Thursday, April 3, 2014

In The News:

7.6 Aftershock Rattles Chile

A powerful 7.6-magnitude aftershock hit Chile's far-northern coast late Wednesday night, shaking the same area where a magnitude-8.2 earthquake hit just a day before causing some damage and six deaths.
Chile's Emergency Office and navy issued a tsunami alert and ordered a precautionary evacuation of low-lying areas on the northern coast, meaning many people could be spending another sleepless night away from their homes.
The aftershock caused buildings to shake and people to run out into the streets in the port of Iquique, which was one of the cities that saw some damage from Tuesday night's big quake. But there were no immediate reports of new damage or injuries from the latest tremor, which was one of dozens that have followed the 8.2 quake.
The aftershock was centered 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Iquique at a depth of 25 miles (40 kilometers), the U.S Geological Survey said. The USGS initially reported the tremor's magnitude at 7.8, but downgraded it to 7.6.
It was felt across the border in southern Peru, where people in the cities of Tacna and Arequipa reportedly fled buildings in fear.
About 2,500 homes were damaged in Alto Hospicio, a poor neighborhood in the hills above Iquique, a city of nearly 200,000 people whose coastal residents joined a mandatory evacuation ahead of a tsunami that rose to only 8 feet (2.5 meters). Iquique's fishermen poked through the aftermath: sunken and damaged boats that could cost millions of dollars to repair and replace.
Still, as President Michelle Bachelet deployed hundreds of anti-riot police and soldiers to prevent looting and round up escaped prisoners, it was clear that the loss of life and property could have been much worse.

A big earthquake of magnitude 8.2 shook the coast of northern Chile on Tuesday night, setting off small landslides and a small tsunami and killing at least five people. But scientists say the quake, while large, was not the "big one" that is predicted for the region.
"The big question is, is this a foreshock to an even bigger earthquake to come?" Rick Allmendinger asks. Allmendinger, a geologist who specializes in earthquake analysis at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, is a visiting professor at the Universidad Católica del Norte in Antofagasta, Chile.
"It probably has not released all of the stored-up energy on the subduction earthquake fault in northern Chile," he says. "For the sake of all of our friends in the region, we're hoping that there isn't a bigger one still to come."
Scientists don't know when a possible larger quake might strike along the subduction zone, an area where one tectonic plate slides beneath another. It could happen at any time.

But there is a section of the South American tectonic plate boundary off Chile that has not ruptured since 1877, when an earthquake of magnitude 8 to 8.9 struck, Allmendinger says. That indicates a high probability that part of that plate has stored up considerable seismic energy.

There is reason for concern, he adds, because the Chile quake has some similarities to the 2011 earthquake in Tohoku, Japan, which set off a massive tsunami and caused extensive damage. There were foreshocks for about two weeks before both events, and the shock waves from both quakes generally spread in similar patterns.

The rising death toll in West Africa's Ebola outbreak has sparked fear across the region with at least 80 already having died from the nearly always fatal virus.
"Every day we're reading about it in the newspaper, hearing about it on the radio, and wondering when it's going to come here," said 32-year-old Mossa Bau, who lives in Dakar, Senegal. "Everyone is very scared because, really, it's a dangerous disease and no one has the means to stop it."
The World Health Organization says that as many as 125 people across three countries are now believed to have contracted the highly contagious disease. Senegal shut its border with Guinea, where the outbreak is believed to have originated, in the hopes of keeping the disease from spreading its way.
The outbreak was initially contained in four remote towns in south Guinea and health officials had hopes it could be contained there. But the country's Ministry of Health confirmed last week that eight cases arose in the capital, Conakry.
Conarky has a population of almost 2 million people, many of whom live in slums without proper water or sanitation — creating an opportune breeding ground for the highly contagious virus.
Two people, including one person who died, tested positive for Ebola in neighboring Liberia. The Ministry of Health there says at least six more people are suspected of contracting the virus, five of whom died. Sierra Leone recorded the same number of fatalities from the virus.
Senegal is north of Guinea and home to a large population of Guineans who frequently travel back and forth to their home country. Health officials in Liberia say that the first suspected cases of Ebola in Liberia came from someone who returned from a trip to Guinea.
"We just keep hoping it won't do any harm here in our country," said Becaye Fall, in Dakar. "The government says it has taken all the necessary measures to keep people in good health, but I'm still worried."
Ebola is one of the most contagious viral diseases known. It is spread through bodily fluids, such as the sweat, blood or saliva, of an infected person or animal. One can get it through sex as well.
There is no vaccine against it and there is no known cure. About 90% of people who contract Ebola die. Bats are believed to be a natural carrier of the Ebola virus, but it is also found in primates and bush meat, such as antelope.
The first symptom is a high fever followed by vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Some people will bleed through the eyes, ears and nose.

Blood-chilling accounts of suffering and death have emerged from Guinea, where an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has claimed at least 80 lives. Although not yet the biggest outbreak in history, it has alarmed the world as the virus still has no cure.

Amid the total isolation of southern Guinea, the only area where deadly cases of the recent outbreak have been recorded, scarce reports have come out of the Gueckedou quarantine camp

Some of the medics have already witnessed many deaths at the camp. MSF's Naoufel Dridi told The Telegraph that he "never had to deal with this many bodies in these few days on any job before."

"Then when you are putting his body in the bag, another one behind you has died. Then another one. One old woman died with very bad external bleeding from her body, the symptoms that are the worst of Ebola. It is very difficult," he added.

Outside Guinea, neighboring West African countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia - where suspected cases have been detected - are working to control the outbreak. These countries have imposed health and travel restrictions in the meantime.

For all of Secretary Kerry’s unfathomable optimism eight months ago, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations had been going nowhere for months before they crashed spectacularly this week.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the Palestinian quid pro quo, which specified the goal of two nation-states for two peoples — a Jewish nation-state and a Palestinian nation-state.

The Palestinians halted direct talks with the Israelis way back in November, in protest at ongoing Israeli settlement construction. (Israel would argue legalistically that, according to the understandings that governed the resumed peace effort, it was not required to limit West Bank building.) The Palestinians then torpedoed Kerry’s efforts to draft a document setting out the “principles of final status,” under which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was prepared to agree to continued negotiations on the basis of the pre-1967 lines. 

But in Jerusalem on Thursday there was a degree of bafflement as regards Palestinian intentions — today, and looking back over the unhappy eight months since Kerry so sunnily hosted Livni and Erekat in Washington. Netanyahu emphatically wants the talks to continue, even though there is no indication whatsoever that he and Abbas could ever find mutually acceptable positions on most of the core issues of a permanent accord. But does Abbas want the crisis resolved? Or was the entire Kerry-led negotiation exercise just a pretext, under which the PA would secure prisoner releases and then shift back to the unilateral route — bashing Israel in every possible forum, seeking international endorsement for statehood, while claiming to have negotiated in good faith?

At the heart of the impasse, however, lies a fundamental asymmetry: Israeli Jews have come to believe that their own best interests, and specifically the imperative to retain a Jewish and democratic Israel, require an accommodation with the Palestinians. There is no comparable imperative on the Palestinian side — not, that is, so long as much of the international community persists in indicating to the Palestinians that they will be able to achieve full independence and sovereignty without the inconvenience of coming to terms with Israel.

What if you were forced to “register” in order to buy groceries? And what if, through that registration, the food you bought could be tracked and quantities could be limited?

That’s exactly the plan in Venezuela right now. The AP reports that in an effort to crack down on “hoarding” that ID cards will be issued to families. These will have to be presented before foodstuffs can be purchased.

President Nicolas Maduro’s administration says the cards to track families’ purchases will foil people who stock up on groceries at subsidized prices and then illegally resell them for several times the amount…

Registration began Tuesday at more than 100 government-run supermarkets across the country. Working-class shoppers who sometimes endure hours-long lines at government-run stores to buy groceries at steeply reduced prices are welcoming the plan.

Reflecting Maduro’s increasingly militarized discourse against opponents he accuses of waging “economic war,” the government is calling the new program the “system of secure supply.”
Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases. On Tuesday, Food Minister Felix Osorio said the process was off to a smooth start. He says the system will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day. But he also says the cards will be voluntary, with incentives like discounts and entry into raffles for homes and cars.
Expressionless men with rifles patrolled the warehouse-size supermarket Monday as shoppers hurried by, focusing on grabbing meat and pantry items before they were gone. 

Last year in Venezuela, it became a crime to “hoard” food, and the country’s Attorney General called upon prosecutors to crack down on “hoarders” by imprisoning them for the “crime”.
Some people may read this and think to themselves, “Why on earth do I care about what happens in Venezuela?”
You’d better care, because this is our future.

Already the Obama administration has moved the pieces into place on the board to be able to appropriate supplies from anyone, at any time. Mac Slavo of SHTFplan warns:
It should be clear from the laws that are already in effect that the government has given itself a legal pretext for confiscating anything they so choose in the midst of an emergency.
Should an emergency befall the United States, the military, national guard, and local police operating under orders from the Department of Homeland Security will have carte blanche to do as they please.
In a widespread emergency where supply lines have been threatened and millions of Americans are without essential resources because they failed to prepare, the government will swoop in and attempt to take complete control.
They will enter our homes and search them without a warrant. They will confiscate contraband. And they will take any ‘excessive resources’ that you may have accumulated. This includes food, toiletries, precious metals and anything else emergency planners and officials deem to be a scarce material. (source)
Just think how much easier it would be to do so if every purchase you make is tracked and documented for future reference.

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