Archive | October, 2012

Syria warplanes bomb rebel strongholds

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : Syrian warplanes are pounding opposition strongholds around Damascus and in the north, activists said today, as president Bashar Assad’s regime intensifies air strikes against rebels seeking to topple him.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers reports from a network of activists, said government jets carried out five strikes this morning in the eastern Ghouta district, a rebel stronghold close to the capital.

Three air strikes also hit the rebel-held city of Maaret al-Numan, which straddles a key supply route from Damascus to Aleppo in the north.

No casualties were reported in today’s strikes, the observatory said.

However, at least 185 people were killed yesterday, pushing the total death toll from the relentless fighting in Syria to more than 36,000, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the group’s president.

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Haiti fears food shortages after hurricane hit crops

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : The government of Haiti has warned that Hurricane Sandy represents a “disaster of major proportions,” which could bring food shortages as well as an imminent spike in the number of life-threatening cholera cases.

At least 54 people were killed and 18,000 forced from their homes when the storm hit the Caribbean nation last week. But Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has told reporters that the after-effects of the storm could prove to be more deadly.

“This is a disaster of major proportions,” he warned. “The whole south is under water… The economy took a huge hit. Most of the agricultural crops that were left from Hurricane Isaac were destroyed during Sandy. So food security will be an issue.”

Twenty people remain missing from the initial disaster, and pictures have shown destroyed bridges, submerged houses and standing water across much of the country. But the greatest threat to life may come from cholera, which is spread via contaminated water.

Aid agencies have already reported 86 new cases of the disease in the capital, Port-au-Prince, with eight deaths. Since the start of an outbreak that began in October 2010, roughly 600,000 people have been affected by the disease and more than 7,400 have died. Many of the victims were among the more than 300,000 people still living in refugee camps established in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake, which killed about 280,000 people and is regarded by the United Nations as the worst natural disaster in history.

Beyond the immediate crisis, the government must work out how to cope with the widespread destruction of crops and food supplies by the hurricane, which also killed 11 people in Cuba and caused damage in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

“The storm took everything away,” a spokesman for Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture told Reuters. “Everything the peasants had in reserve – corn, tubers – all of it was devastated.”

In Abricots, on Haiti’s south-western tip, Mayor Kechner Toussaint pleaded for international aid, saying many of his citizens were already without food. “We will have famine in the coming days,” he said.

There are also growing fears of civil unrest. John Chaloner at the charity Plan International told The Independent that in recent months there had been “demonstrations sparked by rising food prices”.

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Nigeria violence: Zamfara villagers ‘murdered’

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

Nigeria,(GGS NEWS) : — Armed robbers shot dead 20 people on Tuesday in northern Nigeria’s Zamfara state, an area plagued by violent clashes between vigilante and criminal groups, an official said.
“Twenty people were killed today and two others were badly hurt by a gang of bandits in a raid on Kaboro village,” state government spokesman Nuhu Salihu Anka.
“The bandits stormed the village and began shooting indiscriminately,” he said of the attack in a remote area roughly 120 kilometres (75 miles) from the state capital.
After several people had been killed, the area’s chief appealed to the gunmen to stop firing but they turned their weapons on him instead, according to the spokesman.
“The robbers shot (the chief) dead and then went door to door seizing cash and other valuables before fleeing,” Anka said.
A gang of robbers killed 23 people in the nearby villages of Dan-Gulbi and Guru in June, in a raid where some of the victims’ throats were slit.
The June slaughter was reportedly carried out by gunmen seeking revenge against a community militia.
Locals said at the time that the vigilante force, which had grown tired of repeated robberies in the area, had killed several people they accused of being gang members.
Raids in Zamfara have previously involved scores of attackers. Up to 80 gunmen riding on motorcycles were reported to have carried out the June massacre, while in January, around 100 robbers killed and then burned the bodies of 15 traders as they returned from a market in another state.
Northern Nigeria has also been hit by waves of attacks by radical Islamist group Boko Haram, but the worst violence has been concentrated in the northeast and central north.
Northwestern states like Zamfara have largely been spared by the extremist group and there was no indication that Boko Haram was involved in the latest attack.
Deadly communal and ethnic conflicts often occur in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer with some 160 million people and 250 ethnic groups.
Last month, armed robbers opened fire on a group of people as they left pre-dawn prayers at a mosque in Kaduna state, killing about 20 people.
Those killings were reportedly sparked by an ongoing rivalry between a community protection force and a group of thieves active in the area.
The scale of the violence in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, including attacks blamed on Boko Haram, has prompted scathing criticism from activists, who accuse President Goodluck Jonathan’s government of failing to protect the population.

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Curiosity Mars rover finds soil similar to Hawaii’s

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : In the first inventory of minerals on another planet, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity found soil that bears a striking resemblance to weathered, volcanic sand in Hawaii, scientists said on Tuesday.

The rover uses an X-ray imager to reveal the atomic structures of crystals in the Martian soil, the first time the technology, known as X-ray diffraction, has been used to analyze soil beyond Earth.

This was a 22-year journey and a magical moment for me, NASA’s David Blake, lead scientist for the rover’s mineralogical instrument, told reporters during a conference call.

Curiosity found the Martian sand grains have crystals similar to basaltic soils found in volcanic regions on Earth, like Hawaii.

Scientists plan to use the information about Mars’ minerals to figure out if the planet most like Earth in the solar system could have supported and preserved microbial life.

The mineralogy of Mars’ soil has been a source of conjecture until now, said Curiosity scientist David Vaniman of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.

This interest isn’t just academic, he added. Soils on planets’ surfaces are a reflection of surface exposure processes and history, with information on present and past climates.

Specifically, scientists want to understand what conditions existed to allow the particular minerals to form. The first Martian soil scoop is mineralogically similar to basaltic materials and comprised primarily of feldspar, pyroxene and olivine.

About half the soil is non-crystalline materials, like volcanic glass, that form from the breakdown of rocks.

Several processes can account for this weathering, including interaction with water or oxygen, similar to how rust forms on iron-metal surfaces.Brute force, such as sandstorms or meteorite impacts, also could account for the soil’s weathered components, said chemist Douglas Ming of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Curiosity rover landed inside a giant impact crater near the Martian equator in August for a two-year, $2.5-billion mission, NASA’s first astrobiology expedition since the 1970s-era Viking probes.

The rover is scouting a site where three types of rock intersect. Next year, scientists plan to drive it over to a three-mile (5-km) mound of sediment, named Mount Sharp, rising from the floor of the crater.

We’re hopeful that once we get into the truly ancient materials on Mount Sharp, we will find minerals that suggest there was a habitable environment of some kind there. We haven’t had that happen yet, but we have a lot of time left, Blake said.

While X-ray diffraction has been around for a century, using the technology on Mars required years of work to scale down refrigerator-sized equipment into something that would fit into the space of a shoe box.

The miniaturized, low-power instrument is used in the mining, oil and gas industries and is being evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to screen for counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

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Electrical fire at Saudi wedding ‘kills 25’

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

RIYADH,(GGS NEWS)  : A fire sparked by celebratory gunfire has killed at least 25 people at a wedding in Saudi Arabia, media reported on Wednesday.

The bullets struck electric decorations that triggered a short-circuit, igniting a women-only marquee at the wedding on Tuesday night in Eastern Province, said Al-Yaoum newspaper, citing civil defence chief General Abdullah Khsheiman.

Al-Yaoum, which is based in the province, said at least 28 people died in the fire, although various other reports put the death toll at 25, all of them women and children.

The governor of the oil-rich region, Prince Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, ordered a prompt investigation into the incident, the Okaz daily reported.

Only women and small children were in the tent in line with strict rules of segregation in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.

In July 1999, 76 people died in a similar incident in Eastern Province.

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Japan tsunami reconstruction money ‘misspent’

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

Japan,(GGS NEWS) : – Japan has spent funds intended for reconstruction after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami on unrelated projects, a government audit has found.

Projects financed by the $150bn (£93bn) fund include roads in Okinawa, an ad campaign for Japan’s tallest building and support for whaling research.

Some 325,000 people remain displaced 18 months on from the disaster.

In some areas little reconstruction work has been carried out, reports say.

Some 19,000 people were killed or remain missing following the tsunami and earthquake that struck north-east Japan in March 2011.

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Week in China: Shanghai’s building boom

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

GGS NEWS : If China’s leaders could choose one image to symbolise their decade in power, then the Shanghai skyline might do.The iconic cityscape on the Pudong side of the river was already a work in progress in 2002, but since then it has continued to rise, the gaps filled in with more real estate, more high rise office accommodation, more concrete and steel.

Shanghai’s own building boom, just like China’s in general, has provided jobs for millions of workers.

And the city’s role as a financial hub and engine of growth has pushed per capita income well above US$12,000 (£7,500) a year.

As a face to show to the world Shanghai is modern, vibrant and outward-looking, and for China’s economic policy makers, there is much to be proud of here.

But Shanghai is also a symbol of modern China in another important way too.

I recently interviewed an estate agent, standing on one of the upper floors in one of those luxury apartment buildings in Pudong.

The property, with a sweeping view of the river, was on the market for a US$2.5m price tag, and I asked the estate agent if he ever worried about the growing gap between rich and poor.I think the gap is obviously getting bigger and bigger,” he said, “and some poor people are trying to make something out of it.”

“But fortunately,” he went on, “we have a very strict and very powerful government who are trying to control everything and calm things down.”

That China’s leaders are concerned about growing social unrest is well documented and that they are likely to contain it, even as economic growth slows, is for now widely accepted.

But some economists have been wondering whether China’s system of strong government may actually be one of the root causes of inequality in the first place.

One of the main engines of this economy’s extraordinary growth over the past decade has been massive government spending on big infrastructure projects.

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Storm Sandy: Eastern US gets back on its feet

Posted on 31 October 2012 by GGS News

NEW YORK (GGS NEWS) – Americans sifted through the wreckage of superstorm Sandy on Wednesday as millions remained without power and President Barack Obama prepared to visit areas hardest hit by the unprecedented cyclone.

The storm carved a trail of devastation across New York City and New Jersey, killing dozens of people in several states, swamping miles of coastline, and throwing the tied-up White House race into disarray just days before the vote.

Obama planned to tour flooded areas alongside New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as his Republican rival Mitt Romney was set to ease his way back onto the campaign trail in Florida after a storm-imposed virtual hiatus.

New York City authorities were meanwhile struggling to restore vital services and clear debris after a wall of storm-driven seawater flooded lower Manhattan, swamped road and rail tunnels and triggered fires.

“Restoring power and mass transit remain the two biggest challenges in the days ahead,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Tuesday, as rescue crews and utility workers surveyed an apocalyptic scene.

“This is the end of the downside, and hopefully from here it is going up.”

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq aimed to reopen Wednesday after their first weather-related closures since Hurricane Gloria in 1985, and the John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty international airports were set to reopen at 7:00 am (1100 GMT), with limited services. La Guardia Airport remains closed.

The New York subway system, much of which was flooded by seawater, was still gripped by what management dubbed its worst disaster in its 108-year history, and the New Jersey coastline remains a scene of sprawling devastation.

Obama, who faces a tough re-election battle on November 6, was set to tour some of the worst-hit areas with Christie — a prominent Republican and Romney supporter — who described the destruction as “unthinkable.”

“America is with you. We are standing behind you and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet,” Obama said Tuesday.

On Tuesday the death toll from the storm rose to 43 in North America, in addition to the 67 people killed as Sandy swept through the Caribbean as a hurricane last week.

More than eight million homes and businesses from the Carolinas to Maine were without power, the Department of Energy said, with outages increasing as the still-formidable storm moves west towards the Great Lakes.

Insured losses from Sandy could run between seven and 15 billion dollars (5.4 to 11.5 billion euros), according to initial industry estimates.

Three US nuclear power reactors remained shut and a fourth on alert, after storm waters wreaked havoc with transmission networks and cooling systems, but authorities insisted there were no risks to the public.

Inland, Sandy dumped three feet (90 centimeters) of snow on high ground in Appalachian states as she headed west and north, spreading blizzard conditions over parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

In New York, residents spent Tuesday surveying the damage, confronting surreal scenes of flooded subway tunnels, a ship thrust ashore onto a railway track and cars bobbing like corks in submerged New York City parking lots.

In New York’s oceanside community of Breezy Point, the massive flooding was followed by an equally disastrous fire that destroyed more than 80 homes.

Carol Anderson, 53, whose house escaped the fire but not the flooding, had trouble identifying her neighborhood streets as she picked her way over charred beams and under scorched, dangling telephone and electrical lines on Tuesday.

“What a disaster. It’s like a warzone,” she said.

Forecasters warned that flooding would continue along the densely-populated mid-Atlantic coast and 7,400 National Guardsmen remained mobilized in 11 states to provide emergency relief.

Obama meanwhile strove to display leadership in the face of the disaster in a bid to avoid repeating the mistakes of predecessor George W. Bush, whose bungled response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 tainted his presidency.

“Do not figure out why we can’t do something. I want you to figure out how we do something,” he told government officials during a surprise visit Tuesday to the American Red Cross in Washington.

“I want you to cut through red tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy. There’s no excuse for inaction at this point.”

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Vinayak dance and fitness studio launch

Vinayak dance and fitness studio launch

Posted on 29 October 2012 by GGS News

Ludhiana,(Amritpal Singh) 29 Oct 2012  :-Habowal road to fitness dance and fitness studio launched Vinayak dance along. On this occasion, lead actress and model Poonam Singhal interest and Hina was mainly present. Shanti Kumar said the head of the Academy of hip-hop, Poping locking, B-boying, Bhangra, Western, Salsa, basic stamp, including freestyle dance will be taught. Poonam Sood said that his new film The Man is coming Anmule -2. The four idiots shooting continues. The modeling debut songs Hina Singhal said the film world will also meet good character.

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Prime Minister’s transit visit to Adampur today

Prime Minister’s transit visit to Adampur today

Posted on 28 October 2012 by GGS News

Jalandhar,(GGS NEWS) 28 October 2012 : In wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s transit visit to Adampur Airbase, a team of security personnel from the Prime Minister’s office today reviewed arrangements at the airbase and its vicinity.

The team also briefed the district authorities, including officials from health, fire brigade and other departments, about the protocol.

On his way to Una in Himachal Pradesh, where Dr Manmohan Singh will address an election rally tomorrow, the Prime Minister will land at Adampur airbase between 1 pm and 3 pm in a charter plane.

Sources said there was a scheduled halt of just 5 to 7 minutes at Adampur. Senior Congress leaders from Punjab will welcome him.

The Prime Minister will fly in a helicopter to the rally venue in Una and after addressing an election rally there, he will again land at Adampur airbase at about 4 pm and subsequently, his special charter plane will take off for Delhi, the sources said.

Gurmit Singh, Superintendent of Police, Jalandhar (Rural) police, claimed to have made elaborated security arrangements. He claimed the air base had been cordoned off and visitors, including Congress leaders, would be allowed to enter the airbase after thorough screening.

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