Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Syrian crisis enters new phase with Damascus battles

DAMASCUS, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The violence and turmoil that have hit several Syrian cities since the start of the crisis have reached the heart of the capital Damascus, which has seen an unprecedented rise in clashes between the Syrian armed forces and armed rebels over the past two days.

Clouds of smoke are covering the sky of Damascus and the sound of explosions are echoing across several neighborhoods.

Syria said it's continuing its pursuit of armed terrorist groups in a number of restive areas in Damascus, mainly al-Midan and al-Qaboun.

Meanwhile, the rebel Free Syria Army said the "greater battle" of Damascus has already begun and they have used a new tactic to launch a number of simultaneous attacks in many areas and set tires ablaze reportedly to scatter the Syrian army's attention.

Media reports raised speculations that the coming days will witness an upsurge in violence. The escalation was met with a mixture of denial, world condemnation, and warnings. Read More

Israeli Coalition comes crashing down

Israel’s high-flying governing coalition crashed to Earth on Tuesday barely two months after getting off the ground, unable to agree on a formula for conscripting the country’s ultra-Orthodox into the military.

With the resignation of Shaul Mofaz as Deputy Prime Minister and the loss of his Kadima party’s 28 parliamentary seats, out went the chances for formative changes in the country and the region.

When Mr. Mofaz, a former defence minister and military chief of staff, took the unexpected step of joining the right-of-centre coalition, giving the government of Benjamin Netanyahu 94 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the Prime Minister promised three things in return: The wholesale exemptions from conscription given to the Haredim would be abolished; the electoral process would be reformed to make it harder for small parties to be elected; and there would be a new effort to advance a peace agreement with Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. Read More

Eva Rausing death: Husband charged with burial delay

The 49-year-old husband of millionairess Eva Rausing is due in court later charged with delaying her burial.

Mrs Rausing, one of Britain's richest women, was found dead in the bedroom of the couple's house in Cadogan Place, Belgravia, on 9 July.

Hans Kristian Rausing has been charged with preventing the lawful and decent burial of her body.

He is due to appear at West London Magistrates' Court later.

Police are treating the death of Mrs Rausing as "unexplained" and a post-mortem examination held last week failed to establish a formal cause of death.

Mr Rausing was stopped by police on 9 July on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

A subsequent search of the couple's home led to the discovery of Mrs Rausing's body. Read More

Tenerife Wildfire Rages, Hundreds Evacuated

Authorities in Tenerife have evacuated a town of 1,800 inhabitants as a wildfire continues to spread across the island.

The town of Vilaflor is south of the El Teide national park that spans the centre of the Canary island.

Authorities said the fire had crept into the popular tourist park as fire crews battle to keep the flames away from populated areas.

Some 800 firefighters are battling the blaze, which broke out on Sunday and has spread with strong winds and high temperatures.

More than 90 people were evacuated from other parts of the island on Monday.

The fire has so far affected around 3,000 hectares (12 square miles) but helicopters and water-bombing planes have struggled to douse the flames due to the thick smoke.

The neighbouring island of La Palma has also been affected by wildfires that have engulfed 500 hectares and forced 150 people to evacuate. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake MINAHASA, SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 18th July 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck MINAHASA, SULAWESI, INDONESIA at a depth of 212 km (131.4 miles), the quake hit at 03:16:07 UTC Wednesday 18th July 2012
The epicenter was 38 km (23.5 miles) Northwest of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake COQUIMBO, CHILE - 18th July 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck COQUIMBO, CHILE at a depth of 53 km (32.8 miles), the quake hit at 00:26:44 UTC Wednesday 18th July 2012
The epicenter was 61 km (37.8 miles) North of Vicuña, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake COQUIMBO, CHILE - 17th July 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck COQUIMBO, CHILE at a depth of 67.2 km (41.8 miles), the quake hit at 22:03:28 UTC Tuesday 17th July 2012
The epicenter was 46 km (28 miles) Northwest of Illapel, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Brutal animal fight as Doberman attacks defenseless kitten

*Another* mob of 40 black teens, trash Troutdale Albertsons shop in Portland



A group of teens targeted a Troutdale store last weekend in a 'flash rob' and investigators are trying to identify the suspects. Investigators said as many as 40 kids entered the Albertsons store at 25691 SE Stark Street at the same time late Saturday night and started stealing things. Security officers chased the thieves out, but no one was captured. They also left employees pretty shaken up, including one woman who was in tears after getting terrorized by the robbers. Investigators have not said exactly how many items were taken.

"Basically it looks like they went in, just to cause chaos, which they accomplished," said Sgt. Steve Bevens with the Troutdale Police Department. Investigators believe the suspects ranged in age from 13 to 15. They could be seen on surveillance video, roaming from aisle to aisle. Customers said the store employees were overwhelmed and outnumbered.

"They [thieves] were bragging and laughing about how much stuff they stole and what they did in the store," one witness told KGW. If caught, the suspects could face several charges including rioting, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. This was one of several flash rob-style robberies being investigated in the Portland Metro area over past months. more    

Mob of 300 black youths rob and destroy Jacksonville Wal-Mart



A huge house party broken up by police in a North Jacksonville subdivision didn’t end there Saturday night as hundreds of young partygoers ignited a flash mob at the Lem Turner Road Walmart Supercenter.

They caused havoc that was recorded and posted on YouTube until Tuesday afternoon, while one person reported being shot during the party.

The Sheriff’s Office said investigations into both are “active and ongoing.” The shooting is being investigated by the aggravated battery unit detectives while patrol officers follow up on the Walmart incident.

Walmart spokeswoman Dianna Gee said she learned of the incident Saturday night, then spoke with the shift manager at the 12100 Lem Turner Road store. She said the YouTube video is being reviewed, and that the employees did as they were trained by steering clear of the chaos and calling police.

“The actions of these teenagers was deplorable and put at risk the safety of innocent bystanders, staff and customers,” Gee said. “We are committed to assisting law enforcement in any way we can to identify the people responsible for the commotion, including acts of vandalism and thefts at the store.” more

Thoughts: It's too bad whites couldn't get this agitated and active when it comes to something like freedoms being taken away. Wouldn't that be something.

Is Obama plotting a Gulf of Tonkin incident to invoke war with Iran?

Matt says: The following comment was taken from an unrelated Washington Times article. However, it is so full of interesting information and insightful that I thought it was worth reproducing here.

The comment is as follows:

"I have a feeling that Obama intends to provoke an attack by Iran on a US ship.
He is placing them directly in a place where Iranian shore batteries
armed with Sunburn missiles supplied by Russia or other smaller cargo
ships with a sunburn missile concealed in its cargo hold can destroy an
American carrier easily. Iran has conducted numerous tests launching
missiles from cargo holds of ships in recent years. With only 21 miles
across, and shipping lanes that are much narrower, the Strait of Hormuz
would allow insufficient time to launch effective countermeasures to a
Sunburn missile. Normal response time requires that the missile be
detected approximately 11 to 15 miles away in order to allow sufficient
response times to be able to effectively defend against the Sunburn with
95% effectiveness. Since the normal shipping lanes are only 2 to 3
miles wide, normal traffic will be in very close quarters in the
strait. A missile launched only 3 miles away would not allow sufficient
time for any type of effective response. A Sunburn travels at
approximately a half mile per second, so it would close the gap of 3
miles in just over 6 seconds. Far too close to mount an effective
defense. The only effective countermeasure to the Sunburn is Raytheon's SeaRAM Anti Ship Missile Defense System, but even that requires more than 6 seconds to deploy. I think that obama ordering American war ships into the Strait is placing our men
and women in harms way for political purposes. But I have little doubt
that obama is willing to sacrifice an American ship, perhaps even a US
carrier in order to get himself re elected. Can you imagine the outrage
Americans would feel if such an event were to happen? And then Obama
would get on TV and proclaim that the guilty will be forced to pay. The
public would eat it up. And most likely re elect him. Our fighting
men and women are mere pawns in Obama's eyes. He is already
repositioning two carriers in the gulf, and I presume a show of force
through the strait will be the order of the day. And of course all the
Generals and Admirals will be required to keep quiet on the fact that
Obama ordered the ships into such close quarters against the strong
recommendations of the joint Chiefs. That will be classified
information so as to deflect any blame from obama."

-- Harvybing, source

Syria Rebels 'Shoot Down Army Helicopter' In Damascus


Syrian rebels said they had shot down an army helicopter over the Damascus district of Qaboun during a third day of fierce fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad and his opponents.

"Helicopters are flying at low altitude. It's easy to target them using anti-aircraft weapons," a senior rebel officer said.

The fighting between Syrian troops and rebels in the capital has continued as Russian President Vladimir Putin met with peace envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow.

Speaking briefly after the talks, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia sees no reason why the UN Security Council cannot find a consensus for a resolution on the Syrian crisis.

"I see no reason why we cannot also agree at the UN Security Council. We are ready for this," Lavrov said.

Annan added: "The Council, I expect, will be sending out a message that the killings must stop and that the situation on the ground is unacceptable." Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE - 17th July 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the SOUTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE at a depth of 16.4 km (10.2 miles), the quake hit at 20:06:54 UTC Tuesday 17th July 2012
The epicenter was 700 km (434 miles) Northwest of Hanga Roa, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake GUERRERO, MEXICO - 17th July 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck GUERRERO, MEXICO at a depth of 20.7 km (12.9 miles), the quake hit at 20:01:31 UTC Tuesday 17th July 2012
The epicenter was 11 km (6.8 miles) East of Tecoanapa, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

225 Years After the Treaty of Marrakech: When American and Islam got along, when no brainwashing and creating false enemies took place, when friendship reigned

Before the United States had a president or a constitution, it had the Treaty of Marrakech with Morocco. That diplomatic pact has the distinction of being the longest standing treaty between America and another country. Tomorrow, July 18, marks the 225th anniversary of its ratification.

The treaty is scarcely remembered today, but it was important in its time. When he became president in 1789, George Washington wrote the sultan of Morocco, a Muslim, to thank him for his “encouragement” and “the punctuality with which you have caused the Treaty with us to be observed.” Good will come of it, he said.

“Within our territories, there are no mines, wither of gold or silver, and this young nation just recovering from the waste and dissolution of a long war, have not, as yet, had time to acquire riches by agriculture and commerce,” Washington wrote. “But our soil is bountiful, and our people industrious, and we have reason to flatter ourselves that we shall gradually become useful to our friends.”

The treaty came about when the commercial interests of the fledgling United States and Morocco came together – but largely due to friendly gestures by the sultan of Morocco, Mohamed Ben Abdullah. In 1777, just as Washington and his troops were setting up camp for the winter in Valley Forge, the sultan granted American ships safe passage through the Straits of Gibraltar, which Morocco controlled.

By including America in a maritime treaty, Morocco is considered the first country to recognize the newly independent country. The follow-up treaty of “friendship and amity” was urged in 1783 by American commissioners in Paris – Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay – signed in Morocco in 1786, and ratified by the new Congress a year later. more

Americans Joining Disability Now Outpacing Americans Finding Jobs

A new chart set to be released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee details an alarming fact: In the last three months, more Americans have joined disability than have found a job.

As the chart shows, between April-June 2012, an estimated 246,000 Americans were added to Social Security's disability insurance program. In that same time period, only 225,000 American jobs were created.

These alarming numbers, though, are part of a wider trend, as another chart, also set to be released later today, from the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee shows. more

Frank Schleck Fails Drugs Test

Luxembourg rider Frank Schleck has failed a doping test at this year's Tour de France and is out of the race, his team has announced.

The sport's governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) said: "Earlier today, the UCI advised the Luxembourg rider Frank Schleck of an adverse analytical finding (presence of the diuretic Xipamide...) in the urine sample collected from him at an in competition test at the Tour de France on 14 July, 2012."

Schleck, who has not been suspended from the Tour de France, has the right to request the analysis of his B sample.

The 32-year-old RadioShack Nissan Trek leader placed third in the Tour last year.

A team spokesman had no immediate comment.

More follows...

Occupy Bohemian Grove: Secret 1% getaway revealed

Bradley Manning: 'Obama promised to be whistleblowers' best friend, became enemy no.1'

Battle for Damascus: Rebels break capital peace

'West invented Al-Qaeda, monster turned on master'

'Iran, next target for US war in Middle East'

Taiwan finds H5N1 virus in birds smuggled from China

TAIPEI: Dozens of pet birds smuggled from southern China into Taiwan tested positive for the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus and were destroyed, Taiwanese authorities said Tuesday.

The smuggler bought the 38 birds in the Chinese city of Guangzhou and was caught at the Taoyuan international airport in northern Taiwan when he returned via Macau earlier this month, said the Centers for Disease Control.

The birds later tested positive for the H5N1 virus and were killed, it said, adding that nine people who had contact with the birds had not shown any flu symptoms during a ten-day screening.

Taiwan has no recorded cases of the deadly H5N1 strain, although in 2005 health authorities said eight pet birds smuggled from China tested positive for the strain and destroyed.

The island has reported several outbreaks of the H5N2 bird flu, a less virulent strain of the virus, in recent years. Read More

Flash flood in north displaces 2000.. alert for North Bengal, India

Flash floods hit North Bengal with three main rivers — Teesta, Jaldhaka and Torsha — flowing over the danger levels at several places and displacing nearly 2,000 people from their homes.

State Irrigation Minister Manas Bhunia on Monday visited North Bengal to take stock of the situation. “Heavy rainfall in parts of North Bengal pose a serious threat to river embankments.

The rivers with its origin in Bhutan have not been maintained properly in the past resulting in a rise in their river bed. The work to repair breached embankments has started,” Bhunia said.

He will visit Nagrakata in Jalpaiguri on Tuesday where uninterrupted rainfall has played havoc.
Bhunia said he has informed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about the situation over the phone. “Cooked food and tarpaulins have been distributed among those displaced,” he added.

In the last three days, Jalpaiguri district has received 40mm, 102 mm and 81 mm rainfall, respectively, said disaster management department. During the same period, Darjeeling recorded 248 mm rainfall. Read More

Mount Merapi spouts ash

Mount Merapi, located in Yogyakarta, emitted high-pressure gas on Sunday afternoon that caused its crater wall to collapse and volcanic ash to fall on its western slope, as smoke billowed up to 1 kilometer into the sky.

As the gas discharge was not followed by other dangerous volcanic activity, the phenomenon was regarded as a small-scale volcanic eruption and the volcano’s alert status remained normal.

“Mount Merapi’s status remains normal because there was no dangerous volcanic activity,” said Volcanic Technology Development and Research Center (BPPTK) head Subandriyo on Monday.

According to Subandriyo, the incident was due to the accumulation of gas produced by the volcano’s magma. As the gas’ exit fumarole was too narrow, the volcano eventually released all the buildup of very high pressure gas by erupting, which caused the crater wall to collapse and this emitted a massive rumble.

“The incident can be called a small-scale ‘volcanic eruption’,” said Subandriyo. Read More

Fire at Newmont mine in New Zealand forces evacuations

WELLINGTON - A fire at a New Zealand gold mine owned by Newmont Mining Corp on Tuesday forced the evacuation of almost 30 miners holed up in underground refuge chambers and halted all operations.

Newmont Mining Corporation, the world's second-largest gold producer, said 28 miners were underground when a truck engine started the fire at its Waihi Trio gold mine, about 120 km (75 miles) southeast of Auckland on New Zealand's North Island.

Newmont said rescuers had initially evacuated 13 miners from two chambers before returning for the remaining 15.

"We've had confirmation that the remaining 15 miners are on the surface. So everyone is now accounted for and well," Waihi Gold general operations manager Glen Grindlay said.

Grindlay also said the fire had been contained.

Earlier, television footage showed plumes of smoke rising from a mine shaft. The Trio mine is a hard rock gold mine and Newmont said there was no risk of a mine explosion. Read More

Chemical leak at Port of Brisbane

A chemical leak at the Port of Brisbane that left four people sick has been cleaned up.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service says it left the site about 1.20pm after testing all of the containers involved.

Four people were taken to hospital after being exposed.

A Port of Brisbane spokeswoman said it was the result of "an odour emitting from a number of ventilated containers" and not a chemical spill had been reported.The four wharf workers were treated by ambulance paramedics at the Patrick Container Terminal on Port Drive for headaches and nausea after being overcome by chemical fumes about 6am.

They were taken to hospital for precautionary reasons only. Read More

Syrian Rebels Claim Advances

ANTAKYA, Turkey — The rebel Free Syrian Army said it has begun the "battle for the liberation of Damascus," as clashes with government forces raged in the capital for a third day. The battles come as more than 1,000 Syrians, including a defecting brigadier-general, fled to Turkey overnight.

On a cross-border visit to the Turkish city of Antakya, Ahmad al-Kanatre Abu Hamza, commander of the Omar al-Mukhtar battalion of the Free Syrian Army, said the FSA is making big gains in territory and manpower. The commander said he sees increasing defections by Syrian soldiers.

“The number of defectors is now 100,000 and now they are defecting in bigger groups - this is a new phenomenon," Abu Hamza said. "The reason for the higher number of defections is that the regime is carrying out so many massacres every day. And the soldiers realize this regime must fall.” Read More

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake ESTADO DE MEXICO, MEXICO - 17th July 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck ESTADO DE MEXICO, MEXICO at a depth of 78.6 km (48.8 miles), the quake hit at 15:57:29 UTC Tuesday 17th July 2012
The epicenter was 22 km (13.6 miles) WSW from Ixtapan, México, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Iran offers to insure foreign ships to skirt EU ban

(Reuters) - Iran said it would insure any foreign ships that enter its waters, in an effort to skirt a European Union ban on insuring ships carrying Iranian crude that has hampered the country's oil exports.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will take all responsibility for insuring any foreign shipping line and any ship that enters Iranian waters," the Fars news agency on Tuesday quoted Seyyed Ataollah Sadr, the managing director of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, as saying.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has adopted measures with the cooperation of Iranian insurance companies," he said.

The EU enacted a ban on July 1 on insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil, preventing EU insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying Iran's crude anywhere in the world.

The West has imposed sanctions in an effort to stop Iran's nuclear program, which it suspects of being aimed at developing a weapon but which Iran insists is peaceful. Read More

Surveillance video captures bar shooting suspect

July 17 - The Tuscaloosa Police Department releases surveillance video of the suspect in a shooting at an Alabama bar -- where at least 16 people were wounded, according to media reports.

North Korea leader pushes out father's allies as he tightens grip

July 17 - North Korea's Kim Jong-un promotes a new army marshal after sacking his top general, seen as an effort to impose authority on the military. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Thousands march in Pakistan against NATO

July 17 - Thousands march along NATO supply routes to protest against Pakistan's decision to re-open NATO supply lines.

Romney campaign says Obama should "learn to be an American"

(Reuters) - Republican Mitt Romney's campaign unleashed new attacks on President Barack Obama Tuesday, with one of Romney's top surrogates saying he wished Obama "would learn to be an American."

On a conference call with reporters, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu blasted Obama and his campaign, calling them a "bunch of liars."

"I wish the president would learn how to be an American," Sununu said, although he later backed away from his comment somewhat.

Obama has repeatedly sought to end speculation by many conservatives that he was not born in the United States and thus not legally able to serve as president.

Romney has repeatedly tried to avoid the so-called "birther" issue, and Sununu was quick to retreat from his statement.

"What I thought I said but what I didn't say is the president has to learn the American formula for creating business," Sununu said. Read More

Troops Ordered To Kill All Americans Who Do Not Turn In Guns : Part 2 (July 17, 2012)

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA - 17th July 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA at a depth of 156 km (96.7 miles), the quake hit at 16:56:46 UTC Tuesday 17th July 2012
The epicenter was 222 km (137.6 miles) Northeast of Los palos, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Laura Ann DeCrescenzo: Former Scientologist accuses the church of 'forcing her to have an abortion and brainwashing in explosive lawsuit

A woman has accused the Church of Scientology of forcing her to have an abortion and false imprisonment in an explosive lawsuit revealed on Tuesday.

Laura Ann DeCrescenzo, from New Mexico, also accuses the church of intentional infliction of emotional distress and deprivation of freedom, while she was a member from 1991, aged just 12, until 2004.

The claim throws a fresh spotlight on the controversial religion that is said to be the reason why Katie Holmes divorced Tom Cruise. She is said to have wanted daughter Suri to be shielded from the religion at all costs.

The document, obtained by RadarOnline, says that during the time Ms DeCrescenzo lived and worked at the church's facilities in Los Angeles, she was forced to work seven days a week, at a total of 100 hours for less than minimum wage.

She was forced to marry at 16 and when she was 17, the documents claim, she fell pregnant and was told to have an abortion. If she did not, the church threatened she would lose her job, her house and her husband.

If she did lose her job, the church were then going to charge Ms DeCrescenzo a 'Freeloader Debt' to the tune of $120,000, according to the documents.

A 'Freeloader Debt' is money owed for on-the-job training and services which members are said to owe the church if they leave before their 'billion-year contract' expires.

Ms DeCrescenzo signed hers when she was just 12 years old. Read More

BATTLE FOR DAMASCUS UNDERWAY: 6 SYRIAN BATTALIONS FIGHTING REBEL PUSH INTO CITY CENTER; ARTILLERY "POUNDING" SOUTH SUBURBS (New posts below for next several hours)

Syrian military forces were gathered in Tuesday, July 17, to save Damascus.
Tanks and armored vehicles were positioned in strength in the capital’s center and around government buildings. However, the noise and fury of battle in the Syrian capital Tuesday, July 17, were produced, debkafile’s military sources report, by six battalions of Bashar Assad’s loyal Allawite militia in clashes with the rebels who captured the two southern suburbs of Meidan and Tadmon Monday. They are trying to pound the enemy into extinction before its forces reach central Damascus.

The two beleaguered districts are home to a quarter of the capital’s 1.8 million inhabitants.
The Syrian general staff has withdrawn its command headquarters to a well-fortified complex on Shuhada Street in the capital’s center.

If Damascus falls and Assad is cornered, the entire region stands in peril of wider repercussions, because neither he nor Tehran will take defeat lying down.
debkafile’s military sources report their campaign will be paced and scaled according to the momentum of the Syrian rebels’ advance on Bashar Assad’s door-step, which could be drawn out and bloody.

On the Iranian-Hizballah list are Middle East oil installations as well as Israeli, US, Turkish, Saudi and Jordanian strategic targets. more

Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook Still Missing as Police drain lake in desperate search for young cousins who have been missing for four days

Police in Evansdale, Iowa, have started draining a lake in search of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, who have been missing since Friday.

Hundreds of volunteers spent the weekend looking for the girls, whose bicycles were found next to Meyers Lake at lunchtime on Friday - but so far both police and volunteers have found no significant leads.

Search and rescue teams have been dragging the lake for the past two days but have found nothing. A spokesman from Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office said it would take another two days at least for the lake to be fully drained.

Collins, eight, and Cook, ten, were last seen riding their bicycles in downtown Evansdale on Friday.

Police found their bicycles on Friday and a bag they were carrying on a trail near Meyers Lake. More than 350 volunteers joined the search over the weekend.

Family members were still hopeful that the girls would be found safe, despite investigators admitting that had no new clues as to their whereabouts. Read More

Crazed beaver attacks two girls swimming in lake leaving them with serious injuries

A crazed beaver attacked two girls as they swam in a lake at a popular beauty spot leaving them with serious injuries.

Eight-year-old Annabella Radnovich and her 11-year-old sister, Alyssa, were playing with their cousins at Lake Anna in Virginia's Spotsylvania County when the 65 pound animal bit and scratched their legs.

The sisters were rushed to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center after the attack just before noon on Sunday. Read More

Huge sandstorm Captured by Peter Vruggink as it sweeps over Moroccan desert on day trip with his family


The enormous wall of sand looming over the landscape looks like a scene from ancient times or from a Hollywood blockbuster.

But the incredible photographs are, in fact, just part of a family's holiday pictures taken in Morocco.

They were captured by Peter Vruggink who was visiting the Erg Chebbi desert on a day trip in April. Read More

G4S farce continues: Just 20 out of 300 staff turn up at Olympic cycling venue

The fiasco surrounding G4S security at the Olympics continued today as only 30 out of 200 staff turned up for work at a cycling venue in Surrey.

The huge absence of personnel at the road-race circuit in Box Hill came as it was revealed only 4,200 of the contracted 10,400 guards have so far reported for duty across the country.

It is the latest blow for the company, which has been slammed for the level of training its staff have received, as well as absenteeism at other Games venues.

The news comes as the chief executive of the security firm, Nick Buckles, appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee today to explain the company's catastrophic arrangements.

He told the committee that although 200 had originally been earmarked for duties, just 35 were rostered on to work at the Games venue.

The figures are all the more remarkable given the fact that the total workforce of G4S is 650,000 - more than the population of Luxembourg, one MP pointed out. Read More

Reece Ludlow Jailed for Life for the brutal murder of Louise Brannan

A teenager dumped by his girlfriend made her listen on the phone as a mother of three he had brutally attacked bled to death in his home.

Reece Ludlow, 18, was jailed for life today for killing 35-year-old Louisa Brannan by beating her over the head with a frying pan and stabbing her 25 times with two knives.

Ludlow picked up Ms Brannan at a pub and they had sex at his flat in Sutton, south London, before the brutal murder.

He then attacked her before phoning his ex-girlfriend, who he said he had not got over, to tell her what he had done.

A horrified Miss Pronsan could hear Ms Brannan, from Huddersfield, screaming 'I'm dying' in the background.

Ludlow had admitted manslaughter but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He was relying on two psychiatric reports from doctors, but they withdrew their support and he admitted murder moments before he was to give evidence in his defence. Read More

Car Buried By Landslide, Body Found in the Car

Inside the tunnel (Photo: Edward Lawrence)

A body has been found in a car which was buried in a tunnel by a landslide in Dorset, and a second body is believed to be inside.

The car is feared to contain an unnamed man and woman, thought to be pensioners, who were reported missing from the Avon and Somerset area by their concerned families.

Police used credit card records to trace the pair's movements to the Beaminster area of Dorset on July 7, which coincided with heavy rain and a landslide that closed the Beaminster tunnel, north of the town.

Fire service workers found a car in the tunnel, near Dorchester, Dorset, on Monday night after excavations of mud and debris.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said earlier: "Police searching for two people missing from Somerset have recovered a vehicle in Dorset. Read More

10-year-old boy killed in Nigeria school attack

LAGOS — A ten-year-old boy was killed on Tuesday when an assailant fired a heavy weapon at an Islamic school in the central Nigerian city of Jos, an area plagued by sectarian violence, officials and residents said.

Witnesses described a man dressed in red firing what appeared to be a rocket launcher at the school in the Bukuru area of Jos. Initial reports had suggested a local government building was the target.

"An Islamic school was the target of the attack," said Pam Ayuba, the spokesman for the governor of Plateau State, where Jos is the capital.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Abuh said the assailant fired a "rocket propelled grenade" from the Jero road that runs adjacent to the school.

"A 10-year-old boy was hit on the head... and he died," said Abuh, adding that the attacker fled the scene before he could be apprehended.

The victim was said to be a bystander and not enrolled at the school where students were studying for exams when they came under attack, according to locals.

A resident of the targeted area said a lone attacker "dressed in red" stood on the street outside the school and fired a heavy weapon.

"The missile deflected and hit the wall of the school, killing (the young person)," resident Murtala Abdullahi told AFP. Read More

Hamas executes three Gaza Palestinians for murder

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip has executed three Palestinian men it says were convicted of murder.

The men were identified only by their initials. No details were given about their convictions.

Palestinian law says President Mahmoud Abbas must authorise executions, but Hamas does not recognise his authority.

The Hamas' Interior Ministry said the men were executed "based on religious law and our religion and what is stipulated in Palestinian law".

Hamas has executed 14 people since it took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

President Abbas leads the Palestinian National Authority, but his leadership has been limited to the West Bank for the past five years.

Human rights groups have frequently condemned Hamas' use of the death penalty. Read More

Pollard camp: Clinton comments slap in Israel's face

Campaign hits back at US Secretary of State following her unequivocal dismissal of the possibility of Pollard being released.

The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home expressed outrage on Tuesday at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comments rejecting the possibility of the Israeli agent's life sentence being commuted.

“With respect to Mr. Pollard, he was convicted of spying in 1987," Clinton said. "He was sentenced to life in prison, he is serving that sentence, and I do not have any expectations that that is going to change.”

The committee said Clinton's remarks stunned her Israeli hosts and marred the warm reception she had received from the Israeli public. A committee spokesperson noted that Clinton did not offer any explanation as to why the US would want to keep the aging and ill Pollard in prison forever. Read More

New 'Madi' cyber-espionage campaign targets Iran AND Israel

Security researchers have discovered a new cyber-espionage campaign targeting victims in the Middle East.

Kaspersky Lab and Seculert identified more than 800 victims located in Iran, Israel, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the course of monitoring control servers associated with cyber/espionage operation over the last eight months.

"Statistics from the sinkhole revealed that the victims were primarily business people working on Iranian and Israeli critical infrastructure projects, Israeli financial institutions, Middle Eastern engineering students, and various government agencies communicating in the Middle East," according to Seculert.

The Madi malware associated with the electronic spying operation is far less sophisticated than the Flame, Duqu and Stuxnet worms associated with previously discovered spying operation in the Middle East, many of which have become associated with operations against Iran's controversial nuclear program. Leaked briefings from the Obama administration suggest both Flame and Stuxnet were joint US/Israeli operations. Read More