Monday, June 18, 2018

Earthquakes

Strong quake near Osaka, Japan, kills 4, knocks over walls - AP
AP reports: "Residents in western Japan were cleaning up debris Monday evening after a powerful earthquake hit the area around Osaka, the country’s second-largest city, killing four people and injuring hundreds while knocking over walls and setting off fires. The magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck the area early Monday damaged buildings and left many homes without water or gas. The quake also grounded flights in and out of Osaka and paralyzed traffic and commuter trains most of the day."

Comment: Weren't we just talking about the ring of fire getting more active. Japan is a part of that seismically active region and accustomed to earthquakes. They have very stringent building codes because of it, so it's not surprising to find older structures impacted more than the modern buildings.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Rumors of War

German police search apartments for ricin in anti-terror raids - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Police in Cologne, Germany, searched several apartments in a high-rise complex Friday after finding ricin earlier this week. Authorities found the highly toxic substance in the apartment of Sief Allah H, a 29-year-old Tunisian man, on Tuesday. He is suspected of planning a biological terror attack. There was enough ricin found for up to 1,000 toxic doses. Ricin is 6,000 times more powerful than cyanide and can cause organ failure and death within 36 to 48 hours. The substance can take the form of a powder, a mist, pellet or can be dissolved in water. There is no known antidote."

Comment: Score one for the good guys. That would have been a terrible terrorist attack, glad it was thwarted in time. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Earthquakes

Earthquake strikes Kilauea volcano summit for fourth day - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A large earthquake struck the summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano for the fourth day in a row on Thursday morning. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said a small explosion occurred at 3:19 a.m. and produced a lava plume which rose 6,000 feet above sea level. 'This event and many of its precursory earthquakes were felt widely in the Volcano area,' the observatory said."

Comment: The "ring of fire" continues to be quite active. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Jerusalem Security - Covenant With Many

U.N. General Assembly condemns Israeli violence against Palestinians - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Israel's use of excessive force on Palestinian civilians. The resolution passed by a vote of 120-8 with 45 countries abstaining. A U.S. bid to condemn Hamas, a Palestinian fundamentalist group, for attacks on Israel also received a majority vote in favor -- 62-58 with 42 abstaining -- but the president of the General Assembly rejected it because it didn't have the required two-thirds majority to pass. The resolution is unlikely to lead to any action against Israel because the United States, a close ally of the nation, would veto it."

Comment: While I'm grateful to see the U.S. stand by an ally and for the support of those few countries who voted for Israel, it's sobering to see how easily world opinion is rallied against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians.  I was just reading a report the other day about Palestinians sending kites over Israel that are on fire and they land in fields and then burn crops. No mention of that here, just the general impression that the Palestinians are peaceful and gentle people being oppressed by Israel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Rumors of War

Bill Richardson: U.S., North Korea statement has ‘no meat on bones’ - UPI.com
UPI reports: "President Donald Trump's negotiations with Kim Jong Un paves the path to diplomacy, but doubts remain among experts whether the joint statement signed Tuesday in Singapore provides a guarantee Pyongyang will comply with U.S. requirements for denuclearization. Bill Richardson, the veteran North Korea negotiator and former governor of New Mexico, said during a phone briefing on Tuesday the summit achieved a personal connection between Trump and Kim. 'We're on a path to diplomacy, rather than military confrontation, an easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, because of this historic summit, the personal connection of the two leaders,' the former U.S. envoy to the United Nations said. 'Another positive would be the fact that there's a process starting, a process of continued negotiations.'"

Comment: There is a very good chance that the Korean War is almost over...maybe.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ten Kings

G7 leaders defend summit after President Donald Trump disowns free trade communique - UPI.com
UPI reports: "British Prime Minister Theresa May called on the United States Monday to honor agreements that were made at the G7 summit in Canada. The British leader echoed disappointment from other leaders that President Donald Trump first agreed to a communique for 'free, fair and mutually beneficial trade' and the reduction of 'tariff barriers,' but later tweeted he wouldn't endorse the deal. May said Britain will honor the agreement."

Comment: They used to call the American president the "leader of the free world." Did you ever imagine there would be a time when that was no longer true? Strange days indeed. If the U.S. relinquishes the leadership role do you think that maybe this is setting the stage for another leader to take the role?

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Rumors of War - Persia

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu pressures Europe to quit Iran deal during trip - UPI.com UPI reports: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent his three-day trip to Europe attempting to persuade Germany, France and Britain to quit the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu, a steadfast opponent of the nuclear deal since it was signed in 2015, accused Iran of 'trying to conquer' the Middle East with its military presence in Syria. The Israeli leader also lobbied European powers to follow the lead of the United States and pull out of the Iran nuclear accord. [...] Tuesday, Iran announced it would begin plans to increase the country's uranium enrichment within the terms of the 2015 agreement following Trump's withdrawal from the accord."

Comment: I don't think he made much headway but he certainly gets points for trying. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Rumors of War - Persia

Iran to prepare uranium enrichment within terms of nuclear deal - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Iranian leader Ali Khamenei ordered his country's atomic organization to notify the United Nations of plans to increase its capacity to produce uranium hexafluoride, a key ingredient for enrichment. [...] the Iranian leader said the increased production would fall within 'the framework provided' by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The announcement comes weeks after the United States withdrew from the accord, an international agreement also approved by China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and the European Union."

Comment: To say they are increasing enrichment but that it's ok because it's within the scope of the nuclear deal is to underscore exactly why the nuclear deal was flawed. Right?

Monday, June 04, 2018

Fearsome Events - Earthquakes

Dozens dead, 1.7M affected by Mount Fuego eruption in Guatemala - UPI.com
UPI reports: "At least 62 people died after the sudden eruption of Guatemala's Mount Fuego, a seismic event that's affecting nearly 2 million people, local authorities said. [...] Thick ash exploded from the top of the 12,000-foot mountain and winds blew ash northwest toward the cities of San Luca, Antigua Guatemala, Alotenango, Chimaltenago and Zaragoza. The country's seismology institute said the eruption of Mount Fuego, Spanish for 'fire mountain,' sent ash and debris nearly 33,000 feet into the air."

Comment: It seems like the Ring of Fire is getting quite active lately.