Friday, October 12, 2012

Anonymous withdraws support for WikiLeaks: "Ruined by egos"

...and perhaps the fact Assange hasn't had a bath in months.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/17e6d936-1486-11e2-aa93-00144feabdc0.html#axzz298zVy2RZ

Turkey steps up presence on Syria border with 250 tanks, fighter patrols: Ready to rumble?

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/64f145f8-145a-11e2-8cf2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz298zVy2RZ

Hezbollah drone may have been sent to monitor Israel’s nuclear facility at Dimona (and may have succeeded)

Such activity shouldn't alarm one who says others can't have a bomb, right?
No hypocrisy here, surely.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/10/12/171390/hezbollah-drone-may-have-been.html

Heavy snow has fallen across parts of Australia despite it being more than a month into spring

*Ukelele*
Tip toe, through the tulips, by the window, that's where I'll be...
In Australia, Spring's for suckers, you'll see...

Housing crisis: 14 million abandoned homes and growing


‘Parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’ could legally replace mom and dad in France

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/11/parent-1-and-parent-2-could-legally-replace-mom-an/

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake COSTA RICA - 12th October 2012

Magnitude 5.0
Date-Time
Friday, October 12, 2012 at 19:24:15 UTC
Friday, October 12, 2012 at 01:24:15 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
9.578°N, 84.297°W
Depth
45.3 km (28.1 miles)
Region
COSTA RICA
Distances
7 km (4 miles) NNE of Parrita, Costa Rica

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake LUZON, PHILIPPINES - 12th October 2012

Magnitude mb 5.0
Region LUZON, PHILIPPINES
Date time 2012-10-12 18:53:08.7 UTC
Location 14.54 N ; 120.51 E
Depth 180 km
Distances 50 km W Manila (pop 10,444,527 ; local time 02:53:08.7 2012-10-13)
38 km SW Hagonoy (pop 123,531 ; local time 02:53:08.7 2012-10-13)
10 km W Limay (pop 52,824 ; local time 02:53:08.7 2012-10-13)


Well....What else would you Expect from an App Created by US military experts at Naval Surface Warfare Center?

New, an app that can hack your smartphone camera and spy on you

Meningitis outbreak expands to 12 states, 184 cases: CDC

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/12/us-meningitis-cases-idUSBRE89B15220121012



Elizabeth Escalona Jailed for 99 for gluing her Daughter's hands to a wall


Article - Finally a judge with some sense to protect a child. UK courts should take note.

Savile: Police Speak To 40 Potential Victims

When will the police start looking at who helped him cover up these Evil Crimes for over 50 years?

Article

China: Sanya Beach Covered with Garbage, Much like China's Governing Class

http://www.chinasmack.com/2012/pictures/sanya-beach-covered-with-garbage-embarrasses-chinese-netizens.html

When those at the top don't care about their country, why should those at the bottom?

Spain says ECB plan ready to be used, no blocking

(Reuters) - Spain on Friday said a European bond-buying plan was fully ready for use and that there was absolutely no political resistance from within the euro zone to a Spanish bailout request.

The situation in Spain, which is considering seeking an aid program to ease financing pressure, dominated talks between finance ministers at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank semi-annual meetings in Tokyo.

The country is the latest epicenter of the euro zone debt crisis, which started nearly three years ago, and investors believe it won't be able to deflate a big budget gap, control soaring debts and reform its economy without outside help.

"The instrument is real, not virtual. Because it is real, it is ready to be used at any moment," Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said, referring to the European Central Bank's promise of unlimited bond-buying to help debt-stricken states.

However, he declined to say if and when Spain would request aid. Read More

Forty-one hurt as Egypt's liberals and Islamists clash

(Reuters) - Opponents and supporters of Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi clashed in Cairo on Friday in the first street violence between rival factions since the Islamist leader took office.

Islamists and their opponents threw stones, bottles and petrol bombs, and some fought hand-to-hand, showing how feelings still run high between the rival groups trying to shape the new Egypt after decades of autocracy, even though the streets have generally been calmer since Mursi's election in June.

The state news agency cited a doctor at a hospital near Tahrir saying 41 people had been injured.

A government is in place, but Islamists and liberals are at loggerheads over the drafting of the new constitution, which must be agreed before a new parliament can be elected.

Many of the thousands who gathered in Tahrir Square were angry at this week's court ruling that acquitted former officials charged with ordering a camel and horseback charge on protesters in the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak last year.

But even before that ruling, Mursi's opponents had called for protests against what they say is his failure to deliver on his promises for his first 100 days in office. Read More

An al Qaeda-linked group reportedly fought alongside rebels who seized a Syrian missile base on Friday.

10:59AM EDT October 12. 2012 -

BEIRUT (AP) — A shadowy jihadi group believed to be linked to al-Qaeda fought alongside rebels who seized a government missile defense base in Syria on Friday, activists said, heightening fears that extremists are taking advantage of the chaos to acquire advanced weapons.

Videos posted online Friday said to have been shot inside the base said the extremist group, Jabhat al-Nusra, participated in the overnight battle for the air defense base near the village of al-Taaneh, east of Aleppo in northern Syria. The videos show dozens of fighters inside the base near a radar tower, along with rows of large missiles, some on the backs of trucks.

A report by a correspondent with the Arabic satellite network Al-Jazeera who visited the base Friday said Jabhat al-Nusra had seized the base. The report showed a number of missiles and charred buildings, as fighters covered their faces with black cloths.

Two Aleppo-based activists and Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also said Jabhat al-Nusra fought in the battle. Read More

Cyberattacks Could Become as Destructive as 9/11: Panetta

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies are seeing an increase in cyber threats that could become as devastating as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks if they aren’t stopped.

“A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11,” Panetta said last night. “Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation.”

The Defense Department is drafting new rules that will allow the military to defend U.S. “national interests” in addition to its own computer networks, Panetta said in prepared remarks delivered in New York on board the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier that’s now a museum.

Panetta offered the highest-level confirmation to date of recent cyber attacks on U.S. and international computer networks and faulted Congress for failing to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation this year. In the absence of such a law, President Barack Obama’s administration may issue an executive order, Panetta said. Read More

Europe's Nobel peace prize: bad timing all round

Is it right of the Nobel committee to award this year's peace prize to the European Union at a time when the EU is facing the gravest existential crisis of its 55-year history, and when the continent's elected leaders have repeatedly failed to resolve an economic conundrum which is largely of its own devising? No, I don't think it is.

It smacks of bad timing, just as the committee's award of the same prize to Barack Obama in 2009 – when he'd barely sat down in the Oval Office – was toe-curlingly premature. It damaged the new president's standing at home (where plenty of US voters mistrust do-gooding foreigners) and was deemed sufficiently misjudged to make Obama stay away from Oslo award ceremony. Smart man, given that the winners list contained some failures and a few rascals.

Early reactions to the 2012 award suggest puzzlement. Why now when the protracted eurozone crisis staggers on? Why not earlier, for instance after the successful enlargement into the former Soviet bloc in the years after the Berlin Wall collapsed and the old Soviet Union imploded? Why not later, when the EU has triumphed over its financial problems? Read More

EU summit countdown stokes tension

Oct. 12 - Market tensions ease as Spain says Europe's bond-buying fund is ready for action, but the countdown to next week's EU summit could see tensions rise again.

Turkey scrambles fighter plans to Syrian border

Oct. 12 - Turkey scrambles two fighter planes along the border with Syria after a Syrian military helicopter bombed a border town. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

IDF on guard for Iranian-Hizballah drones from Palestinian Gaza

The Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threat Thursday night of more UAV’s over Israel aroused concern in the Israeli high command that Iranian drones had been smuggled into the hands of the Palestinian Hamas extremists ruling the Gaza Strip. He implied that Tehran or Hizballah might ask Hamas to release them over Israel, possibly in coordination with UAV intrusions from Lebanon.

After rolling out Hizballah statistics claiming Israel had violated Lebanese airspace 20, 864 times (!), Nasrallah said in his televised speech: “This is our natural right and we will send them whenever we want and this will not be the last time.”

The successful penetration of two Iranian stealth drones – one from the Gaza Strip and one from Lebanon – would be celebrated in Tehran and Beirut as a major feat against the Zionist enemy, say debkafile’s military sources - especially after last Saturday, Oct. 6, when an Iranian UAV, which Nasrallah named “Ayyoub,” managed to fly over strategic Israeli sites including the nuclear reactor in Dimona before it was brought down.

Israeli surveillance has noted unusual Hamas activity of late to camouflage certain sites in the Gaza Strip, raising the suspicion that Hamas or the Iranian-backed Jihad Islami had taken delivery of a drone, drones or the disassembled components thereof. more

European Union Nobel Peace Price Award - What the public are saying


NOTE: In the past 2 years Democracy has gone in reverse in Europe with several European Countries losing their full democracy status when they were downgraded to Flawed Democracy Status

Mark Dobrzanski
1:48 PM on 12/10/2012
Did I read that right? "EU" and "democracy" in the same sentence?? Awarding this prestigious award to the new (E)USSR cheapens and demeans previous DESERVED award winners.

Raymond Vermont
1:16 PM on 12/10/2012
The expansion of the EU is very likely to create future military conflict not prevent it.

Wilfred Lavagna
1:06 PM on 12/10/2012
The committee should take a look at Youtube ... Gibraltar border queue & Fishing dispute,
Then we can talk about human rights and bullying.

Raymond Vermont
12:49 PM on 12/10/2012
Didnt Arafat accept the award on behalf of his people... The USSR?

Wilfred Lavagna
12:44 PM on 12/10/2012
The EU has won the Nobel Peace Prize for its long-term role in uniting the continent, as the bloc faces its greatest internal crisis since it was established in the 1950s.

This is a joke right, when was the last time they took a look at the Gibraltar/Spanish border? Human rights are broken there everyday, Tues 4 hours to drive out of Gibraltar, yesterday 2 1/2 hours to drive out.Talk about bully boy tactics, Spain have held Gibraltar to ransom for years. Now we have the fishing dispute, where they fish in Gibraltar (British) waters illegally, but say it belongs to them. And what do the British do, sweet FA. They just say Gibraltar has to sort this out with Spain, yeah right, tiny Gib, 30,000 people, to the mighty Spain 47 Million. Laugh......... I nearly did.

PWL
12:38 PM on 12/10/2012
A farce!
Rebuilding after WWII - I thought that was down to the US Marshall Plan.
Keeping the peace - that was done by NATO not the EU.
The EU with its commission is not democratic and, with the problems caused in the Eurozone, is driving worldwide instability.
Totally debases the Nobel Peace Prize - this and giving it to Obama when he'd only been in office a week.

Freedom Lover1
12:28 PM on 12/10/2012
The Nobel prize-givers forfeited their authority the day they handed the Peace prize to Barack Obama (the man who has increased the death squads and murdered even more people than the retard Bush).

DHM
12:26 PM on 12/10/2012
Well done to the EU. This is thoroughly deserved. The EU in 2012 and Barak Obama in 2009. The world is truly a safer place because of the EU and a Democrat in the White House.

RiotSquad
12:25 PM on 12/10/2012
Hmmm.... surely the Nobel prize is about individual contributions to humanity and not political organsiations like the EU....
I think this sets a disturbing precedent and encourages an image of politicians as demigods who always act for the greater good. We all know that that is simply not true - most of them are self-serving corrupt little people who would sell their sell their own garndmotheres if it furthered their own political careers and bought them a bigger slice of the gravy-train......

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake GULF OF PARIA, VENEZUELA - 12th October 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the GULF OF PARIA, VENEZUELA at a depth of 12.3 km (7.6 miles), the quake hit at 12:16:19 UTC Friday 12th October 2012
The epicenter was 6 km (3.7 miles) SSE of Yaguaraparo, Venezuela
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Turkey Scrambles Jets To Syrian Border

Turkey has sent fighter planes to its border with Syria after a military helicopter bombed the Syrian town of Azmarin.

There has been intense fighting between rebels and Syrian government forces this week in Azmarin and neighbouring towns,
an area strongly opposed to President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Fighting along Turkey's 560-mile border with Syria has repeatedly spilled over into Turkish territory in the past week, with the Turkish army responding in kind to gunfire and mortar shells fired from Syria.

Turkey's chief of staff General Necdet Ozel said on Wednesday that his troops would respond "with greater force" if the shells
continued to land on Turkish soil.

Last week its parliament authorised the deployment of troops beyond Turkey, heightening fears that Syria's civil war would drag in regional powers.

More follows...

Complete Collapse? 'EU on wing and prayer, hoping for tooth fairy'......Well at least we have a Nobel Peace Price!

Japan Navy video: Armada flexes muscles amid islands dispute

Lies Upon Lies: 'US debates a duel of Pinnochios'

'Monsanto & Frankenstein next!' Max Keiser destroys 2012 Nobel Peace Prize

Farage on Merkel Visiting Greece Amid Protests

IMF Urges Europe to Deal with Debt Crisis

Bo Xilai Officially Taken Into Custody



On October 11, Epoch Times exclusively reported that
former party secretary of Chongqing Bo Xilai was officially taken into custody in Qincheng Prison.
The report said that around 3:00 pm on October 7,
General Hospital of Beijing University of Aeronautics located in Beijing Beiyuan was heavily guarded.
Taken into custody by a group of Qincheng prison's police,
Bo Xilai took a comprehensive physical examination.
It indicated that Bo has been formally taken into custody.

Its understood that General Hospital of Beijing University
of Aeronautics is the cooperation hospital of Qincheng prison.
Qincheng prison is known as imprisoning communist
dignitaries and China's most famous political prisoners.

AI: Social Discontent From Forced Demolitions

On October 11, Amnesty International (AI) published a report
on how compulsory demolitions affected millions of Chinese.
It has become the biggest reason triggering public discontent
and instability factors threatening society and politics.

The report said, when China's local governments dealt
with real estate developers, they tried to offset the huge debt through land acquisition and land sales. Read More

The MADNESS of the Ruling Elite & End of the Petrodollar: Mike Rivero



Chile riot police use water cannon and tear gas to disperse student protesters

Now there's more ice at South Pole than ever (So much for global warming thawing Antarctica!)

Ice around the South Pole has expanded to cover a record area, scientists revealed yesterday – a month after saying that the North Pole had lost an unprecedented amount of its ice.

Researchers say – rather confusingly – that both occurrences are down to the ‘complex and surprising’ effects of global warming.

The record Antarctic sea ice cover was revealed in satellite images from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado.

At the end of the southern winter in September, ice covered 7.51million square miles of sea – more than at any time since records began in 1979.

For the last 30 years the amount of Antarctic sea ice has been increasing by 1 per cent each decade. Read More

Too good to be true, part II: U.S. weekly unemployment claims drop to 4.5 year low. . . but they may not have counted the whole of California

Another week, and another set of barely believable unemployment figures.

A crucial government report released today showed a dramatic drop in the number of people filing jobless claims to the lowest level since February 2008. . . but it soon emerged one major state's figures weren't added to the total.

The Obama administration hailed a shock drop of 30,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, but one Labor Department official let slip that the figures may have fallen because the state, not officially named failed to turn over its figures which in turn were not added to the report.

Just last week monthly unemployment figures showed a shock fall which led some, including former CEO of General Electric Jack Welch to claim that they were 'downright implausible' and issued to improve Obama's economic record just ahead of the election. Read More

Amanda Diaz bites woman police officer's face in bloody assault after being pulled over

A crazed New York woman tore skin from a police officer’s face with her teeth after she was pulled over and arrested for swerving into oncoming traffic.

Amanda Diaz, 27, of Staten Island was driving a 1998 Nissan Maxima at about five miles per hour around 5 p.m. in Grasmere, New York last Thursday when police spotted her crossing over the center line on a two-lane road and pulled her over.

When officers approached Diaz and asked for her license, she grew agitated and began swearing, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The officers determined that Diaz’s license had in fact been suspended for her failure to appear in court regarding previous traffic-related violations. Read More

Yongda Huang Harris flies to LA with hatchet, knives, clubs, bulletproof vest and GRENADE (but TSA only stopped because of his flame-resistant pants)

Few will have escaped the embarrassment of an airport baggage search when a pair of tweezers of nail clippers sets of the x-ray alarm.

And woe betide those who forget about a bottle of water stashed in the bottom of their backpack.
Worryingly, though, deeply more dangerous items have been passing through security with no objection, most recently a man setting down in Los Angeles from Japan.

Yongda Huang Harris arrived at LAX wearing a bulletproof vest and flame-resistant pants, having checked in a suitcase full of weapons.

The 28-year-old was on a stopover on a trip from Japan en route to Boston, and had an array of suspicious items in his luggage.

They included a smoke grenade, knives, body bags, a hatchet, a collapsible baton, a biohazard suit, a gas mask, billy clubs, handcuffs, leg irons and a device to repel dogs.

The alarm was raised when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noticed he was wearing a bulletproof vest under his trench coat, along with flame-retardant pants and knee pads. Read More

Germany holds firm on Greece as IMF pressure mounts

(Reuters) - Germany held firm on Friday in insisting it was too soon to say Greece deserved more time to meet its budget-cutting goals even as the head of the IMF laid out the case for leniency.

Greece, Spain and the euro zone's slow progress toward debt reform was center stage at International Monetary Fund meetings despite Europe's best effort to step out of the spotlight.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, sitting next to Germany's finance minister, said Athens needed more breathing space. "Given the... lack of growth, given the market pressure, given the efforts that have been undertaken, a bit more time is necessary," she said, amplifying on remarks made on Thursday.

In a softening of earlier advice, the IMF has argued that forcing Greece and other debt-burdened countries in Europe to reduce their deficits too quickly is counter-productive because it hurts the economy. Read More

Reactions to EU Nobel Peace Price

FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR GERHARD SCHROEDER

"This is an important and right decision by the Nobel Prize Committee and a big encouragement for the people in Europe. It comes at the right time for closer togetherness in Europe and it strengthens those powers that are pushing for closer integration in the European Union.

More realistic Reactions

The Spectator's James Forsyth isn't a fan of the award. He writes: "It is a bizarre decision given what is going on in Europe right now. Watching the reaction of the Greek crowd to Angela Merkel on her visit there this week, it was hard not to worry that the European project was now a threat to peace and stability on the continent."

***

Don't laugh, the EU deserves its Nobel Peace Prize, says Reuters Breakingviews.

***

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage isn't impressed:

"This goes to show that the Norwegians really do have a sense of humour. The EU may be getting the booby prize for peace because it sure hasn't created prosperity. The EU has created poverty and unemployment for millions.

"In the last two years the EU has caused huge animosity between the countries of Northern and Southern Europe. Just look at Frau Merkel being welcomed with Nazi flags in Athens, and German newspapers slagging off the Greeks as work-shy wonders.

"After watching European Council President Van Rompuy cheerleading for war in Libya with Colonel Gaddafi, this idea of the EU getting a Nobel Peace is ridiculous."

***

This is very distressing, Europe is in chaos, more people living in fiscal strife, people will see this as a political move and the rich laughing at the poor. A sad day for Europe.
by DE TURNHAM edited by Reuters_RossChainey 11:12 AM

Source

European Union Wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize........This is No Joke!!

The EU is praised for bringing stability and democracy to the continent at a testing time for the 27-nation bloc......... DEMOCRACY!!! Are they for real?


The EU has won the Nobel Peace Prize for its long-term role in uniting the continent, as the bloc faces its greatest internal crisis since it was established in the 1950s.

The committee praised the 27-nation EU for rebuilding after World War II and for its role in spreading stability to former communist countries after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

The EU and its predecessors "have over six decades contributed to peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights," Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said in Oslo.

"The stabilising part played by the European Union has helped to transform a once torn Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace," Mr Jagland said. Read More


Giant 'mystery eyeball' discovered on South Florida beach

The discovery of an enormous eyeball on a South Florida beach begs a very pertinent question: What kind of creature did it belong to? The "mystery eyeball," as it's being referred to by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, was found Wednesday by a beachcomber on Pompano Beach.

Carli Segelson, spokeswoman for the agency, said the eyeball is slightly larger than a baseball and presumably belonged to some kind of marine animal.

"We're hoping to determine what kind, but at this point we just don't know," Segelson said.

The eyeball is being preserved and will be delivered to the agency's research lab in St. Petersburg, where it's hoped an official identification can be made. Read More

Two U.S.-bound flights return to London and Paris after suffering almost-simultaneous mid-air emergencies

Two U.S. bound planes were forced to land at Heathrow and Paris this afternoon after suffering mid-air emergencies within minutes of each other over British airspace.

A Kuwait Airways plane had to land at Heathrow Airport shortly after take-off while an Air France aircraft returned to Charles De Gaulle in Paris.

It is believed the cabin of Kuwait Airways 777 filled with smoke as it approached the Irish Sea off Wales, forcing the captain to turn the plane around and land back at Heathrow.

Passengers were then taken of the plane while the incident was investigated. It is thought the smoke was steam from an air conditioner unit.

The Air France 010 flight, which left Paris at 3.42pm BST, was over the Irish Sea between Liverpool and Blackpool when it experienced technical problems in the cockpit.

Its captain turned the plane around and headed back to the French capital. It had been due to arrive in New York at 11.45pm BST.

Both flights were heading to New York's JFK airport. Read More

US defence giants poised to swoop on BAE following collapse of merger with French and German companies

Fears were growing last night that BAE Systems could fall prey to a major US competitor.

A number of American aerospace and defence companies are believed to be running the rule over the UK defence giant, which could put British jobs at risk.

It came as pressure mounted on the company's top two executives to resign after they led the group into disastrous negotiations with the European aerospace conglomerate EADS.

And banks – including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – which advised the two companies are likely to share in a £10million reward pot for their work even though the deal fell through, the Daily Mail can reveal. The proposed £30billion merger would have seen the UK's defence capabilities placed under the control of a company partly-owned by the French and German states
.
It was feared that the tie-up would have put 50,000 British jobs in danger. Read More

Fight brewing over Greek austerity

Tokyo (CNN) -- A fight over the future of the Greek bailout is brewing between two key factions overseeing Europe's debt crisis, as officials publicly disagreed with the International Monetary Fund chief's call to give Athens more time to adhere to tough austerity measures.

Olli Rehn, vice president of the European Commission, told CNN on the sidelines of the IMF meetings in Tokyo, "even the IMF can be open to criticism. It is not the final word."

His comments follow German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's rebuke of IMF chief Christine Lagarde's call to give Greece two more years to make stringent austerity measures as required for the international bailout of the country.

"When there is a certain medium-term goal, it doesn't build confidence when one starts by going in a different direction," Schäuble told the Financial Times. "When you want to climb a big mountain and you start climbing down the mountain, then the mountain will get even higher."

Rehn told CNN "(Schäuble) has a point. The EU cannot be making swift turns, rather it is a convoy and you have to carefully consider which policy turns are best." Read More

In Baghdad, little faith in U.S. elections

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Laith repeats my question back to me, chuckling. "What is the Iraqi media saying about the US elections?" He pauses, thinking how best to answer. "Man, the situation is so bad now, we only pay attention to staying alive." He laughs again.

An Iraqi journalist who works for several international news organizations, Laith tells me that he only narrowly escaped being killed by a car bomb the previous day.

"If I had been a few minutes late for work, you wouldn't be able to talk to me." Laith chuckles again like so many people do in Baghdad, a resilient, tough, warm laugh.

It's been nine years since the United States and its allies invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein. And although the war officially ended when American combat troops withdrew at the end of 2011, it's far from peace time here. Read More

Surprise, Surprise, Jobless Claims Slide, Import Prices Rise, Trade Gap Up...But who actually Believes it?

Weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest level in four years, while the U.S. trade deficit widened and import prices rose more than expected, according to economic numbers released Thursday.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plummeted to 339,000 last week, the lowest level in more than four years. The sharp drop offered a hopeful sign that the job market could pick up.

The Labor Department said weekly applications fell by 30,000 to the lowest level since February 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped by 11,500 to 364,000, a six-month low.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they consistently drop below 375,000, it suggests that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

A Labor Department spokesman cautioned that the weekly applications can be volatile, particularly at the start of a quarter. And the spokesman said one large state accounted for much of the decline. The spokesman did not name the state. Read More

*****

Why Jobless Claims May Not Be as Good as Market Thinks

For the second time in a week, a government unemployment report is sowing confusion—and may not be as positive as the markets think.

First it was last Friday's August payrolls report, which showed an unexpectedly large drop in the unemployment rate, that spurred confusion (and conspiracy theories). Now, a sharp drop in the pace of new jobless claims has also left people scratching their heads.

The Labor Department on Thursday said the number of people filing jobless claims last week dropped by a seasonally adjusted 30,000—a pretty sharp decline, and one that left the total number of filings at a four-year low of 339,000.

Financial markets immediately rallied on the news.

While the government didn’t note any unusual factors in the release itself, a Labor Department official did tell news agencies covering the release about a quirk which partly accounted for the larger-than-expected drop.

As Dow Jones reported: “A Labor Department economist said one large state didn't report additional quarterly figures as expected, accounting for a substantial part of the decrease.”

The wording of that statement, along with the accompanying headlines, left the impression that one major state didn’t turn in its figures.

Here's what actually happened. The state did report weekly jobless claims but did not process and report its quarterly claims number (when many people have to reapply for benefits for technical reasons as opposed to being newly laid off). As a result, there wasn't the expected spike in claims that normally happens at the start of the quarter.

It is unclear why that happened or how unusual that is. What is clear is that the expected spike in claims around the start of each quarter was smaller this time than usual. Coupled with the seasonal adjustment (that expected a bigger increase), that pushed down the headline figure.

In other words, the drop of 30,000 last week had more to do with the lack of expected re-filings at the start of the fourth quarter than with any particular improvement in labor market conditions. Read More

Biden contradicts State Department on Benghazi security

Vice President Joe Biden claimed that the administration wasn't aware of requests for more security in Libya before the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi during Thursday night's debate, contradicting two State Department officials and the former head of diplomatic security in Libya.

"We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there," Biden said.

In fact, two security officials who worked for the State Department in Libya at the time testified Thursday that they repeatedly requested more security and two State Department officials admitted they had denied those requests.

"All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources," the top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, testified. "In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb] ‘You cannot request an SST extension.' I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway."

Nordstrom was so critical of the State Department's reluctance to respond to his calls for more security that he said, "For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building." Read More

EU insurers strip cover from ships storing Iran oil

(Reuters) - Two European insurers have withdrawn cover for tankers involved in the Iranian oil trade, the first such move since tough new sanctions were imposed in July, documents obtained by Reuters show.

The tankers, operated by Hong Kong's Titan Petrochemicals Group Ltd, were used to store Iranian oil for top oil trader Vitol and little known shipping firm Glammarine, Reuters reported previously.

While the European Union sanctions bar Western-based insurers from covering tankers that carry, rather than store, Iranian oil, the documents show the insurers were not prepared to risk falling foul of the curbs.

"Titan's conduct breaches the spirit if not the wording of U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran," a September 14 document quoted Mike Salthouse, director of North Insurance Management, as saying on behalf of the North of England P&I Association, Titan's main insurer.

"Were the Association to continue to provide insurance to the Titan fleet we have concluded that there would be a high probability of further breaches of sanctions," it said. Read More

Shark Attacks Woman in Delta

Ughelli — A 38-year-old woman, identified as Mrs. Torugbene-Ere Aboh, escaped death by the whiskers, following a violent attack on her by a shark at Forcados River in Oboro Community, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

Vanguard gathered that the woman, a mother of five, who was taking her bath in the overflowing river, had gone for a three-day fasting programme in a church in the community, when she was attacked by the shark in the river.

Narrating her ordeal, Mrs Aboh, said: "Shortly after I started bathing, I felt a sharp cut on my right leg and I screamed for help. The screaming drew the attention of my brethren who were also in the river and they came to my rescue.

"I was immediately taken to a nearby patent medicine shop, where I was given 12 stitches before I was later taken by my husband, to a private clinic at Bomadi, for proper medical treatment." Source

California reports second case of plague in an animal in a week

A chipmunk found at the Lake Tahoe Basin United States Forest Service (USFS) Taylor Creek Visitor Center has tested presumptively positive for the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, the agent of plague, according to an El Dorado County Department of Environmental Health press release Oct. 10.

This is the second reported case of plague in a small animal in California in a week. Last week, the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health reported a positive case in a ground squirrel collected at the Fern Basin campground in the San Jacinto Mountains. The campground is north of Idyllwild.

Interim County Public Health Officer Dr. Bob Hartmann advised that the Taylor Creek Recreation Area might have an elevated plague risk. Fall visitors to area picnic spots and campgrounds and area residents should take precautions to protect themselves from plague, a disease transmitted by infected fleas. Read More

14 killed, 1500 fishermen missing in Bangladesh storm

DHAKA: At least 14 people were killed and an estimated 1,500 fishermen are missing after tropical storms smashed into Bangladesh's southern coastal islands and districts early on Thursday, police said.

Police said at least 1,500 mud, tin and straw-built houses were also levelled in the storms that swept Bhola, Hatiya and Sandwip islands and half a dozen coastal districts after Wednesday midnight.

At the worst-hit island of Hatiya, at least five people were killed after they were buried under their houses or hit by fallen trees, said local police chief Moktar Hossain. More than 1,000 houses were flattened.

"More than 100 fishing trawlers, each carrying at least 10 fishermen, have been missing since the storm," he told AFP, calling it one of the most powerful in decades.

Many fishermen are expected to have taken shelter in other remote islands in the Bay of Bengal or in the neighbouring Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. Four people were killed in Bhola, three in Sandwip and two at Char Jabbar, police said. Source

Measles outbreak kills 10 in less than a month in Kuando Kubango, Angola

Menongue - Ten people died of a measles outbreak from 17 September to the present date, in Menongue City, capital of the south-eastern Kuando Kubango Province, a fact that is worrying the local health authorities.

ANGOP has learnt that most of the deceased are children below the age of two, but there is also the record of a 35-year old adult.

According to the head of the Menongue Municipality health department, Carlos Jonas, who gave this information to ANGOP on Thursday, in view of this worrying reality, which includes the fact that this disease is highly contagious, the authorities have reinforced routine vaccination acts.

From 17 September up to the present date the authorities recorded 320 cases of measles in Menongue City, a number that is deemed very high considering the period of the outbreak.

According to official sources ten people are currently in-patients in the central hospital for medical assistance, while others are getting ambulatory treatment. Read More

West Bank cash crisis as donors fail to pay

The Palestinian Authority, facing a major cash crisis, has warned 150,000 employees it does not know when they will receive their September salaries.

The crunch has been caused largely by the failure of international donors to make good on aid pledges. Nour Odeh, a spokeswoman for the Palestinian Authority government, told The Independent that international donors had provided only 40 per cent of aid pledged for 2012. About half of the Palestinians' $2.54bn (£1.58bn) annual budget comes from donors.

"The President and the Prime Minister have repeatedly urged all donors and friendly countries, including the Arab countries, to expedite their disbursement of assistance to the Palestinian Authority because the situation is serious and intervention is needed," Ms Odeh said.

She said the "structural problem" of Israeli control over customs and other tax revenues had contributed to cash-flow problems, while Israel's hold over large areas of the West Bank and their natural resources were hindering economic planning efforts.

The crisis threatens to derail reforms by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's government, which has implemented major budget savings and increased tax revenues, heralding a dramatic improvement in the Palestinian economy in recent years. Read More

Nigeria crackdown risks playing into Islamists' hands

(Reuters) - A military crackdown across Nigeria has hobbled Boko Haram for now, but as the army campaign intensifies it is likely to fan popular anger in the impoverished north that could ultimately make the Islamist sect's 3-year-old rebellion stronger.

The group, which wants to carve an Islamic state out of Nigeria, remains the top security threat to Africa's leading oil producer, and Western powers are worried about its growing links to more fiercely anti-Western jihadist groups in the region.

At least 2,800 people have died in fighting since the insurrection began, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

Nigerian soldiers and police have swept through the largely Muslim north in past weeks, raiding suspected Islamist hideouts, seizing weapons and killing or arresting scores of suspects.

Last month they intercepted a vehicle carrying the sect's spokesman and ideologue, Abu Qaqa, whom they said they killed in a shootout, although its leader Abubakar Shekau said Qaqa was captured alive. Read More

China evictions increase, leading to more unrest

12:54AM EST October 12. 2012 - BEIJING – China says it has worked hard to overhaul its judicial system in ways that better protect human rights, but one of the country's most widespread abuses is increasing and is a leading cause of unrest.

The forced eviction of residents from their homes and farmland has quickened over the past three years, human rights group Amnesty International said in a report issued Thursday.

Evictions make up the leading cause of protests here, especially in the countryside. Homeowners have been risking violence and jail to prevent their ouster and protest the often inadequate compensation offered by developers and officials.

"Millions of people" have been evicted "without appropriate legal protection and safeguards," and often with violence, Amnesty said. Read More

France 'uncovers biggest bomb plot in years'

Prosecutors in France have said an alleged Islamist terror cell was planning the biggest bomb attack on France since the mid-1990s.

Police arrested 12 people in raids at the weekend, during which one suspect was killed as he fired on officers.

Five of the detainees have since been released but seven remain in custody, on suspicion of terrorist activity.

Bomb-making materials were found during the raids, which followed an attack on a Jewish shop last month.

Two suspects are also suspected of involvement in a network for Islamists waging jihad abroad, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Thursday.

The alleged cell, he said, was "probably the most dangerous" France had seen since the Algerian-based GIA (Armed Islamic Group), which carried out a series of attacks in 1995-96. Read More

FSA's Turner says economy may need more radical steps

(Reuters) - Britain must be ready to adopt more unconventional measures so that debt cutting and the euro zone crisis don't crimp economic growth for years, Financial Services Authority Chairman Adair Turner said.

Turner, who has applied to be the next governor of the Bank of England from July 2013, strayed beyond his remit in a speech to financial leaders to show his willingness to embrace radical thinking to boost the recession-hit economy.

Policymakers face a tough trade-off between forcing banks to be better capitalised and ensuring the economy has enough credit. But this job has been made even harder by the euro zone crisis and the need for governments to cut debt.

The Bank of England's new risk watchdog, the Financial Policy Committee, of which Turner is a member, has been trying to reach a consensus on this issue.

"We have to find creative ways forward which as best possible both increase resilience and support lending and as a result, maintain nominal demand," Turner told an audience at the Mansion House in the heart of London's historic financial district.

Britain has already put together a package of measures in a bid to kick-start the economy, such as buying government bonds to inject cash into the economy, and giving banks incentives to lend money to businesses. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 12th October 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN at a depth of 34.9 km (21.7 miles), the quake hit at 04:57:21 UTC Friday 12th October 2012
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) Northwest of Yokaichiba, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time