Monday, September 2, 2013

News Roundup: Syria, Suez Canal attack, Tokyo tornado, Israel's isolation, fallen culture, passive-aggressive granny

There is a lot going on in the world. Here is a news round up for you.

Something that had been feared for a while happening in the Strait of Hormuz has in fact happened in the Suez Canal. Both locations feature an important shipping area which are constricted to extremely narrow boundaries due to landmass.

At the Strait of Hormuz, on the north coast is Iran, and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Oman. At its narrowest, the strait is 21 nautical miles. Yet is an extremely important shipping area, and not incidentally, inside the Strait where the Persian Gulf opens a bit, is Bahrain, where the US docks the Firth Fleet.

It would be very easy to disrupt the world by either mining or terrorizing shipping in the Strait. Wikipedia says "It is the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the world's most strategically important choke points. About 20% of the world's petroleum, and about 35% of the petroleum traded by sea, passes through the strait making it a highly important strategic location for international trade."

If anyone got it into their head to do so (and I'm talking to you, Iran) to stop oil traffic, gas prices would spike to the point where no one would be able to afford it. The Marketplace reports, Blocking the Strait of Hormuz would affect gas prices immediately.

This same scenario exists in the Suez Canal. Wikipedia again, "The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows ship transport between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa."

The Suez Canal is about 675 feet wide as of 2010. Seeing that the Suezmax width of a ship passing through is 164 feet, it stands to reason that anyone standing on the shoreline could easily reach a ship with any kind of artillery. And this weekend, that is just what someone did.

Egypt arrests three who machine-gunned ship in Suez Canal
AP archive photo of Suez Canal
"Egypt has arrested three people who opened machine gun fire on a ship passing through the Suez Canal, an army source said on Sunday, playing down what the waterway's chief described as a terrorist attack. ...During Saturday's unsuccessful attack, the Panamanian-registered container ship COSCO ASIA came under fire in a northern section of the Suez Canal, a major global trade artery which is secured by the Egyptian armed forces.  "There was an attempt to disrupt security in an area called el-Qantara as they fired at a ship in an attempt to halt (traffic on) the waterway," said the army source."

My best advice is with the extreme brinksmanship and military threats igniting in the Middle East these days, to make sure your car is gassed up, not to let it go below half tank.

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The situation in Syria and the Obama's reaction to it has been nothing short of embarrassing. Kurt Schlichter tweeted, “It’s like we gave control of foreign policy to a pony-tailed gender studies seminar TA.” Exactly.

Syria crisis: Obama turns decision on military action over to Congress
"Pulling back from the brink, a lonely President Barack Obama indicated last night that he would not order military strikes over Syria until he has received authorisation from the United States Congress – putting an unexpected brake on what had seemed like impending action."

The French Government says it has evidence that the Syrian President's regime (Bashar al Assad) perpetrated the attack, and will present that evidence to French lawmakers. Yet the rebels say that perpetrated the attack, in an oops moment when they 'mishandled' the weapons. Yeah. And the link goes to an Iranian paper. If you remember, Iran is propping up the Assad government so it is in their best interest to thrown suspicion on the people trying to bring down their puppet. The fog of war...

Lebanon's terrorist organization, Hezbollah is mobilizing ahead of potential US strike. The Arab League is pushing for intervention, and behind the scenes, Israel is too.

It must be said that gassing and killing thousands of your own citizens cannot go unpunished. Yet, there are indications that the rebels may be the ones behind the attack, doing this to incite the West into the fray. And if it was President Assad, then coming to the aid of the opposing forces means that we side with the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda. None of these are palatable options.

And if we did strike Syria, could Syria strike back? This CNN analysis goes through the potential scenarios.

How vulnerable would Israel be if the West strikes Syria? Watching the Us uncertainty, Israel says,

'We Can Only Rely on God and Our Troops'
"As Israeli leaders continue to react to American prevarication on Syria, one former IDF commander has summed up the general mood. "We have no one to rely upon except for God and our veteran troops," said former IDF General Uzi Dayan, attacking US President Barack Obama’s decision to postpone action on Syria until an official approval from Congress. Dayan’s comments were featured on his Facebook page on Sunday, opening with a statement saying that the Israeli government should “continue with its sensible policies” of refraining from a Syrian intervention unless the conflict were to spill in Israel’s direction."

The closing circle of Israel's loneliness is becoming ever more apparent. And can Israel rely on God as long as Israel is out of right relationship with Him? He will not allow Israel to be obliterated (Zechariah 12:9) but He will allow punishment to rain upon Israel. Ezekiel 39:24-25 has the story-

"And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them."

Yet the LORD will rescue Israel and blessedly, "The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward." (Ezekiel 29:22)

But that has not happened yet. Israel has a few things to go through until that day.


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EARTH CHANGES

Freak tornado ploughs through Tokyo suburb



"Several dozen people were injured when a tornado ripped through parts of eastern Japan on Monday, tearing off roofs and uprooting trees. Footage shot by public broadcaster NHK shows a number of homes destroyed, upturned cars, schools with shattered windows and a warehouse that had been lifted from its foundations and hurled into other buildings in Koshigaya, north of Tokyo."

Reportedly, 66 people have been injured, as the news is still coming in. I wrote when the volcanic geyser broke through the ground at the end of a runway at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, that just because man has built a city does not mean it is then and forever immune to disasters. And here another example of this come today, with the tornado in Tokyo.

Here is a map showing worldwide distribution of tornadoes. Japan does have recurring tornadoes annually, but usually they are weak and short lasting.

Source, NOAA

There was a 6.5 earthquake this weekend in Indonesia. A 6.1 quake in Papua New Guinea. A damaging quake in China, though the magnitude was not so high (5.8) there was a lot of damage and three deaths.

Here is a Youtube with an Iranian scientist explaining that Tehran is smack dab in the middle of an active seismic zone and is at risk for a major quake.

In searching for confirmation that Guatemala's volcano Fuego had erupted, I came across this news article from August 19, 2013 which I had missed. Japan's Sakurajima erupted.

"Residents in a southern Japanese city were busy washing ash off the streets Monday after a nearby volcano spewed a record-high smoke plume into the sky. Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, experienced one of its most powerful eruptions in decades Sunday, sending an ash plume as high as three miles into the air. Visibility in the city of Kagoshima, where the volcano sits, deteriorated quickly as ash spread into populated portions of the city of 600,000 residents, according to the English-language NHK World website. NHK World said a pyroclastic flow, a fast-moving current of gas and rock, was observed along a one-kilometer (0.6-mile) swath on the southeast flank of the mountain."

Volcano Fuego in Guatemala did indeed erupt today. This scientific article reports,

"A phase of increased lava flow activity occurred this morning at Fuego volcano, Guatemala, generating a series of pyroclastic flows that descended several ravines on different, but mostly the southwestern side of the volcano. An ash plume rising as a by-product of the pyroclastic flows was reported to about 12,000 ft (3.6 km) altitude."


Impressive looking. I hope everyone was safe.

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CULTURE

It's inevitable. Once the tapeworm of homosexuality is loosed from its bowel constraint, it will loose all other immoralities which had heretofore been relegated to the darkest of closets. (We have Doug Wills to thank for the vivid picture.) Here is proof: a call in opinion section of the Washington Post to legalize sex between teachers and students. I am not making this up.

This week we mourned the loss of innocence among America's youth who viewed the lewd performance of formerly sweet Miley Cyrus and mourned more when America's youth didn't seem to know or understand what was so lewd about Miley Cyrus's performance.

We have scandals at mega-churches, and lewdness at a school bus stop. I'm heartbroken over the lewdness to children. I've said many time I can't wait for children to be in the Millennium kingdom so they can run and be free and safe and loved.

The 50 Shades of Gray (soft porn) movie has been cast . Gay marriages have been recognized by the IRS. As if the IRS needed any further reasons for us to dislike them. One town clerk in Pennsylvania has been handing out marriage licenses to seeking gay couples, despite the fact that gay marriage is illegal in PA. Now a court must decide if "the clerk has singlehandedly added Pennsylvania to the growing list of states that formally sanction same-sex marriages or whether he has been acting illegally and must be stopped." How about firing the guy? He violated his oath, for goodness sakes. Meanwhile, The Atlantic offers a guide to gay wedded bliss.

In Asia, though, it seems that social media commentary has been squelched, so many on the peninsula wont' even know of the cultural items happening nor can comment on them if they did.

SE Asia Governments Appear to Squelch Social Media Commentary 
"Warnings from authorities and new regulations in countries such as Thailand and Vietnam may have some users of social media thinking twice about what they post or even click "Like" on the popular Facebook site.  Thailand has 15 million Facebook users, more than one-fifth of the country's population. And an estimated 40 percent of Vietnamese are now on the internet, with the surge in smartphones. Social media sites such as Facebook and Zing Me each have an estimated 12 million users in Vietnam.    Amid the surge in commentary on social media, governments in the region, according to Shawn Crispin, Southeast Asia representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, are seeking to emulate China's success with controlling online discourse."

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FUN

Here are 9 pictures of wonderfully vibrant paintings of artist, by finger...
"When artist Iris Scott was finishing a painting one time, she saw a spot that needed to be touched up with yellow, but all her brushes were wet with different blues. She didn’t feel like cleaning any of them, so she just did the adjustment with her finger…and she discovered a new passion. Now, wearing latex gloves, she works exclusively with her fingers. Here are several of her vibrant paintings…"
IRIS SCOTT

Here is short and nice article about the Commemoration of Dorcas, Lydia, and Phoebe: Faithful Women

Mrs. Reformation is a blog entry about a book review on the wife of Martin Luther, Katherine Luther, who was a pretty neat person, too.

Nobody does guilt trips like Grandma

 

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