Thursday, September 6, 2012

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE - 6th September 2012

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck the CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 23:33:06 UTC Thursday 6th September 2012
The epicenter was 1688 km (1048 miles) SSE of Clipperton Island
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR - 6th September 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR at a depth of 67.1 km (41.7 miles), the quake hit at 23:30:03 UTC Thursday 6th September 2012
The epicenter was 96 km (59 miles) SSW of Chirilagua, El Salvador
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF SOUTHERN PERU - 6th September 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck NEAR THE COAST OF SOUTHERN PERU at a depth of 35.4 km (22 miles), the quake hit at 21:04:20 UTC Thursday 6th September 2012
The epicenter was 95 km (59 miles) Northwest of Camana, Peru
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake ICELAND REGION - 6th September 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the ICELAND REGION at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 21:04:20 UTC Thursday 6th September 2012
The epicenter was 325 km (201.5 miles) North of Akureyri, Iceland
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Paul Ryan Takes Apart Obamacare in 6 Minutes

Hacking Democracy - Full Length Documentary

In China, Students Bring Their Own Desks and Chairs to School

Man dies after doc takes lunch during kidney op (You really couldn't make this stuff up)

The incident, which took place at the Lidköping hospital, has prompted stinging criticism from Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

The 72-year-old went under anesthetic at 10.45am on the day of the operation, which took place in January 2011.

At noon sharp, the head anesthetist left the operating room to go for lunch. Fifteen minutes later, the head nurse anesthetist also left the patient and went for lunch.

No other anesthetist was called in to take over responsibility for the doctor who was on his lunch break.

And while another nurse was brought in to cover for the nurse anesthetist, the nurse who arrived came from the orthopedic ward and wasn't familiar with the respirator to which the 72-year-old was attached.

Suddenly, the patient started hemorrhaging and his blood pressure started to drop, sparking a "chaotic" situation.

As the patient's condition became critical shortly before 1pm, the substitute nurse tried desperately to reach the lunching anesthetist, but to no avail.

When the doctor and the primary nurse anesthetist returned to the operating room, they discovered that the patient's respirator had been turned off, leaving him without oxygen for approximately eight minutes.

Despite immediately starting resuscitation efforts, doctors were unable to revive the man, who had suffered irreparable brain damage and died several weeks later. more

Thoughts: This is a prime example of the lack professionalism, arrogance and outright stupidity that modern society finds itself diseased with. Almost everyone claims to be entitled to something, that is, something other then the responsibilities with which they should prosecute their work and moral careers. This situation is not a byproduct of socialized medicine, but the precipitate of a "me first" world (and I do mean the entire world) that is slowly cannibalizing itself. As a side note, Plato once stated that doctors whose negligence results in patient harm or expiration should themselves be put to death. Interesting.


Why is Putin stockpiling gold?

I can’t imagine it means anything cheerful that Vladimir Putin, the Russian czar, is stockpiling gold as fast as he can get his hands on it.

According to the World Gold Council, Russia has more than doubled its gold reserves in the past five years. Putin has taken advantage of the financial crisis to build the world’s fifth-biggest gold pile in a handful of years, and is buying about half a billion dollars’ worth every month.

It emerged last month that financial gurus George Soros and John Paulson had also increased their bullion exposure, but it’s Putin that’s really caught my eye.

No one else in the world plays global power politics as ruthlessly as Russia’s chilling strongman, the man who effectively stole a Super Bowl ring from Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, when they met in Russia some years ago.

Putin’s moves may matter to your finances, because there are two ways to look at gold.

On the one hand, it’s an investment that by most modern standards seems to make no sense. It generates no cash flow and serves no practical purpose. Warren Buffett has pointed out that we dig it out of one hole in the ground only to stick it in another, and anyone watching this from Mars would be very confused.

You can forget claims that it’s “real” money. There’s no such thing. Money is just an accounting device, a way of keeping track of how much each of us produces and consumes. Gold is a shiny and somewhat tacky looking metal that is malleable, durable and heavy. A recent research paper by Duke University’s Campbell Harvey and co-author Claude Erb raised serious questions about most of the arguments in favor of gold as an investment.

But there’s another way to look at gold: As the most liquid reserve in times of turmoil, or worse.

The big story of our era is not that the Spanish government is broke, nor is it that Paul Ryan apparently feels the need to embellish his running record. It’s that the United States, which has dominated the world’s economy for several lifetimes, is in relative decline.

As was first reported here in April of last year, according to International Monetary Fund calculations, the U.S. is on track to lose its status as the world’s biggest economy—when measured in real, purchasing-power terms—to China by 2017.

We will soon be the first people in two hundred years to live in a world not dominated by either Pax Americana or Pax Britannica. This sort of changing of the guard has never been peaceful. The declines of the Spanish, French and British empires were all accompanied by conflict. The decline of British hegemony was a leading cause of the First and Second World Wars.

What will happen as the U.S. loses its pre-eminence? more

Drew Peterson guilty verdict: Jurors say they reached 'just' verdict on police officer's murder of third wife

After more than 13 hours of deliberations, a jury has convicted Drew Peterson of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

3:55 p.m. Defense team booed

Drew Peterson's attorneys were booed as they approached microphones to speak with reporters.

"Thank you," said attorney Joseph Lopez.

Another Peterson attorney, Joel Brodsky, said "a conviction is the first step in a successful appeal."

3:50 p.m. Jurors say they reached 'just'' verdict

Jurors released a statement saying "after much deliberation we have reached a decision we believe is just."

3:45 p.m. Lawyer says verdict will be appealed

An attorney for Drew Peterson said the defense team will appeal the conviction.

Attorney Ralph Meczyk said the defense raised reasonable doubt in the case. He said Peterson was sad, but didn't say much after the guilty verdict was read.

Sentencing has been set for Nov. 26. more

Intelligence Committee Chair Describes Explosive Confrontation Between Netanyahu and American Ambassador over Iran

Rep. Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, says that his much-discussed meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem late last month did, in fact, devolve into an sharp confrontation between Netanyahu and the American ambassador to Israel, the former National Security Council official (and former Obama campaign Jewish liaison), Dan Shapiro.

Rogers told a Michigan radio interviewer earlier this week that he had not previously witnessed such a high-level confrontation, and he described Israeli leaders as being at "wits' end" over what they see as President Obama's unwillingness to provide them with his "red lines" in the effort to stop Iran's nuclear program. He also said that neither the Israelis nor the Iranians believe that Obama would use force to stop the nuclear program. (UPDATE: Rogers said as well he believes the Israelis will "probably" bomb Iran if they don't get clearer red lines from the U.S.) more

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 6th September 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 3.5 km (2.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:04:24 UTC Thursday 6th September 2012
The epicenter was 72 km (44 miles) East of Sulangan, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Alps Shootings 'May Be Terror Related' according to Former Top Cop

The killing of a skilled Iraqi-born engineer and two of his family in the French Alps may have been terror-related, a former police chief has told Sky News.

Police in France are considering a number of possible motives for the shooting.

Here, former commander of the Flying Squad John O'Connor and criminologist Professor David Wilson offer their insights.

John O'Connor, former commander of Flying Squad:

"The shootings look like they are terrorist-related. The people that have done it are military trained. It certainly seems to be a military assassination. The killers were sending a message about not crossing them. It doesn't sound like a gangland hit.

Was the Iraq-born victim involved in the intelligence world? He reportedly worked for AMS 1087 Ltd which is listed as Aerial Photographers and Surveys. Is there any significance in this?

The killers don't sound UK-based and I don't see any connection with criminals in this country.

It appears the gun was an automatic weapon, used professionally - because of the accuracy. This would lead one to think of trained personnel, terrorists.

It was well planned and professionally executed. You can forget it being carried out by a local villain and I don't think it was a botched robbery. Read More

Is Mt. Fuji About to Blow Its Top?

According to researchers, Japan might be about the add volcanic eruptions to the list of catastrophes that have dogged it over the past year, and the volcano in question is none other than the iconic Mt. Fuji.

On March 15th last year, four days after the major quake that shook Tohoku, a magnitude 6.4 quake hit Shizuoka, one of the prefectures Mt. Fuji sits astride. This week, a research team including members from the National Research Institute for Earth Sciences and Disaster Prevention announced that the quake has increased the likelihood of a large eruption from Mt. Fuji by increasing pressure within the magma chamber.

Mt. Fuji’s last eruption was in 1707, not long after the major Houei Earthquake, and the research team warns that pressure caused by last year’s earthquake is likely greater than that triggered by the Houei Earthquake. “For several years following an earthquake, there is the possibility of an eruption, so it is necessary to exercise caution,” said one.

The team estimates that the two earthquakes last year have raised the pressure in the center of the magma chamber, which lies about 15 kilometers below the surface, to about 1.6 megapascals, equivalent to atmospheric pressure of about 15.8kg/cm².

However, the researchers point out that the pressure of the magma chamber is not the only factor involved in an eruption, and other indicators of imminent activity have not be observed. source

Migrant boat sinks off Turkey, at least 60 dead

Sep. 06 - More than half of the 60 people killed are children after a boat sinks near the coast of western Turkey. Tara Cleary reports.

Saad al Hilli Murder: spotlight focuses on the business affairs

The father-of-two shot dead along with his wife and daughters in France was an engineer and computer design expert who lived in Surrey, according to reports.

Saad al Hilli, 50, was originally from Baghdad, Iraq, but is thought to have moved to the UK in the 1970s.

His family is thought to have left the Middle East country after their mechanical engineering business was looked upon "unfavourably"by Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party.

A friend of the family said Mr al Hilli grew up in London and went to school in Pimlico.

He spoke to Mr al Hilli on August 24 and he told him the family were going on holiday for two weeks. The friend added the family had a property in France, as well as their home in Claygate, near Esher.

The friend said: "He was a good friend, a close friend.

"Saad was the perfect father and a wonderful engineer. He was a keen cyclist."

Mr al Hilli is thought to have worked in the aviation and aerospace industry, for a Wiltshire-based aerial photography company called AMS 1087 Limited. Read more

Euro swings wildly after ECB'S Draghi disappoints

(Reuters) - The euro was higher against the dollar but off a two-month high touched earlier on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gave investors few new clues on the bank's plans to stem the debt crisis than became known to investors from a leak to the press on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference after the ECB left interest rates unchanged, Draghi said the bank agreed to launch a new and potentially unlimited bond-buying program to lower struggling euro zone countries' borrowing costs and draw a line under the debt crisis.

Seeking to back up his July pledge to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro, Draghi said the new plan, aimed at the secondary market, would address bond market distortions and "unfounded" fears of investors about the survival of the euro.

The euro zone economy will probably contract more than previously expected this year, according to new European Central Bank staff forecasts, which also raised the bank's outlook for inflation for 2012/2013. Read More

Spanish Miners Strike

Sept. 6 - Eloy Alonso’s photos show mining communities taking to the streets with homemade rockets and slingshots to defend their way of life, as government cuts threaten to close mines in Northern Spain.

ECB Boss Confirms Euro Rescue Plan

World stock markets have rallied after the European Central Bank president outlined bond-buying plans to support struggling eurozone countries, saying "the euro is irreversible".

ECB president Mario Draghi said unlimited bond-buying to help crisis-wracked eurozone countries would be linked to a "strict and effective" European rescue programme and certain conditions.

Mr Draghi described the purchases by a new term, Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) and said they would be focused on "the shorter part of the yield curve" especially those between one and three years.

He insisted a breakup of the eurozone would be averted and added: "We aim to preserve the singleness of our monetary policy.

"The euro is irreversible."

The bond decision came after the ECB's governing council met in Frankfurt, where there was not complete unity in the decision.

"It was not unanimous... there was one dissenting view," Mr Draghi said before adding, "I will leave you to guess who that was". Read More

Sylvain Mollier, the Cyclist Found Killed at Alps Shooting Scene

The wife of the male cyclist, shot dead as bullets sprayed into the car of a British family, went to police to report him missing, unaware of the mass killing.

The man, named locally as Sylvain Mollier, suffered gunshot wounds and was found dead close to where the bodies of a man and two women were found in a BMW in Haute Savoie.

Local paper Le Dauphine said cyclist Mr Mollier was a 40-year-old father of three, currently on paternity leave, and had gone for an leisurely cycle.

His wife, worried when he did not return from his cycle ride, alerted the authorities, without making a link to the killings.

She went to a local police station with a photograph of her husband. Officers quickly made the link and her husband was identified as the fourth victim. Read More

Saad and Iqbal al Hilli among 4 Killed in the French Alp Shooting, eight-year-old Zehab and four-year-old Zaina Survived the Evil Attack

A British husband and wife murdered in a shooting in the French Alps have been named by neighbours as Saad and Iqbal al Hilli.

Their two children, who survived the bloody attack, were named as eight-year-old Zehab and four-year-old Zaina.

A French police source said their 50-year-old Iraqi-born father was originally from Baghdad, but lived in Claygate, Surrey.

He was found dead on Wednesday in his bullet-riddled BMW with the engine still running in eastern France, along with his wife and another woman - believed to be one of their parents.

Public prosecutor Eric Maillaud said a passing cyclist, a British former RAF officer on holiday, discovered the bodies and alerted the emergency services at around 3.50pm (French time).

He also found Zehab, who collapsed in front of him near the car.

She suffered gunshot wounds and a fractured skull after being violently beaten in the head and is now fighting for her life in an induced coma in a hospital in the city of Grenoble.

Her sister Zaina was found alive hiding underneath the front passenger seat and legs of her mother by police - eight hours after the massacre. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS - 6th September 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS at a depth of 100 km (62 miles), the quake hit at 14:16:18 UTC Thursday 6th September 2012
The epicenter was 148 km (91.2 miles) Southwest of Nuku'alofa, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Recession 'taking hold' in Eurozone, OECD says

PARIS (AP) — Europe's debt crisis is pushing the 17-country eurozone toward recession and dragging down the global economy, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday.

Even growth in traditional economic powerhouse Germany is slowing, and the OECD's interim assessment said that Europe's largest economy could slip into recession by the end of the year.

"The negative elements of the global economy ... stemming mostly from Europe are there and they are somewhat stronger than they used to be a few months ago," OECD Chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan told reporters.

He said the good news was that the global economy was not in recession, but that avoiding one would depend on what politicians do in the coming months and pushed especially for more action by the European Central Bank. The ECB could outline later in the day a plan to buy up the bonds of governments struggling with high borrowing costs.

Padoan said he was encouraged by recent progress in Europe to get a handle on the crisis. Read More

Alp Shooting: 4-year-old girl found in car is doing well; she is now in a psychiatric hospital


Spain borrowing rates tumble ahead of ECB meet

MADRID — Spain's borrowing costs plummeted Thursday as markets awaited imminent news of a European Central Bank plan to help stricken eurozone states by purchasing their bonds.

The Treasury raised 3.5 billion euros ($4.4 billion) at far lower rates in a bond auction, winning at least a brief reprieve from punishing yields driving the nation towards a sovereign bailout.

The sale coincided with an ECB meeting in Frankfurt, after which the bank's president, Mario Draghi, is expected to set out the mechanism for a renewed bond-buying programme.

Draghi has already said the ECB plans to curb high rates by purchasing debt-struck member states' bonds -- but only after they have formally asked for a eurozone bailout with strict conditions.

"We have to urgently resolve the problem of the so-called periphery economies: Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain," Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said.

"Only the central bank can do this by putting out the fire," the minister told Onda Cero radio. Read More

Why George Osborne Cannot Ignore the OECD

The outlook for Britain has deteriorated severely in the past few months, which raises major questions for the Chancellor.

You’d be a fool to ignore what the OECD says about the state of the economy.

While the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) hasn’t a perfect forecasting record, it was the first major international agency to predict that Britain would start shrinking last year.

Now it believes Britain's economic fortunes have deteriorated severely in the past few months alone. Back in May, it expected Britain to expand by 0.5%.

Now it believes Britain will contract by a whopping 0.7% this year.

It is not the worst growth figure for this year - Italy will shrink by 2.4%, for instance - but the striking thing is the speed and scale of the downgrade.

Quite simply, the outlook for Britain has deteriorated very suddenly, thanks in part to the euro crisis but also to those home-grown issues: over-indebtedness, the remnants of a housing and banking crisis and a residual trade deficit of extreme proportions.

This raises a major question.

Both the OECD and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have said repeatedly that while they supported George Osborne's austerity plans when times were good, they added that the Chancellor should be prepared to change course if the economic outlook deteriorated significantly. Read More

ECB holds rates as inflation eclipses growth risks

(Reuters) - The European Central Bank held its main interest rate at a record low of 0.75 percent on Thursday, holding fire after a pick-up in inflation last month offset pressure to breathe life into the flagging euro zone economy by easing borrowing costs.

Annual euro zone inflation accelerated to 2.6 percent in August from 2.4 percent in July, coming in stronger than expected and further above the ECB's target of just below 2 percent.

The ECB also left the interest rate on its deposit facility at 0.0 percent - a low it went to for the first time in July to encourage banks to lend overnight to other banks, where they receive a higher rate, currently about 0.1 percent.

The ECB held its marginal lending facility - or emergency borrowing rate - at 1.50 percent. Source

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR - 6th September 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR at a depth of 24.5 km (15.2 miles), the quake hit at 11:38:56 UTC Thursday 6th September 2012
The epicenter was 106 km (66 miles) South from Usulután, Usulután, El Salvador
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Death toll in migrant boat sinking off Turkey rises to 58

(Reuters) - The number of people who died after a boat carrying migrants sank off western Turkey's Aegean coast has risen to 58, Turkish news channels reported on Thursday.

Tahsin Kurtbeyoglu, the governor of Menderes, a coastal district in Izmir province, earlier told state television TRT that 39 people had died but that he expected the death toll to rise. Source

Saad al Hilli's Children Survived attack in France

The father of a British family murdered in a shooting in the French Alps has been named as Saad al Hilli, according to reports.

A French police source told AFP news agency that the 50-year-old Iraqi-born father was originally from Baghdad, but lived in Claygate, Surrey.

He was found dead in his bullet-riddled BMW in eastern France, along with his wife and another woman - believed to be one of their parents.

An eight-year-old girl was found near the car with gunshot wounds and a fractured skull and is in a critical condition in hospital in the city of Grenoble.

Her four-year-old sister was found alive hiding under the legs of her mother - eight hours after the massacre.

It happened in a car park in a forested area near the village of Chevaline, near Lake Annecy, a popular tourist destination in the Haute-Savoie region. Read More

Catalonia town proclaims autonomy, cites 'tax plunder'

Escobar: US wants Pentagon patrol in Asia via allies

Putin: Assange case exposes UK double standards

DARPA's Cheetah Bolts Past the Competition

Fact Check: Clinton Compromise Claim a Stretch

US debt tops $16 trillion

Christchurch, New Zealand: Stunning lightning storm filmed

Judge Peter Bowers describes a serial thief as courageous before FREEING him

David Cameron has insisted that burglars are cowards, in response to a judge who reportedly told one thief that his raids took courage.

The Prime Minister, who revealed he had been burgled twice, branded the offence "despicable and hateful".

Judge Peter Bowers sparked the outcry during a case at Teesside Crown Court.

He apparently told an offender who raided three homes in five days: "It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody's house. I wouldn't have the nerve."

Handing the 26-year-old man a suspended 12-month term, the judge said: "I'm going to take a chance on you." Read More

NIGEL FARAGE TALKING ABOUT THE DEAD EURO!

Not the right moment for “more Europe”

Debt union? Banking union? Political union? The desire for a radical overhaul of Europe is understandable. But in spite of the calls for changes that are needed to resolve the ongoing political and economic crisis, Europeans do not appear to be ready for more integration.

This summer, which heard the bell ringing on the final round of the euro crisis, German politicians have been seizing the pleasure of arguing over the future of Europe. The Social Democrats and the Greens plead for a European debt union, including banking and fiscal union – briefly put, they’re all for handing sovereignty over Germany’s budget to Brussels. The CDU, meanwhile, happily allude to the principles behind their desire to shape Europe into a political union – whatever that may mean in the finer details. Since all that would deeply encroach upon Germany’s Basic Law, talk of a referendum, and a speedy one if possible, is also in the air.

Slow down!, one is tempted to cry out. True, the European Union is poorly prepared for the storms of the globalised world. In the great financial crisis, the political structure of the Union has been measured and judged to be unstable. Before the heart of national sovereignty is sacrificed in the rush ahead, however, it would be advisable to find out if there is even an altar worth making a sacrifice on.

The illusion of quick and easy solutions
Beyond Germany, there are no European states or peoples willing by a large majority to make the leap from the confederation of sovereign countries to a European federal state. Whether, in the end, even the Germans themselves want to betray this sovereignty may also be doubted. This crisis has not brought the European nations closer. Instead, it has made them more sceptical about the European project. Read More

Gina Rinehart: Australians cannot compete with Africans who are "willing" to work for $2 an Hour

The world's richest woman has provoked a furious backlash for criticising the work ethic of Australians, saying her country is bad for business.

In a magazine column, mining magnate Gina Rinehart said Australians jealous of her wealth should spend less time drinking and more time working.

Then in a video message Ms Rinehart, who is worth almost $20bn (£12.5bn), said Australia cannot compete with Africa where wages are often less than $2 (£1.25) an hour.

In the controversial recording, made for the Sydney Mining Club, she said: "Australia is indeed becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export orientated business, businesses that must sell their product in the world economy at world market, not Australian prices." Read More

US Slips Down the Ranks of Global Competitiveness

The United States has slipped further down a global ranking of the world's most competitive economies, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) survey released on Wednesday.

The world's largest economy, which was placed 5th last year, fell two positions to the 7th spot - marking its fourth year of decline.

A lack of macroeconomic stability, the business community’s continued mistrust of the government and concerns over its fiscal health were some of the reasons for the downgrade, according to the annual survey.

"A number of weaknesses are chipping away at its competitiveness...the U.S. fiscal imbalances and continued political deadlock over resolving these challenges," said Jennifer Blanke, Economist at the Geneva-based WEF.

Political deadlock over reducing the unsustainable federal government budget deficit – projected to hit $1.1 trillion this year – prompted Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the country’s credit rating by one notch to AA+ from AAA last August. Read More

Lake Ontario: Human remains found in floating in a suitcase

TORONTO (Reuters) - A suitcase containing human remains was found floating in Lake Ontario near Toronto on Wednesday, the latest in a series of grisly discoveries by residents of Canada's largest city.

Toronto police said in a statement that the suitcase was found by boaters, who brought it ashore at a local park. Authorities determined that it contained human remains. The statement said a post−mortem examination was yet to be scheduled
Local media said the suitcase contained a torso and that homicide investigators were in touch with authorities looking into the death of a Toronto woman whose body parts were found scattered at opposite ends of the city.

The woman, Guang Hua Liu, a 41-year-old former spa owner and single mother of three, was reported missing in early August. Hikers saw her foot floating in a river just west of Toronto a few days later, and police then found her head and two hands elsewhere.

A subsequent search unearthed more of Guang's body parts in the suburb of Scarborough, in the city's east end.

Chunqi Jiang, a construction worker and recently estranged boyfriend of the victim, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the case. Read More

Bob Woodward Book: Debt Deal Collapse Led to 'Pure Fury' From President Obama

An explosive mix of dysfunction, miscommunication, and misunderstandings inside and outside the White House led to the collapse of a historic spending and debt deal that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were on the verge of reaching last summer, according to revelations in author Bob Woodward's latest book.

The book, "The Price of Politics," on sale Sept. 11, 2012, shows how close the president and the House speaker were to defying Washington odds and establishing a spending framework that included both new revenues and major changes to long-sacred entitlement programs.

But at a critical juncture, with an agreement tantalizingly close, Obama pressed Boehner for additional taxes as part of a final deal -- a miscalculation, in retrospect, given how far the House speaker felt he'd already gone.

The president called three times to speak with Boehner about his latest offer, according to Woodward. But the speaker didn't return the president's phone call for most of an agonizing day, in what Woodward calls a "monumental communications lapse" between two of the most powerful men in the country. Read More

ANTI-CHRISTIAN HATE SPEECH SPEWS FROM THE PALM BEACH DEM CHAIR

As reported on TheBlaze, Democrats returned the words “God” and “Jersusalem” to their DNC platform on Wednesday afternoon. The vote was controversial and actually booed by many in the hall.

Shortly after that content change, Mark Alan Siegel, the Palm Beach County Democrat Chairman spoke with Scottie Hughes of Patriot TV and made some rather pointed and anti-Christian statements. Mr. Siegel was wearing a “Jews for Obama” pin. Ms. Hughes spotted the pin and asked the chairman about his support for Obama despite the administration’s record with Israel.

Here are a couple of the offensive comments made by the Palm Beach Democratic Chairman:

“I’m Jewish, I’m not a fan of any other religion than Judaism.”
“The worst possible allies for the Jewish state are the fundamentalist Christians who want Jews to die and convert so they can bring on the second coming of their Lord.” Read More

'VOTE BLACK' BUTTONS HIT CONVENTION HALL


A convention-goer stands on the convention floor on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. Source

Saad al Hilli Named as Mystery Surrounds Alps Shooting

Detectives are investigating after three people, who appeared to be British holidaymakers, were shot dead in a car in the French Alps. Here is what we know so far, and the questions police will attempt to answer.

What happened in the hours leading up to the attack?

The family were holidaying in an area called Saint Jorioz, and it is believed neighbours at the site alerted police when they appeared to be missing.

Police will interview these campers and caravanners in an attempt to get as much information as possible about what happened in the hours before the attack.

They will want to know what time the family left the site, what they did beforehand, what time they were expected back at the site, and who was in the car when they left.

Reports suggest the front passenger seat was empty when the car was discovered – police will attempt to establish whether the seat was empty for the duration of the journey.

CCTV in the area will be checked to find out where the car travelled to after leaving the site.

Establishing and tracing all people and vehicles close to the crime scene at the time of the attack will also be important, to collate eyewitness testimony.

Who was the cyclist and why was he shot?

A cyclist was found dead nearby. Police will attempt to establish where he was a travelling from and to, and whether he was shot before or after the victims in the car.

He is understood to be a factory worker from nearby Ugine, but his name and age has not been officially confirmed. Read More

Democrats Fumble Major Israel Issue, Put Jerusalem As Capital In Platform

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSNewYork) — A big flip flop by the Democratic Party has replaced what was perceived as a big snub to Israel.

It was a stunning development. The party had dropped the assertion that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish state, but on Wednesday evening the Democrats had a change of heart. The vote went down just before 6 p.m. and it was quite contentious on the floor.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Convention chairman, needed to take three separate votes to get the motion passed and he was booed when he ruled it in. That’s because the crowd of delegates on the floor sounded more split 50-50, than having delivered the two-thirds majority needed, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported.

The Democrats caved after Obama campaign officials said the president personally intervened to change the two planks on God and Jerusalem, but it only came after there was strong opposition from church groups and many New Yorkers, CBS 2′s Kramer reported.

“I think it is a mistake and I’m not happy about it,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler said of the original language.

“I disagree with that platform,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand added. Read More

France Warns Israel Against Iran Attack

French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, said Monday that any Israeli strike against Iran would “turn against Israel” and called for stronger sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“I am absolutely opposed to the idea that Iran would gain nuclear weapons, but I think if there was an Israeli attack, unfortunately it would turn against Israel and [would put] Iran as the victim,” said Fabius.

He said Paris fears that “if there is a strike against them, they would be victimize and recover legitimacy among the population there. We say that we must increase sanctions and at the same time continue to discuss with Iran,” he said. “Unfortunately, the Chinese, Russians and Indians do not comply with the sanctions, it’s a hole, even if sanctions are beginning to be more effective,” he said.

The minister did not specify what sectors could be affected by the strengthening of sanctions. “We are studying all schemes,” he conveyed. “The Iranians are trying to develop centrifuges [to enrich uranium] in a way that has no reason if they do not have a military purpose, so the risk is real,” noted Fabius. He also regretted that the 5 +1 (the United States, China, France, UK, Russia and Germany) with Iran are “not moving.” Read More

Egypt's Sinai Peninsula: Fertile ground for discontent

The Sinai Peninsula, famed as a leading tourist destination given its natural landscape, dazzling coral reefs and biblical history, is witnessing increasing volatility in post-revolution Egypt.

A bloody attack on 5 August that killed 16 Egyptian border guards has led Egyptian security forces to carry out a security operation – 'Operation Eagle' – to restore security to the restive peninsula. Ongoing clashes between security forces and militants, as well as attacks on checkpoints, have since been reported.

A land bridge between two continents, Africa and Asia, the Sinai Peninsula is approximately 60,000 square kilometres in area and contains two of Egypt's 27 governorates. Sinai has a population of about 600,000 people.

"Sinai is three times the size of Israel; there are 30 major tribes in North and South Sinai. The North of Sinai is one of the poorest governorates, with a population of approximately 350,000," explained Said Sadek, a political sociologist at the American University of Cairo. Read More

The toxic nexus between the US and al-Qaeda

September, 2012

Al-Qaeda is often trotted out as a bogey to justify US aggression against others. Al-Qaeda is an American creation and a handy tool. The noxus alliance has become fully exposed in Syria.

As in other aspects of life, disagreements among socio-political or economic entities cannot always be described as competition or hostility. The European Union (EU) disagrees with some of the US methodologies in the Muslim East but it would be inaccurate to deduce from this that the EU is not a strategic partner of US imperialism in the region. In matters of strategic alliances, it is important to see on what matters the members agree and how crucial the points of their agreement or disagreement are in regard to reaching certain strategic goals. In the US, Democrats and Republicans disagree on many issues, but on strategic matters their vision is rooted within the same imperialist/capitalist paradigm.

It is very rare to observe two states, organizations or institutions agree on certain crucial policies without a thought-through and coordinated process. During the Cold War even though the USSR and the US disagreed on many issues, they both carefully calibrated their efforts in regard to containing the Islamic Revolution in Iran, at times directly and at other times indirectly. The USSR and the Western bloc were both supplying Saddam Hussein with weapons against Islamic Iran. While the US support for Saddam is well known, most people do not know that between 1980 and 1988 the USSR provided Saddam with more weapons than any other country in the world. Even though often during the Cold War, the US and USSR were on opposite sides, their animosity toward Islamic civilizational alternative was a much more important issue to both than their own rivalry.

Today, at a superficial level the US is engaged in a war against al-Qaeda and other like-minded groups. However, deeper research and analysis reveals that al-Qaeda leadership and the US are in fact strategic partners. In order to prove this, let us conduct a brief factual analysis of where the interests of the US and its modern-day Khawarij (Wahhabi/al-Qaeda) creation converge.

Saudi connection

Reviewing the literature, the intellectual framework and the operational mindset of al-Qaeda leadership that sometimes functions under the designation, Salafis, it becomes evident that their ideological center is the US-backed Saudi regime. Read More

Russia asserts Pacific power at APEC summit

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: Russia, which hosts its first annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this week, is seeking to assert its presence in the fast-growing region during troubled European economic times.

President Vladimir Putin championed hosting the summit not in Moscow or Saint Petersburg but in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok, in what the Kremlin hopes will be a symbol of Russia’s status as a major Pacific power.

Key members of APEC include China — with whom Moscow has had historically tricky relations — and Japan which is embroiled in a bitter territorial dispute with Russia. But the Kremlin is hoping for major economic gains by playing a bigger regional role.

“Russia’s share in total regional (Asia-Pacific) trade is around one percent. Clearly this neither corresponds to Russia’s political profile nor its economic interests,” said Gennady Ovechko, Russia’s envoy to APEC.

The potential is huge — Russia is looking to diversify its exports of natural resources at a time when the expanding Asian economies are hungry for oil and gas imports.

Russia has long looked on Europe as its main foreign commercial partner and turned its back on Asia, considering players like China to be a threat and expressing concern about Asian labour migration to its de-populating Far East.

But the woes afflicting the Eurozone appear to have made Russia rethink its stance and realise that a rebalancing towards the east was indispensable. Read More

Why the euro may have already broken up

At a conference last week for clients of Aberdeen Asset Management the audience was asked at one point whether or not it thought one or more member countries of the euro would drop out of the single currency in the next 12 months.

The audience were from most of the countries where the firm does business —in other words from all over the world — and were largely directors and non-executive directors of companies.

The surprise was that most believed there would be no change in the next 12 months. That’s not the impression you get from most economic commentators. Clearly the view from the real world is rather different.

What you make of this depends on where you stand. The conventional wisdom is that a break-up of the euro would be a disaster causing huge losses and bringing about the freezing up and possible collapse of the banking system, and such chaos in the financial markets that the real economy could not escape the consequences. So in this camp a further 12 months without a break-up will be seen as a plus.

The alternative view is, of course, that the system is unsustainable as weaker countries, most notably Greece, cannot compete with Germany and therefore cannot survive if they are yoked to it. So they might well react with despair to the prospect of a further 12 months of crisis meetings leading to political initiatives which are never quite enough to get ahead of the events, and which they believe are only postponing the inevitable and at ever greater cost.

There is, however, a third view, articulated recently by Strategy Economics, which says that whether the currency system falls apart in 10 days or 10 years does not matter much either way, because in most ways which actually matter the euro is already dead. Read More