Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Barclays executive Jerry del Missier given £8.75m pay-off Instead of Punishment

Mr del Missier, the bank’s former chief operating officer who resigned three weeks ago, is understood to have negotiated the deal with Barclays’ outgoing chairman Marcus Agius in the days before he quit. The pay-out looks certain to trigger another political storm over bankers’ pay.

Mr del Missier was one of Barclays’ highest-paid executives, receiving a salary and bonus package for 2011 worth £6.7m plus a further £10.8m from share awards from previous years.

He became co-head of the investment bank in January 2011, when former chief executive Bob Diamond was promoted to the top job, but emerged as a leading figure in the Libor rigging scandal.

Only last week Canadian Mr del Missier conceded to MPs on the Treasury select committee that he had told Barclays traders to lower the bank’s Libor submissions in the autumn of 2008. Read More

How al Qaeda can grow in Syria

U.S. officials and experts on Al Qaeda agree that al Qaeda has a presence among the opposition in Syria. But how strong are they? How deeply do they influencet the opposition?

At the Aspen Security Forum all you have to do to find an opinion on that is stand under the aspen trees and wait for an expert to saunter by.

I button-holed Richard Barrett, coordinator of a New-York-based team appointed to advise the Security Council on the effective development and implementation of sanctions aimed at al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“There’s no doubt at all that some of the people who refer to themselves as al Qaeda from Iraq have gone into Syria. I think that’s absolutely without doubt," Barrett tells me.

“The question really is – are those people linked up with the Free Syrian Army and other oppositionists, other rebels? And that, I think is much more doubtful," he says. "I think the Free Syrian Army and the main bulk of the rebels in Syria are still very much opposed to allowing al Qaeda a proper foothold.” Read More

Israel's Barak calls for swifter action against Iran

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak called on Wednesday for major powers to speed up efforts to stop Iran's nuclear programme, cautioning it would be tougher to confront it once Tehran managed to cross an atomic threshold.

Israeli media interpreted Barak's comments as pushing for a possible Israeli strike against Iran to stop a project the West sees as a drive to achieve nuclear weapons though Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying its programme is intended solely for peaceful purposes.

"I am very well aware and know in depth the difficulties and complexity involved in preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons," Barak told a graduation ceremony for security officers, in remarks later released by his office.

"But it is clear to me beyond any doubt that confronting that (nuclear) challenge in itself once it ripens if it ripens, will be infinitely more complex infinitely more dangerous and infinitely more costly in human life and resources," he said.

"This is the time for the entire world to ready for united action, united goal in political desire in order to put a swift and definite stop to the Iranian nuclear project," Barak said. Read More

Russia accuses US of justifying terrorism in Syria

BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused the United States of justifying terrorism against the Syrian government. He also spoke against Western countries’ unilateral sanctions on Syria.

Sergei Lavrov said, "Speaking about the sanctions, including the 17th package of sanctions against Syria which was just passed several days ago, we are against unilateral sanctions in principle. We are for collective discussions of any issues.

Unfortunately, when the European Union, the United States, and other countries started to impose unilateral sanctions against Syria, they did not ask us for any advice at all. A unilateral way has been chosen. We think it contradicts a collective principle of doing business. It contradicts the Security Council decisions on Syria. And it directly contradicts agreements by the so-called action group in Geneva on June 30." Read More

Olympics: Apology for North Korea in wrong flag row

Olympic organisers have apologised to the North Korean women's football team after their images were shown on a screen beside a South Korean flag.

Kick-off at Glasgow's Hampden Park on the first day of the Games' sporting action was delayed for about an hour.

The venue is hosting two matches later as the men's football competition - which also features Team GB v Senegal at Old Trafford - gets under way.

The penultimate day of the torch relay sees the flame visit Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile, a crowd of about 60,000 people turned up at Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, for the final rehearsal ahead of the Games' opening ceremony on Friday. Read More

Britain sinks far deeper into recession than forecast

(Reuters) - Britain's economy shrank far more than expected in the second quarter, battered by everything from an extra public holiday to government spending cuts and the neighbouring euro zone crisis.

Chancellor George Osborne said figures released on Wednesday showed Britain had "deep-rooted economic problems," adding that the slump in the second quarter was disappointing even when taking into account one-off factors that hurt.

Britain's gross domestic product fell 0.7 percent from the first three months, the sharpest drop since the height of the global financial crisis in early 2009, the Office for National Statistics said, showing a bigger drop than any of the economists surveyed in a Reuters poll last week had expected.

Output in Britain's service sector -- which makes up more than three quarters of GDP -- contracted by 0.1 percent in the second quarter after growing 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Industrial output was 1.3 percent lower, while construction - which accounts for less than 8 percent of GDP - shrank by 5.2 percent, its biggest drop since the first quarter of 2009. Read More

Beijing's Rainstorm Reports Removed

How Many Victims in Beijing's Rainstorm Disaster?

Bear trapped in US shopping mall: Shoppers evacuated as bear

UN mission in Syria not supported by opposition ‎

EU rejects Israeli request to blacklist Hezbollah

In Syria crisis, stakes are high for Hezbollah

(Reuters) - Lebanon's powerful Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah has publicly tied its future to Bashar al-Assad, but as the tide turns against the Syrian president it is silent on whether it will join the fight to support him.

The stakes are high for the group which fears that toppling Assad will pave the way for increased Western pressure - if not war - on its strongest ally and founder, Shi'ite Iran. By losing Assad the group would also be deprived of its strategic partner and main supply line for its arsenal.

"Hezbollah is at a point of enormous strategic uncertainty. (Syria's uprising) is not an existential threat, they are too well armed. But now they face a threat from two sides," a Western diplomat in Lebanon said, referring to Hezbollah's foe Israel and a potentially hostile post-Assad Syria.

Hezbollah has shown no sign of abandoning Assad and Lebanese officials close to the group say it won't stand idle if the battle worsens. Some said it will fight Israel. Others said it will deploy some of its fighters to secure the border with Lebanon, from which rebels are attacking Syrian frontier posts.

They also said Hezbollah is bracing for the fighting in Syria to be long and hard. Read More

Obama pledges to tackle gun violence after Colorado killing

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama pledged on Wednesday to work with leaders of all political stripes to "arrive at a consensus" on how to reduce gun violence across the United States after the Colorado shootings highlighted the issue in an election year.

Closing out a multiday trip that began in Aurora, Colorado, where he met with families and victims of the movie theater massacre there, Obama told a mostly African-American audience that such tragedies are replayed on a smaller scale in cities throughout the country on a daily basis.

"Every day and a half the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theater," Obama said in remarks to the National Urban League, a group that works to promote civil rights and economic improvement for African-Americans.

"I'm going to continue to work with members of both parties and with religious groups and with civic organizations to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction." Read More

Drought lights fire under food prices, USDA says

(Reuters) - Food prices will race ahead faster than prices of other goods in the United States this year and next, due to the worst drought in more than a half a century, the government forecast on Wednesday.

Food prices rose 3.7 percent in 2011, and American consumers may pay 3.5 percent more at the grocery store this year, with higher prices for meat, poultry and fruit, as the drought gripping the U.S. farm belt drives up crop prices.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast that food prices would jump between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent in 2012 and then rise 3-4 percent in 2013.

"The drought is really going to hit food prices next year," said Richard Volpe, a USDA economist, adding the pressure on food prices would start to build later this year.

"It's already affecting corn and soybean prices, but then it has to work its way all the way through the system into feed prices and then animal prices, then wholesale prices and then finally, retail prices," Volpe said. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 34.2 km (21.3 miles), the quake hit at 02:38:58 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 7 km (4.3 miles) West of L'Esperance Rock, New Zealand
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake TAJIKISTAN - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck TAJIKISTAN at a depth of 116.3 km (72.3 miles), the quake hit at 01:06:30 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 11 km (6.8 miles) North of Murghob, Tajikistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF OREGON - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF OREGON at a depth of 10.4 km (6.5 miles), the quake hit at 22:24:18 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 386 km (239 miles) NWNW of Barview, Oregon
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake SOLOMON ISLANDS - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the SOLOMON ISLANDS at a depth of 18.9 km (11.7 miles), the quake hit at 21:43:28 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 41 km (25.4 miles) Southeast of Honiara, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

New Crop Circle 25th July 2012 at Windmill Hill, nr Avebury, Wiltshire, UK

San Francisco Library Installs Computer Privacy Screens For "More Discreet Porn Watching"

In response to complaints about San Francisco Public Library visitors openly viewing explicit content, including pornography, the network has installed plastic screens to block monitors from people nearby, according to a recent New York Times report.

According to The Times, the library plans to post warnings on all computers to remind people to be sensitive to what others might see while they are web surfing.

The watching of such materials in public has increasingly been the focus of debate and legislation as broadband technology becomes more widespread, pitting people who want internet access to be unrestrained against those who feel that controls must be placed on the public viewing of mature materials.

According to The Times article, San Francisco Public Library officials have traditionally leaned toward limiting exposure to viewing rather than censoring content. source

Civilian Brutality vs Police Brutality

Forced Organ Harvesting in China

"Mourning again in America" (One-minute videos, worth watching)

Then (1984):



Today (2012):

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN TURKEY - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck WESTERN TURKEY at a depth of 14 km (8.6 miles), the quake hit at 21:28:28 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 31 km (19.2 miles) Northwest of Eceabat, Turkey
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

South Korea's bullied teenager suicides

Russia is stockpiling drones to spy on street protests

(Wired) -- Small surveillance drones are starting to be part of police departments across America, and the FAA will soon open up the airspace for more to come. This drone invasion has already raised all kinds of privacy concerns. And if you think that's bad, across the ocean, Russia seems hell-bent on outdoing its former Cold War enemy.

Russia's leading manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles, Zala Aero, has provided the Russian government with more than 70 unmanned systems, each containing several aircraft. According to an article published Monday on Open Democracy Russia, the Kremlin's romance with drones started in 2006, when the Interior Ministry deployed a Zala 421-04M to monitor street protests at a G8 summit in St. Petersburg. The Russian government has also bought drones from Israel.

Vladimir Putin himself appears ready to jump on the drone bandwagon. "We need a program for unmanned aircraft. Experts say this is the most important area of development in aviation," he said in early June. "We need a range of all types, including automated strike aircraft, reconnaissance and other types." Indeed, Russia is going to allegedly spend around $13 billion on unmanned aerial vehicles through 2020. Read More

Beijing flood victims' fury at government

Beijing (CNN) -- Four days after the biggest rainstorm in six decades hit the Chinese capital, Zhang Huishen remains furious over what she perceives as government indifference to her family's plight.

"Our family of five lives off one income," said the 46-year-old farmer Wednesday. "Nobody cares about us because there's no official in this household."

Zhang lives along what once was a paved road in the small village of Louzishui in Beijing's southwestern Fangshan district, the area hit hardest by the storm last weekend.
A flashflood has reduced the road to a muddy path littered with furniture, clothes and even a tin shed -- all objects washed away by powerful waters. Read More

Sakurajima volcano Eruption spewing ash onto Kagoshima City, Japan

Five police killed by roadside bomb in Thailand

July 25 - A roadside bomb kills five policemen in Yala, southern Thailand. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Protest over California shooting turns violent, 24 arrested

(Reuters) - Police in the southern Californian city of Anaheim made 24 arrests overnight when violence broke out at a protest by more than 600 people over the police shooting of an apparently unarmed man.

A half-dozen storefronts were smashed in a working-class neighborhood surrounding City Hall in what was the second major clash between police and demonstrators since an officer shot dead a suspected gang member in Anaheim on Saturday afternoon.

Dozens of officers wielding night sticks faced off against the demonstrators, who at one point threw water bottles and rocks towards the police line.

Some protesters threw patio chairs through the windows of a Starbucks, according to a Reuters witness. At least five other businesses had windows smashed.

Twenty adults and four juveniles were arrested on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Anaheim Police Sergeant Mike Bustamante said.

Officers toting shotguns stood guard in front of the storefronts after the violence. Read More

Antarctic: Grand Canyon-sized rift 'speeding ice melt'

A UK team found the Ferrigno rift using ice-penetrating radar, and showed it to be about 1.5km (1 mile) deep.

Antarctica is home to a geological rift system where new crust is being formed, meaning the eastern and western halves of the continent are slowly separating.

The team writes in Nature journal that the canyon is bringing more warm sea water to the ice sheet, hastening melt.

The Ferrigno rift lies close to the Pine Island Glacier where Nasa scientists found a giant crack last year; but the newly discovered feature is not thought to be influencing the "Pig", as it is known.

The rift lies beneath the Ferrigno Ice Stream on a stretch of coast so remote that it has only been visited once previously. Read More

Olympic Incompetence continues as they Display SOUTH KOREAN FLAG causing North Korean women’s football team to Walk of the Pitch

SCOTLAND’s hosting of Olympic Games events were hit by a major blunder tonight when North Korea’s women refused to take the field at Hampden after its giant screens showed the South Korean flag.

The National Stadium’s second match of the opening day of the games was delayed by more than an hour while the players protested.

The flag was shown next to the names of the players on the screen at one end of the stadium during the warm-up before the game, which had been due to get underway at 7.45pm.

Organisers of the games were forced to issue an apology to the North Korean squad before the game actually got underway at 8.50pm. Around three thousand spectators were still in the stadium when the match eventually kicked off. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles), the quake hit at 20:00:14 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 153 km (94.8 miles) East of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Greenland Melting

Euro-Contagion: Germany outlook 'negative' over nonstop debt debacle of others

Hype over Syria chemicals 'deja-vu & old Pentagon scenario to oust regime'

Dramatic flood video: Deadly deluge sweeps Beijing district

US stance on Syria 'justification of terrorism' - Lavrov

250 fetuses found dumped in Russian forest

Anaheim Anger: Fatal police shooting sparks riots

Russian ammunition train catches fire in Siberia‎

MOSCOW — A Russian military train carrying ammunition caught fire on Wednesday, in a blaze that destroyed one carriage and triggered blasts that scattered shells up to 200 metres (650 feet) away, the defence ministry said.

There were no casualties in the accident which happened when the train was around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the main Siberian city of Novosibirsk, the ministry was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

However state-run Russian Railways have halted the movement of trains on the main Trans-Siberian railway so that the accident can be cleared up. It was not clear what started the fire.

One carriage was completely destroyed and five were damaged, the ministry said, adding that the fire had now been localised.

"The military train was carrying 30-millimetre shells which were to be destroyed," a defence ministry official told the Interfax news agency. "As a result of the fire they started to explode. They flew out to a distance of no more than 200 metres."

Interfax said four mine-sweeping groups had been sent to the area to clean up the shells. Source

Great White Shark Attacks Sea Lion near East Beach in Santa Barbara




A Great White shark attacked an adult female sea lion near East Beach in Santa Barbara Tuesday morning.

The Harbor Patrol and officials with the Marine Mammal Center responded to the scene and confirmed the shark attack.

Peter Howorth, Director of the Marine Mammal Center, tells KEY News they are hoping the animal comes back to land so they can catch it and treat the injury. Howorth says he saw the tooth marks pattern and the diameter is from a Great White. The wound appears infected which means the attack did not occur today and may or may have not happened at East Beach. He says the wound is a few days old.

The Parks Department's policy is to post signs for 72 hours at eight locations along city beaches advising of the attack. Swimmers are told to enter the ocean at their own risk at this time.

If more shark sightings occur the signs will be posted for a longer period of time. Read More

Bee Attack Sends Two Californians to the Hospital

Angry bees swarmed two people in Indio, Calif. this morning, sending them to the hospital with almost 200 stings in all.

Dr. Wesley Burks, who chairs the University of North Carolina’s pediatrics department and has a 30-year career that involves working with skin allergies, said an attack like that is rare. If fact, he’s never seen one firsthand.

“Generally, you see somebody stung once or maybe five to ten times, but not 80 or 100,” Burks said. “I’ve talked to people that have seen them…but it’s less than a handful.”

A gardener in Indio, whose name was not released, was trimming a palm tree just before 7 a.m. local time, when he apparently irritated the bees and prompted them to swarm around him, said Matt Kotz, a Riverside County firefighter, in an interview with ABCNews.com.

The homeowner, an elderly woman, came out to help, but the bees attacked her as well.

When Kotz and the other firefighters arrived, the bees were still attacking the victims on the ground, Kotz said. He said he watched as another crew sprayed the bees with water to fight them off.

The bees stung the woman more than 100 times, and they stung the homeowner more than 80 times, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. Read More

Ormond Beach Covered in thousands of Dead Fish, Florida


Beachgoers looking for a day of sun and sand were shocked when they found scores of dead fish scattered over a Florida shore.

Two-miles of Ormond Beach were covered with thousands of whiting, spot and sea trout carcases, shrivelling up in the heat.

Officials believe the fish were the result of by-catch, extraneous marine life caught unintentionally by commercial fishing boats which is usually discarded.

The thousands of fish began to wash ashore around 2 p.m. on Sunday, according to News13.

'It was packed and we were swimming and swimming,' said resident Monique Marella to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Then the fish came and you sure couldn't be the water. Everyone just left.'

Determined visitors walked for miles in either direction to escape the dead creatures, but they filled the water and the beach on either end. Read More

Ronald Reagan TV Ad: "Its morning in america again" 1984 - Mourning in America 2010



Iran nuclear energy facility hit with malware that plays AC/DC at full volume

Malware can be a major pain for anyone with a computer or mobile device, as it can lead to security risks like identity theft. But when a virus targets a nuclear facility, the stakes are much much higher.

According to a report on security site F-Secure, Iran's nuclear energy group — called the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, or AEOI for short — is reaching out for help to rid its system of a malicious program that not only threatens the facility's daily operations, but also plays a 90s rock anthem on the infected computers.

An email to F-Secure — allegedly sent from an AEOI scientist — detailed the attack, noting that the malware has shut down some of the facility's automated processes. The rather vague wording of the email leaves a few unanswered questions as to just what parts of the AEOI are in danger, but one piece of information was very clear: The insidious software prompted several of the group's computers to begin playing the song "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC in the middle of the night, and at full volume. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake MOLUCCA SEA - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the MOLUCCA SEA at a depth of 59 km (56.8 miles), the quake hit at 19:15:37 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 86 km (53.3 miles) Southeast of Mobagu, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU REGION - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the VANUATU REGION at a depth of 38.1 km (23.7 miles), the quake hit at 19:01:36 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 158 km (98 miles) West of Isangel, Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake KYRGYZSTAN - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck KYRGYZSTAN at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 18:09:58 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 57 km (35.3 miles) South of Kizilkiya, Kyrgyzstan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake KYUSHU, JAPAN - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck KYUSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 142 km (88.2 miles), the quake hit at 17:20:11 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 30 km (18.6 miles) South of Makurazaki, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Helicopter Crash In France, Six Dead

Officials say six people have been killed after a helicopter crash in South East France.

Security official Francis Mene said the civilian aircraft came down while carrying out a test flight deep in the Verdon Gorge, a popular hiking destination.

The official, who spoke on BFM-TV, said the helicopter belonged to the company Eurocopter.

An army official, Lieutenant Colonel Pierre-Yves Sarzaud, confirmed the details and said the aircraft was civilian, not military.

More follows...

Doping: Nine Athletes Suspended Before Games

Nine track and field athletes have been suspended for doping offences ahead of the London Olympics.

Among them are three who were caught in re-tests of samples from last year's world championships.

The sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said six were caught in biological passport tests, which measure changes in an athlete's blood profile.

The others were caught in retroactive testing from the championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Eight of the athletes have received two-year suspensions and one drew a four-year ban.

The IAAF characterised the cases as "sophisticated doping", including one involving human growth hormone and two tied to synthetic testosterone. Read More

James Holmes 'Warned Of Attack' in Advance

The suspect in the Colorado cinema massacre posted a notebook "full of details about how he was going to kill people" to a psychiatrist, it has been reported.

The advance warning of the mass killing - sent to the member of staff at the University of Colorado - lay unopened in a post room for as long as a week before its discovery on Monday, a police source told Fox News.

More follows...

Iran Pledges to Deploy Warships in the Atlantic

For the second time in less than a year, Iran’s top naval commander has said Iranian Navy vessels will soon be plying the Atlantic Ocean, having made great strides in recent years in expanding its presence beyond Iranian waters.

Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari’s comments came on the same day Iran launched its first domestically-built oil tanker. The 21,000-ton vessel, capable of carrying up to 750,000 barrels of oil, was ordered by Venezuela, and Sayyari’s remarks raise the possibility that a warship may escort the tanker on its delivery sailing to Iran’s Latin American ally.

Iran has also established close ties with Cuba, another potential destination for an Iranian Navy Atlantic voyage.

“The navy has carried out successful activities in open seas, and in the near future we will witness the presence of the navy in the Atlantic Ocean,” the Mehr news agency quoted Sayyari as saying.

“The powerful presence of Iranian Navy in the high seas has proven the Islamic Republic’s might,” he said. more

Stoke-on-Trent Legionnaires' cases rise to nine

Two more cases of Legionnaires' Disease have been confirmed in a city outbreak, bringing the total number of people receiving treatment for the illness to nine.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said all those affected are aged between their late 40s and mid-70s and are being treated at University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent.

The organisation said the further two cases today brings the total number of patients to nine after news of the outbreak broke yesterday.

The HPA is also investigating two cases identified in early summer as being possibly linked to the current cluster. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 14:51:19 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 23 km (14.2 miles) East of Nahrin, Afghanistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Turkey Seals Border With Syria to All but Refugees

GENEVA — Turkey has closed its border with Syria to commercial traffic, but the United Nations’s refugee agency said the border would remain open to those fleeing the conflict in Syria and that hundreds of people had made their way to safety in the past 24 hours.

Turkish customs officials announced they were closing the 566-mile border on Wednesday after the seizure of two crossing points by Syrian rebel forces last week. At one crossing point, Bab al-Hawa, dozens of Turkish trucks were burned or looted when the rebels seized control, The Associated Press reported.

Wednesday’s decision, which Turkish officials said affects three border posts still open at Cilvegozu, Oncupinar and Karkamis, coincided with an upsurge in fighting between government and rebel forces in Aleppo, about 30 miles from Bab al-Hawa. Read More

Ethnic violence in India's Assam region leave 38 dead

INDIAN police recovered 12 bodies from rice fields and roadsides in the remote state of Assam on Wednesday as the death toll from ethnic violence rose to 38 after four days of bloody clashes.

At least 170,000 villagers have fled from their homes to relief camps, government buildings and schools to escape the unrest, which has raged since Friday with scores of homes burnt down by rioters.

Military reinforcements were called in to try to quell the fighting between indigenous Bodo tribes and Muslim settlers who have competed for years in long-standing territorial disputes.

"It appears all these 12 people were killed in overnight attacks," said Tarun Gogoi, the chief minister of Assam, an oil and tea-rich state in the northeast of India bordering on Bhutan and Bangladesh.

"The situation is tense," said Mr Gogoi, adding that there had been a "massive deployment of army, police, and paramilitary troopers". Read More

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA at a depth of 25 km (15.5 miles), the quake hit at 14:51:39 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 63 km (39 miles) South from Yakutat, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA at a depth of 223 km (138.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:44:20 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 66 km (40.9 miles) North of Lautem, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

RUSSIAN TROOP LANDING IN SYRIA MAY BE IMMINENT

Arab forces were piling up on Syrian borders Wednesday, July 25, bringing closer a war confrontation which could spur the Assad regime into making good on its threat to use chemical weapons against “external aggression.”

Based on this reading, Moscow added its voice Tuesday to that of US President Obama and warned Bashar Assad against using chemical weapons in view of “its commitments under the international convention it ratified prohibiting the use of poisonous gases as a method of warfare.”

debkafile’s military sources: With operational intelligence deployment and electronic stations positioned inside Syria, the Russians are better placed than any other outsiders to know what is happening on Syria’s battlefields. Their warning must therefore be tied to solid information confirming Washington’s assessment that Assad is dangerously close to deciding to use his chemical and biological weapons in a way that would precipitate a regional conflict.  

Israel, Turkey and Jordan would be the first targets on his list.
The immediacy of the peril, debkafile’s military sources report, has speeded the arrival of Russian warships to Syria to counter a potential Western, Arab or Israeli assault on the embattled country.

The Russian Ministry of Defense, which rarely discloses Russian military movements outside its borders, announced early Wednesday morning, July 25 that a fleet of Russian warships had passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean.

The fleet is headed by the anti-submarine and anti-aircraft Admiral Chabanenko warship and consists of another three vessels carrying a large number of Russian marines. This fleet will rendezvous with a Russian flotilla standing by in the Mediterranean since July 21, detached from Russian Black Fleet and composed of the Smetlivy figate and  two large landing craft loaded with Russian marines. This group awaited the main force before approaching Syria.

The fact that Russia is massing large numbers of marines off the Syrian coast looks as though a landing on Syrian soil is on Moscow’s cards. more

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES at a depth of 172.2 km (79 miles), the quake hit at 13:27:52 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 95 km (59 miles) ESE of Caburan, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 12:57:04 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 103 km (63.8 miles) West of Kuche, Xinjiang, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Flu Vaccine To Be Offered To All Children

All children are to be offered the flu vaccine each winter in a significant shift in UK immunisation policy.

Up to nine million children would be eligible for a new nasal spray vaccine, which has just been licensed by the medical regulators.

Until now, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has only recommended that children with underlying health conditions have the jab.

Scientists have previously said healthy children are unlikely to become severely ill with seasonal flu and that they develop long-lasting immunity from the disease.

But experts on the JCVI say children spread the disease to more vulnerable people, such as the elderly, and have concluded universal vaccination is now worthwhile.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has accepted the recommendation.

Calculations suggest that even if just a third of children are vaccinated, flu cases across the country would drop by 40%. That would mean 11,000 fewer hospital admissions and 2,000 fewer deaths. Read More

Kim Jong-Un Married Ri Sol-Ju According to State TV

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un has got married, according to reports on state TV.

The television reported that Mr Kim and wife Ri Sol-Ju took part in a ceremony marking completion of a Pyongyang amusement park.

The announcement came after weeks of speculation over a "mystery woman" who has regularly appeared at the leader's side during public events.

"Marshal Kim Jong-Un took part in the opening ceremony of Nungra People's Amusement Park with his wife, Comrade Ri Sol-Ju," the television station reported.

South Korea's unification ministry said it appeared that Ri was indeed the woman who has been pictured several times at Kim's side. Read More

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has refused to comment on reports that an alleged Canadian spy may have compromised Australian intelligence

Jeffrey Paul Delisle is facing two charges of selling highly classified intelligence gathered by the United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to Russian agents.

Documents released under Australian freedom of information laws reportedly show Australia's high commissioner to Canada, Louise Hand, discussed the case with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper soon after Sub-Lieutenant Delisle's arrest on January 14, Fairfax Media reports.

Ms Gillard would not give any details of the case.

"I don't comment on intelligence questions," she told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"But I can certainly assure people that our national security arrangements are robust and can be relied upon."

The charges were laid under a section of Canada's Security of Information Act, which was passed after the September 11 attacks in the US in 2001. Read More

6.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOLOMON ISLANDS - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake has struck the SOLOMON ISLANDS at a depth of 22.9 km (14.2 miles), the quake hit at 11:20:27 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 39 km (24.2 miles) Southwest of Honiara, Solomon Islands
Tsunami Warning for Localized Areas - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 001
PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS
ISSUED AT 1128Z 25 JUL 2012

THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC
OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS...EXCEPT ALASKA...BRITISH COLUMBIA...
WASHINGTON...OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.

... TSUNAMI INFORMATION BULLETIN ...

THIS BULLETIN IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY.

THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY
NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE
DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND
ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 1121Z 25 JUL 2012
COORDINATES - 9.8 SOUTH 160.2 EAST
DEPTH - 114 KM
LOCATION - SOLOMON ISLANDS
MAGNITUDE - 6.6

EVALUATION

A DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI WAS NOT GENERATED BASED ON EARTHQUAKE AND
HISTORICAL TSUNAMI DATA.

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the FIJI REGION at a depth of 487.4 km (302.9 miles), the quake hit at 11:09:36 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 118 km (73 miles) ENE of Ndoi Island, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

AMA calls for release of Tamiflu for epidemic

The Australian Medical Association has clashed with the WA Government over a television advertisement designed to reduce the pressure on public hospitals from the flu outbreak.

The ads tell people with flu-like symptoms to visit their GP first, instead of heading straight to an emergency department.

Emergency departments were swamped last month by more than 6,000 people with flu-like symptoms.

The AMA's Richard Choong says the advert trivialises what has become a flu epidemic.

"To say that a short, clever, little ad is going to change the outcome of patients and save lives, I don't think so," he said.

"Although the ad has some humour behind it, it does trivialise how serious this influenza epidemic is. Read More

James Holmes case: $2 Million donated to Aurora theater shooting victims fund

AURORA, Colo., -- Warner Brothers is among those giving back to the victims and families of the Aurora theater shooting tragedy and they are encouraging support from others in the entertainment industry.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday, contributions to the GivingFirst.org fund has already reached nearly $2 million.

"We are very grateful and encouraged by the support so far for the victims in Aurora," said the governor. "This money will help those impacted by this tragedy begin to recover and rebuild their lives."

Along with Warner Brothers, donations came from numerous individuals, families, corporations and foundations. Many chose to remain anonymous. Read More

3.8 Magnitude Earthquake GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake has struck GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA at a depth of 9 km (5.6 miles), the quake hit at 10:18:42 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 3 km (1.8 miles) ESE Marina del Rey, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 25th July 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 114.5 km (71.2 miles), the quake hit at 10:09:53 UTC Wednesday 25th July 2012
The epicenter was 129 km (80 miles) Southeast of Pondaguitan, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time