Monday, August 25, 2014

Major 6.9 Magnitude Quake Hits Peru, ISIS Intent On Hitting The West

Major 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Reported In Central Peru

[This story is breaking - details should be emerging upon daylight]

A major 6.9-magnitude earthquake was recorded in central Peru on Sunday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was originally estimated to be a 7.0-magnitude but has since been downgraded. 
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, said Mario Casareto, spokesman for Peru's fire agency. He said authorities were still surveying the region, including the Ayacucho area where the quake was centered.
Peruvian news outlet El Comercio reports that residents in Huamanga, the capital of the Ayacucho region, fled their homes and ran to a local parade ground for safety. In Cusco in southeastern Peru, cellphone and power outages were reported. 
Local media said that the quake was felt in parts of Lima and in many major cities of southeastern Peru, including Cuzco and Arequipa.
The seismological service said in a preliminary report that the quake occurred at 23:21GMT Sunday and was centered about 26 miles east-northeast of an area called Tambo, and about 471 292 miles southeast of the capital of Lima. It had a depth of 36 miles.
This latest quake comes just hours after a powerful 6.0 earthquake injured nearly 200 people and damaged buildings in the San Francisco Bay area in California. 
This is a breaking news story. Please check back on for more details. 

The survey agency detailed the seismic activity occurred at 23:21 GMT (6:00 a.m. UTC) at 43 kilometers east-northeast of Tambo and about 467 kilometers southeast of the capital city Lima with a depth of 16.4 kilometers. It was also felt in other major cities such as Cuzco and Arequipa.
Peruvian news company, El Comercio, reported that residents of Huamanga evacuated their homes and sought refuge to a local parade ground to avoid further damage. Cellphone and power outages to affected areas are also evident.

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Update 09:58 UTC: INDECI has updated damage and injury reports:
Ica Region:
-Two non-life threatening injuries.
Ayacucho RegionLucanas Province:
-One collapsed home in Amoca.
-10 damaged homes in Sanco.
- 3 damaged schools (2 in Sancos and 1 in Chaviña).
- 1 damaged clinic in Sancos.
- 1 damaged temple in Chaviña.
Paranicochas Province:- 4 damaged homes in Coracora.
-Two small landslides have been reported so far, one in the route Los Libertadores – Huancavelica and one in Panamericana Sur – Arequipa.
Update 03:57 UTC: INDECI has released initial values from the earthquake, with the Seismological Service of Peru having given a Ml6.6 earthquake at 106km depth. 1 house was destroyed in Amoca, Lucanas. 4 houses were damaged in Cora Cora. 1 temple and 1 school were also slightly damaged in Chavina.
Update 00:18 UTC: Very great news, USGS has just decreased the magnitude to 6.9 and changed the depth from 59km to 100km, a shallower quake has a lot more potential to create damage.
Update 00:01 UTC: Radio RPP is reporting damaged homes in Coracora.
Update 23:57 UTC: The quake was widely felt in a very big area and in a lot of big cities including Lima, the capital of Peru, this big cities should only have felt a slight shaking for a prolonged time and should only have minimal damage. Villages closer to the epicenter should have taken all the impact, but news from those areas will take time to travel.

Community leaders of 40,000 dwellers of the dozens of kibbutzim, moshavim and small towns adjoining the Gaza Strip spoke out Monday, Aug 25: "It is no longer possible to hide what is going on and the country must hear the truth," they said: “The populated front line facing the Gaza Strip is no more.” 

The collapse of the Israeli line outside Gaza is analogous in strategic terms to the fall of the Bar Lev line 41 years ago which permitted the Egyptian artillery and tank assault across the Suez Canal, some veteran reservists said.

Hamas had managed to depopulate a strip of territory on the Israeli side of the border by relentless cross-border short-range rockets and mortar fire, and was now dictating events in southern Israel.

The prime minister and defense minister this week turned to covering their dilatory tactics against a full-scale war by disseminating predictions “from official sources” that this would be a “week of diplomacy” and truce negotiations would be resumed in Cairo.

This kite didn’t fly for long. Hamas was too full of triumph over the Zionist foe to bow to terms dictated by Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority and refused to be cowed in compromise - even by the heavy ordnance the Israeli air force is throwing at the Gaza Strip’s tallest buildings and high officers. Indeed, history shows that aerial blitzes rarely cause their objects to capitulate, unless augmented by ground action.

Monday morning, Palestinian Hamas leaders Izzat Rishak and Osama Hamdan added their voices to Meshaal’s by rejecting “talk” of an imminent ceasefire in Gaza and flatly turning down the amended Egyptian truce proposal as a basis for negotiations.

Air strikes are again proving unequal to halting or deterring Hamas’ rocket offensive – exactly as they did before Operation Defensive Edge began. So Israel’s options boil down to a choice between a war of attrition – which Netanyahu has publicly vetoed – and overcoming his revulsion to ground operations in the Gaza Strip – preferably a series of short, sharp surgical strikes.

Both sides were preparing Saturday night, Aug. 23, for an impending battle on Gaza Strip soil. Heavy IDF ground forces were poised ready to enter the territory – initially to demolish Hamas’s short-range rocket and mortar launches, which have disrupted the lives of neighboring Israeli communities and forced their mass evacuation.  Hamas has been firing those short-range weapons from 3-7 km inside the Gaza Strip.

Once they appreciated the effectiveness of their tactics, Hamas planners escalated the barrage Monday, launching 140 rockets and mortar shells, salvo after salvo, against a broad Israeli population, which has begun to register casualties and extensive damage.

This was meant as a goading challenge to the commanders of the Israel army ranged around the Gaza border, to come in and fight - if they dare.

The present situation, whereby Israeli air strikes reduce Gaza’s buildings to dust without stopping Hamas rocket attacks, juxtaposed opposite vanishing Israeli communities reduced to refugees is untenable.

Palestinian officials said Sunday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the UN Security Council to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from lands captured during the 1967 Six Day War.

The areas will then make way for a Palestinian state, they said.

If the council does not approve a resolution, the officials warned the Palestinians will then pursue war crimes charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court.

The officials said Abbas’s appeal is part of a “day after” plan following the end of the current war in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas maintained, his plan, which he described as a “diplomatic surprise” does enjoy broad Arab support and would be presented to the PA leadership in the coming days.
Palestinian sources close to Abbas told Haaretz that the plan would involve handing over responsibility for a resolution to the conflict to international forces.

House Homeland Security Chair Rep. Michael McCaul said today he believes that ISIS, the jihadist army that has taken control of large part of Iraq and brutally murdered American journalist James Foley, has external operations under way to hit the West.
“Their focus right now is establishing the caliphate. But don’t kid yourself for a second, they [are] intent on hitting the West. And there are external operations, I believe, under way,” McCaul, R-Texas, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”
“We have tens of thousands of foreign fighters from all over the world pouring into this safe haven that’s now been established, including hundreds of Americans with Western passports and legal travel documents, which would enable them not only to travel to Western Europe, but to the United States,” McCaul added.
Also on “This Week”, retired Gen. John Allen — who has called ISIS a clear and present danger — said that destroying the group would require “a comprehensive approach” that would necessitate more resources.

BEIRUT: ISIS fighters captured Sunday a major military air base in Syria’s northeast, eliminating the last regime-held outpost in a province otherwise dominated by the jihadist group, activists and state media said.
Tabqa airfield – home to several warplane squadrons, helicopters, tanks, artillery and ammunition bunkers – is the third military base in the area to fall to the militants since last month.
Those victories are part of ISIS’ aggressive push to consolidate its hold on northern and eastern provinces, while also expanding the boundaries of its self-styled caliphate straddling the Syria-Iraq border.
The jihadists launched their long-anticipated offensive last week to seize the sprawling Tabqa facility, located some 45 kms from the extremists’ stronghold in the city of Raqqa along the Euphrates River.

ISIS fighters had been closing in on the base for weeks. When the fight finally came, it was bloody. The Observatory said nearly 350 ISIS fighters were killed and several hundred wounded during fighting and in government airstrikes since last week’s assault. Meanwhile, more than 170 government troops also were killed Sunday alone, and there were reports that another 150 may have been captured, it added.
Tabqa is the latest in a string of bases to fall to ISIS as it strengthens its hold over a vast swath of territory in northern and eastern Syria. Last month, ISIS fighters overran the sprawling Division 17 military base in Raqqa, killing at least 85 soldiers. Two weeks later, they seized the nearby Brigade 93 base after days of heavy fighting.

The three molten cores at Fukushima plant, each weighing a hundred tons, are so radioactive, that no one can approach them, including robots, which melt down immediately, Dr. Helen Caldicott, the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, physician and anti-nuclear advocate, states in an interview to Radio VR:
“And no one ever will, and the contamination will go on for hundreds of years,” Ms. Caldicott cites top physicists as saying.
Initially, TEPCO, the Japanese power provider wanted to erect an ice wall around the perimeter of the Fukushima complex, as ground water the underneath the reactor is absorbing radiation and then flowing into the ocean.

Surprisingly enough, TEPCO is not consulting with anyone, says the expert, neither with Russia, after it survived the Chernobyl catastrophe, nor Bechtel, a US major engineering company. It is, conversely, “saving money, using paper coming from homeless shelters”, and the Japanese mafia Yakuza is hiring people to do this work.
The expert stresses they are witnessing an absolute catastrophe: 300-400 tons of radioactive water pour daily into the Pacific, and this has been going on for over three years now contaminating the ocean and its ecology.
Radiation cannot be diluted, as many isotopes, namely strontium, are concentrated in food chains, in algae for instance. The contamination then passes one to bigger fish typically caught on the east coast from Fukushima. Radiation in the ocean and its ecology has been detected as far away as the America West Coast.

Barak Seener, an Associate fellow at Britain's Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, thinks Israel is “choosing not to win” the war in Gaza.

Seener – who has provided analysis and expert commentary for a range of international broadcasters and news outlets including the Associated Press, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Chinese CCTV, Fox News, Sky News,Voice of America, Bloomberg, Reuters and Xinhua – told Arutz Sheva that Israel is pursuing a misguided approach to the war, both on the ground and in the battle of words and images. The result will inevitably a deterioration of Israel's international standing, as the war wears on.

“In general,” he explained, “modern warfare is not geared towards protracted conflict, and thus Israel should have initially gone in harder. This was prevented by a lack of extensive sound intelligence of tunnels and the whereabouts of Hamas operatives. Israel's diplomatic standing will decline as Europe does not anymore understand the power of ideologies, let alone a genocidal, zero sum game Islamist and suicidal ideology.”

Is Israel's hasbarah effort regarding the effort to avoid civilian casualties doing any good?

“There is so much that has been reported in Israeli news outlets but has not been reported in European outlets. This includes Hamas executing Fatah members, children digging tunnels, concrete being redirected to building tunnels rather than hospitals and schools, the affluence of Hamas's leadership who divert funding to the Palestinians to their own personal accounts, even pictures of tunnels were reported by theWashington Post a few weeks earlier than Reuters.

“The main issue is that Israel should take exactly the same initiatives (not more) as Allied forces have done in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. While it is natural that Israel should seek to avoid civilian casualties, its priority is to its own civilians and soldiers. Israel has failed as there is a current stalemate of its civilians under attack, Hamas perpetuating its firing of rockets with Israel's economy having been hurt as a result.

“Only recently has Israel recognized the genocidal ideology driving Hamas, and there is no reason why the international community should be more catholic than the pope on this matter. Israel in the past took the initiative in reframing the conflict as nationalistic and territorial and thus willing to make territorial compromises. The international community merely followed suit. Furthermore, Israel also did not preemptively take to task bodies that disproportionately critiqued, and delegitimized the state of Israel.”

“There is a causal relationship between disproportionate criticism of Israel and an increase of anti-Semitism in Europe and it is impossible to address one effectively without the other. Representatives of the Jewish community in Britain have been severely wanting in countering anti-Semitism. Every campaign has sprung up from the grassroots, and has not originated or been coordinated by the Board of Deputies or Jewish Leadership Council.

Israel’s military response to thousands of rocket attacks from Gaza and infiltrations by terrorists through a maze of Hamas-built tunnels has, somewhat predictably, prompted its enemies and many others around the world to demand the Jewish state stop building what they call “settlements” in areas on the West Bank of the Jordan River, or, more accurately, Judea and Samaria.
As a former Middle East correspondent and an Arab-American, let me explain why Israel must never allow pressure from its enemies or foreigners to deter the building of “settlements” or consider ceding any more land to Palestinian Arab control.

Israel dismantled similar “settlements” in Gaza in exchange for promises of peace. But “settlements” is a loaded word. What the world calls “settlements” are Jewish communities built on historically Jewish land – territory desperately needed by Israel to protect itself from the kind of attacks being perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs in Gaza. In fact, some 9,000 Jews were forcibly removed from Gaza by the Israeli military in 2005.
How did that work out for Israel?
Not so well.

Now the focus of the world’s attention is on so-called “settlements” in and around Jerusalem and throughout Judea and Samaria. Even the U.S. has, at various times, called for Israel to stop construction of houses – and sometimes even repairs on existing structures – in East Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria.
Why do I put quotes around the word “settlements”? Because it’s an ugly word. These “settlements” are nothing but Jewish communities. If Jews don’t have the right to live in historically Jewish lands, where do they have a right to live?
It may be too late for Gaza, but with anti-Semitism rising around the world, Jews need a homeland more than ever. Israel’s population is growing, both from immigration, rising birth rates and increased longevity.
In addition, Israel has experimented with land giveaways, and they have only resulted in more attacks on its population centers. In other words, the land-for-peace gambit has failed miserably.
What’s the solution? Israel needs to do what is right for the Jewish people.
But these communities are a thorn in the side of Arab Palestinians. Why? Simply because they don’t accept the idea that Jews have a right to live there. In fact, polls show most Arab Palestinians don’t believe Jews have a right to live anywhere in Israel – not even Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
That’s not just the overwhelming opinion of the Arab people in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, it’s the opinion of the leadership. The official position of the Palestinian Authority, including those supposedly negotiating “peace” terms with Israel, is that no Jews should be permitted to live in a future Palestinian state.
In other words, the Palestinian Arabs believe in religious and ethnic cleansing of their land.

Today, as a result of this continuing, unrelenting, unwarranted and immoral international pressure on Israel to cede more territory to its sworn enemies – people who still call for the destruction of the Jewish state – Bethlehem is already devoid of a Jewish community. And this town once dominated by Christians – the little town where Jesus was born – is nearly devoid of Christians.
Tired of religious persecution, the payment of jizya taxes imposed by the new Muslim majority and getting caught in the crossfire of Palestinian Muslim attacks on Israel and the predictable responses, the small Christian community represents less than 10 percent of the population.
This proves Begin’s instincts were right – not only for Jews, but for the Christian Palestinian minority as well.
Can we all agree on one simple premise? Ethnic and religious cleansing is morally wrong. That recognition should be enough to put to rest the heckling for Israel to stop building houses for Jews – anywhere, anytime.

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