A non-profit news blog, focused on providing independent journalism.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Ancient nanostructures found in Ural mountains are out of place and time

An Oopart (out of place artifact) is a term applied to dozens of prehistoric objects found in various places around the world that, given their level of technology, are completely at odds with their determined age based on physical, chemical, and/or geological evidence. Ooparts often are frustrating to conventional scientists and a delight to adventurous investigators and individuals interested in alternative scientific theories.

In 1991, the appearance of extremely tiny, coil-shaped artifacts found near the banks of Russia's Kozhim, Narada, and Balbanyu rivers brought about a debate that has continued to this day. These mysterious and minuscule structures suggest that there may have been a culture capable of developing nanotechnology 300,000 years ago.

These manufactured coils were initially discovered during geological research associated with the extraction of gold in the Ural mountains. These pieces include coils, spirals, shafts, and other unidentified components.

The ancient coil-shaped artifacts were found in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

According to an analysis from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Syktyvkar, the largest pieces found are mostly copper, while the smallest are made of tungsten and molybdenum.

While the largest of these objects measure 1.18 inches, the smallest are only 1/10,000th of an inch, and many exhibit Golden Mean proportions. Their shape suggests that they are manufactured and not naturally occurring metal fragments. In fact, they have been found to closely resemble the same miniature components of contemporary nanotechnology.

© Herbert Genzmer and Ulrich Hellenbrand

A magnified image of one of the nano coils found in the Ural Mountains.

Though some have asserted that these tiny structures are merely debris left behind from test rockets being launched from nearby Plesetsk space station, a report from the Moscow Institute determined that they are far too old to have come from modern manufacturing.

In 1996, Dr. E.W. Matvejeva, from the Central Scientific Research Department of Geology and Exploitation of Precious Metals in Moscow, writes that, despite being thousands of years old, the components are of a technological origin.

The pieces were found at a depth between 10 and 40 feet, in a geological stratus between 20,000 and 318,000 years old.

How were humans able to manufacture such tiny components in the distant past, and what were they used for? Some believe that the coils prove the human race enjoyed a sophisticated level of technology in the Pleistocene era, while others assert that the findings are the work of extra-terrestrials.

The artifacts have been studied at four different facilities in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. However, further research into these tiny structures seems to have ended in 1999 with the death of Dr. Johannes Fiebag, a principal researcher of the find.

Mother arrested after 4-year-old daughter brings backpack full of heroin to school

Police said 249 bags of heroin weighing 3.735 grams were found inside a 4-year-old girl's backpack.

A Delaware mother was arrested after her 4-year-old daughter brought over 200 bags of heroin to school and passed them out to other children at a local daycare, according to police.

Delaware State Troopers and medics were called to the Hickory Tree Child Care Center on Hickory Tree Lane in Selbyville Monday around 11:45 a.m. Staff at the daycare told police they spotted some children with small bags of an unknown substance.

The white powdery substance inside the bags was removed by the teachers and taken to the Selbyville Police Department. Investigators determined the substance was heroin.

According to investigators, a 4-year-old girl unknowingly brought the bags of heroin to the daycare inside a backpack that her mother, identified as 30-year-old Ashley Tull, gave her. Police said Tull gave her daughter the bag after her other backpack was ruined by a family pet.

The girl passed the packets of heroin to her classmates, believing they were candy, according to investigators. Police said 249 bags of heroin weighing 3.735 grams were found inside the backpack.

Several children who came in contact with the unopened bags were taken to local hospitals as a precaution. They were later released.

Tull was apprehended by state troopers after she arrived at the daycare. She was then taken into custody after being interviewed.

She is charged with maintaining a drug property and endangering the welfare of a child. She was arraigned and released after posting $6,000 bail.

The 4-year-old girl as well as Tull's 9-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter were placed in the custody of a relative. Tull was ordered to not have any contact with her children.

Police continue to investigate the incident and said more charges could be filed.

Will gold crash with the Dow... or soar?

In 2008, we projected that the crash in the market was in fact a mini-crash and that the day would come when a more major crash would occur - one that reflected the level of debt. In recent months, this prognostication has been gaining traction - that a second, more severe crash is inevitable.

There are two primary camps amongst economists with regard to the economic direction that a crash will generate: inflationists and deflationists.

Inflationists tend to feel that the governments of the world that are now in debt over their heads will do what governments always do in such a situation. Rather than get off the monetary heroin, they will instead increase the dosage. Inflation will then ramp up dramatically, eventually causing collapses in currencies.

Deflationists, on the other hand, argue that when there is a market crash, there will be deflation. And since the debt level is so great, the severity of the deflation will likewise be great.

The argument goes back and forth, yet there seems to be the misconception that one must be either an inflationist or deflationist. This is not at all the case.

Recently, there have been vehement arguments from some very notable people in the deflationist camp that we shall soon see major drops in the Dow - first to 6000, then to 3300. They feel that, as this occurs, there will be a further real estate crash, gold will sink to $750, and unemployment will go through the roof.

Inflationists will inevitably reply that, in the event of a crash, the central governments will print money like never before, as soon as there is even a whiff of deflation. (Their argument is strongly supported by the repeated confirmations by the previous chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, that no deflation will be acceptable to the Fed, that they will indeed print as much as it takes to counteract any possible deflation.)

However, each camp is overlooking a significant factor. The deflationist reasoning tends to lead up to the of deflation... and then stops. They rarely comment on what happens the influx of newly-created currency units.

The inflationists overlook the fact that, when a major crash occurs, it happens and when it occurs, it carries other markets with it. amount of monetary printing can react quickly enough to simply cancel out the precipitous deflationary force of a crash. All that can be hoped for by the Fed and others in their situation is that they "play catch-up" as quickly as possible - injecting money into general circulation (not just crediting it to the banks, as they are now doing) to reverse the deflation and to return to "controlled" inflation.

Are we headed for a crash in the stock market? Almost certainly, and probably a more severe one than in 2008.

Are we headed for dramatic inflation or even hyperinflation? Again, almost certainly.

So what will this look like? How will it play out?

Consider the following as an order of immediate events (in brief form):

  1. The Dow crashes, in downward lurches, interspaced with false recoveries.

  2. As the crash unfolds, we will see innumerable people who bought on margin selling everything to cover their losses. (If they hold gold or gold stocks, these will be sacrificed the holders remain confident about gold. Their goal will be to cover immediate losses, at whatever cost.)

  3. Due to the dramatic sell off in gold, the price of gold plummets.

This is the deflationist argument and it is a logical one. (Popular estimates for the gold price are between $1000 and $750 as a potential floor.)

But this scenario rings true only if those who hold gold are forced to sell.

What could actually happen might be similar to what we have seen with the unravelling of paper gold - that the development only serves to encourage those who understand gold to buy all they can. This serves to create a floor for the gold price.

There may well be sudden downward spikes that would tend to prove deflationists right, but as we now live in an electronic age, the turnaround by purchasers will be almost as quick as the crashes themselves. It may be that we will see sudden precipitous drops in gold, followed by immediate rises in purchasing - a real rodeo ride.

It is entirely possible that gold stocks will stay down longer than the gold price, and some (otherwise viable) companies may even go into liquidation. However, gold itself will not drop to $750 and stay there, as deflationists imply. More to the point, its recovery may be quite swift.

The market is experiencing a divide that didn't exist before. Until recently, there have been many people (millions) who misunderstood gold, treating it like a stock. Many of those people are disappearing from the market (having been washed out by the paper gold failure), and soon, most of those who are still in gold will be those who understand it. The higher the percentage of gold ownership that is in their hands, the more solid the floor.

Whatever that floor may prove to be, gold will stabilize. Then, inevitable inflation will cause renewed interest in gold by the misinformed, as it begins its inflationary rise. By the time gold passes $2000, the misinformed will be falling all over each other to get back in - still not understanding gold, but desperate to ride the coattails of "a winner." It would be at this point that we would go into a period of dramatic inflation, with a concurrent gold mania.

Whatever level of drop gold experiences as a result of deflation, gold will rise up from it like a phoenix - long before other asset classes rise.

In fact, it will lead the pack.

The question for the investor should not be whether we shall see inflation deflation. We shall see both. The rodeo is underway and we are, whether we wish to be or not, in the saddle of the bronc. Soon, the chute will open and he'll start bucking for all he's worth. When he does, it will matter little whether he bucks to the left or to the right. The only objective should be to ride it out.

In investment terms, what this means is that we need to have avoided those investments that are most greatly at risk and have chosen instead those investments that are likely to be intact .

If we have loaded up on precious metals, in truth, it matters little if gold drops to $1000 or (gulp) to $750 as deflationists have predicted. All that will matter is whether we have had the fortitude to stay in the saddle until the ride comes to an end.

NIH doctor dismisses Fox News host Elizabeth Hasselbeck's lunatic idea to close borders over Ebola fears

Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck speaks to Dr. Anthony Fauci

Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Monday asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institiute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, why he was not recommending a "closing of our borders" in response to an Ebola outbreak in west Africa.

On Monday's edition of , Hasselbeck pointed out that a freelance NBC cameraman was being allowed to return to the U.S. after being infected with Ebola. And a man in Dallas who traveled from the Liberia to the U.S. was also fighting for his life.

"Why are we still letting people into the country who could have possibly been exposed?" she asked. "Why not just shut down the flights and secure the borders? Many of you want to know... Why not, just as a precaution until we get things under control, seal off the border temporarily?"

Fauci said that he understood why people might jump to the conclusion that a travel ban might help, but he said that Hasselbeck's suggestion "didn't make any sense" because preventing countries from getting aid could make the epidemic worse.

[embedded content]

"And if we completely isolate them - don't let anything in, don't let anything out - we know from experience with public health, that marginalizes them," he explained. "And you could have civil unrest, governments could fall. And then you wind up having spread the virus to other countries in west Africa, which would only compound the problem."

Hasselbeck wanted to know if the government had considered something "less extreme."

"Like what?" Fauci wondered.

"Perhaps flights that were approved to go for treatment, for aid, for supplies to the area, but any other flights would have to go through an approval process into a limited flight travel plan," Hasselbeck replied. "Not a complete closing. I don't think anyone who has a heart wants some - a group of people to just suffer alone in the world, and there are those that want to go and help, and my heart is with them."

"But what about a partial ban, a closing of our borders?" she asked.

"A closing of our borders? I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean by that," Fauci said.

"Flights that are specific to helping the situation as you just deemed important, which many Americans would agree with you, sir," Hasselbeck insisted. "But what about any other flights, just restricted."

Fauci observed that the media had created a misperception that west Africa was mostly people sick with Ebola.

"You have Americans there, you have business people there, people of dual citizenship who have to go back and forth," he said. "It's completely impractical. In fact, from a public health standpoint, not helpful to do that. And I think every public health official feels that way."

Who will profit from the wars in Iraq and Syria? The usual suspects: Halliburton, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing . . . .

EA-6B Prowler ISIS war

An EA-6B Prowler attached to the Garudas of Electronic Attack Squadron 134 lands aboard the USS George H.W. Bush.

If there's one thing we should have learned over the past 13 years of war, it's that war is good business for those in the business of war. Unfortunately, while profits for the Pentagon's contractors increase, so does the cost to taxpayers in billions in waste, fraud, and abuse. As America embarks on yet another war in the Middle East, Congress needs to act now to stop this unjustified bonanza for the Pentagon's contractors.

The most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan offer an ominous example about what can happen when the rush to war is met with sharp spending increases coupled with little to no oversight or fiscal restraint. The Commission on Wartime Contracting -- a bipartisan congressional body -- estimates that there was $30 to $60 billion in waste, fraud and abuse associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- a total of $12 million per day. Even worse, at least $6 billion is completely missing, never accounted for, gone forever. That is a stunning amount of taxpayer dollars -- yours and mine -- to simply disappear into the wind.

Among the most egregious examples of corporate and governmental malfeasance during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was a multibillion-dollar no-bid contract for Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) division to rebuild and operate Iraqi oil fields. Halliburton was found guilty of price gouging on everything from the supply of oil for military vehicles to feeding the troops; shoddy workmanship that resulted in scores of unfinished buildings and inadequate supplies of electricity; and life-threatening situations like defective showers that electrocuted a soldier. A long list of other examples is available in the reports of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, whose investigations helped spur the convictions of 82 companies and individuals of illegal activities connected to contracting in Iraq.

A recent estimate of the likely costs of our latest war in Iraq and Syria by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments ranges from $2.4 billion to over $22 billion per year, depending on whether significant numbers of ground troops become involved. Gordon Adams, the former deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in charge of national security spending, suggests that a full accounting of the costs of operations, replacement of equipment, training and aid to other members of the coalition, and a doubling or tripling of the current level of 1,600 U.S. troops in Iraq could put the annual price of the wars in Iraq and Syria at $15 to $20 billion. While these sums are less than the costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential for wasteful spending remains enormous. Our latest war represents a welcome new source of profits for arms makers like Boeing (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) Raytheon (cruise missiles), and Lockheed Martin (Hellfire missiles), whose weapons systems have already been heavily used in Iraq and Syria. This is particularly true if the conflicts drag on for years, as administration officials have suggested.

There's a chance that the costs of the current wars could spiral out of control, resulting in an even heftier flow of revenue to Pentagon contractors. We shouldn't forget that the Bush administration initially pegged the cost of its Iraq intervention at $50 billion, a figure that grew to more than 20 times that amount over the course of the conflict.

The stock prices of the Pentagon's top contractors have hit all-time highs since the recent wars in Iraq and Syria started two months ago, as Dan Froomkin of the Intercept has pointed out. This windfall for weapons makers may pale in comparison to the billions that are likely to go to private contractors like Dyncorps and Triple Canopy that will be enlisted to help train Iraqi police and security forces. The market is clearly betting that the brief age of fiscal restraint at the Pentagon is over.

Beyond simply wasteful spending, wars are a prime opportunity for outright corruption and malfeasance. This was was underscored in a recent case in which Dyncorps was accused of letting a subcontractor solicit kickbacks from its employees as a condition of keeping their jobs. The State Department dropped the probe in the face of fierce resistance from the Iraqi government -- not a good sign for oversight of the billions in new contracts that will pour into Iraq as part of the current war effort.

The direct costs of the wars in Iraq and Syria may only be a small part of the new business that will flow to Lockheed Martin and its cohorts in the next few years. The new wars will almost certainly extend the life of the Pentagon's war budget, known more formally as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. For the past few years, OCO has served as a slush fund to pay for Pentagon projects that have nothing to do with fighting any war. In its most recent effort to raid the OCO account, the Pentagon has proposed using it to fund eight costly F-35 combat aircraft that haven't even been certified for combat yet. There will be a strong temptation on the part of the Pentagon to continue padding this slush fund to levels far beyond anything being spent in Iraq or Syria.

Last, but not least, the arms industry will join with the Pentagon and hawks on Capitol Hill to use the current Middle East crisis as leverage to lift the caps on the Pentagon's base budget that exist under current law. If they are successful, it could mean tens or even hundreds of billions of new business for Pentagon contractors over the next decade.

As Linda Bilmes of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government -- the co-author of with Joseph Stiglitz of , a comprehensive costing of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- has noted, "Despite two failed wars it seems the country hasn't learned the lessons about the huge cost of military adventures and the limits to what military intervention alone can do to solve complex foreign policy challenges."

The real test of the Obama administration's policy in Iraq and Syria will be whether it makes the United States safer and the region more stable. Neither of these outcomes is likely if the current militarized approach continues. But even as we debate the wisdom of the new wars, we must also ensure that they don't spawn a new round of wasteful spending that costs taxpayers billions of dollars while doing nothing to make us safer.

Psychopathic: How 14 people made more money than the entire U.S. food stamp budget

© Rock.genius.com

For the second year in a row, America's richest 14 individuals made more from their annual investments than the $80 billion provided for people in need of food. Nearly half of the food-deprived are children. Perversely, the food stamp program was CUT because of a lack of federal funding.

In a testament to the inability -- or unwillingness -- of Congress to do anything about the incessant upward re-distribution of America's wealth, the richest 14 Americans increased their wealth from $507 billion to $589 billion in ONE YEAR from their investment earnings. As stated by , "All together the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago."

Billions of dollars of wealth, derived from years of American productivity, have been transferred to a few financially savvy and well-connected individuals who have spent a generation shaping trading rules and tax laws to their own advantage. It's so inexplicably one-sided that the 2013 investment earnings of the richest 1% of Americans ($1.8 trillion) was more than the entire budget for Social Security ($860 billion), Medicare ($524 billion), and Medicaid ($304 billion).

Why Does So Little of Our National Wealth Go to Feed People or Provide Jobs?

The fruits of American productivity go to the richest Americans, who can afford to hold onto their fortunes, defer taxes indefinitely, and then pay a smaller capital gains rate when they eventually decide to cash in. Worse yet, they can stash their winnings overseas, tax-free. It is estimated that $7.6 trillion of personal wealth is hidden in tax havens. That means, stunningly, that $1 of every $12 of worldwide wealth is hidden in a haven.

America has no wealth tax, no financial speculation tax, no means of stopping the rampant redistribution of money to the rich. As Noam Chomsky said, The concept of the Common Good that is being relentlessly driven into our heads demands that we focus on our own private gain, and suppress normal human emotions of solidarity, mutual support and concern for others.

Who Are These People Taking All the Big Money?

A review of the richest 20 shows that opportunism and ruthless business practices and tax avoidance, rather than entrepreneurship, vaulted these individuals to the top:

Bill Gates used someone else's operating system to start Microsoft.

According to the , Warren Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, "openly admits that it owes back taxes since as long ago as 2002."

Koch Industries is jeopardizing our clean air and water, moving its toxic waste to Detroit and Chicago, trying to take away the minimum wage, seeking to take down renewable energy initiatives, andlaying off thousands of workers.

Walmart makes $13,000 in pre-tax profits per employee (after paying salaries), yet takes a taxpayer subsidy of $5,815 per worker.

Jeff Bezos has spent millions of dollars per year on lobbyists, lawyers, and political campaigns to maintain Amazon's tax-free sales in order to undercut competitors and drive them out of business.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the founders of Google, which has gained recognition as one of the world's biggest tax avoiders, a master at the "Double Irish" revenue shift to Bermuda tax havens, and a beneficiary of tax loopholes that bring money back to the U.S. without paying taxes on it.

Zuckerberg, like Gates, was an opportunist, overcoming superior competition with his Harvard connection, gaining better financial support, and -- allegedly -- hacking competitors' computers to compromise their user data.

Job Creators?

As for the argument that Microsoft, Google, etc. created products and jobs: It was the industry that did it, supported by decades of research and innovation, and involving tens of thousands of American workers, from scientists to database clerks. Our nation's winner-take-all philosophy makes it look like one person did the work of all these contributors. That's wrong as can be, especially for this year's version of the richest Americans.

On the heels of Typhoon Phanfone, Typhoon Vongfong strengthens, threatens Japan

While Japan is now recovering from former Typhoon Phanfone, Typhoon Vongfong will continue to gain strength across the western Pacific Ocean this week.

Typhoon Vongfong brought flooding rainfall and damaging wind to the northern Mariana Islands through Monday, local time. Wind gusts over 89 kph (55 mph) and and rainfall over 75 mm (3 inches) were common.

Across the western Pacific Ocean, the combination of light wind shear and warm water will lead to conditions conducive for Vongfong to strengthen further through the middle of the week.

By the middle of the week, Vongfong is expected to be a super typhoon wind sustained wind near 150 mph (240 kph). This is equivalent to a strong Category 4 hurricane.

Late in the week while Vongfong is located to the south of Japan, the typhoon is expected to slow and make a turn to the north. While there remains some uncertainty in the exact track of the storm, confidence is high that the powerful cyclone will track north toward Japan will the potential for a landfall by early next week.

Many areas at risk from Vongfong are attempting to recover from more than 150 mm (6 inches) of rain and strong winds that hammered eastern Japan from Sunday into Monday as Typhoon Phanfone battered the region.

Due to the expected track of the cyclone and potential impacts to Japan, anyone with interests in the region should continue to monitor this situation.


Cop arrested after breaking into woman's home and sexually assaulting her

A Rothschild police officer arrested over the weekend after a 21-year-old Schofield woman told police the officer sexually assaulted her in her home Friday was released Monday on a $2,500 signature bond.

The officer, Corey A. Yolitz, 22, of Kronenwetter,was charged in Marathon County court Monday with second-degree sexual assault and burglary. He faces 52 1/2 years in prison if convicted on both charges.

The woman, who is not being named as the victim in a reported sexual assault, told police that she ran into Yolitz Thursday night when she went to a local bar to watch the Green Bay Packers game. After the game, the woman continued drinking until bar-closing time at 2 a.m. Friday, when she was "extremely intoxicated" and accepted a ride home from Yolitz, according to court records.

Yolitz dropped her off and left, the woman told police, and she went to bed, according to court records.

Later in the night, the woman told police she was awakened by someone having sex with her. She initially thought it was her boyfriend, and when she spoke to the man having sex with her in the darkened room, he responded as if he were the boyfriend, court records said.

At some point, she realized it wasn't her boyfriend and confronted the man, who ran from the home. As he left, the man set off motion lights outside the home, and the victim was able to identify the man as Yolitz, according to court records.

Yolitz, who has been a Rothschild officer since June 9, immediately was removed from duty Friday and resigned Saturday, Rothschild Police Chief Jeremy Hunt said.

Yolitz was off duty when the assault is alleged to have occurred, Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks said.

Investigation into the incident began Friday afternoon when police were called to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for a report of a sexual assault that occurred at a Schofield home. The victim, a 21-year-old female, told police Yolitz sexually assaulted her in her home during the early-morning hours Friday, police said.

Yolitz was interviewed by Everest Metro officers Saturday and was taken into custody late that evening, according to Sparks.

Hunt issued a press release Monday in which he briefly outlined Yolitz's employment history and referred all questions to the Marathon County District Attorney's Office.

US arms trade - the gift that keeps giving: ISIS militants scavenge bullets made in U.S., Iran, 19 other countries


ISIS US ammunition

© Conflict Armament Research

Weapons-tracking organization Conflict Armament Research worked alongside Kurdish forces to recover more than 1,700 cartridges used by ISIS. More than 20 percent of the ammunition was U.S.-made. "[ISIS] appear to have acquired a large part of their current arsenal from stocks seized from, or abandoned by, Iraqi defense and security forces," the report said. Most of the U.S. ammo was manufactured in the first decade of the 21st century, when Washington was bolstering Iraqi forces following the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The ammo recovered in the study came from 21 different countries and dated from 1945 to present day. The biggest contributors were China and the Soviet Union, with most of their ammo originating in the 1970s and 1980s. The study also found modern Iranian ammunition. "If transferred deliberately, the presence of this ammunition outside of Iran violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 1737 (2006), which prohibits Iran's export of ammunition," it noted.

Conflict Armament Research Investigators found this expended ammunition at ISIS firing positions in northern Iraq. The bullets were manufactured at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri.

Large explosion at Iran nuclear site kills two amid speculation of another Israeli sabotage

Parchin Nuclear Plant

© www.zerohedge.com

It was just yesterday when, in an interview with CNN, Israel PM Netanyahu reminded the world that before there was ISIS, there was Israel's most loathed enemy Iran, and told Fareed Zakaria that in addition to combating ISIS, Netanyahu said Israel and other moderate Arab states see Iran's nuclear program as a "twin" challenge that goes hand-in-hand with stopping the spread of radical Islam. From that point on it was only a matter of time before something exploded.

That something took place a few hours ago when a large explosion took place near a suspected nuclear site in Iran has reportedly killed two people and according to the Washington Free Beacon, prompted speculation of sabotage at a military site long suspected of housing Tehran's clandestine nuclear activities, according to Iran's Defense Industries Organization (DIO), which operates under the country's Ministry of Defense.

The Free Beacon, citing Fars New Agency, reports that one explosion rocked a production plant late Sunday night in east Tehran, near the Parchin nuclear site. The explosion at a facility referred to as a "production plant" caused a fire that killed two workers, according to Fars, which cited information provided by Iran's DIO. Fars first reported news of the explosion, claiming that it took place at an "explosive material factory" near Parchin. According to Iran opposition sources, the blast killed at least four military personnel.

More from WFB:

Official state run outlets, which often censor material, quoted the head of Tehran's Fire Squad as saying that four fire stations responded to control the fire and that some were "wounded" during this. These official reports acknowledge that Parchin is a military site, but claim that actual explosion took place at a non-military installation used as a waste storage depot.

Other thinly sourced reports, such as one from London's Manoto TV, claimed that as many as 35 were killed in the explosion, though no such number has been confirmed.

Other reports referred to a "strong" and "tremendous explosion" that "shook Eastern Tehran" and blew out the windows of a nearby building and impacted about a 10-mile area, according to Saham News.

The report also cites the explosion as taking place near the "Parchin military site," which has been known to house "high explosives" and other work related to Iran's nuclear program, according to the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

"The Parchin site is among the military sites of Tehran which produce solid fuel for ballistic missiles without any safety rules and precautions," Saham reported, according to a translation provided by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Iranian security forces blocked off local streets and assumed a presence near the facility following the explosion, according to the report.

In addition to Netanyahu's veiled threat, it bears observing that the explosion came just hours before inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Organization were set to tour some of Iran's nuclear sites, according to Fars.

Iran has long claimed that Western nations and Israel are attempting to sabotage its nuclear site, and has been, for the most part, correct in accusing Israel of sabotage-related provocations, whether via STUXnet, by drone or by conventional weapon means.

It remains to be seen if this just the latest provocative Israeli act that it hopes nobody notices or comments on, and later is shocked to find when its neighbor states retaliate.

Zimbabwe threatened with sanctions by Obama over Russian platinum deal

© New Zealand Herald

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov

As Martin Armstrong exclaims, Obama is out of control. According to NewZimbabwe.com, Washington has said it will accelerate sanctions imposed against Harare in 2003, due to the Robert Mugabe-led government's closer ties with Russia over the US$3 billion Darwendale platinum project.

columnist Nathaniel Manheru (who is thought to be Mugabe's spokesman) reported, Washington explained its expectations on Zimbabwe, namely that Zimbabwe was expected (read required) to support those sanctions by avoiding any association with companies sanctioned by the Americans and their Western allies, or their subsidiaries or affiliates.

Manheru said "it was ridiculous for the US to refuse to lift sanctions against Harare and then demand support for its measures against Moscow... This is where I am tempted to tell the American government to go and hang, hang on a banana tree, bums up."

Via AllAfrica.com,

The United States has reportedly warned Zimbabwe about its growing economic dealings with Russia after Harare recently sealed an agreement with Moscow for a US$3billion platinum mine.

According to columnist Nathaniel Manheru, who is thought to be President Robert Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba, the Obama administration threatened further sanctions against Zimbabwe over its ties with Russia.


Zimbabwe's Pen East Investments has teamed up with Afronet, a consortium of three Russian partners, to form Great Dyke Investments, which is developing the US$3 billion Darwendale platinum project.

At full development in 2024, the mine will produce 800,000 platinum ounces, pushing Zimbabwe's output over one million ounces, and create 8,000 jobs.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visited Zimbabwe last month to conclude the deal with President Robert Mugabe. However, according to Manheru, the deal could see Washington hit Harare with further sanctions.

Wrote Manheru in the :

"A week or two ago, the US government, through its local embassy, sent an official communication to the Zimbabwean Government, listing the full measure of sanctions the West, led by America, have slapped on Russia. The communication went further. It spelt out American expectations on Zimbabwe, namely that Zimbabwe was expected (read required) to support those sanctions by avoiding any association with companies sanctioned by the Americans and their Western allies."

"Or their subsidiaries or affiliates. And . . . yes you guess right, that targets the new US$3bn-plus platinum investment by the Russians at Darwendale! It (Zimbabwe) should not proceed or else we are under sanctions."

The US imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2003, accusing Mugabe of human rights abuses and electoral fraud. Harare denies the allegations, insisting the sanctions were meant to punish the country's land reforms.

Obama's administration has ignored calls by Mugabe to remove the sanctions which the veteran leader blames for bringing Zimbabwe's economy to its knees.

Manheru said it was ridiculous for the US to refuse to lift sanctions against Harare and then demand support for its measures against Moscow.

He wrote:

"America then invites sanctioned Zimbabwe to support sanctions against Russia, itself a bird of the same feather!

"Oh America! This is where I am tempted to tell the American government to go and hang, hang on a banana tree, bums up."

As Martin Armstrong concludes

Obama is attempting to impose his own rule of law over the entire world - my way or highway. He has no such constitutional authority and this guy who misses most of his daily briefings as Fox News reported, and countless others.

I am not kidding. This is precisely how Athens fell. It dictated to all its allies and one by one they turned against Athens and joined Sparta. Sparta was a virtual communist state and Athens was a state in a battle swinging back and forth between oligarchs and democracy.

* * *

Making friends and isolating people...

Definitive data on the global warming climate change scam

Bookmark this.

There is only one piece of US climate data which correlates with CO2 - the amount of data tampering NCDC is applying to US temperature.

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com

All of the other relevant metrics show either no correlation, or negative correlation vs. CO2. The whole thing is a 100% scam - from top to bottom.

Hot days show no correlation vs. CO2

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com

Severe tornadoes have declined as CO2 has increased

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com

US temperatures show no correlation with CO2

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com

US hurricane strikes have declined as CO2 has increased

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com

US heavy rainfall events show no correlation with CO2

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com

East Coast sea level rise shows no correlation with CO2

© Stevengoddard.wordpress.com

U.S. would love to force China into "another Tiananmen Square" in Hong Kong

© Reuters / Tyrone Siu

Protesters of the Occupy Central movement sit on a main road at the Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong October 6, 2014

The US would love to break Hong Kong away from mainland China or to goad Beijing into overreacting to the demonstrations, and that is what it actively seeks to achieve through NGOs, Dr. Conn Hallinan, from , told RT.

RT: The protests have continued unabated for almost a week now, with Friday marked by street clashes. Where do you see it going from here?

Conn Hallinan: The thing is that the demonstrations themselves certainly have their own legitimacy. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. I think the minimum wage in Hong Kong is around $3.20 an hour. I think what you have is a kind of a layer of very wealthy on the top, and then a layer of the most of the people in Hong Kong that are legitimately stressed by the cost of living, the cost of education, etc.

And of course most people want a say how they are governed, and the way that they are governed. My concern with some of the Hong Kong demonstrations is that this is a case in which the US is also very active through non-governmental organizations, specifically the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the US Agency for International Development, and other groups like Freedom House. Those organizations are less concerned with democracy than they are destabilization. Those same groups were very active in Ukraine, prior to the coup. In fact the US poured about $5 billion into Ukraine over the period of several years and led to the situation perfectly where legitimate concerns about corruption were turned into a coup d'état.

My concern in the case of China is that there is tension between the US, and China, and Japan over the East and South China seas. And then these demonstrations started up. My concern is that legitimate demands may be manipulated in favor of things that don't really have to do with democracy and economic well-being.

RT: Beijing has for years been concerned that the US is trying to foment a 'color revolution' in Hong Kong, with government-backed groups and civil society organizations providing funds and training to Hong Kong's democratic movement. Are these concerns real?

CH: I do think that concerns are real. And this is a difficult point. The difficult point is that there are absolutely legitimate reasons for the majority of people in Hong Kong to be concerned about their economic well-being and also on the question of democracy. Beijing has been heavy-handed in the way that they have dealt with demands for democracy. The problem that I have is that organizations like The National Endowment for Democracy don't seem to be active in places that you would think they would be if they were concerned about democracy like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait or any of the Gulf monarchies.

They are very active in the places like Venezuela, where they played an important role in the 2001 coup against Hugo Chavez, there are very active in Ukraine and the coup that led to the overthrow of the elected government. They seem to be concerned about democracy in those countries that the US is in competition with. And that is where the suspicion on the part of the Beijing authorities lies and they have legitimate concerns. The way to deal with that, however, is not to take the bait which is to say crushes the democracy movement. Instead, what it is for you to sit down and you to negotiate a political settlement. I think that most polls, for instance, in Hong Kong show that the majority of the Hong Kong residents want to negotiate this settlement, they don't want a confrontation. They want more democracy, they want a better economic situation for themselves and those are legitimate things that really need to sit down with the Beijing government and negotiate on.

© Reuters / Carlos Barria

People walk near a blocked area outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong October 6, 2014

RT: The US says that Beijing should allow the highest possible degree of autonomy for the city. Why does Washington feel it can dictate the rules to a sovereign state?

CH: Keep in mind that when you are talking about Hong Kong, there was a treaty signed in 1997. And the treaty signed in 1997 was that for a period of 50 years that the Beijing government that is mainland China, The People's Republic of China, would not interfere in any kind of major way in Hong Kong. To a certain extent that has held up, and to a certain extent it has not held up. But I do think that the US would dearly love at this point to either break Hong Kong away or to kind of goad the Beijing authorities into overreacting to the demonstrations. That would be if you have for an instance another in Hong Kong that would be a tremendous propaganda victory for the US. That is exactly what they have done in Ukraine. If you follow the way that Russians are currently have been portrayed in the American media you would think you were back to 1951, 1952 in the very heart of the Cold War. And that was done essentially by provoking a situation in Ukraine and then a coup. I think the US would love to do that. I think what is important here is that The People's Republic of China and the authorities in Beijing keep their head about this situation and not overreact. Any kind of effort to massively suppress these demonstrations is just going to make things worse. I think this is where you sit down and talk. This is what Moscow has been talking about since last summer in the relations to Ukraine, and those causes for talks and for the political resolution have been consistently rejected by the US, by the West.

RT: Protesters threatened to storm government buildings if Beijing doesn't give in to their demands. Events also unfolded this way in Kiev after the US expressed its support for Maidan protests. What does this pattern tell us? Do you think there are a lot of similarities?

CH: I do think that there are a lot of similarities, and that is my concern. And the reason why I keep going back to Ukraine is because the Hong Kong situation is developing. But we have seen what happened in Ukraine. I do think that many of the same forces are at work here in Hong Kong. And that is not to say that the Hong Kong government doesn't have to deal with some of the demands of demonstrators. For instance, the governor of Hong Kong is very unpopular. However, again the way that you remove elected officials is through elections, not coup d'états, not massive demonstrations in the street which essentially overrule democracy. You do this in the ordered way through elections. Is that going to happen in Hong Kong? I think that depends on what the reaction is in Beijing, and whether the central authorities in the People's Republic of China wisely choose a path that would not lead to confrontation, that eventually would be not just a national tragedy but an international tragedy.

© Reuters / Tyrone Siu

A protester of the Occupy Central movement carries a shield from the '' comic book series as he stands on a main road at the Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong October 6, 2014

RT: The Chinese Foreign Minister stated that Beijing would not tolerate any interference with the ongoing protests saying it's the country's internal affairs. Will the US abide by these principles?

CH: It is the country's internal affairs. Can you imagine, for instance, back in the year 2001 in the first election of George Bush if somehow China stepped in and tried to influence the outcome of the 2001 election and the uproar over the fact that the person who was elected as a president did not receive the majority of votes in the country. There would have been an international scandal. And the Chinese authorities are correct to say that it is an internal affair which doesn't mean that it doesn't have international implications. I think that Beijing authorities need to keep their eye on the international conditions that this is a part of.

RT: Russia and Hong Kong have boosted cooperation against the backdrop of EU and US sanctions over the crisis in the east of the nation. Could the US be targeting not only Russia's economy, but its allies as well?

CH: The situation with the economy is that Hong Kong of course has the pretty strong economy at this point. And the mainland Chinese economy is strong by international standards, but slowing down by Chinese standards. I do think that the current crisis could have a real economic affect not only on Hong Kong but on mainland China as well - just as the Ukrainian crisis has an impact on the European Union's economy, and on the Russian economy. So there are a lot of very potentially dangerous characteristics to this current event, and it is going to take patience and wisdom to get through without some really serious ramifications.

Ebola spreads to Spain as nurse who treated victims of disease in Madrid tests positive

© AFP Photo / Spanish Defence Ministry

Doctors transfer Roman Catholic missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo who contracted the deadly Ebola virus, from Madrid's Torrejon air base to the Carlos III hospital upon their arrival in Spain. Photo released on September 22, 2014

A nurse who treated two Ebola patients at a Madrid hospital has become infected with the disease herself, health officials said. "Two tests were done and the two were positive," a spokesman for the health department of the regional government of Madrid told AFP.

Spain's Minister of Health, Ana Mato, says the authorities are working to distinguish the source of the disease's contraction as strict controls were implemented to prevent Ebola's spread. He added that there is no knowledge of any other cases.

The nurse is in a "stable" condition, according to officials. She reportedly started feeling sick on September 30. The patient whom she had been treating had died on September 25. Missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo had been helping Ebola victims in Sierra Leone.

In addition to the nurse and Viejo, Spain has had one other case, making it the third in the country. Another missionary, Miguel Pajares contracted the disease after working in Liberia. Pajares also died.

The 44-year-old woman is the first person to actually contract the disease outside of West Africa. Other cases in Spain - or more recently, the US - have been the result of individuals contracting the disease on the African continent and then traveling abroad.

The news comes as scientists release an estimate that there's a 75 percent chance the Ebola virus could spread to France and a 50 percent chance it could reach the UK before November begins.

"If this thing continues to rage on in West Africa and indeed gets worse, as some people have predicted, then it's only a matter of time before one of these cases ends up on a plane to Europe," expert in viruses from Britain's Lancaster University, Derek Gatherer, said.

Wolves at the gates of Paris - 2 seen within 40 miles of French capital


Forests just outside Paris form an ideal environment for wolves because they are well stocked with wild boar and deer.

Wolves have been spotted within 40 miles of Paris, in the first sighting so close to the capital since they crept back into France from Italy a decade ago.

"They are probably young adults who have separated from the pack as they search for a territory," said wildlife expert Eric Bas. "A wolf can roam about 100 kilometres (60 miles) in a single night."

Forests just outside Paris form an ideal environment for wolves because they are well stocked with wild boar and deer.

The grey wolf was wiped out in France in the 1920s, but has made an astonishing comeback over the past decade. Wolves now numbering at least 300 across the country killed more than 6,000 sheep last year.

The environment minister, Segolene Royal, has authorised culls of wolves - against opposition from conservationists. However, the decision was welcomed by farmers.

Luc Smessaert, a livestock breeder near Beauvais, north of Paris, said: "Coexisting with wolves would be impossible in this area."

Special permission is required to kill wolves, which are a protected species under the Bern Convention and European law.

Mr Bas claims the wolf poses no danger to people, although there were reports of man-eating wolves terrorising people in the Paris area as late as the 18th century.

"Wolves never attack humans and they are part of the balance of nature," Mr Bas said. "It's flocks that have to be protected, to prevent the wolf becoming the scapegoat of farmers and hunters."

A dead wolf, probably shot by hunters, was found in Coole, a village about 100 miles east of Paris, in January, following attacks on sheep slightly further away from the capital.

Wolves are now expected to colonise areas north of Paris, according to Guy Harle d'Ophove, head of a hunters' association.

Daylight aerial anomaly recorded in Breckenridge, Colorado



Matt Renoux at our Colorado sister station, KUSA, spotted this flying light over Breckenridge.

Breckenridge Police say they are investigating reports of three "shiny" objects in the sky Friday morning.

"NORAD is not tracking any anomalies in that location. We are investigating," said Army Major Beth Smith, NORAD spokesperson.

Multiple people have called in to report the objects floating in the sky. The Summit County Sheriff's Office is also investigating.

Police have called the FAA. The FAA says they have not had any calls from the public regarding the sighting.

Witnesses say the objects would sometimes form triangles or straight lines across the horizon.

9NEWS reporter Matt Renoux said he doesn't believe the objects were drones or weather balloons, because the objects appeared stationary for as long as 15 minutes at times.

"They would just sit there... without moving an inch on our viewscreen in the camera," Renoux said during a 5 p.m. live report.

After about 15 minutes, a flash of light would appear and the "objects would take off across the mountain ridge," Renoux said.

A Utah television station reported Thursday about a similar incident happening in the Salt Lake City area.

[embedded content]

Angry, rolling cloud is first new type in 60 years

Undulatus asperatus

© Agathman, via Wikimedia Commons

photographed in Pocahontas, Mo., in 2008.

isn't some obscure anatomical structure next to your peritoneum, nor is it a minor character from the movie

No, it's actually a type of cloud formation that weather fanciers have proposed for inclusion in the next edition of the World Meteorological Organization's "International Cloud Atlas," the ultimate reference source on the varieties of clouds.

is Latin for "agitated waves," and it basically resembles an enormous, rumpled blanket stretched out across the sky. If accepted into the atlas, it would be the first newly designated cloud formation since 1951. Below is a strikingly beautiful video of an formation, recorded by cloud watcher Alex Schueth over Lincoln, Neb., on July 9.

The new formation is being championed by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, an international group of more than 36,000 meteorological buffs from countries across the globe.

[embedded content]

In a recent article in The Verge, Pretor-Pinney explained that he was moved to propose the new formation after he received pictures of the sky taken from the 12th floor of an office building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a few years ago. The cloud formation in the photos "struck me as being rather different from the normal undulates clouds," said Pretor-Kinney, whom the article describes as an author, graphic designer and former absinthe importer. "They were more turbulent, more confused - as if you were underneath the water looking up toward the surface, when the sea is particularly disturbed and chaotic."

Pretor-Kinney subsequently received other pictures of similar-looking clouds, and he began to think that it was a new type of formation.

was recommended for consideration in a November 2013 report issued by the task force assigned to review the cloud atlas. WMO official Roger Atkinson told The Verge that the chances of the formation being included are "very high," but said that the name might be changed. "We need advice from a proper Latin scholar," he explained.

FLASHBACK: Brown bear kills hunter in Irkutsk region, Russia

© Press Service of Main Office of the MIA

The bear remained nearby and was shot dead by a police marksman.

'Aggressive' animal surprised two hunters in daylight attack, mauling one to death.

The other man escaped and rushed to the nearest village of Tonta where he sounded the alarm. Police and hunters went into the forest and found the dead 59 year old.

The bear remained nearby and was shot dead by a police marksman.

The incident - highlighted by police pictures - was the first case this year of a bear attack in Irkutsk region.

The dead man was not named.

Furious Siberian brown bear gets revenge on hunter who shot him in the leg by ripping his car apart

Car-nage: A furious brown bear is believed to have staged this stunning revenge attack on the car of a hunter ... after he shot and wounded the animal in the thigh

* The astonishing revenge attack apparently took place in a forest in Siberia

* The hunter shot the wild brown bear in the thigh forcing it to flee

* But when he returned to his car the next day he found it destroyed

* Claw marks and footprints were visible in the wet clay at the scene

These amazing photographs bring a new meaning to the word car-nage.

A furious brown bear is believed to have staged this stunning revenge attack on the car of a hunter who shot and wounded it in the leg.

The unnamed huntsman and two friends were in the Siberian forest when the beast surprised them.

[embedded content]

Bear-faced cheek: The hunter shot the wild brown bear in the thigh forcing it to flee, but next day when he returned to his Ford car, he realised his prey had had the last laugh, and ripped his vehicle to pieces

Was it a bear? Claw marks and footprints were visible in the wet clay at the scene, as if the creature had left his calling card

The hunter shot the wild brown bear in the thigh forcing it to flee, but the next day when he returned to his Ford, he realised his prey had had the last laugh, and ripped his car to pieces.

'The animal ran amok: It scratched the Ford's body, broke the lights, smashed the windscreen, tore the front and rear seats, and ripped off the rear bumper,' reported The Siberian Times.

'The owner shook his head in disbelief.'

The most surprising fact about the onslaught was that the vehicles belonging to the hunter's friends were completely untouched.

Baffling: The men concluded that the bear has used his acute sense of smell to locate the car of the man who had left him crippled, and wreaked his vengeance. But it left the hunter's friends' cars completely untouched

Big squeeze: The beast apparently even managed to get inside the car in the attack

'That must have been a busy night for the bear, he worked hard,' said the hunter's astonished friend. 'You must have had something sweet inside the car.'

Shocked, the hunter replies: 'No, I didn't.'

The men concluded that the bear has used his acute sense of smell to locate the car of the man who had left him crippled, and wreaked his vengeance.

Nor was there any doubt that the attack was by a bear.

Claw marks and footprints were visible in the wet clay at the scene, as if the creature had left his calling card.

'That must have been a busy night for the bear, he worked hard,' said the hunter's astonished friend. 'You must have had something sweet inside the car'

Bold bear: Siberian bears tend to be much bolder toward humans than their shyer, more persecuted European counterparts

'The next dilemma for the shocked hunter: what to tell his insurance company?

'Do they cover revenge attacks by wounded bears?', asked the English language website.

Siberian bears tend to be much bolder toward humans than their shyer, more persecuted European counterparts.

Siberian bears regularly destroy hunters' storages and huts where they think there is food. They are also more carnivorous than those in Europe too, hunting mountain hares, reindeer, wapiti or moose by ambushing them from pine trees.

They do not, however, seem to like honey.

Sierra Leone: 121 deaths from Ebola recorded in a single day

© Reuters/James Giahyue

A health worker takes the temperature of people at a news conference on the opening of a new Ebola clinic, outside Monrovia October 3, 2014.

Sierra Leone recorded 121 deaths from Ebola and scores of new infections in one of the single deadliest days since the disease appeared in the West African country more than four months ago, government health statistics showed on Sunday.

The figures, which covered the period through Saturday, put the total number of deaths at 678, up from 557 the day before. The daily statistics compiled by Sierra Leone's Emergency Operations Centre also showed 81 new cases of the hemorrhagic fever.

Ebola was first reported in Guinea in March and has since spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone in what has become the worst epidemic of the disease since Ebola was identified in 1976.

Smaller outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal were brought under control. The United States last week confirmed its first Ebola case, a Liberian national who had traveled to Texas.

The overall death toll from the epidemic reached 3,439 out of a total of 7,492 cases in West Africa and the United States as of Oct. 1, the World Health Organization said last week. The U.N. agency's statistics varied from those compiled by Sierra Leone.

After an initial slow response, international assistance and supplies are now pouring into West Africa.

The United States is deploying around 4,000 military personnel to the region to support efforts to combat the outbreak in Liberia, the country worst hit by the disease.

Britain and China have sent personnel to Sierra Leone. Cuba dispatched a 165-member medical team, including specialists and nurses, to Sierra Leone last week.

The country's deputy health and sanitation minister Madina Rahman said on Saturday that the Cuban team's mission would last at least six months.

She said the team would be deployed to areas across Sierra Leone.

"Massive chick deaths" in Iceland's seabird colonies

© Tristan Ferne

Arctic tern chick outside its nest in Iceland, July 1, 2014.

When the days grew long, seabirds flocked to this hamlet on the edge of the Arctic to rear their chicks under the midnight sun. "Kria," shrieked the terns, calling summer up from the slumbering ground. Black cliffs were transformed into snowbanks of white kittiwakes. Puffins whirred between land and sea. Murres plied the shoreline, fulmars patrolled the skies. Everywhere sounded their vibrant chorus.

These days, a scatter of stubborn holdovers streaks the sky and paddles the bay, but the legions are gone. The chicks have perished, their bereft parents have returned to sea.

Half of Iceland's seabirds nest on this low-lying volcanic outcropping and its neighboring islands in the deep west coast gash called Breidafjordur Bay. Flatey Island used to be covered with chicks snuggled inside rocky hillside burrows, under tall meadow grass, in nests strewn across headlands and shores.

"There were thousands! You could hear them," says Olina Jonsdottir, who has lived on this island with her husband, Hafsteinn Gudmundsson, nearly 50 years. She looks out her living room window, past the sheep grazing on knuckles of grass-covered lava, past the black basalt beach, to the few birds drifting over the water beyond. "You can't do that anymore. Now there are so few."

Iceland, circled by the food-rich currents of Atlantic, Arctic and polar waters, is the Serengeti for seabirds. Its rocky coast, hillocky fields and jutting seacliffs are breeding grounds for 23 species, hosting an indispensible share of Atlantic puffins, black guillemots, great skuas, northern fulmars, razorbills, black-legged kittiwakes and more.

But the nests have gone empty in the past few years, and colonies throughout the North Atlantic are shrinking.

The suspected culprits are many: The leading candidates are the profound changes underway in the world's oceans - their climate, their chemistry, their food webs, their loads of pollutants.

Warming oceans and earlier thaws are driving away the seabirds' prey, unleashing deadly, unseasonal storms and knocking tight breeding schedules off-kilter. Mounting carbon dioxide absorption and melting glaciers are acidifying and diluting the aquatic balance, jeopardizing marine life and creatures that depend on it for food.

Alarmed scientists have returned from fieldwork throughout the North Atlantic with sobering descriptions of massive chick die-offs and colonies abandoned with eggs still in the nests.

"Mass mortality of kittiwakes is evident," said Freydis Vigfusdottir, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, England. "You can see in the late summer lots of 'chick pancakes' in the nest."

And in the Arctic tern colonies she's studied, "there are just dead chicks everywhere," she said. "Not only do you have to provide your field assistants with food and shelter, but also some psychological help after many, many days of collecting dead chicks."

Total Breeding Failure

On Flatey Island, the once-prolific terns haven't produced viable chicks in more than a decade. More than half of the region's black-legged kittiwake nests vanished over 15 years.

And on the Westman Islands off Iceland's south coast - home to the world's largest Atlantic puffin colony - breeding has been a "total failure" since 2005, according to the South Iceland Nature Center. The impacts are being felt throughout the country, where these clown-faced birds have been both a legally-hunted delicacy and a national mascot. "Puffin watch" - news on how things are going in the burrows each summer - is as popular here as "volcano watch."

Similar trends are reported in Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and across the circumpolar north - the principal nursery for Northern Hemisphere marine birds. Most of the biome's species, the 2013 Arctic Biodiversity Assessment finds, are in decline.

Whole populations haven't collapsed - at least not yet. These hardy seafarers are long-lived, and millions of them still sail the North Atlantic. Normally, seabirds can withstand a few bad breeding seasons. However, reproductive failures have been going on for so long now that scientists say it's just a matter of time before the adults, too, are gone.

Now researchers are struggling to comprehend the catastrophic breeding failure and its implications for an ecosystem that is fundamental to the planet's health.

The seabirds' plight "is a huge concern ... not just in the North Atlantic but also globally," Vigfusdottir said. The cold waters of the North Atlantic are a major driving force for the Earth's weather and among the most productive fisheries in the world, so the birds' problems could indicate trouble for the region's major industry and the global food supply.

These same problems also are now being noted in wading birds like redshank, shorebirds like red knot, and other waterfowl in the northern United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere.

"What is happening in Iceland, we see happening in so many other areas in the North Atlantic. And the fact that we're seeing them over such a wide area points to a common factor ... and that is climate change," said Aevar Petersen, a retired Icelandic Institute of Natural History ornithologist.

Winds and currents funneling pollution northward from Europe, North America and China bring more bad news for seabirds preying high on the food web. Mercury, which damages birds' brains and reproduction, is ubiquitous - and rising fast in some areas. Brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated coatings, pesticides, plasticizers, polychlorinated biphenyls and more are contaminating a variety of species and locations. And masses of chemical-laced microplastics could be released by melting ice sheets.

Seabirds "are critical for detecting changes that are happening even more rapidly than we suspected," said Jennifer Provencher, a Ph.D. student at Carleton University in Ottawa who examines colonies in Arctic Canada. "We are getting basically a year-to-year-to-year update of the health of the oceans and the health of the environment through these seabird studies."

It's likely all these threats are adding up, she said, sounding a warning across the north. "They're alarm bells, in real time, of changes that are going off."

Read the rest here.

FLASHBACK: Gettin Keto: Why we must dump grains, eat more fat! - Dr. Perlmutter

© Perlmutter

Sugars and carbs, yes even the "healthy" kind, have been linked to everything from chronic headaches, insomnia, depression and even ADHD. Award winning author and American College of Nutrition Humanitarian of the year award Dr. David Perlmutter discusses his book "The Grain Brain".

[embedded content]

Washington has crossed the red line in Syria

Obama drone strikes

At the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) led by President Obama its members have unanimously adopted a resolution to stem the flow of foreigners into the ranks of extremist organizations such as the Islamic State. On Wednesday, September 24, all the fifteen Security Council members voted unanimously to bind the UN Member States to adopt laws under which their citizens won't be able to fight under the banners of Islamist groups or recruit other citizens to do so, unless they are willing to go to jail.

Perhaps some people could marvel at Obama's selfless effort to lead the fight against the new monster. But those better informed in today's international politics, especially those introduced to Wahington's cunning plans will ask a simple question: Where did all these organizations, Al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and now Khorasan Group come from, how could they possibly reach such strength that now the international community must face them? The track record of Al Qaeda is carefully documented and well known, its leadership, that was headed by now dead Osama bin Laden, is handsomely paid by the CIA at the expense of US taxpayers. The rest of the above mentioned terrorist groups are funded with the money provided by the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf. They have been created on Syrian soil by the West in order to overthrow the legitimately elected government of Bashar al-Assad. None other than the US president issued the order to train and arm them. There is no need to prove anything since the actions of the United States have been carefully documented. Barack Obama himself admitted that in recent years some 15 thousand foreign fighters have been brought to Syria from more than 80 countries!

Along with these actions, Barack Obama in the spirit of the Nobel Peace Laureate created another so-called coalition to launch air strikes in Syria and Iraq. This fact should be emphasized, the coalition was not created to bring peace to this highly trouble-prone region, but for carrying out military actions, to further inflate the fire. Hence the Middle East will witness even more deaths and suffering. A peculiar fact of this "pro-peace" coalition are its members: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain. There's a saying in all languages ​​- "Tell me who are your friends are and I will tell you who you are". This saying exemplifies the case. The so-called American Democrats are friends with the kings of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, with the emir of Qatar and the UAE sheiks, it seems that the US president wouldn't mind being named a king as well.

And now the aircraft of this "peaceful" coalition carries out strikes in Syria, without even obtaining consent of Damascus. Americans have already launched more than 40 Tomahawk missiles. What is the result? At least 14 militants (is there a proof?) and five civilians were killed in air strikes the United States and its allies carried out against the positions of the Islamic State in northeastern Syria on the night of September 25. As you may notice, nobody cares for civilian lives, since nobody will submit a complaint to the International Court of Justice, so there's no need to offer apologies, no need to pay compensation to the families of the deceased. This logic is rather simple - Syrians were killed and they were second-class human beings, why should US Democrats care?

"Syria is ready for cooperation and coordination at the regional and international level to fight terrorism and implement U.N. Security Council resolution 2170," Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem told reporters in Damascus. But he underlined that it's of crucial importance to distinguish the fight against terrorism from the from the hidden agenda of the United States and its allies. According to Walid al-Muallem the majority of the members of the international coalition have been involved in a conspiracy against Syria for more than three years, since those countries had funded terrorists, trained them, armed and smuggled into Syria.

By issuing an order to bomb the territory of a sovereign state without obtaining consent of the UN Security Council Barack Obama, like a number of US presidents before him, has crossed the red line. In other words, the United States has become an aggressor once again. Unauthorized aerial bombardment of the Islamic State positions has created the conditions for the "unlawful use of force" against the government armed forces, along with facilities under their control. It must be noted that a situation of "war without war" is blocking the possibility of the Syrian army to strike back against this "aggression by mistake", which is a direct violation of the international law norms. You can imagine what would happen if the Syrian air defense units bring down at least one plane of the coalition. Those claiming that the destruction of Syria's chemical stockpiles was needed for the consequent retaliation-free bombing of Syrian territory must have been right.

Is the leadership of the Arab countries too blind to understand that their role in the military coalition is limited by the time Assad stays in power. What can prevent Washington from bombing Saudi Arabia under the pretext of destroying the roots of Islamic terrorism? Let's not forget that the Saudis had nourished the roots of the organization that launched a sorrowful attack on the United States on September 11. By today's standards of conduct the US won't need a UN Security Council resolution to assault the Saudis. And there will always be countries, even the very neighbors of Riyadh, that are willing to enter into a coalition against Saudi Arabia. By the way, the kingdom holds no political or economic importance for Washington anymore, since the US has succeed in obtaining self-provision of oil products, the US media claims it will even be able to export those to Europe in order to remove its dependency on Russia's oil and gas supplies.

In this respect, Steven Miles, a coordinator of an antiwar organization "Win Without War", has nailed it for :

"Tonight's reported U.S. airstrikes in Syria were not to save those trapped on a mountain or to defend against a march on U.S. diplomatic personnel, but rather a clear escalation of American involvement in a regional conflict that the president himself says has no military solution."

It is clear that all those who undermine the sovereignty of Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Iraq continue to do the so with other methods. Previously, they were supporting terrorists and criminals, various dubious organizations that fulfilled their agenda, and now they start an alleged fight against such groups, but in fact, there's nobody else to blame than the United States, the West, and the Arab monarchies.

Moscow has always stressed the importance of a coordinated effort of the international community to fight terrorist threat, an effort without double standards, without misrepresentations of the situation in Syria. It has repeated time and time again that it is imperative to adherence to the norms of the UN Charter and international law and to show unconditional respect to Syria's sovereignty in order to implement the plan of the US formed coalition, even if it implies military involvement.


Chilly winter: Eurozone governments will 'enjoy' the fruits of pro-EU Kiev as latest Gazprom offer rejected

We will see soon enough just how high a price the governments of the eurozone are willing to pay for Kiev’s “European choice.”

It seems that with the shelling of a school in the Kievsky district of Donetsk on Wednesday (bringing the death toll in eastern Ukraine to well over 3,500), the ceasefire between Kiev and the Russian-backed separatists will likely not hold. And while most of the attention with regard to the economic costs associated with the continuing conflict has focused on how high a price the West should oblige Russia to pay for its role in arming the rebels, more attention ought to be paid to what the Ukraine crisis may have in store for the increasingly fragile eurozone economies, as well as the consequent risk it may pose to the not-particularly-robust U.S. economy.

Concurrent with the deteriorating conditions on the ground in eastern Ukraine, the desire in Europe to forge ahead with a diplomatic solution to the crisis seems oddly attenuated. Yesterday, only hours after the shelling in Donetsk, EU Commission president Manuel Barroso issued a strongly worded rejection of Russian president Vladimir Putin's call for the re-negotiation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in order to address Moscow's concerns over how the agreement will impact its economy.

Barroso's economic acumen seems to be about on par with his political acumen; readers may recall it was he who in December 2013 called on the then peaceful anti-government protesters in Kiev to the barricades, summoning them to "have the courage and go out and fight." In any event, the idea that the eurozone, the United States and Japan together have enough leverage to maneuver Russia towards their preferred outcome via sanctions on trade and energy has been given wide currency over the course of the ongoing crisis. It is a claim that merits closer scrutiny.

As winter approaches (and readers might take note that Kiev is at roughly the same latitude as Calgary), the ramifications of Kiev's "European choice" are becoming clear. An agreement between Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom in 2009 gave Kiev the option to purchase Russian natural gas at a significant discount in the short term, while agreeing to pay a (possibly) higher-than-market price in the medium term. The claim the Moscow is squeezing Kiev and forcing it, in the words of one correspondent , to pay a price "far higher than what most European countries pay" neglects to mention that (1) Ukraine agreed to pay that price in return for lower-than-market priced gas in the 2009, (2) Ukraine owes Russia, by some estimates, between 3.5 and 5 billion dollars in back payments and (3) for twenty years Ukraine has extracted, according to one analyst , "huge rents in the form of cheap or free gas from Russia" by leveraging its position as the primary transit hub for Europe's supply of natural gas. In other words, Ukraine has proved to be a significant transit risk for a generation, hence the concerted push by several major EU countries including Spain, Italy and France for the timely completion of the South Stream pipeline that would bypass Ukraine altogether.

The situation Ukraine itself now faces is little short of dire. Because of the war and its failure to pay Gazprom, Russia cut off the supply of gas to Ukraine on June 15. As a result, by January, Ukraine's gas storages should be empty. Yet on Saturday, Ukraine rejected an EU-brokered deal between Moscow and Kiev that would have resumed the transit of gas to Ukraine over the coming six months in return for a payment of $3.1 billion. Russia claims the $3.1 billion will go towards paying down Kiev's outstanding debt, while Kiev insists that the sum should be considered a prepayment for the coming shipment. The dispute has sparked fears among countries in southeastern Europe that Kiev will - as it did in January 2006 and January 2009 - siphon off quantities of natural gas that are meant to flow to them.

If this should happen, as seems increasingly likely, it would pose a significant economic risk to the eurozone. And while the consequences of upsetting the delicate balance between Russia and Europe seem to have eluded the likes of Manuel Barroso, it has not been lost on the Czech energy ambassador, who on Monday told the Reuters European Investment Summit that "it would be foolish to expect business as usual this winter vis-à-vis transit through Ukraine...our baseline scenario for this winter is that there will be no gas through Ukraine, no transit this winter."

If so, then what effect will this have on the eurozone's tenuous recovery from the 2012-13 debt crisis?

The energy war, coupled with the trade war that has broken out due to the implementation of the sanctions regime against Russia, may result in Europe's backsliding into a recession next year. We may already be seeing signs of it. On Wednesday, the eurozone PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) hit a fourteen-month low, while France's continued to contract and Germany's fell to a fifteen-month low. Meanwhile, a sanctions-induced reduction in oil flows from Russia could further stifle eurozone growth by 1 to 1.5 percentage points in 2015.

What does this mean for the American economy? Opinions differ. John M. Mason of the Wharton School of Business registered his concern with the in mid-September, noting that "all Americans should be concerned" about the chances of another European recession because that would result in slower growth here at home.

A more reassuring analysis comes courtesy of a Chicago-based global-markets strategist who tells that while he believes that the eurozone is already in recession, the American economy is fairly well positioned to weather another European recession, after all...

...the goods and services trade channel from the EU to the U.S. is small, and not all that relevant to real U.S. economic activity. We may send 1/6th of our exports to the EU (including the UK), but overall U.S. exports are a small part of economic activity here. Remember: the U.S. consumer is still some 70 percent of GDP.

Only time will tell how insulated the American economy is from the Ukraine crisis; meanwhile, we will see soon enough just how high a price the governments of the eurozone are willing to pay for Kiev's "European choice."