Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Osborne told his lending scheme boosts banks - not the economy....No Real Surprise there then!

Four years after the global financial crisis, the British economy remains flat on its back, the Bank of England confirmed yesterday. The Bank also warned that George Osborne's new scheme to kickstart lending to credit-starved households and businesses might end up boosting bank profits rather than helping the economy.

The Bank slashed its 2012 official growth forecast, saying the economy will experience zero growth over the year. As recently as May, the Bank had expected the UK economy, which is in the grip of a double-dip recession, to grow by 0.8 per cent.

It also downgraded its medium-term forecast, saying that the economy will be growing at 2 per cent in two years' time, down from the 2.7 per cent it forecast in May. The British economy is not now expected by the Bank to recover the economic ground lost in the 2008-09 recession until 2014. Read More

Gu Kailai Murder trial at heart of Chinese political scandal begins

Hefei, China (CNN) -- The murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of a recently deposed top official in the Chinese Communist Party, has begun in the eastern China city of Hefei, local officials said Thursday.

Gu and a family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, are accused of poisoning Neil Heywood, a British businessman who was found dead in the southwestern Chinese metropolis of Chongqing in November.

The trial is the latest phase in the fall from grace of the prominent family of Bo Xilai, Gu's husband, who until earlier this year had appeared destined to join the elite committee of leaders at the top of China's ruling party.

The saga has become the most sensational Chinese political scandal in recent years, creating an extraordinary set of challenges for the central government as it prepares for a once-in-a-decade leadership transition later this year. Read More

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS - 9th August 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS at a depth of 172 km (106.9 miles), the quake hit at 03:20:45 UTC Thursday 9th August 2012
The epicenter was 16 km (9.9 miles) North of Lata, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Tia Sharp: Search For Missing Tia Enters Day Six

Dozens of officers have joined the hunt for Tia Sharp as fears mount over the whereabouts of the schoolgirl nearly a week after she went missing.

Tia has not been seen since last Friday when she disappeared from her grandmother's house in south London.

Police interviewed her grandmother's boyfriend, Stuart Hazell, on Wedesday as a key witness. It is thought he may have been the last person to see the schoolgirl alive.

The 37-year-old was not arrested, and returned on the same day to his partner's home in New Addington, Croydon.

Metropolitan Police area commander Neil Basu stressed the investigation remained a missing persons inquiry with no suspects, adding: "I am looking to find Tia safe and well."

He said some officers who had been helping staff the Olympics were now part of the search team, which involves 40 detectives and 40 specialist search officers. Read More

Russian Cult Found In Underground Bunker

Members of a Russian sect found living in an underground bunker with some 20 children, many of whom have never seen the sun, have been charged with child abuse.

Authorities said the Islamist cult had existed for nearly a decade without natural light or heating in their subterranean dwelling.

The expansive man-made cave was discovered underneath a brick building on the outskirts of the central city of Kazan.

Only a few of the 70 sect members were allowed to leave the property to work as traders at a local market, Russian media reported.

Deputy prosecutor Irina Petrova told journalists the bunker's rooms were like "cells", lacking sunlight and ventilation.

"According to the agency for control of public facilities, there are eight levels of rooms, where not only children but adults live as well," she said.

The group was identified as the Fayzarahmanist sect, named after its 83-year-old organiser Fayzrahman Satarov, who declared himself a prophet and his house an independent Islamic state.

Ms Petrova added Satarov had been charged with negligence.

Many of the cult's children, aged between 18 months and 17 years old, were born underground and had never seen daylight until officials sent them for health checks.

One 17-year-old girl was reported to be pregnant. Read More

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake REVILLA GIGEDO ISLANDS REGION - 9th August 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck the REVILLA GIGEDO ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 9.6 km (6 miles), the quake hit at 02:34:41 UTC Thursday 9th August 2012
The epicenter was 241 km (149 miles) Northeast of Socorro Island, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 9th August 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA at a depth of 58.7 km (36.5 miles), the quake hit at 01:55:13 UTC Thursday 9th August 2012
The epicenter was 58 km (36 miles) SSE of Pagaralam, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 20.1 km (12.5 miles), the quake hit at 22:42:11 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 123 km (76 miles) Southeast of Visokoi Island
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION at a depth of 445 km (275.9 miles), the quake hit at 20:54:01 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 737 km (245.9 miles) Southeast of Nachikatsuura, Wakayama, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 60 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:10:10 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 57 km (35.3 miles) Southeast of Severo-kurilsk, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF OREGON - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF OREGON at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 17:45:33 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 363 km (225 miles) West of Waldport, Oregon
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

IRS pays out $6.8 billion in refunds to illegal immigrants

IRS supervisors ignored employees who tried to warn agency higher-ups of fraud in a program designed to collect taxes from immigrants, resulting in the agency paying out potentially bogus refunds.

The Treasury inspector general for tax administration said the IRS even eliminated some methods employees had used to figure out questionable refund requests, and that the agency doesn’t have the ability to verify applicants’ identity or foreign status.

Investigators “found an environment which discourages employees from detecting fraudulent applications,” said J. Russell George, the inspector general.

The IRS pays out $6.8 billion in refunds to taxpayers who file using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), who are generally immigrants, here both legally and illegally. The amount of fraud was not stated.

The agency said it has put new checks in place to try to crack down on fraud, with employees getting training from the Homeland Security Department on how to verify documents when an immigrant applies for an ITIN.

But the IRS disputed the inspector general’s assumption that fraud is rampant in many of the cases where taxpayers are using the same addresses for multiple applications. more

Half of all long-term immigrants to US on welfare

Immigrants lag behind native-born Americans on most measures of economic well-being — even those who have been in the U.S. the longest, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, which argues that full assimilation is a more complex task than overcoming language or cultural differences.

The study, which covers all immigrants, legal and illegal, and their U.S.-born children younger than 18, found that immigrants tend to make economic progress by most measures the longer they live in the U.S. but lag well behind native-born Americans on factors such as poverty, health insurance coverage and homeownership.

The study, based on 2010 and 2011 census data, found that 43 percent of immigrants who have been in the U.S. at least 20 years were using welfare benefits, a rate that is nearly twice as high as native-born Americans and nearly 50 percent higher than recent immigrants.

The report was released at a time when both major presidential candidates have backed policies that would make it easier to immigrate legally and would boost the numbers of people coming to the U.S. more

'Dying for work' billboard startles Las Vegas drivers

A shocking billboard in Las Vegas adorned with the words “dying for work” and a mannequin dangling from a noose will be removed after motorists thought the dummy was a real person.

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremie Elliott said the agency began receiving reports of the black billboard with white lettering along Interstate 15 near Bonanza Road at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Elliott told The Associated Press the billboard appears to be a publicity stunt and it's unclear who's responsible. The billboard space appears to belong to Lamar Advertising, Fox5Vegas.com reports. Representatives from the company said the billboard was an act of vandalism.

Authorities are now focused on removing the billboard so it doesn’t distract drivers, Elliot said.
An investigation into the incident — if any — will be handled by the Las Vegas Metro Police, the Nevada Department of Transportation said.

Another billboard on South Highland Avenue was later spotted with a hanging mannequin and the words "hope you're happy Wall St.," Fox5Vegas.com reports. It's unclear what is being done about that billboard, the website reports. more

Over 100 Million Now Receiving Federal Welfare

"The federal government administers nearly 80 different overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs," the Senate Budget Committee notes. However, the committee states, the figures used in the chart do not include those who are only benefiting from Social Security and/or Medicare.

Food stamps and Medicaid make up a large--and growing--chunk of the more than 100 million recipients. "Among the major means tested welfare programs, since 2000 Medicaid has increased from 34 million people to 54 million in 2011 and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) from 17 million to 45 million in 2011," says the Senate Budget Committee. "Spending on food stamps alone is projected to reach $800 billion over the next decade." more

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Randy Travis Arrested after being found naked at the scene of a car crash

Country music star Randy Travis has been charged with driving while intoxicated after being found naked at the scene of a car crash.

The 53-year-old, regarded as one of the biggest names in US country music, had driven off a road near his home in Tioga, Texas, at around midnight on Tuesday.

Police say Travis was not wearing any clothes and that he made threats to kill highway patrol troopers who arrived on the scene and arrested him.

It is the second time Travis has been arrested this year - in February he was cited for public intoxication after being spotted in a vehicle parked in front of a church 20 miles from his home.

Travis has sold more than 25 million records since breaking through in the mid-1980s with 22 number one hits on the Billboard country charts and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He starred alongside Matt Damon in the 1997 movie The Rainmaker and has featured in numerous US TV shows. Read More

Violence threatened at Madonna concerts in Russia, embassy warns


(CNN) -- Russian authorities were stepping up security after a threat of violence at Madonna concerts this week, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow warned.


"The U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg has received information regarding a threat of physical violence against spectators and performers at the St. Petersburg concert on August 9," the embassy said in a statement.

State Department officials did not provide details about the reported threat targeting Madonna's Thursday show in St. Petersburg.

"U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant regarding their personal security, and to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas," the embassy said. Read More

Philippines hit by fresh downpours

Manila, Philippines (CNN) -- Millions of people in the Philippines suffered further torrential rains Wednesday, as deadly floods claimed several more lives and kept many people from returning to their deluged homes.

Forecasters say still more rain is on the way, fueled by seasonal monsoon rains and a nearby tropical storm, but it should start to ease soon.

The reported death toll rose to 16 as the flooding continued, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported.

Seven more deaths were attributed to drowning and electrocution.

A landslide in the Manila suburb of Quezon City buried two houses Tuesday, leaving nine people dead and four others injured, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center. Three of the dead were children, PNA reported. Read More

Syrian Rebels admit clan execution

Standard Chartered begins fightback on Iran allegations

(Reuters) - Standard Chartered won some help from Britain's central bank governor on Wednesday in its fightback against a U.S. regulator's allegations that it hid $250 billion of sanctions-busting transactions with Iran.

The British bank lost over a quarter of its market value in 24 hours after the New York State Department of Financial Services threatened on Monday to cancel its state banking licence - critical for dealing in dollars - and called it a "rogue institution" for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Standard Chartered shares bounced 7.1 percent on Wednesday to close in London at 13.15 pounds, up from a 3-year low of 10.92 hit earlier in the week. They were still down 18 percent since the regulator's threat, which chief executive Peters Sands said was "disproportionate" and came as a "complete surprise".

The bank's top executives, some like Sands scrambled back from summer vacations, worked on its defence strategy, having so far contested the regulator's figures and his interpretation of the law, but given little detail. The bank says only a tiny proportion of its Iran-related deals - less than $14 million - were questionable under U.S. sanctions rules. Read More

Floods submerge most of Philippine capital

Europe's economic woes deepen amidst uncertainty

2.7 Magnitude Earthquake GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 2.7 earthquake has struck the GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA at a depth of 6.7 km (4.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:22:13 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 3 km (1.8 miles) Northeast from Yorba Linda, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Scott Olsen: OWS must force changes, not ask

Pussy Riot: Opposition saints or spawn of Satan?

Belgium Halts Nuclear Reactor On Suspicion of Cracks

Belgium has halted one of its seven nuclear reactors on suspicion that one of its components might be cracked, the country's atomic power regulator said Wednesday.

"We have found anomalies," said Karina De Beule, spokesman for the ACFN, the federal agency for nuclear control. The agency is "evaluating these anomalies, if they can cause cracks," De Beule said, adding that the 1,006-megawatt Doel 3 reactor will remain shut at least until the end of August.

The incident--at the moment classified level 1 in a scale where Chernobyl-style explosions are level 7--risks triggering renewed controversy about the use of nuclear energy in Europe, where authorities are seeking to ensure safe operations at sometimes ageing reactors, while at the same guaranteeing a reliable electricity supply.

Last year's atomic scare in Japan has heightened public concerns about the dangers of using nuclear power, prompting several European nations to reconsider their energy provisions. Germany has said it will shut all its nuclear plants by 2022, and Belgium decided recently to stand by earlier plans to exit nuclear energy by 2025. Read More

Rescue needed in darkness at US Antarctic station‎

(CNN) -- A medical emergency was under way Wednesday at the largest research station in Antarctica, the hub of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Someone needs to be evacuated from McMurdo Station in the dead of the Antarctic winter, when there is no daylight for six months.

The person is in stable condition, said Debbie Wing, a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Science Foundation, which oversees the facility.

Australia said its Antarctic Division was asked to "assist in the repatriation of an expeditioner" from the station.

Wing said she believes the person needing medical attention is a U.S. citizen.

She could not say whether the person's condition is life threatening. But the patient, who is not being identified, requires medical attention beyond what can be provided by the medical team at the research facility, which Wing said is "like a portable hospital unit." Read More

CEIA says death of 3000 fishes at Newmont’s Ahafo mine due to cyanide spillage, Ghana

The Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis (CEIA), an environmental integrity non-governmental organisation, said the 3,000 fishes that were discovered dead in a dam at Newmont Gold Ghana Limited (NGGL) Ahafo Mine on January 3, 2012 was as a result of cyanide spillage.

A report published by CEIA said toxicological analysis of water in the dam where the dead fishes were discovered indicated the presence of large concentration of cyanide and other heavy metals – by-products of gold mining activities.

Newmont had attributed the fish-kill to over-population of fish and depletion in oxygen supply, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since January 3, 2012 to date not published the results of its investigations into the incident.

CEIA presented the results to farmers living in hamlets and cottages surrounding the dam at Damso on Wednesday August 1, 2012. Read More

Aurora apartment building fire: 2 die, 15 hurt

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Two people were killed and 15 injured in a fire that engulfed an apartment building in the Denver suburb of Aurora, forcing some residents to jump from the four-story building as neighbors rushed to help.

After the fire broke out Monday night, a man dropped a boy, thought to be about 2, from the fourth floor and into the arms of Oterian Scott, The Denver Post reported. The man then jumped into a canopy that neighbors moved next to the building.

Scott, 25, said he and a friend held up an extension ladder so it would reach a woman on the fourth floor. He said she managed to climb down the wobbly ladder.

Ted Krmpotich told the newspaper that he couldn't open his apartment door at first, but when he did "there was a wall of fire" in the hallway outside. He said he ran to a window, took out the screen and was getting ready to jump when a police officer appeared. He said he jumped into the officer's arms.

Fire Capt. Allen Robnett said numerous people were rescued with ladders. Read More

Many human 'prototypes' coexisted in Africa

Fossils from Northern Kenya show that a new species of human lived two million years ago, researchers say.

The discoveries suggests that at least three distinct species of humans co-existed in Africa.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that runs counter to the popular perception that there was a linear evolution from monkey to ape to modern human.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

Anthropologists have discovered three human fossils that are between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old. The specimens are of a face and two jawbones with teeth.

The finds back the view that a skull found in 1972 ago is of a separate species of human, known as Homo rudolfensis. The skull was markedly different to any others from that time. It had a relatively large brain and long flat face.

But for 40 years the skull was the only example of the creature and so it was impossible to say for sure whether the individual was an unusual specimen or a member of a new species. Read More

Euro architect Otmar Issing: Some members could leave

Some members of the eurozone may have to leave the bloc as the debt crisis continues, according to one of the architects of the euro.

"Everything speaks in favour of saving the euro area," said Otmar Issing, a former European Central Bank chief economist.

"How many countries will be able to be part of it in the long term remains to be seen," he added.

His message comes as the ECB warned of a lack of lending within the region.

The central bank highlighted the fall-off in money being lent across borders between the 17 countries that share the euro, saying the eurozone is becoming increasingly fragmented.

The ECB said cross-border loans in the overnight money market fell to 40% of total loans, from 60% in a similar period last year.

A recent report by Morgan Stanley focused on the "Balkanisation" of the eurozone banking system. Read More

Global shares, euro fall; central bank action in doubt

(Reuters) - A three-day rally in world equity markets faded on Wednesday, with shares trading little changed, while the euro fell as doubts grew on the prospects for early central bank action to bolster the global economy and tackle the euro zone debt crisis.

Risky assets began rising on Friday after U.S. jobs data eased concerns about global growth but supported hopes of further policy easing by the Federal Reserve. Last week's signal by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that it may ease borrowing costs for Spain and Italy provided further optimism.

But the Bank of England on Wednesday gave no hint of future action despite slashing its growth forecast, prompting investors to shed riskier assets such as stocks.

The uncertain direction for fiscal policy pushed Wall Street stocks modestly lower in early trading, while European shares backed off from more than four-month highs.

"We're certainly skeptical about the ability of the authorities to really make big changes in the euro zone landscape," said Richard Batty, strategist at Standard Life Investments. Read More

Egyptian army advances into Sinai

Aug. 8 - Egyptian forces move into villages near the border with Israel in a crackdown on Islamic militants blamed for an attack on Egyptian border police. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Turkey tanks patrol Syria border

Aug. 8 - Turkey deploys tanks along its border with Syria.

July hottest month ever in continental U.S.

(Reuters) - July was the hottest month in the continental United States on record, beating the hottest month in the devastating Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the U.S. government reported on Wednesday.

It was also the warmest January-to-July period since modern record-keeping began in 1895, and the warmest 12-month period, eclipsing the last record set just a month ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

This is the fourth time in as many months that U.S. temperatures broke the hottest-12-months record.

The average temperature for July across the contiguous 48 states was 77.6 degrees F (25.3 degrees C), or 3.3 degrees F (1.7 degrees C) above the 20th century average. The previous warmest July, in 1936, averaged 77.4 degrees F (25.2 degrees C).

Along with record heat, drought covered nearly 63 percent of the 48 contiguous states, according to NOAA's Drought Monitor, with near-record drought conditions in the Midwest, where 75 percent of the U.S. corn and soybean crops are grown. Read More

Los Angeles Earthquakes: LA rattled by two 4.5 quakes within 10 hours

(Reuters) - A magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck near the Southern California town of Yorba Linda for the second time in just over 10 hours on Wednesday, rattling the Los Angeles area, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The latest quake was recorded shortly after 9:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT) 2 miles northeast of Yorba Linda, an affluent Orange County community southeast of Los Angeles that was the birthplace of the late former President Richard Nixon and houses his presidential library and museum.

It was centered about 5.5 miles beneath the surface. The earlier temblor occurred at about 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday in about the same area at about the same depth, and was followed by more than a dozen smaller aftershocks overnight, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The two 4.5-magnitude quakes were both felt as far away as downtown Los Angeles, about 35 miles away, where rattling and rumbling was felt for several seconds at a time. Read More

2.9 Magnitude Earthquake GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 2.9 earthquake has struck the GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA at a depth of 5.1 km (3.2 miles), the quake hit at 17:36:26 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 3 km (1.8 miles) Northeast from Yorba Linda, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Demonoid Shut Down: Ukraine appears to have yielded to US pressure to shut down a popular file sharing website

One of the world's largest torrent file-sharing websites, Demonoid.com, has been taken down by the Ukrainian authorities.

Torrents allow users to download music, video and other internet content by downloading small bits of files from others' computers at the same time.

Ukrainian government investigators raided the data centre, ColoCall, which hosts the website's servers, and sealed them, according to reports.

ColoCall is the largest data centre in Ukraine, and has been home to Demonoid for the past few years.

Demonoid was initially unavailable for a limited time after being subjected to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, but the raid on the ColoCall centre has resulted in a permanent closure of the website, it appears. Read More

Tia Sharp: Police Interview Gran's Boyfriend

The boyfriend of missing 12-year-old Tia Sharp's grandmother has left his home and been driven away in a police car.

Two men in plain clothes were seen entering the house before leaving a short time later with Stuart Hazell who got into a black car with them, which then drove off.

Sky News sources said that Mr Hazell, who lives with Tia's grandmother Christine Sharp, 46, was being interviewed as a witness.

Tia was last seen at or near the house and police teams have searched the building, along with the surrounding area, including woodland, a school and garages.

At a press conference this afternoon police revealed that a member of the public had reported seeing Tia leaving her grandmother's home at midday on the day of her disappearance.

The witness told detectives that Tia was alone when she left the house in New Addington, Croydon, south London, but it was unclear where she was going.

The youngster has not been seen since and more than 80 officers are involved in the search for her. Read More

Blackwater Trained Canadian Troops without US permission: court records

Canadian troops and police were trained for two years by the international security contractor formerly known as Blackwater without the permission of the U.S. State Department.

The revelation is contained in U.S. federal court records, unsealed in North Carolina as part of a $7.5-million settlement of criminal charges against the company now called Academi LLC.

The Harper government has had a standing contract with the company since 2008.

It’s paid millions of dollars going back to 2006 for the specialized training, given to special forces troops and some police officers. Read More

200,000 relocated in Shanghai as typhoon Haikui nears

SHANGHAI, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's commercial hub of Shanghai was rushing to relocate people in order to avoid risks posed by the approaching severe typhoon Haikui, officials with the municipal flood control headquarters said Tuesday.

It was estimated that over 200,000 people threatened by typhoon Haikui would be relocated before 9 p.m. Tuesday, said Zhang Zhenyu, deputy director of the headquarters' office.

Those living in temporary housing at construction sites, makeshift housing and seawall regions would be moved to school buildings, stadiums and other shelters, he said.

"Due to the uncertainty of the typhoon, we will relocate all people facing possible risks," said Zhang. "It is with respect to each life."

Haikui will be the third typhoon to wallop China's eastern coast in a week, after storms Saola and Damrey hit the region over the weekend and forced over one million people to relocate. Read More

3.4 Magnitude Earthquake GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 3.4 earthquake has struck the GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA at a depth of 6.7 km (4.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:51:04 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 3 km (1.8 miles) NNE from Yorba Linda, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA at a depth of 9 km (5.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:33:22 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 3 km (1.8 miles) NNE from Yorba Linda, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN NEW GUINEA REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the EASTERN NEW GUINEA REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 105 km (65.1 miles), the quake hit at 16:14:04 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 64 km (39.6 miles) Northwest of Lae, New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Natasha Trevis Killed in a taxi in Birmingham: 28-year-old man held for questioning

A woman who was stabbed to death in a taxi in Birmingham has been named as 22-year-old Natasha Trevis.

The attack took place in the Northfield area of Birmingham on Tuesday and a 28-year-old man is being questioned by police over the incident.

More follows...

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake ALASKA PENINSULA - 8th August 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck the ALASKA PENINSULA at a depth of 16 km (9.9 miles), the quake hit at 10:57:44 UTC Wednesday 8th August 2012
The epicenter was 89 km (55 miles) SSW from Sand Point, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Additional information West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center: Information Evaluation: * An earthquake has occurred; a tsunami is NOT expected. Issued at: Wed Aug 08 2012 16:08:06 GMT+0200 (W. Europe Daylight Time)

Google to pay just £6m UK tax on £395m profits

The UK arm of the search giant will also report a loss after tax of £24.1million in accounts filed yesterday at Companies House. Much of this, however, is due to the £51.45 million cost of giving shares to employees. Excepting that, the firm reports a profit of just £27million.

Last year Google paid £935,000 tax on £2.39billion in revenue.

In the six years to the end of 2010, Google paid just £8million of Corporation Tax in the UK, but in the 2011 calendar year alone that rose to £6.09m.

Worldwide Google profit rose 11pc in the most recent quarter, ended June 30, as consolidated revenue climbed 35pc to $12.21bn compared with the same fiscal quarter a year earlier. Google reported a jump in quarterly worldwide profits to $2.8bn (£1.8bn) on rising online advertising revenue, beating Wall Street's expectations.

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt claimed last year that Google was obliged to pay the legal minimum in UK taxation, implicitly attacking lax British laws. "We could pay more tax but we would have to do so voluntarily,” he said. “There are lots of benefits to [being in Britain]. It's very good for us, .. Read More

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Andrew Barrie's Body Recovered From River in Canada

Authorities have recovered the body of a British holidaymaker who drowned during a river trip in Canada.

Andrew Barrie, from Balloch in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, was on holiday with his wife Carol and 16-year-old son Andrew at the time.

The 50-year-old was swept downstream over falls on Kettle River, near Grand Forks in British Colombia, last weekend, along with two other people.

The bodies of a local couple in their 70s, who were sharing a small inflatable dinghy, were recovered from the water shortly afterwards.

A statement from emergency services in Canada said: "On Monday afternoon August 6, 2012, Grand Forks Search and Rescue and Christina Lake Fire Department were able to successfully recover a body from the Cascade Cove area of the Kettle River, near Grand Forks.

"The body has been positively identified as the missing 50-year-old male visitor from Scotland. He is the last of the three people to be recovered following the July 28 rafting incident."

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, Mr Barrie's family spoke of their sadness and grief. Read More