Monday, September 17, 2012

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake YUNNAN, CHINA - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck YUNNAN, CHINA at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles), the quake hit at 23:28:38 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 28 km (17 miles) ESE of Mengmeng, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

8,786,049: Yet Another Record for Americans Collecting Disability

The Social Security Administration has released new data revealing that 8,786,049 American workers are collecting federal disability insurance payments in September. That sets yet another record for the number of Americans on disability.

The 8,786,049 workers taking federal disability in September is a net increase of 18,108 from the 8,767,941 workers who took federal disability in August.

Over the past 45 years, the number of American workers taking federal disability payments has increased four-fold relative to the number actually working.

In August 1967, 74,767,000 Americans were working (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and 1,152,861 were taking federal disability insurance (according to the Social Security Administration). That means that at that time there were about 65 Americans working for each worker collecting disability.

In August 2012, 142,101,000 Americans were working and 8,767,941 were on disability--meaning there were only 16.2 people working for each person collecting disability.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a record 88,921,000 Americans were “not in the labor force” in August. These were Americans who were at least 16 years old, who were not in the military or in an institution such as a prison or a nursing home, and who did not have a job and had not actively sought one in the last four weeks. more

Tornado Of Fire Caught On Tape In Australia Fire Twister

An astonished filmmaker is coming to grips with the moment he witnessed one of nature's rarest phenomenons - a tornado comprised entirely of fire- and lived to tell the tale.

Chris Tangey had been out in Alice Springs, Australia, scouting locations for a new movie.

After finishing the task, he went over to help workers at a cattle station when he was confronted by one of nature's most intimidating spectacles. Read More

Greek judges and hospital doctors work to rule in protest against mass cancellations of court cases and operations caused by austerity measures

Thousand of legal cases could be left in limbo and routine operations cancelled after judges and hospital doctors began working to rule in protest over planned austerity measures in Greece.

The latest round of industrial action, between unions and the Greek coalition, is the most serious confrontation yet in response to the government's ever-increasing mountain of unpaid bills and salaries.

Judges protesting against expected salary cuts will only handle cases considered to be emergencies for the next two weeks.

It is likely to disrupt everything from disputes over wills to prosecutions against rioters. It is also likely to worsen the country's huge backlog of court cases, including thousands of pending tax settlements. Read More

Majority of Germans think they would have been better off if they never made the switch to the Euro

Nearly two thirds of Germans think they would be better off if they had not swapped the Deutschmark for the euro.

This is the largest number ever to voice doubts on the single currency since it replaced the building bloc of the postwar 'economic miracle' a decade ago.

Some 65 per cent of Germans thought their personal situation would be better if they still had the D-mark, compared to 36 per cent of French who miss the franc, according to the survey by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation released on Monday.

The Germans are also less attached to the European Union, suggested the poll, which was conducted July 3 to 8 in both countries.

Some 49 per cent of those Germans questioned said they would be personally better off if the EU did not exist, compared to 34 per cent of French who said they would be better, or much better off without the EU.

The poll, also carried out in Poland, showed only 28 per cent of Poles believed they would be better without the EU. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake VANUATU - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck VANUATU at a depth of 146.9 km (91.3 miles), the quake hit at 21:15:45 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 76 km (47 miles) NNE from Santo (Luganville), Vanuatu
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

FARC attacks continue amid promise of peace talks

Catherine Wells-Burr Murder: 32-year-old woman has been charged

A 32-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of 23-year-old university graduate Catherine Wells-Burr, police have said.

Ms Wells-Burr's body was found in a burnt-out car in Ashill, near Ilminster, on September 12.


More follows...

Fall of Arab Spring: US 'democracy tool' backfires amid violent chaos

100,000 march in Beirut protest

'US "sudden democracy syndrome" empowered radical Islam'

Anti-Japanese Protests In 80 China's Cities



On September 16, anti-Japanese protests took place
in over 80 cities in China.
The areas included Xian, Changsha, Harbin,
Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Shanghai.
Some areas were out of control, where protesters broke
building windows and had strong conflicts with police.

According to online information, over 1000 protesters
gathered in front of the Japanese consulate in Guangzhou.
Protesters broke the window and rushed to the first floor.
Nearby Sushi stores and Japanese cars were also attacked.

On the same day, a few thousand people protested
in Shenzhen. Police used tear gas to disperse the protestors.
People were demanding the release
of the arrested protesters.
They attacked the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
Municipal Building, and had strong conflict with police.

1000 people protested in front of the Japanese Embassy
in Beijing too. Over 1000 armed police were dispatched.
A few hundred people heading to a Japanese supermarket
in Sichuan were stopped by police.
Several hundred people threw stones and bottles
at Japanese restaurants in Shanghai. Read More

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck the NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA at a depth of 92.7 km (57.6 miles), the quake hit at 20:07:55 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 18 km (11 miles) South of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Intel Source Challenges Obama's Account of Deadly Consulate Attack

An intelligence source on the ground in Libya told Fox News that there was no demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi prior to last week's attack -- challenging the Obama administration's claims that the assault grew out of a "spontaneous" protest against an anti-Islam film.

"There was no protest and the attacks were not spontaneous," the source said, adding the attack "was planned and had nothing to do with the movie."

The source said the assault came with no warning at about 9:35 p.m. local time, and included fire from more than two locations. The assault included RPG's and mortar fire, the source said, and consisted of two waves.

The account that the attack started suddenly backs up claims by a purported Libyan security guard who told McClatchy Newspapers late last week that the area was quiet before the attack.

"There wasn't a single ant outside," the unnamed guard, who was being treated in a hospital, said in the interview.

These details appear to conflict with accounts from the Obama administration that the attack spawned from an out-of-control protest. The Libyan president also said Sunday that the strike was planned in advance.

U.S. officials, in response to the claim that there was no demonstration at the time of the attack, told Fox News there was a small protest earlier in the day -- but they did not dispute that there was no significant or sizeable demonstration at the time. Read More

Nigel Farage takes on the Eurocrats about the meaning of democracy

Reactor shut down at Seabrook Station after water valve jams, New Hampshire

SEABROOK — The nuclear reactor at Seabrook Station has been powered down since Friday evening, when a water intake valve was jammed closed by a computer glitch, according to an announcement by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Water sank to a “low low level” inside one of Seabrook Station’s four steam generators on Friday, Sept. 14, after the valve problem occurred, according to an NRC inspector who was called to the scene. The low water level tripped an automatic shutdown of the reactor at approximately 8:25 p.m.

The NRC inspector’s report indicates a computer card controlling the feedwater regulator valve failed. All other systems performed as expected after the reactor process stopped, according to the NRC inspector’s report. Read More

Mayon, Taal volcanoes on alert level 1, Philippines

MANILA, Philippines—The Mayon and Taal volcanoes were on Alert Level 1 Monday as volcanic earthquakes were detected in the last 24 hours, although no eruption was imminent, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

“Mayon Volcano’s seismic network detected one volcanic earthquake during the past 24-hour observation period. Steaming activity and crater glow could not be observed due to thick clouds covering the volcano’s summit the whole day yesterday up to this morning,” it said.

Meanwhile, one volcanic earthquake in Taal volcano in Batangas was also recorded during the 24-hour observation period.

Phivolcs is closely monitoring Mayon Volcano’s activity in Albay, as well as Taal volcano. Source

Mount Gamalama: Volcano erupts in E. Indonesia, spewing ash, lava

TERNATE, Indonesia -- A volcano has erupted in eastern Indonesia, spewing clouds of thick, gray ash. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

State volcanologist Kristianto says Mount Gamalama in the Molucca Islands sprang to life last week. It unleashed two strong eruptions over the weekend, sending volcanic ash as high as 1 kilometer (0.62 miles).

Kristianto, who uses only one name, says slow-moving red lava was visible at the peak of the eruption Monday. Villages have been blanketed with thick ash but no evacuations have been ordered.

Gamalama last erupted late last year, and its mudflows killed four villagers two weeks later.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago with millions of people living on mountains or near fertile flood plains. Seasonal downpours here often cause landslides. Source

UN agency 'infiltrated by terrorists and saboteurs', says Iranian nuclear chief

Iran's nuclear chief has lashed out at the International Atomic Energy Agency in a strongly worded statement, insinuating that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the UN watchdog.

In a speech made at the annual member-state gathering at the IAEA in Vienna, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani suggested that UN inspectors working on Iranian facilities might be linked to a series of power cuts that he believed were the work of sabotage aimed at disrupting the country's nuclear programme.

According to Abbasi-Davani, the electricity power lines to two main Iranian nuclear sites, the Fordow underground enrichment plant near the city of Qom and another facility at Natanz, were cut as a result of explosions earlier this year.

"Terrorists and saboteurs might have intruded the agency and might be making decisions covertly," he said at the IAEA conference.

To back his accusations, Abbasi-Davani referred to the power cut at Fordow which he said took place last month, adding that IAEA inspectors requested a visit to the affected premises without notice the morning after the incident. Read More

US, Japan Agree on Missile Defense Radar System

The United States and Japan have agreed to place a new missile defense radar system on Japanese territory to defend against a ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Japanese counterpart Satoshi Morimoto announced the deal Monday after a meeting in Tokyo.

Panetta said the X-band radar is meant to protect Japan as well as the U.S. homeland. He stressed the system is not directed at China.

Morimoto said no location has been picked for the radar site.

The United States has existing early warning radar systems on ships deployed in the region. Those ships will now have more freedom to move around the area.

Panetta also said before flying to China Monday that the U.S. is concerned about the dispute over islands in the East China Sea.

“It's in everybody's interest — it is in everybody's interest — for Japan and China to maintain good relations and to find a way to avoid further escalation.” Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 67 km (41.5 miles), the quake hit at 19:09:34 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 34 km (21 miles) Northeast of Miyako, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NORWEGIAN SEA - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the NORWEGIAN SEA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:08:45 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 436 km (270 miles) ENE of Olonkinbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

One more protester killed in Pakistan

Another life was lost in Pakistan on Monday during protests against the anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, which has angered Muslims across the world and triggered large-scale violence in the Middle East and North Africa since last Wednesday.

While one protester was killed near the U.S. Consulate in Karachi on Sunday, the second person died in the usually volatile north-western parts of the country on Monday. This was in police firing on a protest in Upper Dir.

Meanwhile, protests continued in most of the cities of the country but remained peaceful except for some stone pelting reported from Karachi and burning of tyres. The clash between the police and protesters in Karachi on Sunday evening had turned particularly violent later in the night with the mob torching a police picket and setting afire vehicles of security personnel.

In both Lahore and Karachi, attempts were made again to break through the heavy fortification around the U.S. consulates. Since these fortifications are permanent owing to the security situation in the country and rampant anti-Americanism, breaching them is not easy as compared to makeshift barricading. Read More

West's rebel worries leave Syria strategy struggling

(Reuters) - France may be considering arming Syria's rebels but the U.S. and other Western powers have yet to find opposition figures they genuinely trust as they worry over growing jihadi and sectarian forces.

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya's Benghazi that killed its ambassador and anti-American demonstrations elsewhere this week over an obscure video that ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad might have no Syria links but will make nervous governments even more cautious.

Western officials say there is little doubt a growing number of foreign jihadi fighters are entering the fray, although it is far from clear whether any have direct links to Al Qaeda. But It is just one worry amongst many.

"This is not a situation where the U.S. can do much to shape what happens," says Mona Yacoubian, a former State Department official and now fellow and Syria expert at the Stimson Centre. "There has always been a lot of caution within the Obama Administration on Syria and if anything things are getting more complicated." Read More

Teargas fired to protect U.S. embassy, Jakarta

Sept. 17 - Indonesian police disperse hundreds of protesters demonstrating outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta against a film they say insults the Prophet Mohammad.

Louisiana State University Evacuated following Bomb Scare

(Reuters) - A bomb scare at Louisiana State University prompted officials to order an evacuation of the campus on Monday, the university said in a statement.

The university said campus police were investigating a bomb threat and that students and faculty had "been asked to evacuate as calmly and quickly as possible."

The threat comes after the University of Texas at Austin and North Dakota State University were both evacuated on Friday after similar scares. Source

Dozens arrested on Occupy Wall St anniversary

(Reuters) - New York police on Monday arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street activists who gathered in the city's financial district, where they sought to disrupt traffic and surround the New York Stock Exchange as part of a day of protests to mark the movement's first anniversary.

The protests attracted about a thousand activists, far fewer than last fall's numbers, highlighting the challenge the movement has faced in trying to sustain momentum after sparking a national conversation about economic inequality last fall.

The New York Police Department, which set up a broad perimeter to block access to the NYSE by anyone other than exchange workers, said it has made "multiple arrests" by midmorning. Police were also posted at major banks and government buildings, and guarded Wall Street' landmark Charging Bull, a 7,100 pound bronze sculpture.

Gideon Orion Oliver, a lawyer who represents a number of protesters and the president of the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, estimated in a Twitter posting that about 90 protesters had been arrested. Among those was retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, who also was arrested last December. Read More

Muslim protesters rage at United States in Asia, Middle East

(Reuters) - Protesters enraged by a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad battled with police in several Asian cities on Monday and vented their fury against the United States, blaming it for what they see as an attack on the Muslim religion.

Police fired in the air to break up a crowd marching on the U.S. consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi while in Afghanistan and Indonesia people burnt U.S. flags and chanted "Death to America".

Indonesian police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who massed outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, capital of the most populous Muslim nation.

In Kabul, protesters set fire to cars and shops and threw stones at police.

"We will defend our prophet until we have blood across our bodies. We will not let anyone insult him," said one protester in the Afghan capital. "Americans will pay for their dishonor." Read More

Merkel defends role in euro crisis against citizens' ire

AFP - German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her role in the eurozone crisis Monday against angry citizens of debt-mired nations, saying her tough austerity course was the only way to win back trust.


Merkel told a news conference on her domestic and foreign policy that she was aware of the ire directed at her over the euro turmoil, with protesters in ailing countries shouting her name and newspapers likening her to Hitler.

But she insisted that although Germany had an outsized role to play as Europe's biggest economy, crisis-fighting was a collaborative effort among leaders who had the single currency's best interest at heart.

"In my travels I have often been asked how do you deal with negative feelings because some people think that I am more responsible than others for decisions we've made together," she said. Read More

Syrian Jets Hit Lebanese Territory

BEIRUT, Lebanon—Missiles fired by Syrian warplanes hit Lebanese territory Monday in one of the most serious cross-border violations since Syria's crisis began 18 months ago, security officials in Beirut and Lebanese state media said.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said four missiles fired by two Syrian jets hit a rugged and remote area on the edge of the Lebanese border town of Arsal. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported that the warplanes fired three missiles that fell on the outskirts of Arsal about 500 meters (547 yards) from the border between the two countries.

"I heard several explosions and saw four clouds of dust billowing from the area," Arsal resident Nayeh Izzedine said by telephone referring to the border. "I don't know if it was an air raid but there was a plane in the sky." Read More

Iran atomic chief says 'explosives' cut power at facility

Explosive blasts destroyed power lines to Iran's underground nuclear facility at Fordo last month, the head of Iran's atomic agency said at a meeting of UN atomic agency member states Monday.

"On ... 17th August 2012, the electric power lines from the city of Qom to the Fordo complex ... were cut using explosives," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani told the 155-nation International Atomic Energy Agency gathering in a speech.

Davani did not accuse anyone of sabotage, but in the past Iran has claimed both Israel and the United States were behind the assassinations of nuclear scientists and computer viruses targetting its facilities.

The day after the power line blasts, "agency inspectors requested to conduct an unannounced inspection. Does this visit have any connection to that detonation?" Abbasi said through an interpreter.

"It should be reminded that the same act had been performed on the power lines to the Natanz facilities." Read more

''Gonzalo Lira on the eurozone crisis, hyperinflation and why countries should default''

''Armada of international 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 suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Cruisers, aircraft carriers and minesweepers 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 oil 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 Oman to the south. Read More

1,000 Chinese boats to arrive in waters near Senkakus: report

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats are expected to arrive in waters near the Senkaku Islands claimed by China later Monday, the state-run China National Radio reported, in what may be Beijing's additional countermeasures over Japan's nationalization of the islets.

If a large number of Chinese vessels intrude into Japanese territorial waters around the Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, it could trigger unexpected incidents such as clashes with Japan Coast Guard patrol ships, further escalating tensions between the two countries.

The radio station said in an online edition that Chinese fisheries authorities will monitor the fishing boats' activities near the uninhabited islets, which Beijing calls Diaoyu, via a marine observation satellite.

The 1,000 boats from coastal provinces such as Zhejiang and Fujian may be joined by six Chinese surveillance ships that have been staying in nearby waters since intruding into Japanese territorial waters near the islands Friday.

Meanwhile, anti-Japan protests continued in Beijing for the seventh straight day on Monday, but were much smaller than the mass demonstrations -- some violent -- that took place across China over the weekend.

As police tightened security around the Japanese Embassy, about 200 people on Monday marched on a street in front of the embassy, protesting the Japanese government's announcement on Tuesday last week that it put the islands under state control by signing a purchase contract with the owner of three of the islands, a Japanese individual.

Some of the protests on Saturday and Sunday involved vandalism, looting and arson targeting Japanese factories, stores and restaurants operating in the country. Read More

Libya sacks Benghazi security chiefs after US attack

BENGHAZI, Libya — Libya's interior minister has sacked Benghazi security chiefs after last week's deadly attack on the US consulate in the eastern city, according to official statements seen Monday by AFP.

Deputy interior minister for the eastern region, Wanis al-Sharef, and the head of national security for Benghazi, Hussein Bou Hmida, were both replaced, said two separate statements dated September 12, a day after the attack.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed as the Benghazi consulate came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades during a protest against an anti-Islam film made in America.

General Bou Hmida would be replaced by Colonel Salaheddin Doghman who would also temporarily fill in for Sharef until his successor is found, according to the texts signed by Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali. Read More

Typhoon Sanba Grounds Flights, Disrupts Power in South Korea

Typhoon Sanba lashed South Korea with heavy rain and wind, grounding aircraft, disrupting electricity to some homes and pushing insurance stocks lower.

As many as 332 flights, 73 of them international, and more than 170 ferry services were suspended, the transport ministry said in e-mailed statement.

One person died and another was injured in separate landslides in North Gyeongsang Province, the National Disaster Information Center in Seoul said in a statement on its website. Electricity was restored to about 93 percent of about 450,000 households, mostly on Jeju Island and southern areas of the peninsula, which experienced temporary power failures, according to the statement. Read More

Iran accuses IAEA of attempting to sabotage its nuclear program

Iran's nuclear chief said on Monday that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the International Atomic Energy Agency in an effort to derail his country's nuclear program.

"Terrorists and saboteurs might have intruded the agency and might be making decisions covertly," said Iranian nuclear energy chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, speaking at the annual member state gathering of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday.

Abbasi-Davani also said explosives had been used to cut power lines from the city of Qom to the Fordow underground uranium enrichment plant on August 17. A day later, he said, IAEA inspectors had asked for an unannounced visit to Fordow.

"Does this visit have any connection to that detonation? Who other than the IAEA inspectors can have access to the complex in such a short time?" Abbasi-Davani told the gathering in Vienna. Read More

South Africa Mine halts construction as police block speech

MARIKANA, South Africa (AP) — As South Africa's bloody and bitter mining strike dragged on its fifth week, London-registered Lonmin PLC announced Monday it is halting construction of a new shaft, putting 1,200 people out of work.

The strikes that have stopped work at seven gold and platinum mines have spread to the chrome sector, according to the official South African Press Association.

Meanwhile, police blocked rabblerousing politician Julius Malema from addressing some 3,000 strikers gathered at a stadium at the Lonmin mine at Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg.

"Arrest him!" one officer ordered, giving Malema 20 minutes to leave or face arrest. This caused Malema to take off with his entourage.

"I'm leaving. We're getting out of here. Why are you chasing me? Are you going to shoot me?" Malema taunted.

Police on Aug. 16 shot 112 striking Lonmin miners, killing 34, in the worst state violence seen in South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994. Read More

40 Afghan policemen hurt in anti-Islam film demonstrations

KABUL, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Angry Afghans held demonstrations in Afghan capital Kabul on Monday to condemn the anti-Islam film recently produced by an American entity. The demonstrations ended up in violent conflicts with the local police, leaving 40 policemen injured.

"Up to 40 policemen were injured as protesters clashed with the police on Pul-i-Charkhi road Monday morning," Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayub Salangi told reporters.

More than 2,000 people came to the streets around Pul-i-Charkhi road to register their protest over the anti-Islam film, Salangi said, adding the anti-riot police cordoned off the area to ensure security, but the mob by throwing stones and sticks wounded 40 police.

However, he did not say if there were any casualties on the protesters.

The mob also attacked the Camp Phoenix, an NATO military installation in the area and pelted stones on guard towers during which several shops nearby were damaged.

Since Friday, Afghans in some cities by holding peaceful demonstrations have registered their protest over the anti-Islam film demanding punishment for the film producers. Read More

NATO admits Afghan civilians killed

(CNN) -- NATO admitted that it had killed Afghan civilians in an airstrike early Sunday morning, hours after saying there was no evidence of civilian deaths.

"A number of Afghan civilians were unintentionally killed or injured during this mission," the coalition said in a statement accepting "full responsibility for this tragedy."

NATO's International Security Assistance Force "offers its sincerest regret to the families," the statement said.

The coalition first cast doubt on an Afghan official's assertion that eight women were killed and seven more wounded in a coalition airstrike Sunday morning in Laghman province.

As the day went on, ISAF changed its line, saying it was aware of the incident and the allegations.
It finally admitted that the Afghan report was correct. Read More

Obama hits China with trade complaint

HONG KONG (CNNMoney) -- The Obama administration filed a complaint Monday with the World Trade Organization, alleging that China has illegally subsidized automotive exports and undercut American suppliers.

The complaint accuses China of providing $1 billion in illegal subsidies to auto and auto parts exporters between 2009 and 2011, according to a senior administration official.

The Obama administration says that the benefits provided to Chinese companies violate a WTO prohibition on "export-contingent subsidies."

In response, China filed its own case against the United States on Monday, according to the WTO. Details of the complaint were not immediately available.

The WTO is the global organization that referees trade disputes between nations. Read More

Panetta Warns of War Between China and Japan Over Disputed Islands

Exchanging warnings but avoiding confrontations thus far, Chinese and Japanese ships have come within less than half a nautical mile of each other in an ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of contested islands.

Amid deepening tensions in a long-running saga over the uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Sunday about the possibility of war between the two Asian countries.

“What we don't want is to have any kind of provocative behavior on the part of China or anybody else result in conflict,” he told reporters accompanying him on a trip that includes stops in Japan, China and New Zealand.

“My purpose will be to urge that they engage in the effort by the Asian nations to try to work out a format for resolving these issues,” he added, referring to a code of conduct developed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in a bid to manage unconnected territorial disputes between China and ASEAN members in the South China Sea.

Asked again about the concerns, Panetta said he was worried that “when these countries engage in provocations of one kind or another over these various islands, that it raises the possibility that a misjudgment on one side or the other could result in violence and could result in conflict, and that conflict would then, you know, have the potential of expanding.” more

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA at a depth of 60 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:19:30 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 247 km (153.1 miles) South of Muncar, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Hezbollah wants protests over film

Investors come down after Fed euphoria

Sep 17 - U.S. stock futures are set to open lower after closing last week at nearly 5 year highs after the Fed announced QE3.

Indonesians rally against anti-Islam film

Sept. 17 - Indonesians protest at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta against the amateur film produced in America that is offending Muslims around the world. Lindsey Parietti reports.

Occupy Wall Street marks anniversary with NYSE protest

(Reuters) - A few hundred Occupy Wall Street activists gathered in New York's financial district on Monday but police kept them well back from the New York Stock Exchange, which they had threatened to surround as part of a day of protests marking the movement's one-year anniversary.

The New York Police Department arrested fewer than a dozen activists, led by retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, who refused to move from a checkpoint along the broad perimeter police had set up to block access to the NYSE by anyone other than exchange workers who showed identification.

Occupy activists had pledged to disrupt the morning commute in lower Manhattan as part of a day of actions in New York and other cities aimed at rejuvenating a movement that has failed to sustain momentum after sparking a national conversation about economic inequality last fall.

The group, which popularized the phrase "We are the 99 percent," gathered early Monday near Zuccotti Park, where a spontaneous encampment became their unofficial headquarters last year, but were again barred access by police.

Several protesters held signs, one saying "END the FED," another reading: "We Are Students, Not Customers." Read More

U.S., allies in Gulf naval exercise as Israel, Iran face off

(Reuters) - The United States and its allies have launched a major naval exercise in the Gulf that they say shows a global will to keep oil shipping lanes open as Israel and Iran trade threats of war.

Publicly announced in July, the operation, known as IMCMEX-12, focuses on clearing mines that Tehran, or guerrilla groups, might deploy to disrupt tanker traffic, notably in the Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.

The start of the event, with a symposium for officers from more than 30 navies, came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. television viewers on Sunday that Tehran was close to being able to build a nuclear bomb; his words fuelled talk of an Israeli strike, and of Netanyahu pressuring President Barack Obama to back Israel as Obama battles for re-election.

Military officials, diplomats and analysts - as well as Iran itself - all sought to play down the significance of the timing and to stress the defensive and hypothetical aspects of the exercise, which moves on to the water from Thursday with ships from a much smaller number of nations taking part in maneuvers. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF JAVA, INDONESIA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:27:26 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 277 km (171.4 miles) South of Muncar, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Shaun Cummins Murder: Former boxing champion was 'dismembered and his remains stuffed into freezers after being killed'

A former British boxing champion was killed before being dismembered and his body parts stuffed into freezers at his home, a court has heard.

The body of Shaun Cummins, a former WBA Light-Middleweight Champion nicknamed 'The Guvnor', was discovered at his bungalow after neighbours complained of a stench coming from the property.

Mr Cummins, who was left paralysed after an accident in 2004, was last seen alive on September 1.

After neighbours raised the alarm last Wednesday police searched his home in Leicester and found human body parts hidden in freezers.

Thomas Dunkley, 28, appeared at Leicester Magistrates' Court on Saturday charged with murder. Read More

U.S. defense secretary notes 'enhanced' capabilities amid Mideast unrest

(CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday that American forces can "deal with any potential contingencies" in the Middle East, especially after the military's capabilities were recently "enhanced" after attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions.

Speaking to reporters en route to Tokyo, Panetta said recent unrest underscores the importance of having vibrant, flexible U.S. military capabilities in the region. That unrest includes an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, as well as violent protests near U.S. embassies in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere.

"The events of this week remind all of us of the need to maintain a strong presence in the Middle East," Panetta said. Read More

Syrian civil war closes in on Damascus

Panasonic closes China plants after protests

Tokyo (CNN) -- The widening fallout from an increasingly volatile territorial dispute between China and Japan prompted a Japanese company to halt work at plants in China on Monday, and the United States to urge the two sides to avoid letting the situation spiral out of control.

The electronics company Panasonic said Monday that it was suspending operations at three plants in China after two of them were damaged amid violent anti-Japanese protests set off by the clash between Beijing and Tokyo over a group of small islands in the East China Sea.

Japan calls the islands Senkaku; China calls them Diaoyu.

The United States, a key military ally of Japan, has called on the two sides to find a peaceful resolution to the disagreement, which is generating more and more unease in the region and starting to hurt economic links between the world's second and third largest economies. Read More

Suicide car bomber kills seven near Baghdad's Green Zone

(Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed seven Iraqis and wounded 11 others, including a member of parliament, close to an entrance to Baghdad's fortified Green Zone on Monday, where several Western embassies are located, police sources said.

The central area, known officially as the International Zone, houses diplomatic missions including the U.S. embassy and the blast was close to the July 14th suspension bridge which leads into the zone.

"I was on my way to enter the Green Zone when the blast happened. I was wounded in my shoulder and I'm in hospital now," Habib al-Turfi, a Shi'ite member of parliament, told Reuters.

Two of the seven killed were soldiers, the sources said.

"Cars were lining up waiting to be searched at the checkpoint that leads to the Green Zone and suddenly a speeding car exploded nearby," said one police source whose patrol was stationed near the scene of the attack. Read More

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHWESTERN IRAN - 17th September 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck NORTHWESTERN IRAN at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 07:05:52 UTC Monday 17th September 2012
The epicenter was 33 km (20 miles) South of Mincivan, Azerbaijan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Royal Dutch Shell to delay Alaska drilling plans

(Reuters) - Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) said it had decided to delay its hunt for oil in Alaska until next year after a piece of equipment used in a test was damaged, highlighting the difficulties of drilling in the icy Arctic sea.

Shell, which has spent about $4.5 billion on its effort to drill Arctic oil, said it will not attempt to drill into any oil or gas-containing rocks this year as a dome which could be used to contain oil in the event of a spill will take time to repair.

"In order to lay a strong foundation for operations in 2013, we will forgo drilling into hydrocarbon zones this year," the company said in a statement on Monday.

Shell is not the only company to encounter difficulties in the tough Arctic conditions.

BP, Shell's rival, indefinitely suspended a $1.5 billion offshore oil project in Alaska due to cost overruns and technical setbacks in July, while the Shtokman gas project in the Barents Sea in Russia is also proving too costly. Read More

Shark 'Rescues' Man Lost At Sea For 15 Weeks

A lost fisherman who drifted at sea for 15 weeks, sleeping next to his dead brother-in-law, was eventually helped to safety - by a shark.

Toakai Teitoi was stuck on a 15ft wooden boat for more than 100 days after he ran out of fuel and the vessel drifted deep into the Pacific.

The 41-year-old Kiribati policeman relived his harrowing voyage after a fishing boat eventually picked him up and took him to Majuro in the Marshall Islands.

The father-of-six told of sleeping with the body of his brother-in-law who died during the ordeal, suffering severe dehydration.

And he said it was only after the intervention of a circling shark that he was eventually rescued. Read More

American embassy staff withdraw from Tunisia and Sudan

There were further clashes across the Middle East, Africa and Asia over the anti-Islam film said to have triggered those protests on Sunday. One man was killed in Hyderabad, Pakistan, while five people were injured in clashes with police in Karachi as around 1,000 protesters tried to reach the US consulate. Protesters also burned a glag outside the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Canada closed its embassies in Cairo, Tripoli and Khartoum for the day as a safety precaution, while Germany followed the US lead and withdrew some staff from its Sudanese embassy.

As Western embassies remained on high alert it emerged Libya and America were in disarray over who was responsible for the death of Chris Stevens, the US ambassador in Benghazi last week and even how to investigate it.

Mohammed Magarief, Libya's acting president, seemed to confirm reports in Tripoli that his government was holding up the arrival of an FBI team sent by the White House, saying it was "better for them to stay away". Read More

Iran to outline refusal to stop uranium enrichment at IAEA meet

Iran's nuclear chief is expected to outline Iran's refusal to give up uranium enrichment at a 155-nation meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday.

At the meeting, which will focus on Tehran's contentious atomic program, as well as Mideast tensions over Israel's alleged nuclear capabilities, Fereydoun Abbasi is expected to explain that Iran needs to enrich unranium to make reactor fuel. The UN Security Council has ordered Tehran to stop the activity, however, because of fears it might use it to produce nuclear warheads.

Iran denies any interest in nuclear weapons. But it has refused to stop enrichment, despite offers of reactor fuel from abroad. It dismisses IAEA suspicions that it worked secretly on nuclear arms.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran would be on the brink of nuclear weapons capability in six to seven months, adding new urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a clear "red line" for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades. Read More



Japanese firms shut China plants, U.S. urges calm

(Reuters) - Major Japanese firms have shut factories in China and urged expatriate workers on Monday to stay indoors ahead of what could be more angry protests over a territorial dispute that threatens to hurt trade ties between Asia's two biggest economies.

China's worst outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in decades led to weekend demonstrations and violent attacks on well-known Japanese businesses such as car-makers Toyota and Honda, forcing frightened Japanese into hiding and prompting Chinese state media to warn that trade relations could now be in jeopardy.

"I'm not going out today and I've asked my Chinese boyfriend to be with me all day tomorrow," said Sayo Morimoto, a 29-year-old Japanese graduate student at a university in Shenzhen.

Japanese housewife and mother Kayo Kubo, who lives in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, said her young family and other Japanese expats were also staying home after being terrified by the scale and mood of the weekend protests in dozens of cities.

"There were so many people and I've never seen anything like it. It was very scary," she said. Read More

Violent Protests In Kabul Over Prophet Film

More than 1,000 Afghans have poured onto the streets of Kabul, protesting violently against the film mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

The angry crowd set fire to police cars and storage containers.

Some of the violence centred on Jalalabad road, where NATO and US military bases are located, Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said.

Gunmen from the crowd opened fire at police, but no one was hurt, police said. "We have not shot back and we won't," said Mr Salangi.

Police say the crowds were shouting "Death to America!" and "Death to those people who have made a film and insulted our Prophet!".

Men grabbed rocks from the roadside and lobbed them at Camp Phoenix, a US military base that lies along the Jalalabad road.

In Indonesia, protesters angered over the film demonstrated in the cities of Medan and Bandung, but there was no violence reported. Read More

Sarah Catt Jailed for 8 Years for Aborting her Baby less than a week before his due date

A woman who aborted her own baby less than a week before his due date has been jailed for eight years.

Sarah Catt bought drugs on the internet which induced her labour when her pregnancy was nearly full-term.

She claimed the boy was stillborn and that she buried his body but no evidence of the child was ever found, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Catt, 35, already had two children with her husband when she became pregnant in 2009 - but believed the baby's father was a man with whom she had been having an affair for seven years.

She tried to terminate the pregnancy in 2010 but discovered she had missed the legal limit of 24 weeks.

She made several searches on the internet relating to illegal abortions and abortion drugs, including "Where can I get an illegal abortion?" and "Inducing an abortion at 30 weeks".

Catt, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, bought a drug used to terminate pregnancy or induce labour over the internet from a company in Mumbai, India, in May 2010. Read More