Thursday, January 17, 2013

Could the markets handle a U.S. default?

Squabbling in Washington over the debt ceiling is again raising the specter that the United States may be forced to delay payments on its debt. While the stigma of a default would be damaging enough to investor sentiment, the chaos from a breakdown in financial markets' systems that might result would be even scarier.

A failure to make payments on U.S. Treasuries, however brief, would create widespread damage in short-term funding markets, which are crucial to daily operations of financial institutions, investment firms and many corporations, said analysts and investors.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-usa-debt-ratesmarkets-idUSBRE90G0WG20130117

Algeria ends desert siege, but dozens killed

Algerian forces stormed a desert gas complex to free hundreds of hostages but 30, including several Westerners, were killed in the assault along with at least 11 of their Islamist captors, an Algerian security source told Reuters.

Western leaders whose compatriots were being held did little to disguise their irritation at being kept in the dark by Algeria before the raid - and over its bloody outcome. French, British and Japanese staff were among the dead, the source said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/us-sahara-crisis-idUSBRE90F1JJ20130118

David Cameron: Britain to drift out of European Union without reforms

Britain will drift out of the European Union and the European project will fail unless the bloc tackles three serious problems it faces, British Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to say in a postponed speech on Friday.

Cameron delayed the long-anticipated address on Europe at the last minute to deal with the hostage crisis in Algeria. Aides said a new date and venue would be announced later.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/us-britain-europe-idUSBRE90H00520130118

IMF Chief: Failure to raise U.S. debt ceiling would be “catastrophic”

Indonesian State Intelligence Agency: ‘Terrorism likely behind avian flu outbreak’

The National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman said on Thursday that the agency was on alert and would continue to monitor the spread of the new strain of avian flu, identified as H5N1 clade 2.3.2, which was reportedly been behind the deaths of tens of thousands of ducks across the nation.

“My agency has been closely watching this phenomenon,” Marciano told reporters at the State Palace on Thursday. “We have to stay alert, as the global development of biological weapons is very fast.”

“In the future, this kind of biological attack will be frequently used in wars,” Marciano said, although he was quick to quell speculation that the new strain was a biological attack.

“We are closely monitoring developments. We can’t jump to conclusions without strong evidence,” Marciano added. “We are asking relevant agencies to look into the new strain of the virus closely and we will support their efforts”.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/01/15/issues-day-terrorism-likely-behind-avian-flu-outbreak.html

Bird Flu Hits Mexican Egg Industry Again

Highly pathogenic bird flu has broken out again in one egg flock in Mexico, with a neighbouring flock subsequently also found to be affected. Both flocks have been destroyed and the usual procedures have been put in place to halt the spread of the disease, which hit the country's top egg-producing state just last year. New research highlights ways that poultry processing plants can protect workers from Campylobacter infections. Pressure is mounting in the UK and the US for more restrictions on antibiotic use in farm animals.

The New Year did not start well for the poultry industry in Mexico with the discovery of a new outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) at an egg farm in the state of Aguascalientes. Around 3,000 birds of a flock of 147,000 died or showed symptoms, subsequently identified as the H7N3 subtype. This is the same sub-type as the virus that hit the egg industry in the neighbouring state of Jalisco a few months ago. A second flock on a neighbouring farm was also found to be infected, following routine surveillance. As a result, 285,000 birds have been destroyed on the two farms.

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultrynews/27823/weekly-review-bird-flu-hits-mexican-egg-industry-again

Indonesian bird flu outbreak “has only infected ducks”

Indonesian health officials have downplayed concerns over a fresh outbreak of avian influenza which has killed some 160,000 reared ducks since September 2012.

“So far no Indonesians have been infected by the new clade [virus group] of the H5N1 virus,” Tjandra Yoga Aditama, the director of disease control and public health at the Health Ministry, told IRIN.

“The outbreak has only affected ducks. There have been no known cases in humans,” said Muhammad Azhar, coordinator of the Avian Influenza Disease Control Unit. "We have taken necessary measures to control the outbreak."

http://www.irinnews.org/Report/97268/Indonesian-bird-flu-outbreak-has-only-infected-ducks

WHO releases report on Darfur yellow fever outbreak

The World Health Organization and the government of Sudan released a situation report last week as an update on the outbreak of yellow fever in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Thirty-five localities are experiencing the outbreak in East, North, West, South and Central Darfur. As of January 6, the total number of suspected cases hit 849, including 171 deaths. The case fatality rate is 20.1 percent.

http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/africa/321684-who-releases-report-on-darfur-yellow-fever-outbreak/

Greece Tax Evasion Claims Debated By MPs

Greece's parliament has become embroiled in a huge tax scandal, which risks implicating two former prime ministers and two ex-finance ministers.

Politicians are due to vote on whether the four should be investigated and possibly prosecuted for allegedly covering up tax cheats in the biggest tax evasion scandal in decades.

The vote spawns from allegations of fraud and breach of duty levelled against socialist politician George Papaconstantinou while at the helm of the country's finance ministry three years ago.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039373/greece-tax-evasion-claims-debated-by-mps

Cancelled: "most important speech on Europe by a British PM since 1945"

David Cameron has cancelled a key speech setting out his vision for Britain’s future in Europe because of the Algerian hostage crisis.

The Prime Minister postponed his visit to the Netherlands to make what has been described as the "most important speech on Europe by a British PM since 1945".

Foreign Secretary William Hague will also return early from Australia to deal with the aftermath of the drama at the gas plant in In Amenas.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039578/cameron-cancels-major-speech-on-europe

Mali Conflict: France Sends In More Troops

France is sending more troops into Mali as it steps up its military operation to wrest back the north from al Qaeda-linked groups.

On the seventh day of fighting, the French have increased their soldiers to 1,400 and are planning to deploy a total of 2,500.

It came as fighting broke out in the towns of Konna and Diabaly and army troops raced to protect Banamba - amid fears militants had reached 90 miles away from the capital.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039506/mali-conflict-france-sends-in-more-troops

Gaddafi's Son Makes His First Court Appearance

Colonel Gaddafi's son Saif al Islam has appeared in court in Libya for the first time since his capture more than a year ago.

He is accused of meeting an International Criminal Court (ICC) lawyer Melinda Taylor and of being 'involved' with an ICC delegation.

Ms Taylor was arrested and detained for three weeks after meeting al Islam and has since said it proved he could not receive a fair trial in Libya for war crimes and that he should instead be tried at The Hague.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039451/gaddafis-son-makes-his-first-court-appearance

Horsemeat Burger Factory In Ireland Shut Down

All production has been halted at an Irish factory discovered to have produced beef burgers containing horsemeat

Silvercrest Foods in the county of Monaghan, announced it would suspend operations indefinitely pending further investigations into how its products were contaminated.

Ten million burgers have been removed supermarket freezers across Ireland and the UK and are now expected to be destroyed after Irish authorities found they contained traces of horse DNA.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039605/horsemeat-burger-factory-in-ireland-shut-down

Stephen McFaul Had Explosives Around Neck

An Irishman who escaped from the Algerian hostage crisis had explosives tied around his neck, his brother has revealed.

Father-of-two Stephen McFaul, from west Belfast, fled after the vehicle he had been travelling in crashed after coming under attack from Algerian forces, Brian McFaul said.

The 36-year-old was able to run off and made it to safety. He later was able to contact members of his family.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039599/algeria-irish-hostage-had-explosives-around-neck

Algeria Hostage Crisis: Military Operation 'Ends'

An unknown number of hostages are thought to have been killed after Algerian military stormed a gas plant where they were being held by Islamist gunmen.

The nationalities of those killed in the assault is unknown, but David Cameron said Britain should be "prepared for the possibility of further bad news".

The Prime Minister has postponed his speech on Europe on Friday in the Netherlands to stay in the UK to deal with the situation.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039364/algeria-hostage-crisis-military-operation-ends

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE - 18th January 2013

Magnitude
5.0
Date-Time
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 04:08:03 UTC
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 02:08:03 AM at epicenter
Location
0.735°N, 25.381°W
Depth
10 km (6.2 miles)
Region
CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
Distances
1313 km (816 miles) ENE (57°) from Natal, Brazil

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 18th January 2013

Magnitude
4.6
Date-Time
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 03:02:07 UTC
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 12:02:07 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
40.480°N, 142.718°E
Depth
20.9 km (13.0 miles)
Region
NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances
103 km (64 miles) E of Hachinohe, Japan

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake MOLUCCA SEA - 17th January 2013

Magnitude
4.8
Date-Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 23:09:01 UTC
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 07:09:01 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
1.698°N, 126.493°E
Depth
34.8 km (21.6 miles)
Region
MOLUCCA SEA
Distances
141 km (87 miles) NW (315°) from Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake EGYPT - 17th January 2013

Magnitude
4.9
Date-Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 21:17:35 UTC
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:17:35 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
31.993°N, 30.660°E
Depth
10 km (6.2 miles)
Region
EGYPT
Distances
68 km (42 miles) NNE of Rosetta, Egypt

Obama's Gun Control Hyopcrisy: Are His Children More Important Than Yours?

Town close to Mali capital on alert after jihadist sighting

French special forces inched closer to an al-Qaida-held town, fighting erupted in another centre and army troops raced to protect a third, as the Islamic extremists controlling northern Mali ceded no ground Thursday, digging into the areas they already occupy and sending out scouts to widen their reach.

Banamba, a town just 144 kilometres from the capital, Bamako, was put on alert overnight and a contingent of roughly 100 Malian soldiers sped there on Thursday after a reported sighting of jihadists in the vicinity, the closest the extremists have come to the seat of government of this West African country, officials said.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/town-close-to-mali-capital-on-alert-after-jihadist-sighting-1.1118257

Anthony Kyser 'choked to death by pharmacy manager after stealing a tube of toothpaste'

A Chicago homeless man was choked to death after a pharmacy manager chased him out of a store for stealing toothpaste and shocking surveillance camera footage from the incident emerged today.

The video shows Anthony Kyser running into an alley near the CVS after taking the toothpaste on May 8, 2010 and being followed by a store manager.
Kyser, 35, is cornered by the employee and after a brief struggle, Kyser falls the ground.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264035/Shocking-video-shows-homeless-man-choked-death-shoplifting-toothpaste-Chicago-pharmacy.html

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO BELOW


Syrian rebels accuse jihadist groups of trying to hijack revolution

A schism is developing in northern Syria between jihadists and Free Syrian Army units, which threatens to pitch both groups against each other and open a new phase in the Syrian civil war.

Rebel commanders who fight under the Free Syrian Army banner say they have become increasingly angered by the behaviour of jihadist groups, especially the al-Qaida-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra, who they say aim to hijack the goals of the revolution.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/17/syrian-rebels-jihadist-hijack-revolution

Algeria crisis: Cameron postpones Europe speech and warns of 'bad news'

David Cameron: "It is a fluid situation but we should be prepared for the possibility of further bad news"

David Cameron has postponed a long-awaited speech on Europe due to the hostage crisis in Algeria, saying the country should prepare "for bad news".

Britons were among a group of foreign nationals taken hostage at a gas plant near In Amenas. One is confirmed dead, the fate of other hostages is unclear.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-21064114

Radiohead Warns: 'We'll Sue David Cameron'

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has warned David Cameron he will take legal action if the Prime Minister uses any of his songs to promote his re-election campaign.

Speaking to Dazed and Confused magazine the 44-year-old singer said if any of his songs were used by Mr Cameron he would “sue the living ****” out of him.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039408/radiohead-warns-well-sue-david-cameron

Algeria Gas Plant Siege: Warning From Cameron

David Cameron has said Britain should be "prepared for the possibility of further bad news" in the hostage situation at a remote gas plant in Algeria.

The Prime Minister has postponed his speech on Europe tomorrow in the Netherlands to stay in the UK to deal with the crisis.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039364/algeria-gas-plant-siege-warning-from-cameron

'Israel will keep building settlements regardless of UN'

Currency World War looms as Japan, China, US & Europe decline

Cameron Cracked: PM pleases neither Eurocrats nor Eurosceptics

Mali war retaliation: 'World police protecting corporate interests in Africa'

Rotten System: 'Pakistan govt on verge of corruption collapse'

Egyptians sift through rubble of collapsed building

'Pentagon knows China will be US enemy No.1 starting in 2017'

Baby elephant trapped down a well in India

Fireman knocked down ladder by massive chunk of snow in Russia

South Korean nuclear reactor shuts down due to technical malfunction

A South Korean nuclear reactor shut down on Thursday due to a technical malfunction, the latest in a series of glitches that have raised public safety concerns

The Uljin-1 reactor, 330 km southeast of Seoul, was tripped off by what a spokesman for the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co said appeared to be a faulty gauge.

"There has been no radioactive leak and there is no health hazard involved. It was an automatic shutdown for safety," the spokesman told AFP, adding that an investigation was underway to confirm the precise cause.

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/asia/story/south-korean-nuclear-reactor-shuts-down-20130117

Silversea forced to cancel cruise after being struck by a Giant Wave

Silversea has been forced to cancel a cruise onboard the Silver Explorer after the vessel was damaged by a giant wave.

The incident happened in rough weather while the ship was on an 18-night voyage in South America.

Four crew suffered minor injuries during the incident, which saw a wave strike in the waters between Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.

http://www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/silversea-forced-to-cancel-cruise-following-damage-to-vessel/

Man is bitten on arm during shark attack in West Hawaii

Fire/rescue units responded to a 5:10 p.m. alarm Wednesday (Jan 16) to Kiholo Bay for a man bitten by a shark.

A 43-year-old man was surfing with a friend at Kiholo Bay when he was bitten on the lower right arm.

Bystanders on the beach were attending to the bitten surfer when medics arrived. The victim was taken by ambulance to North Hawaii Community Hospital.

http://www.hawaii247.com/2013/01/16/man-is-bitten-on-arm-during-shark-attack-in-west-hawaii/

Orange County Health Officials are warning about a measles epidemic that they say is putting everyone in Central Florida at risk.

The announcement comes after four kids in Orange County-- all from the same family-- came down with the highly contagious virus.

"If it's an epidemic yeah it would be scary," said Wendi Barnard, who was playing with her young son at Lake Eola park.

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/4-Measles-cases-confirmed-in-Orange-County/-/1637132/18150978/-/i01p5y/-/index.html

Severe thunderstorm to hit Christchurch

Canterbury is bracing for a severe thunderstorm, with motorists warned of treacherous conditions due to large hailstones.

A severe weather warning has been issued for Christchurch, the Canterbury plains and the Canterbury high country until 6:30pm this evening.

Large hail, in excess of 20mm diameter, is likely to accompany the storm, which is expected to ease in the early evening.

http://www.3news.co.nz/Severe-thunderstorm-to-hit-Christchurch/tabid/423/articleID/283451/Default.aspx

Mystery light flashes through Winnipeg sky, Canada

A sudden flash of light that appeared in the night sky in Winnipeg on Tuesday remains a mystery, but it might not have been an otherworldly phenomenon as previously thought.

Many Winnipeggers reported seeing the whitish-green flash in the sky at around 10 p.m. CT Tuesday. It disappeared as suddenly as it appeared.

On Wednesday morning, astronomer Scott Young of the Manitoba Museum told CBC News it was possible the light came from a meteorite.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2013/01/16/mb-mystery-light-meteorite-winnipeg.html

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA - 17th January 2013

Magnitude
4.9
Date-Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 16:55:36 UTC
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 01:55:36 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
5.588°S, 131.194°E
Depth
82.6 km (51.3 miles)
Region
BANDA SEA
Distances
173 km (107 miles) W of Tual, Indonesia

Muslim Patrol vigilantes believe they are 'policing' London's streets

The hooded men, who call themselves Muslim Patrol, have been filmed loitering around London's streets and calling some women 'naked animals with no self respect' and burning 'vile' posters. The group is also shown taking alcohol from revellers and film a cyclist being treated after a road accident, claiming they are injured because they are unclean. They have uploaded videos to their YouTube channel with the most recent three-minute clip causing a stir online.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263905/Muslim-patrol-Hooded-vigilantes-walking-streets-London-telling-women-cover-taking-alcohol-hands-revellers-behave-Islamic-way.html

Miliband accused of 'total hypocrisy' after attacking government car use while being driven around in £135,000 taxpayer-funded limo

Ed Miliband was today accused of ‘total hypocrisy’ after running up a £135,000 bill for a taxpayer-funded chauffeur driven limo while sanctioning attacks on cars used by government ministers.

The Labour leader faced calls to use public transport or invest in a bicycle instead of being driven around London in car paid for by the state.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263899/Miliband-accused-total-hypocrisy-attacking-government-car-use-driven-135-000-taxpayer-funded-limo.html

Kieran Crump-Raiswell Stabbed to death as he walked home in 'bungled mugging for his mobile phone'

A 'caring' gap year student who was stabbed to death as he walked home in broad daylight may have been the innocent victim of a bungled mugging.

Kieran Crump-Raiswell's killer is thought to be as young as 16. He ran up to him armed and plunged a knife into his torso yesterday afternoon.

Murder squad detectives were baffled as to a motive for the stabbing in the Whalley Range district of south Manchester, but have ruled out gang related violence.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263844/Caring-student-18-stabbed-death-walked-home-bungled-mugging-mobile-phone.html

Robert Gleason Jr Final Words "Kiss my a**" before being he died in the electric chair

A killer who strangled two fellow prisoners in order to ensure his execution used his final moments while strapped in an electric chair to tell witnesses to ‘kiss my a**’ moments before he died at 9.08pm on Wednesday.

Robert Gleason Jr. uttered the vulgar phrase in Irish Gaelic, according to Larry Traylor, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, while adding 'Put me on the highway going to Jackson and call my Irish buddies. ... God bless,' before a leather strap was tightened over his face.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263723/Robert-Gleason-Jr-death-using-electric-chair-execution-2013.html

'Thirty-five hostages killed in Algerian helicopter attack on BP gas plant siege': Two Brits feared dead, but Irishman among escapees

A trapped oil worker at the BP gas plant in Algeria made a desperate 'last phone call' to tell his family he had been captured by al-Qaeda hours before a botched rescue attempt killed up to 35 foreigners, it emerged today.

Stephen McFaul barricaded himself into a room with dozens of others as armed militants stormed their compound in the remote African desert.

He was able to relay the terrifying series of events on the phone to his brother, Brian, who said he heard gunfire in the background before cut off.

Several hours later, Stephen re-established contact with his sibling, but only to reveal the devastating news that 'al-Qaeda had got him'.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263785/Algerian-hostage-crisis-35-killed-helicopter-attack-BP-gas-plant-siege-2-Brits-feared-dead.html

Met Office issues red alert for Wales with blizzards and up to 12ins of snow forecast as nearly all Britain will be blanketed tomorrow

Forecasters predict the heaviest snowfall of winter will blanket the country tonight, with the North West, Wales and the West Midlands worst affected (right, a map showing predicted depths in centimetres for the UK). The Met Office issued its most serious red warning for snow in two years (left), with up to 12 inches expected tomorrow. Transport chaos reigned on icy roads after temperatures plummeted to -12C overnight, with four accidents in Dover in just three hours and a car in Carmarthenshire skidding off an icy road (centre).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263837/UK-weather-Snow-forecast-UK-motorists-told-travel-avoid-it.html

Algeria oil hostages reported dead after air strike

Rescuers free U.S. woman stuck between two buildings

60% of Toxic Fine Dust 'Comes from China': Korea

Up to 60 percent of ultrafine particles in toxic smog that blanketed Korea over the weekend was blown in from Chinas, the National Institute of Environmental Research said Wednesday. It said the density of heavy metals in China's air apparently increased due to serious pollution even as Korea tried to clean up its act.

A study released in 2009 by the institute and Prof. Yoon Soon-chang of Seoul National University found that up to 60 percent of ultrafine particles here originated from China, with 60 percent ions and 55 percent organic and inorganic carbon. The study was based on a computer simulation.

"The situation has changed little over the past years, but since Korea now produces fewer pollutants, an increasing proportion may have come from China," the institute said. The claims are supported by other studies that found a higher concentration of heavy metals in the atmosphere here when sandstorms arising in China are blown in every spring.

http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/17/2013011701322.html

People do not need assault weapons: defense secretary

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joined the gun control debate on Thursday when he told troops at a military base in Italy that only soldiers needed armor-piercing bullets or assault weapons.

Asked by a soldier what President Barack Obama would do to protect school children from gun violence without infringing Americans' right to own guns, Panetta said action was needed after the attack on a Connecticut school in December in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-usa-guns-panetta-idUSBRE90G0PQ20130117

U.S. trade pact offers Cameron a way to sell Europe

Momentum for a trade deal between the United States and European Union is a challenge to Britons who say London is better off without Brussels and hands Prime Minister David Cameron a strong argument to resist their pressure.

Cameron will outline plans to dilute Britain's EU membership on Friday in Amsterdam in one of the most anticipated speeches on Europe by a British leader since World War Two. Diplomats in Brussels and business leaders in the UK fear he could set off a process that ends with Britain quitting the Union.

Eurosceptics in Britain say the country's future lies in trade with the dynamic economies of Latin America and Asia, at a time when the euro zone is in recession and British companies are exporting more goods outside the European Union than inside the bloc for the first time since the 1970s.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-britain-europe-trade-idUSBRE90G0RJ20130117

Massacre of over 100 reported in Syria's Homs

More than 100 people were shot, stabbed or possibly burned to death by government forces in the Syrian city of Homs, a monitoring group said on Thursday, and fierce fighting raged across the country.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said women and children were among the 106 people killed by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad forces who stormed Basatin al-Hasawiya, a poor district on the edge of Homs, on Tuesday.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE90G09R20130117

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake CROATIA - 17th January 2013

Magnitude ML 4.2
Region CROATIA
Date time 2013-01-17 13:21:51.0 UTC
Location 43.67 N ; 16.44 E
Depth 2 km
Distances 7 km W Neoric, Croatia

Indonesia: Judge Apologises Over Rape 'Joke'

A senior Indonesian judge who joked that rapists should evade capital punishment because victims enjoyed the act has apologised.

Muhammad Daming Sunusi - a High Court judge who is running for a Supreme Court position - made the remarks during a "fit-and-proper test", when parliament asked whether the country should introduce the death penalty for rapists.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039315/indonesia-judge-apologises-over-rape-joke

New York 'Mafia' Raid: 30 Arrested By FBI

Thirty alleged New York mobsters have been arrested on suspicion of using the city's private waste disposal industry as a Mafia front.

The suspects, with nicknames including 'Big Bill' and 'Uncle Sonny', were held after early-morning FBI raids in the New York and New Jersey areas.

Those arrested, including Carmine 'Papa Smurf' Franco, are thought to have close ties with the Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families - three of New York's largest organised crime families.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039309/new-york-mafia-raid-30-arrested-by-fbi

Gold Find: Novice Prospector Earns Big Bucks

An amateur gold prospector has made the find of a lifetime in southern Australia, unearthing a nugget worth almost £200,000.

The Y-shaped nugget, which weighed five kilograms or 117 ounces (11 lbs), was discovered by an unidentified man armed only with a hand-held metal detector just outside the 'gold rush' town of Ballarat 65 miles from Melbourne.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039397/gold-find-novice-prospector-earns-big-bucks

'Many Dead' In Strike On Algeria Gas Plant

A number of foreign hostages at a besieged Algerian gas plant have reportedly been freed in the wake of a military strike which news agencies say has killed several people.

Mauritania's ANI news agency reported the deaths citing one of the kidnappers who had earlier taken 41 people captive at the compound near the border with Libya.

A large explosion has been heard away from the accommodation block at the remote desert complex, Sky sources said.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039364/many-dead-in-strike-on-algeria-gas-plant

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF ECUADOR - 17th January 2013

Magnitude
4.3
Date-Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 13:12:49 UTC
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 08:12:49 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
0.649°S, 80.260°W
Depth
41.3 km (25.7 miles)
Region
NEAR THE COAST OF ECUADOR
Distances
14 km (8 miles) N of Tosagua, Ecuador

Second GOP congressman suggests impeachment over executive action for gun control



A second Republican congressman is suggesting that impeachment should be an option as President Barack Obama takes executive action to enact gun control measures.

In an interview with Florida’s “The Shark Tank,” Florida Republican Trey Radel addressed Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman’s statement that he might seek impeachment if Obama goes forward with executive action to bring about gun control measures.

“All options should be on the table,” Radel responded.

Obama announced 23 executive actions during his Wednesday press conference.

“It is one of those times in our history, we are at this breaking point,” Radel added, going to to explain, “We have completely lost our checks and balances in this country, the Congress needs to hold the president accountable for the decisions that he’s making right now, and that why again, I would say that all options should be on the table.”

http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/16/second-gop-congressman-suggests-impeachment-over-executive-action-for-gun-control/

Obama Tweets 8-Year-Old's Plea to Rally Support...

The president of the United States tweeted a picture of an 8-year-old's letter pleading for gun control to rally support for the initiatives he rolled out today at the White House.

"Dear President Obama," the letter reads. "I think there should be some changes in the law with guns. It's a free country but I recommend there needs be a limit with guns. Please don't let people own machine guns or other powerful guns like that. I think there should be a good reason to get a gun. I think there should be a limit about how many guns a person can own. We should learn from what happened at Sandy Hook es. I feel really bad about what just happened."

The letter is signed, "Grant," who says he's 8 years old.

"P.S," the letter concludes, "I know you're doing your best."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-tweets-8-year-olds-gun-control-plea-rally-support_696168.html

Gov. Perry: Using Massacre of Children to Advance Agenda 'Disgusts Me'

Gov. Rick Perry released the following statement regarding President Obama's executive actions:

"The Vice President's committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there.

"Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.

"There is evil prowling in the world - it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.

"In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president."

http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/18060/

Florida moves to ban drones from spying on citizens...

A Florida Senate panel says police should be banned from using drones to spy on citizens.

A bill (SB 92) that would prohibit law enforcement agencies from gathering evidence or other information flew through the Criminal Justice Committee with a unanimous vote Tuesday.

It also would ban government agencies from using drones for code enforcement.

http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2013/01/15/fla-senate-panel-votes-to-ban-spying-with-drones/

Google denies Street View car ran over donkey, adds to intrigue

A scene captured by a Google Street View vehicle in Kweneng, Botswana, that went viral Monday seems to show the car hitting and possibly killing a donkey on the road.

The scene is still visible on Google Street View: The Google vehicle appears to come up upon a standing donkey before knocking it over.

But Google has a different version of the incident and insists the animal is fine.

"Our Street View teams take the safety of people and donkeys very seriously," Google said in a statement. "A review of our imagery confirms that we did not cause any harm to the donkey."

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-google-donkey-streetview-20130115,0,1920120.story

Iran Navy to Deploy to Mediterranean

Iran will deploy a fleet of warships to the Mediterranean Sea, Navy chief Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on Wednesday.

“The Navy’s 24th fleet of warships will patrol the north of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, Bab-el-Mandeb, the Red Sea, Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea for three months and will even sail as far as southeastern Asian countries,” Sayyari was quoted by Press TV as saying.

The 23rd fleet of warships will return to the country next week, he added.

http://en.rian.ru/military_news/20130116/178824364/Iran_Navy_to_Deploy_to_Mediterranean.html

Nationwide Ammo Shortage -- for Cops!

Police departments nationwide are experiencing ammunition shortages, according to the online law enforcement resource, PoliceOne.com

Sgt. Chris Forrester of the Greer Police Department in South Carolina told local TV-news channel WSPA-7:

"It's never easy to get ammo, but since the tragedy in Connecticut, it's become even more difficult."

Forrester says the department began experiencing problems ordering ammunition a little less than a month ago. "You'll call and they say 'sorry we're out,' or 'it's on back order,'" he said.

http://cnsnews.com/blog/gregory-gwyn-williams-jr/nationwide-ammo-shortages-police

Malicious virus shuttered U.S. power plant -DHS

A computer virus attacked a turbine control system at a U.S. power company last fall when a technician unknowingly inserted an infected USB computer drive into the network, keeping a plant off line for three weeks, according to a report posted on a U.S. government website.

The Department of Homeland Security report did not identify the plant but said criminal software, which is used to conduct financial crimes such as identity theft, was behind the incident.

It was introduced by an employee of a third-party contractor that does business with the utility, according to the agency.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/16/cybersecurity-powerplants-idUSL1E9CGFPY20130116

Dappy Guilty Over Forecourt Fight

N-Dubz frontman Dappy has been found guilty of affray and one assault offence in connection with a brawl at a petrol station.

The rapper had pleaded not guilty to three assault charges following a fight in a petrol station in which three men suffered serious facial injuries.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039323/dappy-found-guilty-over-forecourt-fight

Gun industry thrives in face of ban proposal

The stock prices for Smith & Wesson Holding Co. (SWHC) and Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR) rose about 4%. The stock for Sturm, Ruger has risen 13% in the month since the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 20 children and six educators dead.

Retailers that specialize in guns have also done well. The stock price for Cabela's (CAB) surged 6% on Wednesday and has gained 20% over the last month. Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS, Fortune 500) notched up slightly, and has gained 6% over the month.

Obama issued the call for the assault ban as part of a broad response to the Newtown shooting.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/16/news/companies/gun-obama/index.html?section=money_news_companies

Obama calls for research on media in gun violence

Hollywood and the video game industry received scant attention Wednesday when President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

The White House pressed most forcefully for a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.

No connection was suggested between bloody entertainment fictions and real-life violence. Instead, the White House is calling on research on the effect of media and video games on gun violence.

Among the 23 executive measures signed Wednesday by Obama is a directive to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and scientific agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence. The order specifically cited "investigating the relationship between video games, media images and violence."


http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/20605233/obama-calls-for-research-on-media-in-gun-violence#axzz2IBZVJxxG

Obama using gun issue to advance health law

President Obama is using the national debate over gun violence to push for further action on his health care law, including insisting on the kind of mental health coverage states must provide under their Medicaid programs.

Mr. Obama, unveiling his gun proposals Wednesday barely a month after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., will make it clear that his health law, known as the Affordable Care Act, allows doctors to ask patients whether they have guns in their homes, and will tell them they are able to report any threats of violence they hear to police.

The president also will lay out the mental health coverage that all insurers will be required to provide under his signature-achievement law.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/16/obama-using-gun-issue-advance-health-law/

Ed Miliband calls for some powers to be clawed back from the EU (but refuses to promise a referendum)

Labour leader Ed Miliband today dramatically backed David Cameron's call for powers to be clawed back from Brussels, but refused to give voters a say in a referendum.

As the war of words escalated ahead of the Prime Minister's long-awaited Europe speech tomorrow, Mr Miliband warned talk of giving voters a say on a new deal with the European Union risked taking Britain to the edge of the 'economic cliff'.

But he said negotiations should start now on returning key powers on regional funding and industrial strategy to Westminster.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263441/Ed-Miliband-calls-powers-clawed-EU-refuses-promise-referendum.html

Indonesian capital hit by floods

Saudi Arabia looks to the sun to produce water

Greece not out of the woods: finance minister

Greece must resist internal political pressure to slow economic reforms in a year that will dictate whether it avoids bankruptcy, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told Reuters in an interview.

With EU partners starting to praise Greek efforts to exit its worst crisis in decades and some economic indicators showing fledgling signs of recovery, demands are increasing on the government to give up crippling austerity and reforms.

"What scares me is the big pressure from society, media and parliamentary deputies from all parties to ease the programme.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-greece-stournaras-idUSBRE90G0BJ20130117

Spanish debt sale lifts euro, German bonds ease

The euro jumped against the dollar and yen on Thursday and safe-haven German bond prices fell as signs of strong demand at a Spanish debt auction lifted sentiment toward riskier assets.

Oil prices also gained, though partly from concerns about supplies being affected by the upsurge in military activity in Algeria and Mali.

But the main focus was on Spain's success in selling 4.5 billion euros ($6 billion) of new bonds at a lower cost than in the previous auction, signaling growing confidence among investors in the outlook for the recession-hit euro area.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-markets-global-idUSBRE88901C20130117

Europe: Cable Warns Cameron Over 'Gamble'

Business Secretary Vince Cable will later urge the Prime Minister to avoid a "dangerous gamble" over the UK's future in the European Union.

Ahead of David Cameron's speech on Britain's position in Europe on Friday, Mr Cable is to reinforce warnings that he could damage the economic recovery.

The Prime Minister is expected to pledge to negotiate a new settlement with the EU and then hold a referendum on the UK's membership during the next parliament.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039234/europe-cable-warns-cameron-over-gamble

Nigeria Hostage Crisis: '20 Foreigners Escape Gunmen' Attackers at an Alg

Gunmen in a stand-off with Algerian forces at a gas compound have reportedly demanded safe passage with hostages - amid reports that up to 20 foreigners have now escaped.

Thirty Algerian workers have also fled from Islamist attackers, according to reports.

Extremists locked in a tense stand-off with Algerian forces surrounding the base were known to be holding several Britons and other Westerners hostage.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039140/hostage-crisis-15-foreigners-escape-gunmen

Cameron’s European moment has come – a year late

David Cameron should have given his big Europe speech a year ago. Having just threatened to veto a new EU treaty, he had proved that he was prepared to aggressively defend Britain’s interests, and he had reassured those in his party who worried he wasn’t really serious about Euroscepticism. An address delivered at that point, which was clear about his vision for Britain’s role in Europe but vague about how he intended to achieve it, would have received a fair wind. But there was no follow-up. The veto was left to stand on its own, unconnected to a broader European policy.

There were several reasons for this. The first is that Cameron has always been slow to take advantage of his successes; he has failed to grasp that no currency depreciates faster than political capital. His two greatest successes as Prime Minister, in purely political terms, have been his victory in the AV referendum and the veto threat. But in neither case did he use his success to advance his broader agenda.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/politics/8825751/camerons-european-moment-has-come-a-year-late/

Regulators Around the Globe Ground Boeing 787s

Regulators around the globe on Thursday ordered the grounding of Boeing 787s until they can determine what caused a new type of battery to catch fire on two planes in recent days.

The directives in Japan, Europe and India follow a Federal Aviation Administration ruling Wednesday that it was grounding the planes operated by United States carriers.

The decisions are a result of incidents involving a plane parked in Boston and one in Japan that was forced to make an emergency landing on Wednesday morning after an alarm warning of smoke in the cockpit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/business/regulators-around-the-globe-ground-boeing-787s.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

'Mali mess a consequence of Libya revolution funded by the French'

Intervene, Get Cash, Intervene Again: 'US wars closed circle'

West African army chiefs in talks on Mali crisis

Amityville: Child found dead and the adult who called 911 is missing in the infamous New York village

Detectives on Long Island, New York are investigating the death of a 4-year-old boy in the village of Amityville, following a reported homicide.

Suffolk County police say the unidentified child was found at a home on Ketcham Avenue at 4pm Wednesday and taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip where he was pronounced dead shortly before 6pm.

The circumstances surrounding the death are still unclear. Police are looking for a man who called 911, but was not in the home at the time they arrived.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263754/A-new-Amityville-horror-Child-dead-adult-called-911-missing-infamous-New-York-village.html

Boeing Dreamliners Grounded By Europe

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has ordered airlines to ground Boeing's 787 Dreamliners over safety fears after an emergency landing in Japan.

It follows a decision by the US Federal Aviation Administration and two Japanese airlines to ground all of their 787s after a sixth problem with the aircraft in less than two weeks.

The planes will be grounded until the risk of possible battery fires is addressed, a US official said.

http://news.sky.com/story/1038642/boeing-dreamliners-grounded-by-europe

FBI: No credible threats to inauguration

As law enforcement agencies finalize security preparations for Barack Obama's second inauguration, an FBI official said Tuesday authorities have "no credible corroborated threats to any of the activities."

Debra Evans Smith, the FBI's acting assistant director in charge of its Washington field office, said the FBI will have specialized personnel ready to go to meet any security challenge.

"We will have our SWAT team, pretty much all of our specialty teams will be available and on standby to include (weapons specialists), our dive team, our intelligence team -- working around the clock -- our hostage negotiators, (and) our special agent bomb technicians will also be available," Smith told reporters.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/15/us/inauguration-security/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Moscow suspends Aleppo consulate

The Russian Consulate General in Syria's largest city has suspended operations, according to Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

"The operations of the Russian Federation's Consulate General in Aleppo have been suspended," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, the news agency reported. "Regarding all issues, contact the consular department of the Russian Embassy in Damascus."

Russia has refused to support U.N. sanctions against Syria, its longtime ally.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/15/world/syria-civil-war/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Terror threat widens in Africa

Syria civilians hit by shelling

China's military hawks take the offensive

It was supposed to be a relaxed evening for a group of senior international military chiefs. Gathered at Melbourne's Crown Casino, they had changed out of uniform for dinner and discussion.

China's Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquan took the podium in a room overlooking the Yarra River last October 29 and began diplomatically enough. But as he neared the end of his speech, he went on the offensive.

"Some people" had ignored the outcome of World War Two and were challenging the post-war order, he told counterparts from 15 other nations. It was a pointed reference to Japan's claim over islands in the East China Sea that Beijing insists are Chinese.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-china-hawks-idUSBRE90G00C20130117

Israeli settlement products need EU ban, says human rights report

The European Union must ban produce from Israeli settlements in the West Bank from entering its markets in order to cut off "a vital source of revenue which allows settlements to thrive", says a report by the Palestinian human rights organisation Al Haq.

The trade, estimated by the Israeli government to be worth about $300m (£185m) a year, is "an essential step in the process of reinforcing and consolidating the settlement enterprise, while simultaneously ensuring the viability of the entire settlement strategy", according to the report, Feasting on the Occupation.

It points out that although the EU repeatedly states that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law, it continues to allow settlement produce to enter its markets. The EU is Israel's largest trading partner, receiving about 20% of total Israeli exports.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/14/israeli-settlement-products-eu-ban

Official refuses court order to arrest Pakistan PM

Islamabad: Pakistan's anti-corruption chief refused an order by the country's top court to arrest the prime minister in a graft case on Thursday, saying he did not have sufficient evidence.

The government and the Supreme Court have repeatedly clashed over the last year, and the chief justice's demand on Tuesday that Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf be arrested set the stage for a new round of political crisis in Pakistan, a key US ally in the fight against Islamic militants and efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan.

Fasih Bokhari, chief of the National Accountability Bureau, told the Supreme Court that the initial investigation into the case was flawed and that he needed more time to determine whether the prime minister should be arrested.

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/pakistan/official-refuses-court-order-to-arrest-pakistan-pm-1.1133559

NRA promises 'fight of the century' over Obama's bold gun control plan

Barack Obama mounted the biggest challenge in two decades to America's deeply ingrained gun culture on Wednesday, announcing a sweeping set of proposals to ban automatic weapons, limit magazines to 10 bullets, introduce universal background checks for all firearms buyers and increase scrutiny of mental health patients.

At a carefully stage-managed White House press conference a month after the Sandy Hook school massacre, Obama said the US had waited too long to tackle gun violence and it was time to act.

Flanked by a group of schoolchildren, Obama said: "This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged, and their voices should compel us to change."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/16/obama-gun-control-plan-nra

Obama extends presidential power in bypassing Congress on gun control

During the past two years as his frustration with a "dysfunctional" Congress has grown, President Barack Obama has resorted to bypassing the legislative branch as he did on Wednesday to implement tighter gun control laws.

"Where they won't act, I will," he said in October 2011 as part of a "We Can't Wait" campaign he launched 10 months after Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-usa-guns-orders-idUSBRE90G06S20130117

Jakarta floods as monsoon soaks Indonesia

People try to get their scooters through monsoonal floodwaters in Jakarta. Photograph: AP/Achmad Ibrahim

Heavy monsoonal rains have triggered severe flooding across the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, with many government offices and businesses forced to closed because staff could not get to work. Authorities said four people were killed and 20,000 had to evacuate.

Weather officials warned the rains could get worse over the next few days and media reports said that thousands of people in Jakarta and its satellite cities had been forced to leave their homes because of the torrential downpours this week.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/17/jakarta-floods-monsoon-soaks-indonesia

Air India grounds all six Dreamliners

Even as Air India on Thursday grounded all its six Boeing-787 Dreamliner planes after a global directive by US regulator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to stop operations of all the 50 such planes delivered so far to various airlines, Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh said no Dreamliner would be allowed to fly till it gets clearance from DGCA and US aviation regulator.

On Wednesday Japan had grounded 24 Dreamliners owned by two of its airlines-- ANA (All Nippon Airways) and Japan Airlines. Air India followed the global directive issued by FFA and decided to ground all six planes in its fleet.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/air-india-grounds-all-six-dreamliners/article4315426.ece

William Hague admits he doesn't know how many UK hostages are held in Algeria



The Foreign Secretary denounced the “cold-blooded murder” of a Briton at a gas field in Algeria but said the crisis does not appear to be linked to the French intervention in Mali. Armed Islamists are holding dozens of hostages at the gas field - which is jointly-operated by BP - including nationals from the United States, France, Britain, Norway and Japan.

The hostage-takers said were holding dozens of Westerners including French, British and Japanese citizens, as well as seven Americans in reprisal for Algeria's cooperation with the French military intervention in Mali.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/william-hague/9807580/William-Hague-admits-he-doesnt-know-how-many-UK-hostages-are-held-in-Algeria.html

London Victoria Station Evacuated After A Train Catches Fire

A fire on board a train has caused major delays at one of London's busiest railway stations during morning rush hour.

Smoke was seen pouring from the engine of a Gatwick Express train, forcing officials to evacuate and close Victoria Station.

Fire crews attended and put out the blaze, which was spotted by a commuter at around 7am.

http://news.sky.com/story/1039192/station-evacuated-after-a-train-catches-fire

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake TAIWAN - 17th January 2013

Magnitude ML 4.8
Region TAIWAN
Date time 2013-01-17 08:30:42.6 UTC
Location 24.46 N ; 121.90 E
Depth 5 km
Distances 17 km S Suao, Taiwan

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 17th January 2013

Magnitude
4.7
Date-Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 07:42:39 UTC
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 07:42:39 PM at epicenter
Location
22.166°S, 174.429°W
Depth
18.8 km (11.7 miles)
Region
TONGA REGION
Distances
107 km (66 miles) SSE of `Ohonua, Tonga

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR - 17th January 2013

Magnitude
4.1
Date-Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 07:24:36 UTC
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 01:24:36 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
13.226°N, 89.942°W
Depth
71.1 km (44.2 miles)
Region
OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR
Distances
41 km (25 miles) SSW of Acajutla, El Salvador

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN - 17th January 2013

Magnitude
4.3
Date-Time
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 07:02:37 UTC
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:32:37 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
36.708°N, 71.369°E
Depth
176 km (109.4 miles)
Region
HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN
Distances
14 km (8 miles) WNW of Ashkasham, Afghanistan

Algeria troops surround militant hostage-takers

Algerian troops have surrounded a gas facility in the east of the country where foreign workers are being held hostage by Islamist militants.

The kidnappers occupied the complex at In Amenas on Wednesday, after killing a Briton and an Algerian in an attack on a bus.

Algeria says some 20 foreign nationals are being held hostage, although the kidnappers say they have 41.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21054521

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 17th January 2013

Magnitude M 4.9
Region HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION
Date time 2013-01-17 05:13:23.0 UTC
Location 42.28 N ; 142.81 E
Depth 45 km
Distances 37 km E Shizunai, Japan

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta condemns deadly incident in Algeria as 'terrorist attack' and says U.S. will 'take all necessary steps' to get American hostages back

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday the U.S. 'will take all necessary and proper steps' to deal with an Islamist attack on a natural gas field in southern Algeria that has resulted in Americans and other foreigners taken hostage.

Panetta would not detail what such steps might be, but he condemned the incident as 'terrorist attack' and likened it to al-Qaida activities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and in the United States on 9/11.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263725/Defense-Secretary-Leon-Panetta-condemns-deadly-incident-Algeria-terrorist-attack-says-U-S-necessary-steps-American-hostages-back.html

Kevin McDougal savagely beaten by gang of thugs armed with tire irons and baseball bats

A tourist from Massachusetts was recovering at a New York City hospital after being brutally beaten by a gang of seven young men armed with a tire iron and a baseball bat, police today revealed.

Kevin McCarron, 24, from Andover, was battered and stomped unconscious by the men after an argument in the trendy Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan early Sunday.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263422/Tourist-24-brutally-beaten-tire-irons-bats-New-York-City-neighborhood.html

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - 17th January 2013

Magnitude M 5.1
Region MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
Date time 2013-01-17 04:58:15.0 UTC
Location 5.95 N ; 124.81 E
Depth 10 km
Distances 4 km NE Lomuyon, Philippines

'Heinous' bomb attack on Syrian university while students sat exams which killed at least 87 people condemned by UN as a 'war crime'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned an attack at Aleppo University in Syria that killed scores of students and warned that the deliberate targeting of civilians was a war crime.

'Such heinous attacks are unacceptable and must stop immediately. All combating parties in Syria must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law,' Ban said in a statement.

'Deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian targets constitutes a war crime.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263536/Heinous-bomb-attack-Syrian-university-students-sat-exams-killed-87-people-condemned-UN-war-crime.html

We're ready to stand alone! The speech Mr Cameron SHOULD give on Europe ........But Won't!

Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will deliver a long-awaited speech in which he’s promised to set out his vision for a new relationship between Britain and Europe. But will it be just another carefully crafted fudge? Conservative MEP DANIEL HANNAN imagines what Mr Cameron should say...

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

There are good reasons for a British leader to say what I am about to say here in the Netherlands. You are, as we are, a trading people, a maritime people, a people whose enterprise has touched every continent. We are both European nations; but we both turn our faces to the sea.

When, in your 2005 referendum, 62 per cent of Dutch voters rejected the European Constitution, you were not voting against international collaboration. You were voting, as we would have done, against a Brussels system that had become meddlesome, arrogant and remote.

Sadly, but predictably, the EU swatted aside your referendum result and imposed the treaty anyway.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263607/Were-ready-stand-The-speech-Mr-Cameron-SHOULD-Europe.html

Serial criminals who avoid jail outnumber the prison population: 90,000 with ten or more convictions escape with slap on wrist

More than 90,000 burglars, muggers and other serious criminals with ten or more convictions escaped with a slap on the wrist when they committed another offence last year.

Incredibly, the number of serial law-breakers who avoided a jail sentence in this way is greater than the 83,000 inmates currently behind bars.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263618/Serial-criminals-avoid-jail-outnumber-prison-population-90-000-convictions-escape-slap-wrist.html

Up to 70,000 Romanian and Bulgarian migrants a year ‘will come to Britain’ when controls on EU migrants expire

Up to 70,000 Bulgarians and Romanians will travel to Britain each year when they finally gain open access to the jobs market, a report claims today.

Almost 29million people from the two countries will be free to work in Britain from the end of this year when temporary controls on new EU migrants expire.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263661/Up-70-000-Romanian-Bulgarian-migrants-year-come-Britain.html

Larry Goodman: the multi-millionaire behind firm sneaking horse meat into your supermarket

A multi-millionaire beef supplier dubbed ‘Dirty Larry’ is behind the company that supplied British supermarkets with horse meat contaminated burgers.

Larry Goodman, 76, is a director of the ABP Food Group which owns the meat processors Silvercrest Foods in Dublin and Dalepak Foods in Hambleton, North Yorkshire.

His family owns a sprawling country home on a 700-acre estate in County Louth, Ireland and property around Europe including a share in the London headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263628/Revealed-Dirty-Larry-multi-millionaire-firm-sneaking-horsemeat-supermarket.html

Flaming hot metal rained down as people ran for their lives, screaming: The moment ten seconds of terror descended on London

It looked like a scene from a disaster movie.
Debris crashing down to the ground. A helicopter cart-wheeling out of control. Streets and cars set on fire by burning fuel.

One moment a stream of rush-hour traffic was crawling to work in the fog.

The next, people ran for their lives, screaming in fear, desperately trying to find shelter from what one woman described as 'a meteor shower' of flaming metal raining down.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263632/Flaming-hot-metal-rained-people-ran-lives-screaming-fear-The-moment-seconds-terror-descended-London.html

Floods paralyze Indonesian capital, heavy rains continue

Heavy monsoonal rains triggered severe flooding in large swathes of the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Thursday, with many government offices and businesses forced to closed because staff could not get to work.

Weather officials warned the rains could get worse over the next few days and media reports said that thousands of people in Jakarta and its satellite cities had been forced to leave their homes because of the torrential downpours this week.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-indonesia-floods-idUSBRE90G05Q20130117

Myanmar rebels under fire

Why this season’s flu is so virulent