Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

California tsunami victim found washed ashore 380 miles away

The body of a 25-year-old northern California man swept out to sea while trying to photograph the tsunami's arrival from Japan last month has washed ashore about 380 miles away, in Oregon, officials there said Tuesday.

Dustin Douglas Weber of Klamath, California, was standing on a sand bar near the mouth of the Klamath River in Del Norte County, California, when he was swept away March 11, authorities said.

He was with two friends who also were carried off by the surge but were able to return safely to shore, authorities said.

Weber was identified by a forensic odontologist using dental records, said Eugene Gray, forensic administrator in the Oregon state medical examiner's office.

His body was found on the shore south of the Columbia River in Oregon on April 2 by a person walking the beach, Gray told CNN. (Source)

Japan admits delaying upgrading of nuclear crisis -- Everything's fine anyway, right? Chernobyl, schmobyl...

Japan admitted delaying upgrading the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant to the highest possible level, putting it on a par with Chernobyl, prompting calls for "swift and accurate" information about the full scale of the disaster.

Japanese regulators only yesterday said that the radiation leak from the plant, crippled by last month's tsunami, ranked as a seven – the highest grade – on the International Atomic Energy Agency's accident scale.

The new rating, which officials said came after a new assessment of radiation at the crippled plant, placed the crisis on a par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, frequently cited as the worst ever.

They said the change was made after high total levels of contamination had been found in air, tap water, vegetables and seawater in the surrounding area.

The IAEA states that the radiation released in such a "major accident" will cause a variety of short- and long-term health problems and lasting environmental dangers.

One official from the plant operator, Tepco, admitted: "Our concern is that it could eventually exceed Chernobyl." (read more)

Former Egyptian President Mubarak hospitalized: A Tyrant Falls

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was admitted to a hospital Tuesday after complaining to his doctor that he felt unwell, according to a spokesman for the Egyptian military.

A military source said Mubarak's condition was stable, not critical, and that his wife and elder son were with him.

Egyptian state television reported Mubarak suffered a heart attack during questioning over possible corruption charges. When contacted by CNN, however, the prosecutor's office denied any reports Mubarak had been questioned by authorities Tuesday.

Egypt's health minister, Ashraf Hatem, later said that Mubarak's condition was stable enough to allow prosecutors to resume questioning at the hospital, according to the state-owned Al Ahram newspaper. (read more)

Boston thermal cameras spying into people's homes

Boston officials had hoped to have aerial and street-level photos taken across about four square miles of the city this winter using infrared cameras that would show heat loss in the city homes.

Officials planned on sharing the photos and analysis with homeowners, and were hoping the findings would increase enrollment in efficiency programs and also create business opportunities.

But, the project hit a snag when the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts raised concerns that the infrared cameras would reveal information about what’s going on inside the homes. Sagewell’s cameras can take up to 20,000 images of homes per day. (read more)

France, Britain say NATO must step up Libya bombing

France and Britain, who first launched air attacks on Libya in coalition with the United States, Tuesday criticized NATO'S bombing campaign, saying it must do more to stop Muammar Gaddafi bombarding civilians.

NATO took over air operations from the three nations on March 31 but heavy government bombardment of the besieged western city of Misrata has continued unabated with hundreds of civilians reported killed.

The criticism by London and Paris followed new shelling of Misrata Monday and the collapse of an African Union peace initiative.

Echoing rebel complaints, Alain Juppe told France Info radio, "It's not enough."

He said NATO must stop Gaddafi shelling civilians and take out heavy weapons bombarding Misrata. In a barbed reference to the alliance command of the operation, Juppe added: "NATO must play its role fully. It wanted to take the lead in operations, we accepted that."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also said NATO must intensify attacks, calling on other alliance countries to match London's supply of extra ground attack aircraft in Libya. (read more)

Children's Lemonade Stand Robbed

Thirteen-year-old Chelsea Edwards says last weekend was the first time she ever tried her hand at a money-making venture.

The seventh-grader at Feagin Mill Middle School says it wasn't too long though before a couple showed up and soured her first business experience.

"The man bent down and seen the money jar, and he grabbed it," Edwards says, recalling what happened Saturday.

Edwards says a man and woman had approached the stand she was running with her two friends. She says they started asking questions about the price of lemonade.

That's when Edwards says the man reached down and snatched the jar of money she held between her legs.

"He flew in the car, and the girl was running after the car," Edwards says.

Houston County investigators say the couple is 20-year-old Gage Allen Turner and 21-year-old Amber Umbarger, both of Warner Robins.

Lt. John Holland says Turner got away in a white car that could be a 2010 Hyundai Accent.

He says Umbarger was left behind, and deputies quickly arrested her on the scene. (read more)

Faux job numbers could lead to real trouble

Take, for instance, the Labor Department's annual springtime boost in the faux jobs market. While it's nice that the government thinks there is an employment boom coming, this won't be a good development if that boom turns out to be imaginary yet still causes the Federal Reserve to prematurely tighten credit conditions.

Let's start from the beginning.

Early this month Labor reported that 216,000 new jobs were created in March. It was better than Wall Street expected.

But the figure included 117,000 jobs that the department thinks, but can't prove, were created by newly formed companies that might not even exist. In fact, the department is getting so optimistic about the labor market that it increased this imaginary job count from just 81,000 in March, 2010.

As I've been telling you for months, the spring always causes the Labor Department to goose its job-creation numbers. And maybe sometime in the future this process will be warranted. But during 2009 and 2010 these springtime assumptions -- which are officially called the Birth/Death Model by Labor -- led to major errors in the annual job count.

The next three months should be doozies. In April 2010, the Labor Department guessed that 188,000 jobs were created by these newly formed, maybe nonexistent companies; last May's total job number was jacked up by a 215,000 guess, and June got an artificial boost of 147,000 jobs. (read more)

West Texas becomes ever more lonely as population drops

Jacob Harrison did what he thought kids from rural West Texas are supposed to do. He went away to college and didn't look back. But after working in Central Texas for a while, he called home with a confession.

"There are too many trees," he said. "You can't see the sky."

Harrison, now 26, is back in Winkler County, drawn by a job in the aptly named community of Notrees.

But he is in the minority. The 2010 Census confirmed what anyone passing through the scrublands of West Texas already knew: People are leaving, and no one is taking their place, even with oil at more than $100 a barrel. The people who remain often drive an hour or more to visit a doctor, buy a pair of jeans or see a movie.

So you might wonder why anyone is still there, in this place where natural beauty is defined by dry creek beds and scraggly mesquite, where public transit is a school bus and Starbucks is a punch line.

"The greatest sunsets. The stars are just right there. You hear the coyotes howling," says Billy Burt Hopper, sheriff of Loving County, home to 82 people and the least-populated county in the United States.

"It's the last frontier."

Texas recorded the largest population growth in the nation over the past decade, adding 4.5 million people for a total of 25.1 million. But 79 of its 254 counties lost people, all but a handful of them west of Interstate 35. Even more would have lost population if not for the decade's phenomenal Latino growth; the number of Anglos declined in 162 Texas counties, including much of West Texas and the Panhandle. (read more)

California, Country Facing ‘Regime Crisis’ Similar To The Civil War: Jerry Brown

While Washington averted a government shutdown this week, California Governor Jerry Brown continues with his budget battles.

The governor may feel like he’s in a recurring nightmare these days. Everywhere he turns with a proposed budget fix it gets shot down.

“If we don’t get taxes, if we don’t get cuts, we’re gonna have a hard time balancing the budget,” Brown said. “Many of the Republicans told me, ‘We’re not taxing and we’re not cutting. It’s your job — you’re the governor.’”

But Republicans who show up to protest at many of the governor’s events these days say it’s Brown who’s not living up to his words.

“Fix it, Governor Brown, and I’ll be the first person that would be more than happy to give you money,” said Robert Ledbetter, who was protesting outside one of Brown’s events.

California Republican Party Vice Chair Steven Baric says Brown is not showing he’s much of a leader.

“He promised he would show true leadership and he’s failing to do that. And if he wants to show true leadership let’s have true pension reform,” Baric said. (read more)

Egypt Army crackdown continues: Rights groups condemn Egypt blogger jail sentence

The sentencing of a blogger to jail for criticizing Egypt's army has drawn a chorus of objections from rights groups, who say the country's ruling military council is drawing red lines around free speech.

Maikel Nabil, 26, was taken from his home in Cairo by five military officers early on March 28 and charged with insulting the military establishment and "spreading false information," New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

Nabil's lawyers were told the judge would rule on Tuesday but discovered he had already been sentenced in their absence on Sunday, HRW cited defense lawyer Adel Ramadan as saying.

"Maikel Nabil's three-year sentence may be the worst strike against free expression in Egypt since the Mubarak government jailed the first blogger for four years in 2007," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW. He urged the army to drop all the charges and release Nabil immediately.

Activists suspect anything from hundreds to thousands of Egyptians are being held and tried before military courts behind closed doors after President Hosni Mubarak's ousting on February 11.

"The methods used by the Egyptian military do not seem to have evolved since Hosni Mubarak's fall," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-Francois Julliard.

"A civilian should not be tried by a military court. This is not the way things are done in the democratic society to which Egyptians aspire," he added. (read more)

IMF cuts economic forecasts for U.S. -- Things aren't looking good for America

The global recovery is moving at two speeds, with emerging countries like China still expanding rapidly as advanced economies like the United States grow at a snail's pace.

"The pace of activity remains geographically uneven, with employment lagging," the International Monetary Fund said in the first two chapters of its World Economic Outlook, released Monday.

Overall, the IMF kept its forecast for worldwide economic growth unchanged at 4.8%, but lowered its estimates slightly for many of the world's largest developed countries.

Citing weak real estate markets and high unemployment, the IMF cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth to 2.8% this year, down from the 3% rate it predicted just three months ago. The IMF also lowered forecasts for the United Kingdom and Japan. (read more)

Guess Who’s Buying Silver NOW? -- The US Government, and they're even screwing that up

OK, so the JPM vault that contains a whopping 30,844 ounces of silver (about two hours worth, given the torrid pace at which JPM delivers) was just approved by the COMEX in March. JPM’s probably got lots of silver stashed all over the place, right? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is for sure, JPMs customer(s) are some of the worst investors the world has ever seen. After selling almost 5 million ounces in the first three months of 2011, they’re buying now. That’s right, in March alone they delivered 374 contracts (@ 5000 ounces each) and bought… So far in April, they’ve bought 92 contracts and sold, you guessed it….the goose egg. And yes, they are indeed buying at new highs (See here and here). How bad would it suck if we learned that this clueless market participant was in fact the US government?

If you’d like to track the hilarity yourself, here’s links for the daily, MTD and YTD action on the COMEX. Daily updates on COMEX silver stocks can be found here (xls format). (read more)

Timothy McVeigh: Why I Bombed the OKC Federal Building -- Is there something to be learned in the darkness? Have we been duped?

Oklahoma City bombing mystery -- what happened to the 2nd and 3rd bombs? What really happened that day?

Chevy Recalls Cruze After A Steering Wheel Falls Off -- New Corporation, Same Garbage

Imagine turning your car’s steering wheel, or giving it a gentle tug, and having it break away from the steering column. Now you’re speeding along holding the suddenly useless wheel.

It sounds like a vision from a cartoon, or every driver’s nightmare. And it happened to at least one driver of a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze compact car last month, and General Motors Corp. is recalling 2,100 of the cars as a result.

While the recall affects a relatively small number of vehicles, it is an unpleasant development for Chevrolet, which has been riding high on the success of its new small car. Chevrolet sold 50,205 Cruzes through the end of March. That’s well short of the 76,821 units Toyota sold of the Cruze’s main rival, the Corolla, but it is ahead of the 37,379 Cobalts Chevy sold in the same period. The Cruze replaced the Cobalt and is supposed to be a departure from that uninspired model. (read more)

Iran calls Syrian protests "a Western plot"

Anti-government demonstrations in Syria are part of a plot by the West to undermine a government that supports "resistance" in the Middle East, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

Unlike uprisings in other parts of the Arab world which Tehran has applauded as an "Islamic awakening" of peoples against Western-backed oppressors, the protests in Syria have received little media attention or official comment in Iran.

But at his weekly news conference on Tuesday, Iran's spokesman said the protests in Syria over the last three weeks, in which 200 people died, according to a rights group, were not a spontaneous event but the result of foreign interference. Syria is Iran's closest Arab ally.

"What is happening in Syria is a mischievous act of Westerners, particularly Americans and Zionists," Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.

"With the help of their media they are trying to create an artificial protest somewhere or exaggerate a demand of a small group and present it, instead, as the demand and will of the majority."

"No one should be fooled by this trick that Americans are playing." (read more)

Pakistan Demands to U.S. It Must Sharply Cut C.I.A. Activities -- And Stop Drone Strikes

Pakistan has demanded that the United States steeply reduce the number of Central Intelligence Agency operatives and Special Operations forces working in Pakistan, and that it halt C.I.A. drone strikes aimed at militants in northwest Pakistan. The request was a sign of the near collapse of cooperation between the two testy allies.

Pakistani and American officials said in interviews that the demand that the United States scale back its presence was the immediate fallout from the arrest in Pakistan of Raymond A. Davis, a C.I.A. security officer who killed two men in January during what he said was an attempt to rob him.

In all, about 335 American personnel — C.I.A. officers and contractors and Special Operations forces — were being asked to leave the country, said a Pakistani official closely involved in the decision. (read more)

At one time, $5 per gallon gas seemed like a far-fetched idea, but that is no longer the case.

As of Monday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Chicago area is $4.11, compared with $3.71 a month ago, and about $3.10 a gallon at this time a year ago.

Some experts say $5 per gallon gas is possible by Memorial Day-or sometime in summer. Others caution that reaching that mark is unlikely over the next six weeks. In Chicago, the prices keep rising to near-record levels–with no relief in sight.

Right now, oil markets are so skittish that records set in 2008 could fall. (read more)

TSA still groping kids ...and drug testing them

20 Reasons Why The U.S. Economy Is Dying And Is Simply Not Going To Recover

Even though the U.S. financial system nearly experienced a total meltdown in late 2008, the truth is that most Americans simply have no idea what is happening to the U.S. economy. Most people seem to think that the nasty little recession that we have just been through is almost over and that we will be experiencing another time of economic growth and prosperity very shortly.

But this time around that is not the case. The reality is that we are being sucked into an economic black hole from which the U.S. economy will never fully recover.

The problem is debt. Collectively, the U.S. government, the state governments, corporate America and American consumers have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world. Our massive debt binge has financed our tremendous growth and prosperity over the last couple of decades, but now the day of reckoning is here.

And it is going to be painful. (read more)

40 Salads That Can Kill You: Yes, 40 Salads That Can Kill You -- Has Society gone mad?

For those keeping summer fit via leafy greens, be warned: From Applebee's pecan chicken salad (1,340 calories) to a Jason's Deli monster (2,000 calories), VIEW OUR GALLERY of 40 dangerous salads.

It’s the default summer pick on any menu for those trying to keep swimsuit fit: a nice, healthy salad. The very word—“salad”—connotes wellness. But while the lettuce-and-fresh-vegetable fundamentals of a traditional American salad remain ideal parts of a sensible diet, America’s restaurants often bury them beneath loads of diet-sabotaging sustenance.

In many national eateries, fatty meats, cheeses, and sauces overpower the veggies. With the sour cream and fried taco shell that accompanies a Mexican salad or the fried chicken and cheese atop the chicken-tender salad, many choices from the salad side of the menu contain more calories, unhealthy carbs, and artery-clogging saturated fat as the hamburger offerings. (read more)

Poster note: Seriously, salads that can kill you? Healthy eating is important, but of all the things out to get us these days, and all the changes occurring int he world, salads are the things being focused on?

Real Numbers: Gold Set to Skyrocket, US Budget Gone Nuclear

Thinking back to the following post from April 5th:

Expect the Round Number Effect at $1500 for gold, but less severe than the battle at $1400. Angel $1650 is quickly coming into focus.

If we have learned one thing, it is not to get short term focused on this market. Stay focused on what is important and not the noise.

Think for a moment if Armstrong and Alf are right on gold. That would mean the following prices are coming:


See things in perspective. The close/open government game was a political show.

Look at what it all really means in the big picture. 33 billion is nothing more than crumbs. (read more)

Equity Valuations (Stocks) Forming Second Biggest Bubble in US History

Despite the terrible economic performance of the past ten years (both in terms of the markets and the general economy), equity valuations are now approaching the second largest bubble in United States history, surpassed only by the technology bubble. Both the cause and the potential ramifications of this development are astounding.
Exhibit one: The cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings ratio, or CAPE.

This is not a “fad” valuation metric. CAPE dates back to 1871, offering 140 years worth of data, during which time the mean price-to-earnings ratio is 16. According to Yale University’s Dr. Robert Shiller, the market is now 41% overvalued according to this valuation metric. The only time the markets have been more overvalued was a few brief months in 1929 and the tech bubble. (read more)

Detailed Commentary on the Current Price of Oil

Political tensions in the Middle East once again remind us of the fragile dependency of the Western nations on imported petroleum, which have driven the price of a barrel of crude oil to above $100, as was the case immediately prior to the world economic crash in 2008. British motorists and owners of haulage companies flinch nervously in the face of rising prices at the pumps for fuel, feared to reach £2.00/litre if events fail to calm down, since supplies of crude oil from Libya, already cut by an estimated one million barrels per day from 1.6 million bpd, may fall to zero, leading to shortages and further hikes in oil and consequently fuel prices. Saudi Arabia has “promised” to make-up the difference by pumping out more oil, but there is doubt as to whether they have in fact sufficient spare capacity to do so, certainly not the light crude which is exported to Europe for refining into petrol.

There is, for that matter, some controversy over how much oil the kingdom does have in its reserves in total, which are thought might be far less than is claimed.1 The latter aspect is critical to the timing of “peak oil”, a phenomenon2 proposed as long ago as 1956 by Dr M. King Hubbert, a petroleum geologist working for the Shell Development Company. Hubbert’s predictions were made for the lower-48 states of America, that U.S. oil production would peak in either 1965 or 1970, depending on the volume of the reserve that he estimated, i.e. the total amount of oil that would ultimately be recovered given prevailing technology and oil-prices. Western civilization has been built literally on sand – underpinned by the desert sands under which most of the petroleum lies. Our position is thus precarious, resting upon an ability to import ever greater quantities of crude oil, to furnish economic and material growth. In the case of the lower-48 U.S. fields, oil production did indeed peak in 1970, as Hubbert predicted, and by application of similar reasoning the peak in world oil production can be expected to occur close to the present time. (read more)

California Seizing Property from Safety Deposit Boxes: Outrageous

As reported by ABC News, what started out as a program to hold unclaimed property, such as the contents of safety deposit boxes owned by people who have moved away without a forwarding address, has gone wildly out of control. The program is now using the flimsiest of excuses to drill safe deposit boxes and sell the contents, often for below-market value, the proceeds going to the state’s general revenue.

In a case reminiscent of the Monty Python organ donor skit (or perhaps the movie Repo Men), a San Francisco woman’s jewelry appraised at over $80,000 was sold even though she lived a few blocks from her bank, had not moved, and was current on all of her box rental feeds. In another case, a man’s retirement savings consisting of $4 million of stock certificates were sold; and “A Sacramento family lost out on railroad land rights their ancestors had owned for generations”.

The program began life as a place to hold unclaimed property for up to 5 years while the state made attempts to locate the owner. Both the holding period and the efforts to locate the owner have diminished over time. ABC news indicates that there have been internal debates within the state on these changes, with an internal memo objecting to efforts to to find the owners on the grounds that “It could well result in additional claims of monies that would otherwise flow into the general fund.” (read more)

American Ghost Towns of the 21st Century

There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, which have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.

Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended.

Palm Coast, Fla., Las Vegas and Cape Coral, Fla., were all among the former high fliers. Many large counties which have 20% or higher occupancy rates are in these same regions. Lee County, Fla., Yuma County, Ariz., Mohave County, Ariz., and Osceola, Fla., each had a precipitous drop in home prices and increases in vacancy rates as homebuyers disappeared when the economy went south.

Data from states and large metropolitan areas do not tell the story of how much the real estate disaster has turned certain areas in the country into ghost towns. Some of the affected regions are tourist destinations, but much of that traffic has disappeared as the recession has caused people to sell or desert vacation homes and delay trips for leisure. This makes these areas particularly desolate when tourists are not around.

The future of these areas is grim. Our research showed that many have sharply declining tax bases which have caused budget cuts. Forecasts are calling for the fiscal noose to tighten on them even tighter. (See all the ghost towns and read more here)

"There is no safe area to be in Japan": Tokyo family seeks refuge in Toronto

It was a chance encounter that led Naoto Karasawa's family from the shaky ground of Tokyo to the firm soil of Toronto.

At a business conference in the days after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on March 11, Karasawa met a Toronto businessman who insisted Karasawa's family come to stay with him until Japan recovered from the disaster.

"He decided to invite me to come here on the last day [of the conference]," said Karasawa. "I told him I had to talk to my wife, of course."

The Torontonian, who doesn't want to be identified, persisted with his offer, chatting with Karasawa via Skype and email in the following days, until finally Karasawa agreed.

"He strongly suggested to me to come to Toronto to escape from Japan for certain time," said Karasawa. "He wanted to help somebody from Japan from the bottom of his heart."

Last Friday, Karasawa, his wife, Nahomi, and their two sons — Leo, 12, and Dan, 8 — arrived in Toronto for what they hope will be a six-month stay. For now, they are staying at a downtown hotel while the Toronto man readies several free rooms in his home in the city's west end.

Though his Tokyo home is far from the hard-hit Tohoku region and considered safe, Karasawa found the leaking radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant and the hundreds of aftershocks nerve-wracking. Small amounts of radiation were detected in the air and water supply even as far as Tokyo.

"In my opinion, there is no area to be safe in Japan," he said. (read more)

Canada Post helped scammers get victim's new address

The daughter of an elderly mail scam victim is complaining to the federal privacy commissioner about Canada Post — after it sold her dad's new address to mail sorting companies — which then provided it to the same marketers who had scammed him.

"They are a Crown corporation and they should not under any circumstances be selling personal information," said Lorraine Funk of Swift Current, Sask.

Funk said her 84-year-old father, Peter Wieler, had fallen victim in recent years to mail-in contests and other schemes. She said he was on several customer mailing lists, and would get piles of letters in the mail encouraging him to send money and win a prize.

"He had gotten involved in a lot of the junk mail where you are sending away money and getting back little crappy prizes, and he thought he was going to win a lot of money," said Funk.

She estimates her father — a retired farmer on a fixed income — was taken for about $30,000.

"And at one point, we had the RCMP involved. He's got all kinds of junkie trinkets to show for it but he doesn't have any money to show for it." (read more)

What if the Soviet Union had beaten the US to the Moon?

The Americans won the race to the Moon when Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface in 1969.

That single act trumped the Soviet achievement of sending the first man into space eight years earlier. But what might have happened if the Soviet Union had got to the Moon first?

The first manned lunar landing was a triumph for Nasa, and when the Americans won the Space Race, they also sounded its death knell.

The Apollo lunar programme continued until 1972 and 12 astronauts touched down on the Moon's surface. But US TV networks quickly bored of the Moon landings. When politicians lost interest, the Apollo programme was scrapped.

Of course, we have not been back since. Instead, human exploration of space has been confined to low-Earth orbit.

Piers Bizony, who has co-written a biography of Gagarin called Starman, says: "The Russians were in the business of conquering space... The Americans felt they were in a race and the nature of a race is that once you think you've won it you tend to stop running."

Had the Soviets got to the Moon first it is unlikely that they would have abandoned it as swiftly as the Americans.

Not being a democracy may have enabled the USSR to spend money and marshal the talents of their population in a way that America could not.

Space historian Dr Christopher Riley believes that not only would the Soviet Union have continued with Moon missions, but they might also have built lunar bases.

And he believes that the Americans would have been compelled to do the same and even try to continue to outdo their communist rivals. (read more)

Japan earthquake: Miyagi Prefecture one month after devastating quake and tsunami -- it will take a decade to rebuild

The Japanese government says it will take a decade to rebuild the country's earthquake disaster areas.

Officials in the worst affected area of Miyagi Prefecture, in north east Japan, say many cities and towns are beyond repair.

Miyagi Prefecture, which includes the city of Sendai, was worst hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The government says new housing and industrial zones will not be completed until 2020.

New anti-tsunami measures will be drawn-up to encourage better building practices, disaster planning and support for victims. (Source)

Faces of the revolution: 30 pictures of Libyan rebels

Video footage captures moment passenger plane was spun after being hit by A380 jumbo jet - 12th Apr 2011

Video footage has emerged from the moment an A380 jumbo jet collided with a smaller passenger plane at JFK airport, causing it to spin violently.

The amateur recording captures the moment the wing of the 525-seat Air France plane smashed into the tail fin of the Comair CRJ carrying 62 passengers forcing it to turn by 90 degrees.

Eye witnesses said they saw damage to one of the wings of the A380 which has been taken in for inspection.

Air accident investigators have launched an inquiry to find out how the incident occurred at 8.09pm local time.

No passengers or crew were reported to have been injured in the crash, but some onboard described feeling the impact. Read More

Meet Malee, the world's tallest teen... and even at 6ft 10in she could still be Growing - 12th Apr 2011

Towering head and shoulders above her parents, this giant teenager is the tallest in the world at a whopping 6ft 10 in and she could still be growing.

Weighing in at 20.5 stone, Malee Duangdee from eastern Thailand knew she was different from a young age, growing much faster than her school friends.

At the age of nine, her mother, Ji, 40, took her to see a doctor because she noticed a difference between her daughter and her friends and she wanted to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with her.

Medics found a brain tumour that was pressing on a nerve. This caused a hormone imbalance which meant she never stopped growing - and now she has to have an injection that costs £2,000 every three months to control her growth.

Her height brought the 19-year-old problems while she was at school and she suffered from bullies and has memories of a lifetime of loneliness.

She said: 'I used to feel like a freak, schoolchildren used to bully me and call me names. But since leaving school I've tried to feel more comfortable with who I am. I've got used to life on my own, but it's hard.' Read More

Sun Dog - Most Amazing Natural Phenomenon In The World - 12th Apr 2011

A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, from Greek parēlion, (παρήλιον), παρά(beside) + ήλιος(sun), "beside the sun"; also called a mock sun) is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun.

Nazi Human Experimentation - Most EVIL HUMAN Experiments - 12th Apr 2011

Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners by the Nazi German regime in its concentration camps mainly in the early 1940s, during World War II and the Holocaust. Prisoners were coerced into participating: they did not willingly volunteer and there was never informed consent. Typically, the experiments resulted in death, disfigurement or permanent disability, and as such can be considered as examples of medical torture. At Auschwitz and other camps, under the direction of Dr. Eduard Wirths, selected inmates were subjected to various hazardous experiments which were supposedly designed to help German military personnel in combat situations, develop new weapons, aid in the recovery of military personnel that had been injured, and to advance the racial ideology backed by the Third Reich.

Experiments on twins
1943 - 1944
Experiments on twin children in concentration camps were created to show the similarities and differences in the genetics of twins, as well as to see if the human body can be unnaturally manipulated. The central leader of the experiments was Josef Mengele, who from 1943 to 1944 performed experiments on nearly 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins at Auschwitz. Only 100 individuals survived these studies.

Bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation experiments
1942 - 1943
From about September 1942 to about December 1943 experiments were conducted at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to study bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration, and bone transplantation from one person to another. Sections of bones, muscles, and nerves were removed from the subjects without use of anesthesia.

Head injury experiments
In the summer of 1942 in Baranowicze, Poland, experiments were conducted in a small building behind the private home occupied by Nazi SD Security Service officer Dr. Wichtmann, in which "a young boy of eleven or twelve [was] strapped to a chair so he could not move. Above him was a mechanized hammer that every few seconds came down upon his head."

Mustard gas experiments 1939 - 1945
At various times between September 1939 and April 1945, many experiments were conducted at Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, and other camps to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by mustard gas. Test subjects were deliberately exposed to mustard gas and other vesicants (e.g. Lewisite) which inflicted severe chemical burns. The victims' wounds were then tested to find the most effective treatment for the mustard gas burns.

Sterilization experiments
1941 -1945
From about March 1941 to about January 1945, sterilization experiments were conducted at Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and other places by Dr. Carl Clauberg. The purpose of these experiments was to develop a method of sterilization which would be suitable for sterilizing millions of people with a minimum of time and effort. These experiments were conducted by means of X-ray, surgery and various drugs. Thousands of victims were sterilized. Aside from its experimentation, the Nazi government sterilized around 400,000 individuals as part of its compulsory sterilization program. Intravenous injections of solutions speculated to contain iodine and silver nitrate were successful, but had unwanted side effects such as vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, and cervical cancer.

Experiments with poison
1943 -1944
Somewhere between December 1943 and October 1944, experiments were conducted at Buchenwald to investigate the effect of various poisons. The poisons were secretly administered to experimental subjects in their food. The victims died as a result of the poison or were killed immediately in order to permit autopsies. In September 1944, experimental subjects were shot with poisonous bullets, suffered torture and often died.

Many of the subjects died as a result of the experiments conducted by the Nazis, while many others were murdered after the tests were completed to study the effect post mortem.Those who survived were often left mutilated, suffering permanent disability, weakened bodies, and mental distress.

Toddler dies after being left in sweltering car by doctor mother who forgot to drop him off at day care - 12th Apr 2011

A toddler died after he was left in the back seat of a sweltering car all morning while his gynaecologist mother went to work.

Dr Cynthia Galinaltis left her 21-month-old son strapped in a child seat for hours while she went to work at a medical office in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.

She apparently forgot to drop the boy off at nursery and found him in the car in the mid-afternoon, according to police in the U.S. Caribbean territory.

The toddler was rushed to hospital, where he was declared dead.

Authorities did not say if the mother would face charges. A phone call to Dr Galinaltis's office went unanswered.

The boy was left in the car park of the busy shopping centre, where Dr Galinaltis has an office, last week.

Such deaths have risen since the Nineties, when a change in U.S. laws required that small children be strapped into rear-facing child seats in the back of vehicles to avoid air-bag injuries, according to Kansas-based organization Kids and Cars.

Experts say leaving a child in a hot car is not always a sign of negligence, but is often the tragic result of a distracted or sleep-deprived brain, or a sudden change in routine. Read More

Note: I am sick and tired of hearing about these cases of neglect, how long will this be allowed to continue in our society, where it's acceptable to neglect babies.

Time and time again you hear of parents leaving their babies while they go out to work, down the pub/restaurant and in some cases even go on holiday. When will justice be on the side of the child?

Children and babies are dying or coming to serious physical and mental harm at the hands of their parents, they did not choose to be born, do they not have the right to be protected?

And to that so called expert in the article above, why don’t you go and sit in a car with windows closed no air conditioning see how you feel, "not neglect" come on!

Could aliens be living on planets deep within black holes? - 12th Apr 2011

  • Could aliens be living on planets deep within black holes?
At the centre of some black holes is 'an area where space and time exists'

Colonies of aliens living on planets within black holes may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

Some black holes have a complex internal structure that allows photons, particles and planets to orbit a central singularity, according to one scientist.

A singularity is the region in a black hole when space and time become infinite.

However, Professor Vyacheslav Dokuchaev claims that at the centre of certain black holes, and under the right conditions, is an area where the fabric of space and time exists once more.

If a charged and rotating black hole is large enough, he said, it can weaken the tidal forces that are beyond the event horizon - the point where nothing, not even light, can escape a black hole's gravity.

Scientists have long known that photons can survive in stable periodic orbits inside such charged black holes.

However Professor Dokuchaev said that a black hole's inner Cauchy horizon - the area where dimensions switch back again - can also accommodate particles and even planets.

These manage to exist without ever getting sucked all the way into the black hole and would derive light and heat from the orbiting protons and from the energy of the central singularity, he said. Read More

Japan nuclear disaster officially declared to be of Chernobyl level -- Japanese PM appeals for calm

Japan's prime minister vowed to wind down the month-long crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant "at all costs" Tuesday after his government officially designated the situation there a Chernobyl-level nuclear accident.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he wants the plant's owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, to produce a timetable for bringing the disaster to an end, "and they will be doing that soon." And a day after his government warned that thousands more people would need to be evacuated from the surrounding region, he pledged to provide jobs, housing and education for those uprooted by the accident.

"The government will not forsake the people who are suffering because of the nuclear accident," Kan told reporters in a Tuesday evening news conference.

Japan declared the Fukushima Daiichi crisis a Level 7 event on the international system for rating nuclear accidents Tuesday, putting it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union. The top-scale designation was based on the massive release of radioactivity since the accident began, particularly in its early days, and classifies Fukushima Daiichi a "major accident" requiring long-term countermeasures. (read more)

Ivory Coast strongman Gbagbo offered U.S. professorship to end crisis -- No, really, they want him to teach to America's youth

Laurent Gbagbo was offered the chance to teach at Boston University in the United States if he would renounce his claim to be president of Ivory Coast and end the country's civil war, sources familiar with the negotiations told CNN Tuesday.

The United States gave permission for him to lecture at the university and teach anywhere else in the country as a visiting professor, a senior African diplomat told CNN Tuesday.

Boston University, which has a center for the study of African presidential politics, denied that it ever made an offer to give Gbagbo a position.

African Presidential Archives and Research Center "positions are designated for former heads of state that leave a country in a democratic fashion," said university spokesman Tom Testa, saying it was "never even a consideration."

But a senior American diplomat confirmed that a Boston University position had been part of the offer, and a spokesman for U.S. Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and friend of Gbagbo, said the State Department had asked him to ask if the self-declared president would accept a position there. (read more)

Fourth Television personality speaks gibberish on-air: Magnetic energy proven to disrupt brain activity -- what's going on? (Reader contributed)

Breaking up Wall Street banks 'almost impossible'

Paul Volcker, the former head of the Federal Reserve and a driving force behind financial reform in the US, has said that the task of splitting up Wall Street banks now seems "almost impossible".

"I don't like these banks being as big as they are," Mr Volcker told a conference at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire on Sunday night. But "to break them up to the point where the remaining units would be small enough so you wouldn't worry about their failure seems almost impossible," he said.

The concern about the effectiveness of the reform of Wall Street since the crisis from Mr Volcker, who was chairman of the Fed for almost a decade from 1979 and, more recently, an adviser to President Barack Obama, comes as the Independent Banking Commission (ICB) today delivered its report on the future structure of British banks.

Regulators in the world's financial capitals are wrestling with how to make the financial system safer without prompting banks to leave for jurisdictions where regulation is lighter.

The former Fed chairman's concern over the failure to protect taxpayers and the wider economy from the potential failure of large banks was echoed by George Soros, the billionaire financier and philanthropist.

"I certainly consider they haven't addressed the problem correctly," Mr Soros said. "The whole issue of living wills and resolution authorities is not convincing." (read more)

Japan's economy stalls as another earthquake hits

A month after the earthquake in Japan, the country's economy has stalled in seven out of nine regions, according to the Bank of Japan.

Masaaki Shirakawa, the central bank's governor, said that while the earthquake would not bring down the country's already debt-ridden financial system, there was "strong downward pressure" on the economy.

Shortly before he spoke, another magnitude 7.4 earthquake rattled the Japan's north coast and shook buildings in Tokyo. The quake sent jitters through world markets, with the price of oil dropping and the yen rising against its most-traded currencies.

The Nikkei 225 declined 0.5pc to 9,719.7 points on the lowest volume of trading in three months after Citigroup downgraded Japan's auto sector from "buy" to "sell". Toyota, Honda and Nissan all saw their shares fall more than 2pc in value. The Nikkei has fallen 6.4pc in the month since the earthquake struck.

The Bank of Japan also marked out the auto sector as an area of particular weakness, as it downgraded its economic forecasts for seven regions. "Cautious views about the economy have become widespread in many regions, mainly reflecting setbacks in production following the Great East Japan Earthquake," said the central bank's regional economic report for April.

The widespread weakness was "mainly due to damage to production facilities, supply-chain disruptions, and constraints on the use of electricity," the report added. In order to provide liquidity, the central bank has doubled the amount of its asset purchase funds to 10 trillion yen (£72bn) and is to launch an emergency 1 trillion yen cheap loan programme to support reconstruction. (read more)

Huge UFO approaches ISS -- or is it just the Moon? Help us find out...

Multiple silent, hovering UFOs -- Pittsburg, PA -- March 29, 2011

Two words: "Meat Glue" -- Industry-wide secret that's disgusting, and very dangerous

Plastic surgery rebounds as job seekers try to look younger -- desperation in desperate times?

As the U.S. economy gets a lift, so do faces.

More than 13 million cosmetic plastic surgeries were performed in the U.S. during 2010, up 5% from 2009, according the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or ASPS.

Phillip Haeck, president of the ASPS, has noticed a sharp increase in plastic surgeries in his own practice. And much of his business is coming from men over the age of 55 who are concerned about keeping their jobs.

"It's very, very important that you hang on to your job in this market and men seem more willing to do things to keep that job," Haeck said.

Scott Livingston, 57, opted for blepharoplasty, or an eye lift, in December after considering it for several years. "I wanted to be competitive with the next generation in my field," the financial planner said. "You have to be the very best you can now, more so than ever and your image has a factor." (read more)

Canada's demographic time bomb

Lost in the political drama over the 2011 federal budget was a spending line item that starkly illustrates the fiscal squeeze posed by the aging population — an issue yet to be addressed during the 41st election campaign.

As laid out in the budget, government spending on elderly benefits is set to surge 30% from 2010-11 levels to 2015-16, with annual increases of between 4.9% and 5.8%, well above projected rates of Canadian economic growth.

Dig a bit deeper and the fiscal noose around Ottawa gets tighter. During the next five years it is expected the federal government, of whichever political stripe, will need to find an extra $2-billion each year either through program cuts or tax increases to finance payments through the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement schemes. From 2015 to 2020, that figure climbs to $3-billion each and every year.

“That money has to come from somewhere,” says Kevin Milligan, economics professor at University of British Columbia, who did the shortfall calculations based on actuarial reports compiled by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. (read more)

Yikes: Only 2 U.S. Nuclear Sites Are In Compliance With Federal Fire Regulations

Only two U.S. nuclear sites are in compliance with federal fire regulations. How confident can we be that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has things firmly in hand?

On an ironically clear and placid day in August 2007, a three story tall cooling tower at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant collapsed, goring a massive hole in the center of the structure and spewing asbestos, rotting wood, plastic panels, and thousands of gallons of water onto the bank of the Connecticut river. It later emerged that several employees had expressed concerns about the tower, and that, in the days before the collapse, others heard odd noises from within the structure.

Plant administrators refused to allow reporters onto the property for three days. They insisted the tower was of minimal import, and continued running the reactor.

Nine days after the collapse, Yankee was forced to make a full emergency shut down – known as a SCRAM at boiling water reactors, like those at Japan’s crippled Fukushima plant and Vermont’s Yankee - after a critical reactor valve failed. The proper lubrication had been neglected. (read more)

Commentary: Saudi nukes in gulf

Overlooked in the welter of fast moving events throughout the Arab world was a Saudi Arabian call for transforming the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council into "an entity identical to the (27-nation) European Union" -- plus nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia has grown impatient "Waiting for Godot." Samuel Beckett's famous play depicts the "meaninglessness of life," with its repetitive plot, where nothing much happens. In Saudi eyes, that's Iran and its secret nuclear weapons program. And eye-drop Western sanctions have done zip to deter Iran's aging theocrats.

Iran began nuclear research with French assistance in the 1960s. In 1972, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi told this reporter that Iran would one day be a nuclear power. Britain had relinquished all its geopolitical responsibilities east of Suez in 1968. (read more)

UK accused of being a 'transit lounge for war criminals' as it emerges Musa Kusa is travelling to Qatar for talks - 12th Apr 2011


The Coalition was accused of turning Britain into a 'transit lounge for alleged war criminals' today after it was disclosed that Libyan defector Musa Kusa had been allowed to leave the country.

Muammar Gaddafi's former right-hand man is travelling to Qatar ahead of a meeting of the international alliance's Contact Group tomorrow.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said Kusa was 'free to come and go', and would be seeing representatives of the Doha government and others to 'offer insights' on the situation.

But Tory MP Robert Halfon, whose family fled Libya when Gaddafi took power, insisted the coalition was repeating mistakes made with Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

'Many people will be very anxious that Britain is being used as a transit lounge for alleged war criminals,' Mr Halfon said.

'We should learn from the release of Megrahi that we should not release those people associated with Gaddafi or let them out of the UK until they have faced the full course of the law, whether in British courts or international courts.' Read More