OBAMA: “Putin is a Slouch”/floods/solar flare/earthquakes/peace talk = sign of the times


Typhoon  hit the Philippines


August 12, 2013 – PHILIPPINES – The most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines this year triggered landslides and floods on Monday, disrupting power and communication links to leave one man dead and 13 fishermen missing, weather and disaster officials said. Typhoon Utor, packing winds of 150 km per hour (93 mph) near its center and gusts of up to 185 kmph, regained strength as it moved out of northern Luzon island towards the South China Sea, headed west-northwest at 19 kmph, the officials said. The coastal town of Casiguran in Aurora province, 343 km northeast of the capital Manila, suffered the worst damage, after the typhoon set off landslides that blocked its only access road. “About 90 percent of our agriculture was destroyed or damaged, particularly rice and corn crops and coconut plantations,” Aurora governor Gerardo Noveras told ANC television, adding that the full extent of damage was still unknown. “We have restored power and communications in some towns, and we’re ready to deliver relief goods to affected families.” But Casiguran and another coastal town were still isolated, he said. Television showed images of devastation ranging from uprooted trees and fallen lamp-posts to tangled power lines and flattened houses. Most mountain roads were blocked by boulders and loosened soil. By Tuesday, the typhoon, the twelfth tropical cyclone this year, will have crossed Philippine borders and head for southern China, officials said. The national disaster agency said a man clearing a clogged drain was killed when a landslide buried him in mountainous Benguet province, while 13 fishermen in the coastal provinces of Pangasinan and Camarines Sur were reported missing. Police are also checking reports of three missing fishing boats, with 25 men aboard. But 9 fishermen earlier reported missing on the central island of Catanduanes have all been accounted for, disaster officials said. Schools in the capital and most parts of Luzon were closed while two local carriers suspended 18 domestic flights. Sea travel halted and commuter buses were stalled. About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often bringing death and destruction. A state of national calamity was declared last December after typhoon Bopha killed more than 700 people in the resource-rich south, but most storms make landfall further north. –Reuters

4.8 earthquake strikes beneath Kilauea Volcano; several aftershocks follow

August 12, 2013 – HAWAII – The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a 4.8 magnitude earthquake beneath the Big Island early Sunday morning. It was recorded at 5:54 a.m. about 5 miles south of the summit of Kilauea Volcano and at a depth of about 20 miles. Several aftershocks followed, the largest of which was a 3.4 magnitude earthquake at 6:06 a.m. According to Wes Thelen, HVO’s Seismic Network Manager, “these earthquakes were most likely structural adjustment of the Earth’s crust due to the weight of the island on the underlying mantle.” Many Big Island residents reported feeling the shaking and the HVO says people as far away as Oahu and Maui reported feeling the earthquake. Almost 400 reports received within the first hour of the earthquake. No injuries were reported. –Khon2



The State Department on Monday criticized Israel for approving new settlements on disputed lands on the eve of resuming long-stalled peace talks. Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the administration had shared its “serious” concerns with the Israeli government following Sunday’s announcement of almost 1,200 new settlement homes. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to resume talks in Jerusalem on Wednesday after a preliminary meeting hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington late last month. “These announcements do come at a particularly sensitive time, and we have made our serious concerns about this recent announcement known to the government of Israel,” Harf said. “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.” More



  Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday said he opposed boycotting the Sochi Olympic Games despite new Russian anti-gay laws, instead urging nations to wave rainbow flags during the opening ceremonies to show support for gay rights. “That’d be pretty embarrassing for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Let our athletes participate but still make a stand.” In June, Putin signed a law banning gay “propaganda” and imposing fines on those holding gay pride rallies. The law has generated an international backlash ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has called on the U.S. to boycott the games altogether in response to Russia’s failure to return Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA employee who leaked details of top-secret National Security Agency surveillance programs. President Obama on Friday rejected the idea of a boycott. “I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics. We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed,” Obama said at a White House press conference. More



The recent increase in gold prices suggest investors are increasingly worried the Federal Reserve may soon back off its current policy of quantitative easing in which it has bought billions of dollars of U.S. treasury debt and mortgage backed securities over the past few years. In an article published Monday, Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge.com noted investors last week covered an enormous number of options contracts going short on gold futures prices, 23,518 futures contracts in total, suggesting a short-squeeze on gold is starting to solidify.  Short positions on gold futures contracts involve bets an investor makes that the price of gold will drop in the future. If the price of gold does not drop as anticipated, the investor owning a short contract must take a loss by purchasing gold at current prices to close out the contract on the expiration date. When gold prices increase, investors owning gold futures short contracts risk losing money on the bad bet that the price of gold would have declined between the date the contract was purchased and the expiration date of the contract.




United States Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo this past week in an effort to help move the country forward following the ousting of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. “We’re here to help find an Egyptian solution to an Egyptian problem,” Graham told reporters, remarking that life in the nation needs to be returned to normal as soon as possible.  “We met some Muslim Brotherhood representatives. They were senior-level people,” McCain told the Daily Beast. “They believe things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. They demand that [deposed President Mohamed] Morsi get released. They believe it was a military coup and they are very far apart from the military and the new government.” McCain advised that he also believes that the incident this summer was indeed a military coup, a characterization that has thus far been avoided by the Obama administration. According to reports, if the U.S. government classifies the event as a coup, it will require a cut in the $1.3 billion in aid that the nation supplies to Egypt. More



The documents collected by Snowden offer proof that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) learned about the existing threat 14 years ago. Ever since the world’s governments have been working secretly since, to be well prepared for what could be termed as “Solar Apocalypse”. Speaking from his room at the Sheremetyevo Airport’s hotel, Snowden said that the government has been working hard to be well prepared for September’s catastrophic solar flares, which can be fraught with fatal consequences, as scientists said – they can lead to the death of mankind. The Central Intelligence Agency learned about the existing threat as long ago as 1999, but according to the government’s decision, this information was immediately made secret. The documents collected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said how terrible the solar flares’ results will be: two months will be needed for mankind to become non-existent. Ever since the late 20th century, hundreds of millions of people have begun to rely on technological automation to enable their very lives. Solar flares release electromagnetic pulses, hazardous to electronic circuits. The smallest electronic circuits, such as those in computers’ central processing units, will be the most vulnerable. Snowden said FEMA and the National Disaster Reduction Center of China have been taking steps for 14 years in light of the findings of Project Stargate. FEMA’s own documents, provided by Snowden, lay out how the organization plans to round up tens of millions of the poorest Americans for housing at secure locations “to better facilitate feeding and provision of consumer goods.” More



Flood in Amur region
Devastating floods that hit Russia’s Far East as a result of heavy rains have caused at least one billion rubles (over US$32 million) in damages. Meanwhile, the water keeps rising in several regions. For about three weeks now several regions in the Russian vast eastern part have been fighting with reportedly the worst floods in decades; a state of emergency has been declared in five of the regions. About 3,500 people have evacuated from flooded areas in southern parts of the Amur Region, as the situation deteriorated dramatically, Emergencies Ministry said on Sunday. Over a thousand houses and 1,500 gardens in 28 settlements have been inundated, while 29 bridges and around 300km of roads have been closed for use.  More than 20,000 people and 1,200 pieces of machinery and equipment are engaged in fighting floods, authorities say. The damage has already cost the country’s economy over one billion rubles, but the final figure is expected to be bigger. More



KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudanese authorities say flooding has killed at least 36 people and left thousands homeless.  The semi-official Sudan media center said Sunday that many are without electricity as well in the northern River Nile state, just south of Egypt. The center says at least 5,000 homes have been severely destroyed, almost half beyond repair. Images from Sudan showed mud brick homes submerged under large lakes of brown water. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that while the River Nile state in Sudan’s north was the hardest hit, close to 150,000 people across eight states have been affected by the heavy flooding that began this month. More



More than 600 National Guard troops and airmen from New York and New Jersey were set to continue a massive training on a mock train derailment in Westchester County on Sunday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning passing motorists that this is only a drill. The troops will be reacting to a fake chemical spill at the Westchester County Fire Training Center and nearby Camp Smith  in Cortlandt Manor, which is used by the National Guard. Cuomo says troops will be wearing hazardous materials suits and searching for “victims” of a mock spill that would threaten communities. More



A massive sandstorm blowing off the northwest African desert has blanketed hundreds of thousands of square miles of the eastern Atlantic Ocean with a dense cloud of Saharan sand. The massive nature of this particular storm was first seen in this SeaWiFS image acquired February 26, 2000 when it reached over 1000 miles into the Atlantic. These storms and the rising warm air can lift dust 15,000 feet or so above the African deserts and then out across the Atlantic, many times reaching as far as the Caribbean where they often require the local weather services to issue air pollution alerts as was recently the case in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Recent studies by the U.S.G.S. have linked the decline of the coral reefs in the Caribbean to the increasing frequency and intensity of Saharan Dust events. Additionally, other studies suggest that Sahalian Dust may play a role in determining the frequency and intensity of hurricanes formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. More














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