Sunday, March 20, 2011
- Live broadcast info from Japan directly ! Here.
- HT:NuclearHistory.Suffering of radiation workers, food supply information.Fukushima prefecture Empty streets in Tamura in the Fukushima prefecture where residents are staying indoors due to the radiation risk caused by the failure of the Fukushima nuclear plant.Six workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have been exposed to radiation levels beyond the usual legal limit while carrying out emergency operations to make the complex safe.The news came amid reports that radiation from the stricken plant had found its way into the food supply, raising anxiety in a country already struggling to deal with the aftermath of the worst crisis in its postwar history.The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said it would have to vent radioactive gas from reactor 3, but later called off the risky procedure after pressure inside stabilised, albeit at a relatively high level.The Kyodo news agency reported that Tepco said six staff members had been exposed to more than 100 milliSieverts of radiation, but had been assigned to other tasks and were continuing to work because they had not shown any abnormal signs since being exposed.The government earlier increased to 250 mSv the limit for those working in the emergency operation.Japan’s fire and disaster management agency said readings of up to 27 mSv were detected on 50 firefighters. They were decontaminated after a 13-hour operation to spray water into the spent fuel pool at reactor 3 ended in the early hours of the morning.On Sunday morning, workers doused a pool at reactor 4, also a cause of concern, for the first time.“I think the situation is improving step by step,” the deputy chief cabinet secretary, Tetsuro Fukuyama, told a news conference.Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), heralded a “strengthening” of work.But Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy-general at Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency, cautioned: “We are making progress … [but] we shouldn’t be too optimistic.”Japan is considering a temporary ban on sales of food products from the Fukushima region after levels of radiation exceeding government limits were found in milk and spinach.The contaminated food and water pose no threat to human health, Edano said, adding that the tainted milk and spinach had not found its way on to the market.“These levels do not pose an immediate threat to your health. Please stay calm.”Iodine-131 was present in milk at a farm 20 miles away from the crippled nuclear plant and in spinach grown at farms more than 60 miles away in neighbouring Ibaraki.Tiny amounts of radioactive iodine have been found in tap water in and around Tokyo, about 150 miles away from the atomic plant, and five prefectures near Fukushima.The education and science ministry said traces of another radioactive material, caesium-137, had been identified in tap water in nearby Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, but posed no danger to people even if ingested.The government is to provide daily counts of radioactive materials in tap water from all of the affected areas, as well as levels in atmospheric fallout such as rain and dust.Radiation was also detected on fava beans exported to Taiwan.An official from Taiwan’s department of health said a shipment of beans from Japan’s south-western Kyushu island had shown slightly higher radiation than naturally occurring trace levels.The department said the radiation, detected only on the surface of the beans, was well below Taiwan’s legal limit and not harmful to human health.Radioactive dust and particles were recorded in the greater Tokyo area but posed no risk to health, the government said on Sunday.Edano said someone who drank the tainted milk for a year would receive the same amount of radiation as in a single CT health scan; eating the spinach would be the equivalent of one-fifth.The government said radioactive iodine-131 present in spinach tested on Wednesday was three to seven times above acceptable government standards.Levels in drinking water from Fukushima were slightly over the limit on Thursday but had decreased significantly by the weekend, the health ministry said.Drinking one litre (1.76 pints) of water with the iodine at Thursday’s levels is the equivalent of receiving one 88th of the radiation from a chest x-ray, said Kazuma Yokota, a spokesman for the prefecture’s disaster response headquarters.Iodine-131 decays within a matter of weeks, but can pose a short-term risk to health, the IAEA said.“There is a short-term risk to human health if radioactive iodine food is absorbed into the human body,” the agency said. “If ingested, it can accumulate in and cause damage to the thyroid. Children and young people are particularly at risk.”A potentially greater concern is caesium-137, which caused widespread damage to the food supply in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. The substance affects cells in the entire body and can increase the chances of developing cancer.You know, really, caesium 137 and Iodine 131 are not the only biologically active fission products. Even the ones the body does not use to build cells with do have some uptake, and some residence time. Inhalation is the most likely intake route for many substances. These doses do deserve some mention in my view. In an educated population this widely known information, isnt going to be a surprise. The omission of it rather simply furrows the eyebrows. Agriculture and nuclear reactors don’t mix. Especially when things like this happen.Hmmmm.......perhaps they should read this?Read the full story here.
- HT:Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Boiling points of relevant elements.
Cesium Melting point 26.44 deg C Boiling point 671 deg C
Strontium Melting point 769 deg C Boiling point 1384 deg C
Therefore : The Fukushima Plumes will consist of the fission inventory originally present in the fuel rods displaced in fractions according to their thermal characteristics as these relate to the temperatures which have been applied to the fuel rods. (the fuel rods have been cooking for over a week, situation easing). Periodic explosions, caused by hydrogen, have disturbed a proportion of the fuel rods. The presence of radioactive dust in plumes is therefore not limited to Cesium and Iodine. The condition of the fuel rods and the condition of the fuel rod contents would determine the moblity of the elements of concern. Explosive, thermal and other forces may drive “dust” from fuel rod to emitted plume. The temperature of the fuel rods is not the only factor which mobilises the contents of damaged fuel rods.Mechanical force and thermal peaks applied by hydrogen explosions to the fuel rods also liberates fuel rod contents. The composition of the Fukushima plume may vary from day to day. There is likely to be a greater abundance of Cesium in the plumes than was originally present in the fuel rod. Published results of plume and ground sampling will describe the actual plume and fallout contents. We have seen the use of alpha monitoring devices and the results of positive readings (selection of people for care). If the fuel is present in the plume, the presence of many fission products is likely also. I still disagree with the British scientist. The delay in any official attempt to define the plume contents did not engender trust. It is an issue to be resolved by sample analysis. The melting and boiling points of fuel rod uranium (a ceramic oxide) is high. Alpha survey of individuals (to my eye at least) is continuing. If uranium oxide dust is present in the cloud, no other fuel content is precluded. There is indication that alpha emitters (ie fuel) are present in the area of plume deposition.Hmmmm......In other words we're being deliberatly kept in the dark about the cloud composition?Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world ,lots of seismic activity globally today! More info here.
- Updated : The wind directions over Japan. Here.
- Japan's Efforts to Ease Nuclear Crisis Hit Setback as Reactors Face Unexpected Rise in Pressure.An unexpected rise in pressure inside a troubled reactor set back efforts to bring Japan's overheating, leaking nuclear complex under control Sunday as concerns grew that as-yet minor contamination of food and water is spreading.The pressure increase meant plant operators may need to deliberately release radioactive steam, prolonging a nuclear crisis that has consumed government attention even as it responded to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that savaged northeast Japan on March 11.In a rare rescue after so many days, a teenage boy's cries for help led police to rescue him and an 80-year-old woman at a wrecked house.Beyond the disaster area, an already shaken public grew uneasy with official reports that traces of radiation first detected in spinach and milk from farms near the nuclear plant are turning up farther away in tap water, rain and even dust. In all cases, the government said the radiation levels were too small to pose an immediate risk to health. Still, Taiwan seized a batch of fava beans from Japan found with faint -- and legal -- amounts of iodine and cesium.All six of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex's reactor units saw trouble after the disasters knocked out cooling systems. But officials reported headway this weekend in reconnecting two units to the electric grid and in pumping seawater to cool reactors and replenish bubbling or depleted pools for spent nuclear fuel.Temperatures in storage pools for Units 5 and 6 continued their several days of decline Sunday to a safe, cool level, the nuclear safety agency said.But the buildup in pressure inside the vessel holding Unit 3's reactor renewed the danger, forcing officials to consider venting. The tactic produced explosions during the early days of the crisis."Even if certain things go smoothly there would be twists and turns," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters. "At the moment, we are not so optimistic that there will be a breakthrough."Nuclear safety officials said one of the options could release a cloud dense with iodine as well as the radioactive elements krypton and xenon.Contamination of food and water compounds the government's difficulties, heightening the broader public's sense of dread about safety. Consumers in markets snapped up bottled water, shunned spinach from Ibaraki -- the prefecture where the tainted spinach was found -- and overall expressed concern about food safety.Experts have said the amounts of iodine detected in milk, spinach and water pose no discernible risks to public health unless consumed in enormous quantities over a long time. Iodine breaks down quickly, after eight days, minimizing its harmfulness, unlike other radioactive isotopes such as cesium-137 or uranium-238, which remain in the environment for decades or longer.Rain forecast for the Fukushima area also could further localize the contamination, bringing the radiation to the ground closer to the plant.The governor of Fukushima, where milk contaminated with iodine was found at one farm Friday, urged dairy farmers across the prefecture to halt all sales -- just short of a ban in consensus-driven, polite Japan.Edano, the government spokesman, tried to reassure the public for a second day running Sunday. "If you eat it once, or twice or even for several days, it's not just that it's not an immediate threat to health, it's that even in the future it is not a risk," Edano said. "Experts say there is no threat to human health."Hmmmmm......"Altogether, the number of Chernobyl related cases of thyroid cancer to be expected in Europe (outside the borders of the former Soviet Union) is between 10,000 and 20,000.In Belarus alone, over 10,000 people developed thyroid cancer since the catastrophe. According to a WHO prognosis, in the Belarussian region of Gomel alone, more than 50,000 children will develop thyroid cancer during their lives. If one adds together all age groups then about 100,000 cases of thyroid cancer have to be reckoned with, just in the Gomel region."The half life of Radioactive Iodine is EIGHT Days.Read the full story here.
- Latest official Situation Update No. 48. Here.
- Dennis Kucinich Hints at Impeachment of Obama Over Libya No-Fly Zone, Fellow Far-Left Dems Equally Outraged…A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya, with one lawmaker raising the prospect of impeachment during a Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday.Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.Kucinich, who wanted to bring impeachment articles against both former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over Iraq — only to be blocked by his own leadership — asked why the U.S. missile strikes aren’t impeachable offenses.Kucinich also questioned why Democratic leaders didn’t object when President Barack Obama told them of his plan for American participation in enforcing the Libyan no-fly zone during a White House Situation Room meeting on Friday, sources told POLITICO.And liberals fumed that Congress hadn’t been formally consulted before the attack and expressed concern that it would lead to a third U.S. war in the Muslim world.Hmmmm.........."Blasphemy"?Read the full story here.
- Boehner says Obama must explain Libya mission.House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Sunday called on President Barack Obama to explain the U.S. mission in Libya and how his administration intends to achieve its goals."The president is the commander-in-chief. But the administration has a responsibility to define for the American people, the Congress and our troops, what the mission in Libya is," Boehner, a Republican, said in a statement."Before any further military commitments are made, the administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved," he said.Hmmmm.....Perhaps after 'the commander-in-chief is back from his 'family holiday'on the taxpayers their tab?Read the full the full story here.
- Libya: Newt Gingrich bashes Obama's lack of leadership 'We look weak and uncertain'.Thank goodness the French don't have March Madness: Gingrich bashes 'weak' Obama's leadership in Libya.Newt Gingrich has slammed Barack Obama for his lack of leadership over Libya as Western jets - led by France - bombed Muammar Gaddafi's forces today.The former House Speaker, who is considering a presidential run in 2012, mocked Mr Obama yesterday for publicising his Final Four pics as Libyan rebels battled for their country.He attacked the President for making America look 'weak and uncertain', and said former Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan would have been far more decisive.The world's leaders met in Paris today for a summit on the crisis.The group included British Prime Minister David Cameron, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Canadian premier Stephen Harper, and leaders of several Arab states.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is at the summit to represent America. But Mr Obama is thousands of miles away in Brasilia, where he has taken his family to help him promote U.S. trade links.When asked about the UN resolution authorising military intervention in Libya, Mr Gingrich blasted the President, who publicised his picks for the winner's of this year's March Madness college basketball tournament earlier this week. 'I was, frankly, very disappointed that [Nicolas] Sarkozy did not share with us his Final Four picks,' Mr Gingrich told reporters.'And i think it's his failure to understand the Final Four that allowed him to focus on Libya.He said it was 'ironic' that Mr Obama had called for Gaddafi to go on March 3 - but waited until now to back a no-fly zone. 'This is the opposite of Eisenhower and Reagan, neither of whom would have held a press conference and both of whom would have made sure he [Gaddafi] was gone,' Mr Gingrich said.'This idea that we posture, we talk, we have diplomatic meetings ... this is very weak," he said. "It makes us look weak and uncertain. It increases the danger in the Persian Gulf.'Mr Obama mentioned the Libya operation only briefly in Brazil today. He noted that U.S., European and other government officials met in Paris Saturday to discuss the way ahead in Libya.Mrs Clinton said 'unique' American military capabilities will be brought to bear in support of the coalition, and she reiterated Mr Obama's pledge on Friday that no U.S. ground forces would get involved.Hmmmm......Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. Abraham Lincoln.Read the full story here.
- RAF strikes against Gaddafi's forces branded 'a success' as bombed out tanks and cars litter the roads near Benghazi.Burnt out tanks and cars belonging to forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi today littered the road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah.The RAF proclaimed the start of hostilities a success just hours after British and American warships unleashed cruise missiles against Libya as the world finally lost patience with the dictator.Tornado jets, submarines and stealth bombers fired 112 Tomahawk missiles and dropped explosives on 20 coastal locations as Gaddafi's men tried to take control of rebel-held Benghazi.Stormshadow missiles were launched from GR4 fast jets which had flown 3,000 miles from RAF Marham in Norfolk and back - the longest range bombing since the Falklands.David Cameron today pronounced the action was 'legal and right'Read the full story here.
- Turkey to serve as protecting power for US in Libya.Turkey will serve as a “protecting power” for the United States in Libya, senior State Department officials told CNN on Sunday.As a protecting power, Turkey will represent the United States in Libya, including acting as consular officers on behalf of U.S. citizens in Libya and looking after American diplomatic facilities in the country.Turkey can also pass messages between the United States and Libya, as what little communication remains between the two countries is likely to come to a grinding halt now that the United States is bombing Libyan targets as part of enforcement of a no-fly zone.Although the United States has not formally suspended ties with Libya, the U.S. State Department shuttered its embassy earlier this month and withdrew all of its diplomats from the country. The State Department also ordered the Libyan Embassy in Washington closed and ordered its diplomats to leave the country. It recognized Ali Aujali – the former ambassador who resigned from the regime in protest of its violence against citizens and joined the opposition – as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.Officials said Libya has not yet identified a protecting power for its interests in the United States.Hmmmm......Turkey the NATO member that is in the first place a representative of ISLAM?Why am i not suprised that Ahmadinajad's buddy Erdogan will be also Gadaffi's buddy.Read the full story here.
- ContentionsTurkey Vetoes NATO No-Fly Over Libya.While not in the English-language press yet, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s prime minister, has announced that under no circumstance would Turkey allow NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Erdoğan has traditionally been a fan of Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi and just a few months ago accepted the Qaddafi International Prize for Human Rights. Erdoğan’s actions now suggest that his selection was $250,000 well spent by the Libyan strongman.Given Turkey’s secret war games with China, its nuclear defense of Iran, the fact that perhaps as many Turks are fighting against us in Afghanistan as are fighting for us, and now Erdoğan’s funny business with Qaddafi, it may be time to cast aside the increasingly surreal discussion about whether Turkey belongs in the European Union and focus instead on whether Turkey belongs in NATO.Hmmm....I've been saying this for the last 11 months!Read the full
- Arab League: West bombing civilians.Amr Moussa says Arab League, which backed Libyan no-fly zone, wanted 'protection of civilians, not bombardment of more civilians'. Russia also calls for end to 'indiscriminate' strikes which have killed up to 64.Muammar Gaddafi's appeal for Arab solidarity in the face of foreign air strikes fell on deaf ears across the Middle East on Sunday, but support for his opponents was mixed with deep suspicion of Western motives. The head of the Arab League, which supported Libyan no-fly zone, said his organization had not endorsed attacks on ordinary Libyans."What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," Amr Moussa said, announcing an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss Libya.Moussa's comments followed a demand by Russia to stop the "indiscriminate" use of force it said was killing civilians in Libya. The air strikes exceed the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution, which approved a no-fly zone and authorized all necessary measures to protect civilians, Russia Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.A few hours after the first missiles struck, Gaddafi called on "citizens of the Arab and Islamic nations" and other developing countries to "stand by the heroic Libyan people to confront this aggression". But Arabs from North Africa to the Gulf, many demanding political rights for the first time, dismissed the appeal from a leader whose four decades of authoritarian and capricious rule have exhausted any reserves of sympathy. "It is now clear and understandable that Arab people want to get rid of their leaders, so leaders should simply leave and not fight their people and force foreign nations to interfere," said Mohamed Abdel Motaleb, a bank employee in Cairo, where mass protests toppled veteran president Hosni Mubarak last month."I am very much against foreign troops fighting in Libya, but Arab leaders should not let that happen through their stubbornness and refusal to quit power"."There is fighting between the rebels and the Gaddafi forces. Their tanks are in the center of Misrata," Abdelbasset, a spokesman for the rebels, said by telephone from the city. "There are so many casualties that we cannot count them." "He (Gaddafi) is using a scorched earth strategy. Burning and destroying everything in his way," said Abdelbasset.Gaddafi's forces – including units of the 32nd brigade commanded by his son Khamis – have been laying siege to Misrata for days, residents have said, but until Sunday rebel fighters had kept them confined to the city's outskirts. Read the full story here.
- The Middle East - To put it mildly it's starting to boil over.Al-Qaradhawi: The Shiites in Bahrain Are Carrying Out a Sectarian Revolution.In a Friday sermon on March 18, 2011, Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said that the revolution in Bahrain is a sectarian revolution of the Shiites against the Sunnis, and not a revolution of the people against an oppressive tyrant, as in other Arab countries. He accused the Shiite demonstrators of attacking Sunnis, taking over their mosques, and using bullies, warned that the Shiites belonged to another country (i.e., Iran), and called for inter-sect dialogue in Bahrain. Al-Qaradhawi called to support changes in the Egyptian legislation, to abolish the ruling party, and to establish a civil regime as soon as possible. He also condemned Libyan President Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi for acting like God, and for killing his people with weapons bought out of the people's money, and called for Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh to leave power.Source.
HT:Memri.Iranian Ayatollah to the Bahrainis: Martyrs or Victors.On March 18, 2011, senior Iranian regime official Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati advised the Bahrainis to choose one of two options: either to become martyrs or to become victors. In a Friday sermon delivered in Tehran, he cursed the US, which, he alleged, was behind the Saudi invasion of Bahrain, and said that he had always asked himself how the Libyans could support a madman (i.e., Al-Qadhafi).Source.
HT:Memri.Nasrallah: The Arab Countries Must Protect the Demonstrators in Bahrain; The Uprising There Is Not Sectarian.In a speech delivered at a rally of solidarity with the Arab peoples' uprisings, held on March 19, 2011, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said that the uprising in Bahrain was not sectarian, and that the allegations that Iran was behind it were stupid. He said that Saudi Arabia should have mediated between the parties rather than send in its soldiers. Nasrallah called upon the Arab countries to intervene in order to protect the demonstrators in Bahrain. He criticized the Sunni Arab world and Turkish PM Erdogan for remaining silent in light of the violent suppression of the demonstrations, claiming that this silence enabled foreign intervention, which might lead to occupation and imperialism. With regard to Lebanon, Nasrallah said that the attack of the March 14 forces on the weapons of Hizbullah did not affect the resistance, which continued to conduct training, mobilize arms, and make preparations, adding that it was the resistance that would defend Lebanon when it decided to drill for oil and gas in the Mediterranean Sea.Source.
- Drilling Unlikely to Lower Oil Prices, Energy Information Chief Says.Richard Newell, administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), said that while oil prices are likely to stay above average for the remainder of 2011, it is unlikely that an increase in domestic oil production would dramatically affect oil prices in either the short-term or the long-term.Newell, a political appointee, was tapped to head the EIA by President Barack Obama in mid-2009.In his testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources on Thursday, Newell said that because oil is a global commodity dependent on global trends, domestic production would do little to ease prices at the pump in the near future.“Long term, we would not expect additional volumes of oil that could flow from resources of federal lands due to greater access to have a large impact on oil and gasoline prices,” said Newell.He also said that increased production in the United States could potentially cause OPEC to lower production, thus negating any impact of increased drilling in the United States.“Another key issue is how OPEC production would respond to any increase in non-OPEC supply, potentially offsetting any direct price impact of an increase in U.S. production,” Newell told committee members.When CNSNews.com asked if Newell knew how much oil and natural gas was sitting untapped on land and offshore in the United States, Newell declined to answer.However, when asked if tapping those resources could lead to lower gas and energy prices in the long term, Newell said that it depended on a number of global factors.“One needs to think about this in a global context,” said Newell. “Currently, the U.S. liquid supply is about 11 percent of global liquid supply of about 88 million barrels per day. So if one thinks about incrementing that over some period of time, you know resource development tends to take at least several years.“We had seen offshore production increases over the last several years due to increased leasing and development offshore. We’ve yet to see a downward impact on offshore production in response to the Macondo well blowout and the subsequent moratorium and regulatory changes that took place,” Newell added.In his testimony to the House Committee, Newell predicted that because of recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline will average $3.70 this summer and $3.56 for the remainder of the year, which is about $.77 higher than last year’s average.According to the EIA, as of March 14 the national average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.56 per gallon. However, in some parts of the country, the price for gallon has already risen above $4.00.Hmmmm.....Bottom line if you're Brazilian you can drill in the Gulf of Mexico if you're American "Sorry no can do"?Won't that affect OPEC?Makes you wonder what's in it for the US to give Brazil these permits?Read the full
- Sarah Palin arrives in Israel, set to meet Netanyahu.JERUSALEM - Leading US Republican Sarah Palin began a private visit to Israel on Sunday, her first to the Jewish state, and planned to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and tour holy sites.Palin, a 2008 vice presidential candidate, is a potential White House contender in 2012 and a leading light in the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement."As the world confronts sweeping changes and new realities, I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the key issues facing his country, our ally Israel," Palin, who flew in from India, said in a statement on her website.Israeli media described her trip as a bid to show support for Israel, whose standing is strong among US voters, and gain more experience in international affairs ahead of a possible presidential run.Palin, who is keeping her supporters guessing on whether she will run for the presidency, made no comment to reporters on arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport for the two-day visit.Palin was scheduled to have dinner with Netanyahu and his wife on Monday after visiting holy sites in Jerusalem, including the Western Wall.Hmmmm.....No problems with her middle name.Read the full story here.
- HT:BigPeace.Saudi Arabia: Islam Is Against Democracy.Rattled by the unprecedented and contagious revolts befalling Arab despots around them, the Saudi monarchy has realized that bribery is not enough to placate their disenfranchised citizens. The notorious Saudi Minister of Interior, Prince Naif, issued a stern warning against any public demonstration by anyone at anytime in the repressive desert kingdom. As usual, his royal warning was immediately echoed by the top religious clerics including the Saudi Mufti, Al-Ashaikh. According to the Imam of Prophet Mohammed’s Mosque in Madinah, Al-Hudaifi, “Laws and regulations in the Kingdom totally prohibit all kinds of demonstrations, marches and sit-in protests as well as calling for them as they go against the principles of Shariah and Saudi customs and traditions… There is no place for chaotic demonstrations in this country of monotheism because Shariah is the dominant force in this country.” This is the first time the religious establishment has unequivocally asserted that Islam is against individual liberty and freedom of expression. This means that as long as the Quran is the country’s constitution and the Shariah is its law, there can be neither political participation nor personal freedom.Since the inception of the Saudi state in 1932, the US-Saudi relationship has produced mutual economic and strategic benefits at the expense of the Saudi people. However, relations have been severely scarred by recent developments, particularly by Saudi nationals’ vicious attack on the US on September 11, 2001. In addition, Saudi Arabia has been a major breeding ground for anti-American religious sentiments and an exporter of extremism. Furthermore, State Department documents publicized by Wikileaks suggest that Saudi Arabia has been a major financier of extremist groups worldwide.The Arab World, including countries bordering Saudi Arabia, is being swept by public revolts against oppressive regimes. What should the United States do when the Saudi people demand drastic political reforms or the overthrow of the ruling family altogether? Should America stand by the Saudi people as it stood with the Tunisians and Egyptians (and to a lesser degree with the Bahrainis, Libyans and Yemenis)? Should it send its uniformed men and women to defend the last absolute monarchy in the world? The prudent, pragmatic, and morally correct response is to stand by the Saudi people.To continue supporting an oppressive regime loathed not only by the Saudi people but by the international community, would be costly to Saudi people, American interests worldwide, the international economy, and established order.Read the full story here.
- HT:BloggerBase.International Judge the Koran Day Update.Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 4p.m., the trial will start, lasting for four hours. I doubt that is sufficient time, but it is not up to me. Since Chowderhead backed out, Sheikh Imam Mohamed El Hassan has been recruited to defend the Koran. The prosecution team is loaded with apostates. Ahmed Abaza, the prosecutor, is a convert to Christianity. Mr. Ahmed Paul is an expert witness, another apostate. Sheikh Abdulla Al Sabah, another expert witness, also knows Islam from the inside, being an apostate. According to the press release, the poll is running 69% in favor of immolation. That should make for some fun, because Dr. Jones previously promised that he would not burn the Koran. How will he resolve that conflict? Is he secretly hoping for an acquittal? One of the charges could be difficult to prove: the Koran is accused of inciting murder, rape and terrorist activities. The Koran commands Muslims to engage in perpetual warfare but I am not convinced that meets the legal definition of murder. It does sanction sexual exploitation of slaves and commands terrorism. For those of us who can not travel to Gainsville, Florida for the event, it will be broadcast live on the internet at www.truthsat.tv. Read the full story here.
- HT:CreepingSharia.Obama Counterterrorism Adviser won’t bring bin Laden to Gitmo if captured.President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, delivered the administration’s most forceful public call to date for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and the use of federal courts to try some detainees held there.Pointing the finger at Congress, he called legislative efforts to block prisoner transfers to the United States for trial or detention an “unprecedented encroachment” on Obama’s authorities to prosecute suspects.He said any “terrorists captured in the United States would be prosecuted exclusively through the criminal justice system,” and not by the military, as some members of Congress want.Brennan described the closure of Guantanamo as an “essential national security objective,” and noted that its continued use was “preventing other countries from handing over terrorism suspects to the United States.”“I believe in this,” he said later, at the conclusion of a speech at a national security symposium sponsored by The Atlantic Philanthropies and New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.In his remarks, Brennan alluded to recent Congressional hearings led by New York Republican Rep. Peter King that focused on Muslim radicals in the United States. Brennan called it “un-American,” to single out individual groups based on ethnicity, political affiliation or religion.In a lengthy conversation afterward with reporters, Brennan said that if captured, Osama bin Laden would not be taken to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, categorically disputing a recent claim by CIA Director Leon Panetta.“All the steps we are taking are to decrease the population there, not increase it,” he said. He did not say where bin Laden would be held, just that there were other detention “options available if we find people overseas. Certainly, if they are charged with crimes in the United States, they will be detained and prosecuted in our courts,” he said.Hmmmm......Is this why Obama just gave the Guantanamo prisoners POW status?Read the full story here.
- Live broadcast info from Japan directly ! Here.
- Libya Live Blog - March 20. Here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world ,lots of seismic activity globally today! More info here.
- Updated : The wind directions over Japan. Here.
- Latest official Situation Update No. 48.On 20.03.2011 at 11:07 GMT+2
The Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) urged the Japanese government to evacuate as quickly as possible the people currently staying within the 20-30 km zone from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plants, who have been instructed to stay indoors until further notice. These people should be far away from the nuclear plant that poses an increasing danger as large amounts of radioactive material might be released from Nuclear Unit No. 3, which is loaded with fuel containing plutonium, the CNIC said in a statement today. CNIC noted it has been urging the Japanese government to prioritize evacuation of pregnant women, infants and children. “We once again strongly urge the government to take these actions.” It is also necessary to evacuate people from areas outside the 30 km zone that have been contaminated with significant amounts of radioactive materials “and we demand that the government proceed to a rapid evacuation.” The center added that a short-term stay in these areas for the purpose of rescue operations will not entail major risk. Meanwhile, progress to contain the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant experienced ups and downs Sunday as operations to cool down the boiling spent fuel pools by throwing water proceeded smoothly, while authorities at one point found the need to tackle the rising pressure in the No. 3 reactor's containment vessel. Separately, the Ministry of Science and Technology said Sunday that a trace of radioactive substances such as iodine was detected in dust or rain drops in Tokyo and five other eastern Japan prefectures--Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba and Yamanashi--in 24-hour surveys through Sunday morning. But the ministry said there is no threat to human health.
Situation Update No. 47. On 20.03.2011 at 04:23 GMT+2
Japaense health officials said Saturday that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the tsunami-scarred Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant exceed government safety limits. The Science and Technology Ministry said also that miniscule amounts of radioactive iodine have been detected in the tap water in Tokyo and the prefectures neighboring Fukushima in the first sign that contamination from the stricken nuclear complex had seeped into the food chain. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, meanwhile, insisted the contaminated foods "pose no immediate health risk." After the announcements, Japanese officials immediately tried to calm an already-jittery public, saying the amounts detected were so small that people would have to consume unimaginable amounts to endanger their health. Edano said someone drinking the tainted milk for one year would consume as much radiation as in a CT scan; for the spinach, it would be one-fifth of a CT scan. A CT scan is a compressed series of X-rays used for medical tests.
Situation Update No. 46. On 19.03.2011 at 11:09 GMT+2
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Saturday that radiation levels have exceeded allowable limits in spinach and milk following radioactive leaks at the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant. The top government spokesman said that the tainted milk and spinach was found in Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures respectively. It was the first case of food being contaminated by radiation since the March 11 quake caused radioactive leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. On average, the dose of radiation one absorbs after a year's consumption of the contaminated milk is equivalent of taking one CT (computed tomography) scan in hospital, he said. While the radiation level in the case of spinach is just one fifth of the dose, Edano added. Edano did not give more detailed information but urged the public to remain calm. Source .
- Gaddafi: We're not afraid; this will be a long war.In TV broadcast, Libyan leader warns of prolonged battle, says 'Libyan people will destroy all British, American traitors and entire Christian pact'.Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Sunday airstrikes on Libya by Western countries amounted to terrorism and said he would defeat his enemies. In an address broadcast on state television, he said his country was preparing for a long war and that all Libyans were carrying weapons to defend the country."We will not leave our land and we will liberate it," he said. The television broadcast carried Gaddafi's voice, without showing any images of him."Who are you, Barbarians? We will defeat you. We will not die – you will die," he said."We are not afraid. Libya will rise against you and spread weapons to all the Libyan people and they will destroy all the British and American traitors and this entire Christian pact. Whoever cooperates with you will die," Gaddafi stated.The Libyan leader noted that he has opened up the arms depots to Libyans, and said everyone is armed with "automatic weapons, mortars, bombs." European and US forces unleashed warplanes and cruise missiles against Gaddafi's troops in the biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Libyan state television said 48 people had been killed and 150 wounded in the Western air strikes. It also said there had been a fresh wave of strikes on Tripoli early on Sunday.There was no way to independently verify the claims.CBS News on its website said on Sunday that three US B-2 stealth bombers had dropped 40 bombs on a "major Libyan airfield" that was not further identified. A Pentagon spokesman said he had no information about such an attack. French planes fired the first shots on Saturday in a campaign to force Gaddafi's troops to cease fire and end attacks on civilians. The warplanes destroyed tanks and armored vehicles near the rebels' eastern stronghold, Benghazi.US and British warships and submarines launched 110 Tomahawk missiles overnight against air defenses around the capital Tripoli and the western city of Misrata, which has been besieged by Gaddafi's forces, US military officials said. They said US forces and planes were working with Britain, France, Canada and Italy in operation "Odyssey Dawn". Denmark said it had four fighter planes ready to join in on Sunday and was awaiting US instructions.Read the full story here.
- Iran warns Libyans of West's 'colonial' intentions.Foreign Ministry spokesman says Western countries 'enter with seductive slogans, but follow their own interests.' Turkey's Erdogan urges Gaddafi to give up power. Iran warned Libyans on Sunday not to trust Western powers launching air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's troops, saying their aim was to gain neo-colonial control over the oil-rich nation.Tehran has voiced support for the uprising against the Libyan leader, part of what it considers an "Islamic awakening" in the Arab world.But as a long-time foe of the United States which in recent years has invaded and stationed troops in two of its neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran expressed deep suspicion over Western military intervention in Libya."The records and the actions of the dominant countries in occupying oppressed countries means their intentions in such moves are always in doubt," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by students' news agency ISNA.Erdogan repeated that he had called Gaddafi several times this month and suggested he appoint a president with popular backing as a way to end the crisis.NATO-member Turkey said late on Saturday it would make the necessary and appropriate national contribution to implementing the UN-authorized no-fly zone over Libya and measures to protect civilians. "I wish to see an end to the bloodshed and to see the will of the Libyan people dominant," Erdogan said. Hmmmmm.....Wow such a 'swift' action from NATO member Turkey.Read the full story here.
- Iran dispatches warships to Gulf of Aden.Iran is dispatching a squadron of warships to the Gulf of Aden to protect its merchantmen against pirate attacks.Commander of Iran's First Naval Zone Fariborz Qaderpanah said: "The 13th fleet of warships, comprised of Tonb and Delvar vessels is tasked with boosting security for Iranian merchant containers and oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden and north of the Indian Ocean for a period of 60 days."Qaderpanah said that over last two years, the Iranian fleet has successfully "managed to display its powerful presence in turmoil-stricken Gulf of Aden, and foil any attempt to impair transportation routes along the country's sea border," the Fars news agency reported Friday.Under the terms of several U.N. Security Council resolutions, nations can deploy warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia to protect their merchantmen against the pirates and, after giving notice to Somali government, enter Somali territorial in "hot pursuit" of pirates.Iran has begun further deployments of its naval forces abroad, last month sending two warships through the Suez Canal to Latakia, Syria.The commander of the Iranian navy, Commodore Habibollah Sayyari said: "This was a great honor for the Islamic Republic of Iran to be able to fly the proud Iranian banner in the waters of the Mediterranean."The Suez Canal is under the control of Egypt, and only those countries that are not hostile to that country can pass through that canal."Israel expressed its concern over the transit. In a veiled reference to Israel, Sayyari added, "The enemies were truly agitated as the result of this visit and by putting pressure on Egypt and Syria they were trying to prevent it from going ahead. However, with God's grace, the enemy realized that it had no place in the world and in the regional countries and those operations proved to be the greatest defeat for them."The two Iranian warships will operate in the same waters as Combined Task Force 150, a naval alliance dominated by the United States and based in Djibouti, which is also conducting anti-piracy patrols.Read the full story here.
- HT:ThExaminer.Potential new deep water oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico-100 mile sheen reported.The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating reports of a potentially massive oil sheen about 20 miles away from the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion last April.According to Paul Barnard, operations controller for the USCG in Louisiana, a helicopter crew has been dispatched to the site of the Matterhorn SeaStar oil rig, owned by W&T Offshore, Inc.Multiple reports have come in of a sheen nearly 100 miles long and 12 miles wide originating near the site.Independent pilots, including John Wathen of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and Bonnie Schumaker with Wings of Care, are currently flying out to investigate the spill. Schumaker reports having seen the sheen on Friday, March 18, and confirms that it is rapidly expanding.A Louisiana fisherman, who has chosen to remain anonymous at this time, also reports fresh oil coming ashore near South Pass, LA, and that cleanup crews are laying new boom near the beach.Hmmmm.......Just now that Obama is giving brasil new deep water drilling permits?Read the full story here.
- HT:BigGovernment.Obama: US to Be Major Purchaser of Brazilian Oil.Prices for Brent crude hit more than $117 last week as the civil war in Libya continued and are likely to rise further after the start of UN-backed action against Col Gaddafi’s forces.Traders are also concerned about protests and tensions in a number of other oil-producing nations in the region.Mr Obama spoke of the US’s desire to secure more of its oil from Brazil in future after talks with his counterpart, President Dilma Rousseff, in Brasilia at the start of a two-day visit to Latin America’s biggest country. “I have told her that the United States wants to be a major customer, which can be a win-win for both our countries,” he said.Brazil possesses some of the world’s biggest offshore oil reserves in the pre-salt area off its south-east coast. Ms Rousseff has stated her desire to export the vast majority of oil from the fields as the country concentrates on using renewable sources of energy such as hydroelectric power and ethanol for domestic needs.Speaking in a newspaper interview just before Mr Obama’s arrival, she made what seemed a clear sales pitch, asking “which other country in the world has the oil reserves that Brazil has, that is not at war, that does not have an ethnic conflict, which respects contracts, has clear democratic principles and vision, is generous and in favour of peace?”Mike Froman, a senior White House adviser on international economic affairs, also spoke of a “natural potential strategic partnership”with Brazil.Much of the money raised from deals to sell oil to the US and other countries could go towards infrastructure improvements as the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro approach. Mr Obama’s visit to Brasilia also saw the US sign an agreement to help Brazil in its preparations for the sporting events, which could see America training security teams and helping with planning and infrastructure challenges. Many key works, especially at Brazil’s creaking airports, are currently well behind schedule and US companies with experience of preparing for major events will hope the deal may also help them cash in.Hmmmm.....Seems i made a 'Bullseye' yesterday when i said thew Brazilian offshore drilling was Obama's reason for visiting,create some more Brazilian jobs.Read the full story here.
- Obama’s Interior Department Gives Final Approval to Brazilian Oil Company’s Gulf of Mexico Deep Water Floating Facility.The U.S. Interior Department said on Thursday it gave final approval for Petrobras to use the first ever deepwater floating production storage facility in the Gulf of Mexico.The facility will be used when the company begins oil and natural gas production at its Chinook-Cascade project in the near future, the department said. Petrobras is based in Brazil.A Petrobras official who asked not to be identified told Reuters that production would begin in May.The floating facility has a daily production capacity of 80,000 barrels of oil and 16 million cubic feet of gas. It can be disconnected and moved out of the path of a storm, unlike permanently moored production platforms, preventing long-term supply disruptions because of storms.“These regulatory approvals pave the way for safe, new production of oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Michael Bromwich, who heads the department’s agency that oversees offshore drilling.Hmmmm.....So let me get this straight American companies don't get drilling permits but Brazilians do?Read the full story here.
- Obama: The ‘Pay More at the Pump’ President.American Solutions is re-launching Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less for one big reason: President Obama’s continuing war on American energy is dramatically increasing the price of gas and diesel.To be fair, President Obama is in favor of drilling…but just not in the United States.His numerous bans, restrictions, and proposed taxes are hamstringing America’s ability to produce more oil and gas and are thereby increasing gas and diesel prices. In fact, even the federal government projects that domestic oil production will drop by 220,000 barrels per day in 2011 due to the President’s anti-drilling agenda. Production in 2012 will drop even more.If we produce less oil, we will produce less gasoline, which means higher prices at the pump.To avoid the justified political blame that comes with rising gas prices while having no coherent policy to develop more American energy and lower prices, President Obama and his allies in the Congress are now scrambling to show that they’re trying to lower gasoline prices.But instead of arguing for more American energy to lower prices, they’re arguing for more taxes on oil and gas companies, which will only raise gas prices even more as new energy taxes will simply be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher gas prices.So here’s President Obama’s bottom line argument for how to lower gas prices: higher gas prices will lead to lower gas prices.Somewhere George Orwell is smiling.But there is in fact a cruel logic to President Obama’s argument. The more Americans have to spend on gasoline, the poorer they will be and the less they will be able to afford driving. Higher gas prices also means a less robust recovery from the Great Recession.So poorer Americans and economic stagnation will lead to lower overall demand for gas and diesel and put downward pressure on gas prices.That’s President Obama’s strategy for lower gas prices: higher taxes, declining incomes, job loss, food stamps, and economic stagnation.But Americans don’t want this future. We want lower taxes, more take home pay, more jobs, higher economic growth and lower gas prices.Yes, we want all of these outcomes, which is why Americans overwhelmingly support more domestic drilling for oil and gas to lower our energy prices and create more jobs.It’s time to drill here and drill now.Hmmmmm......."If he really wanted to destroy America would he do anything different."Read the full story here.
- Arab unrest spreads to Syria, thousands march.Protests enter third day, four killed this week authorities to free children held over protest graffiti.Thousands of Syrians demanded an end to 48 years of emergency law on Saturday, a third straight day of protests emerging as the biggest challenge to Syria's rulers since unrest swept the Arab world this year."No. No to emergency law. We are a people infatuated with freedom," marchers chanted as a government delegation arrived in the southern town of Deraa to pay condolences for victims killed by security forces in demonstrations there this week.Syria has been ruled under emergency law since the Baath Party, which is headed by president Bashar al-Assad, took power in a 1963 coup and banned all opposition.The government sought to appease popular discontent in Deraa by promising to release 15 schoolchildren whose arrests for scrawling protest graffiti had helped fuel the demonstrations.An official statement said the children, who had written slogans inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt on walls, would be released immediately. The statement was a rare instance of Syria's ruling hierarchy responding to popular pressure.Security forces opened fire on Friday on civilians taking part in a peaceful protest in Deraa demanding the release of the children, political freedoms and an end to corruption. Four people were killed.Read the full story here.
- British Muslim who entered Miss Universe contest receives death threat.Shanna Bukhari was subjected to a tide of online hate after entering the British heats of the beauty contest. Now she fears her life could be in danger.When Shanna Bukhari decided she wanted to be the first Muslim to represent Britain in a global beauty pageant, she suspected the road ahead might not be smooth, but nothing could have prepared her for the abuse she received."I have felt in fear for my life," said the 24-year-old Miss Universe contestant. The attacks escalated last week when Bukhari received her first death threat.The censure has come from various quarters, ranging from Muslims who claim that she is denigrating the name of Islam, to white supremacists who say that an Asian cannot represent the UK, and to women who condemn beauty pageants as an affront to feminism.Bukhari, born in Blackburn, grew up in Lancashire and is no stranger to intolerance. When she was nine, she ended up in hospital after a man screaming racist abuse had thrown a brick at her, causing so much damage to her stomach that she suffered a blood clot and had to undergo surgery.The attacks on the Manchester-based English literature graduate began after a local newspaper ran an article 10 days ago revealing her ambition to become the first Muslim to represent Great Britain at the beauty contest. Since then, she has received around 300 messages a day on her Facebook page, a handful of which are abusive. Most of the negative comments have come from a minority of Muslim men. "I get people saying, 'you're not a Muslim' and 'you're using religion to get attention'. I said they were the ones bringing religion into it. I'm not representing Islam; I just want to represent my country, and of that I am very proud. They are trying to control me, using religion as a tool to attack."Bukhari accuses her abusers of having the same sort of mindset as those who support "honour" killings and beat women. Many of the comments are, she says, from individuals who want sharia law instead of a liberal democracy. "We simply live in a multicultural society where there are significant numbers of Muslims. Islam is about peace; abusing me is itself wrong in Islam."Away from the religious-themed criticism, Bukhari detects a broader anti-female resentment from men who combine sleaze with slurs. "Maybe it's because I'm a woman saying to other women 'stand up for yourself, don't let anyone dictate what you can do or can't'. Some men don't like that," she said.But not all the abuse is from men: Bukhari has also attracted opprobium from feminists. "I've had a few girls saying 'shame on you' or 'rot in hell'. But I'd like to know what their real issues are, so we could have a constructive debate."The abuse that truly shocked Bukhari arrived last Tuesday in the form of an online racist rant. Within hours she had shut down her Facebook fan page, but a friend was then sent a number of internet links to images of people murdered for standing up for their principles. "She rang up and said, 'Shanna, you need to be very careful because he's trying to make me aware that things will happen'. Not a direct death threat perhaps, but he was trying to say that something is going to happen to me."Bukhari cites the thousands who have offered their backing. Support has come from Spain, the Middle East, Pakistan, India and China. Most women supporters say she represents not just a role model for Muslim women, but all those who refuse to be cowed by bullies.During last month's semi-final for Britain's Miss Universe candidate Bukhari received the most public votes. Britain has never won the title. It is increasingly possible that its first victor might also be its first Muslim representative.Read the full story here.
- HT:CreepingSharia.Muslim Student Association Pledge of Allegiance: Jihad is my spirit, I will die to establish Islam (video).The MSA has branches on hundreds of campuses in the U.S. and Canada and many of its campus leaders have engaged in and been arrested for waging jihad. The video above clearly indicates MSA members at UCLA, and elsewhere, are willing to die spreading Islam. The Koran is their law (sharia), and jihad is their way. Get it?Hmmmmm......"We don't want to take over your country"?Read the full story here.
- HT:TheAmericanDream.27 Amazing Statistics About The Real Estate Crash That Never Seems To End: More Foreclosures, More Underwater Mortgages And More Home Price Declines.The real estate crash that never seems to end appears to be getting even worse. Home prices continue to go down, the number of underwater mortgages is soaring and the number of foreclosures set an all-time record in 2010. The peak of the housing market was in 2005 and the subprime mortgage crisis erupted in 2008. Shouldn't things be getting better by now? How many years is this real estate crash going to go on for? Home builders and those that work in the construction industry are deeply suffering because new home sales continue to hover around record lows. Mortgage professionals are having a really hard time because very few people are seeking home loans and many of those that are seeking loans cannot get approved. Real estate agents all over the country are pulling their hair out in frustration and large numbers of them have left the industry completely. The United States has never had such a prolonged real estate slump in the post-World War 2 era. Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of indications that the real estate crash is going to get even worse.The rapidly rising price of oil, the horrific crisis in Japan and instability in the Middle East all threaten to plunge the world into another major economic downturn. That is really bad news for the real estate industry. Already there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone in the United States and without good jobs American workers simply cannot buy homes.In addition, many of those that would like to buy homes are finding that they cannot get approved for home loans. Before the real estate crash, lending standards were incredibly loose, but now the pendulum has swung very far in the other direction.Well, for the U.S. real estate industry every single month is a complete and total nightmare. But instead of being exactly like the previous month, each new month seems to bring news that is just a little bit worse than the month before.Will this nightmare ever stop?The following are 27 amazing statistics about the real estate crash that never seems to end....Read the full story here.
- HT:TranslatingJihad.European Council for Fatwa and Research: "The apostate is killed in order to protect the religion and the community".Translated from the Muslim Brotherhood-linked European Council for Fatwa and Research, 16 Aug 2008:
Title: Is killing interpreted as restricting freedom of conscience?Date: 16 August 2008
Q: One who converted to Islam from Poland, was asked by a wicked atheist about the penalty for one who apostatizes from the religion of Almighty Allah. What should he respond? He interprets killing as restricting freedom of conscience.
A: The issue of killing the apostate is a function of the state. His judgment belongs with the Islamic government. This is not the concern of Islamic foundations, associations, or centers. A group of Salafis and Imams are of the opinion that not every apostate should be killed, but rather only those who openly commit apostasy, or call for fitna, or voice harmful things against Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) and the believers. [The apostate] is killed in order to protect the religion and the community from his corruption, and not to restrict freedoms, as he by his action is infringing on the rights of others. The interests of the state and the society come before individual self-interest. In truth, this issue is similar to what is termed in contemporary law as “high treason” because of the harm to the public that it causes.Hmmmm....."The Religion of peace".Read the full story here.
- Many Egypt Christians vote 'no', fearing Islamists takeover.CAIRO, March 19 (Reuters) - Many Egyptian Christians say they voted on Saturday to reject proposed constitutional amendments in a referendum because they fear hasty elections to follow may open the door for Islamist groups to rise to power.If the amendments are approved, parliamentary elections will take place in late September followed by presidential elections in December, giving scant time for new parties to organise, including ones representing the aspirations of Christians.Foremost among these aspirations is the creation of a civil state where religion is not a basis for legislation.It is widely assumed that quick elections would give an advantage to the well-established Muslim Brotherhood, a group founded in the 1920s which has emerged as the best organised political force since Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power."I fear the Islamists because they speak in civil slogans that have a religious context, like when one said he believed in a civil Egypt but at the same time no woman or Copt should run for president," said Samuel Wahba, a Coptic doctor."I voted 'no' because, as an Egyptian, I want a new complete constitution...it's not based on the 'yes' of Islamist groups," said Ramy Kamel, a Coptic lawyer. Hmmmm......Crackdown on the 'traitors of the revolution' in 3....2.....Read the full story here.
- And now for something completely different.Very close encounters of the 'super moon' kind: Amazing pictures of our lunar neighbour... the nearest it's been in 20 years.Look to the skies tonight and you might just notice something different. For the first time since 1992, a 'super moon' is shining down on us. That means it is brighter and closer to Earth than unusual. Here, we present a gallery of lunar snaps to celebrate the rare phenomenon...Read and see the full story here.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
"Who The Hell Do You Think Your Are?" Farrakhan Blast Obama For Calling For Qaddafi to Step Down.Farrakhan goes on a rant on Chicago radio about Obama calling for Qaddafi to step down, this is from yesterday. FARRAKHAN: "I warn my brother do you let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the Arab world...Why don't you organize a group of respected Americans and ask for a meeting with Qaddafi, you can't order him to step down and get out, who the hell do you think you are?Hmmmmm......Is he threatening the President and the Obama relatives in Africa? HT:HAP.
- Live broadcast info from Japan directly ! Here.
- The official English twitter account of Prime Minister’s Office of Japan. Most of the information provided here will be translation of @ Kantei_Saigai.
- Libya Live Blog - March 20. Here.
- Libya - Airstrikes begin on Libya targets.French warplanes have hit four tanks used by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on the outskirts of the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, on a day when opposition fighters in the city reported coming under constant artillery and mortar fire.Source.
- Updated !15 Earthquakes in the last 14 hours in North-America ,lots of seismic activity globally today! More info here.
- Updated : The wind directions over Japan. Here.
- Radioactive iodine detected in Tokyo tap water.Trace amounts of radioactive iodine were discovered in tap water in Tokyo in the wake of the disaster at the crippled nuclear plant Fukushima, Japanese media said on Saturday.Radiation above the national safety level was also found in the water supply infive other prefectures, said an official from Japan's science ministry, which is monitoring radiation levels.Source.
- Google reacts to Japanese tsunami with a Person Finder tool. Here.
- Latest official Situation Update No. 45.
- Swedish Government: Radiation To Cover Entire Northern Hemisphere.Suggesting that levels of radiation leaks from the stricken Fukushima plant are being grossly underreported by Japanese authorities, a Swedish government agency told Reuters today that not only will the radiation reach North America, but it will subsequently cover the entire northern hemisphere.“Lars-Erik De Geer, research director at the Swedish Defense Research Institute, a government agency, was citing data from a network of international monitoring stations established to detect signs of any nuclear weapons tests,” reports Reuters.“Stressing that the levels were not dangerous for people, he predicted the particles would continue across the Atlantic and eventually also reach Europe.”De Geer said he was “convinced it would eventually be detected over the whole northern hemisphere,” according to the report, adding that radioactive particles would “eventually also come here,” referring to Europe.De Geer’s prognosis arrives on the back of a study of data by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, which confirmed that the radioactive plume from Fukushima would reach the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting southern California late on Friday. The CBTO has a network of radiation monitors deployed globally that can detect radioactive particles such as caesium and iodine isotopes.Read the full story here.
- Libya - More then 110 Cruise missiles fired!US launches cruise missiles from warship on Libyan targets.Western forces bombard areas of Tripoli and fuel storage tanks; French war planes also hit four Libyan tanks near Benghazi; attacks come after UN-mandated military intervention gets underway in Libya.The United States launched cruise missiles from a warship against Libyan targets, a US official told Reuters on Saturday on condition of anonymity.Libyan state television also reported the "crusader enemy", a reference to Western forces, bombarded civilian areas of Tripoli and fuel storage tanks that supplied the city of Misrata in west Libya.In one of the brief headlines it cited a spokesman from the Libyan armed forces. It did not give further details. Earlier, French air force jets destroyed some tanks and armored vehicles during a UN-mandated intervention in Libya, a French defense ministry official said on Saturday."Yes, we have destroyed a number of tanks and armored vehicles," the official said, adding that he could not immediately confirm the number.Al Jazeera television reported earlier that four Libyan tanks had been destroyed to the south west of the Libyan city of Benghazi.The first shot was fired by a French aircraft and destroyed a military vehicle at around 1645 GMT, French defense ministry and army officials said."A first target was engaged and destroyed," ministry spokesman Laurent Teisseire told reporters.An armed forces spokesman told the same briefing that the operation to halt Muammar Gaddafi's advance on rebel forces involved around 20 planes and an area 100 km by 150 km (60 by 100 miles) around the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier will leave France for Libya on Sunday, the spokesman added. A central command center for the operation was still being set up.Earlier Saturday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that Western air forces, with Arab League approval, had gone into action over Libya and were preventing Gaddafi's forces from attacking Benghazi."As of now, our planes are preventing air attacks on the city of Benghazi," he said adding that military action supported by France, Britain, the United States and Canada and backed by Arab nations could be halted if Gaddafi stopped his forces attacking.Also Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Paris that the United States would bring its "unique capabilities" to bear to help its European and Canadian allies in enforcing a UN resolution on Libya."If the international community is to have credibility ... then action must take place," Clinton told a news conference.Hmmmm......Yup really the time for the 'commander-in-chief to go to the beach in Rio!Fiddle while Rome burns?Read the full story here.
- Libya - Libyans form human shield at Gaddafi's compound.TRIPOLI - Thousands of Libyans packed into Muammar Gaddafi's heavily fortified Tripoli compound on Saturday to form a human shield against possible air strikes by allied forces.Fireworks erupted into the night sky and people fired defiant shots into the air at the compound after allied warplanes went into action in eastern Libya to stop the Libyan leader's forces attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi.Libyans from all walks of life streamed into the Bab Al-Aziziyah compound, shouting slogans and holding portraits of Gaddafi. Loudspeakers boomed songs praising the leader."My mother and father told me that they (Western warplanes) would attack the compound so I came here to protect our leader," said one 10-year-old boy, Mahmoud .Source .
- Yemen's US-backed leader fails to stop uprising.President blames opposition for 'incitement and chaos' that led to violent confrontations, deaths. SANAA, Yemen — A crackdown that killed dozens failed to stop massive demonstrations against Yemen's U.S.-backed president, as crowds of thousands clashed Saturday with security forces smashing their protest camps and even seized control of one southern city. In the capital, the government had to bring out tank units and other military forces to protect key buildings as crowds swelled. Protesters also stood their ground in the southern city of Mualla, surging out of their destroyed encampment and encircling a police station.More than a month of daily protests calling for political freedoms and an end to corruption have presented President Ali Abdullah Saleh with the most dire challenge to his 32 years of running Yemen, a deeply impoverished land of restive tribes and numerous conflicts on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.In the bloodiest single day of the uprising, Yemeni forces killed at least 46 people and injured hundreds in the capital on Friday, including with snipers firing on demonstrators from rooftops. That prompted condemnation from the U.N. and the United States, which backs his government with hundreds of millions in military aid to battle a potent al-Qaida offshoot based in Yemen's mountainous hinterlands.Hmmmmm......All that 'outreach' to Muslims has made the world such a safer place?Oh but that's why
'the royal family'the Presidential family is in Rio "All's quit at the Western Front".Read the full story here.
- President Obama lands in Brazil while conservatives blast trip during chaos in Japan, Libya.President Obama just can't please conservatives.The president landed in Brazil Saturday morning for the start of a three-nation Latin American tour, while a right-wing chorus back home assailed him for traveling while emergencies and chaos reign in Libya and Japan.The administration says the main goal of Obama's trip is to strengthen economic partnerships and foster job creation in the U.S."As we respond to these immediate crises abroad, we also will not let up in our efforts to tackle the pressing, ongoing challenges facing our country, including accelerating economic growth. That's why, over the weekend, I'll be in Latin America," Obama said in his weekly address.Obama had his family in tow in Brasilia. First lady Michelle Obama,daughters Malia and Sasha, and the girls' grandmother and godmother went through the receiving line of Brazilian and American officials.Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy ripped Obama's trip on Friday as a 'vacation," saying it's inappropriate for a president to go on such a jaunt while officials in Japan race to prevent a total nuclear meltdown, and Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy continues his assault on rebels, in spite of UN threats and his own promise of a ceasefire."What is happening with the president while all of this is going on in the United States and around the world?" Doocy said. "He's going on vacation. He's going to Rio. You've got to be kidding. Taking his family. It sounds like a vacation to me. Rio? Hello?"The Washington Times ran an editorial this week titled 'Obama Couldn't Care Less," declaring 'the president parties while the world burns."And conservative television commentator Monica Crowley told Fox Business Channel that 'Perception is reality. He's always shooting hoops, he's having Terry Bradshaw nights at the White House, he's in Rio. The world is aflame! Go to work!"Hmmmm......Perhaps creating some more off-shore drilling in Brazil Mr President?Apparently 89 % of the voters on the poll think the President should be in America doing the job he's supposed to do!Read the full story here.
- HT:Aina."The War On Christianity".Time is Running Out for Iraq's Christians, Says Archbishop.Iraq's ancient Christian community has run out of time and will disappear soon, a senior Iraqi churchman has said.Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil made his alarming prediction at a press conference for the launch of the Aid to the Church in Need report on oppressed Christians abroad, Persecuted and Forgotten?Speaking in Westminster yesterday, alongside Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Warda said that there were fewer than 200,000 Christians left in Iraq and "the time for waiting" was running out.Declaring that figure to be "optimistic", he said: "From what we have seen so far our people have lost patience. The past is terrifying, the present is not promising. All is left is the very limited choice of emigration, to Jordan and Turkey."He cited Mosul, one of the most dangerous cities in the world to be a Christian, where hundreds were driven out in October 2009, saying: "In 2003 there were 4,000 Chaldean families, 1,000 Christians from other churches, and 11 active Chaldean churches. Now six churches have been closed, and if it goes this way, it won't be this long before certain areas of Iraq are evacuated."We have freedom of worship, but not freedom of religion, that is not allowed, in any Islamic state."He described how many Christians in Baghdad and Mosul had received warnings through text messages or bullets, sometimes delivered by policemen. Some clerics received three bullets, one representing murdered priest Fr Ragheed Ganni, another for the murdered Archbishop Rahho, and another for the intended victim.He said that, although Christians were safer in the Kurdish-controlled regions of northern Iraq, they still lacked economic security and were so impoverished some had resorted to prostitution. Some 5,000 Christian families had fled to the Kurdish-controlled region and yet, he said, the Iraqi Government cared so little for them that they had demanded European governments paid for their resettlement."It was a strange statement," he said of the Government's demand: "They are not some group who have emigrated from Europe. They do not come from Europe!"Aid to the Church in Need's report found that persecution was intensifying in two thirds of the worst countries, and that many Christian communities in the Middle East faced extinction within a generation. Archbishop Warda thanked the charity and asked Christians in the west to raise awareness and making politicians aware of what was going on."We need to bear the cross," the archbishop said, "but it is getting heavy."Hmmmm.....Of course no word is heard from defender of the oppressed the selfconfessed 'Christian' President,come to think of it when did he go last to church?Read the full story here.
- HT:Sheikyermami.UN Tyranny: now they’re coming after your kids!Do you think the socialist dictators, Muslims, moonbats, and other assorted thugs, kooks, and degenerates infesting the United Nations could do a better job of raising your children than you can? Do you think their authoritarian dictates should trump America’s Constitution? Do you think Democrats should be allowed to use international treaties to effect a back-door repeal of the Second Amendment as a prelude to transitioning from soft tyranny to hard tyranny? Then by all means don’t waste a whole minute letting your Senators know that We the People will not take kindly to Hussein Obama being allowed to ram through the cuddly sounding but oppressive United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.Hussein Obama could present the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to the senate for ratification soon. If ratified, the CRC would have the power to sweep away local, state and even federal laws that protect your parental rights. The CRC would effectively allow the United Nations to dictate to American citizens how they can raise their own children. SR 99 is a resolution that would prevent the CRC from even being introduced in the senate for consideration. All we need are 34 senators to co-sponsor the resolution to demonstrate that President Obama does not have the 67 votes needed to ratify the CRC.Hmmmm......Deconstructing the Constitution one line at the time!Read the full story here.
- Report: European governments “completely puzzled” about Obama Regime’s position on Libya.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's meetings in Paris with the G8 foreign ministers on Monday left her European interlocutors with more questions than answers about the Obama administration's stance on intervention in Libya. Inside the foreign ministers' meeting, a loud and contentious debate erupted about whether to move forward with stronger action to halt Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi's campaign against the Libyan rebels and the violence being perpetrated against civilians. Britain and France argued for immediate action while Germany and Russia opposed such a move, according to two European diplomats who were briefed on the meeting. Clinton stayed out of the fray, repeating the administration's position that all options are on the table but not specifically endorsing any particular step. She also did not voice support for stronger action in the near term, such as a no-fly zone or military aid to the rebels, both diplomats said. "The way the U.S. acted was to let the Germans and the Russians block everything, which announced for us an alignment with the Germans as far as we are concerned," one of the diplomats told The Cable. Clinton's unwillingness to commit the United States to a specific position led many in the room to wonder exactly where the administration stood on the situation in Libya. "Frankly we are just completely puzzled," the diplomat said. "We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States." On the same day, Clinton had a short meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which Sarkozy pressed Clinton to come out more forcefully in favor of action in Libya. She declined Sarkozy's request, according to a government source familiar with the meeting. Sarkozy told Clinton that "we need action now" and she responded to him, "there are difficulties," the source said, explaining that Clinton was referring to China and Russia's opposition to intervention at the United Nations. Sarkozy replied that the United States should at least try to overcome the difficulties by leading a strong push at the U.N., but Clinton simply repeated, "There are difficulties." One diplomat, who supports stronger action in Libya, contended that the United States' lack of clarity on this issue is only strengthening those who oppose action.Hmmmmm......How about"I will stand with my Muslim Brothers"?Read the full story here.
- IDF: Assassination of Hamas leaders possible.Gaza escalation may prompt IDF to hit military wing leaders, army says.Hamas: Don't test us.The latest escalation in Gaza rocket attacks on southern Israel may lead to assassinations of Hamas military wing leaders, the IDF warns, with army officials saying they cannot discount this possibility. Military officials made it clear that Saturday's barrage of some 50 mortar shells at the western Negev will not be ignored, adding that the army's aerial attacks Saturday afternoon were merely "the first bullets" in Israel's response.The IDF's initial response included massive tank and aerial fire directed at some 10 Hamas targets, including outposts and observation posts. The army's strike lasted 45 minutes and the IDF says Hamas men who manned various positions were hurt. The Gaza Health Ministry spokesman said earlier that at least one senior Hamas man was killed and four civilians were wounded in the IDF strikes.The army struck across the Strip after Hamas and other terror groups fired dozens of mortar shells at southern Israel earlier in the day. Hamas Spokesman Ismail Radwan said the mortar barrages came in reaction to Israeli Air Force attacks that killed group members and warned Jerusalem "not to test Hamas' response."Hmmmm......Read the full story here.
- HT:Aina.Turkey Shifts Eastward.Observing Turkey is a more than frustrating experience. There is no difficulty in finding knowledgeable people who insist there's been no alteration in its objective of joining the European Union and incorporating into the European political and economic world. After all, Turkey has been a valued NATO member since 1952. At the same time there are equally perceptive commentators who contend that the dream of a secular Westernized Turkey has shifted away from its European-aimed target of recent years.Contrary to those wishful thinkers who seek closer Turkish ties with the West, there is no chance that Turkey will soon come close to membership in the European Union as long as it continues to jail journalists on fanciful terrorism charges. According to the Financial Times, about sixty journalists are now imprisoned. The charges range all the way from personal libel to outright conspiracy to overthrow the government.These reporters and commentators have joined the approximately one hundred military officers who already have been jailed for purported participation in a coup plot originating in 2003. There appears no question that some form of coup was being planned at the time -- and since then. But it is equally clear that a large portion of the evidence has been fabricated, and in a rather amateurish manner.Behind this is the growing belief within the ruling, Islam-conscious Justice and Development Party (AKP) that right wing forces are moving for an overthrow of what the AKP considers "democratic change." This may in fact contain an element of truth if one associates such change with AKP dominance.It is also true, however, that AKP leadership has done little to strike down Article 301 of the penal code that criminalizes any anti-government statements. This legal device is the core of the highly objectionable security element of the authoritarian 1982 constitution that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so often excoriated.PM Erdogan, choosing to show an exceptionally thin political skin, reacted strongly to the European Parliament report that condemned "deterioration in the freedom of the press" in Turkey and called on the Ankara government to "uphold the principles of press freedom." Erdogan not only referred to the report as "unbalanced", but he said, "…the people who have prepared this document lack balance as well." Not quite the tone that encourages votes for EU membership…This tough talk may sound well locally among his supporters, but it certainly plays into the hands of those who wish to show Erdogan and the AKP actually are using the same repressive measures as did opposition military-aligned political powers about which they have complained. The basic obstacle faced by the AKP, President Abdullah Gul, and PM Erdogan is the lack of promised action on the existing constitution. This 1982 document created after a coup carried with it little of the types of freedom of speech and press that mark Western legal, political, and social concepts.Perhaps the most striking example of the Erdogan Administration's willingness to run counter to EU and American recent positions was the official opposition from Ankara to sanctions of any kind against Col. Qaddafi's Libya. The explanation given by Turkey's foreign minister was that such actions would be counterproductive. According to VOA News, "PM Erdogan accused Western countries calling for intervention of being motivated by Libya's huge oil reserves." Again, not the most diplomatic of comments for an EU-aimed prime minister.The actions of the Turkish premier appear to indicate that any interest he once had in European Union membership has been substantially diminished by the less than lukewarm interest on the part of France and Germany. Erdogan's AKP-dominated government acts as if it has been freed from having to hew to Western precepts of democracy as a requirement to Turkey's EU membership -- and greets this with a sigh of relief.Political Islam would now appear to be Turkey's guidepost under its current government. The key question is how PM Erdogan and his energetic president, Abdullah Gul, perceive Turkey's neo-Islamist role in the Middle East. How the United States and its Western European allies plan to respond to this new characterization of modern Turkey will be played out in the very near future.The days of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk's military --guarded secularist state appears to have ended, though, according to some, brought on by their own excesses. Nonetheless, Turkey under the religious-minded AKP seems headed in the same iron-fisted direction so condemned in the past by its members. Assuming a leadership role in the Middle East region will require Turkey's Islamic-preoccupied civilian government to create an entente with its own secularist military forces -- a tactic more easily said than done.Hmmmmm......Welcome to Turkey Iranian style!Get Turkey out of NATO NOW!Read the full story here.
- HT:SheikYermami.Fartwa: Using Drug-dealers Money to Build Mosques is Halal!Using Unlawful Wealth to Finance Mosque Renovations.
Q: ’Our mosque was severely damaged by fire, and we needed to collect money to rebuild it. Many people have donated. The problem is that some substantial donations were received from people who are known to be drug dealers. Now, what should we do with that money?’
A: unlawfully earned wealth is only unlawful for those who earned it. Therefore, if such wealth is donated to build a mosque, it may be accepted and used for such purpose.Hmmmm.......Read the full story here.
- Ahmadinejad: God has chosen my successor.Iranian president tells council heads in Tehran, 'Future has already been determined. God knows who will come after me'.Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his replacement as Iranian president has already been chosen by God, a local website reported Saturday. "Friends told me, 'We are concerned about the future,'" Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with council heads in Tehran. "I told them, 'The future has already been determined. Go to work and the results will come.'"One of them asked me, 'Who will be next?' I said, 'Don't you think God knows who's next.'" Ahmadinejad did not name anyone specific, but according to Iranian estimates he was implying that he wants his associate Esfandiar Rahim Mashai to replace him. Mashai served as Ahmadinejad's deputy in the past, before being fired for saying that the Iranian people are friends of Israel. Mashai currently serves as head of the president's bureau. The two are also related, as one of Ahmadinejad's sons is married to Mashai's daughter. This isn't the first time that Ahmdinejad, a devout Shiite Muslim, predicts the political future his country. A week before the controversial presidential elections in 2009, Ahmadinejad told his people that he would win. "I reiterated before the elections that something big was going to happen," Ahmadinejad said. "After the elections someone asked me, 'What was that big thing?' I replied, 'Is there anything bigger than this?'"Hmmmmmm........If you ask me he's hinting at 'the hidden Imam'.Read the full story here.
- HT:PBS.Tehran's Merchant Fleet Sails Close to Wind.Staff at state shipping agency admit to changing ships' names, owners and even paintwork to evade sanctions.The tall building occupied by Iran's shipping agency looks a lot different from other government offices in Tehran. Instead of ideological symbols, the dominant theme here is nautical -- anchors, lanterns and sails. The staff, too, look different. There are more smart suits, ironed collars and well-shaven faces around.The general air of tidiness reflects the seriousness with which Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, IRISL, goes about its business. With a commercial fleet of 169 ships carrying nearly a third of Iranian exports and imports, the firm is the dominant player in Iran by a long stretch, although there are a number of private shipping companies as well.Staff at IRISL see themselves as waging a full-scale, if hidden, international war to circumvent international sanctions and keep the freight moving.In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department placed IRISL on its sanctions list on the grounds that its vessels were carrying military freight. Then it was barred from taking out insurance and loans in London, and finally, last year, the United Nations Security Council approved a new set of sanctions which included the right to inspect, confiscate and, where necessary, destroy the IRISL freight.The U.N. resolution provoked a strong reaction from Tehran, where parliament instructed the government to mete out equal treatment to ships belonging to states that inspect Iranian vessels, and to provide naval protection to commercial shipping where necessary.Its most recent financial statement, for the Iranian year ending March 2010, indicates that its 35 customers include Iran's Defense Industry Organization.Even so, IRISL always insists that it complies with all laws and regulations. At the same time, it says it cannot be responsible for the content of freight, and must trust statements made by owners and by port officials. But officials there, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledge that the company uses whatever loopholes it can to get round restrictions on what it can carry.A recently-retired ship's captain says IRISL's long experience and intimate knowledge of the laws of the sea means it is well equipped to get round obstacles."Most of the experts working for this organization were educated in Europe, they know the international rules very well and can identify loopholes that were not foreseen when embargo laws were passed," he said.A mid-ranking IRISL official said, "Many of the employees are no fans of Iranian government ideology or policies, but regardless of their political views, they care about the national interest and also about safeguarding their jobs, so they're ready to take on challenges in unpredictable situations."The official admitted that the company used a range of tactics such as changing a vessel's registered name or owner, setting up shell companies, sailing under flags of convenience, counterfeiting shipping documents, and sometimes even repainting a ship."Everyone knows we use these hide-and-seek tactics, but the point is whether they can catch us out," he added.Hmmmm.......Arrrr "Sanctions that bite"?Read the full story here.
- Man sets fire to wife and dumps her near hospital.A Yemeni man poured petrol on his Saudi wife and set her on fire before driving her to a nearby hospital and dumping her scorched body near the gate, a newspaper in the Gulf Kingdom reported on Thursday.Horrified passers-by carried the groaning woman, in her 40s, into the hospital where doctors raced against time to save her life, Sharq said.The woman, who could barely speak, whispered to her rescuers that her husband dosed her with petrol and set her ablaze.“Police said they caught the fleeing husband just as he was trying to cross the border into Yemen,” the paper said in a report from the southern province of Jazan near the border with Yemen. “They said the man has another wife and that he confessed to burning his Saudi wife following an argument.”Hmmmmm.......Read the full story here.