Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pretty intense UFO footage in 3 different regions: What are they?

South Africa should brace for a mining revolution: Malema

Bank's stimulus plan 'has lined pockets of the rich'....Shocker!

The Bank of England's money-printing programme, intended to revive economic growth, has delivered a massive boost to the wealth of the most prosperous 10 per cent of households in Britain while delivering relatively scant returns for the poorest, a new analysis from the Bank indicated yesterday.

In its report on the effectiveness of its controversial quantitative easing (QE) programme, the Bank said it successfully pushed up share prices and other asset values, delivering an overall boost to the net financial worth of UK households of around £600bn. The Bank said this worked out at an average benefit of around £10,000 per person.

However, financial assets are unevenly distributed around the population, meaning that the benefit was highly unequal. And an analysis by The Independent reveals that the wealthiest 10 per cent of households would have benefited from QE more than 240 times as much as the poorest 10 per cent. Read More

Shanghai Named "Most Vulnerable to Coastal Flooding"

Prince Harry naked Vegas photos published by Sun Despite Warning from the Royal Family

The Sun has become the first British newspaper to publish the photos of a naked Prince Harry taken in Las Vegas.

Owner News International said it was making the move despite warnings from the Royal Family's lawyers that it would be an invasion of his privacy.

The Sun said the images were widely available around the world, its readers had a right to see them and freedom of the press was being tested.

The pictures emerged from a private weekend the prince spent with friends.

Two photos of the prince and a naked woman in a hotel room are believed to have been taken on a camera phone last Friday in a Las Vegas hotel room. Read More

Armstrong To Be Stripped of All Tour Titles

Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life, the US Anti-Doping Agency has said.

The decision came after Armstrong announced he was dropping his fight against USADA's charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the most prestigious event in the sport from 1999 to 2005.

The USDA claims the US cyclist used banned substances including the blood-booster EPO and steroids, as well as blood transfusions.

The cyclist sued in a federal court to block the charges but lost.

He has now issued a statement protesting his innocence but confirming he will not fight the charges because of being weary of the doping accusations that have dogged him for years. Read More

Stowaway Found Dead In British Airways Plane

A stowaway has been found dead inside a jumbo jet after it touched down at Heathrow Airport.

The body of the man was discovered on Thursday morning in the landing gear bay of the British Airways Boeing 747 after a 6,000-mile (9,656 km) flight from Cape Town, the airline said.

Police said the man was not a passenger or a member of the crew on the flight from South Africa's second busiest airport.

Authorities in South Africa said a man was spotted jumping over a fence at the transport hub before running towards a BA flight as it waited to take off on Wednesday night.

Security staff gave chase but backed off for safety reasons and a subsequent search of the airport failed to find the man.

Airports Company South Africa, which runs the airport, said it was carrying out an investigation. Read More

"America is a Junkie" or, "Zombies Are Real" (Must Watch)

Syria Warns West Over Military Intervention

The Syrian government has warned Western powers against any military intervention in the country.

It comes after Britain and the US said they were drawing up plans to safeguard Syria's chemical weapons if they are in danger of falling into terrorist groups' hands as the civil war continues.

This has been interpreted as meaning Western special forces are operating inside the country.

The Syrian Information Minister Omran Al Zoubi told Sky News: "Coming to Syria is not a picnic. But Syria does not want a war with anyone."

He went on to deny that Syria had admitted it had chemical weapons, despite a statement by the Foreign Ministry last month which appeared to confirm they existed. Read More

Pakistan, India hit by deadly flooding

Dozens of people have died in Pakistan and India's northern Rajasthan state amid flash floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains, officials said Thursday.

At least 21 deaths are confirmed in Pakistan, said Maj. Iftikhar Ahmed Taj of the National Disaster Management Authority.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged in the flooding, which has hit parts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, he said.

Rescue workers are seeking to deal with a major landslide in the Kashmiri city of Muzaffarabad, according to the disaster agency.

Roads are blocked, some 390 houses have been damaged and an unknown number of people are dead and injured, the agency said. Some families trapped by the landslide have been given emergency food and water supplies. more

Republicans Eye Return to Gold Standard (But is it too late?)

The gold standard has returned to mainstream U.S. politics for the first time in 30 years, with a “gold commission” set to become part of official Republican party policy.
Gold

Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold.

The move shows how five years of easy monetary policy — and the efforts of congressman Ron Paul — have made the once-fringe idea of returning to gold-as-money a legitimate part of Republican debate.

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congresswoman from Tennessee and co-chair of the platform committee, said the issues were not adopted merely to placate Paul and the delegates that he picked up during his campaign for the party’s nomination.

“These were adopted because they are things that Republicans agree on,” Blackburn told the Financial Times. “The House recently passed a bill on this, and this is something that we think needs to be done.”

The proposal is reminiscent of the Gold Commission created by former president Ronald Reagan in 1981, 10 years after Richard Nixon broke the link between gold and the dollar during the 1971 oil crisis. That commission ultimately supported the status quo. more

'China real target for US missile shield in Asia'

'Greece is bankrupt. Full stop. Game over'

'West sanctions on Iran genocidal, kill ordinary people'

Free PFC Manning, End the Drone Wars

'Jesus' what did you do to your face?

Freight train collides with fuel tanker in Texas

'Ultra-rich rule Western nations'

South Korea: Brutal mass stabbings raise alarm about social outcasts (And possibly coming to a Western city near you)

An unemployed man carried out a stabbing spree on Wednesday in Seoul, marking the fourth knife attack to take place in Korea in less than a week.

While public anxiety grows, experts say that dissent against society, a sense of being deprived and isolation from society are to blame.

According to experts, social outcasts have a tendency toward explosive expressions of emotion when their pride is hurt, and their anger and anxiety can result in such attacks.

The latest attack took place in the financial district Yeouido, when a 30-year old unemployed man stabbed two of his former coworkers and then proceeded to stab two passersby at random as he was being chased by onlookers who intervened.

The attacker, identified by the surname Kim, attacked the former coworkers as revenge for him being dismissed by the company two years ago.

During police questioning, Kim said that he considered suicide but felt that it was “unfair” for him to die alone and chose to attack the two former coworkers, who according to Kim had mistreated him in the workplace.

“In general people who are alienated from society and those whose social status has fallen rapidly can resort to such acts in order to make their voice heard,” said Park Soon-jin, a Daegu University professor who specializes in criminal psychology and criminology.

“These individuals may share a sense of depression, but psychological analysis of those who commit acts of indiscriminate violence rarely shows signs of mental illness.” more

Bubonic plague found in squirrels on Palomar Mountain

Three ground squirrels found at Palomar Mountain campgrounds have tested positive for plague, a deadly bacterial infection that wiped out millions of people in the Middle Ages, San Diego County officials said Wednesday.

Plague infections are now rare among humans, but at least a few squirrels in higher elevations around Palomar Mountain or Julian are found during routine testing each year, said Chris Conlan, supervising vector ecologist for the San Diego County Vector Control program.

The county posts plague warning signs in areas where the disease is found, officials said.

There has never been a recorded human plague infection in San Diego County, although there have been several in California, officials said. Fewer than 100 cases were reported over the last decade in the U.S., mostly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two of the infected squirrels found recently were in the Cedar Grove Campground, according to a county statement. The third was trapped at the Doane Campground. Read More

Iran expands nuclear capacity underground: sources

(Reuters) - Iran has installed many more uranium enrichment machines in an underground bunker, diplomatic sources said on Thursday, potentially paving the way for a significant expansion of work the West fears is ultimately aimed at making nuclear bombs.

Iran denies allegations it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability. But its refusal to curb its nuclear enrichment program has prompted tough Western sanctions and has heightened speculation that Israel may attack its atomic sites.

In a possible sign of further Iranian defiance in the face of such pressure, several sources said Iran had put in place additional enrichment centrifuges in its Fordow facility, buried deep inside a mountain to protect it against enemy strikes.

One source suggested hundreds of machines had been installed. Read More

Agencies warn of possible anarchist activity at conventions

Washington (CNN) -- Law enforcement officials are concerned about possible violence by anarchist extremists at the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions, according to an intelligence bulletin prepared by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

The bulletin, which was obtained by CNN, says that anarchists could try to use improvised explosive devices.

It also says that, as of March, the FBI had intelligence indicating individuals from New York "planned to travel to Tampa and attempt to close" all of the Tampa Bay-area bridges during the Republican National Convention next week.

According to the document, the FBI's information as of March showed that anarchist extremists proposed "engaging in potentially destructive criminal activities against critical infrastructure outside the security perimeter throughout the Tampa Bay region because they expected access to the main RNC venue to be tightly controlled."

The FBI routinely issues intelligence bulletins in advance of many major events to warn local law enforcement of possible security concerns.

The document notes anarchists have a history of trying to disrupt major events. Read More

TEXAS Billboard: 'SEALs Removed One Threat To America, Remove The Other In November'



GAINESVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) - A billboard that sparked a protest in Indiana because of its reference to the Navy Seals, and removing the President from office, has appeared along I-35 in North Texas.

The ad in Gainesville depicts two men in camouflage holding weapons. The text next to the picture, in a military style font, says “The Seals removed one threat to America,” a reference to the killing of Osama bin Laden. It continues, “Remove the other in November.”

The bottom of the sign says it’s a political ad, paid for by TJ Schad, and has a Gainesville address.

At his home Monday, Tom Schad said he’s not acting for any political party, committee or candidate. He simply saw a similar picture in an email, with an accompanying note that said it should be on every billboard across the country.

“It just started out as something fun to do,” he said. “Let’s see if I could do it. I didn’t have a clue how to do it.” Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake FLORES SEA - 23rd August 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the FLORES SEA at a depth of 415 km (257.3 miles), the quake hit at 17:21:36 UTC Thursday 23rd August 2012
The epicenter was 146 km (90.5 miles) Northeast of Bima, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Robert Fisk: 'Rebel army? They're a gang of foreigners'



A victorious army? There were cartridge cases all over the ancient stone laneways, pocked windows, and bullet holes up the side of the Sharaf mosque, where a gunman had been firing from the minaret. A sniper still fired just 150 yards away – all that was left of more than a hundred rebels who had almost, but not quite, encircled the 4,000-year-old citadel of Aleppo.

"You won't believe this," Major Somar cried in excitement. "One of our prisoners told me: 'I didn't realise Palestine was as beautiful as this.' He thought he was in Palestine to fight the Israelis!"

Do I believe this? Certainly, the fighters who bashed their way into the lovely old streets west of the great citadel were, from all accounts, a ragtag bunch. Their graffiti – "We are the Brigades of 1980", the year when the first Muslim Brotherhood rising threatened the empire of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez – was still on the walls of the Syrian-Armenian hotels and silver shops. A 51-year-old general handed me one of the home-made grenades that littered the floor of the Sharaf mosque; a fluffy fuse poking from the top of a lump of shrapnel, coated in white plastic and covered in black adhesive tape.

Inside the mosque were bullets, empty tins of cheese, cigarette butts and piles of mosque carpets, which the rebels had used as bedding. The battle had so far lasted 24 hours. A live round had cut into the Bosnian-style tombstone of a Muslim imam's grave, with a delicate stone turban carved on its top. The mosque's records – lists of worshippers' complaints, Korans and financial documents – were lying across one room in what had evidently marked the last stand of several men. There was little blood. Between 10 and 15 of the defenders – all Syrians – surrendered after being offered mercy if they laid down their arms. The quality of this mercy was not, of course, disclosed to us.

The Syrian soldiers were elated, but admitted that they shared immense sadness for the history of a city whose very fabric was being torn apart, a world heritage site being smashed by rockets and high-velocity rounds. The officers shook their heads when they led us into the ramparts of the immense citadel. "The terrorists tried to capture it 20 days ago from our soldiers who were defending it," Major Somar said. "They filled gas cylinders full of explosives – 300 kilos of it – and set them off by the first entrance above the moat." Read More

WWhy Are We The Good Guys? Reclaiming Your Mind From the Delusions of Propaganda, by David Cromwell

Since 2001, David Cromwell, his co-founder David Edwards, and their supporters and subscribers, have been attempting to “correct for the distorted vision of the corporate media”, by which we all gather information about the world. This distorted vision has its own strange declension, in which “we” have a government, while “they” have a regime; “we” intervene, “they” attack; “we” act in accordance with values, while “they” pursue interests and ambitions; and so on.

The “good guys” in question, in case you were wondering, are not Media Lens themselves, but the West, or more specifically the US-UK-NATO bloc, and the elites of the global North, prepared to sacrifice the prosperity, lives, and the very possibility of existence of billions of people in their pursuit of power, wealth and resources. In common with two previous Media Lens books,[1] WAWTGG features further reports from Cromwell and Edwards’ encounters with, in the words of Edward Herman, those representatives of “experts and the mainstream media” whose function it is “to normalize the unthinkable for the general public”.[2] There is, in these reports, a focus on the big themes that feature in most of Media Lens’ work: the wars in Afghanistan and and Iraq; military adventures across the Middle East; climate change; and the financial crisis.

If the ability to provoke criticism from its targets is any measure of success, then Media Lens is doing very well indeed. George Monbiot started to fall out with them only a year after Media Lens started in 2001, dismissing their critique of his just war hypotheses in relation to Iraq as “not analytical, but ideological”. The Monbiot-Media Lens relationship has hardly improved over the ensuing decade. But Monbiot is not alone. Over the years, Media Lens, or their campaigns, have been variously slammed as “deeply vicious” and “a trainspotters’ club run by Uncle Joe Stalin” (Peter Beaumont, The Observer); having a “counterproductive tendency to bathe everything in childishly apocalyptic polemic” (Steven Poole, The Guardian); “stamping your little feet and trying to whip up an attack of the clones” (Adam Curtis). Peter Wilby, former editor of The New Statesman, wrote: “The only analogy I can think of for their self-appointed role as media irritants is Mary Whitehouse, who also represented nobody but herself, and was also completely ignorant of what she was criticising.” Read More

''Why Internet freedom is sacred''

The innocuous-sounding press release Friday by the State Department in Washington on the ‘Sentencing of Nabeel Rajab’ came as a surprise. It seemed the US broke its stony silence, finally, to condemn the appalling human rights record of its close Persian Gulf ally — Bahrain.

However, it cannot be that the US is piling pressure for ’regime change’ in Bahrain, which is where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based.

So, why this press release? Why Rajab when scores of Shias were brutally killed while agitating for reform in Bahrain and Washington simply looked away?

The point is, it’s all about Twitter. Rajab’s “crime” was that he twitted about Bahrain’s all-powerful, Saudi-backed autocratic prime minister. And he was given a 3-year sentence even before his lawyers could represent him. Rajab had over 1.5 lakhs followers on Twitter.

Indeed, the social networking sites belonging to US-based companies are increasingly playing a role as tools of the US’ Middle East policies. So, the message from the State Department is, “Don’t touch the Internet.”

By the way, India too just got a mouthful from the US on this account. This, when the MHA boys are apparently seeking American help to track down the dissemination of erroneous information via social networking sites that disturbs social harmony in India. What naivety! Source

John Lennon's Killer Denied Parole

The man who gunned down former Beatle John Lennon in New York 31 years ago has again been denied parole.

Officials from the New York State Department of Corrections have announced that Mark Chapman, now 57, must stay in prison.

It was the seventh time Chapman had gone before a parole hearing in an attempt to be released.

Chapman shot Lennon in December 1980 outside the Manhattan apartment building where the musician lived.

The following year he received a sentence of 20 years to life after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

Chapman has had such applications examined every two years since 2000.

After his hearing in 2010, the three-member parole panel cited in written comments to Chapman "the disregard you displayed for the norms of our society and the sanctity of human life" as their reasons for throwing out his bid to be freed. Read More

UBS: Nasdaq's Facebook compensation plan "inadequate"

(Reuters) - Nasdaq OMX Group Inc's proposed $62 million compensation plan for the fallout from the Facebook IPO is "inadequate to address the magnitude of Nasdaq's unprecedented failures", UBS Securities LLC said in a letter to U.S. regulators.

UBS Securities, an arm of Swiss bank UBS AG, said it alone lost over $350 million when the lack of timely order confirmations due to Nasdaq technical malfunctions during the IPO caused UBS's systems to re-enter orders multiple times.

UBS also said the types of claims for trading losses that Nasdaq agrees to compensate "should be expanded to include the full extent of losses caused by Nasdaq, and that the requirement that participants in the program release other legitimate claims they may have against Nasdaq is fundamentally unfair".

"Simply put, Nasdaq's proposal to pay $62 million in the aggregate for all Facebook-related claims is woefully inadequate," UBS said in the letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dated August 22. Source

California declares emergency as wildfires rage

(Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in three Northern California counties on Wednesday after raging wildfires destroyed 50 buildings and threatened more than 200 others.

Some 3,000 people have been evacuated as the so-called Ponderosa fire burns through more than 24,000 acres of steep, rugged terrain in the rural California counties of Tehama and Shasta, about 125 miles north of state capital Sacramento.

The lightning-sparked blaze was 50 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said, but 200 homes, 10 commercial properties and 30 outbuildings were still at risk of being consumed by the fire.

Brown also declared a state of emergency in nearby Plumas County, where firefighters were battling a fire nearly double the size of the Ponderosa blaze. Declaring a state of emergency frees up funds to help combat the fires. Read More

Storm Isaac weakens off Puerto Rico but still a threat

(Reuters) - Tropical Storm Isaac weakened slightly as it dumped heavy rain off Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Thursday but it was expected to strengthen into a hurricane before tearing across the Dominican Republic and Haiti, U.S. forecasters said.

Isaac also posed a big threat to Florida, where it is on track to make landfall on Monday as the Republican National Convention is due get underway in Tampa.

Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of postponing or relocating the RNC convention, if the storm takes direct aim at the city on Florida's central Gulf Coast. But Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the convention was not his biggest concern, at least for now.

"People are spending a lot of time talking about that," Fugate said of the convention. "I wish they'd be talking about making sure people in the (Florida) Keys are getting ready and that people in southwest Florida are getting ready," he told CNN. Read More

Military hits town near Damascus, 100 killed in Syria

(Reuters) - Troops and tanks swept into a restive town near Damascus on Thursday in an assault aimed at crushing opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, whose struggle to keep power has dragged Syria into an increasingly bloody civil war.

Artillery and helicopters hammered the Sunni Muslim town of Daraya for 24 hours, killing 15 people and wounding 150, before soldiers moved in and raided houses, opposition sources said.

About 100 people, including 59 civilians, were killed in violence across the country, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Some 200 were killed on Wednesday.

There was little resistance as Assad's forces pushed toward the center of Daraya, on the southwest edge of Damascus. Armed rebels had apparently already left, activists in Damascus said.

"They are using mortar bombs to clear each sector. Then they enter it, while moving towards the center," said Abu Zeid, an activist speaking by phone from an area near Daraya. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake NEPAL - 23rd August 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck NEPAL at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:30:22 UTC Thursday 23rd August 2012
The epicenter was 81 km (50.2 miles) Northwest of Baglung, Nepal
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Turkey probes possible Iran link in bombing near Syria

Turkey has said it is investigating whether another country, possibly Iran, was involved in an explosion that killed nine people near Syria earlier this week. The announcement reflects concern about spillover from the war in Syria as well as increasing tension with Iran, a regional power that supports Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Turkey blamed a Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, for the attack in the southern city of Gaziantep. In a separate incident near the Iraqi border, Turkish media reported Thursday that five soldiers and 16 Kurdish militants died in a nighttime ambush of a military convoy and an ensuing operation by security forces.

Some Turkish officials allege there are links between the PKK, which denied it carried out the bombing, and Syrian intelligence. Turkey backs the Syrian opposition in its war with forces loyal to Assad, and relations between Ankara and Damascus have sharply deteriorated since the conflict began in March 2011.

In an interview Wednesday night with CNN-Turk television, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc left open the possibility that Iran might be a culprit in Monday's bombing near a police station in Gaziantep.

"It's not just about Syria - connected to it or limited to it," Arinc said. "All foreign elements who may be involved in our geography." Read More

Fighting continues across Syria as last UN monitors leave

BEIRUT – Syrian troops backed by tanks and helicopters broke into a Damascus suburb on Thursday following two days of shelling and intense clashes as part of a widening offensive by President Bashar Assad's forces to seize control of parts of the capital and surrounding areas from rebel fighters, activists said.

At least 15 people were killed in the offensive on Daraya, only few miles southwest of Damascus.
Across the country, at least 100 people died in shelling and clashes, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees.

The bloodshed coincided with the departure from the Syrian capital on Thursday of the last of the United Nations military observers after their mission headed by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, meant to help end the bloodshed in Syria, failed. Read More

West Nile Virus Cases Soar in the US

The potentially deadly West Nile virus is at four times its usual level for this time of year, according to US officials.

Symptoms of the virus, carried by mosquitoes and first diagnosed in Uganda in 1937, include fever, headache and body aches.

While most people recover in a matter of days, one in 150 infected people will develop severe symptoms including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.

So far, 1,118 cases have been reported, about half of them in Texas. In an average year, fewer than 300 cases are reported by mid-August.

And cases seem to be accelerating with about 400 reported within the past week alone.

There have also been 41 deaths this year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most infections are reported in August and September but this year more cases have been reported earlier in the cycle, said Dr Lyle Petersen, who oversees the CDC's mosquito-borne illness programmes.

"We're in the midst of one of the largest West Nile outbreaks ever seen in the United States," he said. Read More

US, UK, French elite units on standby for seizing Syrian chemical weapons

US C130 transports stand ready at Middle East air bases to fly into Syria US elite units especially trained in combat against chemical and biological weapons and tactics for securing their arsenals. Western intelligence sources reported Thursday, Aug. 23 that those units are on standby at bases in Israel and Jordan. Their assignments are to engage Syrian troops attempting to move those unconventional weapons systems to battle fronts or Hizballah and to prevent them falling into the hands of radical Islamic rebel fighters, especially Al Qaeda.

Those elite units have been issued with special equipment for chemical and biological warfare including anti-contamination suits. The transports are also fitted with purification equipment for operating in polluted terrain.

These plans followed President Barack Obama’s warning Monday, Aug. 20 that "we cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people." He announced, "We have put together a range of contingency plans.”

Also on standby for stealthy raids into Syria are British special operations forces in Cyprus and French units trained in unconventional warfare in Jordan. Thursday morning, President Obama talked by phone to British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande to wrap up the details of their combined operation in Syria, effectively the onset of direct Western intervention in the Syrian conflict.

The Pentagon had not by Thursday reacted to these reports, but did release photos of US special operations soldiers clad in anti-contamination suits standing by armored personnel carriers equipped for chemical and biological warfare. The American media were also briefed on US plans to land special operations teams trained in the handling of these weapons for missions to protect or destroy unguarded Syrian stockpiles before they fall into the wrong hands. They also refer to air strikes to incinerate chemicals without dispersing them in the air.

Debkafile’s military sources report that alongside the US satellites and drone aircraft monitoring the chemical and biological weapons stores, small American reconnaissance teams are already on the ground, marking out landing sites and setting up bridgeheads for the incoming US, British and French special forces. more

Mob of unruly black youths commits assault, violent robbery on Virginia Commonwealth University's main campus

Police are searching today for a group of about 15 young people believed to have punched one passerby and robbed and beaten another in rapid succession on Virginia Commonwealth University's main downtown Richmond campus.

Neither victim was seriously injured in the two attacks, which happened along Shafer Street on the Monroe Park campus about 2:55 a.m.

VCU and Richmond police described the assailants as a group of 15 black males between the ages of 17 and 22.

“Last night there was a tremendous amount of activity in this area between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.,” VCU Police Chief John Venuti said at a morning news conference.

The first victim, who is not a VCU student, reported being punched without provocation by a member of the group while getting out of a vehicle at Shafer and West Grace streets.

Moments later, the group encountered the second victim, a VCU student, at Shafer and West Franklin streets. The student told police one member of the group made a comment about his boots before he was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.

Once on the ground, the student was allegedly was told by one of the assailants, "Give me everything you've got." The student was punched again, this time in the neck, and a pack of cigarettes was stolen from his pants pocket, police said. more

Anyone with information can call VCU police at (804) 828-1234 or text VCUTIP to 274637 followed by their tip. Both methods are anonymous.

Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire and Crashes in Slovenia Killing 4, Injuring 28

Four people have been killed and 28 others injured after a hot air balloon full of tourists caught fire and crashed in Slovenia.

It hit the ground at around 8am local time (0600 GMT) near Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital.

The balloon had requested to land about 15 minutes before it crashed, according to the STA news agency.

The bodies of the deceased have been recovered, while six children were reportedly among those injured in the incident.

All 32 on board the air vessel - 30 passengers, including foreign and local tourists, and a pilot and co-pilot - have been accounted for.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known. Read More

Nadir Jailed For 10 Years Over £28m Theft

Ex-fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir has been jailed for 10 years for stealing millions of pounds from his Polly Peck business empire.

The firm, which was one of the most successful companies of its time, collapsed owing £550m in 1990 and Nadir went on the run for 17 years.

He returned to Britain in 2010 confident he would be cleared but an Old Bailey jury this week found him guilty of stealing £28.6m, the equivalent of £61.8m today.

Nadir, 71, of Mayfair, central London, was sentenced at the Old Bailey for 10 charges of theft between 1987 and 1990.

Judge Mr Justice Holroyde told Nadir: "You were a wealthy man, you stole out of greed."

Following the collapse of Polly Peck International (PPI), Nadir was charged with theft but fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to avoid trial in May 1993.

Nadir returned voluntarily to the UK in August 2010 vowing to clear his name.

He blamed the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for orchestrating his downfall and said he fled because he was a broken man. Read More

Mexican Cult blocks school from starting

(CNN) -- Authorities are negotiating with a religious cult in southwestern Mexico, trying to persuade leaders to allow public schools to operate in the isolated community, state media reported.

"It is a problem of fundamentalism," Michoacan state government secretary Jesus Reyna Garcia told Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency on Wedesday.

The talks came after residents of New Jerusalem blocked roads into the community and attacked children, parents and teachers trying to enter a house that had been converted into a school. Three people were injured in the clashes Monday, state officials said.

In July, members of the cult destroyed the only school building in the town, saying the Virgin of the Rosary, who they worship, told them school buildings were built by the devil and were to be demolished.

The rising tension in the 3,000-person community, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) west of Mexico City, has drawn the attention of security officials in Michoacan state, who said 100 police were at the ready.

"We need to remind these people that they are not living in a separate territory, in an island," Gov. Fausto Vallejo told reporters. Read More

UK PM: Syria threat unacceptable

(CNN) -- Britain's prime minister is the latest leader to warn Syria against threatening to use chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war, saying it could trigger a military response.

The warning is one of the key developments in Syria.

Weapons warning: The threat is unacceptable, Cameron says
British Prime Minister David Cameron agrees with American President Barack Obama on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

In a telephone call between the two leaders late Wednesday, "both leaders agreed that the use -- or threat -- of chemical weapons was completely unacceptable and would force them to revisit their approach so far," according to a statement released by the prime minister's office. Read More