Wednesday, 11 January 2017
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Monday, 27 July 2015
Its troops had played a key role in weakening the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia, Mr Obama said.
Monday, 11 November 2013
Hanoi (AFP) - Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in Vietnam early Monday, meteorologists said, days after it left thousands feared dead and widespread devastation in the Philippines.
The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said in an update at 2100 GMT the storm "is currently making landfall" approximately 100 miles (160 kilometres) east south-east of the capital Hanoi.
The storm, which had weakened significantly since scything through the Philippines over the weekend, made landfall with sustained winds of 75 miles (120 kilometres) per hour, said the JTWC, a joint US Navy and Air Force task force located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
More than 600,000 people were evacuated on the weekend as Haiyan bore down on Vietnam.
Residents of Hanoi were braced for heavy rains and flooding, while tens of thousands of people in coastal areas were ordered to take shelter.
"We have evacuated more than 174,000 households, which is equivalent to more than 600,000 people," said an official report by Vietnam's flood and storm control department.
The storm changed course on Sunday, prompting further mass evacuations of about 52,000 people in northern provinces by the coast.
"People must bring enough food and necessities for three days.... Those who do not move voluntarily will be forced," online newspaper VNExpress said, adding all boats have been ordered back to shore.
The Red Cross said Haiyan's changed path meant that "the disaster area could be enlarged from nine provinces to as many as 15", stretching the country's resources.
Many of the capital's residents were rushing to stock up on food and water before the storm hit.
"I ran to the supermarket to buy instant noodles, vegetables and meat for the family," said office worker Nguyen Thi Uyen, 33.
"There was not much left on the shelves.... People are worried, buying food to last them for a few days."
All schools were ordered shut in the capital Monday and extra police were dispatched to redirect traffic in flood-prone areas.
In the northern port city of Hai Phong, also facing heavy rain and flooding, residents voiced frustration with official preparations.
"The city only warned us about the typhoon very late.... They were too slow in advising people to prepare," Nguyen Hung Nam, 70, told AFP.
Many of the estimated 200,000 people evacuated in four south-central provinces initially thought to be in the storm's path have been allowed to go back to their homes, according to the government's website.
[caption id="attachment_670" align="alignleft" width="635"] Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall in Vietnam[/caption]
Haiyan "has tracked north-northwestward at 15 knots (17 mph, 28 kph) over the past six hours," the JTWC said on its website.
The storm was forecast to continue moving north before turning northeast and dissipating rapidly.
The weather system -- one of the most intense typhoons on record when it tore into the Philippines -- weakened over the South China Sea.
In Vietnam, at least five people reportedly died while preparing to escape the typhoon, the Vietnamese government website said.
By lunchtime on Sunday the typhoon had swept across Vietnam's Con Co island, 30 kilometres off the coast of central Quang Tri province, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
"All 250 people on the island including residents and soldiers were evacuated to underground shelters where there is enough food for several days," it said, adding the storm brought three-metre (10-foot) waves.
Central Vietnam has recently been hit by two other typhoons -- Wutip and Nari, both category-one storms -- which flooded roads, damaged sea dykes and tore the roofs off hundreds of thousands of houses.
Monday, 13 May 2013
President Obama shakes Detective Ivan Marcano’s hand at ceremony. Marcano was out with his girlfriend when he spotted a cabbie being robbed and hopped into action to save him.
WASHINGTON — An impressed President Obama singled out courageous NYPD cop Ivan Marcano — and his surprised girlfriend — at a White House ceremony Saturday for heroic cops from around the country.
Marcano, one of two of the 43 officers honored Saturday who Obama cited by name, was off duty, driving through the Bronx with his girlfriend, Hilda Miolan, on Oct. 24 when he spotted two armed suspects robbing a 60-year-old cabbie.
When Marcano stopped and identified himself as a police officer, one suspect immediately opened fire, wounding the officer in the arm and chest, inches from his heart.
RELATED: ACTIVIST PLANS NYC GUN GIVEAWAY
As Miolan, who Obama joked was probably “not very happy with” Marcano, drove him to the hospital, he saw the suspects and an accomplice. They had just crashed into a livery cab, jumped a curb on Burnside Ave. and ditched the car. Clutching his chest to keep pressure on his wound, Marcano jumped out of his car and approached them. As one, 18-year-old Prince James, reportedly fired again, Marcano, a righty shooting left-handed, fatally shot James in the head.
“He wasn’t on the clock when any of this happened,” Obama said. “This was his date night. It’s unbelievable.”
The President then asked Miolan to stand for applause.
“Today, seven years after the real estate bubble burst, triggering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and costing millions of responsible Americans their jobs and their homes, our housing market is healing,” Obama said in his weekly address. “Sales are up. Foreclosures are down. Construction is expanding. And thanks to rising home prices over the past year, 1.7 million more families have been able to come up for air because they’re no longer underwater on their mortgages.
“But we’ve got more work to do,” he added. “We’ve got more responsible homeowners to help – folks who have never missed a mortgage payment but aren’t allowed to refinance; working families who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they’re worth.”
As he highlighted the administration’s initiatives to boost the housing market, the president called on Congress to confirm Mel Watt, who he recently nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
“He’s the right person for the job, and that’s why Congress should do its job and confirm him without delay,” the president said.
Obama also urged Congress to pass additional measures that would allow homeowners to refinance their homes at low rates.
“Our economy and our housing market are poised for progress – but we could do so much more if we work together,” he said. “More good jobs. Greater security for middle-class families. A sense that your hard work is rewarded. That’s what I’m fighting for – and that’s what I’m going to keep fighting for as long as I hold this office.”
While gun control and a battle over government spending has dominated much of the president’s agenda this year, the White House has made an direct push this week to turn attention to the economy. On Thursday, the president held a series of events promoting innovation and job creation in the technology industry as part of his “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours,” which he will continue next week with events in Baltimore.
With Mother’s Day ahead this weekend, Republicans used their weekly address to promote the “Working Families Flexibility Act,” introduced by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who delivered the GOP’s weekly address.
“While we may not be able to legislate another hour into the day, we can help working Americans better balance life’s demands by offering more flexibility for time away from work,” Roby said. “This bill provides options for working moms and dads who need more time to take care of family responsibilities. It also demonstrates how applying conservative principles can help working Americans in their everyday lives.”
Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Afghan National Security Forces' (ANSF) failure to hit recruitment and retention targets is particularly troubling for Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), as the army and the police are seen as vital to preventing the return of the Taliban.
The latest British Government assessments of Afghanistan's progress towards the goals of stability and democracy confirm that the rate of recruits leaving is far worse than targets set by coalition leaders, amounting to 63,000 every year, or more than a third of the current size of the army.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has warned that the ANA's attrition rates "continue to represent a risk to the sustainability of the future force". The figures raise huge questions over the ability of the ANSF to reach the size regarded as necessary to take the reins before thousands of international troops leave Afghanistan by the end of next year.
The Foreign Office (FCO) has also admitted that the number of recruits exiting the ANA, the border police and the national civil order police has caused "a drain on skills".
The dispiriting details of the failure to develop a "critical mass" of ANSF recruits who can lead the fight against the Taliban come three months after The Independent on Sunday revealed that FCO officials feared the police were still "endemically corrupt" and riven with nepotism and drug abuse.
A series of internal FCO papers laid bare official concerns about the fate of Afghanistan and its chances of holding the Taliban at bay if its leaders fail to "root out corruption" throughout the ranks of the Afghan National Police (ANP).
Critics last night said they feared Isaf was heading for a "face-saving exit" from Afghanistan, leaving an army and police forces that were not yet ready to take over the security of their own country.
Shashank Joshi, of the Royal United Services Institute, said: "There is a long-term problem with attrition that has not been resolved, and I suspect the [coalition's] priority now is to salvage the mission and leave as quickly as they can. Even where the Foreign Office suggests there is an improvement in the ANSF, they can't guarantee this will continue after withdrawal because Afghan forces will no longer be able to rely on massive support from the coalition such as intelligence and airlift."
Coalition governments have spent billions developing the ANSF in an effort to create the fully staffed and trained national security forces seen as crucial if Afghanistan is to thrive as a democratic state.
But the FCO's monthly progress reports on Afghanistan revealed that the ANA and ANP missed their monthly recruiting targets in both January and February. The strength of the army stands at 175,000 – 12,000 below its projected size – while the ANP is 7,000 short of the 157,000 target set by coalition leaders.
However, the continued leaking away of soldiers and police officers who had already been tempted into the forces was another cause for alarm.
In January, the ANA's monthly attrition rate was 4.1 per cent, almost three times the target figure, although the Foreign Office maintained it was "artificially high". The rate of recruits leaving was 2.9 per cent – more than double the target – in February.
"High attrition rates within the ANA continue to represent a risk to the sustainability of the future force," the January update declared. "High levels of recruitment mean that this is not enough to endanger overall growth targets, [but] it does cause a drain on skills. Isaf, Nato Training Mission-Afghanistan and the Afghan MoD recognise this and are working hard to address it."
Pyongyang also threatened to close a border industrial zone, the last remaining example of inter-Korean cooperation which gives the impoverished North access to $2 billion in trade a year.
The United States said it took Pyongyang's threats seriously but cautioned that the North had a history of bellicose rhetoric. Russia, another a permanent U.N. Security Council member, urged all sides to show restraint.
Tensions have been high since the North's new young leader Kim Jong-un ordered a third nuclear weapons test in February, breaching U.N. sanctions and ignoring warnings from North Korea's sole major ally, China, not to do so.
"From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly," a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency said.
KCNA said the statement was issued jointly by the North's government, ruling party and other organizations.
The Seoul government said there was nothing in the North's latest statement to cause particular alarm.
"North Korea's statement today ... is not a new threat but is the continuation of provocative threats," the South's Unification Ministry, which handles political ties with the North, said in a statement.
On Friday, Kim signed an order putting the North's missile units on standby to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.
U.S. officials described the flight as a diplomatic sortie aimed at reassuring allies South Korea andJapan, and at trying to nudge Pyongyang back to nuclear talks, though there was no guarantee Kim Jong-un would get the message as intended.
The two Koreas have been technically in a state of war since a truce that ended their 1950-53 conflict. Despite its threats, few people see any indication Pyongyang will risk a near-certain defeat by re-starting full-scale war.
There was no sign of unusual activity in the North's military to suggest an imminent aggression, a South Korean defense ministry official said.
CALLS FOR RESTRAINT
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said North Korea's announcement followed a "familiar pattern" of rhetoric [ID:nL2N0CM05W].
Russia, which has often balanced criticism of North Korea, a Soviet-era client state, with calls on the United States and South Korea to refrain from belligerent actions, said a recurrence of war was unacceptable.
"We hope that all parties will exercise maximum responsibility and restraint and no-one will cross the point of no return," Grigory Logvinov, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official, told Interfax news agency.
France said it was deeply worried about the situation on the Korean peninsula while NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said the alliance hoped "that this is more posturing than a prelude to any armed hostilities."
China has repeatedly called for restraint on the peninsula.
The North has been threatening to attack the South and U.S. military bases almost on a daily basis since the beginning of March, when U.S. and South Korean militaries started routine drills that have been conducted for decades without incident.
Many in the South have regarded the North's willingness to keep open the Kaesong industrial zone, located just a few miles (km) north of the heavily-militarized border, as a sign that Pyongyang will not risk losing a lucrative source of foreign currency by mounting a real act of aggression.
The Kaesong zone is a vital source of hard currency for the North and hundreds of South Korean workers and vehicles enter daily after crossing the armed border.
"If the puppet traitor group continues to mention the Kaesong industrial zone is being kept operating and damages our dignity, it will be mercilessly shut off and shut down," KCNA quoted an agency that operates Kaesong as saying in a statement.
Closure could also trap hundreds of South Korean workers and managers of the more than 100 firms that have factories there.
The North has previously suspended operations at the factory zone at the height of political tensions with the South, only to let it resume operations later.
North Korea has canceled an armistice agreement with the United States that ended the Korean War and cut all hotlines with U.S. forces, the United Nations and South Korea.
(Additional reporting by Sung-won Shim and Jane Chung; Editing Rosalind Russell and Jon Boyle)
The discovery has sent shockwaves through the world of marine biology, with scientists calling it the rarest two-headed shark ever recorded.
The fisherman got double what he bargained for when he caught a regular adult bull-shark on a routine trip. After opening the uterus, he found the baby.
He immediately handed the specimen, who was alive at the time, over to experts, who ran extensive tests.
A team at Michigan State University revealed the shark, which died shortly after discovery, had two distinct heads, hearts and stomachs, with the remainder of the body joining together at the back to form a single tail.
The cause of the deformity is not clear, but there have been suggestions that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 might have been a contributing factor.
The deformity, technically known as "axial bifurcation," occurs when the embryo stops before completely splitting into two separate organisms.
Michael Wagner, a researcher at Michigan State University explained that had the shark had survived in the wild, it would not have lived long.
"When you're a predator that needs to move fast to catch other fast-moving fish ... that'd be nearly impossible with this mutation," he said.
It had very developed heads, but a very stunted body. The energy put into the developing the body reduces as a result of the development of two heads," he added.
It is thought that the investigation into the deformed shark might be helpful to further comprehend the causes of such deformities in sharks and other animals.
The Ivory Coast forward set Arsenal on its way with the opener in the 11th minute and then provided assists for Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud to net in the second half.
Hal Robson-Kanu pulled a goal back for Reading, but Mikel Arteta ended the struggling visitors' hopes of an unlikely comeback by slotting home a penalty 13 minutes from time.
The victory lifts Arsenal to within two points of fourth-place Chelsea and drops Reading provisionally bottom of the table after Adkins' first game in charge of the club.
``I thought Arsenal were very good, they've passed the ball very well,'' said Adkins, who was fired by Southampton in January. "Unfortunately, we've made our own downfall on a couple of goals.''
The Emirates Stadium wasn't exactly an ideal venue for Adkins to resume his coaching career, with Arsenal full of confidence after back-to-back 2-0 wins against Bayern Munich and Swansea before the international break.
And Gervinho, back in favor at Arsenal following a mid-season slump in form, continued the team's momentum by smashing in from close range after Cazorla drove in a cross. The Ivory Coast forward also scored against Swansea.
``He was always lively and created many dangerous situations,'' Wenger said of the much-maligned Gervinho.
Initial signs that big depositors in Bank of Cyprus would take a hit of 30 to 40 percent - the first time the euro zone has made bank customers contribute to a bailout - had already unnerved investors in European lenders this week.
But the official decree published on Saturday confirmed a Reuters report a day earlier that the bank would give depositors shares worth just 37.5 percent of savings over 100,000 euros. The rest of such holdings might never be paid back.
The toughening of the terms sends a clear signal that the bailout means the end of Cyprus as a hub for offshore finance and could accelerate economic decline on the island and bring steeper job losses.
Banks reopened to relative calm on Thursday after the imposition of the first capital controls the euro has seen since it was launched a decade ago.
The streets of Nicosia were filled with crowds relaxing in its cafes and bars on Saturday, but popular anger was not hard to find.
"Europe shouldn't have allowed this disaster to happen here. Cyprus was paradise and they've turned it into hell," said Tryfonas Neokleous, owner of a clothes shop on a cobbled street in the center of the city.
He said he didn't except business to pick up even now that the banks were open again after an almost two-week shutdown.
"I don't expect anything and I don't hope for anything anymore. People are going to spend their money on food and everything else they've been deprived of the last 15 days."
There are no signs for now that bank customers in other struggling euro zone countries likeGreece, Italy or Spain taking fright at the precedent set by the bailout.
"Cyprus is and will remain a special one-off case," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told German mass-selling daily Bild. "Savings accounts in Europe are safe."
European officials have worked hard this week to stress that the island's bailout was a unique case - after a suggestion by Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem that the rescue would serve as a model for future crises rattled European financial markets.
"Together in the Eurogroup we decided to have the owners and creditors take part in the costs of the rescue - in other words those who helped cause the crisis," said Schaeuble, one of the architects of the euro zone's response to a debt crisis now in its fourth year.
"Cyprus's economy will now go through a long and painful period of adjustment. But then it will pay back the loan."
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday that the 10-billion euro ($13 billion) bailout had contained the risk of national bankruptcy and would prevent it from leaving the euro.
Cypriots, however, are angry at the price attached to the rescue - the winding down of the island's second-largest bank, Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki, and an unprecedented raid on deposits over 100,000 euros.
"We're numb. People are numb. But their hidden hope is that something good will happen eventually," said Pantelis Panayotou, 70, a jeweler whose stands in his shop are half empty.
The island has seen none of the angry street violence that frequently erupts in Greece but peaceful protests by students and bank workers have become an almost daily occurrence. At least 2,000 students protested outside parliament this week.
Etyk, a bank workers' union, called a rally outside parliament for Thursday to protest against potential job cuts and a hit on their pension funds.
Under the terms of Saturday's decree, the assets of Laiki will be transferred to Bank of Cyprus. At Bank of Cyprus, about 22.5 percent of deposits over 100,000 euros will attract no interest. The remaining 40 percent will continue to attract interest, but will not be repaid unless the bank does well.
Those with deposits under 100,000 euros will continue to be protected under the state's deposit guarantee.
The imposition of the capital controls has led economists to warn that a second-class "Cyprus euro" could emerge, with funds trapped on the island less valuable than euros that can be freely spent abroad.
Among other things Cypriots and foreigners are allowed to take only up to 1,000 euros in cash when they leave the island.
Anastasiades said the restrictions - unprecedented in the currency bloc since euro coins and banknotes entered circulation in 2002 - would be gradually lifted. He gave no time frame but the central bank said the measures would be reviewed daily. ($1 = 0.7788 euros)
(Additional reporting by Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin; Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Jon Boyle)
Napolitano, whose term ends on May 15, spoke after news reports suggested he might resign to get around constitutional provisions which prevent a president dissolving parliament and calling elections during his final months in office.
"I will continue until the last day of my mandate to do as my sense of national responsibility suggests, without hiding from the country the difficulties that I am still facing," he told reporters at his Quirinale palace.
But he acknowledged that he had limited scope to force the divided parties to find a way out of political situation that he said was "frozen between irreconcilable positions".
With investors still mindful of the turmoil that took the euro zone to the brink of disaster in 2011, the gridlock has revived worries about Italy just as the Cyprus banking crisis reopened concern about the stability of the single currency.
Napolitano said he would ask two small groups of experts to formulate proposals for institutional and social and economic reforms that could be supported by all political parties.
He named 10 senior figures including Enrico Giovannini, the head of statistics agency ISTAT, European Affairs Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi and Bank of Italy board member Salvatore Rossi as well as one senior figure from each of the main parties apart from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
Napolitano met leaders of the main parties on Friday to try to find a way out of the stalemate created by an election which has left Italy facing a return to the polls after no party won a viable majority in parliament.
However with all of the three main formations in parliament clinging to entrenched positions that have prevented a majority being formed, hopes of a solution that would head off potentially destabilizing early elections have faded.
Pier Luigi Bersani, whose center-left alliance has a majority in the lower house but not the Senate, was rebuffed by the populist 5-Star Movement, which rejects deals with the main parties it blames for Italy's social and economic crisis.
Bersani himself rejected demands by center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi for a cross-party coalition deal that would give the scandal-plagued former prime minister a share in power and the right to decide Napolitano's successor.
Both Berlusconi's group and the 5-Star Movement, led by ex-comic Beppe Grillo have also ruled out a new technocrat government like the one led by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, blocking what appears to be the only other option.
Napolitano's pledge to stay on delayed an immediate crisis but left hopes of progress dependent on parties which are divided less by substantive issues of policy than by deep personal mistrust that has worsened as the standoff has worn on.
Bersani said he would be guided by Napolitano but Berlusconi's party secretary Angelino Alfano had a more lukewarm response and stuck to demands for a coalition government in which it would play a part.
"Either we have a political government with a grand coalition or we return to vote immediately," he told Italian daily Corriere della Sera. "If the initiative begun today leads to this outcome, good. Otherwise, the only way is to go straight to the polls with no delay," he said.
Napolitano stressed that Monti retained full authority at the head of a caretaker administration until a new government can be formed but he will be unable to undertake any significant reforms to Italy's stagnant economy, now deep in its longest recession for 20 years.
Parliament must soon begin preparations to vote for a new president either to oversee the first steps of a new government or early elections and the battle to choose the next head of state is unlikely to ease the political tensions.
The head of state, elected by a joint sitting of parliament and representatives from the regions, has a broadly defined but at times vital role in overseeing affairs of state, as Napolitano himself has shown repeatedly ever since the last Berlusconi government fell in 2011.
With bond markets closed for the Easter break, investors have been left on the sidelines but a poorly received auction of mid- and long-term debt last week underlined the danger if the crisis drags on.
(Additional reporting by Naomi O'Leary in Rome and Ethan Bilby in Brussels; Writing by James Mackenzie; editing by Barry Moody and Rosalind Russell)
"I believe this calf has been dead for many days, possibly weeks," explains Capt. Dave Anderson, "you can see the flesh is decaying. In my nearly twenty years on the water whale watching I have never seen this behavior. Nor have I ever seen anything quite as moving as this mother who refuses to let go of her poor calf."
This video sends a powerful message about how much a dolphin can care. It is a window into a dolphins heart. This animal is laboring under the strain of carrying this dead animal on its back day and night is probably keeping it near the surface so the departed dolphin can breathe. We can assume this because dolphins do not normally swim with their dorsal fins sticking out of the water continuously like this bottlenose did. We can only imagine what happened; over half of all bottlenose calves die from disease and predators before their second birthday, and since we know that the family unit in dolphin pods is the mother and calf, this is almost certainly a mother and calf pair. Did mom start off helping her weak, sick offspring swim to the surface to breathe for days till the tiny dolphin died? When will she give up on her calf? Will she continue carrying her deceased on her back until the carcass begins to disintegrate? This poor grieving mother dolphin takes us, without words, to a place where as one of our passengers said in the video "humans and dolphins are not so different."
The pair were surrounded by other dolphins, almost as if they were being protected, during this profoundly sad time. The dolphin was seen an hour later by another boat still carrying the calf.
Scientists estimate that 308,000 dolphins and whales die every year worldwide because of fishing gear entanglement. Captain Dave organized Orange County's first whale disentanglement group in 2008 and has successfully disentangled several gray whales, including Lily, whose disentanglement made national headlines. Capt. Dave authored the award winning book, "Lily, A Gray Whale's Odyssey", a magnificent photographic journey of a gray whale's migration. For more information visit http://www.dolphinsafari.com
All audio and video footage is copyright David Anderson/DolphinSafari.com and may not be used without permission.
Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari offers daily, year-round, dolphin and whale watching trips from Dana Point, California, aboard a hi-tech catamaran sailboat with Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods and LIVE broadcasting fromhttp://www.dolphinsafari.com.
Saturday, 30 March 2013
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Police said the suspect tripped a burglary alarm and ran away, but not before tripping.
The video captures the suspect walking up to the front doors of the store and throwing a rock at the front window. The audible alarm sounds and the suspect attempts to run away.
The man is described as being about 5 feet, 11 inches and weighing about 350 pounds.
Investigators, who obtained the surveillance video of the crime from the market, are asking anyone who might have information about the case to contact them at 225-4214.
Anonymous information can be provided through www.scsecretwitness.com or 243-2319.