Wednesday, September 12, 2012

José Manuel Barroso: Political and fiscal union are the only way Forward for Europe

Ambitious proposals for a federal Europe were spelt out yesterday by the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, in a controversial speech which argued that deeper political and fiscal union were the only ways of preventing future crises in the eurozone.

In an impassioned address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, delivered only minutes before Germany's constitutional court approved the eurozone's permanent bailout fund, Mr Barroso attempted to counter Eurosceptic criticism by insisting that he was not calling for a "European super-state".

However, the head of the EU's executive arm added that "we will need to move towards a federation of nation states. This is our political horizon. This is what must guide our work in the years to come." Although he admitted that such a shift could only be completed under a new EU treaty, Mr Barroso blamed the euro crisis on the lack of political cohesion within the European Union, which he said had served only to undermine the currency bloc's credibility among Europe's citizens and on the financial markets.

The crisis, he concluded, had revealed the need for a "leap forward" in political integration to complement current moves to harmonise EU economic and fiscal policies. Europe, he insisted, needed a "democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country and its citizens are better equipped to control their own destiny". Read More

Obama vows to 'bring to justice' ambassador's killers

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday to "bring to justice" the Islamist gunmen responsible for a ferocious assault that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans - an attack that may have been organized in advance.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other Americans died after the gunmen attacked the lightly fortified U.S. consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night. The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

Obama said he had ordered an increase in security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe following the assault.

The U.S. consulate was overrun and torched in a military-style assault, the ambassador left lost and dying alone in the smoke while rescuers ran into a deadly ambush as they sought to save survivors. The attackers used guns, mortars and grenades. U.S. and Libyan officials said the attack may have been planned in advance. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake IRAQ - 13th September 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck IRAQ at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles), the quake hit at 02:42:22 UTC Thursday 13th September 2012
The epicenter was 28 km (17.2 miles) Northeast of Aš-Šayh_an, Iraq
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 13th September 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the FIJI REGION at a depth of 89.4 km (55.6 miles), the quake hit at 01:55:02 UTC Thursday 13th September 2012
The epicenter was 203 km (126 miles) WSW of Nadi, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

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4.7 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF PARIA, VENEZUELA - 13th September 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck GULF OF PARIA, VENEZUELA at a depth of 47.7 km (29.6 miles), the quake hit at 00:22:32 UTC Thursday 13th September 2012
The epicenter was 26 km (16 miles) SSW of Gueiria, Venezuela
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Latest stories Benghazi Attack: US Investigates 9/11 Theory

The United States is investigating whether the deadly attack on a US consulate in Libya was a co-ordinated terrorist strike to mark the anniversary of 9/11 attrocity.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials died as gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and set fire to the US compound in Benghazi.

It had been thought it was a spontaneous protest provoked by an American-made anti-Islam film being promoted on YouTube which is said to insult the Prophet Mohammed.

But a US counterterrorism official has said the Benghazi violence was "too coordinated or professional" to be spontaneous.

The Pentagon has announced it is moving two warships to the Libyan coast and a group of Marines has been dispatched to the Libyan capital Tripoli. Read More

New clashes outside US Embassy in Cairo

Egyptian security forces have used tear gas on a raging crowd of demonstrators near the US Embassy in Cairo. Several dozen people have reportedly been injured as the police dispersed the stone-throwing demonstrators.

Riot police have managed to push a group of several hundred protesters back in Cairo's side streets near the embassy.­

Some of the protesters have been injured, state news agency MENA reported, giving no further details. Witnesses reporting the incident on Twitter said as many as several dozen people may have been injured.

The incident comes just a day after some 2,000 demonstrators gathered around the US embassy, while a group of the most conservative protesters tore down the American flag and replaced it with a black banner bearing the traditional Islamic message, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet.”

Four participants in Tuesday's demonstration who had climbed the wall of the embassy were arrested and transferred to the prosecutor's office. Police are still looking for others involved in the incident. source

US Sending Detroyers Armed With Cruise Missiles To Libyan Coast

Details forthcoming.

117,000 Americans Get Jobless and Disability Benefits

Roughly 117,000 Americans double-dipped by cashing unemployment and Social Security disability checks during the height of the jobs crisis, costing taxpayers a combined $856 million in fiscal 2010 according to a government watchdog agency. The additional strain on the system will make the SSDI trust fund insolvent in four short years. With most eyes fixed on the election battle between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, it was easy to miss the alarming report by the Government Accountability Office that was initially released this summer.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Ok., announced at the end of last month, “This report shows that Congress has failed to hold agencies accountable.” The lawmaker has yet to outline legislation for greater oversight, but on Wednesday afternoon he will discuss the results of an 18-month investigation into the approval process for Social Security Disability Insurance. more

MSNBC host: ‘Who’s More Dangerous, the Supreme Leader in Tehran or Netanyahu?’ (A good question)

“Morning Joe” host Mike Barnicle asked Joe Klein if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is more dangerous Wednesday morning.

MIKE BARNICLE: Who is the more dangerous player on the world stage right now, the supreme leader in Tehran or Bibi netanyahu?

(UNCLEAR): Don’t answer that.

JOE KLEIN: It’s not netanyahu. the supreme leader is a fascist. and he right now is causing great pain to his people in a way that Bibi Netanyahu never would.

DONNY DEUTSCH: I understand the point of your question, but that was a silly question.

(UNCLEAR): That was a clown question, bro.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: One point we know with Netanyahu, as Joe can tell you, anybody’s who’s who’s been in the room with Netanyahu, you don’t have to be with him long to know that there’s only one way, only one way, to get along with him and that is to agree with every single word he says, which Mitt Romney apparently does. source

Thoughts: So is America willing to trade one puppet for another?

Obama On Track To Have Worst Job Record Since WWII...

August’s abysmally weak job growth proved yet again that President Obama’s economic policies are a miserable failure that will continue to undermine our country until he leaves office.

The government’s report that the economy added just a minuscule 96,000 jobs last month came at the end of the Democrats’ defensive national convention, where the president, Bill Clinton and other party luminaries made extravagant claims that things will get better if Mr. Obama is re-elected to a second term.

But analysts at the Federal Reserve Board, economists and business leaders say Mr. Obama’s declining economy is not going to get significantly better this year, next year or the year after that, until there are dramatic changes in the nation’s fiscal policies. Changes Obama Democrats refuse to make.

The deepening weaknesses in the employment picture also were underscored by revisions in the June and July job numbers, which found 41,000 fewer jobs were created than was reported previously. Read More

US EMBASSIES IN ALGERIA, TUNISIA WARN OF PROTESTS

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- The American embassies in Algeria and Tunisia warned of more protests Wednesday, following attacks by protesters in neighboring Libya in which the U.S. ambassador and three embassy staff were killed.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans died in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi by armed protesters angry over a film by a California filmmaker that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

In an emergency message, the embassy in Tunis warned Americans to avoid crowded places, saying that even gatherings "intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence." The embassy in Algiers had similar advice. Read More

Marines headed to Libya to reinforce security

WASHINGTON -
Some 50 U.S. Marines headed to Libya on Wednesday to reinforce security at U.S. diplomatic facilities in the aftermath of an attack in the eastern city of Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, officials said.

The Marines are members of an elite group known as a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, or FAST, whose role is to respond on short notice to terrorism threats and to reinforce security at U.S. embassies. They operate worldwide. The contingent that was dispatched to Libya was based in Spain.

The officials who disclosed the plan to send the Marines spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The Marines were headed initially to the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, not to Benghazi.

Several officials said the U.S. military was making no other moves to deploy troops, ships or aircraft in response to Tuesdays attack. A second Marine FAST element was standing by in Spain but had no orders to move, officials said. Read More

Nuon power plant Explosion, west of Amsterdam - 8 Injured

Eight people have been injured in an explosion at a Nuon power plant in Velsen Noord, west of Amsterdam.

Three people have been rushed to hospital and one may be seriously injured, news agencies reported.
One eyewitness told news agency ANP: ‘There was a big explosion followed by several little ones. There were flames but not a real fire.’ Others told the Telegraaf the incident may have been caused by workers making changes in the high-voltage sub-station.
Once the area has been declared safe, fire officers will enter the building and try to establish more, ANP said. Source

Mount Sakurajima volcano Eruption live on camera - Japan

Japan’s Mt Sakurajima volcano exploded in dramatic fashion on Tuesday, captured on four cameras set up the Japanese government.



Described as "a stronger than usual explosion" by volcanic activity specialists, the Sakurajima eruption was captured by four live cameras set up by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

The volcano, located in Japan's southern Kagoshima region, erupted at 20:42 local time (11:42GMT) on Tuesday and sent a plume of ash 15,000ft in the air, according to Japanese authorities. Source

Libya struggles to deal with militants.....What happened to calling them Rebels?

Did al Qaeda kill U.S. ambassador?

(CNN) -- A pro-al Qaeda group responsible for a previous armed assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is the chief suspect in Tuesday's attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, sources tracking militant Islamist groups in eastern Libya say.

They also note that the attack immediately followed a call from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for revenge for the death in June of a senior Libyan member of the terror group Abu Yahya al-Libi.

The group suspected to be behind the assault -- the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades -- first surfaced in May, when it claimed responsibility for an attack on the International Red Cross office in Benghazi. The following month the group claimed responsibility for detonating an explosive device outside the U.S. Consulate, and later released a video of that attack. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck the HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN at a depth of 188.6 km (117.2miles), the quake hit at 19:29:55 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 14 km (8 miles) West of Ashkasham, Afghanistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Obama on Libya attack: "Justice will be done"

Sept. 12 - U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to work with Libya to bring to justice attackers who killed the U.S. ambassador and other diplomats but said the killings would not hurt U.S.-Libyan ties

South Africa protests hit top platinum firm

(Reuters) - Machete-wielding strikers forced top world platinum producer Anglo American Platinum to shut down some of its South African operations on Wednesday, widening the labor unrest sweeping through the country's mining industry.

A column of 1,500 chanting marchers confronted a small group of riot police backed by armored vehicles at the gates of the firm's Bathopele shaft in the "platinum belt" near Rustenburg, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.

The protesters jeered workers inside the plant, a repeat of action taken on Monday at rival Lonmin's neighboring Marikana mine, where police shot dead 34 striking miners on August 16.

"All of us, we're going to close all the operations, starting from Rustenburg. We'll go even to the gold mines to stop the operations," marcher Evans Ramokga told Reuters.

The platinum price jumped 3 percent to $1,654.49 an ounce, its highest since early April, as investors feared more disruption to supplies of the precious metal used in jewelry and vehicle catalytic converters. Read More

Pakistan factory Fires, 314 killed

(Reuters) - At least 314 people burnt to death as fire swept through factories in two cities in Pakistan, police and government officials said on Wednesday, raising questions about industrial safety in the South Asian nation.

Flames raced through a garment factory in the teeming commercial capital of Karachi, killing 289 people. Many people had been lining up to collect their paycheques, officials said.

Weeping relatives in hospitals and morgues heaped criticism on the deeply unpopular government.

"People started screaming for their lives," said Mohammad Asif, 20. "Everyone came to the window. I jumped from the third floor."

In the eastern city of Lahore, a fire raged in a shoe factory, killing at least 25 people.

Critics say nuclear-armed Pakistan's corrupt and ineffective government has failed to tackle the country's problems. The country is racked by a Taliban insurgency, widespread poverty, spiraling crime and daily power cuts. Read More

'Fort Knox' security breach set off Uranium alarms as Guards Ignored motion sensors

(Reuters) - In July 2012, three aging anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, cut through fences surrounding the "Fort Knox" of uranium storage, and U.S. lawmakers want to know how that was possible.

The facility is a major storage center for highly enriched uranium, a key component of nuclear bombs. The security breach at what was supposed to be one of the most secure facilities in the United States has raised new questions about a plan to overhaul oversight of nuclear laboratories and weapons plants.

An internal Energy Department watchdog found guards ignored motion sensors because they are routinely triggered by wildlife, and a security camera that should have shown the break-in had been broken for about six months.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has approved a plan to give more flexibility to the contractor-run facilities that make up the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, part of its annual defense policy bill passed in May. Read More

Hantavirus has officials scrambling

A deadly hantavirus outbreak in Yosemite National Park has prompted officials to close down cabins and capture and euthanize the park’s deer mice, which spread the disease. Reuters reporter Ronnie Cohen explains the virus, how it spreads and its deadly effects on humans.

Sam Bacile ‘Innocence of Muslims’: YouTube banned in Afghanistan over anti-Islam film

Kabul: Video-sharing website YouTube has been banned in Afghanistan in the wake of an anti-Islam film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which sparked a riot in Benghazi, Libya that killed four American officials, including US ambassador.

“Following instructions by the ministry of information and culture, the ministry of communication has ordered all service providers to block YouTube access,” communications ministry official Aimal Marjan told AFP.

He said until the site remained blocked until the removal of the abusive film.

The Afghan presidency earlier condemned the film as “inhuman and insulting,” calling for it not to be broadcast.

The film was made by an Israeli-American and is promoted by extremist US pastor Terry Jones who has drawn protests for burning the Holy Quran and vehemently opposing the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York. Read More

Rebel Car bomb kills at least 18 Syrian soldiers in Damascus ahead of UN envoy's visit

At least 18 Syrian soldiers were killed Wednesday in a car bombing near the Turkey border, the opposition said, a day before international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi was to visit Damascus.

Russia, meanwhile, accused Western members of the UN Security Council of supporting terrorism by failing to condemn attacks on Syrian government forces.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing took place near a military outpost in the northern area of Saraqab, close to the border with Turkey.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Kazakhstan that "an act of terror is an act of terror. If it looks, is planned and carried out like an act of terror, it is an act of terror."

Russia, a staunch ally of President Bashar Assad, has vetoed with China three UN resolutions condemning the regime's crackdown on protesters. Read More

Egyptian backer of Prophet film says sorry about deaths

(Reuters) - An Egyptian Christian who promoted a film that has provoked protests in the region over its portrayal of Prophet Mohammad said on Wednesday he was sorry that U.S. diplomats were killed and said Muslims who objected should do so peacefully.

Morris Sadek, speaking by phone from the United States where he lives, also told Reuters that his objective in backing the film was to highlight discrimination against Christians who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 83 million people.

Protesters who blamed the United States for allowing the film to be made, scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and tore down the American flag. In Libya, gunmen attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed the U.S. ambassador and three other diplomats. Read More

Gemma McCluskie's Head Found but Cause of Death Remains a Mystery Says Police

Police investigating the discovery of a human head have confirmed it is that of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie.

Detectives were able to confirm the identity after dental records were checked.

Police had been called out to reports of a body part found in the Regent's Canal, near Kingsland Road, N1 on Sunday.

Members of the public cleaning part of the canal at Kingsland Basin had removed a bag from the water and found it contained what was believed to be a human head.

On 6 March a torso was recovered from the canal. Following searches by Metropolitan Police Service divers, an arm was recovered from the canal on March 19. Further searches led to the discovery of two legs and an arm.

Ms McCluskie had been missing for a week after attending the opening of the new £650m Royal London Hospital in nearby Whitechapel. Read More

Libya attack may have been planned and organized, US officials say

* Al Qaeda-linked militants may have been involved

* Caution against linking to Sept 11 attacks anniversary

* Think-tank says may have been al Qaeda revenge attack


WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, may have been planned and organized in advance, U.S. government officials said on Wednesday.

The officials said that there were indications that members of a militant faction calling itself Ansar al Sharia - which translates as Supporters of Islamic Law - may have been involved in organizing the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya's second-largest city.

They also said some reporting from the region suggested that members of Al-Qaeda's north Africa-based affiliate, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved.

"It bears the hallmarks of an organized attack" and appeared to be preplanned, one U.S. official said. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 4.1 km (2.5 miles), the quake hit at 14:23:04 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 81 km (50 miles) ENE of San Isidro, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 52.4 km (32.6 miles), the quake hit at 13:46:08 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 84 km (52 miles) South of Little Sitkin Island, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

CCTV Cameras In Hundreds Of School Toilets and Changing Rooms

Pupils in more than 200 schools can be seen by CCTV cameras when they enter toilets or changing rooms, new research has revealed.

The figures, obtained by privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, also reveal that more than 50 schools have at least one camera for every 15 students.

The survey, based on figures provided by some 2,000 schools, show a total of 825 cameras were located in the toilets or changing rooms of 207 schools across England, Scotland and Wales.

The figures showed that 54 schools have more than one camera for every 15 students and some have one camera per five pupils.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: "This research raises serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren across Britain."

He added: "The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected and will come as a shock to many parents. Read More

Egyptian rioters were wearing Guy Fawkes masks

Egyptian rioters yesterday were photographed wearing Guy Fawkes masks next to photo graffiti on a wall of the U.S. embassy during a protest in Cairo, Egypt

The rioters climbed the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and tore up the American Flag, replacing it with a black al Qaeda flag. source

Hang Serei Oudom the journalist who exposed illegal logging is murdered in Cambodia

A journalist who exposed illegal logging and corruption has been found axed to death in the boot of his car in Cambodia.

Police found Hang Serei Oudom's blood-covered body in his Toyota Camry saloon, abandoned in a cashew nut plantation in Ratanakiri province, in the northeast of the country.

The 44-year-old reporter for local newspaper Vorakchun Khmer Daily had been missing since leaving his home on Sunday evening. His wife Em Channy, 20, said when she called him, a man answered "in a threatening voice" then hung up.

Colleagues had been worried about his safety after he wrote a series of articles about timber smuggling and corruption in Ratanakiri.

His latest story accused the son of a military police commander of smuggling logs in military-plated vehicles and extorting money from people legally transporting wood.

Senior police officer Song Bunthanorm confirmed police were investigating a murder case and not robbery. He said Mr Oudom was found with several axe wounds to his head. Read More

Amb Stevens apparently still alive at this point during the "Muslim" Mob attack

Source

President Obama condemns the "outrageous" killing of four US officials in Libya

The US ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in Tuesday's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, it has been confirmed.

They died as an armed mob protesting over a film they say insults the Prophet Mohammed stormed the US consulate. It is not clear if US ambassador Christopher Stevens, 52, was killed in his car or the compound.

President Obama said he "strongly condemned" the "outrageous" attack.

"While the US rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants," he said.

Libya's deputy prime minister Mustafa Abu Shagur also condemned the "cowardly" attack in a Twitter message.

Gunmen attacked the compound on Tuesday evening, clashing with Libyan security forces before the latter withdrew as they came under heavy fire.

Reporters on the scene said they could see looters raiding the building, walking off with desks, chairs and washing machines. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOLOMON ISLANDS - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the SOLOMON ISLANDS at a depth of 87.4 km (54.3 miles), the quake hit at 11:27:51 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 100 km (62 miles) WNW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN at a depth of 15.4 km (9.6 miles), the quake hit at 09:37:29 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 61 km (37 miles) NNE of Yonakuni, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake MENDOZA, ARGENTINA - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck MENDOZA, ARGENTINA at a depth of 101.8 km (63.3 miles), the quake hit at 09:20:54 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 53 km (32 miles) NNE of Mendoza, Argentina
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 07:18:42 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 58 km (36 miles) NNE of Yonakuni, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF COSTA RICA - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.8earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF COSTA RICA at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 06:29:35 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 42 km (26 miles) Southwest of Paquera, Costa Rica
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake KYRGYZSTAN - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck KYRGYZSTAN at a depth of 28.4 km (17.6 miles), the quake hit at 05:50:53 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 84 km (52 miles) SSW from Talas, Kyrgyzstan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE NORTH COAST OF COLOMBIA - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck NEAR THE NORTH COAST OF COLOMBIA at a depth of 46 km (28.6 miles), the quake hit at 05:23:17 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 17 km (10 miles) ENE of Ustupo, Panama
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN GREECE - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN GREECE at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 05:00:24 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 114 km (71 miles) WSW from Naxos, Cyclades Islands, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Pakistan: Factory Blazes Kill 191

At least 191 people have been killed in two devastating factory fires in Pakistan.

Senior government official Roshnan Ali Sheikh told the AP news agency that a fire at a garment factory in the southern city of Karachi has killed 166 people, with number of deaths expected to rise.

A separate blaze at a shoe factory in the eastern city of Lahore has killed 25 people.

Firefighter chief Ehtisham-ud-Din says most of the garment factory deaths were caused by suffocation as people caught in the basement were unable to escape.

He said he feared the factory could collapse at any time as the first floor had been gutted by the blaze. Read More

US Ambassador 'Killed In Libya Attack'

Four US officials are reportedly killed in Libya as gunmen protesting about a film they say offends Islam attack the US embassy.


The US ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in Tuesday's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, say reports.

They died as an armed mob protesting over a film they say offends Islam attacked the US consulate.

It is not clear if the ambassador was killed in his car or the compound.

"The US ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," an official in Benghazi told Reuters.

Gunmen attacked the compound on Tuesday evening, clashing with Libyan security forces before the latter withdrew as they came under heavy fire.

Reporters on the scene said they could see looters raiding the building, walking off with desks, chairs and washing machines.

It followed an attack in the Egyptian capital Cairo, when protesters climbed the walls of the US embassy and tore down the American flag and burned it.

The protests were sparked by outrage over a video being promoted on YouTube by extreme anti-Muslim groups in the US.

Demonstrators say the $5m film, called The Innocence Of Muslims, insults the Prophet Mohammed. Read More

German Court Gives ESM Bailout Fund The OK.....With a Bunch of Strings Attached

Germany's top court has ruled that the EU's 700bn euro (£560bn) bailout fund does not violate the country's constitution.

The Constitutional Court decided the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) fund and related European fiscal pact can be signed into German law, with conditions.

The news calmed investors worried that a ruling to the contrary could have stopped the two key measures - designed to contain the eurozone's economic crisis - being implemented.

It comes after president of the European Commission made his so-called state of the union address to the European Union (EU) parliament.

Jose Manuel Barroso said that EU countries needed to realise that they are in the financial crisis together, and must work with each other to get out of it.

He stressed that closer political and economic integration is needed to help Europe manage the crisis.

More follows...

Benjamin Netanyahu: Britain and US 'have no moral right to prevent Israel acting against Iran'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says no country has right to demand Israel hold its fire against Iran if no deadline is set for the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.



The Israeli prime minister's words followed a secret visit by an unnamed British official last month, who is understood to have delivered a warning from David Cameron against attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. Read More

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 12th September 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck the NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 65.7 km (40.8 miles), the quake hit at 04:28:14 UTC Wednesday 12th September 2012
The epicenter was 80 km (49 miles) South of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Did the U.S. apologize for the Cairo embassy attack?

(CBS News) After a massive crowd of angry Egyptians began amassing outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, furious over an anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S., the embassy there released a statement saying it did not support any anti-religious efforts.

"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims - as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions," the statement began.

Conservatives have pounced on the statement, calling it an "apology," and the White House responded by saying it had not approved the statement before its release.

"The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," an administration official told Politico.

It appears the White House was attempting to get ahead of an oft-used conservative trope on Democrats, namely that they have an apparent "apologize first" approach to foreign policy.

Mitt Romney's campaign wasted little time late Tuesday trying to turn the embassy's statement into an effort to strengthen his foreign policy credentials. Read More

Outrage continues into the night outside US embassy in Cairo

Sept. 11 - Thousands gather outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, to decry film being produced in the US that they say insults the Prophet Mohammad.

U.S. spies press for renewal of surveillance law

(Reuters) - U.S. intelligence officials made a public plea on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, for quick congressional action to extend a sweeping but controversial U.S. electronic surveillance law.

Robert Litt, chief lawyer for the Office of Director of National Intelligence, told reporters that winning congressional approval to extend the electronic spying law was the U.S. intelligence community's "top priority."

If the law, which expires at the end of 2012, is not extended, Litt said, U.S. spy agencies would lose access to what he described as a "very, very important source of valuable intelligence information."

Relevant committees of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved similar, though not identical, versions of bills that would extend the surveillance law, an updated version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's version would extend it until 2017. A Senate Judiciary Committee version would extend it only until 2015.

Some congressional officials said the Obama administration was anxious to get an extension of the law approved by Congress in the next two weeks, since legislators adjourn for an election break later this month and considerable unfinished business already awaits them for a lame duck session after the November 6 general election. Read More

U.S. cautions Japan, China over escalating islands row

(Reuters) - The United States cautioned China and Japan against escalating a row over a group of islands that both nations claim, warning that tensions between the world's second and third-biggest economies would have global repercussions.

On Tuesday, Japan brushed off stern warnings by China and said it had bought the islands from a private Japanese owner. China rained warnings on Japan and official media said Beijing had sent two patrol ships to reassert its claim.

"This is the cockpit of the global economy and the stakes could not be bigger and the desire is to have all leaders to keep that squarely in mind," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said in Washington.

"We think in the current environment we want cooler heads to prevail, frankly," Campbell said while answering questions at a debate held by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

"We have enormous stakes in the maintenance of peace and stability. We believe that peaceful dialogue and the maintenance of peace and stability is of utmost importance always but particularly now in this set of circumstances." Read More

Catalans mass for independence, warn of 'freedom' bid

BARCELONA, Spain — More than a million people swamped Barcelona on Tuesday demanding independence for Catalonia from the rest of crisis-struck Spain, police said.

A human sea flooded the city, as Catalans waved red-and-yellow striped Catalan flags and marched for the region's national day, the Diada, many accusing Spain of dragging them into economic trouble.

"There are 1.5 million people and everything has gone peacefully," said a police spokesman.

Closely watched by other independent-minded regions in Europe such as Scotland and Flanders, the Catalans rallied under the slogan: "Catalonia, a new European state."

"What do the crowds want? A new European state. What do the people want? An independent Catalonia," they chanted, packing the northeastern region's capital in the warm evening.

"We are being pillaged and the money from our taxes is being lost to Madrid," said 21-year-old history student Eva Garcia. Read More

Scientists predict life on many more planets

Earth may not be the only inhabitable planet in the universe, new research has indicated.


Scientists have designed new models for testing whether a planet could support life by searching for evidence of underground water, it was reported.

Instead of looking for surface water, the new tools identify whether there may be water kept liquid by core heat, according to the BBC.

The development could mean more planets are found to be capable of sustaining life forms.

The research, which was presented at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen, challenges the "Goldilocks" theory that planets need to be within a defined distance from the sun to support life before water either freezes or evaporates.

Sean McMahon, a PhD student from Aberdeen University, said: "It's the idea of a range of distances from a star within which the surface of an Earthlike planet is not too hot or too cold for water to be liquid. Read More

Moody's Says US Rating May Hinge on Debt Deal

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders dug in their heels on Tuesday against any quick deal to resolve a looming fiscal disaster before the election, even as a major ratings agency warned that it would downgrade the government’s debt if no solution was found by year’s end.

Democratic leaders have warned their own members to tone down any discussion of a short-term resolution to the “fiscal cliff,” betting that Republican fears over the January deadline will drive them to the negotiating table shortly after the November election.

Speaker John A. Boehner, reacting to the downgrade notice from Moody’s Investor Service, said it underscored the Republican position that the nation’s precarious fiscal condition could be addressed only by cutting government spending. Read More

Why We Still Don't Need Money (Listen and Be Enlightened)