The Earth's most powerful storm of 2015 — Super Typhoon Soudelor — is now roaring through the western Pacific Ocean with winds of 178 mph, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, the
Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Monday.
The storm already ripped into
Saipan, one of the Northern Mariana Islands, a 48,000-population U.S. commonwealth in the Western Pacific. Acting Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres declared "a state of disaster and significant emergency" there on Monday.
Soudelor (SOW-de-lore) is the strongest storm anywhere on the planet so far this year. Typhoons are the Western Pacific's version of hurricanes.
The typhoon is taking aim at
Taiwan and China by Friday and Saturday, though it is expected to weaken to a Category 3 or 4 storm by then, the typhoon warning center said.
The storm slammed into Saipan late Sunday into early Monday, flooding the island’s power plant, ripping off roofs and toppling power poles, the
Pacific Daily News in Guam reported. Hundreds of Saipan residents are in shelters. Some roads remain impassable, and power and water service are out.
“I’ve seen multiple primary power poles down. I’ve seen cars flipped over the road. I’ve seen lots of torn roofs,” said John Hirsh, executive director of the American Red Cross in Saipan.
The total number of people infected by Legionnaires’ in the South Bronx has risen to 81, and the number hospitalized has risen to 64. A total of 28 of those 64 patients have been discharged.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused when water tainted with a certain bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. There have been 2,400 cases nationwide this year.
Droplets of contaminated water can be circulated through a building’s air conditioning. If the droplets are small enough they can be inhaled and enter the lungs, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported.
With his native Lebanon in political shambles, and with ISIS threatening to turn Lebanon into another Syria or Iraq, where Christians have been among the primary victims, Joseph Hakim has sprung into action. He seeks to awaken Western Christians to express solidarity with their Christian brethren in the Middle East, and better yet, encourage the U.S. government to offer protection to the Christians in the region just as previous U.S. governments have done to protect Muslim civilians.
With a quest to achieve the American dream, Hakim, 45, arrived in the U.S. with only $500 in his pocket. In less than 30 years, he has built a multi-million dollar business and purchased a suburban home with all the trappings of the ‘dream.’ “It was never money that motivated me” Hakim pointed out. “I am touched by human suffering. Today, I cannot relax while my people, culture, and religion are under attack.”
Hakim began his communal activities in 1991 with the World Lebanese Cultural Union where he served as Vice President, and ultimately as interim President. Realizing that his fellow Muslim-Lebanese were attempting to control the Lebanese diaspora that is 85% Christian, and noticing the increased Syrian involvement in this cultural organization, he stepped down from his position in 2010. Hakim was instrumental in forming the International Christian Union (ICU) in 2005. He ultimately rose to become the President of ICU, which he currently leads.
In detailing the plight of Christians in the region, Hakim noted that since the demise of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI, the Christian population has declined steeply, and Christians are under the threat of disappearance. Turkey alone is responsible for the genocide committed against the Armenian Christians, Assyrians, and Greeks in her territories, as well as the mass exodus of Christians to neighboring states (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) and the West.
In recent history Christians accounted for 14 percent of the population in the Middle East, and now constitute barely 4 percent, according to Hakim. In Iran and Turkey, Christians are practically gone. “Lebanon,” says Hakim, “is the only country in the region where Christians still hold significant political power, albeit, their numbers have shrunk in the past century from 78 percent of the population to 34 percent.” Hakim maintains that a low birthrate among the Christian-Lebanese has contributed to their decline along with a hostile political environment and an economic crisis.
The rise of extremist Islamic groups and the perception that their own Christian communities are vanishing caused many Christian-Lebanese to migrate to other parts of the world, including North and South America, Australia, as well as Europe. With no replacement to date, the last Christian president of Lebanon left office a year ago. There is no functioning government at the moment in Lebanon. According to Hakim, the Lebanese diaspora now numbers approximately 14 million strong, the majority of whom are Christians.
“Christians,” Hakim explained, “had no choice but to succumb to Muslim dictatorial rule, with the hope that the economically powerful Christian minorities could moderate the severity of Islam. It never happened. Under Islamic rule Eastern Christians live as ‘protected people’, better known as dhimmis. They are subservient to the ruling Muslim majority, and in the past had to pay jizya (the Prophet Muhammad established that people of other religions had to pay a poll tax to Muslims called as a reminder of their inferior status). Often times however, Christians were allowed to observe practices forbidden by Islam, including eating pork, drinking alcohol, and wearing certain costumes. Yet, Christians and Jews had to walk on the left side of the street or the gutters when a Muslim passed them.”
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched a political campaign ahead of February's parliamentary elections in what could prove a challenge to the moderates behind a landmark nuclear agreement reached last month.
Few expect a rerun of Ahmadinejad's surprise victory in the 2005 elections, which kicked off an eight-year presidency marked by confrontation with the West, incendiary rhetoric toward Israel and refusal to compromise on the disputed nuclear program. Many former allies have turned on Ahmadinejad, and two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption.
But the unapologetic populist is believed to command strong support in the countryside, and could be seen by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a counterbalance to the reformers who have tried to reverse Ahmadinejad's confrontational legacy since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, two years ago.
At a gathering of his supporters Thursday, Ahmadinejad, 58, broke two years of silence, vowing to "redefine revolutionary ideals" laid out by the leader of Iran's 1979 revolution, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"God willing, victory and a very bright future awaits us. However, there will be bumps and satanic obstacles in our path," the diminutive former leader, sporting his trademark close-cropped beard and sports coat, told some 400 supporters in Tehran. "One should not forget that the U.S. is our enemy."
In the absence of reliable polling, it's impossible to gauge Ahmadinejad's level of support. Any comeback would depend on Khamenei, who along with his hand-picked appointees vets candidates for parliamentary and presidential elections.
"He can't reappear without approval from the top echelons of power," he added. "His comeback means Khamenei wants to use him as a counterbalance to control reformists in the upcoming elections."
It took two decades for Russia and China to understand that “pro-democracy” and “human rights” organizations operating within their countries were subversive organizations funded by the US Department of State and a collection of private American foundations organized by Washington. The real purpose of these non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is to advance Washington’s hegemony by destabilizing the two countries capable of resisting US hegemony.
Washington’s Fifth Columns pulled off “color revolutions” in former Russian provinces, such as Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin and Ukraine, a Russian province for centuries.
When Putin was last elected, Washington was able to use its Fifth Columns to pour thousands of protesters into the streets of Russia claiming that Putin had “stolen the election.” This American propaganda had no effect on Russia, where the citizen back their president by 89%. The other 11% consists almost entirely of Russians who believe Putin is too soft toward the West’s aggression. This minority supports Putin as well. They only want him to be tougher. The actual percentage of the population that Washington has been able to turn into treasonous agents is only 2-3 percent of the population. These traitors are the “Westerners,” the “Atlantic integrationists,” who are willing for their country to be an American vassal state in exchange for money. Paid to them, of course.
But Washington’s ability to put its Fifth Columns into the streets of Moscow had an effect on insouciant Americans and Europeans. Many Westerners today believe that Putin stole his election and is intent on using his office to rebuild the Soviet Empire and to crush the West. Not that crushing the West would be a difficult thing to do. The West has pretty much already crushed itself.
China, obsessed with becoming rich, has been an easy mark for Washington. The Rockefeller Foundation is supporting pro-American Chinese professors in the universities. US corporations operating in China create superfluous “boards” to which the relatives of the ruling political class are appointed and paid high “directors’s fees.” This compromises the loyalty of the Chinese ruling class.
Hoping to have compromised the Chinese ruling class with money, Washington then launched its Hong Kong NGOs in protests, hoping that the protests would spread into China and that the ruling class, bought with American money, would be slow to see the danger.
Russia and China finally caught on. It is amazing that the governments of the two countries that Washington regards as “threats” were so tolerant of foreign-financed NGOs for so long. The Russian and Chinese toleration of Washington’s Fifth Columns must have greatly encouraged the American neoconservatives, thus pushing the world closer to conflict.