it to an independent body,” says Daniel Khyriem, ksu President. “There is a high chance the deaths are due to uranium radiation.” KSU alleges that a similar incident was reported in the 1990s during exploratory drilling of uranium in the West Khasi Hills.

Deputy Chief Minister Bindo Lanong denies the charge. “If uranium radiation had caused the deaths, all other aquatic animals should have been affected and there should have been lesions on the fish,” he says. “This was not the case.” Read More

Nevado del Ruiz volcano: Colombia prepares for imminent volcano eruption

Colombia's government has called for high risk areas to be prepared for the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano.

The Interior Ministry has ordered the fire departments of 19 municipalities in the central Caldas and Tolima departments to be on high alert after the Colombian Geological Survey (SGC) announced that an eruption is "probable" in the coming days or weeks.

The alert level was raised from yellow to orange in March as the volcano became increasingly active. Last week a column of gas and steam approximately 1,200 meters tall extended from its crater.

The national director of the firefighting system warned that there is urgent need for a special contingency plan that outlines tactics to be used in emergency volcanic situations, especially for search and rescue groups. He called for a focus on high risk areas in or near the paths of rivers that originate in the Ruiz, whose levels may be elevated by pyroclastic fragments and the melting of ice.

The director of the Colombian Fire Department Federation in the town of Riosucio explained that local firemen are preparing a plan and educating communities.

In 1985 The Nevado del Ruiz erupted, wiping out the town of Armero and killing 25,000 people. Source

Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano spews burning rock

The Popocatepetl volcano outside of Mexico City has been spewing glowing rock fragments as far as 1km (0.6 miles) down its slopes.

Columns of ash have been shooting from more than 60 openings in the crust of the 5,450m (17,900-foot) volcano.

Residents of surrounding villages said they were awoken by a low-pitched roar coming from the mountain.

Popocatepetl's last major eruption was in 2000, when thousands of people had to flee their homes.

'Smoking mountain'

Local resident Aaron Sanchez Ocelotl said the eruptions sounded "like the roaring of the sea".

"Up on the mountain, it feels incredible," he said. Read More

Dappy Arrested After Fight At Petrol Station

N-Dubz rapper Dappy has been arrested on suspicion of affray after a fight at a petrol filling station that left three men with serious facial injuries.

The singer, real name Costadinos Contostavlos, was taken into custody along with another man in relation to an incident on the forecourt of a Shell garage in Guildford earlier this year.

Dappy, 24, and a 27-year-old man allegedly approached two girls and three men and asked the girls to go with them.

When they refused, one of the girls was apparently spat at.

A fight is then said to have broken out between Dappy and his friend and another group of up to six men.

A spokeswoman for Surrey Police said: "Police are investigating an incident which happened on the forecourt of the Shell garage in Woodbridge Road, Guildford, on Tuesday, February 28. Read More

Huge sandstorm destroys crops in Jordan Valley‎, Israel

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A sandstorm that erupted in the central Jordan Valley on Wednesday has damaged hundreds of greenhouses and crops.

Locals estimate the damage at around 1 million shekels ($266,000).

Basim Ibrahim, head of the local association of greenhouse owners, said around 1,200 greenhouses were destroyed by the sand storm. Each greenhouse costs 1,000 shekels, he added.

The storm was the third of its kind this season, but it was the most destructive as it erupted as crops were ripe and ready for harvest. Read More

50 estate workers injured in wild bee attack, India

COIMBATORE: Fifty workers of the Vellamalai Top Division Tea Estate in Valparai were hospitalised on Thursday after they were stung by a swarm of wild bees. Twenty of them are said to be in a serious condition and are under constant observation. Three nurses who rushed there in an ambulance also came under attack from the bees and have been hospitalized.

According to witnesses, the bees started attacking the workers around 11.45am. Thirty of the 80-member team engaged in plucking tea leaf managed to escape. Those trapped between thick tea bushes in a portion of the vast estate had nowhere to run. Assistance, in the form of health workers and estate authorities, reached them along with an ambulance around 12.15pm. The nurses who arrived in the ambulance were also attacked.

People ran helter-skelter as the wild bees swooped down on them, witnesses said. Later, all the injured were admitted to the estate hospital and panic spread in the plantation town as news of the attack reached the local residents. Read More

Storms kill six, injure 100 all across Turkey

Powerful winds at speeds reaching up to 150 kilometers per hour wreaked havoc across Turkey yesterday, killing six, injuring 100 and sparking forest fires.

High winds in the Central Anatolian province of Konya led to a sandstorm that caused a pileup on the Konya-Ankara and Konya-Ereğli highways, killing four and injuring 73.

Nazife Gümüş, a 51-year-old woman in the Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale, was killed when strong winds blew a tile off of a roof, hitting her in the head.

Meanwhile, a passenger bus carrying Spanish tourists to the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray hit a cargo truck from the rear due to low visibility caused by the sandstorms. All but one of the 35 tourists on the bus were injured.

Some 600 hectares of forest land were burned in a fire caused by raging storms in the district of Safranbolu in the Black Sea province of Karabük. The province’s deputy governor, Ertuğ Şevket Aksoy, said the fire had been brought under control and that efforts to cool the blaze were underway. Read More

Pocklington town centre hit by flooding, East Yorkshire

A clean-up is under way in Pocklington, East Yorkshire after heavy rain caused a flash flood in the town centre.

Shops and homes were reported to be under 1ft (30cm) of water after the town's beck burst its banks.

Water levels have now receded and council workers are cleaning debris from the streets.

Further heavy showers have been forecast and East Riding of Yorkshire Council said it was monitoring the situation and had equipment on standby.

Martin Cooper, from Pocklington Town Council, said the town had been hit by flash flooding in the past.

"It just descends all of a sudden," he said. Read More

Hundreds of hectares of forest destroyed in fire in Tirumala, India

Tirupati, Apr 19 (PTI) Hundreds of hectares of forest was destroyed when a major fire broke out in the dense forests of nearby Tirumala Hills today, sources at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams said.

They told PTI that vehicular traffic was stopped on the first ghat (down route) road for over an hour as the fire was noticed spreading downhill and moving fast towards the road close to Lord Hanuman statue on the hills this afternoon.

By the time fire tenders reached the spot, the fire destroyed one km length of forest close to the road, they said. Meanwhile, forest personnel made a vain bid to restrict the fire even two hours after dusk fell, the sources said. A thick blanket of smoke was visible in Puttur 35 km from here, according to several devotees who reached the hills from Chennai via Puttur. Source

Limerick Generating Station, Pennsylvania: Nuclear power plant shutdown after loss of power

Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) said operators at the two-unit, 2,345 MW Limerick Generating Station in Pennsylvania removed Unit 1 from service at approximately 8 a.m. April 19 following an electrical malfunction on the non-nuclear side of the plant.

The malfunction caused a temporary loss of power to the plant’s main generator cooling pumps, which are not part of the reactor system. Exelon said operators responded according to procedures and safely removed the reactor from service so the electrical issue could be corrected.

Operators are working to determine the cause of the malfunction and will restore the unit to service only after the cause is understood, repairs are performed and the system is fully tested.
Exelon said there was no risk to the public or injuries associated with the shutdown.
Limerick Unit 2 continues to operate at full power. Source

Abu Qatada: Government will try to block bail.....Which means he will probably be back on the Streets by next week

The government will resist any application for bail by radical cleric Abu Qatada, Downing Street has said.

"If he applies for bail, we will oppose it vigorously," a spokeswoman said.

Home Secretary Theresa May insisted on Thursday that Abu Qatada's deportation case had "no right" to be referred to the European Court of Human Rights.

Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-Jordanian preacher, is wanted in Jordan on bomb plotting charges but the ECHR is yet to decide whether to hear the case.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "The idea that Abu Qatada could be back on the streets of London within weeks, if not days, as a result of the Home Secretary's decision is shocking. Read More

China offers to send monitors to Syria

April 20 - China backs ceasefire agreement between U.N. and Syria, and offers to send its own monitors. Sarah Wali reports.

North Korea concludes investigation into failed rocket launch

Hong Kong (CNN) -- North Korea says its scientists have concluded their investigation into the failure of the country's long-range rocket launch last week, but it declined to divulge why the flight ended in a trail of debris strewn across the sea.

Experts have "wound up the specific and scientific probe into the cause" of the rocket's failure to put a satellite into orbit, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report late Thursday without elaborating on what the cause was.

Pyongyang had insisted that the purpose of the launch was to send an "earth observation satellite" into space. But the United States, South Korea and Japan called the operation a ballistic missile test in disguise. Read More

43 killed in Mexican bus crash

(CNN) -- Forty-three people were killed and 18 injured Friday morning in a roadway crash involving a bus in the state of Veracruz, the governor's office said.

The crash occurred before dawn, when a tractor-trailer and the bus collided, the governor's office said in a statement.

The statement described the wreck as "an unfortunate accident."

The government said the crash happened near the town of Alamo, located not far from the Pacific Ocean in the north of Veracruz.

Rescuers and state and federal police were at the scene, and the governor promised all necessary support to family members. Read More

Breivik details systematic massacre

Oslo, Norway (CNN) -- Anders Behring Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in Norway last summer, gave chilling details at his trial Friday of the gun rampage in which he systematically shot dead scores of young people.

Without apparent emotion, he recounted firing more bullets into teenagers who were injured and so couldn't escape, killing those who tried to "play dead" and driving others into the sea to drown.

Some survivors and relatives of victims in the courtroom wept as they listened to his detailed account of the attack on a youth camp on Utoya Island in which 69 people died.

Breivik is on trial on charges of voluntary homicide and committing acts of terror in the July 22 attacks. He admits carrying out the Utoya attack and a bombing in Oslo that killed eight people.

He boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway. Read More

Egyptians protest military rule



Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- The scene Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square felt familiar. Only this time, the protest came ahead of critical elections.

Thousands of Egyptians from across the political spectrum turned out at the iconic plaza unified in their opposition to remnants of Hosni Mubarak's regime and in their determination to protect the goals of a hard-fought revolution.

Rival factions put their differences aside to come together against military rule. The Muslim Brotherhood joined hands with liberals to voice discontent with an electoral process that has disqualified several candidates, including the leader of the Islamist group. Read More

South Sudan says it is withdrawing from disputed oil region



(CNN) -- South Sudan announced Friday it was withdrawing its troops from a contested oil-rich area it seized last week in a move that escalated tensions and fears of a return to war with Sudan.

"An orderly withdrawal will commence immediately and shall be completed within three days," said Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan's information minister, adding that his country still claims Panthou, or Heglig as it is known in Sudan.

However, Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations said his government's forces drove out the invaders from the south.

"They were forced to withdraw," Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told reporters in New York. "They were chased out. If you remember a few days back, the president of the South and a number of their officials started to talk about conditional withdrawal, but yesterday they are being cornered, we fought against them and we chased them out. It is not a withdrawal. We chased them out." Read More

Plane crashes in Pakistan just before it was Due to Land; 121 people on board, NO Survivors

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION - 20th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the Iran-Iraq Border Region at a depth of 124 km (76.8 miles), the quake hit at 17:20:05 UTC Friday 20th April 2012
The epicenter was 40 km (24.8 miles) Northwest Dehloran, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Bears Kill Two Women In Japan



Bears have killed two women in northern Japan after escaping from their enclosures in a wildlife park.


An unknown number of bears are roaming the snow-covered Hachimandaira animal park, in Akita prefecture, say police.

Local hunters have shot dead several of the bears and have recovered the bodies of two women, thought to be workers at the site.

A police spokeswoman said: "We cannot go close to the park because we don't know which cages are open, and how many bears are on the loose."

Nearly 40 animals are kept in the gated park, most of them brown bears. Read More

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN TURKEY - 20th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck Western Turkey at a depth of 22 km (13.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:39:16 UTC Friday 20th April 2012
The epicenter was 11 km (6.8 miles) East of Simav, Turkey
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION - 20th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the Iran-Iraq Border Region at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:32:54 UTC Friday 20th April 2012
The epicenter was 25 km (15.5 miles) Northeast 'ali al garbi
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION - 20th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Iran-Iraq Border Region at a depth of 34.1 km (21.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:17:53 UTC Friday 20th April 2012
The epicenter was 85 km (52 miles) North of Al `Amarah, Iraq
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Rihanna 'White Powder' Snap Tweet

Fans of pop star Rihanna have expressed concern after she posted a picture of herself cutting up what looked like white powder.

In the photo, the singer is seen sitting on her bodyguard's shoulders rolling a cigarette with an unidentified substance.

Taken while she was at the Coachella festival in California, the message which accompanies the snap reads: "Memories don't live like people do #coachella".

Before it was taken off her Instagram and Twitter pages, fans wrote more than 1,000 comments on the picture, questioning what the substance was.

While many have speculated it is marijuana, others fear it could be cocaine. Read More

Carnival Cruise Lines cruise ship reportedly left fishermen to die at sea

Carnival Cruise Lines is scrambling to avert another public relations nightmare in the wake of reports that one of its luxury ships ignored a distressed fishing boat and left two of the occupants to die at sea.

The Panamanian fishing vessel was adrift in the Gulf of Panama with three men aboard when, according to one of them, a large vessel passed but ignored signals for help.

"Instead of helping us, they left us," said fisherman Adrian Vazquez, whose boat had been drifting for two weeks at that point after losing engine power.

One of Vazquez's fellow fishermen died of dehydration that night. The other died five days later, on March 15.

Vazquez survived; he was rescued March 24 by an Ecuadorian vessel, having spent a month stranded at sea. more

Ched Evans Jailed for 5 Years for the Rape of Teen In Hotel

Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans has been found guilty of raping a woman who was "too drunk to consent" - and jailed for five years.

His co-accused, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, was found not guilty of the same charge.

In sentencing, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told Evans: "You have thrown away the successful career in which you were involved

"As the jury have found, she was in no condition to have sexual intercourse. When you arrived at the hotel, you must have realised that."

Evans' legal team issued a statement immediately after the verdict repeating his claim of innocence and hinting at an appeal, while Sheffield United said it would respond to the sentence only after it had "taken sufficient time to consider the matter fully".

McDonald had hugged a sobbing Evans after receiving his not guilty verdict, which saw court briefly adjourned due to McDonald's supporters cheering in the public gallery. Read More