Saturday, March 1, 2014

WORLD WAR III: The World Is Now On High Alert Over Crisis In Ukraine - Hours After Russian Parliament Signed Off On The Use Of Force, Putin Sends 15,000 Troops Into Crimea; Obama Issues Warning; U.N. Security Council Meeting To Discuss "Extraordinary Situation"!

March 01, 2014 - UKRAINE - Russia's Parliament signed off Saturday on President Vladimir Putin's request to send military forces into Ukraine, raising the stakes in a quickly escalating game of brinksmanship between the two countries.

Troops stand guard in Balaklava, Crimea, on Saturday, March 1. Ukraine suspects Russia of sending new troops into Crimea and provoking separatist tensions in the region. Crimea is an autonomous republic of Ukraine with an ethnic Russian majority. It's the last large bastion of opposition to Ukraine's new political leadership after President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster.

Putin cited the "extraordinary situation in Ukraine" in his request, adding that the lives of Russian citizens and military personnel based in southern Crimea had been threatened, a claim Ukrainian officials have vehemently denied.

The move prompted world diplomats to call for a de-escalation of tensions that have put the two countries on a possible path to war and roiled relations between Russia and the United States.

Ukraine acting President Oleksandr Turchynov took to the airwaves late Saturday to warn any Russian military intervention would lead to war, even as acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that he had been told by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that no decision had been made on whether Moscow would dispatch forces.

Yatsenyuk said his country was ready to mobilize its forces to protect strategic locations, including nuclear power plants.

WATCH: Pro-Russian rallies in Ukraine - Eastern cities march with flags, chant 'Russia! Russia!'.

The crisis raised alarm bells with the worlds diplomats, and an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council was underway Saturday afternoon where Ukraine's ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev called on the member nations to take a stand against what he called Russia's "clear act of aggression.''

"...The troops are already there, and their number is increasing every hour," he said.

Russia now has 15,000 troops in Ukraine's Crimea region, Yegor Pyvovarov, the spokesman for the Ukraine mission at the United Nations, told CNN ahead of Saturday's session of the Security Council. He did not say how Ukraine arrived at that number, or whether that included troops already stationed at a Russian base in the region.

Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the U.N., rejected Ukraine's calls to stop Russian intervention. "We can't agree with this at all," he said

He blamed members of the European Union for causing the mass street demonstrations in Ukraine that led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych last week.

Armed men in military uniform block a Ukrainian military base in Balaklava on March 1.

Pro-Russian activists hold Russian flags during a rally in the center of Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 1.

"It's a difficult situation in the past few hours," he said, adding that there were Ukrainian forces from Kiev en route to to overthrow the local pro-Russian governments in eastern Ukraine and Crimea and establish new ones that would enforce power from the new provisional government.

The United States and other nations have called on Russia to pull back from the Crimea or face consequences.

WATCH: Clashes as pro-Russian protesters seize government building.

In comments Friday from the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama that any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be "deeply destabilizing," and warned "the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."

His message was heard in Moscow, where the head of Russia's upper house of Parliament said Saturday that she planned to ask Putin to recall Russia's ambassador to the United States. Valentina Matvienko, chairwoman of the Federation Council, cited "the recent statements by the U.S. President threatening Russia."

Crimea's pro-Russian leader asked Putin for help

The Russian upper house vote came on the day that the newly installed, pro-Russian leader of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, asked Putin for help in maintaining peace on the Black Sea peninsula -- where Russia's fleet is based at Sevastopol.

Security forces "are unable to efficiently control the situation in the republic," he said in comments broadcast on Russian state channel Russia 24. Aksyonov was installed as the region's premier after armed men took over the Crimean Parliament building on Thursday.

Aksyonov said Saturday that a referendum on greater Crimean autonomy, originally set for May 25, would be moved to March 30.

Ukrainian government officials suspect Moscow of fomenting separatist tensions in the autonomous, majority-Russian region -- and they accused Russia of having already sent troops into its territory.

Yatsenyuk, speaking Saturday at a Cabinet meeting, called the Russian presence in Crimea "nothing but a provocation."

But, he said, it failed.

"Ukraine will not be provoked, we will not use force, we demand that the government of the Russian Federation immediately withdraw its troops and return to their home bases," he said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine Defense Minister Igor Tenyukh said his nation's military was at its highlight state of military readiness. He credited negotiations during the day between the Ukrainian and Russian naval chiefs with easing tensions and said more negotiations were planned for Sunday.

Ukraine's new government condemned the move by Russia's upper house.

"We perceive Russia's actions as direct aggression towards the sovereignty of Ukraine," said Turchynov on the Twitter account of his Fatherland party.

Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said that he planned to ask Turchynov to call for parliament to meet in emergency session to vote to invalidate the Black Sea Fleet Naval Base agreement with Russia.

Airspace reopened

Ukraine on Friday accused Russian Black Sea forces of trying to seize two airports in Crimea but said Ukrainian security forces had prevented them from taking control.

Groups of armed men, dressed in uniforms without identifying insignia, patrolled the airports in the regional capital, Simferopol, and the nearby port city of Sevastopol.

The men remained at the airports Saturday and Yevgey Plaksin, director of the airport in the regional capital, Simferopol, said Crimean airspace would remain closed until evening.

But by 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the airspace had reopened, and airport services were working, Plaksin said.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaliy Churkin, said Friday that the reports of Russian troops taking charge of positions on the ground were rumors and noted that rumors "are always not true."

"We are acting within the framework of our agreement," he said.

Russia has been conducting a military exercise near its border with Ukraine -- snap drills that Moscow announced Wednesday.

Obama: Warning to Russia

Meanwhile, Obama's message to Russia also reached Congress, where the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee called for an immediate response to Russia's move.

"Every moment that the United States and our allies fail to respond sends the signal to President Putin that he can be even more ambitious and aggressive in his military intervention in Ukraine," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said in a statement.

He called on Obama to "make clear what costs Russia will face for its aggression and to impose those consequences without further delay."

On Saturday, a U.S. official told CNN's Barbara Starr that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had spoken with his Russian counterpart about the crisis.

WATCH: Ukrainian nationalists call for help from terrorists 'to fight Russia'.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said Saturday that he had asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for a de-escalation of the situation in Crimea and asked that Russia respect Ukraine's sovereignty and independence.

He called the vote by Russia's parliament "a potentially grave threat to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and said the British Foreign Office had summoned Russia's ambassador to Britain.

He said he planned to visit Ukraine on Sunday to meet with government leaders there and to offer "the UK's support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Russian troops block a road February 28 toward the military airport in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on the Black Sea coast. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is based at the port city of Sevastopol. Ukraine suspects Russia of fomenting tension in the autonomous region of Crimea, which might escalate into a bid for separation by its Russian majority.

Pro-Russian activists clash with Maidan supporters as they storm the regional
government building in Kharkiv on March 1.

Other world leaders joined an international outcry, with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton deploring Russia's "unwarranted escalation of tensions."

The U.N. Security Council met Saturday afternoon -- for the second consecutive day -- to discuss the situation.

A statement from the spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he would speak "shortly" with Putin and called "for an immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue."

Ukrainian leaders and commentators have compared events in Crimea to what happened in Georgia in 2008. Then, cross-border tensions with Russia exploded into a five-day conflict that saw Russian tanks and troops pour into the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as Georgian cities. Russia and Georgia each blamed the other for starting the conflict.

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told CNN he had warned in 2008 that Ukraine would be next. "Putin is following his blueprint all the way through," he said.

That comparison was noted by Yulia Tymoshenko, who opposed ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. "They want a war like the one which happened in Abkhazia and Ossetia," she said in a statement on her Fatherland party website.

Ukraine, a nation of 45 million people sandwiched between Europe and Russia's southwestern border, has been plunged into chaos since the ouster a week ago of Yanukovych following bloody street protests.

Yanukovych resurfaced Friday in the southwestern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, where he told reporters that he had not been overthrown and vowed to fight on for Ukraine's future, but gave little indication that he had the support to do so.

Financial woes

Ukraine's new government faces challenges that go beyond Crimea -- the country is an economic basket case.

A $15 billion loan offer from Russia, extended in November after Yanukovych dropped the EU deal, is on hold.

Russia also promised to slash natural gas prices. However, Russian energy giant Gazprom said Saturday that Ukraine is $1.55 billion in arrears on payments for natural gas deliveries, which may force the firm to cancel the discount it agreed to last year, Russian state-run RIA Novosti news agency said.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said that Russia has issued a $3 billion line of credit to Ukraine to help it cover its gas debts -- but that payment obligations must be respected.

Ukrainian authorities have said they will need $35 billion in foreign funds by the end of 2015. - CNN.

ICE AGE NOW: Great Lakes Approaching 100% Ice Cover – For The First Time On Record! [PHOTOS+MAPS]

March 01, 2014 - GREAT LAKES, NORTH AMERICA - Lake Ontario is the only major holdout, and the forecast there is for extreme cold during the next two weeks.

- Real Science.

Ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent in mid-February 2014, levels not observed since 1994. The average maximum ice extent since 1973 is just over 50 percent. It has surpassed 80 percent just five times in four decades.

Ice on Lake Erie. Photo: Alan F. Mitan Jr.

Ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent in mid-February 2014 NOAA posted this photo
on February 27, 2014 of ice buildup on Lake Michigan along the shore near Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Image via NOAA Wisconsin Sea Grant

NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image on February 19, when ice covered 80.3 percent of the lakes. This
false-color image uses a combination of shortwave infrared, near infrared, and red (MODIS bands 7-2-1)
that helps distinguish ice from snow, water, and clouds. Ice is pale blue (thicker ice is brighter), open water
is navy, snow is blue-green, and clouds are white or blue-green (depending on temperature and composition).
Image via NASA.

Nathan Kurtz, cryospheric scientist NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said:
Persistently low temperatures across the Great Lakes region are responsible for the increased areal coverage of the ice.
Cold air and winds remove heat from the fresh water until it reaches the freezing point, at which point ice begins to form on the surface. Kurtz added:
Low temperatures are the dominant mechanism for thickening the ice, but secondary factors like clouds, snow, and wind also play a role.
Scientists say that there was an early ice season this year, owing to cold temperatures in the fall and early winter. Ice was reported on bays and harbors of the Great Lakes as early as the end of November, as opposed to the normal timing of mid-December. - EarthSky.

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Rise Of The Global Police State - Chicago Police Develop Real "Minority Report" Computer To Predict Crimes; Naked Body Scanners Deployed On Streets Of The U.S.; Tennessee State University Requires Students to Wear Trackable IDs; And Michigan Township To Put Cameras ‘In Every Neighborhood’!

March 01, 2014 - UNITED STATES - If you thought that governmental tyranny and surveil exploitation of the masses are just imaginations of writers in Hollywood, plastered on a movie or television screen, well think again. The dystopic agenda of a global police state depicted in books like Orwell's 1984 and films like the Tom Cruise-starred Minority Report is here right now.

If you don't believe me, check out the following reports:

Chicago Police Develop Real "Minority Report" Computer To Predict Crimes

The Chicago Police Department wants to take predicting and preventing crimes from a bold sci-fi concept to a scary law-enforcement reality.

Chicago is leading the way in funding and innovation to develop the most advanced predictive analytical system yet, which uses advanced algorithms to compile a list of individuals most likely to commit a crime.

“This [program] will become a national best practice,” CPD Commander Jonathan Lewin told The Verge. “This will inform police departments around the country and around the world on how best to utilize predictive policing to solve problems. This is about saving lives.”

The department database records phoned incidents and locations where crimes occur frequently to create maps of the city that highlight “hotspots” for criminal activity. It also keeps track of everyone arrested or convicted of a crime, and employs a formula to identify the 400 most dangerous people in the city.

Algorithms go beyond incorporating past violent behaviors to predict future criminals — they also track relationships with other violent offenders, and use a social networking theory to identify potential targets and add them to the “heat list.”

The program has grown in part from a grant of $2 million dollars from the National Institute of Justice, which handed out millions to police departments in 2009 to build crime predictive programs.

“These are persons who the model has determined are those most likely to be involved in a shooting or homicide, with probabilities that are hundreds of times that of an ordinary citizen,” NIJ representative Joan LaRocca said.

Part of the program includes sending officers to warn potential violators that they are being watched, and to stay out of trouble. Though a full report on the program won’t be published until 2016, concerns over privacy and profiling are already being raised.

WATCH: Hayward police use crime data to predict and prevent crime.

Daily Caller.

Naked Body Scanners Deployed On US Streets
A New Jersey airport sets up “Energy Efficient” Lights that also spy on travelers before they even get to the ticket counter.

These “energy-efficient” upgrades are popping up all over the country, helping the mass surveillance apparatus save money while stealing liberties.

WATCH: Street surveillance is here - LED Light Spies.


- Info Wars.

Tennessee State University Requires Students to Wear Trackable IDs
Beginning Saturday, March 1, students and staff at Tennessee State University will be required to present identification badges at any time that can also track their movements in and out of buildings, according to a local-news report.

After a spate of break-ins and vandalism, officials at the university instituted the new ID requirement as a way to ensure safety on campus, a TSU release said.

WATCH: Trackable ID badges for students.


“Our primary concern is always to provide a safe and healthy environment for all of our students, employees and visitors,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president for administration, who is in charge of Emergency Management. “Safety on our campus is priority number one, and with the new policy we want to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff are safe at all times.”

“Failure to comply with the new policy,” the school said, “may result in employee disciplinary action, student judicial action, or removal from University property.”

Besides being used to access buildings, the IDs can be used as meal cards, to check out library materials, to access computer labs and athletic events, and more. - National Review.

Michigan Township To Put Cameras ‘In Every Neighborhood’
Officials in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan are working with police to put surveillance cameras in every single neighborhood.

After placing multiple cameras throughout the city’s West Willow neighborhood several years ago, township officials claim the program’s vast success, which is reportedly centered around one single case, warrants an expansive rollout to every last neighborhood.

When attempting to find public support for the program, WDIV used quick editing to create the desired answer from a surveillance weary resident.

“When they put the security cameras up I kind of thought crime would decrease and it kind of has in a way…” Tony Slaughter hesitantly said before being cut off mid-sentence.

Mike Radzik, the director of the Office of Community Standards, justified the program by claiming that the cameras were no different than police officers constantly standing in the neighborhood.

“We are recording images that a police officer would see if he or she were standing in the same place,” Radzik said. “They are only in public places.”

WATCH: Cameras to be put everywhere in a Michigan town.

Not only has the township seemingly decided to go forward with the program without public input, residents will be required to pay a fee for the township’s venture.

“The township will invest in the infrastructure, actually put the cameras out and deploy them and there will be a special assessment on the homes in the neighborhood for the operating expense going forward, which will be a very nominal fee for this measure of public safety,” Radzik said.

Despite a clear attempt by WDIV to portray massive public support for the incoming cameras, a quick glance at comments from residents shows quite the opposite.

“What’s next ? In our homes? Our showers? “Our minds?” Alissa Fortin said.

Although the township claims the program will cause a major dent in criminal activity, countless studies have proven that surveillance cameras do little to deter crime.

While revelations of illegal spying by local and federal governments alike continue to surface, questionable surveillance practices in public, where there is no expectation of privacy, have many wondering how far is too far.

Police in Austin, Texas are now demanding live access to surveillance cameras inside public schools, using the remote possibility of school shootings as justification.

In Modesto, California, an armored police surveillance truck was unveiled this week, which video and audio records local residents while traveling throughout the city.

The Seattle Police Department recently announced its plan to begin using a new facial recognition software program, which will analyze surveillance footage of alleged criminal activity.

While the government continues to expand its surveillance grid against the public, daily reports of citizens being violently attacked for legally filming police and elected officials fill the news feed. - Info Wars.

Seattle Police To Use DHS-Funded Facial Recognition Program
The Seattle Police Department is preparing to purchase a new facial recognition software program with a federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

WATCH: Seattle police want to digitally scan surveillance video.

Set to be purchased next month, the software will reportedly be used to scan and compare surveillance video to the city’s mugshot database.

With the city facing mounting opposition for several other privacy issues, police were quick to claim that the software would only be used when surveillance video of a suspected crime was obtained.

“An officer has to reasonably believe that a person has been involved in a crime or committed a crime,” Seattle Police Asst. Chief Carmen Best said.

Despite reassurances from the city and police, surveillance-weary residents pointed to the city’s continued abuses with surveillance technology.

“I think the Seattle Police Department have a well earned reputation for distrust by the public,” privacy advocate Phil Mocek said during a city council meeting Wednesday.

One group in particular, the Seattle Privacy Coalition, compared the city’s actions to the the federal government’s never-ending domestic surveillance rollout.

“You got kind of a small-scale Seattle version of the dragnet surveillance that’s happening nationally that’s been in the news the last year,” said David Robinson of the Seattle Privacy Coalition.

When asked if the federal government would be given access to information collected, Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell argued that the city would need to share its data to protect the country from potential terrorists.

“There may be times where the federal government may want to look at that database,” Harrell said. “That may be very appropriate if we have international terrorists here that might have committed a misdemeanor.”

While promising to focus the new software on suspected criminals only, papers released by WikiLeaks in 2012 revealed Seattle’s secret participation in TrapWire, a sophisticated facial recognition program that was ran through the city’s CCTV cameras. Given that the Seattle government willingly scanned the faces of countless innocent residents without their knowledge, few trust the new pledge to suddenly use the technology in a lawful manner.

Although the city claims it will release regular reports regarding data requests made by outside agencies, several recent reports already show that the city is sharing innocent individuals’ data with Homeland Security.

Exclusive documents released by Storyleak and Infowars last November revealed that Seattle’s Homeland Security-funded mesh network, which siphons unsuspecting cell phone users data while traveling through the downtown area, is directly tied into the city’s DHS-run Fusion Center.

Documents also revealed how the city’s vast collection of surveillance cameras are tied directly into the mesh network, which can be viewed and controlled remotely from inside police vehicles. Despite Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh claiming last year that no video footage collected could be kept for more than 30-days, a specification spreadsheet revealed the city’s early proposal request for “at least 60-day archival recording capacity.”

The mesh network is directly linked into 30 Port of Seattle surveillance cameras as well, reportedly installed to protect the area from acts of terrorism. Unsurprisingly, residents quickly noted that multiple cameras were facing inward toward Seattle homes, an “accident” later fixed by city officials.

Although the mesh network was deactivated following public outcry, the system is set to be turned back on as the city continues to push all possible surveillance technologies on the public.

Last year, Seattle police announced that several precincts would begin implementing predictive policing software, a program that combines advanced mathematical algorithms with crime data to predict where crimes will occur down to a 500-square-foot area. While the program has thus far remained under the radar, police deny claims by civil liberties advocates that the program will be used directly on individuals.

Although the city has successfully implemented several surveillance programs, residents have stopped several as well. Seattle police were forced to return two drones, purchased with an $82,000 federal grant, after civil liberties activists voiced harsh opposition to the program last year.

Despite the government’s continued claim of needing vast surveillance capabilities to protect the public from terrorism, which kills less people annually than bee stings, fewer and fewer Americans are supporting the notion, especially in light of the government’s public support of Al Qaeda jihadists in Syria.

As Homeland Security continues to flood countless states with tax-payer money for increased surveillance technology, the agency itself is not immune to public pressure either. Wednesday evening, the agency announced the cancellation of its plan to build a national license plate tracking database following a Drudge Report featured exposé by Infowars. - Info Wars.

HUMAN DEVOLUTION & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Horror - Gang Of Knife-Wielding Men Kill 27 People At China Train Station?!

March 01, 2014 - CHINA - Knife-wielding assailants attacked people at a train station in southwestern China on Saturday in what authorities called a terrorist attack and police fatally shot five of the assailants, leaving 28 people dead and 113 injured, state media said.

The body of a victim is inspected by police officers outside a railway station, after an attack in Kunming, in
southwestern China's Yunnan province, Saturday March 1, 2014. China's official Xinhua News Agency
says authorities consider the attack by a group of knife-wielding assailants at a train station in
southwestern China in which at least 27 people died to be an act of terrorism.

China's official Xinhua News Agency did not identify who might have been responsible for the late-evening attack at the Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province, but said authorities considered it to be "an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack."

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack, one of China's deadliest in recent years, the country's top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, was on route to Kunming, the Communist Party-run People's Daily reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time as political leaders in Beijing prepared for Wednesday's opening of the annual meeting of the nominal legislature where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

A Xinhua reporter on the scene in Kunming said several suspects had been "controlled" while police continued their investigation of people at the station. The reporter said firefighters and emergency medical personnel were at the station and rushing injured people to hospitals for treatment.

The authorities said five suspects were shot dead but that their identities had not yet been confirmed, Xinhua reported. Overall, 28 people were confirmed dead and 113 injured, it said.

A dozen bodies could be seen at Kunming No. 1 People's Hospital, where more than 60 victims of the attack had been taken by midnight, according to Xinhua reporters at the hospital. A doctor at the hospital said medical personnel were so busy treating the injured that they were still not sure of the exact number of casualties.

Yang Haifei, a Yunnan province resident who was being treated at the hospital for wounds to his chest and back, told Xinhua that he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people, most of them dressed in black, rush into the station and start attacking people.

"I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone," he told Xinhua, adding that people who were slower ended up severely injured. "They just fell on the ground," Yang said.

At the guard pavilion in front of the station, three victims were crying. One of them, Yang Ziqing, told Xinhua that they were waiting for a train to Shanghai when a knife-wielding man suddenly came at them.

"My two town-fellows' husbands have been rushed to hospital, but I can't find my husband, and his phone went unanswered," Yang sobbed.

Pictures on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, showed bodies covered in blood at the station. Other Weibo users urged people to stop circulating bloody photos on the Internet lest it encourage the attackers and spread panic.

The Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security called the incident a "severe violent crime" at its official Sina Weibo account.

"No matter what motives the murderers hold, the killing of innocent people is against kindness and justice. The police will crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance. May the dead rest in peace," it read.

The Kunming Railway Station, located in the southeastern area of the city, is one of the largest railway stations in southwest China. - AP.

WORLD WAR III: Tensions Mount Between Russia And The United States As Crisis In Ukraine Deepens - Pres. Putin Asks Parliament For Formal Permission To Move In Russian Military; Russia Parliament Encourages Putin To "Protect The People Of Crimea;" Obama Warns "There Will Be Costs" For Russian Military Intervention; 6,000 Russian Soldiers Already Crossed Border! UPDATE: Russian Senators Vote To Use Stabilizing Military Forces On Ukrainian Territory And Suggest Recalling Russia's Ambassador From U.S. Over Obama Speech! LIVE VIDEO COVERAGE

March 01, 2014 - UKRAINE - The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for permission to use the country's military in Ukraine.

Putin says the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine's strategic region of Crimea. The request comes a day after President Obama warned Moscow that "there will be costs" if it intervenes militarily in Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, Russia's lower house of parliament asked Putin to use "to take measures to stabilise the situation in Crimea and use all available means to protect the people of Crimea from tyranny and violence". In a separate statement, the Kremlin said Putin has also named Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin as his official representative to oversee the proposal in the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

The new prime minister of Ukraine's Crimea region claimed control of all military, police and security services in the region Saturday and urged Russia to intervene to keep the peace.

WATCH:  Putin requests senators' approval to send troops to Crimea.


Sergei Aksenov, the head of the main pro-Russia party on the peninsula, said in a statement reported by local and Russian news agencies that he appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin "for assistance in guaranteeing peace and calmness on the territory of the autonomous republic of Crimea."

Aksenov declared that the armed forces, the police, the national security service and border guards will answer only to his orders. He said any commanders who don't agree should leave their posts.

Russia's Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said unidentified gunmen sent by Kiev had attempted overnight to seize the Crimea region's Interior Ministry offices and that people had been wounded in the "treacherous provocation," Reuters reported.

Ukrainian border guard vessels were put on combat alert in the Crimea region on Saturday and were leaving port to prevent the capture of military bases and ships, Interfax news agency quoted the border guard service as saying, according to Reuters.

Russian troops moved into Crimea Friday, U.S. officials told Fox News, prompting Ukraine to accuse Russia of an "armed invasion."

Ukraine's defense minister said on Saturday Russia had “recently'' brought 6,000 additional personnel into Ukraine and that the Ukrainian military were on high alert in the Crimea region, Reuters reported.

WATCH:  Members of local self-defense units patrol the streets around Crimean Parliament.


WATCH:  Checkpoints lock down access to Simferopol.


WATCH:  Infantry and armour roll into Simferopol.


Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk opened a cabinet meeting by calling on Russia not to provoke discord in Crimea.

"We call on the government and authorities of Russia to recall their forces, and to return them to their stations," Yatsenyuk was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. "Russian partners, stop provoking civil and military resistance in Ukraine.”

At the White House, President Obama said the U.S. government is "deeply concerned" by reports of Russian "military movements" and warned any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty would be "deeply destabilizing."

"There will be costs" for any military intervention, he said, without specifying what those costs might be.

U.S. officials told Fox News they see “evidence of air and maritime movement into and out of Crimea by Russian forces” although the Pentagon declined to officially "characterize" the movement.

Earlier Friday, Agence France Press quoted a top Ukranian official as saying Russian aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops have landed at a military air base near the regional capital of the restive Crimean peninsula.

"Thirteen Russian aircraft landed at the airport of Gvardeyskoye (near Simferopol) with 150 people in each one," Sergiy Kunitsyn, the Ukrainian president's special representative in Crimea, told the local ATR television channel, according to AFP. He accused Russia of an "armed invasion."

The new developments prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a "military invasion and occupation" -- a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis.

Russia kept silent on claims of military intervention, even as it maintained its hard-line stance on protecting ethnic Russians in Crimea, a peninsula of Ukraine on the northern coast of the Black Sea.

WATCH:  Anti-Maidan rally in Crimea - Hundreds protest in Simferopol.


A spokesman for the Ukrainian border service said eight Russian transport planes have landed in Crimea with unknown cargo.

Serhiy Astakhov told The Associated Press that the Il-76 planes arrived unexpectedly Friday and were given permission to land, one after the other, at Gvardeiskoye air base, north of the regional capital, Simferopol.

Astakhov said the people in the planes refused to identify themselves and waved off customs officials, saying they didn't require their services.

Earlier in the day, Russian armored vehicles rumbled across Crimea and reports surfaced of troops being deployed at airports and a coast guard base – signs of a more heavy-handed approach to the crisis from Moscow.

At the United Nations, the Ukrainian ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, said Friday that 10 Russian transport aircraft and 11 attack helicopters had arrived in Crimea illegally, and that Russian troops had taken control of two airports in Crimea.

He described the gunmen posted outside the two airports as Russian armed forces as well as "unspecified" units.

Meanwhile, flights remained halted from Simferopol's airport. Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patrolled the area. They didn't stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.

One man who identified himself only as Vladimir said the men were part of the Crimean People's Brigade, which he described as a self-defense unit ensuring that no "radicals and fascists" arrive from other parts of Ukraine. There was no way to verify his account. - FOX News.

UPDATE: Russian Senators Vote To Use Stabilizing Military Forces On Ukrainian Territory.
Russia’s Federation Council has unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use Russian military forces in Ukraine. The move is aimed to settle the turmoil in the split country.

The upper house of the Russian parliament has voted in favor of sending troops to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which would ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”

The debate in the Federation Council has revealed that Russian MPs are united on the issue, with many of them sharing concerns on the recent events in Ukraine. The common notion was that since the power was seized in Kiev, the situation has only been deteriorating with radical nationalists rapidly coming to power and threatening the lives of those opposing their actions, most notably the Russian citizens living in Ukraine.

Taking the decision to use the Armed Forces in Ukraine does not mean that it will be carried out immediately, Grigory Karasin, Putin’s official representative in the Federation Council, has said.

“The approval, which the president will receive, does not literally mean that this right will be used promptly,” Karasin said.

WATCH:  Putin's proposal to deploy forces in Ukraine approved by Russian senators.


Putin on Saturday requested the Federation Council to use the Army for normalizing the socio-political situation in Ukraine in connection with the “extraordinary situation” there. The events in Ukraine indicate there is a “threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation… and the personnel of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory,” the Russian president said.

According to Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the president has not yet made a decision on sending the troops to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow is expecting that the international community will influence the self-proclaimed Kiev regime to normalize the situation in the country. - RT.

UPDATE: Senators Suggest Recalling Russia's Ambassador From U.S. Over Obama Speech.
Russian senators are going to ask President Vladimir Putin to consider recalling Moscow’s Ambassador to the US following President Barack Obama’s “aggressive” comments on the situation in Ukraine, the speaker of the chamber said.

The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, has ordered the committee on international affairs to apply to Putin and ask him to recall Moscow’s ambassador to the US, council speaker Valentina Matvienko said.

“The president will consider the appeal and make a decision,” she said.

The initiative was put forward by the Federation Council’s vice speaker, Yury Vorobiev, who referred to the President Barack Obama’s speech Friday, in which he said that Russia would have to pay for its policies in Ukraine. In Vorobiev’s opinion, Obama “crossed the red line and insulted the Russian people” and his words were a “direct threat.”

So far, no decisions have been made on the matter, said the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. - RT.

 WATCH: Live coverage from RT.

POLE SHIFT: The Clearest Evidence Of Earth's Magnetic Polar Migration - It's Southern Lights, Aurora Borealis Is Now Seen In GLOUCESTERSHIRE As Spectacular Solar Display Colours The Night Sky Across Britain! [STUNNING PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

March 01, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - It's hard to think of a natural phenomenon more jaw-droppingly beautiful than the Northern Lights.

Swirl of colour: Photographer Stewart Watt captures the Aurora Borealis lighting up the sky over
the small town of Thurso in Caithness, Scotland, during the night

Few can fail to be awed by the spectacle of shimmering curtains of green that twist and turn on the horizon, combined with twirling cascades of red, yellow and purple.

Normally the event – known as the aurorae borealis in the northern hemisphere – is only seen by those in high latitudes such as Scotland, or by people who are  prepared to pay to go on a winter Arctic cruise.

WATCH: Incredible footage of Northern Lights over the UK.

But not this week. After months of storms, floods and downpours, nature took pity on us and gave a rare glimpse of the lights across most of the British Isles, including southern England.

In Essex, Norfolk, South Wales, Gloucestershire and even Jersey, stargazers were able to enjoy one of the best displays in years. The sight is caused when electrically charged particles ejected from the Sun – known as a coronal mass ejection – hit gases in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The nature of the Earth’s magnetic field means these particles usually rain down around the North and South Poles.

Incredible: The sky above the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, lit up last night as a spectacular
display of the Northern Lights illuminated the South West of England.

Captivating: Skies over Loch Brora in the Scottish Highlands turn red and green by a mesmerising
display of the Aurora Borealis.

Bright: People across the UK revelled in a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights - stretching as far
down as East Anglia. Above, the sky turns pink and yellow.

Historic: The sky lights up red above Stonehaven War Mermorial in Aberdeen.

Unbelieveable: The Northern Lights display at Inverkirkaig, near Lochinver in Sutherlandshire, Scotland.
The display lasted for two hours before clouds obscured them.

Starry-eyed: The stars are caused by the collision of electronically charged particles with
atoms in the high altitude atmosphere

But if the outburst from the Sun is strong enough – and an eruption this week was particularly powerful – there are so many charged particles bombarding the atmosphere they can be seen from much lower latitudes, including southern Britain.

Dr Lucie Green, of Mullard Space Science Laboratory at University College London, said astronomers got wind that we were in for a spectacular week after satellites captured activity on our nearest star.

 She said: ‘When we were watching the Sun on Tuesday we saw that a particularly large and fast eruption leapt off from its atmosphere, and the models predicted that we would probably get a glancing blow from this eruption, and they were right.’

WATCH:  Amazing Auroras from Alaska - February 27, 2014.


She added: ‘They are always seen at high latitudes – they are there all the time. But when we get a large coronal mass ejection from the Sun, it erodes the Earth’s magnetic field and we get the lights at lower latitudes. In 1859, the lights were so strong they were seen almost down at the Equator.’

The colours of lights produced depend on the gases hit by the solar particles. The most common in northern latitudes is a yellowish pale green – caused as a result of collisions with oxygen atoms 60 miles high.

Stunning: The Northern Lights were also visible in the North East of England. Above, the Aurora Borealis
light up the sky near Hallbankgate in North Cumbria.

Out of this world: And they also appeared over areas of Scotland, such as Carrbridge in Inverness-shire (pictured).

Spectacular: People watch the Northern Lights, dance over St. Mary's Lighthouse in
Whitely Bay just outside Newcastle.

Watching in awe: A man watches the spectacular array of lights, which have caused the
lighthouse to gleam a blinding shade of white.

Hard to believe: The Northern Lights fill the sky with an eerie green above Ayr, Scotland, last night.

Colourful: The bay was lit up with purple, blue and green colours as millions of particles entered the earth's atmosphere.

Rarer red aurorae happen when particles striking oxygen 200 miles up. Nitrogen gas produces blue or purple light. Scientists know what causes the colours – but the reasons behind what causes patterns like shimmering curtains or steadily glowing sheets  remain a mystery.

This week’s lights were a reminder of the beauty of space weather – but also its dangers.

 Solar eruptions can knock out satellites, interfere with high frequency radio communications and damage electricity networks, said Dr Green.

Photographer William Henderson, who spotted the lights from Pan Tod Beacon on Ruardean Hill in Gloucestershire, said: 'Well tonight turned into something truly amazing.

'What was meant to be a simple night time shoot of the stars turned into something which I can only describe as awesome.

WATCH:  Aurora over Thurso Bay - February 27, 2014.


'This shot, taken at Pan Tod Beacon in Ruardean Hill shows the night time sky with a weird green glow. Is it a UFO? Is it the Northern Lights? Whatever it is, it was unbelievable!'

Meanwhile, stargazers in Norfolk, Essex, South Wales, Cumbria and parts of Scotland were also treated to stunning views of the Aurora Borealis.

Twitter user and meteorologist, Chris Bell, posted a stunning photograph from his home in Foxley, Norfolk at around 8pm last night.

Mark Thompson, presenter of Stargazing Live, told the BBC: ‘What happens is there is stuff called the solar wind, which is electronically charged particles, and they take two or three days to get here and when they do get here they cause the gas atoms in the sky to glow. It is as simple as that.’

The lights could be seen in the northern regions of the country last night, such as Whitely Bay in North Tyneside, where a lighthouse could be seen shining brightly.

Mesmerising: A beautiful display of lights is pictured above the house in Carrbridge -
giving the property warm yellow glow.

Mark Thompson told the BBC: 'The electronically charged particles take two or three days to get here'
Above, the Northern Lights at Sycamore Gap, Hadrian's Wall.

He added: 'When they do get here they cause the gas atoms in the sky to glow. It is as simple as that'.

The Aurora Borealis or as most people know them as the Northern Lights, is giving spectacular displays,
lighting up the skies over the UK under clear skies.

Breathtaking: A streak of red can be seen in the sky as dozens of rocks rest on Embleton Bay in Northumberland.

View: The Northern Lights are pictured above Thurso in Caithness last night.

They were also captured by photographers above Scotland-based homes in Carrbrige in Inverness-shire, and Inverkirkaig, near Lochinver in Sutherlandshire.

Mr Thompson said the aurora over Britain had been expected, after a burst of activity on the sun around four days ago, but that it had been brighter than expected.

‘Aurora displays usually happen around the North and South poles, so to see them this far south is pretty rare,’ he told the Eastern Daily Press.

‘I haven’t seen one like that in Norfolk for about 20 years.’

The aurora was due to last for several hours before fading during the early hours of this morning.

‘Scientifically, we don’t learn a lot from aurora borealis – they are just nice to look at,’ he added.

‘But I’m writing a book on astonomical photography at the moment and, as luck would have it, I got the chance to get some pictures of my own.’ - Daily Mail.

FIRE IN THE SKY: "This Comet Is A Weirdo, In A Retrograde Orbit" - NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) Spies Its First Comet!

March 01, 2014 - SPACE - NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft has spotted a never-before-seen comet -- its first such discovery since coming out of hibernation late last year.

Comet NEOWISE was first observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
(NEOWISE) spacecraft on Valentine's Day, 2014.  Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

"We are so pleased to have discovered this frozen visitor from the outermost reaches of our solar system," said Amy Mainzer, the mission's principal investigator from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "This comet is a weirdo – it is in a retrograde orbit, meaning that it orbits the sun in the opposite sense from Earth and the other planets."

Officially named "C/2014 C3 (NEOWISE)", the first comet discovery of the renewed mission came on Feb. 14 when the comet was about 143 million miles (230 million kilometers) from Earth. Although the comet’s orbit is still a bit uncertain, it appears to have arrived from its most distant point in the region of the outer planets. The mission's sophisticated software picked out the moving object against a background of stationary stars.

As NEOWISE circled Earth, scanning the sky, it observed the comet six times over half a day before the object moved out of its view. The discovery was confirmed by the Minor Planet Center, Cambridge, Mass., when follow-up observations were received three days later from the Near Earth Object Observation project Spacewatch, Tucson, Ariz. Other follow-up observations were then quickly received. While this is the first comet NEOWISE has discovered since coming out of hibernation, the spacecraft is credited with the discovery of 21 other comets during its primary mission.

Originally called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the spacecraft was shut down in 2011 after its primary mission was completed. In September 2013, it was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission to assist NASA's efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects. NEOWISE will also characterize previously known asteroids and comets to better understand their sizes and compositions.

JPL manages the NEOWISE mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, built the science instrument. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., built the spacecraft. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information on NEOWISE is online at: - NASA.