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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Coming Crisis Chat Page -- March, 2012

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This is the community chat thread of the Coming Crisis. We encourage everyone to join in on the discussions surrounding our research and posts, and welcome them in making comments.

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Jordan hit by rare snow storm

Jordan's capital, Amman, experiences heavy snow as rare weather conditions hit the gulf region. More than half of Jordan is covered by the Arabian desert, and winter temperatures average around 13°C. But the region is being affected by a polar depression, and experts say the cold weather is expected to continue. Source

Chicago Goldsmith Public School stabbing: 1 Student Killed

(CNN) -- One of two teenage students stabbed at a Chicago public school has died, police said.

The incident occurred Thursday morning inside the front door of the city's Goldsmith Public School and prompted authorities to rush the teens to a hospital, according to police spokesman Mike Sullivan.

An 18-year-old student had been listed in critical condition and a 17-year-old student was listed in serious condition, he said. Sullivan said one of the students had died, but did not say which.

A 17-year-old suspect is in police custody. Source

No credit default for Greece..........Yet

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- For investors, the words credit default swap can bring back painful memories of 2008. But in the case of Greece, the dreaded derivatives may not be the ticking time bomb some have feared.

Early Thursday, the industry group responsible for deciding when CDS contracts are triggered, said a "credit event" had not occurred in Greece. But the International Swaps and Derivatives Association did leave the door open, saying the situation could change "as further facts come to light."

Credit default swaps are derivatives contracts that investors use to insure against, or profit from, a default. CDS contracts on mortgage-backed securities were at the heart of the crisis that brought the global financial system to its knees four years ago.

The ISDA was asked to review legal steps Greece has taken to force private-sector bondholders to take part in a planned restructuring of Greek government debt, which the nation needs to qualify for a €130 billion bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Read More

Eurozone unemployment at record high

(Financial Times) -- Unemployment in the 17-member eurozone jumped to an all-time high of 10.7 per cent in January, underlining the challenges facing European leaders as they gather in Brussels for a summit dedicated to finding ways to restart the continent's economy.

The figures represented the loss of an additional 185,000 jobs from December, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics arm, and were slightly worse than the 10.4 per cent many economists had forecast.

The situation remained particularly severe in Spain, where unemployment hit 23.3 per cent in January, up from 20.6 per cent a year ago. Spain's youth unemployment came in just shy of 50 per cent.

The grim news on jobs was accompanied by a rise in inflation, with the consumer price index edging up to 2.7 per cent in February as a result of high oil prices brought on by a cold winter. Read More

NATO soldiers killed by Afghans were Americans: US

WASHINGTON — Two NATO soldiers who were killed by Afghan colleagues on Thursday were Americans and two of the three gunmen were Afghan government troops, the Pentagon said.

The attack raised the death toll to six Americans killed by Afghan associates in the week since angry protests broke out over the burning of the Koran at a US base at Bagram.

"We believe that two individuals from ANSF (Afghan security forces) were involved in the attack and a civilian Afghan as well," Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters.

"Two of the attackers were subsequently killed by our forces" but the fate of the civilian assailant was still unknown, he said.

The Afghan civilian was a literacy teacher working in the outpost who grabbed a weapon from a soldier and opened fire, Zhary district chief Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi told AFP.

The attack occurred at a military outpost in the southern province of Kandahar, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban. Read More

Israeli PM demands Obama commit to military action if Iran sanctions fail

Binyamin Netanyahu pressing for explicit threat from US ahead of crucial meeting with Obama next week in Washington

Israel is pressing Barack Obama for an explicit threat of military action against Iran if sanctions fail and Tehran's nuclear programme advances beyond specified "red lines".

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is expected to raise the issue at a White House meeting on Monday after weeks of intense diplomacy in which Obama has dispatched senior officials – including his intelligence, national security and military chiefs – to Jerusalem to try and dampen down talk of an attack.

Diplomats say that Israel is angered by the Obama administration's public disparaging of early military action against Iran, saying that it weakens the prospect of Tehran taking the warnings from Israel seriously. Read More

2nd Unusual Event Declared at Byron Nuclear Plant, Illinois

Less than a month ago, the Byron station shut down their second unit due to a loss of offsite power. Last night a similar situation caused the station to declare yet another “unusual event.”

BYRON (WIFR) -- Less than a month ago, the Byron station shut down their second unit due to a loss of offsite power. Last night a similar situation caused the station to declare yet another “unusual event.”

Today, 23 News looked at what the problem is and why the nuclear regulatory commission keeping an extra eye on the stations inspection.

Shortly after 5:30 yesterday afternoon the Byron Station's emergency diesel generators kicked on as off site power was lost for the second time in less than 30 days. Read More

Witchcraft In The Congo: A Victim's Tale

Witchcraft or "kindoki" is a widespread belief in parts of central and western Africa.

But the extreme rituals that resulted in the death of Kristy Bamu in an East London flat in Christmas 2010 are a relatively new phenomenon.
People from all backgrounds and social classes see it as a normal extension of their spiritual life.

It is quite routine for children across Africa to be accused of being witches and the phenomenon is particularly strong in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It is illegal to accuse children of witchcraft in DRC but revivalist churches preaching the benefits of child exorcism have gained greater influence in the past decade. Read More

Syria: Assad To Allow Aid Into Beseiged City

The Red Cross has been granted permission to evacuate those in need from the beseiged Syrian city of Homs and to take food and medical supplies in.

Sean Maguire, spokesman of the International Committee of the Red Cross told Sky News that aid workers would go into the suburb of Baba Amr, which has suffered a month of bombardment by government forces.

He also said that while there tomorrow, it may be possible to recover the bodies of fallen western journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik.

Speaking after claims that Baba Amr - a rebel stronghold - has been taken by the Assad regime, Mr Maguire said the Red Cross has no idea of how many wounded may be in the area or how many might need to be brought out.

Intense fighting in the region has led to the closure of the UK's embassy in Syria.

Fears among diplomats were heightened after a senior Assad regime official was quoted as saying the Baba Amr area of the city of Homs would be "cleansed". Read More

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake CENTRAL CALIFORNIA - 1st Mar 2012

A magnitude 3.6 earthquake has struck Central California at a depth of 6.5 km (4 miles), the quake hit at 17:15:33 UTC Thursday 1st March 2012
The epicenter was 15 km (9.3 miles) Northwest from Pinnacles, California
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake KURIL ISLANDS, RUSSIA - 1st Mar 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Kuril Islands, Russia at a depth of 25.6 km (15.9 miles), the quake hit at 16:40:14 UTC Thursday 1st March 2012
The epicenter was 176 km (110 miles) South from Severo-Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands, Russia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION - 1st Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Bonin Islands, Japan at a depth of 40.8 km (25.4 miles), the quake hit at 02:12:30 UTC Thursday 1st March 2012
The epicenter was 201 km (125 miles) North from Chichi-shima, Bonin Islands, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA - 1st Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Southern Xinjiang, China at a depth of 54.3 km (33.7 miles), the quake hit at 16:05:37 UTC Thursday 1st March 2012
The epicenter was 143 km (89 miles) West from Kashi, Xinjiang, China
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.4 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 1st Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 44 km (26.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:49:52 UTC Thursday 1st March 2012
The epicenter was 43 km (26.7 miles) East of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

In Memoriam: Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.

We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.

Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.

Andrew recently wrote a new conclusion to his book, Righteous Indignation:

I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and—famously—I enjoy making enemies.

Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands—who knows?—of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night.

Andrew is at rest, yet the happy warrior lives on, in each of us. source

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWESTERN SIBERIA, RUSSIA - 1st Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Southwestern Siberia, Russia at a depth of 33 km (20.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:26:45 UTC Thursday 1st March 2012
The epicenter was 3 km (1.8 miles) Northwest of Saryg-sep, Siberia, Russia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHWESTERN SIBERIA, RUSSIA - 1st Mar 2012

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck Southwestern Siberia, Russia at a depth of 33 km (20.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:07:48 UTC Thursday 1st March 2012
The epicenter was 47 km (29.2 miles) East of Saryg-sep, Siberia, Russia
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Dozens of dead marine mammals, turtles in Gulf this year, NOAA says

Reports of dozens of stranded dolphins, whales, and sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico continue to pile up in the first two months of 2012, with federal officials tallying 48 marine mammals, mostly dolphins, and 87 sea turtles. Only a handful of marine mammal strandings were of live animals that may have been saved. None of the turtles were alive.

There continues to be concern that the high numbers of dead animals, especially the dolphins and whales, may be linked in some way to health problems either caused or exacerbated by toxic chemicals left behind by the BP Gulf oil spill.
The new tally comes as BP prepares to defend itself in federal court against charges it violated the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act.

In October, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists announced that tests on five of 21 bottlenose dolphins found dead in Louisiana waters or stranded on beaches since February 2010 showed they were infected with brucellosis, a bacterial infection more often linked to death of cattle, bison and elk in the United States. Read More

KOALA: Young deaths tally rises

IN reporter Megan Gorrey's excellent feature article, "Future's bright for koalas", in last week's Advertiser, I am quoted as saying: "We've only had two [koalas] which have died of less than old age".

That quote applied only to the 23 Campbelltown koalas that we have put radio-collars on. Our wider study of another 140 ear-tagged koalas includes many animals that died prematurely.

Tristan Lee is currently sorting out all of these records as part of his PhD studies, but most of the premature deaths are due to dog attacks and roadkills.

We consider that if a koala reaches the age of 14 its subsequent death can be attributed to old age. However, I heard recently of a koala that died in a car collision at the age of 21!

I must also correct an error that I made in that initial quotation. On checking our huge database, I discovered that a further three radio-collared animals died either from falls or unknown cause. Our radio-tracking records show that we have followed the 23 collared koalas for a combined total of approximately 170 years.

Thirteen have died with their collars on, and only five of these deaths were premature. In comparison, a 10-year study near Coffs Harbour that I've been involved in has had a far greater death rate.

In that study 34 koalas were radio-collared for a combined total of 33 years during which 14 died. Only one of those deaths was attributed to old age. Read More

100 animals die of unknown disease, India

MALKANGIRI: Hundreds of animals have reportedly died of an unknown disease in the past one week, at many villages of Tandiki panchayat under Korukonda Panchayat Samiti.

So far, 100 animals, including cows and goats, have died, said Unga Podiami, Korukonda-I Zilla Parishad member.

Nuabandiki, Bandiguda, Dhangadgata, Gurageta, Chidipalli, Danguda, Tentuliguda, Damaguda, Tandki, Pujariguda, Burdhi, Bahalguda, Jamguda, Titang and Gutamgida are the worst-hit villages.

There could be more deaths if the veterinary doctor teams do not reach the village, take appropriate measures to check and ascertain the cause of the deaths, Podiami said.

Meanwhile, a doctors’ team has been rushed to the village and the details are awaited. Source

Fourth monkey death reported at Harvard research center

Harvard Medical School has suspended new experiments at the New England Primate Research Center after a cotton top tamarin monkey died Sunday, the fourth monkey death at the lab in less than two years, Carolyn Y. Johnson reported in today’s Globe.

The death occurred the same day the US Department of Agriculture released an inspection report highlighting three other deaths at the center and further deficiencies in care of the animals.

A Harvard official told Johnson that, while the death on Sunday is being investigated, it is likely related to a lack of water. The monkey did not have a water bottle in its cage.

Johnson wrote:

After returning from an hourslong visit to the primate center yesterday, Dr. Jeffrey Flier, Harvard Medical School’s dean, said that Sunday’s death was “utterly shocking’’ and that immediate actions are being taken to protect animals.

New experiments have been suspended immediately, and a worker involved in the care of the monkey was placed on administrative leave, he said in an interview. Teams of supervisors and veterinary staff have been making rounds of the entire facility, which includes multiple buildings. They are checking on each animal and each cage, assessing the monkeys’ health, and food and water status, and looking for other issues that could affect the animals’ welfare. Read More

32 Carlsbad dogs euthanized due to rabies exposure

CARLSBAD -- The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting that 32 pet dogs from the Carlsbad area have been euthanized since December 2011 because they were exposed to known rabid animals.

They were never vaccinated against rabies, a NMDOH spokeswoman said.
Aimee Barabe said with the exception of puppies that were too young to be fully vaccinated, all of these animal deaths could have been prevented.

Barabe said rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is mandated by state law.

In addition to dogs, a number of livestock and at least one cat have also been euthanized due to rabies exposures.

Cabinet Secretary for Department of Health Dr. Catherine Torres said unvaccinated pets put people, especially children, at greater risk of being exposed to this fatal disease.

Torres said a total of 12 people from Eddy County have received rabies post exposure prophylaxis since Jan. 1. Read More

Chevron Nigeria gas well fire 'may burn for months'

A gas-fuelled fire, with flames as high as 5m, may burn for months in waters off the Niger Delta in south-east Nigeria, Chevron has told the BBC.

Two workers died after January's explosion at the KS Endeavour exploration rig, owned by the US firm.

Friends of the Earth says this is the world's worst such accident in recent years.

Chevron spokesman Lloyd Avram says, despite the fire, the situation is now under control and no oil is leaking.

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa.

A fire is burning in a 40m-wide area on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, 10km off the Nigerian coast.

The company is trying to put out the fire by piercing a hole in the original gas well - through which cement will be poured.

"There'll be 10,000ft of drilling and interestingly we need to hit an area that is approximately 12sq inches," Mr Avram told the BBC.

"It is going to take some time, but I cannot predict how long that is going to be - conceivably months," he said. Read More

'Witchcraft' Murder: Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu Found GUILTY of the Murder of 15 year old KRISTY BAMU

A couple have been found guilty of the barbaric murder of a 15-year-old boy who they believed was a witch.

Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu, both 28, subjected her younger brother Kristy to four days of brutal torture.

The boy had travelled with his younger siblings to London from Paris to spend the 2010 Christmas holidays with their eldest sister.

During the visit, Bikubi and Magalie Bamu turned on Kristy and became convinced he was possessed.

The driving force behind the killing was their belief in the phenomenon of "kindoki" which is an established part of spiritual life in areas of central and western Africa.

The killers both hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo where belief in witchcraft is particularly strong. Read More

Surprise and skepticism over US-North Korea agreement on food for nuclear freeze

SEOUL, South Korea — Surprise and skepticism met the announcement that North Korea would freeze most nuclear activities in exchange for food aid from the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said U.S. officials will closely watch North Korea carry out its promises to suspend uranium enrichment at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, stop long-range missile and nuclear tests and allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to return.

Both sides call the steps confidence-building measures to improve relations between the U.S. and North Korea, and recognized the 1953 Korean War armistice as a “cornerstone” of peace on the Korean peninsula.

Some key questions and answers about the agreement announced late Wednesday:

Q: What is North Korea’s motivation for reaching this deal?

A: Ensuring stability. As Kim Jong Un becomes the third-generation Kim to lead the nation, North Korea’s leadership is keen to resolve potentially destabilizing issues, including the U.S. military presence in South Korea and chronic food shortages.

The Korean peninsula has been in a technical state of war since the Korean War ended in a truce in 1953, and a peace treaty with the U.S. is a key foreign policy goal for North Korea. Read More

Rebels pull back from Baba Amr, Syria

Syrian rebels say they are making a "tactical retreat" from the besieged district of Baba Amr in Homs because of worsening humanitarian conditions.

The decision was made to spare some 4,000 civilian residents who insisted on staying in their homes, says a statement by the Baba Amr rebels brigade.

The rebels warned government troops against carrying out revenge attacks targeting civilians.

They said any such action will "cost the regime dearly".

Burhan Ghalioun, head of the opposition Syrian National Council, told a news conference in Paris that rebels have relocated from some areas but said the resistance in Baba Amr "is still strong".

The government has vowed to "cleanse" Baba Amr from "gunmen". Read More