U.S. widens air campaign in northern Iraq

•August 19, 2014 • 6 Comments

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http://online.wsj.com/articles/kurdish-soldiers-launch-ground-offensive-to-free-mosul-dam-1408291843

The U.S. widened its air campaign against Sunni extremists in Iraq, sending bombers for the first time in support of a Kurdish ground offensive to retake the Mosul Dam and promising to keep up strikes until the strategic post is out of the hands of Islamic State fighters.

Kurdish forces who launched the ground operation on Sunday managed to push back the militants from some positions around the dam by the end of the day. The operation was the most highly coordinated among U.S., Kurdish and Iraqi forces, since American troops left Iraq in late 2011.

By Sunday afternoon, militants were retreating from positions around the dam and the nearby town of Tal Keif, according to the town’s mayor, Basim Bello, and U.S. officials. American officials briefed on the latest battlefield damage assessments said Kurdish forces are starting to gain the upper hand.

The Kurdish ground attacks followed nearly two dozen U.S. airstrikes over the weekend using jet fighters and armed drones to target insurgent positions near the Mosul Dam and Erbil, capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to the U.S. Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East. Since Aug. 8, the U.S. has conducted roughly 50 airstrikes in Iraq.

The military assaults on Mosul Dam will continue until the Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces can retake the dam, a U.S. defense official said, adding that the airstrikes have so far been effective in reducing Islamic State forces positioned in and around the dam.

President Barack Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes this month over concerns about recent advances by Islamic State militants as well as worries over thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority who had been stranded on nearby Mount Sinjar for about two weeks.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28772478

In 2007, the then commanding general of US forces in Iraq, David Petraeus, and the then US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, warned Iraq’s PM Nouri Maliki that the structure was highly dangerous because it was built on unstable soil foundation.

“A catastrophic failure of Mosul dam would result in flooding along the Tigris river all the way to Baghdad,” they said in a letter.

“Assuming a worst-case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave 20 metres (65.5ft) deep at the city of Mosul,” it said.

The same concerns remain today.

“The Mosul dam is essentially a ticking time bomb,” Azzam Alwash, an Iraqi hydraulic engineer, told the Wall Street Journal on 11 August.

Another concern is that the IS militants, who have sought control of water resources before, could use the dam as an instrument of war in the current conflict.

The Fallujah dam, in the Nuamiyah area of the city, in Iraq’s western Anbar province, fell under IS control in February.

However, the group has so far failed in its attempts to capture the Haditha dam, Iraq’s second largest, from the army.

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over 60 strikes now..obama appearing regularly to advise america of how successful they are..i see them blow up the odd ute or truck..what exact numbers are they fighting against?..a band of 30 or 40?

401

Ebola facility in Liberia attacked

•August 19, 2014 • 1 Comment

<> on August 15, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/17/world/africa/ebola-liberia-attack/

Ebola patients fled during an attack at a health care facility in Monrovia, Liberia, on Saturday, said Liberian National Police spokesman Sam Collins told CNN Sunday.

All patients who ran away had Ebola, and some chose to stay at the facility, Collins said.

The assailants stole mattresses and equipment, he said, adding that no one was injured in the incident and the attackers were not trying to free the patients; rather, they did not want the quarantine there. The assailants were using weapons but not wielding guns, according to Collins.

“It was an attack from people afraid of Ebola,” Collins told CNN. “Everybody is afraid.”

Since an Ebola epidemic was declared in Guinea in March, the disease has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. Ebola can be contracted by coming into contact with infected organs and body fluids such as blood, saliva, urine and other secretions.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28827091

There are conflicting reports over the fate of 17 Ebola patients who vanished after a quarantine centre in the Liberian capital Monrovia was looted.

An angry mob attacked the centre in the city’s densely populated West Point township on Saturday evening.

A senior health official said all of the patients were being moved to another medical facility.

But a reporter told the BBC that 17 had escaped while 10 others were taken away by their families.

More than 400 people are known to have died from the virus in Liberia, out of a total of 1,145 deaths recorded by the World Health Organization.

Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said protesters had been unhappy that patients were being brought in from other parts of the capital.

Other reports suggested the protesters had believed Ebola was a hoax and wanted to force the quarantine centre to close.

The attack at the Monrovia centre is seen as a major setback in the struggle to halt the outbreak, says the BBC’s Will Ross, reporting from Lagos.

Health experts say that the key to ending the Ebola outbreak is to stop it spreading in Liberia, where ignorance about the virus is high and many people are reluctant to cooperate with medical staff.

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i said in chat yesterday that this gives me a mental image of zombies running amok..as far as quarantining is concerned its a nightmare..

401

Coca-Cola buys stake in Monster Beverage

•August 19, 2014 • 4 Comments

401451

http://online.wsj.com/articles/coke-buys-stake-in-monster-beverage-1408049780

In a risky bid to jolt sagging sales, Coca-Cola Co. is paying $2.15 billion to acquire a 16.7% stake in energy-drink maker Monster Beverage Corp. as part of an asset swap.

Coke badly needs some big new ideas. Global soda sales growth is slowing for a third straight year and the company missed its overall targets last year as a result. Diet Coke is falling off a cliff.

Energy drink sales, by contrast, have been a bright spot in the beverage market, though sales have been slowing after several years of double-digit growth. Global energy-drink sales increased just 6.8% last year in dollar terms, down from 11% in 2012 and 20% in 2011, according to Euromonitor. The caffeine-fueled category also faces rising regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad.

Monster is the country’s No. 2 energy-drink maker, second only to the maker of Red Bull. As one of the first energy drinks, its edgy image is very different from wholesome, all-American image that Coke has fostered. Its cans feature a neon green M that looks created by a claw slashing through the darkness.

In after-hours trading, Monster shares jumped 22% to $87.49, while Coke added 1.3% to $40.70.

Analysts had long considered Monster a potential takeover target and had named Coke as a leading candidate to buy the Corona, Calif., company. In April, 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that Coke had been in talks to acquire Monster but decided to walk away after a 20% jump in Monster’s share price. Back then, Monster shares traded at $65 a share and sales of energy drinks were rapidly rising. At the time, a Coke spokesman denied the accounts.

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http://seeker401.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/monster-energy-drinks-cited-in-death-reports/

http://seeker401.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/monster-energy/

seems like a natural pairing..kids like drinking out of thinner cans these days and they like paying double the normal price to do so..brilliant marketing..

401

The price to keep bankers out of jail: $110 billion and rising

•August 18, 2014 • 5 Comments

110 billion_0

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-14/price-keep-bankers-out-jail-110-billion-and-rising

Six years after the greatest financial crisis in modern history, not a single prominent – and bailed out - banker (or frankly any for that matter) has gone to prison. Still, in the great squid pro non-jail quo, regulators and the DOJ have had to be appeased somehow. That “somehow”, as has been revealed over the past several years, is with quarter after quarter of massive legal charges, settlements, penalties and so on. Of course, since the banks wouldn’t exist in the first place if it wasn’t for a multi-trillion taxpayer bailout, they don’t mind because the math is quite simple: being converted into a government utility is better than being bankrupt anyday. Also, it is shareholder money, not an actual clawback (oh, the horror).

So what is the total amount of shareholder (and by implication, taxpayer) money that has been spent by the bankers to distract regulators and the “cops” from not jailing a single one of them? According to the following chart from the WSJ, just the six biggest offenders have spent over a whopping $110 billion to keep the government happy and the US prison population in check.

Here, one could add a tangent, that the more money spent on settlements by any given bank, the more in need of a bailout it was in the first place. In which case one dreads to think just how bankrupt Bank of America will be when the next inevitable crisis hits, and how many trillions in taxpayer bailout funds it will need next time around…

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thanks to rev17 for the link..

and there it is in black and white..nobody in jail..loose change used to pay back the theft of trillions..

“not a single prominent – and bailed out - banker (or frankly any for that matter) has gone to prison”

401

The climate fight continues..BASIC versus the First World countries

•August 18, 2014 • 2 Comments

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http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28744469

Four of the world’s emerging economies have claimed that they are far ahead of developed countries in their efforts to slow climate change.

Brazil, South Africa, India and China are known as the BASIC bloc in international climate negotiations.

They have also accused developed nations of keeping their carbon emission cuts ambitions at a low level.

Ministers from the BASIC countries made the claim after meeting in the Indian capital, New Delhi, on Friday.

Developed countries have long argued that shares in global carbon emissions from fast emerging economies like China and India were huge and yet they were not committed to making cuts.

The two sides have been at loggerheads for years, presenting hurdles to a deal on climate change.

“Our [climate change] mitigation efforts are more than developed countries,” Prakash Javadekar, India’s environment minister told the BBC after he held the meeting with his counterparts from Brazil, China and South Africa.

“We are going ahead with our voluntary actions which will reduce carbon emissions and also bring about increased energy efficiency from 25% to 50%.

“We want the developed world to walk the walk.”

The comments come ahead of a major climate meeting of heads of state and government being hosted by UN secretary-general Bank Ki-moon next month.

The meeting in New York aims at securing political support for a global climate deal next year.

Past negotiations, most notably the Copenhagen summit in 2009, had failed in part because of the conflicting positions of the developed world and rapidly rising economies like China and India.

BASIC countries in the past argued that they should not be asked to make mandatory emissions cuts because it was now their turn to speed up development works and tackle poverty.

They insisted that the developed countries had the “historic responsibility” to shoulder the burden of carbon cuts given their past emissions since the industrial revolution.

China tops the list of the world’s major carbon emitters followed by the US and India.

Although major economies like China and India claim that they are doing what they can to emit less as they intensify development activities, several studies have shown that their carbon emissions continue to rise steeply.

Developed countries argue that without major emitters like China and India making mandatory and significant cuts, climate change cannot be addressed.

Long-time observers of international climate negotiations say that as long as the developed countries and the BASIC bloc remain at loggerheads, they fail to see how a meaningful global climate deal can be reached next year.

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bitch, bitch, bitch..they are trying to stitch a up a deal now so they look united in 2015 when they want to bring in the final plank of global governance via the COP in paris..

“as long as the developed countries and the BASIC bloc remain at loggerheads, they fail to see how a meaningful global climate deal can be reached”

but “no” is not acceptable so watch them squirm and agitate to accommodate them..

“it was now their turn to speed up development works and tackle poverty.”

indeed..but its all about the timing isnt it?

401

Bioengineers build 3D tissue mimicking brain structure

•August 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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http://rt.com/news/179908-brain-3d-tissue-bioengineers/

A group of US scientists have managed to create a three-dimensional brain-like tissue featuring structural similarities to rat brain. Researchers hope that the new tissue could be used in the development of new treatments for brain dysfunctions.

The brain-like tissue was bioengineered at the Tissue Engineering Resource Center at Tufts University in Boston. Professor David Kaplan led the research efforts to develop the tissue which can be kept alive in the laboratory for more than two months.

“This work is an exceptional feat,” said Rosemarie Hunziker, program director of Tissue Engineering at the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) which funded the project.“It combines a deep understand of brain physiology with a large and growing suite of bioengineering tools to create an environment that is both necessary and sufficient to mimic brain function.”

Earlier methods of recreating brain tissues in petri dishes or 3D gel environments failed to replicate the segregated structure of a real brain, where grey and white matter form separate regions.

As simply allowing neurons to randomly grow in three dimensions was not good enough, researches created a novel composite structure which consisted of two biomaterials with different physical properties.

A spongy scaffold made out of silk protein was cut into a donut shape and served as the form in which rat brain neurons built functional networks of the grey matter. The middle of the donut was filled with collagen-based gel which encouraged axons grow through it forming a white matter region.

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“a three-dimensional brain-like tissue featuring structural similarities to rat brain”

rats..you beauty!

401

Madrid approves $10bn oil exploration project in Canary Islands

•August 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

can-1

http://rt.com/business/180144-spain-repsol-canary-islands-oil/

Spain’s biggest oil company Repsol has passed its final hurdle to begin exploring oil reserves off the coast of the Canary Islands, Africa’s northwest waters. The approval from the Energy Ministry came despite protests from environmentalists.

Spain’s government published the approved drilling plan on Wednesday.

The Energy Ministry gave the project the go ahead in May, after a decade-long standoff with local politicians in the Canary Islands, tourism officials warning of the cost of an oil spill to the economy, and environmentalists worried about how drilling will change the ecology and effect endangered species.

The Archipelago, home to 2 million, heavily relies on the 12 million tourists that come to the islands each year. Tourism is the biggest industry in the Canaries, where one in every three people is unemployed.

The company plans to invest $10 billion in developing 3 oil wells along with its German and Australian partners, RWE AG. and Woodside Energy Ltd.

RWE has estimated that the 3 ready to drill wells contain 482 millions of barrels in oil reserves. Madrid-based Repsol plans to drill at a depth of 1 km into the sea, and then another 3.5 kilometers into the Earth’s crust to extract the black gold.

Neighboring Morocco has tried, and failed to drill in its waters near the Canary Islands.

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looks like woodside have a piece of this as well..

“The company plans to invest $10 billion in developing 3 oil wells”

must be very confident of finding an “elephant”..

401

 
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