Friday, November 23, 2012

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Rift of 18 Miles Long and 260 Feet Wide Across Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier (PIG) - Scientists Are Startled by the Discovery?!

November 23, 2012 - ANTARCTICA - On October 14, 2011, scientists flying over the ice shelf at Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier (PIG) made a startling discovery: there was a massive rift running across part of the glacier’s floating tongue. The rift was 29 kilometers (18 miles) long, 80 meters (260 feet) wide on average, and 50 to 60 meters (170 to 200 feet) deep.

Image acquired October 26, 2012. NASA.
When that crack reaches the other side of the ice shelf, it will send a huge new iceberg drifting into Pine Island Bay. Researchers taking part in NASA’s Operation IceBridge have been closely monitoring the rift for a year with remote sensing equipment.This image, acquired by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) on Landsat 7, shows the rift on October 26, 2012. It still had a few more kilometers to go before reaching the other end of the ice shelf. The arrival of spring in Antarctica had cleared much of the floating sea ice away from Pine Island Glacier’s calving front.

There was still some thin sea ice nearby (lower left), but for comparison, see this image when sea ice was more abundant near the front. Scientists have no way of knowing exactly when the iceberg will break off, but they suspect that the absence of sea ice may hasten the birth. “Sea ice acts as a buttress or a damper to sea swell, protecting the front of these ice shelves or glaciers from calving,” explained NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt. “So the fact that there’s no sea ice in front of Pine Island Glacier right now implies that it might be primed to calve.” - NASA's Earth Observatory.

NEW PHARAOH: The Rise of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood - Military Fascism Replaced by IslamoFascism in Egypt, Protests and Clashes Against Morsi's New Powers!

November 23, 2012 - EGYPT - Police fired tear gas at protesters as supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi clashed in Cairo. Over 100 people were reportedly injured as sporadic clashes continued into the night, while protesters organized a sit-in on Tahrir Square.  ­“I’ve witnessed very heavy police tactics. Officers used a lot of tear gas and threw rocks down on protesters from buildings. I’ve also seen Molotov cocktails being thrown back and forth,” Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew told RT. 

According to the Ministry of Health, at least 140 people have been injured in clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents on Friday, Al Arabiya reports.  A coalition of 26 political movements opposing the Egyptian president has started a week-long sit-in protest on Cairo’s Tahrir Square.  There were reports of police and security forces trying to break up the protest with tear gas on several occasions during the night.  Demonstrations took place in several cities throughout the country after the leader signed a controversial decree expanding his powers.  Earlier Friday, demonstrators clashed with police in Alexandria, Egypt, as they protested against President Morsi. Casualties were reported at the protests, and Morsi opponents set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices in the Suez Canal cities of Suez, Port Said and Ismailia, state TV said.  Thousands of demonstrators threw stones and chunks of marble at each other outside an Alexandria mosque after Friday prayers. Anti-Morsi protesters threw firecrackers at supporters of the Brotherhood, who used prayer rugs to shield themselves.  Protesters both for and against President Morsi also rallied in the streets of Cairo, Egypt. Supporters of Morsi chanted, "The people support the president's decree" in front of the presidential palace, AP reported.  The demonstrations follow a call by the Egyptian opposition to protest what they called a ‘coup’ by Morsi.  "The opposition is very strong right now. This has actually, in a strange way, united the opposition forces who have been quite divided recently," Trew said.

Protesters run from tear gas released by riot police during clashes at Tahrir square in Cairo
November 23, 2012.(Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany).
Morsi recently issued a declaration granting his office wide-ranging powers, effectively neutralizing Egypt’s judicial system and preventing it from challenging his authority. The declaration prompted Morsi's Coptic Christian assistant, Samir Morcos, to resign. Al-Arabiya has reported that Morsi's Aid, Sakina Fouad, has also resigned in protest.  "What we’re seeing here is massive criticism of the president and quite a lot of fear that he’s becoming a new dictator. Because right now, he actually has more powers than Mubarak ever did," Trew said.   Opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei said that Morsi had become “a new pharaoh” with the powers he had granted himself, significantly violating democratic principles.  “The Egyptian political community is getting more complicated and dangerous…we have two separate camps right now…people have a lot of anger towards the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling party in general,” human rights activist Shimaa Helmy told RT.  The political unrest will continue in Egypt until the people are granted real political freedoms, Lawrence Freeman from Executive Intelligence Review magazine told RT.  “I think President Morsi is now on a slippery slope, and it shows you how fragile, delicate this whole movement is that was launched a couple of years ago for so-called democracy,” Freeman said. “They are not really giving democratic rights to the people. Until the people are given real economic development – until they are given real freedom – this is going to continue to be a problem.”  Washington has acknowledged the decree, saying that it has raised concerns for many Egyptians and the international community.  "We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement. 

In a speech in front of his presidential palace in Cairo on Friday, Morsi told Egyptians that his aim was to "achieve political, social, and economic stability.” He said that he would never use legislation for personal reasons, or to settle scores, and that he wants to ensure the independence of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities.  “I will never be biased. I will never be against anyone – any Egyptians – because we are all together and we need to give the momentum to the freedom and democracy and the transfer of power. And in order to be able to take care of everything you like, I like to be honest and take care of everything you care about because I like to support what you want to have: Stability and safety," he said.   Despite the controversy surrounding Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, many said there would be little to no political structure in Egypt if the party didn’t exist.  “The Muslim Brotherhood didn’t act as a leader when the Egyptian revolutions started, but it somehow managed to take a leading position and place itself at head. Now, if we exclude the Muslim Brotherhood, then we wil not find any leader at all,” Middle East expert Leonid Syukiyanen told RT.  But journalist Ahmed Fathi believes military rule in Egypt has simply been replaced by another kind of dictatorship.  “What Mohamad Morsi has done, Mubarak in the height of his power could not even dream of achieving,” Fathi told RT. “The Egyptians now are seeing clearly they have replaced the military-fascist regime of Hosni Mubarak into the religious-fascist regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.”  Meanwhile, the United Nations said the decree raised serious human rights concerns.  “We are very concerned about the possible huge ramifications of this declaration on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt…we also fear this could lead to a very volatile situation over the next few days, starting today in fact," UN Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville said in a statement on Friday.  Morsi said that the move was vital to protecting the revolution that ousted Mubarak two years ago, and to cement a democratic transition for Egypt. - RT.

WATCH: President Morsi has defended the new decree granting him substantial powers. He told his supporters he was leading Egypt on a path to freedom and democracy. But journalist Ahmed Fathi believes military rule in Egypt has simply been replaced by another kind of dictatorship.

THE GREAT DELUGE: Britain Under Water - Towns and Fields Submerged After Days of Rain as Deluge and 50mph Gales Are Set to Continue Over the Weekend, Storms Claim First Victim!

November 23, 2012 - BRITAIN - Storms will batter Britain again this weekend after a brief respite from the rain, and floods are set to worsen in the next 24 hours.  The Environment Agency have today reduced the number of flood warnings for England and Wales issued to 49 but this is expected to rise amid fears that heavy rain will trigger further flooding.  It will compound misery for those in areas already suffering from severe floods following the downpours earlier this week, which has forced hundreds to evacuate their homes and killed a motorist in Chew Stoke, near Bristol.  

Surface water flooding and river flooding has affected the south west, central and north west of England and Wales.  The Environment Agency (EA) has 52 flood warnings and 159 less serious flood alerts in place as England, Wales and Scotland braces itself for one inch of rain and gusts of up to 60mph.  The EA was able to reduce the number of flood warnings from more than 90 yesterday, but this is expected to increase as more downpours threaten to add to already swollen rivers.  The rains could also trigger further landslips on waterlogged hillsides. Residents of a Georgian terrace in Bath had a lucky escape when boulders, including one more than 7ft in diameter, crashed onto a road behind their homes.  Nearly 300 properties have already flooded across the UK since Tuesday, the EA said, and on Thursday night a man died when he became trapped in his 4x4 after it became wedged under a bridge in Chew Stoke, Somerset.  The elderly man was rescued from the water but died from a suspected cardiac arrest on his way to hospital.  Duncan Massey, of Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue, said: ‘The water was like a raging torrent.  ‘It was nearly impossible to get in the water, it was very, very deep, very swift-flowing and dark.’  Locals said the conditions were the worst seen for 30 years and that water levels near the ford had risen dramatically in only 20 minutes. A 26-year-old man died earlier on Thursday in a crash in stormy conditions on the A3079 at Beaworthy, Devon. And police were searching for a 91-year-old man feared to have fallen into the Thames in Sonning, Berkshire.  Franciscus Van De Gender went missing on Thursday morning and his car was later found on the riverbank. High winds brought down power lines in the South West and Wales, many roads were left impassable and train services were delayed or cancelled, including services between London and the West Country.  

Parts of Britain were hit by five inches of rain on Thursday and high winds of 86mph were recorded in Wales.  The AA said the last few days had been some of its busiest for flood-related call-outs.  Those injured in weather-related incidents included an elderly pedestrian whose head was cut after being struck by a tree, two teenage girls taken to hospital with head and shoulder injuries, and a female driver in her 50s who escaped with minor injuries after her car was crushed by a falling tree trunk.  Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said yesterday: 'With more heavy rain forecast across the Midlands, Wales and the South West, road conditions in the affected areas are likely to only get worse as the ground is so saturated.  'Even if you think you know your local roads, don't be complacent, as flash-flooding continues to be a real risk and is catching people out.'  Meanwhile, Network Rail said trains were likely to be suspended between Exeter and Bristol until Monday.  A spokesman for the MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: 'There will be substantial rainfall over the next 24 hours into Sunday morning for most of the UK.  'More than one inch of rain will fall in some areas which will not be welcome given the recent flooding. It will be quite disruptive.  'Winds will be strong throughout the day but particularly overnight reaching peaks of up to 60mph on the south coast.'  He added that the rain and winds will begin in the south of England and Wales before pushing north throughout the day and overnight.  Bright skies will follow on Sunday afternoon, but they will soon be eclipsed by more showers and cold temperatures in the early part of next week.  MeteoGroup forecaster Chris Burton also said gusts on the south coast early on Sunday could reach 70mph.’  In Cornwall, a primate from the Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary near Looe in Cornwall had to be taken to the vet after it became seriously ill during the atrocious weather.  Pepper, a one-year-old monkey, had to be resuscitated after suffering from a mystery illness yesterday. It was the latest setback at the tourist attraction, which also suffered serious flood damage on Thursday.  Tree surgeons were also called in to fell three trees which had been badly damaged during gusting winds on the south Cornish coastline.  

At one point, staff had to move some barbary macaques from one enclosure to another over concerns one of the trees would fall directly on top of it.  Staff at the registered charity are still assessing the total cost of the destruction, but say it has ended a financially difficult year.  Hayley Dann, fundraising manager, said: 'What with the bad summer we and most of the Cornish attractions have had, we reckon we are about £60,000 down on last year.'  The charity is holding an open day on December 9, providing it can complete the clear-up operation which saw floodwater wreck their education zone and primate library on Thursday.  The stormy conditions have also put paid to some small-boat fishermen earning a living this weekend. High winds in and around Mevagissey harbour in Cornwall have resulted in very few fishermen venturing out to sea from the port during recent days.  A landslip yesterday morning also left the harbour car park partially closed, affecting operations at the port. However, work to clear the 25 cubic metres of soil has been completed and the harbour is ready to operate as normal.  Harbour master Hugh Bowles said: 'It has been fairly rough at sea this morning due to the on-shore winds, and it was the same on Thursday, too.  'It is stopping people from going out to see. Nobody will be out there from Mevagissey today, and the forecast is gales to severe gales, so I don't expect that to change.  'Obviously fishing is completely weather dependent, so it really does have an impact on fishermen wanting to get out on the water, particularly those with smaller, under-10m boats.'  Other rescue operations include an RAF Sea King helicopter, which freed a driver trapped in her car after it was swept into a river at St Clears, South West Wales, the evacuation of a hospice in Ulverston, Cumbria, after bedrooms were flooded when a stream burst its banks, and 10 pensioners were evacuated from their homes in Exeter after a 30ft wall collapsed.  Meanwhile, a canoeist who sparked a £10,000 rescue operation after paddling out to sea in gale force winds was criticised by rescuers.  Forecasters say winds this weekend will reach up to 100mph with as much as 40mm of rain, bringing further risks of flooding.  Gales are expected to continue for a time early Sunday, with bright spells developing and winds easing off later in the day.  Further rain is anticipated for Monday, while the Met Office says snow could hit the North on Tuesday as a new cold front moves in.  Met Office forecaster Helen Chivers said: 'We urge everyone to keep up to date with forecasts and warnings this weekend and to be prepared for what the weather brings. - Daily Mail.  

WATCH: Britain's storms claimed their first victim last night as a man died after being trapped in his car by flood water and heavy rain   The victim, was caught in Chew Stoke in Somerset as flood waters wedged his car under a bridge near a ford. 

WATCH: Heavy flooding on roads in Somerset (Rockwell Green, 50 miles from Chew Stoke)


NOTE: Special thanks to Jacqui Chasson for contributing this story.

MAJOR SOLAR WARNING: Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse Expected - Up to 65% Chance of Polar Geomagnetic Storms on November 23rd and 24th, Sunspot 1618 Has Beta-Gamma-Delta Configuration Harboring Energy For X-Class Solar Flares!

November 23, 2012 - SUN - NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a warning of a sudden geomagnetic impulse. This is valid for November 23, 2012. This means that an impact of two Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from Active Sunspot Region 1618 is expected some time this afternoon into tomorrow.

Space Weather Message Code: WARSUD
Serial Number: 122
Issue Time: 2012 Nov 23 2119 UTC

WARNING: Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse expected
Valid From: 2012 Nov 23 2200 UTC
Valid To: 2012 Nov 23 2230 UTC
IP Shock Passage Observed: 2012 Nov 23 2112 UTC

GEOPHYSICAL ACTIVITY FORECAST: SWPC forecasters expect G1 (Minor) to G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storming through November 24th. The primary Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) responsible for this storming was associated with a solar flare from NOAA Region 1618 that peaked at the R1 (Minor) level on November 21 at 1530 GMT (1030am EST). Solar wind speed at the ACE spacecraft reached 389km/s at 23/2117Z. Total IMF reached 12 nT at 23/2116Z. The maximum southward component of Bz was -8.8 nT at 23/2112Z. These values coincided with the arrival of an interplanetary shock at ACE around 23/2112Z from the November 20th CME.  The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit reached a maximum of 1408 pfu. Geophysical Activity Forecast: Geomagnetic field activity is expected to begin at active levels and reach major storm levels early on day one (November 24th). - NOAA.

CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% to 65% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on November 23/24 when a pair of CMEs is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The incoming clouds were propelled toward Earth by the recent eruptions of sunspot AR1618. Black Friday might be tinged red and green by the glow of high-latitude auroras. 

SUNSPOT AR1618 UPDATE: Sunspot AR1618 has experienced some decay during the past 24 hours, but it is still potent. The sunspot's magnetic canopy has a 'beta-gamma-delta' configuration that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Because of the sunspot's nearly central location on the solar disk, any eruptions today would be Earth-directed. - Spaceweather.

CME IMPACT: The ACE Spacecraft is detecting a sudden increase in Solar Wind Speed. This signals the passage of a Coronal Mass Ejection past the spacecraft. An impact with Earth is likely within the next hour. The magnetometer located in Boulder, Colorado detected a geomagnetic sudden impulse at 21:56 UTC. This confirms the passage of an interplanetary shockwave past our planet. An increase in geomagnetic activity is expected within the hours ahead. A second CME impact is also expected later tonight. Be on the lookout for Aurora at very high latitudes. - Solar Ham.

A sunspot, like AR1618, is a vast island of magnetism floating on the surface of the sun. Magnetic fields bubble up from the sun's interior to form the sunspot's dark cores much like a Pacific island forming from the lava of an undersea volcano. Phil Scherrer, a member of the Solar Dynamics Observatory science team at Stanford Unniversity, has prepared an 8-day movie showing the genesis if AR1618.

WATCH: Scherrer's movie.

WATCH:  Companion movie shows the region's magnetic development. In the movie, which Scherrer made using data from SDO's Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI), white denotes positive polarity, black denotes negative. Places with mixed polarities are where the magnetic fields can reconnect and erupt, producing solar flares.

Meanwhile, a large filament located in the southern hemisphere erupted on Friday morning. This video by SDO/AIA captures the eruption in progress.

WATCH: Filament Eruption - November 23, 2012.

MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: Fragile Cease-Fire - Russia Sends Warships to Gaza!

November 23, 2012 - RUSSIA - Russia fears an escalation of the conflict between Israel and radical Palestinians. To save compatriots from Gaza can warships were sent to the area. Russia fears an escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and has sent potential rescue of fellow warships to the eastern Mediterranean. The missile cruiser "Moskva" and several patrol boats and landing should hold themselves in readiness off the coast of the Gaza Strip, a spokesman of the Navy with the agency Ria Novosti According.

"In an escalation of the conflict, the Russians living there be brought to safety," said Navy spokesman. Russia calls for a political solution in the Middle East. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently holding about 100 Russian tourists and entrepreneurs on the Gaza Strip.  Between Israel and Hamas, although currently there is officially a ceasefire. According to information from Gaza City Israeli soldiers at the border fence in the Gaza Strip, however, shot a man. Another 24 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire on Friday, said the spokesman for the Ministry of Health of the Mediterranean enclave, Ashraf al-Kedra with. The IDF confirmed that warning shots had been fired at protesters on the border fence. The Gaza ruling radical Islamic Hamas accused Israel of a violation of applicable since Wednesday evening (20 clock CET) ceasefire. They will ask Egypt as guarantors of the truce, to intervene with Israel.  The first incident since the truce both sides stated differently represents witnesses in Gaza said that the morning had an initial five farmers east of Khan Younis in their fields near the border fence was shot by Israeli soldiers. Then there was a spontaneous demonstration by residents of two villages nearby. One of the protesters had been running up with a Palestinian flag in hand on the fence and then shot. An additional 19 participants in the protest march were injured by Israeli bullets.  The Israeli military announced on request, have been since the day before there had been riots near the heavily guarded fence. Palestinians are the 300 meter wide zone spear penetrated west of the fence as far as the barrier itself. At least one had come over and climbed quickly to Israeli territory. Some holes were cut into the barrier. The army had no information on whether there had been deaths or injuries in the riots on the Gaza side of the fence.

 It was the first incident since the ceasefire. Up to five rockets in the first hour of the ceasefire that Israel was not subsequently attacked from the Gaza Strip, a military spokesman confirmed.  Hamas members stuck to Israeli sources also behind the bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Security forces took claims to determine the perpetrators and several accomplices who belonged to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, told army spokeswoman Avital Leibovich.  The alleged perpetrator is according to these data, an Israeli Palestinians from the city Taibe in Israel. He had confessed to the crime, it said. The attack was on Wednesday shortly before the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, 17 people were injured.  The current clock since Wednesday 20 ceasefire had completed eight active bitter fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. In the fighting 164 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were killed. On the Palestinian side to these figures in 1225 were injured, more than 100 in Israel Overall, more than 1,500 rockets were fired at Israel, Israel Air Force attacked about 1,500 targets in the Gaza Strip, destroying weapons and important institutions of Hamas. - Die Welt [Translated].

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: The Disaster Impact - Giant Sinkholes Causing Major Problems in Queens, New York After Superstorm Sandy; Some Are 10 Feet Deep!

November 23, 2012 - UNITED STATES -  First they were flooded by Hurricane Sandy and now they're being swallowed by sinkholes.  Some of the sinkholes are 10 feet deep in Queens.  Residents are worried about further damage to their homes and whether the ground their standing on could literally cave and crumble.

Sinkholes have opened up the earth spreading concern that this is the next potential danger New Yorkers like them are facing three weeks after the storm.  "All these backyards almost in the same line, they all got the holes. All the way to the street," said Adolfo Richter, a resident.  They say the sinkholes started to appear shortly after the storm. 

Most of the residents evacuated and returned not only to a lot of water in their homes, but to damage in the yards as well. Sinkhole after sink hole popped up and no one knew why.  But Taika Miles knows better than to let her children anywhere near the sinkholes.  "I'm concerned for my children. They're not allowed to go back there," Miles said.  Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection have checked out the sinkholes.  They say they believe it has something to do with a sewer line that runs under the backyards.  Good to know, but now what residents like Adolfo Richter are worried about the condition of their homes. -  ABC 7.

WATCH: Giant sinkholes in New York.

BIG BROTHER NOW: "Minority Report" Becomes Reality - New Software That Predicts When Laws Are About To Be Broken!

November 23, 2012 -  UNITED STATES - An artificial intelligence system that connects to surveillance cameras to predict when people are about to commit a crime is under development, funded by the U.S. military.  The software, dubbed Mind's Eye, recognises human activities seen on CCTV and uses algorithms to predict what the targets might do next - then notify the authorities.  The technology has echoes of the Hollywood film Minority Report, where people are punished for crimes they are predicted to commit, rather than after committing a crime. 

Ever vigilant: All CCTV cameras can do these days is watch, but soon they could be able to predict when targets
are about to break the law. 'Activity forecasting': This graphic from the paper in which the researchers present
their system explains how it would work to identify suspicious behaviour.
Scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have presented a paper demonstrating how such so-called 'activity forecasting' would work.  Their study, funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, focuses on the 'automatic detection of anomalous and threatening behaviour' by simulating the ways humans filter and generalise information from the senses.  The system works using a high-level artificial intelligence infrastructure the researchers call a 'cognitive engine' that can learn to link relevant signals with background knowledge and tie it together.  The signals the AI can recognise - characterised by verbs including ‘walk’, ‘run’, ‘carry’, ‘pick-up’, ‘haul’, ‘follow’, and ‘chase’, among others - cover basic action types which are then set in context to see whether they constitute suspicious behaviour.  The device is expected to be used at airports, bus and train stations, as well as in military contexts where differentiating between suspicious and non-suspicious behaviour is important, like when trying to differentiate between civilians and militants in places like Afghanistan.   

 The paper describes an example in a civilian context where it might flag up a person dragging a heavy bag then leaving it abandoned for more than a few minutes.  According to, this automated approach to surveillance could one day tempt authorities to replace humans with computers as CCTV camera operators.  Human operators are expensive to maintain and also fallible: distracted or drowsy operators pose a risk to safety if they miss danger signs, while ever-vigilant computers, once installed, are cheaper to employ.  Also, cameras that do nothing but record what they are seeing can only provide information after a crime has occurred, while the latest research hopes to use unmanned cameras to prevent crimes or dangerous behaviour happening at all.  Alessandro Oltramari, a postdoctoral researcher and Christian Lebiere, both from the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon, a just one team of a number working on automatic video surveillance for the U.S. military. - Daily Mail.

MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: Fragile Cease-Fire - Israeli Troops Shot and Kill Palestinian Man Near its Border in Gaza!

November 23, 2012 -  GAZA CITY - A fragile truce between Israel and Hamas appeared to hold Friday despite reports that Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man near its border in Gaza.  The soldiers opened fire when farmers were trying to reach their land near Israeli-Gaza border, Hamas officials said. But the Israel Defense Forces said the people were rioters who attempted to breach a fence dividing Israel and Gaza.  It was the first report of a fatality since Hamas and Israel agreed to a cease-fire, forged by high-powered international diplomacy after eight days of round-the-clock warfare. 

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy and his government spearheaded the truce. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also used their influence to stop the fighting. U.S. President Barack Obama dialed up the main players to help seal the cease-fire deal. Map: IsraelMap: Israel Clashes flare in Gaza during cease-fire Fragile cease-fire under threat? Hope and calm in Gaza after cease-fire  It's too soon to tell whether the latest flareup will unravel the ice-cold breather between Israel and Hamas.  Twenty-one-year-old Anwar Qandeeh died in the confrontation Friday morning, said Hamas Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra. Nineteen others were wounded and were taken to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, al-Qidra said.  The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately confirm a casualty, telling CNN it was looking into the report.  The IDF said a group of about 300 Palestinians attempted to enter Israel at several locations along the Gaza border. The IDF maintains its soldiers acted according to the rules of engagement to distance rioters from the fence that separates Israel and Gaza.  Fighting also was recorded Thursday, a day after the cease-fire was declared. Six Palestinians were injured when they got near the border fence in the same area where the Friday violence occurred, al-Qidra said. The IDF said three rockets had been launched from Gaza into Israel. Two of the three landed in open areas, and Israel's defense system intercepted the third. 

The next stage of the cease-fire agreement would be to consider opening the border crossings to facilitate movements of people and goods.  Hamas representatives told CNN Friday they are going to have meetings with Egyptian intelligence to discuss the opening of border crossings and the easing of Israel's stiff economic blockade in Gaza -- strictures Israel says it put in place to keep Iranian weapons out of the hands of Gaza militants.  It remains unclear if the latest events will lead to a resumption of long-stalled negotiations on a broader peace agreement or serve simply as a respite, as has occurred in the past.  The escalation in violence between Hamas, the Palestinian movement that controls Gaza, and Israel began when the Israeli military launched an offensive designed to stop constant rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.  Israel launched the Pillar of Defense offensive, an air operation targeting Hamas military commanders and weaponry. As the Israeli military pounded Gaza, Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into Israel, battering the southern region and reaching Israel's two major cities - Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system blocked projectiles targeting population centers, but civilians in the Jewish state and the densely populated Gaza lived in fear of attack.  Israel called up reservists and massed its forces on the Gaza border, threatening a ground invasion. But the cease-fire averted a repeat of Israel's Operation Cast Lead offensive against Palestinian militants in late 2008, an operation that led to a bloody three-week war.  The recent fighting took its toll: More than 160 Palestinians, many of whom were civilians, were killed. Six Israelis died, including civilians and soldiers. Hundreds were wounded. - CNN.

WATCH:  Israeli soldiers kill 1 Palestinian, injure several 2 days after ceasefire.

WATCH: Scene of Gaza-Israel border shooting after IDF kills Palestinian.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Rare 2.1 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles New Jersey!

November 23, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Black Friday began with a bang in New Jersey — literally.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s website says a 2.1-magnitude earthquake was measured near Clementon, about 15 miles southeast of Philadelphia in Camden County.

The quake was felt at a little after midnight.

USGS map.
It was the second earthquake to hit New Jersey this month. On November 5, a 2.0-magnitude quake struck the Ringwood area in Passaic County.

A rare 5.8-magnitude East Coast earthquake centered in Virginia rattled New Jersey in August 2011, wobbling floors and shaking buildings. - CBS Philly.

The last earthquake in New Jersey, prior to these two, had a 2.2 magnitude and was recorded in February 2010.