Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Peace Talks, Pestilence, Quakes, Agenda 21

More than 300 earthquakes have shaken Chile's far-northern coast the past week, keeping people on edge as scientists say there is no way to tell if the unusual string of tremors is a harbinger of an impending disaster.

The unnerving activity began with a strong magnitude-6.7 quake on March 16 that caused more than 100,000 people to briefly evacuate low-lying areas, although no tsunami materialized and there was little physical damage from the shaking.

But the land has not settled down. More than a dozen perceptible quakes were felt in the city of Iquique just on Monday.

"The situation is out of the ordinary. There's a mix of a string of tremors and their aftershocks that make things more complex to evaluate," Mario Pardo, deputy head of the Universidad de Chile seismology center, told the local newspaper La Tercera. "We can't rule out a larger quake."

Chile is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. A magnitude-8.8 quake and ensuing tsunami in central Chile in 2010 killed more than 500 people, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded on Earth also happened in Chile — a magnitude-9.5 tremor in 1960 that killed more than 5,000 people.

Chile's worrisome seismic activity can be traced to just off the country's 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) Pacific coast, where the Nazca tectonic plate plunges beneath the South American plate, pushing the towering Andes cordillera to ever-higher altitudes. The 2010 quake released so much energy it shortened the Earth's day slightly by changing the planet's rotation.

West Africa was on high alert Tuesday after Sierra Leone warned an Ebola outbreak ravaging Guinea may have crossed its borders and five deaths in Liberia were being tested for the killer virus.
More than 60 people have died of haemorrhagic fever in Guinea since the start of February, with the Ebola virus identified as the cause in 13 of 45 samples tested by scientists.
"We still do not have any confirmed cases of Ebola in the country. What we do have are suspected cases which our health teams are investigating," Sierra Leone's chief medical officer Brima Kargbo told reporters.

A variety of deadly, highly-contagious tropical bugs, including the Marburg virus and Lassa fever, can lead to similar symptoms -- vomiting, diarrhoea and profuse bleeding -- but the authorities have not announced which other pathogens have been picked up in samples.
The Ebola disease has never before been detected among people in west Africa.
Liberia, which borders Guinea to the south, reported on Monday that four women and a boy had died of suspected Ebola.
Canada's health ministry had feared the virus may have crossed continents after a man was hospitalised with symptoms consistent with Ebola infection after returning from Liberia.

No treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola, which kills between 25 and 90 percent of those who fall sick, depending on the strain of the virus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a United Nations briefing in Geneva the west African Ebola species had been confirmed to be the Zaire strain, the most lethal of all.
Three cases of haemorrhagic fever, two fatal, have also been reported in Conakry, but tests for Ebola proved negative and the cause has not been made public.
Transmission of Ebola to humans can come from wild animals, direct contact from another human's blood, faeces or sweat, as well as sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Arab leaders whose summit begins in Kuwait Tuesday, March 25, are set to carry hard-line ultimatums for the US-sponsored Palestinian-Israeli negotiations as a means of derailing US Secretary of State John Kerry’s stubborn effort for a peace accord, and as a red flag for President Barack Obama three days before he lands in Riyadh..

Middle East sources report the Arab League summit’s two-day agenda includes a veto on recognizing Israel as the Jewish national state,a resolution that will be binding on all members including Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Another resolution would mandate the proclamation of all parts of East Jerusalem, including Al Quds al Sharif (Temple Mount) and the entire Old City of Jerusalem, the location of the shrines of three faiths, as the capital of a Palestinian state. This is diametrically opposed to US and Israeli positions.
Another ultimatum the Arab leaders propose to issue would halt Jewish settlement on the West Bank and Jerusalem, freeze development and ultimately dismantle all traces of a Jewish presence in a future Palestinian state.

Yet another demand will be for “the immediate release of all the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails” – by which they mean all Palestinians serving time after being convicted of terrorist crimes, including Israeli Arabs.

The special US envoy for the peace talks, Martin Indyk, spent the past week in a desperate bid to avert the passage of these extreme all-or-nothing demands by the Kuwait summit. He leaned hard on Jordan’s King Abdullah and the Palestinian leader to hold back from voting on these resolutions (which must be unanimous under the Arab League charter). He maintained that their impact would be inevitably to bury yet another Israel-Palestinian peace track.

The radical stance the Arab rulers have adopted on Mid East peacemaking is designed to warn the US president to expect a hard time in his talks with Saudi leaders in Riyadh. A large group of Arab nations – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait – is telling him through the vehicle of a hard line on Mid East peacemaking that they can be just as unyielding on other issues, starting with their vendetta against the Brotherhood.

And indeed, Sunday, March 23, just ahead of the Arab League summit, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood adherents to death for attacking government centers and killing soldiers and police officers.
It is more than likely that the Egyptian strongman, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, will allow the sentences to be executed as a brutal message to the Brothers not to expect any let-up in the war he is pursuing to stamp out their influence.

[This is a lengthy article - too long to sort out bits and pieces, but if you are interested in this agenda and how it could affect your area, it is a worthwhile read]

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