Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cern Scientists Make Secret Zombie Film

British physicists have released a zombie film made secretly in the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.

The 80-minute film, Decay, was shot in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – a 27km tunnel 100 metres beneath the Swiss-French border at Geneva where the Higgs boson or "God particle" was recently discovered.

The £2,000 movie follows a small group of students, played by physicists, after a disastrous malfunction in the LHC tunnel.

Brent Troy Bartel Arrested after Carving Pagan Symbol Into Six-Year-Old's Back

A Texas man rang the police to tell them he had carved a pentagram into his six-year-old son's back because it was "a holy day".

Richland Hills police said Brent Troy Bartel faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and has been jailed in lieu of a $500,000 (£309,400) bond.

In the 911 call released by police, Bartel calmly provides the dispatcher with his home address before telling her: "I shed some innocent blood."

When asked why he did it, Bartel replies: "Because it's a holy day."

Klitschko Ringside For Ukraine Parliament Brawl

World heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko got a ringside spot as the opening session of Ukraine's parliament descended into a mass brawl.

Scuffles erupted when members of several parties approached the stand simultaneously and attempted to push each other out of the way.

At one moment the majority of those gathered in the parliament chamber stood up and joined in.

Argentina Sex Slavery Court Ruling Sparks Riots

Riots have broken out in Argentina after 13 people were acquitted over the disappearance of a young woman who was allegedly kidnapped and forced into sex slavery.

The court ruling has also prompted calls by political leaders to impeach the three judges who delivered the verdict.

Many have called the ruling a setback for Argentina's efforts to combat sex trafficking.

McAfee Back In US After Release From Jail

Anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee has arrived in the US after being deported from Guatemala.

The 67-year-old, who is wanted for questioning in Belize over the murder of his neighbour, had spent a week in a cell after arriving in Guatemala illegally.

A short time after the commercial jet carrying McAfee landed in Miami, a posting on his website announced he was at a hotel in the city's upscale South Beach area.

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA - 13th December 2012

Magnitude ML 4.0
Date time 2012-12-13 03:40:12.0 UTC
Location 31.19 S ; 68.93 W
Depth 101 km
Distances 54 km NW San juan, Argentina

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake D'ENTRECASTEAUX ISLANDS REGION - 13th December 2012

Magnitude M 5.0
Date time 2012-12-13 00:58:14.9 UTC
Location 9.96 S ; 154.70 E
Depth 10 km
Distances 425 km S Arawa

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5.5 Magnitude Earthquake KERMADEC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND - 13th December 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 00:53:32 UTC
Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 12:53:32 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
30.928°S, 178.252°W
64.9 km (40.3 miles)
83 km (51 miles) NE of L'Esperance Rock, New Zealand

Over angry protests, Michigan passes 'right-to-work' legislation

Over the chants of thousands of angry protesters, Republican lawmakers made Michigan a right-to-work state Tuesday, dealing a devastating and once-unthinkable defeat to organized labour in a place that has been a bastion of the movement for generations.

The GOP-dominated House ignored Democrats' pleas to delay the final passage and instead approved two bills with the same ruthless efficiency that the Senate showed last week. One measure dealt with private-sector workers, the other with government employees. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed them both within hours, calling them "pro-worker and pro-Michigan."

Read it on Global News: Right-to-work fight on traditional union turf of Michigan heats up as lawmakers set to vote

Ohio, Ky. governors: Tolls may be used to fund Brent Spence Bridge project (Which then may itself be tolled, as NAFTA Super Highway project sprints onward)

Tolls may be used to pay for the multi-billion dollar Brent Spence Bridge project following the signing of a cooperative agreement between Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Ohio Gov. John Kasich Wednesday. Joining the governors was U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as all three discussed ways to fund and build the bridge sooner rather than later. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will formally establish a bi-state management team to jointly oversee the project, according to a statement released by both governors’ offices.

Once an issue on many people's minds, it's now mostly forgotten. Definitely refresh yourselves on what it's all about, if necessary:

North Korean satellite 'tumbling out of control,' US officials say

The object that North Korea sent into space early Thursday appears to be “tumbling out of control” as it orbits the earth, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The officials said that it is indeed some kind of space vehicle but they still haven’t been able to determine exactly what the satellite is supposed to do.

In a statement, the White House said the rocket launch was a highly provocative act that threatens regional security and violates U.N. resolutions.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday condemned the launch, calling it a "clear violation" of U.N. resolutions. A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he "deplores" the launch.

Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a 'myth' on Times Square billboard

Just as midtown Manhattan comes alive with Christmas cheer, festive window displays and Salvation Army bell ringers trying to channel holiday generosity to the needy, an atheist group has a message for the masses teeming into Times Square: Jesus is a myth.

With a picture of Santa Claus above another image of Jesus Christ, the sign, sponsored by New Jersey-based American Atheists, urges passersby to "Keep the Merry!" and "Dump the Myth!" Attacks on Christianity from the group have become routine, and in the bustling heart of America's busiest city, most folks don't even waste a shrug on the sign. But some took notice, and did not approve.

“It’s a damn shame. It’s an insult,” said Anthony White, 41, a of Jersey City, N.J. said. “Why did they have to put that up?”

Matt's thoughts:
Forget the distracting faux-conflict between Christians, Jews and Muslims created by politicians and the media. The real opponents are those who not only denounce belief (which is fine, since there is no compulsion in religion, and their empty words tap as pebbles against our Spiritual Armour), but then seek to replace it with vile idolatry of mammon, ambition, and their own particular brand of wrath. Woe to the disbeliever who attempts to persecute others who possess faith, and divide submitters to God, and make light of those sent by God to inspire the world. I assure any of those who wobble and waffle, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was absolutely alive, was absolutely inspired, and is absolutely with us today in the message he shared with all mankind.

Google's tax avoidance is called 'capitalism', says chairman Eric Schmidt

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has insisted that he is "very proud" of the company's tax structure, and said that measures to lower its payments were just "capitalism".

Mr Schmidt's comments risk inflaming the row over the amount of tax multinationals pay, after it emerged that Google funnelled $9.8bn (£6.07bn) of revenues from international subsidiaries into Bermuda last year in order to halve its tax bill.

However, Mr Schmidt defended the company's legitimate tax arrangements. “We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways,” he told Bloomberg. “I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.”

“It’s called capitalism,” he said. “We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.”

In Britain Vince Cable was unimpressed by Mr Schmidt’s views. The Business Secretary told The Daily Telegraph: “It may well be [capitalism] but it’s certainly not the job of governments to accommodate it.”

A Californian pressure group called Consumer Watchdog wrote to the Senate’s Finance Committee demanding a hearing on Google’s “global tax avoidance strategies”.

North Korea releases control room footage of rocket launch

McAfee Released From Jail, Heading To US

Anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee is released from prison in Guatemala and is due to catch a flight to the US.

A Guatemalan immigration official said the 67-year-old was being deported after his arrest a week ago.

McAfee, who is wanted for questioning in Belize over the murder of his neighbour, had been on the run for almost a month.

UK Tax Facts: Millionaires to pay less tax

Monkeys & Cocaine: HSBC money laundering case

UN continues its silence over human rights abuses in Gaza

North Korean rocket filmed mid-flight

China 'regrets' N. Korea rocket launch

MPs chainsaw down parliament fence in Ukraine

Jacob Tyler Roberts Killed two People Before shooting himself in Shopping Mall Massacre

The gunman who killed two innocent victims after opening fire at an Oregon shopping mall on Tuesday afternoon has been identified as a 22-year-old man who stole the weapon from a friend the day before the massacre.

Jacob Tyler Roberts, wearing a load-bearing vest and a mask like that from horror movie Friday the 13th, ran into Clackamas Town Center near Portland and opened fire with the stolen AR15 rifle.

He struck three people at random in the food court, Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, and married father-of-two Steven Mathew Forsyth, 45, and critically injuring 15-year-old Kristina Shevchenko.

Thousands of squid carcasses wash up on California beaches: Is toxic algae to blame for disorientating the sea creatures leading to mass suicide?

Marine biologists are working to uncover what caused several thousand Humboldt squid to wash ashore along the Santa Cruz County shoreline on Sunday.

Thousands of squid carcasses are littering the 12 mile stretch of coastline from Aptos to Watsonville, where the high tide may have had something do to with the sea creatures essentially committing mass suicide.

The general public is advised by scientists not to touch or eat the squid, as they may contain dangerous toxins.

Asteroid 2012 XE54 came nearer to Earth than the moon (... but was only spotted two days before the close encounter)

A recently discovered asteroid gave Earth a close shave yesterday as it came within the moon's orbit.

The near-Earth asteroid 2012 XE54, which was only spotted for the first time on Sunday, came within 140,000 miles of our planet

The moon orbits at an average distance of 240,000 miles or so from the Earth.

Astronomers estimate that 2012 XE54 is about 120ft wide - big enough to cause substantial damage if it ever hits us.

Syria Fires Scud Missiles at Insurgents, U.S. Says

Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have fired Scud missiles at rebel fighters in recent days, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday.

The move represents a significant escalation in the fighting, which has already killed more than 40,000 civilians in a nearly two-year-old conflict that has threatened to destabilize the Middle East.

One American official, who asked not to be identified because he was discussing classified information, said that missiles had been fired from the Damascus area at targets in northern Syria.

ANOTHER Human rights farce after Euro judges award £6,000 payout to victim of playground fight over a football in Croatia TEN YEARS AGO

It was intended to prevent major abuses of human rights such as torture and extra-judicial killing.

But yesterday the European Court of Human Rights was ridiculed when it ruled - on a playground fight over a football.

The incident involved a thirteen-year-old boy from Croatia who got into a row with another boy nearly a decade ago over who was the rightful owner of the ball.

The alleged victim claimed the second boy's father had taken the ball away, pulled his T-shirt and slapped and kicked him.

He claimed the incident had caused him 'significant distress' and that the 'memories of the attack would remain with him until the end of his life'.

Yesterday, two years after the application was first made, seven judges of the Strasbourg Court ruled his rights had been breached and awarded him compensation of more than £6000.

Norovirus continues to wreak havoc as cases hit a five-year high

The winter vomiting bug is continuing to wreak havoc across the country, with new figures out today showing cases are a staggering 72 per cent higher than this time last year.

The number of cases is also a five-year high, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), which released the information.

Behind Obama's Chemical-Weapons Double Standard

After a brief scare last week, the Obama administration now believes that the threat of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad using his sizable stock of chemical weapons has abated. But that doesn't mean the threat is entirely gone: as the rebels advance, and as strategic flashpoints like the Damascus airport threaten to fall out of the regime's direct control, the temptation to clear neighborhoods and intimidate Assad's opponents could become overwhelming.

For the Obama administration, the use of chemical weapons in Syria would transform official U.S. understanding of the conflict. War with chemical weapons would be of an entirely different order than the current fighting, said Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria who appeared with regime opponents in the besieged city of Homs before he was recalled from the country in February, in an appearance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' last week.

Merkel dampens expectations for EU summit

Assertive Turkey key to U.S. role in Middle East

With its caustic rhetoric on Israel and its gold-for-gas trade with Iran, Turkey is not the deferential U.S. ally it once was as it carves out a growing role in the fast-changing politics of the Middle East.

The collapse of its ties with the Jewish state have put paid to U.S. hopes it could be a broker in the Arab-Israeli conflict, while its gold sales to Iran have provided a financial lifeline to a government meant to be under the choke of U.S. sanctions.

Yet despite the strains, the relationship between Washington and Ankara is arguably more important than ever.

Hong Kong restaurant offers 'End of the World' meal for December 21

Aqua Restaurant Group's flagship in Peking Road will serve a six-course "End of the World" meal on December 21 for HK$2,112.12 per person.

With the end of the Mayan calendar - and, according to some, the end of the world - looming next week, a Tsim Sha Tsui restaurant is cashing in by offering a doomsday dinner.

Aqua Restaurant Group's flagship in Peking Road will serve a six-course "End of the World" meal on December 21 for HK$2,112.12 per person.

But guests will pay the ominous price only if the world is not going to end - if the planet looks like it is heading for perdition, the restaurant will pick up the tab. The "last dessert" will be chocolate mousse garnished with 24-carat gold.

Farage: Eurozone leaders behaving like drug addicts and alcoholics

4.2 Magnitude ST. LAWRENCE VALLEY REG., QUEBEC, CANADA - 12th December 2012

4.2 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 17:46:03 UTC
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 12:46:03 PM at epicenter
48.080°N, 69.955°W
15 km (9.3 miles) set by location program
73 km (45 miles) ESE (111°) from La Baie, Qu├ębec, Canada

Egyptian army abruptly postpones "unity" talks

Egypt's liberal and secular opposition said on Wednesday it would back a "no" vote in a referendum on a divisive new constitution promoted by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, calling off a boycott as long as safeguards are in place for a fair vote.

The army called off "unity" talks involving rival factions, dealing a blow to efforts to resolve a worsening political crisis over the referendum and rein in street protests that have turned violent.

U.N. Security Council discusses response to rocket launch

The U.N. Security Council met on North Korea's rocket launch on Wednesday, a move Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned as a "provocative act" in breach of resolutions banning Pyongyang from developing ballistic missiles.

Several council diplomats said they hoped the 15-nation body could swiftly agree a similar condemnation and later consider a binding resolution, possibly expanding already existing U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.

"Friends of Syria" group recognizes opposition coalition

Western and Arab nations sympathetic to Syria's uprising against President Bashar al-Assad gave full political recognition on Wednesday to the opposition, reflecting a hardening consensus that the 20-month-old uprising might be nearing a tipping point.

Meeting in the Moroccan city of Marrakech as rebels battled Assad's troops on the outskirts of his Damascus power base, the "Friends of Syria" group called on Assad to step aside and warned him against using chemical weapons.

Mutant Super Rats 'Spreading Across UK'

Rat catchers are asking for permission to use stronger poisons to deal with a plague of super rats that have developed resistance to common vermin control methods.

The mutant brown rats, which carry life-threatening diseases, have been emerging from their traditional havens in sewers and ditches and taking refuge in people's homes.

The problem has been made worse by recent wet weather, which has driven hordes of rats from flooded drains.

Syrian Rebels Bomb the interior ministry Building in Damascus

A bomb has struck the interior ministry in Damascus, according to Syrian state TV.

The blast reportedly occurred at the main entrance to the building situated in the southwest district of Kafar Souseh - a battleground for rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

"An explosion rocked the district of Kfar Sousa, and initial reports say a bomb targeted the main entrance to the interior ministry," state television said.

4.54 Million Koreans Live Alone

One in every four households in Korea consists of just one person, according to Statistics Korea on Tuesday. The number of single-person households now amounts to 4.54 million, or 25.3 percent of the total households.

In 2000, they made up only 15.5 percent of the total, but that had increased to 23.9 percent by 2010.

"An aging population, nuclear families and a growing tendency to defer marriage have all caused the number of single-person households to surge," a Statistics Korea spokesman said. That means the number of widows, widowers and unmarried people have all increased.

IDF to begin giving its medics chemical weapons antidote

The IDF has acquired tens of thousands of doses of a drug used to combat nerve agent chemical poisoning and will distribute them to all combat medics in the coming months, according to a report in the new issue of the army’s Bamahane weekly magazine.

The drug, diazepam, is an anti-convulsant, halting seizures caused by nerve agents such as VX and sarin. Until now, the IDF supplied all medics with atropine, a drug that counters attacks on the respiratory system, but diazepam, which protects the central nervous system, was available only in intravenous form and was distributed only to rear echelon battalion medical centers.

“Now the medics receive auto injectors, enabling treatment half an hour to an hour earlier than before, and also enabling treatment to 10 times more people,” the head of nonconventional warfare medicine in the IDF’s medical corps, Lt. Col. Dr. Micah Ksirer, told this week Bamahane.

The report comes amid widespread international concern regarding the stockpiles of chemical weapons belonging to the teetering government in Syria.

Next up:
Pills that give the IDF a dose of humanity.

Reunified Korea 'Would Distance Itself from U.S.' (Not the least bit surprising)

A U.S. intelligence report predicts that in 2030 a reunified Korea will try to free itself from U.S. influence. The National Intelligence Council under the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence made the forecast in a report titled "Global Trends 2030."

The report forecasts that Northeast Asian countries will be economically more dependent on China but continue to rely on the U.S. for security. It said China rather than the U.S. is now the biggest trading partner of Australia, India, Japan and Korea, but predicted they will maintain security alliances with Washington at the same time.

Emily Whitehead: The cancer girl cured by the HIV virus: Seven-year-old makes extraordinary recovery after U.S. doctors re-wire her immune system to destroy leukaemia cells

In April this year, Emily Whitehead's family had almost given up hope.

The brave six-year-old had been fighting leukaemia for two years, only to relapse for a second time during intensive chemotherapy treatment in February.

Doctors had exhausted all the traditional treatments as Emily could not remain in remission for long enough to attempt a bone marrow transplant. So her desperate parents, Kari and Tom, started looking at more radical options.

Open War? Obama backs Syria rebels 'infiltrated with terrorists'

Now or Never: Putin on Russia's worries and concerns

Big Brother Buses: Eavesdropping devices put on US public transport

CrossTalk: Selective Justice

Republicans call on Obama to make fiscal cliff move

Gas pipeline explosion near Charleston, West Virginia

CCTV: Embarrassing accidents in train stations released by Network Rail

Remote Control - How the EU controls your lives

Oregon Shooting: Gunman Yelled 'I Am the Shooter!'

NKoreans Celebrate Launch of Long-Range Rocket

Euro zone factory output falls again, recovery far off

Euro zone factory output continued its steep fall in autumn this year, underscoring the feeble domestic demand that risks prolonging the bloc's recession.

Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro fell 1.4 percent in October after falling sharply percent in September, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday. That was much worse than the modest growth expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

U.N. nuclear agency "ready" to go to Iran's Parchin site

U.N. nuclear inspectors would be ready to go to Iran's disputed Parchin military complex if the Islamic state were to allow it during talks in Tehran later this week, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes Iran has conducted explosives tests with nuclear applications at Parchin, a sprawling facility southeast of Tehran, and has repeatedly asked for access.

With Germany on side, EU nears banking union deal

Germany signaled on Wednesday it was ready to back plans for the European Central Bank to be made the chief supervisor of banks, raising the prospect of a breakthrough on the European Union's most ambitious financial reform.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the German cabinet he was "optimistic" about a deal ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, a German official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.S. military to boost Philippines presence; China tells army to be prepared

U.S. and Philippine officials are expected to agree on an increase in the number of U.S. military ships, aircraft and troops rotating through the Philippines, Filipino officials said, as tensions simmer with China over its maritime claims.

Though he made no direct reference to the territorial disputes, new Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping urged his military to prepare for a struggle. He made the comments during his visit to a South China Sea fleet ship in southern Guangdong province, but did not name any potential aggressor.

Antarctica team to drill in search for life two miles under ice

British scientists plan to start drilling in Antarctica totday in their quest to discover whether life exists in a lake that's been isolated for hundreds of thousands of years 3 kilometres (2 miles) below the ice.

The researchers will use a drill that pumps hot water at high pressure to bore through the ice. After firing the boiler's burners Tuesday, they'll begin test drills before drilling down to the lake by Sunday, said Chris Hill, program manager at the British Antarctic Survey for the project at Lake Ellsworth, near the center of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

Egypt opposition says to vote "no" not boycott referendum

Egypt's main opposition coalition will push for a "no" vote in a referendum this week on a constitution shaped by Islamists they oppose rather than boycott, members of the group said on Wednesday.

"We will vote 'no'," opposition politician and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa told Reuters. Another opposition figure also announced that the group would push for a "no" vote.

'Friends of Syria' Poised to Recognize Anti-Assad Rebels

Representatives of more than 100 countries and organizations gathered here on Wednesday for a meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria ranged against President Bashar al-Assad, and news reports said they would recognizea newly-formed coalition seeking his overthrow.

The meeting began less than a day after President Obama said the United States would join a handful of other Western and Arab countries in recognizing the rebellious National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the country’s sole legitimate representative — a diplomatic gambit that had been widely anticipated.

Dyson Allen Re-Arrested Over Four Fire Deaths

Detectives investigating a house fire in which four siblings died have re-arrested a teenager on suspicion of murder.

Dyson Allen, 19, is being held for questioning over the blaze at a converted bungalow in Freckleton, Lancashire.

The fire killed siblings 19-year-old Reece Smith, four-year-old twins Holly and Ella Smith, and Jordan Smith, two.

Their mother, Michelle Smith, who has five other children, survived the January 7 blaze.

M6 Tanker Fire: Nine Treated At Scene

The fire started about 9.30am (Image: Andrew Hawley)
Firefighters were among a group of people being treated at the scene of a chemical tanker fire that closed the M6, north of Coventry.

West Midlands Ambulance said nine people, including the lorry driver, were treated because they were overcome by chemical fumes after the tanker caught fire about 9.30am.

A section of the motorway was closed in both directions and motorists experienced long delays, the Highways Agency said.

Manhattan 'Hit' Suspect Caught On CCTV

The victim of a brazen ambush on a midtown Manhattan sidewalk may have been lured there before the killing, police say.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Tuesday that Brandon Lincoln Woodard was walking back and forth and checking his phone for messages before a gunman walked up and shot him in the back of the head.

Mr Kelly said security video indicates the unidentified shooter had been waiting in a car parked on the same block at least a half hour before the gunfire erupted.

Two Americans who hoped to wage 'violent jihad' caught by FBI

Two Alabama men who federal investigators say wanted to wage violent jihad overseas have been arrested in Georgia on terrorism charges, and one has close ties to another man previously identified as an Islamic terror leader, authorities said Tuesday.

Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair and Randy 'Rasheed' Wilson, both 25 and from Mobile, were named in terrorism charges filed Monday, according to Kenyen R. Brown, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.

Mystery as series of UFO sightings reported in two U.S. cities within days of one another

A series of unidentified flying objects have been reported in the night skies of at least two U.S. cities in the last week.

The collection of strange round lights recorded by mesmerized witnesses show them flying in similar formation, most recently in San Francisco while just days after spotted in New York.

'I wasn’t sure if at first if it was another Tequila hazed mirage, but myself and a few bystanders were all in complete awe at the lights we saw on Valencia,' Sunday morning's witness Enrique Barrios told Mission Mission of the California sighting.

U.S. military to increase presence in Philippines

U.S. and Philippine officials are expected to agree on an increase in the number of U.S. military ships, aircraft and troops rotating through the Philippines, Filipino officials said, as tensions simmer with China over its maritime claims.

Senior U.S. and Philippine officials met on Wednesday in Manila to discuss strengthening security and economic ties at a time of growing tension over China's aggressive sovereignty claims over vast stretches of the disputed South China Sea.

U.S. military's secret mini-shuttle lifts off from Florida

Egyptians call on the president to resign while others urge Mursi to stay strong

3 dead in mall shooting

Israel to withhold Palestinian funds until March

Israel will withhold tax revenues from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's administration until March at least in response to his statehood campaign at the United Nations, Israel's foreign minister said.

Under interim peace deals, Israel collects some $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank -- money that is badly needed to pay public sector salaries.

4.5 Magnitude COSTA RICA - 12th December 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 06:54:33 UTC
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 12:54:33 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
10.072°N, 84.387°W
10.1 km (6.3 miles)
3 km (1 miles) SSW of Naranjo, Costa Rica

4.5 Magnitude OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 12th December 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 06:41:08 UTC
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 03:41:08 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
33.871°N, 141.218°E
66.4 km (41.3 miles)
158 km (98 miles) NE of Hachijo-jima, Japan

North Korea Rapped Over Rocket Launch

North Korea has been widely condemned by the international community after launching a long-range rocket.

The blast-off, which had been anticipated, has been viewed with suspicion by critics who believe the country was carrying out a ballistic missile test under cover.

The impoverished North has said it was simply delivering a weather satellite to space and it declared the mission a success.

Fog Travel Chaos: Heathrow Cancels 70 Flights

Freezing fog has descended on parts of the UK, forcing airports to cancel flights - and more delays are expected.

Heathrow Airport says 70 flights due to take off on Wednesday have been scrapped.

A spokesman said further cancellations were likely as adverse conditions affecting large swathes of the country worsen.

Labour to vote AGAINST 1% cap on rises in benefits, saying they should rise faster than wages

Labour is to vote against a cap on rises in benefits, imposed after handouts soared at twice the rate of wages.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls today revealed his party would oppose the 1 per cent rise planned by the government for each of the next three years.

Revealed: How George Osborne's sneaky tricks will cost every family £738 a year

Families will be left £738 a year worse off because of a cunning sleight-of-hand in the way their benefits and tax bills are calculated.

They will find that their disposable income is slowly eaten away over the years because of rises in the cost of living.

Chancellor George Osborne last week announced that many benefits claimed by families, including child benefit, would rise by 1 per cent. He also gave a 1 per cent increase at the point at which workers pay higher rate tax of 40 per cent.

Decade that changed the face of the UK: 4million migrants settle here - and in London less than half of the population is white British

he National census of 2011 show 7.5million people who were born abroad were living here last year – of whom more than half have arrived since 2001. Census officials said more than 70 per cent of the record rise in the overall population over the past decade is produced by people who migrated into Britain.

Greeks go hungry as austerity bites

An afternoon with a Syrian Terro...Rebel bombmaker

Panetta says a threatened Syrian regime could turn to chemicals

Atlas 5 Rocket: Air Force's secret mini-shuttle blasts off

Image: A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket carrying the U.S. military's X-37B spacecraft lifts off from launch complex 41 in Cape Canaveral, Florida December 11, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Scott Audette

An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket carrying a small robotic space shuttle lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Tuesday for the third flight in a classified military test program.

The 196-foot (60-meter) rocket blasted off at 1:03 p.m. ET (1603 GMT) carrying the military's original X-37B experimental space plane, also known as an Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV.

Facebook Helps FBI Snare $850m Cyber Gang

A criminal ring that infected 11 million computers around the world causing more than $850m (£527m) in total losses has been snared by a team led by the FBI and Facebook.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked alongside several international agencies to arrest 10 people it claims infected computers with "Yahos" malicious software, then stole credit card, bank and other personal information.

Facebook's security team assisted the FBI after "Yahos" targeted its users from 2010 to October 2012.

UK gets set for battle to defend City from EU bank union

David Cameron and George Osborne will today begin a rearguard action to stop the City of London's status as the world's leading financial centre being threatened by plans for banking union inside the eurozone.

Although Britain will not join the banking union, the 17 countries in the euro will form a powerful bloc which could determine rules for the financial sector under the EU's single market. There are growing fears that the 17 will favour Paris and Frankfurt at London's expense.