Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Do three months of unpaid work or lose your dole: Warning to young jobless in benefit crackdown

Thousands of the young unemployed are to be barred from receiving benefits unless they agree to do three months of unpaid work to prepare them for the jobs market.

A pilot scheme launched yesterday will apply to new benefit claimants aged 18-24 unless they can show they have already had a significant job.

They will be expected to spend 30 hours a week on 'community benefit' work experience in places such as charity shops and care homes or delivering meals on wheels.

They will have to spend a further ten hours looking for a job. Those who refuse could have their benefits stopped.

If the scheme in London is successful it will be rolled out across the country. Read More

Emma Bryan jailed after daughter installed CCTV in bedroom and found staff abusing her elderly mother, 89

When the family of an 89-year-old woman feared she was being mistreated in her care home, they hid a small CCTV camera in an alarm clock to check up on her.

And their worst worries came true when two carers were caught on camera committing 'sickening' acts of verbal and physical abuse, a court heard yesterday.

Ivy Robinson, who has dementia, was hit, shaken, sworn at, dragged across the bedroom floor and not given the correct doses of her medication by the staff who were supposed to be looking after her.

The shocking footage led to senior carer Emma Bryan, 29, and colleague Katherine Wallis, 45, being arrested for the appalling acts of neglect.

Yesterday Bryan was jailed for four months at Leeds Crown Court and Wallis given a 12-month community order after admitting mistreating Mrs Robinson at Oakfoss House Residential Care Home in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, last November.

Passing sentence, Judge Guy Kearl, QC, told them: 'This neglect and ill-treatment is unforgivable and unacceptable. Read More

Bigfoot hoax ends in death, authorities say

(CNN) -- A man trying to create a Bigfoot hoax on a highway died after being hit by two cars, officials in Montana said.

Randy Lee Tenley dressed in a Ghillie suit -- camouflage designed to resemble heavy foliage -- and stepped out onto Highway 93 Sunday night, officials said.

"He probably would not have been very easy to see at all," said Jim Schneider, a state trooper.

A 15-year-old girl hit him with her car, another car swerved, and a third car driven by a 17-year-old ran him over, CNN affiliate KECI reported.

Tenley was "well into the driving lane," and according to his companions he was "attempting to incite a sighting of Bigfoot -- to make people think they had seen a Sasquatch," Schneider said in the KECI report.

But authorities received no calls from drivers thinking they had seen Bigfoot, the station reported. Read More

Three killed in Kenya's Mombasa riots after cleric shot dead

MOMBASA, Kenya, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Two Kenyan police officers and a civilian were killed when rioters hurled a grenade at officers in the port city of Mombasa on Tuesday after two days of violence over the killing of a radical Muslim cleric.

Mobs of youths had fired at police with machineguns just before throwing the grenade into a police truck, Benedict Kigen, a senior police intelligence officer said.

The riots broke out on Monday after Aboud Rogo, accused by the United States of helping al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in Somalia, was shot dead. Gunmen sprayed Rogo's car with bullets in an attack many Muslims in Mombasa blamed on the police, who denied involvement.

Police said at least 16 police officers were wounded in the grenade attack in Kisauni, a predominantly Muslim area, where youths set two churches on fire and barricaded roads with burning tyres as the riots spread to the outskirts of Kenya's second-biggest city, a tourist hub and major Indian Ocean port. Read More

Syrian Rebels Bomb Funeral Procession in Damascus Killing 12 injuring Civilians 48

DAMASCUS, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Twelve people were killed and another 48 injured Tuesday when a car bomb ripped through a funeral procession for two people who were killed a day earlier by separate blasts in Damascus' suburb of Jaramana, the state TV said.

The 12 people were killed when a car bomb tore through the entrance of the cemetery of Jaramana while the mourners were entering it to bury two young men who were killed Monday night in a swift succession when their cars were blown off by explosive devices in Jaramana.

The two young men had been serving as members of Jaramana's local committees, groups of civilians from a certain neighborhood who get armed by the government to protect their area from the infiltration of armed insurgents. Read More

Arctic sea ice reaches record low, Nasa says

The Arctic has lost more sea ice this year than at any time since satellite records began in 1979, Nasa says.

Scientists involved in the calculations say it is part of a fundamental change.

What is more, sea ice normally reaches its low point in September so it is thought likely that this year's melt will continue to grow.

Nasa says the extent of sea ice was 1.58m sq miles (4.1m sq km) compared with a previous low of 1.61m sq miles (4.17m sq km) on 18 September 2007.

The sea ice cap grows during the cold Arctic winters and shrinks when temperatures climb again, but over the last three decades, satellites have observed a 13% decline per decade in the summertime minimum.

The thickness of the sea ice is also declining, so overall the ice volume has fallen far - although estimates vary about the actual figure. Read More

Catalonia's €5bn plea brings Spanish bailout nearer

Spain's attempts to stave off a full bailout were dealt a blow on Tuesday when the regional government of Catalonia said it needed €5bn (£3.97bn) from a central government rescue fund.

It came as figures showed Spanish banks saw €1 withdrawn for every €20 deposited in July – making it the worst month for deposit flight in 15 years – and Spain's statistics institute revealed the recession was worse than thought, with the economy shrinking at an annual rate of 1.3% in the second quarter.

Catalonia is one of half a dozen regional governments shut out of markets and needing government help to roll over debt and fund budget deficits. Regions have a combined debt of €145bn, with €36bn needing to be refinanced this year.

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government may eventually take direct control of the region's finances. But regional prime minister Artur Mas, of the Catalan nationalist Convergence and Union coalition, has threatened a snap election if that happens. His spokesman, Francesc Homs, rejected any "political terms" for borrowing the money. Read More

Whale-Eating Seagulls To Be Shot By Police in Argentina

Flesh-eating seagulls that attack southern right whales off the coast of Argentina are to be shot by police in patrol boats.

The birds have developed a habit of attacking the endangered mammals in one of their prime breeding grounds.

Seagulls off the coast of the Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn have discovered that by pecking at the whales as they come up for air they can create open wounds.

Each time the whales then surface gulls swoop down and cut away skin and blubber with their beaks and claws.

Aside from the environmental issues, experts also fear it could hit tourist numbers with whale-watching changing from a magical experience to something from a horror movie.

Whales are also changing their behaviour in response to the attacks.

Instead of breaching the water and dramatically displaying their tails, they rise just barely enough to breathe through their blow-holes before descending to safety.

"It's not just that the gulls are attacking the whales, but that they're feeding from them, and this way of feeding is a habit that is growing and becoming more frequent," said Marcelo Bertellotti of the National Patagonia Centre.

"It really worries us because the damage they're doing to the whales is multiplying, especially to infant whales that are born in these waters." Read More

Hurricane Isaac Makes Landfall In Louisiana

The full force of Hurricane Isaac has arrived in Louisiana after the storm made landfall in the state's south-east.

Isaac reached hurricane strength earlier on Tuesday with winds of up to 80mph when it crossed the coast at Plaquemines Parish, about 90 miles south east of New Orleans.

The category one storm remains on course to hit New Orleans seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and killed more than 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast.

While not as powerful as Katrina, Isaac threatens to flood the coasts of four states with a potentially deadly storm surge, torrential rain and high winds.

Officials say they are confident that improvements to water defences in New Orleans will prevent a repeat of the 2005 Katrina catastrophe.

But despite no mandatory evacuation order being issued for the city, many people have decided to seek safety elsewhere.

"It is kind of eerie here to see nobody around," Zach said. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SICILY, ITALY - 28th August 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck OSICILY, ITALY at a depth of 39.3 km (24.4 miles), the quake hit at 23:12:15 UTC Tuesday 28th August 2012
The epicenter was 0 km (0 miles) ESE of Melicucca, Italy
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Koala Swims to Canoe to Enjoy the Ride: "Canna getta ride, mate?"

Horror: Brains, lungs and hearts belonging to "100 people" found in storage locker in Pensacola

In what could be described as an episode of “Auction Hunters” turned reality horror show, authorities in Pensacola are investigating after finding human brains, hearts and lungs in a storage unit they say belonged to a former medical examiner.

Someone bought the storage unit at an auction last week and noticed a foul smell as they were sifting through furniture and boxes.

Officials at the medical examiner’s office in Pensacola say the remains of more than 100 people were found crudely stored in Tupperware containers, garbage bags and drink cups. Many of the remains were not identified.

Investigators found formaldehyde, a chemical used to embalm and preserve bodies, leaking from a 32-ounce drink cup with a cracked lid that was holding a heart, said Jeff Martin, director of the District 1 Medical Examiner’s Office in Pensacola. The unit had been rented previously by Dr. Michael Berkland.

“How horrible it is for the families of these deceased to think that someone’s loved one’s organs are basically rotting away in a storage unit somewhere, it’s horrible,” Martin told The Associated Press.

Berkland worked at the medical examiner’s office from 1997 until 2003, when he was fired for not completing autopsy reports. Officials said he was also performing private autopsies in the area, but it’s unclear if any of the organs were from autopsies he conducted while working at the medical examiner’s office. The medical examiner’s office is now cross-referencing names in their database during that time period, Martin said.

Officials are also trying to locate family members for some of the victims, but many of the organs are not labeled, making it nearly impossible to identify them. more

Shayla Smith: Atlanta Teacher Helps Students Cheat Because She Says They’re ‘Dumb As Hell’

A former fifth-grade teacher implicated in a cheating scandal reportedly gave students the illegal assistance because she thought they were “dumb as hell.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, math teacher Shayla Smith was accused of offering students the answers to a test they were taking at the time. She had reportedly been responsible for supervising them while the tests were being completed.

Schajuan Jones, who taught a fourth-grade class across the hall from Smith’s former room, overheard her talking to another teacher about the test.

“The words were, ‘I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell,’” Jones was quoted as saying about the interaction between Smith and the unidentified third teacher. more

US Veterans Forcibly Sequestered in Mental Hospitals is Indefinite Detention

After Special Justice Walter Douglas Stokes sentenced former US Marine Brandon Raub to 30 days detention in the psychiatric ward of the Veterans Hospital, Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett dismissed the case citing that the original petition was “devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.”

John Whitehead, attorney for the Rutherford Institute and Raub has stated that since the former Marine’s detention case, he has received numerous stated from other veterans who are being discriminated against. The latest trend is to have our former US service men and women declared mentally ill and detained against their will.

Just as Raub was forcibly detained in a mental ward, another veteran has been taken without charge or criminal activity. His firearms were confiscated and he was given a court date.

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, collaborating with the VA Medical Center, an estimated 1/3rd of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq were determined to be mentally or psychologically ill.

Touting post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), more than half of returning veterans are considered suffering from a war-related mental disorder.

The authors of the study explain: “Our results signal a need for improvements in the primary prevention of military service-related mental health disorders, particularly among our youngest service members . . . because they are young, they are more likely to be of lower rank and more likely to have greater combat exposure than their older active-duty counterparts.”

However, the authors do admit that “our results may overestimate the burden of mental health disorders because veterans with mental health disorders may be more likely to seek treatment at a VA facility than those without.”

Most recently is the inception of oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) which is described as a mental disease wherein free thinkers, non-conformists, civil disobedience supporters, those who question authority and are perceived as being hostile toward the government are labeled mentally ill. more

Surfer attacked by shark off Western Australia coast

A man has been attacked by a shark off Western Australia's Gascoyne coast on Tuesday afternoon.

The attack occurred while he was surfing at Red Bluff near Quobba Station, 70 kilometres north of Carnarvon.

The break is about 1,000 kilometres north of Perth.

The 34-year-old man received serious injuries but was conscious when he was brought ashore.

The Department of Fisheries says the shark bit the surfer on the abdomen and as he tried to fend it off he was then mauled on the arm.

Rebecca Caldwell's children were in the water when they noticed the man was injured, but she says they did not see the shark.

"The water was full of blood," she said.

"He was conscious the whole way back though he was OK, he was good. Read More

Anthrax kills Kruger National Park antelopes‎ in South Africa

An outbreak of anthrax has killed 30 Roan antelopes in the Kruger National Park, it said on Tuesday.

Spokesman William Mabasa said the carcasses were found at the weekend in an enclosure created for breeding.

He said the park was trying to contain the situation.

"We are burning the carcasses and also vaccinating the other animals."

He said the Roan antelope was a rare species. The park had about 100 before the outbreak. Source

Meteorite 'size of golf ball' believed to have exploded over South Wales

A meteorite the size of a golf ball exploded over South Wales last night, according to reports.

At around 11.10pm, people across the UK reported seeing a bright light travelling across the skies which allegedly exploded near Cwmbran.

Police said they were not aware of the incident, but dozens of Twitter users and people on meteor forum Meteorite News said the bright light stayed within view for between three and eight seconds as it travelled.

Nathan Jones from St Athan, writing on Meteorite News, said: “After about eight seconds I lost line of sight due to houses. Read More

Explosion at New South Wales school injures 12

Eleven students and a teacher have been injured after an explosion in a high school science lab in the NSW Southern Highlands.

The pupils were treated at the scene before being taken to Bowral Hospital after a beaker sodium hydroxide exploded at the school in Moss Vale at 12.40pm this afternoon.

The ABC reports that the students suffered eye injuries after being exposed to the caustic liquid.

The classroom was evacuated and emergency services have now declared the incident a HAZMAT matter.

All the children are in the same Year 7 class.

The rest of the school remains open, police said. Source

Hunter Spanjer: School Made Deaf Child Change Sign Name, Said It Looked Like Gun (Obey and conform, or you will be punished)

A Nebraska school district asked a deaf preschooler to change his sign language name because they believe the hand motion he used looked like he was shooting a gun.

The family of 3-year-old Hunter Spanjer said that their deaf son’s sign gesture violates the Grand Island Public Schools weapons policy.

“He’s deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy,” Brian Spanjer, Hunter’s father, told KOLN. “It’s a symbol. It’s an actual sign, a registered sign, through (Signing Exact English).”

He also started a Facebook page in an effort to support his son’s sign name, which has garnered nearly 1,000 supporters as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Grand Island school district is hoping to come to a solution to the sign gesture soon.

“We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson, told KOLN.

The ACLU is backing the Spanjer family, asking the school district to reconsider making Hunter change his sign gesture. source

New Orleans "taking no chances" on Isaac

Aug. 28 - In New Orleans' historic French Quarter, balcony awnings came down and plywood went up as the "Big Easy" braced for its first test since Hurricane Katrina seven years ago. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Isaac strengthens into a hurricane

(Reuters) - Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened into a hurricane just off the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday as it churned toward landfall in the New Orleans area seven years after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Isaac's winds, rain and storm surge could pose a major test of New Orleans' new flood control systems and reinforced levees. Forecasts from the U.S. National Hurricane Center showed the storm coming ashore late on Tuesday.

"Isaac has finally formed into a hurricane, so we are officially in the fight and the city of New Orleans is on the front lines," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began to close for the first time the massive new floodgate on the largest storm-surge barrier in the world, at Lake Borgne, east of New Orleans. Read More

Spanish recession darkens as country mulls bailout

(Reuters) - The Spanish economy is falling deeper into recession and depositors are pulling their money out of the banks, figures published on Tuesday showed, while the country's most economically important region, Catalonia, said it needed a major rescue from Madrid.

Spain's recession grew stronger in the second quarter of the year and is expected to get worse as austerity measures introduced in response to the euro zone debt crisis cut into demand for goods and services.

A rush by consumers and firms to withdraw their money from Spanish banks intensified in July, with private sector deposits falling almost 5 percent, to 1.509 trillion euros ($1.896 trillion) at end-July from 1.583 trillion a month earlier.

Analysts believe it is inevitable that Spain will soon have to call for a European rescue package to help bring its debt costs down as austerity measures designed to slash the public deficit push the economy deeper into recession. Read More

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA - 28th August 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA at a depth of 28 km (17.4 miles), the quake hit at 15:51:07 UTC Tuesday 28th August 2012
The epicenter was 293 km (182 miles) WSW of Banda Aceh, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Female suicide bomber kills Islamic leader, 5 others in Russia

(Reuters) - A female suicide bomber killed an Islamic spiritual leader and at least five other people on Tuesday in the Dagestan region in Russia's North Caucasus, a police source said.

Said Atsayev, a leading Sufi Muslim cleric in the mostly Muslim region, was killed along with five followers and the bomber at his home in the village of Chirkey, the source said.

The attack came as President Vladimir Putin visited Tatarstan, a mostly Muslim region far to the north, and called for religious tolerance following attacks on mainstream Muslim leaders there last month.

"Religious tolerance has been one of the foundations of Russian statehood for centuries," Putin said before granting a state award to Tatarstan's chief mufti, who survived a car bombing in July on the same day as one of his deputies was shot dead. Read More

Libyan minister withdraws resignation

LIBYAN Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali says he is withdrawing his resignation announced two days earlier amid criticism over a surge of violence, including destructions of shrines.

"When I submitted my resignation, I thought I would be relieving many people. But it seems that my resignation will further complicate security and I have decided to withdraw it," Abdelali told a news conference in Tripoli.

Abdelali had resigned on Sunday after coming under fire for the performance of security forces during a surge of violence that has rocked Libya, including attacks by Islamist hardliners on shrines across the country.

"I withdraw my resignation and I am ready to continue my mission," he added.

Abdelali also slammed what he described as a "ferocious media war" waged against him. Read More

Syrian man threatens to blow up the Arab League

(Reuters) - Egyptian authorities arrested late on Monday a Syrian man who threatened to blow up the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo after he learned that his parents had been killed in Syria during a battle between the rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, Egyptian news agency MENA reported.

At least 62 people were killed in an assault on the suburbs of Damascus on Monday, according to opposition activists, as the anti-Assad uprising is about to enter its 18th month in September. The United Nations says more than 18,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict in March of last year.

MENA did not name the Syrian man and said that the incident started when the head of Cairo's security received a complaint from the League's security department about a man threatening to blow up the League. Read More

Grenade wounds 16 police officers in Kenya riots

NAIROBI — Angry youths threw a grenade at a Kenyan police truck Tuesday, injuring 16 officers as riots rocked the port city of Mombasa for a second day after the killing of a radical Islamist cleric.

A senior police official said two officers had been critically injured in the grenade attack, which came as police tried to contain protests by hundreds of angry youths who threw stones, damaged cars and chanted slogans in support of slain preacher Aboud Rogo Mohammed.

The cleric -- popularly known as Rogo -- was on US and UN sanctions lists for allegedly supporting Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab militants.

He was killed Monday in Mombasa when unidentified gunmen opened fire on his vehicle as he was driving with his wife and children, leaving it riddled with bullets.

Images released by his supporters showed his bloody corpse slumped behind the wheel. His wife and children reportedly survived the attack.

Furious protests erupted in Mombasa after his death, with one person hacked to death, cars torched, businesses attacked and five churches looted or set on fire.

As the rioting stretched into a second day Tuesday, the Shebab called on Kenyan Muslims to "take all necessary measures" to defend their religion. Read More

‘Kill Mitt Romney’ Facebook Page Was Online for 17 Days (but that's alright, it wasn't Obama, right?)

A Facebook page entitled “Kill Mitt Romney” garnered close to 30 likes and remained online for 17 days before Facebook removed the page Monday.

The Secret Service was aware of the the page and is taking “appropriate investigative steps,” according to FoxNews.com.

A Philadelphia blogger that created pages in support of two alleged cop killers created the page on Aug. 10, 2012, according to Fox.

Facebook’s community standards forbid users from “credibly (threatening) harm to others, or (organizing) acts of real-world violence”:

Safety is Facebook’s top priority. You may not credibly threaten to harm others, or organize acts of real-world violence. We remove content and may escalate to law enforcement when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety. We also prohibit promoting, planning or celebrating any of your actions if they have, or could, result in financial harm to others, including theft and vandalism.

Page content is subject to the community standards, according to Facebook, which reserves “the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason.”

Politico reporter Byron Tau brought attention to the page Sunday, writing on Twitter, “There’s currently a ‘Kill Mitt Romney’ Facebook page, which I’m sure (I hope) will be taken down.” more

Thoughts: Yes, 26 idiots did "like it". It's amazing that when someone looks in Obama's direction they're arrested and the key is thrown away. It's alright, however, to let a page openly advocating Romney's murder is allowed to stay up for 17 days. Not that one man is any better than the other, but it's another reason to avoid and shut down Facebook and write off a good many people's intelligence.

Venezuela firefighters continue battling refinery blaze

PARAGUANA, Venezuela, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Venezuelan firefighters continued battling a blaze at the country's largest refinery on Tuesday, struggling to extinguish a third fuel storage tank following a blast that killed nearly 50 people in the nation's deadliest oil industry accident.

Flames began shooting out of the storage tank at the 645,000-barrel-per-day Amuay refinery at around 8:00 a.m. (1230 GMT), less than an hour after Reuters witnesses and state oil company PDVSA said the fire had been completely extinguished.

On Monday, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters in an exclusive interview that the facility could restart operations on Friday if the blaze is out by Wednesday.

The charred remains of two other fuel tanks, which had been extinguished before dawn, stood half-melted from three days of the blazing inferno.

The explosion at Amuay on Saturday killed 48 people and helped pushed up U.S. fuel prices in markets that were already bullish because of a threat that Tropical Storm Isaac could disrupt refinery operations on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Read More

How the US and Israeli justice systems whitewash state crimes

The US military announced on Monday that no criminal charges would be brought against the US marines in Afghanistan who videotaped themselves urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters.

Nor, the military announced, would any criminal charges be filed against the US troops who "tried to burn about 500 copies of the Qur'an as part of a badly bungled security sweep at an Afghan prison in February, despite repeated warnings from Afghan soldiers that they were making a colossal mistake".

In doing so, the US military, as usual, brushed aside demands of Afghan officials for legal accountability for the destructive acts of foreign soldiers in their country. The US instead imposed "disciplinary measures" in both cases, ones that "could include letters of reprimand, a reduction in rank, forfeit of some pay, physical restriction to a military base, extra duties or some combination of those measures". Both incidents triggered intense protests and rioting that left dozens dead, back in February this year.

Parallel to that, an Israeli judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against the Israeli government brought by the family of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American student and pro-Palestinian activist who was killed by a military bulldozer in 2003 as she protested the demolition of a house in Gaza whose family she had come to befriend. Upon learning of the suit's dismissal, Corrie's mother, Cindy, said:

"I believe this was a bad day, not only for our family, but for human rights, humanity, the rule of law and also for the country of Israel."

Despite Corrie's wearing a bright orange vest, Judge Oded Gershon, in a 62-page decision, ruled that the bulldozer driver did not see her and her death was thus an accident. He went on to heap blame on Corrie for her own killing, arguing that, contrary to what "any reasonable person would have done", she "chose to put herself in danger" by trying to impede "a military activity meant to prevent terrorist activity". Read More

Spaniards Withdraw Money As Recession Deepens

The Spanish have withdrawn money from banks at a record rate in July, as official figures show their country's recession has deepened.

A rush by consumers and businesses to withdraw their money from Spanish banks intensified last month, with private sector deposits falling to 1.509tn euros (£1.199tn).

The data, released by the European Central Bank (ECB), show deposits fell by almost 5% compared with a month earlier, when the total held was 1.583tn euros (£1.257tn).

It comes as the country's economy continued to shrink in the second three months of the year, as it struggles with a deepening recession exacerbated by tough budget cuts.

The economy contracted by 0.4% between April and June, following a fall of 0.3% in the first quarter of 2012.

Spain fell back into recession in the first three months of this year, and the latest figures show the economy has contracted for the third consecutive quarter.

But the Spanish economy minister said that output would improve in the first quarters of 2013. Read More

Spaniards Withdraw Money As Recession Deepens

The Spanish have withdrawn money from banks at a record rate in July, as official figures show their country's recession has deepened.

A rush by consumers and businesses to withdraw their money from Spanish banks intensified last month, with private sector deposits falling to 1.509tn euros (£1.199tn).

The data, released by the European Central Bank (ECB), show deposits fell by almost 5% compared with a month earlier, when the total held was 1.583tn euros (£1.257tn).

It comes as the country's economy continued to shrink in the second three months of the year, as it struggles with a deepening recession exacerbated by tough budget cuts.

The economy contracted by 0.4% between April and June, following a fall of 0.3% in the first quarter of 2012.

Spain fell back into recession in the first three months of this year, and the latest figures show the economy has contracted for the third consecutive quarter.

But the Spanish economy minister said that output would improve in the first quarters of 2013. Read More

Obama Storm Warning: 'Don't Tempt Fate'

President Obama has warned of serious flooding from Storm Isaac and people should leave their homes if they're asked to.

The president added that residents of the Gulf Coast should listen to local authorities and follow their directions as Tropical Storm Isaac approaches.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said, "We are dealing with a big storm that could cause significant flooding and other damage.

"Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously.

"Yesterday, I approved a disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana so they can get the help they need right away; particularly around some of the evacuations that are taking place.

"Right now we have response teams and supplies, ready to help communities in the expected path of the storm.

"As we prepare for Isaac to hit, I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate." Read More

Syrian army in Damascus leaflet drop

Syrian military helicopters have dropped hundreds of leaflets over Damascus and its suburbs, urging rebels to hand over their weapons or face inevitable death.

The warning comes amid a widening military offensive to recapture areas on the edge of the capital and its outskirts that have fallen into the hands of rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.

The focus of the 17-month uprising has returned to the capital’s suburbs after weeks of heavy fighting in the northern city of Aleppo.

The leaflets dropped today have been signed by the armed forces and the army’s general command.

They say the Syrian army is determined to “cleanse every inch of Syria” and that “gunmen” have no choice but to give up their weapons or face “inevitable death”. Source

Syrian Rebel Bomb near Damascus kills several Civilians

Syria's state news agency says a booby-trapped car has exploded in a Damascus suburb, killing a number of civilians.

SANA says Tuesday's blast in Jaramana targeted a funeral procession for two people who were killed a day earlier in the area.

It says it is the third bombing in Jaramana in the past 24 hours.

SANA says that an explosive device detonated in a car in Jaramana on Monday killed its driver. It says the device was attached to the car by an armed "terrorist" group.

Another car blew up in the area overnight, also killing the driver. Read More

Timely Massacre? 'Aim to make Russia & China change stance on Syria'

Fact-finding not in vogue as US smear tactics punish journalists

Stolen Sovereignty: IMF's grand Greek heist

Syria proxy war: 'Back to good old colonial games'

'Obama puts off Iran invasion until November'

Syria - Photoshop Exposed

Essex 'Lion' A Pet Cat Called Teddy Bear?

A massive "lion" that sparked an urgent hunt involving armed officers and two police helicopters using heat-seeking equipment is now believed to be a domestic pussycat called Teddy Bear.

Panic and excitement gripped Clacton-on-Sea in Essex at the weekend after a group of residents claimed to have seen a lion at a caravan park in St Osyth.

Armed officers and Colchester Zoo workers armed with tranquiliser guns spent almost 24 hours combing the countryside.

Residents were warned to stay indoors on Sunday night, and caravanners were moved to a nearby garden centre.

But after search teams found no evidence of the fearsome predator, police called off the search on Monday afternoon.

Now it appears the giant man-eater was no more than a large domestic cat, with amused locals already compiling a list of possible suspects. Read More

Chinese 'Strictest Dad' teaches son to sail solo aged four

Bo Stripped of Party Membership, Freed of Criminal Liability?


Japan's largest Pro-China newspaper, Asahi Shimbun,

recently disclosed that Hu Jintao's faction had
gained advantage in the Beidaihe meeting.
Senior members of the Chinese Communist Party(CCP) made
a decision to strip the former Chongqing Party Secretary,
Bo Xilai, of his party membership; also stopping him from
representing the People's Congress.
According to reports and analyses, Bo Xilai is likely to be
investigated for criminal responsibility in the future.

August 26—Japan's Asahi Shimbun run a front-page report,

that Bo Xilai would be expelled from the CCP; the decision
had been made in the Beidaihe meeting in early August,
according to several sources who are in contact with the CCP.

It's expected to be formally announced before the CCP's 18th
Congress, at the CCP Central Committee's plenary session.

Provisions of the of the CCP Constitution states that,
there are 5 categories in losing party membership,
and being expelled from the party is the most
severe punishment.
In the analysis, Bo is said to completely step down;
he will likely be held for bribery charges later.

Yet, Dr. Ye Ke, from the University of Southern California's
School of Public Policy believes that,
being expelled from the party is only a punishment
within the regime;
it cannot be a substitute for legal sanctions
and criminal penalties. Read More

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‘Kill Mitt Romney’ Facebook Page Was Online for 17 Days

A Facebook page entitled “Kill Mitt Romney” garnered close to 30 likes and remained online for 17 days before Facebook removed the page Monday.

The Secret Service was aware of the the page and is taking “appropriate investigative steps,” according to FoxNews.com.

A Philadelphia blogger that created pages in support of two alleged cop killers created the page on Aug. 10, 2012, according to Fox.

Facebook’s community standards forbid users from “credibly (threatening) harm to others, or (organizing) acts of real-world violence”:

Safety is Facebook’s top priority. (that's why it took 17 Days to take it Down!)

Read More