FATHER OF MODERN FINANCE WARNS US, EUROPE: ‘NONE OF THEIR DEBT IS CREDIBLE,’ RECESSION IN 2014
One of the fathers of modern finance and a winner of this year’s Nobel prize for economics said the bloated deficits of the United States and European nations may lead to a worldwide recession. Eugene Fama, whoe “shared the economics prize for research into market prices and asset bubbles” with Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen, told Reuters on Saturday that the markets may not find the debts of European nations and the United States to be credible. ”There may come a point where the financial markets say none of their debt is credible anymore and they can’t finance themselves,” he said. “If there is another recession, it is going to be worldwide.” Fama, who is a professor at the University of Chicago, also played down the United States’s stronger labor market data from last month. ”I am not reassured at all. The jobs recovery has been awful. The only reason the unemployment rate is seven percent, which is high by historical standards in the U.S., is that people gave up looking for jobs,” he said. “I just don’t think we have come out of (the recession) very well.” Breitbart
BREAKING NEWS: Record outdoor radiation level that ‘can kill in 20 min’ detected at Fukushima
fukushima.si copyOutdoor radiation levels have reached their highest at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant,warns the operator company.Radiation found in an area near a steel pipe that connects reactor buildings could kill an exposed person in 20 minutes,local media reported. The plant’s operator and the utility responsible for the clean-up Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) detected record radiation levels on a duct which connects reactor buildings and the 120 meter tall ventilation pipe located outside on Friday. TEPCO measured radiation at eight locations around the pipe with the highest estimated at two locations – 25 Sieverts per hour and about 15 Sieverts per hour, the company said.
This is the highest level ever detected outside the reactor buildings, according to local broadcaster NHK. Earlier TEPCO said radiation levels of at least 10 Sieverts per hour were found on the pipe. The ventilation pipe used to conduct radioactive gasses after the nuclear disaster may still contain radioactive substances, TEPCO added. The earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the Fukushima Daiichi plant and causing the meltdown of three nuclear reactors. The crippled reactors burnt through the concrete basement while the water used to cool them has been leaking into the soil and contaminating the ground water on the premises of the nuclear facility. The radioactive water stored at the site has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean. More
Al Qaeda in Syria has sarin: Russia ready to deal with Syrian Al Qaeda plot against Sochi Olympics
IsraeliStrikeForceIt was commonly assumed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin discussed the forthcoming Geneva nuclear accord with Iran when they met in Moscow on Nov. 20. But according to DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources, they focused on two quite different topics. One was possible Russian-Israeli military and intelligence cooperation against al Qaeda elements in Syria in which both are keenly interested. Israel is shoring up its defenses against potential cross-border terrorist attacks mounted from al Qaeda bases in Syria, while Putin has gone to great lengths to secure the high-prestige Winter Olympics taking place at the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi Feb. 7-23. The other topic of conversation was Moscow’s interest in a stake for Russian oil and gas companies in laying the pipelines for the export of Israeli offshore Mediterranean gas to European markets. By mutual consent, the Iranian issue on which they are deeply divided was scarcely touched on.
Two weeks after their conversation, the ruler of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced Monday, Dec. 4, the formation of a special unit to deal with “Syrian radicals”- both within the North Caucasus republic and abroad. He added: “Members of the special unit will be ready to interfere in the Syrian conflict if such operation is authorized by the Russian president.” DEBKAfile’s counter-terrorism sources explain that President Putin is loath to drop a Russian intervention force into Syria and risk upsetting his sensitive understandings with the Obama administration on Syria. He is therefore planning to send out a Chechen force to deal with the Chechens and other North Caucasian jihadists who are fighting under the al Qaeda flag in Syria and now gearing up, according to Russian and Syrian intelligence, for a spectacular attack on the Sochi Olympic Games. More
Scientists Remain Baffled By Huge Mystery
planet-hunting NASA spacecraft has detected no sign of moon-size black holes yet in the Milky Way galaxy, limiting the chances that such objects could make up most of the “dark matter” that has mystified scientists for decades. Dark matter is one of the greatest scientific mysteries known — an invisible substance thought to constitute up five-sixths of all matter in the universe. It remains so mysterious that scientists are still uncertain as to whether dark matter is made of microscopic particles or far larger objects.
dark matter black holes
The consensus right now is that dark matter consists of a new type of particle, one that interacts very weakly at best with all the known forces of the universe except gravity. As such, dark matter is invisible and mostly intangible, with its presence only detectable via the gravitational pull it exerts. [Images: Black Holes of the Universe] However, despite research from thousands of scientists relying on the most powerful particle accelerators on Earth and laboratories buried deep underground, no one has yet detected or created any particles that might be dark matter. This led Kim Griest, an astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues to investigate black holes as potential dark matter candidates. More
County censors government employee who dares criticize Obamacare
A California county has banned a veteran employee from criticizing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because a coworker who overheard the criticism was offended. The employee is Norina Mooney, who has logged some 20 years of work experience with Santa Clara County, the epicenter of Silicon Valley. According to Mooney’s attorneys with the Pacific Justice Institute, she made some water-cooler talk with a fellow employee about the high number people who have had their insurance policies canceled under Obamacare. Later, a supervisor called Mooney into a private meeting and allegedly dressed her down for the attempt at chitchat because an unidentified person had overheard the small talk and been offended. More
Detroit Ruling Opens Door to Pension Cuts Across the Nation
Protest in DetroitFor 34 years, Gwendolyn Beasley worked as a clerk at the Detroit Public Library and paid a portion of her salary into a fund that would someday help pay for her pension. Now retired, Beasley, 67, receives $1,500 a month from that pension. But she’s cutting back on spending after a judge ruled last week that Detroit’s pension funds, like other city creditors, may have to take a hit as the city reorganizes its finances under bankruptcy. ”I think it’s so very unfair,” Beasley said. “We retired expecting to get a certain amount of benefits. Now you’ve pulled the rug out from under us.” It’s not just Detroit retirees who are worried about their pensions.
Financially troubled cities in California, Illinois and Pennsylvania will soon face decisions on what to do with chronically underfunded pension funds, and experts say the Detroit ruling has made it easier for cities to argue that pensions must be cut. ”If I were a retired public-sector pensioner, I’d be worried today,” said Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the Wharton School of Business and the director of the Pension Research Council. For decades, representatives of public-sector pensions have depended on constitutional provisions in various states, including Michigan and Illinois, that protected pensions. Now, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ ruling has shown that federal bankruptcy laws preempt those state provisions. Any city that has underfunded pensions and troubled finances could soon look to bankruptcy as a way out of paying pensions, experts say, as long as their state allows them to file for Chapter 9 protection. More
Kerry to Postpone Terrorist Release to Pressure PA
Maariv reported on Sunday night that United States Secretary of State John Kerry, determined to make progress in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), is threatening to delay the next scheduled release of terrorists being held in Israeli prisons. Before the current round of peace talks began, Israel agreed to release 104 terrorists from its prisons as a “gesture” to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. 52 terrorists have already been released and the rest are to be released in two more phases. However, PA officials who spoke to NRG/Maariv on Sunday said that the PA negotiating team has received an unexpected message from Kerry, according to which the next release – scheduled for the end of December – will be postponed by one month. According to these officials, Kerry is using the terrorist release as a means of pressuring Abbas, after the PA Chairman rejected all of Kerry’s offers regarding security in the Jordan Valley.
The officials added that Kerry is determined make progress in the peace talks by January, and as such is planning to postpone the third phase of the release of the prisoners, as a way of “persuading” the PA to accept his proposed security arrangements. On Friday, before he left Israel for Washington, Kerry told reporters that Israel and the PA were “closer than they’ve been in years” to achieving a peace agreement. Israel has always insisted that in any final agreement it would have to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley, and has rejected outright the idea of any third party involvement. The PA rejects any long-term Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley. One report last week suggested that the Americans had agreed with Israel regarding its demand for IDF presence in the Jordan Valley even after a permanent agreement. More
A stronger Iran, a weaker America and a region teetering on the brink
Three years ago, in May 2010, the Islamic Republic News Agency of Iran – IRNA – published a stern, if flowery, warning following a series of incidents involving the Gulf states. “There is no lion in the region save the one crouching on the shore opposite the Emirates states,” IRNA said. “He protects his lair, the Persian Gulf. Those who believe that there is another lion in the area [the United States], his claws and fangs have been broken in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine. No good can be expected from him or from his hunting forays. He is merely counting the days until he can find a way to escape when he still can. Iran, the Emirates and the others countries of the region will forever be neighbors because of their geographic situation.”
Today, those words have become reality. The Geneva agreement appears to be another step in America’s flight from the Middle East rather than a genuine effort to stop Iran’s rush to nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries are still reeling. The special relationship between Washington and Riyadh had been the cornerstone of America’s policy in the Gulf and the Middle East for nearly a century. The United States needed Saudi oil and secure export routes through the Gulf. It supplied the kingdom with sophisticated weapons. The Gulf states believed themselves safe thanks to this special relationship, which endured for decades. With the fall of the Shah and the rise of Khomeini in 1979, Iran became the main threat to the safety of the Gulf while America stood firm against Iranian subversive activities. That era appears to be coming to an end. What happened in Geneva came after a series of steps that can only be seen as demonstrating the overwhelming will of the American president to distance himself from the region: getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, with no tangible success; abandoning Mubarak, backing the Muslim Brothers and even turning his back on the new Egyptian regime battling radical Islam; zigzagging about Syria; and recently rumored to be conducting secret talks with Hezbollah and radical Islamic factions in Syria. More
DAYS OF LOT: Shreveport City Council to Vote on Adding ‘Sexual Orientation’ to Protected Classes
SHREVEPORT, La. — Shreveport City Council is expected to vote on Tuesday on a proposal that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to its list of protected classes. While Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover signed an executive order in 2009 declaring protections for all city employees who are homosexual or transgender, the proposed Fairness Ordinance would extend the provisions to all residents within the city. “We are committed to vigorously enforcing this policy at all levels of City government,” Glover stated upon citing the order. “Today, as leaders and citizens of Shreveport, we take another important step towards our goal to become the next great city of the South.” The Fairness Ordinance before city council would prohibit employers from firing or declining to hire employees that are homosexual or transgender. Landlords would also be barred from turning away prospective tenants due to their sexuality. While there are exemptions for religious groups, such as churches, non-profit organizations and small businesses with less than eight employees, it is unclear whether it would be illegal for a Christian business owner to require that staff be Christian or abstain from sexual immorality. If passed, those who violate the statute would be fined $500 for the first offense, and $1,000 for every offense thereafter. New Orleans and Baton Rouge currently both have similar laws on the books, with the latter providing protections based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity. More
Abortion Advocacy Groups Praise Legacy of Nelson Mandela for Legalizing Abortion in South Africa
EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA – Abortion advocacy groups in the U.S. and around the world are praising the legacy of the late former South African President Nelson Mandela for his role in legalizing abortion in the country. Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner known for his work to end apartheid, passed away on Thursday at the age of 95 after a prolonged battle with a lung infection. “Today, we’re honoring the incredible life of a true champion for social justice, equality, and peace,” Planned Parenthood posted on Twitter Friday morning, including a picture of Mandela wearing a ribbon lapel pin. “It is with great sadness that we heard today about the passing of Nelson Mandela,” NARAL Pro-Choice America posted on Facebook. “Among so many other accomplishments, he replaced one of the most restrictive anti-choice laws in the world with one of the most progressive, giving women in South Africa sole control over whether to choose abortion.” The multi-state abortion enterprise Whole Woman’s Health posted a similar message on Twitter. “Among his many humanitarian legacies, Nelson Mandela passed one of the most liberal #abortion laws in the world,” it wrote. In 1996, Mandela signed into law the Choice on Termination Pregnancy Bill, which allowed for abortion on demand up to the twelfth week of pregnancy, and permitted pregnancy terminations under certain circumstances for up to 20 weeks. Prior to the signing of the bill, the 1975 Abortion and Sterilization Act was the law of the land, which banned abortion except in the instances of rape, incest, life of mother or severe handicap. More
DISTRESS OF NATIONS: Protesters topple Lenin monument in Kiev, smash to pieces with hammers
Masked anti-government protesters toppled the monument to Vladimir Lenin in Kiev on Sunday pulling him down with steel ropes, and smashing the granite figure with sledgehammers. A huge crowd queued to get a piece of the statue. A group of protesters singing the national hymn of Ukraine then hoisted the national flag on the vacant pedestal, as the passing cars were honking in support of the act and jubilant cries were heard from the crowd. The activists shouted “[President Viktor] Yanukovich, you’ll be next!” while lighting flares and throwing smoke bombs next to the monument, Ukrainian media reported.
View image on TwitterSecurity forces were absent from the scene at Shevchenko Boulevard. Local clerics also came to the scene “to smash Lenin,” RT’s Lida Vasilevskaya reported from the scene. The furious demonstrators were holding red-black flags – the symbol of the far-right opposition party Svoboda (Freedom). However the party denied the responsibility saying it would be unfair to lay the blame on them. “Participants of Euro Maidan altogether toppled the monument, which was standing there illegally. There was a presidential decree [by former President Viktor Yushchenko in 2009] about its abolition,” said Yury Sirotyuk, the spokesman of Svoboda. The leader of the party Oleg Tyagnibok jokingly called it “a meaningless suicide.” More
Obama lies to Israelis on Iran nuke deal
rJERUSALEM – In an address broadcast live to Israel Sunday, President Obama falsely claimed the West’s nuclear deal with Tehran takes Iran’s uranium enrichment down to zero from its current 20 percent. Obama made the false claim twice even though the text of the deal caps Iran’s uranium enrichment at 5 percent, a figure that could constantly leave the country two months away from the technical ability to build a nuke. Obama was hosted for a forty-minute question-and-answer session at the annual Saban Forum at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. The session was broadcast live on Israel’s Channel 2, the country’s largest television station. Regarding the nuclear deal, Obama stated: “We have not only made sure that in Fordor and Natanz that they have to stop adding additional centrifuges, we’ve also said that they’ve got to roll back their 20 percent advanced enrichment.
So we’re … ” Host Chaim Saban interrupted and asked, “To how much?” Saban was asking about the percentage Iran would be required to roll back its enrichment. “Down to zero,” Obama stated. “So you remember when Prime Minister Netanyahu made his presentation before the United Nations last year?” “The cartoon with the red line?” asked Saban. Continued Obama: “The picture of a bomb – he was referring to 20 percent enrichment, which the concern was if you get too much of that, you now have sufficient capacity to go ahead and create a nuclear weapon. We’re taking that down to zero.” In actuality, the six-month renewable interim deal requires Iran to cap its uranium enrichment at 5 percent. Iranian diplomats have repeatedly stated they will not give up the right to enrich uranium in any final deal. More
Phenomenon throws twist into age of Earth
Two South African research scientists have documented a phenomenon that indicates a particular type of soil erosion might have taken place in a split second rather than eons, as mainstream scientists have believed. The conclusion could upset widely accepted estimates for the age of the Earth. The research by Professors Jasper Knight and Stefan Grab of the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg has been published in the journal Geomorphology. The scientists concluded that “lightning strikes causing rocks to explode have for the first time been shown to play a huge role in shaping mountain landscapes.”
The previous assumption was that cold temperatures, in combination with water freezing and thawing, were responsible for a series of angular rock formations in the Drakensberg Range in South Africa. The scientists used a compass to document their thesis. “A compass needle always points to the magnetic north. But when you pass a compass over a land’s surface, if the minerals in the rock have a strong enough magnetic field, the compass will read the magnetic field of the rock, which corresponds to when it was formed. In the Drakensburg, there are a lot of basalt rocks which contain a lot of magnetic minerals, so they’ve got a very strong magnetic signal,” Knight explained. Passing a compass over the target of a lightning strike will cause the needle suddenly to swing around 360 degrees. More
37 Reasons Why “The Economic Recovery Of 2013″ Is A Giant Lie
empty-pockets“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.” Sadly, that appears to be the approach that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are taking with the U.S. economy. They seem to believe that if they just keep telling the American people over and over that things are getting better, eventually the American people will believe that it is actually true. On Friday, it was announced that the unemployment rate had fallen to “7 percent”, and the mainstream media responded with a mix of euphoria and jubilation. For example, one USA Today article declared that “with today’s jobs report, one really can say that our long national post-financial crisis nightmare is over.” But is that actually the truth? As you will see below, if you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent. There has been absolutely no employment recovery. The percentage of Americans that are actually working has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 51 months in a row. But most Americans don’t understand these things and they just take whatever the mainstream media tells them as the truth. More
Snow falling In Australia In summer.
UPDATE: A day after we posted images of fresh summer snow falling across the Australian Alps, we’ve updated our original story with new images that show the ground getting whiter… and whiter… and whiter. Thredbo resort in new South Wales is now in the very unusual position of desperately needing its snow to melt. Thredbo has a huge mountain bike event this weekend but the course is currently snow-covered. Hopefully, forecast warmer tempreatures will take care of things. Meanwhile, here are one or two pics to get you going. And as mentioned, scroll through yesterday’s story (below) for another updated image or two. THIS is just the beginning. The really cold air and the really heavy snow is due later in the day, but snow is already falling today across the high country of New South Wales and Victoria. And yes, it’s December 5. The fifth day of summer.
Quick, someone crank up the lifts.Your calendar is not wrong. Snow is not a freak event in southern Australia in the warmer months. A small dusting usually appears on the higher parts of the Australian Alps at least once each summer. As promised, here’s an arvo update of the pic above. Yep, that snow’s still falling. Today’s system is a little stronger than your typical out-of-season wintry blast, and snow accumulations could reach as much as 20 cm by tonight. The weather bringing the snow is the same cold southerly system which has brought unseasonal cold to Adelaide on Day One of the second Ashes Test. The good news is the cricket should be largely unaffected. The bad news, in a sporting sense, is that Thredbo ski resort is hosting a huge mountain bike event called The Cannonball MTB festival this weekend. Athletes have come from around the world for the event, and while it will still take place once today’s snow melts (and December snow always melts really quickly), training is being disrupted. More
Record Cold rewrites Oregon history books
PORTLAND, Ore. – The record cold temperatures throughout Oregon continue to rewrite the history books, or at least add new chapters to them. The city of Portland has not had a day with temperatures in the single digits since 1989 — a quarter-century ago. KOIN 6 News meteorologist Sally Showman said Portland stands a good chance of dropping into the single digits early Sunday morning. The high in the city on Saturday was only 30, the third day in a row with highs in the 30s. Sunday will also be cold, and the record low for December 8 is 8 degrees, set in 1972. The city of Portland opened up warming shelters for people to stay warm and keep warm.
But the biggest problem is there is not enough space. JD Dilts is one of the people living on the streets since he lost his job. He’s thankful for the help of the Red Cross. ”Man, it’s cold,” he said. “You take you gloves off your hands hurt.” That city-funded center helps hundreds of people stay warm, but it can only open when the temperature dips below 25. ”It’s 26 degrees. When you start getting in the 30s, that’s cold,” Dilts said. Will Harris is the associate director of JOIN, a non-profit organization that helps people get back on their feet. He and others have been out helping people stay warm. ”The main job is to keep them alive. We’ve been out the last six days helping people get the gear they need,” he said. “If they don’t, we will make sure they do.” KOIN.com
ObamaCare created a Medicaid time bomb
President Obama Delivers Statement On Death Of Nelson MandelaThe good news, if you want to call it that, is that roughly 1.6 million Americans have enrolled in ObamaCare so far. The not-so-good news is that 1.46 million of them actually signed up for Medicaid. If that trend continues, it could bankrupt both federal and state governments. Medicaid is already America’s third-largest government program, trailing only Social Security and Medicare, as a proportion of the federal budget. Almost 8 cents out of every dollar that the federal government spends goes to Medicaid. That’s more than $265 billion per year. Indeed, already Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid account for 48% of federal spending. Within the next few years, those three programs will eat up more than half of federal expenditures.
And it’s going to get worse. Congress has shown no ability to reform Social Security or Medicare. With ObamaCare adding to Medicare spending, we are picking up speed on the road to insolvency. The Congressional Budget Office projects that, in part because of ObamaCare, Medicaid spending will more than double over the next 10 years, topping $554 billion by 2023. And that is just federal spending. State governments pay another $160 billion for Medicaid today. For most states, Medicaid is the single-largest cost of government, crowding out education, transportation and everything else. New York spent more than $15 billion on Medicaid last year, roughly 30% of all state expenditures. The Kaiser Foundation projects that over the next 10 years, New York taxpayers will shell out some $433 billion for the program. More
Texas Storm Setting Temperature and Snow Records
Dallas Area Hit With Snow Storm, Two Days Before City Hosts The Super BowlWinter weather isn’t uncommon across North Texas, but the arctic blast being felt across the state is something special. Several cold weather records have been set or
tied around Texas with this week’s storm. In Amarillo, the temperature early Saturday dropped to 3 degrees (F), equaling a mark from 2005. Similarly, Borger tied its record low mark of 5F, also from 2005. Highs at Abilene (25F) and San Angelo (31F) on Friday were the lowest ever for Dec. 6, breaking marks from 1972. A half-inch of snow Thursday in Wichita Falls is the most ever for that day since records began in 1897. A trace of snow at Waco was the most for Friday since 1944. And 0.4 inches of snow Friday at Dallas-Fort Worth is also a record for Dec. 6. Previously, a trace was reported in 1969. In South Texas, the high of 39 Friday at Del Rio was the lowest ever for Dec. 6. CBS DFW
70% Of California’s Doctors Expected To Boycott Obamacare
An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange and won’t participate, the head of the state’s largest medical association said. “It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a high rate of nonparticipation,” said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association. Thorp has been a primary care doctor for 38 years in a small town 90 miles north of Sacramento. The CMA represents 38,000 of the roughly 104,000 doctors in California. “We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community.
But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,” he said. California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country — 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower. In other states, Medicare pays doctors $76 for return-office visits. But in California, Medi-Cal’s reimbursement is $24, according to Dr. Theodore M. Mazer, a San Diego ear, nose and throat doctor. In other states, doctors receive between $500 to $700 to perform a tonsillectomy. In California, they get $160, Mazer added. Only in September did insurance companies disclose that their rates would be pegged to California’s Medicaid plan, called Medi-Cal. That’s driven many doctors to just say no. They’re also pointing out that Covered California’s website lists many doctors as participants when they aren’t. More
Obamacare Health Plans will exclude top hospitals
Kathleen SebeliusAmericans who are buying insurance plans over online exchanges, under what is known as Obamacare, will have limited access to some of the nation’s leading hospitals, including two world-renowned cancer centres. Amid a drive by insurers to limit costs, the majority of insurance plans being sold on the new healthcare exchanges in New York, Texas, and California, for example, will not offer patients’ access to Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan or MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, two top cancer centres, or Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, one of the top research and teaching hospitals in the country.
Experts say the move by insurers to limit consumers’ choices and steer them away from hospitals that are considered too expensive, or even “inefficient”, reflects the new competitive landscape in the insurance industry since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law. It could become another source of political controversy for the Obama administration next year, when the plans take effect. Frustrated consumers could then begin to realise what is not always evident when buying a product as complicated as healthcare insurance: that their new plans do not cover many facilities or doctors “in network”. In other words, the facilities and doctors are not among the list of approved providers in a certain plan. More
Indonesia’s Mount Marapi erupts, ejects 350 m ash cloud
INDONESIA – The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) Bukittinggi reported that Mount Marapi, which lies between Tanah Datar and Agam regencies, West Sumatra, erupted at 10:10 a.m., on Sunday. “The volcano’s eruption spewed a column of thick, gray ash 350 meters high,” PVMBG official Warseno said on Sunday as quoted by Antara news agency. Mt. Marapi’s alert level has been maintained at waspada or caution (level 2). The PVMBG have said it is not safe to be within 3 kilometers of the activity. Increased volcanic activity was noted on Aug. 3, 2011 with an eruption and a volcanic ash cloud that covered several areas, including Agam, Padang Panjang, Padang Pariaman and Tanah Datar. Mt. Marapi, which is located near to the twin volcanos of Mount Singgalang and Mount Tandikek, is a popular climbing destination, particularity during December as scores of climbers flock to its accessible peak to see in the New Year. Marapi Wildlife Reserve is an administrative area around the volcano that is managed by the West Sumatra administration for the purposes of conservation in the province. Extinction Protocol
3 Christians executed after refusing to convert
A Syrian city overrun by the Muslim Brotherhood was the scene of the execution of three Christian men who refused to convert to Islam, according to reports. The Catholic young men were killed by rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad after they had taken control of the village of Maaloula, confirmed Todd Daniels, a spokesman for the American human rights group International Christian Concern. “Based on the statement from the Melkite patriarch, these men were martyred because they refused to recant their faith,” Daniels said.
Also, 12 nuns were kidnapped at about the same time. They were identified as Mother Superior Pelagia Sayyaf and 11 nuns with her. “There are serious concerns for the safety of these women based on the treatment of women throughout this conflict,” Daniels said. He said a number of church leaders have been kidnapped and abused. “We’ve seen repeated instances of the direct targeting of Christians by the rebel groups,” he said. The violence comes amid U.S. support for the Islamic rebels in Syria. Many are tied to al-Qaida and have declared their intent to establish Islamic law the country. International Christian Union President Joseph Hakim said the rebels forced their way into a monastery to take the nuns hostage. He blames the Muslim Brotherhood. “The Free Syrian Army is powerless,” he said, noting the Muslim Brotherhood is starting to take a leading role. More
Rep. Chris Smith: Abortion Coverage Included in Nearly All Congressional Health Insurance Plans
Republican Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey has divulged that abortion coverage is included in nearly all the health insurance plans available to Congress and their staffers–with the exception of 9 out of 112. Lawmakers have until December 9th to sign up for an insurance plan, but Smith says that Obama is breaking his promise of using taxpayer funds for abortion. “In the run-up to passage of Obamacare, Americans were repeatedly told and reassured by President Obama himself, including in a speech to a joint session of Congress in October 2009, that ‘under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion,’” he explained in a news release this week. “Obama even issued the infamous executive order that claimed, ‘the Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges.’” “Once again we see those promises ring hollow—what the President said simply isn’t true today,” he continued. “In the most recent example, 103 of the 112 insurance plans that Members of Congress and congressional staff are being directed to include elective abortion coverage. Only nine plans offered exclude elective abortion.” More
WARS N RUMORS OF WARS: North Korea Deploys more attack helicopters and rockets
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has deployed more attack helicopters and rockets near a disputed western sea border with South Korea, the South’s intelligence chief told Parliament on Friday, raising fears that the North might be planning a provocation to deflect attention from reports of a brutal internal power struggle. The intelligence chief also said North Korea was staging more public executions as its leader, Kim Jong-un, further consolidated his power, lawmakers reported after a closed-door briefing.
This week, the National Intelligence Service of South Korea stunned watchers of the North by reporting that Mr. Kim had ousted his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, widely considered to be the second most powerful man in the country. Although it is difficult to confirm news from the insular North, Nam Jae-joon, the director of the intelligence agency, presented more evidence on Friday that Mr. Jang was at least in trouble. Mr. Nam said that two of Mr. Jang’s relatives, both diplomats, had been recalled home, according to lawmakers who attended the briefing. One relative, the ambassador to Cuba, is Mr. Jang’s brother-in-law; the other, North Korea’s envoy to Malaysia, is his nephew. More
Obama makes his case for Iran strategy
Diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program can achieve greater security for Israel and the United States than could military action, US President Barack Obama said on Saturday, putting the success of his strategic effort to avoid confrontation at no more than a flip of a coin. ”Israel cannot contract out its security,” Obama said. But “there are times where I, as president of the United States, am going to have different tactical perspectives than the prime minister of Israel.” Speaking to the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, the US president explained some of the greatest gaps that still exist between himself and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who continues to chide the short-term deal reached between world powers and Iran last month that effectively halts the progress of Iran’s nuclear enrichment.
The White House does not trust the Iranian government any more than it did before, Obama said. But he also warned against “underestimating” the shift that occurred in Iranian politics upon the election of Hassan Rouhani last spring. ”The Iranian people responded by saying, we need a new direction,” Obama said. “That’s what brought President Rouhani to power. He was not necessarily the first choice among the hardliners in Iran.” While “we have to assume that his ideology is one that is hostile to the United States and Israel,” he continued, “we should not underestimate, or entirely dismiss, a shift in how the Iranian people want to interact with the world.”
Iran presses ahead with uranium enrichment technology.
is moving ahead with testing more efficient uranium enrichment technology, a spokesman for its atomic energy agency said on Saturday, in news that may concern world powers who last month agreed a deal to curb Tehran’s atomic activities. Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying that initial testing on a new generation of more sophisticated centrifuges had been completed, underlining Iran’s determination to keep refining uranium in what it says is work to make fuel for a planned network of nuclear power plants.
Although the development does not appear to contravene the interim agreement struck between world powers and Iran last month, it may concern the West nonetheless, as the material can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if enriched to a high degree. ”The new generation of centrifuges was produced with a higher capacity compared with the first generation machines and we have completed initial tests,” Kamalvandi was quoted as saying. ”The production of a new generation of centrifuges is in line with the (Iranian atomic energy) agency’s approach of upgrading the quality of enrichment machines and increasing the rate of production by using the maximum infrastructure facilities”. Kamalvandi said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been informed of the development. More
Gale force winds batter Europe, as thousands in U.K. face more flooding
LONDON – Hundreds of people in Britain mopped up flooded homes on Friday after a powerful storm that scoured northern Europe with hurricane-force gusts kicked up the biggest tidal surge in 60 years, swamping stretches of shoreline. The rising seas prompted evacuations along the eastern English coast, with 1,400 properties flooded and at least a half-dozen communities at great risk of exceptionally high tides and large waves. In London, the Thames Barrier — a series of huge metal plates that can be raised across the entire river — closed for a second time in as many days to protect the city from the surge. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said there would be “exceptionally high tides” on Friday and Saturday, though they were not expected to reach Thursday’s levels, when water swamped seaside promenades and flooded homes. In the town of Hemsby in eastern England, several houses fell into the sea as waves eroded cliffs. Britain’s Environment Agency said that sea levels late Thursday in some areas exceeded those in a 1953 flood in which hundreds died.
But flood defenses and evacuation warnings meant that only two people were killed in storm-related accidents. Accidents linked to the storm that roared across Europe Thursday have killed at least eight people, from Britain to Sweden, Denmark and Poland. Traffic ground to a halt on icy highways and train service was canceled in large parts of Sweden. Tens of thousands of people lost electricity. Strong winds knocked down the city of Vaxjo’s Christmas tree. Scores of flights were canceled at airports in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Poland. More than 1,000 people spent the night at Copenhagen airport where 200 flights were canceled Thursday and about 70 on Friday. Strong winds threatened a collection of Viking ships recovered from the bottom of a Danish fjord in the 1960s and put on exhibition. Museum workers boarded up the expansive windows of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde 40 kilometers west of Copenhagen amid fears water from the fjord would rise and shatter the glass. Police in Denmark ordered the evacuation of people in the towns of Frederikssund and Frederiksvaerk, 40 kilometres northeast of Copenhagen, because of imminent flooding. The towns lie on the Roskilde fjord, which has seen water levels rise noticeably. EP
At least 10 dead as cold, ice and snow grip U.S.
– At least 10 deaths — including three in California — were blamed on the deep freeze that continued to grip the U.S. on Friday, canceling hundreds of flights and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power. The Santa Clara County, Calif., Sheriff’s Office said hypothermia — an extremely low body temperature — had killed three people since frigid conditions rolled in late Wednesday, NBC Bay Area reported. An earlier report from the medical examiner’s office said four people had died, but it included a person who was found dead last week, before the current weather system hit the region. With icy conditions stretching almost coast to coast, the cold blast was blamed for deaths as far east as Indiana, where a woman died in a four-vehicle crash in Wayne County, and as far south as Arkansas, where an ice-coated tree fell on the camper housing a 62-year-old man in Pope County, authorities told NBC News.
By midday, five states had recorded at least 2½ feet of snow since Wednesday. The highest total was 35 inches, near Two Harbors, Minn. Winter storm warnings covered parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The manager of a Home Depot store in Dallas concluded: “It’s almost like a Black Friday. But I guess we’ll call it an Ice Friday.” Only a slice of the East Coast was spared the winter blast. Elsewhere, the story was ice, snow and brutal cold. Big Sky Country woke up to double-take temperatures. It was 23 degrees below zero in Laramie, Wyo., and felt like 41 below. In Helena, Mont., the mercury fell to 10 below, with a wind child of minus-29. The big chill extended to parts of the country much less accustomed to it. Parts of Nevada were at 18 below zero, and parts of Oregon were at 9 degrees. In Flagstaff, Ariz., the temperature just before dawn was 7. Even “sunny” Southern California wasn’t being spared — the National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for Riverside and San Bernardino counties beginning Saturday morning. Farmers pumped water into the soil to keep it from freezing and used wind machines to blow mild air across the citrus crop, most of which is still on the vine. Citrus in California is a $2 billion industry. Lettuce and avocados were also in danger. EP
New island created by volcanic eruption in Japan grows 3.7 times
JAPAN – According to Japan’s Coast Guard, the island, close to the Ogasawara archipelago, emerged as a result of undersea volcanic eruptions far south of Tokyo on November 20th and has since grown 3.7 times. It is now 300 meters long and 260 meters wide, the RIA Novosti news agency reports. According to expert estimates, the overall surface ofthe land mass makes up some 56,000 square meters. The island, originally a circle-turned an oval, now looks like a trapezoid, according to the NHK TV Channel. When the island emerged during volcanic eruptions of ash and magma from the Pacific Ocean bottom, it was 200 meters in diameter and 20 meters high. Just two days later, it was 400 meters in diameter and 30 meters high. The undersea volcano is expected to continue erupting for some more time. The islands that emerge this way will often get submerged again. If this is not the lot of the new island, Japan will enjoy an increase in its territorial waters. The neighboring Nishinoshima Island also emerged during a volcanic eruption in the mid-1970s. Nishinoshima Island is currently 800 meters long and 500 meters wide. Under international law, 12 nautical miles (or 22.2 kilometers) off the country’s coastline are seen as territorial waters, while the next 12 nautical miles, as the contiguous zone. 200 nautical miles (or 370 kilometers) off the shore is where the country’s exclusive economic zone ends and the continental shelf begins. The shelf is followed by the high seas. EP
Turkey warned of potential eruption hazards from 14 active volcanoes
TURKEY – Turkey is facing potential eruption hazard from 14 active volcanoes. Armenpress reports quoting the Turkish Haberler news website, that the population of the country has been warned about the danger by the Turkish volcano experts. According to them, the data of only one volcano out of 14 active ones has been monitored and collected. EP
Kamachatka’s Klyuchevskoi volcano spews out 6 km high ash cloud
KAMCHATKA – The highest active volcano in Russia has thrown out an enormous ash cloud up to six kilometers high, the Emergency Services Ministry said Saturday. The Klyuchevskoi volcano in the tectonically active Kamchatka region in Russia’s Far East has been erupting sporadically since August. “We have observed the latest ash eruption from the Klyuchevskoi volcano,” the local branch of the Emergency Services Ministry said in a statement. “The ash cloud is moving in a north-east direction.” The highest mountain in the Kamchataka region, Klyuchevskoi has erupted in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012, spewing out lava and ash over the surrounding area. The Emergency Services Ministry said in the statement that a red aviation warning was in place around Klyuchevskoi and cautioned tour companies not to take tourists near the volcano. EP
Thousands of Christians seek refuge at Central African airport after worst attack in 9 Months
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Thousands of Christian civilians sought refuge at an airport guarded by French soldiers Friday, fleeing from the mostly Muslim ex-rebels with machetes and guns who rule the country a day after the worst violence to hit the chaotic capital in nine months. When several French helicopters landed at the airport, people sang with joy as they banged on plastic buckets and waved rags into the air in celebration. Outside the barbed wire fences of the airport, bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital too dangerous for many to collect the corpses. Thursday’s clashes left at least 280 dead, according to national radio, and have raised fears that waves of retaliatory attacks could soon follow. ”They are slaughtering us like chickens,” said Appolinaire Donoboy, a Christian whose family remained in hiding. France had pledged to increase its presence in its former colony well before Christian militias attacked the capital at dawn Thursday. The arrival of additional French troops and equipment came as the capital teetered on the brink of total anarchy and represented the greatest hope for many Central Africans. About 1,000 French forces were expected to be on the ground by Friday evening, a French defense official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. More
Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake shakes up Oklahoma on heels of “Gay Play” and Satanic Temple in same State
A 4.5-magnitude earthquake shook the Oklahoma City metro area shortly after noon Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake occurred at 12:10 p.m. Saturday about four miles northwest of Jones. It was felt in Edmond, Norman, Bethany and Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City police and officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said no damage or injuries from the quake had been reported Saturday afternoon. NewsOK
OKLAHOMA CITY – December 6, 2013 – A New York-based Satanist organization has offered to erect a public ‘homage to Satan’ near a Ten Commandments monument on the premises of the Oklahoma capitol building. The Satanic Temple issued a news release about the matter this week, outlining that they believe that it may resolve the dispute over the monument, which is currently the subject of a federal lawsuit. As previously reported, the monument at issue was proposed and paid for in 2009 by Republican Representative Mike Ritze, and was soon after approved by the largely Republican-run state legislature. “[T]he Ten Commandments are an important component of the foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma,” the bill authorizing the monument acknowledged. “[T]he courts of the United States of America and of various states frequently cite the Ten Commandments in published decisions, and acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – November 27,2013 – A racy play set to open next week has many pastors demanding answers. ”I’m not as concerned as offending myself. I’m concerned with offending God,” said Pastor Jerry Peterson who is outraged by a play opening next week at the civic center music hall. ”It is pornographic in nature. It’s actually promoting something that God views as an abomination,” he said. ”The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” is a biblical satire featuring gay characters. ”Instead of it being Adam and eve its Adam and Steve,” Pastor Peterson said. He along with nearly 70 other religious leaders in the Christian Community wrote a letter to elected officials asking for reconsideration of the play and for the theater to pull it from production. ”We were wanting the input of our civic leaders to consider this and are you aware of it and are you concerned and asking for their help.” Jim Brown, civic center facilities manager, said the hall is governed by the U.S. Constitution and First Amendment rights. ”We’re basically not allowed to turn away groups because of any content they have,” Brown said. Brown responded to the letter on behalf of the city. ”We have no input regarding the shows that come in. As long as the renters, the individuals that come in comply with the ordinances, the laws and pay us rental they can bring in their shows.” Pastor Peterson is not content with that answer. He wants action taken. ”It grieves me that something like this is allowed because it has consequences to the entire community.” The pastors are planning a prayer vigil outside the Civic Center December 6th, the same day the play is set to open. Fox 25 Oklahoma City
Franklin Graham: ‘My father’s health has declined quite a bit’
Evangelist Billy Graham’s son Franklin said at Christmas charity event at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte Friday his father’s health has declined recently, according to WSOC. According to the report, Franklin Graham said, “My father’s health has declined quite a bit in last few days. I’m not even sure he knows Nelson Mandela has passed away.” “He hasn’t been able to get his strength back. Vitals are good, he’s just weak and at home,” Franklin added. A spokesman for Billy Graham told FOX8 Franklin was speaking of his father’s health in general terms and there is no specific change in his health since his last trip to the hospital. Fox 8 Franklin Graham | 5 Comments
6 DETAINED IN MEXICO THEFT OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Six people tested for possible radiation exposure have been released from hospital but remain under detention as suspects in the theft of a truck carrying highly radioactive cobalt-60, officials said Friday. Of the detained men, ages 16 to 38, only the 16-year-old showed signs of radiation exposure and he was in good health, a spokeswoman for Hidalgo’s Health Department said on condition of anonymity because she isn’t allowed to discuss the case. The six were detained Thursday as part of the investigation and taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for testing. After being cleared by health authorities on Friday, the men were turned over to federal authorities in connection with the case of the cargo truck stolen Monday at gunpoint outside Mexico City. The cobalt-60 it was carrying was from obsolete radiation therapy equipment. Officials have not said what roles the six allegedly had in the theft. Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble said earlier Friday the men suffered from skin irritations and dizziness, but that none were in serious condition. Only one was vomiting, a sign of radiation poisoning. More
Colonel Who Vowed to Disarm Americans Works With Homeland Security
Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, the second amendment-hating Army Officer who caused controversy after vowing to “pry your gun from your cold, dead, fingers,” works closely with the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this week, Bateman, an active military commander, penned a piece for Esquire magazine in which he promised to push for a total ban on all firearms besides muskets, shotguns and rifles, and shut down all gun manufacturers except for those who produced weapons for the federal government and the armed forces (you will be disarmed, the state will have a monopoly on firepower). Bateman is president and founder of Alliance Defense Marketing Associates LLC, a “global premier risk management” firm that does work for the DHS. According to the company’s website, part of the services offered by the firm include, “Homeland Security operational initiatives.” According to Bateman’s official LinkedIn page, he also personally specializes in “Defense/Homeland Security/Law Enforcement operational initiatives.” More
Same sex marriage to be legalized in TEXAS
DALLAS – City council members in Dallas, Texas deliberated this week whether or not to vote on a resolution calling for same-sex ‘marriage’ to be legalized in Texas. The matter was discussed on Monday before the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee. Mayor Mike Rawlings has classified the ongoing discussion as a “misuse” of the council’s time, although he has stated that he is “an unequivocal supporter of marriage equality.” Rawlings has participated in several pride parades in recent years, with the exception of this year’s event. According to reports, Assistant City Manager Therese O’Donnell and Assistant City Attorney John Rogers spoke of the impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling surrounding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). O’Donnell stated that she believes the city needs to have an “open dialogue” about the matter due to the “really rapidly changing environment.” Councilman Philip Kingston said that he didn’t want the city of Dallas to be behind while other cities across the nation are moving in the direction of accepting and facilitating those that identify as homosexual. He told his colleagues that there are over 15,000 homosexual and transgender residents in his district alone, and worried that they would go elsewhere—such as Austin or San Antonio—if they felt unwelcome in Dallas. More
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Lake Ontario hundreds of waterbirds killed by toxin in food