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PFTF Feb 7 2012 Whole world going to Hell
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Post PFTF Feb 7 2012 Whole world going to Hell
Killer bug in the system

THE CANBERRA scientist who argued against details of a new strain of potentially apocalyptic bird flu being published has warned of inadequate security at the lab where the virus was developed and says the virus should not have been developed at all.
Professor Ian Ramshaw also says the new airborne H5N1 virus, modified in a way many believe will transmit it more easily between humans, has not been researched in a laboratory with the highest possible security level.

''With research such as this you better be entirely sure the benefits outweigh the risks,'' Professor Ramshaw said.

A decade ago, Professor Ramshaw, now director of Australia's National Centre for Biosecurity, decided to publish details of a deadly mousepox his team had created. It was done after many internal discussions within the research team and the final decision was made so the findings could be debated.

Now two separate groups of researchers, one in the Netherlands and the other in the United States, have each developed similar strains of H5N1 avian flu and have agreed not to publish specific details about them. Coughs and sneezes between laboratory ferrets have reportedly passed on the flu between the animals during research. Professor Ramshaw said the American lab that produced the flu strain, which many believe would kill half the people who contracted it, only had level three biosecurity as opposed to level four. Both level three and level four are highly controlled environments. People defending the research have argued no pathogens have escaped from a level three facility in the United States.

''The question now has to involve what's going to happen with international controls,'' Professor Ramshaw said.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/lo ... 43947.aspx

Canadian research on lab-made bird flu must be done in top biosecurity

If Canadian scientists want to conduct research on H5N1 flu viruses modified to enhance their ability to spread, the work will have to be done in laboratories with the top level of biosecurity, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

The agency said in a statement that any research on the viruses in this country would need to be done in labs designated as Containment Level 4 — known as BSL4 labs elsewhere. The only Level 4 labs in Canada are located at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

That requirement is a step up from the one governing research on regular H5N1 viruses. Canadian scientists are allowed to work on those viruses in Level 3 laboratories.

For the time being, the advice is moot; the viruses in question are locked up in labs in the Netherlands and the United States. And while controversy rages over whether the teams that created them should be able to publish their work in scientific journals, it's unlikely those labs will share samples, especially across international borders.

http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/ ... iosecurity?

Flu cases hit 1.7 mln amid H3N2 virus outbreak in Japan

TOKYO, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Influenza cases expanded by 620,000 to hit an estimated 1.73 million in the past week beginning Jan. 29, a major Japanese newspaper reported on Sunday, citing the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Patient numbers roared in all 47 prefectures as the nation experienced its first outbreak of H3N2, a subtype of the influenza A virus, in five years, The Japan Times reported.

About 90 percent of the patients were diagnosed with the strain, the paper said.

It added that some 260,000 babies and infants under 4, who were born after the previous H3N2 outbreak, had been diagnosed with the virus.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/healt ... 392006.htm?



Nepal in mass poultry cull after bird flu found


Health workers in Nepal are to cull thousands of chickens following the discovery of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in the southeastern part of the Himalayan country, officials said Sunday.

"We sent samples for investigation to London after chickens started to die of a mysterious disease in commercial poultry farms," said Ram Krishna Khatiwada, of the government's Directorate of Animal Health.

"We have received the test reports today that confirms infection of bird flu in poultry farms in Khanar and Ithari of the Sunsari district."

Bird flu has also been confirmed in the eastern hills of Panchathar district and the tea-producing area of Ilam, Katiwada told AFP, adding that surveillance of farms was to be stepped up and 4,000 chickens would be killed in the affected areas.

"There has not been infection to humans in the area so far," he added.

"Some have complained of itching and vomiting but that is only panic. We will get the situation under control in one or two days."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/ar ... 6b05b64.41




Bird flu case surfaces in Bhubaneswar

Calcutta News.Net
Saturday 4th February, 2012



Odisha has banned the movement of poultry and related products from an area in the capital Bhubaneswar after a bird flu case surfaced in the city, an official said Saturday.

The state authorities had recently sent three poultry samples from the government-run Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal after several chickens suddenly died.

One of these samples tested positive for the deadly H5N1 virus, state animal resources development department director Benudhar Dash told IANS. The CPDO has nearly 30,000 poultry birds.

Dash said to prevent the spread of infection, the movement of poultry and related products has been restricted from the area within a three km radius of the firm.

http://www.calcuttanews.net/story/20322 ... hubaneswar



Bird flu may be rearing its ugly head again


ISLAMABAD: Eight peacocks have died in Lahore mysteriously. While the cause is still being investigated, fears that it could be some strain of bird flu are being suppressed.

The fears in the agricultural sector and poultry are confirmed from the recurrences in past few months of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in in India (where thousands of birds have been culled), Bangladesh (that culled 50, 000 chickens), China (where a death in January from the deadly H5N1 has been confirmed) to across Iran (in September 2011) and as far down in Indonesia and Australia. Experts with the agriculture and poultry sectors fear that Pakistan’s Rs300 billion poultry industry faced certain threat of the pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) that knew no borders and could spread.

What makes Pakistan vulnerable to the deadly virus is the absence of any surveillance system to detectmonitor and control the virus that has mutated into more than 260 different forms from spreading in farm chickens.

Following H5N1 outbreak in 2005, the avian influenza surveillance launched at the Animal Sciences Institute, NARC at the National Reference Lab for Avian Influenza (NRLPD) was another casualty of devolution. The surveillance work at NRLPD helped control further spread of avian influenza and eventually eliminated it by July 2008. However, the early warning programme was terminated in June 2011 under the 18th Amendment.

http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/04/bird-flu ... again.html




Scientists call for curbs on own research on deadly bird flu virus

Virus experts in the US say outbreak of genetically engineered bird flu could be worst influenza pandemic in history



A group of the leading virus experts in the US has called for new, permanent restrictions on research in the face of a new genetically engineered flu virus that could kill half the population of the world.

Scientists are currently observing a 60-day moratorium on research into the bird flu virus, after two groups found a way to make it infectious through airborne transmission.

An outbreak of this virus could be worse than the 1918 Spanish flu that killed tens of millions of people, warned Michael Osterholm – who has led research into previous dangerous outbreaks – at a public meeting on censorship in science in New York on Thursday night.

"Frankly, I don't want a virus out there that, even if it was 20 times less lethal, would still be the worst influenza pandemic in history," he said.

Professor Osterholm is a member of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which in December asked the journals Science and Nature not to publish the full research on the virus.

Bird flu, or H5N1, has so far infected 583 people according to World Heath Organisation figures, mostly in South East Asia, and killed 344 – though it is believed the proportion of fatalities to infections might be lower, as some may have caught the virus but not been hospitalised.

It can currently only be caught by close exposure to infected birds.

However, the new research demonstrated that the virus could be mutated, through genetic manipulation and other methods, into a form that was transmitted between ferrets in airborne droplets from coughs and sneezes.

Ferrets are considered a good model for human-to-human virus transmission.

The NSABB said this posed a huge risk to the world.

"If this virus were to escape by error or by terror, we must ask whether it would cause a pandemic," said NSABB chair Paul Keim in an interview published in Nature this week.

"The probability is unknown, but it is not zero. There are many scenarios to consider, ranging from mad lone scientists, desperate despots and members of millennial doomsday cults, to nation states wanting mutually assured destruction options, bioterrorists or a single person's random acts of craziness."

Professor Osterholm said he considered the new virus a worse threat than the return of smallpox.

"I wouldn't like to see smallpox get out of the lab, but if it did it wouldn't overly concern me," Osterholm said. "We could contain it. The same thing is true with Sars. But influenza would scare the hell out of me, because it is the most notorious, the 'Lion King' of transmission."

"Once it's out there, it's gone, it's worldwide."

However, he said the research could have positive results, such as finding a better vaccine, or improving virus detection in the early stages of a pandemic if it emerged naturally. He said virus surveillance at the moment was "like a whole lot of broken smoke alarms".

The meeting agreed that restricting research, and access to research data, would have bad consequences for science, because new advances often come from unexpected places.

---------------

These viruses were generated in the laboratory … when these things get out and they recombine with existing strains, I think it will be very unpredictable, and this is a risk I think is very high."

-------------------

But she added that the more laboratories around the world worked on the virus, the greater the risk it would escape – even in the US, there were hundreds of breaches of quarantine in the highest-level labs.

--------------------

Alan Ruldolph, from the US Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said information on the virus was "relatively uncontrollable", and the focus on bird flu should be on how to prepare for and respond to an outbreak.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/fe ... ts-warning?


ddd

Two women die mysteriously in Brevard County(Florida)


Titusville, Fla. —


Brevard County investigators are trying to figure out if a mysterious illness is to blame for the bizarre deaths of a mother and daughter. Sheriff’s detectives revealed the two women were experiencing flu like symptoms before they died.

The women’s bodies were discovered in a house on Hallum Drive, just off of U.S. 1, north of Titusville on Monday afternoon. Deputies believe the women may have been dead for a few days.

“There is no signs of trauma, no signs of foul play. It is suspicious only because we located two decreased within the same residence,” Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Major J.J. Woolsey said.

Investigators would not enter the home without hazmat suits because they were afraid the women were carrying something deadly.

WFTV learned the victims had been experiencing flu-like symptoms for the last two weeks.

When emergency crews arrived, they took the victims’ father and husband to the hospital for respiratory problems. Neighbors were not sure what to think.

“I have no idea, it is pretty scary, pretty scary,” neighbor Phillipa Compton said.

The 911 call came in from the elderly man in the home who found his wife and daughter in their beds. Detectives said he is suffering from dementia and could not remember when he last checked on them.

Both women were found dead in their separate bedrooms, both fully dressed. One was in bed and the other was lying on top of the covers. One of them was watching a movie when she died.

Detectives told WFTV they ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning and they will have to wait for an autopsy result for answers.

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/two ... nty/nHWWx/


kkk hummm

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:42 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
here are the dates I needed for yesterdays show...

This gives the timeline and wow


Antarctica has nearly 90% of the ice and 70% of the fresh water on Earth. The third-largest continent, it is one and a half the size of the US. More than 150 subglacial lakes have so far been discovered beneath Antarctica’s vast ice sheet. These lakes have been isolated from the surface for considerable periods of time and each represents a unique environment. The water beneath the ice remains liquid because of small levels of heat from the Earth’s core coming up through bedrock and from the insulating effect of several kilometers of ice above. The most well-known of these is Lake Vostok in East Antarctica. A Russian team hopes to penetrate and collect samples from this lake. The British team is starting to drill Lake Ellsworth and U.S. crew is preparing to investigate Lake Whillans in West Antarctica. British, Russian and American science teams are all trying to become the first to sample an ancient Antarctic lake. No one has sampled any of some 400 subglacial lakes on the Antarctic continent to date.

Russian researchers said their drilling project is close to breaching a prehistoric lake trapped deep beneath Antarctica for the last 14 million years. The conditions in Lake Vostok are thought to be similar to the conditions on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus. The lakes are rich in oxygen with levels 50 times higher than in a typical freshwater lake, believed to be the result of the enormous weight and pressure of the continental ice cap. Russian engineers said if they are successful in breaching the lake, they plan to send a swimming robot into the lake in the Antarctic summer of 2012 into 2013 to collect water samples and sediments from the bottom. In January 2011 the head of the Russian Antarctic Expedition, Valery Lukin, announced that his team had only 50 meters of ice left to drill in order to reach the water.

As of Jan. 13, 2012, they had reached a depth of 3737.5 meters, about 15 meters away from liquid water. Three teams are drilling and making progress at an average of 2 meters per day.



No signs from Russian scientists?

The team from Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) have been drilling for weeks in an effort to reach isolated Lake Vostok. There has been no contact with the explorers for seven days (last contact was on Jan. 30, 2012) and they have now under 48 hours to make an escape from the icy depths before temperatures fall to deadly levels. After seven days of radio silence their colleagues scientists from US and Great Britain started to worry. No one knows what is happening. Antarctic scientists carry Iridium satellite phones for communication but there are spots without coverage. The scientists may have encountered a technical issue or perhaps they have simply packed up and are traveling home – keeping their discoveries to themselves. Scientists from around the globe are unsure of the fate of the mission. Cold weather is already set to plunge, as Antarctica’s summer season ends and winter sets in. The scientists are currently battling conditions of up to minus 66C at Lake Vostok as they raced to drill into a lake buried two miles beneath the ice before the weather closed in. The end frame date was set to Feb 6. The team was only 12 meters from reaching the lake water surface few days before contact was lost.

Read: “Where on earth are they? Russian scientists searching for underground ‘alien’ lake still missing on SEVENTH day as Tuesday ’date of no return’ looms“, article by DailyMail.

Meanwhile in Antarctica…

The United States and the Russian Federation sent a joint team to inspect foreign stations, installations and equipment in Antarctica from January 23 to January 28, 2012. The inspection conducted pursuant to the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and its Environmental Protocol.

Arctic Portal writes that president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is currently in Antarctica, with Al Gore, and a host of scientists. That’s not all, the exploration also includes famous director James Cameron, as well as billionaires Richard Branson and media magnate Ted Turner. They are reportedly down there to “explore the melting ice cap in Antarctica and discuss how the nations of the world can unite in realistic action against climate change. There are few others in their company: James Hansen from NASA, Yao Tandong from China, Christiana Figueres from UNFCCC and scientists from Harvard and leading universities in Europe. Their exploration ends tommorow… That’s an interesting fact.

Anyway, there is a lot of facts that you should know about Lake Vostok and future drilling events to be held in Antarctic this year. Let’s start with Lake Vostok and in other two parts we will explain the stories about Lake Ellsworth and Whillans Lake.

more at link along with a video

http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2012/0 ... rill-base/

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:54 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Russian Scientists Drill to Sub-Glacial Antarctic Lake


After decades of drilling , Russian scientists have finally managed to pierce through Antarctica’s ice sheet to reveal the secrets of a unique sub-glacial lake, Vostok, that has been sealed there for the past 20 million years, a scientific source said on Monday.

“Yesterday, our scientists stopped drilling at the depth of 3,768 meters and reached the surface of the sub-glacial lake,” the source said.

Explorers hope Lake Vostok, which is the largest of Antarctica's buried network of icebound lakes and also one of the largest lakes in the world, could reveal new forms of life and show how life evolved before the ice age.

The discovery of the hidden lakes of Antarctica in the 1990s sparked much enthusiasm among scientists all over the world. Some think the ice cap above and at the edges have created a hydrostatic seal with the surface that has prevented lake water from escaping or anything else from getting inside.

Lake Vostok could also offer a glimpse of what conditions exist for life in similar extreme conditions on Mars and Jupiter’s moon, Europa, according to RedOrbit scientific news portal.

Explorers from the United States and Britain are following the trail of their Russia’s colleagues with their own missions to probe other hidden Arctic lakes, which are among the last of the world’s hidden and unexplored areas.

With the current events happening at Lake Vostok, an old theory saying that German Nazis may have built a secret base there as early as the 1930s, has resurfaced.

It is thought that towards the end of the Second World War, the Nazis moved to the South Pole and started constructing a base at Lake Vostok. In 1943, Grand Admiral Karl Dontiz was quoted saying “Germany's submarine fleet is proud that it created an unassailable fortress for the Fuehrer on the other end of the world,” in Antarctica.

According to German naval archives, months after Germany surrendered to the Allies in April, 1945, the German submarine U-530 arrived at the South Pole from the Port of Kiel. Crewmembers constructed an ice cave and supposedly stored several boxes of relics from the Third Reich, including Hitler’s secret files.

It is also rumored that later the submarine U-977 delivered the remains of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun to Antarctica for DNA cloning purposes.

The subs then entered the Argentinean port of Mar-del-Plata and surrendered to authorities.


http://en.ria.ru/science/20120206/171176587.html

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:10 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
school bus windows tinted...I watched out this window this morning as daughter was picked up for school..and noticed the school bus windows where tinted, they were not last week...I will ask her about this when I pick her up from basketball tonight, when they got those done...funny how school board cannot afford a late bus for after school programs but can afford to tint the windows...yes still donning my pink tin foiled hat from this mornings program...I googled and one reply says to keep temp down in busses because of warm days...but hey when do we ever up here have hot days..we live in the thundra for cripes sakes

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:36 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Greece on the brink


Officials in Greece are under pressure to reach an agreement on a new bailout package, as the threat of a default hangs over the country.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with officials from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank Monday to try and hammer out the details of a €130 billion bailout deal.

Greece needs the money to avoid an all-but-certain default on a €14.5 billion bond redemption in March. The concern is that a so-called disorderly default could force Greece out of the euro currency union and shock the global financial system.

Papademos must also convince the leaders of Greece's three main political parties to back a package of fiscal and economic reforms that are a condition of the bailout.

The party leaders agreed over the weekend on the "main elements" of the program, including a plan to reduce public spending by 1.5% of gross domestic output this year, according to Papademos.

But talks scheduled for Monday were pushed back to Tuesday amid apparent disagreements over additional job and salary cuts, as well as pension reforms and tougher tax enforcement.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/06/markets ... _Highlight


Greek leaders face crunch talks as unions strike

Greek leaders face crunch talks on Tuesday to secure a new international bailout and avoid a chaotic debt default, caught between EU demands that they accept painful reforms now and a national strike against more austerity.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos negotiated through most of the night with Greece's European Union and IMF lenders, ending at 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) when the 24-hour strike was about to begin, closing ports and tourist sites and disrupting public transport.

Papademos, a technocrat parachuted in to lead the Greek government late last year, must persuade leaders of the three parties in his coalition government to accept the EU/IMF conditions for the 130-billion-euro ($170-billion) rescue.

"We must find a solution today," said one government official before the leaders' talks, which are expected to start later in the day.

With Greece's future in the euro zone in question, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Athens on Monday to make up its mind fast if it would accept the deal - and its conditions of reforms to make the economy more competitive that are certain to lead to big cuts in living standards.

Finance Minister Evanagelos Venizelos said talks with the "troika" of lenders - the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF - were not going well.

Unfortunately the negotiations are so tough that as soon as one chapter closes, another opens," he said after meeting troika officials on Monday night.

Early on Tuesday, the strike called by the private and public sector unions GSEE and ADEDY began to bite, bringing the country's main port to a standstill.

"No ships departed from Piraeus port this morning, as a result of the seamen's strike," said a coast guard official.

TOURISTS LOCKED OUT

In central Athens, tourists were locked out of the Acropolis and public transport was disrupted during the morning rush hour. State hospitals ran on a skeleton staff and teachers, bank employees and telecoms workers were due to join the action.

Greek party leaders face a general election possibly as early as April and have been reluctant to accept yet more austerity to be piled on top of a series of pay cuts, tax rises and job losses imposed since Greece's first bailout in 2010.

After weeks of argument a number major issues have yet to be sorted out at Tuesday's talks.

Greece has yet to identify spending cut measures worth 600 million euros this year, out of a total austerity package of about 3.3 billion euros, a government official said.

The troika was also demanding that private firms' labor costs be cut by about a fifth. This would be done by a combination of reducing the minimum wage by as much as 20 percent - a move that would drag the entire wage scale lower - by cutting holiday bonuses or by scrapping some industry-wide wage bargaining agreements.




http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/ ... HI20120207



Under EU pressure, Greece caves in on civil service firings, announces 15,000 job cuts in 2012


ATHENS, Greece - Greece's coalition government on Monday caved in to demands to cut civil service jobs, announcing 15,000 positions would go this year, amid mounting international pressure to agree on austerity measures needed to secure major new debt agreements.

The announcement signals a shift in Greece's policy, as state jobs have so far been protected during the country's acute financial crisis, which started about two years ago. Public Sector Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas said the job cuts would be carried out under a new law that allows such firings.

Unions have called a 24-hour general strike for Tuesday, in response to the new austerity measures, while about 4,000 protesters braved torrential rain late Monday to join protest rallies organized in central Athens by left-wing opposition parties.

Greece is racing to push through painful reforms and clinch a €130 billion ($170 billion) bailout deal from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund to avoid a March default on its bond payments.


http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/under- ... 54504.html


&& && sure set them free to create havoc...no not really...just seems stupid to unemployee more people in economic stress...15 thousand gubberment workers apply at McFlip burgers and golly greeters at wallyfart....oh and next news story I guess wallyfart they don't have a fat chance

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:45 pm
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Wal-Mart greeters still greet, but duties change

Some Wal-Mart employees uneasy about change in duties of greeters



Those who greet customers at the entrance of Walmart stores nationwide are uneasy about a change in their duties.

Greeters no longer man the front doors during the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift at the stores, and this month they were moved deeper into the stores to help shoppers find what they're looking for and navigate the aisles.


http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/wal-ma ... 29241.html

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:49 pm
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Now, where did I put my towel? Sunbathers pack out Ipanema Beach as Rio De Janeiro swelters in heatwave

Not an inch of sand was wasted in Rio De Janeiro yesterday.
Thousands of sun-worshippers flocked to Ipanema Beach to make the most of a heatwave that saw temperatures reach as high as 34C (93F). The average maximum temperature for February is 29C (84F).

Packed like sardines along the sweeping seafront - made famous by the 1964 song The Girl From Ipanema Beach - you would be forgiven for feeling slightly claustrophobic.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1ldLMcoG1

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:57 pm
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Pictured: The snowy owls invading the continental U.S. - as scientists baffled by why they are arriving

These are the snowy owls attracting quite a crowd of onlookers across America as an ‘unbelievable’ mass migration continues to grow.
Bird enthusiasts are reporting rising numbers of the Arctic birds winging into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration.

Some states as far south as Texas are reporting sightings of the bird that is as white as the driven snow.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1ldMDzNWJ

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:00 pm
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Jubilee hoopla a royal pain for some anti-monarchists who question cost



MONTREAL - Not everyone is thrilled that the federal government is spending millions, at a time of deep budget cuts, to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee.

As might be predicted, such anti-monarchist sentiment is loudest in Quebec where at least six MPs have returned their Jubilee medals.

One nationalist group even says it's planning counter-celebrations. That's because, according to Mario Beaulieu, the head of Montreal's Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste, it doesn't care about the Queen's anniversary.

"We're not jubilant, we don't give a royal damn," he said on Monday. "And that reflects the opinion of a great majority of Quebecers... This crazy spending on identity propaganda shows that Quebecers don't have the same priorities as Canadians and don't belong to the same nation."


http://ca.news.yahoo.com/jubilee-hoopla ... 35868.html



6 Quebec MPs return Queen's jubilee medals in protest


http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/p.gif/2012020 ... ls-120206/

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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Obama orders new Iran sanctions amid nuclear fears


U.S. President Barack Obama is imposing tough new sanctions against Iran and its central bank in a move designed to freeze the country's assets amid growing nuclear tensions.

Obama has signed an executive order that will cut the Islamic republic off from finance and commerce under U.S. jurisdiction, reasoning that "deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks" warranted the strict measures.

The president's letter to Congress accused Iran of trying to "conceal transactions of sanctioned parties" and said that poor anti-money laundering enforcement there posed an "unacceptable risk" to the global financial system.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a release that under the order, Iran's assests within the jurisdiction of U.S. persons or entities will be frozen.

The executive order is designed to enforce central bank sanctions in a defence bill passed last year and signed into law by Obama. The purpose of the bill was to restrict funding for Tehran's nuclear program and its alleged financing of international terrorism.


http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012 ... obama.html

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Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:27 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
House bill bans welfare spending at strip clubs


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- If welfare recipients want to dole out the dollar bills at a strip club, they'd better make sure it's not government money ... at least if a bill in Congress becomes law.

The House last week overwhelmingly passed legislation that would require states to ban the ability to access government benefits at strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos.


The benefit program in question is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), formerly known as welfare. TANF provides cash assistance to working poor families -- often through an electronic benefit transfer card that can be used like a debit card. The money is meant to be spent on food, rent and other necessities.

Some recipients' use of their TANF benefits were called into question after media reports found the cards were being swiped at ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos. Some recipients were also accessing their benefits out of state, including in Las Vegas casinos, at shops in Hawaii and on cruise ships, according to the reports.

The bill would force states to develop policies to prevent this from happening.

"This legislation stops waste, fraud, and abuse within the welfare program," said Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr., a Louisiana Republican. "It protects the public interest by ensuring money meant to help Americans get back on their feet is used for that very purpose."

Advocates for the low-income, however, said the legislation isn't really needed and that Congress has more important issues to focus on.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/06/news/ec ... m?iid=Lead

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Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:42 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Freezing weather causes highly contagious winter vomiting bug to spread across Britain34 hospitals reported outbreaks over past two weeks


The freezing weather has caused a national outbreak of the winter vomiting bug, it has emerged.

Health experts are worried that outbreaks of noruvirus, which causes violent sickness and diarrohea, could affect many more people if the icy conditions persist.

Over the past fortnight, there have been reports of noruvirus at 34 hospitals, of which 19 half have been confirmed as the bug.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... z1lgZ40j2j

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Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:10 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Protests Drive Out Romania Premier

omania's prime minister quit on Monday after a series of at-times violent nationwide protests against budget cuts and declining living standards, as deepening political turmoil fueled by Europe's prolonged economic crisis spreads across the Continent.

Thousand of Romanians have taken to the wintry streets of Bucharest and other cities in recent weeks to vent their anger at the center-right administration of Emil Boc, who has implemented tough austerity measures in an effort to shore up state finances.

----
And it is clear people in Romania are losing patience with political leaders some view as corrupt and out of touch.

In a sign of the popular mood, televised footage of a lunch gathering sponsored by the Romanian finance ministry and central bank and attended by the chief of the IMF's mission to the country, sparked sharp criticism from opposition politicians and media commentators.

The event, at a mountain-resort restaurant, wasn't especially luxurious, but it has been enough to stoke anger. The IMF official denied any misconduct.

Mr. Boc's government has cut about 200,000 public-sector jobs since 2009. Mr. Basescu has said 100,000 more positions must be eliminated by the end of this year. Government employees' wages were slashed by 25%.

The government also has moved to raise the retirement age and eliminate special pensions for soldiers, police and others. It has also raised the value-added tax and cut back on subsidies, including heating aid.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... SecondNews

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Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:46 am
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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
Earthquake in Central Philippines Leaves Dozens Dead or Missing

MANILA—At least 88 people are dead or missing after an earthquake struck the central Philippines on Monday, the latest disaster to hit the volcano and earthquake-prone archipelago.

Local government officials and rescue agencies say at least 15 people were killed by the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit the narrow strait separating Negros and Cebu islands.

At least 73 other people are missing, many of them buried by landslides caused by the lunchtime quake.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... SecondNews

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Post Re: PFTF Feb 7 2012
FBI warns of threat from anti-government extremists


Anti-government extremists opposed to taxes and regulations pose a growing threat to local law enforcement officers in the United States, the FBI warned on Monday.

These extremists, sometimes known as "sovereign citizens," believe they can live outside any type of government authority, FBI agents said at a news conference.

The extremists may refuse to pay taxes, defy government environmental regulations and believe the United States went bankrupt by going off the gold standard.

Routine encounters with police can turn violent "at the drop of a hat," said Stuart McArthur, deputy assistant director in the FBI's counterterrorism division.

"We thought it was important to increase the visibility of the threat with state and local law enforcement," he said.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/ ... 0V20120207

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