Tuesday, May 8, 2012

'Snooper's Charter' Proposals To Be Unveiled

Controversial Government proposals to increase digital surveillance are expected to be announced in the Queen's Speech.

The Home Office wants powers to monitor internet traffic, known as communications data, to keep track of serious criminals and terrorists.

But civil liberties campaigners have described the measures as a "Snooper's Charter" and a "dangerous" invasion of privacy.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, told Sky News: "We're really worried about these new plans for internet snooping, they represent a huge increase in the amount of surveillance government has that are really not appropriate.

"People need to be suspected before they're surveilled - that's how the law should work, but what the Government's saying is: 'Were going to treat you all as suspects, and ask you to trust us not to abuse that data.' Read More

Al Qaeda Underwear Bomber Was 'Double Agent'.....Have Officials not put this Agent at Risk by Revealing this?



The man chosen by al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen to blow up a US-bound airliner was a double agent who infiltrated the group and volunteered to carry out the suicide attack, US and Yemeni officials say.

The agent, who was apparently working with the knowledge of both Saudi intelligence and the CIA, escaped Yemen with the sophisticated bomb and delivered it to foreign intelligence authorities, according to reports.

He is now said to be safe in an unidentified country where he is being debriefed.

A senior US official told the New York Times that a bomb for the attack was sewn into "custom fit" underwear that would have been difficult to detect even in a careful pat-down at an airport.

The FBI is analysing the explosive.

"Initial exploitation indicates that the device is very similar to IEDs that have been used previously by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in attempted terrorist attacks, including against aircraft and for targeted assassinations," it said in a statement.

"The device never presented a threat to public safety, and the US Government is working closely with international partners to address associated concerns with the device." Read More

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake TAIWAN - 9th May 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Taiwan at a depth of 16 km (9.9 miles), the quake hit at 00:21:03 UTC Wednesday 9th May 2012
The epicenter was 16 km (9.9 miles) West of Tainan, Taiwan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Hokkaido, Japan Region at a depth of 253 km (157.2 miles), the quake hit at 23:52:37 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 179 km (111 miles) WNW of Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake MYANMAR - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Myanmar at a depth of 78.6 km (48.8 miles), the quake hit at 23:12:44 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 143 km (88 miles) WSW of Meiktila, Myanmar
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Northern Sumatra, Indonesia at a depth of 126 km (67 miles), the quake hit at 22:23:51 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 37 km (23 miles) Northeast of Sibolga, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck South of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:23:46 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 220 km (136 miles) SSE of Dutch Harbor, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of kamchatka at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles), the quake hit at 22:07:58 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 155 km (96.1 miles) Southeast of Petropavlovsk-kamchatskiy, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Eastern Honshu, Japan at a depth of 60 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 21:46:58 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 18 km (11.2 miles) Northwest of Yamada, Honshu, Japan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Philippine Islands Region at a depth of 67 km (41.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:59:51 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 84 km (52 miles) ESE of Hinatuan, Mindanao, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Fears of Syrian civil war deepen; U.S. aids opposition

Security forces killed at least 10 people in fighting across Syria on Tuesday, activists said, in a 14-month-old revolt that international mediator Kofi Annan, the Red Cross and Arab League warned was deteriorating into a civil war.

Clashes between government forces and rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad raged overnight in Syrian towns and flared again during the day, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Despite an initial pause in fighting on April 12, a promised ceasefire has not taken hold. Nor has the carnage in Syria stopped, despite a parliamentary poll on Monday which the government promoted as a milestone on its path to reform but the opposition dismissed as a sham and boycotted.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva after briefing the U.N. Security Council via video link, Annan said there were "worrying episodes of violence by the government" in Syria as well as attacks by the opposition in violation of the truce. He described a recent spate of bombings as "really worrying." more

Congress to vote on "Trayvon Amendment" -- Basically, your right to fight back is about to be taken away

House Democrats said Tuesday they will offer an amendment to push to overturn stand-your-ground self-defense laws in states like Florida.

The amendment, which would withhold some grants from states that have such laws, will come as part of the House's debate on the Commerce Department spending bill.

"'Shoot-first' laws have already cost too many lives. In Florida alone, deaths due to self-defense have tripled since the law was enacted. Federal money shouldn't be spent supporting states with laws that endanger their own people," said Reps. Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the two Democrats who are offering the legislation. "This is no different than withholding transportation funds from states that don't enforce seat-belt laws."

Florida's law, which allows residents to use force in response to an attack without first having to retreat, has come under scrutiny after the nationally-polarizing death of teenager Trayvon Martin. George Zimmermann, a neighborhood watch volunteer, has been charged with murder in the case. source

Note: Let them keep their funding. And let us keep our arms and the right to bear them.

U.S. markets selling off on European turmoil

May 8 - All three major stock indexes are down more than 1 percent as edgy investors eye further turmoil in Greece, and France and Germany disagree on remedies for a sovereign debt crisis

Red Cross warns of Syrian civil war

(Reuters) - Security forces killed at least 10 people in fighting across Syria on Tuesday, activists said, in a 14-month-old revolt that the Red Cross and Arab League warned was becoming a civil war.

Across Syria, clashes between state forces and rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad raged overnight and flared again on Tuesday afternoon, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Despite a shaky truce, the carnage in Syria has not stopped even after a parliamentary poll on Monday which the government promoted as a milestone on its path to reform, but the opposition called a sham and boycotted the vote.

As election officials counted votes on Tuesday, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said fighting had been so intense in some parts of Syria that at times the conflict in those places qualified as a localized civil war. Read More

Drone attack, foiled Yemen bomb plot linked

(Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone strike in Yemen that killed two members of al Qaeda on Sunday was part of a larger effort to intercept a more advanced "underwear bomb," the chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee said on Tuesday.

"I was told by the White House that they are connected, that they are part of the same operation," Representative Peter King told CNN a day after news of the intercepted bomb that authorities said was intended to make its way to an airplane bound for the United States or other Western country.

King and U.S. security officials did not say what happened to the suspected suicide bomber or if he was killed in the strike.

"The person who actually had the bomb is no longer a threat," King said.

John Brennan, President Barack Obama's top counter terrorism adviser and a former CIA official, told ABC's "Good Morning America" program that authorities are "confident that neither the device nor the intended user of this device pose a threat to us." Read More

Iran: U.N. Nuclear inspector killed in crash

(CNN) -- A U.N. nuclear inspector from South Korea was killed Tuesday in a car accident in Iran, state-run media reported.

Ok-Seok Seo was traveling with another inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency near the Khandab nuclear complex in central Markazi province when their vehicle overturned, state news agencies said, citing Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

The IAEA issued a statement saying it was informed of the accident and has been in touch with the inspectors' families and Iranian authorities. Read More

China Denies pills made from human flesh in country...With their Human Rights Record they are hardly going to admit to it

Medications made of human tissue have not been found in China, the country's Health Ministry said Tuesday after reports a day earlier that pills made from the flesh of dead babies were smuggled from China into South Korea.

Chinese authorities will conduct an investigation into reports that the capsules, allegedly made from aborted fetuses, were made in China, Deng Haihua, a spokesman for China's Health Ministry, said in a report from the state-run Xinhua news agency. Similar allegations were investigated in August, and nothing was found to substantiate them, he said.

Deng said China has strict regulations to ensure that such a thing could not occur.

According to a report in the Korea Times, 29 smugglers of "human-flesh capsules" have been arrested after trying to bring 11,000 pills into the country while disguised as tourists. Read More

Clinton: Pakistan failing to fight terror...Does she mean the lack of action against all those drones bombing their country?

New Delhi (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to do more in the fight against global terrorism Tuesday, saying that the latest plot in Yemen shows that extremists continue to devise more "perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people."

Speaking at a New Delhi news conference at the end of her three-nation trip to Asia, Clinton said Washington was committed to going after anyone who posed a threat to the United States or its allies.

"We look to the government of Pakistan to do more," she told reporters. "It needs to make sure its territory is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks anywhere, including inside of Pakistan."

Earlier, Clinton had said the United States believed several significant al Qaeda leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, were on the run and living inside Pakistan. Al-Zawahiri inherited the terrorist network's leadership after the death of Osama bin Laden, who spent years on the lam in Pakistan, fleeing from safe house to safe house, according to one of his widows. Read More

Foreign media under pressure in China

Anti-bailout party rejects Greek austerity pledge

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Sparks ignited Tuesday in Europe's austerity debate as the left-wing politician struggling to form a new Greek government declared that his country was no longer bound by its pledges to impose crippling cutbacks in return for rescue loans.

The comments by Alexis Tsipras came two days after Greek voters vehemently rejected mainstream pro-austerity politicians, backing a hodgepodge of parties from the Stalinist left to the neo-Nazi right but producing no clear winner in parliament.

Tsipras also demanded an examination of Greece's still-massive debt and a moratorium on repayment of the part of it that is "onerous," statements that rattled investors and drove Greek shares down another 3.6 percent on top of Monday's nearly 7-percent loss.

"The pro-bailout parties no longer have a majority in parliament to vote in destructive measures for the Greek people," said the 38-year-old Tsipras, whose anti-austerity Radical Left Coalition party came second in Sunday's vote. "The popular mandate clearly renders the bailout agreement invalid." Read More

Iceland halts fin whaling

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has welcomed the news that Iceland has called an end to the cruel practice of harpooning endangered fin whales.

Kristjan Loftsson, the lone Icelandic whaler, is responsible for killing 280 fin whales in Icelandic waters over the past six years. He has now abandoned plans to train his harpoons on the whales in 2012, according to Icelandic media reports. Loftsson’s whaling has put Iceland at risk of diplomatic action by the United States over its commercial whaling activities. US President Barack Obama announced last September that Iceland faced up to six different possible diplomatic measures in condemnation of its continued whaling.

In July 2011, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke invoked the Pelly Amendment and certified Iceland for its continued slaughter of both fin and minke whales, stating that Iceland’s disregard for the global ban on commercial whaling was ‘unacceptable’. Source

Peru: Steer Clear of Beach Til We Solve Animal Mystery

Peru insists that the hundreds of dead dolphins that have washed up on its coast are not related to the hundreds of dead seabirds that also recently began turning up. But no definitive cause has yet been released, three months after the government started testing the dolphins, and some are beginning to wonder if officials are hiding something.

Authorities have suggested a virus may be to blame for the at least 877 dolphin deaths since February, and starvation may be behind the more than 1,500 bird deaths in the same time frame, but some scientists think offshore oil exploration, biotoxins, or pesticides could be contributing.

“Never in my 40 years as a fisherman have I seen anything like this,” says one local. Even more alarming: Despite claiming it has ruled out any connection to biotoxins, bacteria, heavy metals, or pesticides, the government has also warned people away from the waters around Lima and northward until the cause of the mass die-offs has been determined. The Health Ministry also warned people not to eat raw seafood and to wear gloves and masks if handling the remains of marine animals. Source

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 8th May 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands at a depth of 122 km (64.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:41:21 UTC Tuesday 8th May 2012
The epicenter was 684 km (224 miles) Southwest of Petropavlovsk-kamchatskiy, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

146 cases of suspected typhoid under surveillance‎ in the Philippines

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar, May 8 (PIA) -- The local government of Maydolong confirmed that 146 cases of suspected cases of typhoid fever are now under surveillance.

Twenty of these cases have been brought to the provincial hospital due to high fever and diarrhea. The other patients are in their respective houses and are being closely monitored by local health workers.

According to Henry Afable, Maydolong mayor, the affected individuals come from the seven poblacion barangays and barangay Maybocog that depend on the Balalong Spring for their water sources.

The mayor confessed that in the early years, the water source was pure and safe for human consumption. In later years, however, due to local migration, the new residents have tainted the purity of the water. Admittedly, Afable said, these residents could not just be automatically uprooted.

“We cannot do that because the land is privately owned and they have put up their respective comfort rooms,” Afable reported. Read More

salmonella outbreak surged 30 percent over the weekend: Ingredient from Maryland Company may be salmonella source , North Carolina

ASHEVILLE — The number of cases in a Buncombe County salmonella outbreak surged 30 percent over the weekend, county health officials said Monday.

Government food and health regulators are zeroing in on a tempeh ingredient sold by a Maryland company as the possible source of the local bacterial infection.

The Food and Drug Administration is now among the agencies involved in the investigation of ingredients in the cultured bean product.

Meanwhile, officials with Smiling Hara Tempeh said the small Candler company is looking at restarting production after first doing a thorough review of its system.

Fourteen more people reported being ill over the weekend, raising the total from 46 on Friday to 60. Read More

Rental fleets depleted in St. Louis as result of hailstorm‎

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Last weekend's hail storm damaged thousands of vehicles in the St. Louis area, but good luck trying to find a rental. That's because car rental companies are scrambling to fix or replace their own fleets.

Hail as big as softballs was reported in parts of the region on Saturday. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Enterprise Rent-A-Car is bringing in more than 1,000 vehicles from other states to replace cars damaged in the storm. Of those damaged, about 800 were at Lambert Airport.

Avis had more than 300 cars damaged at the airport. The company is honoring some reservations but is putting customers on waiting lists until more cars arrive from other areas. Source

7 Die, 13 Injured When Roof Collapses In Classroom In Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, May 7 (Bernama) -- At least seven children were killed and 13 others injured when a classroom's roof collapsed in Pakistan's eastern area of Shakar Garh on Monday, Xinhua news agency quoted local media as saying.

According to news reports, the incident took place at about 12:00 a.m. local time when the roof of a grade 4 classroom in a private secondary school in Shakar Garh, northeast Lahore in eastern Pakistan collapsed without warning, killing four children on the spot and wounding over a dozen others.

Three victims later died in hospital, reports said.

Hospital sources said six out of the 13 injured people included two teachers and the death toll could rise.

Three critically injured children have been shifted to Lahore in eastern Pakistan.

There were an estimated 40 children aged between 8 and 10 in the classroom when the accident happened. Read More