Monday, December 17, 2012

Vulnerable Children 'Shipped Out And Abused'

Up to 3,000 vulnerable children are being failed by a care system that has seen sex attackers placed with abuse victims and a third of children moved 100 miles from home, inspectors say.

A report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) has found that children are "shipped" out of their home areas, leaving them to face "extremely poor" futures.

Basic checks are not being made by children's services when placing these "vulnerable and potentially dangerous" children into homes, HMIP warns.

http://news.sky.com/story/1026802/hmip-care-report-distressing-findings

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 18th December 2012

Magnitude
4.4
Date-Time
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 01:47:14 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 07:47:14 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
16.224°N, 95.615°W
Depth
49.7 km (30.9 miles)
Region
OAXACA, MEXICO
Distances
35 km (21 miles) SSW of Jalapa, Mexico

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 18th December 2012

Magnitude
4.8
Date-Time
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 01:38:28 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 07:38:28 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
16.417°N, 95.400°W
Depth
60.9 km (37.8 miles)
Region
OAXACA, MEXICO
Distances
11 km (6 miles) SE of Jalapa, Mexico

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake MYANMAR - 18th December 2012

Magnitude
4.6
Date-Time
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 01:32:46 UTC
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 08:02:46 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
19.354°N, 95.784°E
Depth
41 km (25.5 miles)
Region
MYANMAR
Distances
57 km (35 miles) SW of Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

Japan's Shinzo Abe prepares to print money for the whole world

Japan’s incoming leader Shinzo Abe has vowed to ram through full-blown reflation policies to pull his country out of slump and drive down the yen, warning Japan's central bank not to defy the will of the people.

The profound shift in economic strategy by the world’s top creditor nation could prove a powerful tonic for the global economy, with stimulus leaking into bourses and bond markets - a variant of the "carry trade" earlier this decade but potentially on a larger scale.

"We think this could be the beginning of a fresh reflation cycle for the global system, combining with the US recovery to mark a turning point in the crisis," said Simon Derrick from BNY Mellon.

"It is tremendously important for global growth, and markets are starting to take note," said Lars Christensen from Danske Bank.

Mr Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a landslide victory on Sunday, securing a two-thirds "super-majority" in the Diet with allies that can override senate vetoes.

Armed with a crushing mandate, Mr Abe said he would "set a policy accord" with the Bank of Japan for a mandatory inflation target of 2pc, backed by "unlimited" monetary stimulus.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9751609/Japans-Shinzo-Abe-prepares-to-print-money-for-the-whole-world.html

Ben Stein: "God Help Us" (Must-read)

I learned about the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school while we were setting up at Fox News to tape Cavuto on Business. The news was so horrible that we all felt as if we had lost our legs and could no longer stand. It was such horrible news that it simply turned the world upside down.

It still is that kind of news, and it’s incredibly depressing about the nature of humanity. And my wife and I pray all day for the souls of those dear children and for the peace, if there ever will be peace, of their families… and for the souls of the adults and the peace of those who knew and loved them.

As usual, the smartest comment about the whole subject came from John R. Coyne, Jr. “There is evil in the world. It’s beyond mental illness, beyond gun control. It is evil.”

The killer got his weapons from his mother, who apparently had bought them legally and registered them. That tells us something about what anti-gun laws would do, although maybe the mother should not have had them either. In this world, a killer devil can kill his mother and steal her guns to kill six year olds. That’s what some humans are and I am not sure what laws will stop them.

http://spectator.org/archives/2012/12/17/god-help-us

China rounds up members of doomsday cult with plans to slay "big red dragon" of the Communist Party

Police across China are rounding up members of a quasi-Christian doomsday cult who have been preaching the end of the world and urging people to launch a “decisive battle” to slay the “big red dragon” of the Communist party.

Scores and perhaps hundreds of members of an outlawed cult known as the Church of Almighty God have been detained throughout the country in recent days as Beijing tries to stop believers taking drastic action on what they believe to be the eve of the apocalypse, according to relatives of cult members and state media reports.

The group, which preaches the second coming of a female Jesus, appears to have adapted an ancient Mayan prophecy that some people believe predicts the end of the world on December 21 2012 and has been popularised by Hollywood movies such as “2012”.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b82195d0-4857-11e2-a1c0-00144feab49a.html#axzz2FMNMhz7G

Matt's thoughts on the Connecticut shooting in regards to "gun control"

Here are my thoughts regarding the killing of the 20 children, and the general state of gun control, and what role guns played in that scenario:

1. Adam Lanza seemed determined to kill no matter what. Be it a gun in his hand, a knife, or any other implement, he was determined to kill that day and would have. The onus of the murders rests on him (barring any conspiratorial scenarios, which are still highly plausible).

2. The reason why those children and guardians died was not because of the availability of guns, but their lack. Had even one teacher or staff or guard there possessed a weapon and the training to use it, the outcome may have been entirely different.

3. What if that only created a shoot out between Adam and the staff? God forbid, if children must face an onslaught of bullets, at least they'd stand a chance as the fire would be directed at the two opposing parties rather than at them. It could have made the difference between having time to flee and less children being killed, and being executed point blank as what happened.

4. Timothy McVeigh managed to kill 168 people, including 19 children, and didn't even need to touch a trigger. It is the person, and not the implement, that commits murder. What in the hands of an evil person is a tool of death, in the hands of the righteous person becomes a means of defense and preserving life. A teacher was found dead because she hurled her body onto her children to absorb the bullets, saving their souls. How many more could she have saved, including her own, had she been responsibly carrying a sidearm and downed Adam immediately upon his arrival?

5. You can never restrict guns. Ever. No matter how many laws are in place, guns will flow freely like water among the unscrupulous. Shots were fired in the UK riots, despite the illegality of such weapons. Gun crimes happen like sunny days in Canada, where carrying firearms is illegal in most circumstances. You cannot avoid them, no matter how much wishful thinking or legitimately good politics are invoked.

6. It should become absolutely mandatory for every teacher to undergo firearms training and to carry a sidearm like police officers do in order to defend their children, and our children, should a situation ever arise that puts their lives into jeopardy. Many teachers are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the little ones in their guardianship, and how much more effectively could they do so if they didn't have their hands tied behind their backs by bureaucrats and the perpetually fearful.

7. It absolutely amazes me to no end that trucks full of money have inch-thick steel armour and guards carrying sub-machine guns, and banks, and corporate offices, all just to guard stacks of paper and computer banks, and yet when it comes to guarding children, our most precious treasures of all, we leave them totally unequipped and unprotected.

My conclusion: Ultimately, guns laws kill children, evidenced by what happened in Connecticut. Guns in the trained hands of good people give them a chance at life.

Tell me if I'm right, or tell me if I'm wrong in the comments. Let's open a polite and thoughtful discussion on firearms and their role in society.


China says stabber (who sliced 23 children) affected by 'doomsday rumors'

Officials say a man who went into a school in central China and stabbed 23 children last week was "psychologically affected" by doomsday predictions.

Min Yongjun is suspected of going into an elderly woman's house Friday morning and stabbing her with a kitchen knife. He then allegedly went to a nearby elementary school in Chenpeng village in Guangshan county and injured the 23 children before being stopped by teachers and police.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_SCHOOL_STABBING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-12-17-00-23-27

Added thoughts:
Lynsey strongly suspects that as we get closer to the "big date", and after, the situation will get even worse, and we'll see more and more of these events. I'd have to agree with her. How do you guys feel about your personal safety in these times? Have you noticed any odd behaviour among people due to the "end of the world" approaching?

Richard Todd: 'Highly dangerous' inmate jailed for violent robbery goes on the run after failing to return from day release

A 'highly dangerous' inmate was at the centre of a major police hunt tonight after going on the run from prison.

Richard Todd, 25, failed to return to HMP Standford Hill after being granted day release just over a month ago.

The inmate was five-and-a-half years into an indeterminate sentence for robbery, taking without consent and burglary offences when he disappeared from the prison in Eastchurch, Kent.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249593/Richard-Todd-Highly-dangerous-inmate-jailed-violent-robbery-goes-run.html

Gunmen kidnap six Hyundai Heavy workers in Nigeria

Gunmen kidnapped four foreigners and two Nigerians working for South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries in southerly oil-producing Bayelsa state on Monday, the police said.

Kidnapping is rife in Africa's top oil producer, making millions of dollars a year for criminal gangs. It is common across the south, especially in the Niger Delta oil region.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-nigeria-kidnap-hyundai-idUSBRE8BG14Y20121217

Mysticism, Internet fuel "Armageddon" fears

A few words by an American scholar, a crumbling Mexican monument and the love of a good yarn were all it took to spawn the belief that the world could end this week.

December 21 marks the end of an age in a 5,125 year-old Maya calendar, an event that is variously interpreted as the end of days, the start of a new era or just a good excuse for a party.

Thousands of New Age mystics, spiritual adventurers and canny businessmen are converging on ancient ruins in southern Mexico and Guatemala to find out what will happen.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-maya-calendar-idUSBRE8BG0Y120121217

Greece's triangle of power

n late 2011 the Greek finance minister made an impassioned plea for help to rescue his country from financial ruin.

"We need a national collective effort: all of us have to carry the burden together," announced Evangelos Venizelos, who has since become leader of the socialist party PASOK. "We need something that will be fair and socially acceptable."

It was meant to be a call to arms; it ended up highlighting a key weakness in Greece's attempts to reform.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-greece-media-idUSBRE8BG0CF20121217

Iran says it, world powers must end nuclear stalemate

Iran's foreign minister said on Monday a way must be found to end the deadlock with major powers over the country's nuclear programme, an Iranian news agency reported, but he offered no new initiative on how to achieve this.

Ali Akbar Salehi's comments came ahead of an expected resumption of diplomacy, perhaps next month, aimed at preventing the decade-old nuclear dispute from degenerating into a Middle East war that could damage an already fragile world economy.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-iran-nuclear-idUSBRE8BG0DK20121217

Trouble flares at flag protests in Belfast

Trouble has broken out in Belfast and other towns as loyalists protest against restrictions on flying the union flag on the city hall.

Police said they have come under attack on the lower Newtownards Road where 200 loyalists have congregated.

An officer has been injured in Sandy Row, near the city centre, where paint bombs, fireworks and other missiles were thrown.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20763350

David Cameron: withdrawal from EU is imaginable

David Cameron has broken new ground on Europe by suggesting British withdrawal from the EU is "imaginable", aligning himself with the fiercely Eurosceptic Boris Johnson.

The prime minister stressed that he supported membership of a reformed EU, though he said Britain was "in charge of our own destiny".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/dec/17/david-cameron-withdrawal-eu-imaginable

'EU built on sand, facade cracking, collapse imminent'

Ragged Revolution: Post-Arab Spring anger mounts 2 years on

Afghan gold rush for Gulf: Arms dealings & drug money laundering

Sandy Hook to remain closed crime scene indefinitely

Swimmer caught on camera RIDING a sperm whale off the Florida coast hours before the animal was found dead

Witnessed drifting off Pompano Beach by awestruck and concerned beachgoers on Sunday, the distressed whale was described alive when first photographed with at least one swimmer repeatedly climbing on top. The animal's exact cause of death is not known but regardless wildlife officials say they are not defending the swimmer's involvement. It is a federal offense to harass a marine mammal.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249430/Swimmer-caught-camera-RIDING-sperm-whale-Florida-coast-hours-animal-dead.html

Judge Vladimir Trofimov and his family beheaded 'with machete' in medieval Ukraine massacre

A respected judge - and three members of his family - have been beheaded in a medieval-style massacre in Ukraine.

The corpses were left at the scene but the heads of Judge Vladimir Trofimov, his wife Irina, their son Sergei, and the son's partner, Marina Zoueva, are all missing.
Police are uncertain what weapon was used - but say it could be a machete, a sword or an axe.

The sinister attack on the family happened on Saturday, as the judge, his 59-year-old wife, 30-year-old son, and his 29-year-old partner, relaxed at home in their apartment in the eastern city of Kharkiv.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249317/Judge-Vladimir-Trofimov-family-beheaded-Ukraine-gruesome-massacre.html

Mick Philpott: Murder charges DROPPED against parents of six children killed in house fire... but they will face trial for manslaughter

The parents of six children who died when a fire ripped through their home mouthed 'I love you' to each other today when their murder charges were dropped.

Mick Philpott, 55, and his wife Mairead, 31, will now face a trial in February next year charged with six counts of manslaughter.

Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight; Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, died when fire tore through their house in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, at 4am on May 11.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249525/Philpott-Murder-charges-DROPPED-parents-children-killed-house-blaze-face-trial-manslaughter.html

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 17th December 2012

Magnitude
5.0
Date-Time
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 22:52:23 UTC
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 08:52:23 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
37.766°N, 143.597°E
Depth
47.3 km (29.4 miles)
Region
OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances
214 km (132 miles) ESE of Ishinomaki, Japan

Foreign nerves limit Syria rebel arms, Assad's arsenals raided

Syrian rebel success in capturing government armories is rendering increasingly irrelevant Western efforts to limit supplies from abroad and avoid sophisticated arms reaching Islamist militants.

Western nations, particularly the United States, remain highly nervous of weapons falling into the wrong hands, while even Saudi Arabia and Qatar - by far the two most enthusiastic rebel backers - appear to have cut back support in recent weeks.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-syria-arms-idUSBRE8BG0FK20121217

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE - 17th December 2012


Magnitude
5.1
Date-Time
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 17:46:48 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 10:46:48 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
3.968°S, 104.037°W
Depth
15.7 km (9.8 miles)
Region
CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE
Distances
1491 km (926 miles) WSW of Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE - 17th December 2012

Magnitude
5.1
Date-Time
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 17:41:36 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 10:41:36 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
4.107°S, 104.416°W
Depth
35.7 km (22.2 miles)
Region
CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE
Distances
1536 km (954 miles) WSW of Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Blast shakes Lebanese town near Israeli border

Drivers trapped as blizzard slams Ukraine

Malcolm Levesconte 'May Have Killed Himself'

A pub landlord who vanished after £30,000 disappeared from a Christmas thrift fund may have killed himself, police believe.

Malcolm Levesconte, 59, was last seen on December 9 at the Royal Oak pub in Shrewton, near Salisbury.

Later that evening, he boarded a ferry at Portsmouth to St Malo in France and police launched a missing persons inquiry.

It is understood that a suicide note has been found.

http://news.sky.com/story/1026577/pub-landlord-may-have-killed-himself

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 17th December 2012

Magnitude
4.5
Date-Time
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 13:13:09 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:13:09 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
37.721°N, 143.841°E
Depth
35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
Region
OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances
235 km (146 miles) ESE of Ishinomaki, Japan

Lockdown Alert Ends At Schools Near Massacre

Schools in Ridgefield, Connecticut, about 20 miles from the Newtown school massacre scene, are no longer in lockdown after police said they had found no dangerous activity.

Police said earlier they were investigating reports of a suspicious man who may be armed in the town, and schools were in lockdown as a result.

"The police have given the all clear. After an extensive police search, no dangerous activity was discovered," the town's public schools said in an announcement on their website.

http://news.sky.com/story/1026615/lockdown-alert-ends-at-schools-near-massacre

Kim Jong-un Beefs Up Security Amid Fear of Unrest: Reason why the rocket was fired so hurriedly in North Korea?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has apparently stationed around 100 armored vehicles at his house, summer home and other facilities for fear of a military coup or uprising, sources say.

Kim "is extremely nervous about the possibility of an emergency developing inside North Korea," claimed an informed source.

According to the source, Kim recently ordered officials to "place top priority" on his personal security and to keep his itinerary top secret. As a result, the venues of events he attends are swarming with guards carrying automatic rifles and hand grenades, while his personal plainclothes bodyguards can also be spotted carrying long, black bags apparently containing heavy weapons.

http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/12/06/2012120601143.html

Deadly blasts hit Iraq's Kirkuk

North Korea: Leader Expecting A Little 'Un?

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION - 17th December 2012

Magnitude
4.7
Date-Time
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:28:37 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:28:37 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
30.994°S, 176.589°W
Depth
41.4 km (25.7 miles)
Region
KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
Distances
225 km (139 miles) ENE of L'Esperance Rock, New Zealand

'Just don't bring a terrorist in the house': Family's warning to estate agent who then rented home to Abu Qatada

Hate preacher Abu Qatada has been housed in a property belonging to a family who told the rental agent they did not want it let to terrorists.

The brother and sister who own the £450,000 three-bedroom house in north London were suspicious about their new tenants, but only realised who their notorious tenant was after being tipped off by journalists.

The sister said: 'I had no idea. I said to the estate agent: "We're watching a lot of Homeland; just don't bring a terrorist in the house".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249287/Abu-Qatada-new-landlord-didnt-want-terrorist-tenants-And-legal-aid-fanatic-500-000--rising.html

Security alert over Samsung's Smart TV as hackers claim they can access your set and seize control of microphone and cameras

Samsung's Smart TV could used by hackers to watch everything that happens in your living room by gaining access to the device's built-in camera and microphones, it has been claimed.

Malta-based security firm ReVuln posted a video showing how its researchers had learned to crack the television to access its settings - including any personal information stored on it.

'We can install malicious software to gain complete root access to the TV,' they claim in the video.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2249303/Hackers-penetrate-home-Crack-Samsungs-Smart-TV-allows-attacker-seize-control-microphone-cameras.html

'US Mid-East blunder a lesson not to start WW3 with Iran'

Fire, Lava & Smoke: Stunning video of erupting Russian volcano

'EU built on sand, facade cracking, collapse imminent'

Yellowstone: Countdown to a supervolcano eruption? - Truthloader Investigates

N. Korea 'showing signs of change': analyst

70 Military Vehicles Dispatched on Request for Staff Release



China's internet sources revealed that on Dec. 12th Jinan
Military Region dispatched 70 military vehicles to besiege the town hall of Hekou District, Dongying city in Shandong.
The army requested the authorities to release the culprit of a
car accident, who is a staff member of the military region.

The pictures uploaded to the internet show slogans were
hung on several military vehicles.
Two of the army vehicles stopped blocking the town hall.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkaR61oz8C8

Obama Grieves, Promises to Use Power to Help

Building collapse kills woman in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, east China

CONNECTICUT SHOOTING: Police warn against false reporting

Maya denounce doomsday theory

Incoming Japan PM pledges no compromise on islands

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION - 17th December 2012

Magnitude mb 4.6
Region CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION
Date time 2012-12-17 10:08:21.0 UTC
Location 28.85 N ; 15.58 W
Depth 40 km
Distances 78 km N Gáldar, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

US Shooting 'Sparks Big Rise In Gun Sales'

Parents of children at the Sandy Hook school have visited a gun store asking to buy weapons for protection in the wake of the shooting.

One gun shop owner in Newtown reported that a couple had been in his shop looking for something to help safeguard their family.

Sales of weapons have soared in the wake of Friday's shooting, according to anecdotal evidence from stores.

The same happened in July after the Colorado movie theatre massacre: the number of people getting approval to buy a guns increased by 43% in a week.

http://news.sky.com/story/1026461/us-school-shooting-sparks-rise-in-gun-sales

US senator launches bid to ban assault weapons

A leading Democratic senator launched a bid to ban assault weapons in the wake of the latest deadly US school shooting, announcing that she will put a bill before Congress on January 3.

Dianne Feinstein, the influential chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she believed President Barack Obama would support her legislation, also aimed at outlawing magazines carrying more than 10 bullets.

"I'm going to introduce in the Senate, and the same bill will be introduced in the House, a bill to ban assault weapons," the California lawmaker told NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g31gUNUg9L06-eLMjzuBBiTJ2mzA?docId=CNG.523dbeea9e619eecf426809221d998af.7e1

Gaza: IDF shoots at fishing boat; Palestinian injured

Israeli Navy forces identified a Palestinian fishing boat, outside the fishing limits in the northern Gaza Strip. The forces called upon the Palestinians to stop but they continued. In response, the forces fired gunshots in the direction of the boat.

A preliminary investigation into the incident uncovered that one of the Palestinians sustained injuries to his lower extremities, apparently caused by the ricochet. The soldiers administered first aid and transferred him in light to moderate condition to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4320880,00.html

Egypt opposition calls for protests against basic law

Egypt's opposition called for nationwide protests against a constitution backed by President Mohamed Mursi, after a vote exposed deep divisions that could undermine his efforts to build consensus for tough economic measures.

The Islamist leader won a 57 percent "yes" vote for the constitution in a first round of a referendum at the weekend, according to state media, a margin that was less than his party had hoped for and which is likely to embolden the opposition.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/egypt-politics-idUSL5E8NH4BB20121217

The end comes for Comet as all stores prepare to close doors tomorrow

Administrator Deloitte has confirmed that all remaining Comet stores will close their doors tomorrow (December 18th).

Many closed for good over the weekend. The move will result in the loss of some 6,600 jobs just days before Christmas. £2.1m in holiday and back pay will be paid to employees.

http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/the-end-comes-for-comet-as-all-stores-prepare-to-close-doors-tomorrow/0108306

Syrian vice president says neither side can win war

Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa said that neither the forces of President Bashar al-Assad nor rebels seeking to overthrow him can win the war which is now being fought on the outskirts of Assad's powerbase in Damascus.

Sharaa, a Sunni Muslim in a power structure dominated by Assad's Alawite minority, has rarely been seen since the Syrian revolt erupted in March 2011 and is not part of the president's inner circle directing the fight against Sunni rebels.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE8AJ1FK20121217

Police killed outside U.S. grocery store

Two Kansas police officers responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle were fatally shot in the head outside a grocery store Sunday night.

A third officer who fired back at the shooter was not injured, said Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller.

Police identified the shooter as David Edward Tiscareno, 22. He managed to escape.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/17/justice/kansas-officers-killed/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Philippines typhoon deaths top 1,000

The grim toll from a typhoon that devastated southern Philippines earlier this month continues to climb, with 1,020 reported dead as of Sunday morning, authorities said.

Officials fear the toll from the December 4 storm will rise further. Because while rescue crews continue searching, the chances of finding people alive dim with each passing day.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/16/world/asia/philippines-typhoon/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Anonymous targets Westboro Baptist over threats of Newtown protest

Hacktivist group Anonymous published what it claims to be personal information of members of the Westboro Baptist Church after the group announced on Saturday it would picket Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 children and adults were killed.

Anonymous published private e-mail addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of various members, and teased the group about the hack on Twitter. Anonymous also posted a video condemning the group for "breeding hatred" and adding, "We will destroy you. We are coming."

The Westboro group holds protests at military funerals, and targets various cultures and demographics, particularly gay people. The group blames them for tragedies such as shootings, saying it's God's punishment for their actions.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/16/tech/web/anonymous-westboro-baptist/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Has life in U.S. gone insane?

There are days when it seems fair to ask if part of American life has gone irretrievably insane. A description of the scene inside the elementary school, from a law enforcement official who spoke to a reporter, was that it resembled "a killing field."

That is a term of warfare, even of genocide, yet it seems not at all out of place in the context of contemporary domestic news.

"We have lockdown drills," said Mary Ann Jacob, a library clerk at the school. She was explaining to reporters that the teachers, children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, like teachers, children and staff at elementary schools all across the United States, were well versed in the advisability of preparing for a day like Friday.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/16/opinion/greene-connecticut-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

American jailed for assaulting Aussie bus driver

An American man who attacked a Sydney bus driver has been sentenced to nine months jail.

The driver suffered severe injuries in the brutal assault caught on security cameras.

It was a brutal attack, on a defenceless bus driver.

Twenty-five-year-old Samuel Alan Smith told Waverley Court he was tired after a 14-hour shift as a restaurant sommelier, and said he was disoriented after falling asleep on the bus home.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/nsw/latest/a/-/article/15661730/bus-driver-s-attacker-sentenced/

6.1 Magnitude Earthquake SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 17th December 2012

Magnitude
6.1
Date-Time
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 09:16:28 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 05:16:28 PM at epicenter
Location
0.709°S, 123.837°E
Depth
18.5 km (11.5 miles)
Region
SULAWESI, INDONESIA
Distances
163 km (101 miles) SSE (149°) from Gorontalo, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Republican congressman says Sandy Hook principal should have had a machine gun so she could 'take his head off before he killed those precious kids'

A Republican Congressman said that elementary school principals should be armed and have access to assault rifles in order to kill potential shooters.

Representative Louie Gohmert theorized that if the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School had an M-4 rifle in her office, then she would have been able to shoot Adam Lanza before he proceeded to kill 20 students and six adults at the Newtown, Connecticut school.

'I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,' he said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249069/Republican-congressman-says-Sandy-Hook-principal-machine-gun-head-killed-precious-kids.html

Suspected al-Qaeda terrorist arrested outside the British Embassy in Romania wielding a sword

British Embassy staff in Romania were targeted by a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist brandishing a sword.

The Iraqi, named as Karim Friad, was pounced on by police as he brandished the nine-inch blade near the building's gates in the capital, Bucharest.

Sources told the paper his mission was to kill British or American officials.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249034/.html

The moon (crash) landing: Two satellites due to collide with the lunar surface today... but don't worry, NASA planned it to happen

Twin NASA satellites are due for a cosmic collision of sorts Monday after concluding a 15-month mission to map the gravity signature of Earth's nearest neighbor.

Scientists last week set the Grail spacecraft, named Ebb and Flow, respectively, on course for a crash-landing into a lunar crater near the moon's north pole.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249244/A-cosmic-collision-Two-NASA-satellites-en-route-controlled-crash-landing-moon-Monday.html

Brandon Bryant: 'Did we just kill a kid?': The moment drone operator who assassinated Afghans with the push of a button on a computer in the U.S. followed orders to shoot a child... and decided he had to quit

Brandon Bryant, 27, from Missoula, Montana, saw 'men, women and children die' during his six years in the Air Force operating Predator drones. But after following orders to shoot and kill a toddler in Afghanistan he knew he couldn't keep doing what he was doing. He now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder but is no longer 'dreaming in infrared' having quit the military.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249252/Brandon-Bryant-Ex-U-S-drone-operator-murdered-scores-people-pushing-button-New-Mexico-describes-quit-following-orders-kill-child.html

White House won't accept new tax offer from Republican leader

President Barack Obama is not ready to accept a new offer from the Republican leader of the U.S. the House of Representatives to raise taxes on top earners in exchange for major cuts in entitlement programs, a source said late Saturday.

The shape and details of Boehner's offer were uncertain Saturday night, as was the exact reason the president was prepared to reject it.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/16/us-usa-fiscal-republicans-idUSBRE8BE0AN20121216

Hungary's Jews face down new extremism

A week after a leader of Hungary's far-right Jobbik party called for lists of prominent Jews to be drawn up to protect national security, Janos Fonagy stepped forward.

"My mother and father were Jewish, and so am I, whether you like it or not," the state secretary of the Development Ministry told parliament, explaining he did not have dual citizenship with Israel and was not religious.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/16/us-hungary-jews-idUSBRE8BF0HI20121216

Blast in Pakistani market kills at least 15 people

A blast in a market in northwest Pakistan on Monday killed at least 15 people, a security official said.

The official said at least 20 people had been wounded in the blast in the market in the Khyber region, near the border with Afghanistan, and the death toll could rise.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-pakistan-blast-idUSBRE8BG07H20121217

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA - 17th December 2012

Magnitude ML 4.0
Region SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA
Date time 2012-12-17 07:46:09.0 UTC
Location 31.80 S ; 68.46 W
Depth 201 km
Distances 30 km S San juan, Argentina

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake TAIWAN - 17th December 2012

Magnitude ML 4.1
Region TAIWAN
Date time 2012-12-17 04:56:51.9 UTC
Location 24.82 N ; 121.99 E
Depth 9 km
Distances 19 km E Toucheng, TAIWAN

Newtown school shooting story already being changed by the media to eliminate eyewitness reports of a second shooter

As the story of this shooting was first breaking, the news was reporting a second gunman.

FoxNews reported that this second gunman was “led out of the woods by officers” and then questioned. The original source of this report was the Connecticut Post.

A local CBS affiliate was also reporting the existence of a second gunman and said “Police believe there may be a second gunman and are looking for a red or maroon van with its back window blown out…”

ABC News also originally reported, “A second gunman is apparently at large. Car-to-car searches are underway.”

http://www.pakalertpress.com/2012/12/16/newtown-school-shooting-story-already-being-changed-by-the-media-to-eliminate-eyewitness-reports-of-a-second-shooter/

CYCLONE EVAN BEARS DOWN ON FIJI'S NORTH

More than 3,000 people are sheltering in evacuation centres as Cyclone Evan bears down on Fiji's northern islands.

The storm has already caused widespread damage in Samoa, claiming at least four lives.

Fiji's Meteorological Office says at 12noon local time the centre of Severe Tropical Cyclone C Evan was about 35 kilometres south of Yasawa i Ra island.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/15656060/cyclone-evan-bears-down-on-fijis-north/

Afghanistan Bomb Blast Kills 10 Young Girls

Ten young girls have been killed by a landmine explosion in eastern Afghanistan, officials say.

The children were collecting firewood when one of them accidentally struck the mine with an axe, according to Chapahar district governor Mohammad Seddiq Dawlatzai.

The victims were all aged nine to 13. Two girls were critically injured and are being treated in hospital.

http://news.sky.com/story/1026343/afghanistan-bomb-blast-kills-10-young-girls

Pennsylvania nuclear power plant: Unexpected shutdown reported

An energy company says it’s trying to figure out why a central Pennsylvania nuclear power plant reactor shut down unexpectedly.

PPL Corp says Unit 2 at the Susquehanna nuclear facility near Berwick shut down early Sunday morning. The company says the reactor is safe and stable.

In a statement, Allentown-based PPL says the shutdown occurred during routine testing of a valve on the unit’s main turbine system.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/international/unexpected-shutdown-reported-at-us-nuclear-plant/article4208906.ece

Daytime UFO filmed over Orlando Florida: Dec 15, 2012


Daytime UFO over Orlando, Florida 15 December 2012 by justa4t

Ecuador declares orange alert near Tungurahua volcano

ECUADOR has issued an orange alert - the second-highest warning level - for towns near the Tungurahua volcano, as its level of activity rose, civil defence officials say.

The area of the warning covers the adjacent provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo, according to the national civil defence agency.

Greater activity has been building since Wednesday, along with a slight increase in gas emissions from the 5029-metre volcano, located about 135km south of the capital Quito, the Geophysical Institute said.

http://www.news.com.au/world/ecuador-declares-volcano-alert/story-fndir2ev-1226538249098

Mayan 'death and rebirth' date marks the perfect time to tackle planet's crisis

At 12 minutes past noon last Wednesday, 12.12.12, 12 minutes of wintry stillness was broken by the low chime of a gong. The crowd gathered around the Chalice Well beneath Glastonbury Tor linked hands, looked skywards, then touched the earth. A multitude of others did the same across the world – only this place, as everyone knows, is rather special.

For many people, these days between last Wednesday, 12 December, and the winter solstice on 21 December next Friday constitute a portal of some kind, based upon a convergence of predictions in ancient calendars, notably that of the Maya in what is now Mexico and Guatemala. According to the Maya, the 13th baktun reaches completion on Friday, in what they called the Long Count of time. The moment is taken by some to mean the end of time – those who perhaps prefer the idea of apocalypse Hollywood-style to the prospect of grinding on – and by many more to herald some new era in which battle will be done between those who would protect the planet and those bent on destruction.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/16/mayan-death-rebirth-date-planet-crisis

Emerging Europe: Goal challenged

For the countries of central and eastern Europe, the unassailable momentum of integration with Europe’s west has been a double-edged sword. For much of the past decade, the wealth gap between west and east has narrowed as inflows of cheap capital helped power economic growth in the former communist countries.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c652df60-4514-11e2-838f-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=published_links%2Frss%2Fworld_europe%2Ffeed%2F%2Fproduct#axzz2FHbtzBdg

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 17th December 2012

Magnitude
5.6
Date-Time
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 00:28:55 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:28:55 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
49.749°N, 155.952°E
Depth
38.9 km (24.2 miles)
Region
KURIL ISLANDS
Distances
102 km (63 miles) S of Severo-Kuril'sk, Russia

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake VALPARAISO, CHILE - 16th December 2012

Magnitude
4.8
Date-Time
Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 22:46:11 UTC
Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 07:46:11 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
33.762°S, 71.433°W
Depth
54.9 km (34.1 miles)
Region
VALPARAISO, CHILE
Distances
20 km (12 miles) WSW of Melipilla, Chile

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS - 16th December 2012

Magnitude
4.4
Date-Time
Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 21:50:29 UTC
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 07:50:29 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
18.206°N, 146.843°E
Depth
53.6 km (33.3 miles)
Region
PAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
Distances
113 km (70 miles) E of Pagan, Northern Mariana Islands