Thousands of Nepalis began fleeing the capital Kathmandu on Monday, terror-stricken by two days of powerful aftershocks and looming shortages of food and water after an earthquake that killed more than 3,700 people.
A senior interior ministry official said authorities had not been able to establish contact with some of the worst affected areas in the mountainous nation, and that the death toll could reach 5,000.
Roads leading out of Kathmandu were jammed with people, some with babies in their arms, trying to climb onto buses or hitch a ride aboard cars and trucks to the plains.
Huge queues had formed at the city's Tribhuvan International Airport, with tourists and residents desperate to get a flight out.
"I'm willing even to sell the gold I'm wearing to buy a ticket, but there is nothing available," said Rama Bahadur, an Indian woman who works in Nepal's capital.
Many of Kathmandu's one million residents have slept in the open since Saturday's quake, either because their homes were flattened or they were terrified that aftershocks would bring them crashing down.
"We are escaping," said Krishna Muktari, who runs a small grocery store in Kathmandu city, standing at a major road intersection. "How can you live here? I have got children, they can't be rushing out of the house all night."
Overwhelmed authorities were trying to cope with a shortage of drinking water, food and electricity, as well as the threat of disease, and the government appealed for international help.
The United Nations Childrens Fund said nearly one million children in Nepal were severely affected by the quake, and warned of waterborne and infectious diseases.
In the ancient temple town of Bhaktapur, east of Kathmandu, many residents were living in tents in a school compound after centuries old buildings collapsed or developed huge cracks.
"We have become refugees," said Sarga Dhaoubadel, a management student whose ancestors had built her Bhaktapur family home over 400 years ago.
They were subsisting on instant noodles and fruit, she said.
"No one from the government has come to offer us even a glass of water," she said. "Nobody has come to even check our health. We are totally on our own here. All we can hope is that the aftershocks stop and we can try and get back home."
A total of 3,726 people were confirmed killed in the 7.9 magnitude quake, the government said on Monday, the worst in Nepal since 1934 when 8,500 died. More than 6,500 were injured.
Another 66 were killed across the border in India and at least another 20 in Tibet, China's state news agency said.
The toll is likely to rise as rescuers struggle to reach remote regions in the country of 28 million people and as bodies buried under rubble are recovered.
Back in early March, the mainstream media was excitedly publishing storiesabout Liberia purportedly discharging its last Ebola patient and awaiting formal "Ebola-free" status. Of course, back in mid-January, the major outlets were also reporting that Liberia "aims to be Ebola-free by end-February."
How wrong they all were.
But, as conservatives well know, Ebola has been highly politicized. Because a number of American and Canadian politicians on the right side of the political spectrum (e.g., Rand Paul, Stephen Harper's government, etc.) correctly expressed serious concerns over Ebola, the left-wing science/medicine and journalism establishment automatically adopted the contrarian view that there is nothing for us to be worried about here in the West. Another textbook example of how science is not objective -- it has been converted into a tool that the liberals use to attack conservatives and thereby manipulate public opinion to further their political desires.
The reason there have been so few cases of Ebola in the West is because we became so concerned about it. Had some sensible conservative politicians not raised their fears in public, we may have been looking at a near-repeat of the infamous 1918 influenza epidemic -- which infected nearly one-third of the global population and killed upwards of 5 percent of all people on the planet at that time.
The notion of Liberia being Ebola-free in early March was ridiculous at the time just by looking at the time series of cases in the country over the previous year. Epidemics do not just end abruptly after a long period of a linear increase in their case numbers. More generally, we see sigmoidal (S-shaped) patterns whereby the epidemic slowly tails off.
The graph below shows the total cumulative number of Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in early 2014. The black arrow points to the period in early March when the media was falling over themselves to report that Liberia was awaiting Ebola-free status.
Even a cursory glance at the data shows that Liberia had been experiencing a near-linear rate of increase in cases since December. Thus, there was no reason to expect a total halt to all new cases in early March. Indeed, the linear trend has continued up to the present -- with a thousand new cases since March 4.
Ebola cases are tailing off in Guinea and Sierra Leone, and their cumulative case time series exhibit the classic sigmoidal shape. By comparison, Liberia's data is very unusual, and one wonders if it is accurate or whether it has been manipulated for political purposes at various times.
It is clear that Ebola is still going strong in Liberia with no end in sight, further validating the concerns many had -- and still have -- over Ebola's lasting impacts in West Africa and risks to the West.
On Saturday night, the city of Baltimore resembled a warzone as protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned wildly violent. One eyewitness reported watching the streets around him and his friend “turn into madness” as they left a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. Car windows were smashed, stores were robbed, chairs were thrown and large numbers of random bystanders were attacked. One prominent Democrat claims that those committing the violence were “mainly from out of town“, but how would he know that? Today, there are approximately 2.7 million people living in the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is an area that has been known for poverty, crime and drugs for many years, and as racial tensions continue to increase in this country it is a powder keg that could erupt at literally any time. We got a preview of what can happen on Saturday night. If this is how people will act while economic conditions are still relatively stable in this country, what in the world is going to happen when things really start falling apart?
On Saturday, April 11th, I delivered a presentation down in Dallas, Texas in which I warned about the rioting and civil unrest that are soon coming to this nation. On slide number 145 of the presentation, I specifically named the city of Baltimore as one of the cities where this would happen. But I had no idea that the rioting in Baltimore would begin so quickly. And the violence that we saw on Saturday night was at a level that was quite shocking. The following is how the Daily Mail described some of the chaos that ensued…
This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in America.
But it is happening. Ferguson set the precedent, and now this is going to spread all over the country.
I also want to share with you another video, but I need to warn you about it first. This YouTube video strings together a bunch of clips of some of the worst of the violence, but it also contains some very graphic language. So please don’t let any young children watch this. I felt that it was important to share this because we need to really understand what is happening to our cities. America is changing, and not for the better. This is what social decay looks like…
Are you starting to get the picture?
Things were so bad outside of the stadium where the Baltimore Orioles play that some of the Orioles actually thought about spending the night inside the clubhouse.
One of the things that is being ignored by many in the mainstream media is that fact that one of the key organizers of the Baltimore protests is a former national chairman of the New Black Panther Party named Malik Shabazz. These days, he is the president of an organization known as “Black Lawyers for Justice”, but he is definitely still up to his old tricks. The following is an excerpt from an article about the Baltimore riots in the New York Times…
If you are marching for “justice”, you don’t throw objects at random bystanders, loot stores or attack vehicles that are just driving through the area. But all of those things happened on Saturday night. The following is how an eyewitness described one of the most harrowing attacks…
The crowd of protesters then stopped a blue station wagon carrying a white family as they tried to drive past Pickles, Bullpen and Sliders along a narrow one-way stretch between the bars and the main road. As a horde of them smashed their open and closed fists on the hood of the car—while impeding them by standing in front of them—the driver backed up on the one way pass in a desperate attempt to get out of dodge. Then, stopped on the other side with nowhere to go, protesters ripped open the passenger door of the car and began reaching around inside the vehicle. As hundreds of people looked on, including several police officers who didn’t engage the violent protesters, the white woman in the front seat—middle-aged and a little heavyset with dark hair—was visibly terrified. The group of black men who ripped open the car door suddenly realized they were separated from the larger group of protesters and abandoned their quest to seemingly either carjack the station wagon or rob the people inside in front of hundreds, driving out of the one-way street back onto the main road and presumably out of dodge.
Sadly, all of this hate and anger is just another sign of the social decay that is eating away at the foundations of our society like a cancer.
And if people are willing to act like this when our economy is still relatively stable and things are still relatively good in this nation, what are they going to do when they don’t have any money in their pockets and they don’t know where their next meal is going to come from?
What we witnessed in Baltimore on Saturday night is just the beginning.
Much worse is coming, and eventually we are going to see tremendous civil unrest and rioting all over this nation.
The West is losing the worldwide fight against jihadist terrorism and faces mounting risks of a systemic cyber-assault by extremely capable enemies, the former chief of the National Security Agency has warned.
"The greatest risk is a catastrophic attack on the energy infrastructure. We are not prepared for that," said General Keith Alexander, who has led the US battle against cyber-threats for much of the last decade.
Gen Alexander said the "doomsday" scenario for the West is a hi-tech blitz on refineries, power stations, and the electric grid, perhaps accompanied by a paralysing blow to the payments nexus of the major banks.
"We need something like an integrated air-defence system for the whole energy sector," he said, speaking at a private dinner held by IHS CERAWeek in Texas.
More insidiously, there is now a systematic effort by state-backed hacking teams to steal technology from Western companies. "This is the biggest wealth transfer in history," he said.
Gen Alexander warned that the US and it allies have failed to check the advance of Islamic State (Isil) or its expanding network of franchises across the Middle East. The West is increasingly at risk of a strategic defeat in the region. "It is getting worse. Twenty-five countries are now unstable, just look at Yemen," he said.
Gen Alexander, who served as head of US Cyber Command as well as director of the electronic eavesdropping agency, listed five countries able to conduct cyber-warfare at the highest level: the US, UK, Israel, Russia, and surprisingly Iran.
China clearly has first-rate hackers, allegedly concentrated at a 2,000-strong cell of the People's Liberation Army in Shanghai. The current NSA chief Michael Rogers testified late last year that China is capable of cyber-attacks that could cause "catastrophic failures" of the water system or the electricity grid.
The Iranians revealed their skill in August 2012 with a taunting virus attack on Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant. Hackers erased most of the company's emails and documents, leaving an image of a burning American flag on the computer system as their calling card. There was a similar attack on Qatar's state-energy group RasGas.
Once again, we see the month of September pop up unexpectedly - how many times have we seen September appear as a significant date in seemingly unrelated articles?
The world could stumble into war, as it did 100 years ago. Whoever hired the snipers of Maidan Square have a lot to answer for, including making China’s planned war in Asia more difficult for the US and its allies.
As a quid pro quo for China supporting it over Crimea and the eastern Ukraine, Russia is in the process of selling China six battalions of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems with a range of 400 km. Each battalion consists of a command post, radar and eight launcher trucks with four missiles each. The missiles have a maximum velocity of 4.8 km per second. The six battalions amount to 192 missiles, not including reloads. Operating practice is to fire two missiles at one target to increase the hit probability. So these systems put 96 US and allied aircraft at extreme risk at up to 400 km from the Chinese coast or their island bases.
The pace of the base building in the Spratly Islands indicates China is operating under a self-imposed tight timeline. The scale of the base building suggests that China will be using its network of Spratly bases to enforce its nine-dash claim to the South China Sea, which means war. So what might be setting the timetable? China’s President, Xi Jinping, will be attending the May Day parade in Moscow on 9th May. In 2014 the National People’s Congress of China voted to designate 3rd September as “Victory Day of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.” President Putin will be attending the military parade in Beijing on that date, the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan. So the war is unlikely to start prior to 3rd September.
There is an important date soon after. This is 18th September: National Humiliation Day in China. This commemorates the Mudken Incident of that date in 1931 in which Japanese troops used a staged incident as an excuse to invade Manchuria. This year it is immediately followed by National Defense Education Day, which is the third Saturday of September. This is very convenient for China in that civil preparations for National Defense Education Day can partly mask preparations for war. A war starting on the night of Friday 18th September 2015 would be at the start of the Western weekend at least for forces in Asia. It will be late Friday morning on the US east coast.
We can expect President Xi’s rhetoric to ratchet up as the year progresses. Apart from what is said at the parade on 3rd September, 7th July is the anniversary of the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident, now seen as marking the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45. In 2014, President Xi was the first Chinese president to attend an official ceremony commemorating the start of the Sino-Japanese war. No effort is being spared in promoting China’s chosen trauma.
My advice is to have your affairs in order by 18th September. China’s war would involve half the world’s population. These sorts of things tend to not go as planned by the instigator. China is planning a quick war, and like Germany’s World War 1 experience, it is unlikely to go as they wish it to.
How can we be so sure that a war is coming? Last year in Washington I was privileged to meet a retired US general who had attended the Berlin Olympic Games of 1936. He saw the scale of the German preparations and realised that a war was coming so he returned to the US and enrolled at West Point. These photographs will give you an idea of the scale of what China is doing in the Spratly Islands. Base-building on that scale has no purpose other than prosecuting a war.
In the roster of organizations whose well-meaning objectives have been distorted by bias and prejudicial resolutions, Amnesty International (AI) stands high. For those concerned with human rights, AI is now part of the problem, not part of the solution. It has lost the treasure of a spotless reputation.
The stated objective of AI is to work to protect human rights worldwide, and to mobilize the grassroots power of millions of people to effect change. Yet its members refused to approve a text that called on the U.K. government to monitor anti-Semitism closely and periodically review the security of Britain’s Jewish population.
A majority of members of AI at its annual general meeting in London on April 19, 2015 thought otherwise. The members, by a vote of 468 to 461, rejected a resolution to campaign against anti-Semitism, and to tackle the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain, whether physical or verbal, online, or in person.
The vote against the resolution at the AI meeting in London was disgraceful and indeed dishonorable for three reasons. First, the resolution had explained the increasing problem. In February 2015, the report of the British All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism found that there was a 221-percent increase in hate crimes directed at Jews during the 2014 Gaza conflict when compared with same period in 2013.
Secondly, it was only resolution defeated during the whole conference, and it related only to British Jews, not to the State of Israel. Thirdly, it displayed that for AI, the concern about anti-Semitism was less significant than other human rights issues. One might even conclude that the 468 members voting against condemning anti-Semitism might not disapprove of it or, even more, might believe that Jews have no human rights.
AI officials defended the vote in specious fashion. AIUK condemned all forms of hate crime and discrimination, but “unfortunately we could not campaign on everything.” The officials argued that AIUK could not pass a resolution calling for a campaign with a single focus. This belied the reality that resolutions passed at the 2015 conference were on a number of specific issues: abortion, Guatemala, Colombian activists, torture in the U.K., and asylum detention in the U.K. At its conference the year before, resolutions included subjects of sex work, garment workers in Asian countries, Guantánamo, Guatemala, and Sri Lanka.
The AIUK explanation for the silence on anti-Semitism because of the “single focus” issue seems even less plausible in the context of its past activity. Its report in July 2009 on Operation Cast Lead charged Israel with war crimes. In 2012, AI published an 85-page report critical of the State of Israel. It also in April 2012 published a 123-page report on discrimination against Muslims in Europe ("Choice and Prejudice Discrimination against Muslims in Europe").
And an earlier “single focus” concern was a 2010 resolution on discrimination and violence towards the Sinti and Roma communities in a number of European countries.
Nevertheless, it has long been apparent that AI is critical of Israel in a totally disproportionate fashion compared with its criticism of other countries. AI has had officials and staff members who may or may not be overtly anti-Semitic but who are strongly unsympathetic toward the State of Israel and can be considered pro-Palestinian. The former executive director of AIFinland, Frank Johansson, was prone to refer to Israel as “nikkimaa” (scum state). He confessed he could not think of any other country that could be described in this way. A former staff member, Deborah Hyams, in 2008 signed a statement that Israel was a state founded on terrorism and massacres.
Probably the staff member currently most critical of Israel is Kristyan Benedict, of Indian and Trinidadian descent and a convert to Islam who has defended the implementation of sharia law in the U.K.
He is described as the campaign manager for crisis work with special focus on Syria. As such, he has not commented on the 220,000 killed and the 9 million displaced in the brutal war in Syria, but he has been critical of Israel’s “occupation of the Golan Heights,” which, he declares, violates international law.
Benedict has described Gaza as an outdoor prison – not because of Hamas terrorist control of the area, but because of Israel. On a number of occasions he has equated Israel with apartheid South Africa and compared Israel with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. He also knew, as many of us did not, that Israel is included in the list of dictatorial regimes, such as Burma, North Korea, Iran, and Sudan, that abuse basic universal rights.
It is pitiful that AI should have descended so low in its partiality in Middle Eastern affairs and in its lack of genuine concern for human rights – at least for the human rights of Jews.