August 31, 2013 – INDONEISIA – VAAC Darwin reported an ash plume from the volcano at 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude yesterday morning. This might have originated from a larger than usual explosion. The rarely visited volcano is one of Indonesia’s almost permanently active volcanoes and often has strombolian to vulcanian activity. Dukono is a volcano located at the northernmost corner of Halmahera Island. It has a broad profile and is capped by compound craters. Dukono is an active volcano. During the major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north flank cone of Mount Mamuya. It was an eruption of scale 3 on VEI. Deaths were reported but the figure is unknown. Smaller eruptions occurred in 1719, 1868, and 1901. Since 1933, Dukono has been erupting continuously until the present. The volcano last erupted in 2012. –Volcano Discovery, Wikipedia
Alert: The country of Indonesia is experiencing a rise in geophysical activity of a volcanic nature – which is evident and a likely precursor of an intensification of major geological and tectonic changes occurring within the region. –TEP
August 31, 2013 – SYRIA – UN inspectors tasked to probe alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria would leave the Syrian capital of Damascus for The Hague on Saturday with samples they collected from the suspected site of Aug. 21 attacks for lab analysis, a UN spokesman said on August 30. “They will be leaving Damascus and leaving Syria tomorrow,” Martin Nesirky told a daily news briefing here. “They will be returning to The Hague.” The UN inspectors had gathered in the Dutch city before entering Syria for their mission earlier this month. According to Nesirky, the inspectors have completed collecting samples, including medical samples from field hospitals and environmental samples from the alleged gas attack site outside Damascus, and interviewed victims for more evidence. “The samples that they have collected will be taken to be analyzed in designated locations and the intention is, of course, to expedite the analysis of that sampling that has been taken,” said the spokesman. “But we have to be very clear here that before that mission can draw any conclusions about this incident, the evaluation of all information including the analysis of all samples must be completed.” The “team is doing its utmost to expedite the process of analysis,” he said. “They will be compiling a preliminary report first on the basis of the sample analysis,” said Nesirky, adding that later they will compile a final report on their investigation results.
The UN fact-finding group, created by UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon in March at the request of the Syrian government, will try to establish only whether chemical weapons were used, but not who used them. “As soon as the analysis of the samples is completed, a report will be given to the secretary-general and the secretary-general will share that report result with all (UN) member states and of course the Security Council,” said Nesirky. Responding to reporters’ questions, Nesirky ruled out any link between the withdrawal of the UN inspectors and possible Western strikes on Syria. He noted that there are currently 1,000 UN national and international staff working in Syria, “10 times the size of the UN inspectors.” The UN chief cut short a European visit and returned to the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday night to await a preliminary report from the Syria inspectors. Ban, who had urged Western powers to give peace and diplomacy a chance amid increasing threats of military action on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons, also met with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. Ban will also meet with Angela Kane, the UN disarmament chief, here on Saturday, Nesirky said. Kane, who was sent to Damascus by the secretary-general to negotiate an inquiry into the alleged chemical weapons attacks on Aug. 21, left Syria on Friday and is on her way back to New York. However, the head of the UN inspectors, Swedish scientist Dr. Ake Salstrom, “will be remaining in Europe to oversee the (sample) analysis,” said Nesirky. –Global Times
August 31, 2013 – Syria – Children in the Syrian province of Aleppo earlier this week suffered napalm-like burns after an incendiary agent was dropped on their school by what rebels say was a government jet. At least 10 people were killed, and dozens more were injured. A humanitarian doctor who treated the children after the Monday incident described the scene as “apocalyptic. As they all started to arrive, it felt like I was living a horror film,” said the volunteer doctor, who asked only to be identified by her first name, Roula. “As they were coming in, because of their burns, they were radiating so much heat. The hospital got so, so hot.” Roula said her first thought after seeing the “petrified” children covered in unidentified white matter was that there had been another chemical attack — something she and others have feared ever since an Aug. 21 massacre in Damascus was determined by the U.S. and other nations to have involved chemical weapons. “We didn’t actually have much information at the beginning. All we knew was that these severely burnt children were all coming in droves,” she said. Those who survived have burns on 50 percent to 80 percent of their bodies. It’s still unclear what agent was used in Monday’s attack, although Syrian rebels say the regime dropped a chemical agent of some sort. A BBC team filming inside Syria captured disturbing video images of the aftermath of the incident showing shaking children pleading for help as their skin burned. Syrian opposition activists say a school was attacked Monday with a substance they compared to Napalm, saying the only injuries recorded were burns across 50 to 80 percent of victims’ bodies.
NBC’s Richard Engel reports. A girl who witnessed the attack told NBC News’ Richard Engel that the plane attacked the school twice. “As we were going inside the classroom, it hit again. I didn’t hear anything. We just saw people burning,” said the student, who was not identified. “My classmates were burning. It felt like Judgment Day.” The patients were not limited to schoolchildren, according to Roula, speaking to NBC News from London days after the attack. The first case she received was a 7-month-old brought in by his father. The infant was covered in full-body burns, and his dad had head burns. “He described that a missile had hit his home,” Roula said. “At that point, I thought it was an isolated case, and literally two minutes later, we received five more cases, and within 10 minutes, we had 15, and then a few minutes later, we had 30.” The attack happened late in the afternoon, she said, when the children were finishing up their school day. One victim in particular — a 16-year-old girl — stood out. “She took a deep breath and asked me, ‘’Do you think my face is going to be mutilated?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I hope not.’ She said:’All I was trying to do was study for my exams. I was just trying to do my baccalaureate because I want to be like you. I want to be a doctor.’” –NBC
August 30, 2013 – ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Officials say a magnitude 7.0 earthquake has rocked Alaska’s Aleutian Islands with a jet-like rumble that shook homes and sent residents scrambling for cover. There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the major temblor at 8:25 a.m. Friday, local time. It was followed by multiple aftershocks, including one measuring magnitude 4.5. The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says the primary earthquake was centered 67 miles southwest of Adak, Alaska, and shaking lasted up to one minute. The village is about 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage. The earthquake didn’t trigger a tsunami warning, but Michael Burgy with the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, says the center is monitoring for potential tsunamis caused by landslides, either on land or under water. –SF Gate
Activity increases at Alaskan Volcano: JUNEAU, AK — Scientists reported increased activity at one of Alaska’s largest volcanoes on Friday, but geologist Chris Waythomas said it was unrelated to the earthquake that shook the Aleutian Islands that morning. Waythomas said the increased seismicity at the Veniaminof Volcano, on the Alaska Peninsula, started before the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck, and the two are too far apart. The Alaska Volcano Observatory reported increased activity, including lava fountaining and ash emissions up to 20,000 feet, from the volcano on Friday morning. Waythomas, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the observatory, said scientists have been monitoring increased activity at the site since early June. He said the volcano has had some significant past eruptions but nothing that scientists are seeing now suggests anything major is in the works this time. Rather, he suspects there will be a protracted period of the same kind of activity that scientists have been watching. Veniaminof is about 480 miles southwest of Anchorage; Perryville is the nearest community to the volcano, about 20 miles away, and it received trace amounts of ash fall Friday, Waythomas said — like a dusting on the windshields of vehicles. Depending on how the wind blows, the Chignik area also could see some ash but amounts should be minimal, and there could be some impact on local air travel, he said. According to the observatory, the volcano, which has an ice-filled summit caldera, is one of the most active volcanic centers in the Aleutian Arc. It has erupted at least 13 times in the past 200 years, with what were characterized as minor ash-producing explosions in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. Waythomas said steam has been observed coming off the lava flow as it hits the ice. But he said the lava has not been melting a lot of ice, so there is not a perceived flood hazard. –Anchorage Daily News
Shaky alliance to act against Syria weakened by UK Parliament vote – Syrian hackers warn of major attacks
August 30, 2013 – SYRIA – Syrian hackers behind recent attacks on the New York Times and Twitter have warned media companies to “expect us.” The Syrian Electronic Army, which supports President Bashar al-Assad, added it had “many surprises” to come. Interviewed via email following the UK Parliament’s vote against military intervention on Thursday, a spokesman told BBC News: “It’s the right thing.” He added: “Military intervention in Syria has many consequences and will affect the whole world. Our main mission is to spread truth about Syria and what is really happening.” The SEA has targeted various media companies, including the BBC, CNN and the Guardian. Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter, wrote that clues discovered when the SEA’s own website was hacked earlier in the year pointed towards at least one member of the group being based in neighboring country Turkey. But the SEA’s spokesman dismissed these claims, saying that “they keep publishing names so they can get attention. All the media outlets that we targeted were publishing false/fabricated news about the situation in Syria,” he told the BBC. “Our work doesn’t need funds. It just needs a computer and internet connection.” Until this week’s attacks, the SEA’s efforts had largely focused on “phishing” social media accounts, tricking users into handing over log-in details. In one particularly effective attack, the Twitter account of the Associated Press was compromised, and the group posted a tweet saying US President Barack Obama had been hurt in an explosion. The New York Times attack was more damaging, however, as the hackers were able to redirect people trying to visit the newspaper to the SEA’s website instead, albeit briefly. “Our goal was to deliver our anti-war message on NY Times website – but our server couldn’t last for three minutes,” the group said. “The Twitter attack was because of the suspension of our accounts on Twitter by its management. We succeeded in our attack as we expected.” –BBC
UK opts out of military action against Syria: French president Francois Hollande said a British parliamentary vote against taking military action in Syria would not affect France’s will to act to punish Bashar al-Assad’s government for an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians. Mr. Hollande told the daily Le Monde in an interview that he supported taking “firm” punitive action over an attack he said had caused “irreparable” harm to the Syrian people and said he would work closely with France’s allies. Asked if France could take action without Britain, Mr. Hollande replied: “Yes. Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation. That is valid for Britain as it is for France.” Meanwhile British David Cameron today said he would continue to argue for a “robust response” to Syrian president Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons even though UK military action had been ruled out. Mr. Cameron said today that he regretted the failure of the British parliament to support military action in Syria but that he hoped US president Barack Obama would understand the need to listen to the wishes of the people. “I think the American public, the American people and President Obama will understand,” Mr. Cameron said just hours after parliament voted against a government motion to authorize the principle of military action in Syria. “I haven’t spoken to him (Obama) since the debate and the vote but I would expect to speak to him over the next day or so. I don’t think it’s a question of having to apologize,” Mr. Cameron said in a television interview. UK Labour leader Ed Miliband has urged the British government not to “wash its hands” of Syria, despite MPs rejecting military intervention. He said Mr. Cameron must “find other ways” to put pressure on President Assad. “There are other routes than military means to actually help the people of Syria,” he said. –Irish Times
DEVELOPING: SYRIAN MILITARY USING HUMANS AS SHIELDS
As the Syrian government braces for a possible U.S. attack in response to the gas attacks on civilians near Damascus, there are increasing indications that its leadership is positioning people as human shields around sensitive targets. Sources say that the Syrian leadership has begun to place thousands of prisoners at sites thought to be targets of the U.S. cruise missiles that would be expected should President Barack Obama go ahead with a “limited” response to what the U.S. administration believes was the use of poison gas on Syrian citizens on Aug. 21 in a region on the outskirts of Damascus. The immediate concern is that with distant targeting of military sites, the United States may not have the timely intelligence to avoid sites surrounded by people, thereby resulting in further mass casualties. In one case, prisoners have been seen being bused from prisons to the military sites. According to one tweet, “thousands of prisoners are inside the Mezzeh Military airport hangers, gym and other facilities.” “(Syrian President Bashar) Al-Assad’s fascist regime is amassing activists and civilians in prisons in military locations that may be targets for foreign forces,” according to a statement of the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition. “Using civilians as human shields is a breach of international humanitarian law and those responsible must be held accountable for crimes against humanity,” the statement said. More
1,000-STRONG MOB DESTROYS NORTH INDIA CHURCH, ATTACKS MEMBERS
Shouting religious slogans, a mob estimated at 1,000 people has destroyed a Christian church under construction in northern India, according to a report received from church leaders in the region. The attack occurred Sunday.
With the building demolished, the mob began to beat the pastor, his mother and church members, who were able to flee and went into hiding for the night. The extent of their injuries is not known. No deaths were reported.
“It is our desire that these who are persecuting will know the love of God for them,” said K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia founder and president.
The Christian congregation had begun construction more than two years earlier, but quickly met resistance and had been forced to stop the work. After much prayer, the climate seemed to improve and construction resumed. Building had progressed uneventfully to the point that workers were ready to install the roof, when the attack came this week.
Earlier that afternoon, a small group from the community confronted the pastor and demanded that construction cease, saying the building was not wanted. Recognizing the growing tension, the pastor stopped the work.
Despite the pastor’s decision, the group rallied the villagers to a meeting and incited them to attack.
The day after the attack, regional leaders first prayed and then met with local police, who declined to become involved. Despite continuing threats, the leaders returned to the site to survey the damage and take photos. Church leaders have requested prayer from believers around the world that God will protect the pastor, his family and the congregation; heal the pastor’s son, whose medicine cannot be obtained in the current uneasy climate; and open the eyes of the villagers so they might experience the love of Jesus in their lives. Charisma
DAYS OF LOT: GINSBURG WILL BE FIRST JUSTICE TO OFFICIATE SAME-SEX WEDDING
Jasher Chapter 19: 1 And the cities of Sodom had four judges to four cities, and these were their names, Serak in the city of Sodom, Sharkad in Gomorrah, Zabnac in Admah, and Menon in Zeboyim. 2 And Eliezer Abraham’s servant applied to them different names, and he converted Serak to Shakra, Sharkad to Shakrura, Zebnac to Kezobim, and Menon to Matzlodin. 3 And by desire of their four judges the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had beds erected in the streets of the cities, and if a man came to these places they laid hold of him and brought him to one of their beds, and by force made him to lie in them.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in recognition of same-sex unions. Such marriages were virtually unheard of a little more than a decade ago but now are legal in the nation’s capital, 13 states and in all or part of 17 other countries. After victories at the Supreme Court earlier this summer, a wave of litigation is challenging bans on same-sex marriages in states where they remain prohibited. Ginsburg seemed excited during a recent interview about being the first member of the court to conduct such a ceremony and said it was only a logical next step. “I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” Ginsburg said. She added: “It won’t be long before there will be another” performed by a justice. Indeed, she has another planned for September. Ginsburg and Kaiser are close friends. She is perhaps the Supreme Court’s most ardent supporter of the fine arts, especially opera. Kaiser, 59, has been at the helm of the Kennedy Center since 2001 and is an internationally recognized expert in arts management and one of Washington’s most influential civic leaders. “I can’t imagine someone I’d rather be married by” than Ginsburg, Kaiser said in an interview. Roberts, 32, who works at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is not related to Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. At the time that save-the-date cards were sent out this spring, there were jokes involving the coincidence of the names. More
NAVY WARNS HUNDREDS OF DOLPHINS AND WHALES WILL DIE DURING NEW UNDERWATER EXPLOSIVE TESTS
The Navy said in a report on Friday that training and testing for new underwater explosives could kill hundreds of whales and dolphins, and injure tens of thousands more, in the coming five years. The training is set for ocean waters off the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and Southern California and Hawaii, and is planned from 2014 to 2019, The Associated Press reported. But two environmental impact studies that were just released say the testing is bad news for dolphins. Hundreds are likely to die from the explosives. Others could be injured in collisions with ships, AP reported. Still, the testing must go forth, said Rear Adm. Kevin Slates, the Navy’s energy and environmental readiness division director. “Without this realistic testing and training, our sailors can’t develop or maintain the critical skills they need or ensure the new technologies can be operated effectively,” he said, in a conference call with reporters earlier this week. The reports cite computer modeling that indicates 186 whales and dolphins off the East Coast could be killed, and another 155 off the coast of Hawaii and Southern California, AP said. The injury estimates are even higher. The report says that off the East Coast, 11,267 sea mammals could suffer serious injuries, and another 1.89 million could have minor injuries, like hearing loss. Off Hawaii and Southern California, 2,039 dolphins and whales may suffer serious injuries, and 1.86 million temporary injuries. Moreover, the testing could dramatically alter the behavior and swimming patterns of millions, AP said. Twenty million dolphins and whales off the East Coast could change their behavior, as a direct result of the Navy testing. Meanwhile, 7.7 million off the coasts of Hawaii and Southern California could do the same. The Washington Times
SNOW BLANKETING SOUTH AMERICA KILLS 250,000 ALPACAS, AT LEAST 5 PEOPLE DEAD
Approximately 250,000 alpacas have died as a result of the worst snowfall Peru has seen in a decade, and the unexpectedly intense blast of winter weather has claimed livestock and human life in other parts of South America as well. A cold weather front from the Antarctic began to spread across South America earlier this week, with some regions devastated by the snowfall, and others reveling in it. Heavy snow fell upon a large swath of South America, from Peru and Bolivia in the northwest to Paraguay and Brazil in the southeast. Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso declared state of emergency in the nation’s southern Puno region, where the snow has isolated thousands of families who make their living by breeding alpacas. One unnamed Peruvian woman told Reuters that villagers have been trying to reach their herds for three days without success. At least five people have died as a result of the cold weather across the southern hemisphere continent, where it is still winter. In Bolivia heavy snowfall claimed three lives and in neighboring Paraguay two people reportedly died of hypothermia due to the cold font, which has killed 4,000 cattle and affected 30 percent of the nation’s wheat crop, according to a report by the AFP. Ruined wheat crops will drive up the price of what remains, Paraguay’s agriculture minister Jorge Gattini said. The icy blanket of snow covering Peru and Bolivia prevented alpacas and other livestock from being able to graze on the land, resulting in their starvation and subsequent death, according to a Reuters report. In Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, temperatures were 8 or 9 degrees Celsius below average, Al Jazeera reported, adding that the Atacama Desert in Chile, often regarded as one of the driest places on Earth, saw the heaviest snowfall the regions has seen in 30 years. In Brazil the snow was seen as a treat, as told by a Reuters report, which featured Brazilians happily playing in the winter snow. Nature World News
RUSSIA, NORAD CONDUCT HIJACK RESPONSE TRAINING OVER ALASKA
Flying at 34,000 feet over the Bering Strait, the Russian pilots had a singular focus: making sure they smoothly received the handoff of a “hijacked” jetliner from their U.S.-Canadian counterparts. Up here, there were no thoughts about strained Russia-U.S. relations. Those were for another day, and for high-level officials. This training exercise was to make sure Russia and NORAD forces could find, track and escort a hijacked aircraft over international borders. NORAD’s director of operations, Canadian Major Gen. André Viens, said there were never any discussions about canceling the exercise, known as Vigilant Eagle. It’s been held five times since 2003. But the exercises on Tuesday and Wednesday were the first since U.S.-Russian relations became strained because of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, Syria, human rights and other issues. ”The cooperation with the Russian Federation Air Force personnel has been ongoing for the past year for this particular serial, and at no time there was any discussion about canceling the event for this year,” Viens said Thursday at the conclusion of the two-day exercise. His counterpart, Gen. Major Dmitry Gomenkov, commander of the Aerospace Defense Brigade for eastern Russia, agreed. “I see no problems,” Gomenkov said through a translator. More
WAR DRUMS: RUSSIA SAYS WASHINGTON’S THREATS TO ATTACK SYRIA “UNACCEPTABLE”
Given the lack of evidence, any unilateral military action bypassing the UN Security Council – “no matter how limited it is” – would be a direct violation of international law and would undermine the prospects for a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria and will lead to a new round of confrontation and victims, Lukashevich concludes.
“Instead of executing the decisions of G8’s summit in Lough Erne and subsequent agreements to submit comprehensive report from experts investigating possible cases of use of chemical weapons in Syria to the UN Security Council, in the absence of any evidence, we hear threats of a strike on Syria,” the statement reads.
Lukashevich emphasizes that even “US allies” are calling to wait for the completion of the UN chemical expert group “in order to get an unbiased picture of what really happened and decide on further steps in terms of the Syrian crisis.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council may have to wait as long as two weeks before reviewing the final results of an analysis of samples taken from where chemical weapons were used in Syria, diplomats told Reuters on Friday. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told representatives from China, Russia, the United States, Britain, and France, warning them of the time period on the eve of a possible US missile strike on the Syrian regime.
“The samples that have been collected will be taken to be analyzed in designated laboratories, and the intention of course is to expedite the analysis of that sampling that’s been taken,” said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky. “This is not an electoral process, where you have exit polls and preliminary results.”
“The only result that counts is the result of the analysis in laboratories and the analysis of the evidence that’s been collected through witness statements and so on,” Nesirky explained, adding that UN inspectors would return later to investigate several other sites of alleged chemical weapon attacks.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon meanwhile briefed representatives from China, Russia, the United States, Britain, and France on the ongoing investigation in Syria. Although the envoys of the Security Council’s permanent members did not comment on the details, two diplomats told Reuters that analysis of the samples could take up to two weeks, according to Ban. RT
“Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Ezekiel 20:7
The adherents to this religion are appropriately called “burners”, and the Burning Man Pagan Festival began like this:
“Burning Man stems from a small group of free-spirited artists in the San Francisco area who got together to burn a wooden effigy on the beach in 1986; and the little beach event has grown to an annual gathering of nearly 70,000 attendees and has moved to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, where hippies, yuppies and wannabe bohemians of every type meet up and enjoy a week of crazy self-expression, self-reliance and communal craziness.” source – Explorer News
Evangelista Anita Fuentes