Monday, June 25, 2012

Al Qaeda land mines kill 73 in Yemen

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Land mine explosions have killed at least 73 people in Yemen's Abyan province since al Qaeda fighters were defeated two weeks ago, the Yemeni Defense Ministry said. Among those killed were 23 soldiers.

The ministry said that tens of thousands of land mines were planted before militants were driven out of their key strongholds, as an ambush to retaliate for their defeat.

A senior Defense Ministry official told CNN that more than 200 experts are involved in the mine removal operation, but he would not give a deadline for when the province would be mine-free.

"Al Qaeda had more than a year to plan and plant the land mines, so it will take time. We are also in dire need of modern detecting devices," the official told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.

Residents in Abyan told CNN that the injury toll from mines is far greater than those killed. Read More

Can Egypt's Morsi be trusted?

(CNN) -- The Egyptian uprising, launched by young liberals hoping to bring freedom, democracy and equality to their country, has finally produced a new president.

Mohamed Morsi, long known as the hard-line enforcer of the Muslim Brotherhood, has promised to govern for all Egyptians, vowing to protect the rights of women, children, Christians and Muslims. He says he will preserve all international agreements, implying peace with Israel, and has made a commitment to democracy, saying "there is no such thing" as "Islamic democracy."

It all sounds good, and tens of millions of Egyptians, along with millions more around the world, hope he is sincere.

And yet the Muslim Brotherhood has much to prove -- beginning with whether or not it can be trusted.

For many years the Brotherhood was banned in Egypt, so it operated underground. Since the revolution, Egyptians have had a chance to see it in action. What they have seen so far is an organization impressively capable of modulating its message to suit specific audiences to achieve political gain. Read More

New Crop Circle 25th June 2012 at Milk Hill, nr Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, UK

200-yr-old shrine lost in fire in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: More than two dozen people were injured in clashes with police in downtown Srinagar after a fire broke out in 200-year-old Peer Dastageer Sahib shrine at Khanyar. The fire, which started in the dome of the wooden shrine due to a short circuit at about 6.30am on Monday, soon engulfed the whole building.

Angry locals took to the streets holding fire officials responsible for laxity in reaching the shrine and clashed with them, in which several firemen were also injured.

"The fire tenders arrived late and they had no water. Because of their unpreparedness, the entire building was ablaze in a matter of minutes," said Riyaz Ahmad Bhat of Khanyar.

The cause of the fire is being inquired into, said director general of fire and emergency GA Bhat. "But the protesting people damaged 22 department vehicles and burnt down one. They also damaged a sky lift which costs Rs 6 crore," he said. In all, 15 firemen were injured.

Bhat denied any scarcity of water in fire tenders. "The people did not allow firemen to use water from the nearby Barinimbal canal," Bhat said. Read More

Tunisia: Top Leaders at Odds Over an Extradition to Libya

President Moncef Marzouki has rebuked the prime minister for allowing a former Libyan official to be extradited to Libya, prompting fears on Monday of a split in the governing coalition.

Some government ministers defended Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, saying the extradition was within his powers. The case exposes the tenuous nature of the power-sharing deal in the governing coalition, which consists of Mr. Jebali’s moderate Islamist party and two secular parties.

Mr. Marzouki, from the liberal Congress for the Republic party, said Mr. Jebali overstepped his authority on Sunday when he ordered the extradition of Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s last prime minister, to Libya, where he is accused of crimes related to his time in office.

Mr. Marzouki opposed the extradition on grounds that Mr. Mahmoudi might not get a fair trial in Libya and could be tortured or killed. He issued a statement saying he was prepared to take the matter to Tunisia’s constitutional assembly. Source

Syria warns against action over Turkish plane

June 25 - After a seven-hour cabinet meeting, a Turkish government spokesman says Syria's shooting down of a Turkish jet will not go ''unpunished.'' Sarah Irwin reports

Fatal shooting at Mexico City airport

June 25 - Three federal police officers are dead after a shootout with suspected drug traffickers at Mexico City's international airport. Sarah Irwin reports.

Moody's cuts Spanish banks on sovereign downgrade

(Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service on Monday downgraded the long-term debt and deposit ratings for 28 Spanish banks and two issuer ratings, following on the heels of a cut to Spain's sovereign rating to just above junk status earlier this month.

The banks have several links to the sovereign, Moody's said in a statement, and so Spain's reduced creditworthiness "implies a weaker credit profile for Spanish banks."

The banks' exposure to commercial real estate was another factor in the cuts, Moody's said, because higher losses are likely, "which might increase the likelihood that these banks will require external support."

Among the downgrades was a cut to Banco Santander's long-term rating to Baa2 from A3. But the rating is under review for further downgrade, meaning more cuts could be forthcoming to the euro zone's largest banks. Read More

Summit doubts to drive up Spain's debt costs

(Reuters) - Struggling debtor Spain is likely to pay its highest short-term borrowing rates in over six months on Tuesday as investors demand high premiums, skeptical about euro zone leaders' readiness to act decisively to tackle the bloc's problems.

Spain formally requested European aid worth as much as 100 billion euros for its troubled banks on Monday, but that failed to assuage doubts about how the country can repair its finances as it sinks into what many fear will be a deep and prolonged recession.

The Treasury will issue between 2 billion and 3 billion euros ($2.5 billion-$3.8 billion) of 3- and 6-month T-bills on Tuesday. While demand, mostly from domestic banks which have been cut off from international markets, is expected to be solid, Madrid will probably be forced to pay dearly.

Rates on the bills on the secondary market stood at around 1.8 percent for the shorter-dated paper and around 2.7 percent for the longer maturity on Monday, almost double those at the last primary auction in May and levels not seen since November.

Italy sells zero-coupon and inflation-linked bonds later in the day and before European leaders meet on Thursday and Friday for their latest attempt to address their 2-1/2 year old debt crisis. Read More

Drug Dealing Brit Faces Death Penalty In UAE

A British man is facing the death penalty in the United Arab Emirates, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

A local news report claimed the unnamed Briton is a 21-year-old.

He was sentenced in Abu Dhabi alongside a 19-year-old Syrian man for selling an undercover police officer 20g of cannabis worth 1,500 UAE Dirhams (£262).

The Foreign Office was unable to confirm the details of the case, but a spokesman confirmed that it had been contacted.

He said: "I can confirm that a British national is facing death penalty in the UAE.

"We remain in close contact with the British national and his legal team and continue to provide consular assistance."

UAE newspaper the National reported that the man's mother collapsed outside the court after the sentence was passed.

It said a Sudanese co-defendant was jailed for a year for taking cannabis, while a 17-year-old Emirati was ordered to undergo rehabilitation. Source

Brits 'Seeking Jihadi Training Abroad'

The head of MI5 has warned that young British men are heading to new terror training grounds in North Africa and the Middle East.

Arab Spring revolutions in Libya, Syria and Egypt have created unstable areas where al Qaeda can thrive, said Jonathan Evans, director-general of the security service.

The terror group is establishing itself in those countries after being disrupted in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said.

"A small number of British would-be jihadis are also making their way to Arab countries to seek training and opportunities for militant activity, as they do in Somalia and Yemen.

"Some will return to the UK and pose a threat here. This is a new and worrying development and could get worse as events unfold."

Mr Evans' warning came in a speech entitled 'The Olympics and Beyond', the inaugural Lord Mayor's defence and security lecture in the City of London.

He has cancelled all leave for his staff in the run-up to the London Olympics and made the Games security operation a priority.

He said: "The Games present an attractive target for our enemies and they will be at the centre of the world's attention in a month or so. Read More

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake FLORES REGION, INDONESIA - 26th June 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the FLORES REGION, INDONESIA at a depth of 80.2 km (49.8 miles), the quake hit at 02:31:01 UTC Tuesday 26th June 2012
The epicenter was 15 km (9.3 miles) North of Kembo, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake KYRGYZSTAN - 26th June 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck KYRGYZSTAN at a depth of 35.9 km (22.3 miles), the quake hit at 00:32:44 UTC Tuesday 26th June 2012
The epicenter was 35 km (21 miles) WNW of Baetov, Kyrgyzstan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - 25th June 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 94 km (58.4 miles), the quake hit at 23:58:00 UTC Monday 25th June 2012
The epicenter was 89 km (55 miles) NNW of Visokoi Island
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 25th June 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 60.7 km (37.7 miles), the quake hit at 21:16:04 UTC Monday 25th June 2012
The epicenter was 72 km (44 miles) ENE of Severo-Kuril'sk, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake AZERBAIJAN - 25th June 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck AZERBAIJAN at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 20:05:58 UTC Monday 25th June 2012
The epicenter was 1 km (0.6 miles) South of Saki, Azerbaijan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: The right to decide what happens to illegal immigrants belongs to Arizona

Lonesome George, the last Galapagos Islands turtle on Earth, has died

Lonesome George has died, leaving the world one species poorer.

The only remaining Pinta Island tortoise and celebrated conservation icon passed away Sunday, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a statement.

Estimated to be more than 100 years old, the creature's cause of death remains unclear and a necropsy is planned.

Lonesome George's longtime caretaker, Fausto Llerena, found the tortoise's remains stretched out in the "direction of his watering hole" on Santa Cruz Island, the statement said.

Lonesome George was discovered on Pinta Island in 1972 at a time when tortoises of his type were already believed to be extinct. Since then, the animal had been part of the park service's tortoise program.

Repeated efforts to breed Lonesome George failed.

"Later two females from the Espanola tortoise population (the species most closely related to Pinta tortoises genetically) were with George until the end," the park service said. more

And then there were five: Cyprus seeks EU aid....Is this what Merkel was Referring to when she said "We need more Europe"?

(Reuters) - A fifth euro zone country turned to Brussels for emergency funding on Monday when Cyprus announced it was seeking a lifeline for its banks and its budget, hours after Spain submitted a formal request to bail out its banks.

Global share prices and the euro slid as investors bet that European leaders - due to meet this week for the 20th time since the currency zone's debt crisis hit Greece in 2010 - would fail to come up with radical measures to back up weak countries.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel dashed any hope that Berlin would allow joint bonds issued by the euro zone or other measures sought by partners.

Cyprus joins Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain in seeking EU rescue funds, meaning more than a quarter of the 17 euro zone members are now in the bloc's emergency ward. Italy's funding costs have soared too, which means it could be next.

Spain formally submitted its request for up to 100 billion euros of funds to bail out its banks, agreed on June 9. Read More

Tropical Storm Debby lashes Florida

(Reuters) - Tropical Storm Debby weakened slightly as it moved slowly over the northern Gulf of Mexico on Monday, dumping heavy rains and threatening to bring flooding and tornadoes to parts of Florida.

Debby, the first named storm of 2012 to move into the Gulf of Mexico, was centered about 75 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) update.

The storm's maximum sustained winds decreased slightly to 45 miles per hour (75 kilometers per hour) from 50 mph and forecasts predicted there would be little change in its strength over the next couple of days.

Debby has temporarily idled about a quarter of U.S. offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, based on figures issued on Sunday by U.S. offshore regulators.

Forecast models show the storm is expected to move slowly this week toward the northern Florida Gulf Coast, possibly unloading as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain in some areas of the state, with isolated amounts of much as 25 inches, the hurricane center said.

Steady rainfall spurred by Debby is expected to extend to southern areas of Georgia and South Carolina. Read More

Hong Kong media fear restrictions

US military suicides on the rise

US deploys 4 minesweepers to Iranian Hormuz oil shipping lane

'Turkey jet scandal just what NATO wants to push agenda'

4 killed, 100 injured as moderate quake jolts southwest China

Beijing, Jun 24 (PTI) At least four people were killed and 100 others injured after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake jolted a remote mountainous area in southwest China today, leaving a trail of destruction.

The casualties were reported in the county of Ninglang in Yunnan province, a spokesman with the Yunnan Provincial Seismological Bureau said.

The quake was strongly felt in the county, and the bureau has dispatched a team to the area to investigate losses, he said. Source

3 Policemen Shot to Death at Mexico City Airport

Men wearing what appeared to be police uniforms opened fire in a food court at Mexico City's international airport on Monday, killing three federal policemen on an anti-drug mission as panicked witnesses dove for cover.

The slain agents had gone to the airport "to detain suspects linked to drug trafficking at Terminal 2," the federal Public Safety Department said in a statement, without specifying if the suspects also were lawmen. "Upon seeing themselves surrounded by federal police, they (the suspects) opened fire on the officers."

Two officers died at the scene and another died later of his wounds at a local hospital.

A witness said the shooters were also wearing police uniforms, and the Public Safety Department said it was investigating whether the shooters were active-duty police, former officers or impostors. Criminals in Mexico sometimes wear fake police uniforms, but officials also have repeatedly struggled to crush corruption among law enforcement agencies at the airport, which traffickers have often used as a shipment point for narcotics.

No suspects had been arrested following the shooting, which took place shortly before 9 a.m. (10 a.m. EDT; 1400 GMT). Read More

1 dead, 30 now feared missing in mall collapse in Canada

Rescuers are slowly edging closer to a person they say is still alive under the rubble of a mall collapse in Northern Ontario as officials confirm one person is dead and at least 30 others are unaccounted for in the cave-in that occurred over the weekend.

"They are 20 to 30 metres close to the person who is alive," said CBC reporter Natalie Kalata. "Every step takes time as each step has to be approved by an engineer."

Kalata said rescuers are hoping to get to the person late tonight, or early tomorrow morning. They had used a machine, much like an X-ray, to verify if they could hear anyone breathing.

"No one from the inside has been transported out either," said Kalata

Kalata added that the mall's structure is even more dangerous now, two days after the cave-in. Engineers say they fear other parts of the mall may collapse as well. Read More

Cyprus seeks eurozone bailout

Cyprus becomes fifth eurozone country to ask for outside financial help after it is caught in backwash of Greek crisis

Cyprus has become the fifth eurozone country to seek outside financial help to shore up its ailing economy after a day of heavy selling on financial markets prompted by fear that this week's European summit will end without a blueprint to rescue the single currency.

The government in Nicosia admitted that it had been caught in the backwash from the crisis in neighbouring Greece as it formally applied to Brussels for assistance.

On a day when Fitch cut Cyprus's credit rating to junk, a statement said: "The purpose of the required assistance is to contain the risks to the Cypriot economy, notably those arising from the negative spill-over effects through its financial section, due to its large exposure in the Greek economy." Read More

Syria fires at second Turkish plane, deputy prime minister says

A second Turkish plane has been shot at by Syria, Turkey's deputy prime minister said, as it was searching for the wreckage of a fighter jet downed by Syria last week.

Bulent Arinc told a televised news conference Monday that Syrian forces opened fire on a CASA search and rescue plane following the downing of a RF-4E reconnaissance jet in international airspace on Friday. Arinc did not say whether the search and rescue plane was hit.

He says the Syrian side ceased fire after a warning from the Turkish military.

On Monday, foreign ministers from the 27 European Union countries condemned Syria's downing Friday of the first Turkish jet, but said the bloc would not support military action in the troubled country.

"What happened is to be considered very seriously," said Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal. Having gotten his denunciation out of the way, he let the other shoe drop: "We do not go for any interventions."

Turkish officials have said the jet mistakenly strayed into Syrian airspace, but was warned to leave by Turkish authorities and was a mile inside international airspace when Syria shot it down. The Turkish pilots are still missing. more

Greek finance minister resigns amid euro gloom



NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Greek finance minister Vassilis Rapanos has resigned for health reasons, the Greek government said Monday.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras accepted Rapanos' resignation, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.

Rapanos was hospitalized Friday after suffering from acute nausea and dizziness.

The development is a potential set-back for the new government in Athens, which has been in power for less than one week.

The coalition has promised to honor Greece's financial commitments, but it is also expected to renegotiate the terms of the nation's bailout package. Read More

Has Morsi quit the Muslim Brotherhood?

Spain asks for £80bn EU bailout as Merkel criticised for 'leading Europe in the wrong direction'

Spain formally requested eurozone rescue loans to recapitalise its debt-laden banks today as the euro and shares fell on investor scepticism about this week's EU summit.

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos asked for up to 100 billion euros (£80bn) in a letter to Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, saying the final amount of financial assistance would be set at a later stage.

He confirmed his intention to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the package by July 9 and said the amount should be enough to cover all banks' needs, plus an additional security buffer.

The request comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel was criticised for 'leading Europe in the wrong direction' over her resistance to a banking union and stimulus measures.

Berlin has so far rejected any joint deposit guarantee or resolution fund, as well as any mutualisation of the eurozone's debt stock or future borrowing. Read More

Eiffel Tower Suicide; Horror as tourist climbs the Eiffel tower and then jumps to his death

Security was stepped up around the Eiffel Tower today after an English-speaking man climbed to the top and then jumped to his death.

The 25-year-old suicide victim, who has not been named but who came from Israel, was spotted at the Paris tourist attraction late on Sunday evening.

Police evacuated and sealed off the area after the man was seen scaling the 1,063ft tower, at around 11.30pm.

He evaded all security and almost reached the very summit of the historic 1,063ft (324m) structure before hurling himself off.

Eerily, a woman attempted a copycat suicide on Monday morning, but that failed when the authorities intervened by helicopter before she had got high enough to hurt herself. Read More

Dogs destined for the table: Horrific images show animals being killed, cooked and served up as a meal in Chinese tradition

These disturbing images show dogs being cooked and served up as a meal in a grim Chinese tradition.

The animals are chopped up and cooked in front of diners - despite a growing anti-cruelty campaign.

A group of Chinese activists in Yulin City, Guangxi province, descended on the dog meat market campaigning against eating the animals. Read M0re

Video: CCN report into Chinese dog markets. WARNING: Contains graphic images

World stocks fall amid concern over European summit

World stocks fell sharply today amid concern that a critical European summit later this week will not yield a deal that might restore confidence in the future of the 17-country euro currency.

Investors already worried about an economic slowdown in the U.S. and China were preparing for the European leaders to disappoint at their June 28-29 gathering in Brussels. "Various summits and official meetings, including the G-20 meeting, have failed to deliver," noted Mitul Kotecha, strategist at Credit Agricole CIB.

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1.1 percent to close at 5,450.65 points. France's CAC-40 slumped 2.2 percent to 3,021.64 while Germany's DAX dropped 2.1 percent to 6,132.39. Asian indexes closed lower earlier and Wall Street was trading down as well, with the Dow Jones industrial average off 1.3 percent to 12,470.95 and the S&P 500 down 1.8 percent at 1,310.76. Read More