Saturday, September 15, 2012

Armada of British naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike

An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s covert nuclear weapons programme.

Battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war.

Western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any attack by attempting to mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s petroleum traded by sea.

A blockade would have a catastrophic effect on the fragile economies of Britain, Europe the United States and Japan, all of which rely heavily on oil and gas supplies from the Gulf.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most congested international waterways. It is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is bordered by the Iranian coast to the north and the United Arab Emirates to the south.

In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise. more

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA - 15th September 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA at a depth of 30.6 km (19 miles), the quake hit at 17:35:44 UTC Saturday 15th September 2012
The epicenter was 2772 km (172 miles) SSW from Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

America 'was warned of embassy attack but did nothing'

The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal.

American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.

The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the "safe house" in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed "safe".

Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts. Read More

Obama: 'One of the proudest things of my three years in office is helping restore sense of respect for America around the world'

President Obama has said that elevating the image of the United States around the world was one of his proudest foreign policy accomplishments, but those remarks could boomerang and hamper his reelection bid.

The violence and anti-American protests throughout the Middle East are bringing fresh attacks on the president’s foreign policies as Muslim rage is intensifying in the region.

The protests that have spread could undercut one of the key tenants of Obama's foreign policy argument that he has restored the U.S. image in the Middle East.
In February, Obama said, “One of the proudest things of my three years in office is helping to restore a sense of respect for America around the world, a belief that we are not just defined by the size of our military.” Read More

ANTI-ISLAM FILMMAKER DONATED MILLION DOLLARS TO OBAMA CAMPAIGN

Blame the movie.

Blame the movie.

Blame the movie.

Even though "the movie" was on YouTube for months prior to the collective indignation of thousands of Middle Eastern Islamists all coming together on the eleventh anniversary of September 11th (through wild coincidence, no doubt), we are being told by our government and our media overlords that we must blame the movie.

You see, if we blame the movie for the burning of our foreign outposts and the brutal murders of four Americans (including our Libyan ambassador who was reportedly raped), we won't blame the burners and the looters and the murderers and the rapists.

You see, if we blame the movie for the Middle East burning, we won't blames the Islamists who are doing the burning and looting and raping and murdering.

Which means we won't further connect the dots and blame Obama's failed Middle East policy; the Obama Doctrine of backing away from the region and allowing events to unfold as America stands idly by -- as the Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood grab hold of power in Egypt, a country that was once our largest and closest ally.

Blame the filmmaker.

Hunt him.

Out him.

Demonize him.

Burn the straw man!

And all at the direction of a president of the United States who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, you know, the same Constitution that treasures the right of free expression and speech above all else.

But no one asks … What about Bill Maher?

Bill Maher?

Bill Maher made a comedy/documentary called "Religulous" that's most famous for mercilessly mocking Christianity. But what people forget is that the last twenty-minutes or so of the film make a damning case against Islam.

Bill Maher made a film that mocked Islam.

Oh, yes, he did.

Bill Maher also contributed $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC.

And I'm sure that upon being reminded of this, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will tremble with self-righteous indignation and demand Maher take his money back. Read More

Anti-US protests waning in Muslim world

BEIRUT — More than a dozen countries in the Muslim world rocked by protests linked to a controversial anti-Islam movie in recent days were relatively calm Saturday, but protests flared up far away from the region in Australia.

In Cairo, the initial scene of the violent protests, where demonstrators repeatedly clashed with riot police since last Tuesday, the government appeared to be taking decisive steps to end the unrest.

Hundreds of Egyptian security forces, some of them in plainclothes, pushed protestors out of Tahrir Square and made arrests Saturday morning, witnesses said. Security forces even tore down a massive image of the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, in U.S. prison for involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, that was put up by Salafist protesters shortly after the 2011 revolution.

The actions of the security forces were one of the first signs that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi may be taking more concrete steps to tamp down protests since pressure has ramped up from the U.S. government in recent days. Read More

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA - 15th September 2012

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:32:21 UTC Saturday 15th September 2012
The epicenter was 242 km (150 miles) South of Sidorukun, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 15th September 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 12.6 km (7.8 miles), the quake hit at 16:09:45 UTC Saturday 15th September 2012
The epicenter was 13 km (8 miles) ESE of Hasaki, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Syria envoy meets Assad, says conflict is global threat

(Reuters) - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said after talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday that the escalating Syrian conflict posed a global threat.

Activists say more than 27,000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old uprising against Assad, which started as mainly peaceful calls for reform but has become a bloody insurgency which is deepening sectarian tensions in the Middle East.

"This crisis is deteriorating and represents a danger to the Syrian people, to the region, and to the whole world," Brahimi told reporters in Damascus after he spoke with Assad for an hour at the presidential palace.

It was Brahimi's first meeting with Assad since he replaced Kofi Annan as mediator two weeks ago, taking on a mission which the veteran Algerian diplomat described as "nearly impossible". Read More

Troubled Generation: The Perceived Prevalence Of Youth Crime And Corruption

Over the past few months, headlines describing crimes perpetrated by children and teenagers have been splashed atop stories all over the Internet.

In mid-July, the Chicago Tribune reported about several teenagers who fatally assaulted a 62-year-old man on camera. Malik Jones, 16, Nicholas Ayala, 17, and Anthony Malcolm, 18, then posted the cell phone video of their crime to Facebook.

Earlier that month, a 12-year-old boy from Fort Washington, Md., was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a juvenile court for beating a 2-year-old foster child to death. The infant, Aniyah Batchelor, was reportedly living with the boy’s family at the time of the murder, according to The Washington Post.

In fact, accounts of child-perpetrated depravity seem to be as numerous as they are shocking – from the 10-year-old girl in Maine charged with murdering 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, to the 12-year-old boy accused of raping a 5-year-old girl in an Ohio McDonald’s Playland. more

Thoughts: Also read the post just below this one. The parental and educational "systems" of modern civilization, created to produce docility and malleable workers for a corporatocracy, has now gone so far that it has even broken itself. Individuals are now no longer even capable of engaging in simple labour, let alone moral thought... let alone civil disobedience aimed at dismantling the "machine" instead of merely aggravating its components. 

Fewer than one in four American teens has proficient writing skills - even when allowed spell check and computers

Just a quarter of eighth and 12th grade students in the United States have solid writing skills, even when allowed to use spell-check and other computer word processing tools, according to results of a national exam released on Friday.

Twenty-four per cent of students at each grade level were able to write essays that were well developed, organized and had proper language and grammar. Three per cent scored as advanced and the remaining students had just partial mastery of these skills.

Students who took the writing test inn 2011 had an advantage that previous test takers did not: a computer with spell-check and thesaurus. more

Thoughts: This is a deliberate effort on the part of America's corporate and political class. Educated and active students make for a poor and rebellious workforce. They would rather have young people grind through the "educational system", incur mountains of debt, only to acquire useless pieces of paper that guarantee nothing. The most laughable of them all? The "Ph.D." Most individuals are incapable of discussing any form of philosophy, let alone discussing their own "field of expertise" in a creative way that doesn't involve dogmatic regurgitation. A doctor of nincompoopery, perhaps. When will the educational bubble burst?

U.S. won't tolerate efforts to harm Americans: Obama

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Saturday rejected any denigration of Islam but said there is no excuse for attacks on U.S. embassies, insisting he will never tolerate efforts to harm Americans.

"I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "Yet there is never any justification for violence .... There is no excuse for attacks on our embassies and consulates."

Angry anti-American protests have swept the Muslim world in response to a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad. An attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others this week.

A day after Obama led a somber ceremony marking the return of the bodies of the Americans killed in Libya, Obama acknowledged that a surge of anti-American violence in the Middle East is disturbing.

The Pentagon is sending Marines to beef up security at the U.S. embassy in Sudan, following similar reinforcements to Libya and Yemen. Read More

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake SAMAR, PHILIPPINES - 15th September 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck SAMAR, PHILIPPINES at a depth of 34.7 km (21.6 miles), the quake hit at 10:26:25 UTC Saturday 15th September 2012
The epicenter was 24 km (14 miles) ENE of Anito, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SAN LUIS, ARGENTINA - 15th September 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck SAN LUIS, ARGENTINA at a depth of 41.6 km (25.9 miles), the quake hit at 09:37:18 UTC Saturday 15th September 2012
The epicenter was 51 km (31.6 miles) Northwest of La Punta, Argentina
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 15th September 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the KURIL ISLANDS at a depth of 42.8 km (26.6 miles), the quake hit at 08:43:27 UTC Saturday 15th September 2012
The epicenter was 407 km (253 miles) ENE from Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

US scrambles to rush spies, drones to Libya


WASHINGTON: The US is sending more spies, Marines and drones to Libya, trying to speed the search for those who killed the US ambassador and three other Americans, but the investigation is complicated by a chaotic security picture in the post-revolutionary country, and limited American and Libyan intelligence resources.

The CIA has fewer people available to send, stretched thin from tracking conflicts across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

And the Libyans have barely re-established full control of their country, much less rebuilt their intelligence service, less than a year after the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

The US has already deployed an FBI investigation team, trying to track al-Qaida sympathizers thought to be responsible for turning a demonstration over an anti-Islamic video into a violent, coordinated militant attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Read More

FBI Warns of Violence in America Over Anti-Islamic Movie

A U.S. intelligence bulletin warned today that the violent outrage aimed at U.S. embassies spawned by a movie mocking the Prophet Mohammed could be spread to America by extremist groups eager to "exploit anger."

The Joint Intelligence Bulletin issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said "the risk of violence could increase both at home and abroad as the film continues to gain attention."


"First responders should remain aware of the potential for spontaneous large crowds and protests that could overwhelm resources and should be vigilant for possible efforts to encourage peaceful protesters to commit acts of violence," the warning said.

It urged "faith-based organizations to promptly report suspicious activities that could indicate pre-operational plotting against Jewish, Coptic, Islamic, or any other faith-based communities."

It added, however, that there was no information regarding any specific threats. Read More

Police seal area near U.S. embassy in Cairo

CAIRO, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Hundreds of riot police sealed off the area near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Saturday and the interior minister said he would restore calm after four days of clashes between police and Egyptians incensed by a film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad.

A 35-year-old protester was killed and dozens of people were injured in clashes overnight.



The authorities closed the street leading to the embassy where the demonstrators had spent four days throwing rocks and petrol bombs at police.

The area was quieter early on Saturday. A Reuters reporter saw police push several young men into trucks. Two of the men looked bruised and one was stripped down to his underwear.

"Not so rough," shouted one as he was hustled away. Read More

Volcanic activity on Vanuatu's Mount Yasur intensifies


Volcanic activity on Mount Yasur on Tanna Island in Vanuatu, which has been erupting for hundreds of years, has intensified.

The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory has raised its warning regarding Yasur to level two, with expectations of ash and rock falls around the mountain.

The volcano reached a level three rating last year, but Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory manager Esline Garaebiti says a threat of that extent is unlikely.

However she says people still need to stay clear of the mountain.

“This volcano is quite special and the activity is so strong that we maintain it in level two for quite some time and if the explosions are becoming very strong and the projections go further out from the parking area then we will raise the level to level three.”

The manager of Vanuatu’s Geohazards Observatory Esline Garaebiti. Source

Cloudburst: 33 killed, 35 missing in Uttarakhand, India



DEHRADUN: A series of cloudbursts struck Uttarakhand since last night triggering landslides and flash floods that left 33 dead, 35 missing and several injured in parts of the hill state.

Ukhimath area in Rudraprayag district was the worst hit as a cloudburst in the wee hours flattened dozens of homes in eight villages killing at least 29 people in their sleep. Over 35 people have gone missing in the disaster and 15 were injured.

"29 bodies have been recovered so far and 35 persons are still missing," Piyush Rautela Executive Director of Disaster Management and Mitigation Department (DMMD) here said.

Villages like Chunni, Mangoli, Kimana, Sansari, Giriya, Brahmankholi, Premnagar and Juatok in Ukhimath area were the worst hit, he said. Read More

Second person diagnosed with plague in Crook Co, Oregon


A Crook County woman diagnosed with the plague is believed to have contracted the disease from the same outdoor cat that also infected a Prineville man earlier this summer.

The Crook County Health Department reported Friday that the woman was bitten by the same outdoor cat that also bit Prineville resident Paul Gaylord, who was diagnosed with plague bacteria Yersinia Pestis in June. Gaylord spent several weeks in intensive care at a Bend hospital. The two were bitten by the cat at approximately the same time, the health department said.

Laboratory blood tests conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed late last week that she had tested positive for the disease.

The woman, whose name was not released, was beginning to display symptoms in June, and was attempting to get treatment at an unnamed hospital outside Crook County. She told doctors that she may have the plague, but doctors at the hospital did not believe this was possible, according nurse Karen Yeargain, communicable disease coordinator for the health department. Read More

Deer-Killing Virus Spreading Across Nebraska



The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says a viral disease has spread to deer populations across much of Nebraska.


Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease spreads from deer to deer by the bite of a small insect known as a midge found in and around standing pools of water. Game and Parks says the virus is suspected in the reported deaths of more than 2,200 Nebraska deer this year.

The disease causes hemorrhaging within the deer's body. Deer suffering from the virus may develop a high fever and seek water, which is why many deer killed by the disease are found in or near water. Once a deer has been bitten, that animal usually dies within 48 hours.

With a deer disease running rampant through the population and deer hunting season about to start, is the disease a threat to humans?

"We want to encourage those folks to continue to go into the field, that this EHD, this deer disease is not going to have any impact on eating a deer that would be harvested that would potentially have this," says Greg Wagner with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Read More

Texas State Health Dept warns of missing radioactive device

Well, this is a less-than-glowing report. Turns out Halliburton folks have lost track in West Texas of a certain oil field device that is radioactive. Not highly radioactive, but they really discourage prolonged exposure.

I guess you could consider it West Vial Disease.Anyhow, here’s an excerpt from the somewhat alarming press release:

The Texas Department of State Health Services is looking for piece of equipment containing potentially dangerous radioactive material that was lost Tuesday by an oil and gas crew in a rural part of West Texas.

The sealed radioactive source, a small stainless steel cylinder approximately 7 inches long and an inch across, contains Americium-241/Beryllium….The cylinder is stamped with the words “danger radioactive” and “do not handle” along with a radiation warning symbol. Anyone who sees it should stay at least 25 feet away and notify local law enforcement. Read More

Wildfire erupts in California

Sept. 15 - Wildfire threatens hillside homes in Los Angeles as firefighters work to contain the blaze. Sarah Charlton reports

China's Xi finally appears in public amid rumors over health

(Reuters) - Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping appeared in public on Saturday for the first time in about two weeks, visiting a Beijing university in what appeared to be an effort to dispel rumors of serious illness and a troubled succession.

In a brief English-language report that broke the official silence on his whereabouts, the Xinhua news agency said Vice President Xi had arrived at China Agricultural University in the morning for activities to mark National Science Popularisation Day.

A picture on the government's website (www.gov.cn) showed a healthy-looking Xi, with a slight smile and wearing a black informal jacket over a white shirt, walking around the university.

A second picture, from Xinhua, showed a relaxed, laughing and gesticulating Xi inspecting ears of corn. Reuters had reported that Xi was likely to make an appearance on Saturday.

Sources said Xi hurt his back while swimming earlier this month and that he had been obeying doctors' orders to get bed rest and undergo physiotherapy. Read More

Anti-Japan protests erupt in China over islands row

(Reuters) - Thousands of Chinese besieged the Japanese embassy in Beijing on Saturday, hurling rocks, eggs and bottles with protests reported in other major cities in China amid growing tension between Asia's two biggest economies over a group of disputed islands.

Paramilitary police with shields and batons barricaded the embassy, holding back and occasionally fighting with slogan-chanting, flag-waving protesters who at times appeared to be trying to storm the building.

"Return our islands! Japanese devils get out!" some shouted. One of them held up a sign reading: "For the respect of the motherland, we must go to war with Japan."

Protester Liu Gang, a migrant worker from the southern region of Guangxi, said: "We hate Japan. We've always hated Japan. Japan invaded China and killed a lot of Chinese. We will never forget." Read More