Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Francesco Schettino To Sue After Sacking, Despite Causing the Deaths of 32 of his Passengers

The captain of the Costa Concordia is suing for wrongful dismissal, his lawyer has revealed.

Some 32 people were killed after the vessel ran into a rock and capsized off the Tuscany coast in January.

Italian skipper Francesco Schettino was sacked by Costa Cruises, but he is appealing against the decision.

"It is the right of every worker to appeal against his dismissal and Captain Schettino has done no more than exercise that right," lawyer Bruno Leporatti said.

"There is nothing to contest or be amazed about, unless we want to say that what the law allows for all citizens doesn't apply for Francesco Schettino."

Mr Schettino was held up to ridicule in Italy and abroad following the January 13 disaster off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

The angry order to "Get back on board, damn it!" delivered by a coastguard officer to Mr Schettino over the telephone after he had abandoned his ship was printed on T-shirts in Italy.

He stands accused by prosecutors of causing the accident by sailing the luxury cruise liner too close to shore.

He faces charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship, and preliminary hearings will begin on October 15. Read More

Iran: US Carrier's Hornets Set To Sting

From the deck of one the largest, most powerful warships in the world the attack jets of the most powerful country in the world take to the skies above the Arabian Gulf.

The missions from the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, a Nimitz class carrier, are an almost bone-shudderingly loud constant.

The jets, 44 in total, scream into the skies across the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan day and night.

But we are just 80 miles south of Iran, and Carrier Strike Group 8 knows its next biggest task could involve Iran, shipping lanes and keeping the world’s oil supplies moving.

Led by the Eisenhower, the Strike Group spends at least half its time in the Arabian Gulf. Read More

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake SOLOMON ISLANDS - 11th October 2012

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck the SOLOMON ISLANDS at a depth of 27.2 km (16.9 miles), the quake hit at 03:05:02 UTC Thursday 11th October 2012
The epicenter was 117 km (72 miles) Southeast of Honiara, Solomon Islands
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE LIBERTADOR O'HIGGINS, CHILE - 11th October 2012

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck OFFSHORE LIBERTADOR O'HIGGINS, CHILE at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles), the quake hit at 02:38:27 UTC Thursday 11th October 2012
The epicenter was 80 km (49 miles) Southwest of San Antonio, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR SOUTH COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA - 11th October 2012

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck NEAR SOUTH COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 01:07:55 UTC Thursday 11th October 2012
The epicenter was 178 km (110.3 miles) Northeast of Tual, Papua, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF CENTRAL PERU - 11th October 2012

A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck NEAR THE COAST OF CENTRAL PERU at a depth of 49 km (30.4 miles), the quake hit at 00:17:38 UTC Thursday 11th October 2012
The epicenter was 46 km (28 miles) South of Minas de Marcona, Peru
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - 10th October 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 57.1 km (35.5 miles), the quake hit at 23:03:50 UTC Wednesday 10th October 2012
The epicenter was 158 km (98 miles) South of Bristol Island, Antarctica
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

5.4 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION - 10th October 2012

magnitude 5.4 earthquake has struck the SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION at a depth of 55.3 km (34.4 miles), the quake hit at 22:49:35 UTC Wednesday 10th October 2012
The epicenter was 143 km (88 miles) South of Bristol Island, Antarctica
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

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Seven Injured in Chemical Plant Explosion in East Rutherford, New York

An explosion at the Sun Chemical Plant in East Rutherford hurt 7 workers there. Brian Thompson has more.

Seven people were injured after an explosion at a chemical plant in East Rutherford Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The explosion happened as workers were mixing chemicals inside the Sun Chemical plant, according to police.

East Rutherford Fire Department Assistant Chief John Giancaspro said the workers were mixing carbon and vegetable oil used in newspaper ink for the New York Times, and they are unsure why it exploded.

Sun Chemical is the world's largest producer of printing inks and pigments, according to its website. Read More

Man dies of 'unknown' fever, India

CHENNAI: A 26-year-old man died of viral fever at Stanley Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday. While doctors initially said Sathya of Madhavaram died of hemorrhagic shock caused by dengue, they later said the death was caused by an unknown fever. "He didn't test positive for dengue. It looks like a viral fever," said a doctor in the emergency ward.

An official in the Chennai Corporation's health department said, "We don't know what fever it was. He was brought very late to the hospital." Doctors say many hospitals in the city are already crowded with hundreds of patients with severe viral infections. Source

Puerto Rico declares dengue epidemic with 6 deaths, thousands of reported cases

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s health department has declared a dengue epidemic.

Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez says at least six people have died, including two children younger than 10. A total of 4,816 cases have been reported, including 21 cases of the potentially fatal hemorrhagic dengue.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 342 new cases were reported in one week last month, twice the number of cases during the same period last year.

Dengue cases usually flare up from August to January. Read More

Syrian passenger plane forced to land in Turkey by Fighter Jets

Turkish fighter jets have forced a Syrian passenger plane to land at Ankara's airport amid high tension between the two neighbours.

The plane, which was travelling from Moscow, was intercepted on intelligence that it was carrying "non-civilian cargo", Turkey's foreign minister said.

He added that Turkey was determined to stop any transfer of weapons to the Syrian government through its airspace.

It comes as Syria and Turkey continue to trade cross-border artillery fire.

The Airbus A320 airliner was carrying 35 passengers, far fewer than its 180 passenger capacity.

The aircraft was escorted by Turkish jets to the capital's Esenboga airport for security checks, and the passengers have disembarked.

US task force
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told state-run television that Ankara had received information that the plane could be carrying "certain equipment in breach of civil aviation rules". Read More

Angela Merkel blocks BAE/EADS merger over small German share.....Just a Small taste of how EUROPE is being Run

Germany blocked the proposed €35bn (£25bn) merger between BAE Systems and EADS after deciding that the UK and France were getting too great a share of benefits from the deal – and Berlin was getting too little.

According to sources close to the transaction the position of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, hardened in the 24 hours leading up to Wednesday's decision to abandon the deal, even though Paris and London had come close to a consensus that would have allowed both companies to continue with merger discussions.

Merkel's opposition shocked all parties, coming as optimism grew that a deal could be struck. EADS said: "No firm reason has been given for the German government's opposition."

A source close to the talks said that with three days to go before the Takeover Panel's put-up-or-shut-up deadline, BAE and EADS were 90% certain that enough progress had been made to seek an extension to the deadline which would have allowed negotiations to continue. However, Merkel balked at a perceived lack of German influence in the industrial behemoth that would be created by the combination of Britain's largest defence contractor and the Franco-German owner of Airbus.

One of the key sticking points was the plan to establish the head office of the new company at the Airbus base in Toulouse and site the defence headquarters of the company in the UK. A demand that the corporate HQ be located in Munich was lodged by Merkel's adviser in intergovernmental talks on Friday. Read More

Militant groups flourishing in Egypt

(Reuters) - When they left their village north of Cairo on August 27, Ahmed Waguih and Bahaa Zaqzouq told their families they were going on holiday. A few weeks later and hundreds of miles away, the cousins were killed mounting a cross-border raid into Israel.

Bahaa, 26, had for years spoken of his wish to die "a martyr". But Ahmed loved life, recalled his father, Waguih Ibrahim who is struggling to comprehend how the mild-mannered 28-year-old abandoned his two infant daughters and wife for a suicide mission at the distant Sinai border.

"I just don't understand this fundamental, quick transformation," he said during an interview at the family home in Mit Khaqan, a hamlet in the Nile Delta. "Who transformed this young man and led him to this?"

The role of these two young men in the September 21 attack shows that militant groups that have flourished in Sinai since Hosni Mubarak was toppled are drawing in recruits from well beyond the desert peninsula, suggesting their ideas are appealing to a wider - if still limited - audience. Read More

Hollywood building on Fire

Over 125 firefighters attempt to tackle a blaze in Los Angeles, as a building by the Hollywood Freeway is consumed by flames.

Miami-Dade College campus: Garage Collapses in Florida Killing 1

A fire official says one person has been killed in the collapse of a parking garage under construction at a Miami-Dade College campus and that two workers are still trapped.

Italy: Council Ousted Over Suspected Mafia Links

The Italian government has dissolved a local council in the south of the country and taken control because of fears it was closely connected to the mafia.

The takeover of the city of Reggio Calabria follows the arrest of a local councillor on mafia charges.

It was announced by Interior minister Annamaria Cancellieri who said it was a "preventative act and not a punishment".

Ms Cancellieri said the decision was taken "not for Mafia infiltration but for closeness" to the organised crime network.

The announcement came after an investigation into the city administration prompted by the councillor's detention last year.

Italian law required an inquiry to determine whether or not there was any infiltration by the mafia.

The city will now be run by three commissioners until elections are held in 18 months. Read More

Pentagon deploys military forces to Jordan-Syria border

UN's Ban alarmed by North Korea missile claim

Europe's Wireless tracking systems

Teen Arrested in Sucker-Punching of Pa. Teacher

Thousands of Americans in danger of death by meningitis

Congressman: Libya Attack Exposes Security Flaws

Police find bomb material in France extremist probe

Hugo Chavez supports Assad, blames US

Iran can defeat 'barbaric' sanctions, vows leader

Israeli jets hit several targets in Gaza

Israeli warplanes have pounded several targets in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip, with no reports on possible casualties.

The Israeli warplanes “fired a few rockets on northern Gaza the early hours of today hitting empty areas. Medical sources said no one was hurt. A lot of people were treated for shock, especially children because the firing of rockets took place around 4:30 or 5 AM in the morning,” said Press TV correspondent Ashraf Shannon.

“This followed two days of Israeli attacks against the people of Gaza which was met with a tit-for-tat response by the Palestinian resistance faction, [which] responded by firing homemade rockets from the Gaza strip,” he added.

The Israeli military also confirmed the attack and claimed the airstrike on Wednesday was carried out in response to Palestinian rockets fired into Israel.

On Monday, Palestinian resistance groups fired a number of rockets into the southern part of the occupied lands in response to an Israeli airstrike that killed one person and injured eleven others in Gaza. Read More

British Terror suspects probed over kidnap of UK photographer in Syria.....Like to see the Press try and Blame this one on Assad

Two Britons arrested at Heathrow Airport over alleged terrorism offences are to be questioned about the kidnap of a British photographer in Syria, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The man and woman, both aged 26, were arrested at 20:30 BST on Tuesday after their flight landed at the airport.

They were held on suspicion of travelling to Syria in support of alleged terrorist activity.

Police said their possible involvement in the abduction was a line of inquiry.

British photographer John Cantlie - who had done work for the Sunday Times - and Dutch journalist Jeroen Oerlemans were taken hostage by Islamist militants in Syria for week in July.

After the ordeal, Mr Cantlie said one captor had claimed to be an NHS doctor.

Scotland Yard said the pair arrested at Heathrow on Wednesday had flown into the UK from Egypt. It confirmed both were of British nationality and had been arrested over allegations of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. Read More

Previous reports

Find Rebel terrorist NHS doctor: MI6 lead hunt for Syrian Rebel on sabbatical from London hospital who held British journalist captive in Syria

Jeroen Oerlemans, a Dutch photographer, was abducted on the Turkish-Syrian border last week

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN IRAN - 10th October 2012

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck SOUTHERN IRAN at a depth of 15.8 km (9.8 miles), the quake hit at 16:56:34 UTC Wednesday 10th October 2012
The epicenter was 33 km (20 miles) South from Shiraz, Iran
No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

U.S. military in Jordan, eyes on Syria chemical weapons

(Reuters) - A team of U.S. military planners is in Jordan to help the government grapple with Syrian refugees, bolster its military capabilities and prepare for any trouble with its chemical weapons stockpiles, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday.

"We have been working with Jordan for a period of time now ... on a number of the issues that have developed as a result of what's happened in Syria," Panetta told a news conference in Brussels.

Panetta said those issues included monitoring chemical weapons sites "to determine how best to respond to any concerns in that area."

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the small team of planners were not engaged in covert operations and have been housed at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, north of the capital of Amman, since the early summer. Read More

German think tanks to cut growth outlook

Oct. 10 - Germany's leading economic institutes are to halve to 1% their forecasts for growth in Europe's biggest economy in 2013.

Bashar Assad has assumed personal command of his forces

(Reuters) - The picture is deceptively normal. Posted on the Facebook page of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, it shows the first lady Asma, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, accompanying her daughter and three sons on their first day back at school.

Two of the boys wear camouflage shorts with khaki t-shirts and caps, in keeping with the spirit of a ruler under siege. Yet when she dropped off Hafez, the eldest, named after his strongman grandfather, only one other child had arrived in class because of rebel attacks in Damascus that morning.

More than 18 months into the battle for Syria, an estimated 30,000 people are dead and the country is disintegrating.

The rebels are outgunned by the government but can still strike at will, and Assad has assumed personal command of his forces, still convinced he can prevail militarily. Read More

Qantas Planes In Near Miss Over Australian City

An investigation is under way after two passenger jet's flew to within 250 metres.

An investigation is under way in Australia after two Qantas passenger jets were reportedly put on a collision course, coming just 800ft of each other.

The near miss happened last week as the passenger planes were flying over Darwin in the far north of the country.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said it was investigating the incident in which a QantasLink Boeing 717 coming in to land flew close to a Melbourne-bound Qantas Boeing 737 which had just taken off.

"A Boeing 717 inbound to Darwin was cleared to descend through the level of an outbound Boeing 737 near Darwin," the ATSB said.

Citing an incident report, Sydney's Daily Telegraph said an air-traffic controller at Darwin airport put the Boeing 717 carrying 115 passengers on a collision course with the Boeing 737 carrying 155 passengers.

Collision avoidance systems on the Boeing 717 detected the error and warned the pilots there was an aircraft just 800ft (250 metres) below them.

"It passed directly below us. I saw the traffic collision avoidance system display traffic 800ft below," Captain Robert Flipo wrote in the incident report.

But he added: "It must have been closer than that. Read More

Trichet Exclusive: "Trichet Letters" and Ireland's bailout

Oct. 10 - Ex-ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet plays down his correspondence he with the Dublin - the so-called ''Trichet Letters'' - in the run-up to Ireland asking for a bailout in late 2010

Turkey Warns Syria It May Use ‘Greater Force’

With Syria’s civil strife coursing through major cities and unsettling neighboring countries, the Turkish military sounded a somber warning on Wednesday that it may respond more forcefully after days of shelling from Syria.

News reports on Wednesday spoke of intensified fighting close to the Turkish-Syrian border near the Syrian frontier settlement of Azamarin, with mortar and machine-gun fire clearly audible from the Turkish side.

As fighting near the 550-mile border has unfolded over the past week, several mortar bombs have landed on Turkish soil, prompting Turkish gunners to return fire. It has not been clear whether the Syrian mortar is deliberate or the result of inaccurate fire in clashes between government forces and rebels seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

“We responded, but if it continues we will respond with greater force,” state television quoted the Turkish chief of staff, Gen. Necdet Ozel, as saying, according to Reuters.

On Monday, Syrian Army gunners exchanged artillery blasts with their Turkish counterparts across the frontier for the sixth consecutive day.

The exchange of fire has raised concerns that the conflict will ignite a broader crisis in the region. On Tuesday, the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, emphasized that NATO, of which Turkey is a member and which considers an attack on one member to be an attack on all, had “all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary.” more

Mental illness impact said to be bigger than cancer

The burden of mental illness and addictions is more than 1.5 times that of all cancers, a new report suggests.

Wednesday's report, called Opening Eyes, Opening Minds, concluded that mental illness and addictions are often misunderstood, misdiagnosed and ignored, including in the health care system.

"People can often dismiss mental illnesses as, 'Oh, that person is just feeling a little blue,'" said Sujitha Ratnasingham, lead author of the report by the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario.

"But they don't fully understand the impact it has on their life as a whole, their work, their social interactions, their family."

Ratnasingham and her co-authors calculated the burden of some mental illnesses and addictions based on early deaths as well as their impact on quality of life. more

Tunisian children's magazine faces prosecution over article on how to make a Molotov cocktail

A popular children's magazine in Tunisia is being prosecuted over an article explaining to its young readers how to make a petrol bomb.

Qaws Quzah magazine - meaning Rainbow in Arabic - now faces charges of inciting violence after its latest issue published a piece on the history of petrol bombs in its 'knowledge corner'.

It also included instructions on how to make a homemade 'Molotov Cocktail' and a diagram in the magazine read by boys and girls aged five to 15.

The piece described a Molotov Cocktail as 'an improvised weapon that is often used in riots and acts of sabotage because it is easy to make and use'. Read More

Six penguins die at London Zoo after being bitten by mosquitoes in avian malaria outbreak

Six penguins have been killed by a malaria outbreak at London Zoo.

The birds were bitten by mosquitoes who have been thriving because of Britain's record wet summer, experts said today.

This avian strain cannot be passed on to humans but penguins are particularly vulnerable to the deadly virus because unlike many native birds they have not built up resistance to it. All the dead were Humboldt penguins - a South American species.

Vets have given the 58 remaining penguins in the colony specialist drugs to protect them against contacting the disease. Read More

Red Cross urges Spanish to donate money for food parcels to give to their own countrymen, as 2.3 million are deemed 'extremely vulnerable'

Spaniards are being called on to supply food parcels to their poverty-stricken counterparts as the nation’s economic crisis continues to bite.

Spain’s Red Cross today launches a drastic appeal for €30 million - a move which in recent years has been reserved for helping famine-hit African nations and earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

It is the first time the agency’s annual campaign has focused solely on aiding people in its own country and will see essential food supplies handed out to 2.3 million ‘extremely vulnerable’ citizens over the next two years.

The figure of those in need has already risen dramatically - from 1.5 million in 2010 to 2 million in 2011.

Families are being called on to donate money, as part of the Red Cross’s annual Dia de la Banderita (Little Flag Day) fundraising day, for the food parcels. Read More

US troops operating in Jordan near Syria border

US troops are operating in Jordan near the Syrian border in the biggest fixed deployment of American force in the region since the end of operations in Libya last year, officials have confirmed.

The 150 troops are intended in the first instance to help Jordan, a key but fragile US ally, deal with the influx of refugees from the fighting across the northern border. They are also preparing for any action that might be needed to secure Syria's chemical weapons in the event of the Assad regime losing control of them.

But officials also told The New York Times that the possibility of a buffer zone in southern Syria, enforced by Jordanian troops with American logistical support, had also been discussed. Jordan as well as its neighbours is deeply concerned at the threat of the Syrian war spilling over its borders. Read More

Azhar Ahmed, a tasteless Facebook update, and more evidence of Britain's terrifying new censorship

Another day, another example of how our police and judiciary are criminalising nastiness. Today a young Muslim man who is angry at the UK's involvement in the ongoing Afghanistan conflict was sentenced for posting angry comments on Facebook stating that British soldiers “should die and go to hell”. Not exactly the nicest of sentiments, but is it really something we should be criminally prosecuting through the courts?

Azhar Ahmed, from Dewsbury, Yorkshire, escaped jail partially because he quickly took down his unpleasant posting and tried to apologise to those he offended. But he will still have to carry out 240 hours community service after he was convicted under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for making “grossly offensive comments”.

His sentence came just 24 hours after a 20-year-old Matthew Woods from Lancashire was given three months in jail for posting ill-timed and very unpleasant jokes online about the missing schoolgirl April Jones.


By the looks of it neither Woods nor Ahmed are amiable or eloquent people. But that doesn't mean we should be locking them up or giving them criminal records for the stupid things they say.

Of course free speech isn't wholly free. That's why we have laws banning incitement to violence or encouraging hatred based solely on something a victim cannot change such as their religion, disability or sexual preference.

But in recent years we have increasingly begun to criminalise the offensive, a precedent that should be deeply worrying for anyone who cares about the importance of free speech. It's problematic because offence – like art, music, comedy or food – is inherently subjective. What one person finds outrageous or disgusting might be hilarious, harmless or tasty to another.

Free speech is not just the right to say nice things to people. It is also the right to be nasty, unpleasant, boring, unfunny and stupid. If you start to criminalise the offensive, you pave the way for both real and self-censorship. Read More

Skype Security threat

Skype is being used by hackers to spread a malicious 'worm' that infects Windows PCs and can lock users out of their machines.

Skype users are warned not to click on any messages or links that they do not recognise.

The security threat comes in the form of a seemingly innocent instant message on Skype saying "lol is this your new profile pic?" When users click on the message they unwittingly download a file containing a Trojan horse malware file.

This Trojan horse opens a backdoor, allowing a remote hacker to take control of the infected PCs. Source

Florida Woman Photographs 'Fireball' In Thunderstorm

Anti-European tide sets Conservatives against Brussels

BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) - A bloodied figure climbed out of a coffin and lurched across the square screaming at passers-by, as three pale-faced women dressed as witches squawked and wailed.

"We are the zombie euro zone economies," they cried. "We are the walking dead. We are Greece, Spain and Ireland. Give us trillions, sir, of your money to help us. Do you feel the contagion ? Do you feel the disease?"

Welcome to this year's conference of the Conservative Party, where hostility to the European Union and to the euro currency has reached new heights.

Europe has never been popular among the Conservatives. Read More

EADS, BAE Deal Dead: Germany Blamed for wrecking the $45 billion deal.

(Reuters) - EADS and BAE Systems called off the world's largest defense and aviation merger on Wednesday, and sources close to the talks blamed Germany for wrecking the $45 billion deal.

BAE said it had become clear that the interests of the French, British and German governments could not be reconciled with each other or with the objectives that BAE and EADS established for the merger.

"BAE Systems and EADS have therefore decided it is in the best interests of their companies and shareholders to terminate the discussions and to continue to focus on delivering their respective strategies," BAE said in a statement.

Securing such an enormous and complicated cross-border deal in a sector where commercial considerations are typically trumped by political, economic and national security concerns was always going to be desperately difficult. Read More

Panetta promises action against Afghan insider attacks

(Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta sought to reassure NATO allies on Wednesday effective action was being taken to stop "insider" attacks on their soldiers that have undermined trust between coalition and Afghan forces.

Panetta also told a meeting of alliance defense ministers the 11-year-old Afghan war had "reached a critical moment" after the pullout of 33,000 U.S. "surge" troops brought in two years ago to help counter a strengthening Taliban insurgency.

He said the coalition's response to attacks by Taliban insurgents disguised as Afghan policemen or soldiers and its efforts to improve its partnership with Afghan security forces would be critical to the success of the war with the Taliban.

Panetta and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the gathering in Brussels there was no move to speed up the planned withdrawal of international forces. Read More

BAE And EADS Confirm Merger Deal Is Dead

It has been confirmed that the proposed £28bn merger between BAE Systems and EADS will not take place because of the failure of competing governments to agree equity terms.

“BAE Systems and EADS announce that they have decided to terminate their discussions.” the two companies said this lunchtime in a joint statement.

“Discussions with the relevant governments had not reached a point where both companies could fully disclose the benefits and detailed business case for this merger. BAE Systems and EADS are, however, confident that these would have provided a strong case to take to their shareholders.”

BAE Systems and EADS believed that the merger was based on sound industrial logic. It represented a unique opportunity to create a combination from two strong and successful companies greater than the sum of the parts.

The breakdown in the merger follows several days of speculation over significant disagreements between the British, German and French governments who would all have had a stake in the merged company. Read More

'Heathrow Terror Suspect May Be NHS Doctor'

Police are investigating whether a man held on suspicion of committing terrorism offences is a NHS doctor who led a terror group.

Police are trying to establish if a man who was arrested at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday is a doctor who took a sabbatical to lead a terror group, which shot and kidnapped a British photographer in Syria.

The doctor ended up treating the photographer who was later freed.

More follows...

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake COSTA RICA - 10th October 2012

magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck COSTA RICA at a depth of 35.3 km (21.9 miles), the quake hit at 12:19:47 UTC Wednesday 10th October 2012
The epicenter was 14 km (8 miles) NNE of Nicoya, Costa Rica
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake PAPUA, INDONESIA - 10th October 2012

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck PAPUA, INDONESIA at a depth of 34.8 km (21.6 miles), the quake hit at 11:39:00 UTC Wednesday 10th October 2012
The epicenter was 211 km (131 miles) WSW from Jayapura, Irian Jaya, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time

ROBERTO Laudisio Curti believed police were "bad people" and he would be dead before the end of the year after taking a mind-altering drug

Psychiatrist Jonathan Phillips told an inquest into the Brazilian student's death that the 21-year-old appeared to have entered a "psychotic state" by the early hours of March 18.

Mr Curti had been acting "increasingly strange" after sharing a tab of LSD with two friends while out celebrating St Patrick's day.

He later jumped the counter at a city convenience store and stole two packets of biscuits before police confronted him and chased him through the CBD.

Dr Phillips said the student's statements to the convenience-store attendant - that he was a "messenger from God" and about "the world ending" - suggested he had "left the realm of normality". Read More

Chile clashes video: Student protest water-cannoned in Santiago

New York's Boom in Homelessness

Syria: FSA rebels prepare for more fighting in Aleppo

Yekaterina Samutsevich: Pussy Riot Member Freed From Jail

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has been freed from jail by a Moscow court.

Her two-year sentence for hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers was suspended following an appeal.

The judge upheld the two-year jail sentences handed down to two other members of the punk band for a protest against President Vladimir Putin in a cathedral.

All three women, who were convicted in August, argued in court on Wednesday that their impromptu performance inside Moscow's main cathedral in February was political in nature and not an attack on religion.

The judge ruled that Samutsevich's sentence should be suspended because she was thrown out of the cathedral by guards before she could take part in the performance.

More follows...

ROMNEY: 'You have to scratch your head when president spends week talking about 'Big Bird''

Mitt Romney, speaking to a crowd of about 1,200 on a farm here in Van Meter, Iowa, criticized President Obama's recent focus on Big Bird on the campaign trail. "You have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird," he said. "I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs." Read More


Big Bird, it seems, isn’t thrilled about his cameo in the presidential race.

The folks at Sesame Street are asking the Obama campaign to pull down a TV ad released Tuesday that mocks Mitt Romney for vowing to yank the subsidy to PBS.

At the presidential debate in Denver last week, Mr. Romney said he would end the subsidy in view of the nation’s fiscal troubles. Read More

SpaceX rocket glitch puts satellite in wrong orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Oct 9 - A prototype communications satellite flying as a secondary payload aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket was sent into the wrong orbit because of a problem during launch Sunday evening, officials said Tuesday.

One of the nine Merlin engines powering the Falcon 9 rocket shut down early, though the other engines burned longer to make up for the loss of thrust, saving the primary mission of delivering a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station for NASA.

The rocket blasted off at 8:35 p.m. EDT Sunday (0035 GMT Monday) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, restoring a U.S. supply line to the $100 billion orbital outpost, a project of 15 nations, following the end of the shuttle program last year.

The Dragon freighter is due to arrive at the space station, which flies about 250 miles above Earth, on Wednesday. Read More

Stacey Dash Defends Her Support of Mitt Romney

"Clueless" actress Stacey Dash appeared on "Piers Morgan Tonight" and told the CNN host that she recently endorsed Mitt Romney on Twitter because she wants the next four years to be different.

Dash came under attack on Twitter shortly after publicly supporting Romney on Oct. 7. Most of the negative responses against the 46-year-old actress had to do with her race and gender.

"The fury, I really don't understand the fury," she told Morgan Tuesday night. "I don't understand it. I don't get it…I was shocked, saddened. Not angry. Saddened and really shocked. But you know what, you can't expect everyone to agree with you."

Dash, who admitted she voted for Barack Obama in 2008, told Morgan she believed in Romney.

"I believe him…I watched him, the Governor and his wife, on 'Meet The Press.'…They spoke to me, they seemed authentic and genuine." Read More

Money As Debt II: promises unleashed (FULL MOVIE)

ZeroHedge Guest Post: ''The World's Largest Money-Laundering Machine: The Federal Reserve''

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The World's Largest Money-Laundering Machine: The Federal Reserve

The Fed policy's first-order effect is to issue hundreds of billions in "free money" to banks; the second-order effect is to destroy the rule of law in the U.S.

Let's start with a few questions about the proper role of the Central State and Central Bank: why should they bail out private banks? The answer boils down to something like this: "If the private banks absorbed the losses that are rightly theirs in a capitalist system, they would implode. Since the State and Central Bank have enabled these private banks to infiltrate and dominate the nation's financial system, that system is now hostage to these private 'too big to fail' banks."

In other words, "capitalism" in America now means socializing losses and privatizing profits generated by State and Central Bank intervention. Imagine for a moment the "beauty" of this system for owners of private banks: in a truly socialized banking system, the taxpayers would absorb any losses, but the State would also benefit from any future bank-sector profits. In the U.S. system, the losses are socialized but the people draw no benefit; the profits flow to the top 1/10th of 1% private financiers.

This is the perfection of State-financier crony capitalism.

Let's next ask why the Central State and Central Bank should subsidize and bail out the mortgage industry, a major component of private banking. Once again we find losses are neatly distributed to the citizenry while the profits all flow to private hands. Given that 98% of all mortgages are backed or guaranteed by Federal agencies (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, FHA, VA, FmHA, etc.), the mortgage market is already completely socialized: the taxpayers are on the hook for any and all losses, but the profits from originating and servicing the loans are all private.

Meanwhile, 1 out of 6 FHA insured loans are are delinquent, and everyone who cares to examine the ledger knows the taxpayers will soon be bailing out FHA just as they did Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Read More

The Crash of 1929

Russian Ruble the Next Reserve Currency?'

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has recently surprised the international business community by saying that the Russian ruble could become an international reserve currency in the near future. The current situation in the global economy suggests such a development. Experts tried to figure out to which extent it was possible and what the move could bring to Russia.

Historically, the U.S. dollar became the main reserve currency for the entire postwar period (during 1945-1980). Only after the establishment of the European Monetary System in 1979, with the mechanism of joint circulation of European currencies on the foreign exchange market, a second key currency emerged - the German Mark. However, its share in international operations did not exceed 30 percent.

The introduction of the euro did not significantly change the balance of power between the key currencies. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the share of U.S. dollar in foreign exchange transactions has not changed in the last decade and made up about 85-90 percent, analysts of News Forex said. Today, the major currencies playing the role of reserve currencies, are the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, the British pound sterling and the Swiss franc. They are used to conduct and serve trade operations, ensure the global movement of capital, express prices in foreign trade transactions and in exchange rates and to ensure the mechanisms of currency interventions.

The Swiss franc is not a currency of foreign trade, but it is used as a reserve currency, because Swiss banks have mobilized considerable funds and provide reliable placement of capital. In turn, the pound sterling, despite Britain's declining role in the world markets, retains the reserve currency role, given the development of worldwide banking network of the country. Read More

U.S. Jobs Lies, Damned Lies and the 7.8% Unemployment Rate Author John Williams wonders if politics are at play behind the latest jobs report, which shows 114,000 new U.S. jobs since September and a 0.3% drop in unemployment since August. Investors need to know how seasonal factors and month-to-month volatility affect the Bureau of Labor Statistics' reports. In this exclusive interview with The Gold Report , Williams explains why he doubts that we are in a recovery. The take-away? Look at the unadjusted figures before you sell your gold.

The Gold Report: John, as Mark Twain famously quipped, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) just came out with new jobs numbers that show the country added 114,000 jobs since September and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8%, down from 8.1% in August. On, you argue that the numbers are wrong and pointed to politics as a possible reason for the incorrect figures. Are unemployment statistics being manipulated and if so how?

John Williams: I normally put out a commentary on the numbers, and, in this one, I raised the possibility of politics as a factor. The problem is very serious misreporting of the numbers and the result is what appears to be a bogus unemployment rate. The BLS reported a drop in the unemployment rate from 8.1% to 7.8%, three-tenths of a percentage point, which runs counter to what is being experienced in the marketplace.

What few people realize is that the headline unemployment rate is calculated each month using a unique set of seasonal adjustments. The August unemployment rate, which was 8.1%, was calculated using what BLS calls a "concurrent seasonal factor adjustment." Each month the agency recalculates the series to adjust for regular seasonal patterns tied to the school year or holiday shopping season or whatever is considered relevant. The next month, it does the same thing using another set of seasonal factors. Rather than publish a number that's consistent with the prior month's estimate, it recalculates everything, including the previous month, but it doesn't publish the revised number from the previous month.

The assumption is that the monthly recalculations don't make much difference over time, but they do. The depth and the protraction of the current severe economic downturn have thrown off the annual seasonal-factor adjustments. The result is very volatile seasonal factors month-to-month. That means the new calculations for the September number may have resulted in a very significant revision to the August number. Again, though, the BLS doesn't publish that, so the headline August-to-September 2012 change in the unemployment rate is not consistent and not comparable. Read More

What to Expect When the Reign of the U.S. Dollar Comes to an End

Speaking last week, the Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) claimed that if the "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts go into effect on January 1, the U.S. dollar would lose its reserve currency status.

As the Vampire Squid's representatives often do, Blankfein actually has it backwards.

Contrary to what Blankfein thinks, a legitimate movement to deal with the fiscal cliff would cut the federal deficit in half, make the country more or less solvent and strengthen the dollar.

However, the problem is that the fiscal cliff involves pain. And since politicians like to delay pain as long as possible, the chances are good the fiscal cliff will be postponed again.

Instead, the country will likely continue to run trillion-dollar deficits in the hopes that Ben Bernanke can finance them through even more quantitative easing. It's the only play in the Keynesian playbook.

Unfortunately, that is the policy most likely to crash the dollar -- and it's headed our way.

So what will the world look like when the dollar has crashed, and international investors and traders have lost all of their confidence in the greenback?

The truth is if that happens it won't be like anything we've seen within living memory. Read More

China, Russia, and the End of the Petrodollar

Say you’re an up-and-coming superpower wannabe with dreams of dominating your neighbors and intimidating everyone else. Your ambition is understandable; rising nations always join the “great game”, both for their own enrichment and in defense against other big players.

But if you’re Russia or China, there’s something in your way: The old superpower, the US, has the world’s reserve currency, which allows it to run an untouchable military empire basically for free, simply by creating otherwise-worthless pieces of paper and/or their electronic equivalent. Russia and China can’t do that, and would see their currencies and by extension their economies collapse if they tried.

So before they can boot the US military out of Asia and Eastern Europe, they have to strip the dollar of its dominant role in world trade, especially of Middle Eastern oil. And that’s exactly what they’re trying to do. See this excerpt from an excellent longer piece by Economic Collapse Blog’s Michael Snyder:

China And Russia Are Ruthlessly Cutting The Legs Out From Under The U.S. Dollar

China and Russia are not the “buddies” of the United States. The truth is that they are both ruthless competitors of the United States and leaders from both nations have been calling for a new global currency for years.

They don’t like that the United States has a built-in advantage of having the reserve currency of the world, and over the past several years both countries have been busy making international agreements that seek to chip away at that advantage.

Just the other day, China and Germany agreed to start conducting an increasing amount of trade with each other in their own currencies. Read More

Morten Storm: Danish man claims he worked with the CIA to infiltrate al Qaeda as a double agent... and he was so important Obama knew him by name

A Danish man has come forward and claimed he worked with the CIA to infiltrate al-Qaeda as a double agent and provided vital information on radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that led to the wanted terrorist being killed in an American drone strike.

The man, Morten Storm, who has come forward to Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has said that he was a former Islamic supremacist before the Danish intelligence service PET convinced him to change sides and work for them and eventually the American CIA.

Storm has claimed that he became so deeply trusted by Anwar al-Awlaki, that U.S. president Barack Obama knew his name and that it was him who delivered a USB stick the American's used to track al-Awlaki to a convoy which they destroyed in Yemen in September 2011.

In evidence presented to Jyllands-Posten, Storm handed over alleged letters between himself al-Awlaki, collected during the six-years he worked with the Danish and U.S. intelligence services.

In addition, Storm played the Danish newspaper, itself the subject of a major controversy concerning cartoons that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 2005-06, an alleged conversation between himself, PET agents and a lone CIA officer in an upmarket Danish hotel.

During the audio recording the CIA agent, identified only as Michael, confirms that Storm worked for the PET and CIA and adds that President Obama is aware of the operation. Read More

Mark Bridger Remanded for the Murder of 5 year old April Jones

Mark Bridger, the man accused of murdering missing five-year-old April Jones, has been remanded in custody until January 11.

Bridger, 46, appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court via video link from prison in Manchester.

Sitting in front of a green curtain Bridger, who was unshaven and wore a black sweatshirt, seemed calm and listened closely to what was happening in court.

On Saturday, he was charged with the murder and abduction of April along with attempting to pervert the course of justice by the disposal or concealment of a body.

He will now face a plea and case management hearing back at Caernarfon Crown Court on January 11.

One of the most senior judges in Wales, Mr Justice Griffith-Williams, said he would oversee future hearings in the case.

In Machynlleth, the searches for April Jones are continuing. Read More

Gil Collar 'had taken LSD' Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said at a news conference.....Previous Zombie Cases: What they have in Common - Naked, biting and speaking of spiritual quest - Official Explanation: Drugs, Cloud Nine, Bath Salts, marijuana and now LSD

The unarmed college student fatally shot by a campus police officer in the early hours of Saturday morning had taken LSD and assaulted three people before chasing him, authorities have revealed.

Gil Collar, 18, took the drug at an outdoor music festival before assaulting two people in vehicles and trying to bite a woman's arm, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The University of South Alabama freshman then went to the campus police headquarters, where he was shot by the officer, who has been identified as 27-year-old Trevis Austin.

Austin, who has been an officer for four years, is on leave while investigators look into the death. Read More

Jessica Ridgeway Missing: Parents of missing Colorado girl, 10, deny involvement in her disappearance five days after she vanished

The parents of a 10-year-old Colorado girl who has been missing since last Friday spoke out for the first time on Tuesday, denying any involvement in her disappearance.

'I know I didn't do anything. Everybody that's here knows I didn't do anything,' said Jessica Ridgeway's mother, Sarah, surrounded by relatives dressed in purple - her daughter's favorite color.

She added, 'Nobody in this room did anything to harm her or a tiny hair on her little head.'

Sarah Ridgeway was joined by ten family members, among them her ex-husband, Jeremiah Bryant, who said that when questioned by the FBI if his former spouse could have anything to do with the 10-year-old's disappearance, he said 'no.'

'I don't see how any parent could do something like that to their child,' Bryant added, according to Fox31.

Appearing composed for most of the 38-minute-long pubic statement, the girl's mother told a reporter that she understands that police need to conduct an investigation before they eliminate her from the list of potential suspects.

'I know it's something that has to get done,' she said. 'The have to get it out of there.'
Ridgeway and Bryant have been locked in custody battle at the time their 10-year-old daughter went missing last Friday. Read More