Thursday, March 14, 2013

Take your pick...

14 Mar 13
4.6-magnitude earthquake shakes Northern California awake
The temblor struck at 2:09 a.m. and was centered in Geyserville, about 20 miles north of Santa Rosa, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS measurements indicated at least 20 smaller earthquakes followed throughout the morning. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported the quake began only one mile below ground level, which is why it was felt across the region. There were no immediate reports of damage, the newspaper said.   

Exclusive: Iran steps up weapons lifeline to Syria's Assad: envoys
Iran has significantly stepped up military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent months, solidifying its position alongside Russia as the government's lifeline in an increasingly sectarian civil war, Western diplomats said.  

Italian bishops mistakenly hail Cardinal Angelo Scola as new pope
Italian bishops were so convinced that one of their own would become pope that they sent a congratulatory message to the media thanking God for the election of a prelate from Milan. The trouble was, the new pope had already been named as the Argentinian cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.   

Dark Cloud in Francis' Past: The Dirty War
One dark stain in church history is raising serious questions about the new pope—the church's role during the dictatorship in Argentina, reports the Guardian. The church backed the dictatorship during its rule from 1976 to 1983, urging its followers to be patriotic and support the regime, too, even as thousands of people were abducted and murdered by the government, including many progressive priests. As the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina from 1973 to 1979, Jorge Bergoglio was part of the church hierarchy and has been accused of working with the dictatorship.   

Obama 'declares war' on U.S. military
America’s men and women in uniform – many of whom have risked their lives in service to their country – are now being stripped of once-guaranteed college benefits as the Obama administration seeks to ensure citizens feel the pain of its loss in the sequester battle.   

Pope Francis on Same-Sex Marriage: 'A Move of the Father of Lies;' 'A Total Rejection of God's Law'
In 2010, when his native Argentina was considering a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, Pope Francis I, then archbishop of Buenos Aires, said that the legislation was a total rejection of God's law and an effort by the father of lies to confuse and deceive humanity. Then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio made these observations in a letter to a group of monasteries in Argentina, in which he asked the sisters for their prayers in defeating the same-sex marriage legislation.
Peres invites new pope to pop over for visit
President says pontiff will be welcomed as ‘a man of inspiration who can add to the attempt to bring peace in a stormy area’.   

Peacekeepers on Golan to end patrols, leave posts
UN forces reassessing mission in wake of kidnappings and pullout of several countries as Syrian civil war seeps into DMZ.   

NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on March 15th when a CME might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field.   

Spy Agencies to Get Access to U.S. Bank Transactions Database
The Obama administration is drafting a plan that will give the CIA and NSA access to a database of suspicious financial transactions that until now only law enforcement agencies have been able to access.   

Jesuit Pope a first for 'God's Marines'
The order elects its own leader, known as the Black Pope because of the black vestments worn by the Jesuits Now, in a world first, a Jesuit has been appointed Pope in a surprise election that Australian Jesuits say could lead the Catholic Church in a new direction.   

Francis: the new Argentinian Pope, who makes history as first Jesuit Catholic leader
Elected on the fifth ballot, Francis was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation. A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.   

WHO confirms 15th case of deadly new virus in Saudi Arabia
A Saudi man infected with a deadly new virus from the same family as SARS has died, becoming the ninth patient in the world to be killed the disease which has so far infected 15, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. The 39-year-old developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus (NCoV) on February 24 and died on March 2, several days after being hospitalized, the WHO said in a disease outbreak update.   

‘Exploding’ meteorite seen in SA sky
Cape Town - Residents across Cape Town claimed to have sighted a meteorite on Tuesday after what appears to have been a fireball “exploded” in the sky. It is said to have been sighted just after noon. Nicola Loaring, an outreach astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory, said they had received about four or five reports.   

Could the Central Coast get an early warning for an earthquake?
Some scientists got a 30 second warning Monday before an earthquake hit Southern California. The early warning alert is part of an experiment being conducted by seismologists across the state.   

Britain and France 'will arm Syrian rebels even without EU support'
Paris and London will call for moving up the date of the next European Union meeting on the Syria arms embargo, and will decide to arm the rebels if the 27-member EU does not give unanimous agreement, he said. France and Britain ask "the Europeans now to lift the embargo so that the resistance fighters have the possibility of defending themselves," he told France Info radio.  

New pope said to have good ties with Argentinian Jews
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian cardinal who was elected pope and will take the name Francis, is said to have a good relationship with Argentinian Jews. Bergoglio, 76, a Jesuit, was the choice of the College of Cardinals on Wednesday following two days of voting in Vatican City. He is the first pope to come from outside Europe in more than a millennium...   

World poll: Image of U.S. declines
Worldwide approval of U.S. leadership dipped considerably during President Barack Obama’s fourth year in office — but it increased in some countries, including Mexico. The median approval rating for U.S. leadership for 130 countries was 41 percent in 2012, down 8 percentage points from the 49 percent approval during Obama’s first year in office, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.   

Greek unemployment reaches record 26 percent
Unemployment in debt-crippled Greece rose to a record of 26 percent in the last quarter of 2012, as austerity measures combined with a deep recession took a harsh toll on the workforce. The figures were worse than the previous quarter's 24.8 percent, and 20.7 percent a year earlier. The national statistical authority said Thursday that 1.29 million people were out of a job in October-December 2012.
China's Drone Swarms Rise to Challenge US Power
China is building one of the world's largest drone fleets aimed at expanding its military reach in the Pacific and swarming U.S. Navy carriers in the unlikely event of a war, according to a new report. The Chinese military — known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) — envisions its drone swarms scouting out battlefields, guiding missile strikes and overwhelming opponents through sheer numbers.  

U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances
The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens...according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters. The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence.   

Israel PM Netanyahu 'reaches coalition deal'
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a deal to form a coalition government, officials say. His Likud-Yisrael Beitenu party list will form a coalition with the centrist Yesh Atid and Hatnua and the far-right Jewish Home. Mr Netanyahu was forced to give up his alliance with the ultra-Orthodox parties: Shas and United Torah Judaism.   

India orders Italy ambassador Mancini not to leave
India's Supreme Court has ordered the Italian ambassador not to leave the country after Rome's refusal to return two marines charged with the murder of two fishermen in Kerala last year. The court had allowed the marines to go home to vote in last month's elections. Ambassador Daniele Mancini had personally assured the court the marines would return by 22 March.  

Xi Jinping named president of China
Leaders in Beijing have confirmed Xi Jinping as president, completing China's 10-yearly transition of power. Mr Xi, appointed to the Communist Party's top post in November, replaces Hu Jintao, who is stepping down. Some 3,000 deputies to the National People's Congress, the annual parliament session, took part in the vote at the Great Hall of the People.   

President Obama upbraids China over cyber attacks
President Barack Obama has said in a TV interview that the US is engaging in "tough talk" with China about its alleged cyber attacks on America. Mr Obama told ABC News some, but not all, hacking originating from China was state sponsored, although he played down congressional talk of a cyber war. He spoke a day after US intelligence chiefs said cyber attacks had replaced terrorism as the main security threat.   

New Pope: Bergolio, Argentinian via Italy
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentine cardinal of Italian family descent, has been elected by the conclave to be the next leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics as Pope Francis I (the first-ever pope named Francis). The tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s square exploded in cheers as the 76-year-old stepped out onto the balcony before St. Peter’s square in Rome wearing the white vestments of the Catholic leader.White smoke streamed from the Vatican chimney in Rome on Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time– just over an hour earlier — indicating that the crimson-robed cardinals locked in the Sistine Chapel had elected the 266th pope in the history of the Catholic Church.   

lStar Trek's Faster-Than-Light Warp Drive a Reality?
Star Trek's Faster-Than-Light Warp Drive a Reality (Video).   

Canada’s Fast Says Momentum Building for EU Trade Accord
Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said negotiations on a free trade pact with the European Union have built momentum and he’s optimistic the two sides are near an agreement.   

PM: Yielding Temple Mount would be a fatal mistake
Addressing the Knesset plenum at a special session held to honor Jerusalem Day, Netanyahu said that taking the Temple Mount out of Israeli hands, would bring decline, and the rise of radical Islam in the region and in the world. "Only under Israeli control, will this accessibility... and freedom of religion continue," he said. "The Temple Mount is in our hands and ... it shall remain in our hands,"   

Former Rep. Giffords' husband Mark Kelly's purchase of rifle draws online criticism
It didn't take long for gun-rights supporters to accuse Kelly of being a hypocrite for buying an AR-15-style rifle and a 45.-caliber handgun. Many of the Facebook comments focused on his motivations and the rules for purchasing such guns.  

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