Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why does America lead the world in school shootings?

School shootings are far more frequent in America than in other countries, although terrible massacres have occurred in Russia, Israel, and several European nations. In the high-crime neighborhoods of inner cities, school turf is relatively safe. We have learned to harden the target and patrol with vigilance.

And even in those suburbs and small towns where spree killings have occurred, the rates, per capita, are lower now than in previous decades. School is a safe place - until, as in Chardon, Ohio, the unspeakable happens. Then, even though the risks are low, it is fair to ask, why does this still happen? Why here, in America?

Let's be clear. There is no single, certain answer to these questions. The possible factors include failure by classmates, parents and school officials to see the warning signs; bullying and revenge; serious mental illness; violent role models; drugs; access to guns, and a culture that condones extremism.

America has its share of these factors, but which are significant and which are more prevalent here than across the Atlantic? more

Australian cattle cut up before they're dead in Indonesian abbatoirs

A leading animal welfare group says Australian cattle are still be inappropriately killed in Indonesian abbatoirs.

Animals Australia's Lyn White believes the new footage, shot in two separate abattoirs in Jakarta in January, is damning.

It was aired on ABC TV on Tuesday night.

'This latest footage reveals that workers cannot even be relied upon not to start cutting up Australian animals before they are dead,' Ms White told ABC TV.

'My Indonesian contact said that animal had an Australian ear tag. The other factor is that it is a Droughtmaster steer which is a breed of animal that is being exported from Western Australia to Indonesia.'

Ms White also said Australia-designed Mark I restraint boxes were still being used to slaughter cattle in Indonesia even though they didn't comply with international standards.

RSPCA chief scientist Dr Bidda Jones told ABC TV on Tuesday that the latest footage contained 46 potential breaches of the Australian government's new checklist designed to protect animals exported overseas. more

Bird Flu, Swine Flu and if that's not enough why not add Bat Flu

What is bat influenza (flu)?

Bat influenza refers to influenza A viruses found in bats. Bat influenza was first discovered in “little yellow-shouldered bats” in Guatemala during a study conducted in 2009 and 2010 by experts from CDC and the Universidad del Valle (University of the Valley) in Guatemala*. Bat influenza viruses have only been detected in little yellow-shouldered bats at this time. Additional testing is needed to determine if bat influenza viruses are found in other types of bats. Laboratory research at CDC suggests these viruses would need to undergo significant changes to become capable of infecting and spreading easily among humans. Little yellow shouldered bats are not native to the continental United States, but are common in Central and South America.

Does bat influenza pose a threat to human health?

Preliminary laboratory research at CDC suggests that human cells do not support growth of the bat influenza viruses in the test tube. This suggests that bat influenza viruses cannot grow or replicate in humans and would need to undergo significant changes to become capable of infecting and spreading easily among humans. However, testing of the bat influenza virus’s genome suggests the that its internal genes are compatible with human influenza viruses, so CDC scientists cannot rule out the possibility of these viruses eventually becoming capable of infecting humans. For more information, see the question below entitled “How could bat influenza viruses become capable of infecting and spreading among humans?”

How could bat influenza viruses become capable of infecting and spreading among humans?

Because the internal genes of bat influenza viruses are compatible with human influenza viruses, it is possible that these viruses could exchange genetic information with human influenza viruses through a process called “reassortment.” Reassortment occurs when two or more influenza viruses infect a single host cell, which allows the viruses to swap genetic information. Reassortment can sometimes lead to the emergence of new influenza viruses capable of infecting humans.

However, the conditions needed for reassortment to occur between human influenza viruses and bat influenza virus remain unknown. A different animal (such as pigs, horses or dogs) would need to serve as a “bridge,” meaning that such an animal would need to be capable of being infected with both this new bat influenza virus and human influenza viruses for reassortment to occur. Read More

Death Toll Mounts in Indonesia as Battle Rages Over Bird Flu Study

Controversial research on how to make bird flu more contagious will be published after an initial delay, as the virus continues to take lives in Indonesia, the country worst hit by the disease.

The latest victim was a 12-year-old boy who died on Saturday at a hospital in Bali’s capital, Denpasar.

It was the fourth bird flu death in the country since the beginning of the year, despite the government’s claim that the disease is under control.

Since 2003, 186 people in Indonesia have been diagnosed with bird flu, with 156 deaths.

The virus, which is endemic in wild birds, has a death rate of around 60 percent when it infects humans.

But even the figure of 332 confirmed bird flu deaths worldwide since 2003 is low compared to human flu or other viruses such as HIV.

Experts are worried about bird flu because the virus could mutate into a form that is easily transmissible from human to human and has the same high fatality rate as the current virus. That could cause a deadly pandemic, they say, which is why it is considered important to research what such a virus would look like and how it could be treated. Read More

Thousands of fish die at oxygen short angling spot

AN ANGLING club has been left devastated after thousands of fish have died at Pennytown Ponds in the space of a week.

Palmer Morewood Angling Club owns the fishing rights to the Green Flag-rated nature reserve situated behind Cotes Park industrial estate in Somercotes.

But this week, after a recent thaw - dead fish have been gradually floating to the surface because of a lack of oxygen.

By Friday distressed anglers reported how thousands of fish, including large carp, were seen gasping for air on the surface, with the dead ones having to be removed with nets.

Stephen Jackson, a factory operator and committee member of the Alfreton-based angling club said fishing there could be seriously affected by the loss of stock.

The 52-year-old said: “The fish have been gasping for a few days - but now there are literally thousands coming up to the surface.

“There are fish queuing six or seven deep trying to get oxygen out of the top of the water.

“Looking at the amount of fish here in the next few days - we will lose the majority of them.”

Club members alerted the Environment Agency on Saturday, February 11, when they spotted a number of carp gasping for air at the water’s surface. Read More

Dead alligator pulled from Kankakee River in Starke County, Indiana

Two fishermen pulled something unexpected from the Kankakee River in Starke County on Sunday.

A dead alligator.

Indiana Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman was contacted by Jeff Brewer and his father Steve Brewer after they discovered the gator stuck in a logjam two miles downstream from the English Lake public access site.

The Brewers had just launched their boat and were heading out for the afternoon when Jeff spotted the foot and tail of the alligator poking from the water. Using a landing net, he retrieved the dead gator from the water and returned to the boat launch with the carcass to meet with Officer Wildeman. The alligator measured 4’ 7’’ in length and its mouth had been taped shut.

Officer Wildeman noted that the alligator was partially decomposed and appeared to have been dead for some time. Its taped mouth, Wildeman added, indicates that the gator was likely a pet which outgrew its welcome and was released by its owner unlawfully into the river. “There is no possibility that an alligator can survive Indiana’s winter climate, let alone with its mouth taped shut unable to feed,” Wildeman said.

This alligator’s release is believed to be an isolated incident. Anyone with any information about the gator is urged to contact Indiana Conservation Officers at 1-800-TIP-IDNR. Read More

Kilauea lava flowing, earthquake swarms over for now

A photo from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on the Big Island shows the thermal image of lava flows coming down the Pali through the Royal Gardens subdivision area.

Over the weekend, scientists say the swarm of earthquakes that occurred last week are over for now.

It started early Wednesday morning and lasted through Saturday.

Officials say the will continue to monitor activity. So far, that series of earthquakes have not affected eruptions on the Big Island. Source

Dutch parliament backs Greek bailout, reluctantly

(Reuters) - The Dutch parliament, which has been heavily critical of euro zone bailouts, gave grudging backing to Greece's second rescue package on Tuesday saying it was needed to stabilize the currency bloc.

The ruling Christian Democrats and Liberals and opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat parties supported the 130 billion euro ($175 billion) program agreed by European leaders last week.

The Netherlands has been among the most reluctant countries to pledge support, with Dutch Finance Minister and Christian Democrat Jan Kees de Jager demanding close supervision of Greek budget cuts and reforms.

"Greece is a problem child and will remain a problem child for the time being. (But) the price of leaving it to fend for itself is unprecedentedly high for Greece and the rest of Europe," said Elly Blanksma-van den Heuvel, a member of parliament (MP) for the Christian Democrats. Read More

TJ Lane the Ohio 'Shooter' In Court as Third Boy Dies

A third student has died from his wounds following a shooting in an Ohio school, as the suspected gunman is expected in court.

Demetrius Hewlin died at the Cleveland Hospital on Tuesday where another victim, 17-year-old Russell King Jr, was also declared brain dead.

They had both been in critical conditions following the shooting at Chardon High School on Monday. Sixteen-year-old Daniel Parmertor was killed at the scene.

Two further victims - an 18-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy - are believed to be in a serious condition at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, a Cleveland suburb.

The Helwin family said in a statement: "We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community.

"Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends. We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time," it said.

The Geauga County Juvenile Court said alleged gunman TJ Lane is scheduled for a hearing at 3.30pm local time. A statement issued by the Lane family said they were "devastated by this most recent event". Read More

9/11 Victims Remains went to Landfill a Pentagon Documents Reveals

Remains of some victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US were taken to a landfill site, a Pentagon report has found.

"Several portions of remains" found at the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania crash site presumably ended up in landfill after being handed to a private firm, the report said.

The Pentagon said the remains "could not be tested or identified".

The victims were among those killed when a plane hijacked by terrorists struck the Pentagon and another crashed in Shanksville, killing 40.

Remains that could not be tested or identified were given to a bio-medical waste disposal contractor.

The contractor incinerated them and then took them to a landfill.

The information was in a report on the military's Dover mortuary, where the practice of putting partial unidentified remains in a landfills was discontinued in 2008. Source

Cat Goes for a Swim in the Sea, Russia

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS, RUSSIA - 28th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands, Russia at a depth of 46.2 km (28.7 miles), the quake hit at 18:05:21 UTC Tuesday 28th February 2012
The epicenter was 151 km (94 miles) South from Severo-Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Grizzly Bear Encounter

Does discovery of 1st Century coffin lid prove the resting place of Jesus is under Jerusalem tower block?

Archaeologists exploring a 1st century Christian burial chamber have discovered an ancient inscription on a coffin lid which they believe could prove the site is the final resting place of Jesus.

Using a remote-controlled camera connected to a robotic arm to probe below a tower block in Jerusalem, the archaeologists were staggered to discover a set of 1st century 'bone boxes'.

The lid on one of these limestone boxes, also known as ossuaries, carries an inscription in Greek which could be translated as 'Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up'.

Another carries a drawing of a fish with a stick figure in its mouth which is believed to refer to the story of Jonah and the Whale - one of the very first Christian stories.

The find is 200ft away from an earlier discovery known as the Jesus Family Tomb, which caused a huge amount of controversy after it was uncovered in the 1980s.

Archaeologists then claimed it contained ossuaries inscribed with names associated with Jesus's family. Read More

Chav Tranquilizer advert Paddy Power

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake KOMANDORSKIYE OSTROVA, RUSSIA REGION - 28th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Komandorskiye Ostrova, Russia at a depth of 35.6 km (22.1 miles), the quake hit at 17:00:04 UTC Tuesday 28th February 2012
The epicenter was 179 km (111 miles) ESE from Nikol'skoye, Komandorskiye Ostrova, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

2011 AG5: Nasa identifies new asteroid threat which 'could hit Earth' in 30 years time

It is 460ft wide and soaring through space - on a possible collision course with Earth.

Nasa has identified a new asteroid threat to our planet and calculated that it could potentially impact on February 5th 2040.

The 2011 AG5 has already attracted the concern of the UN Action Team on near-Earth objects, which has begun discussing ways to divert it.

They have put the odds of it hitting us at one in 625, though that could change nearer the time.

Were the rock to land on a city it could cause millions of deaths, although mankind would live through it.

The asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was nine miles wide, compared to 460ft for the 2011 AG5. Read More

Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham becoming 'no-go areas' because of drugs gangs... just like Mexico and Brazil says the UNITED NATIONS

Areas of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham have become 'no-go' areas where the law is losing the battle against drug traffickers and organised crime, according to the United Nations' drugs chief.

The three cities were directly compared to the drug cartels which hold sway over large parts of Brazil and Mexico by Professor Hamid Ghodse, the president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

He said the cities were trapped in 'a vicious cycle of social exclusion and drugs problems and fractured communities'.

The development of 'no-go areas' is being fuelled by threats such as social inequality, migration and celebrities normalising drug abuse, he warned, adding that helping marginalised communities with drugs problems 'must be a priority'. Read More

Nicole Graham stayed by her horse's side for THREE HOURS after getting trapped in 'quicksand', Australia

This was the terrifying moment a brave young mother battled to keep her beloved horse calm as sea water closed in on the animal after he became trapped in mud 'like quicksand'.

Exhausted and mud-splattered, Nicole Graham clung to her trapped horse Astro for three hours keeping his head high in a race against the tide.

The 78-stone show horse had sunk into quagmire-like mud and was facing the prospect of drowning as the water rose around them.

Miss Graham had been out on an afternoon ride with her daughter along the coast near Geelong, south of Melbourne, when 18-year-old Astro suddenly sank into the mud.

Before she could shout a warning, the smaller horse her daughter Paris was riding was also partially swallowed up by the mud.

After dragging herself through the mire, Miss Graham helped her daughter and the other horse on to firmer ground.

However, Astro was stuck fast and her efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire.

As Paris ran to their car and phoned for help, Miss Graham stayed at her horse’s side. She courageously clung on to his neck, terrified that he would not be freed before the tide came in.

After three 'terrifying' hours, rescuers managed to pull Astro and Miss Graham from the mud. Read More

Greece about to Receive 130 Billion Bailout when they can't even make a Junk Rating...Smart Move? End of the EURO may be sooner Rather than later

Greece has become the first eurozone country to be officially rated in default after the credit rating agency Standard & Poor downgraded it to a lower level than junk.

It said the country is in "selective default" since its creditors began the process of accepting the cut on the money they are owed.

S&P says their move was triggered by the fact that if a large majority of creditors accept the new terms then all the creditors need to agree, which would have consequences for bondholders. Source

French presidential favourite vows 75% super tax...The tax isn't the Problem, the problem is Governments wasting the Money available

PARIS — The Socialist tipped to become France's next leader promised to impose a 75 percent tax bracket on France's top earners in a move denounced Tuesday by President Nicolas Sarkozy as "worrying amateurism".

Francois Hollande said it was simply a case of "patriotism to accept to pay extra tax to get the country back on its feet again" and reverse the policies of Sarkozy that he said favoured the rich.
"It is sending out a signal, a message of social cohesion," he said during a tour of France's annual agricultural fair in Paris.

Taxing the rich has become a hot issue in an election campaign marked by worry over the economic crisis and rising unemployment, which now stands at nearly three million.
Sarkozy slammed his rival's tax plan.

"This all gives the impression of improvisation, of precipitation, in short of amateurism that is quite worrying," he said while on the campaign trail in the southern city of Montpellier.

Hollande, tipped to beat Sarkozy in the vote in April and May, on Monday unveiled the plan for a 75 percent tax rate on all annual earnings above a threshold of a million euros ($1.3 million).

"I have seen the considerable progression of the pay of the CAC 40 (benchmark French stock market index) bosses. Two million euros (a year) on average. How can we accept that?" he asked on a television show. Read More

Al Gore's role in Apple's global warming policy questioned at shareholder event: He scares, he profits

Former Vice President Al Gore’s positions on climate change came under fire at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday when a non-profit group accused Gore, an Apple board member, of using his position to influence Apple’s public stand on global warming.

Representatives of the conservative think tank National Center for Public Policy Research -- which holds shares in Apple -- said the consumer electronics giant’s board should investigate whether Gore had influenced the company’s decision in 2009 to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“We are concerned that Apple’s policy on greenhouse gas regulations was developed to personally benefit a board member in violation of the Company’s Business Conduct Policy,” read the group’s claim, emailed to shareholders prior to the meeting and labeled “Proposal No. 4.” The group alleged that Gore’s personal portfolio of energy and green-industry stocks stood to gain if the global warming policies he advocates become law.

The proposal failed, having garnered a tiny fraction of stockholder votes. But Tom Borelli, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project, told he stands by the proposal.

“We got 1.6 percent of the vote, which is a very low number,” Borelli admitted. “But it doesn't mean we aren’t right. We are. When a company makes money, no one cares about conflicts of interest.” more

U.S. billionaire Donald Trump funds £10m anti-wind farm war chest to 'preserve nature' (but no mention of the protected sand dunes he built on)

Donald Trump, the American property tycoon, is bankrolling a £10million fighting fund for British anti-windfarm campaigners.

The move follows proposals for 11 giant turbines off the Aberdeenshire coast, which Mr Trump says will spoil the view from his golfing resort on the Balmedie estate, near Menie.

The billionaire believes the structures, each as high as a 64-storey building, will besmirch the unspoilt landscape surrounding the £750million, 1,200 acre complex.

But with the resort being built over a site of special scientific interest, Mr Trump's sudden lust for preserving the environment may open him to accusations of hypocrisy.

Locals campaigned in vain to save the sand dunes - home to numerous species of wading birds and wildlife - but they were finally bulldozed to make way for the fairways. more

Juan Montoya Crashes Into Safety Truck! Jet Fuel Everywhere! 2012 Daytona 500 (Environment says thanks!)

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS, RUSSIA - 28th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands, Russia at a depth of 45.5 km (28.3 miles), the quake hit at 15:24:21 UTC Tuesday 28th February 2012
The epicenter was 167 km (104 miles) South from Severo-Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Jose Ayala Arrested After Fighting With Officers (after asking for job, naked, while man with burger attempts to help): A day in the life of America

A man apparently high on methamphetamine entered a Sacramento welding shop and then fought with police officers before being arrested.

Sacramento police responded to a call at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday that a naked male Hispanic adult had entered a welding shop in the 1600 block of Juliesse Avenue and was rambling incoherently.

Shop owner Chris Johnson called police after escorting Jose Ayala, who asked for a job interview, out of his shop.

“I turn around and I’m like ‘whoa!’” Johnson said of seeing the nude man. “He said something about he was looking for work, and he was good with his hands. I didn’t know why a naked dude would be in my shop.”

But Ayala stayed outside the shop, so Johnson called 911 and started filming Ayala. more

Man killed for singing 'We are More American' at Houston karaoke night (in Spanish)

A man who was singing karaoke at a southwest Houston restaurant early Monday was shot to death because another patron did not like his song choice, according to Houston police.

The shooting happened at Ostioneria Mazatlan in the 6400 block of Hillcroft at Sandspoint around 2 a.m.
Police said the victim had just finished singing “Somos mas Americanos,” which means “We are More American,” when someone began to argue with him about the selection.

"Apparently the choice of music caused an altercation, which led to the shooting at this location,” said Sgt. J.J. Wilson, HPD Homicide.

The suspect shot the man in the head, then fled the scene in red Chevy pickup truck. He remains on the loose.

Several people who were with the suspect also fled. source

2-year-old falls out of moving car; mother notices after getting home Read more here:

Samantha Garcia was at a friend’s house to watch the Daytona 500 Sunday afternoon when she stepped outside to find out what was causing a commotion in the front yard of his house in southwest Wichita.

That’s when she first saw the 2-year-old boy, crying, frightened and bleeding heavily from his nose and lip.

“He was scared,” Garcia said. “I’ve never seen a child’s lip that swollen.”

While he shied away from her male friend in the front yard of the house in the 2000 block of West Rita, northeast of Pawnee and Meridian, “as soon as I came up, he put his arms up and climbed right up into my arms, no problem,” Garcia said.

He had road rash on his arm and two deep cuts on his face, she said.

Wichita police on Monday said the boy was riding in the back seat of his mother’s car when he unbuckled his seat belt, opened the back door and fell out. His 22-year-old mother didn’t notice he was gone until she arrived at her home in the 2000 block of South Hiram more than 1 1/2 miles away.

She then retraced her steps, and found him at the house on Rita.

The mother claimed she panicked when she got home and took out the child safety seat, and wanted to leave with her child immediately, Garcia said.

“We wouldn’t let her have him until we knew what happened,” she said. “The police were on their way." more

Chardon High School Shooting: Russell King Jr just 17 declared Brain Dead

(Reuters) - A 17-year-old boy wounded in Monday's shooting rampage at an Ohio high school was declared brain dead, authorities said on Tuesday, following the death of another student.

Russell King Jr. was declared brain dead, although he still has a heartbeat, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office administrator Hugh Shannon said. Three students wounded in the shooting remain hospitalized.

King is the second victim to have died in the shooting at Chardon High School east of Cleveland, where a gunman opened fire in the cafeteria before classes started and was then chased from the scene by a teacher and arrested nearby.

Daniel Parmertor, 16, was declared dead on Monday.

Authorities said the suspect, a student, will appear at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in a hearing at Geauga County Juvenile Court.

The incident ranks as the worst gun violence at a U.S. high school in 11 months and in Ohio since late 2007, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Read More

Irish government says it will hold referendum on European fiscal pact

More to Follow

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 28th Feb 2012

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck the Bonin Islands, Japan Region at a depth of 508.8 km (316.2 miles), the quake hit at 15:07:35 UTC Tuesday 28th February 2012
The epicenter was 302 km (188 miles) WNW from Chichi-shima, Bonin Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 28th Feb 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Hokkaido, Japan Region at a depth of 98.6 km (61.3 miles), the quake hit at 14:30:10 UTC Tuesday 28th February 2012
The epicenter was 103 km (64 miles) ENE of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

China chemical plant Explosion leaves 13 dead, many injured

An explosion at a chemical factory in northern China has killed at least 13 people, state officials said.

Part of the plant was flattened by the blast and witnesses said houses within a 2km diameter had windows smashed.

Police believe the blast, which left another 43 people injured, may have been caused by chemicals.

The blast took place at 0920 (0120GMT) at the Keeper Chemical Plant in Zhaoxian County, state media said.

Cheng Weiqing, deputy head of the Shijiazhuang City Public Security Bureau which oversees Zhaoxian County, says tremors were felt in at least three villages near the plant.

He told Xinhua that the damaged factory produced farming and other chemicals, including ammonium sulphate, guanidine nitrate and nitro guanidine. Read More

Vietnamese man hospitalized with H5N1 infection

Feb 27, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – A 22-year-old man in Vietnam is in critical condition with an H5N1 avian influenza infection, according to media reports.

Nguyen Van Vin Chau, Ho Chi Minh City's director of tropical diseases, said the man is from Binh Duong province, located in the southeastern part of the country, Asia News Network (ANN) reported today. He was hospitalized on Feb 23 after experiencing a high fever and respiratory symptoms.

Samples were positive for H5N1, and the man is receiving treatment, according to the report. The investigation so far has found that during the Tet holiday the man ate chicken and duck from unknown origins in two different provinces and in Ho Chi Minh City.

So far this year Vietnam has reported three H5N1 infections, including two deaths, after recording none in 2011. All three cases have been in adults. If the World Health Organization confirms the new case, it will be listed as Vietnam's 122nd case, which includes 61 deaths.

In other news, Vietnam is stepping up efforts to battle H5N1 in poultry, Viet Nam News (VNN) reported Feb 25. Diep Kanh Tan, deputy minister of agriculture, said authorities are constructing a map to identify different strains of the virus in different areas. He said the map will be used to guide the type of poultry vaccine to be used in each area.

Currently, only one type of vaccine is used—and the country is importing 50 million doses of it—but it's for a strain of H5N1 prevalent only in the southern part of the country.

An official in Hai Duong province told VNN that failure to identify and vaccinate against the exact strain played a role in H5N1's rapid spread in the province.

So far this year about 52,000 birds have been culled in 12 Vietnamese provinces, according to the report.

According to a Feb 24 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Vietnam's latest H5N1 outbreak struck backyard birds in a village in Nam Dinh province, which is in the Red River delta area of northern Vietnam. The virus killed 100 birds, and 80 more were destroyed to curb the spread of the disease. Source

Israel won't warn U.S. before Iran strike

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Israeli officials say they won't warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran's nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the message to a series of top-level U.S. visitors to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House national security adviser and the director of national intelligence, and top U.S. lawmakers, all trying to close the trust gap between Israel and the U.S. over how to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu delivered the same message to all the Americans who have traveled to Israel for talks, the U.S. official said. Read More

Putin warns West over Syria, Iran

MOSCOW (AP) -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned against military intervention in Syria or an attack on Iran in scathing criticism of the West on Monday as he laid out his foreign policy priorities less than a week before Russia's presidential election.

Putin said the West had backed the Arab Spring to advance its interests in the region, and that instead of promoting democracy the revolts had given rise to religious extremism.

Anti-Western rhetoric has been a key part of Putin's campaign, aimed at rallying support among his core electorate of blue-collar workers, farmers and state employees widely suspicious of the West after years of government propaganda.

In criticizing the Arab Spring and accusing the U.S. of trying to encourage a similar uprising in Russia, Putin on Monday played on patriotic feelings by posturing as a defender of national interests in the face of potential unrest.

His lengthy article, brimming with criticism of the United States and its Western allies, was the latest in a series of manifestos Putin has published in Russian newspapers ahead of Sunday's election. Although none of the other four candidates poses a challenge and Putin is all but certain to win, he has been rattled by an unprecedented outburst of public discontent in Russia. Read More

North Korea deploys new long-range rocket launchers

SEOUL (Kyodo) -- North Korea has deployed an improved, longer-range version of its 240 mm multiple rocket launcher, a South Korean newspaper reported Tuesday, citing military sources.

The Chosun Ilbo said North Korea is expected to unveil the rocket launchers during a parade to mark the centennial of founder Kim Il Sung's birthday April 15.

North Korea spent several years trying to improve the rocket launchers and has now completed the work. To test the upgraded version, it reportedly imported 300 mm shells from Russia and test-fired them for years off the west coast.

As for the range of the new rocket launchers, some experts speculate that they have a range of more than 120 kilometers. That would put the entire Seoul metropolitan area, including U.S. bases in surrounding provinces, within their range. The old models have a range of 60 km that puts Seoul and Chuncheon in Gangwon Province within their range when fired from the front-line Demilitarized Zone.

But others say their range is less than 100 km. Read More