Thursday, July 5, 2012

Greece admits veering from bailout obligations

(Reuters) - Greece conceded on Thursday it had slipped "in some respects" in implementing the cuts and reforms demanded by lenders in exchange for saving Athens from bankruptcy, and tried to persuade them to cut the country some slack.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras made the admission after meeting senior officials from Greece's "troika" of lenders from the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, whose inspectors have begun picking through the country's books after weeks of political paralysis.

Trying to take advantage of a shift in Europe towards more growth-friendly policy measures, the government is pressing to soften the punishing terms of a bailout that is keeping Greece solvent but also driving it deeper into recession. Read More

China: Security Increases at 16 Airports

The western region of Xinjiang has increased security measures at all 16 of its airports after a failed hijacking attempt, according to a report on Thursday by Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency. Late Wednesday, a news Web site run by the Xinjiang government announced that Zhang Chunxian, the regional party chief, had visited antiterrorism security forces that day.

Both reports in the state-run news media were intended to show that security had been increased after what Chinese officials said was an attempted hijacking of a Tianjin Airlines flight last week after it took off from Hotan, in southern Xinjiang. The details of the event are murky, and ethnic Uighur exiles who criticize the Chinese government for repressing Uighurs in Xinjiang have said the story of the hijacking could be fictitious. Read More

Syria is bidding for a place on the United Nations Human Rights Council

Syria is bidding for a place on the United Nations Human Rights Council, it was revealed Thursday, despite the UN’s human rights chief saying only days ago the country should be referred to the International Criminal Court because of abuses.

More than 15,000 people have been killed in a 16-month crackdown on protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, but Syria is almost certain to be elected to the council if it applies because of the voting rules.

Amnesty International has claimed the government may be guilty of crimes against humanity and this week Human Right Watch said the Assad regime was running a string of torture centres around the country where civilians were beaten and sexually abused. Source

Asian Stocks Drop 2nd Day on Central Bank Disappointment

Asian stocks fell for a second day, paring this week’s gain on the regional benchmark index, as interest-rate cuts in Europe and China failed to assure investors the moves will be enough to boost economic growth.

Canon Inc. (7751), a Japanese camera maker that gets 31 percent of its sales in Europe, slid 2 percent. Miner BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), whose biggest market is China, declined 1.1 percent as investors sold shares of companies with earnings tied to economic growth. Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. led a slide among Chinese banks, falling 1.9 percent. Parco Co. (8251) climbed 2.9 percent in Tokyo after J Front Retailing Co. said it will buy a majority stake in the rival department-store operator.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific (MXAP) slid 0.3 percent to 118.70 as of 10:49 a.m. in Tokyo. About the same number of stocks rose as fell. The gauge has fallen 8 percent from this year’s highest level in February amid concern economic growth in China and the U.S. is slowing as Europe’s debt crisis deepens. The measure has gained 1.3 percent this week.

“We are still reasonably cautious,” said Tim Riordan, who helps manage $200 million at Parker Asset Management Ltd., a hedge fund in Sydney. Read More

Madeleine 'Grave' Theory Probed by Police

A self-styled investigator sends radar scans to police that he says show a burial site in the resort where she disappeared.

British detectives are examining an extraordinary claim that Madeleine McCann's body is buried near the holiday apartment from where she vanished.

A self-styled investigator has sent police ground radar scans he claims show a burial site.

Stephen Birch says he took the scans last week in Praia da Luz, the Portuguese holiday resort where Madeleine disappeared five years ago.

He passed them to Scotland Yard detectives who are carrying out an investigative review of the case.

They have asked him for more information to help them interpret the scan results and the "raw data" the machine collected.

He has also sent the material to Portuguese police who abandoned their search for Madeleine 15 months after she disappeared. Read More

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck the FIJI REGION at a depth of 490 km (303.8 miles), the quake hit at 02:52:19 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 53 km (32.8 miles) Northeast of Tubou, Lakeba, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN NORWAY - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck NORTHERN NORWAY at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 02:48:08 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 24 km (15 miles) Northeast from Tromso, Norway
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

6.3 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck VANUATU at a depth of 179 km (111.2 miles), the quake hit at 02:28:24 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 46 km (28 miles) NNE of Port-Olry, Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN ALASKA - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN ALASKA at a depth of 87.5 km (54.4 miles), the quake hit at 01:22:03 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 23 km (15 miles) South from Skwentna, Alaska
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the FIJI REGION at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 00:40:37 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 47 km (29 miles) Southeast of Sigave, Wallis and Futuna
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE - 5th July 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE at a depth of 120 km (74.4 miles), the quake hit at 23:36:28 UTC Thursday 5th July 2012
The epicenter was 92 km (57 miles) South of Calama, Antofagasta, Chile
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Why Marxism is on the rise again

Class conflict once seemed so straightforward. Marx and Engels wrote in the second best-selling book of all time, The Communist Manifesto: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable." (The best-selling book of all time, incidentally, is the Bible – it only feels like it's 50 Shades of Grey.)

Today, 164 years after Marx and Engels wrote about grave-diggers, the truth is almost the exact opposite. The proletariat, far from burying capitalism, are keeping it on life support. Overworked, underpaid workers ostensibly liberated by the largest socialist revolution in history (China's) are driven to the brink of suicide to keep those in the west playing with their iPads. Chinese money bankrolls an otherwise bankrupt America.

The irony is scarcely wasted on leading Marxist thinkers. "The domination of capitalism globally depends today on the existence of a Chinese Communist party that gives de-localised capitalist enterprises cheap labour to lower prices and deprive workers of the rights of self-organisation," says Jacques Rancière, the French marxist thinker and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. "Happily, it is possible to hope for a world less absurd and more just than today's."

That hope, perhaps, explains another improbable truth of our economically catastrophic times – the revival in interest in Marx and Marxist thought. Sales of Das Kapital, Marx's masterpiece of political economy, have soared ever since 2008, as have those of The Communist Manifesto and the Grundrisse (or, to give it its English title, Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy). Their sales rose as British workers bailed out the banks to keep the degraded system going and the snouts of the rich firmly in their troughs while the rest of us struggle in debt, job insecurity or worse. There's even a Chinese theatre director called He Nian who capitalised on Das Kapital's renaissance to create an all-singing, all-dancing musical. more

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN - 5th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN at a depth of 39.9 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 23:04:31 UTC Thursday 5th July 2012
The epicenter was 140 km (86 miles) Northeast of Naze, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 5th July 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 20:46:27 UTC Thursday 5th July 2012
The epicenter was 74 km (45.8 miles) Northwest of Aksu, Xinjiang, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

"Maple Seed Drones Will Swarm The Future" - Lockheed Martin

magine a cheap, tiny, hovering aerial drone capable of being launched with the flick of a person’s wrist and able to provide manipulable 360-degree surveillance views.

It’s real, it’s inspired by maple seeds, and the company behind it, Lockheed Martin, envisions a future in which swarms of the new drones can be deployed at a fraction of the cost and with greater capabilities than drones being used today by the military and other agencies.

“Think about dropping a thousand of these out of an aircraft,” said Bill Borgia, head of Lockheed Martin’s Intelligent Robotics Lab, in a phone interview with TPM, “Think about the wide area over which one collect imagery. Instead of sending one or two expensive, highly valuable aircraft like we do today, you could send thousands of these inexpensive aircraft, and they are almost expendable.”

The new drone which looks like very similar to a maple seed, with a small pod-like body attached a single whirring blade, is called the Samarai. The name is derived from the Latin word “samara,” which means a winged seed, just like the one that inspired its physical design, flight pattern and construction.

In June, Lockheed Martin released a video demo of the drone’s capabilities, and it is clearly impressive, launched by hand and piloted using a tablet computer, which also displays the drone’s live surveillance feed. more

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4.2 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 5th July 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION at a depth of 80 km (49.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:07:18 UTC Thursday 5th July 2012
The epicenter was 33 km (20.4 miles) Southeast of Shizunai, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN - 5th July 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN at a depth of 200 km (124 miles), the quake hit at 14:18:30 UTC Thursday 5th July 2012
The epicenter was 17 km (10.5 miles) South of Jurm, Afghanistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

US National Day of Action-News Analysis-07-04-2012

Syriagate: WikiLeaks releases Syria Files, 2.5 mln emails to be published

'Brown & Labour to suffer bankers' fate'

Microsoft firebomb attack in Greece: CCTV Footage

'No chance of unity government in Syria'

Mexico Bird Flu: 2.7 million birds infected with AH7N3 virus

Tepatitlán, Jal. Two weeks after being detected, the AH7N3 avian influenza virus has infected 2.7 million birds killed in farm Tepatitlán 987.701 and Acatic, which so far has been the focus of the outbreak.

The National Health Service, Food Safety and Food Quality (SENASICA) confirmed that the number of farms affected by avian flu is 24, out of 129 sampled within a radius of 40 kilometers, the region's poultry Los Altos, where other producing 10 ships were subjected to the virus.

Based on the National Emergency Animal Health has analyzed the SENASICA 14.4 million birds, of which there are 2.7 million affected, so it keeps a tight control around the quarantined area, including the presence of elements Federal Preventive Police (PFP) in checkpoints to prevent movement of sick animals, meat, eggs, offal and poultry.

SUFFICIENT SUPPLY

The head of the agency under the Ministry of Agriculture, Enrique Sánchez Cruz, reiterated that it guaranteed the supply of chicken and eggs for domestic consumption.

Mexico is a country that has about 500 million birds as a whole, of these, about 200 million are in position. Read More

Indonesian girl dies of bird flu

JAKARTA, July 5 (UPI) -- An 8-year-old Indonesian girl has died from the H5N1 bird flu virus, health officials said Thursday.

The girl, identified as K.K., fell ill June 18, six days after carrying home five recently butchered chickens from the Karawang market in West Java, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.

Tjandra Yoga Aditama, director general of disease control and environmental health at the Indonesian Health Ministry, said it's likely she contracted the disease at the market.

"She was in contact with [live] poultry," Tjandra said. "She went to the market with her father and sibling and bought five live animals. She chose to hold the chickens after they have been killed."

The girl first became ill during a trip to Singapore. A doctor there diagnosed her with laryngitis, Tjandra said.

By June 24 she was admitted to a hospital in Jakarta with a high fever, persistent cough and nausea. Doctors believed she had pneumonia, Antara reported.

K.K. tested positive for the H5N1 virus June 29. Read More

Hong Kong closes bird market over H5N1 virus‎

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong on Thursday closed a popular tourist spot where hundreds of caged birds are on display after the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus was detected at one of the stalls.

The agriculture, fisheries and conservation department said it was closing the Yuen Po Street bird market in the city's bustling Mongkok district for 21 days. There are about 70 bird stalls in the market.

The move came after the virus was found in a swab sample collected from a cage holding an oriental magpie robin during a routine avian influenza surveillance operation.

All the stall's birds would be killed, the department said in a statement.

A spokeswoman told AFP they were still investigating the cause of the virus as the bird itself was not infected.

The risk of transmission between pet birds and humans is "relatively low", the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection head Thomas Tsang told a news conference after the closure was announced. Read More

Blazing engine forces EL AL flight to emergency land at Heathrow

London - London Heathrow to Tel Aviv El Al flight 318 emergency lands at London's main airport after the Boeing 747-400 airliner's engine bursts into flames.

News from Galei Zahal on Israel's radio programme Galgalz and in Haaretz newspaper report of an emergency landing by an EL AL plane at London Heathrow.

The incident occurred about 20 minutes after flight 318 took off from the Heathrow airport, around 1 A.M. Israeli time. It is reported that a loud bang was heard on the right side of the Boeing 747-400 airliner.

After a smell was reported and the plane began to lose speed, the crew, headed by captain Ilan Margalit turned the plane around back to Heathrow. Extensive emergency crews awaited the unscheduled emergency landing of the plane at the London airport.

The plane landed safely using three engines with a trail of fire coming out of the fourth. One of the 350 alarmed passengers interviewed by Galei Zahal said he 'saw death before his eyes.' Read More