Wednesday, July 30, 2014

West Africa's Ebola Epidemic Is Now 'Out Of Control' Says charity

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
The latest outbreak of Ebola is the most severe since the disease was discovered in 1976. So far the disease has spread from a village in Guinea to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria

How Deadly Ebola Has Spread Across The Globe: Health Officials Try To Trace 30,000 Linked To Death Of US Victim - As Nigerian Film Star Sparks Outrage By Fleeing Africa First-Class In An Ebola Mask -- Daily Mail

* Hong Kong woman quarantined when she fell ill after returning from Kenya
* Expert claims panic over death of U.S. man in Nigeria is 'justified'
* He warned the spread of Ebola could become a global pandemic
* Health campaigners petition U.S. drug authorities to fast-track potential cure
* Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond declares disease is 'very serious threat'
* He will chair an emergency meeting on how to boost defences
* British airlines are also on 'red alert' for cases of the deadly virus
* Man with 'feverish' symptoms tested for deadly Ebola at Birmingham hospital
* He had travelled into Midlands from Benin, Nigeria via France when he fell ill
* Charing Cross Hospital staff also feared man had Ebola symptoms this week
* No cases have been confirmed in UK but 672 people have died in West Africa
* Warning issued to GPs, A&E departments and all NHS trusts across the UK
* Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and damage to the nervous system
Fears of a global Ebola pandemic are 'justified' an expert has said as Nigerian health officials try to trace 30,000 people at risk of contracting the deadly disease following the death of Patrick Sawyer.

The U.S. citizen boarded a flight in Liberia carrying the disease to Nigeria, potentially infecting 'anyone on the same plane'.

It comes as Nigerian actor Jim Iyke sparked outrage, posting a picture of himself wearing an Ebola mask while sitting in a first class airport lounge as he fled Liberia.

The 'Nollywood' star posted a message on his Instagram page saying he had cut short a business trip to Monrovia in Liberia - where at least 600 people have already died from the disease.

The death toll for this, the worst outbreak recorded since the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976, stands at 672, while more than 1,200 people have been infected.

Read more ....



More News On The Ebola Outbreak In Western Africa

Ebola epidemic 'out of control' says charity -- Al Jazeera
World Ebola fears grow with Europe and Asia on alert -- AFP
Global authorities on alert over Ebola outbreak -- USA Today
Peace Corps Pulling Volunteers From Ebola-Affected Countries -- ABC News
Peace Corps removing volunteers as Ebola virus spreads in W. Africa; two placed in isolation -- Washington Post
New fears about Ebola spread after plane scare -- AP
Suspected U.S. Ebola victim in Nigeria had planned to visit Minnesota -- L.A. Times
Stopping deadly Ebola outbreak will be a 'marathon,' CDC says -- FOX News/Live Science
Surviving Ebola: For those who live through it, what lies ahead? -- CBS
Here are the 35 countries one flight away from Ebola-affected countries -- Quartz
Should we be worried about an Ebola outbreak in the UK? -- Hugh Pennington, The Guardian
What Ebola on a Plane Means for the U.S. -- Kent Sepkowitz, Daily Beast
What would happen if Ebola came to the United States? -- Susannah Locke, VOX
The Ebola Outbreak -- New York Times editorial

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- July 30, 2014

The Sykes-Picot agreement. (Creative Commons)

In 10 Years’ Time, The World’s Borders Will Look Totally Different -- Frank Jacobs, Washington Post

Border-watchers are the seismologists of geopolitics. And lately, we’ve begun to notice a lot of fault lines.

The boundaries that separate states are shifting and dissolving at an accelerating rate. Take, for example, the establishment of an “Islamic State” astride the Syrian-Iraqi border, which forebodes a major realignment in the Middle East. In a slick propaganda piece titled The End of Sykes-Picot, a triumphant ISIS fighter shows us a now-defunct border post between Syria and Iraq.” We do not recognize this so-called border of Sykes-Picot,” he explains. “We’ve broken borders before and insh’allah we’ll break other borders also.”

There are rumblings in other parts of the world, too. Russia’s annexation of Crimea was a breathtaking piece of bravado; China is pouring sand and concrete into the South China Sea to shore up its territorial claims. The Korean DMZ could go the way of the Berlin Wall: almost impenetrable one day, completely vanished the next.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- July 30, 2014

Israel’s dilemma: Topple Hamas, or again come to terms with it -- Elhanan Miller, The Times of Israel

Israel's Big Decision: Time to Take Hamas Out? -- Matthew S. Cohen, National Interest

The US and Israel: A strained relationship? -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera

No Gaza cease-fire: Dramatic shift in Egypt deprived Kerry of vital tool -- Howard LaFranchi, CSM

The Children of War: A Humanitarian Catastrophe Unfolds in Gaza -- Julia Amalia Heyer, Spiegel Online

John Kerry learns humility -- Dana Milbank, Washington Post

Old Asian Wars Play Pivotal Role in Battle for Regional Supremacy -- Rowan Callick, The Australian

As famine and violence loom, is this South Sudan's last chance for peace? -- Jason Patinkin, CSM

The West Has Cornered Putin—and That's When He's Most Dangerous -- Julia Ioffe, New Republic

Rebels and oligarchs: 7 key players in eastern Ukraine -- Lydia Tomkiw, CSM

Clashes with Russia point to globalization’s end -- Mark Leonard, Reuters

Russia’s dangerous Arctic adventurism -- Stephen Blank and Aurel Braun, Washington Times

Obama needs to work on his foreign policy, not his golf game -- Max Boot, L.A. Times

US policy reflects America’s lack of interest in the world -- Michael Young, The National

What Ebola on a Plane Means for the U.S. -- Kent Sepkowitz, Daily Beast

What would happen if Ebola came to the United States? -- Susannah Locke, VOX

World News Briefs -- July 30, 2014 (Evening Edition)



Peace Corps Evacuates West Africa Volunteers Due To Ebola Threat -- CNN

(CNN) -- Humanitarian agencies working in west Africa are stepping up precautions against the deadly Ebola virus as local and international health officials struggle to bring the outbreak under control. The Peace Corps announced Wednesday it was removing hundreds of its volunteers from the region.

The Peace Corps said 340 workers would temporarily leave Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries primarily affected by the outbreak.

Two volunteers on the continent were isolated after coming in contact with someone who later died of the virus, a spokeswoman told CNN. They are not exhibiting Ebola symptoms, and will return to the United States when they receive medical clearance, she said.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. to Israel: 'Limit civilian casualties' in Gaza.

Mass casualties as Gaza market area bombed.

Gaza: at least 19 killed and 90 injured as another UN school is hit. Palestinians claim UN school hit, while Israel announces 4-hour cease-fire for parts of Gaza.

Israeli military offers four-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

Peres: Israel has exhausted military option, Abbas's rule in Gaza must be restored.

Yemen protests erupt after fuel price doubled.

Rights group: Syria using barrel bombs, defying UN.

U.S. close to sending largest ever Hellfire missile order to Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdish pipeline stopped; tanker in limbo off Texas.

Turkish women protest against politician who said they shouldn't laugh in public.

ASIA

China charges Uighur rights campaigner. More violence in China's Xinjiang, prominent academic indicted.

Pakistan says it 'foiled' cross-border militant attack.

Deadly clashes hit Xinjiang amid sweeping security crackdown. Chinese authorities tighten security in Xinjiang region after surge in violence.

Exclusive: China's Xi reached deal with former leaders to investigate ex-security chief: sources.

Thai junta to keep tight grip after transfer of power.

Satellite imagery suggests future large N. Korean rocket launch.

Scores trapped in India landslide.

India must decide its role in global trade order: Kerry.

Genocide trial begins for aging Khmer Rouge leaders.

AFRICA

Ebola epidemic 'out of control' says charity.

Ebola outbreak: pan-African airline halts flights to west African countries.

Somali woman killed for not wearing veil, relatives say.

S. Sudan warring parties ready for another round of talks.

Official: Air Algerie jet plunged rapidly.

Fourth female suicide bomber hits Nigeria's Kano, kills six.

Egyptian media: 3 militants die in car explosion.

At least 24 dead in Guinea rap concert stampede. Guinea concert stampede kills 33.

Temporary ceasefire near Tripoli blaze, more diplomats flee Libya chaos.

France evacuates nationals in Libya.

Nigeria tracking 30,000 people at risk of contracting Ebola.

EUROPE

Catalan leader vows to push ahead with independence vote.

3 Putin allies among 8 hit with new EU sanctions. Ukraine conflict: Russia faces more sanctions, warns G7.

Ukraine conflict: Army claims strategic town in Donetsk.

Observers turned back from MH17 crash site in Ukraine.

EU and US impose new round of sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

Russia counts cost of new US, EU sanctions. Russia takes defiant stance in face of tough EU and US sanctions.

MH17: vast majority of Russians believe Ukraine downed plane, poll finds.

EU on high alert as Germany agrees to accept Ebola patients. Ebola virus may pose major threat to UK - reports.

Obama names new ambassador to Russia.

AMERICAS

Argentina defaults according to S&P as debt talks continue. Argentine debt talks go down to the wire to avert default.

Fury in poverty-stricken Argentina as Cristina Kirchner is accused of spending £20,000 a day having newspapers delivered to her by Presidential jet.

Bolivia declares Israel a terrorist state.

US economic growth speeds up sharply. US economy grows by 4% after harsh winter weather.

Expert: ‘Conflict sharpening tensions’ between American Jews and Palestinians.

El Salvador becomes fifth Latin American country to recall Israel envoy.

Colombian peace talks will fail without government concessions, Farc warns.

Venezuelan officers linked to Colombian cocaine traffickers.

U.S. restricts travel by Venezuelan officials.

House Republicans to vote to sue President Obama.

Sao Paulo told to cut water or risk running out in 100 days.

Chinese cyberattack hits Canada's National Research Council. In rare move, Canada accuses Chinese of trying to hack govt network.

U.S. House votes to condemn Obama for Guantánamo Bergdahl swap.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

How European governments are bankrolling Al Qaeda: Terror organisation has made at least £73million in ransom money secretly paid to free hostages since 2008.

AQAP releases photos of attack on Yemen's military intelligence HQ.

The Islamic State is the newest petrostate.

Shock and terror: Islamic State boasts mass executions in Iraq (GRAPHIC).

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Airbus says aircraft market 'still strong' despite cancellations.

Yukos shareholders: Ready to discuss $50-billion compensation with Russia.

US judge says unable to seize Kurdish oil.

Russia wants Apple, SAP to cooperate against foreign spying.

Diplomats Flee Libya As The Violence Escalates Out Of Control



International Diplomats Evacuate Libya as Violence Escalates -- US News and World Report

French, British and American diplomats are among a growing number withdrawing from a tumultuous Libya.

At least 30 people were killed Tuesday when Libyan militants swarmed a government military base in Benghazi, according to reports. The escalating violence in the region has driven scores of international diplomats out of Libya.

Libyan special forces fled from a Benghazi military station as militants overwhelmed them with rocketfire, according to Reuters. A special forces spokesperson told the news agency militants have since assumed control of the military camp.

Benghazi has been at the epicenter of an ongoing two-week conflict between Libyan special forces and rebel fighters supported by Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia. The groups were linked to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, according to The New York Times.

Read more ....

More News On The Escalating Violence In Libya

France evacuates French and British expats from Libya -- BBC
Seven Britons evacuated by ship from Libya by France, which takes 40 of its nationals out as lawlessness spreads throughout the country -- Daily Mail
France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya -- France 24
UK embassy in Libya remains open as French flee fierce fighting -- The Guardian
'Dozens of bodies' at captured base in Benghazi, Libya -- BBC
Libyan militants seize Benghazi special forces base -- L.A. Times
Libyan militants overrun Benghazi special forces base as chaos deepens -- Reuters
What’s behind Libya’s spiraling violence? -- Frederic Wehrey, Washington Post

Head Of Benghazi Probe Says That No Witnesses Will Be 'Off-Limits'


Head Of Benghazi Probe Says No Witnesses Off Limits, Including Clinton -- FOX News

The Republican head of the Benghazi Select Committee warned Tuesday that no witnesses would be off limits in its upcoming probe and that he would consider going to court, if necessary, to compel testimony.

"I can't skip over a witness that I think we ought to talk to simply because there is an assertion of either privilege or immunity," Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina told Fox News in an exclusive interview.

He said that while he has received good cooperation to date, and the issue had not yet arisen, "if you mean to say that 'not only can they not talk, they don't have to come,' you have to litigate that."

Read more ....

My Comment: This is going to be messy. Benghazi has always been a "hot-potato" for the White House .... as far as they are concerned the case is closed. But for the families who lost loved ones and for House Republicans .... this is only starting.

The Islamic State Is The World's Newest Petrostate

ISIS has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, including all of oil-rich Deir Ezzor. (File photo: Reuters)

The Islamic State Is The Newest Petrostate -- Keith Johnson, Stars and Stripes/Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON — The Islamic State, like many shady and not-so-shady groups before it, are apparently getting into the oil business. And it seems to suit them as they reportedly are making millions of dollars a day off of it.

The militants, who have conquered broad swaths of Iraq and Syria, are turning to good old-fashioned crime -- oil smuggling, in this case -- to underwrite its main line of work. The money it can earn from illicit oil sales further bolsters the group's status as one of the richest self-funded terrorist outfits in the world, dependent not on foreign governments for financial support but on the money its reaped from kidnappings and bank robberies. The group has also managed to steal expensive weaponry that the United States had left for the Iraqi military, freeing it from the need to spend its own money to buy such armaments.

Read more ....

More News On The Islamic State And The Oil Fields That It Controls

UN threatens sanctions on anyone trading oil with ISIS terrorists -- RT
U.N. warns against oil trading with ISIS -- Al Arabiya/Reuters
After ISIS advance, Kurds win back important control over northern Iraq's oil -- PRI
Kurdish security service takes aim at ISIS oil smuggling -- Asharq Al-Awsat
ISIS grabs oil and gas fields in Syria and Iraq, but challenges remain -- Daily Star
NGO: Jihadists sell Syrian oil to Iraqi businessmen -- Al Arabiya
ISIS raises $1 million a day selling crude oil from captured Iraqi oilfields -- Daily Mail
ISIS Makes Up To $3 Million a Day Selling Oil, Analysts Say -- Syria Deeply
The 'oil curse' just became more real: how oil smuggling in financing the ISIS’ operations -- Al Bawaba

The Fight Over Who Owns Iraqi Oil Intensifies Between Baghdad And The Kurdish North

A still image from video taken by a U.S. Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft shows the oil tanker United Kalavyrta (also known as the United Kalavrvta), which is carrying a cargo of Kurdish crude oil, approaching Galveston, Texas, July 25, 2014.

Iraq And Its Kurds Fight Over Oil Tanker Off The Texas Coast -- L.A. Times

A $100-million bonanza of crude oil sits in a tanker off the coast of Galveston, Texas, but moving it to shore has become a knotty foreign policy problem.

Late Monday, a federal court ordered U.S. marshals to seize the cargo of the tanker, the United Kalavrvta, if its more than 1 million gallons of crude oil is brought ashore. The oil is claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurdistan regional government, nominally part of Iraq but locked in an uneasy embrace, especially when it comes to who benefits from oil revenues.

Iraq is divided among Shiite and Sunni Muslims and the Kurds, who have all been fighting over the shape of the new government amid a bloody civil war prompted by the success of the Islamic State. The Kurds have been assertive, particularly about oil revenues, even as the central government has focused on the fighting between Shiites and Sunnis.

Read more ....

More News On The Dispute Between Baghdad And The Kurds Over Who Owns Iraqi Oil

U.S. judge says cannot seize Kurdish crude for now -- Reuters
Judge says US can't seize tanker full of Kurdish oil off Texas coast -- FOX News
US Judge: Kurdish Oil Tanker Outside US Jurisdiction -- VOA
Iraq warns against unloading tanker of Kurdish crude anchored off Galveston -- Fuel Fix
Iraq challenges shipment of Kurdish oil to Texas -- CBS
Kurds Rebut Iraq’s Claim to Crude Oil Cargo Off Texas Coastline -- Bloomberg
Kurdistan Challenges Iraq's Oil Claim -- WSJ
Iraq's Kurds have right to sell oil while squeezed by Baghdad: MP -- Reuters
Iraq’s black market oil fuels sectarian division -- Al Jazeera

Moscow Fights Back After Sanctions

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C) chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, July 30, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Moscow Fights Back After Sanctions; Battle Rages Near Ukraine Crash Site -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Russia fought back on Wednesday over new U.S. and EU sanctions imposed over Ukraine, where fighting between Moscow-backed rebels and government troops has intensified since a Malaysian airliner was shot down.

The confrontation between Moscow and the West entered a new phase this week, with the United States and European Union taking by far the strongest international steps yet against Moscow over its support for Ukraine's rebels.

New EU and U.S. sanctions unveiled on Tuesday restrict sales of arms and equipment for the oil industry, while Russian state banks are barred from raising money in Western capital markets.

Read more ....

More News On Russian Reaction To Sanctions

Russia Defiant in Face of Expanded U.S. and EU Sanctions -- WSJ
Russia takes defiant stance in face of tough EU and US sanctions -- The Guardian
Russia’s central bank vows to support banks hit by new sanctions -- Washington Post
As Sanctions Pile Up, Russians’ Alarm Grows Over Putin’s Tactics -- New York Times
Europe, U.S. Significantly Expand Sanctions Against Russian Economy -- WSJ
Ukraine Welcomes Sanctions, While Russia Belittles Them -- New York Times
New sanctions for Russia—here's where they'll hurt -- CNBC
U.S., EU coordinate on Russia sanctions, but will they work? -- Tom Cohen, CNN

Ukraine's Economy Is Imploding As Fighting In The East Intensifies

Archive © ITAR-TASS/Anton Tushin

Ukraine’s GDP Fall Quickens By 4.7% -- ITAR-TASS

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made a worse Ukrainian GDP falling forecast from five to 6.5% in 2014

IEV, July 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s GDP in the second quarter of 2014 has plummeted 4.7% compared the same period in 2013, Ukrainian State Statistics Service said on Wednesday.

The second quarter’s GDP rate went down 2.3% compared with the first quarter with due account of seasonal factor.

The GDP decline has amounted to 1.1% in the first quarter of this year, the republican service said. The country’s GDP slump has deepened by three percent in the first half of 2014, according to preliminary estimates of the Ministry of Economic Development.

Read more ....

More News On Ukraine's Economy

Ukraine economy shrinks faster as conflict takes its toll -- Reuters
Ukraine’s economy contracts 4 times faster in Q2 losing 4.7% -- RT
Ukraine economy falls further into recession -- The Australian
Ukraine GDP Plunges Most Since 2009 on Fighting, Harvest -- Bloomberg

My Comment: All my friends and family in Ukraine are telling me the same thing .... they are telling their kids to leave the country for a better future. And here am I .... living in Canada .... who dreams of one day moving back.

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 30, 2014


Ukraine Conflict: Army Claims Strategic Town In Donetsk -- BBC

The Ukrainian army says it has seized a key town near the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, as fighting rages in the east.

Pro-Russia separatists were driven out of Avdiivka on Wednesday, the army said. The strategic town is near the airport and train station in Donetsk.

Heavy fighting around Donetsk has again prevented international experts from reaching the crash site of flight MH17.

Meanwhile, Russia said new sanctions were "destructive and short-sighted" and would lead to higher energy prices.

Almost two weeks after the Malaysia Airlines jet came down, international monitors were turned back to the city of Donetsk by separatist amid clashes in the area.

Read more ....

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 30, 2014

Kiev's bloody eastern Ukraine campaign LIVE UPDATES -- RT

Belarus to host Ukraine crisis talks -- The Guardian
Belarus to host Ukraine-Russia talks -- Reuters

Ukraine conflict: Army claims strategic town in Donetsk -- BBC
Ukraine army closes in on Donetsk -- Al Jazeera
Ukraine: fighting closes in on rebel-held Donetsk -- The Telegraph
Shells hit residential buildings, park as Kiev’s forces bombard Donetsk -- RT
Ukraine’s National Guard Shelling Residential Areas in Donetsk – Self-Defense Forces -- RIA Novosti
Ukraine: Shelling of rebel-held Donetsk takes toll on residents -- Euronews
Shells hit Donetsk city centre as civilians killed in east Ukraine fighting -- AP
Heavier weapons on both sides leading to more civilian deaths in Ukraine -- AP
More than 1,000 people killed in Ukraine conflict since April - UN -- Irish Times

Russian Troops, Equipment Continue To Mass Along Ukraine Border: Pentagon -- RTT
US Ambassador: Advanced Weapons on Russia-Ukraine Border -- VOA
Russia Sends More Missiles to Ukraine Separatists -- Military.com
Russia supplying air defense system to separatists: Pentagon -- Zee News
Pentagon: Defense system supplied to Ukraine similar to one that downed airliner -- The Hill

Kiev forces fire ballistic missiles into E. Ukraine – US media -- RT
Russia Concerned by Reports of Kiev Using Ballistic Missiles in Eastern Ukraine -- RIA Novosti

Heavy Fighting Prevents International Experts from Accessing MH17 Crash Site -- RIA Novosti
Observers Turned Back from MH17 Crash Site in Ukraine -- VOA
Ukraine official: Rebels lay mines near crash site -- AP
Ukraine claims rebels planted mines near MH17 site -- CNN

Russia Again Calls for Ukraine Talks to Stop Bloodshed – Lavrov -- RIA Novsoti
‘Situation atrocious’: Russian Red Cross says E. Ukraine faces humanitarian catastrophe -- RT
The Belarusians fighting on both sides of the Ukraine conflict -- The Guardian
Europe's Ground Zero: Fairy Tales and Fabrications in Eastern Ukraine -- Christian Neef, Spiegel Online
Paul Toohey meets the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine — and discusses boxer Kostya Tszyu -- News.com.au

Hamas Military Wing Release Video of Covert Tunnel Raid That Killed Five Israeli Guards



Gaza Crisis: Hamas Military Wing Release Video of Covert Tunnel Raid Which Killed Five IDF Soldiers -- IBTimes

Hamas' military wing has released footage claiming to be its militants entering Israel, via an underground tunnel from the Gaza Strip, and storming an IDF guard post, in an attack which killed five Israeli soldiers.

The unverified video censors the faces and conversations of the militants as they emerge from a tunnel believed to originate in Shejaiya, Gaza and run towards a guard post south of Kibbutz Nahal Oz near Karmi Crossing.

An anti-tank missile and shots are fired. At least one dead IDF soldier is shown. An Israeli rifle captured by the militants is displayed at the end of the video. According to the Times of Israel one Hamas militant also died. The tunnel has reportedly been demolished and the IDF are searching for the gunmen.

Read more ....

Update #1: Hamas' extraordinary propaganda video which claims to show brazen daylight attack on Israeli army watchtower launched from a tunnel with five guards being killed -- Daily Mail
Update #2: Hamas claim attack on Israeli guard post -- Euronews

My Comment: There is going to be retribution for this.

Update: The Israelis have made it clear who they are now going to target .... Israeli Official: We Will ‘Assassinate’ The Leader Of Hamas’ Military Wing -- CBS

Before And After Satellite Images Show The Devastation Of Israel's Bombardment On Gaza

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
Devastation: Using images from before the conflict began and comparing them with ones from July 25, they identified 700 destroyed homes and mosques

Razing Gaza: Before And After Satellite Images Show The True Devastation Of Israel's Bombardment As 700 Homes And Mosques Are Turned To Rubble And 400 Craters Blight The War Zone -- Daily Mail

The obliteration of Gaza from relentless Israeli air strikes and tank shelling was laid bare today in a series of satellite images charting the escalating violence across the region.

Analysis from UN satellite experts reveal how hundreds of buildings have been razed to the ground in a series of attacks that have killed more than 1,300 Palestinians over the last three weeks.

Using images from July 6 - before the conflict began - and comparing them with ones from July 25, they have identified 700 destroyed structures, many of them homes and mosques.

Read more ....

Update #1: Israel-Gaza conflict: The Strip before and after -- The Telegraph
Update #2: Assessing the Damage and Destruction in Gaza -- New York Times
Gaza destruction revealed in UN satellite image

WNU Editor: UNITAR's website is here.

Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 30, 2014



Israeli Military Offers 4-Hour Humanitarian Ceasefire In Gaza -- Reuters

(Reuters) - The Israeli military said on Wednesday it would hold fire unilaterally in limited areas of the Gaza Strip for four hours from 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) for humanitarian purposes, an army statement said.

Hamas described the truce as a media stunt because it only applied to some areas.

"IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has authorised a temporary window in the Gaza Strip. The humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which IDF soldiers are currently operating," the Israeli statement said.

Read more ....

Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 30, 2014

Gaza crisis: UNRWA chief says Israeli strike on school 'source of universal shame' - live -- The Guardian
Israel-Gaza conflict - live -- The Telegraph
Israel launches ground incursion in Gaza Strip LIVE UPDATES -- RT
Gaza Blog Live -- Al Jazeera
LIVE UPDATES: Three more IDF soldiers killed in Gaza fighting, bringing total to 56 -- Haaretz

Gaza: at least 19 killed and 90 injured as another UN school is hit -- The Guardian
Israeli fire kills refugees in Gaza UN school -- Al Jazeera
Gaza strike kills 15, wounds 150 -- Washington Post/AP
Israeli Shells Said to Hit School in Gaza, Killing at Least 20 -- NYT
15 Killed in Gaza Market Airstrike as Temporary Cease-Fire Passes -- Time
Gaza conflict: 'Israeli market strike kills 15' -- BBC
Israeli military offers four-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza -- Reuters
Israel Announces Brief Cease-fire After Shelling UN School -- VOA
Gaza conflict: UN accuses Israel over Jabaliya attack -- BBC
Hamas rockets, Israeli airstrikes slice through 'humanitarian window' -- CNN
UN warned Israel SEVENTEEN TIMES that the school in Jabaliya refugee camp where 16 were killed was housing the displaced. -- Daily Mail
Gaza toll passes 1,300 on day 23 of Israeli assault -- The Daily Star/AFP
1,194 Palestinians Killed as Israel Continues Operation Protective Edge -- RIA Novosti
Rockets continue to target South as IDF observes four-hour 'humanitarian pause' in Gaza -- Jerusalem Post
3 IDF soldiers killed in Gaza on Wednesday -- Jerusalem Post
12 soldiers injured in Gaza clashes -- Jerusalem Post
Israel’s Brigadier General Moti Almoz warns of ‘new Gaza locations’ -- The Australian
Peres: Israel has exhausted military option, Abbas's rule in Gaza must be restored -- Jerusalem Post
The possible exit scenarios emerging from Israel-Hamas deadlock -- CTV/AP

World News Briefs -- July 30, 2014



Israel Announces Brief Cease-fire After Shelling UN School -- Voice of America

GAZA CITY — Palestinian officials say Israel has announced a four-hour humanitarian cease-fire in some areas of the Gaza Strip, in the wake of an Israeli tank attack on a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip that killed at least 19 people.

The cease-fire began at 3:00 p.m. local time (1200) Wednesday. Israel authorized the pause in fighting against Hamas militants, saying it would be limited to parts of the densely populated coastal strip.

Hamas continued to fire rockets, saying it would fight on its own terms, not Israel’s, CNN reported from the scene.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Gaza: at least 19 killed and 90 injured as another UN school is hit. Palestinians claim UN school hit, while Israel announces 4-hour cease-fire for parts of Gaza.

Israeli military offers four-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

Peres: Israel has exhausted military option, Abbas's rule in Gaza must be restored.

Rights group: Syria using barrel bombs, defying UN.

U.S. close to sending largest ever Hellfire missile order to Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdish pipeline stopped; tanker in limbo off Texas.

Turkish women protest against politician who said they shouldn't laugh in public.

ASIA

Deadly clashes hit Xinjiang amid sweeping security crackdown. Chinese authorities tighten security in Xinjiang region after surge in violence.

Exclusive: China's Xi reached deal with former leaders to investigate ex-security chief: sources.

Thai junta to keep tight grip after transfer of power.

Satellite imagery suggests future large N. Korean rocket launch.

Scores trapped in India landslide.

India must decide its role in global trade order: Kerry.

Genocide trial begins for aging Khmer Rouge leaders.

AFRICA

Fourth female suicide bomber hits Nigeria's Kano, kills six.

Egyptian media: 3 militants die in car explosion.

At least 24 dead in Guinea rap concert stampede. Guinea concert stampede kills 33.

Temporary ceasefire near Tripoli blaze, more diplomats flee Libya chaos.

France evacuates nationals in Libya.

Ebola outbreak: pan-African airline halts flights to west African countries.

Nigeria tracking 30,000 people at risk of contracting Ebola.

EUROPE

Ukraine conflict: Army claims strategic town in Donetsk.

Observers turned back from MH17 crash site in Ukraine.

EU and US impose new round of sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

Russia counts cost of new US, EU sanctions. Russia takes defiant stance in face of tough EU and US sanctions.

MH17: vast majority of Russians believe Ukraine downed plane, poll finds.

EU on high alert as Germany agrees to accept Ebola patients. Ebola virus may pose major threat to UK - reports.

Obama names new ambassador to Russia.

AMERICAS

US economic growth speeds up sharply. US economy grows by 4% after harsh winter weather.

Expert: ‘Conflict sharpening tensions’ between American Jews and Palestinians.

El Salvador becomes fifth Latin American country to recall Israel envoy.

Colombian peace talks will fail without government concessions, Farc warns.

Venezuelan officers linked to Colombian cocaine traffickers.

U.S. restricts travel by Venezuelan officials.

Argentine debt talks go down to the wire to avert default.

Fury in poverty-stricken Argentina as Cristina Kirchner is accused of spending £20,000 a day having newspapers delivered to her by Presidential jet.

Sao Paulo told to cut water or risk running out in 100 days.

Chinese cyberattack hits Canada's National Research Council. In rare move, Canada accuses Chinese of trying to hack govt network.

U.S. House votes to condemn Obama for Guantánamo Bergdahl swap.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

How European governments are bankrolling Al Qaeda: Terror organisation has made at least £73million in ransom money secretly paid to free hostages since 2008.

AQAP releases photos of attack on Yemen's military intelligence HQ.

The Islamic State is the newest petrostate.

Shock and terror: Islamic State boasts mass executions in Iraq (GRAPHIC).

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Yukos shareholders: Ready to discuss $50-billion compensation with Russia.

US judge says unable to seize Kurdish oil.

Russia wants Apple, SAP to cooperate against foreign spying.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 30, 2014

The view is shown from a turret of a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle making its way back to Camp Leatherneck after a combat logistics patrol in Afghanistan's Helmand province, July 14, 2014. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alex Roberts

Afghanistan To Cost More Than Marshall Plan, Watchdog Says -- Stars and Stripes

KABUL, Afghanistan — By the time its combat troops depart at the end of 2014, the United States will have appropriated more money trying to fix Afghanistan than it did on the Marshall Plan that helped Europe recover economically after World War II, according to an analysis by a government watchdog.

The comparison in the latest quarterly report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction draws attention to the mixed results of U.S. investments in Afghanistan — $104 billion appropriated since 2002 — versus the success of the Marshall Plan, which is credited with helping to spur the economic revival of Western Europe.

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Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 30, 2014

Questions raised about Afghanistan’s Mobile Strike Force Vehicle fleet -- Washington Post

US Ambassador: Advanced Weapons on Russia-Ukraine Border -- VOA

Armor: More TOWs For Syrian Rebels -- Strategy Page

Israel Deploys Robots to Clear Hamas Tunnels -- Defense Tech

Russia Could Build Mistral-Class Ships on Its Own – Rogozin -- RIA Novosti

Chinese military exercises a 'natural evolution,' US commander says -- Stars and Stripes/Bloomberg

PACOM chief: China spying on RIMPAC brings 'good news' -- Stars and Stripes

PACOM Chief: US Not Worried About Chinese Intel Ship off Hawaiian Coast -- Defense News

Japan practices amphibious landing in Hawaii -- AP

Japan, France Agree on Defense Equipment Cooperation -- Defense News/AFP

Attrition: India Grows Desperate Over Unreliable Russian -- Strategy Page

Google Might Have Accidentally Leaked the Locations of Sensitive Military Bases in India -- Newsweek

'US Looks Forward to Enhance Military-to-Military Ties with India': Top Commander -- NDTV

Emerging Threats Won’t Stop Pacific Pivot: Locklear -- DoD Buzz

'African' stowaway's body found on US military plane raises fears over Ebola virus containment -- Daily Mail

Pentagon Denies 'notion That US Did Nothing' To Help Iraq In Fighting Extremists -- RTT

Dempsey Says Iraq Air Strikes By U.S> Forces Still a Possibility -- Military.com

Some F-35 Flight Restrictions Lifted -- Defense News

U.S. loosens rules for Lockheed F-35, allows faster flight, tighter curves -- Reuters

Analyst: F-35C to Cost $337 Million Apiece in FY15 -- DoD Buzz

General: Air Force already looking ahead to 6th-generation fighter plane -- Stars and Stripes

US Launches Satellites To Spy On Other Countries’ Spacecraft -- Business Insider/Reuters

Feinstein: Interrogations report could be released during recess -- The Hill

Bergdahl could face questioning next week -- The Hill

New VA Secretary McDonald faced with firing VA management -- Stars and Stripes

Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns -- Washington Times

Pentagon: F-22 whistleblower inquiry to finish in August -- Stars and Stripes/Virginian Pilot

Defense Department to oversee Walsh plagiarism probe -- AP

Thank You for Your Service: How One Company Sues Soldiers Worldwide -- Prop Publica

Servicemembers get debt relief after consumer bureau cites predatory lender -- Stars and Stripes

Troops told to refrain from eating, drinking in front of Muslims -- Todd Starnes, FOX News

Murphy's Law: Where MREs Are Really Loved -- Strategy Page

Jesse Ventura awarded $1.8 million in defamation suit -- Stars and Stripes/(Minneapolis) Star Tribune

Phony Navy SEAL buried with military honors -- KIRO-TV

US Military Deaths in Afghanistan at 2,197 -- AP

Is Israel Creating A Buffer Zone In Gaza?


Israel Creates ‘No Man’s Land’ in Gaza, Shrinking Strip by 40 Percent -- Jesse Rosefeld, Daily Beast

To protect itself from Hamas rockets and tunnels, Israel is forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes, turning their old neighborhoods into a no-man’s land.

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza — This narrow strip of land that used to be called “the Gaza Strip,” already one of the more densely populated places on Earth, is growing dramatically smaller. The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory.

What that means on the ground is scenes of extraordinary devastation in places like the Al Shajaya district approaching Gaza’s eastern frontier, and Beit Hanoun in the north. These were crowded neighborhoods less than three weeks ago. Now they have been literally depopulated, the residents joining more than 160,000 internally displaced people in refuges and makeshift shelters. Apartment blocks are fields of rubble, and as I move through this hostile landscape the phrase that keeps ringing in my head is “scorched earth.”

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My Comment: I was afraid of this. Absent an agreement .... a buffer zone will be the result. This is the same policy that Israel employed in southern Lebanon in the 1980s .... they created a buffer zone to keep out Palestinian guerrillas and other militants .... but all that it created was even more war and conflict.

Is Colombia's Peace Talks With FARC About To Collapse?

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos speaks after the signing of agreements at the second day of the 2014 Alianza del Pacifico (Pacific Alliance) political summit in Punta Mita in the Nayarit region, in the West Coast of Mexico, June 20, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez

Colombia President Says 'Demented' FARC Attacks Could End Peace Talks -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos warned on Tuesday that continuing attacks perpetrated by leftist FARC guerrillas, many of which target infrastructure, could bring an end to peace negotiations with the government.

The threat was made weeks after Santos' successful re-election campaign, which made much of agreements he had reached with the rebels on more than half the agenda for peace talks that he initiated in late 2012 to end a half-century of war.

"What we are saying to them is, keep this up and you are playing with fire and this (peace) process can end," Santos said at an industrial event.

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More News On Colombia's Peace Talks With FARC Rebels Is On The Verge Of Collapse

Colombian peace talks will fail without government concessions, Farc warns -- The Guardian
Colombia's Buenaventura on alert after 'rebel' attack -- BBC
Colombia’s Most Important Port Without Electricity after FARC Attac -- Latin American Herald Tribune
Officials Blame Colombia Power Outage on Rebels -- AP
Colombia's Marxist ELN rebels to blame for explosions - police -- The Star

Argentina Hours Away From Default

Graffiti in Buenos Aires says, “No to the payment of the debt.” Hedge funds have won court victories demanding full payment on the bonds. Credit Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

Argentina Hours Away From Bond Default -- BBC

Argentina's economy minister is expected to return to the negotiating table on Wednesday in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the country defaulting on its bonds.

Axel Kicillof's talks with "hold-out" investors ended late on Tuesday night in New York without agreement.

They are demanding a full pay-out of $1.3bn (£766m) on the bonds they hold.

A US judge has ruled that the "hold-outs" must be paid by Wednesday night if no deal is agreed.

But thousands of miles away in Buenos Aires, many are sceptical that there can be any agreement.

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More News On Argentina Being On The Verge Of Default

As Talks Falter, Bond Default by Argentina Appears Likely -- NYT
Argentina talks go long as debt deadline looms -- USA Today/AP
Argentina is about to choose a sovereign default that could wipe out its foreign reserves -- Quartz
How Argentina’s Default May Trigger $29 Billion in Claims -- Bloomberg
It's the end of Argentina as we know it, and the world economy will be just fine -- Heidi Moore, The Guardian
If Argentina Defaults, Then What? -- Mike Cherney, WSJ
The Economist explains: Why Argentina may default on its debts -- The Economist

Top Pentagon Intelligence Chief: US Less Safe Than Several Years Ago And Al Qaeda's Ideology Is Rapidly Expanding

Defense Intelligence Agency director U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn (Reuters / Gary Cameron)

US Is No Safer After 13 Years Of War, A Top Pentagon Official Says -- Anna Mulrine, CSM

The outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency says that new players on the scene are more radical than Al Qaeda, and the core Al Qaeda ideology has lost none of its potency.

The nation is no safer after 13 years of war, warns a top US military official who leads one of the nation’s largest intelligence organizations.

“We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far more extreme than Al Qaeda,” says Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which employs some 17,000 American intelligence collectors in 140 countries around the world.

That the United States is no safer – and in some respects may be less safe – even after two wars and trillions of dollars could prove to be disappointing news for Americans, noted the journalist questioning General Flynn at the Aspen Security Forum last week.

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More News On The Pentagon's Top Intel Chief Saying That The US Is Less Safe Than Several Years Ago

US Less Safe Than Several Years Ago, Top Intelligence Official Says -- ABC News
DIA Chief: Al Qaeda Ideology Rapidly Expanding -- Washington Free Beacon
DIA Chief: Terrorists, Their Ideology Are 'Exponentially Growing' -- Newsmax

Last Hiroshima Bomb Crew Member Of Enola Gay Dies At 93


Last Crewman Of U.S. Plane That Dropped First Atomic Bomb Is Dead At 93 -- CNN

(CNN) -- Nearly 69 years ago, Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk navigated a U.S. B-29 Superfortress called the Enola Gay over Hiroshima, Japan, on a sunny August day. Once over its target, the Enola Gay unloaded the first atomic bomb dropped in war.

A single bomb blast killed some 140,000 people and helped end World War II -- and pushed the world suddenly into the nuclear era.

On Monday, Van Kirk died of natural causes at the Park Springs retirement community in Stone Mountain, Georgia, according to his eldest daughter Vicki Triplett.

He was 93.

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More News On The Last Hiroshima Bomb Crew Member Of Enola Gay Dying At 93

Theodore Van Kirk, 93, Enola Gay Navigator, Dies -- New York Times
Last Hiroshima bomb crew member Theodore VanKirk dies. -- The Australian/AP
Last U.S. crew member of Hiroshima bomber dies - reports -- Reuters
Last surviving Hiroshima bomb crew member dies -- BBC
Theodore Van Kirk, last crew member of Enola Gay, dies in US aged 93 -- The Guardian
Last Survivor of Enola Gay Crew Dies -- VOA

Top U.S. Negotiator: No Firm Deadline On A Nuclear Deal With Iran



U.S. Nuclear Negotiator Declines Setting Deadline On Iran Deal -- Reuters

(Reuters) - The lead U.S. nuclear negotiator declined to give a final deadline on Tuesday for negotiating a final nuclear agreement with Iran, but said participants mean to finish the international talks at the end of the current four-month extension.

"Our intent is absolutely to end this on Nov. 24 in one direction or another. But what I can say to you is we will consult Congress along the way," Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of State for political affairs, said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Iran and six world powers agreed to extend nuclear talks, and the temporary agreement, by four months after they failed to reach a July 20 deadline for a long-term deal. The deal would gradually lift sanctions, which have crippled Iran's economy, in exchange for curbs on Tehran's atomic program.

Read more ....

More News On The Top U.S. Negotiator Not Committing To A Firm Deadline On A Nuclear Deal With Iran

US: No Commitment to End Date for Iran Nuclear Talks -- VOA
U.S. negotiator refuses to give hard deadline for Iran deal -- CBS/AP
Top U.S. Negotiator Stops Short Of Giving Hard Deadline For Iran Negotiations -- Radio Free Europe
US tells Congress new sanctions could derail Iran deal talks -- Al Monitor
U.S. Lawmakers Demand a Voice in Iran Talks’ Outcome -- Bloomberg Businessweek

Chief U.S. negotiator says Iran talks ‘the most complex negotiation I've ever seen’ -- CNN
U.S. sees "significant", "steady" progress in Iran nuke talks -- Xinhuanet
US sees 'steady' progress in Iran n-talks -- Business Standard

My Comment: After making a splash last year that they now had a firm commitment from Iran on a nuclear deal by the middle of this year .... the U.S. now no longer sees a firm date as being important in the negotiations. Who do they think they are fooling? I have been saying the same thing in this blog for almost 5 years .... another 5 months .... another 5 years .... it is not going to make a difference. As long as Iran's Spiritual Leader is committed to having a nuclear enrichment program .... a nuclear deal will not be worth the paper that it is on.

Update: These U.S. lawmakers are right .... Lawmakers Voice Skepticism on Iran Nuclear Deal -- New York Times