Monday, August 27, 2012

Report finds serious overcrowding at all four Welsh prisons...Death Penalty will solve that problem

Wales’ four prisons are all operating at an overcrowded level with one holding almost twice as many prisoners as it should be, latest statistics show.

In July there were 847 more prisoners in Wales’ four prisons than they are designed and built to hold, according to prison population figures released by the Ministry of Justice.

With 3,180 people incarcerated in Cardiff, Bridgend’s Parc prison, Usk and Swansea, Welsh prisons are 136% over the Prison Service’s Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA).

According to the Prison Reform Trust, CNA is “the good, decent standard of accommodation that the Service aspires to provide all prisoners”. Read More

Warplane attacks on Damascus suburbs kill 60 - activists

(Reuters) - Syrian fighter planes made rare sorties on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, killing at least 60 people in its eastern suburbs, the same day a Syrian military helicopter crashed while under rebel fire, activists said.

They said aerial attacks by at least two fighter planes late on Monday had targeted the neighbourhood of Zemalka and the more easterly suburb of Saqba where Free Syrian Army fighters had attacked and overrun several army roadblocks earlier in the day.

Both suburbs are poor and inhabited predominantly by Sunni Muslims, who make up the majority of Syria's population and have been at the forefront of fighting against President Bashar al-Assad.

Video footage seen by a Reuters reporter of the aftermath of an attack by one of the planes firing rockets at an apartment building showed people running away with their children and the six-storey building collapsed like an accordion.

Syrian authorities have banned entry to most foreign media, making it impossible to verify accounts by activists and residents of activity in the capital. Read More

Syria Rebel Slams British Government As Airstrikes Ramp Up

A main rebel commander fighting the battle for Syria's biggest city Aleppo has criticised the British Government for failing to provide them with weapons.

Clashes are raging across Syria as the rebellion grows increasingly bloody, particularly in Aleppo, where the army and rebels appear stuck in a war of attrition.

A new report from Human Rights Watch details how the regime is increasingly using its air assets to pound rebel positions - but it is Syria's civilians who are bearing the brunt.

And the regime is using its superior firepower to crushing effect - and relying on it more and more.

Haji Marea, one of the main commanders from the Tawed Brigade fighting in Aleppo, insists the rebels could win in days with a no-fly zone or anti-aircraft weaponry.

He is furious at the British Foreign Secretary's offer of just communication equipment. Read More

Hurricane Isaac: US Gulf Coast Braced For Tropical Storm Isaac as it is expected to turn into a Hurricane

Tropical storm Isaac has churned up the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and is predicted to strengthen into a dangerous hurricane before hitting the US mainland later.

The US Gulf Coast is braced for the storm which left at least 20 people dead in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and swept across the Florida Keys.

People along a 300 miles stretch of coast have been warned to take precautions, with some communities urged to evacuate and head for shelter.

Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama declared states of emergency amid the threat of flooding, which forecasters said could result in flood waters of between six and 12 feet in areas.

US President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Louisiana, authorising federal aid for the state ahead of the approaching storm. Read More

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - 28th August 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA at a depth of 13.21 km (8.2 miles), the quake hit at 02:01:20 UTC Tuesday 28th August 2012
The epicenter was 4 km (2.4 miles) Northwest from Brawley, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF CALIFORNIA - 28th August 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck the GULF OF CALIFORNIA at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 01:08:20 UTC Tuesday 28th August 2012
The epicenter was 76 km (47 miles) SSW of Puerto Penasco, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF CALIFORNIA - 27th August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the GULF OF CALIFORNIA at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 23:16:01 UTC Monday 27th August 2012
The epicenter was 85 km (52 miles) SSW of Puerto Penasco, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

A pill that tells you when to take it? (Don't be fooled: this is a covert chipping and monitoring attempt)

If you have trouble remembering whether you took your pills on time, your medicine may soon have the answer for you.

Pills for anything from the common cold to diabetes or cancer can be embedded with tiny ingestible chips that keep track of whether a patient is taking their medicine on time.

The digital feedback technology, devised by Redwood City, California-based Proteus Digital Health Inc, can also prompt patients to take their medicine and even ask them to take a walk if they have been inactive for too long.

"Overall, people only take their medications half of the time ... adherence is a really big issue across all treatments," Eric Topol, chief academic officer of Scripps Health, a non-profit medical service provider, told Reuters.

Some patients might not like their pill-taking being tracked but the system can help manage patients' complicated medicine routines, such as diabetes or heart conditions.

"This is a way to have a "friend" helping look after me, since my doctor can't be there most of the time," said Kelly Close, a diabetes patient and the founder of diaTribe, a newsletter for people with diabetes. She has not yet used the pill. more

Thoughts: The key phrase is the following. "...can be embedded with tiny ingestible chips that keep track of whether a patient is taking their medicine on time." And what happens if the masses don't take their medication on time? What then?



New Spectacular Crop Circle 26th Aug 2012 at Hackpen Hill, nr Broad Hinton. Wiltshire, UK

"The Program": The National Security Agency's Domestic Spying Program



It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”

Two weeks later, driving past the headquarters of the N.S.A. in Maryland, outside Washington, Mr. Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.’s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004.

“The decision must have been made in September 2001,” Mr. Binney told me and the cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. “That’s when the equipment started coming in.” In this Op-Doc, Mr. Binney explains how the program he created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on this country. He resigned over this in 2001 and began speaking out publicly in the last year. He is among a group of N.S.A. whistle-blowers, including Thomas A. Drake, who have each risked everything — their freedom, livelihoods and personal relationships — to warn Americans about the dangers of N.S.A. domestic spying. more

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA - 27th August 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA at a depth of 19.9 km (12.4 miles), the quake hit at 17:54:23 UTC Monday 27th August 2012
The epicenter was 314 km (195 miles) Northeast from Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Kenyan cleric shot dead, sparks riots in Mombasa

(Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters smashed cars and torched churches in the Kenyan city of Mombasa on Monday after unknown gunmen shot dead a Muslim cleric accused by the United States of helping Islamist militants in Somalia.

One protester was killed in the riots which erupted after Aboud Rogo Mohammed was shot on Monday, as youths from the port city's large Muslim population took to the streets complaining he had been deliberately targeted by police.

"It's an attack on Muslims, and we will not take it lightly," said Suleiman Atham, one of the protesters.

Deputy police chief Robert Kitur said Rogo - who faced terrorism charges over allegations he was recruiting non-Somali Africans for Somalia's al Shabaab militant group - was killed while driving in a private car.

"Unknown gunmen attacked his vehicle ... sprayed it with bullets and killed him on the spot," Kitur said. "They must have been targeting him, and must have been trailing him for a while." Read More

Japan Envoy's Car Attacked in Beijing

BEIJING—The Japanese Embassy in Beijing says a car carrying the ambassador was attacked by a man who ripped off the Japanese flag from the vehicle. The attack comes amid rising diplomatic tensions and anti-Japanese sentiment over disputed islands.

The embassy said in a statement that Ambassador Uichiro Niwa was returning to the embassy on Monday when his official car was stopped by two other vehicles. It said a man jumped out of one of the vehicles and pulled the flag off the front of Mr. Niwa's car, damaging the flagpole.

It said nothing else was damaged.

The embassy said it issued a strong protest to China's Foreign Ministry, which expressed deep regret over the incident and said authorities would spare no effort to prevent a recurrence.

China's Foreign Ministry said in response to a request for comment that China is conducting a ``serious investigation'' into the incident and that the Chinese government has consistently fulfilled its international obligation to protect the safety of foreign embassies and personnel. Read More

The Age Arctic ice cap shrinks to smallest area ever

The ice cap covering the top of the world is smaller than it has ever been since scientists started to measure it precisely from space.

Satellite data released tonight show that the sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean has reached a record low, retreating further than it has ever done since detailed records began more than 30 years ago.

The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado said that the 2007 record was broken yesterday with two or three weeks of the melt season still remaining, suggesting that this year’s sea ice will retreat substantially further than at any time in the satellite era.

The snow and ice centre said that the surface area of the Arctic Ocean covered by floating sea ice fell to 4.10 million square kilometres (1.58m square miles), which was 70,000 square kilometres below the previous record minimum of 4.17 million square kilometres set on 18 September 2007. Read More

Five Children Killed Playing With Explosive in Somalia

At least five Somali children have been killed playing with an explosive in their school playground.

Around a dozen other youngsters were wounded in the large blast in the town of Balad, which is situated around 20 miles north of the capital Mogadishu.

It is thought the deadly device discovered by the children was left over from fighting in the area.

The explosion happened shortly after the school day started on Monday.

"There was a heavy explosion, we believe caused by an explosive device that they had been playing with," said Abdi Jinow Alasow, governor for the Middle Shabelle region.

"At least five children have died and more than 10 others were injured.

"The death toll could rise as most of the victims have suffered serious injuries." Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 27th August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 39.7 km (24.7 miles), the quake hit at 16:00:49 UTC Monday 27th August 2012
The epicenter was 261 km (162 miles) NNE of Raoul Island, New Zealand
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Labour's two Eds 'are like Blair and Brown'... and it could get worse

Relations between Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls have deteriorated, according to senior Labour sources.

Shadow Cabinet ministers are now concerned the relationship is so dysfunctional it has the potential to be worse than that of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Allies of Mr Miliband say they are exasperated at Mr Balls’ ‘ridiculous displays of alpha male posturing’.

The Shadow Chancellor has infuriated colleagues with his demands to have first sight of any policy announcements and vetoes those which he disagrees with.

Sources complain Mr Balls appears openly ‘contemptuous’ of the Labour leader and shows him little respect. Read More

French police armed with truncheons and shields clear out gypsy camp in Paris

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls today ordered police to destroy a Roma camp in his political powerbase and to deport illegal immigrants living there.

Officers armed with truncheons and shields moved in to the settlement in the Paris suburb of Evry, where he was mayor for 11 years from 2001.

By late morning more than 70 people including women and children had been evicted from caravans and makeshift huts, with most expected to be returned to Romania.

The raid is particularly significant because it shows the Socialist firebrand is determined to ‘clean up illegal immigrants in his own back yard’, said a party colleague.

The source added: ‘Valls particularly wants to end the Roma problem – by breaking up a camp in his constituency he is showing he means business.’ Read More

Japan releases video of sea chase with Chinese activists

Aug. 27 - Japan's coast guard releases video of a sea chase with Chinese activists who sailed from Hong Kong and landed on the disputed islands.

Three previously healthy Queenslanders dead from flu this month‎



THREE previously fit and healthy Queenslanders have died in as many weeks after falling ill with the flu.

Devoted mum-of-four Katrina Day, who had a type of influenza A, is the latest person to lose her life to the virus in what has been described as Australia's worst influenza season since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

The 38-year-old died in the Prince Charles Hospital late Sunday night after a five-week battle.

A 16-year-old boy and a man in his 50s have also died in the hospital in recent weeks after developing the flu, while a teenage girl is fighting for her life in the intensive care ward with flu complications.

She has spent 25 days on a heart-lung bypass machine known as an ECMO, for extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation. Read More

Ohio reports 98 human cases of H3N2v influenza (Swine Flu)‎

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Friday that with the addition of 52 new human cases of H3N2v influenza, the total number of cases seen nationwide since July is 276.

Of that total, more than one-third of the cases are in Ohio.

According to an Ohio Department of Health (ODH) news release Friday, the number of human cases of this strain of swine flu stands at 98.

The counties of Butler, Champaign and Gallia account for the most confirmed cases with 17, 15 and 11 reported respectively.

Ohio health officials say the confirmed cases of H3N2v are in people between the ages of 6 months and 51 years old. To date, several of the confirmed cases in Ohio were hospitalized, but they have since been treated and released.

According to CDC investigations, the main risk factor for this infection is exposure to pigs, mostly in fair settings; however, CDC also is reporting three instances of likely human-to-human spread of this virus during the current outbreaks.

CDC Medical Epidemiologist, Dr. Joseph Breese says the virus does not spread easily from person-to-person. Read More

Nigeria Floods Kill 19

Lafia, Katsina, Minna, Yola — Floods wreaked havoc in several states in the North at the weekend, killing at least 15 people in Adamawa State and another four in Niger State.

Hundreds of homes and farmlands were destroyed in floods in Katsina State, while roadways and bridges were submerged in Nasarawa State.

The Adamawa flood affected 36 villages in 13 local government areas and was partly caused by the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, emergency authorities said.

A local diver said apart from the 15 people who died, as many others were declared missing.

"In Yola we counted three corpses, Numan 2, Demsa 3, Guyuk 4, Michika 2, and the list goes on," he said, asking not to be named. Read More

Russia Says One Dead After Anthrax Outbreak in Siberia

An anthrax outbreak in a Siberian village left one person dead and 10 others hospitalized as the Russian government declared a state of emergency in the area in a bid to prevent an epidemic.

There were at least two other confirmed cases of anthrax infection in the village of Druzhba in the Altai region, state- run Rossiya 24 television reported, citing unidentified officials. The death was reported in a statement today by the Moscow-based Emergency Situations Ministry, which didn’t say whether it was caused by anthrax.

Roads around the village have been closed off, Yevgenia Belikova, a spokeswoman for investigators in Altai, said in comments broadcast on Rossiya 24. Veterinary officials killed several heads of cattle infected with anthrax and vaccinated another 187, as well as 21 horses and pigs, the Altai region’s press office said on its website.

The anthrax outbreak is “under control and localized,” Deputy Governor Daniil Bessarabov said in the statement.

The anthrax bacteria, known as Bacillus anthracis, occurs most commonly in cattle, sheep and goats and can be lethal to humans. The bacteria, which can cause skin infections and more severe lung infections, may survive in soil decades after an outbreak. Source