Chinese warships have pointed missile radars at Japanese military targets and taken the two regional powers to the brink of "a dangerous situation", say Japanese officials.
The news overnight marks a dangerous escalation of a four-month diplomatic and military stand-off between Australia's two largest trading partners, involving disputed islets in the East China Sea.
Japan's defence minister, Itsunori Onodera, told reporters last night that a Chinese frigate pointed a missile control radar at the Japanese destroyer Yuudachi on January 30.
"Something like fire-control radar was directed at a Japan Self-Defense Maritime escort ship in the East China Sea," Mr Onodera told reporters in Tokyo.
He also said a Chinese vessel had similarly targeted a Japanese ship-based helicopter two weeks earlier.
"This is extremely abnormal behaviour," Mr Onodera said.
"One step in the wrong direction could have pushed things into a dangerous situation," he said.
Diplomats and military officials in the United States, Japan and China had previously warned that the dispute was only one accident away from open military conflict.
But last night's news out of Tokyo suggests the two regional powers have come closer to live fire than many had feared.
The quake, with a magnitude 8.0, struck at 01:12 GMT near the Santa Cruz islands, the US Geological Survey said.
A tsunami measuring 0.9m (3ft) then hit Lata on eastern Santa Cruz island, swamping the island's airport.
The worst of the damage was said to have been on the western coast of Santa Cruz, with one report putting the waves there at 1.5m.
Medical staff at Lata hospital said five people had been killed - four elderly people and one young boy.
But director of nursing Augustine Pilve told New Zealand television that number could rise.
"It's more likely that other villages along the coast of Santa Cruz may be affected," he said.
Robert Iroga, press secretary to the Solomons prime minister, told the BBC that the waves west of Lata had travelled some 500m inland, and that three villages had been damaged.
Many of the homes in the area were semi-permanent, he said, and were reported to have been flattened.
Police were travelling to the area, he said, and the priority was to ensure the local airport is functioning so aid and supplies can be flown in.
Another government spokesman, George Herming, said reports suggested that between 60 to 70 homes have been damaged in four villages on Santa Cruz Islands.
A restive "super volcano" west of Naples is raising nervousness in the local Italian population. The ground of the Campi Flegrei "burning fields", also known as the Phlegraean Fields, has risen more in recent weeks than it has in a long time.
Italy's Department of Civil Protection recently raised the alert level for the Phlegraean Fields, where Wiersberg said the ground was rising by about three centimetres a month.
There are concerns that a magma chamber under the fields, presumably connected to the one under Mount Vesuvius, east of Naples, is filling up, the rising pressure possibly heightening the danger of an eruption.
Are we witnessing the start of a historic financial meltdown in Europe? In recent days, two massive corruption scandals have greatly shaken confidence in European financial markets. The first involves Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. It is being alleged that he has been receiving illegal cash payments, and the calls for his resignation grow louder with each passing day. The second is a derivatives scandal at the third largest bank in Italy. Allegedly, there were some very large unreported derivatives deals that were supposed to help hide losses at the bank, but instead they actually made the losses much larger. The investigation that is looking into this derivatives scandal is starting to spread to other banks, and nobody is quite sure how far down the rabbit hole this thing goes. But what everyone does agree on is that this derivatives scandal has shaken up Italian politics, and the outcome of the upcoming election is now very uncertain. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is rapidly rising in the polls, and the European establishment is less than thrilled about that. Meanwhile, stock indexes all over Europe fell rapidly on Monday, and even the Dow was down 129 points. So will all this blow over in a few days, or is this the beginning of a full-blown stock market crash in Europe?
That is a very good question. Perhaps there would not be so much concern if the overall European economy was doing well, but the truth is that the underlying economic fundamentals in Europe have continued to get even worse. The unemployment rate in the eurozone is at an all-time high, and the unemployment rates in both Greece and Spain are now over 26 percent. Much of southern Europe is already in the midst of a full-blown economic depression, so it really has been remarkable that the financial markets in Europe have been able to hold up as well as they have so far.
In fact, the entire globe is on the verge of a debt implosion. This was something that Bill Gross of Pimco discussed in his February newsletter…
“So our credit-based financial markets and the economy it supports are levered, fragile and increasingly entropic – it is running out of energy and time. When does money run out of time? The countdown begins when investable assets pose too much risk for too little return; when lenders desert credit markets for other alternatives such as cash or real assets.”
No debt bubble can expand indefinitely. At some point it can no longer hold itself together.
Europe is rapidly approaching that point, and so is the United States.
So how much time do we have left?
Iran already has nuclear capabilities but is not interested in attacking Israel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview published Wednesday in the Egyptian media.
Ahmadinejad arrived in Egypt on Tuesday on the first trip by an Iranian head of state since the 1979 revolution, underlining the thaw in relations since Egyptians elected an Islamist head of state last year. The president's visit to Cairo is for an Islamic summit due to begin Wednesday.
The world must now relate to Iran as an atomic power, Ahmadinejad told Al-Ahram, as it is "already a nuclear state." He said that Tehran does not seek a military confrontation with Israel, and did not threaten to strike the "Zionist entity." In fact, Al-Ahram quoted him as saying, all of Iran's military capabilities are "defensive".
Yeah, why would Iran want to use their nukes against Israel when they have so many friends who are planning to do it for them? Can't wait to see what God has in store for these rabid dogs!
When Iran says its not interested in attacking Israel , just remember..Irans leader is satanically guided and of course, Satan is the father of lies. Iran publically told UN they--Iran-wnt to eliminate Israel frm the world.
Gods judgements r at wrk letting us know His Son is coming soon for His Bride, and to me, that is the epitome of anticipation.
Iran is continuing their smoke screen as usual, by saying they have, but won't use nukes. Ahmadinejad would love to be the person that goes down in Iranian history for exterminating Israel. He would have already used it if he had it.
Iran already having the bomb is a shocker....and I don't believe it.
I think back to just last week when they announced their domestically produced stealth fighter. Later analysis showed the cockpit won't close, it had no more wiring than a single engine cub airplane, and so on. They had a shell and that was about it.
As for the financial markets....again, I don't think we're guiet there yet. The PTB want more debt created before things go belly up. They believe they own all the things created by this magic money, and once the city, states, countries go belly up they will own it all, to include your home that was purchased with the 80 billion/month of mortgage backed securities (mortgages) they are buying.
It won't be long, for sure. But not quiet yet.....I don't believe. Believe is the operative word.
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