Thursday, August 2, 2012

Greenland's ice 'melts in spurts'

Ice loss from Greenland's vast sheet may happen mainly in short bursts, research by Danish scientists suggests.

They used aerial photos dating back to the 1980s to plot shrinking of glaciers around the island's northwest coast.

In the journal Science, they show that most of the ice loss happened in two periods - 1985-1993 and 2005-10 - with relative stability in between.

They say it will be hard to project sea level changes from Greenland ice melt until these patterns are deciphered.

A complete melt of the ice sheet would raise sea levels globally by about 7m, but it could take centuries for this to occur.

Last month, Nasa released evidence showing that ice melting had been observed across virtually the whole extent of the Greenland ice sheet, unprecedented in the satellite era. Read More

Typhoon Damrey sweeps East China

BEIJING, Aug. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Typhoon Damrey has reached East China’s Jiangsu province, forcing more than fifty thousand people to evacuate. Meanwhile, Typhoon Saola is also expected to plague coastal areas in Fujian Province. The two typhoons could affect coastal areas of 10 provinces, including Zhejiang and Shandong.

The Central Meteorological Center continues to issue storm alerts for downpours in Central and East China in the next few days. A shipping route linking Fujian and Taiwan has been closed.

Emergency plans have been launched in Fujian province, where around 60,000 fishermen have been ordered to return to port. The same is true for more than 6,000 ships, and around 30,000 fishermen in Jiangsu province. Jiangsu is bracing for possible torrential floods and other geological disasters. Source

North Korea in immediate need of food aid after floods

Flooding has caused severe damage to homes, public buildings and farms, affecting maize, soybean and rice fields, says report

North Korea needs immediate food assistance after heavy rains killed scores of people and submerged vast swaths of farmland, according to a United Nations report.

That assessment was released by the UN resident coordinator's office in Pyongyang following visits to flood-stricken areas in North Korea earlier this week. Floods caused by two storm systems last month killed at least 119 people and left tens of thousands homeless, according to the North's state media.

The United States said it would consider a request for assistance but has not received one, and it was not aware of Pyongyang making such requests to other states.

"If requested, it would be something that that we would carefully evaluate but we are not at that point," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told a news conference in Washington. Read More

Apple seeks severe punishment for Samsung lawyer's actions

(Reuters) - Apple Inc asked a U.S. judge on Thursday to punish Samsung Electronics Co Ltd for a Samsung attorney's conduct by ordering that the South Korean company has infringed Apple's phone design patents, according to a court filing.

However, Samsung called Apple's demand "frivolous" and "unprecedented" in a legal brief filed later in the day.

Trial began this week in a high stakes litigation between the two companies. Apple sued Samsung last year in San Jose, California federal court, accusing Samsung of copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung has countersued.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday had barred Samsung's attorneys from presenting some evidence during opening statements. Later that afternoon, Samsung emailed reporters links to that material, along with a statement that "fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence." Read More

Shares, euro fall as the European Central Bank delays action....Again

(Reuters) - Asian shares and the euro fell on Friday as investors shunned risk after the European Central Bank took no immediate action and only hinted at future steps to tackle the euro zone's fiscal woes, following similar inaction from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Investors also have reasons to be more cautious ahead of a key U.S. non-farm payrolls data for July due at 1230 GMT, with job creation below the 100,000 forecast likely to boost hopes the Fed, which on Wednesday stood pat with its current monetary policy, would embark on further easing as early as next month.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slipped 1 percent after global stocks tumbled on Thursday, but was set for a weekly gain of about 1 percent.

The index's materials sector .MIAPJMT00PUS slumped nearly 2 percent as miners dragged Australian shares .AXJO lower to rank among the worst performers in Asia with a 1 percent drop. Read More

Summer Riots Could Be Repeated, Young Warn

On the anniversary of the police shooting that sparked the disorder, a survey says job fears keep the threat of violence alive.

Many young people believe there could be a repeat of last summer's rioting as the conditions that contributed to the disorder remain unchanged, a survey has indicated.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the shooting dead of Mark Duggan by police officers, which triggered the riots in London and other major English cities, more than one-in-four 12 to 18-year-olds said there could be more violence this summer.

More than half of those surveyed said that the riots spread because young people were copying what others were doing and more than a third (37.5%) said youngsters got involved so that they could boast to their friends.

A similar proportion (36.6%) thought that boredom among young people was a cause, with a fifth (20.4%) saying there was concern about their futures and jealousy of other people's money and possessions.

Among those that predicted that there could be a repeat of the violence, the main reason given was that many young people believe theirs chance getting a job have either not improved or worsened.

Although youth unemployment fell by 29,000 in the first three months of 2012, 1.01 million 16 to 24-year-olds are still without employment.

A total of 37.9% do not believe the Government has done enough to address the needs of the younger generation, with a further 35.7% saying that the gap between rich and poor has either widened or stayed the same. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 3rd August 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 113.5 km (70.5 miles), the quake hit at 02:52:19 UTC Friday 3rd August 2012
The epicenter was 94 km (58 miles) SSW of Hihifo, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEW IRELAND REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 3rd August 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the NEW IRELAND REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 62.4 km (38.8 miles), the quake hit at 02:36:41 UTC Friday 3rd August 2012
The epicenter was 12 km (7.4 miles) South of Taron, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake JUJUY, ARGENTINA - 3rd August 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck JUJUY, ARGENTINA at a depth of 222.9 km (138.5 miles), the quake hit at 01:06:01 UTC Friday 3rd August 2012
The epicenter was 54 km (33 miles) WSW of Abra Pampa, Argentina
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake TAJIKISTAN - 3rd August 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck TAJIKISTAN at a depth of 172 km (106.9 miles), the quake hit at 00:02:31 UTC Friday 3rd August 2012
The epicenter was 56 km (34 miles) Northeast of Roshtqal'a, Tajikistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 2nd August 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the FIJI REGION at a depth of 400 km (248.6 miles), the quake hit at 23:34:35 UTC Thursday 2nd August 2012
The epicenter was 183km (113 miles) SSE of Sigave, Wallis and Futuna
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF CALIFORNIA - 2nd August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the GULF OF CALIFORNIA at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:13:18 UTC Thursday 2nd August 2012
The epicenter was 73 km (45 miles) SSW of Topolobampo, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

USA army prepares to confront PROTESTERS

Half of US counties now considered drought disaster areas (that's right, 50%)


Nearly 220 counties in a dozen drought-stricken states were added Wednesday to the U.S. government's list of natural disaster areas as the nation's agriculture chief unveiled new help for frustrated, cash-strapped farmers and ranchers grappling with extreme dryness and heat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's addition of the 218 counties means that more than half of all U.S. counties — 1,584 in 32 states — have been designated primary disaster areas this growing season, the vast majority of them mired in a drought that's considered the worst in decades.
Counties in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming were included in Wednesday's announcement. The USDA uses the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor to help decide which counties to deem disaster areas, which makes farmers and ranchers eligible for federal aid, including low-interest emergency loans. more

Radicals Rising: Right-wing winds blow as crisis hits Germany

U.S nuclear bomb facility shut after security breach........By a NUN......Security must be of highest caliber if a NUN managed to Breach it

(Reuters) - The U.S. government's only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium was temporarily shut this week after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, government officials said on Thursday.

WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at the London Olympic Games.

Officials said that the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly-enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.

The activists painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, one of numerous buildings in the facility known by the code name Y-12 that it was given during World War II, officials said. Read More

Olympic Corruption: Japan's gymnastic coach forced to hand over wad of $100 bills to judges in order to "appeal" a bad decision

Operating within the rules and regulations of gymnastics, a Japanese coach handed over a wad of $100 bills to the governing body of the sport on Monday night in order to file an appeal on behalf of his athlete.

Kohei Uchimura awkwardly stumbled off the pommel horse in the final event of the men's team competition. His resulting score left Japan in fourth place. But team officials protested that his fall had actually been a dismount and should have earned points based on gymnastic's (confusing) scoring system.

International rules dictate that an appeal fee must be paid in order to file a protest. Japanese officials quickly rounded up a number of large bills and sent a coach, armed with cash and the proper forms, to appeal.

Reports differ on how much Japan had to pay, but a report from earlier in the Olympics had a similar appeal costing $500 for the Indian boxing team. Judging by the thickness of the money stack and the paper clip attached to the Japanese protest, $500 seems like a reasonable estimate. source

Addendum: The original Youtube video of the judge passing off the wad of cash has now been removed after the Olympics Committee filed a copyright infringement complaint. This makes me absolutely, utterly sick.

Iraq seeking Russian air defense gear: official

(Reuters) - Iraq's acting defense minister is in Russia negotiating the purchase of air surveillance equipment to help Iraq rebuild its crippled military defenses, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

American troops pulled out of Iraq in December, leaving the war-battered country to defend its own borders and airspace for the first time since it was occupied in 2003.

Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq's air force was one of the largest in the region with hundreds of mainly Soviet-designed jets. But its military was disbanded after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 deposed of Saddam.

"There is a delegation, headed by the minister of defense and the commander of the air force, that went to Russia to negotiate the supply of early warning systems, radars and some other civil defense apparatuses," Hakim al-Zamili, a member of the parliamentary security and defense committee, told Reuters.

Iraqi officials say it will take years before they are able to defend their airspace again and the military has started building a new air force almost from scratch.

Iraq is due to receive the first 24 of 36 F-16 fighter jets it has ordered from the United States at the beginning of 2014. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake MYANMAR - 2nd August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck MYANMAR at a depth of 59.6 km (37 miles), the quake hit at 19:06:13 UTC Thursday 2nd August 2012
The epicenter was 134 km (83 miles) Northwest from Myitkyina, Myanmar
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Syrian government tanks descend on Aleppo

Aug. 2 - Amateur video purports to show a room full of bodies in Syria's Aleppo, as a long convoy of army tanks appears to descend on the embattled city. Travis Brecher reports.

The new normal: Jobless in America

Aug 2 - Labor expert Kathy Krepcio describes the new normal job market for Americans which includes freelancing, holding multiple jobs and a whole lot of uncertainty.

U.S. mulls Pacific military buildup

(Reuters) - Pentagon planners will consider adding bombers and attack submarines as part of a growing U.S. focus on security challenges in the Asia-Pacific, a senior Defense Department official said on Wednesday.

"We will take another look" at sending more such muscle to the strategic hub of Guam in the western Pacific, now that this has been recommended by an independent review of U.S. regional military plans, Robert Scher, deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans, told lawmakers.

U.S. strategy calls for shifting military, diplomatic and economic resources toward the region after a decade of land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sparked by the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

The Defense Department, however, must weigh the issue from a broad global perspective and take into account competing requirements, Scher testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Armed Services subcommittee on readiness. Read More

Oklahoma oil refinery Explosion



An oil tanker catches fire in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after an explosion at the Holly Frontier Corporation refinery. The blast, and subsequent fire on Thursday caused one smokestack to collapse. Firefighters continue to tackle the blaze. No injuries were reported and the cause of the explosion is being investigated

Anthrax Case Confirmed in Texas Sheep

A yearling female sheep in West Texas has been diagnosed with anthrax. This is the second confirmed case of anthrax in a Texas animal for 2012 and the first in livestock this year. The infected sheep was located near Mertzon, TX, which is approximately 26 miles southwest of San Angelo. The Texas Animal Health Commission has quarantined the premises. TAHC regulations require vaccinations of exposed livestock and proper disposal of carcasses before a quarantine can be released.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, whichis a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including Texas. It is not uncommon for anthrax to be diagnosed in livestock or wildlife in the southwestern part of the state. Basic sanitation precautions such as hand washing, wearing long sleeves and gloves can prevent accidental spread of the bacteria to people if handling affected livestock or carcasses.

Acute fever followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are all common signs of anthrax in livestock. Carcasses may also appear bloated and appear to decompose quickly. Livestock or animals displaying symptoms consistent with anthrax should be reported to a private practitioner or TAHC official. Read More

White Island's volcanic alert level raised‎

GNS Science has issued a volcanic alert for White Island in the Bay of Plenty, due to signs of increased activity.

The aviation alert code has been lifted by GNS from green to yellow, which is when a volcano is showing signs of elevated unrest.

Michael Rosenberg, GNS Science duty volcanologist, said its crater lake has started to re-fill and gases were now "vigorously streaming through it".

"Airborne gas measurements made yesterday show that the discharge of some sulphur gases has increased.

"During the past few weeks there has also been some minor volcanic tremor," GNS said.

Rosenberg says between July 27 and July 28 the crater lakes level rose by about 3m to 5m.

And a recent ground survey also shows that the main crater floor may be slowly rising, he said. Read More

Radioactive Oatmeal Found in Hong Kong Supermarket

Low-level radioactivity was discovered in a packaged oats product from Japan on sale at a retail outlet in Hong Kong, a spokesman for the Center for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said Wednesday.

After testing a sample from the package, the Hong Kong-based CFS said radioactivity levels were low enough that there is no health concern for anyone consuming the oatmeal.

"The oats sample was collected from a local supermarket for radiation testing under the regular food surveillance program, the CFS spokesman said. "The test result showed that a low level of the radioactive substance, Caesium-137 (Cs-137), was detected at 7 Bq/kg."

The CFS spokesman said the radioactivity level is far below the 1,000 Bq/kg safety guideline established by the international Codex Alimentarius Commission.

CFS did not order a recall of the product because the dietary exposure shows the internal dose of Cs-137 even at high consumption, figured at 90 grams per day, would not be enough to result in adverse health effects. Read More

Tornadoes kill two, destroying 700 homes‎ in Vietnam

HA NOI — Freak tornadoes swept through three southern provinces early yesterday killing two people, injuring about 75 others and destroying nearly 700 homes.

Thousands of people are reported to have been left homeless by the high-speed storms, which lasted for less than half an hour each.

In Soc Trang Province, residents reported that two tornadoes struck in one hour, killing one resident and injuring about 59 others.

At the same time, in Bac Lieu Province, a tornado took one life and injured another 12.

Four residents in Ben Tre Province were also injured by the raging wind. Bac Lieu and Ben Tre provinces have sent rescue forces to help the victims.

According to preliminary reports, Soc Trang suffered the worst damage. A total of 110 houses were completely destroyed and another 226 damaged, said a spokesman for the Soc Trang People's Committee.

In Ben Tre, a tornado destroyed 43 houses and damaged another 153, said Nguyen Khanh Hoan, head the provincial People's Committee. Read More