666 ALERT: U.S. Will Finance Devices to Track Children With Autism/MIRACLE:PARALYSED BASKETBALL PLAYER WALKS AGAIN/THE FITURE OF ESPIONAGE: INSECT DRONES and more signs of JESUS’ soon return

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Parents upset after school takes lunches from students with account deficits

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Dozens of students at a Salt Lake City elementary school were served lunch Tuesday, only to have the food taken from them and thrown away in an incident parents said was uncalled for and humiliating for the children. The incident took place at Uintah Elementary School when students were told their school lunch account had either a zero or a negative balance. The students’ lunches were taken and thrown away, and the students were provided with fruit and milk. Officials said it’s school policy for food in such situations to be put in the trash. Parent Erica Lukes said taking away her child’s lunch was “ridiculous.” “I don’t think any child should have to feel like that over a two-dollar lunch balance,” she said. Jason Olsen is the communication director for the Salt Lake City School District, and he said in a statement officials with the school and district started calling parents with negative or zero balances on school lunch accounts beginning Monday and continuing Tuesday. He said students without money in their account were told Tuesday they would only be getting fruit and milk. Because the children are given their lunch before they go to process payment, those without positive account balances had their lunches taken away from them. The statement from Olsen reads in part: “This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner.
We apologize. We are also investigating what type of notification parents may or may not have received prior to this week. The schools says they inform students when they go through the lunch line if they have a low balance. They say they also send notes home in the student’s Monday folders. However, when contacted Monday or Tuesday, many parents were surprised by the news. The district has specific guidelines for school kitchen managers on how parents should be notified, and we are currently investigating to see if these guidelines were followed correctly. We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again.” Fox 13 News

US intel fear attack on American soil, while Syria spirals out of control

Intelligence reports say there is a threat of a terrorist attack on US soil by an Al-Qaida-linked group based in Syria. But despite the Mideast country increasingly resembling a haven for terrorists, the US is still not convinced it wants to deal with the government. Fears of an attack were discussed Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Its possible source is believed to be the Al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, which the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said “[has] aspirations for attacks on the homeland,” Reuters reported. Surrounded by other high-ranking US intelligence and security officials, Clapper on Wednesday discussed how Syria is becoming a terrorist haven after a prolonged three-year conflict.
He also compared the situation to Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal areas (FATA) – which became a safe haven for Al-Qaida leaders after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001.  “What’s going on there may be in some respects a new FATA force … and the attraction of these foreign fighters is very, very worrisome,” Clapper said, adding that more than 7,000 militants fighting in Syria now come from around 50 different countries. The figure was not freely circulated until the Wednesday meeting, being previously kept in top-secret intelligence reports, Clapper said. He added that training grounds for rebel militants have also been spotted and that hundreds of West Europeans and a few Americans have joined up with the rebel and received training. The news comes as US and European security officials said earlier this week that the US Congress had secretly approved more light arms deliveries for “moderate” factions fighting to oust President Bashar Assad. This practice, according to the officials, has been held up for months due to fears of the weapons falling into radical Islamist hands. More

Connecticut Gun Owners Revolt; Refuse to Register Firearms & Magazines

 
Gun owners in Connecticut have revolted against a new gun control law, with just 38,000 out of 2.4 million high capacity magazines being registered with authorities. Following the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, Connecticut passed a law which banned ammunition magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds. Residents who had acquired such magazines before the law came into effect were mandated to register them with state police by January 1, 2014. The law also banned assault rifles manufactured after 1994, requiring them to be declared to authorities. Weeks after the deadline expired, authorities revealed that 50,016 assault weapons and 38,290 ammunition magazines had been registered. CT News Junkie reported that it is, “unclear how many gun owners own the banned weapons and magazines, but chose not to comply with the registration requirement.” However, a 2011 Office of Legislative Research study found that, “there are over 2.4 million large capacity magazines in Connecticut that originated at the retail level.” This number didn’t even include those not purchased at the retail level. More

 

Chief of Police Harassed by Feds, Fired After Signing Pledge to Uphold Constitution

A police chief was detained and harassed by federal agents while traveling to a constitutional convention before returning home to be told he was fired and ordered to disband his police department after signing a pledge to uphold the bill of rights. Police Chief Shane Harger of the Jemez Springs, NM Police Department was flying out of Albuquerque Airport last week on his way to a Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) convention taking place in Las Vegas. CSPOA is an organization headed up by Sheriff Richard Mack under which law enforcement officers gather to re-affirm their commitment to uphold and defend the Constitution. Before passing security, Harger was approached by a TSA agent who asked the police chief to show his credentials. Moments later, a man claiming to be a “federal agent” also asked to see Harger’s credentials before telling him he was a “person of interest.” The federal agent then demanded to know where Harger was traveling to and why. When Harger told the federal agent he was attending the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association Convention in Las Vegas, he was detained for 35 minutes before finally being allowed to board the airplane. On Tuesday January 28, a day after his return, Harger was placed on administrative leave and ordered by Sandoval County, NM, Sheriff Douglas C. Wood to disband his entire police department due to his “political affiliations”. What were his political affiliations?
While attending the convention, Harger, along with 38 other police officers, signed a declaration affirming their pledge to “obey and observe” the U.S. Constitution, in addition to refusing to carry out unconstitutional orders such as gun confiscation without constitutionally compliant warrants, violations of the 4th amendment without probable cause, detainment or incarceration of citizens without probable cause, or working with the military for domestic law enforcement. In other words, Harger was targeted for federal harassment and subsequently fired for re-affirming his belief in the very Constitution he took an oath to uphold and protect in order to become a police officer in the first place. “Despite having received a meritorious commendation from the Mayor of Jemez Springs on January 22, 2014, it seems that no one in the village government is willing to come to the assistance of Harger. It appears that Harger’s stance to defend and uphold the Constitution has put him and his entire department of ten part-time and volunteers out of business,” writes Vincent Finelli. “I was at the convention and I never saw nor heard anyone say nor do anything that was a violation of any law. The CSPOA convention was an assembly of peace-loving Americans who just wanted to uphold their oath of office, that being to support and defend the US Constitution and Bill of Rights for all of us, We The People,” adds Finelli. More

Has the age of biometrics arrived?

Apple’s new iPhone 5S comes with the company’s first fingerprint scanner. A simple stamp of your thumb can now unlock the phone or confirm online purchases. No passwords are required.  While Apple fans have long awaited this big update, so has another group: the biometrics industry. Sensor companies have been wishing for a major player to swoop in, show how far the technology has advanced, and persuade shoppers that biometrics can be cool. ”Many think that the iPhone 5S is a tipping point for consumers,” says Adam Vrankulj, editor of the industry news outlet Biometric Update. After Apple purchased fingerprint-sensor company AuthenTec for $350 million in 2012, the stock price of several similar firms more than doubled.  Fingerprint sensors have come a long way since 2002, when researchers found a way to trick high-end scanners with fake gelatin fingers. Today’s technology not only reads the tiny ridge patterns, but some can also look at blood flow and vein patterns underneath the skin. Plus, we now know that fingerprints and irises are not people’s only unique features. Scientists have devised ways to identify humans by the shape of their ears, kneecaps, and even their bottoms. A team at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo designed its rump sensor as an antitheft measure for cars. The group claims that these prototype seats can recognize the owner’s posterior with 98 percent accuracy. More
How long do you typically wait to see your doctor? Well if your physician is in D.C., you will most likely wait about 17 days to schedule an appointment. A survey of physicians nationwide found the average wait time for a new patient is nearly 19 days. The longest wait time was in Boston at 72 days and the shortest is in Dallas with 10 days. The wait times focused on specialized physicians, such as cardiologists, dermatologists and orthopedic surgeons. Overall, wait times declined from about 20 days in 2009. Experts say that is due to more nurses, better health care scheduling systems and more urgent care centers. More
Five years ago, Richard Guiler and Tom Vaneck were sitting at a bar a few blocks from their office, trying to take their minds off work. For nearly a year, the two engineers had been struggling to develop a durable drone that could dodge objects, navigate inside buildings, and fly in stormy weather. They’d tried fixed-wing models, but adding enough sensors to effectively detect obstacles made them too heavy to fly. They’d tried helicopters, but the rotors kept getting tangled in branches and electrical wires. They’d even built a motorized balloon; all it took was a gentle gust of wind to blow it off course.  As they sat nursing their beers, Guiler and Vaneck watched as a fly appeared to slam into a window. Instead of breaking apart on contact as their drones did, the insect bounced off the glass and recovered. Then it did it again.
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“It was an epiphany,” says Vaneck, who works for the Massachusetts research and development company Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI). “We realized if we could make a manmade system that could hit things, recover, and continue on, that’s a revolution.” The idea of borrowing designs from nature is far from new, particularly when it comes to flight. The ancient Greeks dreamed up Daedalus, who fashioned wings for his son (which unfortunately worked a little too well). Leonardo da Vinci sketched a human-powered ornithopter. But until recently, inventors lacked the aerodynamics expertise to turn diagrams into mechanical versions of something as quotidian as a fly or a bee. As technology has advanced, scientists have decoded many of nature’s secrets. And engineers have developed the first flying, insect-inspired vehicles, opening the door to an entirely new class of machine: the microdrone. More

Arizona Pastor Now Performs Exorcisms Via Skype

An Arizona pastor claims he can now exorcise demons from people in different parts of the world via Skype. Bob Larson, who says he has conducted more than 20,000 exorcisms in his lifetime, showed CNN how he uses the video chatting service when expelling evil spirits. He performed an exorcism from his office in Scottsdale, Ariz., on David, who is from Norway, while the network’s cameras filmed the event. Larson says David was inhabited by four demons but that the exorcism was a success. Despite what some people may think, the reverend says his exorcisms are more than just an act. “It’s real,” he told CNN. “There would be no reason to theatrically stage this for any reason. Why would anybody do that? I have no idea.” Larson recently said in a blog post that pop singer Katy Perry has demons. Perry, who was raised in a Christian family and performed Christian music as a teenager, recently told GQ magazine that she believes in “a cosmic energy,” astrology and aliens. She does not believe, however, in heaven or hell, or that “God is an old guy sitting on a throne with a long beard.”

U.S. Will Finance Devices to Track Children With Autism

Following the death of a 14-year-old who walked away from his Queens school, the Justice Department will pay for voluntary-use GPS tracking devices for children with autism or other conditions that put them at risk for fleeing their caregivers. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said on Wednesday that the federal government already provided grant money for devices to track seniors with Alzheimer’s and that the department would now allow for the grant funds’ beneficiaries to include children with autism spectrum disorder. The teenager, Avonte Oquendo, who had severe autism and was nonverbal, disappeared on Oct. 4, setting off an extensive search. His remains were found in the East River this month, miles from where he was last seen.
The cause of Avonte’s death remains under investigation. Mr. Schumer said the program would be voluntary for parents and would be run by local law enforcement agencies. Senator Charles E. Schumer with Vanessa Fontaine, center, the mother of Avonte Oquendo, and Avonte’s grandmother Doris McCoy. Avonte’s remains were found this month after he disappeared at age 14 from his school in October.Schumer Proposes ‘Avonte’s Law’ to Protect Children With AutismJAN. 26, 2014 Daniel Oquendo, the father of Avonte, touched his son’s coffin at St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village on Saturday.An Outpouring of Support as Avonte Oquendo Is Laid to RestJAN. 25, 2014 Last weekend, Avonte’s family and Mr. Schumer called for legislation to provide the devices. He said he would continue to push for it, to provide a stable source of funding. The senator had put the cost of each monitor at about $85, plus a few dollars in monthly fees. The New York Times

Cold grips parts of Europe; 4 die in Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — A cold spell and snowstorms are sweeping across parts of central and eastern Europe, disrupting power supplies, travel and schools. Four people have died in Bulgaria over the past few days, and Wednesday was the coldest day of the year in Moscow. In Britain, where the problem has been heavy rain, the government’s emergency committee met Wednesday to find ways to help people living in villages that have been flooded since the Christmas period. Bulgaria’s heavy snow and strong winds have left dozens of villages in the eastern half of the Balkan country without electricity and water. A 76-year-old man died after getting stuck in a snowdrift in the village of Povet, near the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Three other men have died in weather-related incidents in eastern villages in the last two days. Many roads are closed to traffic while rescue teams try to bring food supplies to remote areas. Hundreds of schools remain closed, and the main Black Sea port of Varna was shut because of high winds. Snow fell in the central Adriatic coast in Croatia, which is highly unusual because the region has a Mediterranean climate. The ice and snow in the seaside town of Sibenik prompted authorities to close down schools there. Heavy snow is also falling in neighboring Montenegro, causing road traffic problems. More

DAYS OF LOT – Street preacher arrested in Scotland for condemning homosexuality

Tony Miano, an American evangelical street preacher and former policeman, must be getting used to being arrested for his beliefs in Britain. Miano was arrested January 8th, in Dundee, Scotland, and remanded in custody to appear before Dundee Sheriff Court the next day. Charged with a public order offence and held for nearly 30 hours, Miano was allowed to return to the US on the condition that he returns to the court in April. A spokesman for the legal advocacy group Christian Concern told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation of street preachers being arrested is getting out of hand, with police making what are, essentially, arbitrary arrests.  Garry Selfridge, spokesman for Christian Concern said that the Dundee court “is being a little pathetic and backward” in allowing the proceedings to move forward. “There is an overall blanket of political correctness that cloaks the whole establishment in the UK, so the police are not well advised or well trained to deal with such situations,” he said. He was emphatic that Mr. Miano had not preached against particular people or about the nature of the homosexual inclination, “being gay,” but only against “homosexual activity.” But in modern Britain, he added, the mere mention that homosexual practice might be regarded in the Bible as sinful is now regarded as reason enough for police to make an arrest. Following a centuries-old custom among British evangelicals, Miano was on a preaching tour of Scotland in early January and was speaking in the central shopping area of Dundee, when he was arrested for causing a “disturbance”.  More

DAYS OF LOT – Arch Bishop flies to Africa telling Anglicans to treat gay people as ‘children of God’

The Archbishop of Canterbury is on a collision course with Anglican leaders in Africa as he sets off on a five-day trip to the continent while denouncing new laws persecuting gay people. The Most Rev Justin Welby and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, issued a joint letter to the heads of Anglican churches around the world urging them to “demonstrate the love of Christ” to same-sex couples. It comes just days after the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan – with the approval of many Christians – signed harsh new laws making homosexual acts offences punishable with 14 years in prison and with 10 years even for public displays of affection. The Ugandan parliament also recently passed new laws increasing the punishment for gay sex and making speaking about homosexuality without condemning it an imprisonable offence. President Yoweri Museveni has so far refused to sign the bill into law. The Anglican Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, is among the most vocal of African church leaders in condemning homosexuality, recently saying that it would incur God’s wrath. African clerics have also publicly criticised the Church England for the publication of the Piling Report, which recommends special wedding-like services to honour gay couples. But in their joint letter to all Anglican Primates, the Archbishops speak of people with same-sex attraction as “children of God”.More

EU has secret plan for police to ‘remote stop’ cars

The European Union is secretly developing a “remote stopping” device to be fitted to all cars that would allow the police to disable vehicles at the flick of a switch from a control room. Confidential documents from a committee of senior EU police officers, who hold their meetings in secret, have set out a plan entitled “remote stopping vehicles” as part of wider law enforcement surveillance and tracking measures. “The project will work on a technological solution that can be a ‘build in standard’ for all cars that enter the European market,” said a restricted document. The devices, which could be in all new cars by the end of the decade, would be activated by a police officer working from a computer screen in a central headquarters. Once enabled the engine of a car used by a fugitive or other suspect would stop, the supply of fuel would be cut and the ignition switched off. The technology, scheduled for a six-year development timetable, is aimed at bringing dangerous high-speed car chases to an end and to make redundant current stopping techniques such as spiking a vehicle’s tyres. The proposal was outlined as part of the “key objectives” for the “European Network of Law Enforcement Technologies”, or Enlets, a secretive off-shoot of a European “working party” aimed at enhancing police cooperation across the EU. Statewatch, a watchdog monitoring police powers, state surveillance and civil liberties in the EU, have leaked the documents amid concerns the technology poses a serious threat to civil liberties. More

UPDATE: 9-Year-Old Boy Given Exorcism After String of Strange Incidents

A 9-year-old Indiana boy was given an exorcism after a string of reportedly bizarre incidents at his home. The Indianapolis Star first reported the story, and the city’s police chief has said that the story is credible. The strange events are detailed in nearly 800 pages of official records.  Rev. Michael Maginot, who performed the exorcism, was on The O’Reilly Factor tonight to discuss his experience. He said he got a call from a hospital chaplain one morning after witnesses say the boy walked up a wall backwards. O’Reilly pressed Maginot on why he never personally interviewed the boy ahead of the exorcism, instead interviewing his mother and grandmother. Maginot said he did an extensive, four-hour interview with the child’s mother and grandmother, during which a light started flickering and stopped flickering whenever Maginot approached.  O’Reilly questioned the story’s credibility. Watch the video above to hear what Maginot had to say about the strange case. Tonight on The Kelly File, Megyn interviewed the Indianapolis Star reporter who broke this story. Watch her interview with Marisa Kwiatkowski below. More
China is developing anti-satellite missiles and other exotic weapons that can destroy or disrupt vital U.S. military and commercial communications, space warfare experts told Congress on Tuesday. “The current and evolving counterpace threat posed by China to U.S. military operations in the Asia Pacific theater and outside is extremely serious,” said Ashley J. Tellis, a former State Department and National Security Council strategic specialist. “And the threat ranks on par with the dangers posed by Chinese offensive cyber operations to the United States more generally,” said Tellis, now with the Carnegie Endowment. China’s growing space warfare capabilities were the subject of a hearing at the House Armed Services joint subcommittees on strategic forces and seapower. Robert L. Butterworth, a former chief of strategic planning at Air Force Space Command, said China’s growing space weapons include cyber weapons, electronic jammers, laser, both high- and low-earth orbit ASAT missiles, and recently the launch of small maneuvering satellites capable of attacking or grabbing U.S. satellites. China’s military is preparing for a future military conflict with the United States, and as a result its counterspace weaponry is being developed to limit U.S. joint warfighting that currently is very reliant on satellites for communications and the maneuvering forces over long distances, Butterworth said. “For the near term, at least, I think [China] will probably favor systems to achieve mission kill by attacking U.S. satellites directly, either from orbit or on the ground,” said Butterworth, now head of the consulting firm Aries Analytics. As part of preparations for future space warfare, China is seeking to determine what U.S. satellites to kill, and in the future may covertly place sensors in space near key U.S. strategic satellites to assist in targeting for future attacks, he added.
Butterworth said many U.S. war plans currently assume military satellites will be functioning normally in a future conflict. He said war planners must now prepare for the loss of satellites as Chinese space weaponry advances. China and the United States are engaged in a “long term military competition,” and China regards neutralizing U.S. satellites as a key warfighting priority, he said. To counter the anti-satellite threat “will require real capabilities” that will require high financial costs, he said. The Chinese space threat “won’t be moderated by proselytizing space norms, or deterrence by demarche, or a code of conduct for good guys in space,” Butterworth said. War with China is not inevitable, but stepping up efforts to counter China’s space warfare capabilities militarily would help ensure China is dissuaded from conducting attacks in space, he added. Michael Krepon, a strategic analyst with the Stimson Center, said he regards the space debris caused by China’s 2007 ASAT test as a major concern regarding space warfare. Krepon said he opposes developing dedicated space weapons to counter the Chinese space threat because current capabilities, like anti-missile defenses, have some space warfare capabilities. Krepon said he backs a “multilayered approach” to the threat combining strategic deterrence of space attacks, with adding more and smaller satellites that are difficult to target and working out an international code of conduct with China and other space-faring nations for space. More

PROPHECY WATCH: World risks deflationary shock as BRICS puncture credit bubbles

Half the world economy is one accident away from a deflation trap. The International Monetary Fund says the probability may now be as high as 20pc. It is a remarkable state of affairs that the G2 monetary superpowers – the US and China – should both be tightening into such a 20pc risk, though no doubt they have concluded that asset bubbles are becoming an even bigger danger. “We need to be extremely vigilant,” said the IMF’s Christine Lagarde in Davos. “The deflation risk is what would occur if there was a shock to those economies now at low inflation rates, way below target. I don’t think anyone can dispute that in the eurozone, inflation is way below target.” It is not hard to imagine what that shock might be. It is already before us as Turkey, India and South Africa all slam on the brakes, forced to defend their currencies as global liquidity drains away. The World Bank warns in its latest report – Capital Flows and Risks in Developing Countries – that the withdrawal of stimulus by the US Federal Reserve could throw a “curve ball” at the international system. “If market reactions to tapering are precipitous, developing countries could see flows decline by as much as 80pc for several months,” it said.
A quarter of these economies risk a sudden stop. “While this adjustment might be short-lived, it is likely to inflict serious stresses, potentially heightening crisis risks.” The report said they may need capital controls to navigate the storm – or technically to overcome the “Impossible Trinity” of monetary autonomy, a stable exchange rate and free flows of funds. William Browder from Hermitage says that is exactly where the crisis is leading, and it will be sobering for investors to learn that their money is locked up – already the case in Cyprus, and starting in Egypt. The chain-reaction becomes self-fulfilling. “People will start asking themselves which country is next,” he said. Emerging markets are now half the global economy, so we are in uncharted waters. Roughly $4 trillion of foreign funds swept into emerging markets after the Lehman crisis, much of it by then “momentum money” late to the party. The IMF says $470bn is directly linked to money printing by the Fed . “We don’t know how much of this is going to come out again, or how quickly,” said an official from the Fund. More

Currency devaluation ‘easy’ answer to emerging market crisis – Saxo Bank chief

The emerging market currency crisis is being propelled by policymakers who are “seeking the easy answer” by devaluing their currency, which is an unsustainable global model, Saxo Bank CEO Steen Jacobsen told RT. The spectacular loss of value in emerging market currencies – the South African rand, the Russian ruble, the Indian rupee, and the Turkish lira-is a result of government’s tightening monetary policy, which has even further driven down the value against the euro and dollar . Governments face huge monetary policy decisions in the third and final stage of the global financial crisis which kicked off in 2008 with America’s sub-prime mortgage crisis and spilled into Europe, but simultaneous devaluation of currencies in the hope of driving up exports can’t be universally applied, says the Saxo Bank chief.
“We are in the final part of this cycle. Which comes next is probably the mandate for change. All we need to Change, the export-driven model Is not Sustainable Business, “ Jacobsen RT Told in an Interview at His Moscow office. 2013 has been a train wreck of a year for emerging currencies, which are taking a huge beating from the euro and dollar as their respective economies regain post-crisis strength. India’s rupee has had one of its worst years ever, and in 2013 lost 11 percent against the dollar. The ruble has hit a 5-year Low Against both the Dollar and Euro, soaring above 48 rubles against the euro, and over 35 rubles against the dollar. The rand hit a five-year low at 11.3785, the highest since October 2008. The Turkish lira and Mexican peso fell in response to the big dip. More

World Bank Ex-Chief Economist Calls For Dollar To Be Replaced By ‘Super Currency’

PROPHECY WATCH: The World Bank’s former chief economist wants to replace the US dollar with a single global super-currency, saying it will create a more stable global financial system. “The dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises,” Justin Yifu Lin told Bruegel, a Brussels-based policy-research think tank. “The solution to this is to replace the national currency with a global currency.” Lin, now a professor at Peking University and a leading adviser to the Chinese government, said expanding the basket of major reserve currencies — the dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and pound sterling — will not address the consequences of a financial crisis. Internationalizing the Chinese currency is not the answer, either, he said. Lin urged the international community, especially the US and European Union, to play a leading role in currency and infrastructure initiatives. To boost the global economy, he proposed the launch of a “global infrastructure initiative” to remove development bottlenecks in poor and developing countries, a measure he said would also offer opportunities for advanced economies. “China can only play a supporting role in realizing the plans,” Lin said.
“The urgent thing is for the US and Europe to endorse these plans. And I think the G20 is an ideal platform to discuss the ideas,” he said, referring to the group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies. The concept of a global “super currency” tied to a basket of currencies has been periodically discussed by world leaders as well as endorsed by 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz. A super currency could also be tied to a single currency, but the interconnectedness of world financial markets and concerns about the volatility that can occur as a result of the system being tied to one currency have made this idea less popular. Eswar Prasad, a trade-policy professor at Cornell University who also is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said he disagrees that a super currency would protect the global financial system against breakdowns such as the 2008 downturn which plunged the world economy into its most dangerous crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. More

Climate change is killing baby penguins

SOUTH AMERICA — Climate change means more extreme weather and baby penguins are paying the price with their lives, said a pair of long-term studies out Wednesday. Soaking rainstorms and unusual heat have killed vast numbers of young Magellanic penguins at the bottom tip of South America, said one of the papers published in the journal PLOS ONE. “It’s the first long-term study to show climate change having a major impact on chick survival and reproductive success,” said lead author Dee Boersma, a biology professor at the University of Washington. Over the course of 27 years, an average of 65 percent of chicks died annually, said the study. About 40 percent starved, while climate change was blamed for killing an average of seven percent of chicks per year. However, climate change killed 43 and 50 percent of all new chicks in two extreme weather years. The chicks were particularly susceptible when they were nine to 23 days old and too large to be protected by their parents but too young to have grown waterproof feathers. “We’re going to see years where almost no chicks survive if climate change makes storms bigger and more frequent during vulnerable times of the breeding season as climatologists predict,” said co-author Ginger Rebstock.
The study was carried out in Punta Tombo, Argentina, at the world’s largest breeding area for Magellanic penguins. The other study in PLOS ONE focused on Adelie penguins in Antarctica. These penguins were tracked over the course of 13 years to see how the breaking off of giant icebergs impacted their survival. In 2001, two massive icebergs encroached on the penguins’ foraging grounds in the Ross Sea. The icebergs “dramatically” cut back on the penguins’ access to prey, but many were still able to raise a chick, said lead researcher Amelie Lescroel from the French National Center for Scientific Research. However, she added, if extreme events like this happen more often, “it will become very hard to predict how penguin populations will buffer future sea ice changes.”  Extinction Protocol

Scientists find large magma chamber under Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano

HAWAII – Geologists say they’ve confirmed the existence of a previously unknown large, deep magma chamber below Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. The discovery offers new insight into the largely unknown internal plumbing of volcanoes, scientists at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science reported Wednesday. The finding at the world’s most active volcano is the first geophysical observation that large magma chambers exist in the deeper parts of a volcano system, they said. The scientists analyzed seismic waves moving through the volcano to understand the internal structure of the volcanic system, finding a lava chamber at least a mile in diameter and located at a depth of 5 miles to 6.8 miles. “It was known before that Kilauea had small, shallow magma chambers,” geologists and lead study author Guoqing Lin said. “This study is the first geophysical observation that large magma chambers exist in the deep oceanic crust below.” The magma reservoir below Kilauea is similar to those widely observed beneath volcanoes located at mid-ocean ridges, the researchers said. “Understanding these magma bodies are a high priority because of the hazard posed by the volcano,” said geophysics Professor Falk Amelung, the study co-author. “Kilauea volcano produces many small earthquakes and paying particular attention to new seismic activity near this body will help us to better understand where future lava eruptions will come from.” Extinction Protocol

Volcanic activity in Guatemala prompts series of evacuations

GUATEMALA – A volcanic eruption last week in the Central American nation of Guatemala is forcing nearby evacuations and has closed the area off to tourism according to reports from AP sources in the area. The volcano is located just south of Guatemala City. The Pacaya volcano has begun a constant lava flow down one side of the mountain that has caused the removal of some local residents. There have also been intermittent explosions and clouds of ash being tossed into the air. The activity of the volcano is described as “mildly explosive and effusive (Strombolian activity, lava fountaining, lava flows from the summit crater),” according to Volcano Discovery. “Near continuously active the least during the past centuries.” An update to the site on Jan. 12 noted the proximity of lava flows moving closer to inhabited areas.
“These fissures feed two large (and possibly one smaller third) lava flows that have reached lengths of 3-5 km length and are several hundred meters wide at their fronts (up to 800 m on the western side),” Volcano Discovery reported. “The lava flows have burned extensive areas of farmland and woods and are close to some villages. In the meantime, moderate to violent strombolian activity continues at the summit.” The heaviest activity is occurring in the San Vicente Pacaya in the Department of Escuintla, where photographs show residents monitoring massive burning flows as well as firefighters in the region trying to contain fires that have been spawned as a result of the volcano’s activity. There have also been some recent activity on volcanoes in Alaska noted on the Aleutian Islands. However, since Jan. 2 no new activity has been observed and the USGS has reduced the alert level to Orange in that area. The Aleutian Islands are a very sparsely populated chain of islands in the northern state. Extinction Protocol

In New Castle, it is known simply as “The Miracle.” One of the most prolific basketball players in the city’s history is in a wheelchair one day, paralyzed from the waist down, and walking the next. If life is measured in steps, Joel Haler took a big step Friday. In fact, he took a lot of them. ”It is good to be walking,” Haler said as he walked into the Y in New Castle. He’s been coming here every day for almost four months now, but this is the first time in all that time that he was able to walk in. ”Don’t cry,” Haler told a friend. ”Keep walking, I can’t help it,” Emily VanDerheride responded. It didn’t take long for people to notice a difference. ”For him to one night be in a wheelchair and wake up and walk, it’s truly a miracle,” VanDerheride continued. That is also just how quickly it happened. He woke up in his dorm room at Hope College last October paralyzed. ”I had lost everything. Paralyzed from the waist down. ‘Dad, I have no movement, no feeling, no nothing. You’ve got to come get me’,” he remembered. Four hospitals later, the only way he could walk was through Robotic Walking Therapy. ”This past Tuesday, I was doing the Robotic walk and lasted ten minutes,” Haler said. He decided that was it. There were no answers, so for the first time he began to accept life with the inevitable, so he canceled his appointment for Thursday. As it turns out, he didn’t need it. Wednesday night, he woke up to a terrible pain. ”As it continued to move up my legs, it became more and more painful and it took an hour-and-a-half to reach my hips,” Haler recalled. An hour-and-a-half later, the excruciating pain left him with an unusual feeling. ”I wiggled my toes and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Then I walked into my parents’ room. ‘Mom and dad, look!’,” he said proudly.
“He said something and I was like, ‘Joel! Joel! You’re walking! You’re walking!’ We jumped out of bed, embraced, cried and hugged,” Joel’s mom Karen remembered. ”I burst into tears. It’s hard seeing your son not be able to walk, but he was standing there, walking,” Joel’s father Eric said, tearfully. It was Thursday, January 23, which made perfect sense to Joel. He had dreamt of a calendar that only said “J 23.” He didn’t know what to make of it until “a little boy at church, four years old, came up to me and says, you will walk on a Thursday,” Joel recalled. So the 20-year-old college student, who could only walk with the aid of a robot on Tuesday, was walking on his own on Thursday. ”This is all God. I’m just being used,” he told a friend at the Y. Or being tested. He says you can’t have a testimony without a test. The rainbow that morning may mean he passed with flying colors. Eric Haler is pastor of New Covenant Worship Center in New Castle. I asked him who would be preaching this Sunday – he says Joel will be. 13wthr

Hong Kong reports third H7N9 death from fatal virus

Hong Kong Wednesday reported its third death from H7N9 bird flu — an elderly man who had visited mainland China — a day after authorities culled 22,000 birds to curb the disease. The 75-year-old man had previously travelled to the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen and died Wednesday morning, a government doctor told reporters. “Today we have confirmed the fourth H7N9 in Hong Kong, this case is likely to be an imported infection,” Doctor Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection told reporters. Chuang said the man had travelled alone to the neighboring mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen from January 20 to 26. “He stayed in a residence in the Bao’an district and there are live poultry markets around that area,” she said. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun hospital on Tuesday afternoon with a high fever. “We obtained some samples from his respiratory tract after he had been admitted to the hospital. After he died, we discovered it was H7N9,” Chuang said. “Because of the geographic proximity there’s no way we can stop human traffic between mainland and Hong Kong,” health minister Ko Wing-man said, adding that residents travelling to the mainland should wear masks and wash their hands frequently if they visit wet markets. Fears over avian flu have grown following the deaths of two men from the H7N9 strain of the virus in Hong Kong since December. A 65-year-old man died on January 14 and an 80-year old man died on Boxing Day last year. Both had recently returned from mainland China. The latest case comes a day after the city culled thousands of birds, mainly chickens, following the discovery of infected poultry imported from the mainland.
Officials wearing masks and protective suits piled dead chickens into black plastic bags Tuesday, at Hong Kong’s Cheung Sha Wan market where the virus was found. Cheung Sha Wan — Hong Kong’s only wholesale poultry market — is now shut for 21 days for disinfection and the sale of live birds in the city has ground to a halt on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday season. So far this year, China has confirmed 110 human H7N9 cases including 22 deaths, according to an AFP tally of reports by local authorities. In the worst-hit province of Zhejiang, three members of the same family contracted the H7N9 strain, the official Xinhua news agency reported late Tuesday. Hong Kong health authorities said a total of 254 H7N9 cases have been confirmed on the mainland since the outbreak began there in February 2013, sparking fears the virus could mutate to become easily transmissible between people, potentially triggering a pandemic. An additional four cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, three of them fatal. Extinction Protocol

Is there an ocean beneath our feet?

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that deep sea fault zones could transport much larger amounts of water from the Earth’s oceans to the upper mantle than previously thought. Water is carried mantle by deep sea fault zones which penetrate the oceanic plate as it bends into the subduction zone. Subduction, where an oceanic tectonic plate is forced beneath another plate, causes large earthquakes such as the recent Tohoku earthquake, as well as many earthquakes that occur hundreds of kilometers below the Earth’s surface. Seismologists at Liverpool have estimated that over the age of the Earth, the Japan subduction zone alone could transport the equivalent of up to three and a half times the water of all the Earth’s oceans to its mantle. Using seismic modeling techniques the researchers analyzed earthquakes which occurred more than 100 km below the Earth’s surface in the Wadati-Benioff zone, a plane of Earthquakes that occur in the oceanic plate as it sinks deep into the mantle. Analysis of the seismic waves from these earthquakes shows that they occurred on 1 – 2 km wide fault zones with low seismic velocities. Seismic waves travel slower in these fault zones than in the rest of the subducting plate because the sea water that percolated through the faults reacted with the oceanic rocks to form serpentinite – a mineral that contains water.
Some of the water carried to the mantle by these hydrated fault zones is released as the tectonic plate heats up. This water causes the mantle material to melt, causing volcanoes above the subduction zone such as those that form the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire.’ Some water is transported deeper into the mantle, and is stored in the deep Earth. “It has been known for a long time that subducting plates carry oceanic water to the mantle,” said Tom Garth, a PhD student in the Earthquake Seismology research group led by Professor Andreas Rietbrock. “This water causes melting in the mantle, which leads to arc releasing some of the water back into the atmosphere. Part of the subducted water however is carried deeper into the mantle and may be stored there. We found that fault zones that form in the deep oceanic trench offshore Northern Japan persist to depths of up to 150 km. These hydrated fault zones can carry large amounts of water, suggesting that subduction zones carry much more water from the ocean down to the mantle than has previously been suggested. “This supports the theory that there are large amounts of water stored deep in the Earth.” Understanding how much water is delivered to the mantle contributes to knowledge of how the mantle convects, and how it melts, which helps to understand how plate tectonics began, and how the continental crust was formed. Extinction Protocol

California Gov. Jerry Brown Speaks About State ‘Water War’

California’s ongoing drought is forcing Governor Jerry Brown to start a so-called “water war” between the north and the south. The governor revealed Wednesday he’s prepared to move water from Southern California to drier areas of the state as conditions worsen. Speaking exclusively to KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan outside an engagement in Beverly Hills, Brown said it could be necessary to implement drastic measures to alleviate communities at risk of running out of water. “Make no mistake, this is a mega-drought. It’s serious. We don’t know how long it will go on, but we have to take real precautions going forward,” he said. Brown also discussed a conversation he had with President Obama about getting federal assistance on Wednesday – a day when 17 water agencies across California are in danger of running out of water altogether in the next 60 to 100 days.  “The president called me today. He offered to do whatever he can do. He obviously can’t make it rain,” he said. “But there are some parts of California that are more privileged from the point of view of water availability than others. So we have systems. We can transfer it. But there are a lot of water rights, a lot of rules, so we’ve got to cut through that and make sure that those who need it most get the water to the extent we have it available.” More

Archaeologists Unearth What May Be Oldest Roman Temple

Archaeologists excavating a site in central Rome say they’ve uncovered what may be oldest known temple from Roman antiquity. Along the way, they’ve also discovered how much the early Romans intervened to shape their urban environment. And the dig has been particularly challenging because the temple lies below the water table.  At the foot Capitoline Hill in the center of Rome, stands the Medieval Sant’Omobono church. Today, the Tiber River is about a hundred yards away. But when the city was being created, around the 7th century B.C., it flowed close to where the church now stands, where a bend in the river provided a natural harbor for merchant ships. ”And here they decide to create a temple,” says Nic Terrenato, who teaches classical archaeology at the University of Michigan and is co-director of the Sant’Omobono excavation project. ”At this point Rome is trading already as far afield as Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt,” he says. “So they build this temple, which is going to be one of the first things the traders see when they pull into the harbor of Rome.” More

Christian film stripped of Oscar nomination.

This year’s most-obscure Oscar nominee is no more. At a meeting this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors decided to strip the surprise nomination for Best Song from “Alone Yet Not Alone,” which appears in the independent Christian-produced film of the same name.  Writer Bruce Broughton, a former member of the board of governors and currently on the music branch’s executive committee, violated the Academy’s rules against lobbying by personally e-mailing “members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period,” according to a statement released by the governors Wednesday. The nomination of “Alone Yet Not Alone” raised the eyebrows (and hackles) of many veteran Oscar-watchers when the nominations were announced Jan. 16.
The film had a public profile more associated with obscure foreign films and nobody had tipped it as a possible nominee in any category. “Alone Yet Not Alone” played on 11 screens nationwide for one week in October and grossed less than $135,000, BoxOfficeMojo.com said. As of Wednesday evening, fewer than 100 people had rated it on the Internet Movie Database. By comparison, the Sandra Bullock October release “Gravity,” which was nominated for 10 Oscars, has grossed more than $260 million and been rated by more than 250,000 IMDb users. The producers of “Alone Yet Not Alone” plan a broader release in June. Studios sometimes give films a short end-of-the-year “qualifying run” to make it eligible for the Oscars, with a broader release planned for the spring, cashing in on the publicity and cachet of the nomination. The Japanese animated film “The Wind Rises” by Hayao Miyazaki was nominated for Best Animated Feature this year using the same strategy. But that strategy usually requires a much more-aggressive and high-profile publicity campaign than “Alone Yet Not Alone” could manage. More

Winter Storm Maximus to Bring Snow, Ice to Over a Dozen States, Including Drought-Plagued California

Winter Storm Maximus, the 13th named storm of the winter season in the U.S., will help to build snowpack in many drought-suffering locations of the West, and delight skiers and snowboarders in the Rockies. If that’s not enough, Winter Storm Maximus will also produce a swath of snow through the Plains, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and interior Northeast. Here are the forecast details, starting with the West.  Winter Storm Maximus will produce the lion’s share of its snow in the Rockies through Thursday.  Amounts over one foot are likely in the Bitterroots, Wasatch, and Colorado High Country, as you can see at right in our forecast snowfall map. Snowfall in excess of one foot total is also expected in the snow-thirsty Sierra of California, which is welcomed news for concerns about California reservoir levels heavily dependent on spring snowmelt from the Sierra and other nearby ranges.  Lighter additional snowfall totals are expected in the Cascades and Siskiyous. Then, Maximus turns its attention to the Plains and Midwest.  Snow will spread out into the Plains and Great Lakes and starting early Thursday, continuing through Friday. Through Friday, this will not be a heavy snow event, with general 1-4 inch snowfall totals expected from the northern and central Plains to the Upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. More

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