Sunday, April 29, 2012

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 29th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the Fox Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska at a depth of 52.6 km (32.7 miles), the quake hit at 22:00:05 UTC Sunday 29th April 2012
The epicenter was 40 km (24.8 miles) WSW of Amukta Island, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

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China Cracks Down After Chen Escape

BEIJING—The Chinese government clamped down on activists and online media in the wake of the dramatic escape of a blind human-rights advocate from home imprisonment, an embarrassing development for Beijing that could complicate U.S.-China relations if he is found to be in U.S. protective custody.

At least three activists were detained following the escape last week of Chen Guangcheng, a legal advocate who has fought forced abortions under China's one-child policy.

Meanwhile, popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo blocked use of the words "blind man" and "UA898," a United Airlines flight from Beijing to Washington that Mr. Chen was rumored to have taken out of China. News of his escape hasn't appeared in major state-run media.

Chinese officials appeared to be digging for details of Mr. Chen's escape from his home in the village of Dongshigu in Shandong province on April 22, which friends said was a carefully planned effort in which Mr. Chen scaled a wall at night, confined himself to his bedroom for weeks to fool his guards into thinking his health was poor and moved among safe houses once in Beijing. Mr. Chen escaped alone, and his wife and daughter are believed to still be under home confinement, his friends say. Read More

Winds Cause Power Cuts As Rain Lashes UK

Thousands of homes have been left without power in Wales as storms and extreme weather lash much of the UK.

Around 10,000 homes were left without power in south Wales and the West
Midlands, as well as 2,000 in the south west, electricity supplier Western Power said.

Flood warnings are in force as Britain is drenched in rain and battered by winds of up to 60mph.

The power cuts have been caused by strong winds blowing trees onto lines or debris hitting powerlines, a representative for Western Power said.

The company is working anywhere from four to 10 times its normal fault investigation rate.

The Met Office has issued a severe "yellow" weather warning for most of England and Wales.

An amber "be prepared" warning was also issued for Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Read More

Nicolas Sarkozy forced to deny he received 50 million euros from Muammar Gaddafi....Is there anyone left that believes him?

Nicolas Sarkozy was forced to deny allegations he had received 50 million euros from the late Muammar Gaddafi as France's presidential rivals accused each other of dirty tricks a week before election day.

With the contest approaching its climax, Mr Sarkozy effectively accused his left wing rivals of orchestrating what he described as a “despicable forgery”.

Amid mutual smear claims, Mr Sarkozy and Fran├žois Hollande held giant rallies in Paris and Toulouse on Sunday ahead of a crunch two-and-a-half-hour televised debate on Wednesday.

More than 20 million French are expected to tune in for the lone duel ahead of the May 6 runoff that Mr Hollande is polled to win by up to 10 percentage points.

On Saturday, the investigative news website Mediapart published what it said was a copy of a Libyan regime document proving that Mr Sarkozy and Col Gaddafi – onetime allies – had an illegal financial arrangement to help propel Mr Sarkozy to power in 2007. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 29th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 37.3 km (23.2 miles), the quake hit at 17:28:46 UTC Sunday 29th April 2012
The epicenter was 176 km (110 miles) ESE from Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Cameron says euro zone crisis far from over

(Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron said the euro zone debt crisis was less than halfway through, and raised doubts about the future of the single currency in an interview on Sunday.

Cameron said the euro zone crisis was partly to blame for Britain falling back into recession, and insisted that getting the economy moving again was the biggest issue for the government, at a time when the popularity of his Conservative Party had fallen to its lowest level since 2004.

"What's happening in the euro zone is a massive tension ... that countries are finding very difficult to adapt to, and that's what we're seeing. So I don't think we're nearly halfway through it," he told the BBC.

"I think it's going to be a very long and painful process in the euro zone as they work out do they want a single currency with a single economic policy ... or are they going to have something quite different," he added. Read More

Pacific reef shark populations plummeting, study says

(CNN) -- Humans are causing a steep decline in populations of reef sharks in the Pacific Ocean according to a new study by a group of international marine scientists.

The new estimates of reef sharks compared numbers around populated islands with those living near uninhabited ones. The results were sobering, say researchers.

"We estimate that reef shark numbers have dropped substantially around populated islands, generally by more than 90% compared to those at the most untouched reefs," said lead author Marc Nadon from the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii.

Over 1600 underwater surveys across 46 U.S. Pacific islands and atolls were undertaken in the study and combined with data on human population, habitat complexity, reef size and satellite records. Read More

Olympic 'missile plan' stuns Londoners

London (CNN) -- The British Ministry of Defence might place surface-to-air missiles on a water tower in a densely populated London neighborhood as part of security for the Olympic Games this summer, a ministry official said Sunday.

Residents in an east London community have received leaflets warning them of the possibility, the official said.

"Site evaluations and exercises have taken place," the official said.

A former water tower within the Bow Quarter gated private estate would be the location for the proposed missiles. Bow Quarter is a former match factory containing a number of large buildings, converted into hundreds of residential flats and houses.

"Ground-based air defense systems could be deployed as part of a multi-layered air security plan for the Olympics, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect the skies over London during the Games," said the official, asking not to be named in line with British government practice.

Brian Whelan, who got one of the leaflets about the possible missile system, said he was "absolutely shocked." Read More

Gunmen 'attack Nigeria university'

(CNN) -- Gunmen attacked Christians worshipping on a Nigerian university campus on Sunday, with witnesses reporting multiple explosions and gunfire.

The number of casualties was not immediately clear.

Professor A.B. Baffa said he was at home on the campus of Bayero University in the city of Kano when he heard the gunfire and explosions. When he went to see what was going on, he said he saw people fleeing and saying gunmen attacked areas where Christians were worshipping.

The gunmen began their attack around 8:30 a.m., targeting a lecture hall normally used by Christians for Sunday services, journalist Salihu Tanko reported from the scene. Read More

Measles outbreak feared in Rayagada, 9 children killed, India

KORAPUT: At least nine children have died in the past 15 days in Rayagada district's Kasipur block, which is feared to be afflicted by an outbreak of measles. The state health department collected blood samples of a few affected children on Saturday for a laboratory test.

Kasipur, which often makes news for poverty, malnutrition, diarrhoea and cholera related deaths, has been witnessing a flurry of medical activities recently after the outbreak of measles at Salapash, Katraguda and Railighati villages under Kudipari panchayat.

"Blood samples have been collected from at least seven children and those will be sent to regional medical research centre in Bhubaneswar for test to confirm whether the children are affected by measles," said medical officer of Kasipur hospital Saroj Kumar Naik, who went to the affected villages along with deputy director of health K K Rout and Rayagada CDMO K V S Chowdhury. Read More

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake NORTH OF SVALBARD - 29th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck North of Svalbard at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 16:29:58 UTC Sunday 29th April 2012
The epicenter was 343 km (213 miles) Northeast from Nord, Greenland
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Seven killed as bus carrying tourists to Tokyo Disneyland crashes on motorway

A bus carrying dozens of holidaymakers to Tokyo Disneyland has crashed on a highway, killing seven passengers.

Police say the other 38 passengers and the 43-year-old driver were injured, 13 of them seriously, in Sunday morning's accident on a highway in Gunma, north of Tokyo. The bus crashed into a roadside wall. Steel wall panels sliced its body in half.

Police are investigating the cause. They say all the passengers are believed to be Japanese nationals, mostly young adults.

Police were having difficulty identifying the bodies. They identified two of the seven dead - a man and a woman, both 50. The five other victims were women.

The passengers were mostly holidaymakers going to Tokyo Disneyland as Japan headed into this week's 'Golden Week' holidays. Source

BILLIONS of habitable planets may be lurking in the Milky Way

The Milky Way may be teeming with billions of habitable planets, according to a recent survey – and that’s given the search for extra-terrestrial life a big boost.

Two Princeton researchers recently speculated that we really might be alone in the universe, but the study of red dwarf stars in the Milky Way found nine super-Earths - and two in the 'habitable zone' where liquid water could exist.

Red dwarf stars account for 80 per cent of the 200 to 400 billion stars in our galaxy - and scientists now believe that 40 per cent of those might have a planet in the habitable zone.

This is great news for the alien hunters at the California-based SETI institute - the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Read More

Crisis, what economic crisis? £10m private jet deal to fly Eurocrat chiefs to engagements as they Continue to Flush your Money down the Toilet

Revelations about a deal to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on private jets to whisk the EU's top officials around the globe in luxury was met with fury by one senior Conservative MEP.

The European Commission has just signed a contract costing more than €12 million (£10million) for private jets to ferry senior Commissioners such as Britain's Baroness Ashton, President Jose Manuel Barroso, and their acolytes between meetings, reported The Sunday Times.

Only on Wednesday the Commission provoked fury by proposing an inflation-busting 6.8 per cent increase in the EU's budget for 2013. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake VOLCANO ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 29th Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Volcano Islands, Japan Region at a depth of 39.1 km (24.3 miles), the quake hit at 15:45:08 UTC Sunday 29th April 2012
The epicenter was 155 km (96 miles) ENE from Iwo-jima, Volcano Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Islamists back Brotherhood rival, jolt Egypt race

(Reuters) - The Muslim Brotherhood's chances of winning the Egyptian presidency have been damaged by the decision of a hardline Islamist movement to back its main rival in a race that heats up on Monday with the start of official campaigning.

The historic democratic election to decide who replaces fallen autocrat Hosni Mubarak has become a political struggle between Islamists who were oppressed by the deposed president, politicians who at some point were part of his government and liberals and leftists seen with little chance of winning.

Some 53 million Egyptians will be eligible to vote on May 23-24 in a first round that is expected to be followed by a June run-off between the top two candidates. The ruling military council is due to hand over power on July 1.

The Nour Party of the Salafi movement, which espouses a puritanical version of Islam, on Saturday endorsed Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a former Brotherhood member, for the presidency. Read More

Drone strike kills four suspected militants in Pakistan

(Reuters) - A U.S. drone strike killed four suspected militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border on Sunday, intelligence officials and witnesses said, the first strike in almost a month.

The controversial drone program, a key element in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, is highly unpopular in Pakistan, where it is considered a violation of sovereignty which causes many civilian casualties.

A Pakistani parliamentary committee recently demanded an end to drone strikes on Pakistani territory as part of its recommendations for how its relationship with Washington should change. The United States has given no indication it intends to halt the campaign.

The remotely piloted aircraft targeted an abandoned girls' high school building used by militants in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, the officials and witnesses said. Three militants were wounded. Read More