Archive

Archive for February 2, 2011

‘Something big’ transferred to Gaza Strip

February 2, 2011 Comments off

Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Egypt and Israel have information a large quantity of weapons, including new and sophisticated firepower, was smuggled from Egypt into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in the last two days, according to informed Middle East security officials.

Israeli security officials fear a growing state of anarchy exists along the Gaza-Egypt border, with Islamist groups there taking advantage of the chaos in Egypt amid mass protests threatening the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian security forces have been focused largely on quelling the riots.

“Something big was brought into the Gaza Strip,” said an informed security official.

The official said it was not known yet exactly what was transferred into Gaza, but he speculated it may have been a large quantity of antiaircraft missiles.

Today it was reported Israeli officials let Egypt move several hundred troops into the Sinai Peninsula for the first time since the countries signed a treaty three decades ago.According to the 1979 peace treaty, Egypt had agreed to leave the area demilitarized.

The Sinai borders the Gaza Strip as well as Israel’s southern border with Egypt.

Israeli officials say Israel agreed to allow the Egyptian army to move two battalions, or about 800 soldiers, into the Sharm el-Sheikh area on Sinai’s southern tip, far from Israel.

Japan volcano erupts again with massive blast of gas, ash and rocks

February 2, 2011 Comments off
Dome of lava is seen at a eruptive crater at Shinmoedake peak between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures January 31, 2011. More than 1,000 people in southern Japan have been urged to evacuate as a volcano picked up its activities, spewing ashes and small rocks into air and disrupting airline operations, a municipal official said on Monday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

TOKYO, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — A volcano located on a mountain range on the island of Kyushu, southwest Japan, erupted for the second time Tuesday in an explosion local officials said was five times bigger than the one last Wednesday.

The eruption sent an enormous plume of gas, ash and rocks shooting as high as 2,000 meters into the air and the blast smashed windows in hotels and offices as far away as eight kilometers, local reports said.

As yet no deaths have been reported as a result of the eruption, although one women was cut by shattered glass and felled trees caused by the blast have been hindering traffic in the region, local officials said.

Following the latest blast, the Japan Meteorological Agency raised the alert level from Read more…

40,000 birds culled in Japan at farm which tested positive for bird flu

February 2, 2011 Comments off

Nearly 40,000 chickens were killed Monday at a poultry farm located in Japan after tests confirmed dead chickens found on Sunday tested positive for bird-flu.

The farm located in the southern region of the country in Miyazaki prefecture on the island of Kyushu was the site of where 90 chickens were found dead.

The incident marked the sixth outbreak of the deadly virus in the region and ninth in the country.

Further tests will be conducted to ascertain whether the virus is the H5N1 strain which has caused the most disease and death in humans or if it was a less virulent strain of the avian flu, such as H5N2.

In November, avian flu was found in the western prefecture of Shimane and also has been confirmed in wild birds across the country.

Over the last few days nearly 600,000 chickens were killed in Miyazaki in government efforts to control the disease.

“It’s spreading quickly,” said Koji Saito a spokesman for the Japanese Agriculture Ministry in charge of sanitation of livestock farming in Miyazaki Prefecture.

Japanese Agriculture Ministry officials are reporting the virus won’t affect humans if meat and eggs consumed from infected birds is fully cooked.

This flu season there haven’t been any human infections according to authorities. Typically bird to human infections is spread largely by direct contact with infected birds.

China should increase precious metals

February 2, 2011 Comments off

Sungwoo Park

SEOUL – China should increase its gold and silver reserves, the Economic Information Daily reported on Monday, citing an interview with China’s central bank adviser Xia Bin.

Increasing gold reserves at the “appropriate time” is in line with the strategy of internationalizing the yuan, the report cited Xia as saying. “Related departments” should employ a “buy in the dip” strategy over a very long period of time, Xia said.

China should increase precious metals

Bullion soared nearly 30 percent in 2010, advancing for the 10th year, as the dollar dropped and investors sought a store of value amid currency debasement. China is allowing greater use of its currency for cross-border transactions, seeking to reduce reliance on the dollar.

The report is “a positive factor for gold prices in the mid-and-long term,” Hwang II Doo, a senior trader at Seoul-based Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co, said on Monday. Still “it didn’t have immediate impact on prices as gold’s gain has more to do with the unrest in Egypt at the moment.”

Total gold consumption in China, the second-largest buyer, may gain 15 percent in the first-half, fueled by growing demand for alternative investments and a hedge against inflation, the China Gold Association said last week.

Imports of gold by China jumped almost five-fold in the first 10 months of last year from the entire amount shipped in 2009, the Shanghai Gold Exchange has said. Shipments were 209 metric tons compared with 45 tons for all of 2009, said exchange Chairman Shen Xiangrong.

The country increased gold reserves by 454 tons to 1,054 tons since 2003, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in April 2009. The metal only accounts for 1.6 percent of the nation’s reserves held by the People’s Bank of China, according to the World Gold Council. China doesn’t regularly publish gold-trade figures and rarely comments on its reserves.

Bullion for immediate delivery gained as much as 0.7 percent to $1,346.27 an ounce, and was at $1,339.25 at 12:53 pm in Seoul. The price rose 2.5 percent on Jan 28, the biggest intra-day increase since Nov 4 as escalating tensions in Egypt fanned concern that unrest may spread to other parts of the Middle East, increasing demand for an investment haven.