Arsenal of weapons, explosives found at NY home

A thriving crop of marijuana plants, an arsenal of guns, pipe bombs, grenades and enough explosives to potentially level an entire block were uncovered by officers investigating a report of a silent alarm, officials on Long Island announced Wednesday.

Marc Ringel, 53, was arrested on drug, weapons and other charges after police made the discovery Tuesday at the house he shares with his parents in Woodmere, a New York City suburb, Nassau County Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said.

He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, according to the district attorney’s office. It was not immediately clear if Ringel had an attorney.

“My only concern is for my family,” Ringel told reporters as he was led from police headquarters. “They are wonderful, loving people.”

Approximately 20 houses surrounding Ringel’s were evacuated as police scoured the home for evidence. Local police were being assisted by the FBI, and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives remained at the scene on Wednesday looking for evidence.

Skrynecki said officers were particularly concerned that the home, which he described as a “significant growhouse” for marijuana, may have been booby-trapped.

He said approximately 50 pounds of ingredients for making explosives _ including ammonium nitrate, fuel oil, peroxide, sodium nitrate and citric acid _ were found in the home. Police also found approximately 100 handguns, 20 long rifles, 15 pipe bombs and 15 hand grenades in various locations around the home, he said.

read more at         www.stltoday.com

Russia accuses Libya of training Syrian rebels

LIBYA/

Russia demanded Wednesday that NATO apologize for civilian casualties during the uprising in Libya last year and accused the Libyan government of supporting a training center for Syrian rebels, provoking a sharp response from the U.S. and Libya’s prime minister.

The sparring was another indication of how deeply divided the international community remains over the turmoil in the Middle East, particularly the bloody uprising in Syria.

Russia and China have accused NATO of overstepping its Security Council mandate to protect civilians in Libya during the uprising last year, and have strongly opposed any similar action in Syria.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his country has received information that “a special training center for Syrian revolutionaries” has been established in Libya with support from government authorities.

He did not elaborate but expressed concern about “the uncontrolled proliferation of Libyan arms in the region” and said training fighters to attack Syria’s government was undermining stability in the Middle East.

Churkin said he wanted to the raise the issues in the presence of Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib, who moments earlier had addressed the U.N. Security Council on the challenges Libya is facing after ending Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year dictatorship.

Responding to Churkin’s accusations, el-Keib said that a matter “which concerns the blood of Libyans should not be a matter of political propaganda by any country against other countries.”

read more at     www.stltoday.com

Obama Admin Will Seek “International Permission” To Attack Syria, Will “Inform” Congress of Plan

Leon Panetta Says Obama Admin Will Seek “International Permission” To Attack Syria, not Congressional permission. And they will “inform” Congress what their plans are.

entire battalions defecting from syrian army?

 

Treasury launches sale of $6B of AIG stock

American International Group

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it is selling $6 billion worth of the $41.8 billion in common stock it holds in insurance giant American International Group Inc., which received the biggest bailout of the financial crisis in 2008.

The stock sale is a step by the government toward disentangling itself from AIG. It still owns 77 percent of the company’s common shares. Treasury said AIG plans to buy as much as $3 billion of the stock being sold.

Treasury also said it has a deal with AIG for it to repay the government’s remaining $8.5 billion preferred-stock investment in the company.

A price for the common shares wasn’t specified. The share price at which taxpayers would break even on their AIG investment is about $28 or $29. AIG shares closed at $29.45 in trading Wednesday. They fell 53 cents, or almost 2 percent, to $28.92 on heavy volume in afterhours trading following the announcement of the stock sale.

The government stepped in with $182 billion to rescue New York-based AIG from collapse in the depths of the financial crisis. Treasury has recouped $18 billion of the $68 billion it provided the company through its Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The remainder of the money came from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. AIG has repaid all but $17.5 billion of those loans.

read more at        news.yahoo.com

4 injured in courthouse shooting in downtown Tulsa

 

Bibi’s Purim Message to Obama

English: The Book of Esther from the 13th or 1...

Book of Esther Tells of Iran Threat, But Big Gap Remains

By Nathan Guttman

Benjamin Netanyahu’s gift to Barack Obama summed up his message at their White House meeting Monday.

The Israeli Prime Minister gave the President a copy of the Book of Esther, which tells the story of the Jews fighting back against a genocidal plot by the ancient Persians.

Netanyahu sees the nuclear threat posed by modern-day Iran as no less existential to Israel, and the leaders’ two-hour meeting did little to bridge their differences on how to respond to this.

In their face-to-face meeting, according to officials involved, Obama stressed the need to give diplomacy a chance. His position reflected the U.S. stance that the time frame for any possible military action would be many months away.

Netanyahu, who didn’t mention diplomacy, emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself, reflecting a much shorter time line for acting militarily to eliminate the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The U.S., according to a senior administration official, sees a time frame “more in the ballpark of a year than a month,” before Iran can acquire nuclear weapons; Israeli officials have spoken about a deadline of several months for stopping Iran.

Aides to Netanyahu said the Israeli leader provided Obama with a copy of the Book of Esther as a form of “background reading” on Iran.

The book, which is read during the holiday of Purim starting Wednesday, tells the story of an attempt in ancient Persia, the predecessor of modern day Iran, to kill off all the Jews within its empire. The plot was successfully overturned, ending in the mass killing of those who sought the demise of the Jewish people.

Israeli officials see this as a none-too-subtle hint of Netanyahu’s view of the broader situation. The Israeli prime minister believes that Iran’s ultimate goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and therefore sees special urgency in dealing with this threat.

read more at         forward.com

 

British troops killed in Afghan blast

Six British soldiers have been killed by an explosion in southern Afghan province of Helmand, according to the UK’s defence ministry, in the deadliest attack on the country’s forces in over five years.

Robert Levinson missing in Iran: FBI offers $1M

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today announced a $1 million reward for “information leading directly to the safe location, recovery and return of Robert A. Levinson,” a retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007 and is suspected of being held captive there.

The FBI confirmed the move to GlobalPost as the group made the announcement to reporters in Washington.

The news comes just days ahead of the five-year anniversay of Levinson’s disappearancefrom Iran’s vacation spot, Kish Island, on March 9, 2007.

The former agent, whom US officials believe is still alive, is set to turn 64 years old this week.

The move is also part of a ratcheted-up public-relations offensive by the US on Levinson’s behalf, the NY Times reported the FBI as saying. The US

reportedly has plans for fresh radio broadcasts about him and billboards carrying his image throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan and other areas in southwest Asia.

The last contact Levinson’s family is believed to have had with their missing relative came in a 2010 video, in which he sits in a temporary prison pleading, “help me get home,” reported The Guardian.

Saint’s 900 year old heart stolen

According to CBS News, the Irish saint’s heart had been on display in the cathedral since the 13th century. It was kept in a heart-shaped wooden box and was then locked inside a small, square iron cage that was mounted on the wall of a chapel dedicted to his memory. Someone cut through two of those bars and pried the cage open in order to steal the relic on Saturday.

Deadly cyclone lashes southeastern Africa

Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa feel impact of tropical storm that has killed at least 77 people.

Steff Gaulter

At least 77 people in southeastern Africa have been killed and more are still missing as Tropical Cyclone Irina sweeps through the region.

The storm struck northern Madagascar more than two weeks ago and has slowly tracked down the west of the country.

Torrential rain from the system hit the whole of the island, leading to the deaths of 65 people, weather officials said on Monday. The majority of the deaths occurred in the southeastern district of Ifanadiana.

The storm has also affected southern areas of Mozambique and eastern South Africa.

Five fishermen were killed in the seas off Mozambique’s port city of Beira on Saturday. Authorities on Monday were still cautioning fishermen not to venture out.

Three other people in the southern province of Gaza were killed when a tree fell on their house and the roof collapsed.

A further four people are reported to have died in South Africa. The city of Durban was lashed by waves up to three metres high as the storm approached, and ships were ordered to remain in the port.

Tropical storms in the southwest Indian Ocean are responsible for approximately 80 deaths every season

On average three tropical cyclones hit Madagascar every year, and this season has now equalled that average.

Less than two weeks before Irina, Tropical Cyclone Giovanna caused flooding and led to the deaths of 35 people.

read more at          www.aljazeera.com

Financier Stanford Convicted of Fraud

 

Former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford, whose financial empire once spanned the Americas and made him fabulously wealthy, was convicted of bilking his investors out of more than $7 billion through a Ponzi scheme he operated for 20 years.

Top members of hacking group Anonymous arrested after LEADER ‘betrays them and works with FBI for six months’

English: Anonymous Español: Anonymous

  • Leader of computer hacking group LulzSec identified as unemployed dad-of-two Hector Xavier Monsegur
  • Secretly arrested last June and pleaded guilty to hacking charges in August
  • Has reportedly been working with FBI to bring down top hackers ever since
  • Court papers released Tuesday portray him as ringleader of hacking groups
  • Five members from UK, Ireland and US face charges

Top members of computer hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec have been arrested across two continents after their leader – one of the world’s most wanted computer vandals – turned them in.

In a startling show of betrayal towards his fellow hackers, 28-year-old Hector Xavier Monsegur led authorities to the five people who have now been charged in court papers in New York.

Dad-of-two Monsegur, who has pleaded guilty to a dozen hacking-related charges, is portrayed in court papers as the ringleader of LulzSec, and an ‘influential member’ of Anonymous.

Ever since his arrest last June, he has reportedly been working with authorities to bring down the groups’ top hackers.

Read the rest of this entry

U-2 Spy Plane Still Flying High

 

One of the oldest planes the United States Air Force still flies is used to carry out some of America’s most sensitive and critical missions. Whether it’s aiding NATO troops in Afghanistan, providing surveillance over North Korea or examining Japan’s hurricane ravaged coast, the high altitude U-2 keeps flying despite initial plans to retire it by the end of this year. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman, at Osan Air Base in South Korea, got a rare look at what is considered the world’s most difficult aircraft to fly.

Natural Gas Fire off Nigerian Coast: Explosions at Chevron’s Endeavor Oil Rig cause Fire & Collapse

After being rocked by explosions that killed two workers, a Chevron natural gas oil rig caught fire 10km off the coast of Nigeria. Over time, the raging fire weakened the KS Endeavor rig, and it collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean. Chevron reached an agreement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in order to drill at that location, and the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, has come under pressure to extinguish the fire. However, the fire has been burning for several weeks without change. Nigerian officials believe a build-up of pressure in the well caused the explosions, and a second oil rig has been set up to drill a relief well.

Protests Outside the AIPAC Conference

Hundreds of anti-Putin protesters arrested following election

Congo: Moment of the explosion 200 killed in Congo arms dump blast

At Least 200 Reported Dead in Republic of Congo Blasts

Government and hospital officials in the Republic of Congo say a series of explosions at a weapons depot in the capital, Brazzaville, have killed about 200 people and injured about 200 more.

Authorities say the arms facility, located on the banks of the Congo River, caught fire early Sunday causing the powerful blasts.

One hurt in bomb blast near Turkish PM’s office: TV

ANKARA: A bomb exploded Monday near the offices of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, lightly injuring one person, officials and media said.

The device, which was in a small plastic bottle, went off at around 0730 GMT, 20 metres (yards) from the building in the central Kizilay district, one and a half hour before a cabinet meeting to be headed by Erdogan.

“It appears that the explosive material was 150 grammes of light explosives placed inside a plastic bottle,” Ankara governor Alaaddin Yuksel was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

The official however declined to comment on the possible motive of the attack that occured on the same street housing both the prime minister’s offices and the supreme court of appeals.

“There’s an ongoing investigation,” he said.

The blast came less than a week after a remote-controlled bomb exploded in Istanbul near Erdogan’s ruling party headquarters, which wounded 15 police officers and one civilian.

read more at      www.thenews.com.pk

Greek tanker sinks with captain on board

A Greek tanker carrying more than 2,000 tonnes of oil has sunk off the port of Piraeus, with its captain on board.

Coastguards said divers retrieved the body of the Alpha 1’s captain, while its 10 other crew members were rescued.

Officials said no oil had so far been spotted leaking from the ship, which they believe may have hit a wreck in the shallow bay of Eleusina, not far from the capital, Athens.

It was carrying 1,800 tonnes of fuel oil and nearly 240 tonnes of diesel.

The coastguard said the re-fuelling vessel ran into problems at about 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT).

“The 48-year-old Greek captain was just found dead,” said a coastguard official.

A plastic barrier has been placed round the ship to contain any oil spills.

www.bbc.co.uk