Friday, July 20, 2012

In The News

Starting with the Middle East:

Sheikh Yusuf Salameh, a preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, denounced on Thursday a statement by Israel'sAttorney General that Israeli law must be applied to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has said that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is part of Israeli territory so Israeli law applies there, including antiquities laws and laws regarding building and planning.

In response, Sheikh Salemeh said that “Al-Quds” (the Arabic name for Jerusalem) is an Islamic city, as determined by the creator of the world and as indicated in the Koran.

Syria: Rebels Attack Damascus Police Headquarters

A rebel attack on the Damascus police headquarters on Thursday left dozens of security personnel and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad dead or wounded, an opposition activist told Reuters.

Rebels armed with AK-47s, small machineguns and explosive devices cut off two main roads leading to the complex in the central Qanawat district and attacked it, he said.

“Three patrol cars came to the site and were hit by roadside bombs near Bab Sreijeh. I saw three bodies in one car. Others said dozens of security men and shabbiha (Assad militia) lay dead or wounded along Khaled bin al-Walid street before ambulances took them away,” the activist, Abu Rateb, told Reuters.

“The headquarters is blackened and it looks abandoned,” he added.

As the violence in Syria continued, Russia and China vetoed on Thursday a resolution in the UN Security Council that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions, if they did not withdraw troops from towns and cities and cease using heavy weapons in a crackdown on a popular uprising against Assad.

It was the third time that Russia – which has billions of dollars tied to Assad's survival – and China have used their veto power to block UN Security Council resolutions targeting the Syrian regime.

Russia: Western Pressure Over Syrian Conflict Is "All About Iran"

Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not halt violence against an uprising, thwarting Western hopes for tough action as the crisis in Syria escalates.

It was the third time that Russia, a key ally of the Syrian government, and China have used their veto power to block Security Council resolutions designed to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and halt the violence in a 16-month conflict that has killed thousands of people.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the British ambassador to the UN, expressed his disgust over Russia and China's vetoes.

Russia's UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, defended his veto and said that Syriahas become a proxy for rival governments.

"It's all about Iran. It's all about geopolitical complexion of the Middle East," he said.

Fears Grow Syria WIll Use Chemical Weapons

British military intelligence chiefs told The Daily Telegraph there was a "high probability" of the Assad regime resorting to chemical agents following the assassination of three senior Syrian military figures in a bomb attack on Wednesday.

A source said that the killings amounted to a "red line crossed" for the regime and that a chemical attack could come "soon" as a result. "The threat is genuine," the source added.

Syria has one of the largest stockpiles in the Middle East, including nerve agents, sarin, anthrax and mustard gas. With the Assad regime teetering on the brink, Western powers have expressed concern that it might be tempted to unleash these weapons

The Assad regime is facing an unprecedented challenge to its authority following the death of the president's brother-in-law Gen Daoud Rajha, along with his defence minister and another senior intelligence chief in a bomb attack on the country's national security headquarters on Wednesday.

British military intelligence sources told The Daily Telegraph that the attack could trigger the use of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) weapons against opposition forces, with the restive city of Homs the most likely target.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, of the counter chemical warfare company SecureBio, has been advising journalists to take protective suits into Syria because "the likelihood of CBRN use has increased significantly in the last few weeks".

Inside The Ring: North Korean EMP

Recent satellite navigation jamming by North Korea’s military near the demilitarized zone and a report in a Chinese journal are raising new fears that Pyongyang is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons.

A communist-owned monthly journal in Hong Kong reported last month that the GPS jamming of aircraft navigation systems that was traced toNorth Korea is part of asymmetric warfare capabilities of the reclusive communist state.

North Korea has always planned to develop small-scale nuclear warheads,” the article said. “On this foundation, they could develop electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bombs in order to paralyze the weapons systems of the South Korean military — most of which involve electronic equipment — when necessary.”

In fact, Chinese analysts believe North Korea is working on small nuclear warheads that could produce “super-EMP bombs,” the report said. “Once North Korea achieves the actual war deployment of EMP weapons, the power of its special forces would doubtlessly be redoubled,” the report said.

“A number of experts have analyzed the matter and believe that North Korea’s EMP studies have reached a rather high level. Even though there are differences between GPS-jamming radio waves and EMP, they both use electromagnetic waves.”

An EMP attack would be worse than the recent East Coast power disruptions that closed businesses and federal agencies, disrupted emergency services and communications, caused massive food spoilage, blacked out gas pumps and traffic signals and left millions without air conditioning during a heat wave.

Mr. Pry said the blackout was minor compared to a nuclear or natural EMP disaster.

Debt Crisis: World Bank Chief Warns On Eurozone Crisis Impact

Delivering his first public speech since taking on his new role at the start of the month, Jim Yong Kim said even if Europe's sovereign debt problems are contained, they could still cut growth in most of the world's regions by as much as 1.5pc. However, if the crisis spins out of control, developing nations see their GDP fall 4pc or more, enough to trigger a deep global recession, he said.

"To put it starkly, what's happening in Europe today affects the fisherman in Senegal and the software programmer in India," Mr Kim told the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington.

Worst Drought Since 1956 Threatens World Food Crisis

A month of scorching temperatures across the country's midwest has sent corn and soybean prices to record highs, while wheat prices have reached levels not seen since the last food crisis in 2008.

The severest drought since 1956 in America's agricultural heartland has dashed the hopes that were alive just a couple of months ago of a bumper harvest. Traders and economists warned that the effect will ripple out from the US because it is the world's biggest producer of corn and a major supplier of soybeans and wheat.

The dizzying gain in prices has shocked many in the industry. Corn prices have surged 51pc over the last month, wheat is up 40pc and soybeans have gained almost 20pc. The prospect of another bout of food inflation will alarm governments in developing countries where the run-up in prices in 2008 caused widespread hunger and revolts. It also presents a new headwind for western countries trying to kickstart economic recoveries.

For now - at least - all eyes are on the weather forecast for those US states that have been hardest hit, including Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.

Widespread Drought Is Likely To Worsen

The drought that has settled over more than half of the continental United States this summer is the most widespread in more than half a century. And it is likely to grow worse.

The latest outlook released by the National Weather Service on Thursday forecasts increasingly dry conditions over much of the nation’s breadbasket, a development that could lead to higher food prices and shipping costs as well as reduced revenues in areas that count on summer tourism.

The unsettling prospects come at a time of growing uncertainty for the country’s economy. With evidence mounting of a slowdown in the economic recovery, this new blow from the weather is particularly ill-timed.

“It really is a crisis. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this in my lifetime,” Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois said after touring ravaged farms in the southern part of the state.

The government has declared one-third of the nation’s counties — 1,297 of them across 29 states — federal disaster areas as a result of the drought

Record Cereal Prices Stoke Fears Of Global Food Prices

Record cereal prices are prompting fears of escalating food costs around the world and drawing comparisons with the 2007-08 crisis, when food riots broke out across the globe.

US has suffered one of the worst droughts in more than half a century, withering the country's corn crop. The US is crucial to global food markets as the world's largest exporter of corn, soya beans and wheat, accounting for one in every three tonnes of the grains traded on the global market.

The move in prices has revived memories of the food crisis of 2007-08, when food riots broke out in 30 countries.

Allidina said food price inflation was a particular concern to the global economy, as it limits the ability of emerging markets to provide any kind of stimulus to drive a recovery.

Karen Ward, senior economist at HSBC, said: "What the world economy really needs right now is a break. Any inflationary pressure, particularly that stops the emerging world loosening policy and providing the boost to the global economy, would be a problem."


Marty said...

Proverbs 18:15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Stand strong, Lots of Love to all,

Ally said...

Hows WV doing? Scott, do you know? Hes on my heart today! Praying.

gearedup2go said...

BREAKING: Huge explosion in #Damascus, Wi-Fi and 3G cut-off - RT reporter @MFinoshina_RT #Syria

gearedup2go said...

16 min ago...FSA Spokesman in France: "An Iranian high ranking officer killed in the explosion of Damascus" #Syria #Iran #AssadCrimes #DamascusFury

Scott said...

Ally - I suspect we'll hear back from him in a day or so. The post-op period may make it difficult for him to access any computer - not sure when I'd expect him to be discharged

Geared - thanks - I need to take a look at that one!

gearedup2go said...

Scott, the Telegraph is reporting that Israel may consider a strike on chemical weapons. You may have already covered this. Things are moving so quick that it's hard to catch your breath.

Anonymous said...

Bulls in the grain pits MAY BE VERY sorry in the near future. people
will just NOT EAT things they cannot afford.

The number of bulls is VERY HIGH in
the grain pits. When the selling
starts, it will collapse those prices
very quickly.

NO BEARS I CAN imagine are willing to
short grains, THEREFORE the top will
be in soon.

HUGE DEBT LEVELS that governments
have ALL OVER will make it very
very hard to deal with additional
grain bulling.

THERE will be a collapse....copper
prices are already dropping.

Stocks down, but only a little over
100. Still, this could BE the start
of a HUGE CRASH. People will CUT
OUT purchases of i phones, ect, long before they cut out buying
can corn, but that will happen
anyway. I eat protein mostly,
I will NOT BUY any CORN or Soybean
products....for what ???

I can grow my own corn with all the
HILO HAWAII rain, why should I buy
it and get scammed ??

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Ally said...

Geared up-thanks for the twitter updates. Eyes on the ground, ya know! Just for you there is a guy called propheticseer he is Christian and runs on online church called Cybertribe. Anyway he has a live camera link in Damascus so if you want to hunt him down...
I was hoping WV's wife might post.
ISRAELI-got a question for you! Did you see or hear anything about Hillary Clintons motorcade being shot at between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? Reuters, the Israeli press and Iranian News all had it yesterday then WHOOP no more info. Squashed. I'd really appreciate that info if possible. It was pretty detailed too.
Lookin up lookin up lookin up (gotta watch the ground a little or ai trip over my shoestrings)

Anonymous said...

Hi, nope, nothing here. In the news at all!