Saturday, April 30, 2011

Three years to clean up Japan's devestation

The Environment Ministry said Saturday it expects that it will take three years for the three prefectures in the Tohoku region worst hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami to finish removing the massive amount of debris left by the disaster.

Up to around 24.9 million tons of debris mainly from collapsed structures lie scattered near the coasts of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, according to the ministry. The amount is about 1.7 times the debris seen in the 1996 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

The actual amount of debris is expected to be larger as the assumption does not include rubble from wrecked vessels and vehicles.

The removal process is expected to be delayed due to the lack of temporary disposal sites for rubble, the ministry said.

The Iwate Prefectural Government said it will need some 3 million sq. meters of land to temporarily store a total of 6 million tons of debris scattered around the prefecture, but has been able to secure only 40 percent of the land needed so far.

Fukushima Prefecture is currently piling up debris from the disaster, which is expected to amount to 2.9 million tons, excluding damaged vessels and vehicles, on some 330,000 sq. meters of land at fishing ports and industrial complexes. The Fukushima figures reportedly do not include the radioactive debris, soil and other materials near the crippled nuclear plant that will also have to be disposed of. (read more)

Japan debt rating threat may hasten tax hike push, which could further cripple the economy

The threat of a cut to Japan's credit rating adds pressure on Prime Minister Naoto Kan to raise taxes as he wrestles with financing quake rebuilding without adding to the world's biggest public debt burden.

Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook Wednesday to "negative" on Japan's AA- local currency rating, estimating that costs stemming from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis may boost budget deficits by 3.7 percent of gross domestic product through 2013.

Higher taxes may undermine consumer confidence already hammered by the disaster, with March retail sales sliding the most in 13 years and analysts forecasting that the world's third-biggest economy will shrink this quarter. A group of lawmakers and former Cabinet ministers highlighted that danger Wednesday, calling on the Bank of Japan to support the recovery by buying more government bonds.

"Tax increases are unavoidable," said Junko Nishioka, chief economist at RBS Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. "As discussions on selling more bonds begin in earnest, we'll hear more calls for the Bank of Japan to ease policy further," she said. The bond market has shown little evidence of concern about Japan's deteriorating sovereign-debt quality. More than 90 percent of government debt is held by domestic investors, dominated by financial companies, which have provided a stable source of financing. (read more)

Bomb blasts kill troops in Thailand's south: Battle with Cambodian troops continues for ninth day

Police in Thailand say twin bomb attacks have killed two paramilitary soldiers and wounded nine others in the country's south.


Kritsanapong Paetsit, a police spokesperson, said on Saturday that a group of at least five fighters set off a roadside bomb that hurled a military vehicle off the road in Yala province.

The blast wounded four rangers who were on patrol, sparking an exchange of gunfire that lasted for 10 minutes.

A second bomb exploded about 1.5km away from the first attack, killing two rangers and wounding five. The incident happened in Yala's Raman district, Paetsit said.

The attacks coincided with a visit by Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, to the nearby province of Narathiwat to chair a meeting on development strategy for the southern provinces.

More than 4,200 people have been killed in Thailand's three Muslim-dominated provinces since an uprising erupted there in 2004.

The number of attacks has increased in recent months in what security analysts say could be a response to government claims that its public-relations campaigns were helping to contain the unrest. (read more)

BREAKING NEWS: Gaddafi's son Saif Al-Arab and several grandchildren killed in NATO airstrike

One of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's sons -- Saif al-Arab Gadhafi -- was killed after a NATO airstrike, a spokesman for Libya's government said Sunday at a press conference.

Moammar Gadhafi and his wife were in their son's house when it was targeted, spokesman Musa Ibrahim said. Both of them are in good health, according to the spokesman.

The victim is one of two Gadhafi sons whose names begin with Saif. The other is Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who had previously touted reform but has emerged as one of his father's most visible defenders in recent months.

Ibrahim said several of Moammar Gadhafi's grandchildren also died in the attack.

The house in Tripoli was destroyed by the strike, with a massive crater where the house used to be. At least one unexploded bomb could be seen at the scene.

The building was in a residential area of Tripoli, according to Ibrahim, who insisted that Saif al-Arab Gadhafi was a student in Germany who was not deeply involved in Libya's military and government. The 29-year-old was the sixth of Gadhafi's eight biological children.

Ibrahim railed against NATO after the fatal strike, calling it an illegal act and a "war crime." (read more)








Hackers group says it will target Iran on Sunday -- Hopes attacks will spur new protests; what will happen?

The Internet hackers group Anonymous plans to hack Iran on Sunday, according to a press release published on their website. The group wants to use International Workers' Day, which commemorates the first national general strike in the United States, as an opportunity to reignite last year's protests in Iran.

Exactly how they intend to "attack" Iran remains to be seen. The sophistication of their previous attacks ranges from the denial-of-service overloading of web servers (this simply knocks a website out) to the exploitation of code and accessing of private data (more like the hacking seen in the movies).

The announcement follows news from the Bahrain News Agency that Iranian hackers had tried to access the Housing Ministry's database regarding those who benefit from the housing services.

The group Anonymous is known for its volunteer association with the perceived underdogs, the side that comes under pressure from the authorities, its statement said, and it views the people of Iran as the next step in the wave of revolutions passing through the Middle East and North Africa.

The attacks are scheduled to start at 5 a.m. GMT (1 a.m. ET) on Sunday. (Source)

Florida witnesses report UFO size of football field

(Picture is for illustrative purposes only)

Two Florida witnesses report a “Frisbee-like” UFO the size of a football field came into view and hovered for 20 to 30 seconds before moving away at 2:27 p.m. on April 27, 2011, according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

The reporting witness described the object.

“It had some black window looking things. It appeared to be rotating like a fan. It went left real fast. Then weirdly it dead stopped for 20-30 seconds. It was silver. It was at least size of football field.”

The witness reports being calm at first, but then after thinking about the sighting, was scared – and anxiety set in. The entire sighting lasted about two minutes.

Englewood is in both Charlotte and Sarasota counties, FL, population 16,196. No images or videos were submitted with the MUFON report, which was filed on April 27, 2011.

Florida is a current UFO ALERT 3 rating,
with a high number of UFO sightings nationally. Florida had 23 UFO reports in March 2011 – while California had 45 sightings, the highest reporting state in the nation. (read more)

Poster note: This has been posted in hopes someone in the area saw or has footage of this object seen in the sky. If you do, and would like your media included in this post, please contact us.

Mississippi flooding as "apocalypse" continues: first tornados, now rising waters -- floods could be the largest in history

The Mississippi River, its tributaries swollen by snowmelt and stormwater, is rising toward a flood level that could equal or exceed anything in its recorded history. The threat to Cairo, Illinois — just below the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers — is so grave that the US Army Corps of Engineers is about to blow up a levee just downstream at Bird’s Point, Missouri, to relieve the flooding in Cairo by deliberately inundating 140,000 acres of farms and towns. The emotional controversy that has arisen over this move obscures a real and rising threat to the economy of the United States.

It seems counterintuitive to blow a levee in the face of a flood, and it is capable of inciting riot to propose to flood farmland to save city blocks, the farm being in one state, the city in another. Tempers are rising. Missouri politicians are demanding that the Corps abandon its plan, and have filed suit in a Federal court to force it to do so. Illinois politicians insist that if the Corps does not act, Cairo will look like New Orleans after Katrina. Yet it has always been the plan of the Corps, which bears responsibility for “managing” and “taming” the mightiest American river, to use Bird’s Point as a floodway in an emergency. The plan is sanctioned by the 1928 Flood Control Act.

But the real threat posed by this historic, gathering flood may well lie several hundred miles to the south, where the Mississippi crosses the Louisiana border. There, as the Corps well knows but dare not discuss, this historic flood threatens to overwhelm one of the frailest defenses industrial humanity has offered to preserve its profits from the immutable processes of nature. This flood has the potential to be a mortal blow to the economy of the United States, and outside the Corp of Engineers virtually no one knows why. (read more)

Chelsea Champey leaves three children locked in room, smeared with feces, and with scratch marks of desperate escape on door: She now enjoys own cell

A Bucks County woman has been charged with child endangerment after police said her three children were left alone and filthy inside their squalid home.

Chelsea Champey, 21, of Bristol, remained in the Bucks County prison Thursday on $75,000 bail.

Police said they found her children, ages 4, 2, and 1, in a house with feces smeared across the walls and floors. The 2-year-old was found naked and covered in feces, and locked in a room with scratch marks on the inside of the door where the child had clawed to get out. After the children were discovered in the home in February, they were placed in foster care. Authorities waited until this week to charge Champey because their investigation was continuing. (read more)

How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis

Demand and supply certainly matter. But there's another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.

It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there's value, there's money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).

For just under a decade, the GSCI remained a relatively static investment vehicle, as bankers remained more interested in risk and collateralized debt than in anything that could be literally sowed or reaped. Then, in 1999, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission deregulated futures markets. All of a sudden, bankers could take as large a position in grains as they liked, an opportunity that had, since the Great Depression, only been available to those who actually had something to do with the production of our food. (read more)

Government assistance outpacing tax intakes in US: Dangerous

There's a sad story making the rounds which should be Front Page News in this great land of ours, but it has received scant attention. USA Today reports that Americans depend more on government aid than ever.

Americans depended more on government assistance in 2010 than at any other time in the nation's history, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds. The trend shows few signs of easing, even though the economic recovery is nearly 2 years old.

A record 18.3% of the nation's total personal income was a payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment benefits and other programs in 2010.

Wages accounted for the lowest share of income — 51.0% — since the government began keeping track in 1929...

From 1980 to 2000, government aid was roughly constant at 12.5%. The sharp increase since then — especially since the start of 2008 — reflects several changes: the expansion of health care and federal programs generally, the aging population and lingering economic problems.

Americans got an average of $7,427 in benefits each in 2010, up from an inflation-adjusted $4,763 in 2000 and $3,686 in 1990. The federal government pays about 90% of the benefits.

"What's frightening is the Baby Boomers haven't really started to retire," says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes of the 77 million people born from 1946 through 1964 whose oldest wave turns 65 this year. "That's when the cost of Medicare will start to explode." (read more)

Adultery close to becoming legal in Colorado -- Aw, heck, let's also toss in murder and coveting neighbourly things

Colorado moved a step closer to repealing the unenforced crime of adultery Friday with a Senate vote, after arguments that the crime is outdated and never enforced.

The bill also repeals the related crime of contributing to "sexual immorality" by providing a place for unmarried people to have sex. That prohibition was aimed at Frontier-era flophouses.

Colorado is one of a handful of states that still have adultery crimes on the books, and there has been little debate about tossing the prohibition.

"These are very antiquated notions, and in my mind they're actually unconstitutional," said the bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Pat Steadman, who doubted that a crime that hinges on a person's marital status and wouldn't be illegal for unmarried people could withstand a legal challenge.

One lawmaker, though, has taken issue with the measure. Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg argued unsuccessfully Friday that lawmakers should hold off repealing the sexual immorality part until they can be assured the change won't endanger modern-day prostitution and human trafficking cases.

Lundberg feared that repealing the place-of-unmarried-sex law could spark brothels in Colorado.

"I've been informally calling this the brothel bill, because that's what it's going to be doing," Lundberg warned. (read more)

Leaking Massachusetts house dials 911 for help -- that's right, the house itself made the call

YOU may have heard of house calls, but this is ridiculous.

After months of enduring a leaking pipe that buckled its floors and sagged its ceilings, an empty Massachusetts house somehow called police for help.

The Salem News reports the emergency call went out to police from a house in Marblehead after water short-circuited the phone system, apparently sparking the emergency call.

Officers were sent to the address after the call was recorded as a hang up and a return call got static.

Inside, they found the wreckage, including potentially toxic mold, from a pipe that apparently burst during the winter.

Town officials say the interior may have to be gutted.

Police couldn't immediately locate owner James Cowen. His cousin, William Cowen, said he's not worried. He says James was left financially secure by his father and often travels. (read more)

Grandma, 91, Sells Suicide Kits To Allow Elderly To ‘Die With Dignity’ -- what has come of the world?



Meet Sharlotte. Like a lot of grandmothers, she likes to keep busy. But while some grannies sit and knit scarves and afghans, this 91-year-old has a decidedly different hobby.

She makes suicide masks.

Sharlotte started making and selling these suicide kits out of her cozy Southern California home after watching her husband die a slow and painful death from colon cancer. She blames doctors for keeping him alive.

“It was terrible to treat people that way… To make them suffer to the bitter end,” Sharlotte said.

Sharlotte, who sells her controversial kits for $60, demonstrated how they work in front of our cameras.

“To die with this helium just takes you a couple of minutes and [you] die peacefully,” said Sharlotte, who only wants to be identified by her first name. She also didn’t want her face to appear on camera.

A loophole in California law makes selling the kits legal, but the ethical controversy remains heated. (For the record, what Sharlotte does is not illegal because she is not present when the person takes their own life.)

Sharlotte insists she is no Kervorkian-in-the-making. She told CBS2′s Sharon Tay that she just wants the terminally ill to be able to end it … on their terms. When they are ready.

She wants to make sure no one has to suffer like her late husband…or the people he left behind. (read more)

Oil Corporation profits surge while regular people feel pressure at pumps with no relief in sight

Chevron and Total became the latest big oil companies to post sharp increases in profits as crude prices surged and refining margins improved along with global fuel demand.

The price of oil has risen comfortably above $100 a barrel, putting a squeeze on drivers and raising talk of a U.S. legislative pushback, as global energy demand and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa darken the oil supply picture.

"Growing geopolitical tensions and the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan will shift the balance of the global energy markets," Total Chairman Christophe de Margerie said.

The surge in the price of crude, the oil refiners' main input, has led to a $1 surge in the price U.S. drivers pay for a gallon of gasoline, angering consumers already beleaguered by years of recession, while crimping the recovery. (read more)

China May Buy $1 TRILLION of Gold: Bloomberg

In an otherwise quiet article on central banks today, Bloomberg quoted an analyst who says China may use a third of their $3 trillion in foreign reserves to purchase gold.

China has been moving away from the dollar, and into alternative stores of wealth for years now.

But $1 trillion in gold? If it happens, such a large move would be a sharp rebuke to the dollar's status as reserve currency, to say the least.

Bloomberg:

China’s Gold Reserves

China, which has just 1.6 percent of its reserves in gold, may invest more than $1 trillion in bullion, [Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital] said. “China wants to be an international player, and they need to own more gold than they currently have.”

...“China is out to have more gold than America, and Russia is aspiring to the same,” [Robert] McEwen, [the chief executive officer of producer U.S. Gold Corp] said yesterday in an interview in New York. “When you have debt, you don’t have a lot of flexibility. China wants to show its currency has more backing than the U.S.

...China, with more than $3 trillion in foreign-currency reserves, plans to set up new funds to invest in precious metals, Century Weekly reported this week. Russia purchased 8 tons of gold in the first quarter. (read more)


Asia taking a pass on next round of Quantitative Easing, the threat of debt, prices, inflation, and slowdown, big names dumping US dollars

We believe there will be something similar to a QE3 by another name and the Fed will probably have to create some $2.5 trillion to buy Treasuries, Agencies, and toxic waste and perhaps inject funds into the economy. Japan certainly won’t be a buyer and probably will be a seller. China has indicated that they won’t be purchasers in the future either. The question also arises concerning the continued purchase of these securities by countries in the oil producing Gulf States, which are in turmoil. The three countries make up 45% of Treasury purchases. As we pointed out in previous issues the second half of 2011 should be monstrous. Even if the fed buys all the Treasury and Agency bonds they’ll still have to deal with a lower dollar and high inflation. Then there is high unemployment and raging gold and silver prices. There is also the question of US debt, federal, state and municipal debt, along with wars in the Middle East and North Africa. How many US Treasuries will Japan have to sell and how deeply will its slowdown effect American industry? As you can see America has much to contemplate.

The creation of monetary inflation will last at least two more years. Its end will only come when the Fed takes its foot off of the pedal. Like almost zero interest rates this policy cannot be allowed to stop. The system cannot function without it. The whole concept of throwing money at a problem simply doesn’t work and the elitists know this only too well.

Monetary and fiscal creations are not the only mistakes being made by the Fed and our Congress. US and world markets are being subjected to non-stop manipulation. This corruption has destroyed all free markets. Stock and bond markets are supported and gold, silver and commodities attacked. Fortunately markets now recognize what the elitists are up too and each time they interfere they lose a little more power. It points up that a criminal syndicate is running our country. These tactics are used to extend the looting period allowing further harvesting of elicit profits. The US and many other nations have been allowed to live beyond their means for many years and that condition is being brought to a conclusion. This, of course, is very true of the US due to the dollar being the world’s reserve currency. That is changing, as nations want this unfair advantage ended, especially in view of the fact that the American government and financial community have so abused their privilege.

The profits of the military industrial complex continue to flourish as we have war after war. We notice that both parties are willing to cut spending on Social Security and Medicare, but they refuse to cut military spending, the most expensive item on the budget at 26%. Our government has billions for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the FHA, the FICA and the worthless SEC and CFTC, but no cuts for the average American. (read more)

Fact or Fiction - Ancient Aliens "Aliens and the Third Reich" - 30th Apr 2011

For years there has been speculation that Nazi Germany had experimented with advanced alien technology and built flying machines; such as the Haunebu and the Die Glocke (The Bell); and rumors that some of this technology may have made its way to the United States and helped jump start the Apollo program.

No mercy: Amazing new video shows cars and planes washed away by Japan tsunami - 30th Apr 2011

Astonishing new footage has been released of Japan’s tsunami showing no mercy as it washes away cars, aeroplanes and anything else in its path.

The coastguard released the video of the devastating March 11 disaster hitting the Sendai airport, in which a rapid river can be seen carrying away debris and vehicles.

Cars, minibuses, light aircraft, vans and helicopters are all taken away following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that prompted a huge 10 metre wave.

More than 14,000 people are known to have died in the horrendous natural disaster last month and a further 12,000 are missing presumed dead.

Japan is facing its worst crisis since World War Two and said earlier this week that it will send 25,000 soldiers into the tsunami disaster zone to recover victims’ bodies. Read More


Liars! White House accused of hypocrisy after 'banning newspaper reporter who used cell phone to film protesters' - 30th Apr 2011

The White House has been accused of lying in a sensational row with a newspaper over a banned journalist.

The San Francisco Chronicle has dug its heels in over the row, calling the Obama administration out for not being 'truthful'.

The row began when Chronicle journalist Carla Marinucci was apparently banned from being one of the approved pool of reporters to cover presidential visits to the San Francisco Bay area.

Ms Marinucci was part of the 'print pool' - that is, the journalists who have traditionally relied on the written word to tell the story.

However the experienced political reporter used her video phone to shoot some footage of protesters at an Obama fundraiser at the St Regis Hotel on Thursday.

The video caught Mr Obama looking on as protesters demonstrated against the White House's treatment of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning.

The Chronicle defended Ms Marinucci, saying such phones were 'now-standard multi-media tools'.

But the move that is said to have infuriated the White House, resulting in her banning - and even threats to other reporters, according to the Chronicle. Read More


Big cat on the prowl: Is THIS ferocious feline responsible for a string of savage attacks on sheep? - 30th Apr 2011

His menacing prowl is enough to send shivers down anyone's spine - and with good reason.

This big cat is believed to be behind a string of 18 attacks on sheep savaging their throats and leaving their blood-covered carcasses to rot.

The mysterious feline, believed to be a puma, was photographed creeping steadily through the long grass, eyeing his target, by brave on-lookers.

Student Lisa Sydenham, 29, caught the beast on camera when she was walking near Embo, Ross-shire, with her sister Alana.

It was just a few miles from fields where a farmer has suffered repeated attacks on his flock.

Police in the Highlands say there have been several credible sighting of big cats in the area.

George Ross of Rheguile Farm, near Edderton, on the shores of the Dornoch Firth, said nothing but the skins of his sheep remained after a series of incidents. In all cases their throats had been crushed.

The sisters say they were stopped in their tracks when they spotted the beast about 8.30pm on Wednesday.

Lisa said: 'It was definitely not just a large domestic cat or dog. At first I thought it was a very large dog but from the way it was walking and the shape of its body I could tell that it was a big cat.'

She added: 'It was quite a distance away over a field. My sister Alana and I were at first very surprised and then excited. I looked into it and found there had been another sighting in the area last September.

'It looked and moved like a cat. It spotted me and crouched down in the grass before walking off. We must have watched it for about five minutes in all.'

The sightings come as the remains of a deer sparked further fears of a predator. Read More

Think HAARP is just conspiracy theory? Think again: They're quietly sitting on patents for devices they claim don't exist, and here's proof

We at the Coming Crisis only post two things: facts, and questions that need answering. Our readers know this, and it's something we'd never give up on for any reason.

When it comes to a touchy subject like HAARP then, many would wonder why we'd even give a passing thought to a clearly scientific device that poses no threat whatsoever. Right?

Well, the public face may say one thing, but facts often lead to other questions, if not other conclusions, so let's take a moment to look at some real, filed patents that mysteriously correlate with "conspiracies" they say are laughable. Laugh at this then, folks:

#1: HAARP

They say:
HAARP is a scientific instrument used for an Ionospheric research program. Does nothing but passively tap the fields and measure.
Others say: HAARP is a wave-based scalar weapon that can manipulate weather and geologic activity, among other things.
The patent says: "Method and apparatus for altering a region in the Earth's atmosphere, ionosphere, and / or magnetosphere." View US Patent #4,686,605 here.
Bonus: The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) found HAARP so strange that they conducted their own investigation which lead to the fact that the facility could, in fact, be used for purposes other than those stated. Watch it in two parts here:




#2: Space-based weather alteration devices / weapons

They say:
They don't exist.
Others say: They don't only exist, but may actually be weaponized.
The patent says: "Use of artificial satellites in Earth's orbit adaptively to modify the effect that solar radiation would otherwise have on Earth's weather." View US Patent #5,762,298 here.
Bonus: China routinely files quiet news reports of its mastery of weather, and China's technology is probably several decades behind that of America's. Just do a Google search of China's weather-manipulating activities for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as how the country combated its recent massive droughts, and you'll see what we mean. So, what's the US up to these days in this field?

#2: Chemtrails and aerial spraying, aerosols

They say:
They're just contrails, seen more frequently now due to a warming world.
Others say: They're spraying in grid-like patterns materials of a highly toxic nature for reasons unknown.
The patent(s) says: "Think of a way to spray something in the atmosphere, and we got 'ya covered, boys." View a massive list over 125 aerial spraying-related US Patents here.
Bonus: Some savvy independent onlookers tested the atmosphere and found heavy metal aerosol deposits. Controversial, so we wont weigh that as evidence. But when weather radar systems go haywire due to a massive aluminium spraying in the atmosphere, it at least begs the question -- what else are they spraying, and why? Video below:



This, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Coming Crisis asks questions. And so should all of you.

Six major US tobacco companies have defeated a lawsuit by hospitals seeking compensation for treating patients with smoking-related illnesses

Thirty-seven hospitals in the state of Missouri had claimed cigarette companies delivered an "unreasonably dangerous" product.

They sought more than $455m (£272m) reimbursement for treating uninsured smokers who had not paid for care.

The hospitals treat many destitute, non-paying patients.

They said medical ethics required them to treat people in need, regardless of their ability to pay.

In the case, the hospitals claimed that tobacco companies manipulated the nicotine content in cigarettes and misrepresented the health effects of smoking.

But a jury in St Louis rejected their claim.

"The jury agreed with Philip Morris USA that ordinary cigarettes are not negligently designed or defective," said Murray Garnick of Philip Morris. (Say, what?)

An official from Lorillard, another company in the case, said: "Compelling evidence was presented to the jury, including testimony from hospital witnesses, that confirmed the hospitals were not financially damaged as they asserted." (Say, whaaat?)

Taliban announces spring offensive as NATO readies for greater fight

The Taliban said Saturday it is launching a new offensive against foreign troops and Afghan security forces and will focus on military bases and convoys.

The Taliban statement, declaring its spring military operations, warned Afghans to stay away from "centers of the enemy."

The announcement comes a day after a NATO official told CNN that the alliance anticipates insurgents to begin an extensive new round of attacks against U.S. and coalition forces "in the coming days."

The officer with the International Security Assistance Force noted that the alliance has seen similar surges at this time in recent years.

"What basically they are trying to do is start their spring offensive, and they think by surging their forces and having a concentrated series of attacks that they can demonstrate their power and relevance and influence over the Afghan population."

ISAF feels the increased coalition attacks on insurgents have had an impact, and new attacks by insurgents signal their effort to recoup their losses.

"Over the past several months insurgents have suffered a number of setbacks, having been pushed out of key sanctuaries. They have lost more weapons caches than any previous year, and they have lost hundreds of insurgent commanders and thousands of fighters," the officer said.

In the 90 days ending April 22, coalition special forces conducted 1,393 operations, capturing or killing 468 insurgent commanders, and capturing or killing 2,637 lower-level insurgents.

In response to the latest intelligence, ISAF has "increased" measures to protect its forces as well as shared the intelligence with the Afghan government, the officer said.

The expectation is new attacks would continue to focus on the latest Taliban tactics of assassinations, small arms attacks and going after so-called "soft" targets of Afghan civilians. The officer also said the alliance is watching for more of the "impersonation and infiltration-type attacks that you have seen in the last several days." (read more)

Photo gallery of Tornado devestation in Southern US -- worst storms in 86 years

As emergency responders continued to tally the dead on Saturday, surviving family members and friends prepared to bury loved ones who perished in what has become the second deadliest single-day tornado outbreak in U.S. history.

Among the victims for whom memorial services are planned in the coming days are three students of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The area has emerged as the focal point for the Wednesday disaster that swept through six southern states and has killed 342 people so far.

According to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, at least 45 people people died during the storms in Tuscaloosa County, more than in any of the other five southern states that recorded deaths from Wednesday's violent weather.

By early Saturday morning, emergency management officials tallied 254 deaths in Alabama, 34 in Tennessee, 33 in Mississippi, 15 in Georgia, 5 in Virginia and 1 in Arkansas.

Hundreds are unaccounted for in Tuscaloosa alone, though not all have been officially reported missing.

"We're hopeful and prayerful that a large majority of that is just duplicates within our dispatch system," Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox said. "However, we are putting cadaver dog teams through the city in a frantic search to find everyone that is accounted for." (read more)

In flashpoint Syrian city of Daraa, another day of shelling by tanks -- more dead



A few dozen tanks fired shells and a curfew was imposed Saturday in the restive Syrian city of Daraa, the site of ongoing clashes between security forces and protesters, eyewitnesses told CNN.

The assault took place in the eastern part of the embattled city, where helicopters were flying overhead and soldiers were stationed on rooftops, the witnesses said.

Gunfire could be heard in the background as one of the eyewitnesses spoke to CNN over the telephone.

One eyewitness said that men venturing outside were being shot and women and children who left their homes were being escorted back. Another witness said anyone on the street was being shot.

Bloated bodies remained uncollected in the streets, their relatives afraid to retrieve them, witnesses said, and they complained about a lack of water, power, electricity and food.

CNN has not been granted access into Syria and is unable to independently verify witness accounts.

But CNN has spoken with witnesses, some of whom have also reported what they see via social networking sites and posted homemade videos. Reports also have been compiled by human rights organizations.

The clampdown in Daraa comes a day after 19 people, including four soldiers, were reported killed and more than 50 others wounded in the city, where the country-wide demonstrations started last month.

Government forces opened fire on protesters from neighboring villages who tried to enter the city near the Jordanian-Syrian border, according to witnesses who spoke with CNN. (read more)

Libya calls for cease-fire negotiations with NATO -- NATO rejects talks and continues crusade; Why does the West continuously reject diplomacy?



Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Saturday urged NATO to negotiate an end to airstrikes, accusing the international coalition of killing civilians and destroying the nation's infrastructure in a bid to take over its oil production.

"Come and negotiate with us. You are the ones attacking us. You are the ones terrifying our kids and destroying our infrastructure. You American, French and British come and negotiate with us," Gadhafi said during a rambling 45-minute address on Libyan state TV.

It was a rare appearance for the leader, who has not been seen in public since international forces began bombing regime targets last month.

The airstrikes started after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution authorizing any means necessary to protect civilians demanding the ouster of the ruler, who has been in power for nearly 42 years.

At times, Gadhafi's address appeared to be a tirade against NATO and the United Nations.

"What are you trying to do? Trying to take the oil?" he said. "The Libyan people will not allow you ... The oil is under control of the Libyan government and for the people."

He called on the United Nations to review the NATO attacks, saying his country agreed to a cease-fire.

"We are the first ones who wanted and agreed on a cease-fire. But the NATO crusader airstrike did not cease," he said. "It cannot be a cease-fire from one side." (read more)

Microbiology labs linked to nationwide salmonella outbreak: US

One person is dead and at least 10 have been hospitalized in an outbreak of salmonella poisonings linked to clinical and teaching microbiology laboratories across the nation, government health officials reported.

Some 73 people in 35 states have been sickened by the bacteria since August, including some by a strain of Salmonella Typhimurium sold commercially for use in laboratory settings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The ill include students and employees of the laboratories, as well as children who live in households of people who study or work at the labs. CDC officials warned that bacteria used in the labs can be transmitted through contaminated lab coats, pens, notebooks, car keys and other items brought into the labs.

Salmonella infection was implicated in the death of a 91-year-old Boston man residing in a chronic care center who had multiple underlying illnesses, according to Christian Nielsen, a spokesman for the Boston Public Health Commission. (read more)

More dead creatures on Gulf of Mexico Beaches: Grand Isle, LA -- Taken April 23-24, 2011 (Reader contributed)





Arctic coastlines recede by 'several metres' a year

Arctic coastlines are crumbling away and retreating at the rate of two metres or more a year due to the effects of climate change. In some locations, up to 30 metres of the shore has been vanishing every year.

The rapid rate of coastal erosion poses a major threat to local communities and ecosystems, according to a new report by more than 30 scientists from 10 countries. Rising temperatures are melting protective sea ice fringing the coastlines, leaving them more exposed to the elements, the experts say.

The report, State of the Arctic Coast 2010, says 10-year average rates of coastal retreat are "typically in the one to two metres per year range, but vary up to 10 to 30 metres per year in some locations". Worst-hit areas include the Beaufort Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea. (read more)

Mercury on the Rise in Endangered Pacific Seabirds

Using 120 years of feathers from natural history museums in the United States, Harvard University researchers have been able to track increases in the neurotoxin methylmercury in the black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), an endangered seabird that forages extensively throughout the Pacific.

The study shows that the observed increase in methylmercury levels, most likely from human-generated emissions, can be observed and tracked over broad time periods in organisms that live in the Pacific Ocean.

The study was published in an online early edition on April 18, 2011, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study has important implications for both environmental and public health, say the authors. "The Pacific in particular warrants high conservation concern as more threatened seabird species inhabit this region than any other ocean," said lead author Anh-Thu Vo, who did her research while an undergraduate at Harvard and is currently a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. "Given both the high levels of methylmercury that we measured in our most recent samples and regional levels of emissions, mercury bioaccumulation and toxicity may undermine reproductive effort in this species and other long-lived, endangered seabirds." (read more)

Mediterranean fish in peril: study

A new study suggests that more than 40 fish species in the Mediterranean could vanish in the next few years.

The study released Tuesday by the International Union for Conservation of Nature says almost half of the species of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean and at least 12 species of bony fish are threatened with extinction due to overfishing, pollution and the loss of habitat.

Commercial catches of bluefin tuna, sea bass, hake and dusky grouper are particularly threatened, said the study by the Swiss-based IUCN, an environmental network of 1,000 groups in 160 nations.

"The Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic population of the Atlantic bluefin tuna is of particular concern," said Kent Carpenter, IUCN's global marine species assessment co-ordinator.

He cited a steep drop in the giant fish's reproductive capacity due to four decades of intensive overfishing. Japanese diners consume 80 per cent of the Atlantic and Pacific bluefins caught and the two tuna species are especially prized by sushi lovers. (read more)

The Sharing Economy -- is it even possible?

It's 8:30 a.m. in Silicon Valley, and Neal Gorenflo is already busy sharing. Inside his Mountain View town house, just a few short blocks from the Caltrain station where commuters pour out each morning on their way to Google, Gorenflo hands over his 15-month-old son, Jake, to a nanny he shares with his neighbor. At a local coffee shop, he logs on to a peer-to-peer banking site called Lending Club to make a series of small loans to someone planning a wedding, another starting a pet business, and a guy named Pat who wants to move. After biking down to the station, he drags his ancient Peugeot onto the train to San Francisco, where he hops into a Prius he's reserved for a few hours from City CarShare, a not-for-profit version of Zipcar.

After driving out to Berkeley for a tour of a cohousing community, he finally lands at a shared office space in SoMa, from which he works once a week. "What typically happens is when people try one sharing behavior, then they start to think, What can I do next?" says the 47-year-old ex-equities analyst. "And those small changes ultimately lead to big changes." (read more)


As gold prices go up, forests are coming down

A worldwide growth in the price of gold has accelerated the pace of deforestation in some of the most pristine parts of the Peruvian Amazon, where miners are cutting down trees in order to extract the valuable natural resource.

From 2003 to 2009, found a new study, the rate of deforestation in two gold-mining areas increased six-fold alongside record-setting leaps in the international price of gold. During one two-year period, as gold prices climbed steadily, forests disappeared at a rate of 4.5 American football fields a day from one of the two sites.

Alongside the accelerating paces of both mining and deforestation, the study found, there has also been an exponential rise in the use of mercury, which helps miners extract gold from the Earth. As a result, larger quantities of the toxic metal are ending up in the atmosphere and in Amazonian waterways and fish.

Together, the findings point to gold mining as an overlooked source of deforestation and environmental contamination in the Amazon, said lead author Jennifer Swenson, a landscape ecologist at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Until now, researchers have focused mostly on forces like agriculture, oil, logging and road construction.

"It's another blow that was not really anticipated," said Swenson, who added that the situation is particularly complex because Peruvian miners are among the poorest members of society. That makes it hard to recommend that people take measures like boycotting gold, which is unlikely to happen anyway. (read more)


6.0 Earthquake shakes southern Panama

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck southern Panama early Saturday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake hit 384 kilometers (238 miles) southwest of the capital, Panama City.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Vanessa del Leon, who works at a hotel in David, said she felt the quake, whose epicenter was 110 miles south of the city.

"Everyone started screaming. We heard a lot of things breaking and computer keyboards smashing on the floor," she said. "This hotel has eight floors and it swayed like a palm tree."

The USGS had said the quake was a magnitude 6.1, but later revised it.

It hit at 3:19 a.m. local time, according to the USGS.

Ecuador volcano hurls truck-sized boulders more than mile, forcing 300 people to evacuate - 30th Apr 2011

QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano hurled truck-sized pyroclastic boulders more than a mile Friday in a powerful eruption that prompted at least 300 people to flee their homes, authorities said.

Schools were closed for a third straight day as ash showered down on a dozen towns in the sparsely populated area surrounding the 16,480-foot (5,023-meter) volcano.

Thundering explosions could be heard miles from Tungurahua, which is on the Andes cordillera 84 miles (135 kilometres) southeast of Ecuador's capital, Quito.

A state Geophysics Institute scientist monitoring the volcano from a nearby observation post said by phone that incandescent boulders were landing up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) beneath crater level.

"The smallest blocks are that size of an automobile while the biggest reach the size of a truck, which cause impact craters up to 10 metres (33 feet) wide as they hit the flanks," the scientist, Silvana Hidalgo, told The Associated Press.

She called the eruption level "moderate to high."

Civil defence officials reported an intense shower of ash east of the volcano, including in Banos, a tourist destination three miles (five kilometres) away that is popular for its hot springs.

The volcano has been active since 1999. At least four people were killed and thousands evacuated in eruptions in July and August of 2006. Source

Final shuttle flight scrubbed after malfunction of Endeavour heaters delays historic lift off - 30th Apr 2011

Nasa engineers were set to work through the weekend to try to resolve a technical hitch that led to Endeavour’s final space voyage being dramatically called off with three and a half hours to spare.

Shuttle commander Mark Kelly and his crew, who had been on route to the launch pad in Nasa’s silver ‘Astrovan’, under helicopter escort, were suddenly spun round mid-journey and sent back to quarters after a problem cropped up with the shuttle's hydraulic systems during final preparations at Kennedy Space Centre, Florida.

The hitch brought disappointment for hundreds of thousands of people who had turned out around the Cape Canaveral area to witness the launch, which is set to be Endeavour’s last.

The 19-year-old orbiter is set for retirement following this mission, which has been postponed until at least Monday.

'It’s unfortunate for the Discovery team and Mark Kelly and his crew, but today the orbiter isn’t ready to fly and, as we say in this business, we won’t fly before we are ready,' said Nasa launch director Mike Leinbach.

'It’s the nature of our business. We’ll fly no orbiter before her time and today she just wasn’t ready to go.”

The postponement - known to Nasa as a 'scrub' - also dealt a blow to the families of the six-strong crew, who had assembled at Kennedy Space Centre to watch the launch alongside President Barack Obama and his family.

Among them was Gabrielle Giffords, 40, the congresswoman wife of Cdr Kelly, who was shot through the brain by a 22-year-old gunman at a constituency event in Arizona in January. Read More

Cosmic collision: Nasa monitors unusually bright asteroid after 11,000mph impact - 29th Apr 2011

An unexpectedly bright asteroid that sported short-lived plumes had collided with a smaller body, scientists have said.

The aftermath of the impact on Scheila was first spotted by the University of Arrizona's Catalina Sky Survey on December 11 last year.

It revealed Scheila to be twice as bright as expected and immersed in a faint comet-like glow.

Looking through the survey's archived images, astronomers inferred the outburst began between November 11 and December 3.

Data from Nasa's Swift satellite and Hubble Space Telescope then showed these changes likely occurred after Scheila was struck by a much smaller asteroid.

'Collisions between asteroids create rock fragments, from fine dust to huge boulders, that impact planets and their moons,' said lead Swift researcher Dennis Bodewits, from the University of Maryland.

'Yet this is the first time we've been able to catch one just weeks after the smash-up, long before the evidence fades away.'

Asteroids are rocky fragments thought to be debris from the formation and evolution of the solar system approximately 4.6billion years ago. Read More


Bin Laden's great escape: How the world's most wanted man made fools of elite troops who'd trapped him in his mountain lair - 29th Apr 2011

There could be no mistaking the voice as it crackled over the airwaves. ‘The time is now,’ it said, exhorting its followers to stand firm. ‘Arm your women and your children against the infidel!’

The CIA officer looked at his Arab adviser, Jalal, who was the world’s foremost authority on the voice, having studied it for seven years. Jalal knew what the CIA man was about to ask, and simply nodded.

The two men looked up from the captured short-range Al Qaeda radio and stared at the massive mountain range in front of them. Somewhere up there, in the White Mountains of eastern Afghanistan, was the world’s most wanted man — Osama Bin Laden.

Since the devastating Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington just three months before, the United States had been tracking him down, and now, in mid-December 2001, they were no more than a few miles away.

If Bin Laden could be captured or killed, the terrorists would be dealt a massive blow, and the U.S. could truly claim that it was winning the newly declared War Against Terror.

Although Operation Enduring Freedom — a military incursion by thousands of Nato and Afghan troops — was successfully liberating much of Afghanistan from Taliban control, there was no doubt that the real prize was Bin Laden himself.

But the head of Al Qaeda had chosen his redoubt with care. For several years, Bin Laden had developed an intricate network of caves and dwellings 14,000ft up in the White Mountains, in a settlement known as Tora Bora.

‘I feel really secure in the mountains,’ he told a Palestinian journalist in 1996, and he had good reason. Read More

Before and after: The photos that show the utter devastation caused by the worst tornadoes to hit the South in 40 years - 30th Apr 2011

As residents across the South pick themselves up after the worst system of tornadoes for 40 years, amazing stories of survival and bravery are emerging.

And images from Tuscaloosa in Alabama one of the worst affected areas, show how a once picturesque county has been reduced to a disaster zone in a matter of minutes.

The Wood Lawn area of Tuscaloosa County has been one of the worst affected, with at least three dead including one child aged around five.

Resident said three bodies had been pulled out of the wreckage of a house which was 'totally flattened'. Read More


The battle of Tesco II: Hundreds fight police again in ANOTHER protest over 18th store in city - 30th Apr 2011

Violent protesters have clashed with riot police outside a controversial branch of Tesco for the second time in a week.

A ‘good natured’ demonstration developed into angry scenes as bottles and stones were thrown in the early hours of yesterday morning.

As many as 400 rioters were armed with bricks and concrete blocks, creating a ‘war zone’. Officers used baton charges and horses in the four-hour siege as riot vans were attacked, fires were lit and a number of officers were injured.

It was exactly a week after the same Tesco store in central Bristol was stormed following a police raid at a nearby squat.

After daybreak yesterday police raided the squat again and eventually evicted the occupants including three men who had got onto the roof. During the four-hour stand-off breeze blocks and tiles were thrown from the roof.

The Tesco Express in the Stokes Croft area became the 18th branch of the supermarket in the city when it opened two weeks ago in the face of local opposition.

It has been closed since last week’s riot, but on Thursday evening demonstrators gathered again, playing music and dancing in the street. Read More

Oops: Amazon explains crash that 'broke the internet' was down to engineers botching a routine system upgrade - 30th Apr 2011

In a detailed letter Amazon finally explained today why its much vaunted EC2 cloud computer network crashed last week.

The grovelling explanation - described by one customer as being like a 'Catholic penance' in its length - told of how a routine server upgrade gone wrong caused a cascade of further problems that took down thousands of websites in a 'perfect storm' last Thursday.

In its confessional letter, Amazon promised to learn lessons from the crash and offered customers affected 10 free days of storage to compensate them for their loss.

Speaking to The Register, Justin Santa Barbara - who's company FathomDB was affected by the outage - said: 'Judging by the length [of the apology], we can understand what took them so long. I am sure everyone would have appreciated more details during the outage itself, so that we could make an informed restore vs. ride it out decision, rather than continually being told 'just a few more minutes' until we lose faith. Read More

Queue here for Britain: Meet the thousands of young men fleeing North Africa - with the UK (and its benefits) in their sights - 30th Apr 2011

A big smile spreads over the Tunisian’s handsome face as he stands among the shoppers outside the magnificent old railway station in the chic city of Nice on the French Riviera.

He’s one of the lucky ones who made it here, dodging the French police and their batons by hiding on a night train to cross the border from the Italian coastal town of Ventimiglia.

Karim Messaoudi is 26. He wants to go and live in Birmingham, where he has relatives and friends. Any day now, he will start his next journey by train up towards the northern coast of France.

Once in Calais, just 21 miles from the white cliffs of Dover, he will take his chance where he can find it. ‘I may have to smuggle myself on a ferry to your country. But I will do that,’ he says in near-perfect English.

‘I need a new life. I was a tourist guide in Tunisia, but now there are no jobs because there are fewer holiday-makers after our uprising. I plan a good future in England.’

Karim, who speaks four languages, including German, may have a chance of that.

He is just one of many thousands of migrants from North Africa who have fled the current turmoil of their own countries by sailing in ramshackle boats to the island of Lampedusa, off the southern tip of Italy.

A flood of nearly 26,000 Tunisians (and hundreds of Libyans) began to arrive on the Italian island two months ago. It was quickly overrun, and in recent weeks Silvio Berlusconi’s government has shipped most of the migrants to mainland Italy, where they have been given six-month residency visas. Read More

Friday, April 29, 2011

Japan Economy took bigger hit than estimated

The economy took a bigger hit from last month's disaster than anticipated, with factory output falling the most since at least the end of Allied Occupation, underscoring calls for the Bank of Japan to add stimulus.

Factory output dropped a record 15.3 percent from February and household spending plunged 8.5 percent from a year earlier, government reports showed Thursday. Retail sales fell the most in 13 years, according to data released the previous day.

The economy's deterioration makes harder Prime Minister Naoto Kan's task of sustaining confidence in government debt after Standard & Poor's on Wednesday downgraded its outlook for the nation's rating.

The BOJ was expected to detail an emergency lending program later in the day for banks in the devastated Tohoku region as a group of lawmakers and former Cabinet ministers presses for more purchases of government bonds.

"Plunges in output and exports will weaken consumer spending and that may prompt discussions for more stimulus," said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief economist at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in Tokyo. "The Bank of Japan will be compelled to consider adding more stimulus around the middle of the year." (read more)

US Espionage Act ‘makes felons of us all,’ legal expert warns: Buried but not forgotten

The US Espionage Act could make “felons of us all,” a legal expert warned Monday as the House Judiciary Committee announced plans to reexamine the “constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks.”

Attorneys for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have warned that US authorities are seeking to charge him with spying charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 for his role in helping the media publish leaked US State Department diplomatic cables.

Under the Act, anyone “having unauthorized possession of” information relating to the national defense or information that could be “used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation” may be prosecuted if he or she publishes it or “willfully retains” it. (read more)

Southern US Tornadoes death toll now at 300+ ...and the storm season is far from over yet

Tornadoes and violent storms tore through seven Southern states, killing at least 306 people and causing billions of dollars of damage in one of the deadliest swarm of twisters in US history.

President Barack Obama described the loss of life as "heartbreaking" and called the damage to homes and businesses "nothing short of catastrophic." He promised strong federal support for rebuilding and plans to view the damage on Friday.

Over several days this week, the powerful tornadoes - more than 160 reported in total - combined with storms to cut a swath of destruction heading west to east.

It was the worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed up to 1,800 people.

In some areas, whole neighborhoods were flattened, cars flipped over and trees and power lines felled, leaving tangled wreckage.

While rescue officials searched for survivors, some who sheltered in bathtubs, closets and basements told of miraculous escapes.

"I made it. I got in a closet, put a pillow over my face and held on for dear life because it started sucking me up," said Angela Smith of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, one of the worst-hit cities.

In Birmingham, Alabama, which was also hard hit, Police Chief A.C. Roper said rescue workers sifted through rubble "hand to hand" on Thursday to pull people from destroyed homes.

"We even rescued two babies, one that was trapped in a crib when the house fell down on top of the baby," Roper said in an interview on PBS NewsHour. (read more)

Feds sting Amish farmer... for selling his own, healthy milk: The persecution of American citizens continues

A yearlong sting operation, including aliases, a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and surreptitious purchases from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, culminated in the federal government announcing this week that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers in the Washington area.

The product in question: unpasteurized milk.

It’s a battle that’s been going on behind the scenes for years, with natural foods advocates arguing that raw milk, as it’s also known, is healthier than the pasteurized product, while the Food and Drug Administration says raw milk can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

“It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed,” said Tamara N. Ward, spokeswoman for the FDA, whose investigators have been looking into Rainbow Acres for months, and who finally last week filed a 10-page complaint in federal court in Pennsylvania seeking an order to stop the farm from shipping across state lines any more raw milk or dairy products made from it. (read more)

Elmer McGuirt, homeless, robs Tampa bank -- and then gives money away to others: Hero

Authorities say a homeless man robbed a Tampa bank, fled on a city bus and handed out stolen cash to passengers.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies say 27-year-old Elmer McGuirt handed a note demanding money to a Wachovia Bank teller about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Witnesses told deputies he then got on the bus and started handing out money, keeping some of the cash for himself.

The sheriff's office contacted the bus driver, who stopped the bus and pretended to have mechanical failure. Deputies arrested McGuirt and were also able to get some of the money back from passengers.

McQuirt now faces robbery charges. He is in the Hillsborough County Jail. (Source)