SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Lots of North Texans reported seeing a meteor streaking across the sky on Friday night. One video posted on YouTube shows a bright light falling from the sky around seven o’clock. It was taken by a motorist traveling west on LBJ Freeway near La Prada Drive. Dozens of meteor sightings were registered from Texas to Kansas, and even as far away as Oregon.
74,000 Coca-Cola employees have become victims of Breach including Social Security numbers and drivers license numbers
Personal information for about 74,000 Coca-Cola employees, former employees and third parties has been stolen from the company, the Herald has learned. The information, including Social Security numbers and drivers license numbers, was stored in documents on stolen company laptop computers, according to a Coca-Cola spokeswoman. Other information, including compensation, ethnicity and addresses was also taken. “We take personal information security very seriously, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” said company spokeswoman Ann Moore in a statement. The laptops were taken in December by a “former associate who had been assigned to maintain or dispose of Company equipment,” according to a company memo obtained by the Herald. In that memo, company officials said letters are being sent today to about 18,000 current and former employees, along with third parties, whose names were found on the recovered computers. An additional 56,000 letters are being sent to current employees, former employees and others “regarding other sensitive personal information that was on the computers, primarily driver’s license numbers,” the message said. Coca-Cola said there is no indication that the information was misused, and will offer free identity-theft protection service to affected employees to “demonstrate an abundance of caution,” Moore said. Boston Herald.com
Tehran (AFP) – A senior Iranian official Saturday dismissed the need for a Tehran office for UN inspectors tasked with monitoring Iran’s partial nuclear freeze, Mehr news agency said. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency had said the watchdog may ask Iran for permission “to set up a temporary office to provide logistical support,” for its inspectors. UN inspectors are in Iran to monitor the implementation of a nuclear deal with Western powers that took effect on Monday, after Iran stopped enriching uranium above five percent fissile purities at its Natanz and Fordo facilities. ”In our opinion, by considering the volume of nuclear activities in the country, there is no need for setting up a nuclear watchdog office in Iran,” said Reza Najafi, Tehran’s envoy to the IAEA. ”We have not received such a request from the IAEA for setting up an office in Tehran,” Najafi told Mehr news agency. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said on Friday he might seek Iran’s permission for a Tehran office for inspectors. More
The country’s largest crafts chain may be the latest retailer hit by a security breach. Michaels said Saturday that it learned recently of “possible fraudulent activity” on some of its customers’ payment cards, suggesting there may have been a breach. CEO Chuck Rubin said the company has not confirmed a breach, but wanted to alert customers. ”We are concerned there may have been a data security attack on Michaels that may have affected our customers’ payment card information and we are taking aggressive action to determine the nature and scope of the issue,” Rubin said in a statement.
The company gave no additional information on the possible breach, including how many customers may be involved, when those customers shopped at Michaels, and if the possible breach affected online or in-store shoppers. In recent weeks Target (TGT, Fortune 500) and Neiman Marcus have each acknowledged breaches. The attack on Target affected as many as 110 million customers, including 40 million credit and debit card shoppers at the height of the holiday shopping season. Neiman Marcus said a three-month breach in the summer and fall affected 1.1 million customers. Michaels says it operates more than 1,100 stores in the U.S. and Canada. CNN Money
Justin Bieber arrested top story from MSM, Meanwhile Muslim caught in pipe at NJ water treatment plant and Media silent
A New Jersey man was rescued Friday after spending at least 4 hours trapped in an empty pipe at a water treatment plant, authorities said. Officials said Asef Mohammad, 26, of Manalapan Township scaled a chain-link and barbed-wire fence surrounding a United Water facility not far from his home, then climbed into a holding tank to reach a decommissioned 20-inch-diameter pipe, where he got stuck, the Asbury Park Press reported. Why he did it was still a mystery to officials. ”There is no reason for anyone whatsoever to climb into a pipe,” said Rich Henning, a spokesman for United Water.
“It is a facility that pumps water, pumps it out of the ground. ”In 25 years in this business, I have never seen this happen.” Jim Mastrokalos, director of operations for United Water, said workers heard a faint cry for help and eventually traced the voice to the pipe, where they found Mohammad about 10-12 feet into the pipe shortly after 7 a.m. EST, the newspaper said. ”Obviously, that pipe would not be the first place they’d look,” Mastrokalos said of the employees. “But they were proactive and didn’t ignore it.” Assistant Fire Chief Ken Genieczko said rescue crews had to dismantle the pipe section by section to reach Mohammad, then used a harness to pull him out about 11 a.m. Mohammad was described as alert and talking, though hypothermia was a concern, Genieczko said. Mohammad later placed under arrest and was to be charged with fourth-degree trespassing, the newspaper said. UPI
A fox has become the latest victims to the freezing temperatures on Scandinavia’s waters as it was found frozen solid in a lake in southern Sweden. The animal was discovered by a skater on Lake Bunn, near Jönköping, who originally thought it was a piece of foam rubber, but found the poor fox dead in the ice with its head just above the surface. It follows recent ‘animal ice deaths’ in Scandinavia, where an entire shoal of fish were photographed off the coast of Norway just days after a moose had suffered the same fate. Jeffer Sandström, 26, said: ‘From what I could see the ice had obviously cracked and the fox had fallen through the hole.
Unable to get out after scrabbling around it must have tried to swim under the ice in a last-ditch effort to save itself and then probably suffocated.’ He said: ‘I’d been unsure myself as to whether skating on a lake here in Jönköping was a good idea. ‘Temperatures had been below zero for several days though, so in the end I figured it was strong enough for a skate. I guessed the ice was likely between three and five centimetres thick.’ ‘I skated fairly close by and saw it out of the corner of my eye and thought someone had thrown foam rubber of something into the water, and then I saw it was a fox,’ Jeffer told Aftonbladet. ’It was totally frozen, the whiskers were sticking up above the surface.’ More
Following research last week suggesting that HSBC has a major capital shortfall, the fact that several farmer’s co-ops were unable to pay back depositors in China, and, of course, the liquidity crisis in China itself, news from The BBC that HSBC is imposing restrictions on large cash withdrawals raising a number of red flags. The BBC reports that some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it. HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November for their own good: “We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual… the reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.” As one customer responded: “you shouldn’t have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.”
Via The BBC, Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it, the BBC has learnt. Listeners have told Radio 4′s Money Box they were stopped from withdrawing amounts ranging from £5,000 to £10,000. HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November. The bank says it has now changed its guidance to staff. “When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved.” The arrogance is incredible… More
A Russian-Chinese naval training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea began on Saturday involving the Russian nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky and China’s Yancheng frigate, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced. The exercise, which began with a gathering of the ships and accompanying speedboats, is being performed to reinforce co-maneuvering, air defense collaboration as well as naval helicopter landings on the different countries’ ships, the ministry’s press service said. The exercise is focused on “raising the level of operational compatibility between Russian and Chinese military ships during joint actions in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea,” the ministry said. Russian and Chinese military vessels began collaborating in the region on January 7 to ensure security for transports of Syrian chemical weapons. RIANOVOSTI
America is set for the coldest month of the century as weather forecasters predict yet another freezing blast of Arctic air – putting Super Bowl Sunday in jeopardy. Teams have been warned to stay on high alert for changes to the scheduling of the first Super Bowl to be played in an open-air stadium. Temperatures have already hit record lows, at times making parts of the U.S. colder than the North Pole, and are expected to plunge in the coming days. The timing could not be worse for one of the biggest global sporting events, which will be exposed to the full force of the elements at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on February 2. Eric Grubman, NFL vice president of business operations, told the Denver Post: ‘We are advising teams to prepare in case a contingency plan goes into effect.’
The game could be moved to the preceding Friday or Saturday or the following Monday if authorities decide the weather will constitute a danger to public health. Broncos coach John Fox and Seattle coach Pete Carroll will be the first to know if the event is rescheduled. The weather has already caused widespread disruption across great swathes of the U.S. and is set to get worse. Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC, said: ‘The crazy thing is that the current cold snap this week look to be a bit more modest in the face of next week’s outbreak. ’The cold coming for the end of January is sufficient to make this the coldest month of the century so far and the coldest the Lower 48 has felt in the last 20 years.’ Snow from an unexpected storm earlier in the week won’t have a chance to melt before the northeast is hit with yet another blast early next week. More
CHINA – Did you know that financial institutions all over the world are warning that we could see a “mega default” on a very prominent high-yield investment product in China on January 31st? We are being told that this could lead to a cascading collapse of the shadow banking system in China which could potentially result in “sky-high interest rates” and “a precipitous plunge in credit.” In other words, it could be a “Lehman Brothers moment” for Asia. And since the global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, that would be very bad news for the United States as well. Since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, the level of private domestic credit in China has risen from $9 trillion to an astounding $23 trillion. That is an increase of $14 trillion in just a little bit more than 5 years. Much of that “hot money” has flowed into stocks, bonds and real estate in the United States. So what do you think is going to happen when that bubble collapses? The bubble of private debt that we have seen inflate in China since the Lehman crisis is unlike anything that the world has ever seen. Never before has so much private debt been accumulated in such a short period of time. All of this debt has helped fuel tremendous economic growth in China, but now a whole bunch of Chinese companies are realizing that they have gotten in way, way over their heads. In fact, it is being projected that Chinese companies will pay out the equivalent of approximately a trillion dollars in interest payments this year alone. That is more than twice the amount that the U.S. government will pay in interest in 2014.
Over the past several years, the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England have all been criticized for creating too much money. But the truth is that what has been happening in China surpasses all of their efforts combined. You can see an incredible chart which graphically illustrates this point right here. As the Telegraph pointed out a while back, the Chinese have essentially “replicated the entire U.S. commercial banking system” in just five years… Overall credit has jumped from $9 trillion to $23 trillion since the Lehman crisis. “They have replicated the entire U.S. commercial banking system in five years,” she said. The ratio of credit to GDP has jumped by 75 percentage points to 200pc of GDP, compared to roughly 40 points in the US over five years leading up to the subprime bubble, or in Japan before the Nikkei bubble burst in 1990. “This is beyond anything we have ever seen before in a large economy. We don’t know how this will play out. The next six months will be crucial,” she said. Forbes warned: “A WMP default, whether relating to Liansheng or Zhenfu, could devastate the Chinese banking system and the larger economy as well. In short, China’s growth since the end of 2008 has been dependent on ultra-loose credit first channeled through state banks, like ICBC and Construction Bank, and then through the WMPs, which permitted the state banks to avoid credit risk. Any disruption in the flow of cash from investors to dodgy borrowers through WMPs would rock China with sky-high interest rates or a precipitous plunge in credit, probably both. The result? The best outcome would be decades of misery, what we saw in Japan after its bubble burst in the early 1990s.” –Extinction Protocol
CALIFORNIA – State health officials reported Friday that California influenza deaths this flu season have doubled to 95, with an additional 51 cases likely to be confirmed next week. That would put this year’s number of flu fatalities so far at 146. At this time last year, nine deaths had been confirmed, and only 106 were confirmed by the end of the season. “So far we have a much more severe season,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez in a conference call with reporters Friday. He said that flu activity in California remained “widespread.”” In part, the gap between this year’s deaths and the number of deaths at this time last year is because this year’s season struck early, Chavez said. However, this year’s predominant flu strain is H1N1 “swine flu,” which is more deadly than other strains. Seventy-five of this year’s 95 confirmed deaths were caused by H1N1, Chavez said.
Chavez said that the week ending Jan. 18 saw a decrease in hospitalizations and out-patient visits for the flu. He added that the level was still higher than expected for this time of year, and that it’s unclear whether this means that the peak of season has already hit. “It’s too early to tell … whether that’s the beginning of a reversal or just a temporary change,” he said. Chavez urged people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the flu. The flu typically is most deadly among young children and the elderly. H1N1, however, affects young adults more severely than most other forms of the flu. Three of the 95 confirmed fatalities were children under 10, according to Chavez. The most recent was confirmed in Riverside County, and the two others were in San Mateo County and Los Angeles County. State epidemiologist James Watt said the majority of the young adults who died of the flu had other conditions that put them at risk, like obesity, pregnancy or underlying health issues. Extinction Protocol
A teenage Russian national was arrested late Friday on charges of possessing a weapon of mass destruction, police in Altoona, Pa. said. Blair County Prison confirmed to Fox News that Vladislav Miftakhov, 19, is in custody. Altoon Mayor Matthew Pacifico said Miftakjov is a student at Penn Stat University Altoona. He is charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction, risking a catastrophe, possessing instruments of crime, prohibited offensive weapons, incendiary devices, recklessly endangering another person, and several drug-related charges.
Officers had been investigating an alleged marijuana growing operation when they discovered the alleged bomb, according to a statement posted on the police department’s Facebook page. They said the bomb was found inside a suitcase along with “assorted bomb making materials.” ”The bomb was safely deconstructed by experts from the Pennsylvania State Police Bomb Squad,” the statement read. Miftakhov allegedly told investigators he bought the bomb-making materials online over the past few weeks. Police did not release any details about a possible motive or possible targets. Mayor Pacifico said the city had “quite a scare.” ”This is something you hear about in big cities or movies, but not something you would think would happen in a place like Altoona,” he told Fox News. The Altoona Police Department said federal agencies had been notified and are assisting with the investigation. Fox News
Gunfire erupted in a Columbia, Maryland, shopping mall late Saturday morning, leaving three people dead and four injured, police said. Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon told reporters that the shooter apparently shot two people before shooting himself in a store on the second floor. The motive was unclear. Police entered the mall and found three people dead, including one person who was found near a gun and ammunition. There was no indication of additional shots being fired. The scene was secure shortly before 1 p.m., police said. “Think about this, on a Saturday afternoon at the mall, how many people may be in there,” McMahon said at a press conference as mall customers and employees were still being evacuated.
“Something like this happens and people run in many directions, and they also do what we train them to do — to shelter in place.” A federal official briefed on the shooting told CNN preliminary information indicates the shooting may have been related to a domestic dispute. Four people from the mall were transported to Howard County General Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said in a statement. They were in good condition. One patient was a shooting victim, the others suffered injuries after the shooting. McMahon said one person had a seizure, another a sprained ankle. Mall employees told CNN the gunfire erupted near a second-floor food court in the late morning, sending shoppers and workers running for cover.
Police in Northern California have arrested an elementary schoolteacher after she allegedly brought marijuana-laced food to an after-hours employee potluck dinner. Teresa Gilmete Badger, a 47-year-old teacher at Matthew Turner Elementary School in Benicia, was arrested Friday afternoon on suspicion of poisoning after a six-week-long investigation, said Lt. Frank Hartig of the Benicia Police Department. After the late-November get-together in the Bay Area town, several people reported feeling ill, a police statement said. ”One of the partygoers was rushed to the hospital with severe reactions; she was hospitalized,” Hartig told CNN affiliate KPIX. “The very next morning, another partygoer was taken to the hospital, because she continued to feel like she was under the influence of something.” At least one of the women tested positive for THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the principal intoxicant in marijuana, police said. A 15-year-old also got sick after someone at the party brought leftovers home, according to police. During their investigation, police said they were told that Badger had “allegedly confessed her involvement to individuals who were also in attendance at the party.” She was arrested Friday and booked into Solano County Jail in Fairfield. Bail was set at $15,000. Badger chose not to speak to arresting officers, Hartig said. CNN
Zechariah 12:2-3 – 2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
Joel 3:1-2 – 3 “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.
The government is planning to cede several sites in ancient Jerusalem to Muslim and Christian ownership, and Israel’s rabbis remain silent, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel has accused. “There is a terrible plan, called the ‘holy basin,’ to split Jerusalem between Christians, Muslims and Jews,” Rabbi Ariel said, speaking to Arutz Sheva. Rabbi Ariel, who heads the Temple Institute, continued, “The Christians will get the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Zion, the Muslims will get the Temple Mount, and we Jews will need to visit the Kotel (Western Wall) under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.” The Palestinian Authority (PA) denies the Jewish connection to the Western Wall, and PA TV has labeled Jewish worship at the holy site “sin and filth.” Even if Jewish worship at the Kotel were to continue freely, the loss of access to the Temple Mount would be highly significant. The Temple Mount is the holiest site on earth according to Judaism, and is the place where the First Temple and Second Temple once stood. The plan to split Jerusalem’s holy sites between various religions “has existed for some time, and now they’re going to implement it in stages,” Rabbi Ariel warned, adding, “During the Pope’s next visit they plan to transfer the Cenacle on Mount Zion to him, turning it into a pilgrimage site.”
He criticized Israel’s rabbis, including the Chief Rabbis, for their silence. “Not long ago they gave the Russian Compound to Russia, now the Christians are restoring a church – unused until now – on the Mount of Olives, and thus they slowly sell Jerusalem, and nobody raises their voice in protest,” he charged. “Where is the Chief Rabbinate? They’re going to take the heart of Jerusalem and make it a Christian center,” he continued. “Remember Rabbi Nissim. When the Pope came to visit fifty years ago, he insisted that if the Pope wanted to meet him he could come to his office in Jerusalem, he would not go greet him,” Rabbi Ariel recalled. He accused his fellow rabbis of focusing on “price tag” vandalism of Arab property rather than the future of Jerusalem. “Three hundred rabbis spoke out against ‘price tag.’ Is this what you’ve found to get involved with, is this what pains you? “Instead of meeting with the Prime Minister to protest the sale of Jerusalem, you’re speaking out against a handful of youths who burned a rug,” he accused. Arutz Sheva 7
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that it is “long past time” for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to reach a peace deal, but stressed that Israel’s security must be ensured in such a deal. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kerry stressed that Israel cannot make peace with the PA so long as it fears that the Palestinian state will become another Gaza. “The Palestinians need to know that at the end of the day, their territory is going to be free of Israeli troops; that occupation ends,” Kerry said, according to the Washington Post. “But the Israelis, rightfully, will not withdraw unless they know that the West Bank will not become a new Gaza Nobody can blame any leader of Israel for being concerned about that reality,” he added.
Kerry made clear that, in his view, the end of the Israeli-Arab conflict would involve “a phased but complete withdrawal of Israeli forces” from Judea and Samaria. He also noted that the goal is also “mutual recognition of the nation-state of the Palestinian people and the nation-state of the Jewish people.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stressed that peace is contingent upon the PA recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. The PA has already formally refused to do so. Kerry said in his speech that if a peace agreement is reached, both sides would see major economic boosts from an explosion of tourism to the area, according to a report in Voice of America. The Secretary of State added that “today’s status quo will not last forever,” and that failure will only embolden extremists. Earlier, Kerry met with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. A senior State Department official told Voice of America that meeting focused on the need to address all “core issues.” More
SAN FRANCISCO – Brows were raised and eyes rolled back when needle exchange programs were first implemented to stop the spread of disease. Giving away free and clean syringes to heroin users seemed preposterous to many. Now it is a common practice and almost universally accepted as a means to prevent the spread of HIV. Could the same happen with free crack pipes? Soon after our story was posted Friday, KPIX 5 received a flurry of phone calls and emails from city officials denouncing the idea to distribute the crack pipes. Mayor Ed Lee was first with a statement, via an email from his spokesperson, Christine Falvey: “Mayor Lee is not aware of this exploration and is not supportive. There are many other HIV interventions that could and should be explored before ever considering this.” Barbara Garcia, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, elaborated in a phone call to KPIX 5. “This is a recommendation from a community group,” Garcia said. “And we get lots of different kinds of recommendations. That recommendation has not come to me. And I’m telling you that if it did, I would say ‘absolutely no, we are not going to distribute crack pipes.’ We have a lot of things to consider for those who are using crack for improving their health. And the distribution of crack pipes is not something I’m going to consider.” More
VINELAND, NJ — Police in Vineland are searching for the suspects who vandalized statues outside two churches overnight. According to the Vineland Police Department, officers were dispatched to the Sacred Heart Church at 922 E Landis Avenue for reported criminal mischief. An investigation revealed that sometime during the night, the suspects had vandalized several religious statues on church property. The vandals hacked off the head of a statue of the Virgin Mary. In addition, the vandals also chopped a statue of Joseph in half. A few hours later, officers were dispatched to St. Francis of Assisi Church at 23 W Chestnut Avenue for the same incident. A subsequent investigation revealed statues at this church had been damaged in the same manner as the ones at Sacred Heart. At the St. Francis of Assisi Church, the vandals hammered in the faces of Jesus, Mary and Joseph on a statue. “They are not just statues, but pictures and images of people that should be remembered,” parishioner Jose Rodriguez said. For the faithful, it is an emotional attack. “I cannot imagine what is going through the mind of a person that would deliberately go deface statues that are dedicated to our savior,” Deacon Richard Sampson of Christ the Good Shepherd said. In September, statues were also vandalized at St. Mary’s in Malaga. It is not just violent manner in which these statues were attacked, it’s the fact that these parishes are several miles apart that leads Catholics to believe that they are clearly being targeted. More
MISSOURI — The New Madrid fault zone in the nation’s midsection is active and could spawn future large earthquakes, scientists reported Thursday. It’s “not dead yet,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough, who was part of the study published online by the journal Science. Researchers have long debated just how much of a hazard New Madrid (MAD’-rihd) poses. The zone stretches 150 miles, crossing parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. In 1811 and 1812, it unleashed a trio of powerful jolts — measuring magnitudes 7.5 to 7.7 — that rattled the central Mississippi River valley. Chimneys fell and boats capsized. Farmland sank and turned into swamps. The death toll is unknown, but experts don’t believe there were mass casualties because the region was sparsely populated then. Unlike California’s San Andreas and other faults that occur along boundaries of shifting tectonic plates, New Madrid is less understood since it’s in the middle of the continent, far from plate boundaries. Previous studies have suggested that it may be shutting down, based on GPS readings that showed little strain accumulation at the surface. Other research came to the same conclusion by blaming ongoing quake activity on aftershocks from the 1800s, which would essentially relieve strain on the fault. The latest study suggests otherwise.
Hough and USGS geophysicist Morgan Page in Pasadena, Calif., analyzed past quakes in the New Madrid region and used computer modeling to determine that the continuing tremors are not related to the big quakes two centuries ago. “Our new results tell us that something is going on there, and therefore a repeat of the 1811-1812 sequence is possible,” Hough said. The USGS estimates there’s a 7 to 10 percent chance of that happening in the next 50 years. Arthur Frankel, a seismologist with the USGS in Seattle who had no role in the study, said the latest results seem plausible. His recent field work using GPS shows significant movement of land along the fault in the past decade, indicating a buildup of strain that could lead to potentially dangerous quakes. Others said this won’t end the debate about the hazards on the New Madrid seismic zone. Andrew Newman, a geophysicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said the method used in the study works well for faults along plate boundaries, but he’s unsure if it applies to enigmatic faults like New Madrid. Extinction Protocol
BEIJING – China’s military has released images of an intercontinental ballistic missile with enough range to reach the United States, as Beijing is involved in a series of rows threatening to embroil Washington. The pictures of Chinese soldiers test-firing a Dongfeng-31 missile, which is said by experts to be able to carry nuclear warheads 8,000 kilometers (4,960 miles), appeared in the People’s Liberation Army Daily newspaper on Tuesday. Further images showing soldiers dressed in protective suits, suggesting that the drill was simulating the launch of an armed warhead, were also posted on the sohu.com news portal, attributed to the newspaper. Sohu.com said it was the first time that images of such an exercise had been released. The images could not be found on the PLA Daily’s website when checked by AFP on Thursday. China is embroiled in a series of territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea, and is locked in a row with Japan in the East China Sea over islands administered by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing. The U.S. has a security alliance with Japan and Vice President Joe Biden said last month that a strategic shift to Asia would continue. –SW
Military build-up continues: Visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met Thursday with senior Chinese officials amid mounting tension between Beijing and Washington over China’s increasingly public displays of military might in the region. As Burns arrived in Beijing earlier this week, China’s army showed off the first-ever images of its advanced Dongfeng-31 intercontinental ballistic missile being tested. Published Tuesday on a website affiliated with People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the photos show soldiers preparing and test launching the missiles, which put China’s nuclear warheads in range of the U.S. West Coast and most European capitals. “Seeing this photo, Americans will of course take it as a sign of more remarkable military threat,” Shi Yinhong, a professor of International Relations and director of the Centre on American Studies at China’s Renmin University told CBS News. “But China is determined and will continue its military buildup despite the fact that America is discontent.” Extinction Protocol
Sunni group launches rocket attacks inside Lebanon
Barrel bombs hit Syrian suburb of Daraya
Tunisia PM-designate fails to form government
Israeli minister urges building of temple to replace Al-Aqsa Mosque
Bomb explodes near police academy in Cairo
At least 14 people killed in a series of attacks in and around Iraq’s capital Baghdad
Afghan president blames US forces for killing civilians
British police arrest 16 people accused of links to Syria insurgents
WARNING! Severe Weather Alert For Britain – 80mph Winds Forecast