Saturday, August 11, 2012

China Sees Poor Export, Import Growth in July: Economy Beginning to Falter

Amazing Crop Circles 9th Aug 2012 at Cheesefoot Head, nr Winchester, Hampshire, UK

Israel media talk of imminent Iran war push

Israel's prime minister and defence minister would like to attack Iran's nuclear sites before the U.S. election in November but lack crucial support within their cabinet and military, an Israeli newspaper said on Friday.

The front-page report in the biggest-selling daily Yedioth Ahronoth came amid mounting speculation - fuelled by media leaks from both the government and its detractors at home and abroad - that war with Iran could be imminent even though it might rupture the bedrock ties between Israel and the United States.

"Were it up to Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran would take place in the coming autumn months, before the November election in the United States," Yedioth said in the article by its two senior commentators, which appeared to draw on discussions with the defence minister but included no direct quotes.

Spokesmen for Prime Minister Netanyahu and Barak declined to comment.

Yedioth said the top Israeli leaders had failed to win over other security cabinet ministers for a strike on Iran now, against a backdrop of objections by the armed forces given the big tactical and strategic hurdles such an operation would face.

"The respect which in the past formed a halo around prime ministers and defence ministers and helped them muster a majority for military decisions, is gone, no more," Yedioth said. "Either the people are different, or the reality is different."

Israel has long threatened to attack its arch-foe, seeing a mortal menace in Iranian nuclear advances and dwindling opportunities to deal them a blow with its limited military clout. Washington has urged Israel to give diplomacy more time. more

Japan: Play areas few for kids uprooted by tsunami

Japanese authorities should create more children's play areas in temporary housing zones set up for March 2011 disaster evacuees, according to landscape experts in Britain and Japan.

Helen Woolley, a chartered landscape architect at Sheffield University in England, warned that not enough thought was given to the needs of youngsters when the housing units were erected.

On a fact-finding mission to devastated areas in the Tohoku region, she discovered that temporary homes often had been erected upon playgrounds, and that large areas were given over to the construction of residents' parking lots with nowhere for children to play.

"I believe it would be quick, cheap and easy to take out a small number of these parking spaces — I'm a little skeptical that all of them are being used — and put in a child's play area with sand, swings and other features," Woolley said in an interview.

"Playing is vitally important in children's development — it helps their social skills and physical development. And I think that for kids who have been through this disaster, playing is a form of therapy." more

Youth Unemployment at Crisis Level: South Korea

Youth unemployment has reached crisis proportions, with more than one in five people between 15 and 29 out of work, according to a survey.

The survey by the Hyundai Research Institute showed that the real number of unemployed young people stood at 1.1 million in October last year, which translated into a rate of 22.1 percent. The number increased substantially from 990,000 in 2003, when the rate was 17.7 percent.

But government statistics put youth unemployment at a mere 7.7 percent in 2011 and showed the number of officially unemployed young people falling from 401,000 in 2003 to 324,000 in 2011 as the young population itself dwindled.

The reason for the discrepancy is that the government data do not include those who have given up looking for work altogether and those who keep returning to private training or studies to increase their chances. As a result, critics say government unemployment statistics no longer even remotely reflect reality.

The grim job market has caused even doctoral degree holders or graduates of famous overseas universities to rush to snap up any job including unpaid internships, driving up competition in small and medium-sized enterprises. more

Monju, Mihama nuke plant sites must be checked for active faults: panel - Japan

An expert panel to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has demanded that the sites of the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor and the Mihama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture be checked for active fault lines.

The move comes as part of NISA's survey of nuclear power plants across the country for active faults beneath the facilities. Following a call by the expert panel on Aug. 10, NISA is set to consider whether to order such on-site surveys for the Monju reactor run by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), and the Mihama nuclear plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Co.

An active fault line called the Shiraki-Nyu fault runs some 500 meters west of the Monju reactor and about 1 kilometer east of the Mihama reactors. Experts have previously pointed to the possibility that the crush zones -- areas of rock composed of stone fragments produced by seismic activity -- on the nuclear complexes' premises could shift in conjunction with the fault. If these crush zones have moved within the past 120,000 to 130,000 years, they are recognized as active, but JAEA and Kansai Electric have denied there have been any shifts in that timeframe.

Experts have called for on-site investigations citing lack of evidence in the operators' assertions and a need for a forum for debate while examining the actual sites. Read More

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 17:58:33 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 25 km (16.4 miles) Southwest of Ahar, Iran
At least 87 Reported Deaths, many properties Damaged

Swedes behind teddy bear drop summoned by Belarus’ KGB, have 10 days to appear in Minsk

STOCKHOLM — Belarus’ top security agency — the KGB — has summoned a Swedish advertising team for questioning after the group air-dropped hundreds of parachute-wearing teddy bears that carried pro-human rights messages onto the soil of the authoritarian ex-Soviet state. The agency threatens the Swedes with fines or even jail time if they don’t show up in 10 days.

The July 4 teddy bear drop by Studio Total infuriated Belarus’ autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko, who fired two generals over it. It also may have added stress to already deteriorating diplomatic relations between Stockholm and Minsk. Earlier this month, Belarus effectively expelled Sweden’s ambassador and ordered the Nordic state to close its embassy.

The summons, signed by an investigator named P. Tsernavsky and posted on the KGB’s website Saturday, says the agency is investigating the “criminal case” of the ad group’s “illegal crossing” into Belarusian airspace. The KGB said it wants the Swedes to participate in its “investigative actions” so it can clarify the role each person played and help it decide how to deal with two Belarusian men accused of aiding the Swedes. Read More

Christine Sharp, the grandmother of missing Tia Sharp, is believed to have been arrested

The news comes after a 46-year-old woman, believed to be Ms Sharp, was being questioned by police in south London on suspicion of murder in connection with the disappearance of Tia.

Commander Neil Basu, who is leading the investigation, revealed he had said sorry to Tia’s mother following an 'early review' that made it clear 'human error delayed the discovery of the body within the house'.

'We have apologised to Tia’s mother that our procedures did not lead to the discovery of the body on this search,' Mr Basu said.

'On behalf of the Metropolitan Police I apologise for the distress and concern this delay will have caused.

'A continuing review and examination of our search processes will be undertaken to ensure such a failing is not repeated.'

Mr Basu also suggested the police could be working on the assumption the body was moved from its original location, after the area where it was found was searched as part of the original sweep of the house.

He revealed visits took place on August 5th, 8th and 10th - and the body was only discovered on the third visit yesterday. Read More

Plane crashes in L.A. neighborhood, 1 Killed

(CNN) -- One person aboard a single-engine plane was killed Friday after the aircraft crashed in a West Los Angeles neighborhood, authorities said.

The pilot of the Cessna 210 declared an emergency for unknown reasons around 6:10 p.m. shortly after leaving Santa Monica Airport, according to Ian Gregor, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration in its Western-Pacific region.

The plane then went down about three miles from the airport in a residential neighborhood in West Los Angeles, a few miles from the University of California, Los Angeles, said Gregor.

Overhead video from CNN affiliate KTLA showed firefighters working to douse a fire as most of the plane, including a visible part of its wing, lay in the middle of a road. The aircraft appeared to have hit at least one tree, but not any buildings directly.

The Los Angeles city fire department said in an e-mail that one person died in the crash, though his or her identity was not released.

"No other patients discovered; no home damage from fire," the fire department said. Read More

Iran Earthquakes at least 87 Killed, Hundreds Injured

U.S., Turkey to explore imposing Syria no-fly zone

(Reuters) - The United States and Turkey indicated on Saturday they were studying a range of measures, including a no-fly zone, as battles between Syrian rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's forces shook Aleppo and the heart of Damascus.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after meeting her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul that Washington and Ankara should develop detailed operational planning on ways to assist the rebels fighting to topple Assad.

"Our intelligence services, our military have very important responsibilities and roles to play so we are going to be setting up a working group to do exactly that," she said.

Asked about options such as imposing a no-fly zone over rebel-held territory, Clinton said these were possibilities she and Davutoglu had agreed "need greater in-depth analysis", while indicating that no decisions were necessarily imminent. Read More

Karen Archard: Police Identify Burnt Body Found In Car Park

A woman whose charred remains were discovered in a supermarket car park has been named by police.

Karen Archard, from Westcroft, Chippenham, was found at about 3am in the grounds of the town's Sainsbury's on Tuesday. Her body was discovered after the fire service put out a fire at the site, in Bath Road.

Her next of kin have been informed. It was announced earlier this week that police are not treating her death as suspicious.

Officers say they are continuing to establish the full circumstances of the incident.

Detective Inspector Matt Davey said: "We would like to thank all of the people who have come forward and to the community of Chippenham who have been supportive of this investigation.

"We are still seeking information from anyone who can help us put together Karen's last movements and we would ask you to get in touch with us if you think you can help." Read More

Bus Falls Into Gorge In India Killing at least 39 People

A crowded bus has fallen into a deep gorge in northern India, killing at least 39 people, according to police.

The driver lost control of the vehicle at a sharp bend on a mountain road in Himachal Pradesh state, about 385 miles north of New Delhi, said police officer Raj Kumar.

The bus then plunged more than 300ft into the gorge, Mr Kumar said.

Some 20 people who were injured in the accident have been taken to hospital, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Mr Kumar said the rescue operation was continuing and that the death toll of 39 was likely to rise.

Police figures show India has the world's highest road death toll, with more than 110,000 people dying each year in accidents commonly caused by overcrowding, speeding, and poor vehicle and road maintenance. Source

Syria: Chemical Weapons 'Could Be Used'

Hilary Clinton and Turkey's foreign minister have said they are planning for every eventuality in Syria, including the possibility chemical weapons could be used.

The US Secretary of State is holding talks in Istanbul to discuss the deepening crisis and pledged every effort to bring an end to Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime.

"We need to get into the real details of such operational planning and it needs to be across both of our governments," she said.

"Our intelligence services and our military have very important responsibilities and roles to play so we are going to be setting up a working group to do exactly that."

She added America's aim was to "hasten the end of the bloodshed", and the end of the regime, through a joint-planning programme.

Among the contingencies that the US and Turkey agree on the need to plan for is "the horrible event" that chemical weapons are used, Ms Clinton said.

"What would that mean in terms of response, humanitarian and medical emergency assistance and, of course, what needs to be done to secure those stocks from ever being used or falling into the wrong hands?" she said. Read More

Iran Earthquakes: At Least 87 Dead After Two Earthquakes

Rescue workers head to the northwest of the country after two quakes kill dozens of people and injure hundreds more.

Two strong earthquakes have struck northwest Iran, killing at least 87 people.

Hundreds more were injured and thousands more fled their homes as aftershocks continued to hit the area, state media said.

The US Geological Survey measured the first quake, which struck 37-miles northeast of the city of Tabriz, at 6.4-magnitude.

A second quake measuring 6.3 struck the nearby town of Varzaghan 11 minutes later.

There have been at least 18 aftershocks since then.

"The quake was so intense that people poured into the streets through fear," one local was quoted as saying.

Tabriz is a major city and trading hub far from Iran's oil producing areas and known nuclear facilities.

While many buildings in the city are built to withstand earthquakes, homes and businesses in nearby villages are often made of concrete blocks or mud brick that can crumble and collapse in a strong quake.

Local politician Abbas Falah urged people in the region to stay outdoors during the night for fear of aftershocks.

More follows...

Police say ‘human error’ is to blame for the delay in finding a body at the home of missing Tia Sharp’s grandmother

Police investigating the disappearance of schoolgirl Tia Sharp have apologised to her mother after admitting they should have found a body sooner, blaming 'human error'.

Human remains were discovered at Tia's grandmother's house in south London on the fourth examination of the property yesterday - one week after the 12-year-old was reported missing.

Metropolitan Police's South East London Area Commander Neil Basu said a full search of the house last Sunday, which included the area where the body was found five days later, should have been more thorough.

"An early review has been conducted and it is now clear that human error delayed the discovery of the body within the house," he said.

"We have apologised to Tia's mother that our procedures did not lead to the discovery of the body on this search."

The grandmother of Tia is one of three people arrested over her disappearance, according to Sky sources. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE at a depth of 10.3 km (6.4 miles), the quake hit at 17:47:31 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 1229 km (763 miles) Southeast of Nanortalik, Greenland
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:21:56 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 14 km (8.8 miles) West of Ahar, Iran
At least 87 Reported Deaths, many properties Damaged

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 4 km (2.4 miles), the quake hit at 16:00:49 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 23 km (14.2 miles) West of Ahar, Iran
At least 87 Reported Deaths, many properties Damaged

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 15:43:18 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 36 km (22 miles) Northeats of Tabriz, Iran
At least 87 Reported Deaths, many properties Damaged

3.5 Magnitude Earthquake CHANNEL ISLANDS REGION, CALIFORNIA - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 3.5 earthquake has struck the CHANNEL ISLANDS REGION, CALIFORNIA at a depth of 8 km (5 miles), the quake hit at 15:33:03 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 16 km (9.9 miles) WNW from Palos Verdes Point, California
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 15:21:15 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 30 km (18.6 miles) Southwest of Ahar, Iran
At least 87 Reported Deaths, many properties Damaged

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake TARAPACA, CHILE - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck TARAPACA, CHILE at a depth of 135 km (83.7 miles), the quake hit at 15:09:22 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 70 km (43.4 miles) Southeast from Tarata, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 14:38:22 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 23 km (14.2 miles) West of Ahar, Iran
At least 87 Reported Deaths, many properties Damaged

Iran Earthquake: At least 87 Killed

At least 87 people have been killed in a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in north-western Iran, according to state television.

At least 400 others were injured in the quake, the channel said, which damaged hundreds of homes when it hit near the town of Ahar in East Azerbaijan province.

Iran's main news channel said the quake hit the towns of Ahar, Haris and Varzaqan in East Azerbaijan province, also damaging hundreds of homes.

The TV quoted Khalil Saei, local Crisis Committee chief, as saying that 30 people were killed in Ahar, 40 in Varzaqan and 17 others in Haris.

The broadcast said at least 60 villages sustained damage ranging from 50% to 80%, while four other villages had been totally levelled to the ground.

The TV said at least three aftershocks - measuring 6.0, 4.7 and 4.1 - jolted the same area and were felt in a wide region near the Caspian Sea. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:25:15 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 30 km (18.6 miles) East of Tabriz, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 4 km (2.4 miles), the quake hit at 13:42:11 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 33 km (20.4 miles) West of Ahar, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:14:06 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 32 km (19 miles) WSW of Ahar, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:05:55 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 16 km (9.9 miles) NNW of Ahar, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 12:49:17 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 40 km (24.8 miles) Southwest of Ahar, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 12:44:38 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 31 km (19.2 miles) West of Ahar, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

6.3 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles), the quake hit at 12:34:35 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 32 km (19 miles) WSW of Ahar, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

6.4 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 12:23:17 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) WSW of Ahar, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 57.7 km (35.9 miles), the quake hit at 10:30:08 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 26 km (16 miles) NNE of Iwaki, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA at a depth of 80 km (49.6 miles), the quake hit at 09:56:47 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 193 km (119.6 miles) Southwest Aksu, Xinjiang, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA at a depth of 25.2 km (15.7 miles), the quake hit at 09:34:23 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 175 km (108 miles) East of Arzak, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

US planning for possible imminent chemical warfare in Syria

Turkey has sent the Syrian rebels fighting in Aleppo their first shipment of shoulder-carried, anti-air FIM-92 Stingers, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. More are on the way to insurgent groups battling government forces around Damascus and other parts of Syria.

In Istanbul, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks Saturday, Aug. 11, with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian opposition figures, after which she announced US and Turkish intelligence services and military would set up a joint working team to plan for “many contingencies including the very horrible scenario of the use of chemical weapons.”

DEBKAfile’s US, Turkish and Israeli intelligence sources are taking into account that Bashar Assad will view the supply of Stingers to the rebels as a game changer that threatens to tip the balance of the war against him and respond with chemical warfare against the rebels, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.

In consideration of this menace, France last week flew a medical field hospital specializing in treating chemical poisoning from its medical base at Istres to northern Jordan and set it up close to the Syrian border.

Our sources also disclose that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's decision to put Stingers in Syrian rebel hands came after Assad’s forces shot down a Turkish Air Force F-4 with Russian-made Pantsyr-1 air defense missiles over Latakia on June 22. more

Romney names Paul Ryan as running mate: Does it make any difference for America at this point?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduced Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate on Saturday, turning to the architect of a deeply conservative and intensely controversial long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions in federal spending.

In the campaign to come, Republicans will present economic solutions "that are bold, specific and achievable," Romney said as he presented his political partner. "We offer our commitment to create 12 million new jobs and bring better take home pay to middle class families."

The two men basked in the cheers of supporters in their made-for-television debut on a ticket hoping to make President Barack Obama's first term his last. "I did not make a mistake with this guy," Romney exulted.

"I am deeply excited and honored to join you as your running mate," Ryan said in his first words at the podium." He said that together, Republicans would eliminate the country's "debt, doubt and despair."

He said that "Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem, and Mitt Romney is the solution" to an economy that has yet to make a strong recovery from the worst recession in decades. more

Pharmaceutical research and development: what do we get for all that money? (Answer: Next to nothing, pretty much)

There’s a piece in BMJ this week that’s likely causing some heartburn in the pharmaceutical industry. There’s very little in there that should make pharma happy. First the article questions the “innovation myth” perpetuated by many, even though companies like Pfizer have denied it. Then it starts to get good. I talks about the real innovation crisis being a lack of actually novel drugs being developed (discussed on TIE here). It dismantles the research and development cost claims of the industry (discussed on TIE here and here). It discusses how the low hurdles for approval are resulting in insubstantial improvements (discussed on TIE here). It discusses how much is spent on promotion, and seen in revenue, compared to research and development (emphasis mine):

Complementing the stream of articles about the innovation crisis are those about the costs of research and development being “unsustainable” for the small number of new drugs approved. Both claims serve to justify greater government support and protections from generic competition, such as longer data exclusivity and more taxpayer subsidies. However, although reported research and development costs rose substantially between 1995 and 2010, by $34.2bn, revenues increased six times faster, by $200.4bn. Companies exaggerate costs of development by focusing on their self reported increase in costs and by not mentioning this extraordinary revenue return. Net profits after taxes consistently remain substantially higher than profits for all other Fortune 500 companies.

This hidden business model for pharmaceutical research, sales, and profits has long depended less on the breakthrough research that executives emphasise than on rational actors exploiting ever broader and longer patents and other government protections against normal free market competition. Companies are delighted when research breakthroughs occur, but they do not depend on them, declarations to the contrary notwithstanding. The 1.3% of revenues devoted to discovering new molecules compares with the 25% that an independent analysis estimates is spent on promotion, and gives a ratio of basic research to marketing of 1:19. more

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN - 11th August 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN at a depth of 34.9 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 06:29:23 UTC Saturday 11th August 2012
The epicenter was 155 km (96 miles) Southwest from Naha, Okinawa, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Lightning strikes makeshift mosque in Bangladesh, kills 13

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) -- At least 13 people were killed and 20 wounded when lightning struck a makeshift mosque in a remote village in northeast Bangladesh on Friday, police said.

The lightning strike occurred as people gathered for a special evening prayer known as taraweeh that is conducted during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"Multiple lightning strikes occurred during a storm when nearly 35 people gathered at a house in the village of Saraswati where they turned a tin roof shed into a makeshift mosque for the month of Ramadan as a regular mosque was far away," Dharmapasha police chief Bayes Alam told CNN.

The village Saraswati is some 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the capital of Dhaka.

Heavy rains in recent weeks have swollen the Saraswati River, making access to the village difficult. Read More

Egyptian prank show exposes anti-Israeli sentiment



(CNN) -- Ayman Kandeel grabs the producer of a television network and smacks the lanky young man, cursing angrily.

He throws studio furniture at the camera crew. Then he turns his attention to the beautiful female anchor. Before she can duck, he slaps her across the face, leaving her curled up in a corner of the room.

Kandeel is a famous actor in Egypt, but this is not a skit. He was victimized by a provocative new Egyptian television show called "Alhokm Baad Almozawla," or Judgment After a Prank. Read More

Bomb kills Yemeni officer, al Qaeda suspected

Aug. 10 - A Yemeni officer dies in a car bomb attack that officials say has the hallmarks of al Qaeda.

Syrian and Jordanian forces clash in border area

(Reuters) - Fighting broke out between Jordanian and Syrian forces in a border region between the two countries overnight, but a Jordanian source said on Saturday no one on Jordan's side appeared to have been killed.

A Syrian opposition activist who witnessed the fighting said armored vehicles were involved in the clash in the Tel Shihab-Turra area, about 80 km (50 miles) north of the Jordanian capital Amman, that occurred after Syrian refugees tried to cross into Jordan.

"The Syrian side fired across the border and fighting ensued. Initial reports indicate that there has been no one killed from the Jordanian side," said the Jordanian source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jordanian troops have fired near the border in the past to stop Syrians from shooting at fleeing refugees. Read More

Louisiana sinkhole swallows 100ft tall trees and raises concerns of explosions and radiation leaks

A massive 400-foot deep sinkhole that has opened up in a Louisiana bayou has swallowed all of the 100-foot trees in the surrounding area and led to mandatory evacuations.

About 150 people have been ordered to leave their residences after the 400-sqaure-foot gaping hole opened in Assumption Parish amid fears of potential radiation leaks and natural gas explosions.

But despite the authorities enacting the mandatory evacuation, most people have decided to stay following allegations of a cover-up and industrial mis-management from the owners of a nearby salt cavern.

As state scientists monitored the toxicity of naturally occurring radiation at a slurry hole in Assumption Parish, residents said Thursday they were furious with their public state officials because they think they have been withholding information.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the slurry hole near Bayou Corne is near areas that have been used for oil and gas exploration. Low levels of radioactivity may be remaining from the work, though not at harmful levels, officials say. Read More

Arlington Police officer 'body slamming girl, 15, to the ground' during street fight

Homes Evacuated near Sinkhole

'He has a great amount of intellectual and emotional maturity': Neuroscience professors were IMPRESSED with Colorado shooter James Holmes

The Colorado theater shooting suspect left a good impression on people he met in his pursuit of a neuroscience career, with a reference describing him as having a 'great amount of intellectual and emotional maturity.'

That account comes in a recommendation letter sent to the University of Illinois Neuroscience program as part of James Holmes' application to the school last year. The names of those who wrote the references letters were blacked out.

The letter and all the university's documents related to Holmes were provided to The Associated Press on Friday after an open records request. The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois, first obtained the documents.

Holmes declined to attend the highly selective program, and instead attended the University of Colorado, Denver, studying neuroscience until he dropped out in June. He gave no reason for declining the offer of admission in Illinois, and no reason for dropping out in Colorado.

University of Colorado officials have declined to release Holmes' records, citing a Colorado judge's gag order that does not apply to other states.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in the attack during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie. Holmes attorneys say that he is mentally ill. Read More

Horror as youth suicide rockets in Delaware after 11 young people kill themselves and 116 others try to take their lives

The Centers for Disease control is investigating why 11 young people in Delaware committed suicide in the first four months of this year and another 116 tried to kill themselves.

A preliminary study of the deaths released today found that many of those who killed themselves had multiple risk factors, but that there was no clear link between them.

The report followed a community outcry after three teenagers at Polytech High School killed themselves within two months of each other.

'I would love to know why,' Carol Comegys, who lost her grandson Sam, said to DelawareOnline.
'That’s our biggest thing. It’s what is keeping me from getting over it – just the question. It’s haunting. He was the apple of my eye.'

The CDC report does not identify the hometowns or schools of the dead, but it has been widely reported that earlier this year, Polytech wrestler Nick Capetola and Polytech senior Tegan Deanna Penney took their own lives as well. Read More

Michael Barber who beat his wife and six-year-old daughter to death after paternity test showed girl wasn't his faces death penalty

A California jury recommended the death penalty for Michael Barbar, the man convicted of strangling his wife and beating his six-year-old daughter to death, after learning the girl was not his biological child.

After discovering his wife had been unfaithful the enraged husband handcuffed Maysam Barbar, 43, strangled her with a computer cord and left her lifeless, naked body on her bedroom floor.

Then Barbar, 55, tried to strangle his young daughter, Tamara, but when she fought back, he bashed her head against her bedpost as many as 20 times, until her skull was crushed.

The couple's other daughter Tarah, 13, was asleep in the family's Riverside, California home on the night of the killings and testified that she awoke to hear her sister's chilling cries and a banging sound.

The next morning, Tarah discovered her sister's bed covered in blood and her mother's room locked.

The gruesome crime on November 14, 2009 came eight days after the results of a paternity test revealed the girl Michael Barbar had raised as his own, was not in fact his flesh and blood. Read More

Charley Poole Missing: Police hunt 14-year-old girl who has been missing for more than a week

Police have launched a public appeal to find a teenager who went missing six days ago.

Avon and Somerset police believe that Charley Poole, 14, from Bridgwater, may have been trying to leave the area for Hertfordshire as her last known location was Bristol Templemeads station.

Officers say are concerned because of her age and the fact she does not know the area

The disappearance is a chilling reminder of other youngsters who have gone missing in recent times.

Today police found the body of 12-year-old Tia Sharp who seemingly vanished without a trace last Friday afternoon after telling relatives she was going shopping at the Whitgift Centre in Croydon, south London.

The Met would not confirm the identity of the corpse, but have launched a murder inquiry and have said they are hunting her step-grandfather Stuart Hazell. Read More

Anyone who has seen Charley or knows of Charley Poole's whereabouts is asked to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

MoD may have to reveal how it compiles 'kill list' with U.S. military after legal challenge from an Afghan whose relatives were killed

Britain faces a legal challenge over its alleged role in supplying information to an American military ‘kill list’ in Afghanistan.

Targeting Taliban leaders and drug traffickers plays a key role in Nato’s strategy in Afghanistan.

The existence of the ‘kill list’ was first revealed in a US Senate report in 2009 detailing a new task force linking US and British military with the Drug Enforcement Agency and Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

An Afghan man who lost five relatives in a missile strike has started proceedings against the Soca and the Ministry of Defence, demanding to know the UK’s involvement in the target list.

Solicitors Leigh Day & Co have asked Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Soca to provide assurances about Britain’s participation, and whether it complies with UK and international law. Read More

Who is this twisted woman? Investigators try to identify 'Jane Doe' seen abusing young girls in horrific child porn pictures and videos

A hunt has been launched for unnamed woman accused of molesting two young girls in a child pornography case.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are calling for the public's help to identify the 'Jane Doe'.

Homeland Security Investigations agents obtained images of the woman, who, along with an unidentified man, allegedly victimised the two girls.

One is believed to be between the ages of five and seven and the other is believed to be between the ages of three and five.

Jane Doe is described by HSI special agents as a white female, between the ages of 25 and 35 with a medium build, dark brown hair and blue eyes.

She is also identifiable by a large mole on the back of her left thigh, ABC News reported.

ICE agents were granted a criminal complaint and federal warrant from a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington, D.C. to arrest the woman, who is believed to be living in the United States. Read More

Fisherman catches 13ft killer shark off coast of Cornwall

A fearless angler has told how it took him an hour and a half to haul in a 13ft killer shark.

Stunned Malcolm Roberts, 49, was fishing with a group of pals off the coast of Cornwall when he felt the 350lb Thresher shark - which can decapitate a human using just its tail - tugging on his line.

Mr Roberts and his five-strong crew wrestled with the giant predator before he finally pulled it into his boat.

The giant catch, landed around 20 miles off the coast of Looe, Cornwall, is one of the biggest ever caught in British waters. Read More

Anger as Bank staff get £25m bonuses: Despite failing to spot credit crunch and rate scandals

Bank of England staff have been awarded more than £25million in bonuses since the start of the credit crunch, it emerged yesterday.

The payments have been handed out despite the fact that Governor Sir Mervyn King and his top team failed to anticipate the global financial crisis, and did nothing to prevent the Libor interest-rate rigging scandal.

Figures yesterday showed that the level of payouts actually increased last year by £200,000 to £4.9million – as Britain returned to recession.

One MP called the taxpayer-funded sums ‘rewards for failure’.

Over the past five years, thousands of Bank of England executives have received up to £30,000 in performance-related pay.

The awards, handed out between when the credit crunch began in 2007 and this year, have totalled £25.3million. They come on top of generous salaries which exceed £150,000 a year for some of the Bank’s senior staff. Read More

Dave Short killed in 'gangland hit' days after two suspects are charged with shooting his amateur boxer son dead in a crowded pub

Dale Cregan, pictured, is wanted in relation to the murder of Mark Short - police are urging him to hand himself in after a man was killed at a house in Clayton, Manchester

A one-eyed man is at the centre of a manhunt after a grieving father was brutally executed yesterday just weeks after his son was shot dead.

David Short, 47, was gunned down at his home after earlier calling his son’s killers ‘cowards’.

The shooting happened as two men appeared in court charged with the murder of his son.

Ten weeks ago Mark Short, 23, was blasted to death as he played pool with his friends in a crowded pub.
Last night police issued a photograph of one-eyed Dale Cregan, 29, who is wanted in connection with both murders.

Yesterday’s terrifying shooting happened as children played in a park nearby.

Two gunmen confronted Mr Short at his home in Clayton, Manchester, at 10.30am.
A neighbour said: ‘There were between five and eight shots fired – the last couple were really loud.

‘I looked out of my window and saw two men running off – all masked up.'

The killing came as Luke Livesey, 27, and Damien Gorman, 38, appeared via video link at Manchester Crown Court charged with the murder of Mark Short.

Mr Short, a father of one, was blasted in the neck and died almost instantly after a gunman burst into the busy Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Manchester.

Yesterday, the killing in Clayton, Manchester was being linked to the murder of Mark, who was shot dead while he was playing pool at his local pub. Read More

Stuart Hazell Arrested After eight hours Man Hunt

Police were accused of incredible blunders last night after the body of Tia Sharp was found hidden at her grandmother’s home.

They even allowed ‘step-grandfather’ Stuart Hazell to go missing for several hours before he was arrested following a tip-off from a member of the public.

He was being detained last night on suspicion of murder. Neighbours were left questioning why it took more than 100 officers seven days to locate Tia, 12, when her body had been in the house all along.

And last night police refused to discuss where in the property the discovery was made even though they used ladders to access the loft.

Three searches had already been carried out and detectives are investigating whether the 12-year-old’s body was moved between the roof spaces of neighbouring properties. Read More