Monday, 03 August 2015 16:14

World News Desk 08-03-2015

From Jenna Orkin:

Wildfires Rage Across California

“LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Wildfires blazing in several Western states Sunday chewed up forests and threatened homes but were most numerous in Northern California where dozens are raging and setting off evacuations.

Wildfires are also burning in Washington and Oregon.

The biggest California wildfire — raging in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco — spread overnight to cover even more drought-stricken ground, expanding more than 30 square miles in four or five hours, said California's Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott.

The fast-moving blaze had charred 71 square miles by Sunday, an area much bigger than San Francisco's 49 square miles…”

The Surveillance State Goes Mainstream: Windows 10 Is Watching (& Logging) Everything

“If Edward Snowden's patriotic exposure of all things 'super secret surveillance state' in America were not enough, Newsweek reports that, as 10s of millions of hungry PC users download the free upgrade, Windows 10 is watching - and logging and sharing - everything users do... and we mean everything.

From the moment an account is created, Microsoft begins watching.The company saves customers' basic information - name, contact details, passwords, demographic data and credit card specifics - but it also digs a bit deeper... and finding answers is not easy, as one privacy expert exclaimed,"there is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes 'real transparency'…"”

Something Just Snapped: Container Freight Rates From Asia To Europe Crash 23% In One Week

“One of the few silver linings surrounding the hard-landing Chinese economy in recent weeks has been the surprising resilience and strength of the Baltic Dry Index: even as Chinese commodity demand has cratered in 2015, this "index" has more than doubled in the past few months from all time lows, and at last check was hovering just over 1,100.

Many were wondering how it was possible that with accelerating deterioration across all Chinese asset classes, not to mention the bursting of various asset bubbles, could global shippers demand increasingly higher freight rates, an indication of either a tight transportation market or a jump in commodity demand, neither of which seemed credible.

We may have the answer.

It appears that the recent spike in shipping rates was analogous to the dead cat bounce in crude oil prices: a speculator-driven anticipation for a sustainable rebound that never took place. And now, just like with crude prices, it is all crashing down.... again.

According to Reuters, shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe dropped 22.8 per cent to $400 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended last Friday, data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index showed…”

NATO Member Busted Supporting ISIS … Now Declares War Against ISIS, But Instead Bombs Its Political Rival (the Main Force ...

“NATO member Turkey has been busted supporting ISIS.

The Guardian reported this week:

“US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.

The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two…”

Osama bin Laden Sister, Stepmother Killed In Private Jet Crash

Are We Being Forced Into A "Second American Civil War"… If So, Who Will Win?

This Coal Mine Valued At $630 Million In 2011 Just Sold For One Dollar

Head Of Collapsed Mt.Gox Exchange Arrested With Half A Billion In Bitcoin Still Unaccounted

“Back in its 2013 heyday, when bitcoin soared from below $100 to over $1000 in the span of a few months (in no small part thanks to the collapse of the Cyprus banking system) there was only one real Bitcoin exchange: Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange, or Mt. Gox as it was better known, which had become the world's largest hub for trading the digital currency. And then, as mysteriously as it had appeared, Mt. Gox went dark, and filed for bankruptcy after nearly half a billion dollars worth of bitcoin "disappeared…"”

German Government Launches Investigation of Journalists for Treason

“…Widespread outrage across Germany is erupting following the revelation that the nation’s Attorney General has launched an investigation into treason charges for two journalists working for Netzpolitik.

The charge is treason. The crime is journalism…”

World-renowned US economist denies being part of 'criminal gang' planning on bringing the drachma back to Greece

“A world-renowned US economist who was part of a secret “Plan B” team devised by Greece’s former finance minister, has denied being involved in a “criminal gang” intent on bringing the drachma back to the country.

James K. Galbraith, a professor of government at the University of Texas and long-time friend of Yanis Varoufakis, coordinated a five-man effort which advised Athens on the emergency measures it could take should creditors force Greece out of the eurozone.

The clandestine plans were made public last week following the airing of a private coversation between Mr Varoufakis and international investors in London. Greece’s supreme court has since lodged two private lawsuits against the former minister with the Greek parliament. They are said to be related to charges of treason and the formation of a “criminal gang”.

But speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Galbraith said he has received no official communication from Greek authorities about his own involvement and does not expect an extradition order to face trial in the country.

“If questions come my way I'll be happy to answer them” said Mr Galbraith.

“We will see what happens, but I would be surprised if there is anything more than a fact finding mission [from Greek authorities] at this stage.”

"We were not involved in any policy discussions and we had no role in the negotiating strategy" James Galbraith…”

Scientists sound alarm over 'supercharged GM' organisms which could revolutionise medicine - or spell environmental disaster            

“A powerful new technique for generating “supercharged” genetically modified organisms that can spread rapidly in the wild has caused alarm among scientists who fear that it may be misused, accidentally or deliberately, and cause a health emergency or environmental disaster.

The development of so-called “gene drive” technology promises to revolutionise medicine and agriculture because it can in theory stop the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria and yellow fever, as well as eliminate crop pests and invasive species such as rats and cane toads.

However, scientists at the forefront of the development believe that in the wrong hands gene-drive technology poses a serious threat to the environment and human health if accidentally or deliberately released from a laboratory without adequate safeguards. Some believe it could even be used as a terrorist bio-weapon directed against people or livestock because gene drives – which enable GM genes to spread rapidly like a viral infection within a population – will eventually be easy and cheap to generate.

“Just as gene drives can make mosquitoes unfit for hosting and spreading the malaria parasite, they could conceivably be designed with gene drives carrying cargo for delivering lethal bacterial toxins to humans,” said David Gurwitz, a geneticist at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

A group of senior geneticists have called for international safeguards to apply to researchers who want to develop gene drives, with strict security measures placed on laboratories to prevent the accidental escape of “supercharged” GM organisms that are able to spread rapidly in the wild…”

-

Take a really bad idea and make it infinitely worse. Fucking brilliant… - Wes

MIT researchers have bad news for users of anonymity browser Tor     

“Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a way to identify websites hidden with the Tor anonymity service, the most-respected online anonymity service in the world, with an 88 percent accuracy rate.

That's big, and bad, news for the 2.5 million or so daily Tor users around the world, who rely on the service for everything from criminal activity to getting around government censorship.

Tor, an acronym for “The Onion Router,” was developed by the U.S. military to let American intelligence sources communicate with Washington freely without the watchful eye of an adversarial government.

Now, since the software has gone public, it has attracted journalists, dissidents, child pornographers andmillions of other Internet users who create websites within Tor's hidden services section. It's those hidden services, which shield a site's IP address and other identifying information, that computer scientists at MIT have unveiled.

The attack works by collecting a vast amount of network data from already known Tor hidden services in advance, assigning a digital fingerprint to each of the services in question.

By following that fingerprint through computer connection points around the world, and analyzing traffic patterns, the team found that those connections could find a hidden service computer's information 88 percent of the time. They did all of this without breaking Tor's encryption…”

Questions are being raised after the jet carrying Bin Laden's family members crashed in near-perfect conditions           

“Questions have been raised over the cause of Friday’s plane crash in which three members of the Bin Laden family were killed, given the aircraft had used the runway, which is fitted with hi-tech safety features, regularly in recent months.

The Saudi-registered Embraer Phenom 300 jet, which had departed from Milan’s Malpensa airport, was attempting to land at Blackbushe airport on the Hampshire/Surrey border when it crashed on to dozens of vehicles parked at a car auction site close to the runway.

The £7m state-of-the-art plane, equipped with fly-by-wire electronic system that is supposed to make it easy to control, was a regular visitor to the airport, according to pilots who use Blackbushe. It was attempting a landing in near perfect conditions on a runway that was fitted with precision approach pathway indicators (Papis).

The four indicators, which can be seen from more than half a mile away, all flash white if the pilot is coming in too high and red if too low. “It doesn’t make sense to me as an ordinary pilot why something that advanced and easy to fly would bury itself in the auction ground at the end of such a long runway,” said Simon Moores, a flight instructor and pilot who has flown from Blackbushe many times…”    

Glaciers melt to lowest level on record: Study

“Glaciers worldwide have shrunk to levels not seen in 120 years of record-keeping, with melt-off accelerating in the first decade of the 21st century, according to a study released Monday.

On average, glaciers currently lose between 50 to 150 centimetres (20 to 60 inches) of thickness every year, reported the study, published in the Journal of Glaciology.

"This is two to three times more than the corresponding average of the 20th century," said Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service and the study's lead author.

More than a billion people, especially in Asia and South America, get more than half of their drinking water from the seasonal melting of snow melt and glacier ice, previous research has shown.

The current rate of global glacier melt is without precedent for the 120 years covered by scientific observation, and probably for much longer, Zemp added.

Moreover, accelerated ice loss has created a dynamic whereby glaciers in many regions will continue to diminish even if global warming did not continue to boost global temperatures.

Preliminary data from the last five years, not covered in the study, suggest that rapid decline of ice mass is continuing apace…”

-

We have entered the age of consequences…prepare as best you can. - Wes

             

From Rice Farmer:

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Italy Youth Unemployment Hits Record High 44.2%, Concerns Rising "Recession Exit May Be Unsustainable"

Greece May Seek Up To $24B Euros In First New Aid Tranche: Paper

Canada’s economy shrinks for fifth month in row

Liar Loans Pop up in Canada’s Magnificent Housing Bubble

11 Red Flag Events That Just Happened As We Enter The Pivotal Month Of August 2015

Extended slump in oil taking toll on industry, economy
As drivers, shippers and airlines continue to enjoy lower fuel prices, the oil industry is responding to much lower profits with sharp cuts in spending and employment that are hurting economic growth.

Puerto Rico will fail to make Aug.1 payment, signaling default

Global Trade Is Faltering——-Welcome to the Economic ICU

Debt - the elephant in the room that the world can't deal with

Perth Mint and U.S. Mint Cannot Meet Demand as Gold Bullion Demand Surges

Zimbabwe: Economy Melts Down As Mugabe Succession Battle Rages Unabated

Trans-Pacific Partnership: TPP Trade Talks Fall Short Of Deal

Tumbling oil prices slam profit at Exxon Mobil, Chevron

Saudi central bank curbs credit card cash withdrawals
Saudi Arabia's central bank has tightened restrictions on cash withdrawals from banks using credit cards in an effort to head off any consumer debt problems.

Beijing Wins Olympics No One Wanted; Now It's Time To Pick One Site For Future Games

The Olympic Games machine is slowly grinding to a halt. -- RF

 

## Airline death spiral ##
TSA’s Behavior Detection Program Has a Newsletter, and It’s Ridiculous

Uganda: More Airlines May Exit - Player

Delta airline has close call with drone over JFK

Africa’s fourth largest airline is in danger of collapsing

5 ways to keep the airlines from losing your luggage

The rate of mishandled bags rose from 6.96 per 1,000 passengers in 2013 to 7.3 per 1,000 in 2014... That means more than 24 million bags were delayed, damaged, pilfered, lost or stolen under the airline industry’s watch last year.

Delta Air Lines is changing its loyalty program

More fees propel airlines’ profits, and embitter travelers

Airlines’ big spending on new aircrafts raises concerns about public debt

Bag tested positive for explosives at Minnesota Airport

Long-haul air passengers at risk from cosmic rays, government fears

British Airways crack down on hand luggage
The airline claims that cabin bags were getting so big that flights were regularly delayed


## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Mideast Alliances Shift Again

US Intel Agencies: ISIS No Weaker After Year of US Bombings

Space industry needs more time to develop, general says
The U.S. will likely not have a competitive space launch industry by the industry-set goal of 2019, according to  Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

Nigerian ground and air forces repel Boko Haram attack in Borno state

Burundi: Security Chief Assassinated In Rocket And Gun Attack

Iranian Foreign Minister: Time for US, Other Nuclear Powers to Disarm

Calais migrant crisis: French riot police use chemical spray on migrants trying to enter Channel Tunnel

UAE to try 41 on charges of seeking 'caliphate'

Russia planning major development project on disputed islands

Five killed in clashes near oil port in eastern Libya -medics

 

## Migrants ##

Malaysia Says it Will Turn Away Rohingya, Bangladeshi Migrants Unless Their Boats are Sinking

Migrants 'attacked' at sea between Greece and Turkey

Migrants trying to sail from Turkey to Greece are increasingly reporting being attacked by gunmen trying to prevent them from reaching Europe, according to multiple sources.

Hungary copes with wave of migrants

Calais migrant crisis: PM offers extra fencing and dogs

Italy coast guard rescues 1,800 sea migrants, five found dead

Czech president tells migrants: 'No-one invited you'

Czech President Milos Zeman lashed out at illegal immigrants on Sunday after dozens tried to flee a detention centre, prompting police to use tear gas against the demonstrators.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Striking French ferry workers block Calais port route with huge fire

Protesters Forcibly Removed by Police As Arctic Drilling Ship Escapes Blockade

Progression of the Police State Spanish Style: €300 Euro Fine for Calling Police Officer "Mate"; Law of Simmering Social Pots


## Energy/resources ##
Exxon, Chevron Bracing for Dark Times Ahead as Oil Slump Lingers

Bad Second Quarter Has Oil Majors Restructuring

A Reality Check For U.S. Natural Gas Ambitions

Nuclear Industry Future Far From Clear

Bulgaria hikes power prices for industry despite protests

U.S. nuclear operators try to save plants with carbon emission rule

Ukraine faces mounting coal shortage problems — Energy Ministry

Three Years Ago This Coal Mine Was Worth $624 Million. Now It Sold for $1

Flow of Cheap Hydroelectricity Slows in Parched West

Israeli scientists explore algae as biofuel producer

On the scale of industrial civilization, it'll never amount to anything. -- RF
Butterfly-inspired technique could make photovoltaic solar energy cheaper


## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal thieves targeting Hampshire homes

Royal Mail sees red over spate of post box thefts

Canton police report rash of catalytic converter thefts


## Got food? ##
Some Midwest farmers' crops falter in record rains

The World’s Largest Vertical Farm Will Produce 2 Million Pounds Of Produce
Just my advice, but anything which depends on electricity and machines has no future. -- RF

Whole Foods, Expensive Cheese, and the Dilemma of Cheap Prison Labor

Beef prices could rise further with cruel Alberta drought

## Environment/health ##
El Niño vs. the Blob: Here's Why California's Drought Probably Won't End Anytime Soon

Hold the phone, Central! Cellphone radiation can cause cancer: study

Polar bears skating on thin (Arctic) ice: Study

Heat index soars in Iran as 'heat dome' settles over Middle East

Vaccine success holds hope for end to deadly scourge of Ebola

Antibiotics on animal farms spread deadly pathogens, experts warn
The consistent use of antibiotics in animal farms in Germany are spreading antibiotic-resistant germs and causing experts to call for stricter measures against drugs.

New York Needs Coyotes

Cecil Is One of Hundreds of Lions Killed Recently in Zimbabwe

Rocky Fire in California Swells to 47,000 Acres Overnight

Battered By Drought, Forests Lose Ability to Fend Off Climate Change

The World's Population Is Set To Surpass 11 Billion People [Infographic]

Ain't gonna happen. -- RF


## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests

"Secret" NSA Map Shows Five Years Of Chinese Cyber Attacks

Edward Snowden Explains Why Apple Should Continue To Fight the Government on Encryption

Kafka-like Persecution of Julian Assange
In an era when powerful institutions demonize decent people – and the mainstream media joins in, piling on the abuse – legal proceedings have become another Kafka-esque weapon of coercion. Few cases are more troubling than the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The “Internet of Things” Gets Hacked To Smithereens
Nothing is secure, not even drug infusion pumps in hospitals.

Car hacking risk may be broader than Fiat Chrysler: U.S. regulator

Man shoots down drone hovering over house

Spam has fallen to a 10-year low and is unlikely to make a comeback

Security News This Week: United Airlines Can’t Catch a Break

The Surveillance State Goes Mainstream: Windows 10 Is Watching (& Logging) Everything

Windows 10 spying: How to opt out of Microsoft's intrusive terms of use

Facial recognition quietly taking hold


## Propaganda ##
Institute of Peace’s Hawkish Chairman Wants Ukraine to Send Russians Back in Body Bags


## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
The Cost of Stagnation: We're Living in Limbo

Looting Turns Deadly In Venezuela Amid Severe Food Shortages

A French architect has a vision for a sustainable floating city that looks like a manta ray

This is not sustainable! -- RF


## Japan ##
WikiLeaks alleges widespread U.S. spying on Japanese government, major companies

Spending slips as consumer prices inch up

Urban Infrastructure Creaky (video)

A window on the old and rotting infrastructure of two major cities, Tokyo and Osaka. -- RF

Think tanks estimate economy contracted 2.1 percent in April-June

New law to require stress checks for workers
The government plans to introduce stress checks for its workers, as the number of staff on leave due to mental illness remains high, according to sources.

Abe denies possibility of Japan introducing military conscription

Key debris operation at Fukushima clears way for removal of still-simmering fuel rods

Okinawa governor to rescind approval for U.S. base relocation project


## China ##
China’s Stocks Fall to Cap Worst Monthly Decline in Six Years

China's manufacturing shows zero growth in July

China sets up first unmanned factory; all processes are operated by robots

As China Admits It Lied About Its Local Debt Levels, Local Billionaires Are Quietly Liquidating Their Assets

China aiming for air control over Western Pacific, surveillance as far as Izu chain: report

China moves to make the grade as a setter of oil price

## UK ##
Revolving Door on Steroids – New Bank of England Policymaker Allowed to Retain Financial Interest in Hedge Fund

Calais crisis: Government will prove to migrants UK not ‘land of milk and honey’
James Brokenshire says failed asylum seekers with children to be stripped of benefits

Milk protest at Morrisons sees farmers clear shelves

HS2: Significantly more ancient woodland at risk of being destroyed by rail line than previously thought, says new research


## US ##
Rabbit-Hole Math: Chicago Proposes Bonds that Make No Periodic Payments; When Does Stupidity Stop?

Bankrupt Pensions and Insolvent Pension Insurance: The Case of Multiemployer Pensions and the PBGC’s Multiemployer Program

House of Representatives Passes Bill in 15 Minutes to Revoke Americans’ Passports without Due Process

The economy chugs along with consumers going into deep credit card debt

Credit card debt surges in top 25 US metro areas according to Equifax data.

Chart Of The Day: $4 Trillion Of Fed Money Pumping since 2000 Has Done Nothing For Main Street

US Healthcare Spending Accelerates, Driven By Obamacare, Aging Population, Improved Economy And Expensive Drugs

Hedge Fund Risks May Be Bigger Than Regulators Know, Despite Dodd-Frank

Owners turning to auctions to sell their high-end properties

Donald Trump's companies have sought visas to import at least 1,100 workers
Donald Trump is staking his run for U.S. president in part on a vow to protect American jobs. But this month, one of his companies, the elite Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Florida, applied to import 70 foreign workers to serve as cooks, wait staff and cleaners.

Mike Huckabee Won't Rule Out Using Federal Troops To Stop Abortions

Home-Schooling Movement Surges 62% in a Single Decade

Chart Of The Day: Q2 Worker Pay Increase Smallest On Record

From rents to haircuts, Americans start to feel price hikes

Super PACs raise whopping $258 million for presidential campaigns

Federal White Collar Crime Prosecutions At 20-Year Low

College Textbook Prices Have Risen 1,041 Percent Since 1977

Smart Money Dumps Assets at Record Pace, But Who the Heck Is Borrowing and Buying Like There’s No Tomorrow?

Congress OKs Shifting $3 Billion To Bail Out Cash-Strapped VA

Donald Trump: "Waterboarding doesn't sound very severe"

Highway Trust Fund: The latest government trust fund to go bankrupt

 

And finally...

Texas man shoots armadillo, gets hit in face by bullet ricochet

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