Sunday, August 19, 2012

US 'should hand over footage of drone strikes or face UN inquiry'

The US must open itself to an independent investigation into its use of drone strikes or the United Nations will be forced to step in, Ben Emmerson QC said yesterday.

His comments came as Pakistani officials said that a US drone strike had killed at least four militants after targeting their vehicles in North Waziristan on Sunday. Attacks by American unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are deeply unpopular in the country, which claims they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment.

Only last week cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan vowed to defy Taliban threats to attend a rally in Pakistan's tribal areas aimed at highlighting the human cost of US drone strikes.

Mr Emmerson, a leading London barrister and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, said America is facing mounting global pressure over its use of UAVs and he is preparing a report for the next session of the Human Rights Council in March. The issue, he insists, will “remain at the top of the UN political agenda until some consensus and transparency has been achieved”. Read More

South Africa miners face Lonmin dismissal deadline

A deadline is approaching for striking workers at the South African mine where police shot dead 34 miners on Thursday to go back to work or face dismissal.

A statement from mine owner Lonmin said 3,000 workers were striking illegally and must report to work on Monday.

The company delayed the deadline from Friday in light of the killings at the Marikana platinum mine, north-west of Johannesburg.

Some miners said the new ultimatum was an insult to their dead colleagues.

President Jacob Zuma on Sunday declared a week of national mourning.

About 3,000 rock-drill operators (RDOs) at the mine walked out more than a week ago in support of demands for higher pay

The strike was declared illegal by owner Lonmin, the world's third largest platinum producer.

'Final ultimatum'
The miners, who are currently earning between 4,000 and 5,000 rand ($484-$605), say they want their salary increased to 12,500 rand ($1,512). Read More

China's Gu Kailai gets suspended death sentence - witnesses

(Reuters) - A Chinese court sentenced the wife of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai to death on Monday but suspended her execution, witnesses to the hearing said, ending one chapter of a scandal that has shaken the country and engulfed a leadership transition planned for later this year.

The sentence means that Gu Kailai is likely to face life in jail for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood last year, provided she does not commit offences in the next two years.

A court official called by Reuters would not immediately confirm the sentence, saying that a news conference to announce the outcome of the closed-door hearing would be held shortly.

At a trial on August 9, Gu admitted to poisoning businessman Neil Heywood in November, and alleged that a business dispute between them led him to threaten her son, Bo Guagua, according to official accounts published by state media.

"We respect the court's decision," said He Zhengsheng, a lawyer for the Heywood family. He and another witness to the hearing - which was barred to all but a few journalists from official Chinese media - revealed the verdict to throngs of reporters waiting outside the court in eastern Hefei city.

They both also said Zhang Xiaojun, an aide to the Bo household, was sentenced to nine years in prison for acting as an accomplice to the poisoning of Heywood. Read More

NASA's science rover Curiosity zaps first Martian rock

LOS ANGELES: The Mars rover Curiosity zapped its first rock on Sunday with a high-powered laser gun designed to analyze Martian mineral content, and scientists declared their target practice a success.

The robotic science lab aimed its laser beam at the fist-sized stone nearby and shot the rock with 30 pulses over a 10-second period, NASA said in a statement issued from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles.

Each pulse delivers more than 1 million watts of energy for about five one-billionths of a second, vaporizing a pinhead-sized bit of the rock to create a tiny spark, which is analyzed by a small telescope mounted on the instrument.

The ionized glow, which can be observed and recorded from up to 25 feet (7 meters) away, is then split into its component wavelengths by three spectrometers that give scientists information about the chemical makeup of the target rock. Read More

We've Heard You: Special Notice, Effective Monday (New posts below until Sunday night)

Dear Coming Crisis readers:

After surveying subscribers and hearing from readers, we've made a decision to change the types of stories we publish on our website.

Effective Monday, we will no longer be publishing the following stories:

-- General, every day violent crimes undertaken by individuals, including rape, murder and sexual assault;
-- Isolated crimes against children;
-- General misbehaviour on the part of individuals that does not provide a significant impact on the progression of coming crises.

We have determined that it is understood that civilization in general is in a state of decay, as is a significant chunk of its populace, and therefore there is no longer a need to hammer this point home. Space used for these subjects is better spent on more pertinent stories.

Violent crimes undertaken by groups, churches, against groups of children and those of an unprecedented nature (such as cannibal attacks, linked events, etc), crimes in progress, and breaking news, however, will still be published, as we feel such stories reflect a group mentality that accelerates society's collapse. In general, though, you'll find the number of such stories pertaining to these subjects curtailed. We all know that people are sick and twisted. That horse is dead, and it's time to move on to more interesting and important matters.

We will continue to publish the following stories: Quakes and volcanoes, financial, political, and war stories, and all other stories pertaining to civilization's headlong plunge into a coming crisis, the dominant theme of our website. You'll notice an uptick in the quality and quantity of truly significant stories and those of depth in their investigation. Basically, we're kicking the reporting on the CC up a notch. You guys are worth it.

We hope you'll stick with us as we continue publishing news, and will spread the word far and wide of our existence. We also really need you to support our website, so please sign up to become a monthly describer and help keep the Coming Crisis alive.

In your service, take care and stay safe,
-- Matt & Lynsey



Libya holds 32 'Gaddafi loyalists' over Tripoli attack

The Libyan authorities say they have arrested 32 members of a network loyal to former leader Muammar Gaddafi in connection with Sunday's twin car bombing in the capital, Tripoli.

Two people were killed by the two blasts near the former military academy for women and the interior ministry.

An official of Libya's top security body said the network had been linked to the bombs.

It was the first deadly bomb attack since Gaddafi's overthrow last year.

The attack happened on the eve of the anniversary of the fall of Tripoli to rebel fighters last year.

The bombs struck at dawn, one of them close to the interior ministry's administrative offices, and the other near the military academy on Omar al-Mokhtar Avenue. Read More

Christian Down syndrome Pakistani girl accused of blasphemy which is punishable by death

A Christian girl with Down syndrome has been arrested on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, accused of burning pages inscribed with verses from the Koran, police and activists said on Sunday.

Police arrested Rimsha, who is recognised by a single name, on Thursday after she was reported to be holding in public burnt pages that had Islamic text and Koranic verses on them, a police official said.

A conviction for blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.

The official said that the girl, whom he described as being in her teens, was taken to a police station in the capital Islamabad, where she has been detained since. Read More

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR NORTH COAST OF NEW GUINEA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck NEAR NORTH COAST OF NEW GUINEA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 77.3 km (48 miles), the quake hit at 22:41:50 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 104 km (64 miles) SSE of Angoram, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

More California cities at risk of bankruptcy

One of the nation's top credit rating agencies said Friday that it expects more municipal bankruptcies and defaults in California, the nation's largest issuer of municipal bonds.

Moody's Investors Service said in a report that the growing fiscal distress in many California cities was putting bondholders at risk.

The service announced that it will undertake a wide-ranging review of municipal finances in the nation's most populous state because of what it sees as a growing threat of insolvency.

The report has both investors and government leaders worried.

Three California cities - Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes - have filed for bankruptcy so far this year. They are not likely to be the last, Moody's said.

Moody's reports that some cities are turning bankruptcy as a new strategy to take on budget deficits and avoid obligations to bondholders, an emerging dynamic that could have ripple effects throughout the investment community.

The municipal bond market has long been characterized by low default rates and relatively stable finances, Moody's said, but that outlook is beginning to change as bankruptcy becomes a tool for cash-strapped cities. more

Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker warned banks they could collapse 'before Christmas'

Bank of England officials were so concerned about the potential for a financial crisis late last year they took the extra­ordinary step of warning the entire banking system could collapse “before Christmas”.

Paul Tucker, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, told an October meeting of the chief executives of Britain’s largest banks that there was a serious chance none of their businesses would survive to the end of the year.

“Gentlemen, you could all be out of business by Christmas,” Mr Tucker said in a stark warning to the bank chiefs, according to three sources present at the meeting.

The revelation of Mr Tucker’s remarkable warning shows the depth of fear among senior officials over the havoc the collapse of the eurozone would wreak on the British financial system.

Mr Tucker is one of the front-runners to replace Sir Mervyn King as Governor of the Bank of England.

Minutes published by the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee in September and December made clear the depth of its concerns, but the explicit warning given to the chief executives shows that officials feared a crisis even greater than that in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. The meeting led directly to the creation of working groups at banks to gauge the potential for a full-scale collapse of the financial system. more

Russian Bear stops Finland leaving euro, but it could still happen at any time

German eurosceptics quietly hope that Finland will become the first creditor state to storm out of monetary union in disgust, opening the way for others to break free.

Once Finns break the taboo, it would be easier for Germany to extricate itself from an escalating national disaster without inviting opprobrium from across Europe, or so goes the argument.

“We can’t start this off, but the Finns can,” said Hans-Olaf Henkel, former head of Germany’s industry federation.

Berlin’s policy elites are constrained by their honourable - if misdirected - feelings of moral duty towards the euro. They cannot bring themselves to plunge the dagger.

Or as ex-Bundesbanker Thilo Sarrazin puts it, they are driven by “the very German reflex that the Holocaust and Second World War will only be atoned for finally when all our interests, including our money, are in Europe's hands".

Finnish exit - or FIXIT, as they say in Helsinki - is certainly a plausible hypothesis. The Finns have no ensnaring duty to a mystical “Europe“. They did not join the EU until 1995, and only then with widespread dissent. more

D-FOX: Please contact us if you can read this

To D-fox: if you're reading this, please contact us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com. It's important -- we believe.

'Return our Islands!' Chinese overturn cars to protest Japan claim

Thailand braces for storms

'US violates intl. law on Pakistan drone strikes'

US Army grants $3 million for anti-suicide nasal spray research (Instead of, oh, improving the lives of soldiers)

For those feeling down in the dumps, the US military now has a solution: an anti-suicidal nasal spray that delivers antidepressant chemicals to the brain.

­The US Army has awarded a scientist at the Indiana University School of Medicine $3 million to develop a nasal spray that eclipses suicidal thoughts. Dr. Michael Kubek and his research team will have three years to ascertain whether the nasal spray is a safe and effective method of preventing suicides.

The research grant comes after the Army lost 38 of its soldiers to suspected suicide in July, setting a record high. So far in 2012, the Army has confirmed 66 active duty suicides and is investigating 50 more, making a total of 116 cases.

The Army’s suicide rate is at the highest level in history, with more American soldiers taking their own lives than being killed by the Taliban. The Pentagon reported in June that suicides among soldiers averaged one per day this year, surpassing the rate of combat fatalities.

But the naturally occurring neurochemical thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) could slow the rising suicide rate. The chemical has a euphoric, calming, antidepressant effect. TRH has been shown to decrease suicidal ideas, depression and bipolar disorders.

“We’ve known since the 1970s that TRH has antidepressant effects, and it works quite rapidly,” Kubek told The Daily. “The bottom-line problem has been figuring out how to get it into the brain.” more

Gaddafi Loyalists Blamed For Car Bombs

Supporters of the late Colonel Gaddafi have been blamed for three car bombs which killed two people in Libya.

Several others were injured in the blasts near security buildings and the interior ministry in the capital Tripoli - the first deadly attack of its kind since Gaddafi's overthrow last year.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombs, which police said were detonated by mobile phone.

Officials blamed Gaddafi loyalists, saying they were trying to spread fear and stop democracy in the country.

"I hold former regime aides fully responsible for this cowardly action," said deputy interior minister, Omar al Khadrawi, as he visited the site of one of the blasts.

He said "the same kind of bombs and the same tactics and equipment" were used in previously foiled car bomb attacks in Tripoli. Read More

South Korea stakes claim to disputed isle

Aug. 19 - South Korea unveils a new monument on a disputed Pacific island amid rising tensions with Japan. Andrew Raven reports.

Assange calls for end to "witch-hunt" against WikiLeaks

Aug. 19 - Assange berates US from Ecuador's London embassy as he calls on Obama to end what he called a witch-hunt against WikiLeaks. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

Snake Handler In Hospital After Cobra Bite

A snake handler has been rushed to hospital after he was bitten on the leg by a King Cobra.

The man, aged in his 50s, flown to hospital by air ambulance following the incident this afternoon, the West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

A doctor was in the West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire, at the time and treated the victim before the helicopter arrived.

He is in a stable condition at the Worcester Royal Hospital.

The ambulance service said that it is not thought the venom entered his bloodstream. Source

Analysis: Merkel's Italian ally at the ECB

(Reuters) - When Angela Merkel backed Mario Draghi to become president of the European Central Bank in May last year, many in Europe assumed it was with resignation, a setback for her and Germany.

Axel Weber, the hardline head of the Bundesbank had resigned in a huff months before, leaving the German chancellor little choice but to throw her weight behind the slick Italian who was Weber's only real rival for the prestigious central bank job.

More than a year later, however, as the euro zone descends ever deeper into crisis and fears of a humiliating break-up grow, it is becoming increasingly clear that Merkel got the man she needed after all.

On a visit to Canada last week, she offered a robust defense of Draghi, after he triggered a stormy debate in Germany by promising to do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro" and signaling his readiness to resume the European Central Bank's controversial bond buying program.

Draghi's comments on July 26 fuelled fears that the ECB was now in the hands of a southern cabal, willing to bend the rules of sound monetary policy to shield stricken countries like Spain and Italy. Read More

North Korean official cites ‘considerable damage’ by floods

A North Korean official told a visiting civilian relief group that the communist country suffered “considerable damage” due to heavy downpours and floods last month, an official at the relief group said Sunday.

Three officials from the South Korean affiliate of World Vision made a one-day visit to the North Korean border city of Kaesong on Friday to discuss food assistance to the North, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement on how to deliver shipments of food because of the issue of monitoring, the official said.

“During the consultations with the North’s side, a North Korean official told us that there was considerable damage from floods,” the official told Yonhap News Agency by telephone.

According to North Korean media reports, more than 100 people were killed and “tens of thousands” of people were left homeless last month due to torrential rain. The impoverished country has appealed for emergency aid from the international community, including the United Nations. more

Lake Michigan 5 Waterspouts

The James Holmes Conspiracy (2012 Full Documentary)

The Vietnam War: Reasons for Failure - Why the U.S. Lost (Containing many valuable lessons for today)

Toxoplasma gondii: Cat parasite that worms into humans' brains can drive victims to suicide (and could be responsible for many "psychiatric" cases)

A parasite found in cats is tampering with people's brains and driving them to suicide, research suggests.

Scientists have shown that men and women infected with a bug that breeds in cats' stomachs and worms into people's brains are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than others.

They say that Toxoplasma gondii may tinker with the delicate chemistry of the brain and screening people for it could help identify those at risk of taking their own lives.

The parasite, which is carried by many Britons, has a complicated life cycle but can only breed inside cats. The microscopic eggs are passed on in cat faeces, spreading the infection.

Pregnant women are advised not to empty cat litter trays because the parasite can be fatal to unborn babies. The bug can also be picked up from contaminated food.

Around a third of people worldwide carry the parasite, with most catching it by consuming undercooked meat, especially lamb, pork and venison or by ingesting water, soil or anything contaminated by cat faeces.

Scientists looked for evidence of the infection in the blood of 84 men and women, more than half of whom had tried to commit suicide. more

Thoughts: Despite doctors and Big Pharma not wanting to admit it, I imagine we'll ultimately find everything from cancer to mental illness is ultimately caused from some sort of detectable or undetectable infection, virus, bacteria, etc. It's been trending this way for decades, and now many "experts" are reluctantly starting to admit that that are biological causes to "mental" issues.



4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF ALASKA - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF ALASKA at a depth of 8.1 km (5 miles), the quake hit at 12:41:35 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 169 km (105 miles) South of Chernabura Island, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Assange 'Thankful' For Ecuador Embassy Asylum

Julian Assange's lawyer has said his client is thankful to the people of Ecuador and the country's president for granting him asylum - as the WikiLeaks founder prepares to speak publicly.

The 41-year-old has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in central London for two months to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual misconduct - claims he denies.

But he is fearful that he may be sent to the US in connection with leaked diplomatic cables that were revealed by his WikiLeaks website.

Mr Assange is due to make his first public statement since Ecuador announced it had granted him asylum last week.

But the Foreign Office has refused to grant him safe passage out of the UK and he will be arrested if he sets foot outside the embassy. Read More

China: Demos Over Island Landings By Japanese

There have been violent protests in parts of China after Japanese activists landed on a group of disputed islands at the centre of a territorial row between the two countries.

The action by nationalists, who raised flags on the uninhabited archipelago in the East China Sea, has further escalated tensions.

The latest anti-Japan protests were believed to be the most widespread in China since 2005. In the southern city of Shenzhen, around 1,000 people took part in a march.

Protesters overturned a Japanese-made police car and damaged a Japanese restaurant, said the official Xinhua news agency.

More than 100 people gathered near a complex housing the Japanese consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou, chanting "Japan get out of the Diaoyu Islands", it said.

The protest came after 10 Japanese activists made an unauthorised landing and raised flags on Uotsuri, the largest in a small archipelago known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands and in China as Diaoyu Islands. Read More

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles), the quake hit at 11:37:17 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 36 km (22 miles) ENE of Tabriz, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Homemade bombs beat high-tech? Afghan war failure looms

No no-fly zone: 'Military intervention in Syria will lead to catastrophe'

'US classifies torture & punishes those who tell the truth'

World's Most Brutal Prison is in China




Tie Liu, a well-known writer in China, published an article entitled,
"The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Prisons Are the Darkest and Most Brutal Prisons in the World".


He described the different types of torture methods used in the prisons, and that he and his friends have experienced. He said that he especially recommends this article and hopes that all kind people in the world know the darkness and brutality of the CCP's prisons. Read More

China's Fake Economic Prosperity

US army helicopters battle wildfires in Washington

Pakistan to push out Afghan refugees

NATO: Most attacks on coalition troops driven by personal grievances



(CNN) -- NATO says the majority of attacks by Afghan security forces against coalition troops are driven primarily by personal grievances rather than an infiltration by insurgents.

"Some 10% we know are related to the insurgency," Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, said late Friday.

The news follows word that U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, ordered all troops in the country to carry loaded weapons around the clock following a spate of attacks by people wearing Afghan security uniforms, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the order told CNN.

Allen's order, made in recent days, was divulged amid two more so-called green-on-blue or insider attacks Friday.

There have been a record 31 such attacks this year that have resulted in the deaths of 39 NATO service members, according to a report Friday on NATO's official online video channel. Read More

Indonesia earthquake leaves 4 dead

(CNN) -- An earthquake that struck rural Indonesia left at least four people dead, authorities said Sunday.

At least seven others were injured, according to the National Disaster Management Agency.

The 6.6-magnitude hit Saturday near the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Three of the hardest-hit districts are still unreachable because landslides triggered by the quake are blocking the roads. Heavy equipment and bulldozers are helping clear the roads.

Disaster, health and social welfare officials, including the Red Cross, are headed to the area to provide emergency assistance, trucks and ambulances. Read More

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake ISLAND OF HAWAII, HAWAII - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 3.6 earthquake has struck the ISLAND OF HAWAII, HAWAII at a depth of 9 km (5.6 miles), the quake hit at 10:07:46 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 15 km (9.3 miles) South from Volcano, Hawaii
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Kim Jong Un: Troops to prepare for 'sacred war'

(CNN) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told his troops to be vigilant during upcoming training exercises between South Korea and the United States, saying they should be ready to lead a "sacred war," state media reported Saturday.

Kim's comments came during a visit on Mu Island with troops who participated in the 2010 shelling of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, an attack that North Korea at the time said South Korea provoked by holding war games off their shared coast.

"He ordered the service persons of the detachment to be vigilant against every move of the enemy and not to miss their gold 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 (North Korea) is exercised," the state-run KCNA news agency reported.

The warning followed an announcement by the United States and South Korea that their joint "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" training exercises would begin Monday and conclude by August 31. Read More

U.S. man heads to Syria to fight

MASKED GUNMEN WOUND EIGHT IN RUSSIAN MOSQUE: MINISTRY

MOSCOW (AFP) - Masked gunmen burst into a mosque in the troubled Russian Caucasus region of Dagestan, wounding eight, the regional interior ministry said amid reports that more people were hurt in an explosion.

"The number of wounded in the shooting at the mosque in the town of Khasavyurt has risen to eight," the interior ministry said after two unidentified gunmen shot at worshippers in the Shiite mosque on Saturday evening as Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan.

Three of the wounded suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach, while others were shot in the arms and legs, the ministry said in a statement.

Citing local police, RIA Novosti news agency said more people were hurt in an explosion in the same mosque after the gun attack in the town to the west of the largely Muslim region.

"An explosion went off. Altogether there were two explosive devices. One went off, the other is being defused," police told the agency.

Police confirmed to Interfax news agency that explosive experts were working in the mosque to defuse an explosive device but denied that anyone was wounded in an explosion.

"The explosive experts are continuing their work. So far the deactivation is not completed. We have no information on an explosion or people wounded during the deactivation work," a police spokesman told the agency. Read More

Olympic UFOs Confirmed?

Greek Exit debate stirs in Germany ahead of Greek PM visit

(Reuters) - Greece will not leave the euro zone unless the country "totally refuses" to fulfill any of its reform targets, the head of the Eurogroup said on Saturday, as Germany insisted the crisis-stricken country must stick to the agreed reforms.

"It will not happen, unless Greece were to violate all requirements and not to stick to any agreement," Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted as saying in Austria's Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper days before meeting Greece's prime minister.

"In case of such total refusal by Greece with regards to budget consolidation and structural reform, one would have to look into the question."

Juncker said he expected Greece to double its efforts to fulfill its reform targets.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Saturday there were limits to the aid that could be granted to Greece and said the crisis-stricken country should not expect to be granted another program. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF WASHINGTON - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF WASHINGTO at a depth of 10.3 km (6.4 miles), the quake hit at 10:04:03 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 239 km (148 miles) Southwest of Tofino, Canada
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Kurds protest against Interior Minister

Aug. 19 - Police fire into the air in Hakkari, Turkey to disperse protesters against Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin visiting security forces in the area. Sunita Rappai reports.

Sudan plane crash kills up to 31 including minister

(Reuters) - Up to 31 people including at least one Sudanese minister were killed when a plane taking them to an Islamic festival crashed in the south of the country, an official and state media said on Sunday.

The plane went down in mountains around Talodi, a town in the border state of South Kordofan, while taking a government delegation there to celebrate the festival marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, state news agency SUNA said.

State television reported that 26 passengers were killed, among them Guidance and Endowments (religious affairs) Minister Ghazi al-Sadeq.

Abdel Hafiz Abdel Rahim, a civil aviation spokesman, told Reuters that 31 people were killed including the crew, but had no details of their identities.

Arabic satellite channel Al Jazeera reported that two ministers were on board but did not name them, and said security personnel and a media team were killed in the crash.

The report did not say whether the plane involved belonged to state-owned Sudan Airways or another carrier. Read More

John Cornyn demands answers from Pentagon on Russian sub in Gulf of Mexico

After receiving no satisfaction to earlier comments to the media, Cornyn wrote a letter today to Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the Pentagon’s Chief of Naval Operations, demanding answers.

“The submarine patrol, taken together with the air incursions, seems to represent a more aggressive and destabilizing Russian military stance that could pose risks to our national security,” Cornyn wrote. “This is especially troubling given the drastic defense cuts sought by President Obama, which include reductions in funding for antisubmarine defense systems.”

The story has received relatively little attention since appearing in the conservative media outlet The Washington Free Beacon. According to the original report by longtime military correspondent Bill Gertz:

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.
Read More

IRAN COMMANDER 'WELCOMES' POSSIBLE ISRAELI STRIKE

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A senior Iranian commander says a possible Israeli airstrike against his country's nuclear facilities is "welcome" because it would give Iran a reason to retaliate and "get rid of" the Jewish state "forever."

The remarks by Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard's air force, were reported Saturday by the official IRNA news agency.

Hajizadeh says in the event of an Israeli strike, Iran's response would be "swift, decisive and destructive." But he also claims Israeli threats of a strike are just part of a psychological war against Iran. read More

Consumption-tration Camps

''Will soldiers be next?''

We live in the same dream world our forefathers did - in utter denial of what history teaches us. China now has investments from small to very large in over 25 African states and apart from the odd “gracious me!” this fact is simply taken as something no one can do anything about.

Europe is coming apart at the seams and while the very best of the world’s economists have solutions which might work, no one seems to have given a clear picture of what happens if the wheels fall off.

The whole idea of the original “Common Market” was to bring and retain peace in the region and was spawned by Winston Churchill’s speech in Zurich in 1946 when he urged France and Germany to get their economic acts together, especially in the coal and steel areas, so that they would eliminate the never ending enmity which had caused them to go to war three times since 1870.

Ironically, it was Churchill who, as First Lord of the Admiralty, switched the Royal Navy from coal to oil in 1911 which brought Persia (Iran) into the sphere of British Imperialism. From this moment to the aggressive Iran of today, is one connected line.

Although imperialists like Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling like to romanticize about British constant and often brutal interference into the affairs of others as something of a moral duty, “the White Man’s burden and crap like that, it was the oil or other natural resources, not spreading democracy, which spurred Britain’s capture of 1/4 of the world. Read More

s the Global Economy facing a Kondratieff Winter in the midst of Summer?

''Israel’s “Existential Threat” from Iran Mere Blackmail To Counter Weapons Sales To Saudis''

Arming Israel with extra military capabilities could allay its leaders’ impatience to strike Iran, thus buying time for diplomacy, Obama’s former national security adviser says

Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON - A former national security adviser to PresidentBarack Obama says that the United States should provide Israelwith the military aid that would sway its leaders to delay a strike on Iran‘s nuclear facilities.

Dennis B. Ross, who served as a special assistant to Obama for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011, says in an opinion piece published by the New York Times on Friday that by bolstering Israel’s military capabilities with “additional bunker-busting bombs, tankers for refueling aircraft and targeting information,” the US could allay the Jewish state’s impatience to attack the Islamic Republic.

Ross, a veteran diplomat well versed in negotiating with senior Israeli officials, states that while both Israel and the US share the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, they differ in their estimated deadline for military action.

“The United States has significantly greater military might than Israel and therefore feels that it can wait substantially longer than Israel before resorting to force,” he writes. “Israel is less patient.”

Civilian nuclear power acceptable

The former State Department and National Security Council official uses his op-ed to lay out a four-point plan meant to “synchronize the American and Israeli clocks” on the military option. The first order of business, he says, is to draft proposal that would allow Iran to maintain nuclear power for civilian purposes only. The proposal would be used as a framework for talks with the Islamic Republic.

The second step in Ross’ plan calls for the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (the P5+1) to start devising a strategy for the event that diplomacy fails and force becomes necessary. Read More

The plan for a New World Order stumbles on geopolitical realities

For four centuries, political leaders have tried to create an international order that governs relationships between nations and prevents wars. While the principle of state sovereignty has yielded results, intergovernmental organizations have mainly reflected the prevailing balance of power. As for the ambitious U.S. New World Order, it is being shattered by new geopolitical realities.

The idea of ​​a world or international order appeared in the seventeenth century, although the phrase "world order" has been introduced only recently in political discourse. It was discussed whenever an opportunity presented itself to organize and sustain peace.

It was in 1603 that King Henri IV of France had his minister, the Duc de Sully, develop a first draft. The objective was to constitute a Christian republic including all the peoples of Europe. It would have ensured the preservation of nationalities and religions and been responsible for resolving problems between them.

The Grand Design stipulated the redefinition of state boundaries to balance their power, the creation of a European confederation of 15 with a supranational Council with the power of arbitration and an army capable of protecting the confederacy against the Turks.

However that dream was interrupted by the assassination of Henri IV and resurfaced only at the end of the wars launched by Louis XIV. The Abbot of Saint-Pierre published his Project for perpetual peace among the Christian rulers. Read More

''Lord Rothschild takes £130m bet against the euro''

The member of the banking dynasty has taken the position through RIT Capital Partners, the £1.9bn investment trust of which he is executive chairman.

The fact that the former investment banker, a senior member of the Rothschild family, has taken such a view will be seen as a further negative for the currency.

The latest omen follows news in The Daily Telegraph late last week that the government of Finland is already preparing for the euro’s break-up.

RIT, which Lord Rothschild has led since 1988, had a -7pc net short position in terms of principal currency exposures on the euro at the end of July, up from -3pc at the end of January. Given a net asset value of £1.836bn at the end of July, the position is worth £128m.

Sources close to RIT suggested that the position was not a dogmatic negative view on the euro as a currency, but rather a realistic approach on a currency that remains relatively weak. Read More

''Moody's and S&P set to face US fraud claim over ratings''

Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's are to face fraud allegations that they assigned inflated ratings to notes sold to investors, a federal court judge in the United States has ruled.

A case brought by investors including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) in 2008 alleged negligent representation and breach of fiduciary duty on the part of Morgan Stanley, which originally structured the deal.

Among other plaintiffs is Washington state's King County, which encompasses the city of Seattle.

A US federal judge in New York, Shira Scheindlin, dismissed the fraud claims made against Morgan Stanley but left the door open for fraud cases to be brought against ratings agencies that gave the deal an "investment grade" credit rating.

"Even if Morgan Stanley had actual knowledge that the ratings were false, it could only be liable for aiding and abetting fraud … because the ratings cannot be attributed to Morgan Stanley, the fraud claim against Morgan Stanley is dismissed," the judge said.

Motions to dismiss the case entirely, which had been filed by the two ratings agencies, were also thrown out. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake ASSAM, INDIA - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck ASSAM, INDIA at a depth of 50.5 km (34.4 miles), the quake hit at 09:24:49 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 97 km (60 miles) ENE from Gauhati, Assam, India
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Sudan Minister 'Among 31' Dead In Plane Crash

A Sudanese government minister is reportedly among 31 people killed after a plane crashed in southern Sudan.

Guidance and Endowments Minister Khalil Abdalla was on board the flight, according to Al Arabiya.

The plane came down in mountains in war-torn South Kordofan state as it was landing in Talodi for a function marking the Muslim Eid holiday on Sunday.

Abdelhafiz Abdelrahim, a spokesman for the Sudan Aviation Authority, said: "All people on board were killed."

He added that the aircraft was landing at around 6:00BST when "an explosion was heard and the plane was destroyed" and that 31 people including the flight crew were killed.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the report.

Oil-producing South Kordofan borders South Sudan, which seceded more than a year ago. The border state has been the site of an insurgency since shortly before South Sudan's independence.

More follows...

Keystone XL Construction Met with Protests in Texas, Okla.

The Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has quietly begun construction of the southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, installing segments near Livingston, Texas, company officials confirmed Thursday.

“Construction started on Aug. 9. So we’ve now started construction in Texas,” TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard told the Los Angeles Times.

The southern section of the pipeline received government approval in July.

The first in a series of protests also was launched Thursday as opponents of the pipeline, designed to eventually carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands of northern Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, unfurled protest banners at two equipment staging yards in Texas and Oklahoma.

“We just wanted to demonstrate that although they might be ready to begin, we would be ready to meet them,” Ron Seifert, spokesman for Tar Sands Blockade, said in an interview. Read More

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake ARKANSAS - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 3.3 earthquake has struck ARKANSAS at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 08:24:23 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 2 km (1.2 miles) SSW from Greenbrier, Arkansas
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Protesters continue anti-nuclear rally after 'Obon' holiday, Japan

Protesters defied the summer heat to continue their call against nuclear power in front of the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo on Aug. 17, following the "Obon" holiday period.

Anti-nuclear rallies have been held in front of the Prime Minister's Office every Friday evening since this spring. Crowds of protesters in the Aug. 17 rally chanted such slogans as "Stop nuclear power generation" and "Protect our children."

"We can't meddle in issues pertaining to the Senkaku Islands (controlled by Japan but disputed by the People's Republic of China and Taiwan) and Takeshima (controlled by South Korea but claimed by Japan), but nuclear power is a serious issue relating to the future of our children," said Makio Tahara, 64, from Misato, Saitama Prefecture, who took part in the rally for the first time along with his 10-year-old grandson, Itsuki. Read More

1,000 balloons released to predict spread of radiation in nuclear plant disaster in Japan

OMAEZAKI, Shizuoka -- Around 25 people gathered along the shore here on Aug. 18 to release balloons to predict the spread of radioactive materials from the nearby Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in the event of a disaster there.

A total of 1,000 balloons were due to be released by the end of the day. The project, initiated amid concerns that a major earthquake could strike the plant, was planned by photographer Masatoshi Nakagawa, 60.

At 10:40 a.m. on Aug. 18, around 100 red balloons were simultaneously released on the Shirowa coast as an easterly wind blew. The balloons carry cards asking people who find them to contact the project organizers. The locations that the balloons land will be announced on the Internet by the organizers, as they call for vigilance against nuclear plant disasters.

"I want people to see the effects of a nuclear disaster with their eyes and have a concrete image of it," says Nakagawa. Source

Japan Nuclear Crisis: 24 prefectures not considering rest home evacuation agreements

Despite urging from the government, over half of Japan's 47 prefectures are not considering agreements between rest homes to take on each other's residents in the event of a major disaster, it has been learned.

As of the end of March this year, 1,632 people had died following the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in what were recognized as disaster-related deaths, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Forty-seven percent of the deaths were estimated to have been caused by "exhaustion from living at evacuation shelters."

In April the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued a notice urging prefectures and major cities to arrange agreements between care facilities on the transfer of residents in the event of a disaster. However, 24 of 47 elderly care facility associations contacted by the Mainichi Shimbun said they were not considering such agreements. Eleven associations had set up such agreements, but seven of them had done so before last year's disaster. Some, including those in Gunma and Ibaraki prefectures, said they had yet to finalize the content of their agreements. Read More

Do not underestimate the severity of the Fukushima nuclear crisis: interview

Before her retirement in 2000 from the University of Bremen in Germany, Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake had been an experimental physicist who some 30 years ago had analyzed data on nuclear bomb survivors and warned of the dangers of low-level and internal exposure to radiation.

Since 2004, she has been the chair of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), a Belgium-based civic organization founded in 1997 independent of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and various governments. In 2003 and 2010, the ECRR released recommendations on radiation risk assessment methods.

Mainichi: In 1983, you published an essay criticizing a survey on the health of nuclear bomb victims that was conducted by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF). What was your paper about?

Schmitz-Feuerhake: The RERF survey compared the health risks of those who directly experienced the bombings with those who'd entered hypocentral areas after the bombs exploded and those who were farther away at the times of the bombings.

Using the average incidence and death rate from cancer and other illnesses among all Japanese, I went to figure out the relative risks of those who entered the cities after the bombings and those who experienced the bomb at least 2.5 kilometers away from the hypocenter. What I found was that the death rate from leukemia and respiratory and gastrointestinal cancers was above the national average, and that the incidence of thyroid cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer among women were 1.5 times to 4.1 times higher.

These results showed that internal exposure to radiation from radioactive fallout (including "black rain" and "ashes of death") had a great impact on health. But because my findings went against common academic knowledge at the time, my paper was initially rejected when I submitted it for publication in an international medical journal. On the suggestion of the journal, I subsequently had it published in the journal in the form of a "letter to the editor" instead of a scientific paper. Read More

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF WASHINGTON - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF WASHINGTO at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 08:07:36 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 305 km (190 miles) West from Neah Bay, Washington
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 19th August 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the BANDA SEA at a depth of 16.5 km (10.2 miles), the quake hit at 07:23:52 UTC Sunday 19th August 2012
The epicenter was 383 km (238 miles) WNW from Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

 Volunteers flock to city in Fukushima after lifting of no-go zone designation

MINAMISOMA, Fukushima -- Ever since this city's no-go zone designation was lifted, volunteers from across the country have been flocking to help local residents reclaim their pre-disaster lives.

The no-entry designations for the Odaka and Haramachi districts of Minamisoma were lifted in April, a year after they went into effect. However, because basic infrastructure has yet to be rebuilt and decontamination work has not been completed, neither residents nor volunteers are permitted to stay overnight. Many of the approximately 4,000 households that were struck by the quake and tsunami remain untouched since the disasters.

Since mid-May, the city's reconstruction volunteer center has accepted volunteers -- to be dispatched to private homes -- on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and every day for the month of August. There were initial concerns that labor would be in short supply, but through July, some 150 to 200 volunteers showed up per week, and as for August, some weeks have seen over 300 volunteers. Sometimes volunteers have had to be turned away because there are too many of them.

At 9 a.m. one Friday, some 30 people dressed in work clothes gathered in front of the volunteer center. Most were company workers or retirees. Although radiation levels are measured at the homes where volunteer work is conducted to ensure safety, city officials call on volunteers to refrain from participating if they have concerns. Read More

France ATM bandits use forks to nab millions

French police are searching for an organized crime ring that has stolen more than 1,000,000 Euros in cash from ATM machines, using only a fork.

Investigators were shocked by the simplicity and ingenuity of the countrywide rash of ATM heists: The gang managed to make the thefts by jamming a fork into the machines' cash dispensers, exploiting a previously unknown security flaw.

The mass robberies were discovered when dozens of fake ATM withdrawals, mainly from Caisse d'Epargne machines, were caught on camera.

The Caisse d'Epargne group, which includes the Natixis bank, filed a case with the police in early August after noticing balance discrepancies in many of their ATMs. After examining CCTV footage from the machines, French law enforcement concluded that the gang used prepaid bank cards to conduct the thefts.

“After making one transaction with their bank cards they insert a small fork with the teeth bent back into the cash distributor,” police said to Le Parisien. “Then the thieves attempt a much bigger second withdrawal, which they cancel before the transaction is finish. By then the cash is prepared in the distributor, which they pull out with the help of the fork.” Read More

Police car bombing in Russia’s Caucasus - 6 Killed

Six people were killed and ten wounded when a bomb detonated under a police vehicle in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia.

Casualty figures report that both police and civilians were injured in the blast.
The blast targeted attendees of a funeral for a police officer killed in a shootout on Saturday.

“An explosive device was placed underneath a police car parked in a courtyard of a house,” RIA Novosti quoted a source in the Ingushetian police as saying. “Both policemen and civilians are among six dead”

On Saturday, unknown attackers in a car opened fire on a police officer, and then fled.

The officer was taken to a hospital and later died from his wounds. A 14-year-old girl was also wounded in the shooting, and is currently in post-surgery recovery. Source

Morsi slammed for censorship following Press crackdown in Egypt

Egypt’s president has come under fire for censoring news outlets over charges of 'fueling sedition.' The ruling Muslim Brotherhood party’s move to stifle critics has sparked fears they are adopting the repressive tactics they pledged to abolish.

State prosecutors filed lawsuits against two journalists this week, and an entire issue of opposition newspaper al-Doustour was pulled by state censors.

NGO The Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development Group decried the move as a “severe blow to public freedoms that strike warning bells about the rights and freedoms in light of the choice of chief editors of national newspapers,” the group said in a report released on Friday.

Critics argue that the censorship is reminiscent of the press repression employed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The NGO report evaluated President Mohammed Morsi’s overall performance since assuming the presidency, and slammed his policies that “crack down on the freedom of opinion and expression” as a reversal of his pledge to improve freedom of speech in Egypt. Read More

Court Dismisses Case Based on State Secrets Privilege

A federal court yesterday dismissed a lawsuit which alleged that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had engaged in unlawful surveillance of Muslim residents of southern California. The court granted the Obama Administration’s claim that the state secrets privilege precluded litigation of the case.

The plaintiffs in the case contended that the FBI had “conducted an indiscriminate ‘dragnet’ investigation and gathered personal information about them and other innocent Muslim Americans in Southern California based on their religion.”

The government said various aspects of the subject were too sensitive to be addressed in open court. Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder filed a declaration asserting that several categories of information pertaining to the case were protected by the state secrets privilege and their disclosure “could reasonably be expected to cause significant harm to the national security.”

Yesterday, Judge Cormac J. Carney of the Central District of California agreed and he issued an order dismissing most of the plaintiffs’ claims.

“Further litigation,” he wrote, “would require or unjustifiably risk disclosure of secret and classified information regarding the nature and scope of the FBI’s counterterrorism investigations, the specific individuals under investigation and their associates, and the tactics and sources of information used in combating possible terrorist attacks on the United States and its allies. The state secrets privilege is specifically designed to protect against disclosure of such information that is so vital to our country’s national security.” Read More

Miami Police Falsely Arrest Man, Break His Arm In Prostitution Sting, Lawsuit Claims

Guillermo Cuadra thought he was in for a routine traffic stop when Miami police pulled him over on an August night two years ago. What he got instead was a broken left arm courtesy of some overzealous undercover cops, he claims, as well as bogus charges of soliciting a prostitute and resisting arrest.

That's according to a lawsuit filed August 10 by Cuadra against the City of Miami. He alleges that undercover officers running a prostitution sting in Flagami yanked him out of his car with guns drawn, slammed him to the ground and broke his arm as they handcuffed him. Then, when Cuadra complained about his injury, he was told to shut up and thrown into a squad car with no medical treatment for five hours.

"It was the most terrible thing I ever went through," Cuadra tells Riptide. "The officers were overly aggressive, verbally abusive, and violent."

None of the officers who took part in the arrest were named in Cuadra's lawsuit, as both he and his lawyer, Frank Hollander, were unable to identify any of them by name. Neither the Miami Police Department nor the City of Miami responded to requests for comment from the New Times. Read More