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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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Greek cabinet supports call for referendum on bailout: Europe on edge

Greece's cabinet voted Wednesday to support Prime Minister George Papandreou's call to hold a referendum as soon as possible about the latest bailout plan, ministers coming out of the meeting told a CNN affiliate.

The vote was unanimous, though some of the ministers expressed criticism prior to casting their votes, CNN affiliate Mega Channel reported.

The cabinet vote came hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and senior figures from the International Monetary Fund and European Union were to meet Wednesday with Greek officials at an emergency meeting in Cannes, France, ahead of the G-20 summit.

Their meeting comes a day after U.S. and European stock markets tumbled after Papandreou's call for the referendum on international aid for his country.

A "no" vote could theoretically force Greece to crash out of the euro and send shock waves through the global financial system.

Papandreou is seeking public backing from the Greek people for last week's bailout deal, which took months to reach.

But the move created turmoil in domestic politics, with Papandreou forced to hold an emergency Cabinet meeting late Tuesday, and angered his European counterparts. more

Greek surprise sends shock waves through markets: Eurozone could collapse within months if not weeks

Stock markets in the United States and Europe dropped Tuesday after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stunned the world by calling a national referendum on international aid for his country.

A "No" vote could theoretically force Greece to crash out of the euro and send shock waves through the global financial system.

Papandreou is seeking public backing from the Greek people for last week's bailout deal, which took months to hammer out.

But the move has created turmoil in domestic politics, with Papandreou forced to hold an emergency Cabinet meeting late Tuesday, and angered his European counterparts.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a terse statement Tuesday saying they were "determined to ensure the full implementation, without delay, of decisions adopted by the summit, which are necessary now more than ever."

White House spokesman Jay Carney struck a similar note, saying Papandreou's move reinforced the need for Europe "to elaborate further and implement rapidly the decisions they made last week." more

Casey Anthony takes Fifth 60 times in civil suit deposition

Attorneys representing Casey Anthony invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 60 times during a deposition given in a civil suit against her, according to a transcript of the proceedings.

In addition, Anthony's attorney Charles Greene asserted he would also invoke the Fifth Amendment on her behalf if questioning delved into the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Anthony, who was acquitted in July of murder charges in Caylee's death, is being sued in civil court by a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez.

When Caylee was reported missing in July 2008 -- a month after she was last seen -- Anthony maintained she had been kidnapped by her nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez.

Authorities were never able to find the nanny. But they did find Gonzalez, who claimed she never met Anthony or her daughter.

Gonzalez's attorneys claim, according to questions asked of Anthony in the October 8 deposition, that Gonzalez was questioned by the police in Caylee's disappearance, was kicked out of her apartment complex, lost her job and that she and her two daughters received death threats as a result of media attention in the case. more

7 killed and 200 injured in explosion in China

Seven people died and more than 200 others were hurt Tuesday in an explosion in southwest China's Guizhou Province, the Xinhua news agency said, citing local authorities.

The explosion, which the state-run news agency Xinhua described as an accident, occurred at about 11:30 a.m., when two cargo trucks carrying some 70 metric tons of explosives exploded in front of a motor vehicle testing station in the city of Fuquan, about 100 km (62 miles) from Guizhou's capital of Guiyang, the news agency said.

Windows in nearby houses shattered; cars were damaged as was a grain warehouse, it said.

A witness told Xinhua that the testing station was destroyed and an adjacent five-story residential building was damaged.

Of the more than 200 people who were taken to a hospital, 25 were in critical condition, a rescue hospital headquarters spokesman told the news agency.

"After hearing the noise, my head and legs were hit by flying objects, and then I fell unconscious," Long Lifeng, a 40-year-old sales clerk at a nearby gas station, told Xinhua. She said she received four stitches on her head,

Some victims were placed in beds in corridors of the No. 1 People's Hospital in Fuquan because of overcrowding, it said.

The blast was under investigation, the news agency reported. source

Seven dead from suspected food poisoning, Buipa, Ghana - 1st Nov 2011

Police in Buipe are preparing to enter into a village called Sayi Buipe where seven people have died of suspected food poisoning.

The seven are members of the same family. The family of 10 ate an evening meal made from beans but seven members of the family died almost immediately after the meal.

An eyewitness told Joy News the dead includes two children while the woman who prepared the meal and another child are in critical condition and on admission at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. A third person is yet to be traced.

Buipe District Police commander, ASP Kingsley Owusu Antwi, said they are facing challenges in acquiring transportation to the village, which can be done only by boat. His men are yet to unravel what caused the death.

The bereaved family is suspecting someone might have poisoned the food.
Read More

More than 800 Ostriches tested Positive for Bird Flu in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa - 1st Nov 2011

Ostriches have tested positive for bird flu on a farm in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape.

More than 800 ostriches infected with avian influenza were culled recently following an outbreak on a Mossel Bay farm.

South Africa has self-imposed a ban on ostrich exports, reportedly costing the industry millions every month.

The European Union's initial ban on ostrich exports hit the industry hard earlier in 2011 when thousands of birds were culled after an outbreak on farms in Oudtshoorn.

The EU eventually lifted the ban, but it was a matter of days before the Agriculture Department again halted exports after more ostriches tested positive for avian influenza on a Mossel Bay farm.

Agriculture spokesperson Wouter Kriel said several of the farmer's birds have been destroyed.

“It’s 820 birds and the farms in a radius of 10 kilometres surrounding that farm were also tested and no further positive tests were identified,” he said.

While the Oudtshoorn area remains under quarantine, Kriel said they will meet with the EU soon to discuss a plan of action. Source

Michigan State University researchers warn of life-threatening bacterial outbreak in Metro Detroit dogs - 1st Nov 2011

Michigan State University animal experts say more than 20 cases of a life-threatening bacterial infection have been reported in Detroit-area dogs.

Michigan State University veterinary researchers are warning of an outbreak of a life-threatening bacterial infection among dogs in Metro Detroit.

A specific strain of the disease known as leptospirosis has been diagnosed in more than 20 cases. Nine dogs were either euthanized or died as a result.

"What is particularly unusual about this outbreak is that the dogs affected are not stray animals, but people's pets," Carole Bolin, director of MSU's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, said in a statement Thursday.

"Unfortunately, we expect to see more cases, and this is a very dangerous type of leptospirosis. Many veterinarians have never seen this type in dogs because it was markedly reduced by vaccination."

Bolin and a team at MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine's diagnostic center performed testing and identified the infection strain as icterohaemorrhagiae. Leptospirosis can be fatal in dogs. It is commonly carried by rats but also can be transmitted between dogs or to humans, MSU said. Read More

400 children dead, 2,000 contaminated by lead poisoning, Nigeria - 1st Nov 2011

Illegal gold mining has left at least 2,000 children suffering from lead poisoning in several villages in Zamfara State of Nigeria, where more than 400 children have already died from contamination.

Giving these alarming facts here, a health official added that 2,000 children under five had shown signs of lead levels in the blood far exceeding international standards, due to exposure to lead-rich gold ore, with some areas yet to be cleaned up despite repeated warnings.

The children live in villages in Zamfara State where lethal levels of lead poisoning were reported in 2010 due to illegal gold mining. Lead has been dispersed in the villages by the processing of ore for gold extraction.

“There are 2,000 children suffering from lead poisoning in eight lead-contaminated villages yet to be remediated,” confirmed Nasiru Tsafe, deputy co-ordinator of Zamfara state's rapid response team. “These children are exposed to more danger by their constant exposure to lead and the delay in treatment.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch researcher Jane Cohen, who visited the area recently, said the situation was worse than anticipated with a large number of children exposed to high lead contamination well above the World Health Organisation’s accepted limit. Read More