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Friday, June 17, 2011





Greece on the edge of collapse: World financial markets are on edge as the unstable political situation in Greece continued to escalate Thursday. CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reports.

Greece is struggling to convince the financial markets it's not about to go bankrupt. The government is on the brink of collapse, and its final hope is yet another bailout from Europe and the IMF. ITN's Daisy McAndrew reports.


 Syrian troops travelling on tanks, armoured personnel carriers and buses have moved into two northern towns.  They have gathered in Maarat al-Numan and Khan Sheikhoun, which sit on the road linking Damascus and Aleppo. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged Syria to halt the bloodshed and "stop killing people". The UN says that at least 1,100 people have died as the government has violently sought to quash protests over the past three months. Read more

Thousands demonstrate on Syria's 'Friday of tribes'  - Video

 An eruption of protests throughout China has sent armoured vehicles into town centres, prompted an internet blackout by the government and left thousands across the country blogging about "crazy" violence on the streets. 

The summer surge of protests, which flared in the southern industrial hub of Zengcheng over the weekend, has been linked to a range of frustrations with modern China - furies that have drawn the government into crackdowns on activism and massive increases in the domestic security budget. More than 1000 migrant workers went on the rampage in Zengcheng after a pregnant street vendor in her 20s was roughed up by security guards. Such incidents, while distressing, are not uncommon. Witnesses said that the centre of town was bedlam, with smashed windows, blazing police vehicles and teargas explosions as rioters hurled missiles at an official building. One bank worker blogged that the Bank of China had ordered an immediate halt to all ATM transactions. Read more

    Public-sector workers risk even bigger cuts in their gold-plated pensions if they strike and reject government plans for reform, Cabinet minister Danny Alexander warns. Read more

    More than 600,000 teachers, civil servants and other public sector staff plan to strike on June 30 in what would be one of the biggest co-ordinated one-day actions for a generation

    Mexican officials say 33 people have been killed in the space of 24 hours in Mexico's industrial capital, Monterrey. Security officials in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located, said most of those killed had links to the country's drug cartels. But two of the victims were identified as bodyguards of the governor of Nuevo Leon, Rodrigo Medina. Police said a threatening message addressed to Mr Medina had been found next to the bodies.  Read more

    EXTREME WEATHER / CLIMATE FATIGUE / radiation – nuclear disaster NEWS

    ‘CLIMATE FATIGUE’ is going to affect more and more people worldwide as ‘Normal’ weather conditions fail to return; as one climate disaster after another hits the same place over and over. This is what is happening to the people in Christchurch, NZ as they have been hit by several major quakes since September of last year.

    THE strung-out residents of New Zealand's quake city have started to display signs of extreme stress usually only seen war zones as they recover from their third powerful earthquake, experts say. A double whammy of quakes measuring 5.7 and 6.3-magnitude hit Christchurch on Monday afternoon, leaving residents with the grim and all-to-familiar task of sweeping up silt and calling their insurance company. The physical toll was considerable. An elderly man died, 45 others were injured, a further 50 buildings collapsed and the number of homes to be abandoned has been pushed into the thousands. The financial toll is also steep, with risk analyst Eqecat estimating the latest disaster could add $NZ6.1 billion ($4.67 billion) to the region's insurance losses. Read more

    Once a malicious "baseless rumor" on the net, now it is written up in a regional newspaper with readership in Tokyo and Kanto area.
    Tokyo Shinbun (paper edition only, 6/16/2011) reports that many children in Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, 50 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, are suffering inexplicable nosebleed, diarrhea, and lack of energy since the nuke plant accident. Read more

    The operator of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant has announced plans to construct a shroud over one of the reactor buildings, a stop-gap measure until a more permanent solution can be found, such as entombing the facility in concrete. Read more

     Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 reactor building covering plan released  Photo: EPA

    Days of torrential rain have forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people in central and southern China. The government has described flooding in some areas as the worst since 1955 and has mobilised troops to evacuate some 555,000 people. More than 100 people are known to have died so far this month. China's disaster alert has been raised to the highest level, four. More heavy rain is expected in the coming days, with little let-up until Sunday. Read more

    A CHILEAN volcano spewing dangerous ash high into the sky, sowing air travel havoc, could have even more intense eruptions in the days to come, government geologists have warned. "It is possible there will be a return to increased eruptive activity" of the Puyehue volcano in southern Chile's Andes mountains, which started belching fumes on June 4, Chile's National Geological and Mines Service said today.
    It said it was detecting no let-up in the volcano's emissions, which were towering eight kilometres into the troposphere. That was bad news for airlines flying into or over Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, southern Brazil, and Australia. Passengers in those regions have had to ditch aircraft for travel by boat or overland, or cancel plans entirely. Read more

    crops destroyed / food crisis / FAMINE NEWS

    BILLINGS, Mont. — For years, Gordon Stoner's rule for keeping the rain-soaked Northeast Montana soil from swallowing his tractor was to "turn when the ducks fly," meaning nothing short of a pond would cause him to turn the wheel. Then the record rains of 2011 turned his fields to soup and kept his tractor in the barn for all but 41 hours over a three-week stretch in May. When he finally got into the field, his tractor's heavy wheels flattened the fooded groundhog tunnels below. Water shot like geysers from the prairie dog holes. "I have never entertained the thought of not getting a crop in," Stoner said. "You eat an elephant one bite at a time. You just gnaw away at it, but we've got rain in the forecast and if we get much more, I don't know." It takes a lot to get a Montana farmer to curse the rain, but some are beginning to. Hundreds of thousands of acres have gone unplanted due to unprecedented rains and the number of growing days needed to produce a crop is quickly dwindling. In addition, federal officials now estimate 1.4 million Montana acres-an area slightly larger than Glacier National Park-has been hit by flooding. Read more

    Add sandstorms to the litany of severe weather events piling difficulties on Arkansas’ farmers this growing season. Extension cotton agronomists and county Extension agents for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture were checking cotton fields on Tuesday to see the extent of sandblast and hail damage. “We had a heck of a Sunday and (Monday),” said Tom Barber, Extension cotton agronomist for the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture. “Over the weekend, the northeastern part of the state was hit with a wall of sand with all these thunderstorms popping up.” The National Weather Service at Little Rock reported a truck was blown over and trees and power lines were downed in Woodruff County on Monday. Hail ranging in size from 1.25 to 1.5 inches was reported in Stone and Baxter counties. Read more

    LONDON -- One of the driest spring seasons on record in northern Europe has sucked soils dry and sharply reduced river levels to the point that governments are starting to fear crop losses and France, in particular, is bracing for blackouts as its river-cooled nuclear power plants may be forced to shut down. Read more


    June 16, 2011 – Cambodia says a 7-year-old girl is its sixth death from bird flu this year. The Health Ministry said Friday the girl from Prey Veng province died June 7 of respiratory complications. Cambodia has now had 16 cases, and 14 victims have died. Its previous annual high was four deaths in 2005. The ministry and the World Health Organization say 555 cases of bird flu have been confirmed since 2003 globally and 324 were fatal.

     Eight children have been admitted to hospital in northern France after eating beef burgers infected with a strain of E. coli bacteria, health officials said on Thursday, fanning fears of a wider outbreak. The officials said the bacteria was not related to the lethal strain of E. coli that has killed 39 people and made 3,000 ill, most of them in northern Germany. Read more

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