Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mary Kennedy Dead, Details and Cause Unknown

(CNN) -- Mary Kennedy, from whom Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed for divorce in 2010, is dead, an employee of the Westchester County, New York, medical examiner's office said Wednesday.

The employee, who declined to give his name, told CNN he would provide no further details about the manner and cause of death. Kennedy was 52.

The family released a statement saying, "We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her. Our heart goes out to her children who she loved without reservation."

The Bedford Police Department earlier confirmed they were investigating a possible unattended death at an address owned by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Read More

Chen reports 'first concrete step' toward leaving China

Washington (CNN) -- Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese human rights activist who ignited a diplomatic frenzy when he escaped house arrest last month, has received passport applications for himself and his family, he said Wednesday.

The paperwork for Chen, his wife and their two children was completed and photos were taken at the Beijing hospital room in which he has been staying since he left the U.S. Embassy two weeks ago, awaiting his travel documents. Chen said local officials from his Shandong Province in eastern China visited him Wednesday, providing him with the forms.

"It's the first concrete step forward," Chen said.

The United States says it has taken all the necessary steps on its side to admit Chen. Read More

'Butcher of Bosnia' taunts as he Shows No Remorse

Alexis Tsipras: Austerity will send us 'directly to the hell'



Alexis Tsipras, head of Syriza, Greece’s extreme left-wing political party, appeared on Amanpour Wednesday.

Speaking from Athens, where he currently leads in the presidential polls, Mr. Tsipras responded to German Chancellor Merkel’s ultimatum – either Greece seeks economic reform and embraces austerity, or it will be shown the door of the European Union.

“I don’t know what Madame Merkel wants to do but I know what we want to do,” said Tsipras. “We don’t want outside the Eurozone. But we believe that Madame Merkel put the euro and the Eurozone in big danger by keeping these austerity measures.”

He added, “We want to change the austerity measures in Greece, also in Europe. We want to do this with the incorporation of other forces and people of Europe, the people who want a big change. Because everybody now understands that with this policy we are going directly to the hell. And we want to change this way.” Read More

Fear and confusion rule in Greece

US sees no peaceful solution in Syria?....Maybe it would help if they Stopped Supplying Weapons to these Rebels



There are reports that Washington is coordinating material support to the Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime. Anti-war activist Brian Becker believes the US has scripted it in a way that peace is impossible in Syria.

A senior State Department official admitted on condition of anonymity that the United States has increased its assistance to the Syrian opposition, the Washington Post reports. The Obama administration, however, has emphasized that the US is neither supplying nor providing funding for any lethal weapons, including anti-tank weaponry.

“We are increasing our non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,” an official said.

The rebels confirm that they have begun receiving significantly more – and better – weapons in recent weeks. Officials and opposition activists say it is all paid for by states in the Persian Gulf and coordinated by the United States.

With the US repeatedly saying that “all options are on the table” the report seems to be a shift away from a peaceful solution to the crisis. RT spoke about the issue with Brian Becker, the director of the anti-war coalition ANSWER.

RT: What does Washington seek to gain by this? And what about the Gulf states? Why are they fueling a conflict in their own backyard?

BB: I think Saudi Arabia, Qatar have their own interest in terms of reorganizing the Middle East, principally weakening Syria, weakening Iran, changing the relationship of forces in Lebanon. But behind Qatar and Saudi Arabia and even Turkey which has its owner regional ambitions, is the United States and NATO countries, the former colonizers of Syria and the region, who are committed to overthrowing the Assad government. Read More

Eurozone Break-Up Warnings from Cameron

David Cameron will step up his warning to eurozone countries to sort out the present crisis and uncertainty as a matter of urgency.

He will tell business leaders in northwest England there are huge risks for economies throughout Europe, including the UK, if the crisis drags on.

Reinforcing his "make up or break up" message to MPs on Wednesday, the Prime Minister will say: "The eurozone is at a crossroad. It either has to make up or it is looking at a potential break up.

"Either Europe has a committed, stable, successful eurozone with an effective firewall, well capitalised and regulated banks, a system of fiscal burden sharing, and supportive monetary policy across the eurozone.

"Or we are in unchartered territory which carries huge risks for everybody."

Mr Cameron said it was in Britain's interest for the eurozone to sort out its problems, but whichever path was chosen, he was prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect Britain and secure its economy and financial system.

The Prime Minister has been accused of a U-turn over the eurozone crisis after declaring only a few weeks ago that the crisis was not nearly half way through. Read More

Apache Drops Training Missile Near Texas Town by Accident

A US Army Apache helicopter accidentally dropped an inactive missile over central Texas, forcing dozens of homes to be evacuated.

No one was injured in the incident in which residents in Killeen told police they saw an object falling from an AH-64 attack helicopter into a field on Tuesday.

"Killeen Police Department responded and located the object which was impaled into the surface of the ground. Officials immediately cordoned off the area," a statement from the army's Fort Hood base said.

According to reports about 100 homes were evacuated.

An explosive disposal team found an inert M36 missile, a dummy version of a Hellfire missile used for training, officials said.

"The M36 is an inert training device without a warhead or propulsion system and is designed to enable crews to simulate Hellfire missile engagements in the cockpit without launching from the aircraft," the Fort Hood statement said.

The dummy missile, just like a real Hellfire weapon, weighs about 45kg and is 163cm long.

The cause of the incident is under investigation. Source

Greek PM Sworn In Amid Fears Of Run On Banks

A senior judge has been sworn in to lead Greece's caretaker government for a month amid fears uncertainty could spark a run on the country's banks.

Council of State head Panagiotis Pikrammenos, 67, will head a government that will lack the mandate to make any binding commitments until a new election, which is expected on June 17.

His 16-strong cabinet was due to be sworn in on Thursday, as speculation continued as to whether Greece could be forced to leave the euro.

And with hundreds of millions of euros withdrawn by Greeks from banks in the wake of the nation's May 6 election, political doubt is also worrying the country's international creditors.

Speaking after a briefing from central bank governor George Provopoulos, President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders around 700m euro (£560m) in deposits had left Greek banks since the day after the election.

According to a transcript of the meeting's minutes, Papoulias said: "The situation in the banks is very difficult. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake CELEBES SEA - 17th May 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Celebes Sea at a depth of 13.4 km (8.3 miles), the quake hit at 02:45:14 UTC Thursday 17th May 2012
The epicenter was 178 km (110 miles) SSW of General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA - 17th May 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck San Juan, Argentina at a depth of 98.3 km (61.1 miles), the quake hit at 02:34:14 UTC Thursday 17th May 2012
The epicenter was 102 km (63 miles) WSW of San Juan, San Juan, Argentina
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake GUERRERO, MEXICO - 17th May 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Guerrero, Mexico at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 02:26:48 UTC Thursday 17th May 2012
The epicenter was 131 km (81 miles) SSW of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SUCRE, VENEZUELA - 17th May 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Sucre, Venezuela at a depth of 90.8 km (56.4 miles), the quake hit at 00:52:20 UTC Thursday 17th May 2012
The epicenter was 46 km (28 miles) WNW of Guiria, Venezuela
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN GREECE - 17th May 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Southern Greece at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 00:47:40 UTC Thursday 17th May 2012
The epicenter was 66 km (40.9 miles) South of Methóni, Methoni, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NIAS REGION, INDONESIA - 16th May 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Nias Region, Indonesia at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:18:26 UTC Wednesday 16th May 2012
The epicenter was 184 km (114.8 miles) West of Gunung stoli, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake MOLUCCA SEA - 16th May 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Molucca at a depth of 60 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:49:31 UTC Wednesday 16th May 2012
The epicenter was 99 km (61.6 miles) Northeast Bitung, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Judge Napolitano: First Patriot To Shoot Down A Government Spy Drone Will Be A Hero

Judge Andrew Napolitano has warned Congress not to act “like potted plants” regarding the increased use of unmanned surveillance drones without warrants over US skies by military, government, and law enforcement agencies.

Echoing the recent comments of his Fox News colleague Charles Krauthammer, Napolitano also said that “The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero.”

The federal government is rolling out new rules on the use of the unmanned drones this week, with the Federal Aviation Administration announcing procedures will “streamline” the process through which government agencies, including local law enforcement, receive licenses to operate the aircraft.

Privacy advocates have warned that the FAA has not acted to establish any privacy safeguards whatsoever, and that congress is not holding the agency to account. more

Obama struck deal with pharmaceutical lobbyists for supporting failed Obamacare

Three years ago, President Obama cut a secret deal with pharmaceutical company lobbyists to secure the industry’s support for his national health care law. Despite Obama’s promises during his campaign to run a transparent administration, the deal has been shrouded in mystery ever since. But internal emails obtained by House Republicans now provide evidence that a deal was struck and GOP investigators are promising to release more details in the coming weeks.

“What the hell?” White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, who is now Obama’s campaign manager, complained to a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in January 15, 2010 email. “This wasn’t part of our deal.”

This reference to “our deal” came two months before the final passage of Obamacare in an email with the subject line, “FW: TAUZIN EMAIL.” At the time, Billy Tauzin was president and CEO of PhRMA. more

5 die of tick-borne disease in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey, May 16 (UPI) -- Five people have died in the Black Sea region of Turkey of a disease that can be transmitted by tick bites, officials said.

Saim Sener, Nigar Orman and Ayse Ortaacar of Kastamonu province in northern Turkey were taken to Ankara Numune Hospital Tuesday and died that day from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Today's Zaman reported.

A shepherd from Tokat district in Tokat province and a farmer from Corum province also died of the disease Tuesday.

The disease, which affects mainly farm and slaughterhouse workers in the countryside and in the central Anatolia and Black Sea regions, is normally transmitted by bites from infected ticks or through direct contact with infected blood tissue in livestock.

Transmission between humans, through exposure to contaminated blood, is rare. Read More

U.S. in waiting game in Syria crisis



Fifteen months into the crisis in Syria, and the Obama administration is, as one U.S. official describes it, in "a holding pattern," waiting for Russia to abandon its support for President Bashar al-Assad, waiting for sanctions to topple the economy and waiting for an organized Syrian opposition to present a coherent vision for a post-Assad Syria.

As the U.S. waits for what many believe is the inevitable failure of a United Nations-backed plan, American officials say they would rather U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan to pronounce his diplomatic efforts a failure himself.

Recommended– Syria: the elephant in the room amid military exercise in Jordan

Senior officials say the international monitors provided for in the current agreement with the Syrian government, however small in number, offer a small buffer against Assad's forces. Additionally, the U.S. and its allies on the U.N. Security Council want Russia to come to its own conclusion that Assad is not living up to his end of the agreement in ceasing the violence, and the plan is a failure. The concern is should the U.S. push for the next step, it would further alienate Moscow, which is skeptical about efforts to push out Syria's president. How the plan fails is as important as when it does, Western diplomats said this week.

"You have the politics part of this plan, and you have what is really happening on the ground," one U.S. official said. "We are going to be in a bit of a holding pattern for a while, debating on whether this has succeeded or failed, and whether it was designed to fail." Read More

How to get arrested in Dubai

The Sun has reported that a British woman is facing the possibility of three years in prison in Dubai, after a taxi driver accused her of having sex with a fellow passenger in the back of his cab.

The woman, 27-year old recruitment consultant Rebecca Black, told The Sun she had spent five days behind bars before being released on bail. She denied the allegation, saying she was alone in the cab and instead arrested for drinking a bottle of beer, which is also illegal in the UAE.

Of course she's not the first Brit to wind up behind bars or deported because they're not clued up about United Arab Emirates laws.

According to the Foreign Office, 1.1 million Britons visited the UAE last year and 294 of them were arrested or detained by police - making it more likely to happen there than in any other country in the world.

So if getting banged up abroad is on your 'to do' list of life experiences, here are some easy ways to break the law in Dubai...

Do some dirty dancing

Ever thought your dance moves ought to be illegal? Then head to Dubai, where they just very well might be. Unless you're at a licensed club or in the privacy of your hotel room then dancing is considered indecent and provocative and could get you arrested. Read More

'Wars pushing Americans into poverty'

Big Brother watches Americans through surveillance cameras

Brazilians battle rising flood waters

'OWS more Ron Paul revolution than Arab Spring'

Iran terror group moved off US blacklist 'over Israeli ties'

Desperate Greece smashed by austerity hammer'

China probes North Korean seizure of fishermen

Officials say investigation launched into reports of capture of three vessels with 29 crew members near Dalian on May 8.

China's foreign ministry says it has launched an investigation into reports that a group of North Koreans seized three Chinese fishing vessels and took their 29 crew members hostage.

The ministry said on Wednesday that it is trying to obtain confirmation about the incident from North Korean authorities.

Chinese media reported that the seizures occurred near the city of Dalian, in Dandong province, on May 8.

The North Korean captors have reportedly forced the abducted fishermen to call their families and asked them to pay ransoms in order for them to be released.

On the morning of last Wednesday, an abducted crew member apparently made a phone call using an unidentifiable number, claiming that the captors were requesting ransom amounts in return for the release of the fishermen. Read More

The Pirate Bay hit by DDoS attack

File-sharing website The Pirate Bay (TPB) has been hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

The site has been largely inaccessible for the last 24 hours, and the service is intermittent in the UK.

The Pirate Bay has confirmed the attack on its Facebook page, saying that it did not know who was behind it, although it "had its suspicions".

A provider of DDoS defence systems said that it was unlikely that the attack came from hacking group Anonymous.

"There will be further attacks, but what's significant about this whole story is that people think that it is the Anonymous attacking a site which is typically a type of site that they defend," said Andre Stewart of Corero Network Security.

"It could be the record labels, or a government somewhere that has had enough of not being able to catch The Pirate Bay, it could be just one person who had rented some cloud power from Amazon and is sitting in a cafe, and is able to launch an attack." Read More

European Central Bank Urges Greece to Stay, but Signals Limit to Support

FRANKFURT—European Central Bank President Mario Draghi urged Greece to remain a member of the 17-member euro zone, in his first public comments on the possibility that Greece's political turmoil may force its exit from the currency bloc.

"Our strong preference is that Greece will continue to stay in the euro area," Mr. Draghi said in a speech honoring departing ECB board member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo.

His remarks come days after central-bank heads from Ireland and Belgium signaled that a Greek exit wouldn't be catastrophic for the euro zone, comments that broke a longstanding taboo against ECB officials even acknowledging the possibility that a euro member may leave the bloc.

Mr. Draghi said that whether Greece stays or goes isn't for the ECB to decide, because its founding treaty "does not foresee anything on exit." Mr. Draghi said the ECB remains focused on its anti-inflation mandate and "preserving the integrity of our balance sheet," suggesting the ECB won't go to extraordinary lengths just to prop up Athens.

The ECB said Wednesday it has stopped dealing with some undercapitalized Greek banks at its conventional monetary-policy operations. Read More

Assad in Syria mercenaries claim

In his first interview in nearly half a year, Syrian president Bashar Assad claimed his regime has captured foreign mercenaries who were fighting for the opposition in a bid to show his forces are fighting terrorists rather than pro-democracy activists.

Assad spoke in an interview broadcast on Russian state news channel Rossiya-24, signalling he has no intention of softening his position despite an international peace plan that includes a ceasefire.

He said the decision by the Syrian National Council to boycott parliamentary elections earlier this year discredited the opposition group.

"To call for boycotting the elections, that's the equivalent of calling for a boycott of the people," Assad said. "And how can you boycott the people of whom you consider yourself the representative?

"So I don't think that they have any kind of weight or significance within Syria," Assad said in remarks translated into Russian. Read More

Major drug bust in Afghanistan

May 16 - The Russian anti-drug tsar says four drug labs were closed, 67 people were arrested and tonnes of drugs were seized in Afghanistan last week. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

Obama says won't allow U.S. debt ceiling crisis repeat

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama told top lawmakers on Wednesday he was ready to work with Republicans and Democrats on a "balanced" approach to deficit-cutting but would not permit another down-to-the-wire debt ceiling crisis, the White House said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama made clear in the sandwich lunch he hosted that congressional leaders needed to "avoid refighting old political fights" and made clear he will not allow "a replay of last summer's self-inflicted political crisis."

"The president made clear ... that we are not going to recreate the debt ceiling debacle of last August," Carney said, saying any agreement on deficit reduction needed to include some new revenues as well as spending and program cuts. Republicans have resisted tax increases as part of a budget deal. Source

'Military-grade' rocket launcher exchanged for grocery store gift card during Mother’s Day gun buyback in Los Angeles

A weekend gun buyback event in Los Angeles has yielded some unexpected weaponry, including a pair of rocket pistols and a military rocket launcher – sans rocket - that were turned in for gift cards.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa displayed the 1,673 firearms that were brought in during the fourth annual buyback, among them rifles, handguns, shotguns and assault weapons.

As part of the program run by the mayor's Gang Reduction and Youth Development Office, individuals could turn in their firearms and ammunition anonymously, with no questions asked.

In exchange, they received $200,000 worth of Ralph's grocery store gift cards or Visa per-paid cards for varying amounts depending on the gun type -- up to $200 for assault weapons, and up to $100 for handguns, rifles and shotguns.

Officials hoped that hosting the buyback on Mother’s Day would prompt more people to trade in their weapons, according to the TV station KTLA. Read More

Sara Eisen Caught on Camera.....Does know-one have any decency left



Or was it a Distraction to get people's mind of the economic news of the day?

Paige Parkerson 'stabs father of kids to death because of cheap mother's day present... flowers from Walmart'

A woman stabbed the father of her children several times on Sunday evening when he gave her a cheap mother's day present that she did not like, according to police.

Paige Parkerson, 20, from Jefferson County, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of her live-in boyfriend Clifton JR Barkin, 22.

Police were called to the house by his mother Evetta Wright, shortly after she got a phone call from Parkerson allegedly confessing to the crime.

She told the Houston Chronicle: 'Paige told me she killed JR, that he was dead.'

Mrs Wright had just dropped her son off at the house at 11.30pm on Sunday and that was after taking him to Wal-Mart to buy flowers and a Mother's Day card for Paige.

Barkin, 22, was stabbed several times and died just after midnight in the backyard of his yellow rental house.

Mrs Wright said she believes Parkerson expected a more expensive gift, such as jewelry. Read More

Alaskan fault-line could trigger Japan-style tsunami that would devastate California and Hawaii, scientists warn

Scientists say a fault-line running across Alaska could cause tsunamis of the same magnitude as the Japanese disaster of March last year.

Attention has turned to the Alaskan-Aleutian subduction zone, a region where one of the earth's tectonic plate, carrying the Pacific Ocean, drops beneath the North American plate.

A particular section of the fault near the Semidi Islands has not ruptured since at least 1788, and measurements on this area - which lies four to five kilometres under water - reveal the pressure is accumulating rapidly.

If the Pacific Ocean plate slips, as happened in the geographically-similar Tohoku subduction zone off the coast of Japan, a tsunami could occur - and the deaths could happen as far away as Hawaii and California. Read More

Chill out, Not Everyone is Worried about the EU Collapsing

Theresa May branded a 'disgrace' and heckled as she tries to justify police cuts to rank-and-file officers



Theresa May was today branded a 'disgrace' by police officers as she attempted to justify changes in their pay and conditions.

The Home Secretary was jeered when she told them regular fitness tests, new entry requirements, and direct entry for experienced individuals into serious ranks should be welcomed by hard-working police officers.

Moments before taking to the stage at the Police Federation's annual conference in Bournemouth a podium hastily arranged for her to be allowed to stand throughout her speech, rather than sitting down.

Standing against a banner that said 'cutting police by 20% is criminal' Mrs May said that giving officers the right to strike was 'off the table' adding: 'Keeping our communities safe is simply too important.' Read More

Andrew Yara told to be a Jew in Holocaust role-play lesson sues school over claim he got injured when 'Nazis' jumped on him

A student has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming he was jumped on in a role-playing lesson on the Holocaust.

Andrew Yara, now 19, filed the suit in Texas alleging he was injured when he was forced to play the part of a Jew in a world history class.

The lesson at Perryton High School pit pupils against each other as Jews and Nazis, the Amarillo Globe News reported.

Mr Yara claimed it happened when he was following the orders of classmates playing the roles of Nazis.

In the complaint against the Perryton Independent School District, the teenager's attorneys said the district violated his 'bodily integrity'.

It added the class had 'stripped him of his ability to defend himself' during the May 2010 Red Ribbon Day. Read More

UK Plans For Currency Break-Up



The governor of the Bank of England has delivered a scathing verdict on the handling of the eurozone debt crisis and confirmed contingency plans for a potential break-up of the single currency.

Sir Mervyn King, at the launch of the Bank's quarterly inflation report, admitted discussions were being held in the UK on how to handle the collapse of the euro.

The Bank, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority are contemplating the worst-case scenario, which would send shockwaves around the world.

In the report, the Bank warned of continued risk of a "disorderly" outcome for the eurozone, as part of its wider forecasts for the UK economy.

Sir Mervyn admitted that the bank could not quantify the most extreme risks from the single currency area but declared that the UK's biggest trading partner was "tearing itself apart without any obvious solution." Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN ALASKA - 16th May 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Southern Alaska at a depth of 69 km (42.7 miles), the quake hit at 15:02:50 UTC Wednesday 16th May 2012
The epicenter was 24 km (14.8 miles) Northwest of Hope, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 16th May 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Oaxaca, Mexico at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 14:16:59 UTC Wednesday 16th May 2012
The epicenter was 131 km (81 miles) South of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Explosion At LSB Chemical Plant Causes Stock Sell-off Despite Insurance

Early Tuesday morning, an explosion at LSB Industries‘ (NYSE:LXU) El Dorado, Arkansas chemical facility damaged the facility.

The explosion was in the DSN concentrated nitric acid plant, and damaged both the plant and surrounding equipment. No employees or anyone in the community was injured, and management believes that there was no environmental release. The entire El Dorado facility was shut down pending an assessment and repair of the damage, but management was not able to provide any timeline.

The stock sold off on the news, at one point down over $6, and closing down $2.36 at 30.01. The stock is back up to $31.10in after hours trading, after a management conference call to discuss the incident. Management tried to put the damage in perspective during the call. A transcript of the conference call is available here.

Key points were:
  • The facility was insured for both damages (with a $1 million deductible) and business interruption after a 30 day waiting period.
  • The El Dorado facility accounted for 29% of operating profits from LSB’s chemical division in Q1, although this was expected to be lower in Q2 as the company’s Pryor plant was offline for much of Q1. The chemical division accounts for about 2/3 of the company’s sales.
  • The El Dorado facility has lower margins that the company’s other facilities, which are currently benefiting from low natural gas feedstock prices (El Dorado uses anhydrous ammonia as a feedstock.) Read More

Dutch fans warned about risks at Euro 2012

The Dutch foreign ministry has published a booklet warning fans of the Dutch squad not to visit prostitutes, be careful when using alcohol or drugs and to take into consideration that homosexuality is a sensitive subject in Ukraine.

The Oranje Boekje EK 2012 Little Orange Book Euro 2012 was written in collaboration with the Royal Dutch Football Union and the . Orange, of course, being the colour of the Dutch national football team.

Alcohol and drugs

The booklet, which has 60+ pages, offers a wide variety of tips to help supporters survive the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine without major mishap. Read More

Rochdale sex ring: David Cameron says case was 'truly dreadful'

The Rochdale sex ring case was "truly, truly dreadful" and must be investigated further, the prime minister has said.

David Cameron was responding to a Commons question regarding last week's jailing of nine men for sexual offences against young girls.

The question came from Rochdale's Labour MP Simon Danczuk.

Rochdale Council has announced a review into its handling of the grooming of vulnerable young girls.

Mr Cameron said England's Children Commissioner Maggie Atkinson would investigate the girls' plight and he would consider launching a serious case review. Read More

Derby house deaths: Police say fire started with petrol

Petrol was used to start a fire in a house in Derby in which six children died, police have said.

A media conference heard officers believe the blaze originated below the home's letterbox.

Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all died in the fire. Duwayne, 13, died later in hospital.

The children's father, Mick Philpott, said the family had been "overwhelmed" with support from the local community. Source

David Cameron raises possibility of euro breakup

Labour accuses PM of stoking fears for eurozone, days after chancellor criticised those who engaged in speculation

David Cameron appeared to cast doubt on the future of the euro during prime minister's questions when he said the eurozone "either has to make up or it is looking at a potential breakup".

He told MPs: "That's the choice they have to make and it is a choice they can't long put off." His aides said later he had not made a mistake with his remarks, which Labour immediately pounced on, accusing the prime minister of stoking fears of a breakup.

Cameron's words followed a stark warning from the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, who said Britain's recovery was being hampered by a eurozone that was "tearing itself apart" and referred to a "storm heading our way from the continent".

Cameron's open questioning of the euro's future seemed to be at odds with comments made two days ago by George Osborne. The chancellor had criticised those such as the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who had raised speculation about Greece's continuing membership of the euro.

He said in Brussels: "It's the open speculation from some members of the eurozone about the future of some countries in the eurozone which I think is doing real damage across the whole European economy." Read More

China approaches sea dispute with "small stick"

(Reuters) - In a month-long standoff between China and the Philippines over a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, Beijing has so far refrained from sending warships from its increasingly powerful and modern navy to enforce its territorial claims.

Instead, China has deployed patrol vessels from its expanding fleet of paramilitary ships to Scarborough Shoal, known in Chinese as Huangyan Island. Naval experts say the intent is to minimize the risk of conflict and contain any regional backlash.

After alarming some of its neighbors in recent years with assertive behavior in the South China Sea, China has turned to "small stick" diplomacy, using unarmed or lightly armed patrol boats from fisheries, marine surveillance and other civilian agencies rather than warships.

Shen Dingli, a security expert at Shanghai's Fudan University, said the role of these vessels was to demonstrate "soft power" and avoid the impression that China was engaged in gunboat diplomacy.

"Therefore, it is more peaceful and moral," he said. Read More

China pushes North Korea to drop nuclear test plan: sources

(Reuters) - China has been quietly and gently pressuring North Korea to scrap plans for a third nuclear test, said two sources with knowledge of closed-door discussions between the countries, but there is no indication how the North will react.

If North Korea goes ahead with the test, China would consider taking some retaliatory steps, but they would not be substantive, a source with ties to Pyongyang and Beijing told Reuters.

North Korea has almost completed preparations for the test, Reuters reported in late April, a step that would further isolate the impoverished state after last month's failed rocket launch that the United States says was a ballistic missile test.

"China is unhappy ... and urged North Korea not to conduct a nuclear test near Changbai Mountain," said the source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

China feared a radiation leak and damage to the environment from a blast, the source added. Read More