Sunday, May 6, 2012

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rises from the ashes

ISTANBUL: At a meeting of Syria’s opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad.

With many living in the West, and some ditching their trademark beards, it is hard to differentiate Brotherhood from leftists. But there is little dispute about who calls the shots.

From annihilation at home 30 years ago when they challenged the iron-fisted rule of Hafez al-Assad, the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against his son Bashar.

Careful not to undermine the council’s disparate supporters, the Brotherhood has played down its growing influence within the Syrian National Council (SNC), whose public face is the secular Paris-based professor Bourhan Ghalioun.

“We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside. We don’t want the regime to take advantage if an Islamist becomes the Syrian National Council’s head,” former Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni told supporters in a video. Read More

North Korea Vows to Develop Space and Nuclear Industries

In the meantime, the reclusive state is pushing for development of space and nuclear power industries based on self-defensive nuclear deterrence to become a strong and prosperous nation.

This, according to North Korean foreign ministry on Sunday.

The ministry then criticized the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who recently called on Pyeongyang to refrain from further provocative actions, including a nuclear test, that would threaten regional security.

Accusing the U.S., China, Russia, France and Britain of infringing on its independence, as well as a right to peaceful use of space and nuclear power, North Korea denounced the five nuclear states for conducting and possessing more nuclear weapons than any other country in the world. Source

South Korea, U.S. launch air defense exercise amid North Korea nuclear concerns

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) - The South Korean and U.S. air forces began a large-scale, regular joint maneuver Monday to sharpen their ability to work together in simulated war situations, officials said, amid growing concerns that North Korea may conduct a third nuclear test.

About 60 warplanes from the allies, including a U.S. aerial refueling aircraft, are taking part in the annual Max Thunder exercise, which will run through May 18, Seoul's military officials said.

Hundreds of pilots were mobilized for the drill over the southwestern airspace of the Korean Peninsula, Air Force officials said.

Training missions include simulating air battles with four or eight jets, air refueling involving a KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft and neutralizing an enemy's air defense system in case of an all-out war, officials said.

"The drill will display our readiness and joint air firepower with the U.S. that can immediately retaliate in case of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula," an Air Force official said. Read More

Hollande Challenges Eurozone Austerity



French President-elect Francois Hollande has told tens of thousands of cheering supporters that his victory was a rejection of austerity measures as the answer to the euro crisis.

The 57-year-old won 51.6% of the vote in the presidential run-off, unseating the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy after a fractious campaign in which rising unemployment and the sputtering economy were the key battlegrounds.

After hearing the news in his political power base of Tulle, Mr Hollande travelled to Paris to address the enormous celebration in the symbolic heart of revolutionary France.

"In all the capitals... there are people who, thanks to us, are hoping, are looking to us, and want to reject austerity," he shouted, his voice hoarse.

"You are a movement lifting up everywhere in Europe, and perhaps the world."

Certainly the world has taken notice: he received congratulatory telephone calls from Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Hollande has already indicated his first official foreign trip will be to Berlin for a meeting with the German chancellor. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS - 7th May 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck South of the Fiji Islands at a depth of 503.2 km (312.7 miles), the quake hit at 03:27:23 UTC Monday 7th May 2012
The epicenter was 811 km (504 miles) South of Suva, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Asian markets, euro dive on Europe election results

HONG KONG — Asian markets tumbled and the euro hit a more than three-month low Monday after voters in France and Greece booted out ruling parties in a backlash against austerity measures aimed at battling the eurozone crisis.

Adding to the bearish atmosphere was weak jobs data out of the United States last week, which fuelled concerns about recovery in the world's biggest economy and sent Wall Street sliding.

Tokyo tumbled 2.62 percent by the break, Hong Kong slumped 2.45 percent, Sydney fell 1.51 percent, Seoul shed 1.70 percent, Wellington was 0.40 percent lower and Shanghai lost 0.41 percent.

France's Nicolas Sarkozy was on Sunday dumped out by Socialist Francois Hollande, who had campaigned on a platform of boosting growth instead of introducing huge spending cuts to overcome the country's huge deficit.

Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had led the drive for strident budget cuts across Europe as the only way to drag the region out of a crisis that has raised concerns that the eurozone project could collapse. Read More

Unemployment is expected by some forecasters to keep on rising

Unemployment in most parts of the UK is likely to continue to rise over the next five years, according to a respected economic forecasting group.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research says the overall jobless rate could hit 10.7% by 2016 the highest its been for more than a decade.

The CEBR also believes unemployment could in time rise to levels not seen since the recession of the early 1990s.

UK unemployment fell by 35,000 to 2.65m between last December and February.

BBC business correspondent Ben Thompson says the CEBR warned that areas reliant on public sector jobs and government spending will be badly hit - especially Wales, Scotland and the North East of England. Read More

Amid violence, Syria to hold elections



(CNN) -- Syrians are expected to go to the polls Monday to vote in parliamentary elections that are being held amid ongoing violence and increasing international pressure on the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 7,000 candidates will vie for a place in the 250-seat parliament, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported. Voting is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. (12 a.m. ET), it said.

The election comes after the nation adopted a new constitution that allows political parties to compete with the ruling Baath Party. That referendum, hailed by government supporters as a step toward reform, was widely ridiculed by analysts and protesters as window dressing.

Syria's anti-government protests started peacefully in March of last year, but a crackdown spawned violence that has left thousands dead and prompted some military defectors to take up arms against government forces. The government has consistently blamed the violence on "armed terrorists." Read More

With 96% of vote in, main Greek parties fail to win majority

(Reuters) - Greece's conservative New Democracy party and Socialist rival PASOK failed to win a majority in parliament, results of 96 percent of the vote in Sunday's election showed.

The results showed the two pro-bailout parties, mauled by angry voters, won only 150 out of 300 seats in parliament.

New Democracy party was leading with about 19 percent of the vote. The socialist PASOK party was in third place, trailing the anti-bailout Left Coalition party.
Link
Party ND LEFT C. PASOK I.Greeks KKE Golden Dawn Dem. Left

% 19.05 16.67 13.30 10.55 8.44 6.95 6.09

*New Democracy: conservative party *PASOK: Panhellenic Socialist Movement *Left C.: Left Coalition *KKE: Greek Communist Party *D.Left: Democratic Left *I.Greeks: Independent Greeks *G.Dawn: Golden Dawn (ultra-nationalist) Read More

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake TARAPACA, CHILE - 7th May 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Tarapaca, Chile at a depth of 85.5 km (53.1 miles), the quake hit at 03:02:23 UTC Monday 7th May 2012
The epicenter was 110 km (68 miles) ENE from Iquique, Chile
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHEASTERN IRAN - 7th May 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Southeastern Iran at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 00:29:10 UTC Monday 7th May 2012
The epicenter was 193 km (119 miles) West of Iranshahr, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 6th May 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck the Banda Sea at a depth of 144.3 km (89.7 miles), the quake hit at 23:03:56 UTC Sunday 6th May 2012
The epicenter was 196 km (121 miles) Northwest of of Saumlaki, Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 6th May 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 80 km (49.6 miles), the quake hit at 21:55:08 UTC Sunday 6th May 2012
The epicenter was 62 km (38.4 miles) Southeast of Kesennuma, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

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5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 6th May 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands at a depth of 8 km (5 miles), the quake hit at 19:26:36 UTC Sunday 6th May 2012
The epicenter was 79 km (48.9 miles) Northeast of Sentyabrskiy, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Opposition Leaders Arrested In Anti-Putin Protest

Russian police have arrested top opposition figures during a protest march in Moscow on the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration as president.

The march by about 20,000 people to an island adjacent to the Kremlin proceeded peacefully on Sunday afternoon until a small group tried to break off and cross a bridge across the Moscow river, which was blocked by police.

As more people crowded toward the bridge, police sent reinforcements to the cordon, pushed demonstrators back to the rally site and began seizing demonstrators.

Opposition leaders including Sergei Udaltsov, Alexei Navalny and Boris Nemtsov were detained, along with more than 200 other demonstrators.

Protesters had marched under banners and flags, chanting "Russia without Putin" and "Putin - thief" - a day before a lavish inauguration inside the Kremlin at which the head of the Russian Orthodox Church will bless Mr Putin. Read More

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN BATU, INDONESIA - 6th May 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Kepulauan Batu, Indonesia at a depth of 47.4 km (29.5 miles), the quake hit at 16:58:35 UTC Sunday 6th May 2012
The epicenter was 198 km (123 miles) WNW of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Nicolas Sarkozy has conceded defeat in French presidential elections

Nicolas Sarkozy has conceded defeat in French presidential elections, opening the way for Francois Hollande to be the new leader.

Early exit polls showed the socialist candidate to have gained at least 4% more of the vote than the conservative incumbent, Mr Sarkozy.

"It was an immense privilege to be the President of France," Mr Sarkozy said in a farewell speech.

"I bear full responsibility for defeat," he said in the speech given 20 minutes after polls closed at 8pm.

"I want to thank the millions of French people who have voted for me, but I have not succeeded in convincing all of the French people," he told hundreds of cheering supporters.

"Together we have had an unbelievable campaign." Read More

Francois Hollande 'wins French presidency' early estimates say.

Socialist Francois Hollande has been elected as France's new president, early estimates say.

He got about 52% of votes in Sunday's run-off, according to projections based on partial results, against 48% for centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Hollande would be the first French socialist president since 1995.

Analysts say the vote has wide implications for the whole eurozone. Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal on government debt in member countries.

The estimates were carried by French media after all polling stations closed at 20:00 (18:00 GMT). Read More

Greece's main conservative party in the lead in the country's election but does not have enough votes to form a government, according to an exit poll

It suggested the conservative New Democracy party will win 17%-20% of the votes, with the left-wing Radical Left Coalition, or Syriza, picking up 15.5%-18.5%.

Socialists Pasok, which was previously the largest party, could slip into third place. It is projected to win 14%-17%.

New Democracy and Pasok had been in a coalition implementing unpopular economic reforms as the country tackles its debt crisis.

They now appear to have suffered big losses.

"We are clearly the party that came first," shadow foreign minister Panos Panagiotopoulos of New Democracy told Mega television.

He added that a "strong earthquake" of public anger had struck the two parties, allowing smaller anti-austerity groups to make major gains.

The results of the election could determine the course the country takes after years of austerity measures. Read More

Ian Bell's Body Found in River

Police searching for a missing schoolboy who disappeared after falling into a river have discovered a body.

Ian Bell, eight, fell into the swollen River Wear near Willington, County Durham, on April 27.

Durham Police said that the body of a young boy had been found downstream from Page Bank Bridge, more than three miles away.

A spokesman for Durham Police said Ian's family had been informed of the discovery.

He added: "Arrangements are being made for formal identification to take place and the coroner has been informed. An inquest will be held in due course.

"The search is now in the process of being scaled down as Durham Constabulary has no other reports of missing persons at this time.

"Durham Constabulary would like to thank all those involved in the search for their help and their support." Read More

Japan Tornado 2012, was there more than one?





Fire in South Korean karaoke bar kills 9 people, Injuring 25

SEOUL, South Korea—A fire has torn through a karaoke bar in South Korea, killing nine people.

Police said Sunday the victims were drinking and singing at the karaoke lounge in the southeastern port city of Busan when the blaze broke out Saturday night.

Busan police say they believe three Sri Lankan men and six other South Koreans have died after inhaling toxic gases.

Police say the fire has left 25 other people injured and one of them is in serious condition.

Police say the cause of the fire is under investigation. Source

Construction likely caused rockslide killing 6, Vietnam

It was not clear what had triggered the rockfall at Cam Mountain in the southern province of An Giang on May 5 that killed 6 pilgrims and injured 2 others but local residents have blamed construction work on the mountain for causing the disaster.

According to local people, the holy mountain has above sea level height of 710 meters and there have been previous rockslides in the area.

In recent times, dynamite and large machines have been used to build some roads including a 6.3km road connecting the mountain’s foot and Van Linh pagoda near the top.

The main cause of the rockslide remains unknown, said Nguyen Thanh Tam, director of An Giang’s Department of Transports.

However, he admitted that using dynamite on the rocks may be one of major causes of the deadly rockslide.

“We would temporarily cancel trips up and down the mountain. We’ll be in collaboration with concerned agencies to investigate into the accident in order to implement appropriate measures for visitors’ safety,” Tam claimed. Read More

Kenya flash floods toll rises to 50

Nairobi, May 6: Kenya's flash floods have left at least 50 people as dead and displaced thousands of others in this east African nation, a humanitarian agency has said.

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) spokesperson Nelly Muluka said four people were swept away by flood waters near Rongai town Friday night, Xinhua reported Sunday.

According to Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), the number of fatalities will continue to rise due to heavy rains that have led to flash floods in several parts of the country.

"At least 50 people have lost their lives as a result of the flooding since March. Four people were swept away by flood waters near Rongai on the night of May 4. Their bodies were found on top of the Rimpa bridge in Rongai on Saturday morning," said Nelly Muluka, KRCS's spokesperson. Source

Teenage girl has died at a campsite and three other people have been taken to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in South Shropshire

A teenage girl has died at a campsite and three other people have been taken to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

West Mercia Police said officers were called to the site in Bucknell, South Shropshire, by the ambulance service at around 10am today.

Detective Inspector Gavin Kinrade said: "I can confirm that we are working with the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service to investigate this incident. We are treating the girl's death as unexplained, but at this stage there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances."

West Midlands Ambulance Service said a man and woman and a young boy, believed to be 11 years old, were taken from the scene to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Read More

Greek main parties 'suffer big losses' at polls

Exit polls in the Greek parliamentary election suggest the two main parties have suffered dramatic losses.

The polls put centre-right New Democracy in the lead with 17-20% of the vote, down from 33.5% in 2009.

Centre-left Pasok is put in third place with 14-17%, down from 43.9%. Syriza, a left-wing coalition, is put ahead of it in second place with 15.5-18.5%.

Pasok and New Democracy, in coalition since last November, were expected to lose support to anti-austerity parties.

There is widespread anger across Greece to harsh measures imposed by the government in return for international bailouts.

Syriza opposes the government's austerity measures.

The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party could enter parliament for the first time if the exit poll prediction of it winning 6-8% of the vote comes to fruition.

Official results are expected later on Sunday night. Read More

16 suspected militants killed in Yemen Airstrikes

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Four Yemeni airstrikes on Sunday killed six suspected al-Qaeda militants and wounded two others in Lawder district of Abyan province, two security officials told CNN.

The Defense Ministry said that 10 other suspected militants had been killed in the province's Zinjibar district since Saturday morning.

The ministry said that the strikes were targeting two locations: a militant hideout and a training site.

Nine troops were wounded in Abyan's capital of Zinjibar when a mortar exploded, a senior Defense Ministry official told CNN. Two of the wounded were in critical condition, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the news media.

Local security officials said that the offensive has been the fiercest since last year, when the country began its anti-terrorism efforts.

More than 240 militants have been killed over the last month in the Abyan alone, the security officials said. Read More

Deadly tornado rips through city near Tokyo: 1 dead, 40 injured

tornado tore through a city northeast of Japan's capital on Sunday, killing one person, injuring dozens of others and destroying scores of houses.

Firefighters and medical teams rushed to the area after the tornado struck Tsukuba city, 60 kilometres from Tokyo. The city is a science centre, with dozens of research and academic institutes, but the tornado appeared to mostly hit residential areas.

A 14-year-old boy died after being injured by the storm, Tsukuba Medical Center said.

More than 30 other people were injured, including at least 10 who were being treated at hospitals, fire officials said. Details of the death and injuries were not immediately available.

Public broadcaster NHK showed rows of houses without roofs, apartment complexes with smashed balconies and shattered windows, and tilting telephone poles that could barely stand.

It said about 200 homes were damaged.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 24,000 homes were without electricity as lightning added to the storm's damage.

Tornadoes are relatively rare in the Tokyo area. source

Turkish journalists missing in Syria finally phone home

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) -- One of two Turkish journalists missing in Syria called home Saturday, ending nearly two months of speculation about their well-being but failing to clear up questions about who is holding them or when they might be freed.

"For two months we didn't even know whether they were alive or dead so we had so many concerns and worries. Now at least that has lifted," journalist Adem Ozkose's father, Mustafa Ozkose, told CNN. "We are so happy that it is impossible to explain in words."

Ozkose, a reporter for the Turkish publications Gercek Hayat and freelance camerman Hamit Coskun went missing while filming a documentary.

They were last heard from March 9, as they were traveling through Syria's troubled Idlib province on their way back to neighboring Turkey, Mustafa Ozkese said.

Mustafa Ozkose said his son had less than three minutes Saturday to talk to his wife and ask about the welfare of his three children.

"He said he was fine. He said that he missed his children," Mustafa Ozkose said.

Humanitarian Relief Foundation, a Turkish Islamist charity group widely known by its Turkish acronym IHH, said it mediated the call. Read More