Tuesday, June 19, 2012

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake CRETE, GREECE - 20th June 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck CRETE, GREECE at a depth of 60 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 03:06:04 UTC Wednesday 20th June 2012
The epicenter was 66 km (40.7 miles) Southeast of Palaíkastron, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE NORTH COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA - 20th June 2012

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck NEAR THE NORTH COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA at a depth of 18 km (11.2 miles), the quake hit at 00:41:45 UTC Wednesday 20th June 2012
The epicenter was 101 km (62.6 miles) West of Manokwari, Indonesia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake TAIWAN - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck TAIWAN at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 23:42:48 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 11 km (7.4 miles) Southeast of Fenglin, Taiwan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 32.5 km (20.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:28:47 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 90 km (56 miles) Northeast from Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Why People in N.Korea's 'Rice Bowl' Are Starving

Thousands of people are starving to death in North Korea's South Hwanghae Province even though it is the country's rice bowl, according to a defector.

"Villages in remote mountains can resort to slash-and-burn farming to survive, but in lowland areas where there are only cooperative farms, 30 to 40 people in each village starve to death every year," said Choi Myong-chol (not his real name), who used to handle crop harvests in Haeju, South Hwanghae Province. "The reason is that their entire harvest is confiscated," he told the activist website NK Reform.

The Tokyo Shimbun reported in April that 20,000 North Koreans starved to death in South Hwanghae Province after Kim Jong-il's death. "The reality there is that farmers have no choice but to hide rice during the harvest to survive," Choi said. This has happened every year. "This year, authorities appear to have taken extra measures to seek out rice the farmers had hidden," he added.

Choi said the reason for the starvation is the unrealistic crop output goals set by the regime every spring. Cooperative farms in South Hwanghae Province are ordered to produce six tons of rice per 10,000 sq. m, of which the farmers are promised two tons. But the actual amount that is harvested is only two to four tons, which leaves nothing for the farmers. more

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the KEPULAUAN MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA at a depth of 22.2 km (13.8 miles), the quake hit at 21:13:37 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 162 km (100 miles) SSE of Muara Siberut, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 21.7 km (13.5 miles), the quake hit at 20:56:53 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 113 km (70 miles) WNW from Attu Station, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake GUJARAT, INDIA - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck GUJARAT, INDIA at a depth of 22.5 km (14 miles), the quake hit at 20:14:05 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 40 km (24.8 miles) NNW of Bhachau, India
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWEST INDIAN RIDGE - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the SOUTHWEST INDIAN RIDGE at a depth of 17.1 km (10.6 miles), the quake hit at 18:39:01 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 751 km (466 miles) Northwest of Ile aux Cochons
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Hosni Mubarak "clinically dead" according to Egyptian media

Details forthcoming.

139 Japanese High School Students Sick After Visiting China

According to news from Kyodo News on June 18th, after high school students from Ishikawa Prefecture who had recently participated in a school trip to China experienced diarrhea, fever, and other symptoms following their return to their country, the Kanazawa Health Department found in their investigation that there are already 139 people who are exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms. The Health Department believe the students may be suffering from an infectious gastroenteritis.

According to the school, 357 second-year high school students traveled on the 11th to Shanghai, Suzhou, and other places for a 4-day 3-night trip. After returning to their country on the 14th, there were 16 people who did not show up for class the next day, and 16 people who left school early. The school immediately contacted the Kanazawa Health Department. At present, already one student has been determined to have the norovirus, but the infection has not spread to the family of the student or his classmates. more

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake MOLUCCA SEA - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the MOLUCCA SEA at a depth of 70.6 km (43.9 miles), the quake hit at 17:26:44 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 75 km (46 miles) Northwest of Kota Ternate, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Julian Assange Seeks Asylum From Ecuador

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has sought political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to the South American nation's foreign minister.

Mr Assange has been fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual assault.

He reportedly walked into the Ecuadorian mission in Knightsbridge and made his request for asylum under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Ecuador was considering the request.

The Supreme Court decided on May 30 that Mr Assange's extradition would be lawful and could go ahead but he was given time to consider his response to the judgement.

Swedish authorities want him to answer accusations that he raped a woman and sexually molested and coerced another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture.

More to follow...

58 missing after Indonesia boat sinks

Rescuers said 58 people were still missing two days after a wooden boat sank off eastern Indonesia -- revising sharply upwards the number of people on board the vessel.

"The latest update we have so far is that the boat was carrying 70 passengers when it sank. With 12 people rescued, we still have 58 missing," rescue official Rebekka Gultom told AFP, adding that those numbers include crew members.

Search and rescue officials said Sunday that only 27 people were on board and that 12 had been rescued.

"The manifest showed that it carried 27 people but it turned out that the boat carried more, 70 people. We got the figure after families of the missing people reported to us," Gultom said.

She said that search and rescue team had not found any dead bodies. Read More

3 killed, 10 missing in Indonesia landslide

Jakarta – Three people were killed and 10 missing on Tuesday after they were buried in a landslide caused by heavy rain in eastern Indonesia, a rescue official said.

“Heavy rains in Ambon city, Maluku province, triggered a landslide early this morning,” Ambon city search-and-rescue chief Brory Tjokro told AFP.

“Three people were killed and two were rescued safely. Ten people are still missing and rescuers are still looking for them.”
Two houses were destroyed, Tjokro said. Source

'Russia supports Iran's nuclear program'

Foam party: Rare phenomenon hits the coast of Melbourne

Media ship-storm over Russian vessels 'bound for Syria'

Total Devastation: 'Germany will pay for Euro break up'

Al Qaeda gets Libyan arms - U.S.

The Arab Spring of revolution has given rise to a new summer of concern in North Africa.

While Moammar Gadhafi is gone, the weapons used by the rebels who overthrew him are now a threat to the whole region, according to Amanda Dory, a top Defense Department policy official on Africa.

"The breakdown of security in Libya has generated a significant flow of militants and weapons and has decreased legitimate cross-border traffic at a time of great economic fragility and turbulence," said Dory, the deputy assistant secretary of defense on African affairs.

Many of those weapons, the Pentagon fears, are ending up with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) the branch of the terrorist network in North Africa, especially in Mali, which in recent months has seen a coup and a separatist effort.

The al Qaeda affiliate "continues to increase its activities, including collecting large sums of money through kidnapping for ransom schemes," Dory said Monday. The Department of Defense "is closely watching what this will mean for the stability of the region and the ability of AQIM to target partner and U.S. interests." Read More

Palestinian mosque burned in suspected settler attack

Jerusalem (CNN) -- A Palestinian mosque in the village of Jabaa was vandalized and partially set on fire early Tuesday morning, Israeli and Palestinian officials said, with both sides suspecting Israeli settlers of the attack.

"We woke up to the sound of people screaming in the village to save the mosque from being torched," said Abdallah Sharaf, head of the village council. The village is east of Ramallah in the West Bank.

"A group of settlers arrived at the village of Jabaa around 1:30 a.m. and broke one of the windows of the mosque and threw flammable material, burning a carpet and door and window. Also the settlers wrote graffiti reading 'Ulpana' and 'the war has started', " Sharaf said and adding "We condemn such a criminal act."

"Ulpana" is an illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank that is slated to be evacuated early next month, after Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the outpost was built on Palestinian private land. Read More

'Trash for food' at Mexico City barter market

Mexico City (CNN) -- A new barter market in Mexico City is helping residents trade their trash for food in an effort to reduce the mountain of waste produced by the mega city.

Mexico City's huge, infamous Bordo Poniente landfill site was receiving 12,600 tons of waste a day -- one and a quarter times the weight of the Eiffel Tower -- before it was shut down in December last year. But although the landfill is is no longer in operation, the city keeps churning out trash.

That's why the local government has launched several measures to reduce the waste created by the 20 million people who call the city home. Read More

31 killed as Security Council readies for Syria talks

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(CNN) -- The head of the failing U.N. observer mission to Syria is planning to brief the Security Council on Tuesday as diplomats intensify their efforts to end the country's widespread discord.

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood of Norway, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, will report on the U.N. monitoring mission during a closed-door meeting with the Security Council after 3 p.m. It's taking place three days after the mission suspended its operations because of growing violence.

A senior administration official said the report on the U.N. monitors will influence how the United States and other members of the international community work with U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on his proposal for a "contact group" on Syria and on how to deal with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Read More

Why Putin can't be forced to deal

(CNN) -- At the Group of 20 summit in Mexico, President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin had their first face-to-face meeting since Putin resumed the Russian presidency in May. The joint statement they issued afterward indicated several issues (including Iran and Syria) that the two sides would seek to cooperate on, but it did not announce any significant agreements to do so.

More telling were the visual images when the two presidents were together; Obama appeared to be doing his best to project an image of warmth and friendliness, while Putin was stiff and reserved, as he usually is with other world leaders. It appeared that Obama was earnestly seeking to befriend Putin, but Putin was not reciprocating.

Why would Putin behave this way? It may be because, unlike Obama, he may not be looking for opportunities to cooperate, nor be embarrassed about forgoing them. He appears to have a much more transactional approach to foreign policy, running something like this: Washington wants Moscow to adopt the American approach to Iran and Syria and several other issues. But it is unwilling to make concessions to Moscow to get it. Read More

Euro fallout fears push investors to cash

(Reuters) - Cash isn't just king. For some money managers, it has become jack, queen and ace, too.

With the Greek election failing to eliminate fears about the euro zone's stability and the Chinese and U.S. economies providing little reason for greater optimism, some major investors and their advisers have decided there is only one place to be - cash.

Charles Biderman, founder and CEO of independent research provider TrimTabs Investment Research, has been advising big institutional clients, including hedge funds, to be exposed "100 percent in cash" since June 11.

"These days, a stock market decline of a few percentage points is enough to trigger calls for more 'accommodation, easing, firepower, and stimulus.' We are amazed at how many investors still believe additional liquidity will make the euro zone's debt problems go away," Biderman said.

Biderman said he doesn't believe that throwing money at a solvency problem will work in the long run. He is not alone in his assessment. Read More

Cameron Refuses Argentina's Falklands Letter

David Cameron has refused to accept a letter about the Falkland Islands from Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the G20 summit in Mexico.

More follows...

Greek rage to force bailout changes: Tsipras

(Reuters) - Though it didn't win last weekend's election, Greece's fast-rising radical leftist leader says his party has won the argument against the austerity measures keeping Greece in the eurozone and will inevitably come to power.

"What Syriza has been saying all along is that the bailout plan is not viable and cannot go on," party chief Alexis Tsipras told Reuters in his first interview since last Sunday's parliamentary election. "Now they all recognize this."

Indeed, the conservative New Democracy party won the most seats in the new parliament on a promise to push through spending cuts imposed by European authorities. But after the vote, party chief Antonis Samaras said the eurozone's memorandum of understanding with Greece over its 130-billion-euro bailout should be modified. Read More

Russian ship carrying refurbished Russian attack helicopters to Syria is Returning Back to Russia

LONDON, June 19 (UPI) -- A ship reportedly carrying refurbished Russian attack helicopters to Syria has turned back to Russia, Britain's foreign secretary said Tuesday.

"I am pleased that the ship that was reported to be carrying arms to Syria has turned back apparently towards Russia," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons, CNN reported.

"We discourage anyone else from supplying arms to Syria. We have had discussions with Russia about that specifically," Hague added.

The Standard Club in London earlier reportedly withdrew its insurance covering the Russian ship MV Alaed. The cargo ship is believed to be carrying Mi25 helicopters and munitions, Britain's The Guardian newspaper said.

Russia's Defense Ministry Tuesday denied reports it was sending its Kaliningrad warship to Syria. Read More

Russia, Syria deny war games with China, Iran

Russian and Syrian officials dismissed as provocation on Tuesday Iranian media reports that Iran, Russia, China and Syria are to conduct joint military exercises in Syria next month.

Iran's semi-official Fars News outlet, which has ties to the Iranian government, cited "certain unofficial sources" had confirmed the war games but did not say where those sources were from.

The report appears to have originated on Arabic language Syrian media outlet, ShamLife, and was later also published on pan-Arab news site al-Arabiya.

The Iranian and Arabic reports said the war-games were scheduled for less than a month's time. Read More

South Korea plans public blackout drill (for dubious reasons)

The government will carry out the nation’s first civil training against potential nationwide blackouts on Thursday at 2 p.m. for 20 minutes, officials said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy and other related government offices asked citizens and businesses for their cooperation in a joint news conference.

Working under the possibility that the nation’s electricity reserves could fall below 2 million kilowatts, Thursday’s training will start with sirens and television and radio broadcasts at 2 p.m.

Citizens are required to follow guidelines, while some special facilities like elevators, subway trains and hospitals carry out a separate emergency response training.

After 10 minutes, another siren will sound to notify that electricity reserves are further dropping below 1 million kilowatts.

Power supply to 28 selected buildings in seven major cities will be cut to check their readiness for potential power blackouts.

In this case, individuals and businesses will be advised to switch off electric devices, air-conditioning systems and other production facilities.

Companies and industrial complexes are allowed to follow their own codes of conduct but electricity to public buildings and schools will cut off except for essential security equipment.

“Even though the public is expected to experience inconvenience, the emergency training is unavoidable at a time when the power supply situation is negative,” said Vice Knowledge Economy Minister Cho Suk. more

How the Obama Administration Is Stalling Its Way to War with Iran

With the U.S. and Iran again sitting down at the negotiating table in Moscow this week, this is the perfect moment for Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett to lay out just how the Obama administration has been stalling its way to a potential post-election war with Iran.

Since talks with Iran over its nuclear development started up again in April, U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that Tehran will not be allowed to “play for time” in the negotiations. In fact, it is the Obama administration that is playing for time.

Some suggest that President Obama is trying to use diplomacy to manage the nuclear issue and forestall an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear targets through the U.S. presidential election. In reality, his administration is “buying time” for a more pernicious agenda: time for covert action to sabotage Tehran’s nuclear program; time for sanctions to set the stage for regime change in Iran; and time for the United States, its European and Sunni Arab partners, and Turkey to weaken the Islamic Republic by overthrowing the Assad government in Syria.

Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, Antony J. Blinken, hinted at this in February, explaining that the administration’s Iran policy is aimed at “buying time and continuing to move this problem into the future, and if you can do that -- strange things can happen in the interim.” Former Pentagon official Mich√®le Flournoy -- now out of government and advising Obama’s reelection campaign -- told an Israeli audience this month that, in the administration’s view, it is also important to go through the diplomatic motions before attacking Iran so as not to “undermine the legitimacy of the action.” Read More

India's BPCL starts rupee payments for Iran oil -sources

NEW DELHI, June 19 (Reuters) - India's Bharat Petroleum Corp has made its first payment for Iranian oil in rupees, two industry sources said on Tuesday, becoming the first refiner to use a payment channel that skirts tightening Western sanctions on Iran's trade.

India is Iran's second-largest oil buyer, but has struggled to find ways to pay for the oil as Western sanctions curb international financial payments destined for Tehran's coffers.

Since December 2010, refiners in India have been using Turkey's Halkbank to pay their annual oil import bill of more than $10 billion, after a previous payment channel was blocked.

Tehran and New Delhi agreed in January to settle 45 percent of the oil trade in rupees to ensure payments continue should any problem arise with the Halkbank agreement, and also as a way to encourage more exports from India to Iran that could be settled in rupees. Read More

Iran and world powers blame each other for stalemate on last day of nuclear talks

Iran and world powers blamed each other today for the lack of progress in talks on Tehran's nuclear programme.

The stalemate has dimmed hopes of a breakthrough which it was hoped would avert the threat of a new Middle East war.

On the second and final day of talks in Moscow, frustration mounted over the failure to move any closer to ending a decade of negotiations over Iranian work.

If talks collapse, nerves could grow on financial markets over the danger of higher oil prices and new conflict in the Middle East.

Israel has previously threatened to bomb Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to stop Tehran getting the bomb. Read More

G20 battles to show markets Europe can save the euro...They have been Saying this for at Least 2 Years

(Reuters) - World leaders tried on Tuesday to convince financial markets that Europe can move fast enough toward a major overhaul of its banking systems that could help fix its debt crisis and restore confidence in a faltering global recovery.

At a Group of 20 leaders summit, Europe signaled it was considering euro-zone-wide integration of its banking sector, a major reform sought by the United States and other nations to break the cycle of highly indebted countries rescuing failing banks, which only pushes governments ever deeper into debt.

But the news that the G20 was readying a firm statement for restoring global growth and jobs, along with Europe's pledge of action, brought little relief to investors.

Risks grew that Spain, the euro zone's fourth-largest economy, would need a full-blown international bailout as its short-term borrowing costs jumped about two percentage points and longer-term debt yields hovered above 7 percent, heightening the danger it would be locked out of credit markets.

French President Francois Hollande said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, central players in a crisis that has run for more than two years, were both aware that the euro zone was responsible for providing the solutions. Read More

Excalibur Almaz Taking orders to Orbit the Moon costing just..... £100 million Each



A British space company has announced details of a plan to take people to the moon for the first time since 1972.

Excalibur Almaz is offering members of the public a passport to orbit the moon - but budding space-travellers will have to find around £100m first.

Four second-hand space capsules and two disused space stations have already been bought from the Russians.

The Soviet-era equipment has been undergoing a refit involving the latest software and electronics at Excalibur's headquarters in the Isle of Man.

If that seems a rather unlikely frontier for space exploration, you may be surprised to find it listed by analysts as the nation fifth most likely to man the first mission back to the moon, behind Russia, the US, India and China.

Lured by zero tax for space projects and an income tax rate of just 10%, the island has carved out a niche for itself in the space business and is now home to over half of the world's satellite companies. Read More

6.0 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 20.9 km (13 miles), the quake hit at 15:56:29 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 120 km (74 miles) WNW from Attu Station, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF OREGON - 19th June 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF OREGON at a depth of 13.5 km (8.4 miles), the quake hit at 13:40:57 UTC Tuesday 19th June 2012
The epicenter was 239 km (148 miles) West of Bandon, Oregon
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Syria, Iran, Russia and China plan joint war games, Iranian news agency reports

Iran, Syria, Russia and China are planning the “biggest-ever wargames in the Middle East,” according to an unconfirmed report on the semi-official Iranian news site Fars News.

According to the article, the four countries are preparing 90,000 troops, 400 aircraft and 1,000 tanks for the massive joint maneuvers, which are to take place along the Syrian coast within a month.

The report states that Russian “atomic submarines and warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers as well as Iranian battleships and submarines will also arrive in Syria” and that Egypt has agreed to let 12 Chinese warships cross the Suez Canal for the exercises.

The IDF spokesman’s office called the report a “political matter” and declined to comment. more

Note: Hang on tight.

Powerful typhoon makes landfall, Japan

A powerful typhoon made landfall Tuesday in Wakayama Prefecture, the first to hit the main islands this year, and the Meteorological Agency warned of heavy rain and strong winds across wide areas through Wednesday.

The typhoon, packing gusts of more than 90 kph in parts of Shikoku and the Kii Peninsula, was expected to head northeast across eastern and northern Japan, the agency said.

Evacuation orders were issued in Wakayama, including in the town of Nachikatsuura, which was hit by a fatal typhoon last year.

The city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, hit hard by last year's earthquake and tsunami, issued an evacuation order for 4,309 households covering 10,359 people living along the Kitakami River.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Typhoon Guchol, with an atmospheric pressure of 965 hectopascals at its center, was located around 30 km west-southwest of Cape Shiono in Wakayama, traveling northeast at a speed of 65 kph with a maximum wind velocity of 126 kph near its center, the agency said.

Transportation was disrupted, with more than 400 flights canceled and some West Japan Railway Co. services suspended. Read More