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Monday, March 7, 2011

Global food prices hit record high as UN warns of impact of political unrest in North Africa

UN food chart

Global food prices hit a record high last month as the UN warned that oil price hikes caused by the unrest in North Africa could force costs to spiral even more.
Rising food prices are a fast-growing global problem, partly fuelling the protests which toppled the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt in January and February.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) Food Price Index hit its second straight record last month, further passing peaks seen in 2008 when high prices driven by rising grain costs and tighter supply sparked riots.

David Hallam, director of the FAO's trade and market division said further jumps in the oil price would have an impact on food markets, which have seen U.S. wheat prices soar 60 per cent in the year to March.
He said: 'Unexpected oil price spikes could further exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets.'
Oil prices recently high two and a half year highs, nearing records set in 2008, and markets fears that North African and Middle East unrest would choke key supplies.
Farmers depend on fuel to run agricultural machinery, while dry bulk shippers are heavy oil users, costs which are passed on to food buyers.
Spiralling shipping costs for commodities threaten to drive food inflation even higher as nations from Asia to the Middle East and Africa scramble for supplies, analysts say.
The FAO, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 236 points in February, the record in real and nominal terms, up 2.2 percent from January’s record and rising for the eighth month in a row.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1362568/Global-food-prices-hit-record-high-UN-warns-impact-political-unrest-North-Africa.html#ixzz1Fg4FVhdE

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US Homeless Kids...16 millons

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UFO files: threat of alien invasion taken seriously by military

The police, armed forces and intelligence services were all mobilised after a "very successful" practical joke for a student rag week sparked fears of a real alien invasion, newly released secret files reveal.

The authorities, including four local forces and a bomb disposal unit, swung into action after six "flying saucers" were found by members of the public in a perfect line across southern England.

But fears of a real "war of the worlds" incident petered out after examination of the "spacecraft" showed that it was an elaborate rag week hoax by engineering students.

The incident, which was taken seriously for a number of hours, took place in 1967 but has only just been revealed by secret UFO files released by The National Archives.

They show that early in the morning of 4 September the police and RAF were flooded with calls from the public reporting six small “flying saucers” that had been discovered in locations in a perfect line across southern England from the Isle of Sheppey to the Bristol Channel.

They also revealed a number of military sightings of UFOs, a claimed "alien abduction" in London and an unidentified aircraft shadowing a Lancaster bomber.

The extraterrestrial files reveal how the phenomenon was discussed at the highest level of government and security services worldwide, including at the United Nations (UN), the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was even the subject of a debate in the House of Lords.

The previously-classified records show that in January 1979 – during the peak of the "Winter of Discontent" – in addition to discussions on trade union strikes, the House of Lords held a debate of the subject of UFOs – the only full debate on UFOs ever held in British Parliament.

The files reveal that in December 1977 the government used its influence to talk down a call by Grenada president, Sir Eric Gairy, for a UN agency to conduct research into UFO sightings.

Sir Eric eventually withdrew his proposal but continued his campaign for a full UN debate on UFOs – calling on the UN General Assembly to make 1978 "the year of the UFO".

One of the 35 newly-released files shows 15 unidentified aircraft were detected on radar approaching the UK between January and July 2001 in the months leading up to 9/11.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) received just one UFO report (with no radar corroboration) on September 11 itself.

A report from a man who believed he may have been abducted by aliens after seeing an unusual aircraft one evening and experiencing a period of "missing time".

The Telegraph

Fema preparing fire departments for aliens...

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A Burqa for Lady Liberty and a Mosque for Ground Zero


A Muslim group has announced plans to cover the Statue of Liberty with a burqa and then replace her with a minaret. But there's no reason at all to take such plans seriously. Lady Liberty being treated the way the Muslim world treats women in general, is as unlikely as a massive mosque being built just downwind of Ground Zero. Or Queen Elizabeth donning a hijab on a visit to Abu Dhabi. It's one of those things that we're told not to worry about until it happens and then objecting to it becomes a crime against tolerance. The tolerance of intolerance.

In Germany, a Kosovar Muslim airport employee cried, "Allahu Akbar" and opened fire on a group of US airmen. Of course the motive has yet to be determined, and after a long period of speculation touching on everything from his mortgage problems to his scratchy uniform, the truth will be known and quietly buried, along with the two men he killed. Little more than a decade ago, the United States Air Force was instrumental in helping create a terrorist state for Kosovar Muslims. This is the gratitude they got in return. A hail of bullets. And this is the gratitude that Westerners can always expect for their aid.

Anjem Choudary, the leader of the Islamic group that would like to sandblast Lady Liberty, and Arid Uka, the airport gunmen, were not hatched in some cave in Pakistan. Choudary was born in the London Borough of Bexley. Arid Uka was born and raised in Germany, where his family had lived for some 40 years. They are not immigrants, but native born European Muslims fighting to remake Europe into an Islamic state. The idea is fanciful, just like the Statue of Liberty being blown up by the American Taliban to make way for a minaret. But there was a time when a short Austrian corporal's plans to build a Thousand Year Reich on the bones of Europe were as laughable as Choudary's antics.

In 1993, Americans laughed at a gang of stupid Muslim terrorists who had tried to blow up the World Trade Center using a Ryder rental van, and then actually tried to get their deposit back on the van. 8 years later a gang of terrorists not all that much smarter than them hijacked four planes withbox cutters and knocked down both towers, killing 3,000 people. And suddenly it wasn't funny anymore.

Evil is often ridiculous in its pretensions, but horrifying in its execution. It is silly only until it begins to succeed, and then the joke turns to horror and madness. We may find Kim Jong Il funny, but no one in North Korea does. Saddam's love poems, Stalin's toupee, Hitler's comic bellicosity, Khaddafi's eccentricity are funny only because we never lived under them. The presumptuousness of a Choudary presuming to wave the flag of Islam over the White House and announce plans for dynamiting theStatue of Liberty is a joke. But the punchline is how little we are doing to halt the day when it really does fly over the White House.


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Postal Service to run out of cash by October, postmaster tells panel

The Republican-controlled House opened the envelope of postal finances on Wednesday and what it pulled out wasn’t pretty.
Unless things change, the post office will run out of money by the end of the fiscal year in October, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe told the House Oversight subcommittee on the Postal Service.
Mr. Donahoe said that as of Sept. 30 his agency will owe the federal government a payment of $5.5 billion to fund medical costs, in advance, for future retirees, and in November it will need to make a $1.3 billion payment for worker’s compensation.
“The Postal Service will not have the cash available to make both of these payments. We need legislation this year to address that fact,” he said.
If it does come down to crunch time, said Mr. Donahoe: “We will deliver the mail.” Employees will be paid, as will suppliers, he said. “The thing we will not do is pay the federal government.”
Without some important changes to the law the post office “cannot survive as a self-financing entity,” Mr. Donahoe said.
While the post office has been battered by the recession and the movement of mail to the Internet, it has also cut costs sharply by reducing its work force by 240,000 people in recent years. Last year, it cut costs by $3 billion and expects to reduce spending by another $2 billion this year, Mr. Donahoe said.
But, alone among federal agencies, the post office is required to pay about $5.5 billion annually into an account to fund future retiree medical benefits.
The requirement was imposed in 2006, and since then the post office has paid $21 billion into the fund and, during the same period, has had a net loss of $20 billion, explained Ruth Goldway, head of the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.
“Prefunding health benefits is an incredible burden,” Mr. Donahoe said. “In 2007 and 2008, we would have had net profits except for the prefunding.”

Washington Times

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Two Suns Seen in Asia

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Pakistan: Minister's murder 'a CIA plot aimed at US contractor's release'

Islamabad, 3 March - (AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad - Pakistan's minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated by the CIA to divert attention from the case of detained US contractor and murder suspect Raymond Davis, religious party politicians and scholars in Pakistan claimed on Thursday.

"This murder seems to be a conspiracy of CIA and its agents to deviate the attention from the issues like Raymond Davis trial,” Hanif Jalandari, a senior official for the association of Pakistan's Islamic seminaries told Adnkronos Internationonal (AKI).
A Pakistani court has ruled Davis, a CIA contractor should stand trial for double murder after he in January shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore he claims intended to rob him. Davis is also suspected of spying.
The death of a third Pakistani struck by a US diplomatic vehicle as it rushed to Davis' aid, has inflamed anti-American sentiment across Pakistan.
he case has caused a huge diplomatic row and is testing the often-fraught ties between the allies. US officials insist Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released immediately. The Lahore High Court is due to rule on that issue later this month.
Hardline religious parties have called for Davis to be hanged.
Referring to the murder of Bhatti, a Christian and one of few politicians urging Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws to be amended, Jalandri said: "This incident has no logic."
"Had this occurred two months back the situation would have been different," said Jalandri, noting that the government had repeatedly stated it did not intend to reform the blasphemy laws.
The sentencing to death of a Christan woman for blasphemy last year in eastern Punjab state sparked an international outcry amid moves to reform the laws. But religious parties in Pakistan staged mass protests across the country to oppose the bill tabled by a member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party.
After the Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer, an outspoken critic of the laws, was shot dead by his bodyguard in January, the government said it had no plans to amend the blasphemy laws. Critics of the laws - which mandate the death penalty for insulting Islam - say they are abused to persecute religious minorities or settle grudges since convictions can be delivered with little evidence.
Bhatti's slaying was condemned by the head of Pakistan's main Islamic party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, who agreed with Jalandri that the CIA was behind the killing.
“We deplore the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti. This is the work of CIA to hush up the court trial of Raymond David in the media,” Syed Munawar Hasan said in a statement.
Bhatti was killed when four gunmen riddled his car with bullets as he was travelling to a cabinet meeting in Islamabad. The gunmen reportedly left a leaflet near his body claiming his assassination by the PakistanTaliban (TTP) and Fadayan-e-Al-Qaeda, a group of jihadists that coordinates Al-Qaeda and the TTP.
TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ahsan reportedly called local TV channels to say the group had killed Bhatti

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