Ugandan President may prevent enactment of the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni this week gave LGBT activists a glimmer of hope that he will prevent enactment of the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill, which would toughen the country’s laws against homosexual activities.

In a meeting with several European Union ambassadors on Wednesday, March 28, Museveni praised the work of homosexuals in Uganda’s past.

As described by The Observer website in Uganda:

Museveni … gave a long history of homosexual practices in Uganda, saying that many years ago there were four prominent homosexuals, three of them chiefs and one who did great work for the country.

“Those people were not killed, not discriminated against and not persecuted,” he said.

The delegation included ambassadors and other official representatives from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Museveni’s remarks were reportedly in response to questions from the European ambassadors about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and…

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No one has ever attempted to journey to the core of an active volcano. Until now! Sir Richard Branson, Tom Hanks, Seth Green & Barbara Kopple go on the first expedition


Richard Branson launches journeys to the centre of the Earth through Virgin Volcanic

Republic of Vanuatu

Richard Branson launches journeys to the centre of the Earth through Virgin Volcanic. Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks to join first expedition.

Only 500 people have been to space, only three people have been to the bottom of the ocean, but no one has ever attempted to journey to the core of an active volcano. Until now.

Using patented carbon-carbon materials pioneered for deep space exploration, Virgin is proud to announce a revolutionary new vehicle, VVS1, which will be capable of plunging three people into the molten lava core of an active volcano.

In its first three years of operation, Virgin Volcanic‘s VVS1 will target the five most active volcanoes in the world:

•    Etna – Sicily, Italy
•    Stromboli – Aeolian Islands
•    Yasur – Republic of Vanuatu
•    Ambrym – Republic of Vanuatu
•    Tinakula – Solomon Islands

Sir Richard Branson will go on the first expedition along with Tom Hanks, Academy Award winning actor and star of Joe Versus the Volcano; Black Eyed Peas recording artist and science enthusiast; actor/producer Seth Green; and two-time Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple.

Virgin registered Virgin Volcanic in the late 1990s in anticipation of the development of technology to explore active volcanoes.

Sir Richard said: “I have a long held a fascination with volcanoes having read Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth as a young boy. I decided that one day I would go there too. Alongside our adventures with Virgin Galactic and Virgin Oceanic, volcanoes are the next great unexplored terrain. What can I say, I lava challenge!”

Tom Hanks said: “A window seat for a journey to the liquid core of our home planet would be a bargain at twice the price.”

Documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple has closed a deal with Virgin Produced to direct a documentary around the Virgin Volcanic project utilising groundbreaking 3D technology called VD. Additionally, recording artist (and passenger) plans to record the first volcanic soundtrack for the film, recorded entirely inside a live active volcano. The soundtrack will be released in conjunction with the documentary.

Volcanologist Frederick Smith, based in the Republic of Vanuatu currently conducting preliminary tests on Yasur, added: “The project will derive important scientific results to help control and monitor active volcanoes. It is believed a new level of the Volcanic Explosivity Index could be found above and beyond the current high of Level 8 – Supervolcanic.”

The team behind Virgin Volcanic believes going to the core of the five most active volcanoes is just the first step. In future this technology can be developed as a clean, safe and fast alternative to trans- continental commercial aviation. By taking the heat from molten lava Virgin Volcanic plans to develop a totally renewable energy source to power the VVS1. It is seen as a way to literally fulfill Richard Branson’s philosophy of screwing business as usual. This would involve going through the Earth rather than round it. Experts predict that one could travel from Hawaii to Naples in a couple of hours via the molten lava flows, with passengers boarding and disembarking from a network of “Earthports” close to the world’s volcanoes.

Seth Green is among a long list of Early Volcanauts, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stephen Hawking, who have put down the $1m deposit to reserve an early seat. Seth Green commented: “Ever since filming Austin Powers, I’ve had this obsession with underground layers. Ive waited patiently for Sir Richard to make the dream of traveling to the Earth’s core a reality.”

The first Virgin Volcanic trips are scheduled for 2015. Go to to find out more. Do you have what it takes to join the Virgin Volcanic back-up team? Tell us why below, or use the #virginvolcanic hashtag.

By Greg Rose. Senior Content & Marketing Executive, Virgin Group Digital. Tweets @greglrose

  • Have Your Say


Deal Of The Day

DEAL OF THE DAY – Need to grab a quick flight? Virgin Americais here with plenty of discount offers…
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Discount tickets, flight deals and fares to fly by. See this week’s special prices on flights in our Price To Fly Act.

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Incredible stuff, especially after one realises the 1st of April is not until tomorrow…..See:

Epidemic in China: 4 dead, 11,000 ill with Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD)

Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) has killed four people and sickened more than 11,000 others in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and more people are likely to be affected by the disease as it enters its peak, health authorities said Saturday. During the first quarter this year, a total of 11,757 HFMD cases have been reported in Guangxi, up 38.24 percent from the same period last year, the Guangxi regional health department said in a statement. The infectious disease has plagued other areas in China. Central Hunan province has seen a surge in cases of hand-foot-mouth disease since the beginning of this month, with over 1,000 cases reported over the past week, according to local health authorities. Also 20 children of a kindergarten in Hong Kong have been infected by the disease. Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection said the patients, 13 boys and seven girls from two to five years old, started to show symptoms of HFMD since March 23. Children under three years old are especially susceptible to break-outs of HFMD. The disease starts with a slight fever followed by blisters and ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. The HFMD virus is usually transmitted through digestive and respiratory systems or through intimate contact. China’s Ministry of Health on Monday issued a statement, urging local governments of all levels to intensify the prevention and control of HFMD as well as other infectious diseases. Ministry figures showed that, in February, China’s mainland reported over 467,000 cases of infectious disease and 1,246 related deaths, of which 11 people died of HFMD. The Guangxi regional disease control and prevention center has since intensified training among medical workers in handling the disease and strengthened advertisement among the people about the disease. Health authorities in Hunan have ordered measures to closely monitor and prevent cases of the disease, especially at primary schools and kindergartens. South China’s Hainan province also kicked off a one-month campaign on March 20 to inspect prevention and control work of the disease. – RSOE

5 crew hurt as fire disables cruise ship near Philippines – Update: Ship repaired & en route Malaysia

Philippine coast guards en route to rescue 1,000 people aboard Azamara Quest, which lost power after engine room fire.

60 British tourists are on board. 5 crew hurt, 1 needs urgent medical attentio

Sky News: Philippine Coastguard say ship has been repaired and is sailing toward Malaysia.

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1 dead, 200 injured in West Bank Israeli – Palestinian Land Day clashes – Video

Gaza youth has reportedly been killed while over 200 people have been wounded throughout the West Bank

Dalai Lama wins $1.7 mn Templeton spiritual prize


World | Posted on Mar 31, 2012 at 02:32am IST

Dalai Lama wins $1.7 mn Templeton spiritual prize


Tibet: Tibet’s Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama has won the 2012 Templeton Prize worth $1.7 million for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life, the US-based John Templeton Foundation said on Thursday.

The spiritual leader “vigorously focused on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism as a way to better understand and advance what both disciplines might offer the world”, the foundation said in a statement.

The announcement came as Tibetan protests against Chinese rule intensify. Thirty Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in the past year, according to Tibetan rights groups. At least 20 have died.

Dalai Lama wins $1.7 mn Templeton spiritual prize

A Tibetan man died on Wednesday after setting himself on fire in New Delhi, activists said, hours before Chinese President Hu Jintao was due to arrive in India for an emerging market nations summit.

The Dalai Lama has angered the Chinese government by refusing to condemn the protests and accusing Beijing of overseeing a “cultural genocide” against Tibetans.

China has ruled Tibet since 1950 when Communist troops occupied the country. The Dalai Lama escaped to live in exile in India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama, 76, who his followers believe is the reincarnation of an ancient Buddhist leader, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

Responding to the award, he said in video for the foundation that it was “another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly nonviolence and unity around different religious traditions”.

The prize will be awarded at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on May 14.

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Fire aboard 6* cruise ship off Borneo – Updated 2147BST 30th March

Engine room Fire aboard 6* cruise ship off Borneo. passengers sent to cabins. Many western tourists. All currently accounted for.


Simon Browning


BBC Broadcast Journalist

2147BST Update: The luxury cruise liner, Azamara Quest,�reported a fire�in the engine room on Friday at 8:19 pm local time. The fire was quickly extinguished� and there were no reports of injuries or casualties.

MasterCard, Visa warn of suspected “massive” security breach, may affect millions of cardholders

MasterCard and Visa have confirmed they are investigating a suspected security breach involving a third-party vendor in the US - rumoured to be a “massive” security breach.

[ooyala code=”swbTZjNDqFoZn0Aa33NcFv8kPATv2aTX”]

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A NASA spacecraft saw a huge tornado spinning on the Sun last September, and likely captured the first images filmed in high-resolution at multiple wavelengths . Click here to watch the video in Scott Pelley’s report on CBS. (Video courtesy NASA/Goddard/Li/University of Aberystwyth.)

NASA says the tornado stretched 124,000 miles tall as it was spinning 186,000 miles per hour! At that rate, it heated up to 3.5 million degrees Fahrenheit. These “tornadoes” on the Sun are actually called “solar prominences,” and have been a known about by astronomers for decades watching solar activity. Even though the prominences look like tornadoes we know on Earth, they form by an entirely different process. Solar tornadoes are magnetic spiral structures that form when huge injections of plasma from the Sun’s surface shoots upward. This charged, superheated gas travels “along the helical shape of the structure’s magnetic…

View original post 209 more words

‘Free slap on the head’ for panic buying motorists

As the nation’s anxiety grew over a potential petrol crisis, one relaxed motorist – Dickon Johnstone – has become an online hit after promising panic-buyers a common sense-inducing ‘free slap on the head’.

15 Vietnamese sailors stuck in East Timor – Tuoitrenews


15 Vietnamese sailors on a cargo ship that has not been able to leave a Timor-Leste port after running out of fuel and food a month ago have sent an appeal to Tuoi Tre for assistance.

In the appeal they said their ship, the An Phu 18, operated by Hai Phong city -based An Thanh Phat 386 Co Ltd, left My Thoi Port, An Giang Province on January 11, 2012, carrying rice to Timor-Leste’s port of Dili for delivery.

The ship landed at the port on January1譛� 22 but the ship had to wait until February2譛� 13 for unloading. One week later, the delivery was finished but the ship could not return to Vietnam since it had run  out of fuel, food, and even drinking water.

The ship’s captain, Hoang Tri Thai  told Tuoi Tre over the phone that he had reported  the situation to the company but received no feedback.

“For the past month, we have lived on support from the company’s agent in Timor-Leste and port authorities We are suffering from a lack of food and drinks,” he said.

Some sailors  also said they had to collect rainwater for their daily use and begged the company’s agentfor food.

Talking with Tuoi Tre, Le Thanh Tung, director of the company, said he had hired the ship, with a tonnage of 3,060 tons, from Hai Phong-based Financial Leasing Company No. 1 under the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

He confirmed that the ship was stuck in Dili but said that the sailors on board are not hungry, since the company has sent US$3,000 to its agent there to buy necessities for them.

He said, however, that “our company is facing financial difficulties and is not able to pay for expenses for the ship to leave and return to Vietnam. We will work with the bank on a bankruptcy announcement and will give back the ship to the bank, which will then take steps to arrange  for the ship  to return  home.”

According to Xa Luan newswire, the stranded  sailors  have also sent an appeal  to Vietnam’s Foreign  Ministry  for help. –

Tropical Storm PAKHAR update 09:45 GMT/UTC 30 March


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18:00 JST, 30 March 2012

All Tropical Cyclones

1201 1201

TS 1201 (PAKHAR)
Issued at 09:45 UTC, 30 March 2012

<Analyses at 30/09 UTC>
Center position N9°50′(9.8°)
Direction and speed of movement WNW Slowly
Central pressure 998hPa
Maximum wind speed near the center 20m/s(40kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 30m/s(60kt)
Area of 30kt winds or more ALL220km(120NM)
<Forecast for 31/09 UTC>
Center position of probability circle N10°00′(10.0°)
Direction and speed of movement W Slowly
Central pressure 994hPa
Maximum wind speed near the center 23m/s(45kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 35m/s(65kt)
Radius of probability circle 130km(70NM)
<Forecast for 01/06 UTC>
Center position of probability circle N10°30′(10.5°)
Direction and speed of movement WNW Slowly
Central pressure 994hPa
Maximum wind speed near the center 23m/s(45kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 35m/s(65kt)
Radius of probability circle 200km(110NM)
<Forecast for 02/06 UTC>
Center position of probability circle N11°20′(11.3°)
Direction and speed of movement WNW Slowly
Central pressure 1004hPa
Maximum sustained wind speed 18m/s(35kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 25m/s(50kt)
Radius of probability circle 300km(160NM)

1KT(knot) = 1.852 km/h = 0.5144 m/s
1NM(nautical mile) = 1.852 km

Red Alert for Vietnam Typhoon (from 29/03/2012 12:00 UTC to 30/03/2012 00:00)


GDACS is a cooperation framework between the United Nations, the European Commission and disaster managers worldwide to improve alerts, information exchange and coordination in the first phase after major sudden-onset disasters.

Red Tropical Cyclone alert in Vietnam for PAKHAR-12 from 29/03/2012 12:00 UTC to 30/03/2012 00:00 UTC
Automatic impact report for tropical cyclone PAKHAR-12

Red alert for wind impact in Vietnam

This tropical cyclone is expected to have a high humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path.

Current storm status

This report is for advisory number 5 of tropical cyclone PAKHAR-12 issued at 3/30/2012 12:00:00 AM (GDACS Event ID 29158, Latest episode ID: 5).

Current impact estimate:

  • Population affected by Category 1 (120 km/h) wind speeds or higher is 0.7million
  • Hurricane/Typhoon > 74 mph (maximum wind speed of 148 km/h)
  • Vulnerability of affected countries: High
  • The tropical cyclone did not reach sufficient strength to cause significant storm surge. No calculations were performed.

Impact of Extreme Wind

Cloud map
Cloud map. The map shows the areas affected by tropical storm strength winds (green), 58mph winds (orange) and cyclone wind strengths (red). (Source: JRC)

Affected population

Up to 710000 people people can be affected by wind speeds of cyclone strength or above. In addition, 80000 people people are living in coastal areas below 5m and can therefore be affected by storm surge.

Affected countries

Country Region/Province Population
Vietnam Lam Dong 750000 people
Vietnam Binh Thuan 860000 people

Affected cities

Name Region/Province Country City class Population
Hòa Da Binh Thuan Vietnam City no people
Phan Thiet Binh Thuan Vietnam City 150000 people

Critical infrastructure

Airports, ports, nuclear plants and hydrodams at risk, if affected, are listed below.

Nearby and affected airports
Name IATA Code Elevation (m) Usage Runway type IFR Runway Length (ft)
Song Mao 26
Phan Thiet PHH 61

Event time line

The storm evolution is shown in the table below. Alert levels and population estimates are related to the area from a point to the next.

Advisory Alert color Date (UTC) Category Wind speed Wind gusts Population affected
by cyclone winds (>120km/h)
Location (lon, lat)
3/29/2012 Tropical depression 56 km/h (35 mph) 74 km/h (46 mph) no people 112.3, 9.7
3/29/2012 6:00:00 AM Tropical storm 64 km/h (40 mph) 84 km/h (52 mph) no people 112, 9.8
3/29/2012 12:00:00 PM Tropical storm 84 km/h (52 mph) 101 km/h (63 mph) no people 111.7, 9.9
3/29/2012 6:00:00 PM Tropical storm 101 km/h (63 mph) 130 km/h (81 mph) no people 111.7, 9.8
3/30/2012 Category 1 121 km/h (75 mph) 148 km/h (92 mph) no people 111.3, 9.7
3/30/2012 12:00:00 PM Category 1 138 km/h (86 mph) 167 km/h (104 mph) no people 110.7, 9.9
3/31/2012 Category 1 148 km/h (92 mph) 185 km/h (115 mph) no people 110, 10.2
3/31/2012 12:00:00 PM Category 1 148 km/h (92 mph) 185 km/h (115 mph) 760000 people 109.2, 10.6
4/1/2012 Category 1 121 km/h (75 mph) 148 km/h (92 mph) 1.5 million people 108.2, 11.1
4/2/2012 Tropical storm 64 km/h (40 mph) 84 km/h (52 mph) 710000 people 107.2, 11.7
4/3/2012 Tropical depression 37 km/h (23 mph) 56 km/h (35 mph) no people 106.5, 12.2

Previous advisories

For accessing reports of previous advisories, please click on the advisory number in the table below.

Advisory Alert color Date Category Maximum sustained
wind speed (km/h)
Population affected
by cyclone winds (>120km/h)
Affected countries Date added
1 3/29/2012 12:00:00 AM Tropical storm 101 No people affected Vietnam 29/03/2012 05:18
2 3/29/2012 6:00:00 AM Tropical storm 101 No people affected Vietnam 29/03/2012 13:22
3 3/29/2012 12:00:00 PM Tropical storm 111 No people affected Vietnam 29/03/2012 16:26
4 3/29/2012 6:00:00 PM Category 1 130 430 thousand Vietnam 29/03/2012 23:50
5 3/30/2012 12:00:00 AM Category 1 148 710 thousand Vietnam 30/03/2012 04:50

More information

Data resources

For a full list of available products related to this event, please refer to the GDACS Resources page.

About the data

The information on storm characteristics is taken from a web service provided by the Pacific Disaster Center, which processes the official advisory bulletins.

JRC calculates areas affected by high winds (wind buffers at 39, 58 and 74mph). This is done using the maximum reported wind radius (maximum of 4 quadrants) or, in case no wind radii are provided, through a regression analysis based on historical data. JRC also calculates the area affected by storm surge using HyFlux2 (hydrodynamic software).

Sources for data on critical infrastructure are: JRC NUMAS database (nuclear plants), ESRI (hydro dams, 1996), Global Discovery (airports, ports and cities).

Population data is from LandScan 2010.


While we try everything to ensure accuracy, this information is purely indicative and should not be used for any decision making without alternate sources of information. The JRC is not responsible for any damage or loss resulting from the use of the information presented on this website.

Texas Tornado

Possible in McAllen, TX. Take cover now!


4 N McAllen, TX — public reports — 6 INCH DEEP HAIL up to quarter size at Nolana and Ware Rd. Broken Windows

Video: Severe weather traps 200 people at McAllen bingo hall

George Galloway has claimed a shock victory in the Bradford West by-election.

George Galloway has claimed a shock victory in the Bradford West by-election.

The Respect candidate has tweeted tonight: “By the Grace of God we have won the most sensational victory in British political history.” Labour candidate Imran Hussein had been expected to gain a comfortable victory, but Mr Galloway now could be set for a sensational return to Parliament.

The official result is expected in the early hours of Friday morning, and Conservatives’ candidate Jackie Whiteley is expected to take third place. The by-election was called after Labour MP Marsha Singh resigned on health grounds.

Tropical Storm Pakhar Nr 9.8N 111.7E at 1800GMT/UTC 29th March

Tropical Storm Pakhar Nr 9.8N 111.7E at 1800GMT/UTC 29th March

Tropical Storm – Pakhar, NW Pacific Ocean, Winds 55 kt, Gusts 70 kt, reported by JTWC

TWC upgraded Pakhar to typhoon strength:

GDACS has issued a Red Alert for wind impact in Vietnam:

U.S. soldier throws himself in front of vehicle, dies saving Afghan girl

CNN Security Clearance

By Larry Shaughnessy

After the news of a U.S. soldier charged with murdering Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, the story of Spc. Dennis Weichel of the Rhode Island National Guard bears telling.

The official Pentagon news release says he died “from injuries suffered in a noncombat related incident.” But there is much more to the story. Weichel, 29, of Providence, died saving the life of a little girl.

View original post 283 more words

US moving minesweepers to waters near Iran

CNN Security Clearance

By Barbara Starr

Four Navy minesweepers will be on their way to the Persian Gulf within weeks as part of an effort to boost American military capability in the region amid rising tensions with Iran, a Navy official says.

The minesweepers will be loaded onto cargo ships leaving the United States in late April, according to the Navy official.

View original post 358 more words

Tropical Storm Pakhar to make landfall in central Vietnam, N of Ho Chi Minh City on March 31

Tropical Storm Pakhar to make landfall in central Vietnam, N of Ho Chi Minh City on March 31

Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Pakhar to make landfall in central Vietnam, north of Ho Chi Minh City on March 31. Residents should prepare for rough surf along beaches, gusty winds and heavy rainfall.