Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Computer database launched to track down 150,000 illegal immigrants in Britain

An immigration computer database is being set up to track down the 150,000 people who are staying in Britain illegally, it was revealed yesterday.

Border chiefs are due to launch the project next month to deal with the huge backlog of foreign nationals who have overstayed their student or temporary work visas.

Letters will be sent to those in the 'migration refusal pool' warning that they will be deported and barred from entering the UK if they do not leave within 28 days.

Private companies currently tendering for the multi-million pound contract include G4S, the controversial security firm which failed to deliver enough staff for the Olympic Games. Read More

Iran unveils updated missile

BEIJING, Aug. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has unveiled an new version of a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

Iran’s state-media reported that Ahmadinejad attended the ceremony for the upgraded Fateh-110 missile. It has a quicker launch capability, a longer life and can be used in adverse weather conditions.

Ahmadinejad also unveiled several other new Iranian-made weapons. He told a group of defense officials that Iran wants to advance its defense technology "not in an aggressive context, but as a deterrent." Source

Israel 'planning to attack Iran before U.S. election': PM could order strike on nuclear targets within weeks

Israel is planning a military strike against Iran’s nuclear programme before November, security sources in Israel have claimed.

British officials say prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun a process of ‘sounding out’ his voters to gauge support for airstrikes and build a case for military action.

Alon Ben-David, the well-informed military correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10 News, claimed on Monday that the country was ‘closer than ever’ to a strike against Iran.

He said Nr Netanyahu was ‘determined’ to attack Iran before the US election on November 6 – just 11 weeks away.

Israeli leaders believe that President Obama, locked in a close election battle with Republican Mitt Romney, would be forced to back an Israeli strike – even though US military chiefs are against it – for fear of alienating Jewish voters in key swing states such as Florida. Read More

Michael Tzouvanni who died in Phuket disco fire predicted death



A TOURIST, who made a last-minute telephone call from the fatal Phuket disco inferno, is the first of four badly burned bodies to be formally identified.

"I am in the fire ... there is no way out of here, I love you," 'Michael Pio Tzouvanni, 24, from London, reportedly said from his mobile inside the Tiger Discotheque in Patong as fire swept through the venue last Friday:

Tzouvanni, a building surveyor, predicted his death in a chilling phone call 24 hours earlier.

''The night before he called home and said "I don't think I am going to make it out of this country. I don't know why, I want you to tell my family that I love them' It was like he knew.," one of his five brothers told the London Evening Standard. Read More

Syria: West Looking for Excuse to Send in Troops

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil says the West is looking for an excuse for military intervention in his country, a move he says would be impossible.

Jamil said during a visit to Moscow Tuesday that sending Western forces into Syria would lead to a wider war in the Middle East. He dismissed U.S. President Barack Obama's warning about what would happen if Syria were to use chemical weapons, calling it election propaganda.

Obama Monday said a Syrian chemical weapons attack would be a "red line" that would significantly change the U.S. handling of the situation. Read More

Mars rover: Wind sensor damaged on Nasa's Curiosity

Nasa has reported its first setback in the Curiosity rover mission to Mars.

A sensor on the robot's weather station that takes wind readings has sustained damage.

The mission team stresses this is not a major problem and will merely degrade some measurements - not prevent them.

It is not certain how the damage occurred but engineers suspect surface stones thrown up during Curiosity's rocket-powered landing may have struck sensor circuits and broken the wiring.

Nasa is describing the news as an isolated "disappointment" in what has otherwise been a spectacular start to the mission.

Javier Gomez-Elvira, the principal investigator on the broken instrumentation - the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (Rems) - said he was hopeful of finding a good way to get past the issue.

"We are working to recover as much functionality as possible," he told reporters. Read More

Greece needs more time for cuts, says PM Samaras

Greece's Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, has called for more time to implement tough spending cuts and reforms, ahead of crucial talks on its EU/IMF bailout.

Mr Samaras told German daily Bild that Greece needed "breathing space".

He will meet eurozone head Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, and French and German counterparts later this week.

At issue is whether Greece has done enough to receive its next 31.5bn-euro (£24.7bn) bailout payment next month.

Failure to unlock the funds could lead to Greece defaulting on its vast public debt and possibly leaving the euro.

Mr Samaras is under pressure to show Greece can fulfil its commitment of 11.5bn euros in public spending cuts within two years in order to qualify for the money.

At the talks with Mr Juncker, he is expected to float the idea of Greece being given a two-year extension to the deadline. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 22nd August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION at a depth of 53.2 km (33.1 miles), the quake hit at 01:33:05 UTC Wednesday 22nd August 2012
The epicenter was 50 km (31 miles) East of Shizunai, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Syrian Violence Spreads Further Into Lebanon

Ongoing violence in Syria has spilled further into Lebanon, amid fears of a widening regional destabilisation.

At least seven people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in sectarian clashes in the city of Tripoli.

Lebanese army troops were forced to withdraw after coming under heavy fire when they tried to subdue heavy sectarian fighting.

The clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites, fuelled by tensions over the civil war in Syria, continued for a second night, security and medical sources said.

Gunmen in the Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh and their Alawite rivals in Jebel Mohsen have exchanged gun and grenade fire, despite action by Lebanese troops deployed in the port city, residents said.

Two of the dead men were identified as residents of Jebel Mohsen, a hill inhabited mainly by Alawites which overlooks the predominantly Sunni area below, where five people were killed, medical sources said. Read More

Iran begins construction of $300 million anti-aircraft missile base

Amid increasing talk of a possible Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities, Iran has begun construction of a new, state-of-the-art, anti-aircraft missile base.

The new base, located near the city of Abadeh, in southern Iran, will cost $300 million, be home to 6,000 personnel, and host seven battalions, Iran’s Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

The Deputy Commander of the Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, Mohammad Hosseini, said the base, the largest of its kind in Iran, will also include one of the most important military training centers in the country.

Last month, a senior Iranian air defense commander asserted that all Iranian air defense units and systems are fully prepared to repel possible enemy air raids.

Also on Tuesday, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled an upgraded version of a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile just weeks after it was test-fired, Iranian state media reported.

At the ceremony unveiling the Fateh-110, or Conqueror, Ahmadinejad told a group of defense officials that Iran wants to advance its defense technology “not in an aggressive context, but as a deterrence.” more

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake COLORADO - 21st August 2012

A magnitude 3.3 earthquake has struck COLORADO at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 21:21:28 UTC Tuesday 21st August 2012
The epicenter was 14 km (8.7 miles) NNE from El Jebel, Colorado
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Heatwave Fuels Wildfires Across Europe

Wildfires have been spreading across southern Europe, fuelled by the hot, dry climate.

Firefighters in Spain are struggling to cope with the country's worst blazes in a decade while thousands of acres of forest are being destroyed by fires spreading across Greece.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state of emergency has been declared around a town in the northeast of the country, as fires have left many residents suffering heat exhaustion.

Spain:

Fires believed to have been started intentionally have scorched 80 square kilometres 198 around the town of Castrocontrigo, miles (320km) northwest of Madrid.

Five hundred soldiers were deployed to help fight the fires, though no residents have yet been evacuated.

Satellite pictures showed huge plumes of smoke as flames cut across fields of pine trees.

Mayor of Castrocontrigo Aureliano Fernandez told Cadena SER radio that authorities believe the fire was started intentionally and the person responsible also tried to start one in the area last week.

Spanish authorities say 869 miles 1,400 square kilometres of woodland has been burnt by 11,000 wildfires since January 2012, most of which have been started deliberately.

Greece:

The Greek secret service has been called in to investigate an unusually large number of fires that have spread across the country, to see if arson is to blame.

As officials announced the decision, more than 20 blazes raged out of control, including one that has ravaged the Aegean island of Chios for four days.

Boosted by gale-force winds, the blazes have already wiped out huge areas of forest and olive groves.

Almost 400 fire fighters, soldiers and volunteers were assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, the fire brigade said.

On Sunday, two French tourists were arrested on the Greek island of Andros on suspicion of arson, though prosecutors have yet to charge them with any offence.

Although forest fires are common during Greece's long hot summers, the country has seen hundreds of blazes in recent weeks following the heat wave.

Bosnia-Herzogovina:

Authorities have declared a state of emergency around the town of Bratunac as a heatwave fuelled several wildfires leaving many residents suffering heat exhaustion. Read More

Saddest Picture of the Century: Pulitzer Prize winning photograph in Sudan by Kevin Carter.

In March 1993 Kevin Carter made a trip to southern Sudan and took this photograph. The picture would later bring him the Pulitzer prize, but also death.

The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to reach the refugee camp, nearby a vulture is waiting her to die.

It is a horrific picture that gave people a true look at the dire condition in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Kevin then came under a lot of scrutiny for spending over 20 minutes setting up the photo instead of helping the child. Three months after taking the photo, he committed suicide. Read More

Illinois County Wont Enforce States Conceald Carry Ban

Chicago News and Weather | FOX Chicago News

CHICAGO (FOX Chicago News) -
A prosecutor in Southern Illinois won't enforce the state's ban on carrying loaded, concealed handguns and other state's attorneys may soon announce the same policy.


State's Attorney Mike Valentine said he believes it's unconstitutional for Illinois to prohibit people from carrying loaded firearms in public. If you're otherwise law-abiding, he told Political Editor Mike Flannery by telephone, you won't face charges for packing heat in Edwards County.

Valentine said that, since he took office in 2008, no one's been prosecuted for peacefully carrying loaded firearms around Edwards County, population 6,000.

But Bloomington's McLean County, population 170,000, may soon announce a similar policy.

State's Attorney Ronald Dozier told us he's already sent a legal memo to other Illinois prosecutors explaining his belief that it's unconstitutional to ban the carrying of loaded firearms in public. Some are outraged.

"What if somebody walks into a soccer game and they have a Tek-9 pistol? Are they gonna do something or are they gonna say there's basically nothing they can do about it?" Senator Dan Kotowski asked.

"Higher law enforcement officials should look into it. I think the attorney general should look into this." Read More

Six hurt as train derails in Berlin, Germany

Six people were hurt in Berlin when a train came off the tracks at lunchtime on Tuesday. Emergency workers said they were glad the incident was not more serious.

“We arrived with heavy cutting machinery and many emergency personnel,” Berlin fire brigade spokesman Wolfgang Rowenhagen told the N24 broadcaster.

“We are very happy that there are only six people injured,” he said.

Around 150 emergency workers raced to the spot in northern Berlin where the S25 suburban train had come off the tracks. Two carriages were completely off the rails at the accident site between the Tegel and Schulzendorf stations.

Around 50 people were in the train at the time of the accident, which happened just before midday. Those who were hurt had mostly suffered bruising as their carriage fell sideways and they were thrown around inside.

The train was yesterday left where it came to a halt while engineers tried to work out what had caused the accident. Read More

Fire rages through 150 buildings in East Jakarta, Indonesia

Fire gutted 150 buildings on Jl. Gotong Royong in Pondok Bambu, Duren Sawit in East Jakarta on Tuesday. No casualties were reported as a result of the incident.

Fire not only devastated houses but also furniture workshops and a small textile factory that were situated there.

“We calculate that the loss may reach billions of rupiah because some of the furniture workshops stored teak, which is a very expensive wood,” said City Fire Agency chief, Paimin Napitupulu, on Tuesday at the fire site.

According to Paimin, most of the residents were still out of Jakarta, having left to spend Idul Fitri in their hometowns.

“Some street vendors selling meat balls and scavengers also live there,” said Amah, one of residents who lives only 10 meters from the fire scene.

The fire, according to Paimin, was triggered by a short circuit in a house, whose owners are away in their hometown. Electrical sparks, caused by the short circuit, fell onto a chemical substance and a pile of sawdust. The resulting fire quickly burned through house and surrounding buildings. Read More

Honduras Investigates Alleged Meteorite Crash

Tegucigalpa, Aug 20 (Prensa Latina) Specialists with the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) are now in Trojes area, in the eastern Honduran department of El Paraíso, to investigate the alleged crash of a meteorite.

According to the inhabitants of that region near the border with Nicaragua, a fireball crossed the sky on Saturday night and then they heard a loud explosion.

A COPECO statement clarified that no specialized agency reported a meteorite passing by the Central American region, nor has reported the loss of an aircraft.

Copeco and the astronomical observatory of the National Autonomous University of Honduras said their experts in the field are investigating what happened in that region and will report as soon as possible, while they called on people not to generate speculation to avoid uncertainty. Source

Cleveland Volcano has small eruption, Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- There has been a small eruption from a remote Alaska volcano.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says in a release that satellite imagery showed a low-level ash cloud from Cleveland Volcano on Sunday.

Officials say the cloud dispersed over several hours as it tracked to the southeast, and there were no reports of it from nearby mariners or pilots.

The alert level for the volcano was raised in June after a brief eruption and a pilot reporting an ash cloud rising to 35,000 feet. There's no real-time monitoring network at the 5,675-foot volcano, which is on an uninhabited island about 940 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The observatory says additional eruptions are still possible with little warning, and ash clouds 20,000 feet above sea level are possible. Source

Pussy Riot releases new anti-Putin song

Aug. 21 - Still defiant -- Rusisan protest group Pussy Riot releases a new song "Putin Lights Up the Fires."

Was Dead Zhou Kehua Really Fang Bin?



The China authority announced on Aug 14th that Zhou Kehua,

suspected as a serial killer and armed robber in several provinces in China was shot dead by police. Netizens widely questioned this after finding that Zhou's photo released by police wasn't Zhou himself, but a police officer from Changsha called Fang Bin. It drew netizens attention and discussion.

The police soon denied this and posted an official microblog: no one called Fang Bin at Changsha police station.

However, on Aug 20th , a newspaper reporter found a clue in a Hunan Daily newspaper issued in Oct 14th , 2011. In a lost property announcement column, was written:
Fang Bin lost police ID card, No.1804428. It proved that there was a police called Fang Bin at Changsha police station.

On Aug 20th , another insider revealed online: Fang Bin truly existed but is missing. His family are under house arrest.

Gun Shot Incident Occured in Guangxin Province, Was It Zhou Kehua Again?

It was strange that Gele Mountain in Chongqing was blocked two days after Zhou was shot dead. The police searched the residential area door by door holding Zhou Kehua's photo to show the occupants. The police claimed that blocking the mountain was for fire protection. However, according to photos released, the so-called fire fighters were armed with submachine guns. Read More

West Baltimore: Derailed freight train kills two people in Maryland

'West not after democracy in Syria'

Tony Scott's death Video made by witnesses – and hawked to media outlets

TMZ reportedly viewed, but did not purchase, the video of the director's death as more questions emerge about his motives.

Witnesses who filmed and photographed Tony Scott's fatal leap from a bridge into Los Angeles harbour are reportedly hawking the footage to media outlets.

The material captures the British director crouching moments before he jumped an estimated 185ft to his death on Sunday. The show business website TMZ said it had seen – but not purchased – some of the footage.

Some witnesses said they assumed at first it was an extreme sports stunt, not a suicide. A surveillance camera from a nearby business also recorded the jump.

News of the macabre footage came as it emerged Scott made meticulous preparations for his death and had planned to use the bridge from which he jumped in a blockbuster film.

The 68-year-old left a list of contact names, numbers and instructions in his car for police to find after he jumped, one of several notes he left in various locations.

The most detailed note, which reportedly explained why he took his own life, was left in his office. Its contents were not immediately revealed, leaving his motives a mystery to the public as harrowing details emerged of his final moments. Read More

Deadly Ebola virus strikes Congo , Killing at least 9 people

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 21st August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 17:51:37 UTC Tuesday 21st August 2012
The epicenter was 737 km (456.9 miles) Southwest from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Ecuador says UK would be 'suicidal' to try to enter embassy for Assange



London (CNN) -- The Ecuadorian president said the United Kingdom would be "suicidal" to come into Ecuador's embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up since June.

"I think it would be suicidal for Great Britain to enter Ecuador's embassy. Later on, they could have their own embassies violated in all corners of the globe, and they'd have nothing to say about it," President Rafael Correa told state TV.

Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sex crime allegations.

The dispute between Britain and Ecuador exploded when the British Foreign Office, in a letter to Ecuadorian officials, cited a little known law that could temporarily suspend the embassy's diplomatic protection and allow authorities to enter and arrest Assange. Read More

Worst wildfire in Spain in a decade

Aug. 21 - Spanish fire fighters found themselves trapped by a wall of advancing flames as they worked to contain a massive wildfire in the city of Leon. Deborah Gembara reports.

Army battling racists within its own ranks

(Reuters) - They call it "rahowa" - short for racial holy war - and they are preparing for it by joining the ranks of the world's fiercest fighting machine, the U.S. military.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinhead groups encourage followers to enlist in the Army and Marine Corps to acquire the skills to overthrow what some call the ZOG - the Zionist Occupation Government. Get in, get trained and get out to brace for the coming race war.

If this scenario seems like fantasy or bluster, civil rights organizations take it as deadly serious, especially given recent events. Former U.S. Army soldier Wade Page opened fire with a 9mm handgun at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, murdering six people and critically wounding three before killing himself during a shootout with police.

The U.S. Defense Department as well has stepped up efforts to purge violent racists from its ranks, earning praise from organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has tracked and exposed hate groups since the 1970s. Read More

Four dead in Lebanon clashes that echo Syria conflict

(Reuters) - Four people were killed and more than 60 wounded in clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli as the war in neighboring Syria inflamed tensions there again, security and medical sources said on Tuesday.

Gunmen in the Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh and their Alawite rivals in Jebel Mohsen exchanged gun and grenade fire in sporadic fighting overnight and into the day, despite action by Lebanese troops deployed in the port city, residents said.

Two of the dead men were identified as residents of Jebel Mohsen, a hill inhabited mainly by Alawites which overlooks the predominantly Sunni area below, where two other people were killed, medical sources said.

The area is one of Lebanon's most volatile sectarian fault lines and chronic Sunni-Alawite tensions in Tripoli have been heightened by the 17-month-old, mainly Sunni, uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite. Clashes in the city killed 15 people in early June. Read More

Crews Battle Blaze Near Heathrow Airport

A large plume of black smoke rose over Heathrow Airport after a fire broke out in west London.

Firefighters were called at 4.00pm on Tuesday and crews with six fire engines tackled the blaze on Bath Road in Hounslow West.

The fire was quite close to one of the airport's runways.

The airport said flights were unaffected. Source

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 21st August 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck SOUTHWEST OF SUMATRA, INDONESIA at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles), the quake hit at 17:39:38 UTC Tuesday 21st August 2012
The epicenter was 727 km (452 miles) SSW from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Israel says Egypt violating peace treaty by moving tanks into demilitarized Sinai

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials said Tuesday that Egypt is violating the historic 1979 peace treaty between the two countries by deploying tanks in the demilitarized Sinai desert near the Israeli border.

The officials said they have relayed their objections to the Egyptians directly and through American mediators. An Egyptian border official confirmed that his Israeli counterparts had voiced concerns.

Egypt has been building up its military presence in the lawless area since Islamic militants there attacked an army post on Aug. 5 and killed 16 soldiers.

Under the peace accord, Egypt was only allowed to have lightly armed policemen in the zone along the border with Israel. Limited numbers of tanks were permitted only in a zone on the far western side of the peninsula, within 30 miles (50 kilometers) of the Suez Canal. Read More

Tiana Harris, Lisa Parker, and Estefania Myers: Delaware Daycare Employees Arrested For Encouraging Toddlers To Rumble in Daycare Fight Club



Three daycare employees were arrested on Monday for allegedly watching and encouraging toddlers to fight each other while under their care.

According to Dover Police, three employees from the Hands of Our Future Daycare in Delaware were arrested after a cell phone video showed employees watching and encouraging two 3-year-olds fight each other.

Tiana Harris, 19, Lisa Parker, 47, and Estefania Myers, 21, were charged with Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Reckless Endangering and Conspiracy for the incident, which occurred in March of 2012 and was captured on cell phone video.

In the video, police say one child can be heard crying and yelling, ‘He’s pinching me,’ while a daycare worker responds, ‘No pinching, only punching.’”

“Clearly one of the children is crying and does not want to continue on and he is pushed back into the fray by one of the adults,” Dover Police Captain Tim Stump said.

Cristyl Slack says her four-year-old daughter was in the room when the fight happened in March.

“That pissed me off just because I feel if my daughter is around anything I should have known that day,” Slack said.

The fight video is not being shown to parents or the public because police say it is evidence. more

Russia warns against unilateral intervention in Syria

Russia has warned against unilateral action in Syria after the US said it might intervene militarily if Damascus used chemical weapons on the rebels.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there should be no outside interference and countries should "strictly adhere to the norms of international law".

On Monday, President Barack Obama said the deployment of chemical weapons represented a "red line" for the US.

Meanwhile, troops are reported to have stormed a western suburb of Damascus.

'Correct path'
On Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister held talks in Moscow with China's top diplomat, State Councillor Dai Bingguo, and a Syrian government delegation to discuss the conflict, which the UN says has left 18,000 people dead.

After meeting Mr Dai, Mr Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing based their diplomatic co-operation on "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the UN Charter, and not to allow their violation". Read More

Assange: Ecuador Accused Of Double Standards

Alexander Barankov fled to Ecuador from Belarus after claiming to have unearthed corruption there as a military investigator.

Ecuador gave him refugee status two years ago, but in June police came for him and took him to jail.

His Ecuadorean partner Mabel Andrade is distraught as she waits for more information about the case.

"I'm worried for his health - for his mind’s health," she said. "He’s worried, really worried, for his life now."

Mr Barankov was arrested when Belorussian leader Alexander Lukashenko came to Ecuador and met its president, Rafael Correa. Read More

Increase in Lightning Observed Across Japan this summe-- Wait, what the Hell Is That?!

In addition to two months of temperatures over 35℃, Japan has recently been hit with a spate of lightning storms. In fact, when writing a previous story my building was hit by lightning knocking out my computer and forcing a rewrite. The son of a…

Anyway, with all this lightning around and pretty much the entire population carrying cameras built into their phones, a person’s natural inclination is to try and take a picture of a bolt.

One person though was not only lucky enough to actually be able to catch a bolt in a photo, but found something far stranger.

If you’re jaded like me you’d probably just assume this is a Photoshop job. But for the sake of science and wonder let’s explore some other possibilities.

I once saw something like this before where a beam of light was shining after a bolt of lightning hit the ground. Afterwards I heard on the news that a gas main was hit and exploded. In that case though the light wasn’t a perfectly straight pillar like that.

The other possibility is that this is a lens flare. Lens flares are those little spots or lines that appear in pictures or video when the light source is too strong. Lightning could certainly be strong enough to cause that, but in that case the buildings wouldn’t be in front of the beam since the flare occurs inside of the camera.

There is a natural phenomenon called light pillars that are caused by light reflecting from ice crystals but given the heat these days you’d be hard pressed to find enough ice crystals in the air to cause a light pillar that big and clear. more

We all played our part ........then OUR Government goes and borrows £3 billion more than expected last month

George Osborne's attempt to cut Britain’s deficit was dealt a blow today when official figures revealed that the Government borrowed £3 billion more than expected last month.

Public sector finances suffered from a 20 per cent fall in corporation tax receipts from business while public spending rose by 5 per cent, fuelled by higher benefit payments.

Overall public sector net borrowing came in at £600 million in July, compared with a surplus of £2.8 billion in the same month last year. City's expectations had been for a surplus of £2.5 billion.

Public sector net debt now stands at above £1 trillion, compared to £940 billion a year ago, and represents 65.7 per cent of the UK's GDP, up from 61.8 per cent last year. Read More

Big Kitten is Watching YOU


Michael Tzouvanni Killed in Thailand Fire

A British man has been confirmed as one of four people killed when fire swept through a nightclub in Thailand.

Michael Pio Tzouvanni, 24, from London, was caught up in the blaze at the Tiger Discotheque on the island of Phuket early on Friday.

His brother Joseph made an emotional appeal on Thai television over the weekend, in which he revealed his brother had called from the venue saying "there is a fire in this club".

Mr Tzouvanni had been with two friends but split up from them just before the blaze broke out.

Three other people, believed to be two Thai women and a French man, also died, while at least 11 people were injured.

Police in Thailand said Mr Tzouvanni died from smoke inhalation. Read More

Irish Israel Embassy Evacuation 'False Alarm'

Police say the evacuation of the Israeli embassy in Dublin has ended after the suspicious device was found to be a false alarm.

The army's bomb-disposal team had been sent to the scene to investigate.

"A suspicious device was found and we were contacted. The building is being evacuated," a police spokesman said earlier.

More follows...

Israel Embassy Evacuated Due to Bomb Scare In Ireland

The Israeli embassy in Dublin is being evacuated after a suspicious device was found on the premises.

The army's bomb-disposal team was at the scene to investigate, according to the police.

"A suspicious device was found and we were contacted. The building is being evacuated," a police spokesman said.

More follows...

Wildfires burn on Greek island of Chios

Aug 21 - Wildfires destroy tens of thousands of acres of mastic gum tree in Greece

Ethiopian PM died in Brussels: European Commission

(Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died on Monday night in Brussels, a spokesman for the EU executive said on Tuesday.

"He passed away during the night here in Brussels," European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly told a regular news briefing.

The Ethiopian government said earlier on Tuesday that Zenawi, 57, had died while being treated abroad for an undisclosed illness, but would not say in which country.

It was not immediately clear which hospital in Brussels was treating him when he died. Source

India cracks down on Internet over migrant exodus

India has demanded social networking websites take down provocative messages and has blocked some online content after anonymous threats sparked an exodus of migrants from several cities.

Tens of thousands of workers and students from the remote northeast region returned home last week fearing attacks from Muslims in reprisal for recent ethnic clashes in the state of Assam.

The Indian government has said many of the Internet posts, fake video clips and phone messages spreading rumours of plans to target migrants were sent from arch-rival Pakistan.

A statement from the Ministry of Communications late Monday said an order had been issued on August 17 but that "such inflammatory and harmful content continued to appear on the social networking sites."

It added the government was meeting with representatives of the sites to curb the content, but stressed that "a lot more and quicker action is expected from them to address such a sensitive issue".

Officials declined to name which sites were affected, and Twitter, Google and Facebook were not immediately available for comment. Read More

Anti-Terror Exercises Planned for D.C. Skies

Air Force and Coast Guard aircraft will fly “intercept and identification” exercises over Washington tonight as part of efforts to prevent suicide aircraft attacks or other threats to the capital, a military spokesman said.

The latest exercise of what the North American Aerospace Defense Command calls “Falcon Virgo” involves Civil Air Patrol Cessna-182 light aircraft and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter between 11:30 p.m. Monday and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, NORAD said in a statement.

“We want to make sure people seeing these planes aren’t concerned,” said NORAD spokesman John Cornelio.

“One of the reasons we put out notice of the exercise is so that anyone seeing a military aircraft in close proximity to a civilian aircraft will know that this is a controlled and carefully planned NORAD live exercise,” he said.

No unmanned aerial vehicles will be used, said another spokeswoman. Read More

Russia, China warn West on Syria after Obama threats...

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the West not to take unilateral action on Syria, saying that Russia and China agree that violations of international law and the United Nations charter are impermissible.

Russia and China have opposed military intervention in Syria throughout 17 months of bloodshed and have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions backed by Western and Arab states that would raise pressure on Damascus to end violence.

Lavrov, cited by Russian news agencies at a meeting with China's top diplomat, was speaking a day after U.S. President Barack Obama, in some of his strongest language yet, said U.S. forces could move against President Bashar al-Assad if he deploys chemical weapons against rebels trying to overthrow him.

Russia and China base their diplomatic cooperation on "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the U.N. Charter, and not to allow their violation," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying at a meeting with Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo.

"I think this is the only correct path in today's conditions," Lavrov said. Source

Iran unveils new missile, other weapons

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran unveiled upgrades to six weapons on Tuesday, including a more accurate short-range missile and a more powerful naval engine, Iranian media reported, in what seemed to be its latest response to international pressure over its nuclear program.

The hardware was presented at a ceremony marking Defence Industry Day and attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

Israel has said it is considering air strikes on Iran's nuclear sites if the Islamic Republic does not resolve Western fears it is developing the means to produce atomic weapons, something the Islamic Republic denies.

Iran says it could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region if it comes under attack.

It has also threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the neck of the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports pass. Such a move would probably invite a military response from the United States.

Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran's military advances are purely for defensive purposes and should not be taken as a threat, but said they would dissuade world powers from imposing their will on Iran. Read More

Netanyahu ‘determined to attack Iran’ before US elections, claims Israel’s Channel 10

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is determined to attack Iran before the US elections,” Israel’s Channel 10 News claimed on Monday night, and Israel is now “closer than ever” to a strike designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive.

The TV station’s military reporter Alon Ben-David, who earlier this year was given extensive access to the Israel Air Force as it trained for a possible attack, reported that, since upgraded sanctions against Iran have failed to force a suspension of the Iranian nuclear program in the past two months, “from the prime minister’s point of view, the time for action is getting ever closer.”

Asked by the news anchor in the Hebrew-language TV report how close Israel now was to “a decision and perhaps an attack,” Ben-David said: “It appears that we are closer than ever.”

He said it seemed that Netanyahu was not waiting for a much-discussed possible meeting with US President Barack Obama, after the UN General Assembly gathering in New York late next month — indeed, “it’s not clear that there’ll be a meeting.” In any case, said Ben-David, “I doubt Obama could say anything that would convince Netanyahu to delay a possible attack.” Read More

United States Police Departments Being Trained By Mossad, Treat Citizens Like Terrorists

Russian Bear stops Finland leaving euro

“We bailed out our own banks, and now after all the lying, dishonesty and malfeasance in Europe, we are being asked to bail out their banks. This is the last straw,” Mr Timo Soini, leader of the True Finns party

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.

“Sweden and Denmark both held referendums on the euro, and both said no. We were never allowed to vote,” said Timo Soini, leader of the True Finns party. That was a mistake. The nation is not locked into ritual assent.

Finns obeyed the rules of EU membership with scrupulous care, while others gamed the system. “Our Lutheran morality, if you will,” said foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja.

They alone faced the fiscal implications of EMU for small economies out of cyclical alignment. Finland’s budget surplus was 5.3pc of GDP at the top of the boom in 2007. Greece’s was 6.5pc in deficit. There lies the full horror of what has happened.

“In Finland, a handshake is final. We thought we had a deal that every country would look after its own finances, only to find the deal was broken,” said Alexander Stubb, Finland’s Europe minister. Read More

Government’s “Homeowner Relief” Programs Are Disguised Bank Bailouts..... Screwing you to help the banks, Are you really that Shocked?

Huffington Post notes, in a story entitled “New Obama Foreclosure Plan Helps Banks At Taxpayers’ Expense “:

A key new condition in the plan would shift the financial liability for refinanced loans from Wall Street banks to the American taxpayer.

***

The newly expanded program would expunge legal liabilities associated with mortgages refinanced through the program for the original lenders of the mortgages. Each time a bank sent a loan to Fannie and Freddie, it certified that the loan met Fannie and Freddie’s safe lending criteria. But many loans sent to the mortgage giants did not, in fact, meet those criteria. Currently, when borrowers default on those ineligible loans, the mortgage giants can “put back” the resulting losses onto the banks that pushed the loans.

Under the modified plan, “put back” liability at banks will be erased for any underwater mortgage that is refinanced through HARP, eliminating Fannie and Freddie’s ability to sack lenders with losses in the event that the mortgage does not pan out.

If borrowers go through HARP, but decide after several months that the modest monthly savings do not outweigh owing tens of thousands of dollars more than their home is worth, taxpayer-owned Fannie and Freddie will have to take the full loss. Even if the original loan was sent to Fannie and Freddie with false or fraudulent guarantees from the bank — promises that may directly be tied to the borrower’s current financial problems — banks will be immune from liability. Fannie and Freddie plan to charge banks “a modest fee” to extinguish this liability, but the administration has yet to determine what that fee will be.

“In most cases people would probably be better off walking,” said economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research.

While this is outrageous, it’s nothing new. PhD economists John Hussman and Dean Baker, fund manager and financial writer Barry Ritholtz and New York Times’ writer Gretchen Morgenson say that the only reason the government keeps giving billions to Fannie and Freddie is that it is really a huge, ongoing, back-door bailout of the big banks.

Many also accuse Obama’s foreclosure relief programs as being backdoor bailouts for the banks. Read More

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Obama’s $75 Billion Foreclosure Plan Spells Relief for Bankers

Guess Who Benefits Most From Foreclosure Abatements?

''Hyperinflation Is Not Inevitable (Default Is)''

Hyperinflation is always a possibility for any national government or central bank. If a national government is running massive deficits, it can call on the central bank to buy treasury bills or treasury bonds with newly created money. This digital money is transferred to the treasury, which then spends the money into circulation.

There have been cases of hyperinflation in the past that have become legendary. The most famous of all of these hyperinflations is Germany from 1921 through 1923. Simultaneous with that hyperinflation was a hyperinflation in Austria. These were not the worst cases of hyperinflation in history, but they were the worst cases in industrial societies. The worst case was Hungary for two years immediately after World War II. The second-worst case took place a few years ago in Zimbabwe. Both were agricultural nations.

No other nations in western Europe have ever experienced anything like the hyperinflations of Germany and Austria in the early 1920s. Their currency systems were completely destroyed. Farmers were able to pay off debts that had been accumulated prior to World War I by selling one egg and handing the money over to the creditor. This of course destroyed the creditors. It is generally believed that the middle class in both Germany and Austria suffered enormous losses. They had been creditors. Read More

''Reggie Middleton Interview: Collapse in Europe is Absolutely Unavoidable''

''Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker warned banks they 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. Read More

Philippines brace for expected TROPICAL STORM HELEN

India, Russia to sign biggest-ever defense deal

US media displays bias against Muslims

Kurdish Group 'Not Behind' Turkey Car Bomb that killed nine people - four of them children

Kurdish separatists have denied responsibility for a remote control car bomb that killed nine people, including four children, near a police station in Turkey.

The blast happened in the southeastern town of Gaziantep, about 30 miles from the border with Syria, an area previously targeted by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

However, the group has said that its fighters had "nothing" to do with the explosion, according to Firat News, an organisation close to the PKK.

The PKK has been designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the EU.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the bomb, which injured dozens of people.

Turkey has accused neighbouring Syria of supporting the PKK, which launched a separatist insurgency in the region 28 years ago. Some 40,000 people have died in the conflict. Read More

George Osborne deficit reduction plans in doubt as Public sector net borrowing rose by £557m in July.

Public sector net borrowing rose by £557m in July according to the Office for National Statistics.

The shock figure shows Britain's public sector finances were in deficit following a shortfall in corporation tax.

It compares to a £2.8bn surplus in the same month last year and defies city expectations of a £2.5bn surplus.

The official figures will heap further pressure on Chancellor George Osborne as his deficit reduction plans are thrown into question.

Sky's economics editor Ed Conway said: "These figures back up that Britain is back in a double dip recession.

"It puts an increasing amount of pressure on the Chancellor to do something to stimulate the economy." Read More

'Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence' call for a withdrawal of U.S. forces following another attack on a Japanese woman by a U.S. serviceman

NAHA -- Residents in this base-hosting prefecture have expressed outrage over an indecent assault on an Okinawa woman by an American serviceman, reiterating their calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces.

"The pain and fear felt by the victim are immeasurable, and the incident provoked strong fear among local communities," said Suzuyo Takasato, a representative of the "Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence," during a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office on Aug. 20.

Corporal Iian Tarver, 21, of the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Zukeran is under arrest for allegedly committing indecent acts on a woman in her 40s and injuring her after dragging her to the ground on a road in Naha at around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 18.

"The incident demonstrated that U.S. forces' discipline has been undermined," Takasato said. Her group is poised to file a request with the Japanese and U.S. governments, demanding that U.S. servicemen be banned from going outside their bases and that U.S. forces pull out of Okinawa. Read More

Penguin fails again in breakaway bid from a Japanese Zoo....Hopefully he will get Lucky on the 4th attempt

SUZAKA, Nagano -- A young Humboldt penguin kept at a zoo here failed in its third getaway attempt when it was captured at a pond on the morning of Aug. 21, zoo officials said.

The 3-month-old penguin chick kept at the Suzaka Zoological Gardens in Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture, was caught swimming in a pond about 200 meters away from the zoo at around 8 a.m. on Aug. 21. It was captured by officials and was returned to the zoo. About two hours earlier, a zookeeper had noticed that the penguin had escaped.

According to the zoo, the penguin -- measuring some 50 centimeters long and whose gender is unknown -- is apparently the same as the one that had run away from the zoo twice before, on Aug. 12 and 14, judging from an identification tag attached to it. In its third escape bid, the chick is believed to have jumped over an approximately 50-centimeter-high fence of an enclosure.

"It's incredible that a penguin chick has such jumping power," said the superintendent of the zoo. Read More

Hells Angels sue U.S.

Washington (CNN) -- The Hells Angels are going to court, protesting a federal policy barring the motorcycle club's foreign members from visiting the United States.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Washington, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation, as the group calls itself, said its designation as a "known criminal organization" by the departments of Homeland Security and State violates immigration law and the group's constitutional rights.

Lawyers for the Los Angeles-area-based group describe its membership as composed of loosely associated charters, "made up of motorcycle enthusiasts who have joined to ride motorcycles together, organize social events, fundraisers, parties and motorcycle rallies."

Founded in 1948 in southern California, Hells Angels claim charters in 35 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United States and Wales.

The group is asking for a temporary injunction, allowing foreign members to be granted visas to travel to the United States. Read More