Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"RIP Euro, 1999-2011"

Reader contributed.

Libya: What the Media Is Not Reporting (Such as NATO bombing rebel columns as they try to rejoin Gaddafi's forces in Tripoli)

Reader contributed.

Chemtrail from the wing nozzel? Just a fuel dump? Are we seeing the chemtrail process in action?

Reader contributed.

Public Funded Propaganda to Push Bad Agenda's: Climate Change & Carbon Tax

Reader contributed.

Syrian Govt: Extremists Infiltrate Protests

Armed Islamic militants have infiltrated Syria's legitimate pro-democracy movement, a government spokesman has told Sky News.

Faisal Almikdad, vice foreign minister, said "extremists" were responsible for hundreds of deaths in the northern town of Jisr al Shughour.

He said they had killed 123 security personnel in the town, and 300 in total, and injured 3,000 more.

A military spokesman has told Sky's Robert Nisbet that the aim of the gangs is to create an Islamic caliphate in Syria and overthrow the government.

Mr Almikdad said: "We have said repeatedly we shall accept peaceful demonstrations... but when these demonstrations are manipulated by people who are well-armed and then use these demonstrations to kill others, then there is a problem."

He denied claims the government was responsible for killing hundreds of protesters. (read more)

George Soros says it is 'probably inevitable' a country will leave euro

Billionaire investor George Soros has said it is "probably inevitable" a country will eventually exit the eurozone, calling for policymakers to come up with a plan B that could rescue the European Union from looming economic collapse.

Mr Soros, famous for making $1bn by betting against the British pound in 1992, did not name any country he thought might exit the currency, but speculation is mounting about the fate of Greece as its politicians struggle to agree more austerity measures demanded by international lenders as the price for staving off bankruptcy.

Mr Soros reiterated his view in a panel discussion in Vienna that the euro had a basic flaw from the start in that the currency was not backed by political union or a joint treasury.

"The euro had no provision for correction. There was no arrangement for any country leaving the euro, which in the current circumstances is probably inevitable," he said.

While he called survival of the European Union a "vital interest to all", he said the EU needed structural changes to halt a process of disintegration.

"There is no plan B at the moment. That is why the authorities are sticking to the status quo and insisting on preserving the existing arrangements instead of recognising there are fundamental flaws that need to be corrected." (read more)

Bank of England urged to raise rates soon to avoid repeat crisis

The Bank of England has been urged to raise rates sooner and faster than expected by the world's central bank to retain its inflation-fighting credibility and "ward off" another financial crisis.

"Controlling inflation in the long term will require policy tightening. And with short-term inflation up, that means a quicker normalisation of policy rates," the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bankers' central bank, said in its annual report.

BIS singles out the Bank, noting: "In the UK, CPI has exceeded the Bank of England's 2pc target since December 2009, reaching a peak of 4.5pc. As yet, there has been no move by the Monetary Policy Committee, but one wonders how long its current policy can be sustained."

The market defines "normal" rates as about 5pc, but UK rates have been at a historic low of 0.5pc since March 2009 and are now not expected to rise for another 12 months.

BIS said such "extremely accommodative" policies are threatening to embed high inflation in the system, with damaging repercussions for long-term growth. It added that low rates are also jeopardising financial stability by encouraging dangerous risk-taking in the financial sector.

"Tighter global monetary policy is needed in order to contain inflation pressures and ward off financial stability risks," it said. "Central banks may have to be prepared to raise rates at a faster pace than in previous tightening episodes." (read more)

UK war dead to be driven down side streets to avoid the public

The bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan will no longer be honoured with a public parade but will be driven through back streets to avoid upset, it has emerged.

For several years, the flag-draped coffins of fallen servicemen and women have been met by large crowds who line the streets to pay their respects as they return to British soil.

But repatriation flights are to be diverted and will no longer be flown back to RAF Lyneham and through the small Wiltshire town of Royal Wootton Bassett, where they were saluted come rain or shine.

Instead, they will arrive back to RAF Brize Norton, where they will be driven through the back gate and then down side roads, neatly avoiding the nearby town of Carterton, as they make their way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Andrew Robathan, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, admitted that the decision to avoid public scenes of emotion had been taken deliberately.

“The side gate was seen by the Ministry of Defence and the police as the most appropriate way to take out future corteges,” he told Radio Oxford. (read more)

E. coli strain behind German deaths resurfaces in France

The strain of E. coli blamed for 46 deaths in Germany appears to have resurfaced in France, the French Ministry of Health said.

The new outbreak has sickened eight people, who went to two hospitals in Bordeaux, authorities said.

Officials interviewed seven of them, all of whom reported having attended an open house at a children's recreation center. Six of them reported having eaten sprouts during the visit, "particularly used in decoration of a gazpacho," the health ministry said.

Two of the eight patients have hemolytic uremic syndrome. The strain of E. coli isolated from one of them "has the same characteristics as the strain responsible for a large epidemic" of enterohemorrhagic E. coli in Germany over the past several weeks, which has been blamed on sprouts, the ministry said in a statement.

The seeds for the sprouts consumed at the recreation center were planted and grown in France, officials said.

An investigation found the seeds were supplied by a British company, but no definitive link has been established, an official with France's economy ministry said. (read more)

Where Greece goes now, the UK will soon follow as debt dominoes continue following

Last week, the deficit on our Government's annual spending widened yet again, to £143 billion. We cannot avoid a reckoning for ever, warns Christopher Booker.

At last the penny seems to be dropping that the chaos mounting over Greece's problems with the euro is by far the most serious crisis that the great European "project" has ever faced.

As their sad, bewildered faces show whenever they appear on our screens, the EU's leaders have nowhere to turn. They cannot afford to allow Greece to fall out of their beloved euro, which might trigger an international currency crisis, the consequences of which no one can calculate. On the other hand, they cannot afford to continue pouring tens of billions of euros, which will never be repaid, into a basket-case economy. They – and we – are impaled on an impossible hook.

One of the few sources of pleasure in this mess has been to witness the discomfiture of our own homegrown euro-zealots who, a decade or more ago, were obsessively urging Britain to join the lemmings as they set off for that ultimately inevitable cliff. There was no cheerleader louder than the BBC's Today programme, which back in the late 1990s was almost daily wheeling on the likes of Michael Heseltine, Chris Patten and Leon Brittan to argue, unchallenged, that Britain was doomed unless we signed up.

Last week, in a ghostly, forlorn echo of those times, Lord Brittan was interviewed on Today by Evan Davis, himself once a stalwart cheerleader for the cause. A reader has sent me the transcript of a programme from 2003 in which Davis was trumpeting how happy the Greeks were, after years of inflation with the drachma, to be part of a currency which was "stable" and "quite secure". (read more)

Census tyranny filmed in UK: Census "non-compliance agents" read off rights as if police, threaten legal action


Follow up commentary (containing words we can all agree with):

Of course, those who enforce the law don't feel the need to follow it:

Across Mexico: Chasing an impossible dream (Must-see documentary, only 25 min)

Men and women from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua make a beeline to cross the river that forms the border between Guatemala and Mexico. They want to enter Mexico, illegally. But they have another destination in mind. The United States of America.

Each year more than one million illegals flee the poverty of their own countries, and try their luck on this road; a road to what some call "the impossible dream".

On the Mexican side, the military turns a blind eye for a few dollars. The greenback is the illegals' only passport.

To reach the border with Texas, they have to cross the entire Mexican coast. It is a journey of about 4,000km, and one that begins at the Arriaga train station. The freight trains are the only means of transport for the illegals. Thousands take the moving trains every day, regardless of the danger.

Each one tries to find his or her own spot – on the roofs, on the axles between the coaches. There can be as many as 1,000 hitching a ride; a ride that could turn into a trap.

Police stop the trains in the middle of the countryside in order to make the maximum number of arrests. And there is nowhere to run. Only 40 per cent of all those who attempt exile reach the US border. (read more)
More than 350 million people in the world now have diabetes, an international study has revealed. The analysis, published online by the Lancet on Saturday, adds several tens of millions to the previous estimate of the number of diabetics and indicates that the disease has become a major global health problem.

Diabetics have inadequate blood sugar control, a condition that can lead to heart disease and strokes, as well as damage to kidneys, nerves and the retina. About three million deaths a year are attributed to diabetes and associated conditions in which blood sugar levels are disrupted.

The dramatic and disturbing increase is blamed by scientists on the spread of a western-style diet to developing nations, which is causing rising levels of obesity. Researchers also say that increased life expectancy is playing a major role.

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for about 85-95% of cases, and is often tied to obesity. It develops when the body fails to produce enough insulin to break down glucose, inflating blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is a separate auto-immune disorder.

"Diabetes is one of the biggest causes of mortality worldwide, and our study has shown that it is becoming more common almost everywhere. It is set to become the single largest burden on world health care systems," one of the study's main authors, Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, told the Observer. "Many nations are going to find it very difficult to cope with the consequences." (read more)

Ted Turner: Climate Change ‘Most Serious Problem Humanity Has Ever Faced’

Media mogul Ted Turner says climate change is “probably the most serious--and, in all fairness, the most complex--problem that humanity has ever faced.”

He added: “It is really easy to understand how some people don’t get it, because it’s so complex and complicated.”

Turner took part in a telephone news conference on Thursday, held by his United Nations Foundation on the island of Svalbard, one of the northernmost regions of Norway.

His comments came in response to a question posed by reporter Sunny Lewis of the Environment News Service about how to change the minds of climate change skeptics. (read more)

Army fires on funeral procession in Yemen

Thousands of people protested following prayers across the country Friday, while at least one man was killed after security forces backed by tanks fired on the funeral procession of a man who was beaten to death in police custody, an official said.

Yemeni forces backed by tanks fired on a funeral procession Friday for a young man beaten to death in police custody, killing at least one person, a medical official said.

The burial of 25-year-old Ahmed Darwish in the southern port city of Aden turned into an anti-government protest by tens of thousands of people calling for the ouster of Yemen’s autocratic president. Similar protests were held around the nation, including in the capital, Sanaa.

Darwish was arrested in a mass roundup by security forces last year, before the political crisis that spun off from the other uprisings sweeping the Arab world since the start of this year.

It does not appear he was involved in any political activism or with the southern secessionist movement that has simmered for years in Yemen, but his death became a rallying point for those fed up with abuses by security forces.

A forensics report published by rights groups found that Darwish was tortured to death in June of last year, and his family had refused to bury him until an investigation was concluded. (read more)

Coming months for US Finances will be horrific

A drumbeat of disappointing data about consumer behavior, factory sales and weak hiring in recent weeks has prompted economists to ratchet down their 2011 economic forecasts to as little as half what they expected at the beginning of the year.

Two months ago, Goldman Sachs projected that the economy would grow at a 4 percent annual rate in the quarter ending in June. The company now expects the government to report no more than 2 percent growth when data for the second quarter is released in a few weeks.

Macroeconomic Advisers, a research firm, projected 3.5 percent growth back in April and is now down to just 2.1 percent for this quarter.

Both these firms, well respected in their analysis, have cut their forecasts for the second half of the year as well. Then this week, the Federal Reserve downgraded its projections for the full year, to under 3 percent growth. It started the year with guidance as high as 3.9 percent.

Two years into the official recovery, the economy is still behaving like a plane taxiing indefinitely on the runway. Few economists are predicting an out-and-out return to recession, but the risk has increased, with the health of the American economy depending in part on what is really “transitory.”

During the first press conference in the central bank’s history two months ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke used the word to describe factors — including supply chain disruptions after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and rising oil prices — that were restraining economic growth in the first half of the year. (read more)

Existence of 200 ‘uncontacted’ tribal people in Brazilian rainforest confirmed

The Brazilian government has confirmed the existence of about 200 unidentified tribal people in the Amazon rainforest.

Satellite pictures in January revealed this community was living near the border with Peru. A flight expedition over the area in April confirmed that they are about 200 in numbers.

Along with Survival International (Funai), an organization working for tribal people's rights worldwide, Brazilian authorities found that these people are living in three clearings in the Javari Valley in the western Amazon.

According to Fabricio Amorim, who led Funai’s overflight expedition, illegal fishing, hunting, logging, mining, cattle ranching, missionary actions, drug trafficking and oil exploration on the Peru-Brazil border area are the main threats to the well-being of this community and their dwellings.

Brazil follows a policy not to contact these people, instead monitor their land so that they can live without any risk.

The community and its four straw-roofed huts were spotted in the Javari Valley, which is believed to be hiding around 2000 uncontacted tribes in the world.

Survival International has released the first, clear pictures of this ancient Amazonian tribe, who grow crops, peanuts, bananas, corns and more. (read more)

Man's severed leg found 160 feet away on ROOF four days after he was killed in hit and run car crash

The missing leg of a man killed in a hit and run crash has been found more than 160 feet away on a shop roof.

Police in Mesa, Arizona, made the grisly discovery four days after the 25-year-old pedestrian was killed when a driver smashed into him and a friend, who was left critically injured.

At first they assumed the man had fled from the scene with the severed limb still attached to his vehicle.

But it turns out the force of the impact was so great it sent the leg flying 160 feet through the air, landing on the roof of an outbuilding at Uncle Bob's Self-Storage.

The crash happened early on Sunday morning, on the intersection of Broadway and Country Club Drive.

Police arrested the man who was allegedly behind the wheel, Jose DeJesus Padilla-Rodriguez, on Tuesday. (read more)

Elderly woman asked to remove adult diaper during TSA search: Sick and depraved

A woman has filed a complaint with federal authorities over how her elderly mother was treated at Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend.

Jean Weber of Destin filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.

Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.

“It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” Weber said Friday. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this.”

Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration in Miami, said she could not comment on specific cases to protect the privacy of those involved.

“The TSA works with passengers to resolve any security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner,” she said.

Weber’s mother entered the airport’s security checkpoint in a wheelchair because she was not stable enough to walk through, Weber said.

Wheelchairs trigger certain protocols, including pat-downs and possible swabbing for explosives, Koshetz said.

“During any part of the process, if there is an alarm, then we have to resolve that alarm,” she said. (read more)

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN IRAN - 26th June 2011

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck Eastern Iran at a depth of 37.3 km (23.2 miles), the quake hit at 19:47:01 UTC Sunday 26th June 2011.
The epicenter was 48 km (29 miles) ESE of Kerman, Iran

No reports of damage or injuries yet
More to Follow....

Weekly announcements -- June 26, 2011

A mighty good afternoon, morning and evening to all our readers. We hope you're all doing well, and keeping your eyes and ears open.

Three bits of news this week:

i) We're watching massive amounts of strange activity on world earthquake monitors. The activity we're spotting is very similar to the activity prior to the Christchurch and Japan quakes of earlier this year. We'll keep everyone posted.

ii) We're in the process of adding two new categories: POLICE STATE (flagrant violations of liberty and rights) and UFOS AND ARTIFACTS (filmed sightings of unexplained objects, crop circles and other hard evidence). Bear with us as we begin sorting through the posts.

iii) People have begun contacting us regarding advertising, and we think that's great. If you have a business or group that would like to sponsor our website in its quest for researching the truth, be sure to get in touch. By being the first of your category of business to advertise, you'll enjoy a competition-free environment and tens of thousands of page views to boot.

Take care everyone, and remember that our forums are always available for protest organization and discussion. Get off Facebook before it eats you!

-- Matt & Lynsey

Make sure you access our proper domain name,, for more instructions as to where to find our new location in the event of an emergency. We have backed up all our posts and are prepared should such an event occur.

If you're in Europe, you can similarly find us through:

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British climber finds six dead in French Alps - 26th June 2011

VILLAR-D'ARENE, France — An English climber on Sunday found the bodies of six mountaineers in the French Alps who appeared to have died after a fall caused by an avalanche of snow and stones, officials said.

The bodies found on Neige Cordier summit at 2,700 metres (8,850 feet) were taken by helicopter to the nearby village of Villar d'Arene, village mayor Xavier Cret told AFP.

"The victims were climbing roped together in two groups. It looks like there was a slide of snow and stones mixed together," he said, adding that it appeared that they had died on Saturday after a fall of around 200 metres.

Officials did not state the nationality of the dead climbers.

The English hiker stumbled across the bodies as he was taking the same route that they had taken a day before, mountain rescue police said.

The climbers left a mountain hut on Saturday morning to climb Neige Cordier, officials said.

Their bodies were found in a narrow, steep-sided ravine that is regularly used by skiers in winter and climbers in summer.

Weather conditions in the Alps this weekend were good, with sunshine and clear skies.

Police have opened an inquiry into the incident, one of the worst such cases in recent years in France. In June 2007, five climbers from the same family died after a fall on a nearby mountain.

Senior officials were due to give a press conference on the Neige Cordier incident at 1400 GMT. Source

Hacker group LulzSec says it is disbanding

LulzSec, the gleeful and secretive band of hackers who appear to be responsible for a string of high-profile and sometimes embarrassing Internet attacks, said it was disbanding.

"For the past 50 days we've been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could," the group said Saturday in a statement posted on multiple websites. It did not cite a reason.

If true, the collective's final act was the posting of what it said were internal company documents from AT&T along with private data from other companies.

LulzSec claimed recently to have attacked the CIA website, and took credit for hacking into the website of American public broadcaster PBS and posting a fake story saying the rapper Tupac Shakur was still alive. He was killed nearly 15 years ago.

It is unclear whether LulzSec members played a role in the Sony PlayStation Network breach, where hackers broke into Sony Pictures' website, compromising the accounts of over 1 million users, and the gaming company Sega, stealing the details of nearly 1.3 million users. (read more)

African Union: Gadhafi will not be part of peace negotiations

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi will not be part of the African Union's next attempt to map out a peace deal in the war-torn nation, the organization said in a statement Sunday.

"The AU high-level ad hoc committee welcomes Colonel Gadhafi's acceptance of not being part of the negotiation process," Ramtane Lamamra, the African Union's commissioner for peace and security, told reporters.

It was unclear who would represent the Libyan government in negotiations, or when negotiations would occur. Journalists were not allowed to ask questions at a news conference after Sunday's meeting of the African Union's special committee on Libya.

Members of the committee have met with Gadhafi and opposition leaders over the past three months. Another African Union-led attempt to broker peace between Gadhafi and the rebels fell through in April. (read more)

New Zealand zoo: Lost penguin with stomach full of sand might recover

A young emperor penguin discovered thousands of kilometers away from its home might survive ingesting a bellyful of sand, New Zealand zoo officials said.

The penguin -- whose gender is unknown pending DNA test results due this week -- stunned passers-by when it showed up at a beach north of Wellington last week.

"This is only the second time an emperor penguin has been seen in New Zealand," said Kate Baker, spokeswoman for the Wellington Zoo, where the bird was taken for treatment.

Even more surprising was what the zoo found inside the penguin -- enough sand to fill its stomach to its esophagus.

"In Antarctica, they normally eat ice to cool down and to hydrate," Baker said. It's possible the bird mistook or tried to substitute the sand for snow or ice.

It's unclear why the bird apparently swam more than 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) from Antarctica.

New Zealanders have dubbed the penguin "Happy Feet," a reference to the 2006 animated movie about emperor penguins. But those at the Wellington Zoo are steering clear of giving the bird a name. (read more)

More carnage at Syrian funerals as massacre continues -- Where is the UN?

Syrian forces opened fire at funerals for slain political protesters, a human rights activist said Sunday, leaving two more people dead as Syria tries to subdue weeks of demonstrations against President Bashar Assad.

The two were killed Saturday in al-Kaswa, a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the London-based director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Security forces opened fire when the funerals for protesters killed on Friday turned into protests themselves, he said.

Footage posted online by activists showed dozens of people in a Saturday funeral procession for three of the dead in al-Kaswa, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" or "God is great!" and "Bashar, get out!"

One person was also killed Saturday in Damascus' Barzeh neighbourhood and two were killed in the village of al-Quseir, near the Lebanese border, Abdul-Rahman said.

Hundreds of Syrians, some with gunshot wounds, crossed into neighbouring Lebanon over the weekend fleeing the crackdown. The new arrivals joined thousands of other Syrians who fled to Lebanon in May and early June. (read more)

OVERDOSE – A Documentary on the Financial Crisis that is coming

This is a really good documentary on the financial collapse, why it happened, what was done after, what was not and why the next one will be even worse. The moves made by the government – here and elsewhere – and those not made have set the world up for another financial disaster. The premise they give here is after the bust of the Housing Bubble, the solution has been to inflate a large number of other bubbles all about to burst. It’s fairly log but worth watching. It has Spanish sub-titles and was done by a Swede. (read more)

American Distrust Of Banks Reaches Highest-Recorded Level

The recession might be officially over, but American views toward the institutions that brought the economic system close to collapse have never been worse.

According to a new poll by Gallup, 36 percent of Americans now say they have "very little" or "no" confidence in U.S. banks, the highest percentage on record since Gallup first started tracking that data. Those saying they have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in banks has also stagnated, stuck at 23 percent for the second straight year, after falling to a low of 22 percent in 2009.

Safe to say it's been a tough year in the banks' public relations departments.

U.S. banks have spent much of the past year aggressively lobbying against the implementation of Dodd-Frank financial reform. This week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called out banks for the "huge amount of money [spent by banks] to erode, weaken, walk back" financial reform. Indeed, the largest-lobbying institutions of last year spent 2.7 percent more in the first months of this year in an attempt to combat rules including higher capital requirements and restrictions on swipe fees.

The nation's five largest mortgage servicers -- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial -- have also been the focus of a federal investigation into whether the banks defrauded taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures, first reported by The Huffington Post in mid-May.

In addition, in April, Goldman Sachs, the nation's first-largest bank by assets, was accused in a Senate report of systematically misleading clients by selling them assets known to be junk and then subsequently betting against that junk.

So this year's Gallup results only further emphasize the growing animosity toward banks in America. Never before 2009 had more Americans expressed more distrust than trust in banks. That has not only been the norm for three years now, but the gap is widening. (read more)

The Collapse of Global Financial System Has Become Inevitable

Dear friends and readers, I write this op-ed today primarily for those who are closely following the global economic, financial and political developments in the midst of an ongoing crisis of the world economy. We are standing at the crossroads of the deepest and the most far-reaching crisis that the human civilization has witnessed. In the developed countries of the west, the vast financial system that underpins the global economy is at the precipice of a worldwide systemic collapse that, upon unfolding, will take under the western economies and whatever left of a welfare state and middle class in the developed world. As many economists and experts warn, the standard of living of the people in the developed countries particularly the U.S. and other heavily indebted economies is set to sharply deteriorate over the next one decade.

The economies of the developing countries such as China and Russia, and the rest of the rapidly growing Asian economies will not escape unscathed from the inevitable collapse of the global financial system. The situation for Afghanistan might get further complicated since the very western economies that have so far propped up the artificial Afghan economy will no longer be able or willing to give out the mega billions as they have done since 2002. First let us get a preview of what has so far transpired in this ongoing unprecedented crisis.

The global financial and economic crisis that took the world by storm in late 2008 and whose repercussions still resonate in the financial markets and economies of the developed countries is far from over. The greatest financial and economic crisis in the history of mankind is still in its early stages. By all indications, the writing is on the wall for those with eye for details that the ongoing crisis is heading for turning much deeper and its eventual culmination into the financial collapse of heavily indebted countries in the west such as the U.S. The ensuing global financial collapse and the economic devastation that will follow will have disastrous consequences for the world in large and our country Afghanistan whose artificial economy is tied to those of the western world. (read more)

US Postal Service crisis deepening

Postal workers will buzz across a frozen river in a hovercraft to get to a remote cabin north of the Arctic Circle.

If they pick up a letter there addressed to someone on the Havasupai Indian reservation, that’s where it will go. To the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

By pack mule.

And if the recipient has moved to Guam, the letter would then be forwarded to the middle of the Pacific.

All for the cost of a 44-cent stamp.

As business models go, this one seems suspect. A Las Vegas cab ride costs $3.30 for the first 1/13 of a mile.

But stamp by stamp, daily mail is an American ritual, in effect the country’s most popular entitlement.

It’s also in such a deep financial crisis — some say on the verge of collapse — that last week saw the U.S. Postal Service suspend payments to a retirement fund and make emphatic pleas to Congress for permission to end Saturday delivery.

“We’re simply running out of cash — this is an emergency situation,” spokesman Dave Partenheimer said. “If we don’t do something, we’re not going to be able to deliver the mail.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, last week sounded an alarm that the Postal Service may not be able to meet its payroll by late this year.

The cash flow problem is not the deliveries, officials say, but the lessening numbers of mail to deliver.

From a peak of 213 billion pieces delivered in 2006, volume dropped last year to 171 billion pieces and thus far this year continues to sink. (read more)

Philippines Stands All but Alone in Banning Divorce

When citizens of the small Mediterranean nation of Malta voted in a referendum last month to legalize divorce, they reignited debate in the Philippines, one of the last countries, along with Vatican City, where divorce is still banned.

Days later, the issue surfaced at a hearing in the Philippine House of Representatives on a long-dormant bill.

“The global reality is that divorce has been recognized as a legitimate option for couples, particularly for women, who are trapped in unhappy, even violent, unions,” said Luz Ilagan, a congresswoman representing the Gabriela Women’s Party and co-author of the bill. “If they can do it in Malta, we can do it here. Let us not remain in the Dark Ages.”

But the re-emergence of the divorce proposal has inflamed opponents in this overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country and riled the church authorities, who have called it part of an “orchestrated war against the Filipino family.”

Oscar V. Cruz, a retired archbishop who is now the leading church voice against the bill, said Filipino Catholics should not be ashamed that they are global holdouts on divorce.

“That is a distinction that we should all be very proud of,” Archbishop Cruz said. “It says that we are not one of those who believe the family can be destroyed.” (read more)

Democrat: We Need 'Analysis of How Christian Militants … Might Bring Down The Country’

At a congressional hearing on Muslim radicalization in U.S. prisons, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said that investigators needed to analyze Christian militants in America because they too might try to “bring down the country.”

In an exchange with witness Patrick Dunleavy, the former deputy inspector of the criminal intelligence unit, New York Department of Correctional Services, Rep. Jackson Lee mentioned the case of a man who blew up an abortion clinic and proposed that this perhaps was an attempt to undermine U.S. law that allows a woman to procure an abortion.

Rep. Lee then said, “As we look to be informational, we should include an analysis of how Christian militants or others might bring down the country. We have to look broadly, do we not?”

Dunleavy answered: “I don’t know that Christian militants have foreign country backing or foreign country financing.” (read more)

The Federal Debt Elevator: Going Up

If you think the Federal debt ceiling is anything but an elevator, I've got news for you.

Maybe you saw the story about the Air Force airlift of $12 billion in unmarked bills that landed in Iraq sometime between 2003 and 2004 – no one seems sure just when. The story was written by a Los Angeles Times reporter and published on January 13.

Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.

There was a slight glitch in the execution of the plan. Some $6.6 billion of this – three fully loaded planes full – has gone missing.

The story was picked up by the Web, but got little play in the mainstream media. The Huffington Post and Fox News reported it, but not the other major media. The fact that several plane loads of shrink-wrapped $100 bills are unaccounted for is not big news in the minds of America's mainstream editors. A search on Google reveals how little mainstream media interest there was.

There was a modification published by Fox. The auditor in charge said that he never used the figure $6.6 billion. He claimed that only $2.8 billion are unaccounted for. This story was also not picked up by the media.

My point is not that the Pentagon cannot account for either $6.6 billion in missing currency or only $2.8 billion. That is hardly news. My point is that the conflicting sums are so miniscule in comparison with what the U.S. government wastes every day that the story is not considered media worthy when any agency loses this much. The public is so used to stories of wasted billions that this story is a curiosity at best. I suppose that it would make a good Bruce Willis "Die Hard V: Payback!" script, with Bruce going over to the dark side and leading a team that flies the tax-free money to Switzerland. Yippee-ki-yay.

Yes, the Pentagon flew $12 billion in currency to Iraq. But why? The reporter did not ask why Iraq needed American currency. Why not just digits?

Why was the dollar the needed currency? (read more)

Changing Tides: Research Center Under Fire for 'Adjusted' Sea-Level Data

Is climate change raising sea levels, as Al Gore has argued -- or are climate scientists doctoring the data?

The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters -- or about the thickness of a fingernail -- every year to its actual measurements of sea levels, sparking criticism from experts who called it an attempt to exaggerate the effects of global warming.

"Gatekeepers of our sea level data are manufacturing a fictitious sea level rise that is not occurring," said James M. Taylor, a lawyer who focuses on environmental issues for the Heartland Institute.

Steve Nerem, the director of the widely relied-upon research center, told that his group added the 0.3 millimeters per year to the actual sea level measurements because land masses, still rebounding from the ice age, are rising and increasing the amount of water that oceans can hold.

"We have to account for the fact that the ocean basins are actually getting slightly bigger... water volume is expanding," he said, a phenomenon they call glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA).

Taylor calls it tomfoolery.

"There really is no reason to do this other than to advance a political agenda," he said. (read more)

How anything you've EVER said on the internet including Facebook could be seen by employers as Feds approve firm that dishes dirt on applicants

The Federal Trade Commission has approved a controversial firm which scours social media sites to check on job applicants.

It means anything you've ever said in public on sites including Facebook, Twitter and even Craigslist could be seen by your would-be employer.

The Washington-based commission has ruled the firm, Social Intelligence Corporation, complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act - even though it keeps the results of its searches on file for seven years.

It raises the frightening prospect of any social media posting, even it's years old or was meant as a joke, being used in background checks.

Applicants who use online pseudonyms aren't safe, either - the firm uses special software to link those nicknames with real, offline names known to employers.

One applicant found himself out of the running for a job after being branded racist because he once joined a Facebook group called 'I shouldn't have to press one for English. We are in the United States. Learn the language.' Read More

Rizana Nafeek faces death by Public beheading in Saudi Arabia for crime she 'committed as a child' - 26th June 2011

A young maid is facing death by beheading in Saudi Arabia for a crime she claims she did not commit.

Rizana Nafeek, who alleges she was a teenager at the time of the incident, was arrested in May 2005 on charges of murdering a four-month-old baby who was in her care.

She denies murder and claims she desperately tried to save the child who choked while she was looking after it.

Saudi Arabia have come under fire from Human Rights groups for the handling of her case after it was revealed there had been a mix-up involving the year she was born in.

The authorities have her date of birth as 1982 however her birth certificate states she was born in 1988 - making her 17 at the time of the alleged incident.

If Saudi Arabia went ahead with the execution it would be in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it has ratified.

Human Rights groups claim Rizana had no legal representation before or during her trial.

Sri-Lankan born Nafeek's mother Rafeena said her daughter moved to the country so that she could send money home to help educate her three siblings.

Desperate for work she found a job as a domestic worker but was shocked when she was asked to look after a baby, Naif al-Quthaibi, because she believed she did not have the skills to care for him.

Just weeks into her employment tragedy struck and the infant choked while he was being fed.

Rafeena, who lives in a tiny village, has previously begged King Abdullah to pardon her daughter and asked him to allow her to return home.

If the execution goes ahead the now 23-year-old will dressed in a white robe and be marched into a packed town centre.

She will also be blindfolded, shackled and forced to kneel facing Mecca before she is prodded between the shoulders so her head is raised naturally.

Rizana will then be executed, medieval style, with one sweep of a sharply-bladed sword. Read More

Mother arrested after police discovered her 'drunk and unconscious' while her two-year-old wandered near a busy street - 26th June 2011

A mother was arrested after she was found 'drunk and unconscious' in the street while her two-year-old child was left next to a busy road.

The woman, in her 20s, was spotted by a shocked passer-by collapsed on the pavement outside a bar lying next her to toddler’s pram in Lowestoft, Norfolk.

Stunned police came to her aid and a breath test revealed she had downed so much alcohol she was four times the drink-drive limit.

A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said CCTV footage showed the child was left to wander near traffic 'several times' on the town’s busy Claremont Road.

She was arrested for being drunk while in charge of a two-year-old and taken to a police station to sober up but later released with a caution.

The police spokesman said: 'Officers spotted the woman who was drifting in and out of sleep with the child in a pushchair beside her.

'She appeared intoxicated and refused to give police her details and was arrested.

'A breath test showed she was more than four times the legal drink-drive limit.

'CCTV footage showed the child had been out of the pushchair and close to traffic on several occasions.'

The shocking incident happened late in the evening on Tuesday July 14, the spokesman added.

The road where the toddler and her mother were found is near the town’s seafront and surrounded by several late night bars, clubs and restaurants. Source

Christopher Shale, Cameron's top Tory ally found in portable toilet at Glastonbury Festival's VIP area of Suspected Heart Attack - 26th June 2011

David Cameron's constituency chairman was found dead in a portable toilet in the VIP area at Glastonbury today.

Christopher Shale, chairman of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association, was discovered dead by police at around 9am.

The festival's host Michael Eavis said he was told by police it was 'a suicide situation'.

However, Tory party sources said they believed he had had a heart attack but the exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

Mr Eavis, 75, spoke of his sadness over the death during a press conference held earlier today.

The farmer said: 'Apparently I'm told it was a suicide situation in the early hours of this morning. It was in the Winnebago area.

'It's very very sad - I can't say too much about it."

Mr Shale, who is married with children, had been staying at a luxury £10,000 Winnebago compound just yards away from top celebrities like Kate Moss.

It is understood his family was with him. A distraught woman wrapped in a blanket - believed to be his wife Nikki - was comforted by police at the scene. Two teenage boys were also at the scene.

Inspector Chris Morgan, from Avon and Somerset police, refused to confirm or deny that the victim had committed suicide.

He said: 'We are not [officially] naming the gentleman at this moment because we believe there are members of the family that have not been told.

'I am aware that there has been some speculation that the gentleman has committed suicide. We are not saying that at this time. Read More

Three killed and 16 families evacuated in Torre del Mar fire - Andalucia, South Spain - 26th June 2011

Three people, two men aged 58 and 28, and a 21 year old woman have been killed and as many as 16 families evacuated following a fire in a residential block in Torre del Mar.

First reports indicate that in addition to the fatalities, two people have been injured, one of them is a two year old child, but their lives are not in danger.

The fire broke out at 7am on Sunday in a fourth floor flat of the block in Calle Cuesta del Visillo, in the Las Malvinas urbanisation in Torre del Mar.

Firemen and local police from Vélez-Málaga rushed to the scene and the fire was extinguished quickly. Read More