Monday, February 4, 2013

Brussels meeting mobilizes support for Mali

Governments and international organizations meet on Tuesday to find ways to reinforce military gains against Islamist rebels in northern Mali by supporting democracy, economic development and human rights in one of the world's poorest countries.

The rapid progress of French and Malian forces in driving the rebels from Mali's main northern towns has put the diplomatic focus on how to ensure lasting security there and how to tackle poverty and political grievances that contributed to Mali's instability.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/05/us-mali-talks-idUSBRE91401I20130205

Asian shares drop on euro zone worry, soft U.S. data

Asian shares slid on Tuesday as investors saw opportunities to cash in from recent strong rallies in the face of weak U.S. data and worries that a potential political shake-up could disrupt the eurozone's efforts to resolve its debt crisis.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS tumbled 0.8 percent, dragged lower by a steep 1.8 percent fall in Hong Kong shares .HSI.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/05/us-markets-global-idUSBRE88901C20130205

Analysis: Diplomatic window closing on Iran

udging by its expanding nuclear program, harsh sanctions against Iran have done little but impose hardship on its people, while diplomacy has also failed to slow the Islamic Republic's atomic progress. And while more talks are planned for later this month, there is a growing sense that the nuclear standoff between Iran and the international community is reaching a tipping point.

Iran can theoretically back down. But because it insists that all of its nuclear work is peaceful and protected by international law it is unlikely to go further than repeating its top leader's religious edicts against nuclear weapons in pushing for an end to sanctions. That in turn will lead to another negotiating failure — and mounting pressure for military intervention to prevent Tehran from becoming a threshold nuclear weapons power.

Each side wants what the other is bringing to the table at the planned Feb. 25 talks in Kazakhstan. The problem is that both want the other to blink first.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gYM814H_EFsxKgBrQ-1m-5Ykc54Q?docId=5143f53f92b3451ba778230ccdb9eae4

Seabird deaths: Pollution causes 'burning' to seabirds

The mineral oil substance found on seabirds off the south coast of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset has caused burning, a wildlife trust has said.

Dorset Wildlife Trust has said the substance has caused burns to the the legs of affected birds.

It said the oil was "potentially harmful" to humans, although no injuries have yet been reported.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21319857

Mexico Pemex blast blamed on build-up of gas

A deadly blast at the headquarters of the Mexican oil company Pemex was caused by a build-up of gas, the attorney general has said.

Jesus Murillo Karam said no traces of explosives were found at the site in Mexico City.

He said experts believed an electrical fault had caused a spark that detonated the leaking gas last Thursday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21332204

NE China hepatitis C case hospitalizes 95

Ninety-five citizens of Donggang City in northeast China's Liaoning Province have been hospitalized for suspected infection by hepatitis C at a clinic that gave them injections, local authorities announced on Monday.

A statement from the municipal health authorities said 120 patients who had received treatment at the clinic were traced and screened for the disease, and 95 of them are suspected to have been infected with the disease, which the World Health Organization says can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

http://www.china.org.cn/china/2013-02/05/content_27887097.htm

Experts Closer To Creating Artificial Human Organs with the help of 3D Printing

Scientists have taken a step closer to creating artificial human organs and using them for transplants after 3D printing produced clusters of stem cells.

In the short term, the technique could be used to generate tissue for drug-testing currently carried out on animals.

The 3D printing technology relies on an adjustable "microvalve", which builds up layers of human embryonic stem cells.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047575/stem-cell-advance-in-britain-3d-printing

Alabama Hostage Siege Ends: Boy Safe As Captor Killed

A boy who was held hostage for a week is safe and his captor is dead after FBI agents stormed an underground bunker in Alabama.

Officials said the raid went ahead after negotiations with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes deteriorated and he was seen with a gun.

Fearing the child was in imminent danger, agents entered the bunker to rescue the five-year-old. It was not immediately clear how Dykes died.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047560/alabama-hostage-siege-ends-as-boy-saved

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA REGION - 5th February 2013

Magnitude
4.9
Date-Time
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 at 03:57:30 UTC
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 at 09:57:30 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
14.036°N, 92.950°E
Depth
28.7 km (17.8 miles)
Region
ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA REGION
Distances
260 km (161 miles) N of Bamboo Flat, India

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS - 5th February 2013

Magnitude
5.0
Date-Time
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 at 03:24:52 UTC
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 at 02:24:52 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
45.519°N, 151.286°E
Depth
46.9 km (29.1 miles)
Region
KURIL ISLANDS
Distances
268 km (166 miles) E of Kuril'sk, Russia

Chinese smog chokes Japan

Smog from China is now drifting over parts of Japan, triggering health warnings for the young and sick.

Japanese media has been saturated with coverage of the thick, choking smog blanketing Beijing and other Chinese cities in recent days.

News programs have also broadcast maps showing the pollution being pushed east by the winds, towards southern Japan.

Japanese health experts are warning that people with respiratory problems and small children are susceptible to the smog, which is worst on the southern island of Kyushu.
The website of Japan's environment minister has been choked with users logging on to monitor the level of pollution heading their way.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/16064872/chinese-smog-chokes-japan/

US draws up battle plan to stave off digital attack cyberstrikes: Pre-emptive strikes will be launched under secret guidelines to protect computer systems

The US could launch pre-emptive cyber strikes against countries it suspects of threatening its interests with a digital attack, under a new set of secret guidelines to safeguard the nation’s computer systems.

The rules – the country’s first on how it defends or retaliates against digital attacks – are expected to be approved in coming weeks, and are likely to be kept under wraps, much like the policies governing the country’s controversial drone programme.

A secret legal review into the new guidelines has already decided that President Barack Obama has the power to order such pre-emptive strikes if faced with credible evidence of a looming attack, according to the New York Times, which quoted unnamed officials involved in the review.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-draws-up-battle-plan-to-stave-off-digital-attack-cyberstrikes-8480656.html

Was the founding father of the European Union a Nazi? (Ep. 1)

China: The largest army in the world (In case anyone thinks a war with China will be easy...)

North Korea - A Defector Explains How He Escaped, The Horrors He Saw

Argentina freezes prices in desperate bid to break inflation spiral: You're next, America

Argentina announced a two-month price freeze on supermarket products Monday in an effort to break spiraling inflation.

The price freeze applies to every product in all of the nation's largest supermarkets — a group including Walmart, Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo, Disco and other large chains. The companies' trade group, representing 70 percent of the Argentine market, reached the accord with Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, the government's news agency Telam reported.

The commerce ministry wants consumers to keep receipts and complain to a hotline about any price hikes they see before April 1.

Polls show Argentines worry most about inflation, which private economists estimate could reach 30 percent this year. The government says it's trying to hold the next union wage hikes to 20 percent, a figure that suggests how little anyone believes the official index that pegs annual inflation at just 10 percent.

http://www.myfoxny.com/story/20958959/argentina-freezes-prices-to-break-inflation-spiral

Daniel McClaine suspended from high school for saving picture of a gun as computer desktop wallpaper

Chinese hackers blamed for 'sophisticated' cyber-attack on Energy Department

The Energy Department suffered a major security breach after a large cyber-attack that targeted computer networks, it was claimed today.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that an unknown group targeted the government organization two weeks ago and harvested the personal information of several hundred of its employees.

While the agency says that no confidential data was compromised, experts said that attackers could have been targeting that data.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273365/Energy-Department-hit-sophisticated-cyber-attack--authorities-believe-Chinese-hackers-it.html#axzz2JxmMz2mA

Residents on eco-friendly estate with super-insulated 'homes of the future' hit with electricity bills that are DOUBLE national average

Residents of the Bradford eco-complex in West Yorkshire, pictured centre, were promised bills would be cheaper because the houses are super-insulated with biomass boilers for heating and solar panels for electricity - with rainwater harvesters even. But just 18 months after moving in, many residents say they have been hit with massive electrical bills, pictured bottom left, almost double the annual average. Danny Hall, pictured top left, who shares a three bedroom house with his wife and three children on the complex, says he received a £1,600 electricity bill for six months.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273321/Residents-eco-friendly-homes-5-6million-complex-complain-annual-2-000-electricity-bill.html#axzz2JxmMz2mA

South Korea envoy says North Korea nuke test seems imminent

South Korea's U.N. ambassador says a North Korean nuclear test "seems to be imminent."

Ambassador Kim Sook said at a press conference Monday that in the event of a nuclear test, he expects the U.N. Security Council to respond with "very firm and resolute measures."

South Korea holds the Security Council presidency this month but the ambassador said he was speaking as South Korea's envoy.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/04/south-korea-envoy-says-north-korea-nuke-test-seems-imminent/

Mali: French troops leave Timbuktu as focus turns north

Barely 48 hours after President Francois Hollande received a rapturous welcome in Timbuktu, the departure of the "Groupe Tactique Inter-Armes" raised fears of a precipitate French retreat.

The plan is for the Malian army, supported by soldiers from other African countries, to assume responsibility for security. Many ordinary Malians however do not trust their own army to defend them, remembering how al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its allies seized Timbuktu and the rest of northern Mali with ease last March.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/mali/9848089/Mali-French-troops-leave-Timbuktu-as-focus-turns-north.html

Envoy makes "last appeal" for Syria as officials meet

Senior U.S., Russian and U.N. officials, along with the leader of the Syrian opposition, were all expected at a security conference in Munich on Saturday, providing a rare opportunity for talks to revive efforts to end the civil war in Syria.

Moscow and the United Nations, however, played down Syrian opposition assertions that its leader would hold a joint meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Munich.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/01/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE9100KV20130201

Filipino hostages released by separatist rebels

North Korea nuclear test would face "firm" U.N. action: South Korea

The U.N. Security Council is united on North Korea's nuclear arms program and will undoubtedly approve tough measures against Pyongyang if it carries out a new atomic test as expected, South Korean U.N. Ambassador Kim Sook said on Monday.

"The North Korean nuclear test seems to be imminent," Kim, who is president of the Security Council this month, told reporters. "Obviously there are very busy activities going on at the (North Korean) nuclear test site, and everybody's watching."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-korea-north-south-un-idUSBRE9130R720130204

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.7
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 17:47:50 UTC
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 10:17:50 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
37.531°N, 70.177°E
Depth
17.2 km (10.7 miles)
Region
HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN
Distances
42 km (26 miles) ESE of Chubek, Tajikistan

Turkish FM slams Assad for not responding to Israeli strike

Turkey’s foreign minister blasted embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday for not responding to an alleged Israeli strike on targets in Syria.

On his way to Munich, where he will meet with world leaders to discuss developments in Syria, Ahmet Davutoglu asked reporters, ”Why didn’t Assad even throw a pebble when Israeli jets were flying over his palace and playing with the dignity of his country?”

Davutoglu suggested that the Syrian leader is conspiring with Israel: “Is there a secret agreement between Assad and Israel? The Assad regime only abuses. Why don’t you use the same power that you use against defenseless women against Israel, which you have seen as an enemy since its foundation,” he said, according to The Hurriyet news agency.

The foreign minister said that Turkey will not stand by as Israel attacks a Muslim country.

“Syria must do what a country under attack has to do,” Today’s Zaman quoted Davutoglu as saying, seemingly goading the Assad regime to retaliate.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/turkish-fm-slams-assad-for-not-responding-to-israeli-strike/

Marc Dutroux: Is Belgium about to release its most infamous child killer? Outrage as jailed paedophile bids for early release

Marc Dutroux, 57, pictured at court today, was jailed for life in 2004 for the kidnap, rape and torture of six young girls in Belgium in the 1990s, four of whom died. The reviled killer attended a closed hearing at Brussels' Palace of Justice today where he sought early release from prison. His ex-wife Michelle Martin, who was jailed for 30 years in 2004 for crimes including abduction, was released last year amid angry protests.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273215/Marc-Dutroux-Outrage-jailed-paedophile-bids-early-release.html

Syrian opposition chief says offers Assad peaceful exit

Syrian opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib urged President Bashar al-Assad on Monday to respond to his initiative for dialogue, saying it was aimed at ending the bloodshed and helping "the regime leave peacefully".

Speaking after meeting senior Russian, U.S. and Iranian officials at the weekend, Alkahtib said none of them had a plan to end the civil war and Syrians must find their own resolution.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE9100KV20130204

Egypt opposition in muddle over call to oust Mursi

Egypt's main opposition alliance has got itself into a muddle by appearing to endorse a call for the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, then backing away.

"The NSF will fully align to the demands of the Egyptian people calling to topple the regime of tyranny and domination of the Muslim Brotherhood," a statement by the National Salvation Front issued late on Saturday said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-egypt-protests-idUSBRE9130JJ20130204

Death toll in Pemex blast climbs

TB vaccine trial fails; more waiting in the wings

A highly anticipated study of the first new tuberculosis vaccine in 90 years showed it offered no added benefit over the current vaccine when it came to protecting babies from TB infections, a disappointing but not entirely unexpected outcome, researchers said on Monday.

The vaccine, known as MVA85A, is the most advanced of more than a dozen TB vaccines now in clinical trials in people, and scientists are poring over the results to learn why the trial failed and how the results can inform future studies.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-tb-vaccine-idUSBRE9130F820130204

Ahmadinejad: I'll Be Iran's First Astronaut

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has revealed his dream to be his country's first astronaut.

He said he was willing to sacrifice his life for Iran's space programme, which aims to send a man into space by 2020 and put an astronaut on the moon by 2025.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047290/ahmadinejad-ill-be-irans-first-astronaut

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.7
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 14:33:02 UTC
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 at 01:33:02 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
11.008°S, 165.443°E
Depth
10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
Region
SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
Distances
53 km (32 miles) SW of Lata, Solomon Islands

Assad set on arms transfers to Lebanon, Israel responds with no-fly zone


Syrian ruler Bashar Assad has ordered the resumption of weapons transfers to the Lebanese Hizballah, debkafile’s exclusive military and intelligence sources report. This was agreed with Iran’s National Security Director Saeed Jalilee, who arrived in Damascus after Israel’s reported air strike last Wednesday, Jan. 30, inter alia, on Syrian trucks preparing to ferry to Lebanon for Hizballah the sophisticated Iran-supplied arms stored at the Jamraya military complex north of Damascus.

The Syrian ruler assured the Iranian official that he would not be deterred by what he called acts of “aggression.” It was up to Syria and Iran to put their heads together to find a safe method of getting the hardware across to Hizballah without exposing it to Israeli attack in truck convoys on the open road.

Jalilee is still in Damascus. He arrived Saturday to discuss with Syrian and Hizballah how to activate against Israel the secret mutual defense pact binding Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas.

http://www.debka.com/article/22737/Assad-set-on-arms-transfers-to-Lebanon-Israel-responds-with-no-fly-zone

'You're coming here and pleading poverty while we're paying taxes': Shocking rant of woman against patients in hospital waiting room caught on phone

2012 DA14: Close shave for Earth as asteroid is set to whizz by INSIDE orbit of communication satellites

Planet Earth is set to have a very close encounter with an asteroid the day after Valentine's Day.

The asteroid - which goes by the catchy name of 2012 DA14 - will miss our home planet by just 17,200 miles, which is a very near miss in space terms.

The asteroid, which is about 150ft across, will come closer to Earth than the ring of geosynchronous satellites, which are in orbit about 22,200 miles above the Earth.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2273163/A-miss-good-mile--asteroid-close-shave.html#axzz2Jv418n8r

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 4th February 2013

Magnitude M 4.9
Region SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA
Date time 2013-02-04 13:35:29.0 UTC
Location 37.70 N ; 82.72 E
Depth 20 km
Distances 256 km E Hetian, China

EU executive warns national bank supervisors over discrimination

National regulators across the European Union have until the end of the month to show they are not damaging the single market by being too heavy handed with banks from elsewhere in the bloc, the EU's executive European Commission said on Monday.

It reminded them in a letter last Friday that the free movement of capital is a founding tenet of the single market.

On Monday, the executive said in a statement that on several occasions national supervisors have acted independently to impose "allegedly disproportionate prudential measures" on local arms of non-domestic EU banks.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-eu-banks-regulation-idUSBRE9130IT20130204

Symbolism is strangling Europe's union

What does it tell us about a eurozone banking union if the member states are rushing to pass unilateral legislation on financial regulation? France and Germany have, in short succession, proposed measures to ringfence banks’ proprietary trading activities. The two countries have co-ordinated their moves with each other, but with nobody else. Would not a ringfence be a power any self-respecting banking union would want to usurp?

The answer is that banking will remain a national activity in the eurozone for all economically relevant purposes. The European Central Bank will become the common bank supervisor. This has indeed been agreed. But there will be no common deposit insurance. The resolution system likely to emerge later this year is also flawed. It will end up protecting only the taxpayer of the creditor countries from bank failures in the debtor countries. But it will not accelerate the resolution of the eurozone’s undercapitalised banks. My suspicion is that the ultimate intent of the Franco-German legislation is to secure the position of their national champion banks.

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Italy-France-Germany-banking-debt-crisis-pd20130204-4L2AL?opendocument&src=rss

European Commission too optimistic in economic growth forecasts, analyst says

Even if the European Commission seems slightly optimistic about future growth in the EU, some consider the EU executive’s forecast too rosy and warn against underestimating other risks. This has systematically been the case in the past years of crisis.

The Commission is cautiously optimistic regarding the EU's possibility of getting out of the eurozone crisis in the short term.

The optimism is not just "wishful thinking", said Karl Pichelmann, senior advisor at the European Commission's DG Economic and Financial Affairs. He spoke at a European labour market conference held by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) in Brussels on 31 January.

http://www.euractiv.com/socialeurope/commission-continuously-optimist-news-517530

Israel will 'regret Syria aggression' warns Iran

Speaking during a visit to Damascus, the Syrian capital, Mr Jalili, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said: "Just like it regretted all its wars ... the Zionist entity will regret its aggression against Syria.

"The Syrian people and government are serious about this, and the Muslim world supports Syria.

"Syria is at the forefront of the Muslim world's confrontation with the Zionist entity," he added, in reference to Israel.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9847100/Israel-will-regret-Syria-aggression-warns-Iran.html

Chris Huhne steps down after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice

Chris Huhne dramatically announced he was stepping down from Parliament today after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Mr Huhne announced that he is standing down as MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire, which will cause a by-election in a marginal seat he won with a majority of 3,864 over the Conservatives at the 2010 election.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/chris-huhne-steps-down-as-mp-after-pleading-guilty-to-perverting-the-course-of-justice-8479526.html

Bid to rescue Jordanian Journalist in Philippines leaves 21 dead: police

Twenty-one people have been killed in the Philippines during an apparently unsuccessful bid to rescue a Jordanian journalist kidnapped by Islamist rebels eight months ago, Philippine security officials said on Monday.

Members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a group of former Muslim rebels who have made peace with the government, attacked jungle bases of the Abu Sayyaf group on Jolo island to free Jordanian Baker Atyani, said Antonio Freyra, a police chief in the area.

Atyani, a journalist working for the Al Arabiyah network, and his two Filipino television crew members were taken captive in June while reporting in the area.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-philippines-kidnapping-idUSBRE9130GU20130204

Dale Cregan Trial: Extra Security At Court

Armed officers are on duty around a court building where the trial of a man accused of murdering two police officers is due to start.

Dale Cregan, 29, is accused of the murder of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, and of father and son David and Mark Short, last year.

The trial, at Preston Crown Court, will get under way later although the jury will not be sworn in until Tuesday and the opening remarks are not expected until Thursday.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047257/dale-cregan-trial-extra-security-at-court

Weather: Heavy Snow As 80mph Winds Blow In

After a brief respite from winter weather, freezing temperatures and gale force winds will be felt in many parts of the UK in the coming days.

Scotland will experience gusts of 70mph to 80mph and up to four inches (10cm) of snow will spread from the north to many parts.

Areas of higher ground in the south will also see accumulations.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047244/weather-heavy-snow-as-80mph-winds-blow-in

Richard III's Remains Found In Council Car Park

Remains found beneath a council car park in Leicester have solved the 500-year-old mystery about the final resting place of King Richard III, archaeologists say.

Researchers said they had concluded "beyond reasonable doubt" that the skeleton, which showed evidence of an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, was the monarch.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047231/richard-iiis-remains-found-in-council-car-park

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake XIZANG-QINGHAI BORDER REGION - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.7
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 12:04:57 UTC
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 08:04:57 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
32.853°N, 94.712°E
Depth
35 km (21.7 miles)
Region
XIZANG-QINGHAI BORDER REGION
Distances
121 km (75 miles) NNE of Dartang, China

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.6
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 11:48:42 UTC
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 10:48:42 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
33.999°S, 14.713°W
Depth
10.1 km (6.3 miles)
Region
SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
Distances
403 km (250 miles) NNW of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, Saint Helena

California Bus Crash: Death toll could rise

EU leaders scramble to rescue trillion-euro Budget summit

Europe's leaders scrambled on Monday to rescue summit talks on the EU's trillion-euro budget, with Italy and Germany on a collision course over cuts demanded by Britain, and France warning of a breakdown in negotiations.

"The negotiations are very difficult ... the conditions are, at this moment, not yet in place," French President Francois Hollande warned Sunday as European Union leaders prepare to meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Hollande spoke after tricky talks with electioneering Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Paris, a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a bid to broker a deal on the 27-state EU's spending plans for 2014-20 would be "very difficult".

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/eu-leaders-scramble-to-rescue-budget-summit/articleshow/18333724.cms

Israel arrests Hamas activists, lawmakers in West Bank

Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrested 25 Palestinians in the West Bank early Monday, including top Hamas activists, a Palestinian rights group reported.

An army spokeswoman in Tel Aviv confirmed the arrests, but did not provide further details.

Hamas has said that at least 21 well-known activists from Nablus, Tul Karm, Hebron, Qalqilyah, Bethlehem and Ramallah were arrested.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-arrests-dozens-of-hamas-activists-lawmakers-in-west-bank.premium-1.501322

South Korean, US troops begin drills ahead of North Korean nuclear test

South Korean and U.S. troops began naval drills Monday in a show of force partly directed at North Korea amid signs that Pyongyang will soon carry out a threat to conduct its third atomic test.

The region is also seeing a boost in diplomatic activity focused on North Korea's announcement last month that it will conduct a nuclear test to protest U.N. Security Council sanctions toughened after a December satellite launch that the U.S. and others say was a disguised test of banned missile technology.

Pyongyang's two previous nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, both occurred after it was slapped with increased sanctions for similar rocket launches. As it issued its most recent punishment, the Security Council ordered North Korea to refrain from a nuclear test or face "significant action."

http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/south-korean-u-s-troops-begin-drills-ahead-of-north-korean-nuclear-test-1.1141774

Chris Kyle Murder:

Thousands march in Dhaka, Bangladesh

EU has leverage, but may let Cyprus fester....Because we are all in it together!

For the first time since Cyprus joined the European Union nearly a decade ago, its partners have financial leverage to press for a settlement of the island's almost 40-year division.

Yet there is no sign that Brussels is preparing to use its advantage to achieve a reunification that narrowly eluded negotiators when the Mediterranean island joined the EU in 2004.

Indeed the most powerful member states, Germany and France, may be content to see the frozen Cyprus conflict fester rather than deal with the potential consequences of a resolution that would bring Turkey closer to EU membership.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-eu-cyprus-idUSBRE91306220130204

Electric cars head toward another dead end.......Explains why the EU has a 10 Billion Euro electric-car 'recharging points' expansion Plan.......Scam or Waste of MORE EU Funds?

Are electric cars running out of juice again?

Recent moves by Japan's two largest automakers suggest that the electric car, after more than 100 years of development and several brief revivals, still is not ready for prime time - and may never be.

In the meantime, the attention of automotive executives in Asia, Europe and North America is beginning to swing toward an unusual but promising new alternate power source: hydrogen.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-autos-electric-hydrogen-idUSBRE91304Z20130204

The EU has pledged a huge expansion of infrastructure for electric vehicles with binding targets to multiply the number of Europe’s charging stations, part of a new strategy to kickstart Europe’s low-carbon automotive industry.

http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/brussels-clears-road-electric-ve-news-517378

Iran says Israel will regret Syria air strike

Iran told Israel on Monday it would regret its air strike against Syria last week, without spelling out whether Iran or its ally planned any military response.

"They will regret this recent aggression," Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told a news conference in Damascus a day after holding talks there with President Bashar al-Assad.

Jalili likened Israel's attack on a military compound north-west of Damascus on Wednesday to previous conflicts including its 34-day war with Lebanon's Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah in 2006, all battles that he said Israel had lived to regret.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-syria-crisis-israel-iran-idUSBRE9130BJ20130204

North Korea Nuclear Test: China Urged To Step In

South Korea has issued an urgent request to China to use its influence over North Korea to persuade the isolated nation to abandon its plans for a nuclear test.

Lim Sung-nam, a senior South Korean envoy, met with his Chinese counterpart on Monday as concern mounted that North Korea could carry out a nuclear detonation test this week.

China is North Korea's only real ally and widely seen as the only country with any leverage over Pyongyang.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047187/north-korea-nuclear-test-china-urged-to-step-in

Osborne: Bank Of England To Become 'Super Cop'

George Osborne is announcing plans to reform Britain's biggest banks to protect taxpayers from another financial meltdown.

Speaking at JP Morgan's administration offices in Bournemouth, the Chancellor said people were still reeling from the 2007 financial crisis that forced the country to bail-out major banks with tens of billions of pounds of taxpayers' money.

"Irresponsible behaviour was rewarded, failure was bailed out, and the innocent - people who have nothing whatsoever to do with the banks - suffered," he said.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047238/osborne-banking-reforms-will-protect-taxpayer

Bird flu kills four people in Cambodia in last two weeks

Avian influenza H5N1 virus killed two more children on Monday, bringing the death toll to four and the number of cases to five in 2013, health officials confirmed Tuesday.

Dr. Denis Laurent, deputy director of Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, which is the kingdom’s largest pediatric hospital, told Xinhua on Tuesday that the latest two deaths were a one-year-old girl from Kompong Speu province’s Kong Pisei district and an eight- year-old girl from Kampot province’s Toek Chhou district.

He said the two girls died on Monday while receiving medical treatment at the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh.

http://www.nzweek.com/healthlifestyle/bird-flu-kills-four-people-in-cambodia-in-last-two-weeks-45978/

"I am a soldier." (NEW POST BELOW)

I am a soldier. I know what war looks like, what it sounds like, smells like, what it feels like in my soul. I stand today in the twilight of my nation’s grace, looking into the
darkness of impending war.

My sleep is troubled, knowing what awaits, yet the ignorant and the ‘true believers’ sleep easily in their delusions, and I am saddened by it.

Daily, I see the Blackhawk and Apache helicopters flying over my city, the military vehicles which appear so frequently now on our roads, often with ‘guns up’ in violation of Posse Comitatus, and I know why they prepare, that it is not far off.

Nightly I hear the report of gunfire near my home, the noise angry men make as they prepare to boil over. These are not soldiers – they are but angry men. And though I share their well-justified anger, I am cautious with them, for they are not disciplined,
and they know not the face of war, nor the burdens it imposes upon mind, body,
and soul. Because of this, they are dangerous, and I am saddened by this – that
dangerous men should roam the streets near my home, full of anger and the lust
for vengeance.

All about me are the ceaseless murmurs of soulless politicians and media propagandists, who wear their agendas on their sleeves as a badge of superiority, and the boundless echoes of their contrived ‘message’ assaults me from all sides, even repeated from the mouths of dear friends, and I am saddened by it.

I bear witness to the fact that throughout my lifetime, the lifeblood of my republic has been drained away by greedy and self-serving men, from high to low, who contrive nought but deception against their neighbors and countrymen, and who fail to consider that their children and mine shall share the same fate, the same future, and I am
saddened by it.

But I am a soldier, and I know what must be done; and so I shall put away my sadness and I shall harness up the bitter steed of war, and gird myself up for the battle; and I shall ride out to meet the enemies of Liberty; not in rage, not for anger sake or the hope
of vengeance; but because I swore an oath before God, to jealously guard our
Republic and its Constitution against all enemies; Him I shall not disappoint, for He is my Hope and my Trust.

Therefore, as much as my soul laments against the harsh truth before me, I make this declaration to my enemies who press me into this battle, that none shall be able to afterwards say “I did not know, you did not warn me”;

I do not care why you took that job with the government, or why you continue to hold it. I only know that you have become Judas and sold yourself to an oppressive state - your
government office buildings and vehicles are part of the battlefield, and as a soldier I shall act accordingly.

I do not care why, as a journalist, you choose to spin and corrupt the news, rather than report the plain truth and let the people judge for themselves. I only know that you have
violated the public trust in the most vile and seditious manner, and thus your homes, offices, studios, vehicles, and any other place you may find yourself, are part of the battlefield, and as a soldier I shall act accordingly.

I do not care why you signed that union card. I only know that you pay dues to a communist organization which conducts treasonous works against my Republic daily – and so your union hall and your work-sites are part of the battlefield, and as a soldier I shall act accordingly.

I do not care that you only voted for the traitor because you are elderly/disabled or otherwise dependent upon government largess. Are you so ignorant and/or disinterested that you could not see through their propaganda, to the fact that your
sustenance was assured either way? What have you gained now that the public
housing areas you live in, and the public facilities you depend on, are part of the battlefield? Though I am a soldier, I can afford you little protection, for you have placed yourselves on the battlefield.

I know that all of these places and all of these people are part of the battlefield, not just because I am a soldier, and have experienced a few battlefields in my day; but also
because our President declares that even our own homes are on the battlefield,
whether we wish them to be or not, and I have no choice but to believe him; it’s not just that the NDAA passed – a battlefield is not defined by law; it’s the profound build-up of martial power and resources across my once-great nation which tells me a battle is being prepared here.

Over two billion rounds of ammunition procured by DHS and its sub-agencies in the past 18 months, plus machine guns in the tens of thousands, armored vehicles, combat aircraft, drones, and other implements of war being staged throughout our nation, our home – how do you explain that except as the preparation for battle?

I will fight not because I desire it, but because I cannot justify any other course of action – when the enemy attacks, you must fight – you must kill or you will die.

I smell you, my enemy; I can feel the ambush you have laid for me and my true countrymen, all about like a sticky spider’s web, yet we will not back down; and though you will kill some of us, you will not get us all before we have finished with you.

I stand here, ready, on the eve of battle, and I ask God why I have been brought to the threshold of this battlefield, about to be thrust in, when I thought my soldiering days were through; and I am reminded that there is by His decree, a Time to Kill, as well as a Time to Die (Lev. chap. 3)… who am I to question why?

~ Unknown

Matt's thoughts:
Today, we have all become soldiers, wielding whatever weapons we may, whatever talents we possess, in the cause of freedom for America, but not only America: the entire world cries out in thirst for liberty, and we, we who still think and believe in God, have become the tenders of overrun gardens and the waterers of trees.

UN agency warns of new global bird flu threat

The UN food agency on Tuesday warned the world risked a surge in bird flu outbreaks unless countries strengthen their monitoring against dangerous animal diseases despite economic hardship.

"The continuing international economic downturn means less money is available for prevention of H5N1 bird flu and other threats of animal origin," Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said in a statement.

"Even though everyone knows that prevention is better than cure, I am worried because in the current climate governments are unable to keep up their guard," he was quoted as saying.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-01-agency-global-bird-flu-threat.html

Suicide bomber kills 4 north of Baghdad

A suicide bomber attacked members of an Iraqi-government backed Sunni militia group on Monday, killing at least four and wounding another 21 as they collected salaries just north of Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.

The attack was the seventh suicide bombing in Iraq in one month, indicating Sunni insurgents are seeking to expand their campaign to stoke tensions against the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/uk-iraq-violence-idUKBRE91308R20130204

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake MOLUCCA SEA - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.7
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 09:33:17 UTC
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 06:33:17 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
0.630°N, 126.242°E
Depth
14.7 km (9.1 miles)
Region
MOLUCCA SEA
Distances
126 km (78 miles) W of Kota Ternate, Indonesia

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake BABUYAN ISLANDS REGION, PHILIPPINES - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.6
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 08:08:30 UTC
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 04:08:30 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
19.024°N, 121.052°E
Depth
48.9 km (30.4 miles)
Region
BABUYAN ISLANDS REGION, PHILIPPINES
Distances
45 km (27 miles) N of Claveria, Philippines

The European Union & Soviet Union similarities - 2013

'US renews funding for Syria militants'

Wink and Nod: Israeli Def. Min. stops just short of admitting to Syria strike

Mossad vs Assad: 'Syrian rebels ally of Israel intelligence'

Anti-India protests in Pakistani-administered Kashmir

Demonstrators strip off for anti-bullfighting protest in Mexico

Unemployment in Spain reaches 26% as Riot Police clash with Protestors

Riot police in Spain clashed with protesters over the weekend, angry at claims that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his party have been receiving secret payments from a fund set up by big businesses.

With calls for the Mr Rajoy to resign, there are worries this latest scandal could destabilise markets which have recovered significantly in recent months.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21319639

French airstrikes target Islamist extremists' depots in northern Mali

France's foreign minister says new French airstrikes are targeting fuel depots and bases of Islamist extremists in northern Mali.

Laurent Fabius said on French radio Monday that the strikes hit the Kidal region overnight, near the border with Algeria. It's part of a broader effort to cut off supplies to radical fighters who had taken over much of the African country and enforced harsh rules on the population.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/04/french-airstrikes-target-islamist-extremists-depots-in-northern-mali/

North Korea 'preparing for two nuclear tests'

Analysis of recent satellite images has shown new activity on the southern edge of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, while preparations at a second tunnel to the west were apparently completed earlier, a South Korean government source told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

The paper quoted a military official as saying, "There is a chance that the southern tunnel is a decoy, but we are not ruling out that the regime will conduct nuclear tests simultaneously at both tunnels."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/9846447/North-Korea-preparing-for-two-nuclear-tests.html

Damascus' main chemical, biological weapons research center was Target of last week's Israel Attack

The site of the alleged Israeli strike in Syria last week was the country’s main biological and chemical weapons research center, the New York Times reported Monday.

Citing "senior US security sources," the newspaper said that the center had known ties to a North Korean research center of the same kind.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4340644,00.html

'I don't trust Obama': NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre says the White House will not stop at background checks for firearms

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre says he doesn't trust the White House on gun control, saying that any reform would only be the start of a broader campaign to infringe on gun owner's rights.'

LaPierre appeared on Fox News Sunday to oppose closing a federal loophole that allows Americans to buy guns in private transactions without a background check.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272998/I-dont-trust-Obama-NRA-CEO-Wayne-LaPierre-says-White-House-stop-background-checks-firearms.html#axzz2Jv418n8r

Anything to declare? Former head of Iranian central bank caught by customs officers entering Germany with a single cheque worth $70m

A man caught trying to enter Germany with a cheque worth £44.5 million is believed to have been Iran's former central bank chief.

According to a German newspaper, customs officers at Duesseldorf Airport allegedly found the cheque in Tahmasb Mazaheri's luggage on January 21 upon his arrival from Turkey.

German customs issued a statement on Friday saying a cheque for 300 million bolivars issued by the Bank of Venezuela was found on an unnamed 59-year-old man.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272795/Tahmasb-Mazaheri-Man-caught-customs-officers-entering-Germany-single-cheque-worth-45MILLION.html#axzz2Jv418n8r

Two MORE rocket launchers found at gun buyback program in Florida

Two rocket launchers were found among roughly 2,500 weapons exchanged for cash and tickets in Tampa Bay, Florida, on Saturday adding to the growing number of rocket launchers found at gun buyback programs in recent weeks.

The two massive firearms were discovered less a week after another rocket launcher was collected at a gun buyback event in New Jersey and a missile launcher was collected at a gun buyback event in Seattle.

Two rocket launchers were collected at a gun buyback event in Los Angeles a month prior.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272992/Two-MORE-rocket-launchers-gun-buyback-program-Florida-adding-rising-number-rocket-launchers-recent-weeks.html#axzz2Jv418n8r

Martin Luther King Jr School: Michael Scott Killed by Basketball Coach after he allegedly 'tried to mug him at gunpoint'

A 70-year-old high school basketball coach is being held by police after he shot dead a 16-year-old male student and injured another, when they allegedly tried to mug him outside their Detroit school on Friday night.

Local reports named Michael Scott as the student who was fatally shot while the name of the coach and the other victim at the Martin Luther King Jr School shooting haven't been released.

WXYZ Action News said the shooting took place at around 7.30pm on Friday following a basketball game at the school on East Lafayette Boulevard.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272964/Detroit-high-school-basketball-coach-shoots-students--dead--claiming-tried-mug-gunpoint-Fridays-game.html#axzz2Jv418n8r

Church of Scientology pays $8 million to run 60-second commercial during Super Bowl as viewers mock them on Twitter

‘To the curious, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge,’ an unseen narrator says. ‘To the ones who just want to know about life, about the universe, about yourself.’

The Church of Scientology ran a 60-second commercial in several major metropolitan markets including New York and Los Angeles during Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday causing a stir among viewers.

The ad is similar to Apple's classic 'Think Different' commercial from 1997, Buzzfeed and other media observers noted.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273062/Church-Scientology-pays-8-million-run-60-second-commercial-Super-Bowl-drawing-mockery-viewers.html#axzz2Jv418n8r

Isidro Zavala kills his two young sons before committing suicide in front of estranged wife as couple faced divorce battle

German politicians voice scepticism on aid for Cyprus

A top member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Free Democrat coalition partners and several opposition lawmakers said on Sunday they would only agree aid for Cyprus if it tackled money-laundering and implemented structural reforms.

Cyprus has asked the European Union and International Monetary Fund for a bailout but resistance is strong in euro zone paymaster Germany.

Cyprus's problems go back to its banks' exposure to crisis-hit Greece and in Germany much has been made of its status as a popular tax haven for wealthy Russians.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/03/eurozone-cyprus-germany-idUSL5N0B33BV20130203

Football Match-Fixing Ring Smashed

A criminal ring suspected of fixing 380 matches, including World Cup qualifying games, has been smashed by police in Europe.

The matches included European Championship qualifiers, two Champions League games and some top flight league matches.

Rob Wainwright, head of the European police agency Europol, said the investigation had identified about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047226/football-match-fixing-ring-smashed

No deal in sight for EU budget: France's Hollande

French President Francois Hollande warned on Sunday that the prospects were slim of clinching a deal this week on the European Union's next seven-year budget.

"The negotiations are very difficult. ... We are doing all we can so that we can reach an accord ... but the conditions are, at this moment, not yet in place," he told reporters.

He made the comment as EU leaders prepare to meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a second attempt at finding a deal on the 27-nation bloc's trillion-euro budget for 2014-20.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/no-deal-in-sight-for-eu-budget-frances-hollande/articleshow/18324370.cms

South Korea, US begin naval drills amid nuclear tensions

South Korea and the US have begun three days of naval exercises in what is being seen as a show of force aimed at North Korea.

The scheduled drills, involving a US nuclear submarine, come after North Korea said it was planning to carry out its third test of a nuclear device.

The US and South Korea have promised "significant consequences" if it goes ahead with the underground explosion.

The North has criticised the naval drills as "war-mongering".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21318597

Alabama hostage standoff enters sixth day

Sixteen feared dead in strikes on Aleppo

George Osborne To Warn Banks On Ring-Fencing

Britain's biggest banks will face "complete separation" if they flout new rules to ring-fence risky operations from savers' deposits, the Chancellor will announce today.

The new legislation will give the Government and a new banking watchdog powers to "electrify the ring-fence" if banks fail to split high street branch operations from the dealing floor.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047110/george-osborne-to-warn-banks-on-ring-fencing

California Tour Bus Crash: Eight People Dead

At least eight people have been killed after a tour bus collided with two other vehicles in the mountains of southern California.

Another 38 people were taken to hospital with injuries after the crash about 80 miles east of Los Angeles near the town of Forest Falls, California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez said.

The bus driver reported having brake problems as the vehicle came down the mountain on State Route 38, Mr Lopez said.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047140/california-tour-bus-crash-eight-people-dead

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake CRETE, GREECE - 4th February 2013

Magnitude mb 4.7
Region CRETE, GREECE
Date time 2013-02-04 07:56:53.0 UTC
Location 34.73 N ; 24.15 E
Depth 10 km
Distances 63 km SW Ayía galíni

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake LUZON, PHILIPPINES - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.6
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 07:16:09 UTC
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 03:16:09 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
16.222°N, 120.579°E
Depth
54.9 km (34.1 miles)
Region
LUZON, PHILIPPINES
Distances
7 km (4 miles) N of Labayug, Philippines

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake OAXACA, MEXICO - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.0
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 05:39:06 UTC
Sunday, February 03, 2013 at 11:39:06 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
16.883°N, 96.751°W
Depth
35 km (21.7 miles)
Region
OAXACA, MEXICO
Distances
3 km (1 miles) ENE of Zimatlan de Alvarez, Mexico

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.3
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 05:10:32 UTC
Sunday, February 03, 2013 at 11:10:32 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
15.319°N, 94.031°W
Depth
72.8 km (45.2 miles)
Region
OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO
Distances
80 km (49 miles) SSW of Paredon, Mexico

Excellent footage of chemtrails leaving wing tanks on planes (Or is it just condensation?)

America's Top Sniper Chris Kyle 'Shot Dead By PTSD Veteran'

America's 'most lethal sniper' was killed on a shooting range by a former soldier he was trying to help recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, police have said.

Chris Kyle, a former Navy Seal, was shot dead at the site in Texas - where he had taken the Iraq war veteran and another friend to try to aid his recovery.

The man is alleged to have turned his gun on both Mr Kyle, 38, and his friend, Chad Littlefield, 35, shooting them both dead.

http://news.sky.com/story/1047038/americas-top-sniper-shot-dead-by-ptsd-veteran

U.S., allies warn North Korea against 'provocative' moves

(CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his South Korean and Japanese counterparts warned North Korea against any "provocative" moves Sunday ahead of a possible new nuclear bomb test by Pyongyang.

In a round of calls Sunday, Kerry, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korea's Kim Sung-hwan all agreed the North must understand "that it will face significant consequences from the international community if it continues its provocative behavior," according to a summary of the calls from the U.S. State Department.

Earlier Sunday, North Korea announced that its leader, Kim Jong Un, "has made an important decision" that would strengthen the country.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/03/world/asia/north-korea-nuclear/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

EU Prepares Support to Border Management in Libya

The Council of the European Union recently approved the crisis management concept for a common Security and defence policy mission to support capacity building for border management in Libya.

European experts are primarily to support Libyan authorities in developing capacity for enhancing border security in the short term. Secondly they will assist in developing a sustainable Integrated Border Management concept and strategy, including necessary structures, in line with the priorities agreed with the Libyan authorities.

This will be achieved in a gradually expanding and phased approach, through advising, mentoring and training. As conditions allow, the EU mission will progressively address the different land, sea and air aspects of border management, as well as the necessary coordination required by an integrated approach for decision making and effective operational conduct.

http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=1&i=9857

Think the financial transaction tax is really an EU tax? Think again.

As the European Union struggles to come up with a budget and its member states appear incapable of coming to any sort of an agreement, the introduction of a financial transaction tax to help finance the EU budget might seem like a welcome idea to some. A welcome idea, that is, if the tax were truly an EU tax, which unfortunately is not the case.

On October 23, 2012, the European Commission published a proposal authorizing ten EU member states (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, among others) to implement a financial transaction tax (FTT) by way of enhanced cooperation as defined by Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union. Estonia is likely to become the eleventh state included in this procedure.

The promising beginnings of an EU tax…

Initially, the FTT had been seen as a good way to apply an EU tax that would provide the European Union with more own resources, independent of the willingness (or not) of the Eurozone member states to contribute to the EU budget. The tax could have also helped make the EU appear more concrete in the eyes of its citizens and do away with its image of being a vague conglomeration of states controlled by political leaders and bureaucrats in Brussels.

http://www.thenewfederalist.eu/Think-the-financial-transaction-tax-is-really-an-EU-tax-Think-again,05521

Anger as EU votes to hand hundreds of millions in subsidies to European tobacco farmers

Plans to give hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies to European tobacco farmers have been criticised by anti-smoking campaigners.

The tobacco growers could get the extra cash as soon as next year after members of the European Parliament voted to make changes which would allow member states to decide which crops receive European Union farming subsidies.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272742/Anger-EU-votes-hand-hundreds-millions-subsidies-European-tobacco-farmers.html#axzz2Ju41D2IQ

Secretary of Defense Panetta Admits Information from Waterboarding Led US to Bin Laden

Lindsay Sandiford execution could happen 'in weeks' after Indonesia signals it will resume carrying out death sentences

Condemned British drug smuggler Lindsay Sandiford could be executed within weeks after Indonesia signalled its intention to resume state executions.

No one has been put to death in the country since 2008, and because of this at least 12 death row inmates believed they had avoided execution.

However, attorney general Basrief Arief has announced that death sentences will be carried out again soon.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273052/Cocaine-gran-Lindsay-Sandiford-execution-happen-weeks-Indonesia-signals-resume-carrying-death-sentences.html#axzz2Ju41D2IQ

Sixteen of Europe's most wanted criminals are on the run in the UK

Suspected of sickening crimes including murder, kidnapping and rape, these are the faces of the most wanted foreign criminals in the UK.

The 16 fugitives have fled their own countries in a desperate bid to escape the law - and are now lying low in Britain.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272977/Catch-men-Sixteen-Europes-wanted-criminals-run-UK.html#axzz2Ju41D2IQ

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake CROATIA - 4th February 2013

Magnitude
4.5
Date-Time
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 04:29:46 UTC
Monday, February 04, 2013 at 05:29:46 AM at epicenter
Location
43.681°N, 16.390°E
Depth
10.1 km (6.3 miles)
Region
CROATIA
Distances
19 km (12 miles) NNW (341°) from Split, Croatia

Was Iran really responsible for Lockerbie bombing? French spy expert claims that CIA and FBI know but have covered the information up

The CIA has allegedly always known that Iran and not Libya was behind the deadly 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which came down over Lockerbie, Scotland causing the deaths of 270 people.

Ignored for almost 25-years as an unverified conspiracy theory, the respected New York Times journalist and Middle-East expert Robert Worth claims in a recent piece that a former CIA operative confirmed to him an Iranian role in the December bombing.

The controversial claim that 'the best intelligence' on the Lockerbie bombing leads to Iran, rewrites a quarter of a century of accepted history that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Libya ordered the terror outrage as revenge for a 1986 U.S. attack on the North African country.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272945/Was-Iran-really-responsible-Lockerbie-bombing-French-spy-expert-claims-CIA-FBI-know-covered-information-up.html#axzz2Ju41D2IQ

Migrants handed £1million a week for children back home as thousands of British families are stripped of THEIR child benefit

Britain is giving EU immigrants £1million a week in handouts for children who live abroad.

The payments include child benefit – which was stripped from more than one million British families last month.

The bill is likely to rise still further when Romanians and Bulgarians get free access to the UK jobs market on January 1.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273002/Migrants-handed-1m-week-children-home-thousands-British-families-stripped-THEIR-child-benefit.html#axzz2Ju41D2IQ

Clashes at pro-Kurdish demonstration in Turkey

Police taser man armed with knife outside Buckingham Palace

Escape from execution in Mali

Bitterness over Islamic rule lingers in Timbuktu

Cyprus EU Bailout: Small island, big problem: how Cyprus troubles the euro zone

Just when European leaders thought they were getting to grips with three years of economic turmoil, along came Cyprus, a seemingly small problem but one that cannot be ignored.

While the Cypriot economy may be worth only 18 billion euros, making it the third smallest in the euro zone, the problems it poses are among the most complex Europe has faced, combining elements of Greece, Spain and Ireland.

The latest estimates from analysts are that the country needs 17.5 billion euros to get back on its feet, including 10 billion for its fractured banking sector and up to 7.5 billion for general government operations and debt servicing.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/31/us-eurozone-cyprus-idUSBRE90U0BZ20130131