Sunday, June 10, 2012

Greek tourism battered by political crisis, fear

(Reuters) - When he took a job as the manager of one of Greece's biggest resorts overlooking a sandy beach near Ancient Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games, Michalis Minadakis thought he had the goose that laid the golden egg.

But seven years later, his dream of a bonanza with sun-seeking tourists is in ruins as the country's debt crisis has deepened, sparking talk of a Greek exit from the euro and social unrest that has begun to scare off visitors.

"Germans have been good friends of Greek tourism but they're afraid to come over now," said Minadakis, his eyes fixed on empty sunbeds around a pool at his Olympia Riviera Resort that boasts four hotels and a beach that is 1.2 miles long (2km).

"This will be a very tough year. The hurdles we are facing are huge," he said, adding that he had suffered a 25 percent drop in bookings this year and received 50 percent fewer visitors from Germany, Greece's biggest tourist market. Read More

Sacramento gang shooting: 4 Dead

(Reuters) - Four people, including two ethnic Hmong shamans, were killed in a gang-related shooting in California's capital of Sacramento, officials and media said on Sunday.

The dead included the gunman, police said.

A fifth person was hospitalized in critical but stable condition with gunshot wounds, they said. The Sacramento Bee newspaper said the two shamans - traditional spiritual healers or guides - were in their 50s.

The shooting occurred late on Saturday in a southern Sacramento neighborhood, said Michele Gigante, a spokeswoman for Sacramento Police Department.

Authorities said they believe that the gunman was let into the home before he opened fire with a handgun, killing three of the occupants of the home and wounding a fourth person.

"We are pretty confident that this was not a random act," said Gigante. "We're looking into this being a gang-related crime."

Gigante said she could not confirm the report that two of the dead were shamans. Read More

India frustrations send foreign firms packing

(Reuters) - Frustrated by a lack of opportunities in India, Germany's Fraport (FRAG.DE), the world's No. 2 airport operator, is shutting its development office in the country, the latest in a growing list of companies exiting Asia's third-largest economy.

Regulatory uncertainty and policy gridlock have battered foreign corporate sentiment towards India, adding to a dramatic slowdown in economic growth and exacerbating a widening current account deficit that has knocked the rupee to record lows.

"When we came to India in 2006, we were actually extremely bullish about the market. We felt India had a lot of potential at that time," Ansgar Sickert, who heads Fraport's India operations, told Reuters in a telephone interview on Friday.

Government plans then to privatize dozens of airports in smaller cities have not come to fruition.

"We were disappointed when none of these opportunities materialized," said Sickert.

Many foreign companies in other sectors have seen their India plans thwarted by sluggish or inconsistent policymaking under the embattled government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Read More

Afghan students guard schools after attacks

(Reuters) - Standing at a narrow half-open school gate, two boys in school uniform conduct body searches on fellow pupils and visitors. Another two sit at a table to take down details of comings and goings in a register.

Arson and poison attacks on schools across Afghanistan, mostly against those teaching girls, have forced students to defend themselves, an extra-curricular activity imposed by the government which blames the Taliban for the violence.

Abdul Fatah, 16, takes it in turn every few weeks to stand guard all day at the entrance to Habibia High School, one of the best in Kabul.

His parents worry that if there is an attack, he will be the first to get hurt. But the only other choice is to stay at home and join tens of thousands of Afghans who have left school early and struggle to earn a living in menial jobs.

There is a police checkpoint on the road outside and each day a group of six students and a teacher patrol the grounds. Read More

Spain bank deal may not work, bolder reforms needed: Stiglitz

(Reuters) - Europe's plan to lend money to Spain to heal some of its banks may not work because the government and the country's lenders will in effect be propping each other up, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

"The system ... is the Spanish government bails out Spanish banks, and Spanish banks bail out the Spanish government," Stiglitz said in an interview.

The plan to lend Spain up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion), agreed on Saturday by euro zone finance ministers, was bigger than most estimates of the needs of Spanish banks that have been hit by the bursting of a real estate bubble, recession and mass unemployment.

If requested in full by Madrid, the bailout would add another 10 percent to Spain's debt-to-gross domestic product ratio, which was already expected to hit nearly 80 percent at the end of 2012, up from 68.5 at the end of 2011. That could make it harder and more expensive for the government to sell bonds to international investors. Read More

Muslim, Buddhist mob violence threatens new Myanmar image

(Reuters) - Northwest Myanmar was tense on Monday after sectarian violence engulfed its largest city at the weekend, with Reuters witnessing rival mobs of Muslims and Buddhists torching houses and police firing into the air to disperse crowds.

At least seven people have been killed and many hurt, authorities say, in the worst communal violence since a reformist government replaced a military junta last year and vowed to forge unity in one of Asia's most ethnically diverse countries.

The fighting erupted on Friday in the Rakhine State town of Maungdaw, but has spread to the capital Sittwe and nearby villages, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency late on Sunday and impose a dawn-to-dusk curfew.

"We have now ordered troops to protect the airport and the Rakhine villages under attack in Sittwe," Zaw Htay, director of the President's Office, told Reuters. "Arrangements are under way to impose a curfew in some other towns." Read More

EU's Spain bank rescue may bring only brief respite

(Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers rushed Spain into an EU-funded rescue for its debt-stricken banks to pre-empt the threat of a bank run if Greece's debt crisis flares again but any respite for Madrid and the euro may be short-lived.

After weeks of insisting that Spain needed no assistance to recapitalize lenders crippled by bad debts from a burst real estate bubble, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was pushed into requesting an aid package for fear of worse disaster to come, European officials involved in the negotiations said.

The 17-nation currency area agreed to lend Madrid up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) for its bank rescue fund, more than an initial audit suggests it is likely to need, in an attempt to reassure investors and erect a new firewall in the crisis.

But the euro zone's latest line in the sand, after bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal since 2010, could be swept away as early as next Sunday by angry Greek voters, rekindling market turmoil that would hit Spain and Italy first. Read More

Outrage over detention without trial of Palestinians by Israel-Remember Palestine-06-09-2012

Bo Xilai is alleged to be involved in 11 murders.

Thousands of Residents Protest in Bazhong Against Police Violence, China

Bangkok residents unite to fight floods

Kenya minister among helicopter crash victims

Myanmar declares state of emergency in west

US military blamed for polluted water at base

Fed up with Euro, Irish town cashes in old currency

“180 degrees wrong”: George Osborne faces Tory fury over attempts to dodge blame for the recession

Chancellor yesterday claimed that the eurozone crisis was “killing” the British recovery.

George Osborne faces Tory fury over his attempt to use Spain’s ¤100billion bank bailout to deflect the blame for his disastrous economic policies.

The Chancellor yesterday claimed that the eurozone crisis was “killing” the British recovery – even though Europe has so far escaped the double-dip recession that has struck here.

And top Tory MP Douglas Carswell last night slammed the comments, saying Mr Osborne was “180 degrees wrong” to blame the UK slump on Europe.

The debt crisis is on a long list of excuses offered up by Mr Osborne and his allies which have also included the weather, the Royal Wedding and even the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

His latest attempt to explain away the UK’s dire financial state was timed to coincide with the weekend’s rescue deal to save Spain’s stricken banks. In a newspaper article, Mr Osborne said: “Our recovery, already facing powerful headwinds from oil prices and the debt burden left behind by the boom years, is being killed off by the crisis on our doorstep.”

Writing on his blog, Mr Carswell said: “It is not the eurozone crisis that we should blame for our awful economic performance but the almost total absence of domestic economic reform, coupled with the Treasury’s absurd belief that monetary stimulus can engineer growth.” Read More

Chilean police clash with anti-Pinochet demonstrators

Hundreds of demonstrators in Chile have clashed with the police after the screening of a documentary praising the former military government of General Augusto Pinochet.

The mayor of the capital, Santiago, Pablo Zalaquett, said police were attacked in several areas of the city centre.

He said there was extensive damage to property.

Earlier police used tear gas and water cannon to break up the demonstration.

The screening has pitted supporters of the late general, who claim the right to free speech, against relatives of victims of his regime, who are outraged at the tone of the documentary.

The mayor said hundreds of anti-Pinochet demonstrators organised in groups continued to launch "coordinated attacks" in the centre of Santiago hours after the screening at the Caupolican theatre.

"As I said before, I would prefer the event not to have taken place because we all knew what was going to happen," Mr Zalaquett told CNN.

"Chile needs to look forward. We are tired. Many people say they are out there to defend human rights, but they just come to destroy and loot." Read More

Lady Gaga concussed at final New Zealand show

Lady Gaga's latest hit came courtesy of a metal pole wielded by one of her back-up dancers during her last show in New Zealand and gave the superstar a suspected concussion.

The pop singer was performing hit Judas at the Vector Arena in Auckland on Sunday evening when she received the accidental thump to the top of the head.

Sporting yellow hair, wearing a white dress and holding a machine gun, Gaga could be seen staggering for a moment after being hit but quickly pulled herself together and continued performing, a YouTube clip of the incident shows.

TMZ.com reported that she later told fans at the concert: "I want to apologise. I did hit my head and I think I may have a concussion. But don't you worry, I will finish this show." Read More

Australia: Western Power battles storm damage

UPDATE 10am: Western Power has warned households may be without power for up to a week as the utility battles the biggest outage in its history after a once-in-a-decade storm.

As another storm front crossed the coast this morning, about 110,000 homes remained without power across the metropolitan area and the South West.

Western Power spokeswoman Miriam Borthwick said crews were tackling more than 1500 cases of damage.

“It’s realistic that there may be many homes that are off for days,” she said.

More bad weather is playing havoc as crews from Western Power and the SES try to repair damage from yesterday.

The Weather Bureau has forecast a squally thunderstorm for Perth and the South West today. A gale warning has been issued for residents between Jurien Bay and Cape Leeuwin. Another "very strong cold front" is expected to hit the same area late tomorrow or early Wednesday morning. Read More

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE - 11th June 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE at a depth of 8 km (5 miles), the quake hit at 02:06:34 UTC Monday 11th June 2012
The epicenter was 31 km (19.2 miles) South of Fethiye, Turkey
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the BANDA SEA at a depth of 191.2 km (118.8 miles), the quake hit at 23:51:26 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 275 km (170 miles) NNW of Saumlaki, Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO at a depth of 9.1 km (5.7 miles), the quake hit at 22:45:43 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 65 km (40 miles) WSW from Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake MOLUCCA SEA - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the MOLUCCA SEA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:28:18 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 145 km (89.9 miles) Northeast of Bitung, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles), the quake hit at 18:28:33 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 27 km (16.7 miles) South of Fethiye, Turkey
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Two Die When Ukrainian Apartment Building Collapses

Emergency officials say two people were killed and two others seriously injured when a stairwell in a five-story apartment building collapsed in western Ukraine.

The incident happened early on June 10 in Lutsk -- about 150 kilometers north of Lviv, which is co-hosting the 2012 European soccer championships.

Ukraine's Emergency Situations Ministry said eight apartments were destroyed when structural supports collapsed in the building, which was constructed in 1971.

Eighteen survivors were treated for injuries and released.

Such accidents are not entirely unusual in Ukraine, where infrastructure is outdated and safety rules often are neglected. Source

D-FOX: Please contact us if you can read this

To D-fox: if you're reading this, please contact us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com. It's important -- we believe.

Spaniards angry over bank bailout

Madrid residents express their frustration over news that the EU will lend Spain 100 billion euros to shore up its banks. Lindsey Parietti reports

Wildfire rages in western US

A fast-spreading wildfire has forced scores of people to evacuate their homes in the US state of Colorado. Andrew Raven reports

Assad forces renew Homs assault

(Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have renewed efforts to impose control in Homs province, killing at least 35 people in one of the biggest bombardments since a failed U.N.-mandated ceasefire in April, opposition activists said on Sunday.

They said the Syrian army used artillery, mortars and rockets to hit opposition strongholds in the city of Homs and the towns of Qusair, Talbiseh and Rastan in central Syria.

Free Syrian Army rebels had been intensifying attacks in the area, the Syrian Network for Human Rights and other opposition campaigners said.

Assad's forces also carried out raids on neighborhoods in and around Damascus to try and flush out rebels who have been stepping up operations near security compounds in the capital.

United Nations efforts to bring peace to Syria - where a 15-month-old uprising against Assad has turned increasingly violent - have largely come to nothing, with both sides blaming the other for breaking the ceasefire. Read More

Republicans renew attacks on Obama administration over leaks

(Reuters) - Republicans on Sunday renewed their attacks on the Obama administration over suspected leaks of classified security information, with one influential senator saying the Justice Department should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate.

Among the government secrets leaked to the media in recent months were reports on U.S. cyber warfare against Iran, procedures for targeting militants for drone attacks and the existence of a double agent who penetrated a militant group in Yemen.

Republicans have also criticized the administration for disclosing details of the Navy SEAL team that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a raid on his Pakistan hideout last year.

"Our intelligence people say this is the worst breach they've ever seen," Senator John McCain, senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"It's very clear that this information had to come from this administration. It couldn't have come from anywhere else," McCain said. "This needs a special counsel - someone who is highly independent of the Justice Department."

While government leaks are a staple of Washington political life, the issue has taken on a special significance ahead of the November 6 election, with some Republicans charging that the leaks appear calculated to boost the President Barack Obama's re-election prospects. Read More

EU's Spain bank rescue may bring only brief respite

(Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers rushed Spain into an EU-funded rescue for its debt-stricken banks to pre-empt the threat of a bank run if Greece's debt crisis flares again but any respite for Madrid and the euro may be short-lived.

After weeks of insisting that Spain needed no assistance to recapitalize lenders crippled by bad debts from a burst real estate bubble, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was pushed into requesting an aid package for fear of worse disaster to come, European officials involved in the negotiations said.

The 17-nation currency area agreed to lend Madrid up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) for its bank rescue fund, more than an initial audit suggests it is likely to need, in an attempt to reassure investors and erect a new firewall in the crisis.

But the euro zone's latest line in the sand, after bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal since 2010, could be swept away as early as next Sunday by angry Greek voters, rekindling market turmoil that would hit Spain and Italy first. Read More

Wales: Floods wash away rail track bed

About 150ft (45m) of track at a steam railway has been left suspended in the air after the land beneath was washed away by floods in mid Wales.

The incident happened along the line of the Vale of Rheidol railway near Aberystwyth on Saturday.

Services have been suspended on the railway which runs between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge.

"The track is now literally suspended in mid air - but still connected to either side," said a spokesperson.

Bosses stopped services on Saturday due to flooding in the Ceredigion area.

They realised the extent of the track bed problem while carrying out line checks on Sunday to survey for damage.

They say the line will be closed for at least a week. Read More

Boko Haram church attacks kill 3, wound dozens in Nigeria

JOS, Nigeria — A suicide bomber blew his car up outside a church and gunmen opened fire on another service in Nigeria on Sunday, killing three people and wounding dozens in attacks claimed by Boko Haram.

The assaults were the latest in a series targeting churches in Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, with many of the previous attacks also claimed by the Islamist group, whose insurgency has killed hundreds.

A purported spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for Sunday's attacks and threatened further violence.

"We are responsible for the suicide attack on a church in Jos and also another attack on another church in Biu," the spokesman calling himself Abul Qaqa told reporters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri in a phone conference.

"We launched these attacks to prove the Nigerian security wrong and to debunk their claim that we have been weakened by the military crackdown," he said, speaking in the Hausa language common throughout Nigeria's north.

"The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state and its security apparatus as well as churches until we achieve our goal of establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state." Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake KYUSHU, JAPAN - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the KYUSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 76.2 km (47.4 miles), the quake hit at 17:11:30 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 80 km (49 miles) SSE of Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN COLOMBIA - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck NORTHERN COLOMBIA at a depth of 155.7 km (96.8 miles), the quake hit at 15:21:40 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 33 km (20 miles) South of Bucaramanga, Colombia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

BREAKINGVIEWS: Spain still vulnerable post mega bank bailout

(The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own)

By Fiona Maharg Bravo and Hugo Dixon

(Reuters Breakingviews) - Spain is still vulnerable after its mega bank bailout. Madrid has finally got a credible plan for its lenders: it will receive up to 100 billion euros from its euro partners to boost their capital. But the state's debt will rise as a result, the economy is still shrinking and the government has lost a lot of credibility. Spain may yet require a full bailout. That would really test the single currency.

The 100 billion euro figure is at the top end of most analyst estimates, and more than double the 40 billion euros that the International Monetary Fund had estimated the banks needed. It should go a long way towards reassuring investors that Spanish lenders are sufficiently capitalised to withstand shocks. It should also reduce the risk of a bank run if there is trouble following next Sunday's Greek elections. It may even help limit a severe credit crunch. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA at a depth of 9 km (5.6 miles), the quake hit at 06:23:28 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 117 km (72 miles) Southeast from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Riot-hit western Burma province in state of emergency

Burma's president Thein Sein has announced a state of emergency in the western state of Rakhine, following a week of sectarian attacks in the area.

A spate of violence involving Buddhists and Muslims has left 17 people dead and hundreds of properties damaged.

Trouble flared after the murder of a Buddhist woman last month, followed by an attack on a bus carrying Muslims.

Officials announced a curfew in four towns in the state earlier, expressing concerns about further clashes.

A state of emergency essentially allows the military to take over administrative control of the region.

State television said the order was in response to increasing "unrest and terrorist attacks" and "intended to restore security and stability to the people immediately".

President Thein Sein said the sectarian violence could put the country's moves towards democracy in danger. Read More

Plane crash near Kiev, 5 dead, 13 injured

Kiev (Ukraine), Jun 10: Emergency officials say a small plane carrying parachute jumpers crashed on landing during a severe storm near the Ukrainian capital, killing five and injuring 13 people on board.

The accident took place at the Borodyanka airport some 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of Kiev on Sunday when the small plane tried to land during a heavy rainstorm with high winds, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

The plane belonged to a pilot school and was carrying 16 parachute jumpers and two crew members. An investigation has been opened. Source

USAIN BOLT IN CAR CRASH IN JAMAICA BUT HAS NOT BEEN INJURED

THREE-TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION USAIN BOLT HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN A CAR CRASH IN JAMAICA BUT HAS NOT BEEN INJURED.

Welsh Village Evacuated On Flood Fears



North Wales Police officers are evacuating residents from the village of Pennal, near Machynlleth, following a slight breach in a reservoir dam.

Staff from the local councils, representatives from the local water board, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and officers from North Wales Police are at the scene working to stabilise the situation.
It is thought that the breach may have been caused by a landslide.
Superintendent Andy Jenks-Gilbert said: "The evacuation is taking place as a precautionary measure.

"The water is flowing over the top of the reservoir stone wall into a quarry below which has the Afon Pennal running through it.

"A crack has been discovered in the wall, causing a small amount of water to escape.
"Should the wall be completely breached, the contents of the reservoir will go into the river which flows through the village of Pennal , which is around half a mile from the reservoir.
"Police officers are evacuating residents in the area and would ask visitors and locals to avoid the village at this current time."

In other parts of the country, about 1,000 people who had to abandon their homes and caravans when floods struck West Wales are starting to return to their homes.
They spent the night in refuge centres after a month's rain fell in 24 hours, in what Environment Agency Wales has called an "unprecedented event". Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS - 10th June 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS at a depth of 148.9 km (92.5 miles), the quake hit at 13:32:55 UTC Sunday 10th June 2012
The epicenter was 64 km (40 miles) NNW from Pagan, Northern Mariana Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

University Heights apartment complex Shooting: 3 Killed, Gunma still at Large

Three people have been killed and two others seriously injured in a shooting incident at a college in Alabama.

The shooting took place late on Saturday at the University Heights apartment complex off campus in Auburn, Alabama.

Early unconfirmed reports suggested that the three people killed were college football players, two of them former students and one a current student.

The search for the gunman is ongoing. Read More

PENNAL TOWN EVACUATED DUE TO A FLOOD RISK, WALES

RESIDENTS IN WELSH TOWN OF PENNAL HAVE BEEN EVACUATED DUE TO A FLOOD RISK

Russia insists on Iran role over Syria

FT: Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has made clear that Iran should not be excluded from an international conference on Syria – putting it on a collision course with the US over the stalled peace process.

A conference, which some have likened to the Dayton accords that put an end to the three year long civil war in Bosnia in 1995, may be held later this month.

“We want this event to be effective. In order to be effective all the sides with any influence on the sides in the Syrian conflicts should be represented there. Iran is one such country,” Mr Lavrov said. Read More