Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, April 1, 2012

India and China Skirt Iran Sanctions With ‘Junk for Oil’

ran and its leading oil buyers, China and India, are finding ways to skirt U.S. and European Union financial sanctions on the Islamic republic by agreeing to trade oil for local currencies and goods including wheat, soybean meal and consumer products.

India, the second-biggest importer of Iran’s oil, has set up a rupee account at a state-owned bank to settle as much as much as 45 percent of its bill, according to Indian officials. China, Iran’s largest oil customer, already settles some of its oil debts through barter, Mahmoud Bahmani, Iran’s central bank governor, said Feb. 28. Iran also has sought to trade oil for wheat from Pakistan and Russia, according to media reports from the two countries.

The trend is growing, sanctions specialists and U.S. officials say, and is denying the Islamic Republic hard currency to prop up the plummeting value of the rial and to fund nuclear and missile programs. Iran already is starved for dollars and euros to support the rial, and barter deals will force it to spend billions of dollars of oil revenue on goods, according to Kenneth Katzman at the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan government-research institute in Washington. Read More

US Baskerball Fans Riot After Team's Win

Riot police had to be called after violence broke out among thousands of basketball fans after a game in the US.

Pepper spray was used to disperse crowds on the streets of Lexington, Kentucky, as revellers set fires to rubbish and discarded furniture and a car was turned over and torched.

One clip uploaded to YouTube shows a large group chanting "Burn it, Burn it" as they gather around a sofa. They cheer loudly when someone sets it alight and it bursts into flames.

The night of violence began on Saturday after fans, many of them students, started celebrating the University of Kentucky's win over rival Louisville in the NCAA Final Four men's match, which was held in New Orleans. Read More

Condor Ferry Missing Passenger: Search Called Off

A search for a missing passenger who had been travelling on a ferry from Guernsey to Poole has been called off.

The passenger, who is understood to be a woman, went missing during a journey by the Condor Rapide fast ferry on Sunday afternoon.

The boat's captain raised an initial alarm with the coastguard and a full search of the vessel was conducted.

But she was still not located and the alert was upgraded to a Mayday.

The ferry searched the area, with the Portland Coastguard coordinating the operation. A helicopter was also scrambled.

Nigel Robson, Portland Coastguard Watch Manager, said: "We have searched the route of the ship and the areas where our search planning expertise indicate a person might have been carried by the tide. Sadly we have found no-one.

"It's now been five hours since the person was reported missing and because of the water temperature and difficulty of searching in the dark we have now called off the search." Read More

Olympics Raise 'Extreme' Flu Pandemic Fears

The London Olympics will increase the already "extreme" risk of a flu pandemic hitting the UK, a report has warned.

Britain has been ranked second only to Singapore for its vulnerability to the rapid spread of an influenza outbreak.

And analysts believe this summer's Games will mean an even greater danger of flu spreading because of an extra 5.3 million tourists visiting Britain, many from countries where any pandemic is expected to emerge.

Bath-based analysts Maplecroft said the UK is at high risk partly because of its densely populated cities, highly mobile population and popularity as a global travel hub.

Maplecroft lists five countries at "extreme" risk for the spread of the flu, with Singapore top, followed by the UK, South Korea, the Netherlands and Germany.

However, the high quality of Britain's health infrastructure and communications networks help put it in the top 10 countries capable of tackling an outbreak, the study said. Read More

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF NICARAGUA - 2nd Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck near the Coast of Nicaragua at a depth of 48.7 km (30.3 miles), the quake hit at 01:46:06 UTC Monday 2nd April 2012
The epicenter was 85 km (52 miles) Southwest of Chinandega, Nicaragua
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake ALAMAGAN REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDSO - 1st Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the Alamagan Region, Northern Mariana Islands at a depth of 175.1 km (108.8 miles), the quake hit at 23:19:48 UTC Sunday 1st April 2012
The epicenter was 54 km (33 miles) South of Pagan, Northern Mariana Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake GUERRERO, MEXICO - 1st Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck Guerrero, Mexico at a depth of 20.8 km (12.9 miles), the quake hit at 22:23:49 UTC Sunday 1st April 2012
The epicenter was 137 km (85 miles) SSW of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEW IRELAND REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 1st Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake has struck the New Ireland Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 97.5 km (60.6 miles), the quake hit at 21:44:01 UTC Sunday 1st April 2012
The epicenter was 51 km (31 miles) East of Taron, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

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4.5 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN ITALY - 1st Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake has struck Southern Italy at a depth of 274.8 km (170.8 miles), the quake hit at 19:21:27 UTC Sunday 1st April 2012
The epicenter was 64 km (39 miles) Northwest of Cosenza, Italy
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake COQUIMBO, CHILE - 1st Apr 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Coquimbo, Chile at a depth of 72.6 km (45.1 miles), the quake hit at 19:10:00 UTC Sunday 1st April 2012
The epicenter was 30 km (18 miles) South of Illapel, Coquimbo, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Mount Etna puts on spectacular show

Europe's tallest and most active volcano, Mount Etna, erupts for the fifth time this year lighting-up the sky with spewing lava and ash. Source

Missing Passenger From Ferry: Search Launched

A search has been launched for a missing passenger who had been travelling on a ferry from Guernsey to Poole.

More to follow...

Serbian Nightclub Fire: 6 Teenagers Killed

An investigation has been launched after six teenagers died trying to escape a blaze at a nightclub in Serbia.

Around 350 revellers were packed into the Contrast disco in the northern city of Novi Sad when the blaze started.

It quickly spread through the building and the crowds rushed to the exits as they attempted to escape the flames.

The victims were three boys and three girls, aged 17 and 18, said senior police official Predrag Maric.

"One of them was just half-a-metre from an exit," he said. "There must have been huge panic, they all rushed to get out."

Two other club-goers were injured during the fire, which started near the stage area of the premises during a live gig.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the blaze. Read More

Teenager, 18, arrested on suspicion of murder after 29-year-old man is stabbed in the chest in Oxford

A teenager was being quizzed on suspicion of murder today after a man was fatally stabbed in the chest.

Paramedics found the 29-year-old victim bleeding heavily from a stab wound to the chest and quickly called police to the scene of the attack.

The man was rushed to hospital where doctors battled to save his life but he was later pronounced dead.

Detectives then launched a full-scale murder investigation and shortly afterwards arrested an 18-year-old man.

He was this morning being held in custody on suspicion of carrying out the brutal murder.

Police and paramedics had been called to leafy St Martin's Road in Rose Hill, Oxford, at 11.25 last night after the alarm was raised that a man had been stabbed.

He was taken by ambulance to the nearby John Radcliffe Hospital, where he died soon afterwards. Read More

Radioactivity levels found to be dangerous due to uranium mines in northern Arizona on Navajo lands

For some Navajos, the uranium contamination is all of a piece with their fraught relationship with the federal government.

“They’re making excuses, and they’ve always made excuses,” Ms. Knorr said. “The government should have had a law in place that told these mining companies: you clean up your mess when you leave.”

A Navajo friend was once telling me about Monument Valley, about those famous structures that you see in northern Arizona made famous by old western films.

Little did I know that those famous landmarks are radioactive, and some contain old uranium mines at the top of them. Some 8.7 million pounds of uranium oxide were taken from these sacred lands by Monument Valley.

Arizona is the land of everything.

We have deserts and we have snow. We have tall mountains and deep canyons. We have the newest urban areas and old Native American domains, from dug up villages that pre-date the birth of Jesus to the largest area of reservations in the country.

We have a large elder and retired population from out of state, immigrants if you will, and we have more than 50% of the babies born today being minority, and its no wonder the older people with the money don’t want to share it by paying for public education.

Arizona also has the largest nuclear power plant in the nation, one that you can see as you head west of Phoenix on I-10 towards LA. It is also the only one not near a source of water, but instead uses 20,000,000,000 gallons of sewage water a year for cooling.

The Navajo Nation, sacred land near the Grand Canyon and Four Corners area, is also home to lots of uranium and coal. This is were Arizona gets a lot of its energy from, and Tucson is not exempt, exploiting this finite resource in the land that extends from Northeastern Arizona and into New Mexico, home of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation. Read More

Thousands in Hong Kong protest Beijing's interference

(Reuters) - Thousands of protestors marched to the mainland Chinese government's liaison office in Hong Kong on Sunday, demanding universal suffrage and protesting against Beijing's perceived interference in the territory's recent chief executive election.

Witnesses said police used pepper spray to disperse protestors gathered outside the liaison office after warning them not to break beyond barriers.

The city's seven million people have no say in who becomes their chief executive. Leung Chun-yin, who will take over from incumbent Donald Tsang on July 1, was chosen by an election committee of about 1,200 Hong Kong notables on March 25.

Leung beat a scandal-tainted rival, tycoon and former bureaucrat Henry Tang after a fraught campaign which will intensify pressure on China to keeps its promise to allow Hong Kong a direct leadership election in 2017.

Dubbed the "wolf" for what some describe as his steely edge, the tall, trim Leung has been labeled a secret Communist Party cadre -- an accusation he denies -- by some of staunchly capitalist Hong Kong's media and politicians.

Organizers estimated 15,000 people turned up, but police estimated the turnout peaked at 5,300 in what was the latest protest against the way the territory's chief is elected. Read More

Resistance to austerity stirs in southern Europe

(Reuters) - Most of the people of southern Europe have stayed surprisingly stoical up to now in the face of some of the most painful budget cuts in living memory, but signs are stirring that patience may soon run out.

An unexpectedly broad general strike in Spain on Thursday and mounting opposition to Prime Minister Mario Monti in Italy are among indicators that resistance is growing in a region at the centre of concerns about a resurgence of the euro zone debt crisis.

Portugal remains very subdued for the moment and even Greece, scene of repeated violent street protests, has quietened recently. But there are signals that political leaders will soon be directly in the firing line across Europe, especially if more cuts are required to reduce sovereign debt.

The atmosphere seems a combination of two opposite tendencies - acceptance of the message that deep cuts are the only way to save their countries from economic catastrophe, and a mounting feeling that greater pain cannot be borne by populations suffering deprivation and misery. Read More

Quietly, militant Islamists build a new haven in Sinai

(Reuters) - The group of 50 young men who had blocked off access to a small international military base in the Sinai desert would say nothing of who they were but their appearance held a few clues.

Dressed in army fatigues and armed with AK-47s, they wore the long beards of the hardline Islamists who are increasingly a law unto themselves in this part of Egypt.

Quietly, barely noticed by outsiders fascinated by upheavals in Cairo and other Arab capitals, they are building a presence in Sinai that might offer a new haven for anti-Western militancy at the strategic junction of the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia.

When finally one of the men broke a silence that hung heavy on the barren plain, it was to explain to a reporter their demands: for the government to release five comrades jailed for bombings of tourist resorts in Sinai more than six years ago.

"We are ready to die under tanks for this," he said, refusing to give his name and saying little else beyond muttering Islamic mottos as he toured the positions the militants had established to surround the base, inconveniencing dozens of troops from the Multinational Observer Force, a unit set up in 1979 to monitor Egypt's U.S.-brokered peace treaty with Israel. Read More

Ireland Faces Popular Revolt Over New Property Tax

Debt-mired Ireland is facing a revolt over its new property tax.

The government said less than half of the country's 1.6 million households paid the charge by Saturday's deadline to avoid penalties. And about 5,000 marched in protest against the annual conference of Prime Minister Enda Kenny's Fine Gael party.

Emotions ran raw as police backed by officers on horseback stopped demonstrators from entering the Dublin Convention Centre. Many protesters booed and heckled passers-by who were wearing Fine Gael conference passes, some screaming vulgar insults in their faces.

Protesters jostled with police as they tried to block the way of Fine Gael activists using a back entrance. One man mistakenly identified as the government minister responsible for collecting the tax had to be rescued by police from an angry scrum.

Kenny said his government had no choice, but to impose the new charge as part of the nation's efforts to emerge from an international bailout. Ireland already has endured five emergency budgets in four years and expects to face at least four more years of austerity. more

Fidelmar "Fidel" Merlos-Lopez: Man Denied Entry to US From Mexico to Bury Son, 10

A Mexican national said he has been barred from entering the United States to bury his 10-year-old son, a U.S. citizen who died Tuesday in a house fire in northeastern Pennsylvania that killed three other people.

Attorneys for Fidelmar "Fidel" Merlos-Lopez are trying to win humanitarian parole so he can attend the funeral, but say U.S. Customs and Border Protection has rebuffed their efforts.

Damien Lopez died in a Shenandoah row house along with his cousin, aunt and 7-month-old half-brother. The funeral is set for Monday, with burial the next day.

"I told the customs officer that all I want is a permit to see my boy for one last time. They treat me as if I am a criminal," Lopez, 34, a bus driver, said in an interview Saturday. "Right now, I need their support, and they are refusing to help me."

Lopez has been waiting at the U.S.-Mexico border near Laredo, Texas, since the fire.

"He's out of his mind. Can you imagine? Your son is dead in a fire and you can't even get across. It's clear they are giving us the runaround," said Elizabeth Surin, his Philadelphia-based immigration lawyer. more

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN - 1st Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck Eastern Honshu, Japan at a depth of 50.4 km (31.3 miles), the quake hit at 14:04:25 UTC Sunday 1st April 2012
The epicenter was 12 km (7 miles) Northeast of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake TRISTAN DA CUNHA REGION - 1st Apr 2012

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Tristan da Cunha Region at a depth of 33 km (20.4 miles), the quake hit at 13:14:37 UTC Sunday 1st April 2012
The epicenter was 2963 km (1837 miles) Southeast of Cabo frio, Brazil
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

Clinton Warns Syrian Regime To 'Stop Killing' or Face "serious consequences".

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned the Syrian regime to "stop killing" its citizens or face what she described as "serious consequences".

Mrs Clinton and Foreign Secretary William Hague have accused President Bashar al Assad of breaking his promise to implement a UN-Arab League peace plan by launching new attacks against opponents.

Western and Arab nations have been meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, for the second conference of the "Friends of Syria" to discuss ways to support the opposition and put more pressure on the regime.

But Damascus' two remaining allies Russia and China - who blocked a previous UN Security Council resolution calling for the leader to stand down - did not attend the talks. Read More

Trayvon Martin Shooting: Voice Experts Claim Teen's Cries, Not Zimmerman's, Can Be Heard On 911 Call

Before George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin on February 26, a 911 call recorded the voice of someone screaming. Whether that person was Martin or Zimmerman -- who police say claimed he was attacked by Martin before the fatal incident -- has been an open question since the calls were released by the Sanford, Florida police department. (WARNING: Above audio is disturbing.)

The Orlando Sentinel consulted two voice experts to try to settle the debate, and both came to the same conclusion: The cries could not have come from George Zimmerman.

One expert, Tom Owen, used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman as the source. From the Sentinel:

"I took all of the screams and put those together, and cut out everything else," Owen says.
The software compared that audio to Zimmerman's voice. It returned a 48 percent match. Owen said to reach a positive match with audio of this quality, he'd expect higher than 90 percent.

"As a result of that, you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it's not Zimmerman," Owen says, stressing that he cannot confirm the voice as Trayvon's, because he didn't have a sample of the teen's voice to compare. Read More

Landslide kills two in N China

TAIYUAN - Two people were found dead after a landslide obliterated village houses in Shanxi province on April 1, local government said.

The landslide completely destroyed two houses in Xinfang village at about 6:50 am, burying an unknown number of villagers, according to the government of Fangshan county which administers Xinfang.

As of 9 am, rescuers had pulled out two bodies of the rubble and debris and rescued another two, who suffered injuries and have been rushed to hospital.

Rescuers are still searching for more villagers. Source

Brazil spots new oil leak as safety worries rise

(Reuters) - Brazilian authorities identified a small oil leak off the shores of Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, the latest in a series of spills that has raised safety concerns over the development of some of the world's largest petroleum reserves.

The latest oil leak comes days after a Brazilian prosecutor said he is widening a probe into offshore oil operations in the wake of a 3,000-barrel spill in an offshore field run by Chevron in November.

The new leak, which stretches for 1.2 miles (2 km), is estimated at 1,600 litters of oil (14 barrels) and remains far away from the coast, Rio de Janeiro's state Environmental Institute said in a statement. Officials were due to test the oil to try to determine its origin, but the leak is believed to have come from a ship in a sea route heavily transited by oil tankers. Read More

Clinton: World cannot afford to wait on Syria crisis 'any longer'

Speaking to the 60-nation "Friends of the Syrian People" conference in Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State says she doubted whether Assad would ever adhere to a UN-sponsored peace plan.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed doubt Sunday about whether President Bashar Assad would ever adhere to a UN-sponsored peace plan to end Syria's year of bloodshed, and urged world solidarity against a regime that she said was waging war on its own people.

Clinton told the 60 nations attending the "Friends of the Syrian People" conference in Turkey that no one could "sit back and wait any longer," even as the United States refuses to entertain military options to intervene in the crisis. Instead, she urged unity behind a plan that includes more sanctions, humanitarian aid, support for the opposition and the promise of justice one day for the Assad regime's willing accomplices in human rights atrocities. Read More

Reminder How America deals with it's own UNARMED Citizen's for speaking their mind........

Suu Kyi Has Won Seat in parliament, Burma

Burma's opposition party claims Aung San Suu Kyi has won a seat in parliament after voters took to the polls in the country's by-elections.

The 66-year-old former political prisoner spent 15 years under house arrest as punishment for opposing the country's military regime. Read More

Government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation

The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon.

Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time.

The Home Office says the move is key to tackling crime and terrorism, but civil liberties groups have criticised it.

Attempts by the last Labour government to take similar steps failed after huge opposition, including from the Tories.

A new law - which may be announced in the forthcoming Queen's Speech in May - would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant.

But it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long.

'Unprecedented step'
In a statement, the Home Office said action was needed to "maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes".

"It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public," a spokesman said. Read More

In U-turn, Egypt's Brotherhood names presidential candidate

(Reuters) - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, in a policy U-turn, said on Saturday it would back its deputy leader for president, an endorsement that guarantees Khairat al-Shater a place among the frontrunners after the group initially said it would not field a candidate.

The Brotherhood said it changed tack after reviewing other candidates in the race and after parliament, where its Freedom and Justice Party controls the biggest bloc, was unable to meet "the demands of the revolution", a reference to its mounting criticism of the ruling army's handling of the transition.

Given the Brotherhood's strong showing in the parliamentary election and its broad grass-roots network, the group's backing for a candidate could prove a decisive factor. However, analysts say name recognition may also play a role in the race that could help others such as former Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

Analysts said the move suggested the Brotherhood, on the brink of power for the first time in its 84-year history, was worried it could have that power snatched away after decades of repression at the hands Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted last year. Read More

Evonik Degussa plant Explosion in Germany kills one‎

LONDON, UK – An explosion at a chemical plant in Germany killed at least one person and left two others injured Saturday.

Police spokeswoman Ramona told Bloomberg that a tank exploded at the Evonik Degussa plant in the western city of Marl and started a blaze, which about 100 firefighters managed to bring under control.

The injured man was flown to hospital, while a third person suffered only light injuries and was discharged earlier today.

Marl, a city of 87,000 in the Ruhr industrial heartland, is an important chemical industry hub. Its chemical park is among Europe’s biggest, with 30 firms employing about 10,000 workers producing more than 4,000 products.

The blast – whose cause was not immediately known – was triggered in a tank containing substances used in the production of plastic parts in the auto industry, as well as in electronics and cosmetics, an industry spokesman told the Agence France Presse.

“A column of spoke rose 100 meters high in the wake of the explosion, but initial checks by environmental authorities don’t indicate there’s any danger to health,” he added. Source

Health officials plan 20000-turkey cull after bird flu found, Israel

The Agriculture Ministry plans to slaughter 20,000 turkeys from the same coop after avian flu was discovered there.

The coop, on Moshav Zavdiel, near Lachish in the lower Judean plain, is the third farming community discovered in Israel in recent weeks with an avian flu outbreak.

Officials hope they can stem the spread of the disease by killing the birds.

A number of cats were found dead before the last cull, with signs pointing to them having eaten the carcasses of infected turkeys near Shalva, in the south, according to a report by the World Organization for Animal Health. Read More

Tofu suspected of giving botulism to two people in Queens, New York

Botulism is a rare but potentially fatal foodborne illness

Two people got botulism - a rare but potentially fatal foodborne illness - after buying tofu at a store in Flushing.

The city Health Department said in a release Friday evening that it confirmed one case of the potent form of food poisoning, and suspected another case.

Both of the afflicted are Chinese-speaking Queens residents who recently bought fresh, unrefrigerated bulk tofu from Flushing market. The tofu was not made at the store, and its source is under investigation, the Health Department release states.

"This kind of tofu -- commonly sold in an open, water-filled bin -- is highly suspected to be the source of these cases; however it has not yet been confirmed," the release states.

Fresh, unrefrigerated tofu is used to make fermented tofu and is an ingredient in a popular Chinese dish called chou doufu, or stinky tofu. Anyone who has bought this variety of tofu is urged to throw it away, even if they cooked it, because the toxic spores can survive cooking.

A Health Department spokewoman said neither patient has died of the illness, but declined to comment on their condition. She also declined to name the Flushing store where the two bought the tofu.

"We're still investigating the origin and destinations of the tofu, and because of that we aren't disclosing the name of the store," she said. Read More