Archive for 02/07/2012

Australia: Southern and Mid-North Farmers Warned to Prepare for Locust Onslought

02/07/2012 Leave a comment

“Farmers are being urged to spray for locusts as more become evident across areas of South Australia, including the mid-north.

Biosecurity SA has had reports of high numbers near Narridy, Yacka and Spalding.

Entomologist Kym Perry says farmers need to act to help prevent the current generation laying eggs which could affect their seeding work.

‘Locusts are becoming more visible over the last few days. Now is actually the best time to spray hoppers and possibly even this week we’ll see them on the wing and then they’ll be much much harder to control,’ he said.

‘Pretty soon they’ll develop wings and become more mobile as adults. They may drift around looking for green feed.

‘We think these ones are unlikely to last long enough until seeding time, but the big question is whether they’ll lay more eggs and those eggs could develop into a population around seeding time.’

Merle Hosking from Narridy in the mid-north says the locust swarms have almost destroyed her garden.

‘They’ve burrowed into the agapanthus and eaten everything down the stem. The yuccas that were in the garden they’ve all been eaten and there’s great holes in the spiky leaves. Even the cacti, they’ve attacked and it’s just bare,’ she said.” Source – ABC News.

Turkey: Malatya Muslims Complain About Construction of Local Armenian Christian ‘Church’, Municipal Officials Destroy It

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“Officials from the Malatya Municipality have demolished three buildings, including a place of worship that was under renovation, located inside an Armenian cemetery even though the Malatya governor and mayor gave permission.

A residence for the watchman, a room to bathe the bodies of the dead and a place of worship were pulled down when nobody in charge of the cemetery was around on Thursday. The municipality officials said the place of worship was being built without official permission, and argued that there was nothing illegal about the demolishment.

Citing the intolerance towards Armenians as the reason behind the municipality’s move, Turkish media outlets reported on Friday that the municipality had the facilities pulled down because of hundreds of petitions submitted by locals who opposed the construction of a place of worship for Armenians, thinking that a church was being built.

Malatya Mayor Ahmet Çakır gave verbal permission for building the place of worship on orders by Malatya Governor Ulvi Saran. The cost of the building was met by an İstanbul-based philanthropist foundation of Malatya Armenians, HAYDER. The blueprint of the place of worship was drawn up by renowned Turkish-Armenian architect Kevork Özkaragöz.

Garo Paylan, member of the board of directors of HAYDER, said in a statement that both the governor and the municipality were quite warm to the idea of renovating the demolished buildings at the cemetery four months ago.

‘However, our cemetery does not belong to us anymore, it belongs to the municipality. Therefore, we asked the municipality for renovation, but they said they can’t do it even though they will allow us to do it,’ he said.

The renovation work started in the cemetery in Malatya, where there is only about 100 Armenians left.

‘It is important for those people to bury their loved ones according to their religious practices. Since there are no churches left in Malatya, the only place that they can have a religious ceremony is in the cemetery,’ he said.” Read more.

Flashback: Turkey: Secular Opposition Laments the Rise of Islamism in Turkish Government and Society, Christians Under Increasing Pressure – “In a Turkey with a secular constitution and a government and population of the Muslim faith, the social-democrat opposition has denounced an attack by the government and the presidency on the tradition of Ataturk festivities, symbol of the state’s secular nature. The alarm has come on a day in which a daily paper provided details on a report by the Association of Protestant Christian Churches noting numerous ‘attacks’ on Christian communities.” Read more.

Earthquake Rumbles Central Oklahoma Just Moments After ‘Shake Out’ Exercise

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“OKLAHOMA CITY — A 3.1-magnitude earthquake shook central Oklahoma on Tuesday morning, just 15 minutes after an event meant to help Oklahomans and residents across the United States be prepared in the event of a big temblor.

The quake was centered 6 miles south of Paden, 7 miles southwest of Boley, 7 miles northwest of Cromwell and 55 miles east of Oklahoma City.

There have been no reports of damage.

The Great Central U.S. Shake Out had just happened at 10:15 a.m. across the central United States. According to its website, the ‘ShakeOut is an opportunity to practice how to protect yourself during earthquakes, and to get prepared, along with your family, community, co-workers, state and region.'” Read more.

Flashback: Oklahoma Earthquakes Stronger Than Fracking Tremors, Experts Say – “Thousands of times every day, drilling deep underground causes the earth to tremble. But don’t blame the surprise flurry of earthquakes in Oklahoma on man’s thirst for oil and gas, experts say. The weekend quakes were far stronger than the puny tremors from drilling – especially the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing. The weekend quakes didn’t have the mark of man. They were a force of nature… The magnitude-5.6 quake that rocked Oklahoma three miles underground had the power of 3,800 tons of TNT, which is nearly 2,000 times stronger than the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.” Read more.

Categories: Earthquakes

UK: MPs Warn Al-Qaeda Trying to Recruit British Women to Carry Out Suicide Bombings in the UK, ‘We Cannot Let Our Vigilance Slip’

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By GRAEME WILSON – “AL-QAEDA is trying to recruit WOMEN to carry out suicide bombings in the UK, MPs warn today.

It is using extremist websites to radicalise the angels of death, says their chilling report.

The Commons home affairs committee says it has heard evidence the terror group is ‘specifically launching and targeting women for violent acts’.

It is already a deadly tactic in the Middle East, where growing numbers of Palestinian women are volunteering for suicide missions against Israel. The MPs’ report comes days after four Islamic extremists admitted plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

Woolwich Crown Court heard how the gang — who also had London mayor Boris Johnson on a hit list — had been brainwashed by the twisted ideology of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda leader until the US killed him in Yemen last year.

His attempts to recruit UK Muslims were exposed by The Sun. Last night the committee chairman, Labour’s Keith Vaz, said the gang’s admissions show ‘we cannot let our vigilance slip’.” Read more.

Vigilance Slips: UK Judge Grants Bail to Radical Muslim Cleric Deemed Risk to British National Security – “Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric accused of posing a grave threat to Britain’s national security, will be back on the streets within days after judges granted him bail. Mr Justice Mitting released Qatada despite the Home Office arguing he remains a risk to national security. His defence team had argued his detention of six and a half years while fighting deportation was unlawful because he did not face any imminent prospect of being removed. The cleric is wanted in Jordan to stand trial for alleged terror offences and Home Secretary Theresa May battled to keep him behind bars while British diplomats continue to seek assurances from the Jordanian authorities that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him… The bail hearing was ordered after Qatada, once described by a Spanish judge as ‘Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe’, won an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last month.” Read more.

Chicago: Muslim Cab Driver Pleads Guilty in Plot to Blow Up Stadium

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By MICHAEL TARM – AP – “CHICAGO—A Pakistani-born Chicago taxi driver who prosecutors say could be heard on FBI wiretaps discussing a plan to bomb a stadium pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to send money to a Pakistani-based terrorist with alleged ties to al-Qaida.

Standing before a federal judge in an orange jumpsuit and his ankles shackled, Raja Lahrasib Khan, 58, said he was pleading guilty to one count of two counts of attempting to provide material support terrorism. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped the other count.

The agreement recommends a sentence of between five and eight years, well short of the maximum 15 years for a conviction of a single count of providing material support. A sentencing date was set for May 30, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Outside court, defense attorney Thomas Durkin said finding jurors who could give his client a fair trial would have been difficult, suggesting that was one reason Khan accepted the deal with prosecutors.

‘The word ‘al-Qaida’ scares the bejesus out of people and that’s all (jurors) have to hear,’ he said. ‘But it was a difficult case … and the (agreement) was fair under the circumstances.’

Prosecutors did not speak to reporters after Monday’s hearing.

Khan was arrested in 2010 and accused of taking steps to send cash to Pakistan-based terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri after Kashmiri indicated he needed money to buy explosives. Khan, prosecutors said, believed Kashmiri was getting his orders from Osama bin Laden.

Khan, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988, sent $950 in 2009 to an individual in Pakistan for delivery to Kashmiri; he also took $1,000 from an undercover agent and said it would be used to buy weapons and possibly other supplies, prosecutors alleged.” Read more.

Middle East Heats Up: Israel Will Act to Prevent Syria’s Chemical Weapons from Reaching Hezbollah

02/07/2012 Leave a comment

Or, maybe the title should read that Israel will act to “prevent more” of Syria’s chemical weapons from reaching Hezbollah …

By Phoebe Greenwood – “Tel Aviv has expressed grave concerns about the fate of Syria’s weaponry should Bashar al Assad fall, saying they pose as great a threat to Israeli security as Iranian nuclear development.

As the violent government crack down on Syrian civilian protestors enters its eleventh month, Israeli intelligence now regards the fall of the Assad regime as inevitable.

Syria’s massive stockpile of weapons includes surface-to-air missiles, high-trajectory long-range rockets and missiles, biological and chemical weapons, which are currently under the watchful guard of government troops.

An Israeli defence official was quoted last week in free Israeli daily Israel Hayom, a paper closely affiliated with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning that the transference of chemical weaponry to Lebanon would be tantamount to a declaration of war by the Lebanese government, adding that Israel would act to prevent such a move.

Air Force Command Major General Ido Nechushtan has stated baldly that the volatile situation in Syria may lead to a conflict on Israel’s northern border…

Incoming Air Force Chief Major General Emir Eshel told a recent press conference: ‘The question is when, not if [Assad will fall]. And the big question is what will happen the following day.’

‘What has been passed on to Hezbollah so far? What will be passed on in the future?'” Read more.

Flashback: Hezbollah may be receiving weapons of mass destruction from Syria – “French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Saturday that Israel has asked Western countries to stop their diplomatic campaign against the Syrian regime for fear that the weapons of mass destruction of the Syrian regime will fall in the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas. The newspaper said the chief of military intelligence in the Israeli army, Major-General Aviv Kochavi has relayed the Israeli position during his visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York a few weeks ago. According to a French diplomat Kochavi warned that the Syrian arsenal of weapons will be directed at Israel if the regime of Bashar al-Assad falls.” Read more.

Flashback: Nasrallah: Next War with Israel Will Start in Tel Aviv, Says Hezbollah Has ‘Many Surprises’ That Will Change the Face of the Region in a Future War – “The next war with Israel will start in Tel Aviv, not on the northern border, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned on Friday, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported. ‘If Israel decided to wage a war against Lebanon, we will not only break the Israeli soldiers’ bones, we will smash them,’ Nasrallah was quoted as saying during a meeting with Hezbollah members. ‘The war would be waged without any red lines, and [Hezbollah] would in return commit to the new equations,’ Nasrallah said. ‘[Hezbollah] has many surprises that will change the face of the region,’ he added.” Read more.

Fukushima, We’ve Got a Problem: Experts Fear Collapse of Reactor 4 Cooling Pool, Could Cause a Disaster ‘Worse Than the Three Reactor Meltdowns’

02/07/2012 Leave a comment

By John Hutchinson – “Less than two months ago the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant at Fukushima was declared stable.

Yet now it has emerged that radioactive water is continuing to leak at the stricken site. These were spotted by workers at the reprocessing areas and were found to release enough beta rays that can lead to radiation sickness.

A series of nuclear meltdowns at the power plant were triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The organisation charged with keeping the site under control is the Tokyo Electric Power Company, and their spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said that no one was injured and the leak stopped after bolts were tightened on a tank.

Matsumoto said TEPCO also found that 8.5 tons of radioactive water had leaked earlier in the week after a pipe became detached at Unit 4, one of the plant’s six reactors.

The company earlier had estimated that only a few gallons had leaked.

He said officials are investigating the cause of that leak, but that it was unlikely the pipe had been loosened by the many aftershocks that have hit the plant.

The structural integrity of the damaged Unit 4 reactor building has long been a major concern among experts because a collapse of its spent fuel cooling pool could cause a disaster worse than the three reactor meltdowns.Read more.

Fukushima worker: Reactor 4 full of nuclear fuel, collapse would destroy Pacific Ocean – “Reactor 4 had nuclear fuel in it. The Fukushima blogger leaked information on her blog… ‘Yesterday I heard this story. I wasn’t sure if I should post it on the blog. It proved all the announcement of Tepco was wrong… Tepco was planning to start reactor 4 in the AM of 311. (The nuclear fuel was in reactor.) Nuclear workers were told not to get close to reactor 4. They found a crack on the pipe of reactor 4, so they cancelled to start it as scheduled. It was hit by the earthquake on the same day. Soon after the earthquake hit it, meltdown started. Because reactor 4 was stand-by, cooling system could not be started either… In the container vessel of reactor4, melted fuel is stocked, but there is no technology developed to pick it up, It’s only the matter of time for it to have melt-out. If another earthquake hits it, it’s over… if it goes melt-out, it would flow to the sea. Pacific ocean side of Japan and west side of America won’t be [habitable] anymore.'” Read more.

Nikkei: Two sieverts/hr of beta radiation emitted from a single liter of leaked water – “TEPCO announced on February 3 that the water leaked from one of the contaminated water storage tanks at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. 2,000 millisieverts/hour beta radiation was detected… The bolt may have gotten loose at the joint of a storage tank that stores the contaminated water that was condensed by the desalination apparatus (Reverse Osmosis), letting the water leak. TEPCO said a large amount of radioactive strontium might be in the water. On the concrete where the leaked water was, 22 millisieverts/hour gamma ray was also detected” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters

Europe Freezes: State of Emergency Declared as Extreme Weather Kills Hundreds, Venice Waterways Frozen, Greece and Bulgaria Battle Floods

02/07/2012 4 comments

By Stephanie van den Berg – “BELGRADE — Authorities used explosives, icebreakers and tractors Tuesday in the battle to overcome Europe’s big freeze, as dozens more died of hypothermia and tens of thousands remained cut off by snow.

Around 400 people have now died from the cold weather in Europe since the cold snap began 11 days ago.

While there was some respite for people in Ukraine — where more than 130 deaths have been recorded — the mercury plunged overnight to minus 39.4 degrees Celsius in the Kvilda region of the Czech Republic.

More bodies were found either on the streets, in their cars or in their homes in Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Hungary and across the Balkans.

Authorities in Serbia said that 70,000 people were trapped in snow-bound villages in the south as officials declared an ’emergency situation.'” Read more.

Venice Freezes As Deadly Chill Grips Europe – “The famous waterways of Venice have frozen over as Europe continues to be gripped by a deadly chill. The big freeze has caused traffic problems throughout Europe, blocking roads and shutting down airports. Ten deaths in Italy have been linked to the extreme winter weather, including two people who were crushed under a collapsed roof south of Rome, and a 91-year-old woman in the northeast port of Trieste. In the north, stranded people had to be rescued from their homes, with deep snow reaching 3m (10ft) in some areas. Europe has struggled to cope with a week of bitter cold weather in which the number of dead, most of them homeless, continues to rise every day.” Read more.

Greece and Bulgaria battle flooding as Europe struggles with extreme weather – “A swollen river in Greece bursts its banks, flooding homes and forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency Tuesday, officials said, as rescuers scrambled to a Bulgarian village nearly washed away when a dam collapsed, killing eight people. Bulgaria’s civil defense agency warned that two other, bigger dams were also on the brink of overflowing after days of heavy rain and residents were urged to prepare for an evacuation. Authorities have started a controlled release of water from the dams to prevent overflow… A day after the dam burst, the Bulgarian government declared a day of mourning, and streets in the village of Bisser were covered with sticky mud as people returned to their water-logged homes. At least a dozen houses had collapsed, uprooted trees blocked roads and smashed cars sat abandoned along deserted streets. Veterinary officials were collecting the bodies of dead animals. Bisser Mayor Zlatka Valkova said she received a phone call about the dam burst and tried to get out of her office in time to alert people of the eight-foot-high (2.5-meter) torrent. ‘I rushed out on the street, but then I saw the wave,’ she said. ‘It was terrible, it came with such speed that I couldn’t do anything.'” Read more.

Categories: Natural Disasters
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