5000 Missing in Mexico Drug War

Mexico’s government said that about 5000 missing in Mexico drug war have been reported throughout the country where more than 47,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence during the past five years. President Felipe Calder?n started a massive on drug cartels, ordering the military to take action, but during the first nine months of 2011 alone drug-related killing rose by 11 percent year-over-year, a report by the government showed. From January 2011 through September 2011 nearly 13,000 Mexicans lost their lives in drug-related violence, the report said.

Mexico Drug War

The wave of violence hit major cities as Guadalajara that were once considered safe places but with 5000 missing on Mexico drug war no place all over the country can be regarded as safe at present, experts said. There is increasing frustration among Mexicans who believe that the number of drug-related killing is even higher but the government is hiding information on the actual number of violent murders across the country. Initially, the government claimed it is classified information that cannot be released to the public without putting at risk the national security but later a report was revealed, whose figures, however, are disputable, according to independent analysts.

Local experts put the number of drug-related killings at more than 67,000 since a wave of violence hit the country in 2007. The figure is in sharp contrast with government reports that about 47,000 people have been killed in the past five years.

Recently, drug-related killings have been reported in Mexico city, hinting that even the heavily patrolled financial districts of the Mexico’s capital are no longer safe.

In December 2006 President Felipe Calderon ordered the military to engage in a campaign against the local drug cartels, while the drug gangs responded with mass killings in eight of Mexico’s 32 states, with another 5000 missing in Mexico drug war in the process.

Earthquake Hits off Antarctica’s Coast

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake hits off Antarctica’s coast at depth of 6.2 miles, rising fears there would have been a small possibility of a tsunami to occur, a possibility that fortunately did not materialize, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center announced. The epicenter of the quake was located west on Coronation Islands south of South America’s southern tip and some 390 miles northeast of Antarctica’s Palmer Station.

Antartica Earthquake

A second earthquake followed almost an hour later, hitting the remote South Orkney Islands in Antarctica. The magnitude of the second tremor was measured at 5.1, the United States Geological Service said. This earthquake hits off Antarctica’s coast with no harm to people or damages to property, the statement reads.

Later on, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center announced that a possible tsunami would hit coasts located no more than several hundreds kilometers from the epicenter of the two quakes, while a giant tsunami is able to cause ocean waves that are able to reach coasts located at more than 10,000 kilometers from the epicenter of the quake. Such a tsunami struck Japan in March last year causing deaths of thousands of people and its waves hit an ice shelf in Antarctica.

People living in the regions bordering Antarctica are aware that when an earthquake hits off Antarctica’s coast it could, in theory, cause tsunami that is able to inflict serious damage.

60 Slain in Iraq Bombings

Intensifying tensions between Sunnis and Shiites led to bombings in Baghdad and Nasiriyah, leaving 60 slain in Iraq bombings on Thursday, local media reported. Al-Qaeda members stood behind the bombings, Iraqi officials hinted, following a coordinated attack on two Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, where at least 27 people have been killed. Another attack took place close to Nasiriyah, taking the lives of more than 40 Shiite pilgrims heading to Karbala, a holy Shiite city.

Iraq Bombings

With more than 60 slain in Iraq bombings it is too early to state who organized the suicide attacks but the main goal of those who stood behind them is to create turmoil among Iraqi people, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said in a statement.

These are the deadliest attacks in Baghdad since al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for a series of blasts that killed 69 Iraqis on December 22, 2011. Four days earlier the last U.S. military forces have left the country.

The government in Baghdad has issued an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi, which deepened the severe political crisis in Iraq, foreign correspondents commented. He denies any terrorism charges but the main Sunni bloc in parliament, the al-Iraqiyya group, announced they will boycott the national assembly. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shia, is monopolizing power, they said.

Hospital doctors in Baghdad said there are more than 60 slain in Iraq bombings but their statements cannot be officially confirmed because they were not authorized to reveal the actual number of those killed and injured in the last blasts.

At Least 89 Killed In Fire In India

At least 89 people lost their lives in a fire that started in a hospital’s basement in the city of Kolkata in India’s West Bengal state, local media reported. The fire killed a doctor and two attendants, while all other victims were patients, many of them bed-ridden, the authorities said.

India Fire

India’s authorities have arrested six hospital managers who are accused of negligence, the West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services Minister Javed Ahmed Khan said. Most of the victims were killed after inhaling smoke caused by the fire, which started at about 4 A.M. local time. The state authorities revoked the hospital’s license after finding serious violations of the safety norms. The hospital managers deny there were any violations of the safety measures.

Families of those who lost their lives in the fire will be compensated with about $4,000, said Satyabrata Upadhyay, senior vice president of the AMRI hospital company.

Other top officials, however, pointed at the fact that virtually all senior hospital authorities left the building after the start of the fire, leaving their patients at their own. Rescue workers managed to save numerous lives by taking patients on stretchers and in wheelchairs to a hospital located nearby.

Scientists Make Huge Discovery On Mars

Opportunity rover, the NASA Mars rover that landed on the Red Planet nearly eight years ago, managed to find the strongest ever evidence that there were rivers of liquid water on the planet’s surface, Cornell University scientists said at the 2011 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. The rover unearthed a bright mineral vein close to the Endeavour crater, which contains gypsum deposited by water a couple of billions of years ago, scientific investigator Steve Squyres told journalists.

Water Mars

Opportunity is still exploring the Mars surface after its planned life was only three months, just like the its twin-rover, Spirit, with which NASA lost communication only recently. Both rovers were designed to explore the surface of Mars, including for signs of water, and NASA engineers were more than surprised to witness both robots operate for such a long period.

The important discovery marks the first time when sulphates are found on the place where they have formed long ago. Water flowed through a fracture in the rock, signaling that liquid water existed on Mars, a discovery that has shaken the entire scientific community, Squires said.

The deposit has been examined through Opportunity’s Microscopic Imager, Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and multiple filters incorporated into its mast camera., all indicating that the vein is relatively pure hydrated calcium sulphate.

At present, the Opportunity rover is preparing to face its fifth winter on Mars when its operations will be slowed down to conserve energy as the amount of sunlight used to fuel its mechanisms is reduced during the winter months.

Downed Drone in Iran on CIA Mission

Iran had managed to down a U.S. stealth drone that was on a CIA reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. The government sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that most probably the drone unintentionally entered Iranian airspace last week, while being on a mission in Afghanistan. It was a RQ-170 Sentinel drone, the sources confirmed.

CIA Drone

The Iranian military retrieved the wreckage while the United States top brass decided not to bomb the crash site or try to retrieve the aircraft. The U.S. military and intelligence agencies established satellite surveillance over the site only to confirm that Iranian forces have retrieved the aircraft.

The U.S. authorities claim that flight operators lost control over the drone, which was not shot down by Iranians as previously stated by Iranian media.

The RQ-170 Sentinel’s primary role is to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions for the U.S. Air Force, while military officials clearly hinted that intelligence agencies were involved in the mission that ended with the crash of the aircraft. According to Iran’s state Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA,) the armed forces retrieved the aircraft after it suffered only slight damages.

Initially, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan issued a statement, which read that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was on a mission over western Afghanistan when the operators lost control of the aircraft. Coalition sources pointed at the fact that no specific agency or part of the U.S. military is mentioned in the statement, signaling that CIA was involved in the mission.

U.S. Stocks Rally as Unemployment Rate Drops

U.S. stocks rose on better than expected data on unemployment, with major indexes gaining more than 1 percent on Friday. The U.S. jobless rate hit a two-and-a-half year minimum on Friday, while positive news on progressing talks on debt crisis in Europe fueled further U.S. stock market gains.

US Stocks

The Nasdaq Composite Index grew by 1.24 percent, to 2,658.79, followed by Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which added 1.21 percent, and Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gained 1.01 percent. The unemployment rate decreased to its lowest level since March 2009, at 8.6 percent in November, according to a report by the U.S. Labor Department.

Financial stocks witnessed strongest gains, with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group growing by 9 percent and 7 percent respectively. Citigroup jumped 5.2 percent and J.P. Morgan Chase added 6.7 percent on Friday.

Following today’s positive market development all three major U.S. stock indexes are back in black for 2011.

Positive news on debt talks in Europe helped local markets to close higher, with France’s CAC-40 going up by 1.4 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 closing 1.1 percent higher.

Market analysts, however, question the ability of United States’ economy to sustain current employment growth, hinting that local private and public sectors would experience difficulties in creating new jobs at the same pace within the next few months.

North Korea Threatens ‘A Sea of Fire’ upon South Korea

North Korea issued harsh threats following a big military exercise that South Korean military organized near the border between North and South Korea. Pyongyang said it would South Korea’s presidential palace into a “sea of fire,” responding to any provocation by Seoul, after South Korea organized a huge land, sea and air military exercise to mark the first anniversary of a lethal North Korean attack on the South Korea’s border island of Yeonpyeong. A year ago military hostilities between the North and South almost led to a full-scale war.

North Korea Sea of Fire

The military Supreme Command of North Korea issued a statement, saying that their Southern neighbors should remember the lesson of the Yeonpyeong attack, when the North attacked the South, claiming that a military drill fired artillery shells that hit North’s sea waters. In the meantime, the North’s Supreme Command put the armed forces in full readiness, readying the country’s military to respond to any “provocation” by the South.

Two Marines and two civilians lost their lives in the last year’s shelling, while the attack ruined numerous buildings on the border island. The South was angered by the first attack on civil targets since the 1950-1954 war and international efforts were required to avoid further escalation of the conflict.

6.2 Magnitude Japan Earthquake

Two strong earthquakes hit the Japan’s island of Hokkaido, causing no apparent damages and casualties, Japanese media reported. A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck the norther Japanese island at 4:24 am, at a depth of 37 kilometers in an area that was hit heavily by an earthquake in March that caused major damages and destroyed nuclear power plant facilities at the nearby Fukushima NPP.

Japan Earthquake

A second 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit the region at 7:25 pm at depth of 30 kilometers in coastal waters near Hokkaido, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

No tsunami warning has been issued by the Japanese authorities and other government bodies in the region.

The second quake caused power shortfalls in Northern Japan, leaving several thousand local homes with no power supply.

Scientists warned that about 90 percent of earthquakes occur within the “Ring of Fire,” where Japan is located and where earthquake and volcanic zone cause much trouble to local economies.

The March earthquake took the lives of some 20,000 people who died or were declared missing in the quake and the tsunami it caused. It was a rare 9.0-magnitude earthquake.

Scientists Find Evidence Of Lakes On Jupiter’s Moon

Scientific research, based on images taken by the Galileo spacecraft, has found that one of Jupiter’s moons features water lakes beneath its icy shell, according to a publication in the journal Nature. Warmer water can be found on Europe, with small lakes forming only 3 kilometers below the crust, the first evidence ever that liquid water exists within the Solar system.

Jupiter Moon Water

A giant ocean, some 160 kilometers deep, is probably lying beneath Europa’s ice crust, at depth of 10 to 30 kilometers, scientists claim. Thus, life as we know it might exist under the icy crust of Europa; not intelligent life but various microorganisms and other simple life-forms, according to lead author Britney Schmidt from the University of Texas at Austin, in the United States.

The Galileo spacecraft was launched in 1989, while North American and European scientists are working on new missions to Europe, and other moons surrounding Jupiter, to be launched within the next decade or in early-2020s.

According to European and U.S. scholars conditions on Europa are very similar to those in Antarctica, where glaciers and ice shelves can be found.