By TIM SHIPMAN – “Israel will launch military action to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon as soon as Christmas, intelligence chiefs have warned.
A report by a UN watchdog into Iran’s nuclear ambitions ‘completely discredits’ the Islamic nation’s protestations of innocence, according to Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran is developing a nuclear test facility, nuclear detonators and computer modelling for a nuclear warhead that would fit on an existing missile.
Sources say the understanding at the top of the British Government is that Israel will attempt to strike against the nuclear sites ‘sooner rather than later’ – with logistical support from the U.S.
A senior Foreign Office figure has revealed that ministers have been told to expect Israeli military action, adding: ‘We’re expecting something as early as Christmas, or very early in the new year.’
Officials believe President Barack Obama would have to support the Israelis or risk losing vital Jewish-American support in the next presidential election.” Read more.
Iran: If Our Nuclear Progam is Attacked We Will Fight on the Streets of Tel Aviv and All Throughout Europe and the United States – “The head of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said on Tuesday that Iran would start a ‘street war’ in Tel Aviv if its nuclear program was attacked. ‘Israel is not big enough to launch a military strike on Iran, but if it takes such a foolish decision, the Iranian military will fight with the Zionist soldiers in Tel Aviv streets… and will force them out of the Palestinian soil,’ Seyed Hossein Naqavi said. Naqavi also warned, should Tehran’s nuclear program be attacked, the battlefield won’t be in Iran, but ‘the entirety of Europe and the US.’ ‘Iranian forces will fight with the enemies with maximum might and power all throughout the European and US soil, if Iran comes under attack,’ he reiterated.” Read more.
Flashback: Confirmed: Hezbollah Terror Operatives, “Sleeper Cells” Poised in the U.S – “Operatives of the Lebanese Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah, the same group presently firing missiles into Israel and labeled as one of the most dangerous Islamic terrorist group in the world, are believed ‘to be planning to activate sleeper cells located in New York and other larger cities inside the U.S.’ to stage attacks Americans. ‘The FBI and Justice Department have launched urgent new probes in New York and other cities targeting members of the Lebanese terror group.’ Law-enforcement and intelligence officials stated that “about a dozen hard-core supporters of Hezbollah have been identified in recent weeks as operating in the New York City area (alone).’ The above appeared in an article published in The New York Post on May 22, 2006. Not surprisingly, that very same information was verified through several sources within law enforcement agencies and agents contacted by the Northeast Intelligence Network this weekend… Their international operational budget is estimated to be $200-$500 million annually, including $100 million in contributions provided directly by Iran.” Read more.
US: Several Arab Leaders Offering Safe Haven for Syria’s President Assad to Hasten His ‘Inevitable’ End
“WASHINGTON – Some Arab leaders have told the United States they are willing to provide safe haven to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hasten his ‘inevitable’ departure from power, a senior US official said on Wednesday.
Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman did not identify the countries that had offered a place for Assad to go after seven months of protests against his rule in Syria.
‘Almost all the Arab leaders, foreign ministers who I talk to say the same thing: Assad’s rule is coming to an end. It is inevitable,’ Feltman, who is in charge of near eastern affairs, told a Senate panel.
‘Some of these Arabs have even begun to offer Assad safe haven to encourage him to leave quickly,’ Feltman said. He hoped Assad and his inner circle would ‘head for the exits voluntarily.’
Assad has shown no sign of leaving.” Read more.
Syria’s Choice: Murderous Secular Regime or Islamic Fundamentalists – “As Syrian dictator Bashar Assad continues to slaughter his people, there are growing indications that the Islamists are increasing their efforts to replace his regime. What started as a secular Facebook revolution against the Assad regime is now beginning to look more like a jihad [holy war] led by Muslim fundamentalists. The Muslim Brotherhood is clearly seeking to hijack the anti-Assad protests, in both the political and military fields. In the past few months, there have been many signs of a ‘return to Islam’ in Syrian society.” Read more.
U.S. Calls UN Report On Iran Nuclear Program ‘Alarming’ as Iran Vows It Will Not Retreat ‘One Iota’ From Its Nuclear Path
By Natasha Mozgovaya – “The United States said Tuesday it was alarmed by a recently published International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s nuclear program, adding that it would pursue further economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, as well as mulling ‘a range of possibilities.’
The IAEA report, which was handed over to the 35-member states of the IAEA Board of Governors, details a series of tests, acquisition of materials, and technology that suggests Iran has continuously worked to produce a nuclear weapon since 2003.
Speaking to the press on Wednesday, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said the conclusions drawn by the report were ‘alarming,’ adding that Washington was looking into ‘additional ways to apply pressure on Iran.’
‘These are very serious allegations, serious charges’, Toner said. ‘And it’s incumbent on Iran to at last engage with the IAEA in a credible and transparent manner to address these concerns. I think going forward we’re consulting with our partners and allies within the IAEA. There is going to be a Board of Governors meeting, I think, at the end of next week where this will be addressed.'” Read more.
Iran won’t retreat ‘one iota’ from nuclear path, says Ahmadinejad – “Iran won’t retreat ‘one iota’ from its nuclear program and the world is being misled by claims it seeks atomic weapons, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday. His comments — broadcast live on state TV and his first since a UN watchdog report said Tehran is on the brink of developing a nuclear warhead — contrasted sharply with Western warnings that Iran appears to be engaged in a dangerous defiance of international demands to control its nuclear ambitions. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said his country would support boosting sanctions against Tehran to an ‘unprecedented scale’ if Iran stonewalls investigations, even as Israel and others say that military options are still possible.” Read more.
The dramatic rise in 10-year bond yields comes the day after Italy’s flamboyant Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he would resign after the country’s budget is passed. The 75-year old Berlusconi has been a dominant force since forming the Forza Italia party in 1994, and his pending departure marks the end of an era for Italian politics.
But while the political spectacle that came with Berlusconi could now fade, the financial show might be just beginning. The pricing – set by traders who are selling Italy’s bonds – hit 7.3% by mid morning after breaking through 7% a short while earlier. “It’s like tectonic plates,” a desk analyst told CNN. “You have this pressure and then it breaks.”
To put Italy’s bond yields in context: Ireland bond yields were just over 8% before the country was bailed, Greek yields touched 10% and Portugal’s hit 9%.
Italy and Spain – the eurozone’s third and fourth largest economies – are those often referred to as too big to fail. So far, the eurozone countries and the European Central Bank have actively kept the bloc’s struggling economies afloat.
But their powers may be limited when it comes to Italy. The numbers are huge, and the political – and financial – capacity to continue supporting the bloc’s weak will face a mighty test should Italy stumble.” Read more.
Has Italy past the point of no return? – “The scandal-plagued prime minister will follow his Greek counterpart George Papandreou into early retirement as fears grow that Italy, the eurozone’s third largest economy, may default on its debt. Italy has failed to implement austerity measures designed to reduce its mammoth €1.9 trillion debt load — nearly six times that of Greece — and the cost to the country of borrowing more money to pay off that debt is spiraling out of control. While no one knows yet whether Italy will default, analysts say that the country is vastly too big to bail out — and that the consequences for the world economy of a default would be a disaster.” Read more.
Alaska: Powerful ‘Snow Hurricane’ Pummels Coast, Unleashing Damaging Winds, Huge Waves and a 7-Foot Storm Surge
By Kristina Pydynowski – “A powerful storm that resembles a hurricane with snow, a ‘snowicane’, continues to pound western Alaska. ‘The potentially historic ‘superstorm’… is making ‘landfall’ in Alaska today with a pressure equivalent to a Category 4 Hurricane,’ said AccuWeather.com’s Jesse Ferrell.
Part of this fierce storm will dive into the contiguous United States on Friday, once again revving up the Northwest’s storm train.
‘For people in the Bering Sea region, including shipping and fishing interests, this is considered to be a life-threatening storm situation,’ warned Accuweather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
The powerful storm is unleashing damaging winds, blizzard conditions, huge waves and coastal flooding. A 7-foot storm surge hit Nome, Alaska with water reportedly reaching the base of buildings. There have also been reports of roofs in Nome being blown off.
One incredibly impressive observation with this storm came from a coastal station that measured ice accretion of 23.5 inches per hour Tuesday night, according to Ferrell, who has more statistics on this historic storm in his blog.” Read more.
Australia: Roofs Ripped Off Homes, Trees Toppled After Wild Storm Lashes Victoria with Flash Flooding and Golf Ball Sized Hail
SES rescuers responded to cases of flash flooding, hail damage, people trapped in cars, unroofed homes and fallen trees.
In one of the worst-hit areas, Frankston received 30 millimetres of rain in 20 minutes yesterday. Residents made more than 200 calls for help, including 150 about flooding and 40 about building damage.
In Croydon several people had to be rescued from their vehicles after they became stuck in flood waters.
There were another 150 reports of fallen trees, many in towns northwest of Melbourne including Castlemaine, Woodend and Maryborough.
The northeast endured the worst of the storm, where 65mm of rain fell – the highest rainfall for the state. In Wodonga, several houses had their roofs ripped off. There were also reports of flooded backyards and falling trees.” Read more.
Thousands of the tiny creatures were spotted washed up yesterday afternoon.
The transparent creatures with black eyes and little legs could be from deeper water as they were darker than what is normal for intertidal species, a Niwa spokeswoman said. Auckland University associate professor Mark Costello said the creatures could be either Phronima or Hyperia amphipods.
Phronima lived inside salps – gelatinous animals that float in plankton – and fed on their innards while using the tube for their home. Hyperia live inside jellyfish.
Both swam through the water using their back legs and despite their gruesome appearance were harmless to humans.
‘I wonder if the maker of the movie Predator had seen them as they could inspire some good sci- fi,’ Mr Costello said.
But Victoria University PhD student Lisa Bryant said it appeared to be a Themisto australis, which is the only species found in coastal mainland New Zealand.
They formed in dense swarms and other strandings had been reported in places such as England and Canada.” Read more.
Guyana: Large number of birds and fish found dead – “Guyana’s government is trying to determine what is causing an outbreak of illness among Amerindians in the South American country’s gold mining region. Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy said Saturday that his agency has sent doctors to test dozens of people suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. He said an unusual number of birds and fish also have been found dead in the region near the western border with Venezuela. The World Wildlife Fund this week warned that mercury and other toxins are contaminating the region’s rivers and jungles as more people rush to seek gold due to record world prices.” Source – Taiwan News.
Florida: Nearly 400 Manatees Have Been Found Dead So Far This Year – “NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. — A 1,000-pound manatee is being released after 20 months of recovery from severe injuries. The female manatee, named Illusion, is set for release Wednesday in North Palm Beach. Illusion was rescued in March 2010 in Riviera Beach after suffering deep lacerations in a boat strike. She went through rehabilitation at the Miami Seaquarium and the Cincinnati Zoo before being deemed ready for release. Nearly 400 manatees have been found dead in Florida so far this year.” Source- Miami Herald.