Category Archives: world news

Osama bin Laden dead – details.

With the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, the war in the Middle East is once again trust into the limelight for the United States. After the so called ‘war on terrorism’ has largely been eclipsed in the public mind by more domestic concerns, like our flagging economy, the news of the death of one of the forerunners of the al-Qaida group has brought the issue to the forefront. And it was done during Obama’s watch. This could prove to be a feather in the President’s cap.

Americans gather to celebrate the news at the White House and Ground Zero while the stock markets get a modest boost from higher moral and confidence. U.S. officials say that the body of the master terrorist has been buried at sea, following Islamic practice and tradition that the deceased be buried within 24 hours. It was hard to get a country to accept the remains of the man who was the face of terrorism, so it was decided to bury bin Laden at sea. (This probably means they dumped the body over the side of a boat in whatever ocean or sea they were closest to. Don’t have any illusions here.)

DNA testing offered a “99.9%” certainty that bin Laden was the man shot dead during the raid and detailed photo analysis by the CIA and matching physical features confirmed the identity of the body. U.S. Blackhawk helicopters ferried about two dozen troops from Navy SEAL Team Six, a top military counter-terrorism unit, into the compound identified by the CIA as bin Laden’s hideout — and back out again in less than 40 minutes. Bin Laden was shot in the head, officials said, after he and his bodyguards resisted the assault.

It is unclear what this will mean. People have already stated that while bin Laden’s death is a great blow to terrorism and a victory for the United States, the war is not over. I fear that we have only cut off the head of a hydra, and two will spring up in its place. Homeland Security and the FDA has already issued travel warnings as the threat of retaliation from remaining el-Qaida members and those with radical sympathies is very real.


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Terrorist announced to be dead. Obama on Osama bin Laden.

A crowd gathered at New York’s Ground Zero right after Obama’s speech announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011. Revelers in the crowd scrambled up light poles over the cheering crowd.

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Photographs and family mementos saved from rubble after earthquake and tsunami.

Many family photographs have been found in the rubble and ruins of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. In Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, photographer Toru Hanai explains that search and rescue teams, police, firefighters and the Japan Self Defense Force have been gathering the muddied and damaged pictures and bringing them to the local police station. At the Collection Centre the images are cleaned under the direction of project leader and Ofunato resident Satoko Kinno, a paper conservator and graduate of Camberwell College of Arts in London.

Once restored the images are taken to the shelters where they can be reclaimed by their owners. This photograph, taken by Hanai on April 12, shows a volunteer washing and drying images of one single child, a 4 year-old girl. Just a few days after this photo was taken, Kinno got word that the child and her mother and father had all survived the earthquake and tsunami, and were safe. The photographs will be returned to the family.

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There is still turmoil in Egypt.

Egyptian military men clear razor wire as they reopen Tahrir Square in Cairo. Tahrir had been closed off for five days following a sit-in by protesters. The Egyptian military—seen as heroes during the initial protests—are coming under increasing criticism for their repressive actions. April 12, 2011. Khaled Desouki—AFP/Getty Images

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A new aftershock hits the northeast coast of Japan on Monday.

Another aftershock has rattled Japan on the one-month anniversary of a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake that spawned a deadly tsunami on March 11th. Like the aftershock last week, this one is also a magnitude 7.0 quake and resulted in a tsunami warning for 3 foot waves. Officials are hoping that like last week’s aftershock, no new tsunami will be produced. Monday’s (it is now Tuesday in Japan) aftershock did not endanger operations at the tsunami-flooded Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, where power was cut but quickly restored. The epicenter was just inland and about 100 miles north of Tokyo.

This aftershock came only hours after Japanese citizens bowed their heads in ceremonies to mark a month since the original earthquake and tsunami killed up to 25,000 people and set off radiation leaks at the nuclear plant by knocking out its cooling system. The March 11th earthquake and tsunami flattened communities along hundreds of miles (kilometers) of coastline, causing what the government estimates could be as much as $310 billion in damage. About 250,000 are without electricity, although some of them because of the latest two quakes Monday and last Thursday.

(A what point can you stop calling them “aftershocks” and start admitting that they are a series of strong and serious earthquakes in their own right?)

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Stone tablets warn of tsunami dangers along Japan coasts. Another aftershock rattles the island nation.

In the hamlet of Aneyoshi, Iwate Prefecture, in northern Japan a centuries old tablet warns of the danger of tsunamis. The tablets form a crude warning system for Japan, whose long coasts run along major fault lines and is often the target of repeated earthquakes and tsunamis. The coastline is dotted with hundreds of such markers, some more than 600 years old. Japan has been hit by numerous earthquakes recently. The big 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit almost a month ago (March 11) and has killed some 20,000 people and has sparked an on ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant. Thursday at 11:30pm another large aftershock hit the same area. The 7.4 magnitude aftershock caused the Japan meteorological agency to issue a tsunami warning for a wave of up to 6 feet but it was lifted 90 minutes later. Officials say Thursday’s aftershock hit 30 miles under the water and off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. Buildings as far away as Tokyo shook for about a minute.

(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

“High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants,” the stone slab reads. “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point.” It was advice the dozen or so households of Aneyoshi heeded, and their homes emerged unscathed from a disaster that flattened low-lying communities elsewhere and killed thousands along Japan’s northeastern shore. One stone marker warned of the danger in the coastal city of Kesennuma: “Always be prepared for unexpected tsunamis. Choose life over your possessions and valuables.”

Farther south, the tsunami washed away a seven-foot tall stone tablet that stood next to a playground in the middle of Natori city. Its message was carved in giant Japanese characters: “If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis.” Hiroshi Kosai grew up in Natori but moved away after high school. His parents, who remained in the family home, died in the disaster. “I always told my parents it was dangerous here,” said the 43-year-old Kosai, as he pointed out the broken foundation where the tablet once stood. “In five years, you’ll see houses begin to sprout up here again.”


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Conflict in Libya drawing international involvement.

An international coalition launched its first strikes on Libya Saturday to destroy the country’s air and missile defense systems and prevent further attacks by the Libyan government on its citizens and rebels in and around the rebel held city of Benghazi, a senior U.S. military official said. More than two dozen warships and a large number of war planes from several countries made up the initial strike force, which was led by the U.S. military’s Africa command, the official said, speaking in an embargoed briefing a few hours before the operation began. “The key first strikes would be on the coast because that is where the integrated air and missile defense systems,” the official added. The first wave included sea-launched U.S. cruise missiles and the deployment of U.S. electronic warfare aircraft.

Oh, so now we’re actively attacking Libya? That will end well.

Forces led by Moammar Gaddafi entered the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi Saturday after airstrikes and fierce fighting as the United States and its allies prepared to launch military attacks on Libya. A warplane was shot down over Benghazi. Government troops — some reportedly in tanks — entered Benghazi from the west, in the university area. The city of 1 million quickly became a ghost town, with residents fleeing or seeking cover in barricaded neighborhoods. A Washington Post reporter saw the aircraft go down in flames. It was not known who shot it down.

On Friday, President Obama warned that the Libyan leader faced imminent military action unless his troops were withdrawn from all disputed cities in the country. But assaults on rebel-held towns continued despite government promises of a cease-fire.


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Wednesday roundup: What’s trending and what’s being talked about?

Let me see, let’s go to the search sites and see what is trending now. Charlie Sheen is the first entry. Gag me. That man is obviously insane and needs to be put in a padded room. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are in the top five. More crazy people but crazy people with boobs and who can sing. Well, ‘sing’ used very loosely. Who or what is a tiki barber? Ah, it’s a person; a former New York Giants running back looking to return to the NFL after 4 years in retirement. He probably ran out of money. (Ha! I was right!) It’s March, so searches for the NBA are in the third popular slot. I hate sports. I don’t understand why people watch sports. It’s like watching paint dry to me.

We’ve got some searches for Ash Wednesday and Lent coupled with a few hits for Mardi Gras and Carnival. The world is apparently completely preoccupied with Prince William and his fiancé, Kate Middleton. Although there seems to be a bit of a debate on what exactly her name will be, Kate or Catherine? The space shuttle Discovery returns home from its last mission today while the space shuttle Endeavour is poised to roll out to its Florida launch pad to prepare for its own last mission. Discovery’s next stop will be a museum and the same fate awaits Endeavour and the shuttle Atlantis. Endeavour is slated to fly it last mission on April 19 while Atlantis is scheduled for its last mission in late June.

Libya, overshadowing other Middle East countries also in turmoil, is slowly tearing itself apart. Senate Republicans and Democrats stare at each other over their expensive coffee drinks and get squat done. Washington proves itself to be useless. Again. Another report of mass animal death, this time millions of fish in King Harbor in Redondo Beach, California. Authorizes are theorizing that they suffocated to death due to low oxygen in the harbor. Ew. That has to smell.

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Violence in Libya increases as people try to organize another protest and are met with gunfire.

We are all watching the Middle East. We cheered Egypt onto victory and now we are watching other countries descend into chaos. None of the anti-government protests that followed Egypt’s example have gone as smoothly or as nonviolently as theirs did. Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, and now Libya have all seen public protests that have been meet with force by the established government and resulted in bloodshed. The leaders of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, have both issued statements to their people basically saying they aren’t going anywhere and have no scruples about killing protesters. Moammar Gadhafi has pretty much said he’d have to die before he’d give up power. Asked about alternatives in the face of growing unrest, Gadhafi said: “Plan A is to live and die in Libya, Plan B is to live and die in Libya, Plan C is to live and die in Libya.” (cough- You may get that wish the way things are going. –cough)

Protesters streamed out of mosques and marched across the Libyan capital to demand the regime’s removal on Friday. (Remember, it is mid-day Friday here in American right now but early Saturday in the Middle East. This happened last night for us.) The protesters were fired upon by militias loyal to Moammar Gadhafi as they tried to march to Tripoli’s central Green Square. One witness reported seeing three protesters killed in the capital’s Souq al-Jomaa district and another reported a fourth death in the district of Fashloum, where another rally was trying to march to the center. Gunmen opened fire on thousands of protesters in Tajoura, a crowded impoverished district on the eastern side of the capital, and others reported gunfire near Green Square where dozens of militiamen shot into the air to disperse protesters coming out of a nearby mosque.

The death toll continues to climb. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has put the death toll in Libya at nearly 300 and Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said estimates of some 1,000 people killed were “credible.” Libya’s delegation to the United Nations in Geneva announced Friday it was defecting to the opposition, an announcement that gained them a standing ovation at the U.N. Human Rights Council. The international community is considering their options in response to the violence. (This means they are thinking about possibly doing something. Maybe.) Amnesty International called on the U.N. Security Council on Friday to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court and impose an immediate arms embargo.

Libyans in Benghazi pray while demonstrating for the removal of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi on Friday. Benghazi residents mourned more victims of the violence as fighting continued around the capital, Tripoli. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Reports say that the second and third largest cities, Benghazi and Zawiyah, are in anti-government hands and that they are also in control of two of Libya’s major oil ports, Breqa and Ras Lanouf, on the Gulf of Sidra. The upheaval in Libya has taken their production of 1.6 million barrels of oil a day off the market. Oil prices hovered above $98 a barrel Friday in Asia, backing away from the spike at $103 seen the day before after it was determined that the loss of Libya’s oil may have cut crude supplies less than previously expected. In my area gas prices sit at $3.19 a gallon.

Gadhafi tells followers to defend the nation – Yahoo! News

Gadhafi speaks to supporters; guns fired – UPI

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Surging protests in the Middle East broil over into violence.

[Note: I had this all typed up and ready to go yesterday afternoon. But they finally fixed the server Thursday morning, so I actually had work I had to do, and then I had to take Boots back to the vet after three days of her not going poopy. It has now cost my family over $500 to not find out the reason why Boots is having problems going poopy and why she had that accident on Sunday. She’s been given medicine (and if you’ve ever given a cat medicine, you know what a challenge that was) and she finally pooped last night. Boots the extremely annoyed with me, is going back to the vet on Sunday for another checkup. Now, on to the original post.]

The Middle East blew up. We all knew it would. We cheered on Egypt for two weeks but we all knew in the back of our minds that it was just the beginning. Most of the Middle East has been seeing at least some form of protests the last week. I’m sorry to say that none of them have been as peaceful or as well received as Egypt’s own protests. Protests in Bahrain and Yemen have already resulted in deaths and riot police have been brought to bear against the protestors. The Iranian so-called “green movement”; a left over from the December 2009 protests ensuing from the disputed results of their election, has begun a new wave of campaigns.

About 50 conservative MPs from Iran’s government were shown chanting for the deaths of the opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has already made a statement saying that protestors will not succeed. Demonstrators in Iran have already put out the call for another round of protests on Sunday and also to take part in memorial services to mark the religiously significant seventh day after the deaths of two Iranians during the Monday protests in Tehran. Authorities in the country have already stated that police will be out in force to stop them.

Conservative members of the Iranian government shouting for the deaths of opposition leaders.

In Bahrain early Thursday morning (which would have been Wednesday evening for the U.S), police firing teargas and buckshot moved in around 3 a.m. to disperse some 2,000 people from Pearl Square in the capital Manama. The Interior Ministry declared the protest camp “illegal” and warned people to stay off the streets. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to her Bahraini counterpart today (Thursday), urging restraint in dealing with anti-government protests. Reports are coming through that doctors and nurses are not being allowed to treat wounded protestors. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, who is in Bahrain, said in a series of Twitter message that the Bahrain government had ordered ambulances to stop going out and that 10 ambulance paramedics had been attacked by Bahrain police. “Nurse told me she saw [a] handcuffed prisoner beaten by police, then executed with [a] gun,” Kristoff added.

Clinton urges Bahrain to show “restraint” after bloody crackdown on protests – MSN

Iran’s opposition calls for more protests – LA Times

Yemen protester, government loyalists clash – Yahoo! News

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