Tuesday, August 14, 2012

NOAA Requests Ammunition For The Weather Service? (Huh?)

On 9 Aug 2012, the Department of Commerce, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by way of the National Weather Service, put out a solicitation for a small variety of ammunition.

The solicitation breaks down the requirements:

-- 16,000 rounds of ammunition for semiautomatic pistols to be factory-loaded .40 S&W caliber, 180-grain jacketed hollow point (JHP).

-- 6,000 rounds of frangible, 125-grain CFRHT .40 caliber.

-- 24,000 rounds of ammunition for semiautomatic pistols to be factory-loaded .40 S&W caliber, 180-grain jacketed hollow point (JHP).

In all, 40,000 rounds of ammunition, and only 500 Transtar II blue 24" x 40" targets are being ordered.

All the ammunition and targets are being spread out over the US to three locations, Ellsworth, ME; New Bedford, MA; Wall, NJ; and St. Petersburg, FL. Only the 24,000 rounds are being sent to Florida, no targets will be shipped there.

This all comes after the Department of Homeland Security requested a contract with manufactures for over 63,000,000 rounds rounds over the next 4 years.

And this raises other questions:

Could not the US Government simply re-allot the ammunition from DHS to DOC?

What is it about being a weather person that requires the training and use of a firearm?

What future event is coming that makes the National Weather Service believes it needs to train and arm its employees? more

Watch what happens when Guns are banned in Australia

62 wildfires blaze through Western U.S.



(CNN) -- Whipped by high winds, a wildfire in central Washington state has scorched 26,500 acres and destroyed at least 60 homes, officials said Tuesday.


The fire raging near Cle Elum is one of several devastating Western states this week.

Colorado paid the price earlier this summer. Now, new wildfires are burning through sagebrush, grass and beetle-killed lodgepole pines in California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington and Idaho.

In all, 62 fires, including 16 new large fires, were burning as of Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service reported. They have destroyed dozens of homes and are threatening many more. Read More

Malfunction Shuts Down Nuclear Core In Maryland

Authorities are looking into an incident at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant, located 70 miles south of Baltimore in Maryland. The malfunction poses no risk to the public, but it did cause a major drop in power generation.

A spokesman said Monday that a control rod unexpectedly dropped into the reactor core. Control rods are used to regulate the pace of the nuclear reaction.

Dr. David Lochbaum is a nuclear expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a watchdog group. He says these types of events happen about once every two years at most U.S. nuclear plants.

"The event involved a malfunction that caused one of the control rods to drop into the reactor core as its designed to do — it's a failsafe mode," says Lochbaum.

The plant says it's inspecting Unit 1 and it will remain closed for maintenance. Most industry and outside experts including Lochbaum say the event does not pose a safety risk. Read More

Russia to send navy vessels to disputed Pacific islands

Aug 14 (Reuters) - Russia will send two navy vessels to the disputed Kuril islands in the Pacific, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday, in a move likely to anger Japan which lays claim to them.

The dispute has strained relations between the two countries since World War Two, when Soviet forces occupied the four islands at the southern end of the Kuril chain.

Japan says the islands are part of its territory and wants Moscow to hand them over.

The Russian Defence Ministry said the large landing ship Admiral Nevelskoi and the tugboat Kalar will visit three of the four islands to take part in ceremonies honouring Soviet sailors who died there at the end of World War Two. Read More

Norway PM under pressure to quit after Breivik report

(Reuters) - Norway's prime minister came under pressure to resign on Tuesday after an official report said police could have prevented a murder spree by far right militant Anders Behring Breivik last year that killed 77 people.

The attack, which involved a deadly bombing of central Oslo and a shooting spree at a teenage summer camp, shook the tiny nation of 5 million people, raising questions about the prevalence of far right views and the efficiency of the police.

On Monday, a government commission concluded that the country's intelligence services and police had both made a series of crucial blunders that had allowed Breivik to carry out his crimes on July 22 2011 unimpeded.

"A more devastating verdict on our government could not have been made," top-selling newspaper VG said on Tuesday, calling in a front page editorial for Jens Stoltenberg, the prime minister, to resign.

"The government failed to protect the people because of incompetence. It would be intolerable if this didn't have personal consequences for the people involved," it added.

Daily DN also laid the responsibility for the failings on the prime minister, saying he had delayed approving security measures that could have prevented the attack. Read More

Neil Entwistle convicted of killing his wife and baby daughter in rented Massachusetts home loses appeal for retrial

The highest court in Massachusetts rejected the appeal of a British man convicted of killing his wife and baby daughter in their rented home, saying in its decision released today that warrantless searches of the home were justified because those inside might have been in danger.

In arguing for a new trial, lawyers for Neil Entwistle said saying evidence obtained during the warrantless searches of the Hopkinton home while police were looking for the missing family should have been dismissed. They also argued that media coverage made it impossible to get an impartial jury
The court rejected the arguments, concluding that Entwistle 'received a fair trial that was ably tried and judged.'

Entwistle was convicted of the 2006 shootings of his wife, Rachel, and their nine-month-old daughter, Lillian.

The Nottingham engineer is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for their murders. Read More

Anton Vickerman a Pirate website owner gets four years. But what about Google?

Anton Vickerman's sentence may set an example, but don't search engines do as much to facilitate piracy as sites like surfthechannel?

Four years is longer than the average jail term for assault or burglary. But that is the sentence received by Anton Vickerman of Gateshead today, after he had been found guilty of two counts of "conspiracy to defraud" by running a website, surfthechannel.com, that linked to pirated films and more.

Piracy is illegal of course and Vickerman was running a site that was so popular that its profits were estimated at £300,000 a year at its height. But there is nobody angrier about piracy than the vast film and music industries, whose businesses are said to suffer from the practice. To them a four-year sentence is a coup.

No wonder then that Vickerman was targeted in a private prosecution by FACT, the anti-piracy body, funded by the entertainment industries. In fact the Crown Prosecution Service initially concluded that it could not give authority to bring a prosecution, leaving FACT to pursue a further investigation in order to gather more evidence. Read More

One can only wonder why FACT doesn't have the heart to prosecute Google and YouTube, or any of the other content archives where links to, or actual, pirated material has been known to crop up.

German minister warns coalition partners against euro populism

(Reuters) - Germany's Economy Minister Philipp Roesler has warned against using populism in the debate over the euro zone crisis and stressed the commitment of his party, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), to closer European integration.

"Euro populism is not a road that the Free Democrats and I go down," he told Spiegel's online edition on Tuesday.

"You can only keep Europe and its strong currency intact if you have a clear framework of rules," Roesler, also Germany's vice chancellor, was quoted as saying.

He said the Christian Social Union (CSU), which along with the FDP is in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, needed to either make party members like Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder, who has called for a Greek exit, moderate their views or isolate them. Read More

Pussy Riot vows more protests

Aug. 14 - As three of their bandmates face trial, punk protest group Pussy Riot says it will continue its activism. Lindsey Parietti reports

Tight security after South African mine clashes kill nine

Aug. 14 - Another body is discovered at South Africa's Lonmin mine after a feud between rival unions left nine people, including two polices officers, dead. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Libyan fighters join Syrian revolt against Assad

(Reuters) - Veteran fighters of last year's civil war in Libya have come to the front-line in Syria, helping to train and organize rebels under conditions far more dire than those in the battle against Muammar Gaddafi, a Libyan-Irish fighter has told Reuters.

Hussam Najjar hails from Dublin, has a Libyan father and Irish mother and goes by the name of Sam. A trained sniper, he was part of the rebel unit that stormed Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli a year ago, led by Mahdi al-Harati, a powerful militia chief from Libya's western mountains.

Harati now leads a unit in Syria, made up mainly of Syrians but also including some foreign fighters, including 20 senior members of his own Libyan rebel unit. He asked Najjar to join him from Dublin a few months ago, Najjar said.

The Libyans aiding the Syrian rebels include specialists in communications, logistics, humanitarian issues and heavy weapons, he said. They operate training bases, teaching fitness and battlefield tactics.

Najjar said he was surprised to find how poorly armed and disorganized the Syrian rebels were, describing Syria's Sunni Muslim majority as far more repressed and downtrodden under Assad than Libyans were under Gaddafi. Read More

Standard Chartered Reaches £217m Settlement...and yet another bank escapes Justice

Standard Chartered has agreed a £217m ($340m) settlement with US regulators over allegations the UK-based bank hid illegal transactions involving Iran.

Under the deal with New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), the bank will install a monitor for at least two years who will report directly to DFS and who will evaluate the money-laundering risk controls in its New York branch.

DFS officials will also be placed on site at the bank.

And the bank will permanently install staff in its New York branch to oversee and audit any offshore money-laundering due diligence and monitoring undertaken.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York Superintendent of Financial Services, issued a statement saying: "The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and Standard Chartered Bank have reached an agreement to settle the matters raised in the DFS Order dated August 6, 2012.

"The parties have agreed that the conduct at issue involved transactions of at least $250bn." Read More

Iran earthquakes: More than 300 killed, 3,000 injured many more Homeless

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- The death toll from a pair of earthquakes that jolted Iran on Saturday has escalated once again, state-run media reported Monday.

At least 306 people have been killed and 3,037 injured in the two quakes in northwest Iran, Press TV reported, citing the country's Health Ministry.

The head of emergency services, Gholamreza Masoumi, told the semi-official Fars News Agency that 4,500 people were injured. About 1,200 were taken to hospitals, and the remaining 3,300 were treated as outpatients and released, he said.
Rescue operations were reported to have ended Sunday.

"All those killed or injured in the incident have been taken out of the rubble," said Abolhassan Faqih, the head of Iran's Red Crescent Society, according to Fars.

Scores of villages were destroyed or damaged by the quakes, which struck East Azarbaijan province northeast of Tabriz, the country's fourth-largest city.

Khalil Saei, the provincial director of crisis management, told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency that the cities of Ahar and Varzaqan were the hardest hit. Read More

Thai senator shoots ex-wife with Uzi...then Claims it's an Accident

(CNN) -- A Thai politician accidentally shot and killed his former wife and personal secretary with a submachine gun in a restaurant in northern Thailand, local police said Monday.

Senator Boonsong Kowawisarat was dining with Chanakarn Detkard and four others on Sunday when he took out an Uzi 9mm sub-machine gun, police said.

"Senator Boonsong's gun was accidentally fired off while he was trying to keep his pistol into its case. The shot went straight into his secretary who was having dinner," Police Lt. Colonel Choosak Pulsawat told CNN.

The police officer said that Boonsong had been separated from his wife for a while but they were currently living together.

He added that Boonsong had permission to own such a weapon.

Police have initially charged Boonsong with causing death by negligence but he cannot be arrested while the Thai parliament is in session -- unless the parliament rules otherwise. Read More

Two Tibetans self-immolate in China protest

(CNN) -- Two Tibetans set themselves on fire on Monday, adding to a string of self-immolations in protest against Chinese rule in the troubled region, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) and various media reports.

The men were taken by Chinese security forces to a hospital and their condition remains unclear.

TCHRD and Radio Free Asia named the two Tibetans as Lungtok, a monk from the restive Kirti monastery in southwest China, and an ordinary citizen named Tashi.

The self-immolations took place on Monday evening in Ngaba county, Sichuan province. It set off protests and a confrontation at the scene between Tibetans and Chinese police, according to the TCHRD. Read More

Suicide attacks kill 27 in Afghanistan



Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghanistan endured an unusually bloody day Tuesday, with three separate attacks leaving at least 41 people dead and more than 100 wounded, according to government and police officials.

At least 27 people died and 80 were injured in a series of attacks Tuesday afternoon in Zaranj, the capital of the southwestern Afghan province of Nimruz, a government spokesman said.

In northeastern Afghanistan, a bomb blast at a bazaar in Kunduz province killed 10 people, while a Taliban ambush in Badakhshan killed a district police chief and three other officers, according to police officials.

The attacks made Tuesday the bloodiest day in Afghanistan so far this year.

The first in a series of apparent suicide bomb attacks in Zaranj hit a government gas station, killing and injuring some people, provincial government spokesman Omar Baluch said. Read More

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 14th August 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 15:48:23 UTC Tuesday 14th August 2012
The epicenter was 13 km (8 miles) West of Ahar, Iran
No Injuries or Damage reported at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 14th August 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 25 km (15.5 miles), the quake hit at 15:17:41 UTC Tuesday 14th August 2012
The epicenter was 61 km (38 miles) Southwest from Attu Station, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHEAST OF THE LOYALTY ISLANDS - 14th August 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck SOUTHEAST OF THE LOYALTY ISLANDS at a depth of 45.3 km (28.1 miles), the quake hit at 15:08:16 UTC Tuesday 14th August 2012
The epicenter was 376 km (234 miles) ESE from Tadine, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Russian attack submarine sailed in Gulf of Mexico undetected for weeks, U.S. officials say

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.

The stealth underwater incursion in the Gulf took place at the same time Russian strategic bombers made incursions into restricted U.S. airspace near Alaska and California in June and July, and highlights a growing military assertiveness by Moscow.

The submarine patrol also exposed what U.S. officials said were deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities—forces that are facing cuts under the Obama administration’s plan to reduce defense spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years.

The Navy is in charge of detecting submarines, especially those that sail near U.S. nuclear missile submarines, and uses undersea sensors and satellites to locate and track them.

The fact that the Akula was not detected in the Gulf is cause for concern, U.S. officials said. more

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 14th August 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 4.9 km (3 miles), the quake hit at 14:02:26 UTC Tuesday 14th August 2012
The epicenter was 21 km (13 miles) West of Ahar, Iran
No Injuries or Damage reported at this time

UK Soldiers Linked To Death Of Kenyan Woman

Sky News has learnt that the British Government is assisting Kenyan authorities with an investigation into allegations that British soldiers murdered a 21-year old Kenyan woman.

Agnes Wanjiru-Wanjiku disappeared from a hotel in the Kenyan town of Nanyuki on March 31. Her body was found on June 5 inside a septic tank on the hotel grounds.

According to sources in Kenya speaking anonymously to Sky News, witnesses in the town claim they saw Ms Wanjiru enter the hotel on March 31 with two British soldiers.

Ms Wanjiru is said to have worked as a prostitute in the town, which is used by the British Army as a training base for soldiers before deployment to Afghanistan.

But Sky News can now reveal that the UK Government has been aware of the incident and the accusations since Ms Wanjiru’s body was found.

The extent of the cooperation between the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Kenyan Police is not clear. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake AZORES ISLANDS, PORTUGAL - 14th August 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the AZORES ISLANDS, PORTUGAL at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 12:31:23 UTC Tuesday 14th August 2012
The epicenter was 106 km (65 miles) Northwest of Ribeira Grande, Portugal
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Hundreds evacuated by chlorine leak, Colorado

A round 100 employees have been evacuated from a handful of businesses on Centennial Boulevard because of a reported chlorine gas leak.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department reports the leak occurred inside the Thin Metal Parts building off of Centennial and List north of Garden of the Gods.

One person was being evaluated by medical personnel at the scene. There are no other reports of injuries. Source

Town evacuated as fires rage in Northern California

A fast-moving brush fire in Northern California is threatening 500 homes and has prompted officials to evacuate an entire town.

Fueled by broiling, dry conditions, the Wye fire off Highway 20 has burned 3,000 acres near the Lake County town of Spring Valley, which was evacuated.

“It is burning on both sides of Highway 20 and it’s burning in an easterly direction toward the community of Spring Valley,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson told the Lake County News.

According to Cal Fire, a second fire is also burning in Lake County. The Walker fire has burned 2,000 acres.

Firefighters were traveling from across the state to help battle both fires. Source

New wildfire threatening homes in central Washington

CLE ELUM, Wash. -- A new wildfire burning east of Cle Elum in central Washington is growing quickly and reportedly threatening some homes.

A Washington Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman says the Taylor Bridge fire had burned across more than a square mile - or about 800 acres- by mid-afternoon Monday. Fire crews from nearby communities are being called to the scene.

The Daily Record of Ellensburg reports that the state Transportation Department is closing a two-mile section of U.S. Highway 97 because of the fire.

The newspaper says a stable has moved all of its horses. Read More

Forest fire fought on Warm Springs Reservation‎, Oregon

Hot, dry winds Monday afternoon prompted major growth in a week-old lightning-sparked forest fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, estimated to have burned 70 to 100 acres of valuable timber.

The newly named Waterfall fire, burning about three miles northeast of the Mt. Jefferson summit, is "one we've been watching" since a lightning strike from Aug. 5 thunderstorms ignited it, said fire spokesman Clay Penhollow.

"We had a crew on, fighting the west side of it today, but it took off on the east" side as winds picked up, Penhollow said, adding that no structures or roads were threatened. Instead, he said, it was burning some "valuable timber," putting up a plume visible for many miles. Read More

Food poisoning hospitalizes 120 in Hainan, China

SANYA - A suspected food poisoning case on a southern Chinese island led to the hospitalization of 120 tourists on Sunday, including six foreigners, local authorities told Xinhua on Monday.

The vacationers were sent for medical treatment after their breakfast in the Howard Johnson Hotel in Sanya City in Hainan Province, said Zhou Baocang, deputy director of the Sanya Health Bureau.

Twenty-eight people left hospital after treatment, while the other 92 remain in the People's Hospital of Sanya and No.425 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army.

"No deaths have been reported. The patients are recovering well," said Chen Weijie, deputy director of the Sanya City Food and Drug Administration.

Four of the six foreigners are from Russia and two from Japan, and all of them are in stable condition, Zhou said.

Initial investigation showed that the illnesses were caused by food harboring bacteria, and more evidence needs to be collected, Zhou said.

Service at the hotel's restaurant has been suspended. Read More

Mudslide shuts down Yellowstone east gate

A mudslide near Pahaska Tepee closed down the East Entrance to Yellowstone Park on Sunday morning.

Early morning thunderstorms led to heavy rain and the slide covered both lanes of the North Fork Highway.

Chris Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, said about a half inch of rain fell in under 30 minutes.

The same amount of rain in an urban area would cause street flooding, where water would rise above the sidewalks, Jones said.

“A half inch in an urban area can cause problems,” he said.

The slide caused the east gate to close 6:30-10 a.m. Sunday, Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said. Read More

Heat Shuts Down Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford

A reactor at the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn., has shut down because of something that its 1960s designers never anticipated: the water in Long Island Sound was too warm to cool it.

Under the reactor’s safety rules, the cooling water can be no higher than 75 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, the water’s temperature soared to 76.7 degrees, prompting the operator, Dominion Power, to order the shutdown of the 880-megawatt reactor.

“Temperatures this summer are the warmest we’ve had since operations began here at Millstone,’’ said a spokesman for Dominion, Ken Holt. The plant’s first reactor, now retired, began operation in 1970.

The plant’s third reactor was still running on Monday, but engineers were watching temperature trends carefully out of concern that it, too, might have to shut down. Read More

Millions of Jellyfish invading Barnegat Bay‎

When you hear "Invasion of the Jellyfish" you're probably thinking of a sci-fi B movie from the '70s, not a serious situation at the Jersey Shore.

But there is indeed an invasion of jellyfish at the Jersey Shore. As NBC-10 reports, tens of millions of Jellyfish have invaded Barnegat Bay.

The jellyfish have been spotted in Barnegat Bay, Manahawkin in Stafford, Waretown, and the bay side of Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island.

According to Professor Paul Bologna, Montclair State's Director of Aquatic and Coastal Sciences, the reason for the proliferation of jellyfish could be the use of plastic on the surfaces of docks. He explains sea nettle larvae settle on those surfaces and change into polyps, which bud off to create more of themselves.

Another theory from a Rutgers University report: the bay's ecological decline has spread southward since the 1990s. The declining ecological conditions have become a perfect place for jellyfish to prosper.

Whatever the reason, unless they're looking for a shock to their system, swimmers and surfers should be on the lookout for the jellyfish. Source

Delta Connection flight Blown tires force emergency landing at JFK‎

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NEW YORK (WABC) -- A Delta Connection flight from Boston to Kansas City made an emergency landing at Kennedy Airport with two blown tires Monday night.

Delta Flight 3285, operated by Pinnacle Airlines, took off from Boston's Logan Airport at 6:42 p.m. en route to Kansas City. During takeoff, the plane blew two tires.

The pilot initially planned to go back to Logan Airport and circled the airport several times to burn fuel. However, as a result of high winds in the area, the plane diverted to Kennedy Airport and landed safely at around 8:30 p.m. Read More

Typhus alert issued for city of Long Beach, California

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Long Beach issued an alert to residents regarding an outbreak of flea-borne typhus, a disease transmitted to humans via fleas.

Murine typhus, also known as flea-borne typhus, is spread from fleas living on rodents, possums, raccoons and cats. The disease is transmitted by bites from infected fleas. The disease is not spread from person to person.

Symptoms include high fever, body aches, severe headaches and a rash. People may become sick enough to be hospitalized, but the disease is rarely fatal.

Public health officials will continue to monitor and test for evidence of flea-borne typhus in areas throughout Long Beach. Read More

Ebola Scare in Mombasa As Driver Is Quarantined, Kenya

A truck driver was yesterday quarantined at Mombasa's Aga Khan Hospital on suspicion he was infected with the deadly Ebola virus. The man only identified as Moses, 61, is said to have been in Kampala as from August 3, and arrived yesterday in Mombasa with symptoms resembling those of Ebola.

According to Coast provincial director of Public Health and Sanitation Anisa Omar, the man had symptoms of fatigue, sore throat and fever, prompting doctors to seclude him from the rest of the patients at the hospital.

"It's true the man was in Kampala from August 3 and when he arrived, he developed the symptoms. He decided to seek medical attention at the hospital where he was isolated from the other patients after being examined by the doctors,' Omar said.

Anisa said the patient's blood samples have been taken to the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi. She however allayed fears of the virus spreading to other parts of the region saying the situation is under control. Read More