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  1. #9511

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    Tiny, as always, shows how stupid he is.
    If you are a terrorist, and have that amount of explosives, you do not set it in one place. You spread it, to create more damage.
    You know, energy dispersing exponentially in relation to the distance, but try to explain that to that buffoon.
    Tiny is stupid, however my Lebanese friend is convinced that it's conected to weopens smuggling by Hezbollah. Apparently that port is virtually owned by them.
    Roger forever

  2. #9512

    Re: World News Random, Random

    One possibility is Israeli bombing of Hezbollah weapons storage facility. The secondary explosion likely indeed was ammonium nitrate, but what was the primary one?
    Roger forever

  3. #9513

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Beirut updates: Officials knew for years that volatile material was stored at the port but didn't act, records show. The blast killed more than 100.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2020 11:42 AM EST

    The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate that Lebanese officials are blaming for a huge explosion that devastated Beirut on Tuesday arrived in the city aboard an ailing, Russian-owned cargo ship that made an unscheduled stop in the city more than six years ago.

    Lebanese customs officials wrote letters to the courts at least six times from 2014 to 2017, seeking guidance on how to dispose of the highly combustible material.

    Aug. 5, 2020, 3:04 p.m. ET18 minutes ago

    Beirut Digs for Survivors as Death Toll in Explosion Rises: Live Updates
    Angry Lebanese are demanding accountability for the mishandling of explosive material that detonated, killing more than 100 people. Some 300,000 people are displaced from their homes.

    RIGHT NOW Lebanese officials fear food shortages caused by the explosion, which destroyed major grain stores and badly damaged the country’s main port.


    Search is on for survivors after blast kills more than 100.

    Rescue workers still struggling to treat thousands of people wounded in an enormous explosion that rocked Beirut turned their attention on Wednesday morning to the desperate search for survivors.

    The blast, so powerful it could be felt more than 150 miles away in Cyprus, leveled whole sections of the city near the port of Beirut on Tuesday evening, leaving nothing but twisted metal and debris for blocks in Beirut’s downtown business district. It capsized a docked passenger ship, shattered windows miles away and registered on seismographs, shaking on the earth as strongly as a 3.3-magnitude earthquake.

    The waterfront neighborhood, normally full of restaurants and nightclubs, was essentially flattened. A number of crowded residential neighborhoods in the city’s eastern and predominantly Christian half were also ravaged.

    Nearly all the windows along one popular commercial strip had been blown out and the street was littered with glass, rubble and cars that had slammed into each other after the blast. The buildings that remained standing looked as if they had been skinned, leaving hulking skeletons.

    The death toll rose to more than 100, but with an untold number still missing, officials expected that figure to rise. More than 4,000 people were injured, overwhelming the city’s hospitals.

    “What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettani, told the Beirut-based news network Al Mayadeen. “There are victims and casualties everywhere.”

    With electricity out in most of the city, emergency workers were limited in what they could do until the sun rose, when they joined residents digging through the wreckage even as fires still smoldered around them.

    “We need everything to hospitalize the victims, and there is an acute shortage of everything,” the Lebanese health minister, Hamad Hassan, said on Wednesday.

    The government’s minister of information, Dr. Manal Abdel Samad Najd, said after a Cabinet meeting that the country would enter a two week state of emergency, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency. The measure gave the security forces authority to impose house arrest on anyone involved in the storage of ammonium nitrate at the port while the investigation continues.

    Lebanese officials knew the dangers posed by storing ammonium nitrate at the port, but failed to act.

    The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate that Lebanese officials are blaming for the huge explosion arrived in the city aboard an ailing, Russian-owned cargo ship that made an unscheduled stop in the city more than six years ago.

    Lebanese customs officials wrote letters to the courts at least six times from 2014 to 2017, seeking guidance on how to dispose of the highly combustible material, according to public records cited by a Lebanese lawmaker, Salim Aoun.

    Solutions proposed by the officials included exporting the ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizer and explosives, or donating it to the Lebanese Army. But the judiciary failed to respond to the letters, the records suggested.

    The general manager of Beirut port, Hassan Koraytem, appeared to confirm that account on Wednesday in an interview with OTV, a local broadcaster. Despite numerous requests to have the material moved, “nothing happened,” Mr. Koraytem said.

    “We have been waiting for this to be resolved for six years, in vain,” he said.
    Anger swelled in Lebanon, as people demanded to know who was to blame for the dangerous cache being allowed to sit at the port for years, and why it was not kept in safer conditions.


    “As head of the government, I will not relax until we find the responsible party for what happened, hold it accountable and apply the most serious punishments against it,” Prime Minister Hassan Diab said.

    The Russian-owned, Moldovan-registered ship, the Rhosus, arrived in Beirut in November 2013, just under two months after it had left Georgia en route for the port of Beira in Mozambique. Lebanese port officials discovered “significant faults” on the ship and prevented it from continuing its journey, according to an account by lawyers for the ship’s crew published in 2015.

    The ship’s Russian captain gave an interview on Wednesday with Radio Free Europe, challenging parts of the account provided by Lebanese officials, saying there was nothing wrong with the ship and that it was held for failure to pay port dues.

    The vessel’s owner was identified as Igor Grechushkin, a Russian businessman living in Cyprus, but he appeared to abandon the ship soon after it ran into trouble, prompting a lengthy legal and diplomatic dispute.

    The ship’s captain and several crew members were at first forced by the Lebanese authorities to remain on board. They told the authorities that they worried about the danger to their safety from the ship’s cargo, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate.

    They were allowed to leave in 2015. That left Lebanese officials in charge of the deadly cargo, which by then had been moved into storage on a wharf at the Beirut port.

    Anger simmers a day after the blast.

    Even as the government vowed a swift and thorough investigation into the explosion, outrage swelled in Lebanon over long-term government mismanagement and the role it might have played in the disaster.

    By Wednesday morning, a hashtag that translates as “hang up the nooses” was trending on Twitter in Lebanon, and many described a palpable sense of anger on the city streets.

    Videos shared on social media showed a small group of protesters approach the convoy of Saad Hariri, the former prime minister who resigned in October amid widespread protests, as he was touring the city on Wednesday. Some of the protesters screamed at the convoy before isolated scuffles broke out between security personnel and the crowd.

    The interaction is the latest evidence of the deep tensions and resentment fueled by years of negligent, and hapless, often corrupt governance.

    Later on Wednesday, Mr. Hariri posted a video to his Twitter account of him touring the areas impacted by the blast, portraying a very different impression of the same scene. In his post, he offered condolences to the families of the dead and said there was “no one in #Beirut who was uninjured.”

    Mr. Hariri and his family are a wealthy political force in the country. His father, Rafik Hariri, also served as prime minister, and was assassinated in Beirut in 2005. The younger Mr. Hariri stepped down last fall amid the collapse of the country’s economy and widespread fury at the country’s entire political class.

    (...)

    The science behind the blast: Why fertilizer is so dangerous.

    When an explosive compound detonates, it releases gas that rapidly expands. This “shock wave” is essentially a wall of dense air that can cause damage, and it dissipates as it spreads farther out.

    A mass of exploding ammonium nitrate produces a blast that moves at many times the speed of sound, and this wave can reflect and bounce as it moves — especially in an urban area like the Beirut waterfront — destroying some buildings while leaving others relatively undamaged

    The explosive power of ammonium nitrate can be difficult to quantify in absolute terms, given that it depends on the age of the compound and the conditions in which it is stored. However, it could be as high as about 40 percent of the power of TNT.

    At 40 percent the power of TNT, the detonation of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate could produce 1 pound per square inch of overpressure — defined as the pressure caused by a shock wave over and above normal atmospheric pressure — as far as 6,600 feet away. The same explosion would produce 27 p.s.i. at a distance of 793 feet — enough to flatten most buildings, and kill people either through direct trauma or by being struck by debris.

    Accidental detonation of ammonium nitrate has caused a number of deadly industrial accidents, including the worst in United States history: In 1947, a ship carrying an estimated 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire and exploded in the harbor of Texas City, Texas, starting a chain reaction of blasts and blazes that killed 581 people.

    The chemical has also been the primary ingredient in bombs used in several terrorist attacks, including the destruction of the federal office building in Oklahoma City in 1995, which killed 168 people. That bomb contained about two tons of ammonium nitrate.

    (...)

    The disaster raises concerns about food security in a nation already struggling with economic crisis.


    The blast at the port, which was essentially flattened, also destroyed or damaged grain silos that store 85 percent of Lebanon’s grain.Credit...Wael Hamzeh/EPA, via Shutterstock

    The destruction of the Port of Beirut in a pair of explosions has left the country in a precarious position as it was both Lebanon’s central storage location for grain and a critical link in the supply chain that the country relies on for critical goods like food and medicine. The disaster struck a country that was already struggling with an economic collapse, a political crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. Even before the blast, Save the Children had warned that almost one million people did not have money to buy essentials, including sufficient food, and more than 500,000 children were already struggling to get enough to eat.

    The explosion devastated the port, destroying or damaging silos that store 85 percent of the country’s grain. Even the wheat that survived was made inedible by the explosion.

    Lebanon’s economic minister, Raoul Nehme, told reporters on Wednesday that the country had less than a month’s reserves of wheat, well below the three-month minimum needed to ensure basic food security.

    And because the country is reliant on imports for more than 80 percent of its food supply, the loss of the port will make it more challenging to bring in much-needed relief.

    Imports at Lebanon’s second port in Tripoli will be increased, but it will be hard to make up for the loss of the Beirut port, which handled 60 percent of the country’s overall imports, according to S & P Global.

    Numerous countries said on Wednesday that they would send aid to Lebanon. Russia is sending five humanitarian planes that carry a mobile hospital, rescue teams and doctors, and France is sending 55 emergency workers aboard two planes.

    Much more at the LINK
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  4. #9514

    Re: World News Random, Random

    It will be decades, given the state of Lebanon's economy and other problems, before this damage is repaired. What a catastrophe! I've heard some reports saying 300,000 may be homeless (in addition to the dead and wounded).
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  5. #9515

    Re: World News Random, Random

    The U.N. has to start thinking about the humanitarian catastrophe about to unfold. The fact that the silos held 85% of all the wheat used in the country simply spells disaster in a very short while.
    Last edited by ponchi101; 08-06-2020 at 12:15 PM.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  6. #9516

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Pakistani court sparks outrage by ruling 14-year-old Christian girl must stay married to alleged abductor
    A Pakistani court has sparked outrage by ruling a 14-year-old Christian girl was legally married to a Muslim man who allegedly abducted her at gunpoint.

    In a case that has renewed focus on the persecution of Pakistan's Christian minority, the Lahore High Court ruled on Tuesday that Maira Shahbaz had willingly converted to Islam and married Mohamad Nakash.

    The girl and her family claim that she was kidnapped in April by Mr Nakash and two accomplices from near her home in the city of Faisalabad. If the ruling is not reversed, Ms Shahbaz will have to return to Mr Nakash's home from the shelter she was temporarily placed in.

    Around 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are abducted each year in Pakistan and typically forced to convert to Islam, according to the Movement for Solidarity and Peace.

    Mr Nakash, who is already married, tried to claim Ms Shahbaz was 19-years-old but this was discounted by the victim’s family who produced birth certificates and school records to show she was a minor.

    After this evidence was provided last week, a local court ruled Ms Shahbaz should be removed from Mr Nakash’s house and placed in a girls’ shelter, pending further investigation.

    However, that decision was reversed on Tuesday by a court with a greater jurisdiction in Pakistan. The victim's lawyer, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, claimed 150 of Mr Nakash’s associates arrived at the court.

    “It is unbelievable. What we have seen today is an Islamic judgement. The arguments we put forwards were very strong and coherent,” Mr Sandhu told the Independent Catholic News (ICN).

    “With this ruling, no Christian girl in Pakistan is safe,” echoed Pakistani Christian advocate, Lala Robin Daniel.

    Ms Shahbaz was brought to tears by the ruling and her mother refused to speak to the media immediately afterwards, according to the ICN.

    Video: Pakistani doctor says ‘we’re not ready for another surge’

    Christians constitute approximately two percent of the Pakistani population but face increasing violence, discrimination and intolerance in the majority conservative Muslim nation.

    Ms Shahbaz’s family has said they will appeal the decision and take it to the highest court in Pakistan to get their daughter back.

    The Pakistani Supreme Court infamously overturned the death penalty sentence of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman charged with blasphemy.

    In May, after the high-profile case, Ms Bibi was able to leave Pakistan to claim asylum in Canada after a prominent Islamic cleric led mass protests over the acquittal.

    Tragic - but it is Pakistan. No surprise there, given its fundamentalist bent.
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  7. #9517

    Re: World News Random, Random

    For a change, a very nice story. It left me smiling.

    After 400 years, beavers allowed back in the wild in England for good
    LONDON (Reuters) - The first beavers to live naturally in the wild in England for over 400 years have been given the green light to stay after a five-year trial showed their dam-building activities were good for wildlife and people.

    Beavers, semi-aquatic vegetarian mammals, were hunted to extinction in Britain more than four centuries ago because people wanted their meat, fur and castoreum, a secretion that was used in medicine and perfumes.

    But in 2013 a family of beavers was found to be living on the River Otter in Devon, a rural county in southwest England. It is not clear where the beavers came from and at first they were threatened with eviction.

    Instead, they were allowed to stay for five years under a trial spearheaded by the Devon Wildlife Trust charity which studied their behaviour and impact on the environment.

    The beavers thrived, successfully breeding and dispersing throughout the river’s catchment area. They have built 28 dams and are now estimated to consist of 15 family groups.

    The five-year trial found that other creatures such as fish, insects, birds and water voles had benefitted from the presence of the beavers, who enhance wetland habitats. Their dams had also reduced the risk of flooding to some human homes.

    As a result, the government announced on Thursday the beavers would be allowed to stay permanently, expanding their range naturally - the first legally sanctioned reintroduction to England of an extinct native mammal.

    “This is the most groundbreaking government decision for England’s wildlife for a generation,” said Peter Burgess, Director of Conservation at Devon Wildlife Trust.

    “Beavers are nature’s engineers and have the unrivalled ability to breathe new life into our rivers and wetlands.”

    The beavers had caused some localised problems for a small number of landowners but these had been successfully managed, the trust said. The government said it would launch a consultation on a national approach to managing beavers.

    The River Otter, like many of Devon’s rivers, is also home to otters.
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  8. #9518

    Re: World News Random, Random

    I (we?) needed some good news. Thanks
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  9. #9519

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Christopher Miller@ChristopherJM

    Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the woman challenging Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in tomorrows big election, has left her apartment and gone into hiding in Minsk after her top two aides were detained by authorities, her press service says.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  10. #9520

    Re: World News Random, Random

    If I were that woman, I would go into hiding in a hut high in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. I'd have my trusty dog with me, and no one else would need to know where we were. "Detained" is almost certainly not all they have planned for her.

    GH

  11. #9521

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Christopher Miller@ChristopherJM

    Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the woman challenging Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in tomorrows big election, has left her apartment and gone into hiding in Minsk after her top two aides were detained by authorities, her press service says.
    Like Lukashenko would allow a free and fair election. We all know the results are preordained.
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  12. #9522

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Oil spill threatens ecological disaster as Mauritius declares emergency
    PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Fuel spilling from a Japanese bulk carrier that ran aground on a reef in Mauritius two weeks ago is creating an ecological disaster, endangering corals, fish and other marine life around the Indian Ocean island, officials and environmentalists say.

    On Thursday, the government said fuel was leaking from a crack in the vessel’s hull and Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency, pleading for international help.

    “The sinking of the #Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius,” Jugnauth said.

    Environmental group Greenpeace said the spill was to likely to be one of the most terrible ecological crises that Mauritius has ever seen.

    “Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

    Satellite images released on Friday showed a slick spreading out into the turquoise waters surrounding the stricken vessel. Some fuel has washed ashore.

    France was sending specialist teams and equipment to help Mauritius deal with the spill, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

    A French military aircraft from the neighbouring island of Reunion, a French overseas territory, carrying pollution-control equipment would make two flights over the spill site on Saturday. A naval vessel carrying booms and absorbents would also set sail, authorities on Reunion said.

    “When biodiversity is in danger, there is an urgent need to act,” Macron said. “You can count on our support.”

    Nagashiki Shipping Company said it had tried to free the

    the tanker but the effort was hampered by persistent bad weather.

    “We will do our utmost working with the Mauritius authorities and relevant Japanese organizations to offload the oil still in the ship, clean up the spill and safely remove the vessel,” Nagashiki said in a statement.

    The tanker is 299.5 meters long and 50 meters wide and has a crew of 20, it said. It is flagged in Panama with Okiyo Marine, an affiliate of Nagashiki Shipping, listed as the owner.

    It is grounded at what the ministry of the environment has described as a sensitive zone with the leaking fuel spreading a black stain in the azure water endangering the diverse marine life that attracts tourists from around the world.

    Videos posted on social media showed residents near where the ship was grounded dipping sticks into the ocean that glistened with the black stain of the spilled oil.

    Mauritius, famous for its pristine beaches, is popular with tourists who last year contributed 63 billion Mauritius rupees ($1.6 billion) to the economy.
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  13. #9523

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff in TX View Post
    Oil spill threatens ecological disaster as Mauritius declares emergency
    PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Fuel spilling from a Japanese bulk carrier that ran aground on a reef in Mauritius two weeks ago is creating an ecological disaster, endangering corals, fish and other marine life around the Indian Ocean island, officials and environmentalists say.

    On Thursday, the government said fuel was leaking from a crack in the vessel’s hull and Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency, pleading for international help.

    “The sinking of the #Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius,” Jugnauth said.

    Environmental group Greenpeace said the spill was to likely to be one of the most terrible ecological crises that Mauritius has ever seen.

    “Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

    Satellite images released on Friday showed a slick spreading out into the turquoise waters surrounding the stricken vessel. Some fuel has washed ashore.

    France was sending specialist teams and equipment to help Mauritius deal with the spill, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

    A French military aircraft from the neighbouring island of Reunion, a French overseas territory, carrying pollution-control equipment would make two flights over the spill site on Saturday. A naval vessel carrying booms and absorbents would also set sail, authorities on Reunion said.

    “When biodiversity is in danger, there is an urgent need to act,” Macron said. “You can count on our support.”

    Nagashiki Shipping Company said it had tried to free the

    the tanker but the effort was hampered by persistent bad weather.

    “We will do our utmost working with the Mauritius authorities and relevant Japanese organizations to offload the oil still in the ship, clean up the spill and safely remove the vessel,” Nagashiki said in a statement.

    The tanker is 299.5 meters long and 50 meters wide and has a crew of 20, it said. It is flagged in Panama with Okiyo Marine, an affiliate of Nagashiki Shipping, listed as the owner.

    It is grounded at what the ministry of the environment has described as a sensitive zone with the leaking fuel spreading a black stain in the azure water endangering the diverse marine life that attracts tourists from around the world.

    Videos posted on social media showed residents near where the ship was grounded dipping sticks into the ocean that glistened with the black stain of the spilled oil.

    Mauritius, famous for its pristine beaches, is popular with tourists who last year contributed 63 billion Mauritius rupees ($1.6 billion) to the economy.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  14. #9524

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Nina Jankowicz @wiczipedia
    ·4m
    Nearly 3am in Belarus. Lots of scenes of triumph - some precincts reporting real results, police siding with protestors - in regions.

    Very violent and uncertain in Minsk, reports of one man killed by a police truck.

    Crucial days ahead. Keep watching and amplifying.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  15. #9525

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Surprise, surprise!

    Belarusian election commission says Lukashenko was re-elected by a landslide
    MINSK (Reuters) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko won re-election with 80% of the vote at the country’s presidential election, the Central Election Commission cited preliminary results as saying on Monday. Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a former English teacher who emerged as Lukashenko’s main rival at the elections on Sunday, won 9.9% of the vote, the election commission said.

    The preliminary results were announced after Belarusian police fired water cannons, tear gas and stun grenades in a crackdown on protests that erupted on Sunday
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

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