Monday, October 1, 2012

Bahrain upholds jail terms for medics

Bahrain's highest court has upheld jail terms against nine medics who were convicted for their role in last year's pro- democracy uprising.

The decision could spark further unrest in the Gulf Arab state.

The case has led to inter-national criticism of the Gulf Arab kingdom, which has been in turmoil since the protests led by its Shi'ite Muslim majority were crushed by the Sunni rulers.

Bahrain, home base for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has accused Iran of encouraging the unrest and has promised a tough response to violent protests after talks with the opposition stalled.

Bahrain's Court of Cassation rejected all appeals presented by the defendants and confirmed the previous rulings of prison terms ranging between one month to five years. Read More

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 80 km (49.6 miles), the quake hit at 03:33:29 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 92 km (57 miles) WSW of Neiafu, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION at a depth of 342.6 km (212.9 miles), the quake hit at 03:17:11 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 81 km (50 miles) South of Korsakov, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Afghanistan Blast: Three Americans Among Dead

A suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least 14 people, including three Americans - a day after the US death toll in the 11-year war reached 2,000.

The American Nato service members' translator, six civilians and four Afghan police were also killed and 37 wounded in the attack on a joint Nato-Afghan foot patrol through Khost city, Najeeb Danish.

The city's governor said in a statement: "Today at around 8:30 am a suicide bomber on a motorcycle targeted a joint patrol in Khost city in a crowded area.

"In this inhuman attack three police and 37 civilians were wounded, and six civilians and four police, including the commander of the quick reaction forces, were killed".

The deaths take coalition casualties to at least 347 this year. On Sunday, the number of American military personnel killed in the Afghan war reached 2,000 following an insurgent attack.

The death toll in Afghanistan has climbed steadily in recent months with a spate of attacks by Afghan army and police against American and Nato troops. Read More

Terry Vance Garner Eaten By His Pigs

Terry Vance Garner, 70, went to feed his animals last Wednesday on his farm in the US state of Oregon, but never returned.

His dentures and a piece of his body were found in the pigs’ enclosure by a family member, but most of his remains had been consumed.

The Coos County district attorney's office said that one of the pigs had previously bitten or been aggressive with Mr Garner.

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that Mr Garner had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, or was knocked over by the animals before he was killed.

Each of the pigs weighs around 700 pounds (320kg). Source

Hong Kong Boat Collision Leaves 36 Dead

The search for survivors continues with dozens of passengers still missing after two vessels collide off Hong Kong island.

At least 36 people have been killed and dozens injured in a collision between a ferry and another boat south of Hong Kong during a festival.

A vessel, packed with 124 revellers, hired by the Hong Kong Electric company for staff and family, started sinking.

Television footage showed the boat half submerged with the bow pointing straight up.

More than 100 people have been rescued and dozens taken to hospital as the search continues for those still missing.

"Some of them are suffering hypothermia and four had to be resuscitated," a paramedic at the Queen Mary Hospital said.

The collision occurred near Lamma Island, off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong, near one of the city's busiest shipping lanes. Read More

April Jones Missing: Search Under Way As Girl, 5, Goes Missing

A five-year-old girl has gone missing from near her home after she was spotted getting into a light-coloured van that drove off.

April Jones was playing with friends in the mid Wales town of Machynlleth at around 7.30pm on Monday when she went missing.

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed her disappearance on their Twitter account.

At 10.40pm they posted a statement saying: "We are increasingly concerned for a missing five year old, April, who was last seen playing on her bike in Machynlleth at about 19:30hrs.

"April was seen getting into a light coloured van that drove off." Read More

HALF OF BARRIER REEF HAS DISAPPEARED: REPORT

A sobering study released today shows more than half of Australia's Great Barrier Reef has disappeared over the past 27 years.

Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville have found the loss of coral is caused mainly by cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish.

Coral bleaching is also to blame.

, warns the rate of the reef's decline has been higher than previously thought.

It says if current trends continue, its coral cover could halve again by 2022 and it may lose the biodiversity for which it was listed as a World Heritage Area.

The study argues that stopping the progress of the crown-of-thorns starfish is crucial to the recovery of the 3,000km-long reef.

But scientist John Gunn says the future of the ecosystem could be under threat if the loss of coral is not stopped. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 33.2 km (20.6 miles), the quake hit at 01:51:39 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 126 km (78 miles) East of Miyako, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 17.7 km (11 miles), the quake hit at 01:10:45 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 32 km (19 miles) ESE of Oarai, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 37.9 km (23.6 miles), the quake hit at 22:55:51 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 165 km (102 miles) ESE from Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 9.7 km (6 miles), the quake hit at 22:21:45 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 97 km (60 miles) ENE of Miyako, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck the ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 21:33:34 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 57 km (35 miles) WSW of Adak, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

"Tribe Meets White Man For The First Time": A must-see documentary

In 1976, a explorer by the name of Jean-Pierre Dutilleaux encountered the Toulambi tribe in Papua New Guinea. This was the first time the tribe had ever seen a white man, let alone technology, and the meeting of the two is both moving and enlightening.

Would this be how human beings would react should visitors from another region of the universe ever decide to reveal themselves? Does this documentary reveal anything that we've lost in the midst of our own rat-race-based civilization? At the very least, it's incredibly interesting to watch. 40 min.


(Note: Mr Dutilleaux has been accused of "fabricating" this video, and paying tribal actors to stage the first contact. His response: "If these are actors, they deserve the Cesar [European Film Award]." Personally, this entire experience feels authentic, and can be verified in everyone's body language. It just might be unbelievable to many people that anything other than capitalism and consumerism could exist on our planet.)

Distress of Nations, September 2012: A must-watch 15-min compilation of natural disasters, weather phenomenon and social collapse around the world

"Madness to Our Shores": But should we blame Islam, or fanatacism?



Thoughts:

1. I agree with much of what this man says. People who kill over cartoons, teddy bears and anything which does not directly pertain to persecution and self defense, need a slap. Those who act in such a manner should only ever see the shores of North America in a travel brochure.

2. There is a great mistake made among Westerners, Americans in particular, and that is equating Islam with fanaticism. A man who claims to be a Muslim, and then beheads 10 Christians, does not make Islam bad in any way. It's the man's fault for choosing to be a murderer. If he was not a Muslim, he would still have the same desire to kill. If he were a Christian, he would likely have killed 10 Muslims in the same manner. Rest assured, this is true. We read the stories of what Christians do to Muslims all over the world, but which go unreported due to a heavily Christian-influenced media. Christians kidnap. Christians bomb. Christians sell children into slavery. Does this make Christianity bad in any way? Not a chance. These people behave in such a manner by their own choice. If Christianity and Islam never existed, these people would find another excuse to murder us and each other. Do not fall into the foolish trap of equating faith with a person's dark inner desires.

3. Islam does not produce fanatics. Poverty, being bombed daily by Western warplanes, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of means to express and satisfy anger, and just a plain tendency to engage in idiotic violence produces fanatics. Walk around your affluent American community and find 10 Muslims. Find out how many among them have killed, bombed, beheaded, or done any of the other things they're generally all accused of doing. Now go to Uganda, and ask 10 Christians, especially in the militia armies, how many children's limbs they've chopped off with machetes. You'll find a number larger than zero, guaranteed. It has nothing to do with religion. Absolutely nothing. Violence is a personal choice.

4. Fanatical groups are not all "Islamic". Cults engage in the same activity. The heavily Christian KKK in America hanged black people from trees. Gangs, indulging in their own brand of fanaticism, kill for sport. Literally, for sport. Screaming, "Allah Ackbar!" as a preamble to one's violence is no different than screaming, "The beast has eaten!" as the MS-13 gang member did after killing an innocent man. Look past the false religious labels the media uses to vilify foreign peoples and search for evidence of fanaticism. Fanaticism, not Islam or Christianity or Judaism, is the enemy of mankind.

5. A lesson in languages: "Allah" is not a name. It's merely a noun, combining the two Arabic words "Al Elah", which simply means "The God", as in, the one and only God. "Allah" does not live in the moon. "Allah" is not some devilish character who eats children while they sleep. "Allah" is the same as "God", as "Yahweh", as "Dieu" in French, "Dio" in Italian, "Kami" in Japanese, and so on. Stop letting ignorant people tell you it means otherwise. "Allah" is simply the Arab way of saying God. Period.

I'll leave it here for now, but rest assured there will be more to come.

Obama waives sanctions on countries that use child soldiers...

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a new executive order last week to fight human trafficking, touting his administration's handling of the issue.

"When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed -- that's slavery," Obama said in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative. "It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world. Now, as a nation, we've long rejected such cruelty."

But for the third year in a row, Obama has waived almost all U.S. sanctions that would punish certain countries that use child soldiers, upsetting many in the human rights community.

Late Friday afternoon, Obama issued a presidential memorandum waiving penalties under the Child Soldiers Protection Act of 2008 for Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen, penalties that Congress put in place to prevent U.S. arms sales to countries determined by the State Department to be the worst abusers of child soldiers in their militaries. The president also partially waived sanctions against the Democratic Republic of the Congo to allow some military training and arms sales to that country.

Human rights advocates saw the waivers as harmful to the goal of using U.S. influence to urge countries that receive military assistance to move away from using child soldiers and contradictory to the rhetoric Obama used in his speech. Read More

TSA Confiscates Camera, Deletes Footage of Checkpoint

TSA workers steal memory card, cop claims “It must have fallen on the ground”

Despite the TSA admitting on its own website that there is no law which prevents people from filming TSA checkpoints, a man traveling through San Juan airport in Puerto Rico had his camera confiscated and footage deleted. Read More

'Syria insurgents akin to MKO terrorists'

Somalia: AU troops advance into Kismayo

US drone attacks infuriate Pakistanis: Tariq Pirzada

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 6.7 km (4.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:40:52 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 18 km (11 miles) ESE of Iwaki, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF JALISCO, MEXICO - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF JALISCO, MEXICO at a depth of 21.3 km (13.2 miles), the quake hit at 17:32:31 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 241 km (149 miles) Northwest of Tomatlan, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake ROMANIA - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck ROMANIA at a depth of 82 km (50.8 miles), the quake hit at 17:26:17 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 4 km (2.4 miles) Northwest Nereju, Romania
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS at a depth of 461.8 km (287 miles), the quake hit at 17:24:42 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 441 km (274 miles) South of Ndoi Island, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Celebrity Cruises ship staff 'paid £1.30 an hour' in massive exploitation racket

The cruise industry has defended its employment policies after an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches highlighted low wages and long working hours.


The programme’s producers arranged for an undercover reporter to spend five weeks working on board the cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse, operated by Celebrity Cruises.

Its investigation revealed that many members of staff receive less than half the UK national minimum wage (£6.19 an hour), with some of the lowest paid workers earning just $600 per month, the equivalent of around £1.30 an hour, and no gratuities.

Members of staff also claimed they are required to work seven days a week for months on end without rest days, while others allege that they were forced to pay expensive fees to recruitment agencies to obtain their job.

Over the five weeks, the reporter’s earnings averaged £2.24 per hour, and he was asked to work 16 hours a day. His earnings were less than he had been promised by the British recruitment agency that found him the job, and he was forced to pay £570 out of his own pocket for uniform, a compulsory medical and a visa. more

Kenyan forces defeat Al Shabaab militants in epic battle for Somali port city of Kismayo, with help from Israel, US and France, heralding the liberation of Africa of fanatics

The Kenyan army has captured Somalia’s Indian Ocean port of Kismayo, driving Al Qaeda’s Somali franchise Al Shabaab out of its last strategic stronghold, the key to controlling southern Somalia. The small Kenyan army, navy and air force fought to victory Saturday, Sept. 29, after a year-long ground, sea and air offensive.

Fearing the Shabaab was feigning defeat and lurking in the town’s alleys to strike back, Kenyan warships backed by the French Navy shelled suspected terrorist hideouts in Kismayo Sunday.

Kismayo was Nairobi’s prime goal when exactly a year ago, the Kenyan army launched its drive into Somalia following the failure of UN-backed intervention for ridding Somalia of the Islamist terrorists long plaguing the country.

With a population of 200,000, Kismayo, which lies 328 miles southwest of Mogadishu near the mouth of the Jubba River, is the commercial capital of the autonomous Jubalanand region of Somalia which abuts on Kenya.

Very few Western military experts rated the Kenyan army of only 60,000 soldiers capable of routing the hard-bitten 25,000 Shabaab militants and capturing a sizeable region of Somalia – a feat which famously defeated US elite forces in 1993 in Mogadishu and forced the Ethiopian army to retreat with heavy losses in 2006.

But, although Washington and Paris denied any role in the East African conflict, US did contribute to the Kenyan effort with drones gathering intelligence for the Kenyan army and guiding the aim of its artillery, while French battle and supply ships operating out of Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa dropped supplies, ammo and fresh Kenyan reinforcements on the Somali coast. more

FISCAL NIGHTMARE MEANS USA COULD BE TAKEN OVER

Ross Perot, the billionaire who shook up the 1992 presidential campaign, has largely remained silent since his emergence on the nation’s political stage nearly two decades ago and as he emerges from the shadows (in part to drum up interest in his forthcoming autobiography), he’s remaining silent about one more thing: the current top candidates running for office.

Pressed by USA Today’s Richard Wolf to endorse a candidate, Perot declined, despite the fact that “members of his family have donated almost exclusively to Republicans in recent years.”

Perot is an equal-opportunity critic, unimpressed with both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to addressing the nation’s red ink.

“We’re on the edge of the cliff, and we have got to start fixing it now. Otherwise, we’re leaving a disaster to our children’s and our grandchildren’s future,” he said.

Wolf spoke with Perot as part of an interview for C-SPAN, where additional clips have been posted (the full interview is set to air Monday night).

In it, Perot talks about his fear of the United States being taken over. Read More

White House admits cyber attack, says no data lost

WASHINGTON — The White House acknowledged Monday that one of its computer networks was hit by a cyber attack, but said there was no breach of any classified systems and no indication any data was lost.

An administration official made the comment after a report from a right-wing news site that Chinese hackers had breached a key White House military system.

The US official said the attack was against "an unclassified network" and was a case of "spear phishing," in which a spoofed email tricks a user into clicking through to a website where a hacker can install malicious software or gain control of another computer.

"These types of attacks are not infrequent and we have mitigation measures in place," the official said.

"In this instance, the attack was identified, the system was isolated, and there is no indication whatsoever that any exfiltration of data took place. Moreover, there was never any impact or attempted breach of any classified system." Read More

Over 2,000 Jobs to Go As JJB Stores Close

Over 130 JJB Sports stores will close down today resulting in 2,200 redundancies, the company's administrators have said.

KPMG confirmed that Sports Direct bought just 20 of the troubled retailer's stores, its brand and website for £23.77m.

Up to a further £250,000 will be paid after the completion of stock-taking, it added.

The deal saves around 550 jobs in the UK, including at the company's warehouse.

KPMG's Richard Fleming said attempts to restructure the business had failed.

"Unfortunately a buyer could only be found for 20 stores on a going concern basis," he said.

"All staff made redundant as a result of store closures has had their arrears of wages and holiday entitlements paid in full.

"Our team of employment specialists will be supporting staff on completing redundancy forms and putting them in touch with job seeker services. Read More

Egypt talks on $4.8 billion deal with IMF delayed

(Reuters) - Egypt's negotiations for a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF have been delayed to give the government more time to draw up its economic reform program, the two sides said on Monday.

Egypt was due to receive a team from the International Monetary Fund at the end of September to discuss the terms of the loan. It urgently needs financial support to prop up state coffers weakened by economic turmoil since the popular uprising last year that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

"The authorities are working on their economic program and have indicated that they need some additional time to advance their preparations and be ready to receive a mission," IMF spokeswoman Wafa Amr said in emailed statement on Monday.

"We are ready to send a technical team to Cairo to discuss possible financial support for a homegrown program as soon as this process is completed."

Al-Borsa financial daily quoted Egyptian Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said on Monday as saying the government needed to complete the economic program before the loan talks to demonstrate to the IMF that it is serious. Read More

Comet 2012 S1: Newly-Discovered Comet May Outshine The Moon

A newly-discovered comet should become one of the brightest lights in the sky - even outshining the Moon, according to astronomers.

Russian astronomers recently spotted comet 2012 S1 (ISON) 90 million kilometres from the Earth, according to a report by National Geographic.

It is currently a faint glow streaking between Saturn and Jupiter, but as the Sun's gravity draws the comet closer, dust and ice will be blasted off, it giving it a highly-reflective tail.

Depending on how big the tails gets, the three-kilometre wide comet may become more visible for a few months in late 2013 and early 2014.

"If it lives up to expectations, this comet may be one of the brightest in history," Raminder Singh Samra of the H R MacMillan Space Centre in Canada told National Geographic.

The comet already seems to be following the path of the Great Comet of 1690, which was one of the most stunning ever seen from Earth. Read More

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN UZBEKISTAN - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck WESTERN UZBEKISTAN at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 13:45:35 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 38 km (23 miles) ENE of Gazli, Uzbekistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 13:25:59 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 178 km (110 miles) WNW of Sikabaluan, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 12:55:37 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 213 km (132 miles) ESE of Sarangani, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Most of Canada's wasted food dumped from homes ($27 billion worth, over $1000 for every Canadian a year)

Canadians are among the world's most well-fed people — so much so that we're wasting billions of dollars worth of edible food a year, mostly coming from our homes, according to a study.

The Cut Waste, Grow Profit draft report from the Ontario-based Value Chain Management Centre (VCMC) suggests that more than half (51 per cent) of the estimated $27 billion of food wasted countrywide ends up as unwanted leftovers dropped into household trash bins.

Expectations for larger portion sizes, confusion about safe consumption and sell-by dates, and the low cost to households of over-purchasing and wasting food were among factors blamed for the wasteful behaviour. more

Election seen reinforcing status quo in Washington

(Reuters) - In forecasting what the U.S. Congress will look like after the November 6 elections, Princeton University's Sam Wang is what his fellow analysts call an "outlier."

Wang, one of a dozen or so leading academics who use statistical data to forecast elections, says there is a 74 percent probability that the Democrats will gain the net 25 seats they need to take control of the 435-seat House of Representatives from the Republicans.

He cites President Barack Obama's recent rise in the polls, which Wang says could help other Democrats on House ballots. Wang says his estimate "suggests that in coming weeks, we might look for (congressional) district polls to move in the Democrats' direction."

Since Obama jumped to a significant lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney during the past two weeks, there has been an increasing chance that the presidential race could create a larger-than-expected ripple across the congressional elections in the Democrats' favor. That has triggered anxiety among Republicans and raised hopes among Democrats.

It remains a minority view, however. Read More

Mayan experts race to convince people that tribe did NOT predict an apocalypse for this December

As the clock winds down to Dec. 21, experts on the Maya calendar have been racing to convince people that the Maya didn't predict an apocalypse for the end of this year.

Some experts are now saying the Maya may indeed have made prophecies, just not about the end of the world.

Archaeologists, anthropologists and other experts met Friday in the southern Mexico city of Merida to discuss the implications of the Maya Long Count calendar, which is made up of 394-year periods called baktuns.

Experts estimate the system starts counting at 3114 B.C., and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, around Dec. 21. Experts say 13 was a significant number for the Maya, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone — but not an end.

Fears that the calendar does point to the end have circulated in recent years.

People in that camp believe the Maya may have been privy to impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field.

Mexican government archaeologist Alfredo Barrera said on Friday that the Maya tried to make predictions, but perhaps about more humdrum events like droughts or disease outbreaks. Read More

Syrian rebel leadership still fragmented

Cut & Bleeding: Austerity-bitten Spain stands up in fury

US deploys MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Japan base, 'locals go bananas'

Beijing In The Highest State Of Alert



Bo Xilai was expelled from Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
and kept away from the public eye.
The CCP plans to host its 18th congress on November 8,
and Beijing is in the highest state of alert now.
According to Beijing residents, riots police are everywhere,
especially at some important crossroads.
The atmosphere in the Chinese capital
is very tense right now.

According to overseas media reports, three meetings,
related to the 18th congress' security were held this month.
Beijing has about 20,000 riot police in readiness level two,
which is the highest state of alert in peacetime in Beijing.
All officers and soldiers can't have vacations now. Weapons
and ammunition are out of the depot, in order to cope with unexpected situations.

Epoch Times wrote that China's State Council and Central
Military Commission continually sent out two commands, to dispatch 120,000 soldiers to protect Beijing.
On September 22, Beijing turned to alert level one,
from level two that was previously.

Daily Telegraph said, when Beijing went to alert level one,
Tibet and Xinjiang' alert was raised to level two.
Plus, 28 other municipalities, provincial cities, the SAR,
the important ports, airports, industrial research bases etc., went to alert level three. Read More

Thousands on Paris streets to denounce EU 'austerity' pact

European Union closer to trade war with U.S.

PARIS — The European Union inched closer to a trans-Atlantic trade war Thursday, saying it would seek to impose up to $12 billion a year in sanctions against the United States in retaliation for U.S. government subsidies to Boeing.

The European Commission, the EU executive, said it was seeking the sanctions to compensate for the impact of illegal subsidies to Boeing that it said gave Boeing an unfair advantage over its European archrival, Airbus.The move, which follows a similar trade threat against Europe made by Washington this year, is the latest salvo in a seven-year battle over aircraft subsidies.

A World Trade Organization appellate body affirmed in March that Boeing had received at least $5 billion in improper subsidies from the U.S. government to develop the 787 Dreamliner and other aircraft. But in a separate case, the organization found that Airbus had benefited from four decades of improper subsidies from European governments. The WTO ordered both sides to end the subsidies.

In a statement, the WTO said the European request was expected to be formally submitted at a meeting of the organization's dispute settlement body on Oct. 23. Read More

German faith in Europe undented by debt crisis

Oct. 1 - On the streets of the German capital Berlin, support for closer ties between European nations is unwavering, despite scepticism over the bailouts for Greece and other weak economies.

Spain’s rose-tinted slip

Oct. 1 - Spain’s optimistic assumption in the amount of capital its banks will need for recapitalisation is another misstep in their approach to the crisis say Breakingviews.

Euro zone September factory data flags "new recession": PMI

(Reuters) - Euro zone manufacturing put in its worst performance in the three months to September since the depths of the Great Recession, with factories hit by falling demand despite cutting prices, a business survey showed on Monday -- pointing to a new recession.

Factories helped lift the 17-nation bloc out of its last recession but the survey suggests a downturn that began in smaller periphery countries has taken root in core members Germany and France.

"Despite seeing some easing in the rate of decline last month, manufacturers across the euro area suffered the worst quarter for three years in the three months to September," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at data collator Markit.

"The sector will act as a severe drag on economic growth. It therefore seems inevitable that the region will have fallen back into a new recession in the third quarter." Read More

Greek 2013 budget sees sixth year of recession: source

(Reuters) - Greece will frontload budget cuts to achieve a primary surplus in 2013 for the first time in many years but its economy will shrink for a sixth consecutive year by up to 4 percent, a government official told Reuters.

The government will unveil a draft budget draft later on Monday, aiming to satisfy international lenders but expected to prolong the economic pain of the Greek people.

It will include more cuts in public sector pay, pensions and welfare benefits as part of an 11.5 billion euro ($14.8 billion)austerity package of savings that will be spread out over the next two years.

Greece's economic output has declined by a quarter since 2008 in a vicious spiral of austerity and recession, with the most heavily indebted euro zone nation repeatedly falling behind in meeting targets set under its EU/IMF bailouts and at risk of being forced out of the single currency area.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Athens will frontload a big chunk of the new spending cuts under negotiation with inspectors from the troika of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

"The draft budget will include 7.8 billion euros in cuts for 2013," the official said. Read More

Eurozone unemployment at fresh high

Unemployment in the eurozone hit a fresh high of 18.2 million in August, the EU statistics agency has said.

The number of people out of work rose by 34,000, but revised data for July meant the unemployment rate remained stable at a record high of 11.4%.

The highest unemployment rate was recorded in Spain, where 25.1% of the workforce is out of a job, and the lowest of 4.5% was recorded in Austria.

The unemployment rate in Germany was 5.5%, Eurostat said.

Youth unemployment remains a particular concern, with the rate among under-25s hitting 22.8% across the eurozone, and 52.9% in Spain.

In Greece, the most recent figures recorded in June also show that more than 50% of the young workforce has no job. Read More

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake TURKMENISTAN - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck TURKMENISTAN at a depth of 22.8 km (14.2 miles), the quake hit at 08:43:52 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 76 km (47 miles) Southwest from Gyzylarbat, Turkmenistan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake COQUIMBO, CHILE - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck COQUIMBO, CHILE at a depth of 54 km (33.6 miles), the quake hit at 08:06:30 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 21 km (13 miles) South of Ovalle, Chile
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Chinese wind farm group to sue Obama

A Chinese-owned company that has been blocked from building wind farms near a US navy test site in Oregon plans to sue President Barack Obama, arguing that his order to stop the project was unconstitutional.

Ralls, a company owned by two Chinese executives, believes the president violated constitutional protections on property ownership and legal process.

The company is seeking to have the order overturned, or be paid compensation for its losses. Read More

Chinese hackers break in to White House military office network in charge of the president’s nuclear football

Hackers linked to China’s government broke into one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident.

One official said the cyber breach was one of Beijing’s most brazen cyber attacks against the United States and highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks.

Disclosure of the cyber attack also comes amid heightened tensions in Asia, as the Pentagon moved two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups and Marine amphibious units near waters by Japan’s Senkaku islands.

China and Japan—the United States’ closest ally in Asia and a defense treaty partner—are locked in a heated maritime dispute over the Senkakus, which China claims as its territory. Read More

Download 'pirates' face jail under new Japanese law

(CNN) -- Those who possess illegally downloaded of music or films in Japan can face prison term of up to two years and fines of nearly 2 million yen (U.S. $25,679), according to a new law which takes effect Monday.

The move is aimed to stop falling music sales in the world's second largest music market, where industry officials estimate only one in 10 downloads are legally purchased.

The new law is a victory for the recording industry's global fight against online piracy, which has seen setbacks in the U.S. and European Union where the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), respectively, has run afoul of the public, which fears it will curb online freedom and privacy.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan says the download music market shrank 16% in 2011, the second consecutive year of decline. The slide comes despite global sales of digital music increasing 8% last year to $5.2 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Globally, one in four internet users "regularly access unlicensed services," according to an IFPI/Nielsen survey. Read More

ECB's "nuclear option" better as deterrent than weapon

(Reuters) - Buying unlimited quantities of bonds is sometimes described as a central bank's nuclear option, deploying an overwhelming force that threatens speculators with annihilation.

Like atomic weapons, the bank's powers to print money and buy securities are best held in reserve as a deterrent, even if their use would not wreak destruction on a comparable scale.

Having to use them to defend a country or a policy objective could cause unintended damage and expose fatal weaknesses in the political will to sustain the action.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi seemed to borrow from the Cold War lexicon of deterrence in July when he told financial markets that the ECB would do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough."

The Draghi Doctrine sounded a bit like the macho boast on unofficial Israeli Air Force T-shirts on sale in Jerusalem: "Mince with us and you'll end up as chopped liver."

But his fighting talk was soon questioned by skeptics in the financial markets and the commentariat. Read More

Chicago Fed warned on high-frequency trading, SEC slow to respond

(Reuters) - More than two years ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago was pushing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to get serious about the dangers of superfast computer-driven trading. Only now is the SEC getting around to taking a closer look at some of those issues.

Critics of the SEC say the delay is part of a pattern of inaction in dealing with the fallout from high frequency trading and shows that the regulator doesn't yet fully appreciate how fears of machine-driven market meltdowns are driving investors away from U.S. markets.

Even as the SEC gears up for a meeting on Tuesday to discuss software glitches and how to tame rapid-fire trading, the eighth public forum it has had in two years on market structure issues, regulators in Canada, Australia and Germany are moving ahead with plans to introduce speed limits to safeguard markets from the machines.

One item up for discussion is whether regulators should require trading firms and exchanges to deploy a "kill switch" so that they can quickly shut down a runaway high-speed computer program. That's one of the seven recommendations the Chicago Fed made to the SEC in its March 25, 2010, letter. Read More

Azerbaijan eyes aiding Israel against Iran

(Reuters) - Israel's "go-it-alone" option to attack Iran's nuclear sites has set the Middle East on edge and unsettled its main ally at the height of a U.S. presidential election campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exudes impatience, saying Tehran is barely a year from a "red line" for atomic capacity. Many fellow Israelis, however, fear a unilateral strike, lacking U.S. forces, would fail against such a large and distant enemy.

But what if, even without Washington, Israel were not alone?

Azerbaijan, the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic on Iran's far northern border, has, say local sources with knowledge of its military policy, explored with Israel how Azeri air bases and spy drones might help Israeli jets pull off a long-range attack.

That is a far cry from the massive firepower and diplomatic cover that Netanyahu wants from Washington. But, by addressing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan - notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews - such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without U.S. help. Read More

Nairobi Church Blast

Afghanistan: Suicide Bomber Kills Thirteen

A suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least 13 people, including three Nato troops and four Afghan police.

Six civilians were also killed and 37 wounded in the attack on a joint Nato-Afghan foot patrol through Khost city, Najeeb Danish.

The city's governor said in a statement: "Today at around 8:30 am a suicide bomber on a motorcycle targeted a joint patrol in Khost city in a crowded area.

"In this inhuman attack three police and 37 civilians were wounded, and six civilians and four police, including the commander of the quick reaction forces, were killed".

The deaths take coalition casualties to at least 347 this year. Last week the number of American military personnel killed in the Afghan war reached 2,000 following an insurgent attack.

The death toll in Afghanistan has climbed steadily in recent months with a spate of attacks by Afghan army and police against American and Nato troops.

The latest blast comes a day after Nato announced that a firefight between coalition troops and their Afghan allies killed an ISAF soldier, a civilian contractor and three Afghan army troops. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 42.4 km (26.3 miles), the quake hit at 05:17:57 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 53 km (32 miles) ENE of Hasaki, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEW ZEALAND - 1st October 2012

A magnitude 3.6 earthquake has struck NEW ZEALAND at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles), the quake hit at 02:28:56 UTC Monday 1st October 2012
The epicenter was 15 km (9.3 miles) ENE of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Michael Pedersen Found dead with his 2 children in Suspected Murder-Suicide

Two children found dead with their father on a bridleway in Hampshire were fatally stabbed, police have said.

Police believe the man was Michael Pedersen, 51, from Surrey, who was found in Stacey Newton with his children Ben, seven, and Freya, six.

It is thought Mr Pedersen, who was estranged from the children's mother, was visiting his father in Andover.

The children had already been found dead before their mother reported them missing on Sunday evening, police said.

Mr Pedersen was living in Chertsey, Surrey, while his children were living in Ashford, Surrey.

The three bodies were found outside next to car by a dog walker at about 18:15 BST. Read More

Wesley Shermantine 'Speed Freak Killer' Claims Dozens Of Victims

One of the so-called 'speed freak killers', who terrorised California's San Joaquin Valley in the 1980s and 90s, has said he may have killed as many as 72 people.

Wesley Shermantine maintained his silence on death row for a decade but last year started to reveal information about the string of methamphetemine-fuelled murders after a bounty hunter offered to pay him to identify where the bodies of some victims were buried.

Authorities already suspected that Shermantine, along with his childhood friend Loren Herzog, were responsible for 22 deaths but the 46-year-old's claims, if true, would make the pair some of the most prolific serial killers in US history.

In a letter to a reporter he said there were "24x3" victims and suggested that Herzog, who killed himself in January, was largely responsible.

A phone line set up by investigators earlier this year brought calls suggesting that up to 65 missing people could have died at their hands. Read More

Iranian jury finds Reuters guilty of lies

(CNN) -- The jury of Iran's Press Court on Sunday found the Tehran bureau chief for Reuters guilty of publishing lies and negatively influencing public opinion.

Press TV, a state media agency, reported a jury member said Reuters was "found guilty of propagating against the Islamic Republic and disseminating false information to disturb public opinion."

Parisa Hafezi is Reuters' bureau chief in Tehran. She referred CNN to Thompson Reuters, based in London, for a statement.

In a story about the verdict on its website, Reuters said, "We understand that the jury has stated its view and we now await the court's ruling. We do not intend to comment further until a decision is issued."

Press TV said a judge will make his final ruling in October, and the news agency can appeal the decision. Read More