Treasures stolen from Libyan bank

TRIPOLI, Libya, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Several hundred ancient, priceless coins stolen from a Libyan bank early in the country’s 2011 uprising may have turned up in Egypt, officials in Libya said.

The National Transitional Council said the coins were among more than 10,000 artifacts, including small statues and jewelry, taken from a Benghazi bank in May by thieves who drilled through the concrete ceiling, the BBC reported.

A fire at the bank had been blamed on fighting between rebels and forces loyal to former leader Moammar Gadhafi but the fire is now believed to be linked to the theft.

The collection, known as the Treasure of Benghazi, included coins dating to Greek, Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic times.

Most of the treasures had been discovered during the Italian occupation of Libya and were taken from the country but returned in 1961 after Libya’s independence.

Fadel al-Hasi, Libya’s acting minister for antiquities, said authorities suspect the theft could have been an inside job and the bank’s employees had been questioned several times.

He said several hundred coins from the collection may have been recovered in Egypt but that hasn’t been confirmed. Al-Hasi said he or a colleague would travel to Egypt in the next week or two.

The BBC said precious coins also have reportedly appeared at a daily gold market in Benghazi.

The British broadcaster said al-Hasi alerted Interpol about the theft in July and international antiquities markets were being monitored

Report: Airstrike kills 5 at refugee camp in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Oct. 31 (UPI) — A military airstrike hit a refugee camp in the southern part of Somalia, killing five people and wounding more than 50, Doctors Without Borders said.

The aid group did not identify the aircraft in the attack Sunday in an area of fighting between the Kenyan government and the Islamic militant organization al-Shabaab, The New York Times reported.

Officials in Kenya confirmed an airstrike in the area but said it hit an al-Shabaab training camp, not a humanitarian site. They said 10 militants were killed and 47 injured.

“We hit an al-Shabaab camp. Five hundred meters [about 546 yards] from that camp is an internally displaced-persons camp,” Kenyan military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said.

The militants were responding to the strike when a vehicle armed with an anti-aircraft gun was hit and errantly drove into the humanitarian camp, Chirchir said.

“It was already burning, and because of all the ammunition it exploded,” Chirchir said.

Kenya has blamed al-Shabaab for a rash of kidnappings of Westerners from Kenya. Kenyan troops, tanks and gunships crossed the border into Somalia last month.

Atambayev wins Kyrgyz post-coup election

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev had an outright majority of votes amid charges of foul play in the country’s presidential election, officials said.

The results, with nearly all votes counted, avoid the need for a second round of voting, they said.

Officials said Atambayev collected more than 60 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election but some of his rivals made accusations of foul play, reported.

Former boxer Kachimbek Tashiyev, one of 15 other candidates, accused officials of fabricating the results, Voice of America reported. Other candidates complained of voting irregularities that included people voting more than once, ballot-box stuffing and voters not being allowed to register.

International observers said they noted some flaws but were “cautiously optimistic” about the future of democracy in the central Asian nation.

Demonstrators gathered in the main square of Jalal-Abad to protest the results and express support for other candidates, Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty reported.

Atambayev was favored to win in the voting, which resulted from reforms enacted after former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the country following rioting in April 2010. Bakiyev’s overthrow sparked violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks, leaving hundreds dead and entire towns in ruins.

Israel evasive on Iran plans

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said there are no plans to strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities but all options remain open.

Despite growing concern over Iran’s nuclear development, Barak told Israeli Army Radio he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have not decided whether Israel would conduct a military strike against Iran, Haaretz reported Monday.

“It does not take a genius to understand that in Israel in 2011 two people cannot decide to do something on their own,” Barak said. “That may have been appropriate in Israel in 2006. In the Defense Ministry, there are thousands of pages of discussion on this subject, in the presence of dozens of ministers, military personnel and experts.”

Barak said Iran poses a threat to stability in the Middle East.

“I think that one has to use diplomatic pressure and sanctions on Iran,” he said.

Israel agrees to release weapons dealer

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Nahum Manbar, a weapons dealer convicted of selling chemicals to Iran, will be released from prison early after serving 14 years, Israeli officials said.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein told a prisoner-release committee he does not object to Manbar’s early release from prison on good behavior, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

Manbar was sentenced to 16 years after he was convicted in 1997 of signing a $16 million deal with the Iranian government to supply chemicals to Iran’s military and help establish factories to produce chemical weapons.

3 dead, 3 missing in grain-elevator blast

ATCHISON, Kan., Oct. 31 (UPI) — Three men were trapped inside an Atchison, Kan., grain elevator that exploded and killed three others during the weekend, officials said.

Hopes had dimmed that the trapped men were alive, rescuers said.

Recovery efforts for the them were called off Sunday after the structure was determined to be too unstable for search crews to enter, the Atchison (Kan.) Globe reported.

Rescuers were expected to resume their search Monday.

Authorities identified three men who were killed as Chad Roberts, 20, Ryan Federinko, 21, and John Burke, 24. They were all Bartlett Grain Co. employees.

State grain inspector Travis Keil, 34, of Topeka, Kan., Curtis Fields of Atchison and a third man — identified as a 43-year-old grain inspector — were still inside Sunday night, officials told the newspaper.

The explosion was felt for miles around, officials said.

Atchison City Manager Trey Cocking said a grain fire that ignited Saturday night could continue to smolder for up to 30 days.

Employees were loading a rail car when the explosion occurred.

Decorated Pakistani cop dies in attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 31 (UPI) — A suicide bomber killed a decorated Pakistani police officer and his driver during a routine daylight patrol in northwest Pakistan.

Station Chief Inspector Ajmeer Shah, who had arrested and killed several militants, and driver Taqrimul Haq were pronounced dead at the scene where their car had slowed down to negotiate a speed bump.

Six passers-by were also injured — two critically — in the blast around noon near a central market in the city of Risalpur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, around 30 miles east of Peshawar and 60 miles from the Khyber Pass.

In a telephone call to reporters in Peshawar, a man claiming to be a spokesman for the rebel group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan said the TTP was responsibility for the attack and will carry out more suicide attacks, a report in The Nation newspaper said.

“Our target was Ajmeer Shah who had killed our commander Jannat Gul in a raid in Akora Khattak last month,” the TTP spokesman said.

Shah, 36, was born in the district. He received the Presidential Pride of Performance Award for his part in tracking down Gul and for foiling many attempted terrorist attacks. For his efforts Shah had been receiving regular death threats from suspected terrorists.

Gul, who also went by the names Jamaluddin and Qari Basit, was killed in a shootout with police in late September.

Gul was wanted by police for his involvement in a bomb attack in the northwestern garrison city of Kohat. He was also blamed for a militant attack on police in Peshawar in August to free convicted Taliban commanders Zaqeem Shah and Nadeem Abbas.

Three policemen were killed in the August attack carried out when a police team was taking the Taliban commanders from their prison to a dentist.

Also in August, a bomb blast in Nowshera district targeted Pakistani military personnel at a restaurant, killing 10 people, including several air force personnel.

Shah entered the police force as a constable in 1995 and was later appointed an instructor at the Police Academy in the city of Hangu, northwest Pakistan. He later served in Peshawar before transferring to Risalpur and marrying last year.

TTP leaders hope to impose a strict interpretation of Koranic instruction throughout Pakistan and to expel Coalition troops from Afghanistan.

Islamabad has blamed TTP for most attacks within Pakistan, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, according to data from the U.S. government’s National Counterterrorism Center.

“TTP also targets U.S. interests within Pakistan, claiming responsibility for arson attacks against NATO supply convoys in December 2008, a bomb blast in the northwest that killed U.S. soldiers in February 2010 and an assault against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar in April 2010.”

Baitullah Mahsud, the first TTP leader, was killed in an explosion in August 2009 and was succeeded by Hakimullah Mahsud.

Israeli airstrike kills two in Gaza

JERUSALEM, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Israeli aircraft, retaliating after the firing of projectiles into Israel, struck a rocket-launching cell in Gaza, killing two cell members, officials said.

Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip confirmed the strike east of Khan Yunis and said two members of the al-Ahrar movement’s military unit were killed, reported. The bodies were found Monday.

The Israeli military action came after three Kassam rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area late Sunday.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Army Radio Monday Israel won’t honor a cease-fire as long as rockets are fired from Gaza. He said the Israeli military isn’t interested in returning to Gaza but will respond if Israelis are attacked, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Concerning Iran’s nuclear program, Barak said Israel has “no reason to fear anything” because it is the strongest country in the Middle East.

“Israel doesn’t have to allow a nuclear Iran, the world doesn’t have to allow a nuclear Iran,” he said.

Also Monday, Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i told Israel Radio he thinks the current round of violence in the Gaza Strip is coming to an end.

Obama’s schedule for Monday, Oct. 31

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) — President Obama meets with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair Monday, the White House said.

The daily schedule also indicates Obama will:

Receive the daily briefing.

Sign an executive order as part of his “We Can’t Wait” program of taking executive action without congressional approval since Congress failed to pass his jobs bill.

World’s population reaches 7 billion

LUCKNOW, India, Oct. 31 (UPI) — India Monday marked the arrival of girl named Nargis as the world’s symbolic seven billionth citizen, the Plan India child rights group said.

The United Nations had estimated that Oct. 31 would mark the day when the world population reached 7 billion.

Nargis was born as the first child to Ajay and Vinita Yadav in Mall village near Lucknow, capital of the northern Uttar Pradesh State, the Times of India reported.

The state is the most populous state in India, which has the world’s second highest population after China. The baby weighed 6.6 pounds, the Times of India reported.

The BBC reported Nargis was born at 7:25 local time.

Bhagyashri Dengle, executive director of Plan India, said: “Nargis’ birth as the symbolic seventh billion baby attempts to draw attention to the serious issue of declining child sex ratio in India,” the Times report said.

Other girls born in the state Monday also earned the symbolic seven billionth title.

Nargis’ father was quoted as saying he and his wife would ensure their girl gets good education and does well in life.

Plan International in Britain, which had identified Uttar Pradesh as the place of birth of the seven billionth person, said Nargis was chosen symbolically because it was not possible to know where exactly the seven billionth baby would be born, the BBC reported.

Earlier on Monday, a girl born in a hospital in Manila, the Philippines, also was declared a symbolic seven billionth baby, the report said.

Explosion kills four Afghans

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Oct. 31 (UPI) — An explosives-laden truck blew up outside the U.S. International Relief and Development office in Kandahar, Afghanistan, killing four Afghans, authorities said.

Afghan security forces shot and killed two attackers in a gunfight after the Monday explosion, CNN reported, quoting Gen. Hamid Wardag, a commander of the local Afghan National Army.

Three security guards and a civilian were killed in the blast, the report said. Five more people were injured.

It was not clear how many insurgents were involved in the gunfight but at least two were killed.

The U.N. refugee agency is also located near the blast site.

The IRD is involved in helping rehabilitate areas hit by the war.

The Kandahar region has had an escalation of violence lately.

On Oct. 22, three U.S. troops died in an explosion set off by an improvised explosive device.

On Saturday, a suicide car bomber rammed the vehicle into a NATO armored bus in Kabul, killing 17 people including 13 foreigners, most of them Americans, and four Afghans.

Oregon, Texas activists defy city requests

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 31 (UPI) — Occupy activists in Portland, Ore., vowed to expand where they protest after the mayor told them to focus on their goals instead of the real estate they occupy.

“I hope in its next phase of growth it gets back to its core mission. The Occupy movement is not about expanding the takeover of local parks in cities like Portland where the mayor and the City Council are very supportive of the founding purpose of Occupy Wall Street,” Mayor Sam Adams was quoted in The (Portland) Oregonian as saying.

“If this becomes about picking fights with local governments that are generally supportive of its founding purpose, I think it will lose its way,” he said.

Cameron Whitten, 20 — among 27 Occupy Portland activists arrested in a heated encounter with police early Sunday for refusing to leave a city park after a midnight curfew — said protesters intended to expand their efforts beyond their downtown encampment in the wealthy Pearl District’s Jamison Square park.

“Now we realize this is not just that park,” Whitten told The Oregonian. “You’ve got Colonel Summers, you’ve got Holladay Park, you’ve got Piccolo Park, you’ve got Overlook Park.

“Each one of those has their own crowd” to which the movement can direct its message, he said.

City officials had no immediate response.

Meanwhile, Austin, Texas, officials asked activists to appoint leaders to work out new rules for the occupation after police arrested 30 men and seven women early Sunday for violating new rules forbidding a food-distribution table at the encampment from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The food table does not violate city ordinances, but officials thought prohibiting it would weed out troublemakers who have infiltrated the protest, Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald was quoted in the Austin American-Statesman as saying.

Authorities have received complaints about public urination, drug use and public sex in the City Hall encampment, Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

City leaders said they wanted Occupy Austin protesters to appoint leaders because negotiating with the amorphous group has been difficult, Acevedo said.

Working with a steering committee of occupiers would allow for more consistent, efficient decision making, he said.

The Occupy Austin activists had no immediate response.

In Tennessee, Occupy Nashville protesters arrested this weekend for refusing to leave a public park after curfew were freed by a judge who said the state had no authority to impose the curfew.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration imposed a curfew in the encampment park citing safety concerns, and police took 29 activists into custody early Friday and then 26 more early Saturday.

But Night Court Magistrate Thomas Nelson let the activists go both times, refusing to sign arrest warrants for which he found no legal basis.

Nelson said the state changed the rules midstream, without giving the protesters time to apply for permits.

“For three weeks they’ve sat up there and protested, under no admonition whatsoever that they are violating state policy with regard to camping out … or that they are committing a crime,” WKRN-TV, Nashville, said Nelson told a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer. The highway patrol made the arrests.

“When the state issued its memorandum imposing a curfew and changing the rules, right in the middle of a protest, they can do that, but they have to give them adequate time to comply with those rules,” he said.

The highway patrol issued a statement Sunday saying “the curfew remains in effect.”

The ACLU of Tennessee said it would file a lawsuit challenging the curfew, The Tennessean reported.

UNESCO to vote on Palestinian membership

PARIS, Oct. 31 (UPI) — The Palestinian Authority has a right to join UNESCO because Palestinian heritage needs protection, a PA official said as the agency mulled its membership.

“It is the right of the Palestinians to become members of UNESCO,” authority Foreign Ministry official Omar Awadallah told the Financial Times ahead of a likely Monday membership vote.

“Palestine has its own heritage and its own culture that need to be protected,” said Awadallah, who heads the authority’s Foreign Ministry section dealing with U.N. bodies.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki was to address the 193-nation general assembly of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris Monday.

The authority, which submitted a bid for full recognition to the U.N. Security Council Sept. 24 as a path toward recognized statehood, will also seek membership in other international bodies, including the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization, Awadallah told the newspaper.

If the general assembly votes in favor of Palestinian membership, UNESCO could lose U.S. financial support, amounting to $70 million, or 22 percent of the UNESCO annual budget, the State Department said.

U.S. legislation dating from more than 15 years ago mandates a complete cutoff of U.S. financing to any U.N. agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member.

“There are consequences if UNESCO votes in this direction,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said last week.

U.S. and European officials have appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to call off or postpone the vote.

The United States cannot veto Palestinian UNESCO membership, as it can motions brought to the U.N. Security Council.

Officials and diplomats predicted a UNESCO vote would overwhelmingly favor Palestinian membership. An initial vote by UNESCO’s 58-nation executive board early this month passed 40-4, with 14 abstentions.

“I am very much worried about the future of this organization,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova told the Financial Times.

She appealed to Washington not to disengage from the agency, arguing UNESCO supported “core U.S. interests,” including the management and funding of large-scale Iraqi and Afghan education projects.

European diplomats, meanwhile, fear the vote would reveal deep divisions among European Union countries on the issue of Palestinian statehood.

UNESCO is a major global development agency whose missions include promoting literacy, science, clean water and education, including sex education and equal treatment for girls and young women.

Steve Jobs: ‘Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow’

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ last words were “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow,” his sister says.

In her eulogy for her brother she delivered at an Oct. 16 memorial service at Stanford University and printed as an opinion piece in Sunday’s New York Times, Mona Simpson explained what she knew about Jobs.

“Steve worked at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day,” said Simpson, a novelist and a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. “He was the opposite of absent-minded.

“He was never embarrassed about working hard, even if the results were failures.

“Novelty was not Steve’s highest value. Beauty was. For an innovator, Steve was remarkably loyal. He didn’t favor trends or gimmicks.

“His philosophy of aesthetics reminds me of a quote that went something like this: ‘Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.

“Steve always aspired to make beautiful later.

Love was important to Jobs, she said.

“Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods,” Simpson said. “He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.”

She also said Jobs was “willing to be misunderstood,” was “humble,” “cultivated whimsy” and “liked to keep learning.”

She recounted how he battled his illnesses, pushing himself to walked further each day after his liver transplant.

Even in his hospital bed, he was an innovator, sketching devices for medical equipment, she said.

Later, when his cancer overtook him and he was slipping away, he still battled for each breath, she said.

“Death didn’t happen to Steve,” she said, “he achieved it.”

But just before he did, there were those final words he spoke just hours earlier: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”

World’s 7 billionth baby to be born

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 31 (UPI) — The baby bringing the world population to 7 billion enters a “world of contradiction,” with luxury and extreme poverty, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

“Seven billion will clearly be a serious challenge,” Ban told Time magazine. “But depending on how we address this, in a comprehensive manner it can be both an opportunity and challenge.

“I suspect that the 7 billionth citizen, a child, will be born into a world of contradiction — plenty of food, but still a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Many people enjoy luxurious lifestyles, but still many people are impoverished.”

Ban said the milestone was “clearly a clarion call to action,” not just for the United Nations and national governments, but also for “local communities, civil community leaders, non-governmental organizations, faith leaders — we have to have a combined solidarity to address this issue.”

Ban planned to hold a news conference Monday to mark the 7 billionth birth — out of an estimated 382,000 births during the day. He also planned to talk about challenges ahead, including poverty and sustainable development, his office said.

Food production, for instance, will need to jump 70 percent in two generations to feed the planet by 2050, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization says.

With more than two babies born every second, the global population is forecast to hit 8 billion in about 14 years and 10 billion by the end of the century, says the U.N. Population Division, part of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The global population was 6 billion in 1999.

The world population was 1.6 billion in 1900, a total that took an estimated 50,000 years to reach, Washington’s private Population Reference Bureau says.

Ban also planned to take his message to the Group of 20 summit in in Cannes, France, Thursday and Friday, his office said.

Monday’s date is symbolic, the U.N. Population Division says, acknowledging it is impossible to know for sure the specific time or day when the 7 billionth person is born.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the 7 billion threshold will be reached next March. The private Population Reference Bureau, also based in Washington, says the 7 billion figure was passed several weeks ago.

Officials in India predicted the baby bringing the population to 7 billion would be born Monday in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, with an estimated 200 million people.

Nearly all the projected growth this century is expected to occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while the populations in Europe, North America and other industrialized nations will remain relatively flat, the U.N. Population Division says.

2 million in Northeast still without power

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 31 (UPI) — Many of the 2 million U.S. Northeast residences and businesses with no power Monday after a deadly snowstorm will likely stay that way for days, officials said.

At least 11 deaths were blamed on Saturday and Sunday’s historic nor’easter, and states of emergency remained in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and parts of New York, police said..

The dead included a 77-year-old grandmother in New York City who relied on an oxygen machine that shut down when her house lost power, her family told reporters, and a 20-year-old man in Springfield, Mass., electrocuted when he touched a guardrail electrified by a downed wire, Springfield Police Lt. Robert Moynihan told The Boston Globe.

At least eight people were killed in car accidents, police told several newspapers and TV stations, and an 84-year-old man in Temple, Pa., was killed instantly while napping in a recliner when a tree covered with snow crashed through the roof of his home, WTXF-TV, Philadelphia, reported.

“Unprecedented damage from this storm. Please prepare for worst case scenario — a week or more without power,” Connecticut Light and Power Co., the state’s major utility, posted on Twitter Sunday.

Similar predictions were made by utilities and officials in other states, where the number of customers without power from Virginia to Maine originally topped 3.2 million.

Utilities calls for crews from other states to help restore power. CL&P said more than 600 crews were joining its 300-plus “from as far away as Tennessee and Missouri.”

The storm was exceptionally damaging because leaves still on the trees caught the wet and heavy snow, overloading branches that snapped and wreaked havoc. The storm included strong winds, especially on the tail end.

Western Massachusetts was hit the hardest, the National Weather Service said, with Peru, a town of 821 in the Berkshires 40 miles northwest of Springfield, accumulating 32 inches.

Millbrook, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley 85 miles north of New York City, got 21.6 inches.

Commuter trains, intercity railroads and airlines expected to resume near-normal service Monday, as temperatures returned to the 50s, after a luckless weekend that included widespread delays and cancellations.

A JetBlue Airways flight with 126 passengers was stuck on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Conn., for more than 7 hours Saturday, where more than 12 inches fell. An Amtrak train with 48 passengers was stuck for 12 hours overnight in Palmer, Mass., due to a rock slide.

Many roads were treacherous if not impassable. AT&T reported 164 cellphone towers out in Connecticut.

The Red Cross and other agencies set up shelters in several states.

Some 700 National Guard members were mobilized throughout Massachusetts Sunday, Gov. Deval Patrick said.

In New York City, Central Park lost an estimated 1,000 trees to the heavy snow, Central Park Conservancy President Douglas Blonsky told The New York Times.

Workers had only recently completed cleanup work from Tropical Storm Irene, which cost the 843-acre park 125 trees, he said.

Saturday’s storm marked just the fourth October day with measurable snowfall in Central Park since record-keeping began 135 years ago, the National Weather Service said.

Dense fog blankets north, east China

BEIJING, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Dense fog covered China’s northern and eastern regions Monday, including parts of Beijing, forcing authorities to issue safety warnings.

Pictures carried by Xinhua news agency showed the tops of several multi-story buildings hidden by the thick fog.

The National Meteorological Center issued safety warnings covering roads and docks, and airports. It was not known if any flights had been canceled.

Residents were urged to be aware of worsening air quality because of the fog as visibility was getting reduced.

The affected regions included some parts of Beijing, and the provinces of Tianjin, Liaoning, Hebei, Henan, Shanxi, Shandong, Anhui, Hunan, Hubei, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Visibility in some of those cities had been reduced to less than 660 feet.

In northeast China’s Liaoning province, 41 toll gates on provincial expressways were closed Monday morning, transportation officials said.

In the worst-hit city of Dalian in Liaoning province, visibility had been reduced to less than 165 feet.

The fog was expected to clear Tuesday with the onset of rains, forecasters said.

Pakistani cooperation sought

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) — A new U.S. strategy appears aimed at convincing Pakistan’s spy agency to cooperate in reconciliation talks to end the war in Afghanistan, experts said.

Such cooperation under the “fight, talk, build” strategy would require the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, recently described as being secretly linked with the brutal Haqqani network, to bring the group and the Taliban to the peace talks, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The new approach was taken up by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her high-powered delegation during their recent visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Under this strategy, the United States would continue its strikes against the Haqqanis and the Taliban while at the same time insisting the Pakistani ISI get the insurgents to the negotiations.

However, the Times said some within the ISI, who feel the insurgents are the key to maintaining Pakistan’s influence in Afghanistan after the foreign forces leave, don’t see much benefit in going along with the U.S. demands.

The Times said as the new U.S. strategy comes into force, there has also been an escalation in attacks against Americans in Kabul, including the suicide attack Saturday on a NATO bus in which 13 foreigners died. The Haqqanis, who have havens in Pakistan’s North Waziristan along with other insurgents, are again suspected in that attack.

The Times said even within the administration of President Barack Obama, some are skeptical about the new strategy. One senior U.S. official described the Pakistani response to the U.S. strategy as “cease-fire, talk, wait for the Americans to leave.”

“The big question for the administration is, what can the Pakistanis actually deliver? Pakistan is holding its cards very closely,” Shamila Chaudhary, a former top Obama White House aide on Pakistan and Afghanistan, was quoted as saying.


When asked during her testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee as to whether the new strategy whether it was negotiating with the Haqqanis, cracking down on them or both, Clinton was quoted as saying it was both.

“We want to fight, talk and build all at the same time. Part of the reason for that is to test whether these organizations have any willingness to negotiate in good faith,” she said.

Body of missing girl, 10, found in Texas

CARROLLTON, Texas, Oct. 31 (UPI) — The body of a missing 10-year-old girl was found just 2 blocks from the apartment in Carrollton, Texas, where she was visiting relatives, police said Sunday.

Jasmen Gonzalez of Oklahoma City was last seen alive about 11:45 p.m. Saturday and her body was found outside another residence about 3:35 p.m. Sunday, WFAA-TV, Dallas, reported.

Police said she had been kidnapped and were interviewing a man they called “a person of interest” Sunday night, the TV station said. No one was under arrest, police said.

An autopsy was to be performed Monday to determine how the girl died.

“There was no trauma on the body,” said Carrollton police Lt. Doug Mitchell said.

Jasmen and her parents had traveled from Oklahoma City to visit relatives, WFAA-TV said.

Hunter attacked by bear in national park

MOOSE, Wyo., Oct. 31 (UPI) — An elk hunter was attacked by a bear Sunday in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, park officials said.

The 32-year-old Jackson man was injured in an 11:30 a.m. encounter with an undetermined species of bear along the Snake River, KIDK-TV in Idaho Falls, Idaho, reported.

He was transported to a Jackson hospital. His condition was not known.

The hunter told rangers when he spotted the bear he dropped to the ground and covered his head. He did not fire any shots at the bruin.

Staring Into The Abyss

It’s the beginning of the end of the system as we know it.

There are alarms sounding all around us. Some people hear them. Most people don’t.

Certainly the political class — the statist warriors championing the “isms” (progressivism, socialism, Marxism, totalitarianism) that infest Washington — don’t hear them. Like the hear-no-evil and see-no-evil monkeys, their hands cover their ears and eyes. Not their mouths, though. Evil pours out in everything they say.

The Tea Party protests were about changing the system, but they were just early warning signs. In the beginning, before they were co-opted — some, not all — behind the scenes by the Republican establishment, they were strictly a grassroots movement that sprang up from a growing disgust at the players in Washington. This was in 2008, when Ron Paul supporters were chanting “End the Fed,” and in the first half of 2009, when they were occupying Washington, D.C., and shouting “Kill the Bill.”

As the slave masters in Washington pushed America toward a European-style socialism model of governance — particularly with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Obamacare and talks of cap-and-trade legislation — the proles rose up and their numbers swelled.

Article continued below…

Uncle Sam Has Been Lying to You

President Obama says the economy is improving—but take a look around. Unemployment is still at record highs… real estate is still at record lows… and banks are still failing across the country. What’s really going on?Don’t expect Uncle Sam to give you any answers. The government has been distorting—and in many cases deliberately covering up—the seriousness of the situation to protect its own interests.

To get the truth about the financial crisis—and discover the simple steps you need to take in order to survive it—click here now.


The elites and their corporate media propaganda arm, mainstream media, used all of the dirty tricks they knew to cast the proles, also known as the American middle class — small business owners, farmers, retirees, retired military, housewives, blue collar workers — Tea Party participants, as ignorant, racist hatemongers.

It wasn’t true. Of course, there were some of those there, as there are in any crowd. But by far, the vast majority were simply salt-of-the-earth Americans — content to earn a living, run their businesses, raise their kids, tend their yards and give scarcely a thought about Washington, D.C., except as a possible vacation destination or every two to four years at election time. They rose up in protest only because they had finally had enough.

But the elites didn’t hear them, didn’t see them, didn’t heed them. When the issues were settled in Congress over their objections, Tea Partiers went home. They didn’t trash their capital. They didn’t destroy police cars. They didn’t clash with the police. They cleaned up behind themselves and left. They were content they had done all they could by protesting. It was time for step No. 2.

They got to work behind the scenes. Some decided to run for office. Some decided to back like-minded individuals who wanted to run. For more than a year, they worked; and the fruits of their labor ripened on November 2010.

A few ism-pushers from both parties were swept from office. Democrat, Republican, it didn’t matter. Tea Partiers suffered some losses, to be sure, but more victories.

There is still much to be done. The Federal Reserve — that illegal entity that is not Federal (owned or operated by the government) and doesn’t hold reserves — continues to benefit the banking cartel and the elected class to the detriment of the American citizen.

There are still many ism-pushers in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, and in the Judicial Branch. And, oh yes, the Marxist inhabiting the White House is in full campaign mode. He’ll say and do anything to get re-elected in order to continue his drive to “fundamentally transform” America.

And then there’s the Republican beauty contest. The proles are watching it with growing interest. The field is less stable than fluid — more like vaporous.

The proles, also known as the electorate, are desperate to find a candidate who represents their values. They tried Michele Bachmann for a time. Rick Perry was next. Now, it’s Herman Cain. They know it’s not Mitt Romney, the big government, Romneycare flip-flopper representing the Northeast liberal Republican establishment. But the bigwig banksters and party elites are backing him. No surprise there. He’s one of them.

The MSM continue to denigrate, dismiss and black out Ron Paul. Paul is the guy who shares their values, though most can’t get past their ingrained prejudices to see it. The elites know his message of liberty, small government and sound monetary policy will resonate with those who pay more than passing attention. That is, people who can turn off “American Idol,” “Survivor” and “Monday Night Football” long enough to actually study who the candidates are and what they stand for beyond a 30-second sound bite.

The Occupy movement — whether it’s Wall Street, Chicago, Oakland or Atlanta — is another sign of what’s coming. Though most seem to be a misguided lot of misfits – seeking a system of strong socialism or even Marxism — their message of class warfare is resonating with many people.

But just as the Republican establishment tried to take over the Tea Party movement, the Democratic establishment is seeking to co-opt the Occupy movement. George Soros, the big unions, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama all see it as way to push their class-warfare agenda and achieve their socialist/Marxist utopia. The Obama State Department has also injected one of its activists into the movement. Ahmed Maher, who was funded by the State Department to coordinate the Egypt uprising, is now giving advice to the Occupy Wall Street group.

The right continues to cast aspersions at the Occupy movement, telling the Occupiers to “get a job.” If only it were that simple.

True unemployment stands between 16 percent and 20 percent. For blacks it’s even higher. Almost half of all black youths are unemployed. Government regulation, tax breaks encouraging businesses to move facilities and money out of the country and the uncertainties created by Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and other government overreach are keeping those numbers high.

The Tea Party groups were on to something in 2008 and 2009. They wanted to reign in government spending and government overreach. They are trying to do it through the system by influencing elections. There has been moderate success in that arena. The rank-and-file Tea Partiers are those who still believe in the system and will work within the rules to try and change it through elections. It’s almost too late for that… maybe it is too late.

The Occupy movement is on to something as well. They blame Wall Street for their troubles. Wall Street and the banksters share the blame, but, in truth, corporatocracy and the Federal Reserve are the roots of the problem and the problem must be dealt with root and branch. But the Occupy bunch remain trapped in the left/right paradigm and attack only those they view as on the right of the political spectrum and give a pass to those on the left.

In my book, Robbed Blind! Who’s Really to Blame for America’s Economic Crisis?, I explained how the Federal government stepped in and stopped State investigations seeking to reign in the fraudulent loan practices before the collapse in the Fall of 2008:

Instead of helping the States pursue those who were making fraudulent loans, both the OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision] and the OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] put out new rules that prohibited the States from enforcing rules that would slow down the fraudulent deals being made by the nationally chartered thrifts and banks. As a matter of fact, Julie Williams, who was chief counsel of the OCC, attended a meeting where she lectured States’ attorneys general against trying to control the fraud. She said the OCC would “quash” them if they kept on trying to go after the banks and thrifts.

When the FCIC [Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission] looked into these allegations, two former OCC comptrollers, John Hawke and John Dugan defended their actions by claiming they were, “defending the agency’s constitutional obligation to block state efforts to impinge on federally-created entities.”

But [Illinois Attorney General Lisa] Madigan told the FCIC that the OCC was, “particularly zealous in its efforts to thwart state authority over national lenders, and lax in its effort to protect consumers from the coming crisis.”

Even the U.S. Supreme Court got into the act of enabling the banksters. In 2003, the now-defunct Wachovia Bank told Michigan regulators it would not obey State laws because, as a national bank under the supervision of the OCC, it didn’t have to. When Michigan objected, Wachovia sued.

When the case finally wound its way to the Supreme Court four years later, the Court ruled 5-3 in favor of Wachovia. It turned out to be a hollow victory. Wachovia was soon swallowed up by Wells Fargo and the “too-big-to-fails” grew bigger.

The system, geared as it is to benefit the top 1 percent, is on an unsustainable path. The price of gold is one chapter of the story. The rise of the Tea Party is another chapter. The rise of the Occupy movement is another.

High unemployment, unprecedented government spending and money creation, the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots, class warfare angst ginned up by the political class, inflation: These are the danger signals.

In a few years, the system will be different. Just exactly what it will look like depends on who wins: the Tea Party, the Occupiers, the banksters or some other as-yet unseen entity. We are staring into an abyss of chaos and destruction. Beware and be wary!