Apr 18

Russian Spy Planes in U.S. Skies


The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military and American intelligence agencies have quietly pushed the White House in recent weeks to deny a new Russian surveillance plane the right to fly over U.S. territory. This week, the White House finally began consideration of the decision whether to certify the new Russian aircraft under the so-called “Open Skies Treaty.” And now the question becomes: Will the spies and generals get their way?  As the United States and Russia face off publicly over Ukraine, behind the scenes, Obama’s national security cabinet is having its own quiet feud over a long-standing agreement to allow Russian surveillance flights over U.S. air space.  The spies and the generals want to deny the Russians the overflight rights for its latest surveillance planes. The State Department, which ultimately makes that decision, has favored such certification. On Wednesday an interagency meeting of senior officials failed to reach consensus, delaying the decision until Obama takes it up with the National Security Council, according to U.S. officials involved in the dispute.

At issue is the Open Skies Treaty. First signed in 1992 and finally ratified in 2002, the treaty adopted by 34 nations allows the safe passage of planes equipped with advanced cameras and sensors that give governments the imagery and data they use to assess everything from compliance with arms control treaties to troop movements.  On April 15, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, and the Republican chairman of that panel’s subcommittee that oversees the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Rep. Mike Rogers, urged President Obama to deny Russia the right to fly its new planes over U.S. airspace. In their letter, the two lawmakers write, “We agree with the concerns expressed by the Intelligence Community and the military leadership of the Department of Defense” in their opposition to certifying the new Russian planes under the treaty. More

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Apr 18

Scientists discover first Earth-sized planet that could support life

Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life
For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-sized alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an “Earth cousin” that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life. The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. While the host star is dimmer than Earth’s sun and the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, the positioning of the alien world coupled with its size suggests that Kepler-186f could have water on its surface, scientists say. You can learn more about the amazing alien planet find in a video produced by Space.com. ”One of the things we’ve been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star,” Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com. “This [Kepler-186f] is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a cooler star. So, while it’s not an Earth twin, it is perhaps an Earth cousin. It has similar characteristics, but a different parent.”

Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support LifeScientists think that Kepler-186f — the outermost of five planets found to be orbiting the star Kepler-186 — orbits at a distance of 32.5 million miles (52.4 million kilometers), theoretically within the habitable zone for a red dwarf. Earth orbits the sun from an average distance of about 93 million miles (150 million km), but the sun is larger and brighter than the Kepler-186 star, meaning that the sun’s habitable zone begins farther out from the star by comparison to Kepler-186. ”This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around another star,” Elisa Quintana, of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center and the lead author of a new study detailing the findings, said in a statement. Other planets of various sizes have been found in the habitable zones of their stars. However, Kepler-186f is the first alien planet this close to Earth in size found orbiting in that potentially life-supporting area of an extrasolar system, according to exoplanet scientists. More

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Apr 18

Sponsored Message by S.H.T.F Preparedness

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Apr 18

Peru evacuates Ubinas volcano area after ash cloud


PERU
 – The authorities in Peru say they are evacuating people living near the Ubinas volcano, in the south of the country, because of increased activity. Officials said it would take three days to move 4,000 residents and their livestock to safer grounds. Ubinas, Peru’s most active volcano, recently began spewing ash clouds up to 4km (two miles) high. An eruption of cinder and toxic gases in 2006 killed livestock and forced a similar evacuation. Last week, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the provinces closest to the volcano to help those most-affected. Agriculture Minister Juan Benites said the residents and their 30,000 animals, including llamas and alpacas, would be moved to an area 20km (12 miles) away. The 5,672-metre (18,609-foot) volcano is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Arequipa, Peru’s second-most populous city. Extinction Protocol
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Apr 18

7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes northwest of Acapulco, Mexico

VIDEO: The earthquake resulted in falling debris and panicked people in the streets.
MEXICO
 – A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. It was felt across at least a half-dozen states and Mexico’s capital, where it shook for at least 30 seconds. Around the region, there were reports of isolated and minor damage, such as fallen fences, trees and broken windows. Chilpancingo, capital of the southern state of Guerrero, where the quake was centered, reported a power outage, but service was restored after 15 minutes. In Acapulco, 59-year-old Enedina Ramirez Perez was having breakfast, enjoying the holiday with about 20 family members, when her hotel started to shake. “People were turning over chairs in their desperation to get out, grabbing children, trampling people,” the Mexico City woman said. “The hotel security was excellent and starting calming people down. They got everyone to leave quietly.”
The quake struck 170 miles (273 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City, where people fled high rises and took to the streets, many in still in their bathrobes and pajamas on their day off. “I started to hear the walls creak and I said, ‘Let’s go,’” said Rodolfo Duarte, 32, who fled his third-floor apartment. “This is really strong,” said Gabriel Alejandro Hernandez Chavez, 45, an apartment building guard in central Mexico City. “And I’m accustomed to earthquakes.” The USGS initially calculated the quake’s magnitude at 7.5, but later downgraded it to 7.2. It said the quake was centered 22 miles (36 kilometers) northwest of the town of Tecpan de Galeana, and was 15 miles (24 kilometers) deep. In many cases of earthquakes in Mexico, it can take time to receive word from remote areas near the epicenter, where damage could be more extensive. No one answered the phone at the city hall for Tecpan de Galeana. Mexico City itself is vulnerable even to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds that quiver as quake waves hit. The magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles (400 kilometers) away on the Pacific Coast. Extinction Protocol

ABC US News | ABC Business News
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Apr 18

How Safe Is California? Earthquakes In Chile And Nicaragua Raise Questions About Preparedness

Nicaragua Earthquake Latino.jpg
The U.S. and Japan are seen as the leaders in earthquake preparedness. But a spike in seismic activity the past few years has even tiny countries like Nicaragua busy prepping for the worst. Nicaragua may be the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere behind Haiti, but it is also one of the best prepared to deal with earthquakes – before and after they happen. “Nicaragua is really pro-active in monitoring earthquake activity,” John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington, told Fox News Latino. “They have a really good seismologist and are prepared for the eventuality of a major earthquake.” Nicaragua’s recent quakes – the Central American nation was hit by three earthquakes last week – along with a magnitude 8.2 quake in northern Chile and magnitude 5.1 tremor that shook southern California in March, have capped off a busy decade of seismic activity. That activity has scientists closely examining movements of the world’s fault lines and lawmakers in nations from South America to Asia to the United States wondering how prepared they are for a major shake.  “California is pretty safe, and Alaska is doing pretty well,” said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). “Chile and Japan, however, are probably the best prepared nations in terms of how their buildings are constructed and how they respond to an earthquake.”

The U.S. Congress created the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) in 1977 with the aim of helping to reduce the impact of temblors and mitigate the damage caused by them. Today, the program combines four agencies – the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation and the USGS – and its main goal is to research and develop technology that tracks earthquakes to speed up warning times and reduce damage. Cities and countries ramp up preparation after a major earthquake. But what worries many critics and U.S. lawmakers – including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti – is that once big events have passed from recent memory, such as the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, people then “ignore high-consequence, low-probability events,” Dennis Mileti, a professor emeritus of sociology with the University of Colorado, Boulder, told Retro Report. And even though earthquakes in the U.S. aren’t as frequent as those in Chile and Japan, states like Alaska, California and Washington are also at great risk for a major seismic event. California, which averages 27 minor quakes a day and suffered a 5.1 earthquake in March, is particularly vulnerable given the proximity of major cities to the coastline. “There is a lot of movement going on there,” Blakeman said. “Luckily California is pretty well prepared.” More

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Apr 18

DAYS OF NOAH – 75-year-old human cloned for the production of stem cells

Several years ago, as the therapeutic potential of stem cells was first being recognized, the only way to create them was to harvest cells from an early embryo. That embryo could come from the large collection of those that weren’t used during in vitro fertilization work. But to get one that was genetically matched to the person who needed the therapy, researchers had to create an embryo that’s a genetic duplicate of that individual—meaning they had to clone them. With the development of induced stem cells, work on this approach largely fell by the wayside—induced cells were easier to create and came without the ethical baggage. But there are some lingering doubts that the induced cells are truly as flexible as the ones derived from an embryo, leading a number of labs to continue exploring cloning for therapeutic purposes. Now, a collaboration of US and Korean researchers have succeeded in creating early embryos from two adult humans and converted the embryos to embryonic stem cells. The method used is called somatic cell nuclear transplant. It involves taking an unfertilized egg and removing its nucleus, thereby deleting the DNA of the egg donor. At the same time, a nucleus from the cell of a donor is carefully removed and injected into the egg. After some time, during which the environment of the egg resets the developmental status of the donor’s DNA, cell division is activated. If the process is successful, the end result is a small cluster of cells that starts along the path of forming an embryo.

This technique was recently used to create embryonic stem cells from an infant donor. But the new team managed to perform the technique successfully with two male donors, one 35 years old and the second 75. The primary change needed was simply to extend the period in which the donor DNA is reset by the proteins present in the egg. After the resulting cells divided long enough to form a blastocyst (an early stage of embryonic development), they were harvested and converted to embryonic stem cells. The researchers showed that the resulting stem cells could form all of the major tissues of a mature embryo, as close as you can come to demonstrated stem-cellness with human samples. More

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Apr 18

New Hampshire vote to repeal adultery ban


Legislators in New Hampshire have voted to repeal a law dating back to 1791 which outlaws adultery. In all around 20 states still have laws which ban married men and women having sex with anyone other than their spouse. Gradually these statutes, many of which dating back to the early days of the United States, are disappearing, but not without a fight. Opponents say that the repeal is further evidence of moral decay in the country. But supporters of the move, which has bipartisan support in New Hampshire, said the reform was long overdue.  “The idea that it would stop an affair is delusional,” Tim O’Flaherty, a Democrat member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, told The Telegraph. “It also treats women as if they were the property of men. It is at least 10 years since it was enforced.” Another complication was that the law was drawn up at a time when the main concern was “spurious issue” – or an illegitimate child. This, Mr O’Flaherty added, meant the law discriminated against heterosexuals who could face prosecution, but not homosexuals in a state where same sex marriage was legalised in January 2010.

Legislators in New Hampshire are voting to repeal a law dating back to 1791 which outlaws adulteryThe reform had already cleared the state’s lower house and Maggie Hassan, the state’s governor, said she would ratify the change once it passed the state senate. Under the current law offenders face a $1,200 (£714) fine if convicted. In 1791 the punishment was being publicly whipped and paraded in front of the gallows. Although convictions for adultery in the US are rare, they are not unknown. In 1983 police in Massachusetts caught a couple – who were not married to each other – having sex in a van. The woman, who disputed the charge, was fined $50. The punishment could have been far worse, with Massachusetts setting a maximum penalty of three years’s imprisonment for the offence. In other states the provisions on the statute book are even more draconian. Adulterers in Idaho for example could still face a prison term of up to three years if convicted of the offence, while in Wisconsin it is still regarded as a class I felony with a possible six month jail term. The Telegraph

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Apr 18

Abu Hamza turned London mosque into base for ‘global export of terror’

Abu Hamza al-Masri sits next to defense attorney Lindsay Lewis in Manhattan federal court in New York
Abu Hamza, the radical Islamic hate cleric, turned his London mosque into “the base of operations for the global export of violence and terror”, a New York jury was told at the start of his trial on terrorism charges. “Abu Hamza was not just a preacher of religion,” Edward Kim, assistant US attorney, said in opening arguments. “He was a trainer of terrorists and he used the cover of religion so he could hide in plain sight in London. “His goal was clear, simple and vicious. All able-bodied Muslims had a duty to wage war against non-Muslims. He was a leader with a global following, who didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He dispatched young men around the world to train, to fight, to kill.” The white-bearded imam, who lost his hands and an eye in an explosion in Afghanistan, shuffled papers with his stumps and put on a prosthetic limb to take notes as he listened to the prosecution lay out its allegations about his role at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London. The hook for which the Egyptian-born cleric became infamous in London was removed by the US authorities after his extradition from Britain in 2012.

The trial is taking place just a few streets from the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001, which he later referred to as a “towering day in history”. Hamza, 56, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of supporting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan by sending volunteers and money, trying to set up a jihadist training camp in Oregon and helping to organise a 1998 hostage-taking in Yemen, during which three Britons were killed in a rescue mission. He faces life imprisonment if convicted. Mr Kim explained that two other Britons would play a key role in the prosecution case. He said that Feroz Abbasi, a Ugandan-born Londoner who was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in Dec 2001, was sent by Hamza for training for jihad missions by al-Qaeda commanders. Saajid Badat, a British terrorist “supergrass”, would describe training with Mr Abbasi at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan via video link from Britain, the prosecutor said. Mr Abbasi, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for three years before his return to London in 2005, has never been charged by US or British authorities. More

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Apr 18

Coffee surges on renewed concern about crop


The price of coffee surged on Thursday on renewed concerns about the outlook for Brazil’s crop. Coffee for July delivery jumped 15.25 cents, or 8.1 percent, to $2.04 per pound. The price of coffee beans has risen about 85 percent this year on concerns that dry weather in Brazil will damage the harvest there. Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer, accounting for about a third of global production, according to the International Coffee Organization. The catalyst for the move higher on Thursday was a crop inspection report from Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based coffee importer, Wolthers Douque. The report predicted that 35 percent of the coffee crop would be lost in the South Minas region of Brazil due to unfavorable weather. Big price swings for coffee may become the norm in coming months, said Sterling Smith, a commodities analyst at Citigroup. ”We’re going to be seeing this happen frequently until we get a better idea of how much damage was done to the crop,” Smith said. Coffee in Brazil isn’t harvested until June. In other trading of agricultural products, wheat edged higher while corn and soybeans fell.

 Wheat for July rose 3.8 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $6.99 a bushel.

Corn for the same month fell 3 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $5 a bushel and soybeans fell 6.5 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $15.02 a bushel. Metals were mixed. Gold, silver and platinum fell. Copper and palladium rose. Gold for June fell $9.60, or 0.7 percent, to $1,293.90 an ounce. Silver for May dropped 3.8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.60 an ounce. July platinum dropped $9.10, or 0.6 percent, to $1,428.70 an ounce. Copper for May rose 2 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $3.05 a pound. Palladium for June climbed $4.80, or 0.6 percent, to $807.10 an ounce. In energy trading, May crude rose 54 cents to $104.30 a barrel. The price of natural gas surged after the Energy Department reported that U.S. storage levels rose less than analysts had expected. Natural gas for May delivery rose 21.1 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $4.74 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to close at $3.06 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $3 a gallon. The New Zealand Herald

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