Saturday, June 9, 2012

Muslim group rallies in Canberra, Australia

Hardline Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir has staged a protest outside the Iranian embassy in Canberra to condemn the country's rulers for supporting the Syrian regime.

About 150 members of the group travelled from Sydney on Saturday to rally outside the Iranian embassy before moving on the embassies of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

"Everyone knows the Syrian role in this brutal and dictatorial suppression of the uprising," Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar told AAP.

"But what's been ignored here is what people around them are doing.

"We are here to tell Iran that it's unacceptable that it is directly supporting the suppression.

"We are also telling the Turkish and Saudi Arabian embassies that it's unacceptable that they are turning a blind eye."

The protesters read an open letter to the Iranian rulers before delivering it to the embassy.

The letter declared the future wasn't with America and the west "but the establishment of a truly Islamic state". Read More

Cases of legionnaires in Edinburgh rise to 80

The number of confirmed and suspected cases of legionnaires' disease in Edinburgh rose to 80 on Saturday, after cooling towers suspected of causing the outbreak were closed.

There are now 36 confirmed cases and a further 44 people thought to have contracted the disease.

On Friday the North British Distillery in Edinburgh was served with an improvement notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The firm said it had also halted production at a second plant in the city while investigations continued.

However, both the firm and health inspectors said the order did not mean that its three cooling towers were the definitive source of the outbreak.

Patients being treated in Scotland's biggest outbreak of the disease include 15 cases in intensive care. Read More

Spanish banks to get eurozone rescue funds

Spain is to get loans to help shore up its struggling banks, its economy minister has confirmed.

He was speaking following an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

Luis de Guindos said Spain had agreed to officially request assistance from eurozone rescue funds.

He did not say how much the financial system would get, but he said it would be "significantly" more than the 40bn euros ($50bn; £32bn) recommended by the International Monetary Fund.

Spain had been reluctant to ask for a full bailout, like the one given to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, as they come with demands for tax rises and spending cuts.

Mr de Guindos said one of the conditions of the the loans was the restructuring of the financial system, but not "micro-economic conditions". "The conditions are for the banks," he said. Read More

Syria faces terror operation of Western powers: Schoenman

Rattled New South Wales towns undamaged by quakes

Earthquake-hit communities in north-west New South Wales have escaped with little more than some jangled nerves and a few cracked windows.

Residents of towns including Tamworth, Gunnedah and Armidale were shaken when two magnitude-4.2 quakes hit within a few minutes at around 9.30pm yesterday.

More than 400 people have reported feeling tremors or hearing loud noises. Many called police because they thought they were being robbed.

Gunnedah Shire Mayor Adam Marshall says he has never heard of a tremor in the region before.

"I guess no-one's really thought about checking their insurance policy for anything like earthquake damage," he said.

But there have been no reports so far of damage beyond a few windows in need of replacement.

Resident Jeff Silvey says it sounded like a jumbo jet and it set off dogs barking all along his street. Read More

Nude March Video: Canadian students strip in protest

'Intervention in Syria worst scenario, Syrians must decide regime's fate'

'US wants Pakistan to obey its orders'

EURO 2012 Fans Attack Stewards



Dozens of football fans, believed to be Russian, have attacked four stewards following the team's opening European Championship match in Poland.

Amateur footage showed supporters punching and kicking the volunteers – including one lying on the ground after being injured.

The violence erupted in the concourse area of Wroclaw Municipal Stadium, after Russia's 4-1 win against Czech Republic.

Four officials were taken to hospital after the clashes, but none were badly injured, police spokesman Pawel Petrykowski said. Read More

Obama says it's clear U.S. economy "not doing fine"

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama stressed on Friday the U.S. economy was "not doing fine," seeking to clarify his earlier comments about the health of the private sector that Republicans pounced on to try to paint him as out of touch.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama said that while corporate profits were strong and companies had been adding jobs, small businesses were having a tough time getting financing and other pockets of the economy needed more attention.

Earlier in the day, Obama had told a news conference that the private sector was "doing fine," but that budget-pinched states needed help.

Republicans seized on Obama's comments on the state of the private sector, with House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner saying, "Mr. President, take it from me, the private sector is not doing well."

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is seeking to unseat Obama in the November 6 election, called his statement "an extraordinary miscalculation." Read More

Breivik smirks as expert testfies on his mental health

June 8 - Agitated Norwegian mass killer smirks in court as an expert said it is likely he has Asperger and Tourette syndromes

Welsh flooding Dozens Rescued

June 9 - Dozens of people are rescued from homes and caravans on Saturday morning after serious floods hit west Wales

China to launch manned spacecraft this month

(CNN) -- China plans to launch a manned spacecraft this month to dock with a space lab that has been orbiting the Earth since September, state media reported Saturday.

The Shenzhou-9 was moved to a launch platform Saturday to allow scientists to conduct tests before the mid-June flight, Xinhua news agency reported.

This will be China's first crew expedition involving manual docking. If all goes as planned, it will be the third nation, next to the U.S. and Russia, to dock capsules in space.

"It demonstrates China's continued commitment to becoming a first-class space power with an independent space capability," Taylor Fravel, associate professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said this year when China announced its plans. Read More

Afghan forces hunt down prison escapees

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan forces are hunting down 14 inmates who escaped from a northern Afghan prison, the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Saturday.

They fled jail after a blast at the prison in Sar-e-Pul on Thursday night killed three prisoners and led to the escape of 32 inmates, said Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman.

He said the explosives used in the blast had been smuggled into the prison. As for the escaped inmates, Sediqqi said 18 of them were eventually caught. Four Taliban members and 10 others referred to as "criminals" remain on the run.

The incident led to the firing of the Sar-e-Pul police chief and prison director, who now face questioning.

SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online militant activity, said the Afghan Taliban claimed that it launched an operation that freed 170 fighters and killed 13 "enemy troops."

A Taliban spokesman said in a website communique that fighters attacked guards and blew a hole into the main prison wall, SITE said. Read More

Somali Islamists offer 10 camels as bounty for Obama...And 2 Camels for Info on Hillary Clinton

(CNN) -- The United States offers millions for information leading to the capture of the world's most wanted terrorists.

A Somali militant group has purportedly countered with an offer of camels for U.S. officials.

Al-Shabaab has placed a bounty of 10 camels for President Barack Obama and two camels for information on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

An audio statement posted on jihadist websites purportedly from Al-Shabaab jeered news that the United States is offering millions of dollars for information on seven key members of al-Shabaab through its Rewards for Justice program.

The man on the audio claimed to be Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, considered by the State Department to be Al-Shabaab's leading fundraiser. The United States has offered $5 million for information of his whereabouts. Read More

Syria, rebels trade blame for massacre

(CNN) -- After days of international shuttling on what to do with the troubling situation in Syria, Russia's foreign minister said Saturday that his country will never agree to foreign intervention.

Despite warnings of Syria spiraling into an all-out civil war, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a televised briefing in Moscow that there was no alternative other than implementing Special Envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan, despite it failures.

"The situation looks more and more grim," Lavrov said. "For the first time since the beginning of this crisis we see the question of foreign intervention. And our position remains unchanged. We will never agree to sanction the use of force in the U.N. Security Council. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake MINAHASA, SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck MINAHASA, SULAWESI, INDONESIA at a depth of 120.7 km (75 miles), the quake hit at 16:30:55 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 83 km (52 miles) West from Gorontalo, Sulawesi, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN TURKEY - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck WESTERN TURKEY at a depth of 25 km (15.5 miles), the quake hit at 14:33:12 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 14 km (8.7 miles) Southeast of Ula, Turkey
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 32.4 km (20.1 miles), the quake hit at 14:23:18 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 223 km (138 miles) SSW of Severo-Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Spain Denies Seeking Bailout For Banks



A Spanish government official has denied it is about to seek an international bailout to help recapitalise its ailing banking system despite widespread reports an application for financial assistance is imminent.

The country's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has admitted his government cannot afford to fund an estimated 40bn euro (£32bn) bill to prop up Spanish banks.

But Madrid has said it wants to wait until June 21 for the publication of two independent audits of its banking system to decide how much money is needed.

On Friday night, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rushed to publish its own analysis that said Spain's banks need at least 37bn euro (£30bn) to cope with the slump in property values. Read More

Iran nuclear talks collapse

International Atomic Energy Agency 'disappointed' with Iranian negotiating tactics

Talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over inspections of suspect nuclear sites broke down on Friday, deepening pessimism over the prospects of a negotiated settlement to the international impasse over Tehran's nuclear aspirations.

Negotiations at the agency headquarters in Vienna were aimed at agreeing the framework for an IAEA investigation into whether Iran had a nuclear weapons programme in the past, something Tehran has denied. The break-down of the talks is likely to further damage the prospects for broader negotiations between Iran and six major powers due to resume in Moscow on 17 June, aimed at finding a compromise over the Iranian uranium enrichment programme and forestalling Israeli military action.

An IAEA statement after the talks expressed "disappointment" with Iranian negotiating tactics, saying the Tehran delegation "raised issues that we have already discussed and added new ones". The statement said no date had been set for a follow-on meeting. Read More

Egypt ad warns people to stay away from foreigners

Egyptian state television has come out with an ad warning people against talking to foreigners who could turn out to be spies, a move slammed by social media users who say it will only help increase levels of xenophobia in society.

The ad features a man entering a cafe where a group of young people are sitting and chatting. The "foreign spy" joins them as they talk about the political and economic situation in the country.

A voice-over says the spy is receiving "valuable information" from normal people talking about problems in Egypt, such as traffic and fuel shortages.

Twitter users mocked the commercial, particularly a bit in which the "spy" says the word "really?" in English.

They said that spies don't need to go to cafes to get valuable information since all the crises facing the country are obvious.

One Twitter user said "any idiot will know that there is a crisis in fuel if he sees the queues in front of gas stations". Read More

Afghan burqa bomber kills four French troops

KABUL — A suspected Taliban suicide bomber wearing a burqa killed four French soldiers and wounded five others Saturday in an attack on a convoy of NATO-led troops in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

Three of the injured were in a critical condition after the attack in Kapisa province, where most of France's 3,500 soldiers in the country are stationed, French President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement.

"It is with the greatest emotion that I share the grief of the families," Hollande said. "Today all of France is affected."

The presidential palace said Hollande would make a "solemn statement" on the attack, the first fatal incident since he took over as head of state last month, at 1300 GMT.

He had also asked Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to head to Afghanistan on Sunday.

The president plans to recall French combat troops by the end of 2012, a year earlier than Paris initially planned, and two years before NATO allies, raising fears over security. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck OFF THE EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA at a depth of 21.4 km (13.3 miles), the quake hit at 12:02:47 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 169 km (105 miles) SSE of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 37.6 km (23.4 miles), the quake hit at 09:53:56 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 147 km (91 miles) South of Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Eurozone Mulls Spain Bank Bailout Amid IMF Fears



The 17 eurozone finance ministers are to discuss a bailout for Spain - just hours after the International Monetary Fund said its ailing banks need at least 40bn euro.


The IMF said Spain needs the capital injection after it performed a stress test on the country's financial sector, assessing it as well managed but vulnerable.

It recommended banks raise capital beyond the 40bn euro (£32bn) to properly restructure the troubled banks, but rating agency Fitch, which downgraded Spanish debt this week, said closer to 100bn euro (£81bn) is needed to keep the economy afloat. Read More

TWO WOMEN AND ONE MAN HAVE DIED AFTER THEIR VEHICLE STRUCK A TREE AT AVON BANK IN WORCESTERSHIRE THIS MORNING

Welsh Floods : More than 100 people have been rescued from four caravan sites after serious flooding around Aberystwyth in West Wales



Three people were airlifted to safety and many others rescued after a torrent of rain overnight.

Aberystwyth and Borth Coastguard rescue teams were called out along with the Borth RNLI inshore lifeboat.

A Sea King helicopter has also been deployed.

Fire crews have rescued 35 people from the Riverside Caravan Park in Llandre, using inshore life boats.

Another 11 people have been rescued from the nearby Millhouse Caravan Park.

Rescues have also taken place at the Sea Rivers and Glanlerry caravan parks near Borth.

In the village of Talybont 25 properties have been evacuated and residents are sheltering at a local community centre and pub.

Around 5ft of water is flowing through the main street there. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake CERAM SEA, INDONESIA - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the CERAM SEA, INDONESIA at a depth of 38.1 km (23.7 miles), the quake hit at 08:49:30 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 97 km (60 miles) Northwest of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEPAL - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck NEPALS at a depth of 20.6 km (12.8 miles), the quake hit at 07:54:10 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 14 km (8 miles) Northeast of Pokhara, Nepal
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

E.Coli Outbreak U.S.: Baby dies and 14 hospitalised in E.coli outbreak across six states

A mysterious and scattered outbreak of the E. coli bacteria is linked to 14 illnesses and one death across the U.S., health officials say.

No form of contaminated food or other cause has been identified in the illnesses, which occurred in April and May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three people were hospitalized. One victim, 21-month-old Maelan Elizabeth Graffagnini of the New Orleans area, died last week, reports WWL-TV.

The reported illnesses were spread across six states.

Georgia had five cases, Louisiana four, Alabama two, and Tennessee, Florida and California each had one.

E. coli is a large family of bacteria and most strains are harmless.

The most deadly strain is considered E. coli O157:H7, which became well-known in the early 1990s through a deadly outbreak associated with hamburger meat. Read More

While Obama Criticizes Europe on Finances S&P refuses to upgrade U.S. credit rating as debt troubles continue to mount

The rating agency that downgraded the U.S. government's long-term credit last year has decided to keep the lower rating for a second time.

Standard & Poor's said yesterday that it is keeping its rating of U.S. long-term debt at 'AA+' because it believes political leaders aren't addressing the federal debt burden.

S&P maintained that it still does not have complete confidence in the U.S. political system after the federal government lost in August its long-standing 'AAA' rating, reserved for the most credit-worthy borrowers.

On Friday, the rating agency warned that its outlook continues to be negative.

'We believe that political polarization has increased in recent years,' S&P said. Read More

Creflo Dolla Arrested after 'abusing his teenage daughter because she wanted to go to a party'

Megachurch pastor and televangelist Creflo Dollar - who has drawn scrutiny for his flashy lifestyle and preaching that prosperity is good - was arrested early on Friday for allegedly roughing up his 15-year-old daughter at his Atlanta home.

Fayette County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call of domestic violence at the property in Fayette County around 1am, said investigator Brent Rowan.

The pastor and his daughter were arguing over whether she could go to a party when Dollar 'got physical' with her, leaving her with 'superficial injuries,' Mr Rowan said.

The 15-year-old was the one who called authorities, and her 19-year-old sister corroborated the story.

Dollar faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and cruelty to children. He was released from Fayette County jail on bond on Friday morning. Read More

Lil Phat shot Dead in Sandy Springs, Atlanta: Police Searching for 2 Suspects

A promising young rapper has been shot to death outside a hospital.

Lil Phat, formally Melvin Vernell III, was killed in Sandy Springs, Atlanta on Thursday in a parking deck next to the Northside Hospital Women's Center.

Late Friday night, police identified the victim as the 19-year-old, known for being featured in rapper Webbie's popular 2007 song, Independent.

Sandy Springs police spokesman Captain Steve Rose said police are searching for two men seen fleeing the scene.

A motive for the slaying is not immediately known. Read More

Meteor impact that gouged 30-mile crater on Mars reveals traces of ancient reservoir

Two side-by-side meteor craters on Mars have revealed that the Red Planet has undergone serious climate change in its history.

One crater in particular reveals dark traces of sediment thought to have been cemented together by water from an ancient groundwater reservoir, before being carved away by howling Martian wind.

The find, by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, has lent weight to the idea that Mars was once very different to the dead orb we see now.

The ancient 'climate change' that turned Mars from a wet planet - possibly capable of supporting life - to the dusty, wind-scoured orb that we see today was probably caused by changes in the axis of the planet's rotation.

Similar forces are thought to have an impact on the cycle of ice ages on Earth.

On 19 June 2011, Mars Express pointed its high-resolution stereo camera at the Arabia Terra region of Mars, imaging the Danielson and Kalocsa craters. Read More

Ali Hasan the 11-year-old boy accused of taking part in anti-government protests to stand trial in Bahrain

An 11-year-old boy is to stand trial in Bahrain for allegedly taking part in anti-government protests.

Ali Hasan is accused of ‘joining an illegal gathering’ and faces other charges linked to protests in the Gulf state. He recently took school exams behind bars.

Ali was arrested last month during the Sunni monarchy’s crackdown on protests by Bahrain’s majority Shiites.

His plight was revealed by his defence lawyer, Mohsen al-Alawi, who will be representing the child when he appears in court on Monday to face the charges.

It is not the first time that the Bahrain authorities have been accused of targeting school children - three teenage school girls said they were beaten in custody by the police there in May last year.

More than 50 people have died in Bahrain since unrest began in February and martial law was imposed after mass rallies.

Martial law was declared after rallies of up to 200,000 people took place. Read More

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE OAXACA, MEXICO - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck OFFSHORE OAXACA, MEXICO at a depth of 18 km (11.2 miles), the quake hit at 06:19:22 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 183 km (113 miles) SSW of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Keiron Guess Savaged by Staffordshire bull terrier

Image: Garfield King, whose 15-year-old son Shovell said he 'couldn't give a toss' that his dog had savaged little Kieron

Little Keiron Guess needed seven hours of surgery this week to rebuild his face after being savaged by a neighbour's Staffordshire bull terrier. And the response of the dog's 15-year-old owner is every bit as horrifying...


With his ‘hoodie’ and the peak of his baseball cap perpetually pulled down over his face, Shovell King cut an intimidating figure.

His appearance, though, was not the only reason which made people want to cross the road when they saw the 15-year-old coming towards them.

Another was invariably by his side: up to 3st of muscle, teeth and claws masquerading as a family pet — a vicious Staffordshire bull terrier called Ratty.

The two — dog and owner — enjoyed a fearsome reputation in Swindon. Ratty’s temperament, it seems, was more American pit bull, a breed banned in Britain, than traditional ‘Staffie’. According to neighbours, it appeared that Shovell King used the snarling, growling animal to scare and intimidate.

Last year, during a drugs raid at the house that Shovell — or ‘Shovi’ as he is known — shares with his father, Garfield King, his ‘pet’ attacked not one but two police officers.
Nothing illegal was found at the end-of-terrace in Swanage Walk, but one officer was bitten on the hand, the other on the leg. Even a blast from a Taser stun gun failed to subdue the crazed animal. In other words, Ratty was a tragedy just waiting to happen.

That tragedy finally occurred at 6pm on Sunday, which is why you are reading about ‘Shovi’ King today. The victim, on this occasion, was two-year-old Keiron Guess. Keiron lives with his mum Stacey, 22, father Anthony, 23, and his brother Mckenzie, aged four, in a home backing on to the Kings’ property.

On Sunday, Keiron was being looked after by his grandfather. He was playing outside but wandered into the garden where Ratty the Staffordshire bull terrier was kept. Moments later, the sound of screams filled Swanage Walk

We shall not dwell on the horrific seconds that followed. Suffice to say, Keiron underwent seven hours of emergency reconstructive surgery on his face after being airlifted to hospital in Bristol.

He is lucky only in the sense that he survived. In the past five years alone, six children in Britain have died in similar circumstances. Six young lives lost, and countless people injured in streets, public parks and gardens across the country, by dogs — wild animals in all but name — under the command of owners like ‘Shovi’ King.

Neither King nor anyone else will face criminal charges because the attack on Keiron took place on private property. Read More

Tom Winsor: Theresa May faces police fury as civilian is set to be handed one of the most important jobs in policing for the first time

Controversial: Tom Winsor, pictured, author of two reports calling for radical reform of police pay and conditions, has been selected for the role of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary

Leaders of rank-and-file police reacted with fury last night to the decision to appoint a civilian to be their chief watchdog.

The Police Federation – which is fighting threats to pay and perks – said the selection of Tom Winsor as Chief Inspector of Constabulary ‘beggared belief’.

The former rail regulator wrote two reports proposing a radical shake-up of policing which caused deep resentment among officers.

Mr Winsor endorsed a normal retirement age of 60 and the scrapping of a series of allowances and special payments.

And he has proposed officers who work anti-social hours should be paid more.

He also said chief constables should have the power to make officers redundant.

On Thursday he was named as the Home Office’s preferred candidate to replace Sir Denis O’Connor and was chosen ahead of two Chief Constables for the £200,000-a-year post. Read More

Trees down and £5m super-yacht stranded as 80mph storm batters Britain and kills teenage moped rider

The combination of the long Jubilee weekend and half-term was always going to be too big a temptation for our notoriously uncooperative climate.

But even the greatest weather pessimist could not have predicted how the week would end, with winds of up to 82mph battering southern coasts and persistent rain causing havoc yesterday.

Mountainous waves threatened to swamp holiday resorts, while yachts were swept from their moorings and crushed by falling debris.

Inland, fallen trees caused rush-hour disruption, and in Birmingham, England’s cricket test match against the West Indies was rained off for the second day – the first time since 1964 that the first two days of play have been a washout.

And while today offers hope of a brief break from the deluge, what forecasters have called the ‘European monsoon’ is set to bring further bands of rain well into next week. Read More

Britain condemned on human rights in UN report...by Iran, Russia and Cuba

A review of Britain’s record on human rights was branded ‘ludicrous’ last night – for including criticisms from the governments of Iran, Russia and Cuba.

The United Nations report also contains scathing assessments of the UK from other countries notorious for their wholesale denial of human rights – among them Pakistan, Belarus and the Sudan.

Russia, where dissent is ruthlessly repressed and opponents of Vladimir Putin’s regime are routinely murdered, attacked police in the UK for using ‘excessive force’ and said prisons here were tantamount to torture.

The Cuban government – which is notorious for locking up dissidents and repressing its opponents – claimed Britain’s public spending cuts were damaging ‘economic and social rights’.

The comments were made in a Universal Periodic Review report, an assessment organised by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. UN General Assembly members are permitted to contribute to the report, which is published on every member state every four years.

Critics said the UN was undermining its credibility by allowing nations with serious human rights violations to hijack the process. Read More

Syrian rebels tried to get me killed to show up the regime: Channel 4 news reporter says he was 'deliberately set up to be shot'

A senior British journalist claims that Syrian rebels tried to lead him and his colleagues into a trap so they would be killed by government forces, to discredit the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Channel 4 News chief correspondent Alex Thomson said a group from the Free Syrian Army led his team into the line of fire because ‘dead journos are bad for Damascus’.

He said his vehicle was shot at before the team managed to ‘floor it back to the road we’d been led in on’.

He wrote: ‘Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow. We move out behind. We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s land.

'At that point there was the crack of a bullet and one of the slower three-point turns I’ve experienced. We screamed off into the nearest side-street for cover. Another dead-end. There was no option but to drive back out on to the sniping ground and floor it back to the road we’d been led in on.

‘Predictably the black car was there which had led us to the trap. They roared off as soon as we re-appeared. Read More

The British people must be given a vote on Europe

What on earth did David Cameron think he would achieve by going to Berlin on Thursday and lecturing the Chancellor of Germany on how to save the euro?

Mrs Merkel knows exactly what she would have to do: and she also knows it is politically impossible to do it.

Saving the single currency in its present form entails sharing the debt of eurozone countries among all 17 of them, with rich countries such as Germany underwriting debt from profligate ones like Greece or Spain.

The German people don’t want that, and legislation to allow the throwing of good German money after bad would probably not get through their parliament, as Mrs Merkel is painfully aware.

That aside, rescuing this benighted currency would mean effectively putting the eurozone under German control in a fiscal union where taxes and spending are centrally regulated — and that isn’t going to happen.

When I wrote about such a solution in the Mail nearly a year ago, and termed it the ‘Fourth Reich’ option, I was denounced by euro-fanatics, and by several German newspapers. They are quieter now. Read More

CERN confirms error in faster-than-light results

CERN has confirmed that a shock result from its Gran Sasso Laboratory was indeed the result of a mechanical error.

The group said that re-tests have confirmed that a faulty piece of fibre-optic hardware caused the OPERA experiment to suggest that neutrinos could be accelerated to velocities beyond the speed of light.

Upon re-examination, a set of four different experiments all found that neutrinos did, in fact travel at the speed of light. The findings re-affirm Einstein's assertions that faster-than-light travel is not possible.

"Although this result isn’t as exciting as some would have liked, it is what we all expected deep down," said CERN research director Sergio Bertolucci.

"The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action, an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments." Read More

Syria: West rebuffs proposal to work with Iran to solve crisis

Efforts to forge a united international response to the Syria crisis have been dealt a double blow as the West rebuffed a proposal to work with Iran and Russia rejected a new US peace initiative.

With violence escalating in the wake of this week's massacre of 78 Sunni villagers near the city of Hama, Kofi Annan, the international envoy to Syria met Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to try to salvage his disintegrating ceasefire plan.

At least 20 people were killed on Friday as rebels stepped up a week-long offensive to avenge the killings in Qubair, the fourth incident of mass bloodletting directed at members of Syria's Sunni majority in a fortnight.

Their operations included one of the most ferocious assaults on Damascus, the capital city, in months.

With demonstrations erupting across the country, the regime responded to the mounting volatility by shelling the city of Homs, one of the most-bitterly contested battlegrounds of the 15-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Read More

Cyberfraud gang jailed for selling identity theft kits

Confidential Access's 'platinum' products cost £5,500 and came complete with instructions on how to defraud companies.

Members of a gang who provided fake identities and documents to thousands of customers have been jailed following a two-and-a-half-year investigation into their multimillion-pound operation.

The criminal enterprise, known as Confidential Access (CA), operated from Alicante, Spain. It provided bogus documents and coaching on how to commit fraud.

A production line generated authentic-looking documents for committing fraud, many of which were bundled together and sold as full credit profiles. They included wage slips, credit histories and proof of postal address, making it possible for customers to defraud companies of thousands of pounds.

One of CA's top-end products, the so-called platinum profile, cost £5,500 and came complete with instructions on how to commit identity fraud. For £2,000, CA sold the "100% Creditmaster" profile. Read More

Barack Obama demands action as eurozone leaders ponder Spanish bank rescue

US President Barack Obama has demanded that European leaders act “right now” as ministers in Brussels deliberate over whether to impose a bail-out on Spanish banks.

In an impatient and forceful message, Mr Obama said there was “a path out of the crisis” if only leaders would take the “decisive actions” needed.

In Madrid, Berlin and Brussels officials denied that a rescue plan for Spanish banks was ready to launch this weekend, but Mr Obama blew their cover. “The focus must be on strengthening the banks, like we did in 2008,” he said. “EU leaders are in discussions about that and they are going in the right direction.”

Eurozone finance ministers have called crisis telephone talks for Saturday to decide whether to cajole Spain into requesting a multi-billion-euro bank rescue package or give Madrid more time to solve the crisis itself. Spain would be the fourth eurozone country to seek international aid. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake TAIWAN - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck TAIWAN at a depth of 18.4 km (11.4 miles), the quake hit at 04:41:19 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 37 km (22 miles) Northeast of Kaohsiung, Taiwan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 73 km (45.4 miles), the quake hit at 03:59:15 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 388 km (241 miles) ENE of Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN ITALY - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck NORTHERN ITALY at a depth of 14.5 km (9 miles), the quake hit at 02:04:58 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 82 km (50 miles) NNE of Venice, Italy
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 33 km (20.4 miles), the quake hit at 01:29:42 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 726 km (450.1 miles) Southwest of Petropavlovsk-kamchatskiy, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 9th June 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the BANDA SEA at a depth of 193.1 km (120 miles), the quake hit at 00:55:30 UTC Saturday 9th June 2012
The epicenter was 256 km (159 miles) Northwest of Saumlaki, Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Lindsay Lohan crashes Porsche into rubbish truck

Actress Lindsay Lohan has escaped unhurt after crashing her Porsche sports car into a rubbish truck in Los Angeles.

The 26-year-old ran into the back of the truck on the way to the set of her latest film.

Police said they did not believe she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.

The Freaky Friday star and her male passenger were taken to hospital as a precaution but both were soon released. Read More