Archive for the ‘World News’ Category

Plane Crashes in Afghanistan with 43 on Board

May 17, 2010

17/05/2010 An Afghan passenger plane carrying 43 people in an internal flight between Kunduz and Kabul has crashed Monday in bad weather in mountainous area of northern Afghanistan. It was not immediately clear whether there were any survivors.

The government said the aircraft lost radio contact in the Hindu Kush mountains about 30 kilometers from the capital. It was carrying 38 passengers and five crew, said interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary. Six passengers were foreigners.

“I can confirm that a Pamir Airways plane has crashed over the Salang mountains with 38 passengers and five crew members on board,” Bashary said.
The Antonov 24, which is a Soviet-made turboprop plane, crashed because of bad weather, said Yalda Natiq, director of communications at the Afghan transport ministry.

According to a passenger list obtained by AFP from the Pamir Airways office in Kunduz, six foreigners, including a woman, boarded the plane. There were 35 men and three women, according to the name list.
The Afghan authorities said the nationalities of the foreigners were unclear. The US embassy was “investigating” their identities, a spokesman said.
The Afghan government dispatched a team to the mountains to find the wreckage and search for survivors.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was assisting, but that poor weather made the search difficult.
“A manned ISAF fixed-wing aircraft has been dispatched to the last known position of the missing plane. However, the poor weather conditions in the area are hampering the aerial search,” the military said.
“Two ISAF helicopters are en route to the area. Other ISAF helicopters are also on standby… to assist in any rescue effort,” it said.




Blast hits Iraq football match

May 15, 2010

May 14, 2010

Suicide bombers have struck a football match in northern Iraq, leaving at least 25 people dead and many more wounded.

The blast targeted a game taking place in the town of Tal Afar, around 60km west of the city of Mosul.

A local police official said a car bomb exploded at about 6pm local time (1500GMT) near a crowd of spectators.

As people fled the scene of the first blast, two more bombers activated explosive belts in the crowd, other sources said.

Local hospital officials put the number of injured at 125.

“Many people were gathered to watch the match,” Hussein Nashad, who witnessed the attack, told the AFP news agency. “We heard a loud explosion and the people behind me shielded me from the shrapnel.

“I ran away, but then I heard someone shout ‘Allahu-akbar’ (God is greatest), and then there was another explosion,” he said, speaking from hospital where he was being treated for shock.

‘Dark days’

Many of the wounded were taken by ambulance to Dahuk, 95km away, because local hospitals were unable to cope with the influx of wounded spectators.

Tal Afar is a predominantly Shia Turkomen town and has been a regular target for suicide bombers in the past.

Speaking from Baghdad, Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr said that the area is a former al-Qaeda stronghold. “There was no claim of responsibility for the Tal Afar attack but authorities are pointing the finger at al-Qaeda,” she said.

Friday’s attacks follow blasts in the city last October and July that left dozens of people dead. In March 2007, 152 people were killed when truck bombs targeted markets in the town.

The violence came as the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq said that a campaign of attacks against the country’s Shia community was under way, warning the community that “dark days soaked with blood” lay ahead.

Al-Nasser Lideen Allah Abu Suleiman was named as the group’s new ‘minister of war’ earlier on Friday.

The bombing comes as Iraq reels from a series of co-ordinated attacks carried out in 10 cities on Monday which left 119 people dead.

There are fears that the political deadlock following Iraq’s inconclusive election two months ago is fuelling a new wave of sectarian violence.

:: Article nr. 65994 sent on 15-may-2010 00:03 ECT


:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.BACK to

Senate panel approves money for Afghan, Iraq wars

May 15, 2010

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Senate committee on Thursday approved another $33.5 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq this year, although some members said they did so reluctantly.

The action by the Senate Appropriations Committee is the first step toward congressional approval of the extra war spending that President Barack Obama requested in February to support his surge of 30,000 more U.S. troops into Afghanistan.

But the money still must be approved by the full Senate and also by the House of Representatives, where the majority Democrats are split over the wisdom of continuing the wars.

The Senate panel unanimously approved $33.5 billion for the Pentagon for the two wars and a little under $4 billion for the State Department to help fund a “civilian stabilization strategy” to deliver more economic aid to Afghanistan as well as neighboring Pakistan.

Chairman Daniel Inouye said he hoped the Senate would act on the legislation by the end of May. The money comes on top of about $130 billion that Congress already approved for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars through September 30 of this year.

Senator Barbara Mikulski said she had “grave questions” about spending so much in Afghanistan given that its president is “running the second-most corrupt country in the world.”

While U.S. troops are fighting in Afghanistan, “the Chinese are building railroads and buying up mining interests” there, Mikulski added. But she voted for the bill.

Senator Patrick Leahy, another Democrat, echoed her concerns.

“Every cent we’ve been spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve been borrowing from others, particularly the Chinese,” he said. “It’s very, very hard to justify some of the spending for either place.”

In addition to fully funding Obama’s troop surge for Afghanistan, the Pentagon funds included money to help train and equip Afghan and Iraqi security forces — $2.6 billion and $1 billion, respectively.

It also included $1.1 billion for mine-resistant vehicles known as MRAPs.

The appropriations committee added money for other projects to the bill, including:

— $13 billion for benefits for Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.

— $2.8 billion requested by the Obama administration for relief and reconstruction for Haiti after its devastating earthquake on January 12.

— $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Everyone should be advised that the … agency is out of funding for disaster relief,” Inouye said.

— $400 million for relief from recent floods from Tennessee to Rhode island.

— $68 million to help address the impact of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Editing by John O’Callaghan)

:: Article nr. 65984 sent on 14-may-2010 20:27 ECT


:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


Iraq: water formerly a blessing, increasingly a problem

May 15, 2010

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Millions of people in Iraq cannot get clean water or water in sufficient quantity. The ICRC is doing its best to improve access to safe water. This is an update on ICRC activities carried out in Iraq in March and April.

The Tigris and the Euphrates, which supply the bulk of Iraq’s water, are slowly dwindling and in some areas can no longer be used as a reliable source of drinking water. Across the country, the shrinking of the rivers is having serious consequences on the functioning of water treatment plants. It also affects underground aquifers, where the salt content of the water is increasing. This water is often unfit for human consumption or even for agricultural use.

The volatile security situation in some areas and the rising price of fuel have put additional strain on already scarce services, as have population growth and displacement. In many places, the strain is further compounded by a lack of qualified engineers and staff able to maintain and repair water and sanitation facilities. Many farming communities were hard hit by the drought that struck northern Iraq in 2008. Average rainfall over the past 10 years has been far lower than in previous decades. In the north, water supply systems fed by springs and shallows aquifers have been depleted and often have less water available to meet demand. Although rainfall has been better in many places during 2009 and 2010, low water-levels continue to affect agriculture production, meaning Iraq needs to import more rice and wheat. With less water of sufficient quality generally available, management of the existing resources is key.

Because large suburban residential areas have sometimes developed without adequate infrastructure, and certain sewage treatment plants are bypassed, wastewater is discharged untreated into rivers and lakes. Ditches and ponds filled with foul-smelling polluted water blight many neighbourhoods. The United Nations recently estimated that around 83% of sewage is being let into rivers and waterways.

Water treatment and distribution facilities are also disrupted by persistent power shortages. Iraq is currently producing around 6,000 megawatts of electricity a day, while demand is estimated at 10,000 megawatts. Health, water and sewage facilities and other infrastructure in many parts of the country still rely on back-up generators to meet their need for electric power.

Water distribution systems that are old or badly maintained are further weakened by illegal connections and substandard plumbing within households. Leakages cause large amounts of wasted water and frequent contamination. According to the United Nations, nearly half of Iraqis in rural areas are without safe drinking water. The Iraqi government estimates that 24% of Iraqis in the country as a whole, or nearly one in four, do not have access to safe water.

“Reliable access to enough water of sufficient quality remains a major challenge for large parts of the population”, said Julien Le Sourd, the ICRC’s water and habitat coordinator in Iraq. “The ICRC is doing its utmost to improve this by repairing and upgrading water supply and sewage systems. We do this in partnership with the authorities and we are also providing training for maintenance staff working in water treatment plants.”

In March and April, ICRC water engineers:

completed work at the Ashty water station, in Erbil governorate, which provides safe drinking water for around 10,000 people living in nearby villages;

built an emergency unit in the 50-bed Qala’t Salih Hospital in Missan governorate;

upgraded the storage capacity for drinking water and for water used in the cooling system in Medical City Hospital, Baghdad. The hospital can accommodate 1,400 patients and treats around 10,000 outpatients per day;

renovated a primary health-care centre serving around 400 patients in Sadr City, Baghdad;

connected the school of al Rahma camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Najaf City, which has 1,000 pupils and teachers, to the municipal water and electricity supply networks;

supplied and installed a new mortuary refrigerator with a capacity of 12 corpses in Beiji General Hospital, in Salah Al Din governorate;

delivered water by truck to 4,500 displaced people in Sadr City and to 340 in Husseinia and Ma’amil, Al Imam Ali General Hospital and Fatma al Zahra Hospital, all in Baghdad governorate, and to 360 in Qalawa Quarter camp in Sulaimaniya;

installed equipment used to fill water bags for distribution during emergencies at Al Wathba water treatment plant in Baghdad;

repaired the Hindiyah water treatment plant in Karbala, which supplies water to around 125,000 people;

installed a large-capacity pump in al Fadhliya water treatment plant, Thi Qar governorate, providing drinking water for 82,000 people.

assessed, in cooperation with Iraqi Correctional Services engineers, 11 detention facilities under the authority of the Ministry of Justice, evaluating needs and recommending improvements for the delivery of essential services (water, electricity, sewage).

Bringing aid to vulnerable people

The ICRC maintained its support for people facing special difficulty earning a living and supporting their families, such as women heading households, people with disabilities and displaced people:

more than 2,300 displaced families headed by women in Diyala, Salah Al-Din and Ninawa governorates were given monthly food parcels and hygiene items;

around 2,100 people displaced in March from Mosul to Hamdanya and Tilkaif were given food parcels and rice;

61 disabled people in Erbil, Dohuk and Ninawa governorates were given micro-economic aid enabling them to start small businesses and regain economic self-sufficiency. A total of 459 disabled people have now received such aid in a programme that started in 2008.

Assisting hospitals and physical rehabilitation centres

Iraqi health facilities still benefit from ICRC support. To help disabled people reintegrate into the community, the ICRC provides limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation services. In March and April:

six hospitals and three primary health-care centres received medical supplies and equipment;

25 doctors and 28 nurses successfully took part in a training course on strengthening emergency services given at Al Sadr Teaching Hospital in Najaf and at Sulaimaniya Emergency Hospital;

two people from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research involved in the teaching of prosthetics and orthotics went to the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics in the United Kingdom under ICRC sponsorship for advanced training.

Visiting detainees

ICRC delegates continued to visit detainees in order to monitor the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they receive. In all cases, the ICRC shares its findings and recommendations in confidence with the detaining authorities. In March and April, the ICRC visited detainees held:

in Counter-Terrorism Directorate and Tasfirat Najaf, in Najaf governorate;

in Mina and Samawa prisons, Basra governorate;

in Counter-Terrorism Directorate, Kirkuk governorate;

in US custody, in Remembrance II, Baghdad governorate;

in four prisons and one police station in Erbil, Dohuk and Sulaimaniya governorates.

Around 1,550 detainees held in Hilla I & II Correctional Facilities were given mattresses and recreational items such as ping-pong tables, soccer balls and volleyballs.

The ICRC makes a special effort to restore and maintain ties between detainees and their families. In March, it arranged for six Iraqi families to enter Kuwait and visit their relatives detained there since 1991. In addition, around 10,500 Red Cross messages were exchanged between detainees and their families in Iraq and abroad during the month of March.

During March and April, the ICRC responded to more than 3,600 enquiries from families seeking information on detained relatives. It also issued 220 certificates to former detainees making them eligible to receive social welfare benefits.

At the request of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the ICRC issued 73 travel documents for Palestinian refugees in Iraq to enable them to resettle abroad.

Clarifying what happened to missing people

The ICRC supports the authorities in their efforts to clarify what happened to those who went missing in connection with the Iran-Iraq War and the 1990-1991 Gulf War. It also helps train forensic professionals in the identification and management of mortal remains and regularly supplies equipment. In the past two months:

the Technical Sub-Committee of the Tripartite Commission, handling cases of persons missing in connection with the 1990-1991 Gulf War, held its 64th session in Kuwait, which was chaired by the ICRC and attended by representatives from Iraq, Kuwait and the 1990-1991 Coalition (the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Saudi Arabia). Nine samples of human remains were handed over by the Iraqi to the Kuwaiti delegation for DNA analysis in an effort to determine if they belonged to missing Kuwaiti nationals. The sub-committee will hold a special meeting on forensics in Kuwait in May;

mortal remains of Iraqi soldiers were repatriated from Kuwait under ICRC auspices.

Promoting international humanitarian law

In line with its mandate, the ICRC promotes compliance with international humanitarian law and reminds parties to a conflict of their obligation to protect civilians. In March and April, the ICRC organized a series of seminars and presentations on international humanitarian law for various audiences all over Iraq.

:: Article nr. 65997 sent on 15-may-2010 02:50 ECT


:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


Afghan civilian shot dead during protest against NATO over killing civilians

May 15, 2010

Afghans said between nine and 15 civilians had been killed in the overnight raid [Reuters]

Afghans angry at ‘civilian deaths’

May 14, 2010

One person has been shot dead by police as hundreds of protesters took to the streets in eastern Afghanistan, accusing Nato-led forces of killing civilians during an overnight raid near the city of Jalalabad.

Angry Afghans set fire to tyres and blocked roads in the Surkh Road district of Nangahar province on Friday, demanding an explanation for the deaths.

Witnesses told Al Jazeera that between nine and 15 civilians had been killed in the Nato attack. Mohammed Arish, a government administrator in Surkh Rod, said a father and his four sons and four members of another family were among the dead.

“They are farmers. They are innocent. They are not insurgents or militants,” Arish told The Associated Press by phone.

Arish said the protesters had tried to march toward the provincial capital of Jalalabad before being turned back by police.

The Nangahar governor’s office said at least three people were injured during a clash with police.

‘Taliban firefight’

A Nato spokesman confirmed foreign and Afghan forces had conducted some operations in the area but said he was not aware of any civilian deaths and the alliance was checking the incident.

“Nato and Isaf said they were targeting Taliban sub-commanders and some fighters which their intelligence said were hiding in a compound outside a village”

Hoda Abdel Hamid, Al Jazeera correspondent

Colonel Wayne Shanks said eight Taliban fighters were killed in a firefight, adding that fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades at Nato forces.

Two other people were captured during the operation, and weapons and communications gear were confiscated at the targeted compound, Shanks said.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid reporting from Kabul said international forces and Afghan troops were flown to the area by helicopters overnight and carried out the raid.

“According to a Nato and Isaf [International Security Assistance Force] statement they were targeting Taliban sub-commanders and some fighters which their intelligence said were hiding in a compound outside a village.

“But the villagers said none of those killed had anything to do with the Taliban, that all of them were innocent civilians and members of two different families.”

Sensitive issue

Civilian deaths at the hands of US and Nato forces are a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan.

Last year public outrage over such deaths led General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato commander, to tighten the rules on combat if civilians are at risk.

He also ordered allied forces to avoid night raids when possible and bring Afghan troops with them if they do enter homes after dark.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, discussed the issue in meetings with US officials in Washington this week. He has previously sought a complete ban on night raids.

“Civilian casualties is not only a political problem … I don’t want civilian casualties,” Barack Obama, the US president, said on Wednesday after meeting Karzai.

“I take no pleasure in reading a report where there is a civilian casualty. That’s not why I am president, that’s not why I am commander in chief.”

Last year was the deadliest for Afghan civilians since the war started in 2001, according to the United Nations.

Afghan officials say about 170 Afghan civilians were killed between the months of March and April this year alone, an increase of 33 per cent compared to the same period last year.

:: Article nr. 65996 sent on 15-may-2010 00:26 ECT


:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


The Cover–up: BP’s Crude Politics And The Looming Environmental Mega–Disaster

May 14, 2010

Gulf of Mexico worst Case Scenarios– Coming Fast with Possible Terrorist Tie-in

This is a horror story which will become so much worse, it will become the dominant news story for the forseeable future. It includes Haliburton, the release of unprecedented geologic forces and a potential world wide catastrophe, not only ecologically, but much more, especially if the river of oil spewing from the deepwater, hyper-pressurized sea-floor opening reaches the gulf stream, which will quickly spread it all the way up the
east coast and beyond, possibly even to Europe.

NOAA projection of oil spread.

image and caption from wikipedia

The prime players are:

* BP– owner of the oil field and the leaking Macondo Prospect well,
* Transocean corporation, owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig– a rig which, last year drilled the world’s deepest deepest oil/gas well in BP’s Gulf of MexicoTiber Oilfield, at a depth of 35,000 feet. The company has merged with and acquired numerous companies over its history and is now registered as a Swiss corporation, with it’s principal office in Houston Texas.
* Haliburton corporation, which was acting as a subcontractor, cementing the well head to the sea-floor.
* Hyundai Heavy IndustriesinUlsan, South Korea. which built the Deepwater Horizon

The well that is now spewing the oil is located atMacondo Prospect.Wikipedia reports that “Macondo Prospectis the name given to an oil and gas prospect located in Block MC (Mississippi Canyon) 194 in theGulf of Mexico. Ownership is 65% byBP, 25% byAnadarko Petroleum Corporation(owned bySouthern Union Company, which strangely, does not have a listing in wikipedia, It’s CEO isGeorge L. Lindemann, ranked byForbesin 2006 as one of the 400 wealthiest families) and 10% by a unit of Mitsui. Forbes reported on April 21 that the well was drilling in rock 18,000 feet down when there may have been a blowout.

Underestimation seems to be the pattern here. Reportssuggest that if the pipe the oil is gushing from, already believed to be kinked, breaks, and if the wellhead fails, the amount of oil gushing out could rise from the lower current estimates of 200,000 to one million gallons a day to up to six million gallons a day. Exon-Valdez’s damage was caused by a total of 11 million gallons released. For all we know, the amount released could already be far more than the 200,000 gallon a day estimate. suggests that rather than considering this a “spill” it be considered a”river of oil.”

This is not your ordinary well. TheDeepWater Horizon semi submersible drilling rig, operated on behalf of BP byTransocean Corporation (9 of the 11 workers who died were Transocean employees) had the history of having dug the deepest well ever, in a nearby Gulf field also owned by BP. This well breaks ground 5000 feet below the surface and then drills down thousands of feet more, hitting a highly compressed reservoir of oil that is now gushing upwards like water a super-pressurized fire-hose. Replace any visualizations you may have of a trickle of leaking oil with an image of a hyper-pressurized river of oil ballistically billowing, explosively from a hole in the sea-floor Haliburton was commissioned to properly seal.

Without the controls on the release of the oil at the top of the platform, the oil is rushing through faster than it would have, with more sand, more abrasion eroding the pipes. The pipes are more likely to break. The worst case is if the wellhead breaks, unleashing the full flow of this well. Consider that pressures 5000 feet below the surface are enough to pulverize a human. Then consider that the well is tapping a a petroleum field even deeper, below the surface of the earth, with even greater pressures pushing it up, out of the mile-deep sea floor.

The oil that is released is quickly moving further from the source and could and probably will start moving up the east coast. If that happens, it could get into the gulf stream which could make it a far wider reaching disaster that touches all of the eastern US coastal states and Canadian provinces.

Then, there’s the question of the cause of the explosion. One source, of questionable reliability, TheEuropean Union Timessuggests that the platform explosion was caused by a North Korean Mini-sub, launched on April 20th from a ship which departed Cuba on April 18th and then deviated far from it’s scheduled course to Venezuela. The article speculates that theTransocean Corporation which owns and operated platform, has ties to South Korea through Hyuundai holdings in the company, so this was an attack by N. Korea on it’s enemy, South Korea. The article also speculates that this will force Obama to make a decision to use a nuclear warhead to close the uncontrolled leaking well. Use of a nuclear bomb, for any reason, will hurt Obama’s recent efforts to reduce Nuclear weapon ownership worldwide. Note that this article is not corroborated and claims to be privy to Russian and Japanese reports.

Even if the EU Times article is pure conspiracy theory, the fact is, the world faces a catastrophic situation that cannot be waited out. It is already at a regional catastrophic level. It could, within days or weeks become a hemispheric catastrophic event. Just this fact forces us to take a closer look at all the parties involved, not just BP, which leased the platform.

There is a site that was created in response to the disaster,,set up by a company that does emergency media responses, It displays, at the header of the site, logos from several US agencies, BP and Transocean corporation.

The EPA has also created a site to cover news and developments relating to the gulf disaster.

Randall Amster, writing in the Huiffingtonpost, discusses a Haliburton connection, in an article titled, Was the Gulf Oil Spill an Act of War? You Betcha:

As arecent articlein theHuffington Postnotes:

“Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast,the Wall Street Journal reports. Though the investigation into the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its early stages, drilling experts agree that blame probably lies with flaws in the ‘cementing’ process — that is, plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon.”

The Los Angeles Timessubsequently reported that members of Congress have called on Halliburton “to provide all documents relating to ‘the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work’ by May 7.” A YouTube video(which is actually mostly audio) more bluntly asserts that “Halliburton Caused Oil Spill,” and notes the fact — confirmed by Halliburton’s ownpress release– that its employees had worked on the final cementing “approximately 20 hours prior to the incident.” Interestingly, one commenter on the YouTube video notes how “that would conveniently explain the North Korean story; [Halliburton] may have leaked this story to the press to divert attention away from alleged negligence.” Wouldn’t that just be the ultimate? Halliburton spawns the calamity but pins it on North Korea, and then the nation goes to war whereby Halliburton “cleans up” through billions in war-servicing contracts.

The LA Times reports that Halliburton’s connection to the Deepwater Horizon disaster was it’s role in cementing the connection of the well’s casings to the sea-floor– an essential step in securing a well. It is also a step that is fraught with danger and the LA times article reports,

“Cementing a deep-water drilling operation is a process fraught with danger. A 2007 study by the U.S. Minerals Management Service found that cementing was the single most important factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period — more than equipment malfunction.

The Transocean Corporation website lists 139 drilling units it owns. The one DeepWater Horizon drill rig has been reported to cost over $600 million. Any extrapolation of the numbers for a fleet of such rigs makes it clear that Trans-ocean corporation is a very big company. But you might consider transocean to be the like a rental car company. BP owns the well and the oil field and it was using the Transocean drilling rig. Haliburton was doing a sub-contractor job, cementing the casings of the well. Now, the BP’s well is leaking, or worse, the hole it opened up is gushing oil at super-high pressure, from an uncontrolled rent in the seafloor.

A bit of Oil Spill disaster history.
The second worst Oil well spill took place in the gulf of Mexico in 1980. The Ixtoc 1, in Mexican waters, owned by Petroleos Mexicanos well leaked three million barrells of oil and took nine months to cap. It took two months for oil to wash onto Texas shores.

The worst spill was intentional, done by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait, where over 10 million barrels were released into the Persian gulf.

TheReportcited above suggests that the leak from the BP Macondo Prospect well could hit 150,000 barrels per day. If it takes nine months to cap the BP Macondo Prospect well, then the “spill” could exceed 40 million barrels. Estimates of the oil fields suggest 10-15 BILLION barrels of oil in these deposits.

Considering Terrorism, Accidents and Catastrophic Consequences
Let’s talk about that report of a N. Korean connection. It’s from an obscure site using more obscure un-linked sources. The conspiracy-theory prone will love it. But let’s not totally rule out it, or some other potential nefarious intentioned actions. When we start looking into what a leak of a major well can do to damage the US, then questions about targeting of a gulf well, and defense and security for any gulf well become reasonable. What security was in place for that well and all the other wells in the Gulf? What analysis and plans did Homeland Security have for either accidents or intentional attacks on wells that, if damaged, could wreak such devastating consequences.

What kinds of resources would be required to break through whatever security defenses were in place? Who might have those resources?

Now we face an unprecedented catastrophe with world wide consequences and effects. How much preparation and planning has gone into anticipating it, dealing with it?

If this river of oil gets worse, who knows the permanent or long term damage on vast swathes of ocean will be? Who knows how much damage will be done to breeding grounds and hatcheries of sea life and the birds that live off that sea life before they play a role in pollination and seed distribution. From the bottom up, the affects of this one “spill” upon the people and environment and life in the US, this catastrophy is huge and the effects will be enormous. Already delays and underestimation of the problem have allowed delays that are bad news.

We’re not hearing much about BP’s efforts to close the leaks or cap the well. At a potential 10-15 billion barrels, we’re talking about a field that could ultimately yield over a trillion dollars worth of oil. That means BP and it’s two partners will look at salvaging the field and perhaps weigh that consideration over the risks to the environment and all the jobs the oil damage will cause.

It’s essential that Barack Obama take over operations immediately, directing BP on what to do. There’s a possibility that an alternate well can be drilled that would shunt the flow of the oil and control the flow. If that’s even possible, who knows how long that will take?

There’s another consideration. It’s part of that N. Korean conspiracy theory narrative– the use of a nuclear warhead to close the leak. It’s an extreme reaction. We know so little about what effect that will have– a tsunami or tidal wave? Massive destruction of sea life? Radioactive seawater producing radioactive shrimp and oysters and all the fish that commercial fisherman out of Louisiana catch? Use a nuke or allow the river of oil to flow into and up the Gulf until it is moved all the way to Europe. This is a no-win situation. What if a nuclear explosion sets off other geological activity or worsens the oil release? What if Obama looks at the nuclear option and decides it’s a good idea because there are a lot of red-mean Americans who like fireworks who would love to have the US explode a nuclear weapon in their lifetime?

We live in an ever shrinking world where decisions in one place affect more and more of us. This catastrophy shows us just how risky our dependence on oil has become. While we struggle with and face this major test, we should remember that the need for oil is becoming a more and more danger producing factor on this planet and we should do all we can to end our dependence upon it as soon as possible.

Author’s Bio:
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), President of Futurehealth, Inc, inventor . He is also published regularly on the
With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 200 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero’s journey, Positive Psychology, Stress, Biofeedback and a wide range of subjects. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. He recently retired as organizer of several conferences, including StoryCon, the Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story and The Winter Brain Meeting on neuro-feedback, biofeedback, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology. See more of his articles here and, older ones, here.
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Mexico’s Calderon to protest Arizona law to Obama

May 14, 2010

MEXICO  CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Felipe Calderon will protest to U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington next week about Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants, Calderon told Reuters on Thursday.

Calderon said a law that will come into force in Arizona in July, requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the United States illegally, was already affecting relations between the two neighbors.

“It contains elements that are frankly discriminatory, terribly backward,” Calderon told Reuters in an interview.

He said he would bring Mexico’s protest over the law to a meeting with Obama and in front of the U.S. Congress during an official visit to Washington next week.

“The fact the law has introduced, regardless of all the nuances being used, the possibility of detaining, arresting somebody on the grounds of their physical appearance implies one of the most serious reversals that I remember,” he said.

The move by Arizona, which borders Mexico, has sparked outraged protests, pushed some U.S. states to seek economic boycotts of Arizona and pushed the immigration debate in the United States into the political foreground.

There are an estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants, mostly from Latin America, in the United States.

Mexico, which sends 80 percent of its exports to the United States and has millions of citizens working there legally or illegally, has condemned the legislation, issued a warning for Mexicans living or traveling there, and asked its consulates in Arizona to offer Mexicans legal protection.

Asked if the law could affect bilateral relations, Calderon said: “It is affecting it, sadly, it is affecting it.”

Obama has denounced the law as misguided, and the storm over it has boosted a drive by the president and Senate Democrats to overhaul federal immigration laws, something Mexico has been pushing for years, to better immigrant rights.

“It’s a very sensitive issue on both sides of the border but I know President Obama’s will (to do something) and we are both doing, and will do, more to avoid this really affecting relations,” Calderon said.

By Catherine Bremer and Adriana Barrera

(Editing by Sandra Maler)


South Africa: Govt to Support Tripoli Plane Crash Families

May 14, 2010

13 May 2010

Pretoria — The Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Thursday said it was going to support the family members and relatives of those who died in a tragic plane crash in Tripoli, Libya, on Wednesday morning. At least seven South Africans are said to have been killed in the plane crash.

The crash killed 103 people, including 11 crew members. A 10-year-old boy miraculously survived the disaster and merely suffered a broken leg. Department spokesperson, Dayanand Naidoo, said government was still waiting for a passenger list from Libyan authorities, adding that the department had established an Emergency Call Centre (on 012 351 -1000) to assist family members with information they required.

The Afriqiyah Airways flight was travelling from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to London’s Gatwick Airport via Libya when it exploded and disintegrated shortly before landing in Tripoli. Details about the recovery of the remains of the deceased are still unknown.

According to the department, this will be done once family members had identified their loved ones. The airline confirmed that 59 Dutch, seven South Africans, two Libyans, two Austrians, one German, one Zimbabwean, one French national, two British nationals, 17 Unknown (to be notified upon confirmation) and 11 Crew members (Libyan nationalities) were killed.

Copyright © 2010 BuaNews. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (


Russia warns U.S. against unilateral Iran sanctions

May 13, 2010

.MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the United States and other Western nations on Thursday against imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Interfax news agency reported.

The European Union has said it may impose unilateral sanctions if a U.N. Security Council resolution fails.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has been lobbying Western companies not to do business with Iran, but has not imposed sanctions against them.

Countries facing Security Council sanctions “cannot under any circumstances be the subject of one-sided sanctions imposed by one or other government bypassing the Security Council”, Lavrov was quoted as saying by Interfax.

“The position of the United States today does not display understanding of this absolutely clear truth.”

Russia is in talks with the United States and other U.N. Security Council members on a fourth round of sanctions. Moscow has indicated it could support broader sanctions but has stressed they must not harm the Iranian people.

Washington has not publicly warned of unilateral sanctions but has made clear it wants tougher measures than veto-wielding Security Council member Russia is likely to accept.

Permanent Security Council member China has joined Russia in opposing Washington’s plans to impose tough, wide-ranging sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activity and open up fully to U.N. nuclear inspections.

Lavrov’s warning came just before the arrival in Russia on Thursday of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, a non-permanent member of the Security Council that is also opposed to further sanctions against Iran.

Lula was expected to meet senior Russian officials on Friday to discuss how to revive a stalled nuclear fuel swap deal meant to minimize the risk of Tehran using enrichment for military purposes. Lula will travel on to Iran on Sunday.

Lavrov, speaking to deputies from Russia’s upper house of parliament, said the United States tended not to see international law as having pre-eminence over national laws.

“We are now confronted with this problem during discussion of a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran.”

Despite his criticism, Lavrov said that relations with the United States had shown clear signs of improvement, specifically with the signing of a nuclear-disarmament treaty that would reduce their deployed nuclear warheads by about 30 percent.

He said the document would soon be submitted to Russia’s parliament for ratification.

(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Thu May 13, 6:34 am ET