Friday, October 5, 2012

Radical Cleric Abu Hamza Deported From Britain

Radical cleric Abu Hamza is expected to arrive in the United States today after he was deported from Britain along with four other terror suspects.

The men were onboard two planes which left a military airbase in Suffolk late on Friday, Home Secretary Theresa May said.

The suspects had made last-ditch challenges against removal from the UK, which were rejected by two High Court judges in London hours earlier.

Speaking after the US-bound flights had taken off, Mrs May said: "I can confirm that tonight two planes have left RAF Mildenhall to transport Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Adel Abdul Bary, Syed Ahsan and Khalid al-Fawwaz to the US to face trial.

"I am pleased the decision of the court today meant that these men, who used every available opportunity to frustrate and delay the extradition process over many years, could finally be removed.

"This government has co-operated fully with the courts and pressed at every stage to ensure this happened. more

21st Century Battlefield: Race Of Drones

Israel is the world's largest exporter of drones, CNN reported Tuesday, noting that the Jewish state now sells unmanned aerial vehicles and related technologies to a variety of countries.

But Israel's booming drone industry is just a symptom of a global trend. Only 10 years ago the US had a virtual monopoly on drones, but now more than 70 countries own some type of an unmanned aircraft – although just a small number of those nations possess armed drones.

According to the report, the explosion in drone technology promises to change the way nations conduct war and threatens to begin a new arms race as governments scramble to counterbalance their adversaries.

Alongside airplanes, civil aviation will include varied versions of unmanned aircrafts in the near future. more

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF CALIFORNIA - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the GULF OF CALIFORNIA at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 20:02:08 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 115 km (71 miles) ENE of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF GUATEMALA - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck OFF THE COAST OF GUATEMALA at a depth of 6.6 km (4.1 miles), the quake hit at 18:22:52 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 137 km (85 miles) Southwest of Puerto San Jose, Guatemala
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the BANDA SEA at a depth of 157.2 km (97.7 miles), the quake hit at 18:08:19 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 242 km (150 miles) Northwest of Saumlaki, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN PERU - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN PERU at a depth of 185.2 km (115.1 miles), the quake hit at 17:56:01 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) NNW of Santa Lucia, Peru
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Turkish military returns fire after mortar shell from Syria lands in farmland in Hatay province

Turkey has reportedly returned fire after a shell fired from Syria landed on its territory close to their common border.

NTV private news said the shell from Syria landed in the Turkish town of Altinozu, in Hatay province near the border, triggering an immediate response from Turkish forces.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

More follows...

After Benghazi, is al Qaeda back?....CIA Never Left, Did they?

When trying to understand a strange action by the U.S. government, I have found it's usually best explained by incompetence rather than conspiracy. 

Republicans have claimed that the Obama Administration deliberately deceived the American public about the terrorist attack in Benghazi by describing it as a spontaneous mob uprising rather than a planned operation.

But if the Administration knew from the start that it was a terrorist attack, did it really think that it could conceal this from the world? That the Libyan government would make no investigation? That there would be no eyewitnesses in a public place where hundreds had gathered? A far more plausible explanation is that in the chaotic aftermath of the attack, the Administration--too hastily and without proper analysis--put out the reports it was receiving. That's clumsy, but it's not treason.

The larger issue that the attack raises, however, which is fair game for a campaign conversation, is what the events in Benghazi tell us about terrorist organizations, in particular al-Qaeda. After years of being in retreat, is al-Qaeda back? Read More

Syrian rebels say they will kill Iranian Unarmed hostages

CNN) -- Syrian rebels said they will start executing a group of about 48 Shiite pilgrims from Iran if Tehran and Damascus do not comply with their demands, according to a video posted on YouTube this week.

The pilgrims were abducted in August.

In the video, a rebel officer dressed in camouflage, standing in front of what appeared to be a group of hostages, addressed the Iranian and Syrian governments.

The officer said his group had tried to negotiate with Syrian authorities for the hostages' release, in exchange for that of rebels held in regime prisons, but those efforts failed "because of the reluctance of both the Iranian and Syrian regimes." Read More

Who is arming the Syrian conflict?

(CNN) -- Syria's shelling of a border town in Turkey has sparked fears that President Bashar al-Assad's attempt to snuff out a rebellion at home could turn into a damaging regional war between the two neighbors.

Five civilians, all women and children, in the town of Akcakale were killed by Syrian artillery rounds in the worst single case of violence on the Turkish side of the border since Syria's unrest began last year.

While Syria hasn't confirmed its motive for firing into Turkey, rebels fighting an 18-month war against the Assad regime have allegedly been using positions on the Turkish border as a safe haven to regroup and re-arm following battles with Syrian troops.

Another explanation, says one expert, is that in a cat-and-mouse pursuit to neutralize rebel groups near the border, Syrian artillery units simply overshot their target. Read More

Turkey Shells Military Targets Inside Syria

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:19:07 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) South of Odate, Honshu, Japan
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck SULAWESI, INDONESIA at a depth of 100 km (62 miles), the quake hit at 15:44:07 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 61 km (37.8 miles) Southwest of Mobagu, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Turkey warns "not far" from war after Syrian attack

(Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned on Friday his country was "not far" from war with Syria following cross-border attacks this week - words which highlighted the danger that the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Asaad will drag in its neighbours.

In a belligerent speech to a crowd in Istanbul, Erdogan warned the Assad government it would be making a fatal mistake if it picked a fight with Turkey.

The speech followed a Syrian mortar barrage on a town in southeast Turkey that killed five people on Tuesday.

Turkish artillery bombarded Syrian military targets on Wednesday and Thursday in response, killing several Syrian soldiers, and the Turkish parliament has authorised cross-border military action in the event of further aggression.

"We are not interested in war, but we're not far from it either," Erdogan said in his speech. Read More

Libyan protesters storm congress over government line-up

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Protesters stormed the headquarters of Libya's national congress on Thursday angry about the new prime minister's proposed government line-up, saying it was not fully representative of the North African country.

Between 100 and 150 demonstrators from the western town of Zawiyah walked into the main room where congress meets, forcing the cancellation of a special session to study Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur's nominations for his transitional government.

Abushagur nominated his cabinet on Wednesday for approval by the national congress, presenting a line-up that excluded the leading liberal coalition.

"After we heard the list, everyone in Zawiyah was angry. Some even began protesting in Zawiyah's main square last night," said Nuri Shambi, who travelled the 50 kms (30 miles) from Zawiyah to the capital Tripoli to voice his anger.

"Abushagur said he would form a coalition government, that he would look at experience. Zawiyah proposed candidates for oil minister, but he's brought in someone who is not well known." Read More

Lloyds Banking Group and Co-op hit by 'system error'

Two major banking groups have suffered from system errors which have been causing problems for customers.

Users of Lloyds TSB debit cards, ATMs, and the bank's online banking service complained of difficulties, along with customers at the Halifax.

But a group spokeswoman said the problem was now fixed and a backlog of transactions was being worked through.

The Co-operative Bank also admitted to suffering from a "temporary issue" with its systems.

A spokeswoman for the Halifax, part of Lloyds Banking Group, said the hitches were the result of a "systems failure", which had affected the group's telephone systems as well as ATMs and online services.

"Lloyds Banking Group experienced technical issues that affected some customers. All of our systems are now up and running," said a spokeswoman for the banking group. Read More

Watchdog Warns Of Power Shortages By 2015

A report by the energy regulator warns of the prospect of higher bills and the potential for power shortages because of falling spare capacity in electricity generation.

Ofgem's first Electricity Capacity Assessment for the Government forecasts a reduction in generation margins over the next four years, falling from 14% to 4% over the winter of 2015/16.

One reason for the deterioration is that coal-fired power stations are closing earlier than expected under EU environmental legislation, forcing the UK to import more gas to compensate and therefore risk costs rising.

The watchdog had already identified the major challenges in a previous report in 2009: that Britain faced an unprecedented combination of the global financial crisis, tough environmental targets and the closure of ageing power stations.

The latest study showed those risks, and the possibility of higher bills as a result of the constraints, had not gone away. Read More

South Africa's Amplats fires 12,000 wildcat strikers

(Reuters) - The world's largest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, fired 12,000 workers taking part in a three-week illegal strike on Friday, following through on tough talk over wildcat stoppages in South African mines.

Two months of labor unrest has spread from mines to other parts of Africa's biggest economy, causing political problems for President Jacob Zuma and his ruling African National Congress (ANC), the veteran liberation movement long closely tied to unions.

Shell said on Friday it could not honor fuel delivery contracts around Johannesburg because of a two-week truckers' strike. Police shot dead another striking miner overnight, taking the death toll to 48 in the worst labor unrest since the end of apartheid.

The rand fell two percent to within sight of a three-year low against the dollar amid fears the (ANC) is powerless to manage the spreading labor unrest.

Zuma has been criticized for his low-key response, especially after police killed 34 strikers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on August 16. Read More

Merkel to visit Greece as money running out

(Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make her first visit to Greece next week since the euro zone debt crisis erupted, in a show of support for Athens after it said it will run out of money at the end of November without fresh international aid.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras hailed the trip as a very positive development at a time when his country is locked in negotiations with euro zone and IMF creditors who are holding back some 31.5 billion euros ($41 billion) in urgently needed loans.

"The key is liquidity. That is why the next credit tranche is so important for us," Samaras told the German business daily Handelsblatt. Asked how long Greece could manage without it, he said: "Until the end of November. Then the coffers are empty."

A German government spokesman said Merkel would travel to Athens on Tuesday for her first visit since the crisis began in late 2009, when a previous government revealed that Greece had hugely understated its public deficit. Read More

Cleric Abu Hamza Loses Extradition Appeal

A UK High Court judge has ruled radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza can now be extradited to the United States to face terror charges.

Applications to prevent extradition orders against four other terror suspects - Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Khaled al Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary - have all also been dismissed.

Judge Sir John Thomas ruled that all five can now be extradited immediately.

After the verdict was announced a spokesman for Ahmad read out a statement, in front of the Royal Courts of Justice.

He said: "I leave with my head held high having won the moral victory." Read More

BAE/EADS Mega Merger 'On Brink Of Collapse'

Fears are growing that the planned 'mega merger' between BAE Systems and EADS is at risk because of the equity demands of European Governments.

Germany's Spiegel magazine, citing Government sources, has claimed that French demands have brought the £38bn deal to the brink of collapse.

It reported that Britain wanted to prevent at all costs any one state owning more than 10% of the merged defence and aerospace company but France was insisting it should hold more than that while obtaining the option to buy even more shares later on.

More follows...

Strange sight on Mars triggers speculation

Scientists are trying to identify the strange black spidery objects in these images. (Michael Benson/NASA/JPL/University …


Someone alert Ziggy Stardust, there appear to be spiders on Mars.

Strange black objects seen from 200 miles above the surface of Mars are generating interest and speculation that the unidentified objects could be anything from geysers to sunbathing colonies of microorganisms.

NPR presents several photos of the objects, including one taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010, that appears to show "little black flecks dotting the ridges, mostly on the sunny side, like sunbathing spiders sitting in rows."

The objects were first spotted in 1998. Interestingly, they appear when the surface of Mars begins to warm, showing up in the same location most of the time. And then when the Martian winter approaches, they disappear with the same precise regularity. The images have been brought into greater detail by Michael Benson in his book "Planetfall: New Solar System Visions."

Most scientists, including teams from the U.S. Geological Survey, Hungary and the European Space Agency, have their own theories, but the leading explanation is that the objects are geysers of CO2 exploding from underneath the planet's surface.

"If you were there, you'd be standing on a slab of carbon dioxide ice," Phil Christensen of Arizona State University told NPR. "All around you, roaring jets of carbon dioxide gas are throwing sand and dust a couple hundred feet into the air. The ground below would be rumbling. You'd feel it in your space boots."

And while the geyser theory is the most popular explanation, it has yet to be verified. Read More

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck the VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 86 km (53.4 miles), the quake hit at 11:23:01 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 85 km (53 miles) NNE from Settlement, Anegada, British Virgin Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck the TONGA REGION at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 11:19:23 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 197 km (122 miles) SSW of `Ohonua, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Romney's Big Bird 'Threat' Spoofed

Gunmen kill at least 26 students at Nigerian college.

Oct. 4 - Twenty-six people are dead after an attack on a university hall of residence in northern Nigeria.

Syrian rebels say capture air defense base near Damascus

(Reuters) - Syrian rebels say they captured an air defense base with a cache of missiles outside Damascus, a rare advance in a city where President Bashar al-Assad's forces have them on the back foot.

A video posted on YouTube shows dozens of rebels dressed in army fatigues celebrating as black smoke rises from a military installation behind them.

A middle-aged man holding an assault rifle says the assault on the base, in the Eastern Ghouta area was carried out by a rebel battalion from the town of Douma - both places are a few miles east of the capital.

Rebels say the operation happened on Thursday.

Syrian rebels are vastly outgunned by the army and have few ways to fend off continuous air attacks. Another video showed rebels at the base's weapons cache which included what appeared to a be part of a surface-air-missile. Read More

Spotlight on Germany as EADS, BAE inch towards deal

(Reuters) - EADS and BAE Systems have edged closer towards winning political backing for a $45 billion merger to create the world's biggest arms group amid positive signals from Britain and France, but German misgivings over control is a big obstacle, sources close to the talks said.

A number of potential stumbling blocks have emerged since the proposed tie-up between the Airbus manufacturer and the British defense group was announced last month. These include conflicting political interests in Britain, France and Germany, as well as some shareholders' dissatisfaction with the terms.

Negotiators are sticking to a British regulatory deadline of October 10 to keep up pressure for a face-saving deal squaring German demands for equal treatment to France, which would have a government stake, with company opposition to outside influence. Read More

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL TURKEY - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck CENTRAL TURKEY at a depth of 4.8 km (3 miles), the quake hit at 10:25:28 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 9 km (5 miles) East of Kaman, Turkey
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Joseph Benett Dies after inhaling laughing gas at a party

A 17-year-old public schoolboy has died after inhaling laughing gas at a party.

Joseph Benett suffered a cardiac arrest after taking the popular party drug with friends on August 31 and fell into a coma.

The teenager, from Hampstead, north London, died on Thursday last week with his family at his bedside.

"He just never woke up. He had such terrible brain damage and his fits were getting worse," his grieving sister Camille, 27, told the Ham&High newspaper.

"When he stopped breathing, my dad and I were holding his hand.

"I found it hard to leave him. As a big sister I felt a responsibility to look after my little brother."

Sixth-former Joseph, who attended University College School in Hampstead and was reported to be a promising art student, was at a friend's house in Hertfordshire when he collapsed.

The sale of nitrous oxide for recreational use is against the law, but the gas is becoming increasingly popular on the party scene. Read More

Intervention in Disguise? 'Turkey running proxy war in Syria'

The US and the Middle East

Western Washington Fire Not Contained

"Five A", the Evidence of Bo Xilai's Coup Exposed



Bo Xilai, former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary
for Chongqing, was recently detained, interrogated and transferred to the judiciary department for trial.
Bo was suspected of more serious crimes,
which have subsequently been exposed.
Overseas Chinese media quoted sources,
stating Bo Xilai launched a "Five A" project.
This project focused on a total
take over of power in the regime.
Reports also pointed out that the CCP is investigating
evidence of Bo Xilai's involvement in murder. This includes organ harvesting.
Knowledge of these crimes isn't new, so why
are some media focusing on this now?
Analysts think that this confirms Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao
and Xi Jinping will continue their actions after arresting Bo.
Media reports that Bo is involved in live organ harvesting
is to "abandon the vehicle to save the commander".

Reports are emerging that Bo Xilai
launched a project called "Five A".
The project aimed to attack senior leaders of the CCP,
which including a number of dissident officials.
It also targeted a major TV station, a number of websites,
newspapers, as well as a group of netizen commentators.

Sources are quoted as saying that from 2007, Bo Xilai
hired a number of writers and media to attack Wen Jiabao.
These were preparing to comprehensively
slandering the CCP leadership in the future. Read More

School Bus Plunges From Texas Overpass

Argentina security forces protest pay cuts

Flood Warnings As Heavy Rain Lashes UK

Flooding could hit parts of the UK as heavy rain sweeps across areas of the country, forecasters have said.

People in southwest England and Wales have seen deluges of 15-20mm overnight, with the wet weather expected to spread further east during this morning before clearing.

But more downpours are expected later on Friday and a severe weather warning of heavy rain has been issued by the Met Office for Wales, the West Midlands and southwest England.

Commuters have been warned of possible travel disruption from flooding.

Sky News weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said further rain would push into southwest England and the south of Wales after midday on Friday and would continue moving east into the evening and overnight. Read More

Mark Bridger Arrested on suspicion of murder

The man held over the disappearance of April Jones has been arrested on suspicion of her murder, police have announced.

The 46-year-old continues to be questioned, police said at a news conference, and the arrest "does not detract from our efforts to locate April and we remain committed to finding her".

Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan said: "Her family has been informed of this development and as you would expect they continue to be supported by a family liaison officer."

Sky's Martin Brunt said: "Clearly it appears that the police are looking for a body now and have given up hope of finding April alive." Read More

Why Central Bankers Prefer a Long Depression (Article 2011)

“The problem of leverage, the sheer volume of debt in the economy, is still very large and this poses massive macro-economic challenges. I think these macro-economic challenges will last many years.”

So says Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King.

Meanwhile, in Happyville, Eric Johnston informs readers of The Age:

“Westpac has delivered a seven per cent increase in first-half cash profit to $3.17 billion as charges for bad debts fell away sharply in a further sign the worst of the financial crisis is behind the banking sector.”

He’s right. It is behind the banking sector. Close behind. And catching up fast. We have an urge to say “Behind you”, pantomime style!

It’s not often we agree with central bankers. But on this occasion we’ll agree with Mr. King.

Of course, you need to take his comments in context. Because he also said:

“The economic consequences of high-level indebtedness now would become more severe if rates were to rise.”

Which is why he voted to keep the Bank of England interest rate at a record low of 0.5%.

It’s the economic equivalent of refusing to step on the brakes as your car is travelling at 200km/h towards a brick wall, because you’re afraid of wearing out the brake pads!

The truth is, touching the brakes may not stop the economy hitting the wall, but it’ll certainly slow the car down.

But what Mr. King’s comment reveals is central bankers have played the odds. They figure it’s more important to have a long economic depression that “will last many years” rather than allow a sharp and temporarily damaging bust.

Why would they take that view?

Take the pain now

Simple: a short and sharp bust is damaging in the short term to individuals and corporations – including banks. But in the long term, it’s positive for individuals and most corporations – excluding banks. Read More

New South Wales Fires Update: More than 30 blazes burn across NSW

Homes have been evacuated on the NSW central coast as more than 30 blazes burn across NSW, with authorities warning it could be one of the worst fire seasons in years.

About 75 firefighters and water-bombing aircraft were battling a blaze at Pretty Beach and Lobster Beach, near Gosford, about 4pm (AEST) on Friday.

The fire jumped containment lines during the afternoon and was threatening a number of homes, with police escorting people from houses on High View Road.

"We've not been going along counting houses. They've been going along evacuating," a Rural Fire Service (RFS) spokeswoman told AAP when asked how many homes were under threat.

The RFS back-burned the Lobster Beach fire trail earlier on Friday but a southerly wind change started fanning the blaze towards houses. Read More

France begins debate on EU austerity treaty

The French parliament Tuesday opened a difficult debate on an EU fiscal pact that is key to efforts to overcome the eurozone debt crisis but which critics slam as austerity forced by Brussels.

The National Assembly debate comes after tens of thousands of left-wing protesters marched through Paris on Sunday denouncing EU-imposed belt-tightening, although they insisted they were not criticising the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault set the tone, saying France would not be sacrificing its "sovereignty" by ratifying the text.

"The treaty itself imposes no constraints on public spending," he said. "It does not specify how it should be distributed. It does not dictate the methods one has to take to balance public finances.

"Fiscal sovereignty will remain with parliament," he said. Read More

US Households Face $3,446 Tax Increase From 2013 Fiscal Cliff

U.S. households are facing an average tax increase of $3,446 in 2013 if Congress doesn’t avert the so-called fiscal cliff, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said in a study released Monday in Washington.

The top 1 percent of households face some of the largest tax increases and would see their average federal tax rates hit 40.5 percent, up 7.2 percentage points from this year. That would translate to an average tax increase of $120,537.

About 88 percent of U.S. households would see their taxes increase in 2013, with a typical middle-income household facing a tax increase of about $2,000.

After the Nov. 6 election, Congress is scheduled to return to Washington to debate the automatic spending cuts and tax increases starting in January unless lawmakers act. For calendar year 2013, taxes would increase by $536 billion, or about 20 percent.

“This is a very large tax increase,” Donald Marron, the center’s director, told reporters in Washington. Read More

Cell-phones tracked without warrants

Golden Dawn opens Canadian branch in Montreal

Montreal - Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi) the ultra-nationalist Greek political party that has recently soared in popularity, has now expanded its overseas branches, opening a chapter in Montreal, QC.

With an established support base in both Melbourne and New York, Golden Dawn has now attracted a small following in Montreal.

Xryshavgh made an announcement on their web-site on Sept. 18 saying the core of Golden Dawn supporters in Montreal proves once more the precious dedication to deserving Greeks. In addition to appealing for food, toys and other basic goods, the party noted that it gained courage from the Greek diaspora to continue their efforts to help every homeless, needy Greek countryman who is poor.

The National Post reported the Montreal chapter opened in September and has already collected food, medicines and clothing to send to the groups headquarters in Athens to distribute to needy Greeks. The party has been criticized for collecting necessities for Greek citizens only, a stance Canadian leader Jimmy James justifies by saying “It’s a problem when a Greek is starving in his own country.” Read More

Golden Dawn Under Fire in New York

The opening of a New York office by the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, that has 18 seats in the Parliament, has set off a storm of protest by groups ranging from the AHEPA to American Jewish organizations denouncing its anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant platform and reported violent actions. They condemned what they called this “dangerous phenomenon.”

But now there are reports that the group has closed its office in Astoria, a once-predominant Greek-American enclave that still has a large segment of the community living there.

The Federation of Greek Organizations in New York in Astoria photographed some activity of Golden Dawn members there, media reports showed, but said it had no connection with the group and denied that any of the federation’s offices were being used by the extremists.

The Left Movement of New York also criticized the far-Right group which has been tied to assaults in Greece on immigrants, which it has denied although acknowledging it wants all immigrants out of the country. Source

Egypt releases Coptic children held in blasphemy case

A court in Egypt has ordered the release pending investigation of two Coptic Christian children detained on Tuesday for blasphemy against Islam.

A Muslim cleric in Izbat Marco, a village in Beni Suef province, said he saw the boys, aged nine and 10, take pages of the Koran and urinate on them.

A Coptic priest said local Islamists attended demonstrations calling for revenge for the desecration of a Koran.

Human rights groups say allegations of contempt of religion are on the rise.

Seventeen cases have been filed since the 2011 uprising, many of them against Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt's 82 million people.

Tensions have also been heightened in the past month by the posting online of Innocence of Muslims - an amateur video made by a Coptic Christian in the US which mocks Islam and has sparked violent protests worldwide. Read More

Dutch abortion ship 'blocked' from Morocco port of Smir

A Dutch campaign group says its ship offering women medical abortions has been prevented by authorities from entering the Moroccan port of Smir.

The group, Women on Waves, provides abortions and advice from boats anchored in international waters near countries where abortion is illegal.

The group's leader, Rebecca Gomperts, told the BBC it planned to launch "a surprise" in response.

She said the entire harbour was blocked and no-one was being allowed to enter.

Women on Waves has said it was invited to Morocco by a youth group called Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms. Read More

Spain's tax take tumbles as companies go abroad

(Reuters) - Spain's corporate tax take has tumbled by almost two thirds from pre-crisis levels as small businesses fail and a growing number of big corporations seek profits abroad to compensate for the prolonged downturn at home.

Attractive tax benefits can accrue to companies expanding overseas, but for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government, which now seems resigned to accepting a European financial rescue, the income flow is reversed.

Rajoy has passed 65 billion euros ($84 billion) of austerity measures including public sector wage cuts and consumer tax hikes but has been reluctant to lean on businesses that are key to maintaining jobs when one in four Spaniards is unemployed.

Despite its domestic woes, Spain is home to globally successful corporations such as banks Santander and BBVA, telephone operator Telefonica, retailer Inditex and oil company Repsol.

Those five generated net profit of 17.8 billion euros in 2011, outstripping the 16.6 billion euros the government raised in corporate tax from a total 1,400 Spanish businesses that year. In 2007, the corporate tax take was 44.8 billion euros. Read More

U.S. jobs report looms over White House race

Oct. 5 - The U.S. unemployment rate is forecast to edge ahead to 8.2 percent in September, with the weak labour market certain to dog Barack Obama in the run-up to the November 6 presidential election.

Israeli forces kill American gunman in hotel shoot-out

(Reuters) - Israeli forces shot and killed an American man who opened fire in a seaside hotel packed with tourists on Friday, killing one person, a police spokesman said.

Police surrounded the hotel the Red Sea resort city of Eilat after the man "grabbed a weapon from a security guard and shot a hotel worker", who died of his injuries, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The gunman barricaded himself in the hotel kitchen, shooting back at law enforcement officers. He was shot dead by members of a military counter-terrorism squad, a military source said.

Rosenfeld said the motive for the attack was unclear, but suggested a criminal - rather than political - reason seemed possible as he had once been employed at the hotel. Read More

U.S. backs Turkey, hopes Syria dispute cools

(Reuters) - The United States expressed hope on Thursday that Turkey's border clash with Syria Escalates further does not escalate further, but stood by its NATO ally's right to defend itself against aggression spilling over from Syria's internal armed conflict.

The State Department said Turkey's decision to mount retaliatory artillery strikes after a Syrian mortar killed five civilians in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday was appropriate and proportional.

Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters, "We hope that this doesn't escalate into a broader conflict. We hope that the situation de-escalates."

Little added that the United States put the blame on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. "We are outraged by the Syrian government's actions along the Turkish border. We stand with our Turkish allies," Little added. Read More

South African strikers say police kill another miner

(Reuters) - South African police shot and killed a striking miner when they used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a crowd of demonstrators gathered overnight on a hill near a Rustenburg area platinum mine, miners said on Friday.

Mbubhu Lolo, a striker from Anglo American Platinum, said one of his colleagues was shot in the stomach by a rubber bullet, an incident likely to inflame already fraught tensions between security forces and miners.

"He was shot here by the police," Lolo told Reuters, pointing to his midriff.

Police on the ground near the shanty-town 120 km (70 miles northwest of Johannesburg, would not let reporters go up the hill to see the body, saying they were still investigating the scene. They were unable to confirm the death.

The base of the hill was littered with tear gas canisters and empty shell casings that miners said were used to fire rubber bullets. Read More

Greek PM says can't manage beyond November without next aid tranche

(Reuters) - Greek leader Antonis Samaras told a German paper in an interview published on Friday his country could not manage beyond November without the next tranche of international aid and suggested the ECB could help by easing the terms of its Greek debt holdings.

"The key is liquidity. That is why the next credit tranche is so important for us," Samaras told the business daily Handelsblatt. Asked how long Greece could manage without it, he said: "Until the end of November. Then the cash box is empty."

The European Central Bank could help by accepting lower interest rates on its existing Greek debt holdings "or it could approve a rollover when these bonds mature", he said.

"I could also imagine the recapitalization of Greek banks as is being considered for Spain, which would be not accounted for on its state debts but carried out directly via the ESM. That would be a significant relief," said Samaras. Source

Debt-laden companies cashing in on ECB pledge

(Reuters) - Heavily indebted euro zone firms are reaping the benefits of the European Central Bank's pledge to pull the region out of crisis, allowing them to borrow more cheaply and draw investors back into their shares.

In the aftermath of the 2008 credit crunch, Portuguese power company EDP (EDP.LS) and Italian peer Terna (TRN.MI) were among the companies refinancing large debt burdens in the face of a complete collapse in faith in borrowers.

That has changed, firstly with the sovereign debt crisis - which made banks and governments the main sources of lenders' distrust - and now with central banks' moves to head off the euro zone's turmoil and support economies with ultra-low official interest rates.

The result is a boom in corporate borrowing which drove the largest monthly issuance ever of "high-yielding" corporate bonds in September. Read More

UN Security Council Condemns Strike On Turkey

The UN Security Council has condemned "in the strongest terms" Syria's shelling of a Turkish town, which killed five women and children.

A council press statement late on Thursday said: "This incident highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on the security of its neighbours and on regional peace and stability."

The council demanded an immediate end to such violations of international law and called on the Syrian government "to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours". Read More

April Jones: Search Enters Fifth Day

Specialist search teams have endured torrential rain as they worked through the night in the hunt for missing April Jones - and police are to give an update on the search at 10.30am.

With the investigation entering a fifth day, detectives have until 5pm to charge or release their main suspect Mark Bridger - unless they apply for a further warrant of detention.

The search for April continued overnight in persistent rain. At around midnight, a specialist unit from the London-based British Transport Police set out from Machynlleth Leisure Centre to join in the operation.

Welsh Mountain Rescue teams continued their efforts searching through rugged terrain near the town. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHEAST OF TAIWAN - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck NORTHEAST OF TAIWAN at a depth of 154.7 km (95.9 miles), the quake hit at 08:13:19 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 175 km (109 miles) Northwest of Hirara, Taiwan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake PUERTO RICO REGION - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck the PUERTO RICO REGION at a depth of 36 km (22.4 miles), the quake hit at 06:37:30 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 175 km (109 miles) NNE from Suárez, Puerto Rico
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF NICARAGUA - 5th October 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck NEAR THE COAST OF NICARAGUA at a depth of 100 km (62 miles), the quake hit at 04:55:52 UTC Friday 5th October 2012
The epicenter was 17 km (10 miles) WSW of Carlos Fonseca Amador, Nicaragua
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Azeri gas flow on pipeline to Turkey halted after explosion

(Reuters) - Flows on a pipeline carrying Azeri natural gas from the Shah Deniz fields were halted due to an explosion in Turkey late on Wednesday, Turkish energy officials said on Thursday.

An explosion occurred on the pipeline between the eastern Turkish cities of Kars and Erzurum, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, and when the gas flow will resume, they said. Source

Meningitis Outbreak: Warning Over Suspect Drugs

Doctors and hospitals have been urged to avoid all drugs from a chemist linked to an outbreak of a rare kind of meningitis that has killed five people in the US.

The outbreak is believed to linked to steroid medication produced by the New England Compounding Centre after investigators found contamination in a sealed vial, according to Food and Drug Administration officials.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we advise all health care practitioners not to use any product" from the company, said Ilisa Bernstein, director of compliance for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

New England Compounding Centre recalled the steroid medication last week and has shut down operations but batches of the steroid, which is the common theme in all the reported illnesses, have been shipped to facilities in 23 states since July.

In Tennessee, the state with by far the most cases with 25, three of them fatal, many victims got steroid injections at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Centre in Nashville, which had 2,000 vials of the drug.

That clinic closed voluntarily last month to deal with the investigation. Read More