Thursday, July 26, 2012

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake MARIANA ISLANDS REGION - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck the MARIANA ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 302.9 km (188.2 miles), the quake hit at 03:37:56 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 389 km (242 miles) SSE from Iwo-jima, Volcano Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Two new Crop Circles 23rd & 26th July 2012 at Longwood Warren and Oliver's Castle

Portsmouth Harbour Missing Hero

Rescue workers have been searching for a missing man who jumped into the sea to save two children.

The 33-year-old man entered the water, with another man, to help a three-year-old and a 17-year-old who had got into difficulty near the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, Hampshire Constabulary said.

A police spokesman said they were called at 3.45pm on Thursday "to reports that the man had gone into the water at Tower Street to rescue two children".

"Both children are now out of the water as is another man who also went in to save them," he added.

The search for the first man has been taking place in the waters around Camber Docks and Old Portsmouth.

A Solent Coastguard spokeswoman confirmed Coastguard rescue teams, the Coastguard helicopter, Gosport lifeboat, Hampshire Constabulary and Royal Navy personnel were all involved.

"The man was last seen in the water close to the Square Tower which is pretty close to the harbour entrance," she said.

"There are very strong currents, deep channels, ferries in and out and all sorts of traffic." Read More

Beautiful Crop Circle 26th July 2012 at Hill Barn, nr East Kennett, Wiltshire, UK

Facebook's £100m Loss Sends Shares Plummeting

Facebook has announced a net loss of $157m (£100m) in its first earnings report since becoming a public company.

Facebook shares were down nearly 10% at one point in after-hours trading on the Nasdaq - hitting a record low of just $24.

That is a far cry from the initial public offering (IPO) of $38.

The company said the net loss was equivalent to 8 cents per share between April and June, mainly due to stock compensation expenses following its initial public offering.

That compares with earnings of $240m (£153m), or 11c per share, in the second quarter a year ago.

Sky's Technology Correspondent Katie Stallard said: "This quarter they have had to pay off all of the early investors, so they were actually expecting a possibly more than $600m (£382m) loss. So, although it's a loss, it's quite substantially better than they were expecting." Read More

US Fears Syria Planning Massacre In Aleppo

Syrian government troops are reportedly massing around the city of Aleppo, with the US claiming they could be "lining up" for a massacre.

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad are said to be keeping up the attack on rebel-held positions in Syria's second city from the ground and in the air.

Fierce clashes in Aleppo yesterday killed more than 100 people, according to unconfirmed reports.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "Aleppo has again been bombarded by Syrian fighter jets in the latest desperate effort by the Assad regime to hold onto control and there are credible reports of columns of tanks to attack the city.

The State Department said that troop movements on Aleppo along with air strikes by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft represented a "serious escalation" of the government's efforts to crush an armed rebellion.

"This is the concern: that we will see a massacre in Aleppo and that's what the regime appears to be lining up for," Ms Nuland added. Read More

New Crop Circle 24th July 2012 at Bishop Cannings Down, Nr Beckhampton, Wiltshire, UK

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE OAXACA, MEXICO - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck OFFSHORE OAXACA, MEXICO at a depth of 26.6 km (16.5 miles), the quake hit at 02:23:33 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 19 km (11.8 miles) South of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake GUATEMALA - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck GUATEMALA at a depth of 232.8 km (144.7 miles), the quake hit at 02:06:58 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 1 km (0.6 miles) ENE of Mixco, Guatemala
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 172.9 km (107.4 miles), the quake hit at 23:58:37 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 11 km (6.8 miles) ESE of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake LUZON, PHILIPPINES - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck LUZON, PHILIPPINES at a depth of 44.5 km (27.7 miles), the quake hit at 22:03:43 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 7 km (4.3 miles) West of Santa Praxedes, Philippines
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake TARAPACA, CHILE - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck TARAPACA, CHILE at a depth of 112 km (69.4 miles), the quake hit at 21:41:10 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 122 km (75.6 miles) Southeast of Iquique, Tarapaca, Chile
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Study Finds Increase In UFO Sightings In Canada to Three Per Day

Although illegal aliens are an issue on our southern border, our neighbor to the north might have its own problem with aliens — from another world.

Ufology Research reports that there were about three UFO sightings per day in Canada, with 986 sightings total last year. The record for UFO sightings was in 2008 when a surprising 1,004 sightings were reported.

The report entitled “The 2011 Canadian UFO Survey” states that “the lion’s share of cases being Nocturnal Lights,” however a number of them were said to be shaped like boomerangs, spheres, and mysterious light sources.

The traditional “flying saucer” style UFO was only sighted about 3 to 4 percent.

However, most of the sightings were explained. Eight out of the 986 sightings are considered “high-quality Unknowns,” or cases with no obvious answer. This is much lower than the 3 to 4 percent of high-quality unknowns from previous years.

Although the public believes that most UFO sightings are made by cranks, the study states that many of the reports of UFOs were “pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgment.” more

Russian Spy Ring in US Aimed to Make Children Agents

A Russian spy ring busted in the U.S. two years ago planned to recruit members' children to become agents, and one had already agreed to his parents' request, according to current and former U.S. officials.

When the suspects were arrested in 2010 with much fanfare, official accounts suggested they were largely ineffectual. New details about their time in the U.S., however, suggest their work was more sophisticated and sometimes more successful than previously known.

One of them infiltrated a well-connected consulting firm with offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C., by working as the company's in-house computer expert, according to people familiar with the long-running U.S. investigation of the spy ring.

The effort to bring children into the family business suggests the ring was thinking long term: Children born or reared in America were potentially more valuable espionage assets than their parents because when they grew up they would be more likely to pass a U.S. government background check. more

Day care rampage caught on tape 9-year-old's reign of terror

Aussie women were thalidomide guinea pigs

Pregnant Australian women were used in world-first trials of the notorious morning sickness pill thalidomide before it was tested on animals, it's been reported.

Documents from thalidomide distributor Distillers Company (Biochemicals) show Australian women were used in trials of its drug Distaval in 1960, Fairfax reports.

Trials took place on pregnant women at Sydney's Crown Street Women's and Royal Prince Alfred hospitals from May 1960, with other trials in Melbourne and Adelaide, although it's unclear if pregnant women in those cities took part, the report says.

A 1962 letter written by a Distillers executive also confirms that "no tests were carried out in pregnant animals before Distaval was marketed", it says.

In 1961, malformed babies were born in Australia as a result of the trials, as well as over-the-counter sales and prescription sales, which began in 1960. Read More

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Facebook Posts £100m Loss After Share Offer

Facebook has announced a net loss of $157m (£100m) in its first earnings report since becoming a public company.

Facebook Inc said the net loss was equivalent to eight cents per share between April and June, mainly due to stock compensation expenses following its initial public offering.

That compares with earnings of $240m (£153m), or 11 cents per share, in the second quarter a year ago.

However, the company's first quarterly results since its rocky debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange two months ago, were not as bad as expected. Read More

Note: Facebook Shares have dropped 8.5% so far today, not as bad as expected

Austerity's Big Winners Prove To Be Wall Street And The Wealthy

WASHINGTON -- The poor and middle classes have shouldered by far the heaviest burdens of the global political obsession with austerity policies over the past three years. In the United States, budget cuts have forced states to reduce education, public transportation, affordable housing and other social services. In Europe, welfare cuts have driven some severely disabled individuals to fear for their lives.

But the austerity game also has winners. Cutting or eliminating government programs that benefit the less advantaged has long been an ideological goal of conservatives. Doing so also generates a tidy windfall for the corporate class, as government services are privatized and savings from austerity pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens.

U.S. financial interests that stand to gain from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cutbacks "have been the core of the big con," the "propaganda," that those programs are in crisis and must be slashed, said James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas. Read More

Spain feels debt heat, Greece way off bailout terms

(Reuters) - Spain paid the second highest yield on short-term debt since the birth of the euro at an auction on Tuesday, and EU officials said Greece had little hope of meeting the terms of its bailout, casting fresh doubt on its future in the euro zone.

Spain's increasingly desperate struggle to put its finances right has seen its borrowing costs soar to levels that are not manageable indefinitely, reflecting a growing belief that it will need a sovereign bailout the euro zone can barely afford.

It has become the recent focus for investors, but Greece - where the sovereign debt crisis began - remains a powder keg. If Athens were to default or exit the euro zone, the knock-on effects could push Spain and even Italy over the edge.

With inspectors from the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund returning to Greece to decide whether to keep it hooked up to a 130-billion-euro lifeline or let it go bust, three EU officials said they were likely to conclude Athens cannot repay what it owes, making a further debt restructuring necessary.

This time, the European Central Bank and euro zone governments would likely have to take a hit on some of the estimated 200 billion euros ($240 billion) of Greek government debt they own if Athens is to be put back on a sustainable footing. Read More

Powerful winds leave trail of destruction in Chile

July 26 - Winds of up to 111 miles per hour leave a trail of destruction in Chile's southern city of Punta Arenas.

Samuel Omar sexually assaulted 12-year-old girl after he was BAILED for Another Attack on a young girl

A convicted child rapist sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl after spiking her Fruit Shoot drink with vodka while on bail for another sex attack on a youngster.

Twisted Samuel Omar, 64, was given the opportunity to offend again after his court case for a vile attack on a young girl was delayed because of government funding cutbacks.

The paedophile had been due to stand trial in May for sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl last July and superimposing her face onto pictures of topless models.

But his case was adjourned until June 12 this year after Ministry of Justice spending cuts reduced the number of trials sitting at Northampton Crown Court.

Despite Omar, from Semilong, Northamptonshire, previously serving a 12-year prison sentence for raping a six-year-old girl in 1987, he was allowed out on bail after being charged with the sexual assault.
Read More

Incan mummy frozen after human sacrifice still has infection in lungs after 500 years - giving new insight into diseases of the past

A 500-year-old frozen Incan mummy known as 'The Maiden' was suffering from a bacterial infection when she died - and being able to 'diagnose' the disease could lead to new insights into diseases of the past.

The discovery could help defend against new illnesses - or the re-emergence of diseases of the past.

The mummy was suffering from an illness similar to tuberculosis when she was sacrificed on the Argentinian volcano Llullaillaco, 22,100 feet above sea level.

The find - using a new technique of swabbing the lips and comparing the swabs with those of current patients - is the first time a disease has been 'diagnosed' in such an ancient body.

‘Pathogen detection in ancient tissues isn't new, but until now it's been impossible to say whether the infectious agent was latent or active,’ says Corthals.

‘Our technique opens a new door to solving some of history's biggest mysteries, such as the reasons why the flu of 1918 was so devastating. It will also enhance our understanding of our future's greatest threats, such as the emergence of new infectious agents or re-emergence of known infectious diseases.’

The analysis was possible because of the incredible preservation of the mummy, which is so well-preserved there were still lice in her hair. Read More

Viana Family Brutally Killed at their Home in Walkerville, Johannesburg

EVIL: From left, Sipho Mbele, David Motaung and Patrick Petrus Radebe smiled in court as they admitted to their sick crimes. A 12-year-old boy was drowned in a bath of boiling water by robbers who raped his mother before killing both his parents in a violent house robbery.

Three men broke into the family's home in Walkerville, Johannesburg, where they assaulted and shot dead Tony Viana, 53, and brutally raped and killed his wife, Geraldine.

They then tied up and gagged the sobbing boy, Amaro, and pushed him into a bath of boiling hot water to drown him, 'because he would be able to identify them'.

The family’s gardener, Patrick Petrus Radebe, 24, their domestic servant’s son, Sipho Mbele, 21, pleaded guilty to three charges of murder and one charge of rape each, reported Sowetan Live.

David Motaung, 20, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to robbery charges.

They then left the South African court and walked back their cells laughing, according to Beeld newspaper. Read More

Prince Jackson posts text exchange with aunt Janet as proof she blocked contact with grandmother: 'My dad warned me about these people'

Michael Jackson's son Prince has taken to Twitter accusing family members of refusing him access to his grandmother Katherine Jackson during the matriarch's days-long absence from their California home.

The 15-year-old posted a photo of what he said was a group text message involving his aunts Rebbie and Janet Jackson, in which he demanded contact with his grandmother and Janet allegedly responded: 'Please don't let them.'

The screen grab shows the conversation occurred on Monday afternoon, two days before a judge temporarily revoked Katherine Jackson's guardianship after she was prevented from fulfilling her role through the 'intentional acts of third parties'.

In a lengthier post, Prince Jackson explains: 'As long as I can remember my dad had repeatedly warned me of certain people and their ways. Although I am happy my grandma was returned, after speaking with her I realized how misguided and how badly she was lied to. I’m really angry and hurt.

He continues: 'The following image is of a group chat I had started to several family members. This group text message I had started was replied to but they didn’t know that I could see the responses. For this whole time, they denied us contact to our grandmother,' he writes, adding, '"If you continue with your lies I will continue with the truth"'. Read More

Mario Draghi pledges to do 'whatever it takes' to save euro from Collapse

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, has pledged to do "whatever it takes" to protect the eurozone from collapse - including fighting unreasonably high government borrowing costs.

"Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough," he told an investment conference in London.

"To the extent that the size of the sovereign premia (borrowing costs) hamper the functioning of the monetary policy transmission channels, they come within our mandate."

When asked what probability he would assign to the euro zone having the same number of members it has today in two years, he added: "I don't venture into speculations about things like changes in the treaty. The treaty was meant to have the number of countries that we see today, so frankly I can't really estimate the probability of that."

"We think the euro is irreversible." Read More

Bo Xilai's wife charged with Neil Heywood murder

The wife of the disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, state media said on Thursday, the latest development in the country's biggest political scandal in decades.

Gu Kailai and a family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, were recently charged with Heywood's murder, the state news agency Xinhua said, in the first official comment on the case since an announcement in April that the pair were suspected of killing him.

"The facts of the two defendants' crime are clear, and the evidence is irrefutable and substantial. Therefore, the two defendants should be charged with intentional homicide," the statement said.

It said the investigation showed that Gu and her son had been in conflict with Heywood over economic interests. As in previous statements it referred to her as Bogu Kailai, although friends say she is known as Gu.

"Worrying about Neil Heywood's threat to her son's personal security, Bogu Kailai along with Zhang Xiaojun … poisoned Neil Heywood to death," Xinhua said. Read More

Carole Waugh Disappearance: CCTV images of a man wanted for questioning.

Detectives investigating the disappearance of a successful businesswoman last seen three months ago have issued CCTV images of a man wanted for questioning.

Police fear Carole Waugh may have been kidnapped, with at least three different women having tried to impersonate the oil executive by using her credit cards.

The CCTV footage shows a man outside Sainsbury's supermarket in Crown Road, Enfield, on July 10 - where a bank card belonging to Ms Waugh was used at an ATM machine.

Eight people - four men and four women - have been arrested in connection with the case so far, and a man pretending to be her brother - Chris - has also tried to sell her flat in central London.

The 50-year-old, who worked for Veba Oil in Libya for a number of years, has not been seen by her family since mid-April and Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime team have now been called in. Read More

Augusto Massampo Zacarias found dead in a quarry in Dudley

The 15-year-old boy found dead in a quarry in Dudley has been named as Augusto Massampo Zacarias.

The teenager's body was recovered from the quarry in Lower Gornal in Dudley on Wednesday evening.

The discovery came after emergency services searched for around seven hours for the boy, hampered by the zero visibility of the water and access at the scene.

West Midlands Police identified him as Augusto, from Portugal. He was visiting family in the UK and had been in the country less than three weeks.

He had travelled with his parents and young brother and had celebrated his 15th birthday last week.

In a statement, Augusto's father and mother, Pedro and Paulina Zacarias, said: "Augusto was our first child, who we loved with all our hearts.

"He was a loving son and older brother to Samuel. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake HALMAHERA, INDONESIA - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck HALMAHERA, INDONESIA at a depth of 250 km (155 miles), the quake hit at 13:31:24 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 229 km (141.9 miles) Northeast of Ternate, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

James Holmes Aurora Colorado Movie Theater Shooting FD audio 7/20/12

Kiaran Stapleton Guilty of Boxing Day murder of Anuj Bidve

Kiaran Stapleton,21, gunned down Anuj Bidve at point blank range as the student walked with a group of friends through Salford in the early hours of the morning toward the Boxing Day sales in central Manchester last year.

Stapleton, who dubbed himself "Psycho" at an earlier hearing, now faces a life sentence after a trial at Manchester Crown court. He will be sentenced tomorrow by trial judge Mr Justice King.

The factory worker had denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.But the jury took just 90 minutes to reject his "mad not bad " claim that he was suffering from a mental abnormality when he shot Anuj.

The Indian student had left his home in Pune, India last September to take a post graduate micro electronics course at Lancaster University. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHEAST OF THE LOYALTY ISLANDS - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck SOUTHEAST OF THE LOYALTY ISLANDS at a depth of 37.6 km (23.4 miles), the quake hit at 10:48:23 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 175 km (108 miles) ENE of Tadine, New Caledonia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 9.4 km (5.8 miles), the quake hit at 10:20:05 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 66 km (41 miles) Northeast of `Ohonua, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Greenland's ice sheet surface melts over Sereval Days

Nearly all of the ice sheet covering Greenland's surface melted over several days in July - something scientists have never seen before.

Images from Nasa satellites have shown the largest melting since they began watching the area 30 years ago.

Even Greenland's coldest and highest place, Summit Station, experienced melting.

On average in the summer, only about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts. Source

Felix Baumgartner: Skydive 18 miles above New Mexico – video

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson 'flees Germany'

A Canadian marine conservationist has jumped bail in Germany and disappeared.

The founder of US-based anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, was detained in Germany in May after Costa Rica issued a warrant for his arrest.

He is accused of having endangered the crew of a Costa Rican ship that was fishing for sharks in 2002.

A Frankfurt court has ordered his re-arrest. But his lawyer was quoted as saying "he has left Germany for an unknown destination".

The group's confrontation with a Costa Rican ship happened in Guatemalan waters. Sea Shepherd alleges that the ship was engaged in illegal shark-finning - the practice of catching a shark, slicing off its valuable fin and returning the shark to the water, where it will usually die.

Mr Watson, 61, faced possible extradition to Costa Rica. He was on bail of 250,000 euros (£196,000; $303,000) and had to report regularly to the German authorities while the extradition request was being considered. Read More

Bomb kills 8, wounds 21 in Pakistan

(CNN) -- A blast in Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan killed eight and injured at least 21 Thursday, according to a government spokesman.

A roadside bomb detonated in a village market of the volatile Bajaur Agency, said Akbar Khan, a government administrative official. It had been planted outside a store.

Bajaur is one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts in northwest Pakistan.
There has been no claim of responsibility. Source

Beijing Rainstorm Death Toll Reaches Thousands Instead of Officially Reported 37

Tropical storm Nanmadol: Huge wave lands on TV reporter in China

Fears over Sicily's sinking economy

Nuclear nation

Lee Wellings on the Olympics tweet expulsion

'Syrians want peace, rebels want blood'

Iran accuses Israel of plotting Bulgaria bus attack

(Reuters) - Iran's U.N. envoy accused Israel on Wednesday of plotting and carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a bus in Bulgaria a week ago in which five Israeli tourists were killed.

A suicide bomber blew up the bus in a car park at Burgas airport, a popular gateway for tourists visiting Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, killing himself, the Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver and wounding more than 30 people.

Israel has accused Iran and the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah of the bombing. Iran has denied the accusations.

"It's amazing that just a few minutes after the terrorist attack, Israeli officials announced that Iran was behind it," Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee told a U.N. Security Council debate on the Middle East. "We have never and will not engage in such a despicable attempt on ... innocent people." Read More

Munich widows call for silence at Olympic opening

July 25 - Widows whose husbands were killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, present a petition for a minute of silence during opening ceremony. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Killer whale attack at SeaWorld footage released

July 26 - Newly released video shows the near-fatal moment a killer whale dragged a trainer underwater during a live SeaWorld performance in 2006. Sarah Charlton reports.

Riots in Spain, Extremism on the Rise in Europe (14th July 2012)

Dubai police chief warns of Muslim Brotherhood, Iran threat

(Reuters) - Dubai's chief of police has warned of an "international plot" to overthrow the governments of Gulf Arab countries, saying the region needs to be prepared to counter any threat from Islamist dissidents as well as Syria and Iran.

The comments by Dahi Khalfan, one of the most outspoken security officials in the United Arab Emirates, follow the detention in the UAE since April of at least 20 dissidents, according to relatives of the detainees and activists.

"There's an international plot against Gulf states in particular and Arab countries in general...This is preplanned to take over our fortunes," Khalfan told reporters at a gathering late on Wednesday marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"The bigger our sovereign wealth funds and the more money we put in the banks of Western countries, the bigger the plot to take over our countries...The brothers and their governments in Damascus and North Africa have to know that the Gulf is a red line, not only for Iran but also for the Brothers as well." Read More

Beijing flood victims fume at response

Four days after the biggest rainstorm in six decades hit China's capital, Zhang Huishen remains furious over what she perceives as government indifference to her family's plight. "Nobody cares about us," she said

Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju married Since 2009

SEOUL (Kyodo) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been married since 2009, a South Korean lawmaker told reporters Thursday after attending a state intelligence agency briefing, held a day after North Korea confirmed his marital status for the first time and identified his wife as Ri Sol Ju.

Jung Chung Rae, from the main opposition Democratic United Party, also said top intelligence officials briefed lawmakers that Ri visited South Korea in September 2005 as a member of a cheerleading squad for an Asian athletics meet in the western city of Incheon.

"The National Intelligence Service believes North Korea has confirmed Kim Jong Un's wife in a move to show he is a stable leader," Jung said.

Ri studied vocal music in China, he said.

As for the ages of Kim and his wife, another official, Yoon Sang Hyung from the ruling Saenuri Party, told reporters that according to the intelligence agency, Kim was born in 1984 and Ri in 1989. Read More

Garzon to insist on fair trial for Assange

Prominent Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzon, who is to head the legal defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, says he will insist on a fair trial for his client.

The judicial investigation into Assange's activities was "a kind of persecution" for his role as founder of WikiLeaks and for revealing political wrongdoing through the whistleblowing website, Garzon said in the southern Spanish city of Torres on Wednesday.

The allegations and investigations against Assange in countries like Sweden were "inconsistent", and there was "something else" behind them, the lawyer said.

"We intend to demonstrate that (Assange) is not getting the right to a fair defence, presumption of innocence and a trial with all the guarantees," Garzon said. Read More

New lawyer for Assange

WIKILEAKS says it has hired Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon to lead the legal team representing the group and its founder, Julian Assange.

Mr Garzon won fame for taking on international human rights cases.

He is best known for indicting former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.

WikiLeaks said Mr Garzon recently met with Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he is holed up seeking asylum, to discuss strategy.
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Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about allegations of sexual misconduct.

WikiLeaks said in a statement that Mr Garzon had expressed ''serious concerns'' about ''the lack of safeguards and transparency'' with which actions were being taken against Assange. Source

The 50-year global cover-up

SECRET files reveal the German maker of thalidomide ignored and covered up repeated warnings that its drug could damage unborn babies.

The Age has obtained excerpts of never-before-published files from the archives of pharmaceutical giant Grunenthal which detail explicit warnings the company received about its drug's potential to harm foetuses well before it was withdrawn from sale in late 1961.

An estimated 10,000 babies worldwide - including hundreds in Australia - were born in the late 1950s and 1960s with severe physical deformities because their mothers had taken thalidomide drugs, which were marketed as a safe sedative and remedy for morning sickness.
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The Grunenthal files expose a 50-year global cover-up and demolish the company's long-held position that the scandal was unforeseeable tragedy and that its ''actions were consistent with the state of scientific knowledge and prevailing standards of the 1950s''.

The files reveal that for at least two years before the drug was banned in late 1961, German medical professionals had told Grunenthal staff of concerns that children's deformities were caused by women taking thalidomide during pregnancy.

Between 1959 and 1961 - while the drug was still being marketed as safe - Grunenthal employees and their families began having deformed babies. Read More

Newham's fightback against bad landlords

The Olympics are bringing billions in investment to east London, with thousands of new homes being built. But the area near the Olympic Park remains plagued by slum housing and it is bad landlords that are being blamed.

Met officers wearing stab vests knock loudly and repeatedly on the door of a scruffy terraced house in east London and shout: "Police! Open the door!"

There are rats here and many things are lacking. I have killed three big rats. The small ones I have killed are uncountable. ”

Eventually the door is opened by a man wrapped in a towel. "We need to come inside," says an officer. They are followed by council housing officials, there to inspect one of the many shared rental properties in the area.

Housing officers are sometimes accompanied by police as they never know what might await them inside.

Crossing the threshold a stale stench assaults the nostrils. Read More

Israel hints at pre-emptive action against Iran

JERUSALEM: Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak has hinted that the Jewish state may take pre-emptive action against Iran to foil its nuclear ambitions in case sanctions against the Islamic Republic fail to deter it.

Addressing a gathering at the Israel Defence Forces' (IDF) National Security College, Barak said his country may have to take "tough and crucial decisions" about its security.

"I am well aware of the difficulties involved in thwarting Iran's attempts to acquire a nuclear weapon... however, it is clear to me without a doubt that dealing with the threat itself will be far more complicated, far more dangerous and far more costly in resources and human life," Barak was quoted as saying by the Haaretz online.

Barak also came upon hard on the Arab Spring which swept away many dictatorial regimes in the region, saying that the events of the movement slowly turned into the "Islamic Summer" and teach Israel that at the moment of truth, it can rely only on itself. Read More

Man Shot By Police At House In Surrey

A man has been shot by police at a house in Surrey and is now being treated in hospital.

Armed response units were called to an address in Knaphill, Woking, just after 10pm last night following reports that a man was armed and was intending to harm himself and others, Surrey Police said.

Bomb disposal experts also attended the incident because of concerns that explosives may have been inside the property in Oak Tree Road.

A police cordon was set up and a number of residents were evacuated from their homes for safety whilst checks were carried out.

However, no explosive devices were found.

The man, in his 40s, was later shot at the scene before being taken to St George's Hospital in Tooting, police said.

It is not known how serious his injuries are.

Officers said that a firearm was recovered from the property, but it has yet to be examined by experts.

Another man, aged in his 30s, was arrested and remains in police custody. Read More

Dog Carries Cat Through The Yard

Telescope finds solar system that mirrors ours - and offers hope that life could thrive on its worlds

A solar system arranged just like our own has been discovered a thousand light years from the Earth.

The group of planets line up in a way similar to those in our solar systems, with their orbital planes aligned with the equator of their Sun.

Dr Roberto Sanchis-Ojeda and colleagues analysed their transits over spots on the Sun-like star Kepler-30 and found they mirrored those round our Sun.

In our solar system the Sun’s equator and the planets’ orbital planes are nearly aligned, presumably a consequence of their formation from a single spinning gaseous disk.

There are only three planets in the alien solar system, compared to the eight in ours, but it is the first time one with the same alignment as our own has been found.

The observation described in Nature sheds light on the conditions that determine the architecture of a planetary system.

Many such ‘exoplanets’ do not display this arrangement and isolated ‘hot Jupiters’ - giant planets that orbit too close to their parent stars to harbour life - are often misaligned, some even with opposite orbits. Read More

Police officer caused major terror alert after ringing colleagues with a coded ‘bomb threat’ for a joke

A police officer caused a major terrorism alert after ringing a busy port with a hoax bomb threat.

PC Hatef Nezami, 48, rang colleagues at the police Special Branch office with a coded message that a device was placed in a busy port.

Specialist terrorism staff were so concerned by the call's authentic nature that they started preparing for a full terrorist attack.

The constable, who has completed a regional Special Branch terrorism course, said that a bomb was on a Condor ferry based in Poole, Dorset.

However at the time of his call, the ferry was actually sailing across the English Channel packed full of people travelling to the Channel Islands.

Mr Nezami is believed to have tried to call back to reveal his 'joke' call but was unable to do so for half an hour as staff were engaged on all the available phone lines alerting authorities. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHEAST OF TAIWAN - 26th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NORTHEAST OF TAIWAN at a depth of 120.4 km (74.8 miles), the quake hit at 08:33:40 UTC Thursday 26th July 2012
The epicenter was 106 km (65 miles) Northwest of Hirara, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

TEN-FOOT crocodile found lounging on Miami front porch

Residents in a South Miami neighborhood woke up Wednesday morning to discover a massive crocodile taking a stroll on their front lawns before being captured by trappers.

The scaly intruder measuring at eight to ten feet in length and weighing some 250lbs was found in the 6900 block of Southwest 65th Avenue where it briefly lounged on a front porch.

When a worker from Pesky Critters Wildlife Control came to cart the animal away, it put up a fierce fight, hissing and snapping, NBC South Florida reported.

Within a matter of minutes, however, the trapper was able to wrangle the feisty amphibian, close its maw shut with a rope and load it into the back of his truck. Read More

Astronomers spot binary system where one star sucks the life out of another

The Universe is a diverse place, and many stars are quite unlike the Sun.

Now an international team has used the Very Large Telescope in Chile to study what are known as O-type stars, which have very high temperature, mass and brightness.

These stars have short and violent lives and play a key role in the evolution of galaxies. They are also linked to extreme phenomena such as 'vampire stars', where a smaller companion star sucks matter off the surface of its larger neighbour.

'These stars are absolute behemoths,' said Hugues Sana, from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, who is the lead author of the study.

'They have 15 or more times the mass of our Sun and can be up to a million times brighter. These stars are so hot that they shine with a brilliant blue-white light and have surface temperatures over 30,000C.'

The astronomers studied a sample of 71 O-type single stars and stars in pairs (binaries) in six nearby young star clusters in the Milky Way. Most of the observations in their study were obtained using ESO telescopes, including the VLT. Read More

Thousands of sex offenders may secretly live next to schools and playgrounds by creating new identities to evade the law

Sex offenders have figured out how to beat the system that separates them from their prey, easily changing their identities to the outside world, according to a new study.

Names, birthdays, Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers are manipulated so often that one in sex convicted sex offenders is using the sophisticated techniques to fall through the cracks.

The study estimates that 92,000 to 570,000 registered sex offenders could be using these technological loopholes to live near schools, playgrounds or even be working with children.

'These are offenders who are flying under the radar and authorities don't know it,' said Don Rebovich, the Utica College professor who directed the study, to MSNBC.

'The authorities really don’t have the resources to keep on checking on these people. Offenders find where the vulnerabilities are in the system and exploit them.'

The study was funded by the U.S. Justice Department and carried out by the Centre for Identity Management, which is dedicated to examining identity issues. Read More

Now even superpower China is 'at risk' from eurozone crisis, IMF warns

China has been warned that meltdown in the eurozone poses a ‘key risk’ to its economy as the crisis in the single currency reverberates around the world.

Alarm bells also rang in Japan, the United States and Germany as the world’s four biggest economies felt the impact of the financial storm battering Europe.

The warning came as borrowing costs in Spain – widely seen as on the brink of needing a full-blown international bailout – soared to a new euro-era high of 7.7 per cent before easing back slightly.

French President Francois Hollande urged fellow eurozone leaders to press ahead with the reforms set out last month to shore up the European banking system and prop up Spain. Read More

Jeffrey Delisle may also have leaked top-level British, American and Australian intelligence documents

A Canadian naval officer arrested for allegedly leaking secrets may also have compromised top-level Australian, British and American intelligence, a report said today.

Jeffrey Delisle, a naval intelligence officer, was charged in Canada in January with communicating over the past five years 'with a foreign entity, information that the government of Canada is taking measures to safeguard'.

Canadian reports said Ottawa expelled four Russian diplomats in the aftermath of Delisle's arrest, although Moscow denied this.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald, citing Australian security sources, said Delisle also allegedly sold to Moscow signals intelligence - information gathered by the interception of radio and radar signals - collected by the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Read More

Hassan Malik jailed for 20 Years for the Murder of Betty Williams

A man who admitted hitting a woman with a frying pan and strangling her before stuffing her body in a suitcase and abandoning it on the street has been jailed for 20 years.

Hassan Malik, 57, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Betty Williams, 28, whose body was found in the suitcase left among trash on a sidewalk in New York City, U.S., three days before Christmas in 2010.

Malik, from East Harlem, who was on probation due to an unrelated attempted robbery case at the time of the killing, apologised to the victim's family as he was sentenced in Manhattan's State Supreme Court.

The woman had been staying with Mr Malik in his apartment on Pleasant Avenue when she was killed, according to a report in the New York Times.

In a confession to police Malik said a fight over money broke out between the pair on December 21 2010, and admitting hitting his victim with a cast iron frying pan. Read More

Dylan Baumann living in terror as his home is overrun by dozens of venomous SPIDERS

An Omaha man is desperate to move out of his home after an army of venomous spiders have invaded.

Dylan Baumann is cautiously moving around his small apartment after seeing at least forty brown recluse spiders crawling up the walls and across the floors.

A single bite from a brown recluse can hospitalise victims. Baumann has not yet been bitten after taking special precautions.

He has moved his bed away from the wall and pulled up the skirt of the bed to try and avoid being attacked in his sleep. Read More

Recession killed 170,000 small businesses between 2008 and 2010 in the United States, new census numbers show

The devastating recession claimed more than 170,000 small businesses in the U.S. between 2008 and 2010, according to a newly released census data.

A total of 6.79million small businesses operated within the nation's 938 metropolitan and micropolitan areas in 2010, the latest year for which official statistics are available.

That figure was down from 6.82million businesses in 2009 and 6.96million in 2008. The recession officially began in December 2007.

The Business Journals' On Numbers blog, which analyzed the census numbers, defines a small business as any private-sector enterprise with fewer than 100 employees.

The downward trend was not limited to any one region. Seventy-five of the nation's 100 biggest markets had fewer small businesses in 2010 than the year before, with Reno, Nevada, taking the biggest hit at 2.6 per cent. Read More