Friday, May 29, 2015

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

My Way News - Pentagon chief criticizes Beijing's South China Sea moves
My Way News reports: "China's land reclamation in the South China Sea is out of step with international rules, and turning underwater land into airfields won't expand its sovereignty, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told an international security conference Saturday, stepping up America's condemnation of the communist giant as Beijing officials sat in the audience."

My Way News - Japan, EU agree to step up defense, economic ties
My Way News reports: "Japanese and European leaders agreed Friday to step up defense and economic ties, and expressed concern about rising tensions in the South China Sea. European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker welcomed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to allow Japan's military a greater international role."

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

War

My Way News - Kurdish fighters in Syria on the march against IS militants
My Way News reports: "In contrast to the Iraqi army's failures, Kurdish fighters in Syria are on the march against the Islamic State group, capturing towns and villages in an oil-rich swath of the country's northeast under the cover of U.S.-led airstrikes. As the Kurds close in on Tel Abyad, a major commercial center on the Turkish border, their advance highlights the decisive importance of combining airstrikes with the presence of a cohesive and motivated ally on the ground — so clearly absent in Iraq."

Comment: The Kurds are a good example of how to do it right. Anyone paying attention?

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Global Government - Ten Kings

My Way News - Top finance officials debate what's needed for global growth
My Way News reports: "Economic growth that's not as strong as everyone would like. Volatile markets. A potential financial blowup in Greece. Those were three of the most pressing topics hanging over top finance officials from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies at their gathering in Dresden, Germany. Finance ministers and central banks traded ideas on growth-boosting reforms and discussed financial markets and monetary policy. The talks were marked by concern over growth that is uneven and below long-term averages."

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King of the North - Rumors of War

My Way News - Russia classifies military casualties in peacetime
My Way News reports: "Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to make losses of Russian troops in peacetime a secret. The decree published on the official government website and signed by Putin on Thursday makes it a state secret to divulge information about peacetime losses of Russian troops in 'special operations.' The decree comes as evidence of Russian involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine is mounting."

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pestilence

My Way News - Pentagon: Military mistakenly shipped live anthrax samples
My Way News reports: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday it is investigating what the Pentagon called an inadvertent shipment of live anthrax spores to government and commercial laboratories in as many as nine states, as well as one overseas, that expected to receive dead spores. [...] The anthrax samples were shipped from Dugway to government and commercial labs in Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, California and Virginia."

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pestilence

My Way News - Man diagnosed with Lassa fever dies in US after Liberia trip
My Way News reports: "A New Jersey man died Monday evening after been diagnosed with Lassa fever — a frightening infectious disease from West Africa that is rarely seen in the United States, a federal health official said. [...] Health officials said they don't think the case is cause for public alarm. Lassa fever is not spread through casual contact."

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Fearsome Events

My Way News - Floodwaters deepen in Houston after city gets more rain:
My Way News reports: "Floodwaters deepened across much of Texas on Tuesday as storms dumped almost a foot more of rain on the Houston area, stranding hundreds of motorists and inundating the famously congested highways that serve the nation's fourth-largest city. Meanwhile, the search went on for about a dozen people who were still missing, including a group that disappeared after a vacation home was swept down a river and slammed into a bridge. Several more fatalities were reported — four in Houston and four more in Central Texas. That brought to 17 the number of people killed by the holiday weekend storms in Texas and Oklahoma."

Comment: It is incredible to think that they received more rain in one day than many areas receive in an entire season. 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wars and Rumors of War

My Way News - Legion of foreign fighters battles for Islamic State
My Way News reports: "The contingent of foreigners who have taken up arms on behalf of Islamic State during the past 3 1/2 years is more than twice as big as the French Foreign Legion. The conflict in Syria and Iraq has now drawn more volunteer fighters than past Islamist causes in Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia — and an estimated eight out of 10 enlistees have joined Islamic State."

My Way News - Islamic State seizes ancient town of Palmyra in Syria
My Way News reports: "Islamic State extremists captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra after government defense lines there collapsed Wednesday, a stunning triumph for the group only days after it captured the strategic city of Ramadi in Iraq. "

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Future Fear

My Way News - Merkel, Hollande commit to global climate protection
My Way News reports: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande confirmed their commitment to fighting global warning Tuesday, gathering with others in Berlin to prepare for this year's U.N. Climate Change Conference."

My Way News - Future for warming US: Not just the heat but the humanity
My Way News reports: "The combination of global warming and shifting population means that by mid-century, there will be a huge increase in the number of Americans sweating through days that are extremely hot, a new study says. People are migrating into areas — especially in the South — where the heat is likely to increase more, said the authors of a study published Monday by the journal Nature Climate Change. "

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Wars

My Way News - Rout in Ramadi calls US Iraq strategy into question
My Way News reports: "On Monday, administration officials acknowledged the fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, as a "setback" in America's latest effort in Iraq. They still maintained the campaign would ultimately bring victory. But anything close to a victory appeared far off."

Comment: So strange that these modern wars never really seem to end. Have we entered an era of war without end?

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Wars and Rumors of War

My Way News - IS group seizes government compound in Iraq's Ramadi
My Way News reports: "Islamic State militants seized the main government headquarters in Ramadi, raising their black flag over the compound and setting it ablaze hours after a series of suicide car bombings heralded the start of a major new offensive by the extremists on the strategic city. The advance marked a significant setback for the Iraqi government in its long fight to defend Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province, where Iraqi forces have made little progress against the extremist group despite months of U.S.-led airstrikes."

Comment: It would be unfortunate if IS took and secured Ramadi. It would be hard to make the case that IS is in retreat if that happens.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rumors of War - Persia

My Way News - Obama: Gulf nation leaders support Iran nuclear talks
My Way News reports: "President Barack Obama says leaders of Gulf allies at a summit have agreed that a comprehensive, verifiable deal that blocks Iran's pathway to a nuclear weapon would serve everyone's interests. But Obama says the region will still face a range of threats whether a final deal is or isn't reached with Iran by a June 30 deadline. He says the U.S. and the Gulf nations pledged Thursday to work together to address the threats, including those blamed on destabilizing behavior by Iran."

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Covenant With Many

Reuters - Vatican agrees first treaty with State of Palestine, solidifying relationship
Reuters reports: "The Vatican concluded its first treaty that formally recognises the State of Palestine, a move that gives legal weight to the Holy See's years-long recognition and that drew fast criticism from supporters of Israel. [...] The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution on Nov. 29, 2012 recognising Palestine as an observer non-member state."

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Famine

My Way News - Survey: More than 40 percent of bee hives died in past year
My Way News reports: "More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey. Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies, the second highest loss rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

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Rumors of War - Peace of Jerusalem

My Way News - Israel military official: Hezbollah hiding arms in villages:
My Way News reports: "The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has built up a massive arsenal of rockets and other advanced weapons in Shiite villages of southern Lebanon, a senior Israeli intelligence official said Wednesday, warning civilians would be at risk if war breaks out. According to the official, Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 short-range rockets capable of striking northern Israel, several thousand missiles that can reach Tel Aviv and central Israel and hundreds more that can strike the entire country."

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Persecution

My Way News - Holy Land Christians celebrate sainthood of Arab nuns
My Way News reports: "In the birthplace of Christianity, Christians are a tiny minority, making up less than 2 percent of the population of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Although they have not experienced the violent persecution that has decimated Christian communities elsewhere in the region, the population has gradually shrunk over the decades as Christians have fled conflict or sought better opportunities abroad. Pope Francis has raised the plight of Christians across the Middle East as a cause for concern."

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Earthquakes

My Way News - Another deadly earthquake spreads fear and misery in Nepal
My Way News reports: "Thousands of fear-stricken people spent the night out in the open as a new earthquake killed dozens of people and spread more misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left more than 8,000 dead. [...] Most of the casualties Tuesday's magnitude-7.3 quake were in Dokha district, located northeast of Kathmandu, the district's chief government administrator, Prem Lal Lamichane, said Wednesday."

My Way News - Strong quake shakes northeast Japan, no tsunami risk
My Way News reports: "A strong earthquake hit Japan on Wednesday in the same region devastated by a major quake and tsunami in 2011. Authorities said there was no risk of tsunami. The magnitude 6.8 quake struck at 6:12 a.m. at a depth of 46 kilometers (29 miles) off the coast of Miyagi prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. "

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Pestilence

My Way News - Liberia's government holds celebration to mark Ebola's end
 My Way News reports: "Liberians gathered in the streets of the capital on Monday to celebrate the end of the Ebola epidemic in this West African country. The festivities come after the World Health Organization declared over the weekend that Liberia was finally Ebola-free. More than 4,700 people died during the Ebola crisis in Liberia, the country hardest hit by the outbreak. Ebola continues to claim victims in Sierra Leone and Guinea, where health officials have had difficulty tracing new cases."

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

My Way News - North Korea says it tests ballistic missile from submarine
My Way News reports: "North Korea said Saturday that it successfully test-fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine in what would be the latest display of the country's advancing military capabilities. Hours after the announcement, South Korean officials said the North fired three anti-ship cruise missiles into the sea off its east coast."

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Friday, May 08, 2015

Rumors of War

UPI.com - Threat level increased at U.S. military bases
UPI reports: "Security at military bases in North America was increased Friday out of concern about potential terrorist threats. Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, ordered the force protection level be raised from Alpha to Bravo, the third-highest threat level of a five-tier scale used by the U.S. Department of Defense. [...] The military was put on heightened alert this week after two men, one with suspected ties to the Islamic State group, allegedly opened fire outside a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas."

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Covenant With Many

My Way News - Israel's Netanyahu completes formation of government
My Way News reports: "During the campaign, Netanyahu angered the White House when he said that he would not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state on his watch. Although he has tried to backtrack, the White House has reacted with skepticism. Netanyahu's Likud Party is dominated by hard-liners opposed to Palestinian independence, a position that is shared by the Jewish Home. The odds of peace talks restarting — much less making any progress — appear slim."

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Rumors of War - War

My Way News - Islamic State claims responsibility for Texas cartoon attack
My Way News reports: "The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a weekend attack at a center near Dallas, Texas, that was exhibiting cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad — though it offered no evidence of a direct link to the attackers. [...] The Islamic State did not provide details and it was unclear whether the group was opportunistically claiming the attack. It was the first time the extremists, who frequently call for attacks against the West, claimed responsibility for one in the United States."

My Way News - In the face of IS successes, al-Qaida adapts, grows stronger
My Way News reports: "In a competition with the Islamic State group for recruits and prestige across the Middle East, al-Qaida has sought to distinguish itself from its rival's bloodthirstiness, taking an approach that in jihadi circles would be considered pragmatic. It is building alliances with local players, even old enemies, to seize new territory. Its leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, has told his followers to avoid IS-style brutalities against civilians in order to build support among local populations. The strategy has paid off, winning new gains for al-Qaida."

My Way News - Jordan hosts 18-country military drill amid wars, tensions
My Way News reports: "Jordan has kicked off a two-week military exercise with some 10,000 participants from 18 countries, many members of a U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group, which controls much of neighboring Iraq and Syria."

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Rumors of War - King of the North

My Way News - Russia's new Armata tank makes debut in parade rehearsal
My Way News reports: "Russian and some Western military experts say the Armata will surpass all Western versions. The tank is the first to have an internal armored capsule housing its three-man crew and a remotely controlled turret with an automatic weapons loading system, features that allow for increasing both the level of crew protection and the efficiency of the tank's weapons."

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Roaring Waves

My Way News - Huge waves in California lure bodysurfers, crowds to beaches
My Way News reports: "Hundreds of spectators lined the beach and gasped, cheered and clapped on Monday as bodysurfers braved 15-foot waves at The Wedge, a Newport Beach break known for its powerful waves."

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Friday, May 01, 2015

Earthquakes

My Way News - Nepal quake could have been much worse: Here's why
My Way News reports: "The Nepal quake released 16 times the energy of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, where death estimates ranged from 100,000 to 300,000, yet the death toll in Nepal now stands at more than 6,600. This is a huge loss of life, but far less than recent estimates that 100,000 people might die in Nepal's next major earthquake.

My Way News - Nepal quake victims trek through mountains to get needed aid
My Way News reports: "Five days after the massive quake, U.N. aid trucks were finally arriving — after a few false starts. Their dogged and determined drivers successfully pushed through rain-swamped and washed-out roads. They were being joined by all manner of enthusiastic and concerned people, as local charities, foreign tourists and able-bodied village youths pitched in"

My Way News - A week after earthquake, Nepal still needs tents and food
My Way News reports: "Nepal's government renewed its appeal to international donors to send tents, tarpaulins and basic food supplies in the wake of last weekend's devastating earthquake, saying some of the items being sent are of little use. The government also asked donors to send money to help with relief efforts if they cannot send things that are immediately necessary."

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Wickedness Increases - Love Grows Cold

My Way News - Rage to relief in Baltimore as 6 officers charged in death
My Way News reports: "State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Gray's arrest was illegal and unjustified, and that his neck was broken because he was handcuffed, shackled and placed head-first into a police van, where his pleas for medical attention were repeatedly ignored as he bounced around inside the small metal box. [...] The police had no reason to stop or chase after Gray, Mosby said. They falsely accused him of having an illegal switchblade when in fact it was a legal pocketknife. The van driver and the other officers failed to strap him down with a seatbelt, a direct violation of department policy, and they ignored Gray's repeated pleas for medical attention, even rerouting the van to pick up another passenger."

Comment: The arresting officers showed a callous disregard for human life and when that happens among those who are supposed to serve and protect life, well, that's just evil. 

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