Friday, July 6, 2012

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEW IRELAND REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 7th July 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck the NEW IRELAND REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 37.7 km (23.4 miles), the quake hit at 03:35:29 UTC Saturday 7th July 2012
The epicenter was 131 km (82 miles) ESE from Rabaul, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Jorge Rafael Videla convicted of baby thefts

Former Argentine dictator jailed for 50 years after executing a systematic plan to steal babies from leftist dissenters

Argentina took a giant leap forward in its struggle to come to terms with its bloody past during the 1976-83 dictatorship by condemning former dictator Jorge Videla to 50 years in prison for masterminding a plan for stealing the newborn children of political opponents and handing the babies over to be raised by "good" military families after killing their mothers.

The verdict on Thursday evening capped a 16-year trial during which hundreds of hours of testimony were heard proving that the kidnappings were not just collateral damage in the "civil war" between the military and leftwing guerrillas, as supporters of the dictatorship have claimed, but rather a deliberate policy put in place by the top leaders of the regime.

"The kidnapping of newly born babies is the last crime that former members of the military regime are willing to admit," says British journalist Robert Cox, who was one of the main witnesses at the trial last year. As editor of the small English-community daily Buenos Aires Herald in the late 1970s, Cox was one of the only journalists in Argentina who dared report on the crimes committed by the military as they happened, including their kidnapping of infants. "It's like the Nazis, what they did was so terrible they could never admit it," Cox said in Buenos Aires upon hearing the verdict that his testimony helped bring about. Read More

Pakistan: Gunmen Kill 18 at Roadside Restaurant

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen on motorcycles opened fire at a roadside restaurant in southwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing 18 people, officials said. In the northwest, a U.S. drone strike killed 12 suspected militants near the Afghan border.

The people killed in the restaurant attack in the remote town of Turbat in Baluchistan province were Pakistanis travelling with smugglers to Europe through neighboring Iran, said Abdul Razzaq, a government official in the area. Two people were also wounded, he said.

It's unclear what motivated the attack. Baluchistan regularly experiences violence from both Islamist militants and nationalists who demand a greater share of the province's natural resources. Read More

Jobs news hurts Obama campaign

Another dose of bad economic news has threatened Barack Obama's re-election chances, offering Republican challenger Mitt Romney fresh ammunition to exploit just four months from election day.

An anaemic employment report released on Friday kept America's economic woes firmly at the top of voter anxieties in an election year when the economy is expected to be the decisive issue.

The Labour Department said US employers added only 80,000 jobs in June - a third straight month of weak recruiting - leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 8.2%. That left no doubt that the US economy is struggling three years after the recession officially ended.

The report offered a new chance for Mr Romney to seize momentum and counter concern among prominent conservatives that he is squandering his chance to win the presidency with a play-it-safe strategy and a muddled message on the economy. Read More

US 'concerned' after Romania's president impeached

WASHINGTON — The United States expressed concern over the impeachment of Romania's president by parliament, urging the European Union member state to ensure that the rule of law is respected.

"We are concerned about recent developments occurring in Romania, our NATO ally and partner, which threaten democratic checks and balances and weaken independent institutions, such as the courts," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement on Friday.

Romania's parliament voted Friday to impeach center-right President Traian Basescu, with 256 out of 432 lawmakers voting in favor of the move. The impeachment will only take effect if approved in a referendum within 30 days. Read More

Zimmerman Out Of Jail On $1m Bond

George Zimmerman is released from jail but faces tight restrictions, including an order to stay away from Orlando airport.

A neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot an unarmed black teenager in Florida has left jail after being released on a $1m (£646,000) bail.

George Zimmerman walked out of Seminole County jail less than 24 hours after a judge rubber-stamped the decision.

He has been charged with second degree murder over the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February.

The victim's mother said on Friday that she was disappointed a judge had decided to grant a second bail.

Mr Zimmerman's earlier bond of $150,000 (£97,000) was revoked after prosecutors said he misled the court over his finances. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWEST OF THE KURIL ISLANDS - 7th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NORTHWEST OF THE KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 39.8 km (24.7 miles), the quake hit at 01:20:40 UTC Saturday 7th July 2012
The epicenter was 214 km (132 miles) SSE of Vostok, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 7th July 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 42.3 km (26.3 miles), the quake hit at 00:56:29 UTC Saturday 7th July 2012
The epicenter was 266 km (165 miles) East of Kuril'sk, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND - 7th July 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the NORTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND at a depth of 88.5 km (55 miles), the quake hit at 00:50:26 UTC Saturday 7th July 2012
The epicenter was 22 km (13 miles) WSW of Turangi, New Zealand
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE - 7th July 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE at a depth of 229 km (141.9 miles), the quake hit at 00:24:39 UTC Saturday 7th July 2012
The epicenter was 198 km (122.8 miles) Southeast of Calama, Antofagasta, Chile
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Jordanian MP pulls a gun on his critic during live TV debate



A Jordanian member of parliament pulled a gun on a political activist during a furious debate live on Jordanian TV on Friday.

The MP, named in a YouTube clip of the confrontation as Mohammed Shawabka, was debating a political activist named in the clip as Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad, discussing aspects of Jordanian politics including attitudes surrounding the uprising in Syria.

As the discussion became more heated, each of the men accused the other of various crimes and deviancies, including working for the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency. “You’re a Mossad agent,” said one. “You’re a big crook,” said the other.

The MP stood up and began screaming and pointing at the activist, who was sitting opposite him, while the host of the program, Mohammed Habashneh, seated in the center, desperately urged his guests to “calm down.”

Instead, the MP sat back down, bent over and took off his right shoe, and threw it at the activist, who ducked behind his desk, knocking it over.

Then the MP pulled a gun — a silver pistol — out of his waistband and briefly brandished it toward the activist, who walked toward him. The MP kept holding the gun, but was no longer pointing it at his critic. more

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake ROMANIA - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck ROMANIA at a depth of 109.3 km (67.9 miles), the quake hit at 22:48:00 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 11 km (6 miles) WSW of Nereju, Romania
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

After today's sad weasel story, the time has come for animals to begin fighting back.

Spy Drone Buzzes Journalist Joseph Farah's Secluded Home



World Net Daily editor and prominent Obama administration critic Joseph Farah revealed how his secluded property was buzzed by a spy drone – part of what Farah fears is a “war” being waged by the administration against its political adversaries.

“I’m taking my dog for a walk and guess what I see right over the tree line right above my head is a drone,” said Farah, adding that the drone was low in the sky and sounded like a lawnmower.

“I don’t live in the city, I don’t live in a populated area, I live in one of the most rural places you could possibly live in Northern Virginia and there could only be one thing that this drone was spying on and that would be me, that would be my property because there’s just nothing else around except woods and deer,” said Farah.

Farah joked that the drone was probably stalking him because he was a terrorist, given the fact that a recent report funded by the Department of Homeland Security put out by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism listed Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.

“The liberty lovers out there really have to stick together….or we’re going to hang together as our founders said,” warned Farah, expressing his concern that patriots who resist the increasing levels of control being asserted over their lives by big government would be “hunted down” by a re-elected Obama administration.

“Look – this is the first term – if he’s re-elected it’s going to be war – they will be at war – we will be hunted down like dogs, keep that in mind, that’s what the stakes are,” said Farah. more

A Sad Tale Of Two Weasels In Anhui Told By A Chinese Netizen (Incredibly sad, in fact))

The following photos and story first appeared in August 2010 on a QQ blog, where it received thousands of comments and many more views. At the time, it spread a little and for some reason has been spreading again recently, such as on popular Chinese social network RenRen and various Chinese internet discussion forums.

This is a sad and moving story. A little after 7 in the morning, a young yellow weasel was killed by someone in front of a small store on Yingzhou North Road in Fuyang of northern Anhui province... more


Thoughts: It's said that we should appreciate humans first, then animals. Sometimes, however, it's incredibly difficult to do so, especially considering some of those humans.

Greece seeks more time to meet bailout terms

ATHENS — Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday asked EU-IMF creditors for more time for a tough bailout programme, to ease the pain on an economy struggling in its fifth year of recession.

"We ask for the adjustment to be reached not in two years but later," he told parliament as he presented targets for the next four years, promising to push through a privatisation drive and keep Greece in the eurozone.

In exchange for extending a 2014 deadline to meet strict deficit benchmarks, Samaras promised that his newly elected government would meet all other commitments which lenders have demanded.

"Our problem is not adopting reforms, which we will do without question. It is not reaching an objective, which we will meet. But it is finding an end to the recession," he said.

Samaras spoke as auditors from the European Union and International Monetary Fund pick through government books to determine how well Greece has met pledges made in return for its latest 130-billion-euro bailout. Read More

City of ghosts: Haunting abandoned buildings of St Louis after the city's population FELL by 70% in a century

With boarded up windows, peeling paint and crumbling bricks these deserted St.Louis buildings have been long forgotten.

Residents seem to have fled years ago and the dilapidated properties now serve as a bleak reminder of the Missouri city's declining population and struggling industry.

However, one local photographer - keen to highlight the problems facing the Gateway City - is now drawing attention to the abandoned buildings.

Photographer Demond Meek was inspired to turn his lens to the run down buildings after attending an event that focused on tackling urban issues in St.Louis. Read More

Nasa photograph shows 18,000 acre devastation of the deadly Colorado wildfire from space


Waldo Canyon Fire: This NASA photograph, taken on July 4 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer on the Terra satellite, shows the fire's burn scar. The areas in dark brown are those most severely burnt in the fire, the bright red depicts land that was not burnt

The devastation caused by Colorado’s Waldo Canyon wildfire is so severe that the burn scar is clearly visible from space, as a incredible picture clearly shows.

The shocking photograph showing the worst fire in the state’s history was taken from Nasa’s Terra satellite on July 4th, as the fire raged on.

The photo was released as the fire was reported as 90 per cent contained having killed at least two people and forced approximately 32,000 residents to evacuate their homes. Read More

New Mars Rover will drill into young craters where 'building blocks' might survive

The drill on Nasa's car-sized curiosity Rover won't have to dig too deep to find evidence of life when it arrives on the Red Planet this August.

A new study suggests that just digging inches beneath the surface could uncover complex organic molecules that could show that life once existed on Mars.

The scoop on Curiosity, which is due to arrive on Mars in August, will dig four inches beneath the surface - enough to find the complex building blocks of life, particularly in new craters excavated by recent asteroid impacts.

Some scientists such as Jay Melosh of Purdue University believe that life may even have originated on Mars, then been carried to Earth on asteroids.

Stick a shovel in the ground and scoop. That’s about how deep scientists need to go in order to find evidence for ancient life on Mars, if there is any to be found, a new study suggests. Read More

China installs "spikes" under bridges to prevent homeless from sleeping there

Recently, new “landscaping” has appeared under the overpasses in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, featuring a lot of individual pyramid-shaped pointy-little pieces of cement covering the entire overpass floor. Some netizens say this was done by chengguan to guard against homeless sleeping under the overpasses and affecting the appearance/image of the city, but the city management officials deny this...

Read the rest and view all the slightly scary pictures here.

Tiny twin red stars whirl round each other in strange new 'Star Wars'-style solar system

Double-star systems - like Tattooine in Star Wars - are surprisingly common - but scientists have found some that break the laws of physics.

The twin red dwarf stars in four systems recently detected orbit round one another in tight circles that should not be possible - instead, the stars should 'mash together' into one larger star.

Dr Bas Nefs, of the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, said: ‘To our complete surprise, we found ‘It means that we have to rethink how these close in binaries form and evolve.’

The 'red dwarfs', which are up to ten times smaller and a thousand times less bright than the Sun, are the fastest moving such stellar partners in the Milky Way.

It was always believed if binary stars form too close to each other, they would quickly mush together into one single, bigger one.

This was in line with many observations taken over the last three decades showing the abundant population of stellar binaries, but none with orbital periods shorter than five hours.

His team used the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Hawaii to track the red dwarfs which are described in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

About half the stars in the galaxy are, unlike our Sun, part of a binary system in which two stars orbit each other. Read More

Leigh Turner and Anita Turner Jailed for Creating a Cover Story and Disposed of Evidence to Protect Killer Son who Murdered 17-year-old Emily Longley

A wealthy jeweller and his wife who disposed of evidence to help cover up after their jealous son murdered his girlfriend have been jailed for 27 months each.

Elliot Turner, 20, was found guilty May of murdering 17-year-old Emily Longley in his bed after going 'absolutely nuts' in a jealous rage.

His parents Leigh, 54, and Anita, 51, helped to cover up the crime by destroying a confession letter from their son and taking away vital evidence after the killing at their home in Bournemouth, Dorset, in May last year.

The couple were sentenced today at Winchester Crown Court after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Sentencing Turner at the same court after he was found guilty of murder, Mrs Justice Dobbs said he had 'bullied, harassed, threatened and assaulted' Emily to control her as his 'trophy' girlfriend.

And she told him to put away thoughts of 'champagne, Bentleys and girls' as she sentenced him to life imprisonment and told him he would serve at least 16 years in jail. Read More

Obama pursuing UN treaty to take away gun owners' rights across America and the world

Darren Hunt killed fellow IT professional Beverley Farrow before killing himself because she refused to have an affair with him

A BT worker strangled a married colleague during a lunch break and then killed himself after she refused to start an intimate relationship with him, an inquest heard today.

Darren Hunt, 43, killed fellow IT professional Beverley Farrow, 31, as she lay on a bed at his home before hanging himself in his garage.

Police broke in and found the pair dead on the night of December 8 last year after Mrs Farrow's husband Daniel returned home with their young son and found her missing.

Det Chief Insp John Brocklebank of Suffolk Police told how Mrs Farrow and Hunt both worked at BT's research headquarters in Martlesham, near Ipswich, Suffolk.

He told the hearing in Ipswich that the pair were friends, but he added: 'Darren wanted a more intimate relationship with Beverley. There’s clear evidence that she did not.' Read More

Aaron Wilkinson who Killed Judith Garnett in Cold Blood 'to see what it was like' is jailed for just five years

A soldier who killed his landlady after returning from Afghanistan mentally scarred has been jailed for five years.

Gamekeeper Aaron Wilkinson, 24, killed 52-year-old Judith Garnett by shooting her at point-blank range with a shotgun 'to experience what it was like to kill someone'.

Wilkinson, who was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter on the grounds he had been traumatised while serving in Afghanistan, gunned down 'defenceless' Mrs Garnett in January last year.

He carried out the 'brutal' killing after she ordered him to pack his bags and leave the house they shared in Woodlesford, near Leeds.

Wilkinson was jailed for a minimum of five years at Bradford Crown Court, after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mrs Garnett's family, however, later said they were appalled by the length of the sentence, which had 'flattened' the 52-year-old's relatives. Read More

Libya election helicopter 'shot near Benghazi'

Gunmen have fired at a helicopter carrying voting material for Saturday's election, killing one person, officials have said.

The helicopter made a forced landing outside the eastern town of Benghazi.

The identity of the attackers is not known, but eastern Libya has been a focus of unrest by groups seeking greater regional autonomy.

The parliamentary poll is the first national vote since Col Muammar Gaddafi was toppled last year.

The news came as armed men closed at least three oil export terminals in the east in protest at the vote.

They are angry that the west of the country has been granted more seats in the new 200-member General National Congress than the oil-rich east.

The current system allocates 100 seats to the west, 60 to the east and 40 to the south.

According to Reuters news agency, about half of Libya's oil exporting capacity has been shut down as a result. Read More

Aquarius - The Age Of Evil (Full Movie)

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF OREGON - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF OREGON at a depth of 14 km (8.7 miles), the quake hit at 17:50:33 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 210 km (130 miles) WNW from Bandon, Oregon
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake SOLOMON ISLANDS - 6th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the SOLOMON ISLANDS at a depth of 88.6 km (55.1 miles), the quake hit at 17:50:13 UTC Friday 6th July 2012
The epicenter was 51 km (31 miles) West of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Thousands of dead fish found in Dexter

KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports, classifieds

DEXTER, MO (KFVS) -
Thousands of dead fish turned up over the past couple of days at Dexter City Lake. It's an important image for residents like Dean Smith.


"My son fished over there when he was small," said Smith.

He knows the importance of the community pond because he has lived in Dexter, Missouri his whole life.

"There's people that come there everyday and fish," said Smith.

But right now, signs say no fishing. That's because thousands of fish are dead and officials blame our triple digit weather.

"Well the high temperatures, which is unusual with this many days over 100 or near 100, is heating the water temperature up which has an effect on the oxygen level in the pond," said Lawson Metcalf with Dexter Parks and Recreation.

He blames the heat and outbreak of algae for low oxygen levels. Read More

Thousands of fish die in Silver Lake at Rehoboth Beach, Deleware

A fish kill occurred July 4 in Rehoboth's Silver Lake, the first major kill since 2008. Photo by: Ryan Mavity

REHOBOTH BEACH — Hundreds, likely thousands of fish are dead in Rehoboth Beach’s Silver Lake in the first fish kill there since 2008.

Dead fish could be seen floating from the Bayard Avenue bridge to Rehoboth Elementary School. Most appeared to be small perch or bass.

Rehoboth City Manager Greg Ferrese said the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish and Wildlife was called and has responded. Representatives from the division were not available for comment.

The last fish kill at Silver Lake occurred April 26, 2008, when low dissolved- oxygen levels decimated the lake’s largemouth bass population.

Todd Fritchman of Envirotech reported the 2008 fish kill, and he speculated similar factors may be at work in this one. He has not yet viewed the scene, but Fritchman said low dissolved-oxygen levels, caused by the high heat this summer, could have contributed to the kill. He said the hotter the water, the less dissolved oxygen the lake will hold. Read More

Gas leak from chemicals used to fight SARS in ‘03 causes more than 800 to flee China building

BEIJING — Chinese state media say a toxic gas leak caused by chemicals used nine years ago to combat the SARS epidemic has forced more than 800 workers to evacuate from a downtown office building in east China’s Hangzhou city.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday that the gas came from a stockpile of chlorine dioxide powder. It was used as a disinfectant in 2003 during the SARS scare but was never disposed of.

Xinhua says white smog filled the 19th floor of the building on Friday morning, causing panic.

Xinhua quoted the fire department as saying no one was injured. It did not say what caused the chemicals to leak. Source

Bank of England warns UK banks need more capital...So they can Continue Screwing us

Britain's banks do not have enough capital to withstand an escalation in the eurozone crisis, the Bank of England has warned.

Members of the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), the Bank’s risk regulator, “judged that the overall capitalisation of the banking system was unlikely to be sufficient for stability to be assured” if there were “severe but plausible” developments in the sovereign debt crisis, according to minutes of last month’s meeting.

The committee was also sufficiently concerned about weak lending in the UK to consider suspending the rules governing how much banks must hold in cash and other liquid assets to get credit flowing again. The rules may have “pushed up the pricing of loans” and, by relaxing them, funds “supporting liquid assets could potentially be used instead to finance lending”, the minutes said.

Both issues were addressed in last week’s Financial Stability Report, when banks were told to continue building up their capital levels and liquidity regulations were relaxed slightly instead of suspended. Analysis of the report showed that easing the liquidity rules could release as much as £150bn for lending to small businesses and households. Read More

Michelle Smith Jailed for Killing her 42 Day old Baby Amy with powerful pain killers

A mother found guilty of poisoning her own baby with a powerful pain killer murdered out of a craving for attention, a judge told her today.

Michelle Smith, was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum 12 years for the murder of six-week-old Amy.

A shellshocked Smith was led away in tears today still protesting "But I did not do it. I did not do it."

Moments before, a jury found her unanimously guilty of murdering the defenceless baby at home in Morriston, Swansea, south Wales, in November 2007.

The tiny 42-day-old baby was repeatedly poisoned with the powerful pain killer dihydrocodeine. It is never used on babies and rarely on children.

Judge Mr Justice Spencer briefly adjourned the Swansea Crown Court trial to collect his thoughts before passing sentence.

He left Smith sobbing with the warning that he would be looking at 15 years as a starting point in setting a minimum term.

Passing sentence he told her her actions involved a "substantial premeditation". Read More

Floods as torrential rain hits UK

Torrential rain is causing disruption, with up to a month's rain expected to fall in parts of the UK within a day.

The number of flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected - has reached more than 50 in England, and more than 130 flood alerts are in place in the UK.

The Environment Agency warns flooding could be the worst yet, with transport and homes "severely affected".

Prince Charles earlier visited flood-hit Hebden Bridge, in West Yorkshire, which is seeing further rain.

The EA has issued 131 flood alerts for England and Wales, which warn people to be prepared for possible flooding, while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued nine. Read More

Finance chiefs turn to EU's unfinished business .....Maybe they should have another Summit

(Reuters) - Euro zone officials are cautioning against expecting any quick action from the currency bloc's finance ministers when they meet on Monday to sort out the tangle of loose ends and disagreements left by last month's EU debt-crisis summit.

Banking supervision, the use of European Union bailout money, aid to Spain and Cyprus and how to deal with Greece -- together it could take months to finalize, despite pressure from financial markets for clarity on the details.

Leaders from the 17 nations sharing the euro reached a deal in the early hours of last Friday to give the European Central Bank greater oversight of the bloc's banks and to use the euro zone's rescue funds to reduce countries' borrowing costs.

But after going beyond what many diplomats, finance officials and investors had expected, critical elements were left vague. Time-frames may already be slipping and opposition is building in euro zone hardliners the Netherlands and Finland. Read More

Germany pushes Libor probe of Deutsche Bank

(Reuters) - German markets regulator BaFin is conducting a special probe of Deutsche Bank as part of a wider investigation into possible manipulation of the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (Libor), two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The German regulator declined to comment specifically on whether it was probing Deutsche Bank, but said it was in looking into suspected manipulation of Libor rates by banks.

"We are making use of our entire spectrum of regulatory instruments, so far as this is necessary," a spokesman said.

Deutsche Bank shares extended losses after the news and traded 4.3 percent lower at 1523 GMT.

Results from the probe are expected to emerge in mid July, one of the sources said. Read More

Iran blames France, Germany for atomic scientist assassinations

(Reuters) - Iran's spy chief accused German and French intelligence agencies on Friday of involvement in assassinations of its nuclear scientists, sticking to a hard official line as sanctions imposed over its disputed atomic ambitions bite harder.

The Islamic Republic has previously accused Israel, the United States and Britain of plotting the killings to set back its uranium enrichment program, which Western powers suspect is being used to develop nuclear weapons capability.

Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi spread the blame to France and Germany, after days of hawkish rhetoric and missile tests by Tehran that helped push benchmark Brent crude oil prices above $100 for the first time since June.

"In these two networks (involved in the assassinations) we saw connections with the information services in Germany, France, Britain, Israel, the United States and regional intelligence agencies," the state news agency IRNA quoted Moslehi as saying. He did not name the other countries. Read More

Sudan police teargas protesters after prayers

(Reuters) - Sudanese police fired volleys of teargas at worshippers trying to leave a mosque to demonstrate after Friday prayers, witnesses said, as the government attempts to quell a protest movement angry at tough austerity measures.

The past three weeks have seen small-scale protests across Sudan calling for the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in power for 23 years, to resign.

Online activists, some of them inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings last year, have been using social media to call for even larger demonstrations. But Sudanese police and security forces have routinely and swiftly crushed any signs of dissent.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and detained and one journalist has been deported, Sudanese activists say.

On Friday, hundreds of Sudanese protesters left the Imam Abulrahman mosque in the Omdurman suburb of Khartoum en masse, only to be driven back inside by teargas. Read More

Stunning map shows 100 years of earthquake data

This image is the work of data visualizer Josh Nelson, and it represents over 100 years of earthquake data, from 1898 to 2003 – 203,186 quakes that rated 4 or higher on the Richter scale.

As Smithsonian points out, these are mostly along the edges of the tectonic plates:

But there are also scads of intraplate earthquakes, like the one that caused so much devastation in the D.C. area last year. Fracking-related earthquakes would fall in that category, but it’s not clear what else causes them, says Boing Boing:

One of the theories explaining intraplate earthquakes is based off the fact that the tectonic plates we know today have not been constant throughout Earth’s history. Some of the places that are now “intraplate” were once right along fault lines. Others are at spots where continents began—and then failed—to split apart. All these things might leave behind spots of “weak” rock that’s more prone to upheaval than the strong, intraplate rock around it. Studies in the 1990s found that 49% of all intraplate earthquakes happen near places like this. Of course, that leaves 51% of the shaking still unexplained. Read More

Saif al-Islam will not get fair trial in Libya, says lawyer Melinda Taylor

The son of Muammar Gaddafi will not get a fair trial in Libya, an International Criminal Court lawyer who was detained in Libya has said.

Melinda Taylor made the comments days after she was released from detention after meeting Saif al-Islam in the town of Zintan.

She said it was impossible for the 40-year-old to be tried in an "independent and impartial manner" in Libya.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity.

But Libyan authorities have insisted that he should be tried at home rather than in The Hague. Read More

Portsmouth beach torso: Lower half of body found at Southsea

Police investigating the discovery of a torso on a Portsmouth beach have found the lower half of a body.

It was found on rocks at low tide in front of Castle Field, Southsea, just after 08:00 BST.

A torso, without head, arms and legs, was found in a bin liner by a group of foreign students at Southsea on Tuesday evening.

A 46-year-old from the Portsmouth area was arrested on Thursday night and remains in police custody.

Police said the latest body part found was from the waist down, including the legs. Read More

EU Demands Romania govt respect courts

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso: "The rule of law, the democratic checks and balances and the independence of the judiciary are cornerstones of the European democracy and indispensable for mutual trust within the European Union," Source

Is this guy for real?

Serious Fraud Office launches Libor investigation

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has confirmed that it has formally launched a criminal investigation into the rigging of inter-bank lending rates.

Earlier this week, it said it was considering whether prosecutions would be possible.

An SFO spokesperson confirmed that a dedicated case team had now started work.

Its involvement follows an investigation by US and UK regulators into the manipulation of Libor.

That resulted in a record fine for Barclays, who last week agreed to pay £290m in penalties after its traders tried to rig inter-bank lending rates, sometimes working with staff at other financial institutions.

Regulators are continuing to look into possible rate manipulation at other banks, while the US Department of Justice is carrying out its own criminal investigations.

The SFO would not say whom it is investigating. Read More

"74.6% of people believe that the Kim Jong Eun regime will collapse"

According to a new ‘unification consciousness’ poll by the state-run National Unification Advisory Council, 74.6% of people believe that the Kim Jong Eun regime will collapse.

The poll targeted 1,000 young adults and middle aged people in Korea’s 16 major cities.

In more detail, 14.3% said that the regime ‘will collapse in a few years’ while 60.3% said that ‘it will take time but eventually will collapse’. Meanwhile, 18.6% responded that the Kim Jong Eun system will ‘continue on for 30 or more years’.

34.0% of the 746 respondents who predicted the collapse of Kim Jong Eun system said that it will happen within the next 10-20 years. Other answers were ‘in more than 30 years’ (26.2%), ‘20-30 years’ (14.2%), and ‘less than 5 years’ (3.5%).

Other questions covered the people’s attitude toward North Korea. 46.1% said that North Korea represents ‘something we must cooperate with’, 21.9% said it is ‘something to guard against’, 14.4% said it is ‘an enemy confronting us’, and 13.2% said that it is a ‘problematic headache’.

Regardless of which, 61.6% of respondents preferred gradual unification. Only 7.8% answered that ‘unification must be achieved as soon as possible’. On the other hand, 25.4% said North and South Korea ‘must co-exist in the current state’ while 4.7% said that ‘unification is not necessary’. more

Flood Situation Worsens: 100 Alerts Across UK

Eastern England and the North East are among the worst affected areas as two bands of heavy rain move across the country.

Thousands of people are at risk of flooding as heavy rain continues to lash the country.

There is an unfolding situation in Crewe where Cheshire Fire Service is attempting to reach a car trapped in floodwater. It is not known how many people are inside the vehicle.

The Environment Agency has issued more than 100 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible. A further 19 flood warnings, which mean that flooding is imminent, are in place.

Northern and eastern England and the Midlands are among the worst affected areas.

The Met Office has also issued an amber weather warning - the second highest, and meaning "be prepared" - for Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Devon amid thunderstorms in the area. Read More

"Capitalism needs God to work" (Agreed.)

I’ve decided it’s time to get off the fence and risk upsetting a lot of people at dinner parties by making a brave stand on a difficult subject: those bankers are horrid aren’t they?

One of the strangest aspects of the whole Libor saga is the question over Bob Diamond's "what we do when we are not being watched" test; that is, would bankers start cheating if they thought they’d get away with it?

Of course they would. Not because they’re bankers but, despite what Tony Robinson believes, because they’re people. It doesn’t matter that most people are essentially good – if you create a system where people are not punished for cheating the system, then that system will collapse on itself.

So how do you change the system to make people behave more ethically? It’s a question John Freame, who founded Barclays Bank in Lombard Street in 1690, would have considered vitally important. He wrote a book on encouraging morality. Perhaps Barclays' executives might want to read it.

Freame was a Quaker – a religious group famous for business success ("they prey on you six days a week and pray for you on the other", as the New England Puritans used to say of the Pennsylvanians).

It is not a coincidence that religious folk were prominent in the development of capitalism. It is not just that their religions encouraged education and hard work. Capitalism requires trust, and the threat of punishment if rules are broken. For instance, Quakers were disgraced if they went bankrupt, and could not attend meetings. more

European banking superpower is no quick fix

(Reuters) - The euro zone's plan to let the European Central Bank supervise its biggest banks requires governments to give it unambiguous powers, sets a highly ambitious timetable and poses potentially dangerous conflicts of interest.

On paper, the idea of creating an uber-watchdog with knowledge about the risks in banks' balance sheets and information on how much they depend on central bank funding, appears a perfect recipe for an effective supervisor.

The European Commission is expected to lay out the blueprint in September, giving lawmakers time to discuss changes ahead of an end of year deadline, which must be met before the euro zone's bailout fund can start recapitalizing banks direct.

One German official said it was "totally unrealistic" to expect the new set up to be up and running in six months - some experienced in euro zone politics think it could take 2-3 years - but ECB insiders say they already have a clear outline of their plans and that talks with Brussels have already started. Read More

Residents of Benghazi to boycott elections

Guantanamo Bay Upgrade Reiterates Obama is a Liar: US to spend $40 million on renovation





Animal rights 'extremists' are detained in London and Amsterdam.

Three alleged animal rights activists, including two Britons, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to blackmail.

A 50-year-old woman was detained in Croydon, South London, while a man and a woman, both aged 25, were held by police in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Sky's crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "I am told this is a result of a very long-running investigation led by Scotland Yard but involving police forces across Europe.

"Scotland Yard will be looking for the extradition of those two individuals in Amsterdam." Read More

Seven Terror Arrests After Arms Found In Car on the M1 motorway in South Yorkshire on June 30

Seven men have been arrested on suspicion of terror offences after firearms and other weapons were found "hidden" in a car, West Midlands Police said.

They are being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

A force spokesman said the arrests "followed a routine stop of a vehicle by police on the M1 motorway in South Yorkshire on June 30".

"The car was impounded on suspicion of having no insurance.

"Firearms, offensive weapons and other material were later found hidden inside, prompting police to take action to trace and arrest the driver, passenger and others suspected of being involved," he said.

Police said three men aged 23, 26 and 27 from Sparkhill, Birmingham, were arrested on Tuesday morning.

Three more suspects, a 22-year-old from Alum Rock, Birmingham, a 24-year-old from the Moseley area of the city, and a 22-year-old from Smethwick, West Midlands, were arrested on Wednesday evening.

A 43-year old man from Kirklees, West Yorkshire, was detained on Thursday. Read More

U.N. defers decision on military intervention in Mali

(CNN) -- The United Nations called for sanctions against Islamist fighters in northern Mali and warned it is considering a proposal by West Africa states to deploy troops in the troubled country.

In a resolution passed Thursday, the U.N. Security Council did not authorize a military intervention, but said it is willing to review such a proposal and called on sanctions to restore peace.

It also urged U.N. member states to submit names of those with ties to al Qaeda in the nation.
The Economic Community of West African States has proposed plans to deploy troops from member states, but the Security Council said it needs more details on the request.

"The council expressed its readiness to further examine this request and encouraged close cooperation between the Malian transitional authorities, ECOWAS, the African Union and other countries to prepare detailed options in regard to any such forces mandate," the United Nations said in a statement. Read More