We will have a mirror site at http://nunezreport.wordpress.com in case we are censored, Please save the link

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Earthquakes on the bible

Mobile phones could be 'health time bomb'

Mobile phones could be a 'health time bomb', say experts who are urging ministers to warn the public.

More than 200 academic studies link use of the devices with serious health conditions such as brain tumours, according to a group of leading scientists.

In a report published yesterday, they say the Government is underplaying the potentially 'enormous' health risks – especially for children, whose smaller, thinner skulls are more susceptible to radiation.

Although the experts concede the links are not proven, they argue that 'schools, phone shops and the healthcare system' should be enlisted into a campaign to reduce mobile phone use.

Their report states: 'Both the Government and phone companies could very easily do far more to alert the public, particularly children, to the emerging risks and safety measures.'

It accuses officials of 'downplaying uncertainty' over safety, adding: 'This was the kind of wishful thinking that cost lives with tobacco and asbestos'.

However, critics stress scientists have found inconclusive evidence and a campaign would cause panic. The authors point to several studies linking long-term mobile phone use to development of a rare brain tumour called a glioma.

A 2008 Swedish study suggested children who use mobile phones are five times more likely to develop it.

Other peer-reviewed studies have found inconclusive links to low sperm counts, behavioural problems in children whose mothers used them during pregnancy, and damage to brain cells.

More than 70million mobiles are in use in Britain.

The World Health Organisation admitted in June they may cause cancer, and advised 'pragmatic' measures to reduce exposure such as using hands-free kits.

Britain's Department of Health recommends under-16s use them only for essential calls.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2059223/Mobile-phones-health-time-bomb-studies-link-use-illnesses.html#ixzz1dDaPwiwh

Honda unveils 'smarter' Asimo humanoid robot

Honda unveils 'smarter' Asimo humanoid robot

WAKO, Honda’s human-shaped robot can now run faster, balance itself on uneven surfaces, hop on one foot and pour a drink. Some of its technology may even be used to help out with clean-up operations at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

It was a way to try to answer some critics that Asimo, first shown in 2000, had been of little practical use so far, proving to be nothing more than a glorified toy and cute showcase for the Honda brand.

Honda President Takanobu Ito told reporters some of Asimo’s technology was used to develop a robotic arm in just six months with the intention of helping with the nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan.

The mechanical arm can open and close valves at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which went into meltdown after the March tsunami, according to Honda. The automaker is working with the utility behind the problem plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co, to try to meet demands to bring the plant under control.

Ito acknowledged that the first idea was to send in Asimo to help out, but that was not possible because the robot cannot maneuver in rubble, and its delicate computer parts would malfunction in radiation.

But in Tuesday’s demonstration, Asimo was able to walk without falling over 2-centimeter padded bumps on the floor.

It can also now jog faster than it did in 2005, at 9 kilometers per hour, instead of the earlier 6 kph, pushing better with its toes so its run was smoother and not as jerky.

Asimo was also able to distinguish the voices of three people spoken at once, using face recognition and analyzing sound, to figure out that one woman wanted hot coffee, another orange juice, and still another milk tea.

The new Asimo got improved hands as well, allowing individual movement of each finger, so it could do sign language.

“My name is Asimo,” it said, making the signs of its words with stubby fingers.

It also opened a thermos bottle and gracefully poured juice into a paper cup.

Ito said Asimo had developed autonomous artificial intelligence so that it could potentially maneuver itself through crowds of people, without remote control or stopping each time to check on its programming.

But he acknowledged that making robotics into a practical business will take more time, meaning Asimo wasn’t about to show up in any home soon.

“Maybe at the start this was a dream of engineers to make a machine that was close to a human being, like Astro Boy,” he said. “We think Asimo is good.”

Other manufacturers are also developing robots, eager to cash in on the expected needs of Japan’s rapidly aging population.

Toyota Motor Corp, Japan’s top automaker which makes the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models, is among those to have jumped on the robotics bandwagon.

In the past, it has shown robots that can play the violin and talk like receptionists. Last week, it showed a computerized device that latches on to the body to help old or sick people walk and keep balance.

Honda, which makes the Odyssey minivan and Accord sedan, has developed similar brace-like gadgets to help people get about.

Neither the Toyota nor Honda product is on sale yet.

Still, experts say such research is important to keep up.

“Maybe it can’t be put to use right away, but it is definitely a technology that we should keep working on to advance,” Hiroshi Kobayashi, a mechanical engineering professor at Tokyo University of Science, said of the new Asimo.

Japan Today

Italy next to implode and one world gov.

IAEA report: Iran has been working toward nuclear bomb since 2003

The report, which was handed over to the 35-member states of the IAEA Board of Governors, details a series of tests, acquisition of materials, and technology that suggests Iran has continuously worked to produce a nuclear weapon since 2003.

A diplomatic source in Vienna told Haaretz that this is "the most damning report ever published by the IAEA and the conclusion arising from it is one: Iran is working to acquire a nuclear weapon."

"The agency has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," the IAEA said in the report, which included a 13-page annex with key technical descriptions of research.

Citing "credible" information, the Vienna-based agency said the data "indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."

It added: "The information also indicates that prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured program, and that some activities may still be ongoing."

Click here to read the full IAEA report

U.S. spy services estimated in 2007 that Iran had halted outright "weaponization" research four years previously, but also that the Islamic Republic was continuing efforts to master technology usable in nuclear explosives.

The IAEA report included information from both before and after 2003.

It expressed "particular concern" about information provided by two member states that Iran had carried out computer modeling studies linked to nuclear weapons in 2008-09.

"The application of such studies to anything other than a nuclear explosive is unclear to the agency," the IAEA said.

The information also indicated that Iran had built a large explosives vessel at the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments, which are "strong indicators of possible weapon development."

For several years the IAEA has been investigating Western intelligence reports indicating that Iran has coordinated efforts to process uranium, test high explosives and revamp a ballistic missile cone to accommodate a nuclear warhead.

Iran, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, insists that its program to enrich uranium is for a future network of nuclear power stations to provide electricity for a rapidly growing population, so that it can export more of its oil and gas.

But Tehran's history of hiding sensitive nuclear activity from the IAEA, continued restrictions on IAEA access and its refusal to suspend enrichment -- which can yield fuel for atom bombs -- have drawn four rounds of UN sanctions, as well as separate punitive steps by the United States and European Union.

IAEA officials have often complained that Iran has refused, for at least three years, to seriously answer the agency's questions about accusations of illicit nuclear activity.


Undersea Volcano Now Just 70 Meters from Surface

Photo Gallery: The Growing Undersea Mountain off El Hierro

"The monster rises out of the water", screamed the Spanish newspaper La Provincia. Scientists, meanwhile, are being a bit more level-headed about the undersea volcano south of El Hierro in the Canary Islands; they now believe it is in the third phase of its eruption -- fountains of water have been shooting out of the Atlantic up to 20 meters in the air over the last few days. On Tuesday, some local residents even saw stones being catapulted out of the sea.

A seething maelstrom, dozens of meters across, is bubbling away in the ocean. Measurements show that the vortices are significantly warmer than the surrounding water.

So far, the volcano has only shown its explosive power beneath the water. But now the outbursts to the south of El Hierro are frothing up the surface, as if the ocean had hiccups. The lava is piling up on an underwater mountain. That the eruption is capable of firing jets of water into the air shows that this mountain is growing -- the center of the eruption is approaching the surface. Geologists believe that new land could soon emerge from the sea, and islanders are already looking for a name for the new territory. There are only 70 meters to go until the mountain reaches the surface, experts from Spain's National Geographic Institute (IGN) have reported.

But how big is the risk to nearby residents? Last weekend, hundreds of people had to leave their homes in the southern part of El Hierro as streets were closed. And locals can quite literally smell the danger -- stinking sulfur fumes are drifting across the ocean. The Volcanology Institute of the Canaries, Involcan, has reported a three-fold increase in carbon dioxide levels -- a warning signal that further volcanic activity can be expected.

Clear Sign of Impending Eruptions

Seismic disturbances on the seabed have also been spreading. Since July, more than 10,000 minor earthquakes have shaken El Hierro, but since Oct. 22, the tremors have become increasingly stronger with some even surpassing four on the Richter scale. The quakes are showing a pattern typical of flowing magma, the so-called harmonic volcanic tremor -- a clear sign of impending eruptions.

And scientists have been warning since September that if and when those eruptions do occur, they could well happen on land. In recent days, the tremors have shifted from the south to the north of El Hierro. Because most of the quakes there had occurred at a depth of ten kilometers or greater, there was probably no immediate risk of an eruption in the area, the local authorities had said. The magma had been confined to the deep.

But it has now started moving upwards -- the most recent earthquakes have been shallower.

There could soon be eruptions in or near the El Golfo valley on the northern coast, the IGN has warned. And an outpouring of lava could prove dangerous not only if it happens on land, but also in shallow water, where it could result in large steam explosions, says Ramon Ortiz, scientific adviser to the local government.

Hot Spot Volcanoes

Off the southern coast, meanwhile, pumice stones and a massive sea of ash are drifting across the water. An initial analysis of the material produced by the volcano so far has surprised experts: It provided "clear evidence of the explosive potential" of the volcano, geochemist Domingo Gimeno Torrent of the University of Barcelona told the El Hierro Diaro newspaper.

Most so-called hot spot volcanoes, like those in the Canaries, produce basaltic magma with a relatively small proportion of silicon dioxide (SiO2). SiO2 acts like a glue, producing very viscous magma, leading to a buildup of gases which results in an explosive mixture. The Geochemist Torrent said the El Hierro volcano, however, is feeding off two supplies of lava; a less volatile basalt magma and a much more explosive, SiO2-rich magma.

The risk of large, explosive eruptions in the Canary Islands "should not be neglected," warned geoscientist Rosa Sobradelo from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Barcelona in a report in the "Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences" journal. How often such events happen is unknown. But even the most momentous explosions of the past few centuries remained localized.

And there are no fears of large eruptions on land, according to the IGN. The only risk is in the immediate vicinity of the eruption site, where there may be lava flows and rocks flung into the air.


TV and radio broadcasts will halt for the nation's first simultaneous emergency alert

WASHINGTON — From the television blaring at a West Palm Beach sports bar to the island radio station in American Samoa, broadcast channels across the United States and its territories will take a 30-second break from programming at 2 p.m. Wednesday to run the first national test of the Emergency Alert System.

The broadcast system has been tested on the local and state level thousands of times, but never before have government agencies and broadcasters coordinated to see if there are any gaps in the system that could be used to warn the entire populace in a catastrophic event.

Federal officials envision the alert being employed for a large-scale regional disaster or for a national event, such as a nuclear disaster or attack, a pandemic or "something that's going to affect a lot of people pretty quickly," according to the Federal Communications Commission.

The local broadcasting system runs a test each week and state broadcasters test monthly, said Bill Johnson, director of Palm Beach County's emergency management.

As the hurricane season is ending, this wider-scale test is a good time for local residents to remember that there are other kinds of disasters and they must remain prepared.

"It's a great opportunity for us to encourage our community again, to let everyone know that we are all connected and that we're connected not only in terms of communications but as part of a disaster community," Johnson said.

A nationwide use of the test alert would be an "extremely rare" event, Johnson said. But officials say it could be employed for local events such as a hazardous materials accident affecting homes near Interstate 95 or perhaps a wildfire spreading quickly.

Federal officials have been trying to get word out about the test for months but are still concerned that the some members of the public could mistake it for a genuine emergency alert.

They have been working with organizations supporting the deaf community, for example, to try to ensure that television and cable broadcasters offer a visual cue informing viewers that the interruption is only a test. But not all stations could guarantee they could broadcast a visual explanation, an FCC spokeswoman said.

So just last week, to try to minimize confusion, the government announced that it would scale back its planned three-minute test to just 30 seconds - long enough to diagnose any problems in the system.

Critics have said that such a test does not take advantage of more modern forms of communications, such as the cellphone network or Internet. But the FCC notes those sorts of communication are not always reliable in an emergency. Take the recent earthquake, which interrupted cellular communication in Washington. With a battery-operated radio, any citizen anywhere can receive a broadcast from the Emergency Alert System.

While the FCC has no plans for an online notification system, it is launching a cell notification system in December in New York. The cell program is expected to be available nationwide in mid-2012, according to the FCC.

In the meantime, radio listeners and television viewers should prepare for a 30-second coffee break today.
Palm Beach News

UK clocks up record trade deficit in September

The difference in value between imports and exports of goods and services in September was £9.8bn, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the worst since data began in 1998.
It rose from £8.6bn in August, thanks to a record jump in imports.
But the August data was itself worse than previously reported.
A month ago, the ONS had reported a record rise in monthly goods exports by the UK.
But new data from HM Revenue and Customs, as well a change in the ONS's seasonal adjustment methodology, has largely eliminated the increase.
In contrast, record exports pushed the trade surplus of Germany - Europe's largest economy - to a three-year high in September, data showed on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, in the September data, the jump in UK imports was driven by oil, chemicals and silver.
The trade deficit with non-European Union countries was much worse than expected, which may be particularly worrying as the UK's European export markets are now being badly affected by the eurozone debt crisis and a looming recession.

Pound Sterling v US Dollar

£1 buyschange%
"A key concern was the fall in goods exports, which fell 1.6% in September," said Chris Williamson of financial data firm Markit.
"Further export losses look likely in coming months, with survey data suggesting the rate of decline could accelerate substantially.
"With domestic demand hit by deficit-fighting austerity measures and export sales falling, it is hard to see what will drive economic growth in coming months, raising the risk of a double-dip recession."
Sterling slip
Other analysts questioned the data, pointing out that the monthly figures can be quite volatile and adding that the widening deficit was driven by an increase in imports, which seemed inconsistent with the subdued mood among UK consumers.
The pound fell sharply as the data was released, and was down over a cent and a half against the dollar in afternoon trading, at about $1.593.
Markets took the data as further evidence of an economic slowdown, which is likely to result in additional money creation by the Bank of England, weighing on the value of sterling.
"The EU trade market is volatile in these challenging economic times - that is why we are working on boosting trade with emerging markets," said the trade and investment minister, Lord Green.
"Trade is at the heart of the government's plan for growth. Through their new strategy, [UK Trade and Industry] is targeting high-growth [small and medium-sized businesses] to encourage them to export and focuses on aiding existing exporters with winning high-value opportunities in overseas markets."

Price of rice set to soar

Thailand, the world's biggest producer of rice, has been hit hard by floods with 3.5 million tonnes of rice thought to have been damaged. But even before the floods hit, there was another problem: the government is offering to buy rice at a 50% premium. Their plan is to stockpile the rice to increase the price then to sell the produce at a higher rate to alleviate poverty among farmers.

France 24

Italian debt rate reaches 7% mark

Half of US Mortgages Are Effectively Underwater

A new report on still-falling home prices today highlights the fact that the lower those prices go, the more American borrowers fall into an negative equity position; that is, they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

Most analysts will tell you that negative equity is the number one problem in thehousing market today, even worse than foreclosures, because it causes foreclosures, stymies consumer spending and traps potential home buyers and sellers in place.

Negative equity rose to 28.6 percent of single-family homes with mortgages in the third quarter of this year, according to Zillow. That's up from 26.8 percent in the second quarter. In real terms, that's 14.6 million borrowers.

Many of those borrowers are already behind on their mortgage payments, and some are likely already in the foreclosure process. The rest of them are in danger of defaulting, not because they can't pay their mortgages, but because they either won't want to (seeing as they will never see any real appreciation in their investment) or because any change in their economic or personal situation might force them into default (change of job, divorce).

While 14.6 million might seem like a lot, it's not the real number when you consider negative equity in housing's recovery. That's because it doesn't factor in "effective" negative equity, which is borrowers who have so little equity in their homes that they cannot afford to move.

Consider the following from mortgage analyst Mark Hanson:

On US totals, if you figure average house prices use conforming loan balances, then a repeat buyer has to have roughly 10 percent down to buy in addition to the 6 percent Realtor fee to sell. Thus, the effective negative equity target would be 85%. You also have to factor in secondary financing, which most measures leave out.

Based on that, over 50 percent of all mortgaged households in the US are effectively underwater — unable to sell for enough to pay a Realtor and put a down payment on a new purchase without coming out of pocket. Because repeat buyers have always carried the market as the foundation, this is why demand has not come back. It's as if half the potential buyers in America died over a two-year period of time.

The foreclosure crisis grabs most of the media attention these days, but in order for housing to recover, the market needs to see activity.


30 yr fixed 4.07% 4.10%
30 yr fixed jumbo 4.74% 4.81%
15 yr fixed 3.38% 3.52%
15 yr fixed jumbo 4.04% 4.17%
5/1 ARM 2.99% 3.14%
5/1 jumbo ARM 3.13% 3.10%

It's as simple as buying and selling. Negative and effective negative equity are causing stagnation, which may in the end be far more detrimental than foreclosures. The argument to solve this problem is principal forgiveness, and it is gaining traction politically and somewhat less in the banking sector.

Principal forgiveness, or lowering the balance of a large chunk of the nation's mortgages, would be costly at best but could be catastrophic at worst. "Those thinking principal reductions are a panacea have never originated a loan, done the street level research, and do not really know the borrowers behind their data," argues Hanson. "More than likely it would create a far greater number of new strategic defaulters than the number it would legitimately save from Foreclosure."


'Iran Navy can patrol the US coast'

On Tuesday, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that international law permits all countries to send their naval ships to the open seas, and naval forces of the Islamic Republic are also allowed to sail in these waters, the Mehr news agency reported.

He went on to say that the Iranian Navy has the right to sail in waters near the coast of the United States because the coastal waters beyond the territorial waters of the country are regarded as the open sea.

He also spoke about the Jamaran destroyer, saying that it is currently on a patrol mission in the Bab-el-Mandeb strait between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Last year, the Iranian Navy launched the Jamaran destroyer, with a displacement of around 1,420 tons and fitted with modern radar and other electronic warfare equipment.

The Jamaran can carry 120-140 personnel on board and is armed with a variety of surface-to-air missiles.

Earlier in the day, on its first international mission, the Jamaran foiled a pirate attack on an Iranian oil tanker in the southern part of the Red Sea off the coast of Hanish Al Kubra Island.


Israel believes it could carry out strikes on Iran with under 500 civilian fatalities

Ehud Barak raised the prospect of military action with Iran once again as he hinted that splits in the international community over imposing sanctions regarded as crippling enough by Israel could leave the Jewish state with no option but to take matters into its own hands.

The warning came as a report by UN weapons inspectors into Iran's nuclear activities was made public, concluding that the Islamist regime is closer to building an atom bomb than ever before.

Mr Barak conceded that the price of air strikes against Iran would be high, with Iran retaliating by firing long-range missiles at Israeli cities and encouraging its allies Hizbollah and Hamas to unleash their vast rocket arsenals at the country.

But he insisted that claims of huge destruction in Israel were overblown and that the country could survive the retaliation.

"There is no way to prevent some damage," he said. "It will not be pleasant. There is no scenario for 50,000 dead, or 5,000 killed – and if everyone stays in their homes, maybe not even 500 dead."

Mr Barak said the International Atomic Energy Agency's report represents "the final opportunity" for the United Nations Security Council to punish Iran with sanctions of sufficient severity to force Iran into abandoning its nuclear ambitions.

Demanding that the international community finally take action to target Tehran's vital energy sector, he called for a naval blockade to prevent Iran exploiting oil.

Although such a measure would undoubtedly do serious harm to Iran's energy-dependent economy, even the United States is said to be concerned about the impact it would have on oil prices at a time of heightened vulnerability for the world economy.

Mr Barak predicted that opposition by Russia and China would make it impossible to achieve consensus in the Security Council for such sanctions, leaving military action increasingly as the only option.

"I don't think it will be possible to form such a coalition," he told Israeli radio.

"As long as no such sanctions have been imposed and proven effective, we continue to recommend to our friends in the world and to ourselves not to take any action off the table."

Mr Barak's comments crown a week of increasingly bellicose language in Israel that is widely seen as more an attempt to force the United Nations Security Council into using the toughest possible sanctions against Iran rather than presaging imminent military action.

Even so, his rhetoric will cause alarm, with Russia and even some European states warning against the folly of unilateral Israeli action.

Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, said on Tuesday that though concerns remained high about Iran's nuclear programme, "we have to do everything we can to avoid the irreparable damage that military action would cause".

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, said a military strike on Iran could be a "catastrophe" for the Middle East.

"We should exhale, calm down and continue a constructive discussion of all issues on the Middle East agenda, including the Iranian nuclear program," said Mr Medvedev, a day after an Asian security summit in St Petersburg that included Iran.

US officials said they hoped the IAEA report would increase leverage for tougher sanctions, rather than short term pressure for air strikes.

The "war camp" in the Israeli cabinet is believed to be in a minority that is championed primarily by Mr Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister.

But many Israeli politicians will agree with the defence minister's assertion that the IAEA report represents "the last opportunity for coordinated, lethal sanctions that will force Iran to stop".

Israel believes that Iran is intent on moving the bulk of its nuclear production underground within months, after which it will be harder than ever to launch effective military action.

The Telegraph