Current Events

Ebola Crisis Spreads

Herald Sun reported on July 31:

“A leading medical charity has warned that the outbreak of the deadly west African Ebola virus is out of control and there are fears it ‘can only get worse’. 
“Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says the crisis gripping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could spread to other continents and warns there is no overarching strategy to handle the world’s worst-ever outbreak of the disease.

“Amid rising fears that the deadly virus could spread to the US, there are already plans to subject even healthy Americans into forced quarantine in the event of an Ebola pandemic.

“Western doctors are now on the lookout for symptoms of the disease after the death of US citizen Patrick Sawyer, who travelled through a major transport hub in Nigeria[,] prompted fears that the disease could spread to the US.

“Symptoms of the disease, which has anywhere from a 50 to 90 per cent mortality rate, include headache, fever, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and lack of appetite.

“There are now fears that the deadly and highly contagious virus will be passed on through air travel.”

North Korea Threatens US

Yahoo News wrote on July 28:

“A top-ranking North Korean military official has threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon after accusing Washington of raising military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“The threat came from Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military’s General Political Bureau, during a speech to a large military rally in Pyongyang Sunday on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

“Hwang, who holds the rank of vice marshal in the Korean People’s Army, said a recent series of South Korea-US military drills, one of which included the deployment of a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, had ramped up tensions.

“‘If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival… our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon — the sources of all evil,’ Hwang said in his speech broadcast Monday on state television.”

While no one believes North Korea actually possesses the capability to deliver on these threats, the next article shows what they can do to create problems which nag at the heels of American influence.

North Korea Arms Hammas

National Post reported on July 27:

“Hamas is attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications commitment that will allow it to maintain its offensive against Israel, according to Western security sources.

“Security officials say the deal between Hamas and North Korea is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and is being handled by a Lebanese-based trading company with ties to the militant Palestinian organization.

“Hamas officials are believed to have already made an initial cash downpayment to secure the deal and are hoping that North Korea will soon begin shipping extra supplies of weapons to Gaza.

“’Hamas is looking for ways to replenish its stocks of missiles because of the large numbers it has fired at Israel in recent weeks,’ said a security official. ‘North Korea is an obvious place to seek supplies because Pyongyang already has close ties with a number of militant Islamist groups in the Middle East.’

“Using intermediaries based in Lebanon, Hamas officials are said to be intensifying their efforts to sign a new agreement with Pyongyang to provide hundreds of missiles together with communications equipment that will improve the ability of Hamas fighters to coordinate operations against Israeli forces.”

Mid-East Crisis: Death and Blame

BBC reported on July 30:

“Israel attacked a UN-run school housing refugees in Gaza despite warnings that civilians were there, the UN has said.

“UN spokesman Chris Gunness said ‘the world stands disgraced’ by the attack, in which 15 died and dozens were hurt.

“Israel said an initial inquiry suggested soldiers responded to mortar fire. It called a partial, four-hour humanitarian ceasefire but Hamas, which controls Gaza, said it was meaningless.

“More than 1,300 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have died in the conflict.

“Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians.

“Fifty-three Israeli soldiers have been killed along with two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel has also died.

“Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after a surge in rocket fire from the territory.

“Hamas says it will not stop fighting until the blockade, maintained by both Israel and Egypt, is lifted.”

The Globe And Mail wrote on July 30 contrasting the differing positions of the US and Canada:

“The United States is condemning Israel’s shelling of a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip that was sheltering displaced Palestinians.

“It’s the sharpest criticism the U.S. has levelled at Israel over the more than three weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.

“White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the U.S. is also ‘extremely concerned’ that thousands of Palestinians aren’t safe in U.N.-designated shelters in Gaza even though Israel’s military has told them to evacuate their homes.

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated his government’s hard line on Hamas Wednesday, saying the organization is solely responsible for the death and destruction in Gaza following almost a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants.

“’Obviously no one likes to see the suffering and loss of life that has occurred,’ Harper told reporters in Air Ronge.

“’That said, we hold the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for this. They have initiated and continue this conflict and continue to seek the destruction of the state of Israel.’”

Kerry Creates More Crisis

TPM wrote on July 28:

“Obama administration officials were fuming Monday over a torrent of Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

“In unusually harsh language, officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line and were particularly disappointing at a time of active conflict.

“Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations. Kerry was also being accused of abandoning some of Israel’s key demands during the negotiations.

“In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, ‘U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything,’ wrote columnist Ari Shavit in Monday’s Haaretz, Israel’s leading liberal newspaper. ‘Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a ‘strategic terrorist attack’.”

Putin’s “Little Green Men” reported on July 30:

“As Malaysia Airlines’ 298 passengers died over the skies of eastern Ukraine, so did the last trace of hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin would back down from his support of eastern Ukraine’s separatist rebels or agree to a negotiated settlement to the seven-month-long conflict. Since the deadly incident, it is no longer in doubt whether or not the future of eastern Ukraine — or Novorossiya (New Russia), as pan-Slavic nationalists call it — will be decided by force. The only question remaining is how deadly the fight will be.

“At the moment, the government in Kiev is ramping up its fight to reclaim Ukraine’s restive eastern regions. At the same time, thousands of Russian troops are amassed along Ukraine’s eastern border, and not just the elite Airborne or Spetsnaz troops that took over Crimea in February, but also units designed to fight conventional wars and armies, like Ukraine’s. The result could be explosive.

“There was little Ukraine could do to stop the “little green men” who invaded Crimea. By the time Kiev had realized what was going on, Russia’s most elite and best-trained Naval Infantry, Airborne, and Spetsnaz troops (including the new Senezh unit, which seized the Crimean parliament) had prevented Ukrainian reinforcements from entering Crimea. But the separatist militiamen in eastern Ukraine, despite being equipped, trained, and funded by Moscow, are a different story. There, Kiev retains a vast advantage in firepower, [material], and troops, along with the implicit backing of the international community against an increasingly fragmented and uncoordinated separatist movement.”

Vladimir Putin is playing a very high stakes game, and it now seems inevitable to avoid a major conflict in Ukraine–an action that will only serve to further unify European plans for creating their own powerful military!

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