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Showing posts from March 25, 2013

Ancient megavolcanoes killed half the world's species

New rock dating techniques have helped narrow the timeframe of a chain of massive volcanic eruptions that wiped out half the world's species 200 million years ago, a study said Thursday.

The result is the most precise date yet -- 201,564,000 years ago -- for the event known as the End-Triassic Extinction, or the fourth mass extinction, said the study in the journal Science.

The eruptions "had to be a hell of an event," said co-author Dennis Kent, a paleomagnetism expert at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

They may offer a historic parallel to the human-caused climate change happening today, by showing how sharp increases in carbon dioxide can outpace vulnerable species' ability to adapt, researchers said.

The new analysis winnows the estimated date from its previous range of up to three million years to 20,000 years at most, a blink of an eye in geological terms.

The eruptions caused an already hot Earth to become even more stifling, killing off…

North Korean leader Kim sings military's praises, oungum-style

SEOUL (Reuters) - Forget "Hail to the Chief". In North Korea, the army sing their leader's praises with a chorus of "We Will Defend General Kim Jong-un at the Cost of Our Lives", or the catchy accordion and tap-dance tune, "The Naval Port in the Evening".

Kim, the third of his line to rule North Korea, praised musical instruments made by the North's 1.2 million-strong army on Sunday, state news agency KCNA reported.

Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula since new U.N. sanctions were imposed after the North carried out its third nuclear test in February. Pyongyang has threatened to destroy the United States with nuclear weapons, bomb its Pacific bases and shell South Korea in response.

Putting aside rising rhetoric, Kim inspected guitars and drums made by the army and said it was important to make quality instruments so soldiers could "spend their worthwhile days in the army full of militant optimism and joy", KCNA said.

Kim, "Supr…

Russian Civilians Join Raids On Migrant Camps

Russia's federal migration service has introduced civilian patrols as part of a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Civic-minded citizens in Moscow can now sign up to take part in organised raids of migrant housing and street patrols.

The volunteers are supervised by a migration service official and not allowed to use force, unless in self-defence.

Sky News filmed a raid on a suspected migrant workers' camp in a suburb on the outskirts of Moscow.

The volunteers gathered in a supermarket car park at 6am. It was snowing heavily and the temperature was -10C, but the group seemed enthusiastic as they piled out of their 4x4s to discuss the plan.

We set off in convoy towards the camp along a rough track deep in snow. We were told the area is close to a large open-air market where many of the migrants find work.

At first sight the camp was little more than a shanty town - a ramshackle collection of sheds and garages, improvised shelters against the depths of the Russian winter.

The patrol fann…

Chavez Knew US Special Services Were After Him

By Nil Nikandrov

March 24, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"SCF" - Hugo Chavez was not the man obsessed by the thought he was being followed and watched, that’s what the propaganda tried to make him look like. He was a politician who faced the reality and knew how hated he was in Washington for opposing the United States on all political or economic issues. He treated seriously the threats coming from presidents Bush and Obama, the State Department and the Pentagon. He knew well the Western special services had a diverse arsenal of means to physically liquidate people… Fidel Castro shared his own experience, there had been over 600 assassination attempts to kill him committed by the CIA and US military intelligence. Even a limited number of documents declassified prove the special services went to any length, including snipers and poison, to do the job. Fidel accused him of being carefree and told him to watch around. He said new technology appeared, it was not …

Obama Boosts Syria Support as Congress Pushes Military Intervention

By Samer Araabi

March 24, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"IPS" - WASHINGTON - As the Syrian uprising enters its third year, the United States and its allies are preparing to materially increase their support of the armed opposition in Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional 60 million dollars in direct aid to the rebels, marking the first time Washington will directly supply rebel forces, but the administration appears as wary as ever to get more directly involved.

The provision of battlefield materiel has been met with some support from hawks who have pushed for greater military intervention, though many policymakers have urged the president to go even further. Exhortations for intervention have increased since rumours began of a chemical weapons attack in Aleppo. Though U.S. officials have largely dismissed the reports, many members of Congress expressed concern about the use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria.

On Monday, Rep. Eliot Engel,…