Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gun sales sky rocket due to Fear of possible Obama Second Term

ISIS Warns of 50-Nuke North Korea

North Korea could end the next five years in possession of anywhere from 14 to almost 50 nuclear weapons, according to a new report from the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

The report, ‘North Korea’s Estimated Stocks of Plutonium and Weapon-Grade Uranium’ by David Albright and Christine Walrond, projects the development of North Korea’s nuclear programs over the next five years. Attempting to analyze the various ways North Korea might employ its declared uranium enrichment facility (and other potential facilities) and under-construction light water reactor at Yongbyon, the report concludes that, in the worst-case scenario, the North could be in possession of up to 48 nuclear weapons by 2016.

ISIS acknowledges that the projections are based on incomplete data due to the opaqueness of the nuclear programs in question. However, they remind readers that “regardless of the accuracy of the estimates, it is critical to take steps that reduce the chances that North Korea will increase the size of its nuclear arsenal… This strategy should include both an attempt to negotiate a solution and increase efforts to detect, thwart, and delay North Korea’s nuclear progress.” more

Cows being fed rejected candy during drought (Yummy)

Ranchers have struggled with skyrocketing corn prices, because the drought has made feeding their livestock very expensive. But one rancher has turned to a very sweet solution.

At Mayfield's United Livestock Commodities, owner Joseph Watson is tweaking the recipe for success.

"Just to be able to survive, we have to look for other sources of nutrition," he said.

His 1,400 cattle are no longer feeding off corn. The prices, Watson says, are too high to keep corn in stock. So earlier this year, he began to buy second-hand candy.

"It has a higher ratio of fat than actually feeding straight corn," Watson explained. "It's hard to believe it will work but we've already seen the results of it now."

Watson mixes the candy with an ethanol by-product and a mineral nutrient. He says the cows have not shown any health problems from eating the candy, and they are gaining weight as they should.

"This ration is balanced to have not too much fat in it," he said.

The packaged candy comes from various companies at a discounted rate because it is not fit for store shelves.

"Salvage is a problem for a lot of these companies and they're proud to have a place to go with it," said Watson. more

5.9 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 18th August 2012

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 9.7 km (6 miles), the quake hit at 17:45:02 UTC Saturday 18th August 2012
The epicenter was 80 km (49 miles) ENE of Hihifo, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake SIMEULUE, INDONESIA - 18th August 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck SIMEULUE, INDONESIA at a depth of 42.9 km (26.7 miles), the quake hit at 17:16:04 UTC Saturday 18th August 2012
The epicenter was 281 km (175 miles) West from Sibolga, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Philippines interior secretary missing in plane crash

(CNN) -- Philippines Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo is among three missing after a small aircraft crashed off Masbate Bay, the state-run PNA news agency reported, citing civil aviation authorities.

One person, identified as Robredo's aide, was rescued from the crash site, civil aviation chief William Hotchkiss told PNA.

Robredo was headed to Naga City to attend a political event, the agency reported.

The Philippines Department of Interior and Local Government said on its Twitter account that the pilot sent a distress call to the Masbate airport requesting an emergency landing. It also said that Robredo was unable to get out of the plane.

However, the department deleted its messages later.

The plane never made it the airport and crashed in the ocean, Hotchkiss said.

Authorities were searching for Robredo and the two pilots, PNA reported. Read More

Dallas sprays against West Nile virus

Aug. 18 - Texas resumes spraying aerial pesticide in Dallas area to combat the spread of the West Nile virus. Sunita Rappai reports.

Air strikes rock Syria

Aug. 18 - Rebels say Syria's government is stepping up airstrikes on the city of Aleppo as U.N. efforts to promote peace draw sighs from refugees. Andrew Raven reports

Judge rejects Facebook settlement over ad feature

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge rejected Facebook Inc's proposed legal settlement to resolve allegations that the social networking company violated its members' rights through the its 'Sponsored Stories' advertising feature.

In an order on Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco listed several concerns with the proposed settlement, including a request for more information on why the agreement does not award any money to members.

Seeborg said the company and attorneys for the plaintiffs could try to modify their agreement to address his concerns.

"We continue to believe the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. "We appreciate the court's guidance and look forward to addressing the questions raised in the order."

Representatives for the plaintiffs could not immediately be reached for comment. Read More

Syria denies Assad's deputy tried to defect

(Reuters) - Syria denied reports on Saturday that President Bashar al-Assad's deputy had defected and its forces pursued an offensive against rebels, bombarding parts of Aleppo in the north and attacking an insurgent-held town in the oil-producing east.

Vice-President Farouq al-Shara "never thought for a moment about leaving the country", said a statement from his office broadcast on state television in response to reports that the veteran Baath Party loyalist had tried to defect to Jordan.

Assad, battling a 17-month-old rebellion led by Syria's Sunni Muslim majority that has escalated into civil war, has suffered a string of defections including by his prime minister Riyadh Hijab two weeks ago.

Shara, whose cousin - an intelligence officer - announced his own defection on Thursday, is a Sunni Muslim from Deraa province where the revolt began against Assad, a member of the minority Alawite sect that is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. Read More

Kim Jong-un tells troops of duty to fight 'sacred war'

North Korean state television broadcast on Saturday of leader Kim Jong-un visiting an artillery unit near the country's sea border ahead of an annual joint military drill between South Korea and the US.

His visit to Mu island precede annual war games by allies South Korea and the United States scheduled to begin on Monday and continue until Aug 31.

State news agency KCNA said Kim, who came to power in December 2011 after the death of his father, visited the same artillery unit that launched a deadly attack on South Korea's Yeonpyeong island near the western sea border two years ago.

State television reported the North Korean leader "ordered the servicepersons... not to miss their golden chance to deal at once deadly counter-blows at the enemy if even a single shell is dropped on the waters or in the area where the sovereignty of the DPRK is exercised".

Kim Jong-un also said the Korean People's Army should then "lead the battle to a sacred war for national reunification, not confining it to a local war on the southwest region". Read More

US Drone Strike in Pakistan: 4 Killed

Pakistani security officials say a U.S. drone attack in a tribal region has killed at least four people.

Authorities say two missiles were fired Saturday in the attack in North Waziristan, a region near the Afghan border considered a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

Drone strikes are a contentious issue between Washington and Islamabad. Pakistan says the strikes violate its sovereignty but the United States believes they are an important tool in the effort to defeat al-Qaida.

Elsewhere Saturday in Pakistan, officials say a suicide car bomber has killed five people, including at least three members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

Authorities say the attacker detonated his explosives near Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. Read More

Bahraini teenager killed in clash with police

DUBAI, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A 16-year-old protester was killed after what opposition activists in Bahrain said was a "brutal attack" by security forces, but which the Bahrain government described as a defensive response to a petrol bomb attack on police.

The opposition says more than 45 people have been killed in protests since June 2011, when the government lifted martial law it had imposed to help quash pro-democracy demonstrations by its Shi'ite Muslim majority inspired by revolts against repressive dynasties across the Arab world.

However, the Interior Ministry says protesters have injured more than 700 police officers in clashes and that the police, who do not use live fire, have been exercising restraint.

The protester's death - after a demonstration on Friday night - came as the United States, an ally of Manama, expressed concern over Bahrain's jailing of a prominent opposition activist, Nabeel Rajab, for three years. Read More

Egypt's security forces clash with militants after attacked in Sinai, 4 wounded

EL-ARISH, Egypt — Militants attacked Egypt’s security forces and wounded four policemen in the Sinai peninsula on Saturday, in the tenth day of clashes since 16 soldiers were killed in the volatile borderland near Israel and the Gaza strip earlier this month.

The troops were returning from an early morning raid where they had arrested two suspects in their homes when militants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at their convoy as it was driving along a major road, a security official said.

The government troops fired back immediately but the attackers fled, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The attack occurred on the coastal road linking northern Sinai’s main city of el-Arish to the Egypt-Gaza border town of Rafah.

Senior security officials say Islamic militants were behind the Aug. 5 assault on the soldiers, the worst attack on troops from inside Egypt in living memory. They died when masked gunmen stormed their security checkpoint, mowing them down as they broke fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Read More

Japan activists sail for islands despite China anger

ISHIGAKI, Japan — A flotilla of boats carrying Japanese nationalists and lawmakers set sail Saturday for islands at the heart of a vitriolic diplomatic row with China, despite warnings from Beijing.

Around 150 people, including eight parliamentarians, left far southwest Ishigaki bound for the archipelago in the East China Sea, a day after Japan deported pro-China activists who had sailed there from Hong Kong.

The voyage came as Beijing told Tokyo it had to immediately cease actions "harming" its territorial sovereignty.

"I want to show the international community that these islands are ours. It is Japan's future at stake," Kenichi Kojima, a local politician from Kanagawa, near Tokyo, told AFP before he boarded.

Parliamentarian Keiko Yamatani said most countries recognised Japan's sovereignty over the island chain, but added: "I think this kind of expedition will help raise awareness around the world."

The 20 vessels left the southwestern Japanese island of Ishigaki at 8:30 pm (1130 GMT), an AFP journalist on board one of the boats reported. Read More

Americas weigh UK threat to enter Ecuador's embassy

The Organisation of American States jumps into the diplomatic row over Julian Assange and the inviolability of the Ecuadorian embassy as the WikiLeaks founder prepares to address the crowd on Sunday.

Foreign ministers across the Americas are to meet on Friday to discuss Britain's threat to revoke the Ecuadorian embassy's consular status and arrest the 41-year-old WikiLeaks founder for extradition to Sweden.

José Miguel Insulza, OAS secretary general, said ministers will address: "the inviolability of diplomatic missions of all members of this organisation, something that is of interest to all of us."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Ecuador's diplomatic immunity should not be used to harbour an alleged criminal. Mr Assange has not be charged but is wanted for questioning in Sweden to answer a rape allegation. Read More

5.9 Magnitude Earthquake HALMAHERA, INDONESIA - 18th August 2012

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake has struck HALMAHERA, INDONESIA at a depth of 46.7 km (29 miles), the quake hit at 15:31:44 UTC Saturday 18th August 2012
The epicenter was 122 km (75 miles) Northeast of Tobelo, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Will Israel launch an attack on Iran?

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called Israel "an insult to humankind". It follows a week in which Israel has been carrying out an increasingly public debate about whether to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

Some people have suggested that an attack is more likely to happen before America's presidential election in November, because it would be harder for President Obama to stop it.

Newsnight's diplomatic editor Mark Urban told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that "Israel is not capable unilaterally of creditably threatening to take out Iran's nuclear programme...That said, people in Israel seem to be bemused that the wider world isn't paying more attention to the issue at the moment."

The BBC's North America editor, Mark Mardell said that in America: "There is support for dealing with the threat of Iran getting hold of a nuclear weapon but there is no enthusiasm for war." Read More