Wednesday, January 25, 2012

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE - 26th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the Dodecanese Islands, Greece at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 04:38:03 UTC Thursday 26th January 2012
The epicenter was 43 km (26.4miles) Southwest of Emborion, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Private clinics allowed to advertise abortions on television

Private clinics that undertake abortions for profit will be allowed to advertise their services on television and radio for the first time, watchdogs ruled yesterday.

The decision last night attracted criticism from pro-life campaigners, who said it risked trivialising terminations by putting them on the same footing as consumer choices such as different brands of car or detergent.

Until now, only not-for-profit organisations have been permitted to use television and radio to advertise family planning services, such as advice on unplanned pregnancies.

Under the new rules, announced yesterday by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), commercial enterprises will be allowed to do the same.

The two bodies, responsible for Britain’s advertising codes, said it had become impossible to justify not allowing companies to advertise because the services they offer are legal.

However, campaigners warned that it could lead to a flood of advertising campaigns which would diminish the seriousness of terminating pregnancies and lead to a rise in abortions. Read More

The buffoons steering Italy on to the rocks: Have Italy's men become cowards and scoundrels?

With Silvio Berlusconi in charge for 17 years, it’s no surprise that men put themselves first.

'How many gears do Italian tanks have? Five – one forward, and four reverse.” It wasn’t until we’d been married for a year that my husband dared come out with lines like that. But there were plenty more, in the well-stuffed cupboard of “cowardly Italian” jokes.

As a half-Italian living in London, I’d persuaded myself that my male compatriots enjoyed a dashing image as Prada-wearing, Vespa-riding he-men. The truth was less flattering: memories still lingered of the North African campaign in 1940, when 36,000 British troops repelled 200,000 Italians. My friends in London also liked to point out that the last Italian

heart-throb had been Marcello Mastroianni – a god, certainly, but one who’d died, aged 72, back in 1996.

Now, however, Italy has produced a model male of the worst kind. Captain Francesco Schettino, the sun-tanned, raven-haired skipper of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, claims to have “tripped into a lifeboat” as his cruise ship sank, passengers still on board. The captain saved himself, but at least 11 people died. An audio tape of his refusal to return to the liner was put on the internet, prompting the sale of T-shirts emblazoned with the coastguard’s order: “Get back on board, for f---’s sake!” Read More

One Mexican State Bordering The US Was Deadlier Than All of Afghanistan Last Year

Organized crime-related deaths in one Mexican border state during the first nine months of 2011 exceed the number of Afghan civilians killed in roughly the same period in all of war-torn Afghanistan.

According to the Mexican government, from January through September 2011 2,276 deaths were recorded in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, which borders Texas and New Mexico.

A Nov. 2011 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report states that over nearly the same period – January through October 2011 – 2,177 civilians were killed in Afghanistan, where a U.S.-led war against the Taliban is underway. It did not provide a breakdown of responsibility for that period, but said that in 2010, 75 percent of civilian deaths were attributed to the Taliban and other “anti-government elements.” Read More

LAUSD Students Roundly Reject Healthier School Lunch Menu, Junkfood "Black-market" Thrives

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The revamped school lunches at Los Angeles Unified School District have won awards, commending them for improving the menu at the second largest school district in the nation. Too bad the students don’t agree.

Rejecting healthful alternatives like vegetarian curries and tamales, quinoa salads and pad Thai noodles, students are throwing them in the trash by the thousands, bringing junk food from home and buying instant noodles and other decidedly unhealthy fare from the “black markets” that have begun to thrive at campuses across the district, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The wholesale rejection to its healthy menu comes about a year after a very public food fight with TV chef Jamie Oliver. Oliver filmed a few weeks of his ABC series “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” at one LAUSD campus, but the permit was terminated abruptly. Read More

African growth? It's complicated

In the world of economic and social development, lists are easy to come by. The class of leaders gathering in Davos are well aware that ranking nations -- by levels of freedom, ease of doing business, competitiveness, fragility -- has become a preferred sport for analysts working for governments, magazines, NGOs or think tanks around the world. But it's rare to find a surprising result.

Nevertheless, that's what economists Ricardo Hausmann and César Hidalgo, researchers at the Harvard Center for Economic Development, have produced with their new Atlas of Economic Complexity. In their global ranking of GDP growth to 2020, Uganda comes out number one.

That's a head scratcher. How could a tiny, land-locked African nation, best known for Idi Amin, lead a list predicting economic growth? There's more: Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Senegal, Malawi, and Zambia round out the top ten. Hausmann and Hidalgo project that these countries will grow faster than most others in the world, including emerging market favorites Turkey, Brazil, and China. In fact, thirteen of the top thirty countries for growth are in sub-Saharan Africa. Sweden, France and Japan rank 100, 101, and 102.

Africa's 2020 growth vision

What gives? To look at the more established lists and tables for development, Africa is doing poorly -- at or near the bottom of the heap for GDP per capita, infant mortality, primary school enrollment -- you name it. Read More

Largest Human Migration Highlights Migrant Labor Issues

Wuhan Court Sentences Activist to 10 Years for Subversion

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake CRETE, GREECE - 26th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Crete, Greece at a depth of 18.5 km (11.5 miles), the quake hit at 04:25:00 UTC Thursday 26th January 2012
The epicenter was 46 km (28.6miles) Northeast of Pánormos, Greece
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

Note: This earthquake has since been downgraded to a 5.2 Magnitude with a depth of 18.5 km Instead of 100 km.

China looks to Saudi to quench thirst for fuel



Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (CNN) – China is thirsty for oil to fuel its economic boom – and it’s increasingly looking to Saudi Arabia to help quench that thirst.


Saudi Arabia produces nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day – about the same as China consumes. That’s why the Kingdom is at the heart of China's energy strategy to secure more resources from the Gulf region.

Chinese energy giant Sinopec recently signed a joint venture with Saudi’s Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, that will lock-in an additional 400,000 barrels of oil per day by 2014.

It’s a sign of China’s eagerness to boost economic and political ties to Saudi Arabia. Read More

Is tuning in ‘out of hours’ turning us off in the office? (More importantly, are becoming even greater slaves to capitalism?)

London (CNN) – It’s Friday and many of you out there may already have gone home for the weekend. Some of you may be reading this on your smart phone or handheld computer.

But here are some questions for you: Should checking such devices for work correspondence count towards your overtime? And is it affecting your productivity when you are in the office?

A law introduced recently in Brazil says workers who check their smart phones after hours because of their job are entitled to extra pay.

After years of issuing staff with company Blackberrys, the tide is shifting in Europe too.

Germany’s Volkswagen last year moved to stop servers sending emails to some of its staff after they had gone for the day whilst consumer goods giant Henkel declared an email amnesty for the holiday season. Read More

Ai Weiwei Questioned for "Attacking" a Security Camera

Chinese Regime Closes Tibet to Foreign Travellers for 5th Year

Westminster would still control Scotland through the pound - JP Morgan

An independent Scotland would face 'significant restrictions' from the rest of the UK if it kept the pound, JP Morgan has warned.

Analysts at the bank, in a note titled Divided Kingdom? Scottish Independence and the UK, cautioned that whether it used the pound, euro or a new currency the newly independent nation would face extra costs and complications.

"If an independent Scotland were to wish to continue using sterling, the rest of the UK would be likely seek significant restrictions on Scotland’s overall fiscal position," they said.

The note mooted the idea of a hybrid currency pegged to the pound but with controls on the independent nation’s fiscal position imposed by its former Union partner, but concluded: "It is not clear that agreement on these issues could be struck."

Given Scotland’s extensive trade links with the rest of the UK, JP Morgan doubted "euro entry is a viable option". Read More

370,000 migrants on the dole in UK

More than 370,000 migrants who were admitted to Britain to work, study or go on holiday are now claiming out-of-work benefits, according to official figures compiled for the first time.

The migrants, who can claim unemployment, housing and incapacity benefit, are costing taxpayers billions of pounds a year.

In other countries, many would have had to return home after their visas expired or their employment ended.

But Chris Bryant, shadow immigration minister, today blamed the Government and said the situation would only get worse due to lax border controls, rising migration and increasing unemployment.

He said: "Tory ministers are resorting to rhetoric and misinformation to hide the reality of their failures on immigration and unemployment.

"Far from strengthening immigration control the Government is returning fewer illegal migrants and net migration has continued to increase. And at the same time increasing numbers of people born here and abroad are on out-of-work benefits because the government's failure on the economy has pushed unemployment up. Read More

Migrants who claim welfare are just embracing British culture (Zing!)

I once took the Life in the UK test – for research purposes, obviously. One occasionally reads columnists, bloggers or tweeters pointing out that the test is really hard, and that they failed it. It’s actually absurdly easy; you would only fail if you go in without revising the questions beforehand, as you would with any test.

The test allows people living here to be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, which is in effect the last stage before becoming a citizen. If you’ll recall, it was created in 2005 during that period when Tony Blair’s government was trying to re-brand Britishness around such classic British traits as fairness, tolerance and a sense of fair play (because all foreigners, of course, define their national identity by their cheating and intolerance).

In the guide book former Home Secretary John Reid gazes down upon hopeful new Britons telling us that the tests “have encouraged people who have decided to make their lives in Britain to learn more about our culture and institutions”.

Which is strange, because of the 408 potential test questions 29 are about claiming state benefits, and another 65 concern other rights such as free healthcare, education and working hour regulations. (There is not a single question about Magna Carta, the creation of Parliament, Habeas Corpus, the Glorious Revolution or the Great Reform Act – but 20 about the history of immigration in Britain.)

Is claiming benefits British culture? Maybe it is. One of the major advantages to having Indefinite Leave to Remain rather than just Limited Leave to Remain is not just being able to work or study without restriction, but being able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefits and the full buffet of the European welfare state.

So it’s hardly surprising that, as this paper reports, “More than 370,000 migrants who were admitted to Britain to work, study or go on holiday are now claiming out-of-work benefits, according to official figures compiled for the first time.” Read More

Russian female punk band arrested for performing anti-Vladimir Putin song

Russian police detained a punk group on Friday after they performed a protest song criticising Vladimir Putin next to Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.



Eight members of an all-girl punk group called Pussy Riot wearing brightly coloured mini-dresses and balaclavas climbed over railings onto a stone platform next to the cathedral to sing a song called Putin Has P***** Himself.

Russian police stood by while the band performed the song before detaining all the members and taking them to the nearby Kitai-Gorod police station.

Four members were later charged with the non-criminal public order offences and disobeying police, carrying a maximum punishment of 15 days behind bars, according to one band member who uses the nickname Garadzha Matveyeva.

In December the band gave a roof-top concert next to the police cell where protest leader and blogger Alexei Navalny was serving a short sentence.

They have also performed in the Moscow metro. Read More

History of Iran that they don't tell you about (Must see)

The Iran-India Oil Pipeline: The Real Reason the U.S. Wants to Attack Iran?

Don't be fooled by Google's anti-SOPA stance: Google & You Tube Ban Alex Jones

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 26th Jan 2012

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has struck Northern Xinjiang, China at a depth of 7 km (4 miles), the quake hit at 03:11:22 UTC Thursday 26th January 2012
The epicenter was 99 km (61.6 miles) East of Yining, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.