Monday, September 24, 2012

Poisoned food: 170 police recruits hospitalised, India

KARACHI: More than 170 recruits were reportedly shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), on late Sunday night after eating poisoned food served at a police training centre located in Razzaqabad.

Around 20 of the police recruits were in a serious condition after having dinner at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Elite Police Training Centre, Inspector General (IG) of Sindh Police, Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari said, adding that no deaths resulted from the incident.

Leghari told The Express Tribune that he had asked Additional Inspector General (AIG) Karachi, Iqbal Mahmood and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Training and Inspection Shahab Mazhar Bhalli to investigate the matter and prepare a detailed report on the incident.

He added that the food had been sent for a chemical examination and those involved will be ‘severely punished’.

The food containing the poison was ‘anda chana’ which was reportedly prepared a day before and available on the menu for dinner on Sunday, sources told The Express Tribune. Read More

Japan fires water cannon to turn away Taiwan boats

(Reuters) - Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannon to turn away about 40 Taiwan fishing boats and eight Taiwan Coast Guard vessels from waters Japan considers its own on Tuesday in an unexpected twist to a row between Tokyo and Beijing.

Japan protested to Taiwan, a day after it lodged a complaint with China over what it said was a similar intrusion by Chinese boats.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply this month after Japan bought disputed islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, sparking anti-Japan protests across China.

Taiwan has friendly ties with Japan, but the two countries have long squabbled over fishing rights in the area. China and Taiwan both argue they have inherited China's historic sovereignty over the islands.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the coast guard used water cannon and other measures to get the Taiwan ships to change course. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake TIMOR REGION - 25th September 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the TIMOR REGION at a depth of 21.4 km (13.3 miles), the quake hit at 03:08:13 UTC Tuesday 25th September 2012
The epicenter was 20 km (12 miles) NNE of Leof, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 25th September 2012

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 80 km (49.6 miles), the quake hit at 03:06:50 UTC Tuesday 25th September 2012
The epicenter was 40 km (24.8 miles) Northwest of Hihifo, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF AFRICA - 25th September 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF AFRICA at a depth of 15.7 km (9.8 miles), the quake hit at 01:43:14 UTC Tuesday 25th September 2012
The epicenter was 1127 km (700 miles) Southwest of Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:55:13 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 50 km (31 miles) SSE from Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR at a depth of 48.2 km (30 miles), the quake hit at 22:22:13 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 60 km (37.2 miles) SSW from San Marcos, San Salvador, El Salvador
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake TAIWAN - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck TAIWAN at a depth of 23.8 km (14.8 miles), the quake hit at 21:57:35 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 40 km (24.8 miles) NNE of Taitung City, Taiwan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake PORTUGAL - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck PORTUGAL at a depth of 11 km (6.8 miles), the quake hit at 21:52:50 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 22 km (13.6 miles) East of Odemira, Portugal
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Nuclear Free Middle East except for Israel - On Verge of WW3?

In New York, defiant Ahmadinejad says Israel will be "eliminated"

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday disregarded a U.N. warning to avoid incendiary rhetoric and declared ahead of the annual General Assembly session that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be "eliminated."

Ahmadinejad also said he did not take seriously the threat that Israel could launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, denied sending arms to Syria, and alluded to Iran's threats to the life of British author Salman Rushdie.

The United States quickly dismissed the Iranian president's comments as "disgusting, offensive and outrageous."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran's nuclear sites and criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.

"Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists," Ahmadinejad, in New York for this week's U.N. General Assembly, told reporters. "We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves."

On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Ahmadinejad and warned him of the dangers of incendiary rhetoric in the Middle East.

Ahmadinejad, who has used previous U.N. sessions to question the Holocaust and the U.S. account of the 9/11 attacks, did not heed the warning and instead alluded to his previous rejection of Israel's right to exist.

"Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They (the Israelis) have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history," he said, referring to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. more

Iran sends toy drone to Obama (and it's pink)

U.S. poised to hand over $197 million to another solar panel start-up......Sssh! Don't Mention Solyndra

(Reuters) - A tiny solar company named SoloPower will flip the switch on production at a U.S. factory Thursday, a major step toward allowing it to tap a $197 million government loan guarantee awarded under the same controversial program that supported failed panel maker Solyndra.

SoloPower has initiated a strategy to differentiate it from struggling commodity players in the solar panel industry. Still, there are several similarities between SoloPower and Solyndra - which became a lightning rod in the U.S. Presidential campaign this year after taking in more than $500 million in government loans and then filing for bankruptcy.

Like Solyndra, SoloPower is a Silicon Valley start-up and uses the same non-traditional raw material in its solar panels. And, like its now-defunct peer, SoloPower is one of just four U.S. panel manufacturers to clinch loan guarantees under the Department of Energy's $35 billion program to support emerging clean energy technologies. The DOE payments to SoloPower will come on top of the $56.5 million SoloPower has collected in loans, tax credits and incentives from the state of Oregon and the city of Portland, where its first factory will be located. Read More

Ahmadinejad says Iran ready to defend against Israeli attack

(Reuters) - Iran does not take seriously Israeli threats of attack, but is prepared to defend itself, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday, while saying that Israel has "no roots" in the history of the Middle East and would be "eliminated."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran's nuclear sites and has criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran denies that it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity.

"Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists. ... We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves," Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York, where he is due to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

"While we are fully ready to defend ourselves, we do not take such threats seriously," he said, speaking through an interpreter. Read More

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA at a depth of 60 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:39:56 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 17 km (10.5 miles) Northeast of Yelizovo, Kamchatka
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE MARIANA ISLANDS - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF THE MARIANA ISLANDS at a depth of 37.7 km (23.4 miles), the quake hit at 13:57:33 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 246 km (152 miles) Southwest of Merizo Village, Guam
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Should we stop encouraging home ownership?

Home ownership is often connected to the notion of living the "American dream." But it is as much a part of Canadian identity as it is in the U.S.

Indeed, statistics show that the percentage of home ownership in Canada is edging close to 70 per cent, which is actually higher than the ratio south of the border at the moment – 65.4 per cent, a 15-year low, according to the most recent data. Many economists believe the Canadian government has played an active role in spurring home ownership, particularly by forming the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation back in 1946.

Primarily set up to address Canada's postwar housing shortage, the Crown corporation is now Canada's top mortgage insurance provider and has facilitated the purchase of millions of homes. But not all are convinced of the merits of pushing home ownership and some people question whether that ideal has been romanticized to the detriment of fiscal prudence.

"I don't know that home ownership should be a right and that it should be backed by taxpayer dollars and kind of be the prime mandate of a Crown corporation," says Ben Rabidoux, creator of the Economic Analyst blog, which looks into housing and mortgage trends.

Over at York University's Schulich School of Business, finance prof Moshe Milevsky also believes that too much is sometimes made of owning a home.

"The way I look at it is, I tell people your house is a big fridge," Milevsky says. "Are you romantically attached to your fridge? Do you plan to sell your fridge in 20 years and retire on it? No, it's a fridge, you store things in there. more

Stock futures decline as German data disappoints

(Reuters) - Stock index futures fell on Monday, indicating last week's decline would continue as investors questioned growth prospects for the global economy.

German business sentiment dropped for a fifth successive month in September to its lowest level since early 2010, showing even the strongest of Europe's economies is succumbing to an economic downturn despite the European Central Bank's recently announced bond-buying plan. European shares .FTEU3 lost 0.6 percent.

Equities have advanced sharply in recent months on expectations for central bank stimulus. On Sept 6 the ECB announced its bond buying plan and a week later, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing intended to bolster the economy and reduce U.S. unemployment.

With the S&P 500 up more than 7 percent so far this quarter, investors have sought new catalysts to push shares decisively in either direction. Moves have been slight lately while volume is light. The S&P fell 0.4 percent last week, though the session with the biggest move only had the benchmark index down 0.3 percent. Read More

Spanish Forest Fires: Thousands Flee Homes

Firefighters have been battling a Spanish forest fire - triggered by strong winds - that forced the evacuation of some 2,000 people.

The blaze broke out Sunday afternoon and spread quickly by Monday, threatening villages about 30 miles (50km) inland of Valencia, located on the Mediterranean coast.

Some 500 firefighters on the ground, backed by 27 aircraft, attempted to control the blaze. Thousands were told to leave their villages and several roads were cut off.

"We are trying to protect areas of housing," said senior Valencia region government policymaker Serafin Castellano.

"Right now our biggest enemy is the weather, a lot of wind," he told Cope radio. Read More

Egypt sentences 14 to death over Sinai attacks

(Reuters) - An Egyptian court sentenced on Monday 14 militant Islamists to death by hanging and four to life imprisonment over attacks on army and police forces in the Sinai Peninsula last year.

The men, who belonged to a militant group called Tawheed and Jihad, were charged by the prosecutor with killing three police officers, an army officer and a civilian in attacks carried out in June and July, 2011.

Eight of the 14 death sentences were in absentia, court sources said. Source

Euro zone uncertainty puts shares, euro on back foot

(Reuters) - European shares and the euro followed a broad range of riskier assets lower on Monday, as investors refocused attention from central bank stimulus schemes to weak economic fundamentals and the euro zone's still unresolved debt crisis.

The euro zone's troubles remain the focus for markets this week with Spain, under pressure to submit to a rescue program, due to present its 2013 budget on Thursday and talks due to restart between Greece and the EU/IMF/ECB troika.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3, which was flat last week after having notched a near 18 percent rise since June, was 0.4 percent lower by 5.00 a.m. EDT after Asian stocks had finished the day down by the same amount .MIAPJ0000PUS.

London's FTSE 100 .FTSE, Paris's CAC-40 .FCHI and Frankfurt's DAX .GDAXI were off between 0.3 and 0.7 percent and U.S. futures pointed to lower open on Wall Street as most major indices started the new week in negative territory. .L .EU .N Read More

German business mood worsens despite ECB bond plan

(Reuters) - German business sentiment dropped for a fifth straight month in September to its lowest since early 2010, raising fears of recession and underlining that a bold bond-buying plan laid out by the European Central Bank is no economic elixir.

Germany's relative resilience to the euro zone crisis has been steadily fraying as its firms see falling demand for their products from key European partners and signs of a slowdown in other markets.

Earlier this month ECB chief Mario Draghi announced a new and potentially unlimited bond-buying program to lower the borrowing costs of embattled euro zone countries such as Spain but market optimism has not spread to company boardrooms.

The Munich-based Ifo institute said its business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 firms, fell to 101.4 in September from 102.3 in August, defying expectations for a slight rise.

A Reuters poll of 45 economists had forecast the index at 102.5. Read More

Saudi Arabia: Two Dead After Contracting 'Mystery respiratory Virus'

A severely-ill patient from the Middle East is being treated in a London hospital suffering from a mystery respiratory virus that has killed two patients in Saudi Arabia.

The 49-year-old man is in intensive care after being transferred to the UK via air-ambulance from Qatar where he was taken ill a few weeks ago having recently visiting Riyadh.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the infection is a new type of coronavirus different from any previously found in humans.

Sky's Health Correspondent Thomas Moore said: "He's being treated in isolation in hospital with barrier nursing where he's severely ill with renal failure and breathing problems and hospital staff are looking to make sure no-one else will come into contact with this virus."

Coronaviruses are responsible for illnesses such as the common cold but can also cause more severe infections, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).

Professor John Watson, from the HPA, said: "In light of the severity of the illness that has been identified in the two confirmed cases, immediate steps have been taken to ensure that people who have been in contact with the UK case have not been infected. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles), the quake hit at 10:31:26 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 125 km (77.5 miles) North of Nuku'alofa, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS at a depth of 246.6 km (153.2 miles), the quake hit at 08:37:08 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 15 km (9.3 miles) SSW of Agrihan, Northern Mariana Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

A REFERENDUM STITCH-UP: How the EU and British elites are plotting to fix the result

The British establishment is quite prepared to doctor the record when it suits them - last week's Hillsborough revelations graphically showed that. It can be decades before the truth is dragged out of our political class.

There is no subject on which this is truer than Britain's membership of the European Union.

Whether it's Whitehall suppressing key papers or British governments of all stripes issuing misleading statements and using weasel words, we now know that the whole truth and key information has long been suppressed.

This matters particularly now, because EU Commission president Barroso has announced that he wants to see a new EU Treaty within two years. This Treaty would be to create a European Federation and would wrest control from the UK of a whole series of powers - powers that Brussels would never relinquish.

The polling evidence suggests that over half of us want to leave the EU. Even more want a referendum to give us the chance to have our say. The Daily Express has taken a courageous stand on this great issue, putting enormous pressure on the Government.

And in the end David Cameron is going to have to offer this country a referendum. But I want to make sure that we are asked the right question and I want you to help me. History warns us that this is far from certain to be the case.

For my sins I know how the political class operate – and co-operate – in both Brussels and London. They may offer us a referendum but on a question that suits them and is designed to produce the “right” result. I believe they are going to try to repeat an old trick.

To try to help remove the scales from our eyes I am publishing a pamphlet, ‘A Referendum Stitch-Up?’ into what happened back in the 1970s.
In 1975, my parents’ generation was led to believe that they were voting to stay part of a “Common Market” or free trade area.

They were not. Harold Wilson's government publicly claimed, "no important new policy can be decided in Brussels". But, behind the scenes the Foreign Office had already told it that "Community law" would "prevail over conflicting national legislation". Read More

REFERENDUM STITCH-UP Booklet - Download

23 NUCLEAR PLANTS IN TSUNAMI RISK ZONES

In March 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami set off a partial meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant on Japan's coast. A recent study led by European researchers found Fukushima is not alone, as 22 other plants around the world may be similarly susceptible to destructive tsunami waves, with most of them in east and southeast regions of Asia.

The 23 facilities on the list (including Fukushima) house a total of 74 nuclear reactors. Thirteen of the plants are active, while the others are either nearing completion or being expanded to house more reactors.

The researchers say East and Southeast Asia are at the greatest risk of a nuclear crisis triggered by a tsunami because of the rise of atomic power stations in the region, especially in China, which houses 27 of the world's 64 nuclear reactors currently under construction.

PHOTOS: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Before and After

"The most important fact is that 19 (two of which are in Taiwan) out of the 27 reactors are being built in areas identified as dangerous," state the authors of the study. Read More

Nigel Farage's speech to the Birmingham conference 2012

Floods, landslides displace 1 million in India; 33 dead

(Reuters) - Floods and landslides caused by relentless rain in northeast India have killed at least 33 people and displaced more than a million over the past week, officials said on Monday.

At least 21 people were killed in landslides and another eight were missing in the mountainous state of Sikkim, said state government spokesman A.S. Tobgay.

In Assam, still recovering from deadly floods that hit the tea-growing state in July, eight people were killed and 20 were missing, police said.

Floods displaced nearly one million in that state alone, and many were now sheltering in camps or beside roads, which tend to be built above the land they pass through, a senior official in Assam's disaster management authority said.

Four people were buried and killed in mudslides in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, police said. Read More

World War III Is Coming Soon & Here's Why!?

Al Qaeda-inspired group claims responsibility for Egyptian-Israeli border attack

(CNN) -- A radical group inspired by al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack along the Egyptian-Israeli border.

In a statement posted on jihadi websites late Saturday, a group calling itself Ansar Jerusalem ("Supporters of Jerusalem") said the Friday attack, in which three militants and an Israeli soldier were killed, was a response to the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims."

The statement claimed that the militants were Egyptians and that the operation was a "disciplinary attack against those who insulted the beloved Prophet" Mohammed.

General Ahmed Bakr, head of North Sinai security, said, "There is no evidence of highly organized groups in Sinai regardless of such statements released on the net."

There are dozens of "groups of armed militants who have been weakened by our military operation in Sinai, and sooner or later will be demolished completely," he said. Read More

Iranian leader condemns 'extremism'


 New York (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed an anti-Islam film that has provoked a violent reaction in the Muslim world, spoke strongly against homosexuality and said what his country would do if attacked by Israel in an interview airing Monday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." The president denounced the film, "Innoncence of Muslims," that portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer. 

The online video has led to a wave of global unrest. "Fundamentally, first of all, any action that is provocative, offends the religious thoughts and feelings of any people, we condemn," Ahmadinejad said. "Likewise, we condemn any type of extremism. Of course, what took place was ugly.

Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly. This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime. It shouldn't take place, and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy," Ahmadinejad said. Read More

Dangerous and deepening divide between Islamic world, West

* Religion not the only cause of confrontation

* Close ties with U.S. seen as liablity now -analyst

* Arab Spring not as beneficial to West as had been hoped

By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters)- 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. Read More

Deadly Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts

WASHINGTON — The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation.

Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city.

“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” said one American official who has served in Libya and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is still investigating the attack. “We got our eyes poked out.”

The C.I.A.’s surveillance targets in Benghazi and eastern Libya include Ansar al-Sharia, a militia that some have blamed for the attack, as well as suspected members of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Read More

Morsi sets terms for US-Arab ties

On the eve of his first trip to the US as Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said the US 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, Morsi sought in a 90-minute interview with The New York Times to introduce himself to the US public and to revise the terms of relations between his country and the US after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalise the alliance with Egypt.

If Washington is asking Egypt to honour its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the US must respect the Arab world’s history, even when that conflicts with Western values. Source

Iran readies domestic Internet, blocks Google

(Reuters) - Iran plans to switch its citizens onto a domestic Internet network in what officials say is a bid to improve cyber security but which many Iranians fear is the latest way to control their access to the web.

The announcement, made by a government deputy minister on Sunday, came as state television announced Google Inc's search engine and its email service would be blocked "within a few hours".

"Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice," an official identified only by his last name, Khoramabadi, said, without giving further details.

The Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) said Google ban was connected to the anti-Islamic film posted on the company's YouTube site which has caused outrage throughout the Muslim world. There was no official confirmation.

Iran has one of the biggest Internet filters of any country in the world, preventing normal Iranians from accessing countless sites on the official grounds they are offensive or criminal. Read More

Israel rules out changing Egypt Camp David peace treaty

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Israel will not change the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt.

Egyptians "shouldn't try to delude themselves or delude others," Mr Lieberman told Israel Radio.

It comes amid calls in Egypt to amend the treaty which limits the number of Egyptian troops allowed in the Sinai peninsula as violence increases there.

An Islamist group says it launched the latest attack from the area - a clash inside Israel on Friday.

The group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis said the attack - in which an Israeli soldier and three militants were killed, and another soldier wounded - was in response to an amateur anti-Muslim video made in the US.

The violence comes as Egypt's new Islamist President Mohammed Mursi makes his first trip to the US since being elected in June. Read More

Japan protests as Chinese ships enter disputed waters

(Reuters) - Three Chinese ships briefly entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, prompting an official protest from Tokyo and renewed diplomatic efforts to cool tensions between the rivals.

In a move that could further complicate the territorial row that is threatening relations between Asia's biggest economies, a group of fishermen from Taiwan -- which also claims the rocky isles -- said as many as 100 boats escorted by 10 Taiwan Coast Guard vessels would arrive in the area later on Monday.

China's Xinhua news agency said in the morning that two civilian surveillance ships were undertaking a "rights defence" patrol near the islands, citing the State Oceanic Administration, which controls the ships. One fishery patrol vessel was also detected inside waters claimed by Japan.

Japan lodged an official protest.

By afternoon, all three Chinese vessels had moved further away, the Japanese Coast Guard said.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply after Japan bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, earlier this month, sparking anti-Japan protests 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. Read More

China navy takes delivery of first aircraft carrier

China's first aircraft carrier was handed over Sunday to the navy of the People's Liberation Army, state press said, amid rising tensions over disputed waters in the East and South China Seas.

The handover ceremony of the 300-meter (990-foot) ship, a former Soviet carrier called the Varyag, took place in northeast China's port of Dalian after a lengthy refitting by a Chinese shipbuilder, the Global Times reported.

During the handover ceremony the aircraft carrier raised the Chinese national flag on its mast, the PLA flag on its bow and the navy's colours on its stern, the short online report said.

A ceremony to place the ship into active service would be held sometime in the future, the paper said without elaboration.

China's defence ministry was unavailable to comment on the ceremony.

The announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions over maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region, where China's growing assertiveness has put it on a collision course with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

China also Sunday postponed a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with Japan, due to a noisy territorial dispute with Tokyo over the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japanese as Senkaku.

Tensions have also risen this year with Vietnam and the Philippines over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing confirmed last year it was revamping the old Soviet ship, and has repeatedly insisted the carrier poses no threat to its neighbours and will be used mainly for training and research purposes.

But numerous sea trials of the aircraft carrier -- currently only known as "Number 16" -- since August 2011 were met with concern from regional powers including Japan and the United States, which called on Beijing to explain why it needed an aircraft carrier. more


Obama Refers to Israel Concern Over Iran as 'Noise'

Bounty on head of anti-Islam filmmaker increases

Sept. 23 - A Pakistani cleric says he'll pay more than 105,000 dollars to the person who kills the ''Innocence of Muslims'' filmmaker, doubling the reward for his death. Deborah Gembara reports

Greek police use pepper spray in protests

Police push back angry Muslim youths with pepper spray and teargas to end a protest against Prophet Mohammad film.

Foxconn China plant closed after worker disturbance

(Reuters) - Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group closed its Taiyuan plant in northern China on Monday after a brawl involving possibly thousands of workers began in dormitory facilities early in the morning.

The Taiyuan plant, which employs about 79,000 workers, makes parts for automotive electronics and assembles various electronic devices, according to Foxconn spokesman Louis Woo.

"The fight is over now ... we're still investigating the cause of the fight and the number of workers involved," said Woo, adding that "involving a couple thousand workers is possible".

Woo said the fight happened in the workers' dormitory facilities and said the company would issue a statement later on Monday.

China's Xinhuanet.com, operated by the Xinhua News Agency, said about 10 people were hurt in the fighting, citing police. Read More

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake TARAPACA, CHILE - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck MAULE, CHILE at a depth of 98.6 km (61.3 miles), the quake hit at 03:09:04 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 99 km (61 miles) East from Iquique, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake MAULE, CHILE - 24th September 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck MAULE, CHILE at a depth of 118 km (73.1 miles), the quake hit at 02:50:04 UTC Monday 24th September 2012
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) Southeast of Curicó, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Iran uncovered spying device disguised as rock at Fordow nuclear plant

The monitoring device exploded when Iranian troops near Fordow nuclear plant disturbed it, Sunday Times reports, citing Western intelligence.

A monitoring device disguised as a rock exploded last month when Iranian troops near Fordow nuclear plant disturbed it, the Sunday Times reported, citing Western intelligence sources.

According to the report, Iran's Revolutionary Guard were on patrol last month to check terminals connecting data and telephone links at the underground nuclear enrichment plant, when they saw the rock and tried to move it.

"Iranian experts who examined the scene of the explosion found the remains of a device capable of intercepting data from computers at the plant, where uranium is being enriched in centrifuges," said the report, "It is feared a significant source of intelligence may have been lost for the West." Read More

ARTICLE JANUARY 2012

Britain admits 'fake rock' plot to spy on Russians


Britain was behind a plot to spy on Russians with a device hidden in a fake plastic rock, a former key UK government official has admitted.

Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to prime minister Tony Blair, admitted in a BBC documentary that allegations made by the Russians in 2006 - dismissed at the time - were in fact true.

"The spy rock was embarrassing," he said in the BBC2 documentary series, Putin, Russia and the West. "They had us bang to rights. Clearly they had known about it for some time and had been saving it up for a political purpose." Read More