Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Monday, September 5, 2011

Torture victim to sue Britain: Libyan rebel leader could be in line for £1million payout after we turned him over to Gaddafi's henchmen - 6th Sept

The Libyan rebel leader tortured after Britain and America turned him over to Gaddafi’s henchmen could win £1million compensation from UK taxpayers.

Abdel Hakim Belhadj – now working with Nato to hunt down the tyrant – has vowed to sue Britain for helping to snatch him in 2004.

As well as ‘selling’ him to the Libyans, the UK allowed his ‘extraordinary rendition’ via British territory Diego Garcia, secret documents reveal.

Belhadj claims he was forced to take truth drugs and left hanging by his wrists in a Tripoli cell as his interrogators demanded to know the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.

At some point, he says, he was questioned by a British agent.

The files appear to blow the lid off years of obfuscation and outright denials that Britain was involved in the illegal transfer of terrorist suspects to countries that used torture.

It was not until 2008, four years after Belhadj’s ordeal began, that ministers even admitted that British landing strips in dependent territories were used for torture flights.

Now the revelations contained within the files discovered in Libyan government offices mean that Britain could be in the unenviable position of paying a large sum to a man likely to be a key official in the new Tripoli regime.

The disclosures came on a day when:

  • It was announced that the bombshell rendition claims and UK links to Gaddafi’s regime would be investigated by the Gibson torture inquiry within weeks;
  • Labour’s Jack Straw was accused of ‘woeful ignorance’ after he claimed he was kept in the dark over rendition by MI6 during his time as Foreign Secretary;
  • It emerged that Britain directly arranged the ‘extraordinary rendition’ flight of another suspect to Tripoli from Hong Kong;
  • David Cameron suggested that Britain will keep bombing Libya until Colonel Gaddafi is brought to justice. Read More

Sydney Bomb Scare father holding his 11-year-old girl hostage in Parramatta with a "bomb in his backpack" - 6th Sept 2011

THE father holding his 11-year-old girl hostage in Parramatta with a "bomb in his backpack" has just smashed a window and yelled out to police with a phone.

The man has just smashed the window and stuck a land line telephone out through the broken glass.

He yelled out words which sounded like "I don't care if I die".

He has a badly cut hand which he keeps sticking out through window and making peace signs.

Earlier today, a female law office clerk recalled how the father involved in the frightening siege at Parramatta with his 11-year-old daughter told her he had a bomb.

Betty Hor, the female clerk at Arthurs Phillip Chambers, said the man poked his head in to her office at 8.50am and asked for a man whose name she did not recognise.

He then walked upstairs and then came back downstairs and walked in to the reception area. Read More

California fire threatens 800 homes

A fire caused by a plane crash threatened 800 homes or structures in Tehachapi, California, on Monday, with nearly 5,000 acres ablaze in rugged terrain, according to state and local officials.

The fire started Sunday and was 5% contained by Monday, but there was no estimate of when it would be fully contained, according to a statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Kern County Fire Department. Evacuations were recommended in the area threatened by the fire and at least three roads were closed, the statement said.

A relief center has been set up at Jacobsen Junior High School in Tehachapi for evacuees.

"Firefighters are working in extreme conditions, high heat, low humidity, with the potential for erratic winds," according to the statement. The fire was burning in a mix of grass, brush and trees in steep rugged terrain, officials said. It was moving southeast toward Old West Ranch, Tehachapi City and Oak Creek and local power lines were threatened, according to the statement. Bulldozers were building perimeter lines to try to halt the fire, the statement said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown's office said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to provide money to offset the state and local costs of fighting the fire. more

Ikea 'used political prisoners in GDR (East Germany) as slave labour'

Swedish retail giant Ikea used political prisoners in East Germany as “slave labour” to make furniture, secret police files unearthed by a German broadcaster appear to show.

Ikea developed strong links with the communist state in the 1970s, opening a number of manufacturing facilities, one of which, according to Stasi records discovered by German television company WDR, used political prisoners to construct sofas.

The factory in Waldheim stood next to a prison, and inmates were used as unpaid labour, it is claimed. Gaols in the Democratic Republic housed significant numbers of political prisoners, with some estimates indicating they made up at least 20 per cent of the entire prison population.

Quoted in a Stasi file, Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s founder, said while he had no official knowledge of the use of prison labour, if it did indeed exist “in the opinion of Ikea it would be in society’s interests”.

Hans Otto Klare, who had been sent to Waldheim prison for trying to escape to West Germany, described conditions in the factory as harsh.

“Our labour team lived on the upper floor of the factory with the windows covered,” he told WDR about his time making hinges and other components for Ikea furniture. “The machines were on the lower floor, and you had little rest. On the factory floor you had no proper seating, no ear protection: no gloves. Conditions were even more primitive there then in the rest of the GDR. It was slave labour.” more

FTSE 100 sees £49 billion wiped off shares on euro fears and bank lawsuit

Forty-nine billion pounds was wiped off the value of the UK's leading shares on Monday following renewed fears over the health of the British economy and concerns over the fate of British banks being sued by US regulators.

The FTSE 100 tumbled 3.6pc - 189.45 points - to close at 5,102.58 after investor confidence was knocked by an unexpectedly sharp fall in services sector growth in August.

The Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index fell to 51.1 in August from 55.4 in July, the biggest drop since the foot and mouth crisis a decade ago. Economists were alarmed by the scale of the fall, which had been far larger than expected and triggered fears that the UK is now on course for a double-dip recession.

David Noble, chief executive of CIPS, described the decline in services growth as "eye-watering". Accounting for three-quarters of the UK economy, the services sector has a crucial impact on gross domestic product figures.

Investor confidence was also dented by the news that Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays are being sued by the US Federal Housing Finance Agency for their role in the sale of a combined $41.5bn (£25.8bn) of sub-prime mortgage debt to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the American home loan financial institutions, in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Investors across Europe were also in cautious mode as key indices in Germany and France suffered heavy losses. more

Turkey soccer match turns deadly as Kurdish rebels surprise attack players, spectators

A pick-up game of soccer for policemen in the eastern Turkish town of Tunceli turned deadly Sunday night when suspected Kurdish militants opened fire on players and spectators.

A police officer and his wife were both killed in the attack, a local police officer said Monday, on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to give interviews to the media.

The officer said nine other police officers were wounded, while one of the attackers was killed in the ensuing gunbattle.

On Saturday, a separate deadly clash in a rural area of Turkey's mountainous Tunceli province resulted in the deaths of a Turkish army lieutenant and a sergeant, said an official from the provincial governor's office, who by convention is not named.

The bloody, 26-year war between guerilla fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish state has escalated over the last month.

The Kurdish separatist movement has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks throughout the summer that have claimed the lives of more than a dozen Turkish soldiers.

On August 17, the Turkish military retaliated, launching a wave of airstrikes and artillery barrages across the border against suspected PKK camps in the mountains of northern Iraq.

The Turkish armed forces claimed to have killed more than 100 rebels in the ongoing cross border attacks. more

1,000 rally for Taiwan sovereignty from Communist China

About 1,000 chanting pro-independence activists took to the streets of Taipei on Sunday, accusing Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou of surrendering the island's sovereignty to China.

The rally, which comes four months ahead of the 2012 presidential election, was considered part of pro-independence groups' efforts to help the leading anti-China opposition, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

"Dump Ma to safeguard Taiwan!" the crowd chanted while marching through the capital.

Pro-independence groups have accused Ma of compromising Taiwan's sovereignty in exchange for economic benefits from Beijing, a claim which has been categorically denied by Ma.

Taiwan's economy last year expanded 10.88 percent, a 24-year high, fuelled by rapid growth in China, the island's main trading partner, Ma has said. more

Unemployed face tough competition: underemployed

The job market is even worse than the 9.1 percent unemployment rate suggests.

America's 14 million unemployed aren't competing just with each other. They must also contend with 8.8 million other people not counted as unemployed — part-timers who want full-time work.

When consumer demand picks up, companies will likely boost the hours of their part-timers before they add jobs, economists say. It means they have room to expand without hiring.

And the unemployed will face another source of competition once the economy improves: Roughly 2.6 million people who aren't counted as unemployed because they've stopped looking for work. Once they start looking again, they'll be classified as unemployed. And the unemployment rate could rise. more

Revealed: Australians at the console of Kill TV, when drone strikes take out Afghan targets

Special forces are involved in this silent and deadly form of 21st century warfare, their commander confirms to Rafael Epstein.

Australia's special forces commander has defended his troops' use of US drones to kill insurgent leaders in southern Afghanistan, a deadly military tactic that gives the enemy no chance to surrender.

Major-General Peter ''Gus'' Gilmore confirmed his senior officers have used missiles, fired from unmanned US aircraft, and defended the tactics and intelligence used when his soldiers go out on missions to ''capture or kill'' Taliban fighters.

''Sometimes it will be an aerial strike, sometimes it will be committing a ground force, sometimes it will be to be patient and wait,'' he said in an interview with the Herald. more

Cops: Teen guns down eight at NYC house party

A male teen allegedly gunned down eight people at a house party in New York City early on Sunday morning, evaded police capture and remains at large, according to New York City police officials.

Dasilva Oneil, 17, opened fire before roughly 3:40 a.m. in the Bronx, a Manhattan borough, hospitalizing eight, including an 11-year-old male and four teens.

The most seriously wounded in the attack was a 24-year-old male who was shot twice in the chest and remains in critical condition at a local hospital.

The remaining seven victims, five males and two females, were taken to local hospitals with "non-life threatening injuries," according to a statement from New York City police. They remain in stable condition.

Among the teens shot were a 13-year-old female, shot in the thigh, a 14-year-old girl shot in the back, a 17-year-old male shot in the pelvis, and a 19-year-old male shot in the butt.

Wounded also was a 21-year-old man shot in the thigh and a 24-year-old man shot in the forearm. All are in stable condition. more

North Korea's Kim does not trust China: US cable

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il expressed distrust of his country's major economic prop China during a 2009 meeting with a visiting South Korean businesswoman, according to a US diplomatic cable.

The cable released by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks summarises a meeting between the US ambassador in Seoul and Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jung-Eun, who had recently returned from a meeting in Pyongyang with the leader.

The cable dated August 28, 2009 quoted Hyun as saying Kim had made a comment about "not trusting" China, without elaborating.

Kim also complained that Seoul's unification ministry tasked with handling cross-border relations had "lost the driver's seat" to the foreign ministry, which he asserted did not understand North Korea.

Hyun's group developed two major cross-border joint projects, the Mount Kumgang resort and the Kaesong industrial estate.

The cable depicts Kim in apparent conciliatory mood, just months after a long-range missile launch and a second nuclear test sparked international concern.

Discussing relations with the United States, he told Hyun he had altered some parts of the Arirang festival to "fit American tastes". more

Gas Prices Rise Before Labor Day Weekend to a Dollar More than 2010 Prices

Chances are, a lot of you are winding down your holiday weekend and getting ready for a road trip back home.

Adam May reports AAA says that drive might be quicker than last year but it will cost you more money.

Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year and 600,000 Marylanders were projected to take a road trip for the holiday.

“We recommend drivers build in enough time to get to their destinations. The roads will be congested,” said Christine Delise, AAA.

But not as bad as last year. Travel is expected to be down more than two and a half percent, due in part to high gas prices. It’s a dollar more a gallon compared to Labor Day 2010.

“Either the gas stations or gas companies are ripping us off because we know we have to have it,” said one driver. more

Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines after eating water buffalo, local farmer

Villagers and veteran hunters have captured a one-ton saltwater crocodile which they plan to make the star of a planned ecotourism park in a southern Philippine town, an official said Monday.

Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said dozens of villagers and experts ensnared the 21-foot (6.4-meter) male crocodile along a creek in Bunawan township in Agusan del Sur province after a three-week hunt. It could be one of the largest crocodiles to be captured alive in recent years, he said, quoting local crocodile experts.

Elorde said the crocodile killed a water buffalo in an attack witnessed by villagers last month and was also suspected of having attacked a fisherman who went missing in July.

He said he sought the help of experts at a crocodile farm in western Palawan province.

"We were nervous but it's our duty to deal with a threat to the villagers," Elorde told The Associated Press by telephone. "When I finally stood before it, I couldn't believe my eyes."

After initial sightings at a creek, the hunters set four traps, which the crocodile destroyed. They then used sturdier traps using steel cables, one of which finally caught the enormous reptile late Saturday, he said.

About 100 people had to pull the crocodile, which weighs about 2,370 pounds (1,075 kilograms), from the creek to a clearing where a crane lifted it into a truck, he said. more

"U.S. must stay in Afghanistan or risk more 9/11-style attacks"

The United States must keep fighting the Taliban or risk more attacks like those of September 11, 2001, because the insurgent group is a ruthless enemy that has not cut ties to al Qaeda, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul said.

Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who was ambassador in Iraq, also warned the United States would have to spend billions more in the coming years to bolster Afghanistan's government and security forces as its own troops prepare to return home.

"What we have to do is I think demonstrate the strategic patience that is necessary to win a long war," he told Reuters, in an interview ahead of the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

"It is going to require more resources, its going to require time. I hope we can bring all those to bear, because as hard, painful, as expensive as this has been in blood and treasure, it has cost a lot less than 9/11 did."

Crocker flew into New York early on the morning of September 11, 2001, and saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapse as he drove into Manhattan after landing.

He has carried his boarding pass from that flight around the world with him, to a decade of senior positions at the heart of the conflicts that followed in the wake of the attacks. more

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder calls for "United States of Europe"

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Sunday called for the creation of a "United States of Europe," saying the bloc needed a common government to avoid future economic crises.

Schroeder, a Social Democrat who ran the country from 1998 to 2005, said in an interview with Der Spiegel that European Union leaders were wrong to expect the euro to drive the bloc on its own.

"The current crisis makes it relentlessly clear that we cannot have a common currency zone without a common fiscal, economic and social policy," Schroeder said.

He added: "We will have to give up national sovereignty."

"From the European Commission, we should make a government which would be supervised by the European Parliament. And that means the United States of Europe."

Schroeder, who nurtured a close relationship with France during his leadership, welcomed an initiative launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to move toward a fiscal union in 2012. more

Natarajan Venkataram jailed for stealing $10 million from fund to identify 9/11 remains still holding on to cash

Ten years after the Sept. 11 attacks, ex-city worker Natarajan Venkataram says he’s sorry he stole millions of dollars meant for identifying the remains of trade center victims.

He’s just not sorry enough to turn over $400,000 sitting in his bank account in India.

The city has recovered $7 million of the $10 million he and an accomplice stole, but he went to court to hold onto this final portion of his ill-gotten gains.

In a phone interview from the federal prison camp at Fort Dix, N.J., Venkataram, 46, whined about jail conditions and apologized repeatedly for his crime.

Asked about the disputed cash, Venkataram said: “All the issues are still pending in the court.”

The city medical examiner’s office got millions of dollars from the feds to help identify the remains of nearly 3,000 victims.

Venkataram, then a manager dealing with the medical examiner’s computer system, and his girlfriend, Rosa Abreu, siphoned off millions via shell companies and fake contract bids.

When Venkataram learned probers were on to him, he transferred $1 million to his Indian bank accounts, prosecutors say.

Arrested in 2005, Venkataram pleaded guilty to embezzlement and money laundering. He got 15 years in jail; Abreu got six. more

Italy pledges to meet debt goal as worries grow

Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti promised on Sunday to meet Italy's budget commitments after the European Central Bank stepped up pressure for action by the struggling center-right government.

Tremonti, under mounting pressure to present a credible plan to fulfill a pledge of balancing the budget by 2013 and cutting Italy's 1.9 trillion euro debt pile, told a business conference in the northern town of Cernobbio that the target would be met.

However he admitted that a hastily put-together package of measures presented to parliament in August and now undergoing substantial revision, had been incomplete.

"When you take measures in four days you can make mistakes, it's true," he told a conference discussion.

The annual Ambrosetti forum in Cernobbio on the shores of Lake Como this weekend brought growing doubts about the 45.5 billion euro austerity package to a head following a week of rising market pressure on Italian government bonds.

Both ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and Italy's head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano issued strong calls for swift action following widespread criticism of the haphazard way in which the plan was being handled. more

US Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount: Mail Service Could Stop by this Winter

The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.

“Our situation is extremely serious,” the postmaster general, Patrick R. Donahoe, said in an interview. “If Congress doesn’t act, we will default.”

In recent weeks, Mr. Donahoe has been pushing a series of painful cost-cutting measures to erase the agency’s deficit, which will reach $9.2 billion this fiscal year. They include eliminating Saturday mail delivery, closing up to 3,700 postal locations and laying off 120,000 workers — nearly one-fifth of the agency’s work force — despite a no-layoffs clause in the unions’ contracts.

The post office’s problems stem from one hard reality: it is being squeezed on both revenue and costs.

As any computer user knows, the Internet revolution has led to people and businesses sending far less conventional mail. more

Visitors to Arizona inmates must now pay $25 for the prison "privilege"

For the Arizona Department of Corrections, crime has finally started to pay.

New legislation allows the department to impose a $25 fee on adults who wish to visit inmates at any of the 15 prison complexes that house state prisoners. The one-time “background check fee” for visitors, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, has angered prisoner advocacy groups and family members of inmates, who in many cases already shoulder the expense of traveling long distances to the remote areas where many prisons are located.

David C. Fathi, director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the fee “mind-boggling” and said that while it was ostensibly intended to help the state — the money will be used to repair and maintain the prisons — it could ultimately have a negative effect on public safety.

“We know that one of the best things you can do if you want people to go straight and lead a law-abiding life when they get out of prison is to continue family contact while they’re in prison,” he said. “Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

One woman, whose brother is a prisoner at the Eyman complex in Florence, said that most of her family lives out of state, so the fee is an additional burden on top of the travel costs. more

New York: 31 people shot citywide in 48 hours

In one of the bloodiest weekends in recent city history, 31 people were brutally shot in roughly 48 hours this weekend -- including three kids at a house party-turned-shooting gallery in The Bronx.

25 people had been shot as of Sunday night, but by early Monday morning, six more people were shot in three separate incidents in Brooklyn.

Four people were shot at 12:45 a.m. at what appeared to be a barbecue on East 54th Street. One of the victims, 18-year-old Tyrief Gary, has died. The other three are in stable condition.

A man and a woman were each shot in the chest at 4:24 a.m. and 6 a.m., the first at Linden Boulevard and Nostrand Ave and the second at 57 Empire Boulevard. Both victims were taken to Kings County hospital where they're in critical condition. more

Police "assisted" Apple in search of man's home over lost iPhone 5 prototype

Police officials said they helped Apple investigators, who searched a man's home here recently.

They were reportedly looking for a prototype of the next iPhone that an Apple employee left in a bar in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood, according to CNET. Apple had contacted the police claiming the prototype is invaluable, the report says.

Four San Francisco Police officers escorted Apple investigators to a home in the city's Bernal Heights neighborhood, the statement said. The two Apple employees searched the home while the officers waited outside, police said. They did not find the item there and declined to file a police report, according to the statement.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

A city police official declined to comment to CNN and referred reporters to the news release. Earlier this week, officials said they had no record of an investigation.

In the statement sent to CNN and other news media late Friday, police did not describe what "lost item" Apple was looking for. However, the file name of that news release is "iphone5.doc," as Reuters pointed out. more

California Employment at Record Low

The percentage of working-age Californians with jobs has fallen to a record low, and employment may not return to pre-recession levels until the second half of the decade, according to a research group.

Just 55.4 percent of working-age Californians, defined as those 16 or older, had a job in July, down from 56.2 percent a year earlier and the lowest level since 1976, the Sacramento- based California Budget Project said in a report released late yesterday.

California’s 12 percent unemployment rate in July, the nation’s second-highest after Nevada, compared with 9.1 percent nationwide. The most-populous state lost 1.4 million jobs during the recession that began three years ago, and has gained back only 226,800, or about 17 percent, according to the report.

Alissa Anderson, deputy director of the research group, which concentrates on issues facing low- and middle-class Californians, said women have disproportionately trailed men in regaining jobs.

“Women represent nearly half of the workforce,” Anderson said in a telephone interview. “They gained just one of the 10 jobs added.” more

Catastrophic fires burn thousands of acres, force evacuations across Central Texas

In a summer where brush fires have become a near-daily occurrence, firefighting officials said the multiple wildfires that raged across Central Texas on Sunday were the worst the region has seen all year.

Numerous wind-driven fires pushed fire departments to their limits and forced evacuations in Bastrop County, the Steiner Ranch subdivision, Pflugerville, Spicewood and other areas. Scores of residents were left wondering whether they had homes to return to as many of the fires continued to burn Sunday night.

The largest and most destructive fire was in Bastrop County, where a blaze burned 14,000 acres and grew to an estimated 16 miles long by the end of the day, said Mark Stanford, fire chief of the Texas Forest Service.

"It's catastrophic," Stanford said of the Bastrop County fire. "It's a major natural disaster."

Forest Service spokeswoman Lexi Maxwell said that fire began about 2 p.m. in the Circle D subdivision off Texas 71. It merged with another fire north of there that pushed south and crossed over Texas 21 and Texas 71, Maxwell said. Aerial units estimated that at least 300 homes had been damaged or destroyed by the fire.

Maxwell said another, unrelated fire was reported in the Colony subdivision in Bastrop County, which also forced evacuations.

"This was far and away the most catastrophic day for Central Texas fires," Maxwell said. more

More on "Government Motors": GM is turning into a failure

Earlier this year, President Obama went on one of his gloating tours, touting the wisdom of his nationalization of General Motors and Chrysler. Theirs was a corrupt bankruptcy that strongly rewarded the UAW, one of Obama’s major financial contributors. The new GM then posted a few months of improved sales, leading to much crowing by all the corrupt cocks.

But lately, the road for what is derisively termed “Government Motors” has become rather bumpy, as illustrated in a recent story. The report is about how the New GM is trying desperately to get a dismissal of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 400,000 Chevy Impala owners.

The suit, filed by one Donna Truska, argues that the Impalas — made between 2007 and 2008 — had defective rear spindle rods, leading to rapid tire wear. The plaintiff claims that GM has breached its warranty, and demands that GM fix the cars.

But the new GM argues that since the cars were made by the Old GM, it is not liable for the repairs, and the 400,000 Impala owners should therefore go to hell. Of course, the New GM was only too happy to take over the losses of the Old GM so it could stiff other taxpayers out of future taxes on the New GM, but it doesn’t want to assume any liabilities. more

193,000 Jobs: The true cost of the wasted $60bn in Iraq and Afghanistan

193,000 jobs. That's what we could have created, at minimum, for the money that war contractors wasted in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that “as $60 billion in U.S. funds has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents, an independent panel investigating U.S. wartime spending estimates.”

Sixty billion dollars is a massive amount of money to blow on two wars that don't make us safer, to say nothing of the basic scandal that the taxpayers did not get what they paid for. When you consider what that amount of money would have done had it been spent here at home, the scandal becomes a massive disgrace.

A 2009 study by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) shows that military spending ("wasted" spending or not) is a poor creator of jobs. If you take $1 billion from the military budget and just give it back to taxpayers, you'd create about 28 percent more jobs. If you took that same $1 billion and spent it on education, you'd create 150 percent more jobs. Put another way, at minimum, for every billion dollars you move out of the domestic economy and spend on military purposes, you essentially destroy at least 3,222 jobs.

Now, multiply 3,222 just by the number of billions the AP reports were wasted on the ridiculous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's more than 193,000. That's the bare minimum number of jobs this small slice of our nation's war spending cost us. more

US needs years to get employment back to pre-recession levels

With the American economy years away from returning to pre-recession employment levels, Friday's news that the country failed to add any jobs at all in August is cause for concern, to put it lightly. Some states, in particular, have a very long way to go.

In order to return employment back to pre-recession levels, the U.S. now needs to create 12.4 million jobs, according to the Brookings Institute's Hamilton Project.

As in previous months’ postings, The Hamilton Project updates America’s job gap, the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while absorbing the 125,000 people who enter the labor force each month. The August “job gap” is estimated at 12.4 million jobs, up 180,000 jobs from July.

Certain states dependent on hard-hit industries such as construction will have to generate even more jobs to get back to the pre-recession days. California, for example, was largely intertwined with the manufacturing and construction sectors, and is not coincidentally the state with the largest jobs gap. Currently, the Golden State needs almost 2 million jobs to get back to pre-recession levels of employment. Compare that to North Dakota, the state with smallest jobs gap, which needs only 7,000. Huffington Post

With Obama's jobs speech just around the corner, The Hamilton Project estimates that it would take twelve and a half years to reach pre-recession employment levels assuming the country started creating jobs at the same rate during the best job-growth years of the 2000s. more

"Things Look So Bad They Can Only Get Better"

To judge by the level of Treasury yields, the outlook for the U.S. economy has never been so bad. At 0.2% and 0.9%, respectively, 2- and 5-yr Treasury yields are lower today than they have been at any time during my lifetime. Far lower. Lower even than they were at the end of 2008, when the market was priced to years of deflation, a global depression, the default of as many as half the companies in the country within the next 5 years, and a global financial collapse. Wow.

The only thing that makes sense of these extremely gloom-and-doom yields that we are witnessing today is that the market is pricing in a massive default of European sovereign debt that in turn would result in the collapse of the Eurozone banking industry, and such an implosion might bring down the entire global economy. In other words, we have a market that is essentially priced to an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario.

In order to reach this grimmest of all possible scenarios, the market is making the dangerous assumption that all the bad things going on are going to get much worse: that Obama and the Democrats are never going to triangulate to a real pro-jobs program, that the Fed is going to print us into oblivion, that the economy is headed straight down, that the PIIGS are never going to veer from their big-spending, big-borrowing path, and that Europe is going to eventually implode. more

Electric motor made from a single molecule

Researchers have created the smallest electric motor ever devised.

The motor, made from a single molecule just a billionth of a metre across, is reported in Nature Nanotechnology.

The minuscule motor could have applications in both nanotechnology and in medicine, where tiny amounts of work can be put to efficient use.

Tiny rotors based on single molecules have been shown before, but this is the first that can be individually driven by an electric current.

"People have found before that they can make motors driven by light or by chemical reactions, but the issue there is that you're driving billions of them at a time - every single motor in your beaker," said Charles Sykes, a chemist at Tufts University in Massachusetts, US.

"The exciting thing about the electrical one is that we can excite and watch the motion of just one, and we can see how that thing's behaving in real time," he told BBC News. more

Magnitude 5.0 - SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - September 5, 2011

  • Monday, September 05, 2011 at 20:32:41 UTC
  • Monday, September 05, 2011 at 06:32:41 PM at epicenter
Location56.014°S, 27.365°W
Depth81.7 km (50.8 miles)
Distances77 km (47 miles) N of Visokoi Island, South Sandwich Islands
340 km (211 miles) N of Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands
2044 km (1270 miles) ESE of STANLEY, Falkland Islands
3366 km (2091 miles) SE of BUENOS AIRES, D.F., Argentina
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 24.1 km (15.0 miles); depth +/- 7.9 km (4.9 miles)
ParametersNST= 37, Nph= 39, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=0.95 sec, Gp= 68°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc0005phe

Magnitude 5.1 - OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - September 5, 2011

Location36.602°N, 142.512°E
Depth21.3 km (13.2 miles)
Distances153 km (95 miles) ESE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
183 km (113 miles) E of Mito, Honshu, Japan
209 km (129 miles) ESE of Koriyama, Honshu, Japan
268 km (166 miles) ENE of TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 21.1 km (13.1 miles); depth +/- 9.1 km (5.7 miles)
ParametersNST= 45, Nph= 46, Dmin=386.3 km, Rmss=0.63 sec, Gp=126°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc0005pgh

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL IRAN - 5th September 2011

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Central Iran at a depth of 14 km (9.7 miles), the quake hit at 18:45:02 UTC Monday 5th September 2011.
The epicenter was 14 km (9.7 miles) Southeast of Ravar, Iran
No reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

CIA Secret prisons: The human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe demands truth on CIA 'black sites' - 5th Sept 2011

The human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe urged countries that have hosted secret CIA prisons to come clean Monday, as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

Thomas Hammarberg said Poland, Romania and Lithuania were among at least seven countries that hosted "black sites" for "enhanced interrogation" during the "war on terror."

"Darkness still enshrouds those who authorized and ran the black sites on European territories," he said. "The full truth must now be established and guarantees given that such forms of co-operation will never be repeated."

CIA officials have acknowledged the rendition program, but refused to discuss details and denied violating any laws. Efforts to challenge the agency and get details about it in U.S. courts have been turned aside.

Hammarberg's statement comes as documents seized from Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Libya shed light on the program of extraordinary rendition, or questioning of terror suspects in third-party countries where U.S. law does not apply. Read More

Boy, 3, rescued from 50cm-wide, three-metre well after he fell in while playing - 5th Sept 2011

A three-year-old boy was rescued from a 50cm-wide, three-metre deep well after he had become trapped.

The unnamed youngster had accidentally fallen into the dry well after playing with his mother in a street in Shenyang in China's northeastern Liaoning Province.

Having seen her son slip down the well, the worried parent immediately called emergency services and firefighters rushed to save the boy.

When the fire-fighters arrived they were concerned by how narrow the well was - about 50cm in diameter.

To help the boy, the slimmest fireman was nominated to climb down, with the help the petrified, crying child.

As officer Cui Yan said: 'We selected a slim fireman to go down to lift the boy out.' Read More