Wednesday, June 13, 2012

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 14th June 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 03:08:12 UTC Thursday 14th June 2012
The epicenter was 195 km (123.9 miles) Southeast of Narin, Xinjiang, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA - 14th June 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA at a depth of 5.9 km (3.7 miles), the quake hit at 03:17:15 UTC Thursday 14th June 2012
The epicenter was 3 km (1.8 miles) North from Yorba Linda, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Syrian Nun Supports Assad Regime and Believes the Free Syrian Army are responsible for the Houla massacre

Sir Allen Stanford Facing 230 Years

In June 2008, Sir Allen Stanford landed his helicopter on the turf at Lord's with a box full of cash and the world seemingly at his feet.

Almost four years to the day he will sit in court in Texas facing the prospect of a 230-year jail sentence.

Prosecutors have described the tycoon as a "ruthless predator" whose $7bn "Ponzi" scheme was among the biggest frauds ever undertaken.

It is a world away from the moment Stanford announced his arrival on the international stage by bankrolling a multi-million pound Twenty20 challenge between England and the West Indies.

Once named the 605th richest person in the world, Stanford was convicted in March of orchestrating a 20-year scheme that took in billions through the sale of bogus certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank.

Thousands of victims are still trying to get their money back and the jury at his trial decided that federal authorities should try to seize $330m in frozen funds that Stanford stashed in 29 foreign bank accounts. Read More

Low Paid Workers 'Falling Into Poverty'

Oxfam is calling for an increase in the minimum wage to protect low income workers from dropping below the poverty line.

The charity says that the rising cost of living, combined with falling wages, and cuts to benefits, is creating the "perfect storm" for low paid workers.

A report published by the charity today shows six out of ten working-age adults living in poverty come from working households.

Oxfam's director of UK poverty Chris Johnes said: "Despite the Government's rhetoric about making work pay, having a job is no longer necessarily enough to lift someone out of poverty.

"More working-age adults in poverty now live in working households than in workless ones." Read More

New Crop Circle 12th June 2012 at Silbury Hill, Wiltshire UK

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SERAM, INDONESIA - 14th June 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck SERAM, INDONESIA at a depth of 58.2 km (36.2 miles), the quake hit at 02:17:29 UTC Thursday 14th June 2012
The epicenter was 72 km (44 miles) East of of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 13th June 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 22 km (13.6 miles), the quake hit at 23:26:54 UTC Wednesday 13th June 2012
The epicenter was 88 km (54 miles) Southeast of Atka, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake TIMOR SEA - 13th June 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the TIMOR SEA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:51:51 UTC Wednesday 13th June 2012
The epicenter was 209 km (129.6 miles) Southeast of Soe, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

School leavers 'unable to function in the workplace'

More than four in 10 employers are being forced to provide remedial training in English, maths and IT amid concerns teenagers are leaving school lacking basic skills, it emerged today.

Figures show that 42 per cent of companies now stage lessons in core subjects because young people are unable to function in the workplace.

The Confederation of British Industry said that too many school leavers struggled to write to the necessary standard, employ basic numeracy or use a computer properly.

Almost two-thirds of business leaders also said that teenagers were failing to develop vital skills such as self-management and timekeeping at school.

The disclosure – in a survey of 542 firms employing around 1.6m people – will add to growing concerns that the education system is failing to equip children for the demands of university and the workplace.

It is claimed that year-on-year rises in GCSE and A-level results have been driven by a focus on “teaching to the test” instead of promoting a rounded education. more

Note: The following comment was left on this article, and is well worth sharing as a bonus...

"1957-Scenario : Johnny and Mark get into a fight after
school. - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up
best friends.

2010 - Police called, arrests Johnny and Mark.. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it. Both children go to anger management programs for 3 months. School governors hold meeting to
implement bullying prevention programmes.

1957-Scenario :Robbie won't be still in class, disrupts
other students.. - Robbie sent to office and given 6 of the best by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2010 - Robbie given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADHD. Robbie's parents get fortnightly disability payments and School gets extra funding from government because Robbie has a disability.

1957 -Scenario :Billy breaks a window in his neighbour's
car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt. Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2010 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang.

1957-Scenario :Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school. - Mark gets glass of water from Principal to take aspirin with.

2010 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug
taking. Principals car searched for drugs and weapons.

1957-Scenario : Johnny takes apart leftover fireworks from
Guy Fawkes night, puts them in a paint tin & blows up a wasp's nest. - Wasps die.

2010- Police & Anti-Terrorism Squad called. Johnny
charged with domestic terrorism, investigate parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated. Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is
never allowed to fly again.

1957-Scenario :Johnny falls while running during morning
break and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary . Mary hugs him to comfort him.-In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2010 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses
her job. She faces 3 years in Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

G. Peasemould."


NWO puts out arrest warrant for Gizmo the cat

Name: Gizmo

Last known location: Australia

Likes: Cheesecake, hugging people's tired feet

Crimes against the New World Order as cited in arrest warrant: 

1) Meowing without a protest license 
2) Not eating all of its dinner
3) Supplying Assad with heavy weaponry

If seen:

Do not act obvious. Scratch behind ears, and/or offer an ice cream cone to lick. If meowing begins, resist urge to talk about the evils of corporatocracy and Hillary Clinton. Interpol will be on hand as soon as possible.

Notes:

Aside from being a master of disguise and capable of meowing in seven different languages, Gizmo has also been seen working with other very dubious international agents. Always be wary of what information you share with others. Wiggling whiskers sink ships.


Update:

Gizmo has been spotted in recent years sporting the following disguise. Judging by the dashing authentic Oakleys, we surmise that tunafish racketeering and other financial shenanigans may be added to the list.

Russia will confront any US-led attack on Syria: Webster Tarpley

West seeks to sabotage P5+1, Iran talks: Jeff Steinberg

US drones target innocent civilians in Yemen

Supplying Israel with nuclear-armed subs sparks controversy in Germany

Palestine economy struggles under Israeli siege

Syrian government calls UN accusations false

China slams US pressures for joining Iran oil embargo

'Israel plans to arrest and deport black refugees'

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Economic crisis hits Greek health service

Eurozone nations plagued with questions

Scores killed in Iraq attacks

Curfew in Tunisia after widespread riots

Host Hatred: Poland blasts hooligans for Warsaw violence

Leakers at Risk: UK seeks to silence whistleblowers

Poland, Russia clashes: New footage of Euro 2012 fan fights in Warsaw

'US military reins in White House warmongers'

Syria: Russia and US embroiled in row over arms supply

Russia became embroiled in a new row with the United States and its western allies over the supply of arms to both sides in the Syrian conflict.

Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister, hit out at the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who on Tuesday accused Russia of supplying the Assad regime with attack helicopters.

He said Russia was supplying “anti-air defence systems”, which did not violate international law.

“That contrasts with what the United States is doing with the opposition, which is providing arms to the Syrian opposition which are being used against the Syrian government,” he said.
In Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry later said Mr Lavrov’s statement was mistranslated and that the minister had only said Washington was supplying arms “in the region.”

Mrs Clinton later hit back, questioning Russia’s claim it wants peace and stability in the Arab country. Read More

Mali chaos attracts Islamist militants

Sevaré, Mali (CNN) -- The town of Niafunke, on the banks of the River Niger, was made famous by the legendary Ali Farka Toure, one of a legion of great guitarists to emerge from Mali.

But nowadays, Niafunke is known as a battleground as Mali disintegrates and a mix of hard-line Salafi Islamists and ethnic Tuareg rebels tighten their grip on the northern two-thirds of the country.

Malik, an English teacher from the town, knows just how hard-line the new arrivals are. He said a friend was brutally beaten on a Niafunke street after Salafists caught him with a flask of alcohol in his pocket. Malik also enjoys beer, a cigarette and music -- all "vices" abhorred by the Salafists of a movement known as Ansar Dine -- so he fled.

His story is all too typical. Mali, traditionally a tolerant society, has become bitterly divided in the wake of a rebellion by the Tuareg, a nomadic people who inhabit the north of this country as well as areas of Niger, Libya, Burkina Faso and Algeria. Read More

U.N. envoy arrives in west Myanmar


(CNN) -- The U.N. envoy to Myanmar arrived Wednesday in the Southeast Asian country's western state of Rakhine, where sectarian violence in recent days has killed more than 20 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Vijay Nambiar, the special adviser for Myanmar to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is in Rakhine for talks with local officials, said Aye Win, the U.N. national information officer in the country.

Violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims prompted the government of President Thein Sein to declare a state of emergency in Rakhine on Sunday, calling in the military to help impose order.

The turmoil underscores the fragility of Thein Sein's efforts to move the country along a path toward democracy and pursue reconciliation among its different ethnic groups after he took power last year. Read More

Hillary’s Little Startup: How the U.S. Is Using Technology to Aid Syria’s Rebels

Syria's regime may have overwhelming firepower, but the rebels are winning in another arena— with U.S. help.

Abu Ghassan looks more like a hipster than a revolutionary. Decked out in a pink shirt and black jeans, he clutches a pack of cigarettes and begins to talk hesitantly about his activities. He is eager to get back to the beleaguered city of Homs in Syria but quickly warms to questions about how he learned to fight Bashar Assad with an AK-47, a video camera and the Internet—and how Americans helped turn him into a cyberwarrior.

Abu Ghassan (not his real name) told TIME on June 8 that he has been a two-fisted warrior for a while—with the scars to show for it. While filming an antiregime demonstration in December in Homs, he heard a blast and was told that two government tanks were headed toward the crowd. Abu Ghassan, 26, had to decide: Keep filming or pick up a weapon? He decided to do both, grabbing an AK-47 from his car and setting down his video camera in an elevated spot to catch the action.

As he ran ahead, an armored Land Rover swerved in front of the crowd, and regime soldiers opened fire. Abu Ghassan and fighters with the Free Syrian Army, the rebel force protecting the demonstrators, fired back to allow the civilians to scramble for cover. As bullets whizzed back and forth, Abu Ghassan was clipped in the shoulder by shrapnel. “I don’t know how I didn’t get more injured or killed,” he says. Read More

Russia denies role in Syria attacks

After 8 days of bombardment, rebels retreat from Syrian town



(CNN) -- After eight days of bombardment, Syrian government forces reclaimed the northwestern town of al Haffa on Wednesday, forcing rebels to stage a dawn retreat.

President Bashar al-Assad's government said through the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency that its forces had "restored security and calm after clearing it from the armed terrorist groups."

It said it had seized a cache of armaments, including sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and explosive devices.

An opposition group said rebel forces had withdrawn from Haffa and surrounding villages "in order to preserve the lives of civilians." The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Haffa had been under heavy shelling for eight consecutive days. Read More

Clinton: Russia puts its vital interests at risk over Syria

June 13 - U.S. Secretary of State Clinton says Russia puts its vital interests in the Middle East at risk, if it does not work more ''constructively'' on Syria. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

New space telescope to hunt for black holes

June 13 - NASA is hoping to find answers to some of the universe's most vexing questions following the launch of its latest orbiting telescope, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array on Wednesday (June 13). Called NuSTAR for short, the telescope will search for black holes and bring unprecedented visual clarity to remnants of exploded stars and other celestial objects using high energy X-rays. Rob Muir reports

U.S. returns to Afghanistan's "lost province"

(Reuters) - - U.S. troops returned to the area in Afghanistan they call the "dark side of the moon" this week, a remote Hindu Kush region that controls several access routes to Kabul and where the coalition suffered one of its biggest reverses in the decade-long war.

This part of Nuristan province, in the mountainous far east of Afghanistan, could be the target of a planned Taliban offensive, coalition commanders say.

Carrying "speedballs" - black body bags packed with mortars, ammunition and heavy machine guns - a company of U.S. soldiers landed by helicopter on a narrow ridge and trudged up to a tiny Afghan army post overlooking icy peaks and plunging river valleys, as hostile as breathtaking.

With U.S. intelligence pointing to a possible attack by as many as 1,800 Taliban, the soldiers set up weapons over a backyard-sized square, while Afghan army soldiers in camouflage and plastic sandals pointed out fires and torchlight in the distance in the chill night air. Read More

Iran's oil exports plummet as sanctions bite

(Reuters) - Iran's oil exports have fallen by an estimated 40 percent since the start of the year as Western sanctions tear into the country's vital oil industry, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The agency, which represents the interests of major consuming nations, said preliminary indications suggested exports - the lifeblood of Iran's economy - fell to 1.5 million barrels per day in April-May from 2.5 million at end 2011.

"In months ahead, Iran may need to shut in production volumes if export markets remain similarly constrained and storage fills up," the IEA said in its monthly report.

It said it believed Iran was still producing 3.3 million bpd, down from 3.5 million last year and stockpiling unsold oil.

Tehran has denied it is experiencing problems with oil sales [ID:nL5E8HCK1I] despite mounting evidence its major customers, including China, are turning down offers of cheap crude under pressure from Washington to cut trade ties. [ID:nL3E8HC39L] Read More

How a Greek bank infected Cyprus

(Reuters) - Like many Greek tycoons these days, Andreas Vgenopoulos is in trouble.

The self-made businessman built one of Greece's leading corporate empires over the past two decades. Among its jewels was a major bank in the nearby Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus. Then it all started to unravel.

In 2010, Marfin Investment Group (MIG), the firm Vgenopoulos managed which has stakes in everything from privatized national carrier Olympic Air to food giant Vivartia, lost 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion). The loss, largely made up of write-downs on goodwill, was the biggest ever for a Greek company to that point. There is a joke in Athens that MIG's initials stand for "Money Is Gone."

Meantime the Marfin Popular Bank was a major lender to an order of Greek monks who received swathes of prime state-owned land in sweetheart deals, and who in turn bought shares in MIG. A Greek parliamentary inquiry alleged serious "conflicts of interest" in how bank loans were issued to finance MIG's wider activities. Read More

Italy's Monti seeks political unity amid market turmoil

(Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday sought to shore up his political support ahead of a series of crucial international meetings where stemming the spread of the euro zone crisis will be the main objective.

"We should use these new difficulties to double our efforts both on the European front and within Italian politics," Monti said in a speech to parliament.

Monti's political backing has been increasingly shaky with some lawmakers calling for early elections as his popularity slumped to its lowest level since taking power.

Monti was hugely popular when he took over from Silvio Berlusconi in November to head off a Greek-style default, but his tax-laden austerity package has eroded his appeal.

Now his right-left coalition is growing increasingly worried that supporting the government is hurting their prospects in next year's national election just as it did at last month's local polls. Read More

France wants U.N. to be able to enforce Annan plan

(Reuters) - France will propose giving the United Nations the power to enforce Kofi Annan's Syrian peace plan, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday, adding that a no-fly zone was an option under consideration to stem what was now a civil war.

His comments were the toughest yet from a major power in response to the relentless violence in Syria, where many hundreds of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed since an April 12 ceasefire was supposed open up a chance for political talks to resolve the crisis.

Fabius said he hoped Russia, which has shielded President Bashar al-Assad from international action over his bloody crackdown on a 15-month-old uprising, would agree to the United Nations invoking 'Chapter 7', which can authorize use of force. Read More

Obama Asks For more Time to Fix the Economy

(Reuters) - So far, President Barack Obama has not been able to convince most Americans that they are better off than they were four years ago. His next step may be to try to convince them that they would be worse off under his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.

In an economic speech on Thursday that could set the tone for months of campaigning, Obama is not likely to unveil new ideas to boost the economy and create new jobs, according to Democrats familiar with the preparations for the address.

Instead, he will make the case that he needs four more years to undo the damage left by George W. Bush, his Republican predecessor in the White House, and argue that a President Romney would bring back the weak financial regulation and budget-busting tax cuts of the Bush years.

Obama already is making this argument to small groups of supporters.

"The last thing we want to do is return to the very policies that got us into this mess," he said at a fundraiser in Baltimore on Tuesday.

The strategy carries risks for Obama. Read More

AFP: RATINGS AGENCY MOODY'S CUTS SPAIN'S CREDIT RATING AFTER BANK RESCUE DEAL

Andrew Hall Charged with the Murder of 15-year-old girl Megan-Leigh Peat

A footballer has been charged with the murder of a 15-year-old girl who was stabbed at a house at the weekend.

Andrew Hall, 18, who plays for Stoke City academy, is accused of killing Megan-Leigh Peat, from Westoning in Bedfordshire.

The teenager died after being stabbed at a house in Ailesbury Road in Ampthill at around 1.30am on Saturday.

Hall was taken to hospital after the incident where he received treatment for injuries while being kept under guard until well enough to be interviewed. Read More

Tokushima town, firm to sue TEPCO over financial loss due to nuclear crisis

KAMIKATSU, Tokushima -- The Kamikatsu Municipal Government and a mushroom producing company based here will file a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for some 100 million yen in damages, claiming that the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant obstructed the production of local mushrooms.

Kamikatsu Bio, a major Kamikatsu mushroom producing firm, claims that it suffered damage, including a significant financial loss, after radioactive cesium was detected in powdered sawdust the company purchased from a lumbermill in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, between May and July 2011 for the purpose of growing shiitake mushrooms.

The sawdust totaling approximately 756 cubic meters was used in making logs to grow shiitake. Prior to cultivating the mushrooms, the company requested a contamination test on the powdered sawdust, which detected as much as 410 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. Though contamination levels were below the then-government imposed allowable limit for foods, the company abandoned production to avoid the spread of harmful rumors.

The firm purchased separate mushroom logs, but failed to meet its production schedule, eventually losing much of its anticipated profit. The firm will sue TEPCO for approximately 67 million yen in compensation for the losses.

Meanwhile, the Kamikatsu Municipal Government, which extended assistance to the company in various ways, including subsidies to cover the purchase of the additional logs, will demand compensation of approximately 34 million yen from TEPCO.

"Kamikatsu Bio is a major employer of local people. Since residents' taxes have been used in this incident, we would like to demand compensation from TEPCO," an official with the municipal government said. Read More