Friday, August 10, 2012

Samsung Plant in China Uses and Abuses Child Workers: Investigation

US drought threatens food price surge

The worst drought in the US in at least half a century has destroyed one-sixth of the country’s expected corn crop in a month threatening a surge in global food price inflation.

The US government estimated corn farmers had abandoned fields greater in area than Belgium and Luxembourg after the hottest July in US history irreparably damaged their crops. The harvest for soyabeans, largely crushed into animal feed and vegetable oil, would be the lowest in five years.

The US Department of Agriculture forecast prices for the two crops would break records, with domestic corn averaging between $7.50 and $8.90 per bushel after this year’s harvest starts. On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures jumped 3.1 per cent Friday to an all-time high of $8.43¾ before slipping.

“We’re going to see very high prices,” said Joseph Glauber, USDA chief economist.

The failure of the US corn crop will hit the world’s food manufacturers, including Nestlé, Kraft, and Tyson, who have already warned that they will pass on higher prices to consumers. more

US Army Tactical Manuals Describe How to Control Domestic Insurrection

In 2010, the US Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 was published and explains how armed forces in the US and overseas will behave in the future. Specific tactical operations, special “theater”, and organized forces are outlined along with the capabilities and priorities of the US armed divisions.

In simple terms: a full spectrum operations manual that details stratagems both domestic and foreign.

Presidential administrative National Security Strategy documents explain how to defend the Republic within domestic borders with suggested scenarios where a group of political reactionaries commandeer a prominent area of a town or city which requires that the US Army support local law enforcement in conjunction with state officials – including local government representatives.

In times of domestic insurrection, the Executive Branch can enforce armed support to state governments and local police departments with or without their approval because the continuity of government is the endgame and must be preserved. In this event, domestic intelligence gathering become paramount to maintain a clear chain of military command to be able to stop the home-grown insurgency. This would empower the Department of Homeland Security with the approval of the President, to enact the Insurrection Act and deploy armed troops with in the US to stop rebellion, insurrection, and lawlessness. While the initial powers are reserved for the state and local governments, and Posse Comitatus (PCA) restricts and delays the Executive Branch in enforcement, the current presidential administration with the aid of the Pentagon is seeking to rescind the PCA in order to facilitate control over domestic terrorism. more

The Civil War of 2016: U.S. military officers are told to plan to fight Americans

Imagine Tea Party extremists seizing control of a South Carolina town and the Army being sent in to crush the rebellion. This farcical vision is now part of the discussion in professional military circles.

At issue is an article in the respected Small Wars Journal titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.” It was written by retired Army Col. Kevin Benson of the Army's University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Jennifer Weber, a Civil War expert at the University of Kansas. It posits an “extremist militia motivated by the goals of the ‘tea party’ movement” seizing control of Darlington, S.C., in 2016, “occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council and placing the mayor under house arrest.” The rebels set up checkpoints on Interstate 95 and Interstate 20 looking for illegal aliens. It’s a cartoonish and needlessly provocative scenario.

The article is a choppy patchwork of doctrinal jargon and liberal nightmare. The authors make a quasi-legal case for military action and then apply the Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 to the situation. They write bloodlessly that “once it is put into play, Americans will expect the military to execute without pause and as professionally as if it were acting overseas.” They claim that “the Army cannot disappoint the American people, especially in such a moment,” not pausing to consider that using such efficient, deadly force against U.S. citizens would create a monumental political backlash and severely erode government legitimacy.

The vision is hard to take seriously. As retired ArmyBrig. Gen. Russell D. Howard, a former professor at West Point, observed earlier in his career, “I am a colonel, colonels write a lot of crazy stuff, but no one listens to colonels, so I don’t see the problem.” Twenty years ago, then-Air Force Lt. Col. Charles J. Dunlap Jr. created a stir with an article in Parameters titled “The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012.” It carried a disclaimer that the coup scenario was “purely a literary device intended to dramatize my concern over certain contemporary developments affecting the armed forces, and is emphatically not a prediction.”

The scenario presented in Small Wars Journal isn’t a literary device but an operational lay-down intended to present the rationale and mechanisms for Americans to fight Americans. Col. Benson and Ms. Weber contend, “Army officers are professionally obligated to consider the conduct of operations on U.S. soil.” This is a dark, pessimistic and wrongheaded view of what military leaders should spend their time studying. more

Stuart Hazell Arrested After Body Found

Police have arrested Stuart Hazell on suspicion of murder after a body was found in the search for missing schoolgirl Tia Sharp.

Earlier tonight a manhunt was launched after police hunting for Tia found a body at the house where she was last seen in New Addington, south London.

The body, which has not yet been identified, was found at the home Hazell shared with Tia's grandmother Christine Sharp at 4.40pm.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said Hazell, 37, was arrested in a public place at 8.25pm in the south London borough of Merton after he was identified by a member of the public.

"He is currently in custody at a south London police station," he added.

Authorities had warned the public not to approach Hazell. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake GREECE - 10th August 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck GREECE at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 19:07:16 UTC Friday 10th August 2012
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) Northeast of Párga, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Dale Cregan On Run After Manchester Blasts...He was already wanted in connection with a murder in May

A manhunt is under way in Manchester following attacks on two homes which left a man dead.

Officers were called to Folkestone Road East in the Clayton area at 10.30am following reports of gunshots, and discovered the body of a 46-year-old man. They believe an explosion had also occurred at the scene.

Nine minutes later, officers received reports of gunshots at a house on Luke Road, Droylsden, where a second explosion is believed to have taken place. No-one was injured during the incident.

Detectives want to quiz Dale Cregan, 29, from the Droylsden area, about the two incidents.

He is already wanted in connection with the murder of Mark Short at the Cotton Tree Pub on May 25.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, said: "Things have moved on apace since this morning but we still don't know with any certainty what happened or why.

"We do believe both incidents are linked and are looking at the very real possibility that they are connected to the recent fatal shooting of a young man at a pub in Droylsden. Read More

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 10th August 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 19 km (11.8 miles), the quake hit at 18:37:44 UTC Friday 10th August 2012
The epicenter was 97 km (60 miles) ESE of Nikolski, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

TSUNAMI SEISMIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NWS WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER PALMER AK
1040 AM AKDT FRI AUG 10 2012

...THIS IS AN INFORMATION STATEMENT...


EVALUATION
AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH A MAGNITUDE SUCH THAT A TSUNAMI
IS NOT EXPECTED. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY WCATWC MESSAGE ISSUED
FOR THIS EVENT.

PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE PARAMETERS
MAGNITUDE - 6.3
TIME - 1038 AKDT AUG 10 2012
1138 PDT AUG 10 2012
1838 UTC AUG 10 2012
LOCATION - 52.6 NORTH 167.4 WEST
70 MILES/113 KM SE OF NIKOLSKI ALASKA
400 MILES/644 KM E OF ADAK ALASKA
DEPTH - 19 MILES/31 KM

THE LOCATION AND MAGNITUDE ARE BASED ON PRELIMINARY INFORMATION.
FURTHER INFORMATION WILL BE ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY - EARTHQUAKE.USGS.GOV - OR THE APPROPRIATE
REGIONAL SEISMIC NETWORK.

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 10th August 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the BANDA SEA at a depth of 307 km (190.3 miles), the quake hit at 16:57:54 UTC Friday 10th August 2012
The epicenter was 173 km (107.2 miles) Northwest of Dili, East Timor
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU - 10th August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck VANUATU at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 15:19:26 UTC Friday 10th August 2012
The epicenter was 67 km (41.5 miles) Northwest of Isangel, Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

German economy faces recession fear

(Reuters) - Three years into the euro zone debt crisis, the gravity-defying German economy has stalled and some fear it could fall into recession in the second half of this year.

Over the past week, Europe's largest economy has been hit by a series of increasingly gloomy data releases, showing declines in manufacturing orders, industrial output, imports and exports.

In an unusually stark warning on Friday, the economy ministry said these figures and a sharp drop-off in business sentiment in recent months pointed to "significant risks" to Germany's outlook.

Next Tuesday, gross domestic product data for the second quarter is expected to show modest growth of about 0.2 percent. But the danger of recession in the second half of the year is growing, leading economists say, at a time when Europe's single currency bloc desperately needs growth from its economic powerhouse.

The slowdown carries risks for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will seek a third term in an election one year from now, and could influence public opinion on her crisis-fighting strategy especially if a nascent rise in unemployment accelerates. Read More

Doctors find spider that had been living in Chinese woman's ear for FIVE days... after it crawled in while she slept

We've all heard the one about people eating a spider while they sleep or creepy-crawlies going somewhere they shouldn't while we snooze - but for one poor woman the urban legend has come true.

She arrived at China's Changsha Central Hospital with an itchy ear, only to learn the cause was a spider that had crawled into the ear canal.

To make things worse, doctors believe the arachnid had been in there for five days.

Fortunately for the woman, there was some good news - doctors told her the problem would have been far worse if she had tried to scratch it. Read More

French police hunt for child rapist targeting camp sites in southern France

A serial child rapist is triggering panic among tourists at campsites in southern France.

The sex attacker has struck seven times in recent weeks in the picturesque Ardeche region, which attracts thousands of Britons every summer.

The victims have all been girls aged between seven and 12, who have been molested or raped in their tents at night over the past six weeks.

Police believe the same man has carried out all the attacks by sneaking onto campsites in the evening posing as a tourist.

The first attack took place in late June and the most recent occured on a campsite near the town of Saint-Didier-sous-Aubenas on Wednesday night.

Two of the victims were Dutch sisters aged ten and 11 who were both attacked as they slept side by side.

It is not known if any of the victims were British and no identities have been released for legal reasons.

A local police spokesman said: 'All the attacks have taken place within 20 kilometres of each other, and the modus operandi is always the same. Read More

Tia Sharp: Murder inquiry launched as police find body in home of missing Tia Sharp's grandmother and her 37-year-old partner goes on the run

Police investigating the disappearance of 12-year-old schoolgirl Tia Sharp have found a body at the home of her grandmother.

The Met has launched a murder inquiry and have said they are hunting her step-grandfather Stuart Hazell.

Officers have sealed off an area around her grandmother's home this afternoon, where she was last seen a week ago.

More than 20 forensic officers arrived at The Lindens on the New Addington estate, near Croydon, south London, and placed a cordon around the property where Christine Sharp, 46, lives.

Detectives at the scene declined to explain what the cordon was about, and Mrs Sharp was seen leaving her home with officers this morning.

But Scotland Yard said the area was sealed off as part of pre-planned search and that a media briefing that had been arranged with Area Commander Neil Basu had been postponed.

Media and the public had previously been able to walk past the terraced house, from which Tia vanished last Friday.

But the police cordon prevented anyone from getting within about 100 yards.

Detectives are carrying out a forensic search of Mrs Sharp's home, who agreed to leave earlier today. Read More

Tia: Manhunt for Stuart Hazell After Body Found at Grandmother's House

A body is discovered in the search for missing schoolgirl Tia Sharp and police are hunting Stuart Hazell, the boyfriend of Tia's gran.5:05pm UK, Friday 10 August 2012

Police are hunting Stuart Hazell, the step-grandfather of missing girl Tia Sharp, after a body was found at her grandmother's property.

Police discovered the body at the house of the missing girl's grandmother Christine Sharp at 20 The Lindens, New Addington.

Authorities have warned the public not to approach Mr Hazell.

A murder inquiry has been launched and Tia's family has been informed of the discovery.

Earlier police cordoned off her grandmother's house and started a full forensic search of the property.

Not long after forensic officers entered the house, the body was found, says Sky's crime correspondent Martin Brunt.

Earlier, Christine Sharp, 46, left the house with police as search dogs scoured a wooded area 400 yards from her home.

More follows...

Stuart Hazell Wanted by the Police after Body Found in the House

Stuart Hazell is being sought by the police after a body has been discovered in the house of Tia Sharp's Grandmother.

The public are advised not to approach him but to call 999 if they see him.

Tia Sharp: Body has been Found at the Grandmother's House

Tia Sharp: Forensic Search Of Grandma's House

Police hunting for Tia Sharp have cordoned off her grandmother's house as they begin a full forensic search of the property.

Earlier, the missing girl's grandmother Christine Sharp, 46, left the house with police as search dogs scoured a wooded area 400 yards from her home.

She was escorted by a detective and a family liaison officer, and declined to comment to waiting reporters.

Afterwards, more than 20 officers arrived at her home on the New Addington estate, near Croydon, south London, and placed a cordon around the property.

Sky's crime correspondent Martin Brunt said the house was sealed off as part of a pre-planned search.

But he believes something was found in or around the house in the last few hours that brought the search forward. Read More

Pink pigeon: Bizarre bird baffles experts with its brightly coloured feathers

Is this pink pigeon a punk, or just pretending to be a flamingo?

They may be seen as pests by some, but this bizarre-looking pigeon has been earning admirers since it was first spotted in Ealing, west London.

The brightly-coloured bird, seemingly a white pigeon with large blotches of luminous pink on its feathers, has nevertheless left experts mystified. Read More

NOTE: These experts should maybe take a look not so far away to a Park in the Netherlands, where they have been a common site for years.



Entire city's shops shut in China after traders hear rumour of planned crackdown on counterfeit products

An entire city in China has literally shut up shop as nearly all of its stores close after it was falsely reported that officials were planning a clampdown on the sale of counterfeit products.

Officials in Shenyang city are now begging store owners to reopen after 95 per cent of shops remain closed.

The online rumour sparked fears that the local council needed to get more revenue and had ordered taxmen to come down hard on shop owners.

But local officials have denied the story and appealed for store owners to reopen after they were flooded with complaints from residents who could no longer find shops open. Read More

Scott Bradley killed himself after hate mob wrongly accused him of being James Bulger child killer Robert Thompson

A father was driven to suicide by rumours he was one of James Bulger's killers, his distraught mother has claimed.

Scott Bradley, 36, was accused of being child murderer Robert Thompson and suffered months of malicious abuse and torment from a hate mob in the village of Garlieston, Wigtownshire, in Scotland.

Mr Bradley left a heartbreaking suicide note which read: 'They called me all sorts - a paedophile, a follower of young girls, walking around bullying old people.

'The list is endless. And I’m supposed to be a child killer.'

Now his mother Sue, who found her son dead at their home on Sunday, has described how her son's life became a 'living hell' after the hate mob spread the rumours that he was Thompson, now 29.

Sue said: 'My son was tormented by the allegations. He had a good heart and didn’t deserve this. It’s been heartbreaking. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOLOMON ISLANDS - 10th August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the SOLOMON ISLANDS at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 12:08:51 UTC Friday 10th August 2012
The epicenter was 93 km (58 miles) WSW from Kira Kira, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Tia Sharp Latest: Police Surround House

Police hunting for missing Tia Sharp have sealed off an area around her grandmother's house amid signs of a new development in the case.

In the last hour, the missing girl's grandmother Christine Sharp, 46, left her house in south London with police as search dogs scoured a wooded area near her home.

She was escorted by a detective and a family liaison officer, and declined to comment to waiting reporters.

Afterwards, more than 20 officers arrived at her home on the New Addington estate, near Croydon, and placed a cordon around the property.

Detectives at the scene declined to explain what the cordon was about.

But Scotland Yard said the area was sealed off as part of pre-planned search.

A spokesman said a media briefing that had been arranged with Area Commander Neil Basu had been postponed.

More follows...

Syria's rebels demand weapons from allies

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Catacomb Cult: Muslim sect brought to light after decade in dark

Tia Sharp's grandmother leaves her house with police as search dogs scour a wooded area near her home

Tia Sharp's grandmother has left her house with police as search dogs scour a wooded area near her home.

Earlier, Christine Sharp, 46, said she "just wants her baby back".

She broke down in tears saying the missing schoolgirl was "my life" and that she believes she is not staying away by choice.

It is now one week since Tia disappeared and police have stepped up their operation in an attempt to jog memories.

Police dogs have again searched Mrs Sharp's home as well as woodland 400 yards away.

Mrs Sharp said: "My only message to Tia is that I love her.

"She is my life. I don't know where she has gone. I don't know how she's gone.

"She's not staying away by choice, I know this. I just don't know what else to say."

Mrs Sharp's house in New Addington, Croydon, has remained the focus of the investigation, as it was the last place she was seen.

Detectives are handing out fliers on bus and tram routes in the area after Tia apparently vanished without a trace. Read More

French Police On Alert Over Campsite Rapist

French police are warning campsite owners and holidaymakers to be on their guard following the rape of an 11-year-old girl.

The girl was attacked on Wednesday as she slept in a tent on a campsite at Saint-Didier-sous-Aubenas in the Ardeche region of central France.

Officers are now linking the attack to several other sexual assaults that have taken place on campsites in the region since the end of June.

As many as seven girls between the ages of seven and 12 - one of whom was Dutch - have been attacked.

The manager of the campsite where the latest attack took place was reluctant to speak out, but owners of other local sites confirmed they had taken steps to try to prevent further attacks.

These include the deployment of night-time guards and requiring everyone staying in the camp to wear wristbands, making it easier to ensure only registered guests have access.

An artist's impression of the suspected rapist - a man of around 40 - has been distributed to police forces in the region but has not yet been made public. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake WEST CHILE RISE - 10th August 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the WEST CHILE RISE at a depth of 10.3 km (6.4 miles), the quake hit at 11:40:03 UTC Friday 10th August 2012
The epicenter was 852 km (530 miles) WSW from Puerto Montt, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Tia Sharp: Police Dog Searches Tia's Grandmother's House Again

Tia Sharp's grandmother says she "just wants her baby back" as police use dogs to search her home for clues about the 12-year-old's disappearance.

Two female detectives arrived at the house in southeast London this morning but left 30 minutes later with brown evidence bags.

Earlier Christine Sharp, 46, broke down in tears saying the missing schoolgirl was "my life" and that she believes she is not staying away by choice.

It is now one week since Tia disappeared and police are expected to step up their questioning of the public in an attempt to jog memories.

Christine Sharp, 46, said: "My only message to Tia is that I love her.

"She is my life. I don't know where she has gone. I don't know how she's gone.

"She's not staying away by choice, I know this. I just don't know what else to say." Read More

Logan Andrew West charged with rape of his girlfriend's 15-month-old daughter

A man has been accused of raping a 15-month-old baby leaving her with severe injuries, authorities said.

Logan Andrew West, 18, was charged on Monday with the rape of a child under the age of ten.

He is believed to be the boyfriend of the child's mother. The assault took place at her home in Ravenna Township, Ohio.

Emergency crews were called to the home last Saturday about injuries to a child.
Several people, including the suspect, were present in the residence at the time.

The girl was treated at Akron Children’s Hospital for severe internal injuries and later released into her mother's care.

West was said to have been 'cooperative' by Portage County sheriff's office and was being held in jail without bond. Read More

'What happened to campaign of hope and change?' Romney blasts Obama attack ad... as tape reveals how cancer widower told same story to Obama aides thr

A brutal political ad by a Democratic group that was revealed to include numerous deceptions has drawn a harsh rebuke from Mitt Romney, who is now accusing President Obama of spreading lies about him.

The Republican also rolled out a new commercial of his own that questioned Obama's
values and accused the president of waging war on religious freedom.

Obama's campaign disputed that charge.

'I am seeing some of the ads out there. I don't know whatever happened to a campaign of hope and change,' Romney said, alluding to Obama's previous campaign slogan, during an interview on Bill Bennett's radio program, 'Morning in America.'

'I thought he was a new kind of politician. But instead, his campaign and the people working with him have focused almost exclusively on personal attacks ... It's really disappointing.' Read More

Naked fisherman was plucked from shark-infested ocean


A TV news helicopter aided in the rescue of a naked fisherman surrounded by hammerhead sharks when his boat capsized - after being sent to cover the story.

One hammerhead was circling him and was within 20 metres of the man - who was believed to have been in the water for 24 hours.

Grant Taylor, a reporter for Australia's Channel Seven, said he spotted other sharks moving in after flying to cover the story of three missing fishermen off the coast of Leeman - 200 miles north of Perth.

Looking out from his helicopter, he saw the naked man was treading water as a 'massive' hammerhead shark circled him.

The man was struggling to swim, said Mr Taylor, and was alternating between treading water and floating on his back.

Covering the drama live for a radio station, Mr Taylor said: 'When we first spotted him, one of the scariest things was there was a massive hammerhead shark not 20 metres away from him, just slowly circling around him,' he said. Read More

Mars: The incredible panorama from Nasa's Curiosity Rover on the surface of the Red Planet

Exciting images from NASA's Curiosity rover show exactly what your eyes would see if you were standing on the surface of Mars on a late afternoon day.

The excellent panoramic image is the first colour landscape photograph provided from the $2.5 billion Martian rover and was taken with the probe's MastCams which extend above the the spacecraft.

The panoramic mosaic, comprising 130 separate images that Curiosity captured with its newly activated navigation cameras, shows a rust-colored, pebble-strewn expanse stretching to a wall of the crater's rim in one direction and a tall mound of layered rock in another.

That formation, named Mount Sharp, stands at the center of the vast, ancient impact crater and several miles from where Curiosity touched down at the end of an eight-month voyage across 352 million mile (566 million km) of space.

The layers of exposed rock are thought to hold a wealth of Mars' geologic history, making it the main target of exploration for scientists who will use the rover to seek evidence of whether the planet most similar to Earth might now harbor or once have hosted key ingredients for microbial life. Read More

Bank of England executives receive bonuses of up to £30,000 despite failing to predict the financial crisis

A staggering £25million has been awarded in bonuses to Bank of England staff despite it's failure to get a grip on the credit crunch.

Governor Sir Mervyn King and his staff failed to predict the financial crisis or pick up on any warning signs that the economy was headed for disaster.

It also missed signs of the Libor interest-rate scandal that saw Barclays boss Bob Diamond forced to quit.

Despite this, thousands of bank executives have received up to £30,000 in performance-related bonuses, the Daily Mirror reports.

The £25million total figure has been awarded to staff over the last five years after bonuses went up by £200,000 to £4.9million last year. Read More

Hitler Wine now being Sold in Italy

A woman whose relatives died in Auschwitz says she was shocked to discover wine bottles featuring images of Hitler in an Italian supermarket.

Cindy Hirsch from Philadelphia, U.S. was holidaying with her husband Michael in Garda, northern Italy, when the couple spotted the wine bottle labels featuring pictures of the former Nazi leader.

One of the bottles being sold in a supermarket near their hotel was called 'Mein Kampf' after the right-wing dictator's famous book, another was called 'Ein volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer' (one people, one empire, one Fuhrer).

Other labels depicted Hitler in different poses including one in which he is shown making the Nazi salute. Another bottle featured an image of Pope John Paul II.

Mrs Hirsch's father was born in Czechoslovakia and is an Auschwitz survivor, however her grandparents, aunt and other relatives died at the concentration camp. Read More

7500sq Miles of Pumice from Underwater Volcano adrift off New Zealand



An area of floating pumice 250 nautical miles in length and 30 nautical miles wide was spotted in the South Pacific ocean yesterday by a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Orion.

Study suggests dark matter near the sun

Large amounts of invisible “dark matter” may have been discovered near the sun.

The mysterious substance exerts a gravitational influence on thousands of dwarf stars in our galactic neighbourhood, a study suggests.

Dark matter is thought to make up about 70 per cent of the universe, yet it cannot be seen or detected directly.

Scientists only know it exists because of the way its gravity affects other material.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, appears to be surrounded by a massive "halo" of dark matter, but now new evidence indicates there are large quantities of it closer to home.

Dr Silvia Garbari, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, said: "We are 99% confident that there is dark matter near the sun. In fact, our favoured dark matter density is a little high.

"If future data confirm this high value, the implications are exciting." Read More

Peter Tobin rushed to hospital with suspected heart attack

CONVICTED serial killer Peter Tobin has been rushed to hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack, according to reports.

It is believed Tobin, 65, began experiencing chest pains at Saughton Prison in Edinburgh yesterday afternoon and was taken to hospital after falling unconscious.

He was taken by police escort to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Tobin is serving three life sentence for the murders of Dinah McNicol, Vicky Hamilton and Angelika Kluk.

The former church handyman is suspected to have committed more murders dating back to the 1960s, Read More

Moon lander prototype blows up in NASA test

(CNN) -- An unmanned moon lander under development crashed and blew up during an engine test Thursday afternoon at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the space agency reported.

There were no injuries in the failed test of the lander, dubbed "Morpheus." The craft had gone through several previous exercises in which it was hung from a crane, but Thursday was to have been its first free flight.

Instead, the prototype rose a short distance, rolled over and slammed into the ground. The craft caught fire immediately and exploded about 30 seconds later.

"The vehicle itself is lost," Jon Olansen, the Morpheus project manager, told reporters. "But we are working currently on gathering more data and information to understand what occurred in the test and how we can learn from it and move forward." Read More

No respite from rain, floods in Philippines


(CNN) -- The death toll from five days of heavy rains and floods in the Philippines jumped to 60 on Friday, disaster officials said, with the forecast calling for even more showers across the main island of Luzon.

Most of the deaths were from drowning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. Others died from electrocution or in landslides associated with the rain and floods.

While it is the summer monsoon season in the Philippines, the rain and flooding were exacerbated by recent Tropical Storm Haikui, the Philippines weather service said. Haikui made landfall on the east coast of China early Wednesday.

The disaster council forecast rain over most parts of Luzon, home to the country's capital of Manila, on Friday. Rain in north and central Luzon may trigger flash floods and landslides, it said. Read More

Australian spy agency website hacked

(CNN) -- Australia's national intelligence agency acknowledged Friday that its public website may have encountered problems after hackers said they had subjected it to a sustained campaign of cyber attacks.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization "is aware that there may have been some technical issues with its public website," a spokesman for the organization said.

But the site "does not host any classified information and any disruption would not represent a risk to ASIO's business," the spokesman added, using the agency's abbreviated name.

The hackers, who appeared to have links to the loose collective Anonymous, said they had been launching attacks on the ASIO site and those of other Australian government agencies over the past few days, according to Twitter accounts under the names Anonymous Australia and OperationAustralia. Read More

7 Americans killed in attacks in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A man in an Afghan military uniform killed three U.S. troops Friday in southern Afghanistan, a day after the United States condemned a suicide bomb attack that left four Americans dead.

The man opened fire on the troops in the volatile Helmand province, said Maj. Lori Hodge, a spokeswoman for the International Assistance Security Force.

It is the latest in a series of so-called "green on blue" attacks that has seen attackers dressed in Afghan security force uniforms turn their weapons on NATO soldiers.

Hodge did not immediately provide details about the attack, one of a handful of attacks in recent weeks to target NATO troops. Read More

Car bomb kills Yemen security official, al Qaeda suspected

(Reuters) - A senior Yemeni security official has been killed by a car bomb in the south-eastern city of Mukalla, in a suspected al Qaeda attack, a local security official said.

Brigadier Omar Barasheed, dean of the Command and General Staff College, died in hospital after a bomb hidden inside his car exploded, the official told Reuters. His bodyguard was also killed and his son wounded.

The Yemeni official, who asked not to be named, said all signs indicated al-Qaeda was behind the attack, which happened late on Thursday in the capital of Hadramaut province.

Investigations into the bombing are ongoing, the Yemeni government said in a statement carried by official news agency Saba on Friday.

Earlier this week, security forces foiled a plot by an al Qaeda-linked cell to carry out attacks in the capital Sanaa and seized 40 belts packed with explosives, the mayor said on Wednesday, highlighting the risks posed by Islamist militancy in the impoverished Arab state. Read More

Helicopter crash in Turkey, 5 Killed

Aug. 9 - Five people are killed when a firefighting helicopter crashes in south-west Turkey

Philippines flood clean-up

Aug 10 - The Philippines begin a massive clean-up and awaits relief after severe flood swept across the the capital and nearby provinces.

U.S. won't prosecute Goldman in Abacus deal

(Reuters) - Neither Goldman Sachs Group Inc nor its employees will face U.S. criminal charges related to trades they made during the financial crisis that were highlighted in a 2011 U.S. Senate report, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The unusual announcement not to prosecute criminally came in an unsigned statement attributed to the department.

Few expected the bank to face criminal charges, but in April 2011, U.S. Senator Carl Levin asked for a criminal investigation after the subcommittee he leads spent years looking into Goldman.

Levin's subcommittee held televised hearings as part of its inquiry, which centered on a subprime mortgage product known as Abacus. He said Goldman misled Congress and investors.

Goldman employee Fabrice Tourre still faces a civil complaint from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He has denied any wrongdoing and was the only person accused.

Goldman itself settled with the SEC for $550 million in July 2010 without admitting wrongdoing. Read More