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Monday, 13 October 2014

Giant squid attacks Greenpeace submarine

Giant Squid_1

© news.com.au

The giant squid took on a Greenpeace sub in the Bering Sea.

Incredible footage has emerged of a huge squid taking on a Greenpeace submarine.

The video was released by Greenpeace on Vine and shows the squid spinning around and squirting black ink at the sub.

The shocked crew pointed a light at the squid to try and scare it away. The squid continued to thrash around and whip the sub with its tentacles.

Giant Squid_2

© news.com.au

The incident occurred in the Bering Sea which is between Russia and Alaska although it is unclear when exactly it happened.

The squid apparently swam away unharmed and did not cause any damage to the submarine.

The only details accompanying the video was a message that said: "It's a squid attacking a submarine during a #BeringSea expedition with @GreenpeaceUSA!

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.1 - South of the Kermadec Islands

Kerdamec Quake_141014


Event Time

2014-10-14 04:12:30 UTC

2014-10-14 16:12:30 UTC+12:00 at epicenter


34.917°S 179.970°E depth=31.5km (19.6mi)

Nearby Cities

400km (249mi) SSW of L'Esperance Rock, New Zealand

430km (267mi) NE of Whakatane, New Zealand

450km (280mi) NNE of Gisborne, New Zealand

459km (285mi) NE of Tauranga, New Zealand

840km (522mi) NE of Wellington, New Zealand

Scientific Data

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 7.3- 67km WSW of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua

Jiquilillo Quake_141014


Event Time

2014-10-14 03:51:35 UTC

2014-10-13 21:51:35 UTC-06:00 at epicenter


12.576°N 88.046°W depth=40.0km (24.9mi)

Nearby Cities

67km (42mi) WSW of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua

86km (53mi) SSW of La Union, El Salvador

95km (59mi) W of Corinto, Nicaragua

95km (59mi) SSE of San Rafael Oriente, El Salvador

174km (108mi) SE of San Salvador, El Salvador

Scientific Data

The widely cited physicist who doesn't exist turns out to be 'total *sshole'

© Shutterstock

An Italian science writer reviewing a paper written in 1987 by two well-known physicists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, noted a third author with an intriguing and profane Italian name which translates to "total *sshole."

Vito Tartamella discovered what turned out to be a private joke, when reading "," published in 1987 in the Journal of Statistical Physics, and credited to physicists Bill Moran, William G. Hoover, and 'Stronzo Bestiale.' Recognizing the Italian name as slang meaning 'total *sshole,' Tartamella contacted the now-retired Hoover for an explanation.

According to Hoover he had submitted a paper on "connecting fractal geometry, irreversibility and the second law of thermodynamics,' only to have it rejected by the Physical Review Letters and the Journal of Statistical Physics refused to publish it because, according to him it "contained too innovative ideas."

Hoover explained that, while flying to Paris, he sat next to two Italian women, whom he overheard using the expressions " (what an *sshole)!", "(total *sshole)"

"Those phrases had stuck in my mind. So, during a CECAM meeting, I asked [Giovanni Ciccotti, professor of condensed matter physics at the University La Sapienza University in Rome] what they meant. When he explained it to me, I thought that Stronzo Bestiale would have been the perfect co-author for a refused publication. So I decided to submit my papers again, simply by changing the title and adding the name of that author. And the research was published."

Since that time, the papers listing Stronzo Bestial have been cited in research published in some of the world's most well-regarded physics journals despite the fact that one of the authors doesn't exist.

As Tartamella notes, the continuing citing of Bestiale as a real person lays "bare how vulnerable control systems in the review of scientific research were (and still are!) . If you are able to insert in a publication the name of a nonexistent author in a publication, who will guarantee that even the scientific contents have been examined with care? Incredibly, even today, 27 years later."

Tartamell also notes that non-existent Bestiale even has a Scopus profile stating he teaches at the University of Vienna Institute for Experimental Physics, Institute of Experimental Physics, in Austria.

Turning up the heat at St Louis protests: Ferguson activists reject religious leaders' platitudes

© James Cooper/Demotix/Corbis

Cornel West said the older generation 'has been too obsessed with being successful rather than being faithful to a cause'.

Frustration and anger among young black Americans at an older generation's apparent failure to adequately respond to the killing of Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson upended a key event at a weekend of mass protest on Sunday.

The showdown exposed a generational divide over how best to confront police racism, brutality and use of excessive force as organisers of the "weekend of resistance", which has drawn activists from across the US, plan to stage mass civil disobedience across St Louis on Monday.

While older civil rights leaders hark back to the more peaceful methods of half a century ago, some younger people question their effectiveness today and are pressing for more confrontational tactics.

The fuse was lit when hundreds of people who came to hear the intellectual and activist Cornel West speak were subjected to speeches by a succession of preachers from the major religions offering essentially the same message about loving one's fellow man and standing up against injustice. The meeting was billed as being "in the tradition of the civil rights movement" but the tone was in part governed by the venue for the meeting, St Louis University, a Catholic institution.

Some in the audience grew restless and then angered at the series of reverends, imams and rabbis until a small group of activists demanded to speak. They were supported by chants of "let them be heard" and "this is what democracy looks like", a rallying cry at protests over Brown's shooting.

Tef Poe, a St Louis rapper and activist for Hands Up United, a campaign group seeking racial justice in Ferguson, took the microphone and noted that the Christian, Jewish and Muslim preachers on the stage were not the people on the street trying to protect people from the police.

"The people who want to break down racism from a philosophical level, y'all didn't show up," he said to loud cheers.

At that point, the planned programme fell apart and the focus shifted. Some younger black speakers demanded to know whether the people on the stage had a plan of action.

"All those speeches before, you've heard them all before. That's not going to change, right?" said one. "I was hoping for a plan from our elders and I was disappointed," said another.

A young man used more graphic language. "I've been out there since motherfucking August 9," he told the various preachers. "If you don't turn up at the protest get the fuck out of here."

By then some had already left the stage, although it was not clear if it was because they were unhappy at the turn of events or to make space.

In the midst of this, a lone white man in the audience caused uproar when he shouted that African Americans should not underestimate white people's "gift to you". The man had to be escorted from the arena.

West did not disappoint the audience, telling listeners that an older generation of African Americans had failed them.

"The older generation has been too well adjusted to injustice to listen to the younger generation. The older generation has been too obsessed with being successful rather than being faithful to a cause that was zeroing in on the plight of the poor and working people," he said. "Thank God the awakening is setting in. And any time the awakening sets in it gets a little messy."

A little later he drew loud cheers as he sharpened his argument. "What our young people are also upset about is that they understand that too many of our black middle class brothers and sisters have been 'reniggerised'. All you've got to do is give big positions, give them some status, give them a little money, but walking around they're still intimidated, they don't want to tell the truth about the situation."

One of the earlier speakers, Reverend Traci Blackmon, touched on a similar theme.

"We have been fooled all these years into thinking that when a few get through the doors all is well. Our generation has been guilty of confusing access with ownership," she said.

Not all the earlier speakers were unwelcome. Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who was part of the kindertransport to Britain, told how she arrived in the US in 1948 and was taken aback by racial segregation where she was living in the south. Epstein was arrested in August after joining a protest over Brown's killing and is awaiting trial for "failure to disperse".

But the meeting appeared to mark a watershed as protest organisers prepared for what is billed as a day of civil disobedience on Monday, modelled on "Moral Monday" demonstrations launched over political policies in North Carolina, by training volunteers in passive resistance and what to do if they are arrested. Churches ran a "faith in action mobilizing training" session on Sunday afternoon that included the occupation of a police station. At other sessions, volunteers were instructed in blocking traffic and sit down resistance.

Organisers of the "Weekend of Resistance" have kept their plans for Monday to themselves but say they will alert activists to actions at short notice by text message, Twitter and other social media.

At the end of the mass meeting, one of the young people who had taken over the stage called on people to join a protest vigil at the site where St Louis police last week shot another 18 year-old black man, Vonderrit Myers. The police said Myers shot at an officer who attempted to stop him for a "pedestrian check". His family say he was unarmed.

As the protesters gathered and debated how confrontational to be with the police, Myers's father appeared and told them: "Whatever it is y'all want to do, I'm fine with it". Demonstrators began blocking roads in the area.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, dozens of activists attempted to occupy a convenience store in support of Myers. The police arrested 17 people for unlawful assembly.

Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn’t every hospital have one of these?

While vaccine makers and drug companies are rushing to bring medical interventions to the market that might address the Ebola pandemic, there’s already a technology available right now that can kill Ebola in just two minutes in hospitals, quarantine centers, commercial offices and even public schools.

It’s called the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot, and it was invented by a team of Texas doctors whose company is based on San Antonio. (And no, I didn’t get paid to write this. I’m covering this because this technology appears to be a viable lifesaving invention.)

The Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot uses pulsed xenon-generated UV light to achieve what the company calls “the advanced environmental cleaning of healthcare facilities.” Because ultraviolet light destroys the integrity of the RNA that viruses are made of, it renders viruses “dead.” (Viruses aren’t really alive in the first place, technically speaking, so the correct term is “nonviable.”)

Ebola, just like most other viruses, are quickly destroyed by UV light. That’s why Ebola likes to spread in dark places where sunlight doesn’t reach. (Think of Ebola as a “vampire” virus that feeds off human blood but shuns sunlight…) The Xenex robot destroys Ebola on surfaces in just two minutes, zapping them with a specific wavelength of UV light at concentrations that are 25,000 times higher than natural sunlight.

Kill Ebola with electricity and UV light; no toxic chemicals needed

The reason I’m covering this medical technology is because I’m seriously impressed with the concept and the green technology behind it. The Xenex unit generates UV light using xenon — one of the noble gases — rather than toxic mercury. So there’s no toxic mercury to deal with, even when disposing of the equipment after its useful life.

So many of the approaches to disinfection in hospitals today are based on harsh, toxic chemicals that pose a secondary risk to the health of hospital patients and staff. But UV light emitted by the Xenex robot leaves no chemical residue whatsoever and requires no chemical manufacturing plant to manufacture. This is truly “light medicine” because it disinfects using specific frequencies of light.

Studies touted by the manufacturer appear to show extraordinary disinfection results spanning both bacterial superbugs and viral strains:

- 57% reduction in MRSA at Moses Cone

- 53% reduction in C.diff infections at Cooley Dickenson

- 50% reduction in bacterial contamination at Cambridge Health Alliance

- 30% reduction in C.diff at the MD Anderson Cancer Center

- 62% reduction in microbial load at the St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center

Already in 250 hospitals and growing…

The Xenex UV robot is already being used in about 250 hospitals. That number is likely to increase dramatically due to the current global Ebola outbreak.

The base price of the Xenex unit is around $100,000, and the unit pays for itself very quickly by preventing expensive infections. It can disinfect a typical hospital room in about 10 minutes, and it comes with organization and scheduling software that allows hospital staff to keep track of which rooms have been treated.

Learn more at www.Xenex.com

Falling metal object mystifies New Jersey plant workers

Metal Object

© NBC New York

A 5-by-5 inch piece of metal that appears to be made of ceramic, metal and rubberlike layers fell from the sky.

Workers at a New Jersey treatment plant say they saw a heavy, metallic object fall from the sky Wednesday, and they want to know where the potentially deadly projectile came from.

The employees at Secaucus Treatment Works said the 5-by-5 inch piece of metal debris hit a railing, ricocheted off a concrete tank, then hit the ground. It landed about 25 feet from where employees were working.

"It came close. It came pretty close," said employee Victor Suppa.

It "could have killed somebody, absolutely" if it hit anyone, added operations foreman Steven Bronowich.

The workers said the object isn't part of the plant and there were no planes in the sky at the time. They were afraid to touch it at first, but they later picked it up and examined it.

They went online in search of answers and came up with all sorts of theories.

"We went on the website and we looked up space shuttle tiles, and you could see that picture there, it basically matches up with that," said Bronowich.

It seems unlikely; the last space shuttle mission was more than three years ago. So far, no one has been able to give employees a theory that seems to fit.

Employees handed the tile over to the county health department. Officials there tell NBC 4 New York it appears to be made of ceramic, metal and rubberlike layers. They were giving the piece to the FAA Friday.

Nurse accused of killing 38 patients she found annoying

Nurse Daniela Poggiali

© Europics

Modal Trigger Nurse Daniela Poggiali was arrested for allegedly killing up to 38 patients whom she found annoying.

Officials said that a nurse in northeast Italy might have killed as many as 38 patients because she found them - or their relatives - annoying.

Daniela Poggiali, who lives in the town of Lugo, was taken into custody over the weekend.

The 42-year-old nurse was booked for the alleged slaying of 78-year-old patient Rosa Calderoni, who died from an injection of potassium.

Calderoni had been admitted to the hospital with a routine illness before she died unexpectedly.

As reported by the Central European News, tests showed that Calderoni died with a high amount of potassium - which can provoke cardiac arrest - in her bloodstream.

Calderoni's death triggered an investigation, which reportedly revealed that 38 others had died mysteriously while Poggiali was on duty.

Police have Poggiali's cellphone. NY Post reports that the phone contains a photo she had snapped a few months ago of herself; in it, she is giving a thumbs up next to a patient who had died moments earlier.

"I can assure you that in all my professional years of seeing shocking photos, there were few such as these," said prosecutor Alessandro Mancini.

According to CEN, one of Poggiali's fellow nurses described her as a "cold person but always eager to work."

Another colleague said that the accused nurse was once reported for giving powerful laxatives to patients at the end of her shift to make work tougher for the nurses working after her.

reports that Mancini said, "There are the other 38 cases of suspicious deaths and, of these, 10 are very suspicious."

"Investigations are continuing, but there are insurmountable difficulties," Mancini said.


Stolen billions set aside for post-Saddam Iraq found in Lebanese bunker

© Photograph: EPA

Paul Bremer and Iraqi deputy prime minister Barham Saleh in 2004. Bremer defended the CPA’s handling of the funds.

More than $1bn earmarked for the reconstruction of Iraq was stolen and spirited to a bunker in Lebanon as the American and Iraqi governments ignored appeals to recover the money, it has been claimed. Stuart Bowen, a former special inspector general who investigated corruption and waste in Iraq, said the stash accounted for a significant chunk of the huge sums which vanished during the chaotic months following the 2003 US-led invasion.

Bowen's team discovered that $1.2bn to $1.6bn was moved to a bunker in rural Lebanon for safe keeping - and then pleaded in vain for Baghdad and Washington to act, according to James Risen, a journalist who interviewed Bowen for a book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War, to be published this week.

"Billions of dollars have been taken out of Iraq over the last 10 years illegally. In this investigation, we thought we were on the track for some of that lost money. It's disappointing to me personally that we were unable to close this case, for reasons beyond our control," Bowen said in an excerpt from the book published by the New York Times on Sunday.

The disclosure of the bunker shines a light on one of the occupation's murkier puzzles: the fate of pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills which the Bush administration loaded on to Air Force C-17 transport planes in order to prop up the occupation of post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. About $12bn to $14bn was sent in the airlift and another $5bn via electronic transfer. Bowen, a Texan friend of the president, was appointed in 2004 to investigate reports of corruption and waste in Iraq. He spent close to a decade chasing leads, until his office closed last year.

© AFP Photo

Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community carry their children as they cross the Iraqi-Syrian border

Much of the money was probably used by the Iraqi government in some way, Bowen concluded, but in 2010 a Lebanese American on his staff received a tip about stolen money hidden in a Lebanese bunker. In addition to the cash there was said to be approximately $200m in gold belonging to the Iraqi government. An investigation, codenamed Brick Tracker, struggled to uncover details of the transfer, said Bowen, who told Risen: "I don't know how the money got to Lebanon. If I knew that, we would have made more progress on the case."

Washington had long since forgotten about the cash and shrugged when informed about his discovery, he said. The CIA expressed little interest, the FBI said it lacked jurisdiction and the US embassy in Beirut denied his team permission to visit the bunker, because it was too dangerous.

"We struggled to gain timely support from the interagency as we pursued this case," Bowen said.

One reason for such indifference, Bowen believed, was because it was "Iraqi money stolen by Iraqis". The money came from the Development Fund of Iraq, which was created by a May 2003 United Nations resolution to hold Iraqi oil revenue, and was originally held in a New Jersey facility run by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Bowen said he spoke to Iraq's former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, about the bunker but that Baghdad made no effort to retrieve the cash. Lebanon's prosecutor general, Said Mirza, initially agreed to co-operate in an investigation but later backtracked, he said. Frustration with official indifference appears to have prompted Bowen's decision to speak out publicly for the first time. Since his office shut down he has moved to the private sector.

The perception of graft and illicit fortunes in the reconstruction effort fuelled cynicism about and hostility to the US-led occupation of Iraq. Paul Bremer, who was the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority which ruled Iraq in the occupation's early days, defended his agency's handling of the funds, including the 11th-hour rush of $4bn to $5bn to Baghdad in June 2004, just before the CPA shut down.

The Iraqi government "was broke at that point" and funds were urgently needed, Bremer told Risen, a Pulitzer-winning reporter for the New York Times who could face jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets.

"The issue is what happened to the money once it was distributed through the minister of finance. We had a very clear record of funds going to the Iraqi system."

Bowen challenged that defence, saying there were few credible records of how the money was spent. "Our auditors interviewed numerous senior advisers of the CPA, and we learned from them that the controls on the Development Fund of Iraq money were inadequate," he said. "We didn't make this up; we learned this from CPA staff."

Bowen said he suspected some, possibly all, of the money had since been moved from the bunker.

Hysteria: Elementary school child forced to sign anti-suicide contract for pointing a crayon at classmate

elementary school contract

Inappropriate: A five-year-old Alabama girl was made to sign this contract after pretending a crayon was a gun

An Alabama mom is furious that her five-year-old daughter was forced to sign a contract saying she will not hurt herself or anyone at school after she pointed a crayon at a classmate.

The incident occurred at E.R. Dickson Elementary School in Mobile.

The mom, only identified as Rebecca, said the school asked her toddler, Elizabeth, whether she was depressed, which the little girl did not understand.

'They told me she drew something that resembled a gun,' Rebecca told WPMI-TV.

'According to them she pointed a crayon at another student and said, ''pew pew''.'

Depressed: The school, E.R. Dickson Elementary in Mobile, tried to assess whether the little girl was suicidal or homicidal

Confused: Rebecca said her daughter Elizabeth has now been asking what suicide is

The angry mother said the school then had her daughter sign a Mobile County Public Safety Contract without her consent.

'While I was in the lobby waiting they had my 5-year-old sign a contract about suicide and homicide,' Rebecca said.

'(They) asked her if she was depressed now.

'Most of these words on here, she's never heard in her life.

'This isn't right. She's 5-years-old.'

State law in Alabama outlines that minors cannot sign a contract.

The school also recommended Elizabeth see a psychiatrist.

E.R. Dickson Elementary

Scene: The incident occurred at E.R. Dickson Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama

Rebecca is now fighting to have the incident removed from her child's record, but is also dealing with the aftermath at home.

'My child interrupted us and said, ''What is suicide mommy? Daddy what is suicide?'' Rebecca told WPMI-TV.

'As a parent that's not right.

'I'm the one should be able to talk to my child and not have someone else mention words like this in front of her at all.'

Video: NASA excitedly prepares for 'once in a lifetime' viewing of comet narrowly missing Mars


Mars simulation

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are preparing all of their assets orbiting and roving Mars to observe and collect data from what they call a "once in a lifetime" viewing of a never-seen-before comet passing within 87,000 miles of the surface of the planet. Comet C/2013 A1, also known as comet Siding Spring, will pass Mars on Oct. 19, at less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth.

"This is a cosmic science gift that could potentially keep on giving, and the agency's diverse science missions will be in full receive mode," said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "This particular comet has never before entered the inner solar system, so it will provide a fresh source of clues to our solar system's earliest days."

According to NASA, Siding Spring came from the Oort Cloud, a spherical region of space surrounding our sun and occupying space at a distance between 5,000 and 100,000 astronomical units, and believed to be material left over from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists hope to use this opportunity to learn more about the materials, including water and carbon compounds, that existed during the solar system's formation.

NASA is repositioning their Mars orbiters, using the planet as shield so that they are not damaged by the ice and dust cloud trailing Siding Spring.

"The hazard is not an impact of the comet nucleus itself, but the trail of debris coming from it. Using constraints provided by Earth-based observations, the modeling results indicate that the hazard is not as great as first anticipated. Mars will be right at the edge of the debris cloud, so it might encounter some of the particles - or it might not," said Rich Zurek, chief scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Scientists note that Mars' thin atmosphere should protect NASA's Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity from comet dust, if any reaches the planet. Both rovers are scheduled to make observations of the comet. Earth-based and space telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, and the agency's astrophysics space observatories - Kepler, Swift, Spitzer, Chandra, along with the ground-based Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii - will also be tracking the event.

Scientists hope to learn more about how Siding Spring's own atmosphere interacts with the upper atmosphere of Mars, as well as study the particulate dust left behind.

Watch the video below uploaded to YouTube by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

[embedded content]

Halloween prop puts Obama's name on a tombstone, draws complaints


Obama's tombstone

Oklahoma woman said she was "absolutely offended" by her neighbor's Halloween display, which included a tombstone with President Barack Obama's name on it.

"He is the president of the United States, and it actually is about respect," said Jamila Phillips, who recently moved to the neighborhood in Edmond. "It's a total respect thing because this person is still alive."

Her neighbor, Dwayne Dockens, told KOCO-TV he's displayed the tombstone with Obama's name for the last three years without complaint.

"We made them a few years ago back when it was a big deal, questions up about his birth certificate," Dockens said. "And we made all these ourselves, so just thought it was kind of humorous and, you know, went ahead and put him in there, as well."

The wooden tombstone reads "Obama ? - " and is placed among others reading "Imma goner" and "I told you I was sick."

The display also includes skulls, bones, and a plywood coffin.

Dockens said he's sorry his new neighbor took his display the wrong way, but he plans to keep all the tombstones.

"I certainly didn't mean to offend anybody or cause any problems," he said. "Don't know that I would take it down."

Watch this video report posted online by KOCO 5 News:

[embedded content]

Wiwa Indians killed by lightning during a tribal ceremony in Colombia to be left unburied in accordance with their beliefs

© AFP Photo

A picture released by the Defensoria del Pueblo shows a native from the Wiwa ethnic group looking at the the location of a lightning strike in Santa Marta, Colombia, on October 6, 2014

Eleven Wiwa Indians killed by lightning during a tribal ceremony in Colombia's Sierra Nevada mountains will be left unburied where they died according to their traditions, an official said Sunday. The community of about 60 families will abandon their remote village in the wake of Monday's tragedy, but it was not yet clear where they would go, said Jose Gregorio Rodriguez, an advisor on the Wiwas at the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, which represents the country's 800,000 indigenous people.

"The bodies will stay in the 'uguma' (ceremonial hut) where they died and the community will leave the site, as their customs and traditions dictate," Rodriguez told AFP. The 11 men were killed on Monday when lightning struck the hut during a ceremony, also injuring another 20 participants who suffered second and third degree burns. The Wiwas, a tribe that retreated into the Sierra Nevada of northern Colombia after the Spanish conquest, revere all aspects of nature and believe they are called to keep the world in balance.

Some villagers saw the devastating lightning strike as a spiritual blow in response to "man's turning his back on nature," Lorenzo Gil, a survivor, told AFP this week. After the tragedy, the villagers held a long funeral ritual, whose first part concluded on Friday. A 10-day healing ceremony will follow.

"This rite is a healing for the people but also for the affected territories," said Rodriguez.

A day after the lightning strike that killed the Wiwas, another indigenous community in the Sierra Nevada, the Arhuacas, were hit by a landslide that killed six people, including five children.

"When the indigenous die as a result of tragic acts of nature, the community abandons the place to avoid other dangerous natural phenomena," said Rodriguez.

NIH Director blames 'budget cuts' for lack of an Ebola vaccine

Francis Collins


Francis Collins

The head of the National Institute of Health (NIH) is blaming budget cuts for the current Ebola epidemic, claiming that a vaccine would have developed if the NIH's budget hadn't been stagnant for the past decade, the reports. Dr. Francis Collins told the that the "NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here.'"

When asked why his organization didn't have "something ready," he replied, "frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."

Instead, as the Ebola epidemic spreads, the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must focus on developing a therapeutic regimen - like the Canadian-developed ZMapp - to treat individuals only after they are infected. Collins said that even the therapeutic route is problematic at this time, as it will be extremely difficult to produce an adequate supply of the experimental antibody cocktail by December.

The need for such therapeutic measures could have been prevented, Collins said, had Congress not hamstrung the NIH's budget, which has remained essentially unchanged since 2004. Not even the increasing severity of the Ebola crisis can convince lawmakers to further fund the NIH, forcing the organization to "take dollars that would've gone to something else and redirect them to this."

The sequestration further limited the institute's abilities, as it slashed $1.55 billion from its 2013 operating budget. Collins did emphasize, however, that despite the pressing need to develop both a vaccine and a therapy for Ebola, it is highly unlikely that the epidemic will reach Liberian proportions in the United States.

"Certainly there's been a lot of fear [in the] response from people who are probably at essentially zero risk, that this might somehow take over our country, which is really not going to happen," he told the .

"And despite all the assurances, it still hasn't quite sunk in. There's still the cable news people who are whipping this up, and frankly sometimes using it for political purposes to sort of shoot at the government."

"More people will die today of AIDS than have died so far in the entire Ebola epidemic," Collins added. "We've somehow gotten used to that, and it doesn't seem to be so threatening or frightening."

Ukrainian conscripts fed up: National Guard troops protest outside presidential office in Kiev

ukraine soldiers protest

© Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko

Conscripts of the National Guard of Ukraine gather near the presidential administration headquarters to demand their demobilization in Kiev, October 13, 2014

Ukrainian National Guard troops are protesting outside the presidential administration office in Kiev as they demand demobilization. They are refusing to return to their barracks outside the capital.

About 200 soldiers have surrounded the building claiming they have served six months longer than their contracts stipulated.

Soldiers are chanting, "Demobilization!" and, "All for one and one for all."

They say they are not going to leave until authorities answer their questions, key amongst them being when they will be able to return home.

Members of the presidential administration, however, have demanded that the soldiers immediately return to their military barracks.

"Soldiers, come on, return to [your] military units, we'll figure this out there," one of the officials told the protesters, according to TASS.

[embedded content]

They have demanded that they either receive better pay or are allowed to return home. One of the soldiers told that they were paid roughly $11 per month, adding that there has been no hike in wages since their contracts expired.

"I have served for over half a year. Who are we: conscripts or [professional soldiers]? Then why are we still being paid $11.5 per month? Show us a document saying that we can be kept any longer," the soldier told TASS.

"We have already served for almost two years and we don't know how many more years we'll have to serve: three, four?", a soldier has told reporters at the scene.

Mothers of the protesting soldiers say their sons' rights have been violated, with demands addressed to regimental headquarters thus far being ignored.

Soldiers in Kharkov have also taken to the streets to make their demands heard.

"We were recruited for 12 months in the spring of 2013 from different regions of Ukraine. Now 18 months have passed and there are no signs of demobilization," one of the protesters in Kharkov told reporters.

Last week President Poroshenko said that demobilization is currently not possible.

"There are currently no possibilities for demobilization under conditions of de-facto military actions," the President said during his visit to Kharkov on Saturday.

Poroshenko said that it will be possible "to begin steps of demobilization" only when "there will be a constant ceasefire, when a line of defense is built, as soon as our teams, and this should be soon, will be deployed in full combat defensive order."

The National Guard was reestablished in March 2014. The first National Guard's regular battalion was formally sworn in for service on April 6 following three weeks of training.

Tropical storm Gonzalo strikes Antigua, could potentially develop into Category 1 hurricane

tropical storm gonzalo

Tropical Storm Gonzalo is making its way through the eastern Caribbean, spinning through Antigua on its way toward Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands. Authorities say Gonzalo could potentially form into a Category 1 hurricane.

Antigua is expected to receive heavy rain and winds for several hours, according to AP's latest report. Many Antiguans have reported that homes have been stripped of roofing and downed trees have blocked roads throughout the island.

No reports of injuries or deaths from the storm have been reported, though, according to Sherrod James, deputy director of Antigua's National Office of Disaster Services.

Gonzalo's maximum wind speed hit 65 mph (100 kph) as of late Monday morning EDT, when the storm's center was about 10 miles (15 km) from Antigua.

"It is strengthening very slowly," said Scott Stripling, a meteorologist with the US National Hurricane Center. "It's not out of the question that we could see it become a hurricane later this evening or tonight."


© Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez

A general view of Mirador de la Cruz, viewpoint of the cross, in Antigua from Guatemala City

Stripling added that the storm is projected to pass to the northwest over the Virgin Islands and parts of Puerto Rico, particularly the islands of Vieques and Culebra. A hurricane watch has been issued in these areas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

To be classified as a Category 1 hurricane, a tropical storm must reach maximum sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph (119 to 153 kph). Though Category 1 storms can result in property damage and loss of life, it is the least intense of hurricane classifications.

Meanwhile, widespread power outages have led to government-mandated closures of schools and businesses throughout Antigua. The Antiguan government has opened four emergency shelters, AP reported.

"Based on recent updates, we are asking persons to stay within their homes and those persons who need to move from vulnerable areas to seek first to move with family and friends or if absolutely necessary to move to the shelters," Minister of Social Transformation Samantha Marshall told AP.

Gonzalo is expected to head north into the Atlantic Ocean, away from mainland US, after leaving Puerto Rico.

Cop breaks into Colorado family's home, fatally shoots resident in the back without explanation

Rocky Ford crime scene

© KRDO.com

Crime scene tape blocks off the house where the shooting occurred in Rocky Ford.

A Colorado family said that it was stunned over the weekend when an officer broke down their door, and fatally shot one of the residents in the back without an explanation.

Sara Lindenmuth told KRDO that a Rocky Ford police officer forced down the door to their home sometime after her brother-in-law, 27-year-old Jack Jacquez, came home around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.

She recalled that the two men started shouting at each other.

"He was standing next to his mom, his back turned toward the officer and then he shot him twice in the back and then pepper sprayed him," Lindenmuth said. "Then they hand cuffed his fiancé, for reasons I don't know why. And the mom went to call the cops and the cop took her phone and threw it against the wall."

"He just showed up," she insisted. "No one knows why he just showed up. It just all happened unexpectedly."

Jacquez's fiance, Mariah, told KKTV that he had been out late because he was helping a friend babysit. She said she was asleep when she heard the gunshots.

"Came out, gun shots firing. Found my fiancé on the floor. He couldn't breathe," she explained.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was reportedly investigating the case. KKTV identified the officer as James Ashby. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Authorities said that there would be no additional details released until the investigation concluded.

Watch the video from KRDO, broadcast Oct. 12, 2014.

Analysis of emperor Obama's old new clothes - the US energy wars and shale gas scams

The naked emperor

It really is a pity that children are not allowed to U.N. meetings, so that during Obama's address to the General Assembly last week someone could have shouted out: "The King is naked!". For even though in its intention his speech was supposed to be a finely-weaved cloth depicting utopian motifs of US-led knights in shining UN armour fighting for human progress, democracy, peace and prosperity around the globe, there were so many holes in this spin-doctor-fabricated material, that the bare flesh of the real US Foreign policy agendas was impossible to conceal.

Everyone present along with the loyal mainstream media carried on with the pretence, purposefully ignoring faulty lines and gaping holes, while praising the smoothness of the yarn (The Guardian: "Obama sought to strike a delicate balance at the UNGA") and spotlighting new haute-couture patterns of justifying war (BBC: "The phrase that will linger is "the network of death") soon to be seen in all high-street media narratives.

Conveniently, most MSM journalists chose to ignore the ironic twists in the weaving of Obama's advisors: "Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty" (yes, except 67% of Detroit families and 46.5 million people in the whole of the US); "I often tell young people in the United States that this is the best time in human history to be born (the U.S. infant mortality rate is fourth highest among 29 of the world's most developed nations), for you are more likely than ever before to be literate (32 million adults in the U.S. can't read. That's 14 percent of the population), to be healthy (US has the most-expensive and least effective health-care system compared with 10 other western, leading industrialised nations), and to be free to pursue your dreams (The American Myth of Social Mobility)."

"We come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope", said the 2009 Noble Peace Laureate, who only a day before started bombing the 7th predominantly Muslim country after Afganistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq. Hours before the U.S. launched airstrikes and cruise missiles into Syria, a senior administration official had told the Guardian that "neither of the two groups targeted in the Monday night strikes - the Islamic State militant group or the Al-Qaeda splinter group Khorasan - posed an imminent threat to the U.S." In fact, Khorasan Group is a fake terror threat to justify bombing Syria.

As Obama was rallying the world on the path of war (which by then he had already started), not one person stood up to ask what possible legal authority he has to bomb Syria. During the following days all mainstream media outlets which in recent months have been so outspoken about international law and the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state towards which Russian aggression was allegedly directed, were now not only silent about the lack of UN or Congressional authorisation for the Syrian war, they were obligingly spreading all the war propaganda they were fed by the authorities. (Note: War propaganda is a war crime according to the Nuremberg Principles: Crime against the Peace. By upholding US foreign policy, MSM is complicit in war crimes.)

Setting aside the tragedy of the Middle Eastern conflict and focusing on Europe, as the Emperor was showcasing his supposedly humanitarian robes, there were so many holes of lies, hypocrisy and double standards in them, only fierce defenders of the Empire or Obama's useful idiots would carry on with the pretence that the naked ugly flesh of US foreign policy is not flashing in front of everyone's eyes. Presumably, because the majority of Brits and Europeans still believe that their own prosperity and progress is dependent on US global dominance, Obama's speech resonated with their beliefs and values irrespective of its falseness. Because when one looks at the facts of what the US has been doing in the UK and Europe in recent years, it becomes clear that the real aggression is not coming from Russia, but from across the Atlantic - seeding corrupt and undemocratic practices into European politics, as well as endangering the environment, undermining people's rights and powers and even encouraging the spilling of blood (as in Ukraine). The only people who are benefiting from these practices are multinationals and corrupt politicians that work together in alliance to preserve the existing world order, which has been benefiting them and which is currently under threat.

According to Foreign Policy magazine, "American Leadership in the world is imperilled": there's more economic growth occurring in the developing world (see below); military spending of developing countries is increasing (reducing the relative military power of the US) and the total federal debt is $13 trillion, which is 3/4th of GDP. It's the latter, which is the biggest problem that the US faces at the moment: "among allies, adversaries, and swing states alike, U.S. fiscal policy is increasingly calling into question America's ability to lead globally."




Foreign Policy listed measures that the US has to take in order to remain a global power - fiscal deficit could be reduced by increasing the retirement age, investing in infrastructure, reforming corporate tax law to encourage bringing profits home, enhancing productivity through reforming health-care and education, and focusing on technological superiority in military spending. Aside from these domestic-focused solutions, it also stressed the importance of attracting talent from around the world and capitalising on America's energy boom.

Less than a decade ago, the US was totally dependent on energy imported from abroad, especially from the Middle East. It was all reversed since 2007, when a combination of fracking and horizontal drilling have generated a surge in US oil and natural gas production, helping the US to overtake Russia as the world's leading producer of oil and gas in 2013 and even giving hope that it will overcome Saudi Arabia as the world's largest crude oil producer by 2015. This economic boost from the "North American energy revolution" has made the US relatively energy independent and in turn 'stimulated energy-heavy petrochemical production, created 2 million jobs in shale gas industry', supposedly reduced carbon dioxide emissions and, most importantly, transformed US foreign policy.

It all started with Hilary Clinton, who during her leadership at the State Department has worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe - sold as a broader push to fight climate change and boost energy supply, but also to weaken power adversaries, who challenge the US in the global energy market, such as Russia, China, Syria and Iran and to benefit US firms, which with the help of American officials, would get high concessions on shale gas overseas.

In early 2009, when Clinton was sworn as Secretary of State, she instructed lawyer David Goldwyn to 'elevate energy diplomacy as the key function of US foreign policy'. By 2010, Goldwyn unveiled the Global Shale Gas Initiative, which aimed 'to help other nations develop their shale potential', in a way which is 'as environmental friendly as possible'. However, when the Initiative was launched, environmental groups were barely consulted and it was the United States Energy Association, a trade organization representing Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Conoco-Phillips, that played the key role.

By early 2011, the State Department decided to launch a new bureau to integrate energy into every aspect of foreign policy, an idea heavily inspired by Chevron executive Jan Kalicki's book Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy. The new Bureau of Energy Resources, with 63 employees and a multimillion-dollar budget (coming out of taxpayers' pockets) started its work in late 2011. One of the strategies was for US embassies to 'pursue more outreach to private-sector energy firms' (some of these firms happened to support Hilary Clinton's and Obama's political campaigns, e.g. Chevron). From then on US officials and oil giants were working together, as if they are part of the same multinational company pursuing the same business plan.

Europe was one of the top targets of this new US energy-focused foreign policy/business plan and Clinton personally flew to various countries like Bulgaria to promote the fracking industry. Lobbyists circulated a report that the European Union could save 900 billion euros if it invested in gas rather than renewable energy to meet its 2050 climate targets. At the same time shale gas was advertised as the fuel of choice for slashing carbon emissions. Environmentalists argued that fracking can do little to ease global warming, given that wells and pipelines leak large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Also anyone concerned with the environment was upset that investing in fracking could crowd out investment in renewables. At the same time growing evidence was emerging that fracking was linked to groundwater contamination and earthquakes.

Despite these counter-currents, '2012 was a busy year for a State Department, which hosted fracking conferences from Thailand to Botswana, while American foreign diplomats and officials helped US oil giants to snap up shale gas leases around the globe. Chevron had the largest share of shale concessions in Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, and South Africa, as well as in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland, which had granted more than 100 shale concessions covering nearly a third of its territory.'

Shale gas drilling concessions

© Mother Jones

Number of Shale gas drilling concessions/License permits

However, this US foreign policy/business plan didn't unfold smoothly : new research from the U.S. Geological Survey suggested that the EIA assessments had grossly overestimated shale deposits in Poland by 99% and one industry study estimated that drilling shale gas in Poland would cost three times as much as in the US. There was a further controversy with regards to rights to underground resources in Eastern Europe.

Facing these obstacles, the US State Department and Oil behemoths started a lobbying blitz around the EU: lawmakers were sent industry-funded studies, fake grassroots organisations were set up, regulators were wined and dined at conferences and extravagant functions. All of it came with a warning that failure to develop shale gas "will have damaging consequences on European energy security and prosperity".

At one time of this European lobbying bonanza, Covington & Burling, a major Washington law firm, hired several former senior E.U. policymakers - including a top energy official who, according to the New York Times , arrived with a not-yet-public draft of the European Commission's fracking regulations. Not only American law firms were fostering corruption by rewarding recruited European politicians, including top officials from the three main governing bodies - the European Commission, Parliament and Council - with fat pay-checks, but they also made every effort to keep their lobbying practices as opaque as possible, citing lawyer-confidentiality to evade government-backed but voluntary disclosure efforts. This lack of transparency left many of their lobbying results outside of public scrutiny, undermining democracy in Europe, yet bringing profits to multinational clients.

Between January and October 2012 Goldwyn from the US Shale Gas Initiative organised Chevron-funded fracking workshops in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. All of these countries, except Bulgaria, which saw wide-spread anti-fracking protests, would later grant Chevron major shale concessions. In Romania the US State Department got involved in direct negotiations - the US Ambassador led negotiations between 'upset' Chevron officials and the Romanian government, which resulted in a 30 year deal with Chevron.

When Chevron started installing its first Romanian rig in late 2013, local residents blockaded the planned drilling sites. Soon, anti-fracking protests were starting across Europe, from Poland to the United Kingdom, but Chevron didn't back down - along with other American energy firms, it lobbied to "insert language in a proposed U.S.-E.U. trade agreement, aka TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), allowing U.S. companies to haul European governments before international arbitration panels for any actions threatening their investments, in order protect shareholders against "arbitrary" and "unfair" treatment by local authorities."

Despite the public outcry in Europe, the State Department, working alongside energy multinationals, as if 'they were all branches of the same company', has stayed on its course of making Europe more dependent on the North American energy platform. One of the biggest obstacles to this goal was and is Russia, as it supplies 30% of Europe's natural gas. Part of the campaign to promote a US-led fracking revolution in Europe is the media's demonisation of Russia, in order to scare Europeans away from their Russian gas consumption.

Unfortunately, Ukraine was bound to be the centre of this battle as it depends on Russian gas almost entirely while being one of the main gas transit countries in Europe. An insider report called "Occasional Paper 291. Ukraine's Energy Policy and US Strategic Policy in Eurasia" stated the following as 'the problem':

"Twelve years after achieving independence, Ukraine seems unable to find a way to break away from its energy dependency on Russia, or to find viable ways of managing it. Ukraine's current energy situation and its handling also have important negative implications for US strategy in the region... Ukraine's lack of clear energy policy strategy complicates the US strategy of supporting multiple pipeline routes on the east-West axis as a way of helping to promote a more pluralistic system in the region as an alternative to continued Russian hegemony."

If only Obama's speeches were as honest.

Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine

© RIA Novosti

On 5th November 2013, it looked like Ukraine's future independence from Russian gas was certain - Ukraine and Chevron finally signed a 50-year lease deal, following a January 2013 deal with Royal Dutch Shell. Ukraine President Yanukovich seemed optimistic about these new partnerships, stating on his website that they "will let Ukraine satisfy its gas needs completely and, under the optimistic scenario, export energy resources by 2020". Quite a few bottles of champagne must have popped on that day, as the US had been trying to wean Ukraine off Russian gas for quite a few years. As early as 2004, the Bush administration had spent $65 million 'to aid political organisations in Ukraine, paying to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet U.S. leaders and helping to underwrite exit polls indicating he won last month's disputed runoff election.' It was during Yushchenko's presidency (2005-2010), that Ukraine and Russia had many 'gas rows', which at one time in 2009 left as many as 18 European countries cut off from Russian gas. In response, Gazprom, Russia's state-run energy company, proposed the building of a new $21.6 billion pipeline called South Stream as a way to circumvent Ukraine and ensure an uninterrupted, diversified flow to Europe. Italy and seven other countries have joined the venture.

South Stream pipeline map

As the project would not be complete until 2018, the US still had time to challenge Russia in the European energy market and Chevron's deal with Ukraine was an attempt to do just that. As usual, the US supplemented its business plan with a powerful PR campaign - a couple of months prior to the signing of the Chevron-Ukraine deal, the US (Chevron) and Dutch (Shell) Embassies, along with George Soros' International Renaissance Foundation 'announced' the set-up of an "NGO" - an online anti-Russian pro-western media outlet called Hromadske TV, which, again totally incidentally (no doubt!) was launched on 22 November 2013, one day after Yanukovich abandoned an agreement with the EU in favour of Putin's sudden offer of a 30% cheaper gas bill and a $15 billion aid package.

US/Dutch/Soros-sponsored Hromadske TV

© Unknown

US/Dutch/Soros-sponsored Hromadske TV cashflow

It was this US/Dutch/Soros-sponsored Hromadske TV, which became the main driving vehicle behind the Euromaidan protests, which were initiated by its editor-in-chief Mustafa Nayem, who used Facebook to rally the Ukrainians to gather on Independence Square in Kiev to protest Yanukovich's decision. The narrative that was spun by Hromadske TV, opposition-owned Ukrainian TV and western media was that Euromaidan was 'a true people's movement, fueled by Ukranian citizens' desire for a better government and closer ties with the EU.' Somehow, not that many western journalists were concerned about the fact that the man who rallied people on Maidan was funded by US and Dutch Embassies, as well as by George Soros.

While publicly US officials were professing 'the right of Ukrainian people to self-determination, freedom and democracy', behind the scenes they were choosing leaders themselves, not with Ukrainian people's interests, but with US interests in mind. In a private leaked telephone conversation US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland told US ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt that "I don't think [opposition leader] Klitsch should go into the government" (Klitshchko didn't and successfully ran for the Mayor of Kiev instead). "I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience." (Yatsenyuk became the interim prime minister. Also completely incidentally his foundation Open Ukraine has a revealing list of Russia-hating sponsors , including NATO Information and Documentation Centre and State Department of the United States of America)

In the same conversation, Nuland, who is married to neo-con foreign policy pundit Robert Kagan who pushed for the Iraq war, gave the most accurate definition of the UN's role in this world: "He's [Jeff Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] now gotten both [UN official Robert] Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU." I think the UN should change their website's banner from Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world. to 'Welcome to the United Nations. It's a US world, and we are here to glue it.' Also 'Fuck the EU" is possibly the most succinct summary of US relations with Europe in recent years. It would add a touch of truthfulness, if they would add it as a postscript to Obama's speech at the UNGA.

There is a difference between a people's revolution and an orchestrated coup, there is a difference between allowing people to choose their leaders democratically, irrespective of whether they are pro-western or pro-Russian, and actually installing a government, which the US has done in Kiev after the coup. One can only feel sorry for the poor Ukrainian people, who truly believed in what they were demonstrating against. Paul Craig Roberts summarised the coup and the protests that followed:

"The purpose of the coup is to put NATO military bases on Ukraine's border with Russia and to impose an IMF austerity program that serves as cover for Western financial interests to loot the country. The sincere idealistic protesters who took to the streets without being paid were the gullible dupes of the plot to destroy their country."

The main looters set to benefit from the takeover of power were some high profile American politicians and their friends and family and they were unashamedly supporting the protests to ensure that they would get their licence to loot. "We stand ready to assist you," US Vice President Joe Biden promised to protesters, "Imagine where you'd be today if you were able to tell Russia: 'Keep your gas.' It would be a very different world." Biden certainly had imagined where he and his family would be in a Ukraine without Russian gas - his son Hunter has since joined the board of the biggest Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holding.

Biden was not the only well-connected American to join the gas company. Devon Archer, a wealthy investor and Democratic campaign fundraiser with long ties to US Secretary of State John Kerry, upon joining the board of directors rejoiced that Burisma Holdings reminded him of "Exxon in its early days." The company's portfolio of licenses is well-diversified across all three of Ukraine's key hydrocarbon basins - Dnieper-Donets, Carpathian and Azov-Kuban, and its fields are fully connected to the major gas pipelines in the country.

Crimea's referendum and re-unification with Russia took everyone by surprise and it was a major blow for companies like Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, Repsol and Petrochina, which had already invested money into developing Crimean offshore assets - LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) reserves in Crimea. If one looks at some of the targets of the U.S. sanctions against Russia or Russian-linked companies, two of them were directly aimed at slowing down or stopping South Stream :

"The first South Stream-related company the U.S. targeted was Stroytransgaz, which is building the Bulgarian section. Putin ally and billionaire Gennady Timchenko owns it and he's already on the sanctions list. So Stroytransgaz had to stop construction or risk exposing other companies on the project to the sanctions. The second entity in the sanctions crosshairs was a Crimean company called Chernomorneftgaz. After joining Russia, the Crimean parliament voted to take over the company, which belonged to the Ukrainian government. And guess what that company owned? The rights to the exclusive maritime economic zone in the Black Sea. That's important because Russia routed the pipeline on a longer path through the Black Sea that cut out Ukraine. It avoided the Crimean waters, going instead via Turkey's."

Only a fool would believe that Putin has supported the referendum in Crimea in order to 'protect interests of Russian people', just as only a fool would believe that the US and EU are concerned about the Ukrainian people, democracy and freedom. Both sides are manipulating popular sentiments to achieve their own geopolitical and economic goal: a battle for energy dominance in Europe. What happened in Crimea was a mirror situation of what happened in Kiev - the people of Kiev, demonstrating on maidan, wanted to be closer to the EU and US, while people of Crimea have been trying for a long time to rejoin Russia, both the US and Russia have used the situation to their economic and political advantage, while citing humanitarian causes.

The major difference was that in Crimea only one soldier was killed by accident, while in Kiev snipers shot nearly 100 people from maidan-controlled buildings, after which power was taken by force. It looked like a popular technique the US used during many staged coups, described succinctly in Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine ": expose people to shocking events, grab power and quickly carry out all the planned economic and political changes before people come back to their senses. Another major difference is that while the majority of Crimeans are happy to be with Russia, the post-coup protests, which flared up in the Eastern regions of Ukraine, showed that significant parts of the Donbass population were not happy to break ties with Russia (the majority being ethnic Russians themselves).

When self defence forces set their base in Slavyansk, right in the heart of the Uzovka shale gas field, where Shell and Burisma were going to start fracking, US officials showed how far they were prepared to go in order to fight for the business interests of their oil and gas giants' associates. On Monday April 14th, Reuters published a White House's confirmation that CIA Director John Brennan had been in Kiev the weekend before. The following day, Kiev announced the beginning of a so called 'anti-terrorist operation' in Donbass. One of the fierce supporters of this operation was Poland, which again was not surprising at all, given that one of Burisma's directors alongside Biden and Archer, was and is the ex-president of Poland - Alexander Kwasnevski.

The Senate Bill 2277, which was introduced on May 1st, 2014, "to prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine", directed the US Agency for International Development to begin guaranteeing the fracking of oil and gas in Ukraine, while Kiev troops were marching into Donbass to 'basically protect the fracking equipment'. One thing that Obama is very talented at is acting - it's remarkable that during his UNGA speech, he managed to keep a straight face, when he was mouthing these lies and hypocrisies:

"This is the international community that America seeks: one where nations do not covet the land or resources of other nations, but one in which we carry out the founding purpose of this institution and where we all take responsibility. A world in which the rules established out of the horrors of war can help us resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent the kind of wars that our forefathers fought. A world where human beings can live with dignity and meet their basic needs whether they live in New York or Nairobi, in Peshawar or Damascus."

The civil war that broke out in Ukraine and which, as shown above, is a part of the US global energy war, has claimed 4,000 civilian lives, left more than a million Ukrainians displaced and led to a humanitarian crisis. In addition to that, when fracking goes ahead in Ukraine, Ukrainians can in addition expect - 'earthquakes, floods, groundwater pollution, and pestilence of marine animals, birds, and fish, streams of water boiling with methane, and poisoned drinking water and air'.

Furthermore :

"so far there is no information about the means of disposing of thousands of cubic meters of fracturing fluid from several thousand wells, which will produce shale gas. Are they really going to be buried in the ground or discharged into water bodies? The experience of foreign companies in third world countries (Ukraine cannot even claim to be the one of them) shows that they are capable of environmental crimes (Ecuador, Nigeria, etc.) " [see here]

This is particularly the case for Chevron and Shell, both of which have been implicated in major human rights violations in Nigeria. Chevron has been accused of recruiting and supplying Nigerian military forces involved in massacres of environmental protesters in the oil-rich Niger Delta, and Shell has faced charges of complicity in torture and other human rights abuses against the Ogoni people of southern Nigeria.[see here]

Obama's statement: "America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy." is a lie. The truth, instead, can be found in gas industry media, where they do not attempt to veil American business interests with humanitarian concerns for Ukrainian people and other jingoistic moral narratives:

"American companies can directly invest in Ukraine, bringing their technology with them. Ukrainian companies can hire experienced American drillers, they can license American drilling and seismic imaging technology, and they can import sophisticated U.S. drilling equipment... U.S. government can encourage these developments through government-sponsored engagement programs like the State Department's Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program ... can speed this investment with financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Once a new parliament is elected in October, the Ukrainian government should do everything they can to promote private investment in production; this would include lowering these taxes and providing new incentives to energy investment. One particular tax incentive they could offer would be to create a value-added tax (VAT) break for the import of sophisticated drilling equipment, modelled on a recently-initiated VAT break for imports of military equipment. It is important that Ukraine not only has strong laws and a good regulatory environment, but that it also has an open and transparent civil service, in order to prevent the corruption that was rampant under the old regime from becoming rooted into the new one. To prevent that, the U.S. and European governments should promote transparency within the government by encouraging engagement between American civil servants with the new members of the civil service of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry."

These are the people, who will benefit from "US support for Ukrainian democracy and economy": American companies, American drillers, American drilling and seismic imaging technology specialists, manufacturers of US drilling equipment, US banks and American civil service. The people of Ukraine will not benefit, because the 'shale gas revolution' is a sham. Even Forbes, which in March claimed that "What Ukraine needs is an American style shale-gas revolution" by September published an article that the shale gas bubble is bound to burst. The only reason that most people still believe that shale gas can increase exports, boost employment and increase GDP, along with cutting down on greenhouse emissions, is because most of the information about natural gas supplies and how it can be exploited comes from 'people with a vested interest in selling the dream of a "Shale Gale"'.

Most of the revenue in the fracking business comes from the selling of leases, something that in the financial industry would be seen as a variation of "pump and dump" scam, which looks like this:

"Step 1. Borrow money and use it to lease thousands of acres for drilling. Step 2. Borrow more money and drill as many wells as you can, as quickly as you can. Step 3. Tell everyone within shouting distance that this is just the beginning of a production boom that will continue for the remainder of our lives and the lives of our children, and that everyone who invests will get rich. Step 4. Sell drilling leases to other (gullible) companies at a profit, raise funds through Initial Public Offerings or bond sales, and use the proceeds to hide financial losses from your drilling and production operations." Banks and oil and gas companies will no doubt profit, but the gains will not pass on to the people of Ukraine or the people of Europe, where the US is hoping to export it's 'fracking pseudo-revolution'. Instead they will only have all the terrible fracking impacts on water, air, soil, human health, the welfare of livestock and wildlife, and the climate to deal with. Ironically it is Russian natural gas, which would be much safer and cheaper for Europe to keep consuming, but US foreign policy has been set and it looks that people of Europe will not have a choice on the matter. It is from the likes of Condoleeza Rice that we hear what should happen to Europe: "You want to depend more on the North American energy platform... you want to have pipelines that don't go through Ukraine and Russia. For years we've tried to make Europeans interested in different pipeline routes. It's time to do that." Recently, Securing America's Future energy and the Foreign Policy Initiative hosted this conversation about energy security and geopolitics with US legislators and leading experts, where the "US New Paradigm" of Global Energy Dominance Foreign Policy was summarised. While the US is going for the kill with this new paradigm in Ukraine and Syria, Emperor Obama showcased his humanitarian Old New Clothes to an organisation which is supposed to "maintain international peace and security, promote human rights, foster social and economic development, protect the environment" and everyone present pretended not to see the ugly flesh of the US Energy War. But for anyone who saw that the King is naked, Obama's last words sounded like a dangerous threat:

"And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done....we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission"

(Vera Graziadei is a British Ukrainian Russian actress and writer.)

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Man injured in bear attack in Srinagar, India

One person was injured in a attack by a wild animal in Braipathri Nagbal Pakharpora. A bear attacked and injured a person identified as Mohammad Rafique Hajam son of Mohammad Abdullah residence of Braipathri Nagbal jurisdiction of PP Pakherpora. The injured was shifted to SKIMS Soura Srinagar for treatment.

Man attacked and mauled by bear in Mizoram, India

A 50-year-old man was attacked and injured by a bear in a jungle near the Mizoram-Myanmar border in south Mizoram's Lunglei district, police said today.

The man was attacked by the bear inside the thick jungle protected by the local community when he was passing through it on Wednesday last, the police said.

He called up his relatives over phone after the attack and was taken home by volunteers from the village. He was admitted with multiple wounds, including on his face, to local health facility for treatment, the police added.

Storms tear through Arkansas, Louisiana, killing 1, thousands without power in Texas

© John Johnson via Twitter

Possible tornado touchdown near Ashdown, AR....1 dead.

A multi-day severe weather outbreak began with tragic news Monday morning, as a tornado was reported in southwestern Arkansas that killed one person.

The Weather Channel has confirmed through the Little River County, Arkansas, Sheriff's Department that the fatality occurred in an area between the towns of Ashdown and Foreman near the borders of Texas and Oklahoma. The EF2 tornado was confirmed by a survey crew from the National Weather Service later Monday.

This is just the start of what is expected to be a long 48 hours for Dixie Alley, as severe weather is predicted to move through the Deep South, spawning some tornadoes along the way. Damaging winds, frequent lightning and hail could also come with these storms as they push east.

According to the Storm Prediction Center, nearly 30 million people are under the threat of severe weather Monday, with the greatest risk lying in an area near the Mississippi River from Mississippi to southern Illinois.

Additional images

Here's a state-by-state rundown of this severe weather outbreak's effects.


One person is dead and at least four others were sent to a nearby hospital in Little River County when a tornado swept through the county in southwestern Arkansas. The National Weather Service surveyed the damage and found it to be consistent with an EF2 tornado Monday afternoon.

The tornado was in progress at about 5 a.m. local time Monday morning, damaging at least two homes and destroying one, according to the Little River County Sheriff's Office. The death, an adult male, occurred in the house that was destroyed, and the storm left a path of damage some 15 miles long, the office also said.

Arkansas Office of Emergency Management spokesman Rick Fahr told The Weather Channel at least two house fires in northwestern Arkansas were believed to be started by lightning Monday morning as the storms rolled through.

"These fires are in the extreme northwest parts of the state, at least 150 miles from where the possible tornado was," said Fahr.

Severe weather pushed through the Natural State Monday, and conditions remained dangerous while the line of storms moved east.

"The thing we can expect is 60- to 70-mph winds, a lot of lightning and heavy rain as well," said Mike Bettes, meteorologist for The Weather Channel, reporting live Monday from North Little Rock. "Be ready - make sure that your cellphone is charged up, make sure you have some flashlights ready to go and be prepared to go hours, if not maybe a day or two, without power."

The town of Osceola reported damage from a possible tornado later Monday afternoon, though there were no immediate reports of injuries. Another tornado was confirmed by the NWS in an area just north of England, leaving damage to structures - including a few that were damaged by an Oct. 2 twister, they said.

More than 6,000 people were without power early Monday afternoon across the state, according to KTHV.com.


Parts of Monroe reported serious damage from a storm that blew through the town in northern Louisiana Monday afternoon. According to social media posts, some businesses lost roofs, while nearby homes and automobiles were damaged by falling trees.

Following the possible tornado, a gas leak forced the evacuation of West Monroe High School, according to the News Star.

Tornado warnings were issued Monday morning as severe weather entered the state. The storms led to reports of downed trees in DeSoto Parish, according to National Weather Service reports.

Monday morning's severe weather was the second wave of nasty storms to hit Louisiana; Sunday evening, there were multiple reports of downed trees after a round of storms moved through northern portions of the state.


Homes were damaged and trees were brought down in the Belleville area, southeast of St. Louis.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but severe weather is expected to continue in parts of southern Illinois into the evening.


Power outages were numerous across North Texas early Monday morning as a line of damaging storms brought down power lines. According to the Dallas Morning News, electric company Oncor reported 20,000 outages across the state Monday morning, with 8,000 of those occurring in Dallas.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, severe storms left some street flooding and downed power lines, according to the Associated Press. No injuries have been reported in Texas from the storms so far.

Winds gusted as high as 74 mph Sunday evening near the town of Dozier, according to local storm reports.


Damaging winds and large hail were reported Sunday night and early Monday morning in Oklahoma as severe weather moved through the state. In Kiowa County, a mobile home was destroyed and homes were left damaged in Cotton, Jackson and Stephens counties, according to Storm Prediction Center reports.

Interstate 40 in Washita County was closed for about an hour Sunday night after strong winds knocked two tractor-trailers onto their side, according to the Associated Press. Winds gusted as high as 80 mph Sunday night in parts of the state, according to local storm reports.

No tornadoes or injuries were reported from the storms, the AP added.


Officials with the National Weather Service in Springfield confirmed an EF0 tornado touched down Monday morning in Lawrence County. The tornado was in progress just before 7 a.m. local time and had maximum wind speeds of 75 mph and stayed on the ground for less than one minute, the NWS confirmed through a damage survey.