Sunday, September 23, 2012

Syrian Opposition Calls For End To Violence

Syria's internal opposition has called on both the government and armed rebels to stop violence immediately at a rare meeting in Damascus.

The September 23 meeting was organized by the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, or NCB, an umbrella for 16 opposition groups with roots in the country.

"The conference calls the regime's forces to stop the violence immediately and the armed opposition to commit to the same under an appropriate Arabic and international supervision. Three: the conference requests the UN-Arab Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi to call for an international conference about Syria where all concerned parties can play a part. The mission of this conference is to find the best political ways to start a transitional phase that guarantees the move towards a democratic regime," said Khalil al-Sayed, member of the National Development Party.

Iranian, Chinese and Russian diplomats also attended the conference. Read More

Syria aircraft pound rebels as they claim control

ATMA, Syria — Regime aircraft hammered insurgent bastions nationwide on Sunday as rebels said they now control most of the country and have moved their command centre from Turkey to "liberated areas" inside Syria.

With deadly violence raging across Syria, UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi prepared to brief the UN Security Council on Monday about talks he had with both President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition.

Brahimi discussed Syria with UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday and both agreed that the 18-month crisis was "a steadily increasing threat to regional peace and stability," a statement said.

On the ground, at least 40 people were killed on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, as Syrian aircraft carried out strikes on rebel bastions, especially in central Homs province, Deir Ezzor in the east and areas of Damascus.

Apartment blocks in Albu Kamal, a town in oil-rich Deir Ezzor province, were targeted as rebels and soldiers battled on the ground in several districts of the town on the Iraqi border.

"The insurgents are trying to wrest control of this strategic town" said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. Losing Albu Kamal would be "a deadly blow for the regime," he added. Read More

Iran says World War III may erupt if attacked by Israel

TEHRAN, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Iran says on Sunday that the World War III may erupt if the Islamic republic is attacked by Israel.

Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace Division of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) , warned on Sunday that an Israeli strike on Iran could trigger the World War III, Press TV reported.

Israel, threatening to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities these days, has always been highly concerned over Iran's nuclear program, which is believed by the West to head for acquiring nuclear weapons under the cover of civilian purposes.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, and warned that it will retaliate if it comes under attack.

Hajizadeh said in case of the eruption of such a war against Iran, the situation would be out of control, according to Press TV.

"This war is likely to degenerate into the World War III," Hajizadeh said, adding that it means some countries might enter the war in favor of or against Iran. Read More

China surveillance ships enter waters near disputed islands

(Reuters) - Two Chinese marine surveillance ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, prompting an official protest from Tokyo amid rising tension between Asia's two biggest economies.

China's Xinhua news agency confirmed that two civilian surveillance ships were undertaking a "rights defence" patrol near the islands, citing the State Oceanic Administration, which controls the ships.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said it had lodged an official protest with the Chinese envoy to Japan against the move.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply after Japan bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, sparking anti-Japan protests in cities across China.

"In recent days, Japan has constantly provoked incidents concerning the Diaoyu islands issue, gravely violating China's territorial sovereignty," China's Xinhua news agency said.

The ship patrols were intended to exercise China's "administrative jurisdiction" over the islands, it said. Read More

Heywood Case: Wang Lijun Jailed for 15 years

The police chief who triggered a murder investigation into the death of the British businessman Neil Heywood has been jailed by a Chinese court.

Wang Lijun was sentenced to 15 years in jail for what the Chinese authorities called "bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking" according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Wang was the police chief of Chongqing city in south west China when Mr Heywood was found dead in a hotel room last November.

Initially the authorities said Mr Heywood had died of natural causes, and that would probably have been the end of the matter had it not been for Wang.

In February of this year he went to the US Consulate in Chengdu claiming he had new information in the case - accusing the wife of one of China's most famous politicians of murdering Mr Heywood. Read More

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 35.6 km (22.1 miles), the quake hit at 02:46:12 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 58 km (36 miles) East of San Isidro, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake ASCENSION ISLAND REGION - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the ASCENSION ISLAND REGION at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 02:01:36 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 402 km (249 miles) Northeast of Georgetown, Saint Helena
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake FIJI REGION - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the FIJI REGION at a depth of 431.3 km (268 miles), the quake hit at 01:18:50 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 71 km (44 miles) ENE of Ndoi Island, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES at a depth of 35.1 km (21.8 miles), the quake hit at 00:27:58 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 90 km (55 miles) SSE of Pondaguitan, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE MARIANA ISLANDS - 23rd September 2012

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF THE MARIANA ISLANDS at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles), the quake hit at 23:42:27 UTC Sunday 23rd September 2012
The epicenter was 226 km (140 miles) Southwest of Merizo Village, Guam
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE - 23rd September 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:37:28 UTC Sunday 23rd September 2012
The epicenter was 1016 km (631 miles) Northwest of Georgetown, Saint Helena
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake COSTA RICA - 23rd September 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck COSTA RICA at a depth of 31.9 km (19.8 miles), the quake hit at 21:35:05 UTC Sunday 23rd September 2012
The epicenter was 33 km (20 miles) West of Santa Cruz, Costa Rica
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Where did all the stars go?

When was the last time that you viewed a star-studded night sky?

In Seoul and other major cities, chances are that you have not seen one for many years. And perhaps you never will.

A starry night is becoming like an endangered species here and elsewhere in the developed world, with neon signs, street lights, giant ad screens and decorations on office towers lighting up the night sky.

“Light pollution is, perhaps, the fastest-growing pollution these days. What makes it more serious is that not many realize that,” said Lim Jong-min, chief researcher at the Korea Institute for Lighting Technology.

In Korea, bright lights have long been considered a sign of a thriving city. Seoul has become one of the brightest cities in the world. more

Dangerous and deepening divide between Islamic world, West

For those who believe in a clash of civilizations between the Islamic world and Western democracy, the last few weeks must seem like final confirmation of their theory.

Even those who reject the term as loaded and simplistic speak sadly of a perhaps catastrophic failure of understanding between Americans in particular and many Muslims.

The outrage and violence over a crude film ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad points to a chasm between Western free speech and individualism and the sensitivities of some Muslims over what they see as a campaign of humiliation.

There seems no shortage of forces on both sides to fan the flames. The tumult over the video had not even subsided when a French magazine this week printed a new cartoon showing the prophet naked.

"It's ridiculous," Zainab Al-Suwaij, executive director of the America Islamic Congress, said of the violence that on Friday killed 15 in Pakistan alone as what were supposed to be peaceful protests turned violent.

"Yes, this video is offensive but it is clearly a grotesque over reaction that in part is being whipped up by radical Islamists in the region for their own ends. But it does show you the depth of misunderstanding between the cultures." more

Syria fires into Jordan, sparking clashes between two nations' armies, Syrian brigade now moving south to Jordanian border

The armed forces of Syria and Jordan clashed Saturday after Syria fired into Jordanian territory, where thousands of refugees have fled from an 18-month-long civil war between the Bashar Assad regime and opposition fighters.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, the Syrian army has moved its Unit 61 brigade — whose main function is to block any possible attack from Israel — from the Golan Heights to the Jordanian border. more

D-FOX: Please contact us if you can read this

To D-fox: if you're reading this, please contact us at thecomingcrisis@gmail.com. It's important -- we believe.


European climbers and Nepali guides are among at least nine dead after an avalanche swept through their camp on Mount Manaslu, Nepal

Iran commander says could launch pre-emptive strike on Israel

(Reuters) - Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state were preparing to attack it, a senior commander of its elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, made the comments to Iran's state-run Arabic language Al-Alam television, according to a report on the network's website.

"Iran will not start any war but it could launch a pre-emptive attack if it was sure that the enemies are putting the final touches to attack it," Al-Alam said, paraphrasing the military commander.

Hajizadeh said any attack on Iranian soil could trigger "World War Three".

"We cannot imagine the Zionist regime starting a war without America's support. Therefore, in case of a war, we will get into a war with both of them and we will certainly get into a conflict with American bases," he said

"In that case, unpredictable and unmanageable things would happen and it could turn into a World War Three." Read More

Rand Paul stands alone (90-1) against Senate’s ‘preemptive war’ resolution for Iran

The US Senate voted 90-1 early Saturday on a non-binding resolution to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Voting against the resolution was Sen. Rand Paul, arguing that the bill was a de-facto declaration of war.

The measure, which was introduced several months ago by Senators Lindsey Graham, Bob Casey and Joe Lieberman, supports continuing to pressure Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program. The resolution advocates using methods other than containment to stop Iran, including exerting economic and diplomatic pressure. Senate Joint Resolution 41 “rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.” Senators expressed their fears regarding Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

“We know that Iran would create access for terrorists – access for them – to these nuclear weapons, making the Middle East a nuclear tinbox,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said before the Senate. “We cannot trust this regime. We know that fact beyond any potential doubt.”

The bill states that it should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement for military force or war. But as the only senator to vote against the resolution, Paul argued that the resolution would eventually lead to war with Iran.

“A vote for this resolution is a vote for the concept of preemptive war,” Paul said before the Senate. more

Iran boosts cyber security with secure domestic network: report

(Reuters) - Iran has connected all its government agencies to a secure domestic Internet service and plans to link ordinary Iranians up to the same network, an official was quoted as saying on Sunday, in a move to beef up cyber security.

The Islamic state tightened its cyber security after its disputed nuclear program was attacked in 2010 by the Stuxnet computer worm, which caused centrifuges to fail at the main Iranian uranium enrichment facility.

Tehran, whose nuclear program is suspected by the West of being aimed at developing a bomb, accused the United States and Israel of deploying the worm.

"In recent days, all governmental agencies and offices ... have been connected to the national information network," deputy communications and technology minister Ali Hakim-Javadi was quoted as saying on Sunday by the Mehr news agency.

The second phase of the plan would be to connect ordinary Iranians to the national network. Read More

The hidden unemployed, too frustrated to count

(Reuters) - When Daniel McCune graduated from college three years ago, he was optimistic his good grades would earn him a job as an intelligence analyst with the government.

With a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University in Virginia, majoring in government service and history, McCune applied for jobs at the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies.

But after a long hunt that yielded only two interviews, the 26-year-old threw in the towel last fall, joining millions of frustrated Americans who have given up looking for work.

"There's nothing out there and there probably won't be anything for a while," said McCune, from New Concord, Ohio. He has moved back home to live with his parents, who are helping him pay off his college debt of about $20,000.

"I don't like it, it's embarrassing. I don't want to be a burden to my parents," said McCune, adding that he felt like a high school dropout.

Economists, analyzing government data, estimate about 4 million fewer people are in the labor force than in December 2007, primarily due to a lack of jobs rather than the normal aging of America's population. The size of the shift underscores the severity of the jobs crisis.

If all those so-called discouraged jobseekers had remained in the labor force, August's jobless rate of 8.1 percent would have been 10.5 percent. Read More

Euro zone to boost bailout fund firepower to 2 trillion euros: report ....Still won't change anything, they are still ignoring the fact that the system is flawed

(Reuters) - Euro zone states are preparing to allow the bloc's permanent bailout fund to leverage its capital in the same way as its predecessor so it can reach a capacity of more than 2 trillion euros and rescue big countries if necessary, Der Spiegel said on Sunday.

The weekly news magazine said that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) would have two instruments like its predecessor, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), that would only allow public money to be used for particularly risky transactions such as buying Spanish bonds, while private investors would provide the rest.

It had always been expected that the ESM, which is expected to come into force on October 8 with a capacity of 500 billion euros, would have the same leverage ability as the EFSF and euro zone finance ministers reiterated this at their meeting in Cyprus earlier this month.

If the ESM gets approval to use the same leverage techniques as the EFSF, it would have a lending power of around 2 trillion euros without countries having to contribute any more capital to the fund.

But these leverage options have not been approved by all euro zone member states and Finland is especially reluctant to agree to them. Read More

Megan Stammers 'Ran Away With Teacher'

A missing 15-year-old is believed to have run away to France with one of her teachers, police have said.

More follows...

Shh! Ten Reasons Why Iranians are the Kindest People in the World (Don't tell Israel!)

Iran has always fascinated me. A rich history inherited from one of the world’s oldest civilizations, cities filled with beautiful Islamic architecture, delicious cuisine—and the people!

Okay, while my acquaintanceship with Iranians has been limited to a few Persian friends back home in America, they’ve always been some of my favorite people, which is why it’s a shame our respective countries just can’t seem to get along.

Japan, on the other hand, has maintained a favorable relationship with Iran over the years and travel to the country is perceived to be easier for the Japanese than it is for Westerns. Our own globetrotting Japanese corespondent Photographer Koach recently wrote to us about his recent travels in the country, in which he affirms my positive impression of the people with a list of ten reasons why Iranians are the kindest people in the world.

Check his report below!

Upon arriving in Iran, every Japanese backpacker I spoke with told me that the people here are incredibly welcoming and that the country is very easy to travel. One person looked at me with a dead-serious expression and said: “Iranians are halfway made of kindness.”

During my stay in the country, I soon came to realize what everyone was talking about. Below is a list of ten things I encountered that I believe attest to the kindness of Iranians. more

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake TURKMENISTAN - 23rd September 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck TURKMENISTAN at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 13:53:58 UTC Sunday 23rd September 2012
The epicenter was 67 km (41.5 miles) East of Türkmenbasi, Turkmenistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 23rd September 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the BANDA SEA at a depth of 129.4 km (80.4 miles), the quake hit at 12:33:54 UTC Sunday 23rd September 2012
The epicenter was 213 km (132 miles) NNW of Saumlaki, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake TARAPACA, CHILE - 23rd September 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck TARAPACA, CHILE at a depth of 92.6 km (57.5 miles), the quake hit at 12:28:30 UTC Sunday 23rd September 2012
The epicenter was 96 km (59 miles) East of Iquique, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Korea: West Sea tension grows after warning shots at North Korea boats

Tension is escalating around the skirmish-prone western maritime border as Pyongyang vowed retaliation against South Korea’s firing of warning shots Friday at North Korean fishing vessels that violated the territorial waters.

The communist regime Saturday accused the South of a “shooting rampage” against boats owned by another country.

“What remains to be done now is a powerful strike of our front units which know no bounds,” Pyongyang’s official news agency said.

On Friday around noon, South Korean patrol vessels spotted six North Korean crab boats south of the so-called Northern Limit Line. The navy fired two warning shots at about 3 p.m. as they resisted dropping back despite broadcast warning messages.

None of the ships were hit and they retreated to their waters by 4 p.m., the Defense Ministry said.

Later Saturday, another North Korean fishing vessel was reported to have violated the boundary.

On top of about 100 North Korean vessels, some 300 Chinese boats were reportedly operating in the waters on Friday for the peak crab season.

But an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff dismissed Pyongyang’s accusation, saying “the fishing boats intruding on the NLL were certainly North Korean. The differences in appearance between Chinese and North Korean vessels are even clearly seen with the naked eye.”

The incident marked the South’s first resort to warning shots in two years to force North Korean fishing boats back.

It is the latest in a series of border intrusions in recent weeks. Seven vessels crossed the line twice and backed away after warning signs from South Korean high-speed boats on Sept. 12. Separate groups of two to three boats repeatedly came in sight again on Sept. 14, 15 and 20, the JCS reported. more

"Hamas signs binding military commitment to Iran-led war on Israel": 20,000 troops ready to cross over in the south

Hamas leader Mahmoud A-Zahar and deputy commander of its military arm, Marwan Issa, spent the second week of September in Beirut and Tehran finalizing and signing protocols covering a binding commitment by the radical Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip to join Iran, Syria and Hizballah in a war on Israel, debkafile’s exclusive military sources disclose.

The protocols set out in detail the circumstances, procedures and terms governing Hamas’s participation in a conflict, whether it arises from an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program or the involvement of Iran’s allies, Syria and Hizballah, in comprehensive or partial hostilities against Israel. Hamas agreed to obey any orders to attack the Jewish state coming from Tehran, Damascus or Beirut.

Tehran also required A-Zahar and Issa to attach their signatures to copies of the military understandings Iranian National Security Director Saeed Jalili concluded with Bashar Assad during his visit to Damascus on Aug. 7. Those understandings, debkafile reports, touched off the massive Iranian airlift currently carrying hundreds of military personnel and weapons day by day to the embattled Syrian regime.

Hamas’s signature provided a booster shot of 22,000 trained fighters including reservists for the battle array of elite Iranian al Qods Brigades units building up in Syria and Lebanon and taking up positions along Israel’s borders.

This buildup prompted the large-scale snap military exercise Israel staged on the Golan Wednesday, Sept. 19. Most of the forces stayed on after the exercise was over and spread out along the Syrian and Lebanese borders. more

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHEAST OF THE LOYALTY ISLANDS - 23rd September 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck SOUTHEAST OF THE LOYALTY ISLANDS at a depth of 112.3 km (69.8 miles), the quake hit at 10:57:44 UTC Sunday 23rd September 2012
The epicenter was 142 km (88 miles) WNW of Ile Hunter, New Caledonia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Iran lawmaker accuses IAEA of passing nuclear secrets to Israel

(Reuters) - A senior Iranian lawmaker accused the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog on Sunday of passing confidential information about Iran's nuclear activities to Israel.

In the latest sign of strained relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Javad Jahangirzadeh, a member of parliament's presiding board, said IAEA chief Yukiya Amano would be to blame if Iran reduced its ties with the body.

"Amano's repeated trips to Tel Aviv and asking the Israeli officials' views about Iran's nuclear activities indicates that Iran's nuclear information has been disclosed to the Zionist regime (Israel) and other enemies of the Islamic Republic," Jahangirzadeh was quoted as saying by Iran's English-language Press TV.

"If the agency's actions lead to Iran cutting cooperation with this international body, all responsibility will be with the IAEA director general," said Jahangirzadeh, a member of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee.

The IAEA was not immediately available to comment on his allegation. Read More

Nepal avalanche: 9 Killed

(Reuters) - An avalanche swept away climbers and their camps on the world's eighth highest mountain in northwestern Nepal on Sunday, killing at least nine climbers, with another four missing, police said.

Five climbers were rescued.

Police inspector Basant Mishra said the bodies of a German climber and a Nepali guide were recovered from the snow on the 8,163-metre (26,781-foot) Mount Manaslu, about 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Kathmandu.

"Rescue pilots have spotted seven other bodies on the mountain," Mishra said. At least five injured people had been rescued by helicopters and flown to Kathmandu, he said.

The accident took place at 7,000 meters (22,950 feet), making it difficult for land rescue teams to reach.

Helicopters were dispatched to the remote area to look for those missing after the early morning accident, but cloud and fog were complicating rescue efforts, Mishra said.

Details of the avalanche and the nationality of the missing climbers were not clear. Read More

EU U-turn spells doom for biofuels boom

(Reuters) - European Union plans to cap the use of food-based biofuels are a major setback for an industry once seen playing a central role in the fight against climate change, but now more often cast as the villain following a series of global food price spikes.

Industry sources and analysts predict the plan could trigger a wave of plant closures across Europe while questioning whether so-called advanced biofuels, often made from waste products, can play the greater role now envisioned by the European Commission.

The European Commission announced a major shift in biofuel policy on Monday, saying it plans to limit crop-based biofuels to 5 percent of transport fuel, after campaigners said existing rules take food out of people's mouths.

Biofuels made from food crops such as grains, sugar and vegetable oils, often called first generation biofuels, had been expected to provide the bulk of a target that 10 percent of all transport fuel should come from renewable sources by 2020. Read More

Siemens denies Iranian nuclear sabotage claims

(Reuters) - Germany's Siemens on Sunday denied allegations by an Iranian lawmaker that it planted explosives in equipment sold to Iran for use in its nuclear program.

"Siemens does not have any business ties with Iran's nuclear program and does not supply any technical equipment for it," a spokesman for the Munich-based multinational company said.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian Parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, said on Saturday that intelligence and security officials had detected explosive material inside devices supplied for Iran's nuclear activities.

"It was planned that these devices would explode once used and damage all of our systems, but in the end with the knowledge of our experts, this enemy conspiracy was foiled," Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by ICANA, Iran's parliamentary news agency.

"The Siemens company must be held accountable for its actions," he said.

Iran has previously accused Israel and Western governments of attempting to sabotage its atomic program by assassinating nuclear scientists and planting computer viruses. Read More

Suicide bomber targets Nigerian church, three wounded

(Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew himself up close to a church in a remote part of northern Nigeria on Sunday, wounding three people, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.

The attack was in the Wunti area of Bauchi state, Yushua Shuaib, a NEMA spokesman said. Earlier he said there were a number of dead and wounded, but later said only the bomber died.

"Three injured victims were rushed to the hospital for medical attention," he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed several attacks on churches and other Christian gatherings this year.

Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people since 2009 in attacks on security forces, government offices and churches, and has been designated a terrorist group by the United States.

The sect, which says it wants to revive an ancient Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria, has become the number one security threat in Africa's top oil producer. Read More

Obama thanks Egypt's president over embassy protection

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama has thanked the Egyptian president for securing the U.S. Embassy during protests against a film made in the United States that mocked Prophet Mohammad and sparked worldwide demonstrations and violence.

Obama's rival in the U.S. presidential race, Mitt Romney, called for a tougher line with Egypt after protesters scaled the compound wall and tore down the U.S. flag on September 11.

Police clashed with demonstrators for four days after that incident and barriers were erected to stop them getting near the compound.

In a letter, Obama repeated Washington's condemnation of the film and said he looked forward to working with President Mohamed Mursi to build on the "strategic partnership", Mursi's official Facebook page said on Sunday.

"In his letter, President Obama thanked the Egyptian president for Egyptian efforts to secure the mission of the United States in Cairo," according to the site. Read More

Researchers discovery technique to erase short newly formed memories

Erasing memories has long been a staple of sci-fi films, but researchers now believe they have made a breakthrough in making the process reality.

The groundbreaking research at Uppsala University in Sweden could lead to radical new treatments for sufferers of anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders.

It shows for the first time that newly formed emotional memories can be erased from the human brain.

This is shown by researchers from Uppsala University in a new study now being published by the academic journal Science.

'These findings may be a breakthrough in research on memory and fear. Ultimately the new findings may lead to improved treatment methods for the millions of people in the world who suffer from anxiety issues like phobias, post-traumatic stress, and panic attacks,' says Thomas Ågren, who led the study. Read More

Obama whips out massive wad of cash to pay for sausages at deli.......Is that where America's deficit's hiding?

When the President goes shopping, he still has to handle his own cash, as he showed on Saturday when he bought sausages from a Wisconsin store following a campaign stop in key swing state. Mr Obama pulled out a wad of bills that looked almost large enough to make a dent in the national debt. Source

Pakistan's 'Day of Love for the Prophet' turns into a show of hatred for U.S. over anti-Islam film - with 19 dead in riots and Stars and Stripes burned and ridiculed

HOW THE 'DAY OF LOVE' TURNED INTO A DAY OF HATE ACROSS THE WORLD
PAKISTAN

Tens of thousands protested against the film around the country after the government encouraged peaceful protests and declared a national holiday - 'Love for the Prophet Day.' Demonstrations turned violent and fifteen people were killed, including a driver for a Pakistani television station, who died after police opened fire on rioters torching a cinema in the northwest city of Peshawar during a protest.

AFGHANISTAN

About 900 people have gathered for a protest against the film in the capital, Kabul, chanting 'death to America' and burning an effigy of President Barack Obama and an American flag. A few hundred demonstrators also protested inside a mosque in the eastern city of Ghazni. The protests were peaceful.

IRAN

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at the West over the film. Speaking during a military parade in Tehran, he said: 'in return for (allowing) the ugliest insults to the divine messenger, they - the West - raise the slogan of respect for freedom of speech.'

INDONESIA

The United States closed its diplomatic missions across Indonesia due to continuing demonstrations over the anti-Islam film. Small and mostly orderly protests were held outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and in the cities of Surabaya and Medan, along with a couple other smaller towns. No violence was reported.

THAILAND

Thai firemen and rescue workers try to put off the fire caused by the blast of a bomb hidden in a pickup truck in Saiburi district of Pattani province, southern Thailand. Suspected Muslim insurgents have detonated a car bomb in Thailand's violence-prone south, killing five people and wounding a dozen others.

IRAQ

About 3,000 people, mostly followers of Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim groups, protested against the film and caricatures in the southern city of Basra. Demonstrators carried Iraqi flags and posters of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, chanting 'death to America' and 'no to America'. They burnt Israeli and American flags.

SRI LANKA

About 2,000 Muslims burned effigies of President Barack Obama and American flags at a protest after Friday prayers in the capital, Colombo, demanding that the United States ban the film.

BANGLADESH

Over 2,000 people marched through the streets of the capital, Dhaka, to protest the film. They burned a makeshift coffin draped in an American flag, and an effigy of Obama.

LEBANON

Thousands gathered in the Bekaa valley for the latest in a series of protest rallies organized by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. Protesters carried the yellow Hezbollah flag.

KASHMIR

Police enforced a daylong curfew in parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city, Srinagar, and chased away protesters opposing the anti-Islam film. Authorities in the region also temporarily blocked mobile phone and Internet services to prevent viewing the film clips.

GERMANY

The Interior Ministry said it was postponing a poster campaign aimed at countering radical Islam among young people due to tensions caused by the online video insulting Islam. It said posters for the campaign were meant to go on display in German cities with large immigrant populations on Friday, but are being withheld because of the changed security situation. Germany is home to an estimated 4 million Muslims.

ENGLAND

Protests took place outside of the American Embassy in London on Friday, with crowds following the lead of their Middle Eastern counterparts by burning an American flag in protest of the country's principles. Police stood guard outside of the French Embassy in the British capital as authorities expected protests in the wake of the decision to publish the cartoons of Mohammed. Read More

Hague to launch worldwide network of commonwealth embassies to tackle 'superpower' EU

William Hague will tomorrow launch a worldwide network of British Commonwealth embassies to rival the emergence of the EU as a foreign superpower.

The Foreign Secretary is in Canada where he will sign an agreement to open joint UK-Canadian diplomatic missions abroad.

He also hopes Australia and New Zealand will join the initiative whereby the four countries will pool their resources to extend their combined influence on world affairs.

The move by Eurosceptic Mr Hague is seen as a counter to the EU’s fast-expanding European External Action Service, which is setting up offices in the US and other major countries.

It is seen by some UK diplomats as a direct threat to Britain’s standing as a major world power. Read More

Home Secretary says death penalty would not have prevented officer deaths and insists fewer killers would be convicted if it returns...Maybe start slowly by stop allowing Murderers out on BAIL

Home Secretary Theresa May moved yesterday to damp down calls for a return of the death penalty after the murder of Manchester policewomen Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone.

The callous killing of the two PCs, aged 23 and 32 respectively, led to demands for capital punishment, abolished in 1965, to be restored.

The calls were supported last week by Paul Beshenivsky, widowed husband of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, who was shot dead in Bradford in 2005.

They receive further qualified backing in a new Mail on Sunday poll.

But Mrs May told this newspaper last night that the death penalty would not have prevented the killing of PCs Hughes and Bone.

‘The murder of Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone was a callous and cowardly act,’ she said. ‘But I do not believe in the death penalty, and I do not believe that the death penalty would have acted as a deterrent in this case.’

Nor did Mrs May think arming more police would help. Read More

Obama’s Shaky Libya Narrative

Sources say the attack on the Libyan ambassador was pre-meditated, with the possible collaboration of a Libyan politician. Eli Lake on the continuing collapse of the official U.S. line.

Ten days after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the White House’s official story about the incident appears to be falling apart.

In the days following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and two ex-Navy SEALs, President Obama and top State Department officials portrayed the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an Internet video depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a lascivious brute. The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were “in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.”

Now there is mounting evidence that the White House’s initial portrayal of the attacks as a mere outgrowth of protest was incorrect—or, at the very least, incomplete. The administration’s story itself has recently begun to shift, with Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, telling Congress on Wednesday that the attackers may have had links to al Qaeda and Carney characterizing the incident as a “terrorist attack.” (Hillary Clinton announced on Thursday that she was putting together a panel to look into the incident.) Read More

Medicare Bills Rise as Records Turn Electronic

When the federal government began providing billions of dollars in incentives to push hospitals and physicians to use electronic medical and billing records, the goal was not only to improve efficiency and patient safety, but also to reduce health care costs.

But, in reality, the move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients by making it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services, whether or not they provide additional care.

Hospitals received $1 billion more in Medicare reimbursements in 2010 than they did five years earlier, at least in part by changing the billing codes they assign to patients in emergency rooms, according to a New York Times analysis of Medicare data from the American Hospital Directory. Regulators say physicians have changed the way they bill for office visits similarly, increasing their payments by billions of dollars as well. Read More

Egypt's New President Warns Obama: USA Must Change

CAIRO — On the eve of his first trip to the United States as Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said the United States needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its values and helping build a Palestinian state, if it hoped to overcome decades of pent-up anger.

A former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mr. Morsi sought in a 90-minute interview with The New York Times to introduce himself to the American public and to revise the terms of relations between his country and the United States after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, an autocratic but reliable ally.

He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability. Read More

Chris Stevens: DIARY REVEALS THREAT WORRY

(CNN) -- Four days after he was killed, CNN found a journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded.

CNN notified Stevens' family about the journal within hours after it was discovered and at the family's request provided it to them via a third party.

The journal consists of just seven pages of handwriting in a hard-bound book.

For CNN, the ambassador's writings served as tips about the situation in Libya, and in Benghazi in particular. CNN took the newsworthy tips and corroborated them with other sources.

A source familiar with Stevens' thinking told CNN earlier this week that, in the months leading up to his death, the late ambassador worried about what he called the security threats in Benghazi and a rise in Islamic extremism. Read More

John Perkins - ''The Secret History of the American Empire''

Spain’s Catalonia Region Demands Independence

Every September 11 the people of Catalonia, an independent region in northeast Spain, celebrate their “national day” — Diada — by taking the day off and parading through the streets of Barcelona. 

In past years the celebration was a festival used by some citizens as an excuse to get some fresh air, make some noise, and have some fun. This year, nearly one-quarter of the region’s seven million citizens used the celebration as an excuse to swarm into Barcelona to protest Spain’s austerity measures, which have raised unemployment in Catalonia — referred to locally as Catalan — to nearly 25 percent.

The immensity of the crowd far exceeded expectations so that parade routes had to be adjusted and parking places found for the more than 1,000 buses chartered to bring Catalans into the city. Most revelers were waving flags that said, “Catalonia: a new European state.” Said Alfred Bosch, a member of the Catalonian government:

All the flags I can see are the pro-independence flags of Catalonia with the lonely star right in the middle of the triangle.

And everybody is wearing these flags. I have never seen so many pro-independence flags in my all life.

Catalonia is a largely autonomous region of Spain with about 15 percent of the country’s population; it generates about 20 percent of Spain's gross domestic product. It also pays more in taxes to Madrid than it receives in benefits. The fact that Spain levies taxes on Catalans and then sends only some of the money back to the region is galling, especially to those who relish their “nationalism,” granted in part by the Statute of Autonomy passed in a referendum in June 2006. Read More