Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The mainstream media casually attributes the famine in Somalia to a severe drought and 'civil war' without examining the broader causes. Somalia is categorized as a 'failed state', a country without a government. But how did it become a 'failed state'? There is ample evidence of foreign intervention as well as covert support of armed militia groups. Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major US oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.

**Oh accursed hunger of gold,
to what dost thou not compel human hearts.**

This morning -

Yesterday -
8/2/11 -

In wake of Japanese quake, U.S. Navy struggling to fill jobs on Yokosuka-based ships. The Navy is having difficulty convincing sailors that it is safe to come to Japan and fill job openings on ships homeported at Yokosuka Naval Base following the massive earthquake and nuclear disaster earlier this year.
Commanders are growing frustrated as some key positions on 7th Fleet ships have not been filled as sailors currently working the jobs prepare to depart. The Navy has blamed the problem on doubts over safety among sailors looking for a new duty station and the Navy recently launched a series of television ads on the American Forces Network to allay the concerns.
Meanwhile, other services say there have been no problems recruiting servicemembers to billets in Japan despite the earthquake that lashed the country’s northeast coast and the subsequent near nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant. The crippled Fukushima nuclear plant sits about 200 miles north of U.S. military bases in the Tokyo area such as Yokosuka and Yokota Air Base and hundreds of miles south of Misawa Air Base.“The news did a great job of making it seem like [the disaster] was right outside our front gate. Most people didn’t have an idea of how close the disaster was.” The distance is well beyond the radius of radiation danger calculated by the U.S. government but close enough to fray nerves. During the disaster, radiation concerns forced the USS George Washington aircraft carrier from its Yokosuka port and caused the voluntary evacuation of about 10,000 military dependents from mainland bases.
There has been no evidence so far that any U.S. personnel suffered dangerous exposure to radiation or any health problems following the disaster. Japan has long been considered a coveted duty station for servicemembers because of its comfortable living conditions, lack of violence and proximity to other destinations in Asia such as Phuket, Bali and Manila.

Robotic seals provide comfort for Japan quake survivors - A retirement home in north-eastern Japan has turned to a furry robot to provide comfort for residents affected by March's earthquake and tsunami. Following the devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan back in March, together with the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant, it’s little wonder so many people in the affected areas are still in need of comfort and support.
Residents returning to a retirement home some 17 miles from the badly damaged nuclear plant have been enjoying the company of two cute-looking seals. What makes them unusual is that they are actually ur-covered robots. Several retirement homes in the areas hit by March’s disaster have turned to pets (real ones, that is) to help comfort the elderly. The Suisyoen retirement home, however, feels that the robotic variety is just as effective. The specially designed robot, called Paro, responds to a person’s touch and spoken word, as well as to light and temperature. It even makes a sound like that of a real baby seal. Paro’s battery goes for about an hour, so after being used in the morning, its battery is charged during lunch so residents can pet it again during the afternoon. “It’s just as cute as a little living creature and so everyone is looking after it every day. It does sometimes runs out of batteries and stop. But when it’s got its eyes open everyone stands around talking to it, asking it how it’s doing and such.” The enormous clean-up operation is still underway in north-eastern Japan – a job that will take years to complete.


CALIFORNIA - 8/1/11 - Loud Booms in Night Continue to Mystify Novato Residents. Latest blast heard early Monday morning. Those mysterious booms heard in the middle of the night just keep happening in Novato. The police department received eight calls in a five-minute period early Monday morning by people who heard a loud sound. The first report came in at 1:31 a.m. and the calls came from all over the central, western and northern parts of the city. The department gets calls regularly about the booms and there is only one way to figure out the source.
“Unless somebody sees it happening, it’s going to be tough” to figure out what it is. I’m pretty sure we don’t have an arrest on this.” Police have received calls from people who are convinced what they heard was a gunshot, a backfiring car, old World War II-era weapons, fireworks, homemade explosives or a power line transformer blowing up. One theory is that someone is shooting or floating something in the air and making it explode, resulting in the sound fanning out further and causing the spread-out call pattern from concerned residents. Looking at the call pattern, “It’s not like you can just draw a circle because it’s so big."
Comments of witnesses:
-This bang was not a Gun. This was loud and more like a bomb. Yes i heard it just like i heard the one about 6/8 months ago.
-I was up when it happened. It was preceded by a white flash, about a second before the boom, thru my window that faces NNW. I've heard the booms in the past but never saw the flash before. Weird! Any other ideas, considering the flash beforehand?
-I used to hear it every night...It stopped for awhile, then came back at around 10pm.
-Great to see this article because I thought I was crazy. I've been hearing this intermittently for months? years? -I have alot of experience with firearms and these are definitely bombs that are larger than dry ice bottle bombs and M-80's. One explosion shook my house to the point that a picture fell off of the wall. The locations seem to change as the proximity of the explosions to my house varies. I think there might be something to the airborne theory as on one occasion I was outside with a neighbor and he saw a flash in the sky toward the Pioneer Park direction just before the boom.


Italy - Mount Etna on Sicily, Italy's one of the most famous volcanoes, started erupting once again this weekend. Flames and sparks have been shooting into the air, reaching a height of about 250 meters. Whenever Etna comes alive, local authorities always fear that the ash clouds and heavy smoke could cut off the island from the continent by block flights out of Catania airport. However, strong winds helped this time. The ash has been blown away towards the Ionian Sea, with no flights cancelled or delayed.
Mount Etna, which remained inactive for six months, started erupting on Saturday morning and continued through Saturday and Sunday. With the latest activity, the grand total of Etna eruptions for this year stands at eight, which makes the year 2011 quite an active year for the Sicilian volcano. This eruptive episode of the year 2011 lasted less than one day, with a phase of lava fountaining activity lasting about 2-3 hours. This was the most intense eruption since the first one in the night of 12-13 January this year. The lava flow emitted during the 30 July paroxysm was longer. It immediately reached the sloping terrain to the north and northeast of Monte Centenari. (spectacular photos of Mount Etna eruptions)

-Typhoon 11w (Muifa) was located approximately 295 nm east-southeast of Kadena air base, Japan. By the end of the forecast period, TY 11w will drag along the Chinese coast north of Shanghai, reduced to a tropical storm intensity.

-Category 3 Hurricane Eugene was located about 580 mi./935 km SSW of the southern tip of Baja California.

-Tropical storm Emily was located about 125 mi /200 km S of Ponce Puerto Rico.


SOUTH AFRICA - Extreme weather conditions this week left a trail of chaos and confusion with snowfalls in three South African provinces leaving thousands trapped in their homes, cars and buses as emergency workers battled to reach them. Major roads were shut in the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal after blizzards hit. It took emergency services more than six hours to clear through kilometres of snow and heavy wind to rescue trapped motorists and commuters. No serious injuries were reported.
The 5 South African Infantry Battalion of the defence forces was called in to assist motorists and three tankers provided water to the Masilonyana Municipality after service delivery failed. Heavy military vehicles moved trucks that were blocking roads and a national joint operations centre was set up to respond to emergencies. Residents of Harrismith woke to find the town covered in snow and without power. Authorities said 6cm of snow fell overnight. Businesses remained closed throughout Tuesday after the town was plunged into darkness at the start of the snowfall on Monday. The icy weather brought greater suffering to shack dwellers in the nearby township of Intabazwe. 'We don't have a heater, my roof is leaking, and my children can get sick because we are not warm at night.'
In the Eastern Cape, several towns were snowed in with schools and businesses shutting down, and the power supply getting erratic. Residents of Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal set up a soup kitchen to help the homeless and stranded travellers. In Johannesburg, train passengers of the mainline passenger service to Durban and East London were stuck after the route was suspended.


AUSTRALIA - Endangered plants emerge from Black Saturday wildfire ashes. Endangered plant species are showing a burst of new life after one of Australia's worst ever natural disasters.
While the Black Saturday fires killed 173 people and destroyed thousands of properties and businesses, the flames have become a lifeline for the nationally endangered Eastern Spider Orchid. The plant is normally detected in low numbers at only a few sites around Victoria. The rare native responded to the 2009 fires by flowering at 10 times its normal rate in Wilsons Promontory National Park. "This is a remarkable response for a spider orchid that doesn't need fire to reproduce, but after these devastating fires there was a mass-flowering in spring 2009 and 2010. The research also found some species of orchids (particularly species living on trees) were killed by the severity of these bushfires. Others have shown a reduction in flowering in the burnt areas, but these are likely to return to normal in the next few years." Four orchid species - the Lizard, Red Beaks, Hare and Austral Leek - that only bloom in Victoria when their habitat is burnt have flowered "spectacularly" after the fires. The orchids are among a line-up of rare plants to re-emerge since February 7, 2009.

U.S. - RECORD-BREAKING HEAT continued to broil central and southern states on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Emily threatened to dampen the Southeast. The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings for 12 states.
TEXAS cities bake as 100-degree temperatures soar - Dallas, which by Tuesday afternoon SET A NEW RECORD at 110 and expected to hit record-breaking temperatures the rest of the week, has endured 32 consecutive days of 100-degree days and is on pace to possibly break the record set in 1980 of 42 days.