Archive for 01/11/2012

Tensions Rise: U.S. Naval Carrier Strike Group Arrives in Arabian Sea as Iranian President Meets with Communist Cuba

01/11/2012 2 comments

“A new aircraft carrier strike group has entered the Arabian Sea and another is on its way, a Pentagon official said in a news briefing Wednesday — a shuffling of the U.S. fleet amid rising tensions with Iran.

Officials said there is no connection between the fleet movements and threats from Iran, however, the arrival of the USS Carl Vinson comes on the heals of Iranian military exercises in the Persian Gulf and threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil transit route.

And the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran on Wednesday further escalated tensions, as the Obama administration denied any role in the death.

The U.S. Navy announced Monday that the USS Vinson had arrived in the region to conduct missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

‘We will work closely with our regional partners to demonstrate our commitment to security and stability in the region,’ Rear Admiral Thomas Shannon said in a written statement.

Captain John Kirby, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Media Operations, on Wednesday denied U.S. involvement in the killing of the Iranian scientist and said the incident has not changed the U.S. position in the Gulf region.

And the number of carriers in the region ‘does go up and down, but it’s based on overall broad requirements in the region that the Central Command commander sets and establishes, [it’s] not necessarily … driven by a specific incident,’ Capt. Kirby said.

The shift in naval assets in the region, Kirby said, is not linked to Iran’s recent threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a threat made in response to the West’s sanctions on Iranian oil exports over the country’s contested nuclear program.” Read more.

UK sending warship to Persian Gulf amid Strait closure fears – “The United Kingdom said Saturday it plans to send a warship to the Persian Gulf, a move that follows Western criticism of Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. The UK Ministry of Defense described the deployment of the HMS Daring as ‘long-planned’ and ‘entirely routine.’ The destroyer will replace a frigate stationed in the area, it said. Still, in the past two weeks both U.S. and British defense officials have denounced any move by Iran to close the strait, the only outlet from the Persian Gulf and a key trade route for oil.” Read more.

Iranian president arrives in Cuba; U.S. warns of ‘dangerous alliance’ – “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cuba Wednesday for a brief visit that is the third stop in his Latin American tour. Ahmadinejad was to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro later Wednesday, after lecturing at the University of Havana. Cuban diplomatic sources in Havana said that Ahmadinejad also has plans to meet with historic Cuban leader Fidel Castro. As he arrived in the communist island in the Caribbeann, Ahmadinejad lifted two fingers in a sign of victory. He was coming in from Nicaragua, where he attended Daniel Ortega’s inauguration for a further presidential term late Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement Wednesday that ‘Iran and Cuba are both state-sponsors of terrorism, and need to be treated as immediate threats to our national security.'” Read more.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Islamists Kill Four More Christians Believed to be Fleeing Violence

01/11/2012 2 comments

Revelation 6:10, “… ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'”

“KANO, (AFP) – Suspected members of Islamist group Boko Haram on Wednesday shot dead four Christians who were believed to be fleeing violence-torn Maiduguri, residents said.

‘Their car had just pulled up at a filling station outside the town to refuel when suspected Boko Haram gunmen in another car also pulled up and opened fire on the Igbos, killing them on the spot,’ said a resident of the city of Potiskum who sells groceries nearby.

Members of the Igbo ethnic group are overwhelmingly Christian and generally originate from the country’s east. The attack occurred on the outskirts of Potiskum.

‘The car the victims were travelling in was stuffed with bags and other personal effects and it was clear they were heading for the east,’ the resident said.

They were thought to be traveling from Maiduguri, a city wracked by violence blamed on Boko Haram.

Another resident gave a similar account. Police confirmed the attack, but said the victims’ ethnic group was unknown as was the identity of the gunmen.

Recent religious violence, most of it blamed on Boko Haram, has sparked fears of a wider religious conflict and talk of the possibility of civil.” Source – Vanguard.

Alabama: Islamic Extremist in Custody After Shootout with Police in Alabama City

01/11/2012 4 comments

No paradise with 72 virgins for this jihadist. He’ll have to settle for prison, with 72 non-virgins …

By Lisa Rogers – “A man thought to be an Islamic extremist is believed to have shot the windows out of at least two businesses in Alabama City early Sunday to lure police officers to the area and engage them in a shootout.

Luis Ibarra-Hernandez, 21, from Albertville, was charged today with attempted murder, according to a news release from the Gadsden Police Department.

‘After the man was taken into custody, he reported that he knew he must do something extreme to draw attention to Islam and himself, so he planned to shoot police officers,’ Gadsden Police Capt. Regina May said.

Gadsden police officers responded to alarm calls for glass breakage after doors were shot out about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at AutoZone and Rainbow Food Mart near the intersection of 27th Street and West Meighan Boulevard.

While investigating the broken doors and determining they were shot out, officers heard gunfire and spotted a man near the old CVS building.

The man knew he had been seen and ran toward the Cathedral of Praise Church parking lot, then started firing rounds at the officers.” Read more.

Somali Convert from Islam Whipped in Front of Hundreds of Public Spectators for Becoming a Christian

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“NAIROBI, Kenya, January 10 (CDN) — A Somali convert from Islam was paraded before a cheering crowd last month and publicly flogged as a punishment for embracing a ‘foreign religion,’ sources said.

Sofia Osman, a 28-year-old Christian from Janale city in Somali’as Lower Shabelle region, had been taken into custody by Islamic extremist al Shabaab militants in November; the public whipping was meant to mark her release. She received 40 lashes on Dec. 22 while jeered by spectators.

‘Osman was whipped 40 lashes at 3 p.m., but she didn’t tell what other humiliations she had suffered while in the hands of the militants,’ an eyewitness, told Compass, adding that whipping left her bleeding. ‘I saw her faint. I thought she had died, but soon she regained consciousness and her family took her away.’

The whipping was administered in front of hundreds of spectators after Osman was released from her month-long custody in al Shabaab camps. Nursing her injuries at her family’s home, in the days after the punishment she would not talk to anyone and looked dazed, a source close in touch with the family said. She has since been relocated.

‘Please pray for her quick recovery,’ the source said.

Janale, one Somalia’s major cities, is about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Mogadishu.

Osman became a Christian four years ago and was a member of the underground church in the war-torn Horn of Africa country largely controlled by the al Qaeda-linked militants from al Shabaab.” Read more.

Iran: Magnetic Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist as US Officials Warn Iran and West Approach ‘Turning Point’ in 2012

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“TEHRAN, Iran — Two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to the car of an Iranian university professor working at a key nuclear facility, killing him and wounding two people on Wednesday, a semiofficial news agency reported.

The attack in Tehran bore a strong resemblance to earlier killings of scientists working on the Iranian nuclear program. It is certain to reinforce authorities’ claims of widening clandestine operations by Western powers and allies to try to cripple nuclear advancements.

The bomb killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a chemistry expert and a director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported. Natanz is Iran’s main enrichment site, but officials claimed earlier this week that they are expanding some operations to an underground site south of Tehran with more advanced equipment.

Witnesses told Reuters they had seen two people on the motorcycle fix a bomb to the car.

‘The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists, and is the work of the (Israelis),’ Fars quoted Tehran’s Deputy Governor Safarali Baratloo as saying. ‘The terrorist attack is a conspiracy to undermine the (March 2) parliamentary elections.’

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said the country’s nuclear path would not change despite the killing, which it branded a ‘heinous act’.

‘Our path is irreversible,’ Arabic language al-Alam TV quoted an agency statement as saying.” Read more.

Iran, West approaching ‘turning point’ in 2012, officials warn – “War games. Threats to close a key oil passageway and block a U.S. aircraft carrier from returning to the Persian Gulf. An American sentenced to death in Tehran, accused of spying. And now a breakthrough in Iran’s nuclear program. The developments portend what officials see as a momentous year ahead in the standoff between Iran and the West, as Iranian leaders appear to grow bolder despite a new round of international sanctions which, by most accounts, is taking a toll. ‘There won’t be taking an eye off the ball,’ Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations at the Defense Department told reporters on Tuesday.” Read more.

‘Tinfoil Tuesday’ Claim: Iran used ‘force fields’ and ‘flying saucers’ to take down American drone – “Late last month, Iran put on display what it insisted was a captured American stealth drone. At the time, Tehran claimed it brought down the RQ-170 with a sophisticated electronic attack. Nonsense, says one Iranian engineer who claims to have inside knowledge of the drone-nab. The Islamic Republic used force fields and flying saucers to subdue and capture the unmanned aircraft. Meet Mehran Tavakoli Keshe, who purports to be the father of the RQ-170 abduction. In a recent post to his eponymous foundation’s online forums, Keshe claims the Iranians used ‘advanced space technology’ that he pioneered. ‘The craft has been air-picked-up and been put down on its belly through the use of field forces,’ Keshe writes — by which he means force fields. It’s feeling a lot like Tinfoil Tuesday, our weekly round-up of the planet’s most insane conspiracy theories.” Read more.

China: Large Number of Dead Fish Found Along 2-Mile Stretch of Xijiang River in Southern Guangdong Province

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“A large number of fish were found dead Monday in a major river in the southern province of Guangdong, local authorities confirmed Tuesday.

Floating fish were reported in a three-kilometer section of the Xijiang River in the Jiangmen City on Monday morning, but the situation improved Tuesday with no more dead fish found, said Zhao Yanqiang, spokesman for the city’s publicity department.

An initial probe has ruled out a lack of oxygen or low water temperatures as the cause of the death.

Local authorities initiated an emergency response Monday for disposal of the dead fish, Zhao said.

A further investigation by local environmental and fishery authorities is under way.

Xijiang River is a major tributary of the Pearl River, the third longest river in China and a pivotal waterway that runs across the economic heartland of Guangdong.” Source –

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

The Bahamas: Environmental Officials Baffled as Hundreds of Dead Fish and Other Marine Life Litter Montagu Shoreline, Seafloor

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By Travis Cartwright-Carroll – “Hundreds of dead fish and other marine life washed up at Montagu Foreshore yesterday, baffling fishermen and environmental officials alike.

The young fish littered the shoreline.  There were varying species, including snappers, barracudas, minnows, needlefish, puffer fish and even an octopus.

Spokesperson for the Montagu Vendors Association Sherlin Brown said he just wanted to know what was going on.

‘I’ve never seen this before,’ Brown said. ‘It isn’t normal for you to pick up dead fish all along the bay here.’

‘We know we had other situations with the water.  We have customers coming here, people using the water… so we need to know what [is] causing the fish to die and if it’s a danger to the humans because a lot of fish are dying.’

Brown said while vendors do not fish near Montagu Beach, if the situation persists it would create a serious problem for them.

While a number of fish swam to or washed up onshore, Brown said the seabed was also littered with dead fish.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths
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