Saturday, May 19, 2012

India (the kitten) wonders what impact the Euro downfall will have on tunafish

House rejects bill that would have limited indefinite detention on U.S. soil

US lawmakers struck down a contentious provision Friday that would have curtailed the government’s power to indefinitely hold suspected terrorists captured on American soil.

The measure, backed by an odd coalition of liberal Democrats and some Tea Party-backed Republican conservatives, had sought to ensure that suspected terrorists detained in the United States be charged with crimes and tried in federal courts.

The amendment, which went down by a 182-238 vote, was among the most controversial of 142 amendments under consideration as part of a huge military spending bill that provides $642.5 billion to the Defense Department and other related agencies for the coming fiscal year.

Sponsors Adam Smith, the top Democrat in the House Armed Services Committee, and Republican Justin Amash argued that the rights to a charge and trial are protected by the US Constitution, even for non-American terror suspects if they are caught in the United States.

The Smith-Amash amendment aimed to strike a clause in last year’s Defense Authorization act that allowed for the indefinite detention without trial.

“Leaving these powers on the books is not only a dangerous threat to our civil liberties, but also undermines one of our strongest assets in trying suspected terrorists: (federal) courts and domestic law enforcement,” Smith and Amash said in an opinion piece in Friday’s Politico newspaper. more

Turkish ship capsizes off the western Greek island of Zakynthos, 1 Dead 3 Missing

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Greek authorities say a Turkish cargo ship with 10 people on board has capsized off the western Greek island of Zakynthos.

Authorities say they have recovered one body, rescued six seamen and are still searching for three people. All those onboard are Turkish nationals.

The coast guard said in a statement the dead seaman was found on the deck of the "half-sunk" Turkish ship Erol Senkaya.

It is not known what caused the ship to capsize. Authorities say it was carrying olive pellets and was sailing from Zakynthos to Turkey. Source

Germany isolated over euro crisis plan at G8 meeting in Camp David

Barack Obama and David Cameron want German chancellor Angela Merkel to set out a clear path forward for Europe

Barack Obama and David Cameron have clashed with the German chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 summit in Camp David, demanding she set out a clear path for Europe to emerge from its current crisis.

The German leader resisted pressure for fresh measures that would include looser monetary policy for the European Central Bank, enabling quantitative easing similar to that deployed by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.

Obama and Cameron discussed their joint position at a G8 summit in Camp David during a 7am meeting held on a treadmill, possibly the first UK-US bilateral to be conducted in a gym.

With pressure growing for world leaders to come up with a decisive plan for solving the crisis, it emerged the Germans were resisting the inclusion of details in the final communiqué about the best course of action for the eurozone. Read More

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake SALTA, ARGENTINA - 19th May 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck Salta, Argentina at a depth of 188.4 km (117.1 miles), the quake hit at 20:14:26 UTC Saturday 19th May 2012
The epicenter was 67 km (41 miles) West of San Antonio de los Cobres, Salta, Argentina
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTH OF HALMAHERA, INDONESIA - 19th May 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck North of Halmahera, Indonesia at a depth of 54 km (33.6 miles), the quake hit at 20:06:01 UTC Saturday 19th May 2012
The epicenter was 288 km (179 miles) NNE from Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF COQUIMBO, CHILE - 19th May 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck off the Coast of Coquimbo, Chile at a depth of 30.4 km (18.9 miles), the quake hit at 19:38:55 UTC Saturday 19th May 2012
The epicenter was 112 km (69 miles) West of Coquimbo, Coquimbo, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 19th May 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:13:40 UTC Saturday 19th May 2012
The epicenter was 212 km (131.4 miles) East of Yamada, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Iraq rattled by Anti-Turkey protests

American Spring: The Documentary

Police arrest 400 'Blockupy' activists in Frankfurt

Chicagp anti-NATO rallies: Police gear up in Chicago as thousands join anti-NATO rallies

'Crushing Bahrain revolution crucial to war plans against Iran'

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 19th May 2012

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 14.9 km (9.3 miles), the quake hit at 19:05:21 UTC Saturday 19th May 2012
The epicenter was 167 km (104 miles) ESE from Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

'Bin Laden died of natural causes' on 26th June 2006

A former agent of the CIA has revealed that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has died of natural causes five years before the US announced his death.

Ship evacuated for leak of unknown gas in LA port

LOS ANGELES -- Fire officials say a large cargo ship has been evacuated in Los Angeles harbor as firefighters work to find the source of a gas leak.
The incident began early Friday afternoon. Fire spokesman Matt Spence says the type of gas is unknown and may be coming from a container at the bottom of a deep stack of containers.

About 25 firefighters, wearing gas masks, are working to find the source of the gas by removing the containers piece by piece.

Spence says the ship was outbound from the Port of Los Angeles, and it's unclear what its haul is.

Spence says there's no immediate cause for alarm or immediate indication of terror threat as firefighters investigate the situation. Source

Japanese whalers set out to kill 260 whales for 'scientific research'

"So Called Scientists Slaughtering a whale on their Ship for Research Purposes"

A pair of Japanese whaling vessels left Friday for the northwestern Pacific aiming to catch 260 whales for “scientific research”, a fisheries ministry official said.

The Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No. 2 departed from Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi, western Japan, to join the mother vessel Nisshin Maru, which has already set sail, the official said.

The fleet is scheduled to catch around 260 of the mammals, including 100 minke whales and 10 sperm whales, between now and early August, the official said.

Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty but Japan has since 1987 used a loophole to carry out “lethal research” in the name of science. Read More

Baby whale beaches in Muizenberg, Cape Town

Cape Town - An injured baby pygmy sperm whale beached at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg, Cape Town, on Saturday, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

“It has severe lacerations on its stomach caused from bashing against the rocks,” spokesman Craig Lambinon said.

Earlier, Lambinon said it was a dolphin that had beached.

The oceans and coasts branch of the department of environmental affairs was holding the whale where it was found until the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) arrives.

The SPCA's vets would decide what further action to take.

The NSRI from Strandfontein and Simonstown were on the scene assisting. - Sapa Source

Mount Marapi Volcano Erupts Again‎

A report, published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, has unveiled recently that a volcano, namely Indonesia's Mount Marapi, erupted early Friday at 7:15 a. m. local time, lasting for nearly ten minutes.

It has been found that the volcano has had several such eruptions since when its alert status was updated last August. Also, the same has erupted for a total of around 454 times since the late eighteenth century till 2008.

While a majority of these were minor eruptions, fifty of them were significant, last in the year 2005, found the team of researchers from Oregon State University.

The erupted volcano is located in the province of West Sumatra, near the cities and town of Bukittinggi, Padang Panjang and Batusangkar in West Sumatra. As per the findings, the volcano is the most active one.

It is being said that its eruptions had killed 300 people between October and November and had caused around 300,000 people to relocate as well. Read More

Mount St. Helens Eruption: NASA Releases Time-Lapse Video Before and After Destruction



Spain faces crisis of confidence after deficit slip

MADRID, May 19 (Reuters) - Spain's government faces a crisis of confidence from nervous investors after admitting late on Friday its 2011 public deficit was higher than it had previously reported due to adjusted accounts in three of its regions.

Spain revised its 2011 public deficit to 8.9 percent of gross domestic product from a previous 8.5 percent of GDP, a figure which was already sharply higher than the original target of 6 percent of GDP.

The three offending regions, Valencia, Madrid and Castilla y Leon, are all governed by the ruling People's Party, an embarrassment for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who has made much of the Socialist party's inability to control their accounts.

"This is a major disaster ... and a serious hit for Spain's credibility. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a leap in risk premiums on Monday. The news left me cold when I saw it. The worst that could happen to us right now was something like this," Antonio Cabrales, economist at Madrid's Carlos III university, told Reuters. Read More

What lies ahead in the eurozone is terrifying

Pressure is building in Britain for an in/out referendum.

What does the European crisis mean for Britain?
The uncertainty over the future of the euro and the accompanying recession in parts of Europe could not have come at a worse time for the struggling UK economy. Estimates of how much of Britain’s global trade is with the eurozone vary. It is somewhere between 40 per cent and 50 per cent, perhaps higher.

Either way, our single largest trading partner being in crisis creates practical difficulties for British businesses trying to sell goods and services to Europe. It affects orders, investment, profits, growth and jobs in the UK. There is some good news. British banks are not directly overly exposed to stricken Greece, unlike the French and German banks and governments who lent far too much. The Treasury took precautions last year and asked UK banks to reduce their exposure. Britain also retains its own currency and our trade outside the EU is showing serious signs of improvement. During the crisis the pound has also recovered, making this a good year to holiday in Europe.

If Greece leaves the euro, how will the rest of Europe be affected?

Against a backdrop of gridlocked negotiations, and with evidence of runs on some banks in the eurozone, it looks as though it is all but over for Greece in the euro. In European capitals, contingency planning is under way. Read More

Three Nato protesters planned Obama campaign HQ attack, prosecutors say

Defence attorneys maintain men fell victim to police entrapment scheme involving purchase of Molotov cocktail equipment.

Three Nato protesters arrested in a late night raid on Wednesday have each been held on a $1.5m bond over alleged terrorism-related offences.

Police claim the charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive or incendiary device, are the result of a month-long investigation into a group they believe was making Molotov cocktails.

In court on Saturday, prosecutors said the trio had planned to attack targets including President Barack Obama's campaign HQ and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel's home in a plot coinciding with the Nato summit being staged in the city.

But defence attorneys countered that the petrol bombs had been brought by undercover officers, and that their clients were victims of a police entrapment.

It is believed that the three defendants came to Chicago late last month to take part in May Day protests.

They had already been pulled over by police last week and asked about their protest plans in a stop they posted on YouTube. Read More

G8 says it wants Greece to remain in 'strong' eurozone........'Strong?' How about discussing HOW rather then what you Want

The leaders of the G8 group of the world's most powerful economies say they want debt-stricken Greece to remain in the eurozone.

In their summit communique, G8 leaders also committed themselves to promoting growth alongside fiscal responsibility.

However, the leaders acknowledged "the right measures are not the same for each of us".

Greece's possible exit from the eurozone was high on the agenda, following inconclusive elections there.

The leaders of France, Germany, the US, the UK, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia have been meeting at Camp David in the US state of Maryland.

'Significant headwinds'

"We agree on the importance of a strong and cohesive eurozone for global stability and recovery, and we affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the eurozone while respecting its commitments," the statement said. Read More

Maures Rally: Rally Car Smashes Into Spectators Killing 2 and seriously Injuring 15 others, Southern France

A car competing in a rally in southern France has crashed into the crowd, killing at least two people and seriously injuring 15 others.

Several children were among those hurt in the 14th annual Maures regional rally, at Plan-de-la-Tour in the Var region.

The car is believed to have veered off the road, firefighters have said.

Public prosecutor Danielle Drouy-Ayral said a race marshall was one of those who died.

She added that an official from her office would be overseeing an investigation.

Initial reports say the driver, who has not been named, made a mistake at a junction where he was supposed to turn right. Instead, he drove straight ahead, smashing into spectators.

A large team of firefighters and rescue workers was at the scene of the crash, which happened about 4.30pm.

More follows...

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 19th May 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 275 km (170.5 miles), the quake hit at 15:51:45 UTC Saturday 19th May 2012
The epicenter was 130 km (80.6 miles) Northwest of NUKU`ALOFA, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Solar eclipse to be observed by 83 million people across Japan

The annular solar eclipse, a rare phenomenon when the moon blocks all but a ring of the sun's light, is expected to be observed by 83 million people along the Pacific Ocean side of Japan, from southern Kyushu to southern Tohoku, on the morning of May 21.

The date will mark a remarkable event, observed in Japan for the first time in 25 years since the last occurrence which was seen in Okinawa Prefecture in September 1987. In Tokyo, it will be viewed for the first time in 173 years, while in Osaka and Nagoya it will be spotted after a long interval of 282 and 932 years, respectively.

Mitsuru Soma, an assistant professor at Japan's National Astronomical Observatory, further estimates that this will be the first time since 1080 -- in the late Heian Period -- that the phenomenon will be seen on such a massive scale across the country.

The eclipse will begin at sunrise in southern China on May 21, and will swiftly travel eastward toward Japan, after passing through Hong Kong and Taiwan. Read More

Researcher's probe uncovers 4 cancer deaths at printing company in Japan

Four former employees of a printing company in western Japan died after developing bile duct cancer, it has been learned -- raising suspicions about the use of chemical materials at the plant.

Shinji Kumagai, an associate professor at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, and others who discovered the deaths say that chemical materials at the factory likely caused the cancer. Families of the deceased are seeking to have the deaths recognized as work-related fatalities, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has started an investigation. Another worker also developed bile duct cancer but is still alive.

Kumagai said 33 male employees worked at the offset printing company's proof printing section from 1991 to 2003. The five who developed cancer were aged 25 to 45 at the time the cancer set in and had been in the company for seven to 19 years. Compared with Japanese males' average deaths from cancer in the bile duct or nearby organs, the death rate at the company was 600 times higher, Kumagai calculated. Read More

Bahrain, Qatar, UAE urge citizens to stay away from LebanonBahrain, Qatar, UAE urge citizens to stay away from Lebanon

(Reuters) - Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates urged their citizens to stay away from Lebanon, citing security concerns in a country where fighting prompted by sectarian tensions in neighboring Syria has unsettled areas near a northern port.

The three Gulf states' Foreign Ministries urged all those already in Lebanon - a favorite destination for wealthy Gulf tourists - to leave because of the "security situation" in the country, the official news agencies BNA, QNA and WAM reported.

Heavy fighting has rocked Lebanon's northern port of Tripoli in the past week. The clashes, mainly between government troops and gunmen in a Sunni Muslim district, have highlighted how violence in Syria can spill into Lebanon, a country that was garrisoned by Syrian troops until 2005.

Tourists from Gulf states form the bulk of the wealthy visitors to Lebanon, whose vital tourism industry has been hit hard by unrest in neighboring Syria. Read More

Thousands march in Frankfurt against austerity measures...While the Cat's Away the Mice will Play , Springs to Mind

(Reuters) - At least 20,000 demonstrators marched through Frankfurt on Saturday in a peaceful protest against austerity measures implemented to tackle the intensifying euro zone debt crisis.

Police closed off main roads in the centre of Frankfurt and set up check points on highways around the city as part of a heavy security operation to protect Germany's financial capital.

The protesters are angry at the misery they say governments are inflicting on people with their response to the crisis, which has intensified since inconclusive elections in Greece this month fueled concerns about its future in the euro zone.

"We're protesting against the Europe-wide policy of impoverishment by the troika," said a spokeswoman for the 'Blockupy' anti-capitalist movement, who put the number of protesters at 25,000. Police said there were 20,000. Read More

Obama says G8 in agreement on Iran nuclear program

(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday leaders of the Group of Eight major economies are committed to continuing the current approach of sanctions, pressure and diplomatic discussions with Iran over its nuclear program.

"All of us are firmly committed to continuing with the approach of sanctions and pressure in combination with diplomatic discussions," he told reporters at the G8 meeting at the presidential retreat in Camp David.

"And our hope is that we can resolve this issue in a peaceful fashion that respects Iran's sovereignty and its rights in the international community, but also recognizes its responsibilities," he said.

A U.S. official said on Friday that the G8 leaders had agreed that Iran needs to disclose more about its nuclear ambitions. Source

Solar eclipse to project 'ring of fire' this Sunday



(CNN) -- Thousands of people are planning viewing parties for the upcoming annular solar eclipse, a rare event in which the sun will appear as a thin ring behind the moon.

The eclipse will begin over Asia on Monday morning, when it will be visible in southern Japan and southern China.

In the United States, the eclipse will be visible on a path from northwestern Texas through New Mexico, northeastern Arizona, southern Utah, Nevada, northern California and southwestern Oregon late Sunday. Read More

British Columbia man straps explosives to body, storms ex's house

(CNN) -- A British Columbia man who held authorities at bay for more than six hours after allegedly strapping explosives to his body is presumed dead after the house he was holed up in exploded, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Friday.

The 48-year-old man, who was not immediately identified, is accused of storming his ex-girlfriend's home in the town of Kamloops, northeast of Vancouver, and taking her hostage, according to an incident report released by authorities.

The man told police he had explosives strapped to his body and to the gas tank of his van.

"The suspect, who is an electrician by trade, provided specific details to the negotiator regarding how the explosives were wired and how he would be able to detonate the devices remotely," the report said. Read More

Protesters decry unity plans in Bahrain

(CNN) -- Protesters in Bahrain marched through the streets Friday to criticize government plans to boost cooperation between the island state and Saudi Arabia.

The proposed unity plans have heightened already tense relations between Manama and Riyadh, on one side, and Tehran on the other.

Though specifics of the proposals are not clear, Bahraini opposition groups are against them because they fear the plans are the latest in a string of attempts to crush dissent.

Demonstrations in Bahrain failed to gain the traction of other Arab Spring uprisings after a government crackdown, backed by troops from nearby Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Read More

Terrorist Bomb explodes near Syrian military and intelligence center

(CNN) -- A car explosion shook the city of Deir Ezzor on Saturday, opposition activists and the Syrian regime said, adding to a spate of similar bombings in recent weeks.

The blast took place next to a military and aerial intelligence center, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syrian state-run TV reported at least nine deaths.

"The terrorist blast caused big damages to the houses, private and public facilities surrounding the site of explosion," the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN XIZANG - 19th May 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Western Xizang at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 14:02:37 UTC Saturday 19th May 2012
The epicenter was 597 km (370.1 miles) Northwest from Lhasa, Xizang (Tibet)
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time