Distress of Nations/ the persecution of the saints/ pestilences/ earthquakes in various places/ volcanoes and more signs of Jesus’ soon return!

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Oklahoma Man Behind Bars on Arson Charges After Setting Fire to Kitchen to ‘Cook Bible’

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma man who told police that he is a Satanist is behind bars after setting fire to his kitchen in order to ‘cook the Bible.’ The incident occurred on Wednesday after a concerned citizen called police to report a “person going ballistic.” When police arrived at the apartment of 22-year-old Jeremy Anderson, they saw that he had kicked the hinges off the front door and had blood covering his face and hands. Police attempted to enter, but Anderson began throwing objects at them, narrowly missing the officers. One officer then attempted to taze Anderson, but he yelled that it wouldn’t affect him. He was later tazed again, but pulled out the probes in defiance. Local television station KOCO-TV reports that crisis management talks failed as well as Anderson continued behaving like a madman. More

Eighteen States Support PA Business in Supreme Court Appeal of Obamacare Abortion Pill Mandate

Attorney generals for eighteen states have filed briefs with the United States Supreme Court to urge its nine justices to accept an appeal surrounding a Pennsylvania business that has been denied a reprieve from the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare. As previously reported, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, which has 950 employees at its Arkansas, Maryland, Utah, North Carolina and Pennsylvania locations, filed suit last December against the mandate, stating that it has never provided insurance coverage for medications that induce abortions, and doesn’t plan on doing so. It explained that terminating a life after conception violates its sincerely-held Mennonite beliefs, stating that it “is an intrinsic evil and a sin against God.” Its current health care plan specifically excludes “contraceptive prescription drugs” and “any drugs used to abort a pregnancy.” In October 2012, the board of directors for Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, which is owned by Norman Hahn and run by his wife and five sons, composed “The Hahn Family Statement on the Sanctity of Human Life.” More

BREAKING NEWS – Israel Warns that they must Act before Nuclear Bomb is Complete

A new report that says Iran may need as little as a month to produce enough uranium for a nuclear bomb is further evidence for why Israel will take military action before that happens, an Israeli defense official said Friday. ”We have made it crystal clear – in all possible forums, that Israel will not stand by and watch Iran develop weaponry that will put us, the entire Middle East and eventually the world, under an Iranian umbrella of terror,” Danny Danon, Israel’s deputy defense minister told USA TODAY. Iran is developing and installing new and advanced centrifuges that enable Iran to enrich even low-enriched uranium to weapons grade uranium needed for nuclear weapons within weeks, Danon said. ”This speedy enrichment capability will make timely detection and effective response to an Iranian nuclear breakout increasingly difficult,” he said. ”Breakout” refers to the time needed to convert low-enriched uranium to weapons-grade uranium. On Thursday, the Institute for Science and International Security issued a report stating that Iran could reach that breakout in as little as one month based in part on Iran’s own revelations about its nuclear program. ”If they use all their centrifuges … and their stockpiles of low- and medium-enriched uranium, that would take one to 1.6 months,” said David Albright, president of the institute and a former inspector for the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency. The report comes as the White House is trying to persuade Congress not to go ahead with a bill to stiffen sanctions on Iran to force it to open up its program to inspection. The White House on Thursday invited senate staffers to a meeting on Iran strategy for negotiations that are to resume next month with Iran, it said. In discussing Iran strategy, President Obama has said Iran is a year or more away from having enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. More

BREAKING NEWS – NSA WEBSITE DOWN FROM ALLEGED HACK ATTACK

BREAKING NEWS: The website for the United States National Security Agency suddenly went offline Friday. NSA.gov has been unavailable globally as of late Friday afternoon, and Twitter accounts belonging to people loosely affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivism movement have suggested they are responsible. Twitter users @AnonymousOwn3r and @TruthIzSexy both were quick to comment on the matter, and implied that a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, may have been waged as an act of protest against the NSA.  RT

ARMED FEDS RAID REPORTER’S HOME, CONFISCATE CONFIDENTIAL DOCS

An investigative reporter in the Washington, D.C., area says armed federal agents stormed her home in August and confiscated stacks of confidential documents, leading her to fear that her undercover government sources have been exposed.  Audrey Hudson, a freelance reporter for Newsmax and the Colorado Observer, said the Department of Homeland Security and the Maryland State Police raided her home in Shady Side, Md., in August, the Daily Caller reported. A copy of the search warrant shows law enforcement officials were cleared to search her home for firearms, according to the Daily Caller. Hudson’s husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 of resisting arrest and is forbidden by law from owning or possessing a firearm, explaining why the raid allowed authorities to search their shared property for firearms. But Hudson told the Daily Caller that agents also confiscated documents containing information on sources within the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration. She said no subpoena was presented for the documents and said the confiscation was outside the bounds of the warrant. More

Associate director at Centers for Disease Control: We’ve reached ‘the end of antibiotics, period’

In an interview that aired on PBS’s Frontline, an associate director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, said that “for a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about ‘The end of antibiotics, question mark?’ Well, now I would say you can change the title to ‘The end of antibiotics, period.’” “We’re in the post-antibiotic era,” he continued. “There are patients for whom we have no therapy, and we are literally in a position of having a patient in a bed who has an infection, something that five years ago even we could have treated, but now we can’t.” As an example, Dr. Srinivasan discussed the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which recently made headlines when word spread that three players from the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers were battling it. The options for treating it have always been limited, but until the past decade, MRSA infections were rarely seen outside of health-care facilities.  But about a decade ago, Dr. Srinivasan began to see “outbreaks in schools [and] health clubs. And what most of these people were getting was something very different from what we saw in hospitals.” “In hospitals, when you see MRSA infections, you oftentimes see that in patients who have a catheter in their blood, and that creates an opportunity for MRSA to get into their bloodstream,” he continued. “In the community, it was causing a very different type of infection. It was causing a lot of very, very serious and painful infections of the skin, which was completely different from what we would see in health care.” More

BREAKING NEWS – Iran announces 34 new nuke sites to be built

BREAKING NEWS: Iran plans to build many new nuclear plants with atomic reactors along its coastlines with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, Iran’s top nuclear official announced on Thursday. The announcement comes just a week after Western nuclear negotiators claimed that Iran was giving ground in talks aimed at ending Tehran’s contested enrichment program. Iranian leaders, however, have remained defiant in the face of talks, announcing on Thursday that Tehran will build “enough atomic reactors to generate a total of 20,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020,” according to the country’s state-run Fars News Agency. Top Iranian leaders and those involved with negotiations have also been quoted in the Persian language press as rejecting key details of the proposed nuclear deal. Iran also announced that it was China’s largest oil supplier in the month of September. “We are considering construction of power plants along the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea as well as the Central parts of Iran, but priority is given to the Persian Gulf coasts because we want to pave the way for [the construction of] water desalination facilities to supply drinking water for the Southern provinces of Iran,” Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO),  said Tuesday Fars reported. At least 34 sites have already been designated for future nuclear power plants, according to Fars. Additionally, Salehi announced just two days after nuclear negotiations ended that Russia would help Iran build new nuclear power plants across the country, according to Persian language press reports. Salehi also suggested that Iran’s top nuclear negotiators lack the authority to agree to a deal with the West. More

7.3 magnitude quake registered off central Japanese coast producing small Tsunami Wave

EARTHQUAKE ALERT: An earthquake of 7.3 magnitude has hit 231 miles (371 kilometers) east of Japan’s Honshu Island, according to the US Geological Survey, with tremors felt in Tokyo. The tsunami was due to hit at 17.42 GMT in the Fukushima region, the Japanese Weather Agency predicted. The agency issued a “yellow” warning meaning the tsunami is not expected to exceed a height of 1 meter.  However, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center then said that based on all available data a destructive pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.”   A small tsunami of about 1 ft. (30 cm) was observed in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, at 14:07 pm, meteorologists said.  Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has ordered the evacuation of workers from near the sea wall at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the earthquake, local NHK reports.  People in coastal regions around the Fukushima Prefecture coastline have been advised to move to higher ground.   “Marine threat is in place,” the Japan Meteorological Agency said. “Get out of the water and leave the coast immediately.”  Besides Fukushima, the tsunami might affect four more prefectures: Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki and Chiba.  The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers at 3:10am local time, 320 kilometers southeast of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, according to the US Geological Survey. Strong tremors could be felt on Japan’s main Honshu Island, as well as on the northern island of Hokkaido.  There were no immediate reports of damage on land from the quake. No abnormalities were reported at the Fukushima Daiichi plant as well.  RT

More losing insurance coverage than signing up on ObamaCare exchanges

More Americans reportedly are being kicked off their insurance due to ObamaCare requirements than are signing up for coverage via the newly launched health care exchanges.  The Daily Caller reports that the number of cancellation notices is far higher than the number who have filed applications for coverage on HealthCare.gov. The administration recently reported that number at 476,000. The number of individuals who have completed the enrollment process is still unknown, but would be lower than that.  Meanwhile, Kaiser Health News reported that insurance company Florida Blue sent out 300,000 cancellation notices. As the Caller reports, two different insurance carriers in California sent out a total of 279,000 of those notices.  The same pattern is playing out in other states.  The reason insurance companies give for sending out the notices is that their plans do not meet minimum requirements under the health care law. Many individuals will be offered plans that are ostensibly better in exchange, though customers have complained they didn’t want to change.  The administration is hoping to eventually enroll millions through HealthCare.gov, but is still struggling to correct problems with the website’s design that have frustrated efforts to sign up. Fox News

Secularism Sucking the Pneuma Out of Spirit-Filled Christianity

Fewer Pentecostals are speaking tongues. Fewer Baptists are getting baptized. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. But what are we to make of the decline of baptisms in water and in the Spirit? I’ll get to that in a minute. A couple of months ago, I wrote a column entitled, “Are We Pentecostals Losing Our Religion by Holding Our Tongue-Talking?.” In it I referenced an AP report about a small Assemblies of God congregation that looks just like every other Pentecostal church service—except nobody is speaking in tongues. What I didn’t include are the stats from the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world with 66 million members. At the General Council meeting in August, the AG talked about the decline baptisms in the Spirit. According to the denomination’s statistics, tongue talking decreased by about 3 percent to less than 82,000. That’s the lowest rate since 1995. How is that even possible, given that Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing sectors of Christianity? The Pew Research Center reports that at least 25% of the 2 billion Christians in the world are connected to the Pentecostal or charismatic movements. “This is a long-developing phenomenon,” Harvey Cox, an expert in Pentecostalism and professor of religion at the Harvard Divinity School, told the Associated Press. “They don’t want what appears to be objectionable to stick out or be viewed with suspicion.” And it’s not just the Pentecostals that are straying from the defining characteristics of their faith. The Baptists are also reporting a decline in Baptisms. Indeed, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) reports water baptisms dipped 13 percent in 2012 to under 300,000. Al Gilbert of the NAMB told One News Now that’s the biggest drop in 62 years—62 years! More

’3D printed gun’ discovered by police

Officers uncovered components including a trigger mechanism and a magazine capable of holding bullets during a raid on a property in Manchester. The makeshift weapon was found alongside a state of the art 3D printer, sparking fears that those responsible were planning the country’s first factory specialising in turning out the next generation of deadly firearms. Sir Peter Fahey, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, told Sky News that the weapons were a “new phenomenon”, but said his officers were determined to prevent them making it onto the streets. Earlier this year concerns were raised that the printers – which construct everyday solid items using very thin layers of plastic – could be used to make a gun containing no metal parts. Security experts fear the weapons will be used by criminals to evade detection by security scanners at airports and other high risk targets. More

DAYS OF LOT – Oklahoma Native Americans to allow gay marriage despite state ban

Darren Black Bear hasn’t thought too much about his upcoming nuptials. Maybe khaki pants, and he doesn’t mind if guests show up in Halloween costumes. The wedding will be a rare sight: he and his partner are getting legally married in Oklahoma even though the state bans same-sex marriage. How? His bloodline. Black Bear and his partner of nine years, Jason Pickel, plan to walk each other down the aisle Thursday, surrounded by family and friends, before signing a marriage license granted by the Cheyenne Arapaho Tribes. Black Bear, 45, is a member of the Oklahoma-based tribe, which is among the few Native American tribes in the US that allow same-sex marriage. Like all federally recognized tribes, the Cheyenne Arapaho can approve laws for its land and members. Its code regarding marriage doesn’t address gender, referring to the parties simply as “Indians”, and requires that one person be a member of the tribe and reside within its jurisdiction. It was on a whim, sparked in part by the US supreme court’s decision earlier this year to grant federal benefits to same-sex couples, that Pickel, 36, called the tribe to see whether they could marry under tribal law, instead of getting married in Iowa or another state where gay marriage is legal. ”Surprisingly enough, they told him that yes, they had already married one couple, and that it’s $20 to get married,” Black Bear said. More

Arrival of Obamacare forcing insurers to drop customers with low coverage

The Affordable Care Act was signed by President Obama in 2010 and since then he has repeated one reassuring phrase: “If you like your insurance plan you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.” But it is happening. The president’s health care law raises the standards for insurance policies, which many consider to be a good thing. But hundreds of thousands of Americans whose policies don’t meet the new standards are being told that their health plans are being cancelled. Natalie Willes is a sleep consultant who helps parents in Los Angeles train their newborns to sleep. She buys her own health insurance. “I was completely happy with the insurance I had before,” Willes said. So she was surprised when she tried to renew her policy. What did she find out? “That my insurance was going to be completely different, and they were going to be replaced with 10 new plans that were going to fall under the regulations of the Affordable Care Act,” she said. Before I had a plan that I had a $1,500 deductible,” she said. “I paid $199 dollars a month. The most similar plan that I would have available to me would be $278 a month. My deductible would be $6,500 dollars, and all of my care after that point would only be covered 70 percent.” More

U.S. opens door to Chinese investors

The United States faces a massive US$8 trillion infrastructure investment bill, and is courting Chinese investors since many of its own local governments are in financial difficulties, according to a US Chamber of Commerce report. “The US is poised to undertake the most significant expansion and modernisation of its infrastructure since the 1950s,” the chamber said in its report. “This is taking place in the context of significant pressure on federal and local budgets. The pressing need for capital to modernise US infrastructure is creating substantial new opportunities for Chinese investors.” At a minimum, more than US$8 trillion in new investment would be needed in transportation, energy and water infrastructure until 2030, or US$455 billion per year, the chamber estimated. “In reality, a much higher amount of investment will likely be necessary.” The expansion came against a backdrop of a dramatically changed global economy that boasted new players, the report said, citing China as the most important of the new players. “With a large and growing pool of capital, China is well positioned to participate in US infrastructure,” it added. But Chinese investors were likely to be selective about taking up opportunities, said Mao Tong, a partner at international law firm Squire Sanders in Hong Kong. A typical Chinese investor wanted to invest in a US city with good financial standing, said Mao. “I doubt Chinese investors are interested in places like Detroit [which went bankrupt],” he added. US public funds for infrastructure have dwindled due to the 2008 recession and other factors, the chamber said. More

Kamchatka’s Zhupanovsky volcano erupts with large ash cloud: volcano awakes after 54 years

KAMCHATKA – A new explosive eruption started yesterday night (23 Oct). An ash plume was detected drifting at an estimated 16,000 ft (5 km) altitude and drifting ESE. At least 1 mm of ash has been deposited in the Nalychevo valley, a natural park between Zhupanovsky and Avachinsky volcanoes. Zhupanovsky volcano lies about 70 km northeast of the capital of Kamchatka, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and had its last eruption in 1959. It is a complex volcano composed of several overlapping cones aligned on a roughly east-west oriented axis. The new eruption comes from the same vent that has been also the site of all known historical eruptions, located west of the highest point of the volcanic massif. Zhupanovsky is the 8th volcano in Kamchatka to erupt this year. EP

Indonesian volcano expels powerful burst of ash; 3,300 evacuate, second large eruption in 40 days

INDONESIA – A volcano in western Indonesia erupted Thursday, unleashing a column of dark volcanic material high into the air weeks after villagers were returning home from an earlier eruption, officials said. The explosion at Mount Sinabung, located in North Sumatra province, shot black ash 3 km into the air, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, said National Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. He said villages, farms and trees around the 2,600-meter-high rumbling volcano were covered in thick gray ash, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 3,300 people. Most were from two villages within 3 km of the mountain in Karo district. No lava or debris spewed from the volcano, and nearby towns and villages were not in danger, but authorities warned tourists to stay away from the danger zone located 1.5 km from the crater, Nugroho said. Last month, more than 15,000 people were forced to flee when the volcano rumbled to life after being dormant for three years, belching ash and smoke and igniting fires on its slopes. The volcano’s last major eruption, in August 2010, killed two people and forced 30,000 others to flee. It caught many scientists off guard because it had been quiet for four centuries. Mount Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. EP

California Pastor Released After Being Detained for Protesting Imprisonment of Iranian Christians

TEHRAN – A California pastor that was taken into custody this week in Iran while protesting the imprisonment of five fellow Christians has been released and sent home to the United States. As previously reported, Eddie Romero of La Puente was taken into custody on Monday as he spoke outside of Evin Prison, where the Christians are being held. Reports state that he had been traveling with a tourist group overseas this month, and broke away from the group last Thursday to go missing for a time. He crossed into Iran from Turkey, and then was spotted standing in front of the prison speaking in several languages. Romero recorded a video prior to the incident, which he posted on his ministry website, Exodus8One. The footage indicates that he anticipated being arrested, but called the apprehension “an honor.” “I said out loud, ‘The Lord says, let My people go so that they may worship Me,’” he explains, quoting from the Book of Exodus. “There are five men in there that are undeserving to be behind these walls.” More

Scientists have discovered the most distant and ancient galaxy ever spotted.

SIGNS IN THE SUN, MOON AND STARS – By using data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and observations from the Keck I telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, astronomers have now confirmed that the galaxy designated z8_GND_5296 formed within 700 million years after the beginning of the universe, making it the oldest and most distant galaxy ever verified. Because the galaxy is so far from Earth, scientists were able to observe z8_GND_5296 as it would have appeared about 13.1 billion years ago. [How Galaxies are Classified by Type (Infographic)] ”The most exciting aspect in general of what I do is the fact that we can learn about what things were like in the very early universe,” Steven Finkelstein, the lead author of the new galaxy study in Nature and an astronomer at the University of Texas, Austin, said. “Because the speed of light is constant, light takes time to get here, we’re not seeing these galaxies as they are now. We’re seeing them as they were 13 billion years ago which is 95 percent of the way back to the Big Bang.” More

FAMOUS ACTOR CALLS FOR SOCIALIST ‘REVOLUTION’ AND ‘MASSIVE REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH’

Actor and comedian Russell Brand is not shy about making his extreme far-left political views known. He doesn’t care if people disagree with them and he certainly doesn’t believe that he should keep his ideas to himself because he’s just an “actor.” But those unfamiliar with Brand’s in-your-face style might be surprised by the actor’s brutal honesty in a recent sit-down interview with BBC’s “Newsnight.” Not only did he openly call for a socialist-style “revolution” and the “massive redistribution of wealth,” he also urged people not to vote or participate in the “facade” that is modern-day politics.  To him, “the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations” make voting a pointless exercise. So what type of political system does Brand want to see implemented? “A socialist egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations and massive responsibility for energy companies and any companies exploiting the environment. I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced.” When asked if he truly wants a revolution, Brand said such a revolution is inevitable. However, he acknowledged he hardly has all the answers as to how the system would work on a global scale. “Don’t ask me to sit here in an interview with you, in a bloody hotel room, and devise a global utopian system,” he said, adding that he’s “absolutely” calling for a revolution. More

Arctic Temperatures Reach Highest Levels In 44,000 Years

Plenty of studies have shown that the Arctic is warming and that the ice caps are melting, but how does it compare to the past, and how serious is it? New research shows that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic over the last century are the highest in the last 44,000 years, and perhaps the highest in 120,000 years. ”The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a joint statement from the school and the publisher of the journal Geophysical Researcher Letters, in which the study by Miller and his colleagues was published online this week. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” The study is the first to show that current Arctic warmth exceeds peak heat there in the early Holocene, the name for the current geological period, which began about 11,700 years ago. During this “peak” Arctic warmth, solar radiation was about 9 percent greater than today, according to the study. More

When Satan, devils and demons are ‘entertainment’ of today’s culture

Halloween is approaching, and the theaters and TV channels are flooded with ghosts, zombies, monsters and worse. Just entertainment, amusement and not representative of anything real, right?  Karl Payne, an expert on demonology and the author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” believes these elements of Americana sometimes are more than just “fun and games.” “When you live in [a] culture that glamorizes this, when you live in a culture that encourages people to get involved in these type of activities, do you not think that there are some people, from all age groups, who get lured into the occult through the culture we promote?” Payne asked. Payne said he saw clear examples of “desensitization” the last time he watched television. “This culture is like demonism on steroids. The last time I turned on the TV, one channel was heavily promoting a gory show on zombies and then on another, a show on witches that flirted with the occult was being heavily promoted. The proliferation of media like this desensitizes the public’s awareness of the evil in the world around us and opens up individuals to demonic influence,” Payne stated. More

ALERT: Disease that killed a million piglets in China spreads to the US

WASHINGTON – America’s pork industry has been gripped by an outbreak of porcine diarrhea since mid-May, the first appearance of the condition in North America. US farmers have reported 768 cases of the disease, known as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), through the first week of October, which implies that many more thousands of animals could be affected. Although the disease is not transferable to humans, it has been devastating for the US pork industry. It causes severe “watery diarrhea and vomiting in nursing pigs,” according to information from the US’s National Pork Board. Almost all the piglets who get the disease die because of it, and farmers are reportedly filling “wheelbarrows of dead piglets.” Now researchers at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech say they’ve traced the virus back to eastern China’s Anhui province. Anhui is one of China’s major pig-farming areas, home to companies like the fast-growing Anhui Antai Agricultural Industry Group, which slaughtered 500,000 pigs last year. Pinpointing the origin of the virus isn’t going to provide much reassurance to US farmers. Years after it spread in China, it still hasn’t been controlled.
Reports of PEDV outbreaks in China and Europe are not new, and have been mostly controlled with vaccination over the years. But starting in 2010, China suffered a severe outbreak of PEDV that killed more than 1 million piglets in less than two years. Scientists said the Chinese death toll was thanks to new vaccine-resistant strains of the disease. Anhui is a neighboring province to Shanghai, where thousands of dead pigs were discovered floating in the Huangpu River earlier this year, and had its own floating dead pig incidents. The Huangpu river pigs deaths have been attributed to “Porcine circovirus,” although some dead pigs found in the area also tested positive for PEDV, China’s state-run Global Times reported in March. Of the 36 samples tested by the Animal Disease Control Center in Zhejiang Province, 16 contained porcine circovirus and seven tested positive for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, the paper reported. In April, Shanghai Jiaotong University ‘s Agriculture Sciences School published a research paper saying piglet diarrhea was still causing serious harm to China’s pig-breeding industry, and identifying it as the cause of pig deaths in Shanghai this spring. How the disease traveled from Anhui to North America remains a mystery. The US and Canada both ban on pork imports from China, as Nature magazine explained in July: Although researchers know that the virus can be transported in faeces, they do not know how long it can survive outside pigs’ intestines, so it is unclear if a dirty boot, a contaminated package or an illegal import carried PEDV into the country.EP

‘Everybody Willing to Pay More’ Taxes – Harry Reid

Senate majority leader Harry Reid says that “Everybody” is “willing to pay more” taxes. He said so in an interview with a Nevada Public Radio host. “The only people who feel there shouldn’t be more coming in to the federal government from the rich people are the Republicans in the Congress,” Reid told the radio host, according to Roll Call. “Everybody else, including the rich people, are willing to pay more. They want to pay more.” Reid rebuked the Nevada Public Radio host when he was asked what Republicans would have to concede to get Medicare and Social Security cuts on the table. “You keep talking about Medicare and Social Security. Get something else in your brain. Stop talking about that. That is not going to happen this time. There is not going to be a grand bargain,” Reid said. “What we need to do is have Murray and her counterpart in the House, Ryan, work together to come up with something to get out of this senseless sequestration and start the budgeting process so that we can do normal appropriation bills.” Reid said Republicans would have to agree to more tax revenue to get anywhere near a bigger deal. “They have their mind set on doing nothing, nothing more on revenue, and until they get off that kick, there’s not going to be a grand bargain on — there’s not going to be a small bargain,” Reid said. “We’re just going to have to do something to work our way through sequestration.” More

Germany and Brazil Turn to U.N. to Restrain American Spies

Brazil and Germany today joined forces to press for the adoption of a U.N. General Resolution that promotes the right of privacy on the internet, marking the first major international effort to restrain the National Security Agency’s intrusions into the online communications of foreigners, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the push. The effort follows a German claim that the American spy agency may have tapped the private telephone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of other world leaders. It also comes about one month after Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff denounced NSA espionage against her country as “a breach of international law” in a General Assembly speech and proposed that the U.N. establish legal guidelines to prevent “cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war.” Brazilian and German diplomats met in New York today with a small group of Latin American and European governments to consider a draft resolution that calls for expanding privacy rights contained in the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights to the online world. The draft does not refer to a flurry of American spying revelations that have caused a political uproar around the world, particularly in Brazil and German. But it was clear that the revelation provided the political momentum to trigger today’s move to the United Nations. The blowback from the NSA leaks continues to agonize U.S. diplomats and military officials concerned about America’s image abroad. ”This is an example of the very worst aspects of the Snowden disclosures,” a former defense official with deep experience in NATO, told The Cable, referring to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. “It will be very difficult for the US to dig out of this, although we will over time. The short term costs in credibility and trust are enormous.” Although the U.N.’s ability to fundamentally constrain the NSA is nil, the mounting international uproar over U.S. surveillance has security experts fearful for the ramifications. ”The worst case scenario I think would be having our European allies saying they will no longer share signals intelligence because of a concern that our SigInt is being derived from mechanisms that violate their privacy rules,” said Ray Kimball, an army strategist with policy experience on European issues. He stressed that he was not speaking for the military. Although the Germans have not indicated such a move is in the works, they do have a game plan for making their surveillance complaints heard. The International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights was written in 1966 and came into force in 1976, decades before the internet transformed the way people communicate around the world. A provision in the international covenant, Article 17, says “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation.” It also states that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” ”The covenant was formulated at a time when the internet didn’t exist,” said a diplomat familiar with the negotiations. “Everyone has the right to privacy and the goal is to this resolution is to apply those protections to online communications.” Brazil and Germany are hoping to put the resolution to a vote in the U.N. General Assembly human rights committee later this year. The draft resolution, which has not been made public and which is still subject to negotiation among U.N. states, will seek to apply the those protections to online communications. “This is not just about spying,” said the diplomat. This is about ensuring that “privacy of citizens in their home states under their own home legislation.” ”It calls on countries to put an end to violations of that right,” the official said. “People have to be protected offline and online.” Anyone who thinks this issue will only resonate in BrazilMexico, FranceItaly, and Germany – where the Snowden leaks recently revealed NSA datamining — isn’t paying attention. According to the latest internal NSA memo leaked to The Guardian, the list of targeted nations is even longer, which could give this U.N. effort additional momentum.  The NSA monitored the communications of 35 unnamed “world leaders,” whose phone numbers were given to the intelligence agency by a U.S. government official, according to the report. The agency has been collecting phone numbers, email addresses, and residential addresses of foreign officials from the people in the U.S. government who are in touch with them. The U.S. official, who is not named, personally handed over 200 phone numbers about the people he or she was in touch with. More

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