Friday, July 27, 2012

Does billboard comparing Obama to alleged shooter go too far? (Perhaps not)

A Caldwell billboard is raising questions in the Treasure Valley as it compares the president to accused Colorado killer, James Holmes.

The billboard on Franklin Road equates the actions of the president's foreign policies to the acts of Holmes, who's suspected of killing 12 people in the theater shooting.

The group that owns the board, The Ralph Smeed Foundation, says it wants to draw attention to military men and women dying overseas.

"(It's) way over the line, and I am not an Obama supporter," Lynn Davis Hathaway, said on the KBOI 2News Facebook page.

A spokesman for the group says everyone has the right to their own opinion.

Ashley Helton, who also wrote on Facebook, agrees with the group.

"It's a free country, this group has a right to voice their opinion no matter what anyone thinks about it," Helton said. source

Drought "victims" resort to painting lawns green

When this summer's drought turned her prized lawn brown, Terri LoPrimo fought back, but not with sprinklers: She had it painted green, making her suddenly lush-appearing yard the envy of her neighborhood.

The Staten Island, N.Y., resident and her husband, Ronnie, hired a local entrepreneur to spruce up their yard by spraying it with a deep-green organic dye. By Monday, the couple's property was aglow with newly green blades of grass and no watering needed to sustain it.

"It looks just like a spring lawn, the way it looks after a rain. It's really gorgeous," said LoPrimo, a 62-year-old retiree. more

The Secret Online Weapons Store That’ll Sell Anyone Anything

The Bushmaster M4 is a 3-foot rifle capable of firing thirty 5.56×45mm NATO rounds, and used by spec ops forces throughout Afghanistan. It's a serious weapon. But in the Internet's darkest black market, it's all yours. Who needs a background check? Nobody.

The Armory began as an offshoot of The Silk Road, notable as the Internet's foremost open drug bazaar, where anything from heroin and meth to Vicodin and pot can be picked out and purchased like a criminal Amazon.com. It's virtually impossible to trace, and entirely anonymous. But apparently guns were a little too hot for The Silk Road's admins, who broke the site off from the main narcotics carnival. Now guns, ammo, explosives, and more have their own shadowy home online, far from the piles of Dutch coke and American meth. But the same rules apply: with nothing more than money and a little online savoir faire, you can buy extremely powerful, deadly weapons—Glocks, Berettas, PPKs, AK-47s, Bushmaster rifles, even a grenade—in secret, shipped anywhere in the world. more

DefCon-Job: US govt descends to hacker cave

Saudi clashes video: Police fire live rounds on Shiite protesters in Qatif

Illegal Cloning? 'Dumped fetuses could be half human, half engineered'

'Fall of EU could help a new Hitler come to power'

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake CASPIAN SEA - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the CASPIAN SEA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 21:39:09 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 53 km (32.8 miles) North of Chalus, Iran
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 21:28:14 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 19 km (11.8 miles) Northwest of Guangsheng, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN IRAN - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck NORTHERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 21:19:30 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 1 km (0.6 miles) WSW of Chalus, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Internet stock collapse dents Silicon Valley

(Reuters) - Social media companies, once hailed by their Silicon Valley boosters as world-changing businesses with limitless potential, are instead proving a sobering reminder of how investors can be seduced by Internet hype.

With few exceptions, the first wave of social media firms to trade on the public markets has delivered a disastrous performance that conjures memories of the dot-com bust of 2000.

"Farmville" publisher Zynga, which went public in December at a valuation of $7 billion, is trading around $3.15 a share, more than 68 percent off its $10 IPO price.

Daily deals site Groupon, touted as the firm that could reinvent local commerce, has fallen from its $20 IPO price to about $7.15 in nearly nine months. Music service Pandora Media has dropped from $16 at its June 2011 IPO to around $9.50 on Friday.

And on Thursday, the 800-pound gorilla of the group, Facebook Inc, reported tepid results that shaved some $10 billion off the company's market cap. The stock has gone straight down since its botched May initial public offering and now trades at around one-third off its $38 IPO price. Read More

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 150 km (93 miles), the quake hit at 16:51:48 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 430 km (266.6 miles) Northeast of Nemuro, Kuril Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 77.3 km (48 miles), the quake hit at 14:40:04 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 0 km (0 miles) Southeast of Ushiku, Japan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Google Did not delete Street View data as promised

Company says that it still retains "a small portion" of personal user data that it had agreed to scrub.

Right hand meet left hand?

The company was supposed to scrub all the personal user data its Street View vehicles in Britain and elsewhere had collected in 2010. Somehow, that did not happen.

Google disclosed the information on Friday to the U.K's. Information Commissioner's Office. As part of an agreement signed in November 2010, Google was supposed to deleted the data by December 2010.

"Google has recently confirmed that it still has in its possession a small portion of ... data collected by our Street View vehicles in the UK," Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel wrote in a letter released by the ICO. He said that "Google apologizes for this error."

That may not be enough to calm some very ticked off regulators on the other side of the pond.
"The fact that some of this information still exists appears to breach the undertaking to the ICO signed by Google in November 2010," the agency said in the statement. "The ICO is clear that this information should never have been collected in the first place and the company's failure to secure its deletion as promised is cause for concern." Read More

India races to help thousands displaced by deadly riots

GUWAHATI, India — Indian authorities on Friday raced to provide help to hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in makeshift camps in the country's northeast after deadly ethnic unrest.

The chief minister of far-flung Assam state, Tarun Gogoi, said the region was now calm after some 45 people were killed and at least 200,000 forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in camps set up by the government.

"The situation has started improving," Gogoi told reporters in Assam's largest city Guwahati.
"The priority is provide relief and rehabilitate the people who are now sheltered in the camps."

His comments came as the national government dispatched medical teams to Assam where fighting broke out Friday last week between indigenous Bodo tribes and Muslim settlers over long-running land disputes.

Victims were beaten to death with sticks and houses were burned by roving mobs.

Indian media quoted people in the camps as saying that they feared returning to their homes.

"We are living in fear and we can't even think about going back to our homes," one woman, Bimla Basumatary, told India's NDTV television network.

The chief minister described the violence as the worst crisis his government has faced. Read More

Kurdish flag-waving unnoticed in Syria

In the tumult of last week as rebels advanced on Damascus and Aleppo, the hoisting of the Kurdish flag in a handful of towns and cities in northern Syria was scarcely noticed.

Only Turkey, grappling with a persistent armed insurgency from parts of its own Kurdish community, was paying close attention. An article in the mass-circulation newspaper Hurriyet described the show of strength by Kurdish groups as a “potential nightmare”. Read More

Syrian Helicopters Fire on Aleppo as Army Prepares for Possible Assault

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian Army helicopters fired on neighborhoods in the embattled city of Aleppo on Friday morning, activists said, killing at least a dozen people amid increased international alarm about the prospects of bloody siege by the government.

Residents reported dwindling supplies of fuel and bread, and a tightening ring of military control. A senior rebel commander said that he had seen about 80 Syrian government tanks on the city’s southern outskirts on Friday. “They are preparing to reoccupy neighborhoods taken over by the rebels,” said the commander, Lt. Malek al-Kurdi, reached by telephone in Syria. “They need a huge force.”

Also on Friday, the top United Nations human rights official, Navi Pillay, warning of an “imminent confrontation” in Aleppo, said she had received unconfirmed reports of atrocities as the fighting escalated. Read More

Russia mulling setting up naval base in Cuba to challenge United States

Russia hopes to establish its first naval base abroad since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and is looking at Cuba, Vietnam and the Seychelles as possible locations, state-run RIA news agency quoted the navy chief as saying on Friday.

Russia has been increasing the reach of its navy in recent years, sending warships further afield as part of an effort to restore pride project power in a world dominated by the U.S. military.

"It's true that we are continuing work on providing the navy with basing outside the Russian Federation," RIA quoted Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov as saying in an interview.

The Soviet Union had a large naval base in Communist ally Vietnam but post-Soviet Russia opted to vacate the Cam Ranh base in 2002, during President Vladimir Putin's first Kremlin term, because rent payments were a burden on state coffers.

The fate of Russia's only naval facility outside the former Soviet Union, a maintenance and supply facility in the Syrian port of Tartous, is uncertain because of the conflict in Syria.

Chirkov said Russia was "working out the issue of creating sites for material and technical support on the territory of Cuba, the Seychelles and Vietnam," RIA reported. more

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA at a depth of 144 km (89.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:25:29 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 77 km (47.7 miles) Northwest Bukit tinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Facebook's £100m Loss Sends Shares Plummeting by 16.5 % on opening


Facebook's share price has taken a massive tumble after it announced a net loss of $157m (£100m) in its first earnings report since becoming a public company.

Facebook shares fell 16.5% when the Nasdaq opened on Friday - hitting a record low of just over $22 (£15).

The value is a far cry from the initial public offering (IPO) price of $38 (£24).

The company 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. Read More

Mars Craft Nears 'Seven Minutes Of Terror'

Nasa is making final preparations for the dramatic landing on Mars of its most sophisticated-ever planetary explorer.

The car-sized Curiosity rover is on course to land within a 12-mile target zone in the Gale Crater, where it will begin searching for evidence that the planet was once able to support life.

Touchdown is scheduled for 6:31am on August 6.

In order to reach the surface safely, Nasa has devised a landing procedure that could have come from a sci-fi movie.

The space agency describes the manoeuvre as "Curiosity's seven minutes of terror".

Engineer Adam Steltzner: "Sometimes when we look at it, it looks crazy."

The spacecraft carrying Curiosity is expected to hit the upper atmosphere of Mars at a speed of 13,200mph.

It will then rapidly lose speed with a series of steep S-curves, similar to those used by the Shuttle.

At an altitude of seven miles, still travelling at 1,000mph, it will deploy the strongest parachute ever made to slow it further. Read More

Germany 'Refuses Spanish Bailout Request'.....What happened to We are all in this together?

Hours after it was confirmed that unemployment in Spain had reached a new record high, it was claimed the country had raised the prospect of it securing a 300bn euro (£235bn) bailout.

The news agency Reuters, citing comments by a eurozone official, said the idea was floated by Spain at a meeting with German officials but it was dismissed by the Germans on the grounds that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund was not yet in place.

Spain moved quickly to stamp on the report.

A Government spokeswoman said no such discussion had taken place and it "strongly denied any such plan".

But such a move would come as little surprise to the markets amid the country's dire debt crisis. Read More

EndTheEuroFed - Nigel Farage on Polish TV July 2012 - Stop the Euro Scam!

US banks unable to pay back government loans

Sophisticated people-smuggling in Indonesia

'NATO - dangerous dictatorship out of civilian control'

FISA Regime: 'US govt admits spooking, to spy more'

'Al-Qaeda "army" presence in Syria much higher than officials say'

Olympic Cash Race: Corporate giants take gold, Londoners lose out

CrossTalk: Ameri-Killing

Netherlands cuts Rwanda aid over alleged rebel support

The Netherlands has suspended an aid budget worth $6.15m (£3.9m) to Rwanda over its alleged backing of rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This comes days after the US announced it was cutting military aid to the country.

Rwanda has rejected reports made by UN experts that it is supporting the M23 movement rebels in eastern DR Congo.

The rebels mutinied from the army in April and some 200,000 people have fled their homes as a result of fighting.

The move comes as a senior UN official told the BBC that defecting Congolese rebels have confirmed that they were recruited in Rwanda.

On Thursday, the UN reported that its forces helped the Congolese army push the rebels out of two towns north of Goma using helicopter gunships and armoured vehicle. Read More

'Turkey won't allow 'terrorist' groups at Syria border'.....I thought we were supposed to call them Rebels?

ISTANBUL - Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday Turkey would not allow what he called "terrorist" groups like the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or al Qaeda to establish a presence in Syria near the Turkish border.

In a live interview with Kanal 24 television channel, Davutoglu did not specify what steps Turkey would take to prevent activities by such groups along its southeastern border.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey could act against a "terrorist" organization in northern Syria if it perceived it as a threat - a warning to Kurdish militants believed to be active in the region. Source

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake VOLCANO ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 27th July 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the VOLCANO ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION at a depth of 108.8 km (67.6 miles), the quake hit at 11:15:53 UTC Friday 27th July 2012
The epicenter was 107 km (66 miles) ESE of Iwo Jima, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Grand Canyon-sized CHASM hastens Antarctic melt

The University of Aberdeen and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists returned to the Ferrigno Ice Stream, a region of the frozen continent only visited once before in 1961, and found a one-mile (1.6km) deep chasm under the ice.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing ice faster than any other region of the continent, with some glaciers shrinking by more than one metre a year, so boffins have figured that something else other than global warming (or whatever is causing the ice to melt) is at work.

To find out what that something is, the team went out on the ice in 2010 and dragged an ice-penetrating radar system behind a snowmobile for 1,500 miles (2,414km).

"What we found is that lying beneath the ice there is a large valley, parts of which are approximately a mile deeper than the surrounding landscape," said Dr Robert Bingham, a glaciologist at the uni.

“If you stripped away all of the ice here today, you’d see a feature every bit as dramatic as the huge rift valleys you see in Africa and in size as significant as the Grand Canyon. Read More

Madonna booed and called a "slut" by disgruntled French fans

Madonna was booed and called a "slut" by disgruntled fans after a gig in Paris last night (July 26).

The intimate show at the city's 2,700-seat Olympia Theatre was a last-minute addition to the singer's 'MDNA' tour, with tickets offered to fan club members first and selling out in less than five minutes.

However, the gig was considerably shorter than other performances on the tour. Madonna performed just eight songs, ending her set with a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's 'Je T'aime... Mon Non Plus' and leaving the stage 45 minutes after she had come on.

Some fans apparently felt short-changed after paying between 80 and 280 Euros (£62 and £219) for tickets. Video footage uploaded to YouTube shows gig-goers chanting "Remboursez!", French for "We want our money back!", shortly after Madonna left the stage.

Later in the video, a group of fans begin to chant "Salope!", a derogatory term that translates as "slut" or "whore". Read More

Kiaran Stapleton Jailed For 30 Years

A killer who labelled himself "Psycho" after murdering Indian student Anuj Bidve has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years.

Kiaran Stapleton walked up to stranger Anuj Bidve, 23, in the street in Salford, Greater Manchester, and shot him in the head at point blank range.

Stapleton, 21, had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but a jury at Manchester Crown Court rejected that argument and convicted him of murder yesterday.

The killer smiled as he came into court for the verdict, and again towards a family member as he was led from the dock. Read More

Massive global floods and extreme drought could be the new normal

Historic floods in China and Russia, scorching heat waves and drought in the United States may be among the early stages of climate change, scientists say. Despite this, many cities remain unprepared for extreme weather and natural disasters.

Spanish unemployment hits record high

(Reuters) - Spanish unemployment hit its highest level in the second quarter since the country's return to democracy in the mid-1970s, as firms shed more staff, driven by fears of prolonged recession and a crisis of confidence among consumers.

The jobless rate rose to 24.6 percent from 24.4 percent in the first quarter, the National Statistic Institute said on Friday, below a Reuters forecast of 24.9 percent. The number of unemployed Spaniards rose to 5.7 million.

"It's another example of the dire position the economy is in, and with the economy unlikely to expand anytime soon, and probably more likely to fall deeper into recession, things are only going to get worse," economist at Capital Economics Ben May said.

The headline figure was the highest since current records began in 1976, the year after Spain's dictatorship ended with the death of Francisco Franco. Read More

Europe Day Ahead: Draghi boost to markets may fizzle......And Fizzle it did

July 26 - European risk assets go on a tear after ECB president Mario Draghi says the euro will be saved, but an Italian bill auction tomorrow will test whether the boost to sentiment is any more than a blip.



LONDON | Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:59am EDT
(Reuters) - European equities rose and peripheral bond yields fell on Friday on growing expectations of ECB action to bring down Spanish and Italian borrowing costs, but concerns about possible German opposition to such a move kept risk appetite in check.


Euro zone governments and the European Central Bank are preparing to intervene on financial markets, French daily Le Monde reported, citing unnamed sources. Read More

EU regulators to probe five bailed-out Greek banks

(Reuters) - EU competition regulators temporarily cleared 18 billion euros ($22 billion) in state aid for four of Greece's largest banks -- National, Alpha, EFG Eurobank, Piraeus -- and said they would assess the support to see if it gives them an unfair advantage.

The bridge recapitalization was granted by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund in April as part of the banks' planned share capital increases.

The European Commission said on Friday it had approved the aid for six months, while it waits for the Greek authorities to present details of the conversion of the bridge recapitalisation into a final recapitalization.

The EU watchdog said it would study the aid to see if it was in line with EU state aid rules. Read More

Barclays says sorry as profits top $6billion

July 27 - Barclays apologises for the Libor scandal as H1 profits beat forecasts. Plus London gets ready for the Olympics.

Gu Kailai charged with murder



July 27 - Wife of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been indicted on murder charges. Julie Noce reports.

Chinese flood death toll

July 27 - Chinese officials announce 77 dead from floods. Julie Noce reports

Northeast US hit by storms

July 27 - Power outages and grounded flights hamper parts of the northeast US. Julie Noce reports.

Obama cautiously moves to help Syrian rebels

(Reuters) - In his first year in office, U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seeking a new start to a long-strained relationship.

In his third year, Obama demanded that Assad step down.

Now, nearing the end of his first term, with a presidential election looming in November, Obama is moving cautiously toward greater support for Syrian rebels, as international diplomatic efforts that had been Obama's first preference falter.

Reuters has learned that the White House has crafted a presidential directive, called a "finding," that would authorize greater covert assistance for the rebels, while still stopping short of arming them.

It is not clear whether Obama has signed the document, and U.S. officials declined to comment on the finding, which is a highly classified authorization for covert activity.

But in recent days, the Obama administration has signaled publicly it plans more help for the rebels.

"I have to say that we are also increasing our efforts to assist the opposition," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday. Read More

David Kwiatkowski Hepatitis suspect had been fired before from Arizona hospital

(CNN) -- The man accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C at a New Hampshire hospital was fired from a job in Arizona two years ago after testing positive for cocaine and marijuana, a public relations agency for Arizona Heart Hospital said Thursday.

David Kwiatkowski was arrested this month in connection with spreading the disease to 30 patients at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire.

Kwiatkowski, 33, also worked as a traveling medical technician on a contract basis for hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania in the past five years, hospitals and health officials in those states said.

They are trying to get the hundreds or thousands of patients who may have come in contact with him to be tested for the disease. Read More

Decontamination work begins in Fukushima Prefecture city amid concerns over incinerator plans

TAMURA, Fukushima -- Full-scale decontamination work under state jurisdiction began July 27 in the Miyakoji district in this Fukushima prefectural city of Tamura while an Environment Ministry plan to build a temporary incinerator is still up in the air due to opposition from local residents.

The decontamination work represents the first state-sponsored project to decontaminate areas within 20 kilometers of the crippled Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant.

But local residents are up in arms over the Environment Ministry's plan to install a temporary incinerator to burn decontaminated waste due to possible safety worries, and claim a briefing on the project was held only one month ago.

According to Miyakoji district residents and others, the ministry's Fukushima environmental revival office held a briefing on decontamination work for district residents on June 9. But ministry officials made no mention of the incinerator project on private land and revealed the project only during a meeting with district executives after the briefing. The Fukushima office said the ministry has won consent from landowners but some district executives demanded a briefing on the project for district residents.

The Fukushima office held a briefing on the incinerator project for district residents on June 24. Officials from the office explained that the incinerator will be equipped with a bag filter to remove particles inside exhaust gas and radioactive cesium will be below detection limits. They said the incinerator will become operational in October but residents around the proposed site balked, saying cesium will be concentrated and pose a danger if decontaminated waste is burned. Read More

Algal bloom kills hundreds of fish in Swan River, Australia

Hundreds of fish have gone belly-up in the Swan River and others are slowly dying as the latest toxic algal bloom to hit the river takes it toll.

The Swan River Trust is responding to sightings of the dead and sluggish fish near the Ascot Waters marina.

Elevated levels of the microalgae Karlodinium veneficum, which is potentially toxic to fish, have been detected in the area over the past few weeks.

A similar outbreak in June killed more than 2,500 fish in a 13km stretch of the river from Bassendean to West Swan.

Principal scientist with the trust Kerry Trayler said the free-floating microalgae were known to affect the capacity of fish to extract oxygen from the water.

She said while the algae was not toxic to humans precautions should be taken in relation to the dead or dying fish.

“The Department of Health advises that people should not swim in, or fish in, water with dead and decomposing fish. They should also keep pets and other animals away from the fish because they may contain high levels of bacteria,” she said.

“Sluggish and dead fish should also not be collected and used for bait or consumption because of the risk of high levels of bacteria.” Source

Landslides kill 7 in northern Vietnam‎

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Disaster officials and state media in Vietnam say landslides and flash floods triggered by Typhoon Vicente have killed seven people, including three in a single family, and left three others missing.

Official Lai Thanh Huyen of Tuyen Quang province in northern Vietnam said Friday that landslides following heavy rains buried a 28-year-old woman, her five-year-old daughter and four-month-old son early Thursday while they were sleeping in their home.

The Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that landslides killed four people in the neighboring province of Ha Giang. It says flash floods have left three other people missing elsewhere in the region.

Vicente injured dozens and grounded planes in Hong Kong earlier in the week. Source