Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mexican Police 'Targeted' US Embassy Car

Mexican federal police who fired on a US embassy vehicle, wounding two CIA officers, were likely working for a drug gang, officials have said.

The armoured SUV with American diplomatic plates was shot at on a rural road near Cuernavaca south of Mexico City on August 24.

Federal police officers have said they mistakenly opened fire on the vehicle believing it was being driven by the kidnappers of a government employee.

When asked by if the officers involved in the shooting were tied to organised crime, a senior US official told AP: "The circumstantial evidence is pretty damn strong."

"This is not a 'Whoops, we got the wrong people'."

The CIA officers were driving to a military installation, accompanied by a Mexican navy captain, when a carload of gunmen opened fire and gave chase.

As they tried to escape, three other cars joined the original vehicle, according to a navy statement, and occupants of all four fired. Read More

Border Patrol Agent Shot Dead In 'Drug Corridor'

A US Border Patrol agent has been shot dead and another wounded after coming under fire in an area of Arizona used by drug smugglers and human traffickers.

Three agents were responding to a ground sensor that had been tripped about five miles from the Mexican border, near the city of Bisbee, when the shooting began, authorities said.

The wounded agent's injuries not believed to be life-threatening while the third agent was unharmed.

The agent who was killed was named as Nicholas Ivie, originally from Utah. He is the fourth border official to die in Arizona in the last two years.

Cochise County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas said: "As they were walking up the trail, they reported taking gunfire.

"We have unknown suspect or suspects at this point." Read More

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF OREGON - 3rd October 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF OREGON at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 02:13:13 UTC Wednesday 3rd October 2012
The epicenter was 377 km (234 miles) West of Waldport, Oregon
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 3rd October 2012

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 39.8 km (24.7 miles), the quake hit at 00:50:29 UTC Wednesday 3rd October 2012
The epicenter was 73 km (45 miles) South of Unalaska, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF CALIFORNIA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the GULF OF CALIFORNIA at a depth of 15.4 km (9.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:43:08 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 58 km (36 miles) NNE of La Paz, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

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46 Pilot Whales Stranded in Indonesia, 3 Alive

Indonesian officials say 46 pilot whales have beached themselves on a southern island. All but three have died.

Pramudya Harzani from the nonprofit Jakarta Animal Aid Network activists and local authorities were still trying to rescue the three surviving whales on Tuesday but they kept swimming back to shore.

He says he whales washed ashore late Monday in Raijua beach on Sabu, a small islet between Timor and Sumba islands in southern Indonesia.

District chief Gidon Bilibora says meat from the dead whales has been taken by locals for food, a common practice in the area.

Scientists believe the whales follow a group leader to shore when it gets sick, stranding them. Harzani says the stranding may have been partially caused by rapidly receding tides due to seasonal monsoons. Source

Malfunction shuts South Korea nuclear reactor

SOUTH Korea has shut down one of its nuclear reactors following a malfunction in its control system but there's no risk of a radiation leak, plant operators say.

The 1000-megawatt Shingori 1 reactor near the southern city of Busan was shut down after a warning signal at 8:10am (0910 AEST), the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) said today.

"There was a malfunction in the reactor's control rod, but the reactor is now stable with no danger of a radiation leak," a KHNP spokesman told AFP.

It is the first time the reactor has been shut down since it began operations in February last year.

South Korea operates 23 nuclear power plants which meet more than 35 per cent of the country's electricity needs.

In July, another 1000-megawatt reactor at Yeonggwang --some 260km south of Seoul - went into automatic shutdown after a malfunction.

And in February the country's oldest nuclear plant at Gori, built in 1978 near Busan, briefly lost mains power and the emergency generator failed to kick in. Read More

Landslide sweeps vehicles off mountain highway in eastern Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal — An official in Nepal says a landslide has swept several vehicles off a mountain highway. Four people are confirmed dead and nine others have been reported missing.

Government administrator Purushottam Ghimire says the landslide Sunday night swept away five vehicles traveling on the Mechi highway near Kilbung village in eastern Nepal.

He says eight people have been rescued, four bodies have been pulled out and people remain missing.

Details were still sketchy Monday morning but rescue teams have reached the area. Source

Fungus meningitis sickens 12, kills 2 - North Carolina and Tennessee

A dozen people have been sickened and two have died after an outbreak of fungal meningitis tied to injections given at outpatient surgical centers in Tennessee and North Carolina, health officials said.

At least 737 people who received lumbar epidural steroid injections between July 30 and Sept. 20 have been notified of the cluster of rare aspergillus meningitis infections, which attack the central nervous system, said Curtis Allen, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aspergillus is a mold present in the environment, and the meningitis is not related to the more common bacterial or viral types of meningitis.

“The main thing is that it’s not transmissible person-to-person,” said Allen. Read More

Low-Level nuclear waste incident in Lincoln, Nebraska

Nuclear waste travels through Nebraska almost daily. On Saturday, a bit of scare here in Lincoln. Officials say the incident at 56th and Highway 2 could have been worse. The truck was carrying low-level waste, but thankfully it didn't end up causing any harm. Emergency vehicles swarm a flatbed semi Saturday after it stopped too quickly, causing its load to shift, it happened near 56th and Highway 2. That load contained low-level nuclear waste.

"The public should stay away from anything labeled radioactive material," Environmental Health Specialist Ralph Martin said.

Ralph Martin is an Environmental Health Specialist who works closely on these types of events. He says in this instance, the low-level waste never left its container, which was a very good thing.

"Well, anytime you have radioactive material in a place it's not meant to be, you would have concern. The levels of this material would be unlikely that anybody could be injured," Martin said.

So we asked the question, what exactly is low-level Nuclear waste? Here's how the U.S. Nuclear regulatory commission defines it. Items that have been contaminated with radioactive material or that have been exposed to radiation. These items usually include shoe covers and clothing, rags, equipment and syringes. The radioactivity of the items ranges from levels found in nature, to sometimes, highly radioactive. Read More

95% of 'Syrian rebels' not Syrians - report

UK trains & arms future enemies, repeats errors of past

Syrian rebels have fight with Jews ahead of them

US economic crisis

Philadelphia Police officer filmed Punching innocent woman

US bank liable for defrauding homeowners: Paul Sheldon

US can wage another war on Iraq

Clip of Captured American Raises Doubts

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake BALLENY ISLANDS REGION - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the BALLENY ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 16.6 km (10.3 miles), the quake hit at 19:41:29 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 280 km (173 miles) NNW of Scott Island Bank, Antarctica
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 3.1 km (1.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:39:08 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 90 km (55 miles) South of Pangai, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

More Al Qaeda pre-US election attacks forecast: Americans quietly lifted out

Just five weeks before America’s presidential election, US intelligence reports signs that al Qaeda leader Ayman Zuwahiri is preparing a string of terrorist attacks as the sequel to the murders of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US officials in Benghazi on Sept. 11, according to evidence collected across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

His twin goals are to influence the poll’s results and to build up his reputation as a master of spectacular terrorist operations. Eager to impress Al Qaeda’s franchise chiefs, Zuwahiri is reported to be celebrating his “Benghazi feat” – his first as Al Qaeda leader - and boasting of the harm to the Obama campaign caused by his administration’s stammering denials that it was an act of terror. The new terrorist chief claims his tactics had an instant, devastating impact on Washington and they were therefore superior to those of his predecessor, Osama bin Laden.

The Al Qaeda leader is now seen - not only by US intelligence experts, but by most experts in the West, the Middle East and Israel - to be impatient to capitalize on this success and so dramatically expose to the Muslim world America’s perceived weakness and his own worth as commander of the jihadist movement.

His planning for a new offensive has taken advantage of the Arab Spring upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa and turned them around to strike at the heart of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy objectives. The Arab revolutions have let Islamist extremist and fundamentalist Salafi groups off the leash in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, while Lebanon Jordan, Iraq and Syria teeter on the brink of chaos. The extremists now enjoy free rein to organize for political action while also gaining access to vast stocks of modern arms. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake ASSAM, INDIA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck ASSAM, INDIA at a depth of 51.6 km (31.9 miles), the quake hit at 18:37:41 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 87 km (54 miles) WSW from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Mark Bridger Arrested as Search Continues for 5 year old April Jones

A 46-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the abduction of five-year-old April Jones.

Police said the search is continuing for the little girl who was last seen playing on her bicycle with friends near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, mid Wales, at around 7pm last night.

She was last spotted by another child getting into a grey or light-coloured van - similar to a Ford Transit Connect or Land Rover-type vehicle.

Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said the suspect was arrested at around 4pm, and they had been "actively looking for him". Read More

Thousands protest against French austerity budget

BRUSSELS - French President Francois Hollande faced his first serious public backlash after up to 50,000 lined the streets of Paris on Sunday (30 September) in protest against his €37 billion austerity budget.

Organisers of the event, which brought together around 60 left-wing groups, claimed that 50,000 protestors took to the streets to denounce the cuts programme.

"Today is the day the French people launch a movement against the politics of austerity," said the Front de Gauche president, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who finished fourth in the Presidential elections.

On Tuesday (2 October) deputies in the National Assembly will debate the fiscal compact, with a number of members from the ruling Socialist and Green parties expected to defy the government's majority. Read More

Ron Hera on why QE3 is really a bank bailout...Another One

Concerns Mount that European Central Bank Bond-Buying Program Is Illegal

The markets have celebrated Mario Draghi's announcement that the European Central Bank will embark on unlimited purchases of sovereign bonds from crisis stricken countries. But are such purchases really legal? Draghi's own justification for the program leaves plenty of room for doubt.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is spending a lot of time on the road these days, not unlike a traveling salesman. The product he has on offer is credibility, but in Germany at least, it is proving difficult to find eager takers.

Last week, for example, Draghi gave a speech to several hundred business leaders at the Berlin Congress Center -- and the mood was reserved. German business owners still have fond memories of the old deutsche mark, and Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, still has a good reputation. Draghi's recently announced plans to launch unlimited purchases of sovereign bonds from crisis-stricken euro-zone member states, on the other hand, are being met with disconcertment and concern.
"These new steps are not a departure from our mandate," Draghi told German industrial leaders. The ECB, in other words, isn't just focused on price stability, but is also engaged in "ensuring the proper transmission of monetary policy." Beyond that, though, concerns are unfounded. The moves made by the ECB, Draghi insisted, "do not aim to finance governments, and nor would they if they were activated."

Draghi, of course, was not as concerned about those gathered in the room before him as he was about a man sitting 425 kilometers (266 miles) away in Frankfurt: Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann. Weidmann believes that, with its bond purchases, the ECB will help euro-zone governments gain access to funds at attractive rates by pushing down interest rates on those bonds. But that, in Weidmann's view, is fiscal policy rather than monetary policy and is thus outside the ECB mandate. Read More

Obama Increased Foreign Aid 80%; Spent 76% More on Foreign Aid Than Border Security

(CNSNews.com) - From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2011, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government increased spending on foreign aid by 80 percent and, in fiscal 2011, spent 76 percent more on foreign aid than it did securing the borders of the United States.

In fiscal 2008, the government spent a total of $11.427 billion in international assistance programs, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. In fiscal 2011, according to the statement, it spent $20.599 billion—an increase of $9.172 billion, or 80 percent, from 2008.

Prior to President Obama taking office, international assistance spending had been trending down for three years, according to the Treasury. In fiscal 2005, it was $14.787 billion. In fiscal 2006, it dropped to $13.914 billion. In fiscal 2007, it dropped again to $12.764 billion. And, in fiscal 2008, it dropped yet again to $11.427 billion.

Since 2008, international assistance spending has increased each year. In fiscal 2009, it climbed to $14.827 billion. In fiscal 2010, it jumped to $20.038 billion. And, in fiscal 2011, it climbed again to $20.599 billion. Read More

Biden tells audience middle class has been 'buried' last four years

Vice President Biden said Tuesday that the middle class has been “buried” for the last four years.


Biden made the remark at a campaign rally while arguing that Republicans would raise taxes on the middle class. He said the tax hike would be especially bad given what the middle class has been through over the last four years.

“This is deadly earnest, man. This is deadly earnest,” the vice president said. “How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts.”

Republicans quickly seized on the remarks, accusing the Obama administration of implementing policies that have hurt the middle class. Read More

Who is best suited to fix America’s finances?

Oct 2 - Jeffrey Goldfarb talks with Rob Cox and Dan Indiviglio about the Economic Dream Team Machine, a new game that allows you to assemble the best economic teams for an Obama or Romney White House.


Russia tells NATO to stay away from Syria

(Reuters) - Russia told NATO and world powers on Tuesday they should not seek ways to intervene in Syria's civil war or set up buffer zones between rebels and government forces.

Moscow further called for restraint between NATO-member Turkey and Syria, where violence along their shared border has strained relations between the former allies.

Tensions have flared since a mortar round fired from inside Syria struck the territory of Turkey. Ankara has threatened to respond if the strike were repeated.

When asked by Interfax if Moscow worried whether the tense border situation could prompt NATO to intervene to defend Turkey, its easternmost member, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov warned against any such step.

"In our contacts with partners in NATO and in the region, we are calling on them not to seek pretexts for carrying out a military scenario or to introduce initiatives such as humanitarian corridors or buffer zones." Read More

Our revolution has been stolen: Libya's jihadists

(Reuters) - From the mountains of Afghanistan and the streets of Baghdad to the iron cages of Guantanamo Bay, Libyans from Derna have made their small city a big name in global jihad.

Now, with their nemesis Muammar Gaddafi gone, many are home - but say their battle for an Islamic state has only just begun.

The death of the U.S. ambassador last month in the sack of Washington's consulate in Benghazi - an assault Washington says may have involved al Qaeda-allied militants - has shone a global spotlight on armed Islamists across eastern Libya.

One effect of hostile reactions at home and abroad has been that some Islamist groups, part of a patchwork of militias which fill a vacuum left by Gaddafi, have made a tactical retreat from view, in some declaring their brigades to have disbanded. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 2nd October 2012


A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA at a depth of 105 km (65.1 miles), the quake hit at 17:37:22 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 97 km (60.2 miles) Northwest of Curup, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Clinton will respond to lawmakers, cooperate in Benghazi probe

(Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will respond on Tuesday to U.S. lawmakers who wrote to her requesting information about an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi last month in which four people died, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Clinton is ready to cooperate "closely" with Congress in investigating the attack in Benghazi, Nuland said at a regular daily news briefing.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the assault on the mission the evening of September 11. Source

Radical Israeli settlers vandalize Christian monastery

Radical Jewish settlers vandalized a Christian church outside of Jerusalem, spray-painting “Jesus is a bastard” and “price tag” on its outer door. Such attacks have been on the rise despite police promises to curb hate crimes in the Holy Land.

The blue graffiti denigrating the central figure to the Christian religion was scrawled on the door of the Franciscan Convent near the Dormition Abbey Church early on Tuesday. It was removed soon after.

The Dormition Abbey Church, located on Mount Zion just outside the walls of the Old City, is believed by many Christians to be the site where the Virgin Mary died.

“What took place is that a church on Mount Zion was targeted. On it was written graffiti against Christianity, and 'price tag,' and now we're investigating the incident,” police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP.

The term "price tag" is used to denote crimes carried out against local Palestinians or Israeli security forces in retaliation for any actions taken to curb settlement expansion. Read More

Nigeria student massacre claims 26 lives

KANO, Nigeria — Gunmen massacred at least 26 people in a student housing area of northeast Nigeria on Tuesday, calling victims out by name before shooting them or slitting their throats, officials said.

The attack occurred in the early hours in the town of Mubi, where the military last week carried out a high-profile raid against Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which has been waging a deadly insurgency.

Some officials however suggested the massacre may have been linked to a recent student election.
According to a police spokesman, the attackers knew their victims and called them out by name in an off-campus area near a polytechnic school where students live.

The police spokesman, Mohammed Ibrahim, put the death toll at 25, including 19 students from the polytechnic, three students from a health technology school, two security guards and a retired soldier.

A relief official speaking on condition of anonymity said 26 people had been confirmed dead and 15 were wounded and taken to hospital. The military had taken over the area.

"The attackers knew their targets," Ibrahim told AFP. Read More

Hillary Clinton personally pressured Japan leader to keep nuclear power as “President Obama wishes it”

It has been revealed that the United States government was strongly urging [the Japanese government] to reconsider its policy of “zero nukes in 2030s” which was part of the energy and environmental strategy of the Noda administration, as “President Obama wishes it”.

According to the multiple government sources, as the Noda administration was moving in August toward explicitly putting down “zero nuke” in the official document, the US strongly requested that Japan reconsider the “zero nuke” policy, saying the request was “the result of discussion at the highest level of the government”, indicating it was the Obama administration’s consensus, from the president on down.

On September 8, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with the US Secretary of State Clinton during the APEC meeting in Vladivostok in Russia. Here again, representing the US president, Secretary Clinton expressed concern. While avoiding the overt criticism of the Noda administration’s policy, she further pressured Japan by stressing that it was President Obama and the US Congress who were concerned.

(According to Former Deputy Energy Secretary Martin,) the US government thinks that “The US energy strategy would be more likely to suffer a direct damage” because of the Japan’s policy change toward zero nuclear energy. Translated Source

Original Article Source

Beached whale on Suffolk coast

The unfortunate cetacean, variously reported as being a minke or a fin whale, has sadly died as is all too often the case when the animals become beached. About 600 whales are beached in the UK every year. Source

France and Germany clash over BAE-EADS headquarters

France and Germany have clashed over the location of the new headquarters of BAE-EADS should a planned merger to go ahead.

France wants the main base of a combined company to be in Toulouse, where EADS’s subsidiary Airbus is based, but Germany wants the headquarters to be located outside Munich according to reports.

It is the latest twist in the £30bn mega merger, which is hinged on a complex set of negotiations as European governments make a list of demands.

BAE-EADS must gain backing for the deal from the French, German, British and US governments before it can go ahead to create a European defence and aerospace giant.

All countries are demanding assurances that national security interests will be protected, as well as jobs. Read More

Iran to enrich uranium to 60 percent if nuclear talks fail: MP

(Reuters) - Iran would enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity if negotiations with major powers over its nuclear program fail, an Iranian lawmaker said on Tuesday, in comments that may add to Western alarm about Iranian intentions.

Mansour Haqiqatpour, deputy head of parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, said 60 percent enrichment would be to yield fuel for nuclear submarines, which often require uranium refined to high levels.

But it would also take Iran another significant step closer to the 90 percent enrichment level needed to make atomic bombs, which the West suspects is the Islamic state's ultimate aim. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy only.

Even though it is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - and not the parliament - who decides foreign policy issues, Haqiqatpour's remarks were a sign of Iranian defiance in the face of Western demands to curb sensitive nuclear activity. Read More

EU advisers want high-risk banking separated from retail

(Reuters) - An EU advisory group called on Tuesday for banks' traditional deposit-taking business to be legally separated from higher risk activities, drawing fire from the industry even though it stopped short of demanding a full break up of lenders.

Recommendations of the group, set up by the European Commission, aim to shield taxpayers from having to fund further bailouts and to protect savers from any more banking collapses after more than five years of crisis.

In their report, the group argued for a "legal separation of ... particularly risky financial activities from deposit taking", including banks' trading on their own behalf as well as "activities closely linked with securities and derivatives".

Such reforms, if written into EU law, would have major consequences for many of the continent's top lenders. Read More

Missing April Jones: 46-Year-Old Man Arrested

A 46-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of five-year-old April Jones.

Police said the search is continuing for the little girl who was last seen playing on her bicycle with friends near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, mid Wales, at around 7pm last night.

She was last spotted by another child getting into a grey or light-coloured van - similar to a Ford Transit Connect or Land Rover-type vehicle.

Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said the suspect was arrested in the last hour, and they had been "actively looking for him".

He said the suspect is a local man and drives a vehicle similar to the one in the police appeal. He was walking by the side of the road, a couple of miles outside the town, when he was seized.

"We were keen to trace him," Mr Bevan added.

The man is known to April's family, but is not a relation. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA at a depth of 57.5 km (35.7 miles), the quake hit at 14:55:30 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 89 km (55 miles) WNW of Bengkulu, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

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

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 29.8 km (18.5 miles), the quake hit at 11:37:53 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 111 km (68 miles) East of Miyako, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck TONGA at a depth of 34.7 km (21.6 miles), the quake hit at 11:35:51 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 55 km (34 miles) ENE of `Ohonua, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Syrian opposition 'won't talk to killers'....That's Rich!!



CNN) -- A Syrian opposition spokesman lambasted the government's call for dialogue Tuesday, marking yet another stalemate in the country's 19-month deadly conflict.

"No Syrian is willing to sit down with any of these killers in the Syrian government who have been responsible for every single drop of blood that have been shed in Syria," Syrian National Council spokesman George Sabra told CNN from Paris.

"From day one, the regime played the same tune, call(ing) for political solution while ordering mass killing all across the homeland. They keep putting themselves in a political corner ... while their military keeps its systematic killing spree, murdering hundreds of innocent men and women every single day."

At the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem made his call for a dialogue and accused other states of promoting "terrorism" in his country. Read More

EU: The federal revolution

A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of self-interested nation states, according to a fiery new book by veteran European politicians, who see a federal Europe as the future. Two political rivals teamed up to offer a radical vision of how they believe the European Union should change.

Guy Verhofstadt, president of the European parliament’s liberal ALDE group and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the parliament’s Green group teamed up to write a new book, ‘For Europe! A manifesto for a post-national revolution in Europe’.

The former Belgian Premier, now MEP and aspiring Commission president has ambitions for the publication, “I hope that this book is not just a manifesto but the start of a new era in European politics, creating a new pro-europe political force.”

Speaking at the launch of the book in Brussels (there will be launches in five other countries later), Verhofstadt said, “What we have tried to describe, is what a more federal Europe means. It means more than a discussion on policy, it means you build a real European government, a European democracy. “ Source

Europe’s trial by crisis

BERLIN – Some 2,500 years ago, the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus concluded that war is the father of all things. He might have added that crisis is their mother.

Fortunately, war between world powers is no longer a realistic option, owing to the threat of mutual nuclear destruction. But major international crises, such as the current global financial crisis, remain with us – which might not be an entirely bad thing.

Just as in war, crises fundamentally disrupt the status quo, which means that they create an opportunity – without war’s destructive force – for change that in normal times is hardly possible. To overcome a crisis requires doing things that previously were barely conceivable, let alone feasible.

That is what has happened to the European Union over the last three years, because the global financial crisis has not only shaken Europe to its foundations; it has assumed life-threatening proportions.

Compared to the beginning of 2009, we are now dealing with a significantly different EU – one that has become divided between a vanguard of member states that form the eurozone and a rearguard, consisting of member states that remain outside it. The reason is not evil intent, but rather the pressure of the crisis. If the euro is to survive, eurozone members must act, while other EU members with various levels of commitment to European integration remain on the fringe. Read More

Indian general stabbed in an assassination attempt in London

LONDON (AP) — An Indian army general who helped lead a deadly 1984 raid on Sikhism's holiest shrine in India has been stabbed and wounded in London, in what he claims was an assassination attempt.

Lt. Gen. Kuldeep Singh Brar, 78, was set upon by four men and slashed in the neck as he walked with his wife near London's busy Oxford Street shopping area on Sunday. He was treated in a London hospital and released.

London's Metropolitan Police force said it was treating the attack as attempted murder and appealed for witnesses. Police say they have not established a motive for the stabbing.

But Brar linked the attack to his role in the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar to flush out Sikh militants, an operation in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

Brar said he was attacked as he and his wife walked back to their hotel from a restaurant.

"Suddenly four bearded tough looking men, Sikhs wearing black jackets and black clothes pounced on me, one of them pushed my wife to the side, she fell down and started screaming for help," Brar, speaking with bandages on his face, neck and arms, told New Delhi Television.

"Three of them charged at me, one pulled a 'kirpan', a dagger or a knife — can't remember exactly what it was now — at that time there was a scuffle, and he tried to assassinate me and he slashed my neck with the knife. Read More

Austin Tice Alive: Web video shows US journalist missing in Syria...But is it all for Show?

WASHINGTON — An Internet video has surfaced appearing to show a US reporter missing in Syria, in what would be the first direct sign of him since his disappearance in August.

Two news organizations which have employed the freelance journalist Austin Tice said the 47-second YouTube video did appear to show him, blindfolded, but that it lacked enough information to draw conclusions about his current condition or whereabouts.

The video was dated September 26 but only noticed Monday by Tice's family and colleagues in the United States.

In the video, a blindfolded man who appears to be Tice is dragged out of a vehicle by several gun-toting men whose faces are not shown. He utters a few words in Arabic including "in the name of God, most gracious, most compassionate" and then "there is no God but Allah" before saying, in English, "Jesus, Jesus."

Tice had been working for The Washington Post and McClatchy Newspapers, which repeated calls for his release. Read More

UPDATE: US doubts over video of captured journalist - live updates

Storify and the New York Times track more scepticism about the Austin Tice video and whether it was staged.

The NYT Lede blog notes:

Analysts contacted by both McClatchy and The Post, and bloggers who have worked to authenticate video from Syria for the past 18 months, agreed that some details of the video did not ring true.

Nadim Houry from Human Rights Watch links the video with purportedly Syrian leaked documents published by the Saudi broadcaster al-Arabiya.

Nadim Houry@nadimhoury
Al-Arabiyya Leaked documents on #Syria seem just as dubious as Austin Tice video. Better be skeptical in both cases. Source

Crackdown ordered after attacks in Bangladesh

Authorities in Bangladesh have ordered security officials to remain alert around official camps of Rohingya Muslims following weekend attacks on minority Buddhists and their temples in the area.

Some 28,000 Rohingya who fled Burma live in two official camps in the southern Cox's Bazar district, but tens of thousands of others are scattered in the region.

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said he ordered security officials to stay vigilant. There is no clear evidence that Rohingya Muslims were involved in the attacks on Buddhists, but concerns have been raised about possible links to the violence that took place between late Saturday and early Sunday.

Bangladesh's largest-circulated Bengali-language Prothom Alo daily reported that a section of intelligence officials think radical Rohingya Muslims might have a role behind the attacks. The daily did not name any intelligence officials.

Meanwhile, prime minister Sheikh Hasina's government is blaming Islamic radicals and activists in the political opposition. Read More

Dozens die as ferries collide in Hong Kong

Mystery illness solved when family discovers new home was a meth lab

The foreclosed house for sale on the up-and-coming street pined for fresh paint and other fixes, but the Hankins family saw its potential.

Plus, at $36,000, the price was perfect for a young family trying to make ends meet in small-town Klamath Falls, Ore.

"We said, 'It needs a little bit of love, but it's got good bones,'" Jonathan Hankins recalled. "We just had no idea that those bones were poisonous."

Within days of moving in this past summer, Beth Hankins, an ER nurse, started experiencing breathing problems. Then Jonathan got migraine-like headaches and nosebleeds. By the third week, their 2-year-old son, Ezra, developed mouth sores.

"He couldn't even drink water without being in pain," said Jonathan, 32.

They were about to schedule doctor visits when a neighbor shared the bad news: 2427 Radcliffe was a former meth house.

The family ordered a $50 testing kit and had the lab expedite the results, which revealed a contamination level nearly 80 times above Oregon Heath Authority limits.

"Our walls were poisoning us," said Jonathan, who quickly moved his family to a rental home.

Buying a foreclosed house from government-sponsored Freddie Mac meant the family was informed about being responsible for detecting hazards like lead paint and asbestos, but there was no warning from real estate agents or Freddie Mac about drug activity. Read More

April Jones Abduction: Search Intensifies For Missing Five-Year-Old

A local search team is calling for more volunteers in the hunt for a five-year-old girl believed to have been abducted.

April Jones was playing with friends near her home in the Mid Wales town of Machynlleth at around 7pm on Monday when she went missing.

She was last spotted by another child getting into a van wearing a purple knee-length coat with grey fur around the hood, a white polo top and black trousers, said police.

Two helicopters are being deployed to scour the area as part of intensive police operations. Hundreds of residents from the market town have joined in the hunt and are coordinating their efforts at the Machynlleth Leisure Centre.

Speaking from the centre, Inspector Lyn Rhys told people he would divide them into search teams to avoid an overlap of work. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA at a depth of 12.6 km (7.8 miles), the quake hit at 08:34:54 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 38 km (23 miles) Northeast of Dharmsala, India
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA at a depth of 7.2 km (4.5 miles), the quake hit at 08:28:15 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 17 km (10 miles) WNW From Ocotillo, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Obamanomics: A Counterhistory

WORKING out of cramped, bare offices in a downtown building here in Washington, President-elect Obama’s economic team spent the final weeks of 2008 trying to assess how bad the economy was. It was during those weeks, according to several members of the team, when they first discussed academic research by the economists Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff that would soon become well known.

Ms. Reinhart and Mr. Rogoff were about to publish a book based on earlier academic papers, arguing that financial crises led to slumps that were longer and deeper than other recessions. Almost inevitably, the economists wrote, policy makers battling a crisis made the mistake of thinking that their crisis would not be as bad as previous ones. The wry title of the book is “This Time Is Different.”

In my interviews with Obama advisers during that time, they emphasized that they knew the history and were determined to avoid repeating it. Yet of course they did repeat it. After successfully preventing another depression, in 2009, they have spent much of the last three years underestimating the economy’s weakness. That weakness, in turn, has become Mr. Obama’s biggest vulnerability, helping cost Democrats control of the House in 2010 and endangering his accomplishments elsewhere. Read More

Spain bailout uncertainty pushes European shares lower

(Reuters) - European shares and the euro dipped on Tuesday as investors worried about Spain's economic troubles and a gloomy outlook for global growth, cashing in recent gains.

The FTSEurofirst index of top European shares opened 0.4 percent lower as trading resumed, having finished up 1.42 percent at 1104.71 points on Monday. London's FTSE 100 .FTSE, Paris's CAC-40 .FCHI and Frankfurt's DAX .GDAXI all started in negative territory. .L .EU .N

Spain is ready to request a euro zone bailout for its public finances as early as next weekend but Germany has signaled it should hold off, European officials said on Monday, adding to the confusion about when aid could arrive.

A rescue program would pave the way for the European Central Bank to buy Spanish bonds.

"There are worries over whether or not it will be a bailout and whether such a bailout would trigger credit downgrades," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities. Read More

Missing Oz Plane: Fears Grow For Missing Six People on Board

A full-scale search has resumed for a missing vintage aircraft that went missing in Australia with six people on board

The 1930s biplane vanished in Queensland as passengers were enjoying a scenic flight during an air show.

Pilot Des Porter, 68, was due to land his aircraft at Caboolture Airport, north of Brisbane, at about 2.15pm local time on Monday but never arrived.

It has been revealed that Mr Porter survived a fatal crash in the same aircraft which claimed the lives of his father and brother in the 1950s.

He was 10 when the plane flown by his father went down in a creek in south Brisbane in 1954.

In the latest incident, the de Havilland DH84 sent out a distress call alerting the emergency services who immediately began searching.

Beforehand, Mr Porter had said he was having difficulty positioning himself and wanted assistance. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES at a depth of 41.1 km (25.5 miles), the quake hit at 06:25:31 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 14 km (8 miles) NNW of Dumingag, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA- 2nd October 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA at a depth of 49.5 km (30.8 miles), the quake hit at 04:21:02 UTC Tuesday 2nd October 2012
The epicenter was 44 km (27 miles) SSE of Attu Station, Alaska
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time