Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 22:40:15 UTC
Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 08:40:15 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
39.655°N, 143.294°E
39.8 km (24.7 miles)
114 km (70 miles) E of Miyako, Japan

Dec. 21, 2012: Fearful 'end of world' callers flood NASA

If there's one government agency really looking forward to Dec. 22, it's NASA.

The space agency said it has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world — which, as the doomsday myth goes, is apparently set to take place on Dec. 21, 2012.

The myth might have originated with the Mayan calendar, but in the age of the Internet and social media, it proliferated online, raising questions and concerns among hundreds of people around the world who have turned to NASA for answers.

Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, said NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week containing questions from people. In recent weeks, he said, that number has skyrocketed — from 200 to 300 people are contacting NASA per day to ask about the end of the world.

"Who's the first agency you would call?" he said. "You're going to call NASA."

Why hipsters can go on food stamps (and why a college education, especially a PhD is an absolute waste of time and money, a must-read)

In the John Waters-esque sector of northwest Baltimore -- equal parts kitschy, sketchy, artsy and weird -- Gerry Mak and Sarah Magida sauntered through a small ethnic market stocked with Japanese eggplant, mint chutney and fresh turmeric. After gathering ingredients for that evening's dinner, they walked to the cash register and awaited their moments of truth.

Those are two "hipsters", and the punchline is that they pay for their foodie porn with foodie stamps, which sounds like it should be a terrible thing, except it's in, which means they're going to try and tell you how it's a good thing, which they don't, because they can't. It's madness.

It's very easy and satisfying to hate these two, and nothing would make me happier than to hit them square in the back with a jack-o-lantern. But I also recognize that I am being told to hate them, so I have to take a step back and find out why it is so important that I hate them. I did. I should have just reached for the pumpkin.

No one but the state and psychiatry can profit from another's misery, and they are the same thing, so let's see why Election Day doesn't matter.

Hipsters on foodstamps: You pay taxes, they eat five-star for free (Sounds fair to me)

In the John Waters-esque sector of northwest Baltimore — equal parts kitschy, sketchy, artsy and weird — Gerry Mak and Sarah Magida sauntered through a small ethnic market stocked with Japanese eggplant, mint chutney and fresh turmeric. After gathering ingredients for that evening’s dinner, they walked to the cash register and awaited their moments of truth.

“I have $80 bucks left!” Magida said. “I’m so happy!”

“I have $12,” Mak said with a frown.

The two friends weren’t tabulating the cash in their wallets but what remained of the monthly allotment on their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program debit cards, the official new term for what are still known colloquially as food stamps.

Magida, a 30-year-old art school graduate, had been installing museum exhibits for a living until the recession caused arts funding — and her usual gigs — to dry up. She applied for food stamps last summer, and since then she’s used her $150 in monthly benefits for things like fresh produce, raw honey and fresh-squeezed juices from markets near her house in the neighborhood of Hampden, and soy meat alternatives and gourmet ice cream from a Whole Foods a few miles away.

Down to -50C: Russians freeze to death as strongest-in-decades winter hits

Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized.

­The country has not witnessed such a long cold spell since 1938, meteorologists said, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia.

Across the country, 45 people have died due to the cold, and 266 have been taken to hospitals. In total, 542 people were injured due to the freezing temperatures, RIA Novosti reported.

The Moscow region saw temperatures of -17 to -18 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, and the record cold temperatures are expected to linger for at least three more days. Thermometers in Siberia touched -50 degrees Celsius, which is also abnormal for December.

Matt's boasting:
Pfft, Russians. That's t-shirt weather in Canada. *secretly inches for my hot-chocolate*

CTA Passenger Attacked With Sock Filled With Human Feces: Merry Christmas, World

A woman riding the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line in Oak Park told police she was last week attacked by another passenger wielding a sock filled with human feces.

"He had a sock full of his poop on me," the 21-year-old college student told the Pioneer Press. "It was everywhere; on my face, my hair, my clothes."

The victim, requesting anonymity, said she screamed and tried to follow her attacker, but he escaped up the Austin Boulevard exit and ran northbound on Austin.

Mark van den Boogaard: Dead Dutch Skydiver Found Days After Jump

The body of a Dutch skydiver has been discovered in a field over a week after he made a fatal jump in which his parachute failed to open.

According to reports in the Netherlands, Mark van den Boogaard jumped from a plane on December 8 as part of an organised event.

But his body was not found until this week when rabbit poachers came across it by accident in a field near Teuge airfield, close to the city of Apeldoorn.

Obama Warns Cameron that Britain should not Leave the European Union

Barack Obama has warned Britain against leaving the European Union, it emerged today.

The US President used a call to David Cameron to urge him to resist calls to abandon Brussels, ahead of the PM delivering a major speech on Europe in the New Year.

But President Obama is understood to be backing Mr Cameron's approach in his fight for a 'better deal for Britain'.

Bamboo rats caged and ready to cook in China

Obama named as TIME magazine's 'Person of the Year' for the second time in four years...And Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as one of the runners up

The magazine cited the president's historic re-election last month as symbolic of the nation's changing demographics amid the backdrop of high unemployment and other challenges. The 'Person of the Year' accolade is given to the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and news throughout the year for good or for ill. Obama was named as Person of the Year in 2008 when he was president-elect.

I suppose after the year we had with EU receiving the Noebl Peace Prize this was to be expected.

Monica Avila 'threatened her daughter's bullies with a gun outside middle school'

A mother is accused of driving to a middle school and threatening several teenage students with a gun who she thought were bullying her daughter.

Monica Avila, 34, from Denver, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with four counts of menacing and one count of possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Police say she confronted four students aged 14 and 15 outside Lake Middle School last Thursday and started brandishing the weapon in the middle of the argument.

French banking reform does not go far enough, say critics

France has unveiled a long-awaited bank reform, hailing it as a model for the rest of Europe even as critics said it fell short of President François Hollande's campaign pledge to get tough with the financial sector.

The overhaul – which asks banks to house their proprietary trading units in separate, self-funded entities – will leave most of French lenders' investment banking activities untouched, handing a victory to BNP Paribas, Société Générale and other banks after months of intense lobbying.

Russia advances law to ban US adoptions

Russia’s parliament voiced strong support Wednesday for barring Americans from adopting Russian children, a retaliation against a new U.S. measure imposing penalties on Russian officials connected to the death in custody of a Russian lawyer and other human rights violations.

The proposed Russian law, which was overwhelmingly approved in a procedural vote Wednesday, would also place tight restrictions on nongovernment organizations that receive financial support from the United States, banning the groups if they engage in political activities considered contrary to “Russia’s interests.”

Pirate Bay proxy website shut down in the UK

The website was run by the Pirate Party UK, a fringe political party, and acted as a proxy gateway to the Pirate Bay, which broadband providers blocked earlier this year after a High Court order.

The BPI, which represents record labels, had demanded that the proxy be shut down and said it would take legal action against the UK Pirate Party if it remained online. Today the organisation dropped its threat.

Polio vaccinations in Pakistan suspended after gunmen murder eight workers in 48 hours

Gunmen shot dead a woman working on UN-backed polio vaccination efforts and her driver in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said, raising to eight the number of people killed in the last 48 hours who were part of the immunization drive.

The attack on the woman was one of five that took place on polio workers in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday. One male polio worker was critically wounded, while the others managed to escape unharmed.


Full story here, frightening situation:

Added thoughts:

This explains why the US and European fleets suddenly departed.

Ian Watkins remanded in custody charged with child sex offences

The lead singer of the rock band Lostprophets, Ian Watkins, has been remanded in custody after appearing in court to face allegations of child sex abuse.

Watkins, 35, has been charged with conspiring with a woman to rape a girl aged under 13.

Watkins, whose band has sold 3.5m albums worldwide, is also accused of conspiring to engage in sexual activity with a girl under 13. In addition he faces charges of possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children and possession of extreme pornography, some of which involves animals.

Republicans put squeeze on Obama in "fiscal cliff" talks

Republicans tried to wring more tax-rate concessions out of the White House on Tuesday as political maneuvering intensified over an agreement to keep the U.S. economy from tumbling off the "fiscal cliff" next year. Markets rallied on hopes for a deal.

After important concessions in recent days from both President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Republicans moved to increase pressure on the Democrats by vowing to vote in the House on a "Plan B" back-up measure that would largely disregard the progress made so far.

Fox Found “Frozen Alive” in Norway River Mystery

Here’s a winter mystery for you—and a rather sad one at that.

Not far from highway E18 in Kragerø, Norway, a red fox was found frozen standing upright in a river, as if the water had suddenly turned to ice as it was crossing through.

Foxes have a high tolerance for cold and are well adapted to withstanding low temperatures, so, in principle, this little guy should have been able to cross the river without any major problems.

Furthermore, even if it had been injured or on the verge of death while wading through the river, it would have lied down in its final moments instead of standing upright.

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE WEST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 16:08:08 UTC
Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 01:08:08 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
40.658°N, 139.153°E
34.8 km (21.6 miles)
89 km (55 miles) NW of Noshiro, Japan

Obama threatens veto of Republican plan, fiscal talks turn sour

President Barack Obama on Wednesday threatened to veto a Republican tax plan as talks to avert a fiscal crisis by the end of the year turned sour despite recent progress.

The White House rejected the Republicans' proposal, known as "Plan B," because it does not do enough to raise taxes on the wealthy or address spending cuts needed to tame the country's $16 trillion debt.

"The congressional Republican "Plan B" legislation continues large tax cuts for the very wealthiest individuals," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement.

5.7 Magnitude Earthquake NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN - 19th December 2012

Magnitude M 5.7
Date time 2012-12-19 16:08:30.6 UTC
Location 28.86 N ; 171.68 E
Depth 10 km
Distances 2418 km N Rita

No Evidence of Man Flu, Scientists Say

Unwell males who complain about having "man flu" may get less sympathy in the future after a survey by scientists suggested there was no evidence to show the condition actually exists.

More than 4,000 people have so far been questioned about how they felt on a scale of 0-100 where 0 was the worst and 100 the best.

The poll showed there was no difference between men and women who reported flu-like symptoms - with a median score of 60 for both male and female participants.

Libor: Former UBS Traders Charged In US Probe

US prosecutors have criminally charged two former senior UBS traders as part of their investigation into the bank's manipulation of the Libor benchmark rate.

A criminal complaint against former traders Tom Hayes and Roger Darin was unsealed in a district court in New York, the US Justice Department said.

Both traders were charged with conspiracy, while Hayes was also charged with wire fraud and an antitrust offence.

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 16:02:20 UTC
Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 06:02:20 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
20.473°S, 174.332°W
9.9 km (6.2 miles)
75 km (46 miles) S of Pangai, Tonga

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake WEST OF MACQUARIE ISLAND - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 15:19:53 UTC
Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 12:19:53 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
52.316°S, 139.389°E
10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
1162 km (722 miles) SSW of Geeveston, Australia

Climate: Arctic Thermostat Blows Up


This may not be pleasing holiday fare, but our time together is limited and valuable. Critically important news cannot go unreported, no matter what local tragedy dominates the mainstream headlines.

We are just beginning to understand why the sudden melt-back of the Arctic Sea ice could change the climate of the world. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, your own weather has changed already because of it.

As we will hear in this program, there is enough methane buried in the Arctic to drive us into an extinction event from runaway climate change, well beyond our ability to adapt.

(Radio show)

Neil Macdonald: Death and delusion in a nation of assault rifles

Yet another "national discussion" about guns is under way here, and it's so anti-rational, so politically cowardly, so …unbearably stupid that you have to wonder how a nation that has enlightened the world in so many other ways could wallow in this kind of delusion.

Twenty children are dead, and journalists and politicians have assumed those breathy, semi-hushed tones that have become so much the norm in covering tragedies.

Everywhere, there is talk about "the grieving process," with pious asides thrown in about the need to "go home and hug your children," or pray.

As if that is going to accomplish anything.

The American audience is a giant emotional sponge looking for distraction from its collective gun craziness, and the media obliges, broadcasting endless montages of victims, with sombre, hymnal piano music playing underneath.

Matt's rebuttal:
You'll see in the above article was is called the "oreo argument strategy", whereby someone puts forth their opinion, then puts the real facts of the matter in the middle, and ends off with their opinion again. It's most often used when what they're saying is a) likely incorrect and that fact needs hiding, and b) when you want to change someone's behaviour without hurting their feelings.

He begins by stating how horrible assault rifles are. Agreed, they're meant to kill people, as are all guns, and everyone knows (or should know) that "hunting" was never the primary usage of such a weapon.

However, then comes the sweet, delicious cream of the piece. Gun ownership not only saved his and his family not once, but twice against possible assault or death, but it also saved a mother and her baby from a vicious intruder who, despite most people not being able to believe it, carried out a potentially fatal crime without needing a gun at all.

In summary, if you screen out the fluff from this piece, he's basically said the following: gun ownership has saved several lives, evil people will be evil regardless of what weapon they possess, and his father was a crack shot and therefore everyone should be limited to just one bullet because they should be just as good. As we know, reality operates much differently.

This man has never been kidnapped, beaten and tortured. His wife has never been raped, his children never slaughtered in their school, nor has he ever faced any situation outside of which daddy picked up his gun and took up the responsibility of defending him.

I continuously find the same anti-gun argument repeated over and over again. "Nothing bad has ever happened to me, or my neighbours, and therefore I nor they need to ever possess a gun, nor should anyone else in the world, because my experiences in life should be the sole markers by which other people gauge their own safety."

One again, reality trumps opinions. Take me on in the comments, you Christmas-cookie-eating liberals, you (just teasing, I'm genuinely interested in hearing what others think on this, since this is a big deal especially with the world collapsing around us).

Bank of England offers glum outlook for 2013

he economy is likely to remain stagnant in the near term but inflation will probably exceed 2 percent in the next year and also faces further risks from higher food prices, Bank of England policymakers said on Wednesday.

After its December 5-6 meeting, the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee decided to keep its main interest rate at a record-low 0.5 percent and its bond purchases at 375 billion pounds as expected, with stubborn inflation trumping worries about a sluggish economy.

Going After Guns: 'You can't have police state & armed population'

Tungurahua volcano: Huge volcano erupts, shoots giant ash column in Ecuador

2.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEWBERRY CALDERA AREA, OREGON - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 14:50:23 UTC
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 06:50:23 AM at epicenter
43.730°N, 121.315°W
0.6 km (~0.4 mile)
17 km (10 miles) SE (132°) from Three Rivers, OR

Tensions high in Egypt between referendum votes

Sanctuary offers orphaned elephants a chance in life

Argentina, fearing Maya-linked suicides, closes Uritroco mountaintop

As mountaintops go, this one is for meditating. And the odd UFO sighting. But now it is closing for a few days to avert a mass suicide by folks girding for the world's end.

That doomsday is indeed upon us -- with Christmas just around the corner, heaven forbid -- is one gloomy interpretation of a Mayan India calendar.

To wit, December 21 marks the end of a 5,200-year cycle on the Mayan "Long Count" calendar. It's a cause for celebration for many in Mexico and Central America, but spells doomsday for some believers.

Mom Makes Boy Hold Sign for Swearing at Teacher

Mudslide derails train in Washington

CCTV of China school knife attack (WARNING GRAPHIC)

Health workers shot dead in Pakistan polio attacks

White House: Obama would veto House Republican "Plan B" on fiscal cliff

President Barack Obama would veto the House Republican "Plan B" tax proposal designed to avert January 1 tax hikes, the White House said on Wednesday, saying the plan does not meet Obama's test that spending cuts not fall overwhelmingly on the middle class.

Zero Dark Thirty Waterboarding Under Fire

Zero Dark Thirty has come under fire for suggesting the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques helped the US track down Osama bin Laden.

The film, which was made by Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow and stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent, charts the hunt for bin Laden and the raid on his compound by US Navy Seals.

It shows Al Qaeda's No 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, being subjected to waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique that creates a near-drowning experience.

Anti-Gay Attack Amid Zenit Football Row

Gay rights activists have been attacked outside the Russian parliament - a day after a leading football team was forced to deny it was both homophobic and xenophobic.

Anti-gay activists threw eggs at equality campaigners near the State Duma, before scuffles broke out between the two sides.

Several activists on both sides were detained by police amid the protest against a controversial new bill banning "gay propaganda".

Obama Wants New Gun Policies

Barack Obama is tasking Joe Biden to head up a new government panel to formulate fresh policies to deal with gun violence, following last Friday's school shooting.

The president will formally outline the role of the vice president - a longtime gun control advocate - at the White House on Wednesday.

President Park Geun-hye: South Korea 'Votes In First Woman Leader'

South Korea has elected its first female president, according to 'safe' predictions by the country's main television networks.

The KBS, SBS and MBC national broadcasters all declared centre-right candidate Park Geun-hye "certain" to secure victory over her liberal rival Moon Jae-in with nearly half of the nationwide votes counted.

It is understood that more than 70% of the eligible population braved temperatures of well below zero to vote.

Russian volcano spews lava

A volcano in Russia, which has been dormant since the 1970s, has erupted, spewing lava and sending ash into the air. .

Keith Petit arrested after he 'boarded school bus with gun and threatened students' within HOURS of Sandy Hook massacre

A gunman boarded a school bus and allegedly began threatening to shoot the students just hours after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, it emerged today.

Arrest records show the incident in New Orleans, Louisiana, took place on Friday afternoon, the same day as the shooting 1,200 miles away in Newtown, Connecticut.

However, details have only just been made public, reported.

The bus was carrying students from KIPP's McDonough 15 Middle School when 29-year-old Keith Petit got on board, the papers said.

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEGROS - CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 14:00:19 UTC
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 10:00:19 PM at epicenter
9.055°N, 123.982°E
91.3 km (56.7 miles)
38 km (23 miles) ESE of Lazi, Philippines

The astonishing arsenal of guns handed in by people living in America's deadliest city - just hours after Sandy Hook massacre

Impacted by the carnage in Sandy Hook, residents of Camden, New Jersey, turned in a record number of weapons in a gun buyback program over the weekend.

'A lot of people said they don't want the guns around the house now,' said state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa as he announced the result of the program held Friday and Saturday at two Camden churches.

The state brought in 1,137 guns, surpassing the previous record of 700 weapons from a 2009 Essex County event.

Road-rage 'lunatic' who leaped on Car bonnet and smashed car's windscreen with his bare hands

Christian primary school bans Christmas nativity play

Parents have renamed a Christian primary school the 'Scrooge Academy' after it banned Christmas from the timetable.

Oasis Academy has decided there will be no nativity play for its pupils because of its poor academic performance.

Sluts of Gothenburg: Moment Swedish students rioted after girl uploaded 200 photos featuring the 'Sluts of Gothenburg' on Instagram

Riots broke out at Plusgymnasiet high school in Gothenburg, Sweden, today after a 17-year-old student allegedly used Instagram to upload pictures of young teen girls and call them 'sluts'. The rioting students fought running battles with police outside the school where the accused is believed to study.

Israeli embassy says sorry after Facebook post claiming Mary and Jesus 'would be lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians' if alive today

The Israeli embassy in Dublin has apologised for a post on its Facebook page which said if Mary and Jesus were alive in Bethlehem today Palestinians would probably lynch them.

The post, which was made on the Israel in Ireland Facebook page, showed a picture of Mary and Jesus.

It was accompanied by the comment: 'A thought for Christmas... If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians.

Police officers giving school 'respect' talk use PEPPER SPRAY to break up playground scuffle between two 15-year-old pupils

Police officers visiting a school to talk to children about 'respecting your peers' broke up a playground fight between two pupils using pepper spray.

The two officers were lecturing youngsters when a scuffle broke out at lunchtime between two 15-year-old boys.

One officer then sprayed the painful anti-riot device in the boys' faces - even though no punches were thrown.

Now thieves target second hospital's Christmas presents for sick children as wellwishers flock to Great Ormond Street to replace stolen gifts

Callous thieves ransacked a hospital grotto and stole presents that had been donated by top footballers for sick children.

The raiders tore down decorations the seriously ill youngsters had made by hand for the playroom at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire's Children's Centre.

Thieves took around £1,000-worth of gifts, including Playstation, Xbox and Wii games and controllers in the overnight raid on Sunday.

Bugarach: Police block entrance to 'mystical mountain' that Doomsday believers say will be the only place to avoid the end of the world

Police in France have blocked Doomsday followers from reaching a 'mystical mountain' which they believe will be the only place to be saved when the world ends on Friday.

Thousands of devotees have flocked to the tiny village of Bugarach, southern France, praying that aliens will rescue them when the apocalypse comes.

They claim the mountain contains a garage for UFOs that will whisk them to safety 'in another dimension' while the rest of the planet perishes.

If the Mayan prophecy is true, just how will it all end on Friday? Scientists foretell the cataclysms that could bring on Doomsday

They say it won't happen, at least not on Friday, but in the event the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world is right, scientists have foretold a raft of bloody and catastrophic fates for us all.

Dark comets, famine, super-volcanoes, catastrophic climate change, and a plague of cancers are just some of the ends that could fulfill the prophecy.

George Entwistle WAS warned about 'real truth' of Jimmy Savile TWO YEARS ago - when presenter was still alive

Failed BBC director general George Entwistle was warned of ‘the real truth’ about child-abuser Jimmy Savile as early as May 2010 - but failed to ask any questions about it, it has been revealed.

The Pollard review today published the revelations as part of a report into why Newsnight dropped an investigation into decades of sexual abuse carried out by the DJ.

The programme was shelved in December 2011 just before the BBC ran several tributes to the paedophile DJ over Christmas.

Golden Eagle tries to snatch in Montreal, Canada - HOAX

A boy toddling through a park with his parents was apparently targeted by a golden eagle - and carried several feet in the air in the bird's claws as his parents watched in horror. Incredible footage of the rare snatch captures the moment the child is plucked from the ground (left), then dropped on the grass (inset) a few feet away. A man runs towards the little boy who looks distressed and starts crying but is thankfully unhurt (far right) after the attack in a public park in Montreal, Canada. However, the lifelike sequence was today claimed to be an elaborate CGI hoax.

Gun owners fear new restrictions

Egyptian Islamists plan mass protest ahead of constitution vote

Egyptian Islamist groups are planning a mass protest in Alexandria on Friday, a move that will raise tensions a day before the final stage of a referendum on a new constitution that has split the nation.

The rally announced by the Muslim Brotherhood responds to a violent confrontation between Islamists and their liberal and secular opponents in Egypt's second city last week that ended with a Muslim preacher besieged inside his mosque for 14 hours.

The decline of America's "great equalizer"

When Puritan settlers established America's first public school here in 1635, they planted the seed of a national ideal: that education should serve as the country's "great equalizer."

Americans came to believe over time that education could ensure that all children of any class had a shot at success. And if any state should be able to make that belief a reality, it was Massachusetts.

The Bay State is home to America's oldest school, Boston Latin, and its oldest college, Harvard. It was the first state to appoint an education secretary, Horace Mann, who penned the "equalizer" motto in 1848. Today, Massachusetts has the country's greatest concentration of elite private colleges, and its students place first in nationwide Department of Education rankings.

3.8 Magnitude Earthquake OFFSHORE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 12:02:23 UTC
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 04:02:23 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
40.282°N, 124.388°W
19.2 km (11.9 miles)
10 km (6 miles) WSW (241°) from Petrolia, CA

Crocodile Jumps Into Swimmer's Face, Australia

News Boss Goes As BBC Slammed In Savile Report

The decision to drop the BBC Newsnight broadcast about Jimmy Savile was "seriously flawed", a report has concluded.

A review headed by Nick Pollard, former head of Sky News, said that leadership and organisation relating to the decision were in "short supply".

The BBC reacted to the report by announcing that Stephen Mitchell, the corporation's deputy director of news, had resigned after 38 years.

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:51:52 UTC
Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 01:51:52 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
19.009°S, 175.660°W
226.5 km (140.7 miles)
163 km (101 miles) WNW of Pangai, Tonga

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:14:52 UTC
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 01:14:52 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
51.924°N, 173.678°E
25.7 km (16.0 miles)
94 km (58 miles) SSW of Shemya Island, Alaska

Thousands of animals blown up, poisoned or given anthrax in secret military experiments at UK research base last year

The number of animals being used for military experiments has increased by more than 1,000 in the last three years.

Almost 10,000 pigs, rabbits, monkeys and rodents were used in top-secret tests at the Porton Down military research base in Wiltshire last year, it has emerged.

The figures were revealed by junior defence minister Philip Dunne in response to Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock who raised concerns about the facility in parliament last month.

Marcos Sarinana Gurrola charged with firing 54 rounds at crowded California mall 'because it made him feel better'

A California man has been charged Tuesday with more than 50 counts of firing a gun outside a Newport Beach mall over the weekend.

Marcos Sarinana Gurrola was charged with 54 counts of discharging a semi-automatic handgun in public and two counts of assault because a mother and her four-year-old daughter were knocked down and injured as they fled.

The 42-year-old unemployed security guard also was charged with 10 more counts after prosecutors linked him to a similar shooting in 2011 at the same mall.

No one was hit in either shooting at Fashion Island.

Two Muslim brothers 'plotted to blow up a New York City landmark in revenge for American drone attacks but couldn't fund their plans'

A Pakistani-born man wanted to avenge the deaths of U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan by blowing up a New York City landmark but lacked the money and materials to carry out the plan, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert said at a bail hearing that Raees Alam Qazi, 20, researched bomb-making techniques on Internet sites affiliated with al-Qaida, including one using Christmas tree lights, and the FBI recorded phone calls and conversations linking Qazi to a purported 'lone wolf' plot.

'He fully intended to do this, and thankfully he didn't have enough money,' Gilbert said.

Forget the Mayan calendar! Meet the 'preppers' who are getting ready for nuclear war, natural disasters, famine, and economic collapse

While most 'preppers' discount the Mayan calendar prophecy that the world will end this coming Friday, many are preparing to be self-sufficient for threats like nuclear war, natural disaster, famine and economic collapse.

These preppers aren’t necessarily driven by a fear that the world will inexplicably end because of the ancient Mayan prophecy – and the calendar that ends two days from now – theirs is a more subtle, agricultural movement of self-reliance.

Mississippi mayor Greg Davis indicted for 'embezzling $170,000 in taxpayer money

A Mississippi mayor accused of misusing taxpayer money to buy personal items, including at a Canadian sex shop, was indicted Tuesday on embezzlement, false pretense and making fraudulent statements charges.

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis has been under scrutiny since November 2011, when the Mississippi Auditor's office told him to repay $170,000 for allegedly improper billings, including travel, food, liquor and one bill for $67 at Priape, described on its website as ‘Canada's premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop.’

Kace Coyle 'decapitated Santa and reindeer lawn ornaments with two MACHETES before disposing of weapons on campus'

A high school football player decapitated Santa lawn ornaments with machetes and then disposed of the weapons on his school’s campus, police allege.

Kace Coyle, who attends Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas, allegedly left the two knives with which he vandalized Kris Kringles on the school’s property.

He later confessed to the crime, saying he must have visited around eight properties with decorative lawn ornaments.

Head O'Meadow Elementary School: Community on edge after threat closes another Newtown elementary school on day classes were due to resume for the first time since massacre

A Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school was closed on Tuesday morning due to unspecified threats as students were heading back to class for the first time since the Friday shooting rampage.

Most schools in the town of 27,000 welcomed students back four days after a gunman shot dead 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

But in a letter to parents published by WFSB-TV, the principal at Head O'Meadow Elementary School said students should stay home because police were prepared to have the school in lockdown.

Westbury Middle School student arrested after threating two teenage girls on the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting

A 13-year-old Long Island boy faces charges of making a terroristic threat after allegedly sending threatening messages to two teenage girls and causing a school lockdown.

The Westbury Middle School student hacked into a friend's Facebook account our threatening messages to the pair of 13-year-odl girls beginning Friday.

West Kearns Elementary School: Utah sixth grader placed .22-caliber handgun to classmate’s Isabel Rios's head and told her, He would Kill her if she told on him

Kutcher-Bieber prank: Suspect arrested in 'swatting' prank

Los Angeles police believe they've caught the person who made a fake emergency call claiming that several people had been shot at Ashton Kutcher's Hollywood home.

A Southern California juvenile, who was not identified, is suspected of being behind the October 3 "swatting" incident at Kutcher's home and targeting Justin Bieber's Calabasas, Caifornia, home a week later, according to a police statement.

"The comments of the call advised that there were individuals inside the location with guns and explosives, and that several people had been shot," the police said.

Debunking Mayans' Doomsday

Outrage over Delhi gang rape

Australia's reaction to mass shootings

Do Japan's tough gun laws work?

US urged to consider Australia's gun laws example

A former head of Australia's anti-gun coalition says US president Barack Obama should use his status as a two-term president to push gun reforms through Congress.

There are growing calls for action on gun control after the slaughter of 20 young children and six of their teachers at a Connecticut school on Friday.

As the US once again struggles with the issue of gun control, the success of John Howard's 1996 laws banning semi-automatic weapons in Australia has been raised in the American debate.

ObamaCare Mandates RFID Implants in All Americans by March 23rd 2013?

'Web-bot project' makes prophecy of 2012 apocalypse (article 24th Sept 2009)

“Web-bot” technology has moved apocalyptic prophecy into the internet age, predicting that the world will end on 21 December 2012.

Conspiracy theorists on the web have claimed that the bots accurately predicted the September 11 attacks and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and that they say a cataclysm of some sort will devastate the planet on 21 December, 2012.

The software, similar to the “spiders” that search engines use to index web pages, were originally developed in the 1990s to predict stock market movements.

**21 December 2012 signals the end of the world, possibly through a “polar shift” – when the polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field is reversed.

US 'Deeply Disappointed' With Israel

The U.S. State Department says it's “deeply disappointed” with Israel for continuing to announce construction of thousands of new settlements for Israelis on land Palestinians claim for a future state.

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland accused Israeli leaders of engaging in “provocative action” that calls into question their commitment to peace.

The U.S. statement came as reports said European nations on the UN Security Council -- France, Britain, Germany, and Portugal – as well as other Security Council member countries are preparing new statements condemning the Israeli building plans.

Iran files complaints against 18 US officials

Iran’s Judiciary has filed a complaint against 18 American officials at a court in Tehran. Spokesman of Iran’s Judiciary Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei says the complaint, which has been lodged for their terrorist acts against the Iranian nation as well as violation of human rights, has been sent to Tehran criminal court. He said the complaint contains the names of 18 US military, political and intelligence officials. Earlier, the national security committee of the Iranian parliament had prepared a list of 26 American officials to be sued for their crimes against the Iranian nation and humanity in general among them Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Former FBI Chief Director Thomas J. Pickard and Luis Freeh, former CIA Chief.

Due diligence / Will Morsi go the way of Mubarak?

Egypt is going Islamist and it’s doing so according to all the democratic rules, with the first half of the voting last weekend providing the latest evidence.

There has been a lot of fuss about the quality of the Islamists’ victories in two constitutional referendums and a series of votes for parliament and president - whether the turnout was big enough, voting irregularities, and whether the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists did so well because they were better organized rather than because their ideas appeal to so many Egyptians.

Ian Watkins Charged with child sex offences

The lead singer of Welsh rock group Lostprophets has been charged with sexual offences against children.

Ian Watkins, 35, of Pontypridd, will appear before Cardiff magistrates on Wednesday.

He is charged with conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a female under 13 and possession/distribution of indecent images of children.

Greek public sector workers strike over reforms

Greek public sector workers walked off the job on Wednesday in protest at new austerity measures and planned layoffs, disrupting local transport, grounding flights and shutting schools and tax offices.

The 24-hour strike is the latest in a series of protests since September against a package of wage cuts and tax hikes demanded by Greece's international lenders as the price for bailout loans to keep the country afloat.

Sri Lanka mass grave unearths ghosts from troubled past

A mass grave unearthed in Sri Lanka has stirred memories of the country's bloody insurgencies and sparked calls for an official inquiry in the island nation that has drawn global scrutiny for its chequered human rights record.

At a building site near a hospital in Matale, a central town 142 km (88 miles) from the capital, Colombo, excavators have found the skeletons, or parts of the skeletons, of at least 59 people.

Utah boy,11, takes gun to school for 'protection'

$1.5bln – the price of peace for UBS

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE - 19th December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 08:03:57 UTC
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 01:03:57 AM at epicenter
34.433°S, 109.269°W
10 km (6.2 miles)
2257 km (1402 miles) ESE (122°) from ADAMSTOWN, Pitcairn Islands

Rattled Israel holds key to Palestinian uprising

Mohammad Salaymeh was killed on his 17th birthday after going to buy a cake for the family celebration, shot dead by an Israeli paramilitary policewoman just two years older than him.

The Israeli police called him a terrorist and said he had pulled a gun on guards manning a permanent checkpoint next to his house in this divided city. The gun turned out to be a child's toy and Salaymeh never got to his party.

"He was no terrorist. He was just a lovely kid," said Adel Salaymeh, a relative walking behind Salaymeh's funeral cortege, the teenager's face poking out of the green flag of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas that shrouded his body.

Euro zone rescuer Draghi faces daunting 2013

With two short sentences, the head of the European Central Bank took the heat out of the euro zone crisis this year. In 2013 Mario Draghi has to live up to even bigger expectations.

The ECB's own forecasts suggest the euro zone economy will shrink 0.3 percent next year and markets remain skeptical that the bloc's weaker members, such as Spain and Italy, can fund ballooning government deficits without formal aid programs.

Progress towards closer economic and fiscal union -- deemed essential by policymakers to solve the euro zone crisis -- is likely to be painfully slow in 2013 because two of the bloc's top three economies, Germany and Italy, hold elections.

Three more polio workers shot in Pakistan; eight dead in 48 hours

Three workers in a polio eradication campaign were shot in Pakistan on Wednesday, and two of them were killed, the latest in a string of attacks that has partially halted the U.N.-backed global health campaign to stamp out the crippling disease.

Following the violence, the United Nations in Pakistan has pulled all staff involved in the immunization campaign off the streets, spokesman Michael Coleman said.

UBS admits fraud in $1.5 billion Libor rigging deal

Swiss bank UBS was hit with a $1.5 billion fine on Wednesday, admitting to fraud, paying bribes to brokers and "pervasive" manipulation of global benchmark interest rates by dozens of staff in a deal with international authorities.

The penalty agreed with U.S., UK and Swiss regulators is more than three times the $450 million fine levied on Britain's Barclays in June, also for rigging the Libor benchmark rate used to price financial contracts around the globe.

Republicans put squeeze on Obama in "fiscal cliff" talks

Frustrated by their inability to wring more "fiscal cliff" concessions out of President Barack Obama, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced Tuesday night that they expect to pass their own tax bill as a backup plan to avert the tax hikes and automatic budget cuts set to occur in January.

No one expects the bill, which would extend low tax rates except on income of $1 million and above, to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. President Barack Obama's latest position puts the threshold for income tax hikes at $400,000.

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake NORTHERN IRAN - 19th December 2012

Magnitude ML 4.2
Date time 2012-12-19 05:52:41.0 UTC
Location 37.17 N ; 54.34 E
Depth 40 km
Distances 19 km NW Aq qal'eh, Iran

UBS Pays £940m Penalty For Rate-Rigging

The Swiss bank UBS is to pay £940m, including £160m to regulators in Britain, to settle Libor rate-rigging investigations.

The fines, which amount to the second biggest penalty paid by a bank in the wake of the £1.2bn money laundering settlement announced by HSBC in the US last week, relate to manipulation of yen Libor and euroyen contracts.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said the case was "all the more serious" as UBS had attempted to manipulate Libor submissions at other banks, making corrupt payments to reward brokers for their efforts.

Joseph Banks and Kenneth Conley: US Bank Robbers In Daring 200ft Prison Escape

Two bank robbers have pulled off a daring escape after using a makeshift rope made from bedsheets to scale down 20 floors of a high-rise prison in Chicago.

Investigators found a broken window in the men's cell and window bars inside a mattress.

The FBI also revealed fake metal bars were recovered and each man's bed was stuffed with clothing and sheets to resemble a body.

The incredible 'alien' skulls discovered in a Mexican cemetery

It is an astonishing image that could have come straight from the plot of a Ridley Scott movie.

Archaeologists in Mexico today revealed the astonishing skull of a person suffering from a cranial disfiguration.

Believed to be 1,000 years old, the find was made near the small Mexican village of Onavas.

Up to 90,000 students 'in Britain illegally': Thousands fail to attend courses and some don't even register

Ministers have been notified of up to 90,000 foreign students who may be living in Britain illegally.

Audits by universities and colleges have thrown up tens of thousands of students who may have broken the rules by failing to attend their courses or even register.

Seventeen dead in Mexican prison break attempt: media

Eleven inmates and seven guards were killed in a shootout during a prison break attempt in northern Mexico on Tuesday, local media reported, citing a statement from the security ministry in Durango state.

The inmates shot at guard towers in a jail in the city of Gomez Palacio as they attempted to escape through a back wall and tunnel, and guards fired back to contain the revolt, according to a statement attributed to the ministry, which was posted on the Animal Politico website and cited by the El Universal and Milenio newspapers.

Israel green-lights 1,500 settler homes in east Jerusalem

srael gave the green light Monday for a plan denounced by Washington to build 1,500 settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem, prompting the Palestinians to warn they would seek a UN Security Council meeting on the issue.

Interior ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said the ministry's planning committee had given developers the go ahead but told applicants to trim their request to build 1,600 new housing units at Ramat Shlomo to 1,500 and resubmit it "for final approval".

Police in Quebec Arrest three men in the theft of 6 million lbs of MAPLE SYRUP

It was a culinary whodunit involving a daring heist, a golden bounty, and now, some allegedly sticky-fingered suspects.

Police in Quebec announced the arrest of three men in the theft of 6 million lbs. of maple syrup from a provincial warehouse, a haul estimated at $18-million and enough to smother a Himalayan mountain of waffles and pancakes.

France says Afghan officials to meet Taliban near Paris

France said on Sunday officials from the Afghan government, the Taliban rebel movement and other factions would meet this week near Paris to discuss the country's future as NATO troops prepare to pull out in 2014.

Speaking on RFI radio, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, whose country withdrew the last of its combat troops from Afghanistan on Saturday, said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had given his green light to the meeting.

Tau Ceti: 'Earth-Like' Planet Discovered By Scientists

Scientists have discovered a planet with conditions that could support life - orbiting a sun that is visible to the naked eye.

The world is one of five thought to be circling Tau Ceti, a star 12 light years away which is almost identical to the sun.

Astronomers estimate the Tau Ceti planets to be two to six times bigger than Earth. And one of them, with five times the Earth's mass, lies in the star's "habitable zone".

More Schools Face Threats

The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 26 people dead has put school officials nationwide on edge, with some locking down campuses or calling for more police protection after real or perceived threats.

In the last few days, Brooklyn middle-school students were locked inside their school for about an hour after the principal reported gunshots fired across the street.

In Ridgefield, Conn., about 20 miles from Sandy Hook, elementary-school students riding a school bus were diverted to a middle school after reports of a suspicious—possibly armed—man near their school. Police searched a high school in Upper Dublin School, near Philadelphia, after security officers mistook an umbrella that a student was carrying for a gun.

Iraqi President Is Said to Be in a Coma

Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, whose influence in mediating disputes among the country’s many political factions has far outweighed the limited powers of the office he occupies, suffered a stroke and was in grave health on Tuesday in a Baghdad hospital.

Mr. Talabani’s illness cast a shadow over the Kurdish lands in the north where he once fought a guerrilla war and where he now lives, and added a new element of uncertainty to the country’s divided politics a year after the departure of the American military left Iraq’s leaders to steer the country’s shaky democracy on their own.

Russian warships head toward Syria

A group of Russian warships was en route to the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday with the possible mission to evacuate citizens of their nation from Syria, the Russian news agency Interfax reported Tuesday.

The Baltic Fleet frigate Yaroslav Mudry and landing ships Kaliningrad and Alexander Shabalin, accompanied by tanker Lena and a towboat, were heading to Syria in an operation that "was prepared in certain haste and was kept in grave secret,” a source in the Russian navy told Interfax.

The ships' exact location was not clear late Tuesday.,0,7704001.story

David Cameron warns of 'strategic imperative' to arm Syrian rebels

Speaking in the House of Commons after securing an EU deal to review the arms, Mr Cameron turned the fear that Western arms would "leak" into al-Qaeda groups on its head.

Instead he said the Syrian revolution must be assisted to ensure that al-Qaeda groups do not eclipse moderate factions. Syria could become an al-Qaeda base if the crisis were prolonged, Whitehall officials said.

Norovirus: Vomiting bug cases are up by 80 per cent

Almost 880,000 people could have been affected by an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug, health officials said.

The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of norovirus is 83 per cent higher than the same time last year, the Health Protection Agency said. The bug has swept the country, leading to the closure of dozens of hospital wards. It has also affected holidaymakers on two cruise ships.

Lake Ellsworth: Drilling effort runs into trouble

A British attempt to search for life in an ancient lake beneath the Antarctic ice-sheet has run into trouble.

The team has reported "a serious problem" with the main boiler used to heat the water that powers a drill.

Work was halted on Saturday in what could prove to be a major blow to the project to investigate sub-glacial Lake Ellsworth.