Friday, November 11, 2011

U.S. NRC approves restart of quake-hit North Anna nuclear plant -- Smart move?

The U.S. nuclear regulator on Friday approved the restart of the Virginia plant rocked by summer's historic East Coast earthquake.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that after careful analysis it had determined it was safe to resume operations at Dominion's 1,806-megawatt North Anna plant.

With the green light, Dominion said it had begun the restart process for one of its reactors. Once that reactor is online, the company said it would begin restarting the second reactor at the plant.

It is expected to take about 10 days to get both units to 100 percent power.

The two reactors have been shut since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck 11 miles from the plant in August.

The quake marked the first time an operating U.S. nuclear plant experienced a tremor that exceeded its design parameters. more

Ex-soldier 'kills himself' in tent shooting at Occupy Vermont protest camp - 11th Nov 2011

An ex-soldier shot himself at the Occupy Vermont encampment in Burlington yesterday, fellow protesters said.

The 35-year-old was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but died shortly after arrival. Police refused to say whether it was a suicide attempt.

Deputy Chief Andi Higbee said the public was not believed to be at risk after the 2pm shooting at City Hall Park in Burlington.

People who knew the victim in the camp said they were sure the man, who said he was a military veteran, had shot himself.

Emily Reynolds, a University of Vermont student and a leader in the local Occupy movement, said: 'This person has clearly needed more help than we were capable of giving him here at this park.'

If the U.S. government provided better mental health services, she said, 'this probably wouldn't have happened'. Read More


U.S. to set up base in Australia to ward off growing China threat - 11th Nov 2011

Australia is set to become home to hundreds of U.S. Marines - as America moves its servicemen to a military base on the northern tip of the country.

In a bid to combat China's increase in global military and financial power, between 500 to 1,000 officers are to form a permanent U.S. military presence at a barracks outside Darwin.

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to formally reveal the plans - which will further anchor American influence in Asia but have prompted fears the area could become a target for terrorists - during a visit to the city next week.

The U.S. currently only has a limited deployment in its long-standing ally, including the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility spy station near Alice Springs, which has coordinated air strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The move represents a potentially significant geo-strategic shift, which is said to have been under consideration for some years as Washington looks to boost its Pacific Command.

A new base will not be built in the city, instead the marines will use the existing Robertson Barracks nearby.

It is currently home to 4,500 Australian soldiers and will need to be expanded to cater for the US Marines, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

In a speech to a national security workshop today, Australian defence minister Stephen Smith said: 'This would potentially see more ship visits, more visiting aircraft and more training and exercising through northern Australia. It would also include the pre-positioning of United States equipment in Australia.'

U.S. Marines are already based at Okinawa in Japan, and on Guam, a U.S. territory 1,500 miles north of Papua New Guinea, as America's chief combat force in the Pacific theatre. The new plan would intensify the 60 year military alliance between the two countries. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake GUATEMALA - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Guatemala at a depth of 10.3 km (6.4 miles), the quake hit at 18:09:42 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 11 km ( 7 miles) Southeast Cuilapa, Santa Rosa, Guatemala
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

When owls attack… dogs: Albuquerque residents claim giant birds are eating their pets amid spate of aerial assaults - 11th Nov 2011

Pet owners in Albuquerque are on their guard after a spate of attacks on dogs by giant owls.

Officials are uncertain if there is one owl on the prowl for small animals to eat, or whether there are several airborne predators at large.

But the attacks, which have so far killed at least one dog, have left residents living in the New Mexico city's foothills fearing for their animals' lives.

Local resident Cindy Hummel said: 'We've seen him three or four times. He's huge.

'One day when we were walking and he swooped down over my husband's head. Read More


Scientists find evidence of a mystery fifth giant planet that was ejected from the solar system - 11th Nov 2011

The consensus among astronomers is that the solar system has always had four giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. But now it’s claimed that it’s much more likely to have been home to a mystery fifth giant planet that got knocked out.

Computer simulations by David Nesvorny at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, show that it is statistically extremely unlikely that the solar system began with four giants.

By his calculations, it only had a 2.5 per cent chance of reaching its current population and orbital layout with four giants, but was 10 times more likely to have developed to its present state if there was a fifth monster body in the mix.

To reach his conclusions Nesvorny ran 6,000 simulations of the solar system’s birth and early development. Read More

Teen and father killed hours apart in separate car crashes 'as suicidal dad drives wrong way up the highway after learning of his son's death

A man, whose teenage son was tragically killed in a car crash, died after crashing his own car after driving the wrong-way on the same highway hours later.

Heartbroken father Sunil Sambhi's death on Thursday is being treated as 'suicide' by the California Highway Patrol.

The 48-year-old Alpine man's son Dev, 16, and wife Natalia, 55, were involved in a single-car crash on Interstate 8 at 7am which killed Dev and injured Natalia.

Mrs Sambhi was driving a black Toyota Tacoma pickup that witnesses said may have blown a tyre before it veered off the freeway and overturned, throwing Dev from the vehicle.

Highway Patrol Officer Brian Pennings told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the preliminary investigation indicates the teen was not wearing a seat belt.

Tributes have been pouring for the young student who friends say was 'always happy' and a 'great friend'.

Just hours after Dev's death, motorists began making 911 calls to report that a motorist in a Toyota Scion was driving erratically on eastbound Interstate 8, within miles of the scene of the accident which killed Dev, Mr Pennings told CBS News. Read More

Egypt shuts down pyramid after rumours that Jews and spiritual groups would stage rituals there on 11.1.11 'Magic Friday' - 11th Nov 2011

One of the world's greatest historical sites was closed today over fears Jewish Masons would try to claim it as their own on Magic Friday.

Egypt's antiquities authority shut the biggest of the Giza pyramids following rumours that groups would try to hold spiritual ceremonies when the clock struck 11.11am on November 11, 2011.

The authority's head Mustafa Amin said the pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until tomorrow morning for 'necessary maintenance'.

It follows a string of unconfirmed reports in local media that unidentified groups would try to hold ceremonies on the site to take advantage of 'mysterious powers' coming from the pyramid on the rare date.

Amin called all reports of planned ceremonies at the site 'completely lacking in truth'.

The complex's director, Ali al-Asfar, said an Egyptian company requested permission last month to hold an event called 'hug the pyramid,' in which 120 people would join hands around the ancient burial structure. Read More

Afghan mother and daughter stoned and shot dead after Taliban accused them of ‘moral deviation and adultery’ - 11th Nov 2011

Armed men stoned and shot dead a widow and her daughter in Aghanistan after the Taliban accused the women of 'moral deviation and adultery', according to reports.

The killing happened on Thursday in the Khawaja Hakim area of Ghazni city, the BBC reported, and two men have now been arrested.

Officials - who blamed the Taliban for the attack - told the Corporation that armed men went into the house where the two women lived, took them to the yard outside and they were stoned and then shot.

'Neighbours did not help or inform the authorities on time,' an official told the BBC.

A neighbour of the executed women told M&G.com he heard shots but was afraid to go out.

'When the women in the neighbourhood washed the bodies of the killed women, they saw signs of stoning, and the doctors at the local hospital also confirmed to us,' the man, named only as Rahimullah, said.

However, Ghazni provincial police chief Zilawar Zahid denied the reports that the women were stoned to death.

He told reporters: 'They were killed inside their house. Read More

Mexican interior minister killed in helicopter crash - 11th Nov 2011

Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Blake was killed in a helicopter crash on Friday, a blow to the government as it fights powerful drug cartels.

Television images showed the scattered wreckage of the helicopter on a hillside south of the capital, and the government confirmed that Blake and all others on board were killed. It did not say what caused the crash.

Mexico is locked in a brutal conflict against drug cartels that has killed 45,000 people in the last five years and Blake is a key member of President Felipe Calderon's security team.

He is the second Mexican interior minister in Calderon's presidency to be killed in an aviation accident.

On November 4 2008, Juan Camilo Mourino and several other people died when their small plane crashed next to a major Mexico City boulevard during rush hour. Investigators concluded that Mourino's plane had been flying too close to a much bigger jet plane ahead of it on the flight path to land at Mexico City airport, possibly causing a fatal wave of turbulence.

Blake took office in July 2010, the fourth man to serve as interior minister under Calderon.

The last tweet on Blake's twitter account was on November 4, when he paid tribute to Mourino.

"Today we remember Juan Camilo Mourino three years after his passing, a human being who worked toward the creation of a better Mexico," Blake said. Source

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEW CALEDONIA - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck New Caledonia at a depth of 130.7 km (81.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:00:47 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 143 km ( 89 miles) SSE of Tadine, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

St Paul's Protesters Reject Corporation Offer - 11th Nov 2011

Protesters camped out at St Paul's Cathedral have rejected proposals by the London Corporation to help resolve the ongoing occupation.

Around 200 protesters have been outside the historic building for the past month, echoing protests which began with the occupation of Wall Street in New York.

St Paul's Cathedral halted legal action to have the protesters removed after internal disputes saw the resignation of three Church officials.

The Church of England, from the Archbishop of Canterbury down, says it is now engaged in constructive dialogue with the protesters.

The London Corporation, which has also called a temporary halt to any legal action, has been negotiating with representatives of the camp to try to find some resolution.

The Corporation is the local authority for the area and has responsibility for the highways and byways around the Cathedral.

It is understood the Corporation had been trying to negotiate a reduction in the number of tents in the area, to allow the camp to remain there until after the New Year.

However, lawyers for the protesters have now written to the Corporation formally rejecting the proposals. Read More

Police Arrest 173 Before EDL London March - 11th NovComing Crisis Posting Comments Settings Design Monetize Stats Vi 2011

Police in London have arrested 173 people - including many believed to be English Defence League supporters - in order to "prevent a breach of the peace".

A group was held outside the Red Lion pub in Westminster, Scotland Yard said.

The arrests came around two hours after wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph to commemorate fallen servicemen, and millions of Britons held a two-minute silence to remember the nation's war dead.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "There have been arrests in order to prevent a breach of the peace."

Trouble flared on Armistice Day last year when the far-right group clashed with Islamic protesters after members of Muslims Against Crusades (Mac) burned poppies outside the Royal Albert Hall. Read More

Caged in: Kosovo Serbs barricade for freedom



For months, Serbs in Northern Kosovo have been putting up barricades against the hated Kosovo authorities as well as NATO peacekeepers. Little by little, they are growing accustomed to living in a cage of their own creation.

­The barricades on the border are perhaps not an obvious venue for a wedding, but as RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky reports, one Serbian couple living in the Northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica has decided that this was where they would tie the knot.

“We gathered together here and danced our joyful wedding dance,” says Dejan, a local resident who was among the guests.

“This is our land and this is our way to underline that – Kosovo is Serbia.”

The Serb barricades in Northern Kosovo have been standing for several months now. For those who built them, they are just a part of everyday life. Not only have the Kosovo Serbs isolated themselves from the KFOR troops, but also from their unwanted neighbors. more

Areva unveils new nuclear plant: Should we be opening more?

French energy firm Areva on Tuesday showed to the media a new nuclear power plant that it says can withstand serious accidents.

The European Pressurized Reactor is located in Olkiluoto, southwestern Finland.

Areva says no radioactive substances would leak from the reactor compound even in the case of a serious accident like the one at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The reactor features 4 separate emergency cooling systems.

Most of the plant's main structures are already installed. These include the reactor itself, which boasts one of the world's largest outputs of 1.6 million kilowatts, and the turbine.

Also completed is the reactor building, which has a double shell that's strong enough to withstand an aircraft crash.

The plant has been under construction since 2005. It is expected to start operations in 2014, 5 years later than originally planned due to safety concerns that have surfaced along the way. more

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Ryukyu Islands, Japan at a depth of 108.8 km (67.6 miles), the quake hit at 17:09:46 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 217 km ( 135 miles) SSW of Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

No Interim Government as Greek Disarray Goes On

Prime Minister George A. Papandreou went on national television on Wednesday evening to announce that a new interim government had been formed.

But he did not name his successor, and in the hours that followed, it became clear that political disarray had set in once more. Mr. Papandreou’s resignation was not announced, nor was the interim government named. By early evening, the president’s office said that there would be no announcement before Thursday.

Television provided glimpses of some of the drama. A furious Giorgos Karatzaferis, the leader of the small far-right party Laos, stormed out the presidential office building shortly after Mr. Papandreou’s speech. He told waiting reporters that he had been summoned to a meeting with Mr. Papandreou; the president; and the leader of the opposition party New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, but found himself sitting in a hall alone. Apparently, the other men were too busy arguing to meet with him.

Mr. Karatzaferis, one of the few politicians willing to risk the potential damage from supporting a new power-sharing government that must take on a host of unpopular tasks, said political games were being played. “This is unacceptable,” he huffed before leaving.

After months of domestic protests and building pressure from the European Union, Mr. Papandreou agreed Sunday to step down once political negotiators had established a new unity government. But the talks have dragged on since, troubled by nearly constant reverses and overshadowed by political maneuvering in advance of new elections. more

UK students march on London in new fees protest

Thousands of students marched through London on Wednesday in the latest display of anger against the Conservative-led government’s austerity measures.

Four similar protests by students late last year led to clashes with police, assaults on public buildings and the Conservative Party’s headquarters, and almost 400 arrests.

Some 10,000 people from across Britain were expected to join the demonstration against the education policies of the coalition government. It was the biggest protest in London since the capital and other English cities suffered four days of rioting in August, the worst urban violence for decades.

Police were out in force as the march began, with helicopters tracking its route. Large numbers of officers carrying riot helmets channelled protesters through the streets towards their rallying point in the city’s financial district.

Protesters held up banners denouncing steep rises in tuition fees. “Education for the 99 percent” read one.

Others echoed the anti-capitalist message of London’s Occupy encampment outside St Paul’s Cathedral, demanding: “Take the wealth off the one percent.” more

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN MONTANA - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck Western Montana at a depth of 6 km (3.7 miles), the quake hit at 17:51:54 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 8 km ( 4.9 miles) Southeast of Clinton, Montana
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Note: USGS has listed this as a 3.3 Magnitude.... Many of the stations measure this earthquake 4.4 - 5.2 Magnitude

Woman left to die on busy Chinese road reignites debate on ‘moral failings’: China has become a sick, sick society



The woman in the screenshot above has just jumped off a bridge onto a busy Chinese highway. In the video from which this screeshot was taken, it is clear the woman is still alive as she lies sprawled in the middle of the busy road. The video shows that not a single car stopped to help her for over a minute.

Three weeks after a similar story involving a little girl named Yue Yue sparked outrage around the world, this latest tragedy has reignited the debate in China on the so-called ‘moral failings’ of Chinese society.

The scene was filmed by the passenger of a car on a highway that circles the city of Chengdu, in the Sichuan province. It was posted online on November 2. In the video, you can hear another passenger calling emergency services for help. Around them, vehicles slow down, swerve to avoid the woman, but keep on going. The video was posted on the online forum Chengdu QQ and has generated over 73 pages of comments. more

Martian curse: Russian probe may crash in populated area



Russian scientists are struggling to get the country's first interplanetary mission in 15 years back on track. Should they fail, the probe that was due to head to the Martian moon Phobos may well turn into the “most toxic falling satellite ever.”

­Following a successful launch from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the subsequent separation of the Phobos-Grunt probe from its booster rocket on Wednesday morning, its own engine failed to generate two impulses which were necessary to direct the spacecraft onto a path to Mars. As a consequence, the probe became stuck in a low transitory orbit above Earth.

Before scientists from Russia’s space agency Roscosmos could solve the problem and “reboot” the mission, they would have to find out what exactly has caused the failure. Some say a problem with the probe’s software is the likely culprit, while others speculate that the worst-case scenario – a problem with the hardware – is also possible.

Most issues with the software could potentially be fixed remotely. One of the theories put forward suggests that a problem could have occurred with the navigation system. When launched, spacecraft initially use the sun as the main reference point for navigation, switching later to the stars. Therefore, it is thought the probe could have failed to position itself relative to the constellations.

Should that be the case, specialists say, they could try to upload a software package to the probe, and if everything goes fine, the entire mission could still be put back on track, with a minor delay of a few days.

If the problem turns out to be a hardware failure, the consequences could potentially be disastrous, and not for the space mission alone. more

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 26.3 km (16.3 miles), the quake hit at 17:57:23 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 45 km ( 28 miles) ENE of Van, Turkey
No Reports of Further Damage at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 37.9 km (23.6 miles), the quake hit at 16:06:18 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 177 km ( 110 miles) ESE of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck the Tonga Region at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles), the quake hit at 15:02:20 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 151 km ( 93 miles) Northeast of Neiafu, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Three days to save Martian moon probe



Russia launched an unmanned probe to one of Mars’ moons – Phobos – in the early hours of Wednesday, but it has hit technical trouble. Federal Space Agency officials say they have three days to sort the problem out.

After the probe separated from its booster rocket, its own engine was supposed to generate two impulses in order to direct the spacecraft into an interplanetary trajectory. However, for reasons unknown, this never happened, and the maneuver was not performed. As a consequence, the Phobos-Grunt probe remains in a low transitory orbit.

“The engine installation did not function properly: it gave neither the first, nor the second impulse. This means that [the station] did not manage to position itself relative to the stars,” the head of Russia’s Roskosmos space agency, Vladimir Popovkin, told journalists on Wednesday.

He added that the spacecraft’s orbit is known and the connection is normal; fuel tanks are in place and there is enough fuel.

The head of Roscosmos said that even though the situation is abnormal, this and other similar scenarios are always factored into any plans, and there is a troubleshooting procedure for this particular situation. Should the problem be due to a software failure, the specialists will try to upload a new version to the station, he explained.

Meanwhile, RIA Novosti quotes an unnamed scientist who insists that the time scale for the probe's possible controlled exit from the orbit before being directed into its intended trajectory, is somewhere between one week and one month. more

Italian Problems Stoke Worry over EU's Future

Economists across the Continent have been warning about it for months. Now, the European Union too has said that a recession in the euro zone has become a distinct possibility. "Growth has stalled in Europe and there is a risk of new recession," said European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn on Thursday in Brussels. He also said that unemployment in the 17-member currency union will remain stuck at 9.5 percent.

But with Italy facing massive market pressure to accelerate the passage of critical structural reforms -- and to put an end to the era of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- the euro zone continues to focus more on its survival than on economic growth. And this week, that focus has led to yet another round of debate as to what the future of the European Union might look like.

Citing EU sources, Reuters reported on Wednesday that German and French officials had met to discuss a splitting up of the euro zone. While the news agency offered few details on the alleged meeting, Berlin was concerned enough to issue a swift denial. "The German government is most definitely not pursuing such plans," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, on Thursday. "On the contrary, our policies are aimed at stabilizing the euro zone in its entirety and attacking the root of its problems."

In a Wednesday evening speech in Berlin, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso likewise felt compelled to strongly condemn any moves aimed at splitting the common currency zone. "There cannot be peace and prosperity in the north or in the west of Europe if there is no peace and prosperity in the south or in the east," he said. He added that, were the euro zone to shed members, the German economy could shrink by as much as 3 percent. "What is more," he said, "it would jeopardize the future prosperity of the next generation." more

Radioactive iodine detected over Europe: Source currently a mystery

The U.N. nuclear agency is reporting "very low" — but higher than usual — levels of radiation in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says the "very low levels of iodine-131 have been measured in the atmosphere over the Czech Republic" and elsewhere on the continent.

Its statement on Friday said the current levels do not seem to pose a public health risk.

IAEA says the cause is not known, but it is not the result of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which spread radiation across the globe in March. more

Mauricio Acosta, 17, shoots 4 year old in botched New York robbery (For a coat, if anyone was interested)

A 4-year-old boy is in the fight of his young life after he was shot in the chest during a botched robbery in the Bronx.

Police said the gunman, identified as 17-year-old Mauricio Acosta, pulled the trigger while trying to steal an old coat that belonged to the boy’s father.

The father was bringing his son, 4-year-old Cencia Balthazzar, back to the women’s shelter where the toddler lives with his mother on Grand Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when police said Acosta and two other teenagers tried to rob them. more

Geezer Bandit Struck in La Jolla: FBI

An armed elderly-looking man who robbed a bank inside a grocery a store in La Jolla was the so-called “Geezer Bandit,” according to the FBI.

The bandit entered a Wells Fargo Bank located inside a Vons at 7544 Girard Avenue on September 30 about 6:30 p.m., officials said.

The suspect was armed with a black revolver and wearing large glasses with a gray suit over his thin build, according to the FBI.

He was missing his signature hat, but all the mannerisms and style from this suspect matched that of the "Geezer Bandit," according to the FBI.

He operates in a similar way for each robbery: He doesn't like to draw attention to himself and makes sure there's only one person at the teller. more

Sheriff: Amish man's beard cut in new Ohio attack

An elderly Amish man has been attacked by his own son, who a sheriff says cut the man's hair and beard in the latest incident in a breakaway Amish community. The victim told the sheriff he was scared and upset but wouldn't press charges against his son.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said the elderly man was attacked Wednesday while visiting his son in the breakaway Amish community that's home to five suspects charged in an earlier beard-cutting attack. Authorities in three other counties are investigating similar alleged attacks.

Such hair-cutting attacks are offensive to the Amish because they believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.

The man, who Abdalla said was in his 70s, went to his son's home and the two talked. The man said his son then attacked him, with the help of the son's children, and wrestled the elderly man to the ground, Abdalla said.

The sheriff said the elderly man's wife tried to help her husband but was held back by her daughter-in-law.

Abdalla said the beard-cutting incidents are related to Sam Mullet, leader of the breakaway Amish group in the Bergholz area. The group has had differences with other bishops over the handling of church matters. more

Tuberculosis Breaks Out At Occupy Atlanta’s Base

The home base for Occupy Atlanta has tested positive for tuberculosis.

The Fulton County Health Department confirmed Wednesday that residents at the homeless shelter where protesters have been occupying have contracted the drug-resistant disease. WGCL reports that a health department spokeswoman said there is a possibility that both Occupy Atlanta protesters and the homeless people in the shelter may still be at risk since tuberculosis is contracted through air contact.

“Over the last three months were have been two persons who have resided in this facility who have been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected infectious tuberculosis (TB),” said Fulton County Services Director Matthew McKenna in a written statement to CBS Atlanta. “One of these persons was confirmed to have a strain of TB that is resistant to a single, standard medication used to treat this condition. All person(s) identified as positive have begun treatment and are being monitored to ensure that medication is taken as directed.”

The Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless has indicated that two cases have been made public knowledge to the group, the first coming from someone who contracted the disease in September. The identities of the people who have contracted the disease, however, have not been disclosed by the health department to this point.

The news of the tuberculosis contractions could force Occupy Atlanta to move once again. WGCL reports that more than 100 protesters made the move to the homeless shelter Oct. 30 after Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed evicted Occupy Atlanta from Woodruff Park, citing that they were no longer allowed to camp out overnight. The homeless shelter is also facing an eviction of its own from the city. more

Occupy Oakland: Man shot to death near camp

A young man was fatally shot Thursday evening just yards from the Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall. And before the ambulance had even pulled away, people were debating whether the killing was somehow linked to the month-old gathering.

The man, whom several Occupy campers said they did not recognize, was shot in the head about 5 p.m. outside a BART station exit in Frank Ogawa Plaza, at 14th Street and Broadway. He was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was pronounced dead, said interim Police Chief Howard Jordan.

Jordan - speaking to reporters over protesters who shouted, "This is not Occupy Oakland" - said two groups of people had gotten into a fight that ended when someone pulled out a gun and fired. Witnesses said they heard four to six shots, and saw several young men flee. No arrests have been made, and the dead man's name has not been released.

The shooting happened in the busy heart of downtown Oakland. It also happened adjacent to the Occupy encampment, where drug use is prevalent and where devoted protesters have increasingly struggled to control fights and robberies and deal with mentally ill homeless people. more

France plots eurozone 'breakaway group’

France is drawing up plans to create a breakaway organisation of eurozone countries with its own treaty, parliament and headquarters – a move that could significantly undermine the existing European Union.

The proposal would see a formal "union within a union" created, but would lead to a significant deterioration in Britain's influence in Europe.

David Cameron is drawing up urgent plans to stop Britain being "railroaded" into agreeing to decisions taken by the new eurozone bloc.

France and Germany are understood to want to strengthen the union between eurozone countries with new taxes and legal measures to stop nations borrowing and spending too much in future.

Weaker countries such as Greece could even be barred from the new eurozone, under radical suggestions from some of those involved in discussions over the plan.

It comes amid growing concerns that France could be the next nation to become embroiled in the single currency crisis. more

Calvin Gibbs: Soldier found guilty of murdering Afghans for sport

Army Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs has been sentenced to life in military prison with eligibility for parole in 10 years.

A military court-martial Thursday found Gibbs guilty of murdering three Afghan civilians, illegally cutting off pieces of their corpses to keep as "souvenirs" and planting weapons to make the men appear as if they were Taliban fighters killed in legitimate firefights.

He was reduced in rank to private and ordered to forfeit all pay and benefits. Gibbs already has served 547 days of pre-trial confinement, which will be subtracted from the 10-year sentence.

"He said they were all dirty savages," prosecutor Maj. Andre Leblanc said at Gibbs' sentencing hearing.

"He is the savage, not the innocent Afghans he murdered. It is monstrous. What kind of savagery does it take to do this? To cut a finger off a victim and show it to people? This is a savage being"

Gibbs' attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, had asked the court for a sentence of life with parole so Gibbs would have the opportunity to be with his now-3-year-old son again.

"He has a long time to reflect on his life, what he has done and what he wants to do in the future," Stackhouse said. more

Rep. Phil Gingrey: The congressman with banks on the side

Rep. Phil Gingrey has had three professions. He is a success in two of them.

Gingrey was an obstetrician and proudly reports on his website that he has delivered 5,200 babies. He is a politician, representing Georgia's 11th congressional district since 2003 in the House of Representatives, where he's regarded as one of the most conservative lawmakers in the chamber.

He's also a banker, and that career isn't going so well.

In 2005 Gingrey helped found two banks, both near his Georgia district. He invested up to $500,000 in the two lenders - under House rules he's not required to disclose the exact amount - and took a seat on their boards.

One, the Bank of Ellijay, was shut down in 2010 and taken over by federal regulators at a cost of more than $60 million. The other, WestSide Bank, is saddled with a dangerously high burden of bad loans. From the beginning of 2006 through the third quarter of 2011 it has cumulative net losses of $15.7 million, based on records filed with the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

"We are struggling," says WestSide chairman David Flint. Gingrey also owns stock in a third small bank, from which he borrowed heavily while the value of the shares dwindled. more

Blame all around for biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy in Jefferson County, Alabama

From corrupt and incompetent local officials to Wall Street's credit crisis and toxic bonds, there was plenty of blame to go around on Thursday, a day after Alabama's Jefferson County declared the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The county, once a leading industrial hub in the U.S. Deep South, filed for bankruptcy court protection after failing to reach final agreement on terms of a preliminary deal with creditors led by JPMorgan Chase & Co in September to settle $3.14 billion in sewer-system debt.

Federal Judge Thomas Bennett in Birmingham set a December 15 deadline on Thursday for a hearing on whether the county is eligible to file for Chapter 9, the section of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that covers municipal bankruptcies.

The head of the Jefferson County Commission, which voted 4-1 for bankruptcy, pointed to a $140 million decline in the savings expected from the preliminary deal as the trigger for the filing.

"The terms were set, they were agreed upon, and the final agreement wasn't parallel with those terms," said David Carrington, the commission president.

Carrington also laid blame at the feet of Governor Robert Bentley and the state's Republican-controlled legislature for not calling a special session to raise taxes to help Jefferson County settle its debt. more

Secret Service renews Biden rental: Vice president to get $26,400 -- Is this right?

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the landlord, can count on at least 12 more months of rental income from the agency that protects his life.

Federal spending records show the U.S. Secret Service approved a purchase order on Nov. 2 to pay Mr. Biden $26,400 for agents to stay at a cottage on lakefront property he owns in Delaware.

Edwin M. Donovan, special agent in charge at the Secret Service's Office of Public Affairs in Washington, said Mr. Biden isn’t receiving all that money at once. Instead, he said, the purchase order shows plans by the Secret Service to pay Mr. Biden $2,200 per month for another year.

In other words, Mr. Biden isn’t raising the rent.

He has been charging the Secret Service that same rate under previous purchases orders, first reported by The Washington Times this past summer, totaling $13,200.

The White House declined to comment Thursday on the latest purchase order other than to point out that the cottage property was an existing rental when the Secret Service moved in. more

Oakmont Man Injured In Drive-By Pumpkin Attack



Oakmont Police are investigating after a 64-year-old man was hit in the head by a pumpkin.

Police Chief David DiSanti says Rose and Daniel Wagner were walking along the 900-block of Pennsylvania Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when someone tossed the pumpkin from a moving car.

Daniel was taken to a local hospital emergency room for treatment. His wife told KDKA-TV it doesn’t appear he had any brain injuries, but may have suffered a concussion. more

Afghanistan mother and daughter stoned and shot dead

A group of armed men have stoned and shot dead a woman and her daughter in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, security officials have told the BBC.

The officials blamed the Taliban, who they said had accused the women of "moral deviation and adultery".

The police said two men had been arrested in connection with the murder.

The attack was only 300m from the governor's office in Ghazni city, which is on a list of places to be transferred to Afghan security control. more

US defence chief Panetta warns against Iran strike

The US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said a military strike against Iran could have "unintended consequences".

He said it would only delay Iran's nuclear efforts by three years at most.

Correspondents say the comments appear to play down speculation that a military strike might be used to cripple Tehran's nuclear programme.

On Tuesday, the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said Iran was carrying out research aimed at developing nuclear weapons capacity.

"You've got to be careful of unintended consequences here," Mr Panetta told reporters in Washington, when asked about his concerns about a military strike.

He acknowledged military action might fail to deter Iran "from what they want to do".

"But more importantly, it could have a serious impact in the region, and it could have a serious impact on US forces in the region," he said.

"And I think all of those things need to be carefully considered." more

Mishap freezes to death 800 rare New Zealand snails

Conservationists in New Zealand have blamed a technical glitch after 800 endangered giant land snails were accidentally frozen to death.

The rare snails, rescued from an area earmarked for coal mining, were kept in a temperature-controlled room run by the Department of Conservation (DoC).

However, a faulty gauge sent temperatures plunging below freezing.

Staff at the DoC's West Coast Conservancy in Hokitika are said to have been "very upset".

The Powelliphanta giant land snails were among 6,000 taken from the Stockton Plateau on South Island several years ago to make way for coal mining, New Zealand media reported.

About 4,000 of those have been relocated to new habitats. more

Report: Syrian crackdown amounts to crimes against humanity

The Syrian government's "systematic" crackdown on civilians amounts to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued Friday.

The watchdog group has already urged the Arab League to press President Bashar al-Assad's government to allow human rights monitors into the country. Now, it is urging the Arab League, which has called an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday, to suspend Syria's membership and to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions.

It also said Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Human Rights Watch said the Syrian regime has engaged in "the systematic nature of abuses against civilians ... including torture and unlawful killings." more

Report: 10 killed in clashes in Yemen

Government forces shelled southwestern Yemen on Friday, killing 10 people and injuring 32 others, medics said.

Fighting was ongoing in six areas in Taiz province, witnesses said.

Clashes have intensified in recent days as protesters demand the ouster of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Families started evacuating from the province over fears clashes will escalate in coming days.

Medical staff in Taiz's Freedom Square confirmed the death of six civilians.

"It's not fair. Why are the government killing innocent civilians? They are attacking our houses and killing our families," said Ali al-Radhmi, a resident of Taiz..

"The shelling is nonstop and it seems as if President Saleh wants to completely destroy Taiz before he leaves power because it was the launching pad for protests against his regime."

Medic Yasser al-Nusari said he's been unable to reach the square for more than two hours to treat the wounded because of the fierce shelling.

"The government shelling has been nonstop since 5 a.m. The number of wounded will rise and many have not been able to reach the medical camp," he said Friday.

A 8-year-old and a 3-year-old were among those killed in clashes, witnesses said.

A senior security official in Taiz said an opposition group is targeting pro-government tribal leaders purposely and vowed to hold them accountable for the killings. more

Will Bangkok's flood defenses protect its heart?

The commercial heart of Thailand's capital is still at risk of flooding, with the next 10 days likely to be crucial in the battle to keep dry.

So far the Central Business District, or CBD, has been shielded by a series of flood defenses backed up by huge pumps which suck the floodwater seeping down from the north of the city into the canals. From here the water is funneled into the main Chao Phraya River, where officials say it then fans out toward the sea.

Floods in Thailand have killed more than 500 people since July, affecting about a third of the nation's 77 provinces. The country of 67 million is also home to electronics manufacturing and automotive companies that have had to stop production because of the flooding, causing a ripple effect through the industry.

According to Seri Supparathit, a water engineer who has acted as consultant for the government during the crisis, Bangkok's central business district will survive the watery onslaught as long as the pumps keep working.

"If we can maintain the system for the next 10 days, then we can keep the CBD free from floods," he said. more

Bombs dropped near South Sudan refugee camp

At least two bombs were dropped near the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, resulting in an undetermined number of casualties, the spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday.

"We are very concerned that these bombs were dropped in an area where there are thousands of refugees who have gathered after fleeing the violence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"It is essential that both parties immediately take all steps to protect civilian lives."

In Washington, the office of the White House press secretary said in a statement that the United States "strongly condemns the aerial bombardment by the Sudan Armed Forces of the town of Yida," where more than 20,000 refugees who have fled conflict in the Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan are living.

The Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile State and Nuba Mountain regions straddle Sudan and South Sudan's geographical and political lines. Although these territories are geographically part of Sudan, its population has faced "exclusion, marginalization and discriminatory practices that have resulted in their opposition to the Sudanese government," according to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"This bombing of civilians and humanitarian workers is an outrageous act, and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions," the statement said. more

China bans media from reporting online postings

China's censors are trying to keep online criticism and rumours from reaching a broader audience, issuing new orders prohibiting news media from reporting internet postings before they are verified.

The regulations, dated last month but posted Friday on the website of the state press administration, ban journalists from reporting any information taken from the Internet or cellphones without firsthand verification. The regulations say reporters or editors may be barred from working in media for five years as a penalty.

The rules are the latest attempt by the authoritarian government to reassert control over the flow of information that is being challenged by the popularity of social media.
source

Italy crisis: Senate adopts austerity law -- Welcome to Greece, the sequel

The Italian senate has adopted a package of austerity measures designed to avoid a bailout of the eurozone's third largest economy.

The package is expected to get final approval in a vote by the lower house at the weekend, paving the way for PM Silvio Berlusconi to resign.

A technocrat government possibly led by former EU commissioner Mario Monti is being debated.

On Thursday, Italy raised 5bn euros (£4.3bn) from new government bonds.

But this was at an interest rate of 6.087% to borrow the money for one year.

The senate voted by 156 to 12 in favour of the austerity package. The bill now goes to the lower house, the chamber of deputies, which will meet in special session at the weekend.

Mr Berlusconi, who lost his parliamentary majority in a vote on Tuesday, has promised to resign after the austerity measures are passed by both houses of parliament.

On Thursday, President Giorgio Napolitano - whose role is largely ceremonial - said he wished to "dispel any doubt or misunderstanding" on when the prime minister would fulfil his promise to resign. more

Czechs say NUCLEAR IODINE 131 not from Power Plant - 11th Nov 2011

Iodine 131 - also called radioiodine (though many other radioactive isotopes of this element are known), is an important radioisotope of iodine. It has a radioactive decay half-life of about eight days.

Its uses are mostly medical and pharmaceutical. It also plays a major role as a radioactive isotope present in nuclear fission products, and was a significant contributor to the health hazards from open-air atomic bomb testing in the 1950s, and from the Chernobyl disaster, as well as being a large fraction of the contamination hazard in the first weeks in the Japanese nuclear crisis.


The Czech nuclear security authority has detected radioactive iodine 131 at a number of monitoring stations since late October and made an enquiry at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its possible source, the watchdog's boss said on Friday.

Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety chief Dana Drabova told Reuters there was no health risk from the iodine, which could have leaked during production of radiopharmaceuticals but was certainly not from a nuclear power plant.

"It was detected by our radiation monitoring network, with probability bordering on certainty the source is abroad. It is iodine-131 and we have asked the IAEA if they know what the source could be," Drabova said.

Earlier on Friday the IAEA said very low levels of radioactive iodine-131 have been detected in Europe but the particles are not believed to pose a public health risk. (Reporting by Jan Korselt, writing by Jan Lopatka; editing by Keiron Henderson) Source

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake PAPUA, INDONESIA - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Papua, Indonesia at a depth of 94 km (58.2 miles), the quake hit at 14:00:08 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 23 km ( 14.2 miles) Northeast of Nabire, Papua, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN TURKEY - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of 17 km (10.6 miles), the quake hit at 13:45:10 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 24 km ( 15.2 miles) North of Van, Turkey
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Death toll from earlier 5.7 earthquake risen to 19

Riain Richards, pictured, has been named as the man who handed himself in to police in connection with swinging Mowgli - 11th Nov 2011

A 20-year-old man suspected of carrying out a sick attack on a cat today walked into a police station and gave himself up after the RSPCA was inundated with calls identifying him.

The suspect has been named as Riain Richards. He had been identified to police after shocked animal lovers saw the shocking CCTV footage of the attack.

The images showed the defenceless animal being flung dangerously close to a pavement, cars and railings.Mowgli's owner Michelle Buchanan begged the public to help identify the man in the video.

The RSPCA said investigators are interviewing a man about the vicious attack on Mowgli, a two-year-old tom who nearly had his head smashed open.

RSPCA chiefs who had been trying to identify the suspect released the CCTV footage which shows the helpless cat being spun around more than 14 times by its tail in Ramsgate, Kent.

A spokesman said today: ‘The RSPCA can confirm that this morning that a 20-year-old man from Ramsgate voluntarily handed himself into Margate Police Station and is now helping us with our inquiries. ‘ Read More

Update: The Daily Telegraph understands the suspect, who is photographed on a personal website with a pet dog, handed himself into police following “pressure” from angry relatives.

His half brother, Ross Hammond, is serving life behind bars for sexually abusing and killing a 13 month-old baby girl, who suffered 117 injuries including a brain haemorrhage, fractured ribs, ruptured liver, burned foot and a black eye.

Hammond, 31, was convicted of murder at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court, in April 2003. Source

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 11th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 33.6 km (20.9 miles), the quake hit at 12:44:12 UTC Friday 11th November 2011.
The epicenter was 176 km ( 110 miles) ESE of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

El Hierro Underwater volcano errupting of coast Canary Islands emits toxic gases - 10th Nov 2011

Turkey Earthquake Death Toll rises to 19 - 11th Nov 2011



Fat snowflakes began to fall onto dozens of rescue workers laboring with jackhammers and hack-saws through the rubble of a five story hotel, which collapsed in Wednesday night's 5.6 magnitude earthquake.

Meanwhile, the death toll swelled to 19 victims on Friday, according to the Turkish prime ministry's disaster management office. Thirty others have been rescued.

Tearful relatives stood shivering on the perimeter of the 24-hour rescue operation at Van's devastated Bayram Hotel. This time, members of Turkey's press corps joined in the agonizing vigil for news on missing loved ones. Two journalists from Turkey's DHA news agency were among those believed to be buried in the rubble. The reporters had been staying in the Bayram Hotel while reporting on the aftermath of last month's much deadlier 7.2 magnitude earthquake, which left more than 500 people dead and hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Much of downtown Van now feels like a ghost town. Most of the shops are closed. Huge ominous cracks criss-cross the facades of office and apartment buildings. The few residents who wander the city take care to walk down the center of the streets, fearing falling debris from nearby buildings in the event of further aftershocks. Read More


10 killed in clashes in Yemen - 11th Nov 2011

Government forces shelled southwestern Yemen on Friday, killing 10 people and injuring 32 others, medics said.

Fighting was ongoing in six areas in Taiz province, witnesses said.

Clashes have intensified in recent days as protesters demand the ouster of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Families started evacuating from the province over fears clashes will escalate in coming days.

Medical staff in Taiz's Freedom Square confirmed the death of six civilians.

"It's not fair. Why are the government killing innocent civilians? They are attacking our houses and killing our families," said Ali al-Radhmi, a resident of Taiz..

"The shelling is nonstop and it seems as if President Saleh wants to completely destroy Taiz before he leaves power because it was the launching pad for protests against his regime." Read More

Mexican drug gang beheads ANOTHER blogger and dumps body and severed head in street with bloody warning note - 11th Nov 2011

Another blogger has been beheaded by a drug cartel as a warning for those who use social media to report illegal activities and tip off police.

The moderator of a social network was left under a blood-stained blanket with a note pinned to it which read: 'This happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn't report on the social networks.'

The victim, nicknamed Rascatripas (or Belly Scratcher), looked after a website in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

The corpse was discovered in the middle of a square at around 5am on Wednesday with the hands cuffed behind its back and the head lying next to the body.

Police gave few details about the killing for security reasons.

The site Nuevo Laredo en Vivo had posted information about a local drug gang. Read More

Boy of 13 arrested and Charged with rape of 5 Year Old Girl at a McDonald's play area' in Ohio - 10th Nov 2011

Strolling along in scruffy jeans and sneakers, this is the young boy who police claim raped a girl of five in a McDonald's Playland.

After seeing these photos the boy's parents brought him to the police.

The youth, who is just 13, is said to have touched the girl before making her touch him in an inappropriate way.

He then walked out of the McDonald's as the victim burst into tears and went to her grandmother who was waiting nearby 'with the look on her face as if something was wrong'.

The police report said the boy had climbed into the play area specifically to molest her.

The sheriff's office said the teen has been charged with one count of rape and is being held at the local Juvenile Detention Center to await further proceedings.

The incident happened at a McDonald's in Anderson Township, Ohio on October 29th but police only just released the details this week. Read More