Friday, August 31, 2012

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 48.9 km (30.4 miles), the quake hit at 19:41:03 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 105 km (65 miles) Northeast of San Isidro, Philippines

At least 1 Killed when a building Collapsed due to the 7.6 Magnitude Earthquake

Unexplained Blood Testing of China's Prisoners of Conscience

Child Obesity Reaches 120 Million in China

S-500 "Prometheus": Russia to develop sea-based space-defense system

Russia is developing a sea-based missile- and space-defense system, which will be deployed in international waters. The system is expected to become an integral part of the Russian Navy.

The construction of the new sea-based missile-defense system has been entrusted to Almaz-Antey, the arms manufacturer that also produces the S-400 ‘Triumph’ missile defense system.

Anatoly Shlemov, the head of national defense orders for Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation, told RIA Novosti that “this task has been definitely set for the [Russian] military-industrial complex.”

Almaz-Antey is not working alone on the planned system, Shelmov said, without specifying additional details about the top-secret project.

At the St. Petersburg Economic Forum earlier this year, President Roman Trotsenko of the United Shipbuilding Corporation announced that the USC would begin construction in 2016 of a series of six nuclear-powered destroyers armed with high-tech missile- and space- defense system.

Trotsenko called the warships “benchmarks of Russian space defense in the World Ocean,” but refused to comment further on the plans.

As it begins introducing the new S-400 system, Almaz-Antey is also finishing its S-500 ‘Prometheus’ system, which features space-defense capabilities. The S-500 is expected to be deployed in 2017, and will most likely arm the destroyers in project.

Previously, Almaz-Antey created the S-300 system for naval use, developing the S-300 Fort F and Fort FM for the Russian Navy. more

RNC Sham 2012: Ron Paul Denied, American Dictatorship Advanced (Must Watch)

World food prices leap by 10% in one month

Global food prices have leapt by 10% in the month of July, raising fears of soaring prices for the planet's poorest, the World Bank has warned.

The bank said that a US heatwave and drought in parts of Eastern Europe were partly to blame for the rising costs.

The price of key grains such as corn, wheat and soybean saw the most dramatic increases, described by the World Bank president as "historic".

The bank warned countries importing grains will be particularly vulnerable.

From June to July this year, corn and wheat prices each rose by 25% while soybean prices increased by 17%, the World Bank said. Only rice prices decreased - by 4%.

In the United States, the most severe, widespread drought in half a century has wreaked havoc on the corn and soybean crops while in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, wheat crops have been badly damaged.

The World Bank said that the use of corn to produce ethanol biofuel - which represents 40% of US corn production - was also a key factor in the sharp rise in the US maize price. more

SEAL who wrote bin Laden book denies spilling secrets

(Reuters) - A day after threatening to take legal action against a former U.S. Navy SEAL for an unauthorized book about the commando raid which killed Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials are still debating whether there are sufficient grounds for doing so.

But a lawyer for Matt Bissonnette said on Friday that the former SEAL took his obligations to keep government secrets "seriously" and had made sure the book did not contain secrets.

On Thursday, Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department's top lawyer, sent "Mark Owen" -- a pen-name used by Bissonnette -- and his publisher, Penguin Putnam, a letter advising them that the book, "No Easy Day" had been published in violation of non-disclosure agreements Bissonnette signed while a SEAL.

The letter advised the author that he was in "material breach" of such agreements and that the Pentagon was "considering" legal action against the former SEAL and "all those acting in concert with you." Read More

Chris Lighty Found Dead At Home

Hip-hop and rap mogul Chris Lighty, who managed stars including Mariah Carey, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Missy Elliott and 50 Cent, has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

The 44-year-old founder and boss of Violater Management was discovered at his home in the Bronx, New York, with a gunshot wound to the head on Thursday.

A 9mm handgun was found at the scene. There was no note and no sign of forced entry.

Authorities said the shooting appeared to be self-inflicted.

Lighty had been a part of the rap scene for decades, working with pioneers like LL Cool J before starting his own management company.

Scores of stars took to Twitter to pay their tributes to the industry veteran, including P Diddy, who wrote: "In shock."

Rihanna posted: "Rest peacefully Chris Lighty, my prayers go out to family and loved ones! Dear God please have mercy." Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF ADEN - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the GULF OF ADEN at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 18:38:55 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 205 km (128 miles) Southeast from Al Mukalla, Yemen
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 77.4 km (48.1 miles), the quake hit at 18:21:34 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 82 km (50 miles) SSW of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF ADEN - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the GULF OF ADEN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:01:56 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 153km (95 miles) NNW of Bereeda, Somalia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 47.3 km (29.4 miles), the quake hit at 17:00:36 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 106 km (66 miles) North from Visokoi Island, South Sandwich Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 14 km (8.7 miles), the quake hit at 16:55:08 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 97 km (60 miles) East of Sulangan, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Tweets Used As Earthquake Early Warning System

Seismologists using Twitter to detect tremors say the social network beat their own advanced equipment in spotting an earthquake off the Philippines.

The micro-blogging site is being used as an early-warning system by the US Geological Survey (USGS) to quickly gather information about earthquakes around the globe.

The system, called Twitter Earthquake Detection (Ted), beat the survey's own sensors on Friday in detecting the 7.6-earthquake which struck off the Philippine coast.

The quake had a depth of 21 miles and hit at 12.47pm, 80 miles east of the Visayas islands.

A 54-year-old woman was killed after a house collapsed on the Philippine island of Mindanao, while many people in the region fled to higher ground following a panic about a tsunami that ended up generating only tiny waves.

Paul Caruso, from the US Geological Survery, said: "We do have sensors and it usually takes about five minutes before the sensors will see the earthquake.

"With this earthquake it was the case that Ted warnings that people were tweeting that they felt an earthquake actually came in before our seismometers actually registered it."

The Ted system gathers real-time, earthquake-related messages from the social networking site Twitter. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF ADEN - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the GULF OF ADEN at a depth of 34.5 km (21.4 miles), the quake hit at 15:47:42 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 210 km (130 miles) Southeast from Al Mukalla, Yemen
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF ADEN - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the GULF OF ADEN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 15:44:55 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 196 km (122 miles) Southeast from Al Mukalla, Yemen
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Obama Hits Back After Bizarre Eastwood Jibe

The Obama campaign team has shrugged off a bizarre attack on the president by Clint Eastwood at the Republican convention.

The Hollywood star, who is a staunch Republican supporter, appeared shortly before Mitt Romney's key speech and was supposed to be on stage for five minutes.

But he ended up speaking for 12 minutes in what was a surreal conversation with an imaginary Barack Obama on an empty chair beside him.

Eastwood told the chair where he felt Mr Obama had gone wrong and how he had failed to deliver on his promises, then declared that it was time for him to go.

"Mr President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people?," he asked.

The 82-year-old actor and director also talked about the president's unfulfilled promise to close the US prison at Guantanamo, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and lawyers.

"When somebody doesn't do the job, you gotta let 'em go," Eastwood said. The tough guy actor of "Dirty Harry" fame then drew a finger across his throat.

The Obama campaign team was unruffled by the sketch. His office posted a photo on Twitter of the back of the president's chair with Mr Obama's head visible and the caption: "This seat's taken." Read More

Spanish Wildfires: Man Killed, Thousands Flee

Thousands of people, including hundreds of Britons, have been evacuated after a huge wildfire reached the tourist hotspot of Marbella.

Some 4,000 people fled their homes after the forest fire raged near Malaga on Spain's southern Costa del Sol, authorities said.

Two people have been seriously injured and one man has died. The body of the elderly man was found near a charred house where he had apparently returned after being evacuated, according to a spokesman for the Andalusia regional government.

Several hundred Britons were evacuated, including 300 who have been relocated to evacuation centres in the La Cala de Mijas and Calahonda areas, said a Foreign Office spokesperson.

No British casualties were reported but consular staff have been deployed to visit evacuation centres.

The flames broke out on Thursday in the Sierra Negra mountains, later stretching up to 12 kilometres. Half a dozen municipal districts have been affected. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 14:59:57 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 93 km (57 miles) ENE of San Isidro, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 13 km (8 miles), the quake hit at 14:15:59 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 92 km (56.6 miles) Northeast of Sapao, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 20.6 km (12.8 miles), the quake hit at 13:40:30 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 126 km (78 miles) ESE from Guiuan, Samar, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 51 km (31.6 miles), the quake hit at 13:36:33 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 146 km (90.5 miles) Southeast of Guiuan, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 46.9 km (29.1 miles), the quake hit at 13:31:38 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 94 km (58 miles) ENE of San Isidro, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 35km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 13:27:32 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 96 km (59 miles) Northeast of San Isidro, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 24.3 km (15.1 miles), the quake hit at 13:14:58 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 102 km (63 miles) Northeast of San Isidro, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

7.6 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 7.6 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 34.9 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 12:47:34 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 108 km (67 miles) East from Guiuan, Samar, Philippines
Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

... TSUNAMI WARNING CANCELLATION ...

THE TSUNAMI WARNING AND/OR WATCH ISSUED BY THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI
WARNING CENTER IS NOW CANCELLED FOR

INDONESIA / PHILIPPINES / BELAU

THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY
NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE
DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND
ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 1248Z 31 AUG 2012
COORDINATES - 10.9 NORTH 127.1 EAST
DEPTH - 33 KM
LOCATION - PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION
MAGNITUDE - 7.6

MEASUREMENTS OR REPORTS OF TSUNAMI WAVE ACTIVITY

GAUGE LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL PER
------------------- ----- ------ ----- --------------- -----
MALAKAL KOROR PW 7.3N 134.5E 1447Z 0.01M / 0.0FT 10MIN
DART 52404 20.9N 132.3E 1418Z 0.01M / 0.0FT 10MIN
DAVAO PH 7.1N 125.6E 1350Z 0.03M / 0.1FT 32MIN
DART 52405 12.9N 132.3E 1333Z 0.03M / 0.1FT 10MIN
LEGASPI PH 13.1N 123.8E 1343Z 0.03M / 0.1FT 14MIN

Japan plans to cut state spending, could run out of money in a month

Japan's government is planning to suspend some state spending as it could run out of cash by October, with a deficit financing bill blocked by opposition parties trying to force Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda into an early election.

The impasse in Japan's parliament has raised fears among investors that the world's third largest economy is being driven towards a "fiscal cliff", Reuters reported.

"The government running out of money is not a story made up. It's a real threat," Finance Minister Jun Azumi told a news conference, making a last-ditch appeal for cooperation by opposition parties to pass the bill.

"Failing to pass the bill will give markets the impression that Japan's fiscal management rests on shaky ground," he said.

Unless the bill clears the current parliamentary session that ends next week, the government will start suspending or reducing some state spending to avoid running out of money for as long as possible, the finance ministry said.

Noda's ruling Democratic Party passed the deficit-financing bill through the lower house on Tuesday. But the opposition boycotted the vote, signalling the bill has little chance of clearing the opposition-controlled upper house. more

7.9 Earthquake Rocks Philippines - Tsunami Warning in Effect

An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale rocked the coast of Philippines on Friday. Following the earthquake, tsunami warnings were issued for Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan.

Tsunami alerts were also issued for Papua New Guinea and other islands in the Pacific, including the US state of Hawaii.

The NOAA Tsunami Center later lifted a warning for Japan, Taiwan and several other Pacific islands.

"Strong earthquake here in Taft, Eastern Samar! And it lasted very long too!" Samar congressman, Ben Evardone, told reporters via text message.

An official at the Philippines' Volcanolgy Institute said he expected damage had been caused in Samar province but he had yet to receive any reports.

"If you are anywhere near the coast I recommend that you head to higher ground," Paul Caruso of the USGS told Sky TV by telephone when asked about a threat of a tsunami hitting the coast of the Philippines. more


North Korea makes "significant" nuclear reactor progress: IAEA

(Reuters) - North Korea has made significant progress in the construction of a light water atomic reactor over the past year, a U.N. watchdog report said, a facility that may extend Pyongyang's capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing satellite images, also said "certain activities" had been observed at locations where the reclusive Asian state "reportedly" conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

But "without access to the locations the agency is unable to provide a technical assessment of the purpose of these activities or of whether nuclear material is being used", the annual report, issued to IAEA member states on Thursday, said.

North Korea says it needs nuclear power to provide electricity, but has also boasted of its nuclear deterrence capability and has traded nuclear technology with Syria, Libya and probably Myanmar and Pakistan. It is believed to be pushing ahead with plans to conduct a third nuclear test.

It became the first country to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and has denied IAEA access to its atomic sites, reneging on a February deal to do so after it announced plans to launch a long-range rocket, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions. Read More

New Jersey Shopping Plaza Shootout Leaves Three Dead

Police in New Jersey have reportedly shot and killed a man suspected of being involved in a deadly shootout inside a shopping plaza this morning.

Law enforcement officials say the three dead include the alleged gunman, according to WABC-TV.

Police responded to shots fired inside the Pathmark supermarket on Route 9 in Old Bridge, N.J., just before 4 a.m. There was a confrontation with the gunman, WABC reported. There's no word on his motive.

Several employees were inside the store, which was preparing to open at 6 a.m. Two windows near the entrance to the Pathmark have been shot out. Read More

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Spencer Brown Jailed after his two pets escaped from his East Sussex home and went on the rampage

The owner of two dogs that savaged 10 people in an "horrific and nightmarish" street attack has been jailed for 12 months.

Unemployed father-of-one Spencer Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of owning dogs which were dangerously out of control in a public place.

The attacks happened after Brown's Staffordshire bull terrier crosses Tilly and Freak escaped from his East Sussex home at St Leonards-on-Sea on July 22.

Passers-by were bitten on their hands, arms and legs as the two dogs roamed around the area with no leads on, while those who came to the victims' aid were also attaccked.

Police eventually managed to subdue one of the animals with a fire extinguisher and a dog catcher pole, while a passer-by dragged the other one into a cage. Read More

New Jersey Shooting: Several Feared Dead

Several people are feared dead after a multiple shooting in a supermarket in New Jersey, according to reports.

More follows...

New York City will be sprayed with pesticides to fight spreading West Nile Virus

A large portion of New York City is going to be sprayed with a pesticide in an effort to fight West Nile virus.

The announcement that parts of the city's Upper West Side and Central Park will be sprayed comes as the summer heat has caused some of the highest instances of the disease in the past decade.

It is the third time in the past ten years that portions of New York will be sprayed, with the process being contained between 1am and 6am Friday morning.

West Nile virus cases are up 40 per cent since last week and may rival the record years of 2002 and 2003, federal health officials said Wednesday.

So far this year, 1,590 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 66 deaths. Read More

Blue Moon Friday! Rare calendar phenomenon occurs TODAY

'Once in a blue moon' is not just a phrase we use for those occasional treats or chores.

It is also a rare statistical quirk which occurs when a full moon occurs twice in a calendar month.

And today is the day, when for the first time in two years we will be treated to our second full moon in August, thanks to the moon last reaching its peak on August 2.

The moon will be at its fullest - reflecting the maximum sunlight from our vantage point on Earth - this afternoon at 2.59PM.

Although sadly there's no point looking up as, from the UK, the moon will be below the horizon at this point.

But look up tonight when our solar neighbour makes an appearance, and you'll be seeing the first 'blue moon' since March 2010, and the last one until July 2015. Read More

Activists demand release of Pakistani girl accused of burning religious texts in blasphemy case

Human rights activists in Pakistan are demanding the release of a Christian girl accused of burning pages of the Koran, after a bail hearing was adjourned.

Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the arrest this month of Rimsha Masih who reportedly suffers from Downs Syndrome after she was accused of blasphemy by Muslim neighbours.

A hospital said in a report Rimsha was about 14 but had the mental capacities of someone below that age and was uneducated. Other media have reported she is 11.

Under the blasphemy law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad commits a crime and faces the death penalty, but activists say vague terminology has led to its misuse.

Convictions are common, although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy. Read More

Two planets... two stars: Nasa detects strange new solar system (and one of the planets occupies the life-supporting 'Goldilocks zone')

Nasa has announced the discovery of a solar system which is home to not one, but two stars.

The Kepler solar system, 4,900 light-years away from Earth, has two stars - called a binary system - orbiting each other in a cosmic dance.

What makes this discovery exciting is the discovery of two planets circling the system - and one of them inhabits the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone', where the planet is the right distance ('not too hot, not too cold') to support liquid water and potentially support life.

Before today, it was unknown whether planets could form around a two-star system.

The discovery shows that more than one planet can form and persist in the stressful realm of a binary star, and also demonstrates the diversity of planetary systems in our galaxy.

The two orbiting stars eclipse each other every 7.5 days from our vantage point on Earth. One star is similar to the sun in size, but only 84 percent as bright. The second star is diminutive, measuring only one-third the size of the sun and less than 1 percent as bright.

Jerome Orosz, associate professor of astronomy at San Diego State University and lead author, said: 'In contrast to a single planet orbiting a single star, the planet in a "circumbinary" system must transit a "moving target".' Read More

Chinese Premier urges Greece, Spain and Italy to sort out debt crisis and admits he is 'worried'

China yesterday sounded the alarm over ‘worrying’ developments in the eurozone and called on debt-ridden countries to put their finances in order.

Speaking after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao voiced concerns over the future of Greece, Spain and Italy and the effects that the eurozone’s problems are inflicting on the rest of the global economy.

The turmoil in the single currency bloc has dented demand for Chinese exports and dragged the country into its worst downturn in three years. In the strongest comments yet from Beijing, Mr Wen said: ‘Recently, the European debt crisis has continued to worsen, giving rise to serious concerns in the international community. Read More

Dustin Moskovitz: Facebook co-founder sells ANOTHER 450,000 shares - and he's been dumping 150,000-a-day for weeks

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz has been selling 150,000 shares of Facebook stock a day out of the hundreds of millions that he owns.

So far, he has shed 1.35 million shares for proceeds of $26.2 million, at prices ranging from $18.79 to $20.08.

Moskovitz was Mark Zuckerberg's roommate when they founded Facebook in their Harvard dorm-room in 2004.

Moskovitz, 28, left Facebook in 2008 and started Asana, whose software helps manage projects.

He has been disclosing the sales every three days. He did not sell any stock in Facebook's IPO. Read More

Clint Eastwood takes aim at imaginary President Obama in bizarre interview with EMPTY chair as he backs Mitt Romney for president

Clint Eastwood has earned plenty of bad reviews for his latest performance: a bizarre, rambling sketch in which he took aim at an imaginary President Barack Obama by interviewing an empty chair.

The action star and director appeared at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, to throw his weight behind presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

But while his routine went down a storm with party delegates elsewhere it prompted bemusement, derision and even a witty riposte from the Obama campaign. Read More


Gordon Dyche Jailed for Just 4 Years: A year for each life

A 'chancer' who killed four members of the same family when he shunted their car off the road and into a reservoir while rushing to work was jailed for four years yesterday.

Mechanic Gordon Dyche, 24, had recently completed a driving ban when he tried to overtake two cars in a row on a winding country road because he was worried he would lose pay if he was late.

He passed a Volkswagen Passat which was travelling at 40mph but his Mondeo clipped the back of a people carrier being driven by dedicated foster mother Denise Griffith as she attempted to turn right into a lay-by to admire the view at a beauty spot.

Her Peugeot 807 careered 20ft down a rocky bank and hit a boulder before somersaulting into the reservoir and sinking 50ft.

Mrs Griffith's husband of 26 years Emyr, 66, a power station worker, her 84-year-old mother Phyllis Hooper and foster sons Peter Briscombe and Liam Govier, both 14, were trapped inside and drowned.

Only Mrs Griffith, 55, and the family dog Milly survived by swimming to safety from Llyn Clywedog Reservoir near Llanidloes, mid Wales. Read More

Abu Hamza's son stole £70,000 of gems in armed smash and grab raid on jewellers

The son of controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza has been convicted after he stole £70,000 of gems in an armed smash and grab raid on jewellers.

Imran Mostafa, 20, was one of three men who raided jewellers in Kings Lynn, Norfolk armed with a firearm and a hammer as shop staff cowered behind counters.

The civil engineering student denied his part in the robbery on January 31 and possessing a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence but the jury at Norwich Crown Court convicted him of both charges.

The jury heard that three men burst into the shop and used a hammer to break display cabinets while another many stayed in a waiting van.

The men wore hooded tops to disguise their faces.

Prosecutor Ian James said: ‘Members of staff cowered behind counters as the men burst in, one with a firearm and another with a hammer, which was used to break the display cabinets before leaving with what they could.

‘One of the robbers let off some sort of smoke bomb causing confusion and stock was taken as loads of glass fragments went everywhere because of the way the robbery was conducted.’ Read More

London: falling window frame in high winds Crushes Woman to death as she walked down London street

A young woman was killed in front of horrified shoppers yesterday when a giant window frame fell on top of her as she walked past a building site.

A gust of wind dislodged the concrete frame and hit the smartly dressed redhead, thought to be an office worker in her mid-20s.

Passers-by and construction workers at the multi-million-pound six-storey office block, off Oxford Street in Central London, battled to resuscitate the woman but she was declared dead at the scene. Read More

Ulster Bank Reveals IT Glitch Compensation

Ulster Bank has released details of the compensation it will pay to customers affected by the summer's computer meltdown.

The bank said those left out-of-pocket as a result of the IT problems would have their expenses reimbursed, along with an additional 20% on top of these, up to a maximum of £100.

Each customer that had to visit a branch more frequently than usual over the period will receive an extra £20, it added.

And all personal and SME customers will be credited with an automatic one-off payment, the value of which depends on the total amount in the account.

It has already begun the process of refunding fees, charges and interest incurred, and stressed that customers' credit rating would not be permanently affected.

A computer glitch in June and July caused havoc for customers of the bank, affecting around 600,000 people.

The bank has set aside £27.7m (35m euros) to cover the compensation costs - but said this amount could rise. Read More

Drugs Raid Birmingham leaves 8 Policemen in Hospital after experiencing sickness and breathing difficulties

Officers were treated in hospital after exposure to a mix of "petrol and possibly heroin" during a drugs operation.

Eight officers felt sick and struggled to breathe while aiding colleagues from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, said West Midlands Police.

Early indications suggest the substance, found at a house in Mill Burn Way, was a mixture of petrol and an illegal drug, possibly heroin, said a police spokesman.

Three men, aged 21, 27 and 34, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs during the midnight operation. Officers forced entry to the premises and seized suspected Class A drugs with a street value of about £250,000.

A police spokesman said: "While the arrests were being made, officers were exposed to an unknown substance, which caused ill-effects for both the officers and the people arrested, namely sickness and breathing difficulties."

A total of 11 people, eight police officers and three detainees, were taken to Heartlands Hospital for treatment. Read More

James Gagum accidentally shoots himself in the head while demonstrating the 'proper' way to do it

A South Carolina man has died after demonstrating the proper way to shoot yourself in the head police say.

James Gagum, 43, was watching a movie at his home in Conway early Friday morning when a witness said he began to argue a character's handling of a gun, according to WPDE.

He said, 'that's not how it's done,' before pulling the trigger three times while holding it to his head, according to the witness.

Police say the death was an accident and Mr Gagum didn't realize the black handgun was loaded, firing off on the third squeeze. Read More

Sheryl Crow helped Feds build anti-doping case against her 'drugs cheat' ex Lance Armstrong

Sheryl Crow has been interviewed by officials as part of the long-running Lance Armstrong doping investigation, it has been revealed.

The superstar singer was roped in to the scandal last year, when federal agents grilled her as they were preparing a case against the seven-time Tour de France champion.

Mr Armstrong was stripped of his titles last month after he announced he would stop fighting accusations that he used illegal techniques over the course of his career.

Ms Crow, who dated the sportsman from 2003 to 2006 and was engaged to marry him before their break-up, helped agents with their inquiries in late 2011, according to the Daily News.

The officials were working on a case which was set to go before a grand jury, though no charges were ever filed.

Anti-doping authorities announced a new probe into Mr Armstrong's past in June, and two months later the cyclist decided he would no longer contest the charges. Read More

Mark Warren fighting for life after freak gust of wind blows him into concrete sea wall while Kitesurfing

A thrill seeker has been left in a critical condition in intensive care after a freak gust of wind slammed him into a sea wall as he was kitesurfing.

Mark Warren, 45, broke both his legs and suffered two broken ribs after being picked up and launched into the solid concrete seawall at Chalkwell beach in Essex.

Mr Warren was immediately airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, with life-threatening injuries after the horrific incident.

Doctors say he remains in a critical, but stable, condition and is due to have an operation to repair his heart valve in the next couple of days. Read More

Pussy Riot name daubed 'in blood' at Russia Double murder site

Graffiti calling for the release of three jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot has been found at scene of a double murder in Russia, say police.

Two women aged 76 and 38 are believed to have been killed last week in an apartment in the central city of Kazan.

The words "Free Pussy Riot" were daubed on the wall above their bodies, "presumably" in blood, investigators said.

There was no immediate indication of a motive or any link to the band.

In televised remarks, the deputy head of the Kazan Investigative Committee, Andrei Shepitsky, said the killer may have been "trying to avoid suspicion" by using the band's name and misleading police.

He told the RIA Novosti agency that the apartment had been ransacked, indicating the killer was under the influence of drink or drugs or was mentally ill.

The women - a mother and daughter - had suffered multiple stab wounds. Read More

Outside New Orleans, Isaac leaves high water and resentment

LaPLACE, La. — Michael Turner was sitting on his porch when the lake roared in. Hurricane Isaac had not even made landfall, but suddenly water was roaring like a big-river rapid through the neighborhood, swallowing streets that had never seen such flooding, not even after Hurricane Katrina.

"It was like a wave," Turner said Thursday as boats plied the still-submerged neighborhood of River Forest in St. John the Baptist Parish, about 30 miles northwest of New Orleans. Some residents here suspect the improved, post-Katrina levee system that protected New Orleans during Isaac may have contributed to their misery by pushing more water back into nearby Lake Pontchartrain.

With Isaac's wind direction pushing wave after wave out of the roiling lake toward LaPlace, and with the slow-moving storm dropping rain for 48 hours, the conditions were set for disaster. Downpours and flash-flood warnings continued to plague the area Thursday, where hundreds have been evacuated or rescued from Isaac flooding. The amount of damage has not yet been assessed.

Unlike New Orleans, where a newly fortified $10-billion flood-control system protected the city from Isaac, many outlying parishes have not yet seen substantial improvements since Katrina.

"We had an opportunity after Katrina," said Karla Jones, as she watched boats travel down her street deeper into the flood zone. "Obviously, the message from Katrina didn't get through." Read More

Daniel Fernandez Killed fter sticking his head out of party bus roof and smashing skull against bridge

A 16-year-old student was fatally injured Friday evening after he stuck his head out of a bus’s roof hatch, and the vehicle drove through an overpass on the George Washington Bridge.

Daniel Fernandez was riding through New York on a double-decker bus with friends celebrating a Sweet 16 party when he opened up the roof hatch and stuck his head out.

The bus was carrying more than 60 teenagers to the party, many of who were forced to witness the horrific event.

According to the New York Times, Mr Fernandez was on his way to a birthday party in New Jersey and was coming from St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens.

As the bus drove through the Fletcher Avenue Underpass around 6.30pm, he struck his head on the concrete structure.

The teenager was hurried to Hackensack University Medical Center, but was pronounced dead on arrival, according to Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman. Read More

Syria struggles with internal conflict, int'l community division

DAMASCUS, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Syria, while struggling with rampant violence on ground, has also emerged as a dividing point in the international community that has so far failed to truly contribute a solution to the troubled Arab state.

The violence, which has engulfed Syria over the past year and a half, does not seem to be backing off, but on the contrary, it is still gaining momentum and bringing new dim details that were once unthinkable to ever occur in the tightly controlled state.

Two explosions rocked suburbs of the capital Damascus Thursday. The first blast was caused by a booby-trapped car that went off in Jaramana suburb, leaving the driver and his daughter injured, while the other occurred after explosive device tore through the Dahiyet al-Assad suburb, reportedly killing two people. Yet the official media brought nothing up about it.

Other suburbs around Damascus have also been subject to violent clashes between the Syrian troops and the armed rebels, who are showing unwavering resolve to keep the capital rattled with fear and uncertainty.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that as many as 80 people had been killed on Thursday alone nationwide, 49 of whom were unarmed civilians. Read More

Paedophiles given right to challenge being placed on the sex offenders register

Thousands of rapists and paedophiles will be able to appeal against their inclusion on the sex offender register from today, despite concerns from the NSPCC that they must ‘always be considered a risk’.

Ministers were forced to change the law after the Supreme Court ruled two years ago that it was a breach of offenders’ human rights to be put on the register for life with no review.

The government estimates that around 1,200 sex offenders could be eligible for review every year.

Home Secretary Theresa May said she would make ‘the minimum possible changes to the law’ to comply with the Supreme Court ruling. Read More

James Holmes rang a psychiatrist minutes before allegedly opening fire at a cinema screening

The suspect in the Colorado cinema shooting tried unsuccessfully to call his university psychiatrist nine minutes before he opened fire during a Batman movie premiere, a court heard on Thursday.

James Holmes made the call to an after-hours number at a hospital at the University of Colorado, defence lawyer Tamara Brady said.

The number would have allowed him to reach psychiatrist Lynne Fenton, but she was not available and it was unclear why he attempted to contact her, the court heard.

Holmes, 24, is accused of the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

The detail about the phone call came out during a hearing about Holmes' relationship with Ms Fenton, to whom he sent a package containing a notebook that reportedly contained violent descriptions of an attack. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake LIBERTADOR O'HIGGINS, CHILE - 31st August 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck LIBERTADOR O'HIGGINS, CHILE at a depth of 96 km (59.7 miles), the quake hit at 07:08:08 UTC Friday 31st August 2012
The epicenter was 44 km (27 miles) East of Machali, Chile
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time