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Seismic swarm at San Salvador volcano alarms authorities

Authorities today ruled El Salvador declare an emergency for low-magnitude earthquakes that have shaken the Salvadoran capital, all centered in the San Salvador volcano, eight of them felt by the population and the strongest of 3.3 degrees on the Richter scale.

“There is no evidence that we are facing a potential emergency,” said Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Herman Rosa Chavez, in a press conference in which he reiterated that no volcanic tremor, but tectonic.

“We did analysis of temperature in the area and there is no evidence that this is associated with volcanic activity, this has to do with the activation of local faults, which is something that happens and has happened before,” he said.

The eight tremors felt by the population have reached levels of between 2.2 and 3.3 degrees on the Richter scale, according to the National Service of Territorial Studies (SNET), which has recorded at least 25 microearthquakes.

The first quake was felt that reached 2.6 degrees and was registered at 01.22 local time (7.22 GMT), and most recently, of 2.7 degrees, at 15.50 (21.50 GMT).

The strongest earthquake of 3.3 degrees, occurred at 08.01 (14.01 GMT), said the SNET.

He added that the focal depth of earthquakes has fluctuated between 0.5 and 5.8 kilometers, so they felt in various parts of the city, near which is the San Salvador volcano, which is inactive.

Likewise, the eight earthquakes have reached an intensity of two on the Mercalli scale, whose maximum is 12, in San Salvador.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in a statement recalled that the last seismic swarm with epicenter in the San Salvador volcano was in 2007 when there were 142 microearthquakes, four of them felt by the population.

Apart from the string of earthquakes in San Salvador, today reported another quake Snet of 4.3 on the Richter scale at 11.26 local time (17.26 GMT) in Pacific Ocean, about 43 kilometers south of the estuary San Diego, in the department of La Libertad (center).

…(Univision)

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March 23, 2012 Posted by | Seismic, Violence | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

World Ignores Massacre in Syria to its Detriment

A Syrian soldier stands near a Syrian tank in Bab Amro near the city of Homs

When Syrian dissidents took to the streets last year to protest the Bashar Assadregime, they did not anticipate a muted response from the world community. Thousands of civilian deaths later, outside support for Syria’s democratic movement has been almost nonexistent.

 There is no air blockade to protect civilians, no significant humanitarian aid and no genocide charges against Assad. Leaders like French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.S. President Barack Obama, both of whom spoke so strongly against Moammar Gadhafi’s carnage in Libya, have been frustratingly subdued on Syria.

Western countries like to pin the blame for the inaction on Russia and China — the two countries that vetoed a United Nations resolution that called for Assad to step down. Yet, any right-minded person would have known such a veto was coming. Considering the close ties between these countries and Syria, there was no chance they would abandon their ally. The resolution was clearly a pretense to shift the blame and avoid responsibility.

If the world does not put a stop to the massacre in Syria, the implications would be significant. Democratic activists around the world will likely question the double standard. Why were the U.S. and NATO so eager to jump into the Libyan conflict, but are staying on the sidelines in regards to the ongoing massacre in Syria?

The obvious conclusion appears to be that western countries will only intervene to prevent genocide or to support democracy when it is convenient. Libya was a convenient target, because the country is oil-rich and Gaddafi had few powerful allies. On the other hand, Syria has the backing of Russia and is a regional power.

Recent U.S. intelligence indicated al-Qaida and other terrorist groups have infiltrated Syria. The inaction by the international community may have given al-Qaida an opening to hijack the democratic movement in the region. If the information was correct, this could be the beginning of a never-ending nightmare.

…(Yahoo)

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Politics, Violence, War | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coordinated Attacks on Israel take Middle East to the Brink

Bystanders tend to an Israeli diplomat (partially obscured, on ground) following a bomb blast near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi Monday. (AFP)

The Middle East may have taken another step towards war Monday as Israel blamed Iran and its terrorist ally Hezbollah for two apparently co-ordinated attacks on Israeli embassies in India and Georgia.

In the first attack, the wife of an Israeli diplomat was injured when a bomb exploded in or near her car in New Delhi.

The woman managed to make it back to the Israeli embassy and was rushed to hospital. Israel Radio reported the injured woman was the wife of the Israel’s military attache at the embassy in New Delhi.

Indian officials are said to be investigating the possibility the bomb was placed underneath the car or that an assassin on a motorcycle either attached a bomb to the car or threw it at the vehicle.

Indian television cited witnesses who claimed to have seen a motorcycle following the car and possibly throwing something moments before.

In the second attack, an embassy staffer in Tbilisi, Georgia discovered a bomb underneath his car as he was driving to the embassy Monday morning. He reportedly heard an unusual sound and discovered the bomb when he pulled over to inspect. Police managed to disarm the weapon before it exploded.

The attacks mirror similar assassination attempts against nuclear scientists in Iran, which Iranian officials have blamed on Israeli and U.S. agents. Monday’s attacks also occurred a day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniya in a car bombing in Damascus.

Israel’s Prime Minister immediately blamed Iran for the two terror attacks Monday saying that Iran, and its proxy Hezbollah, were responsible.

“In recent months we have witnessed several attempts to attack Israeli citizens and Jews in several countries, including Azerbaijan, Thailand and others,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “In each instance we succeeded in foiling the attacks in cooperation with local authorities. Iran and Hezbollah were behind all of these attempted attacks.”

“Iran, which is behind these attacks, is the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “The Israeli government and its security forces will continue to work together with local security services against these terrorist actions.”

Monday’s attacks occurred as the Middle East faces increasing threats of a regional war, with Israel threatening to attack Iran’s secret nuclear installations to prevent Tehran getting nuclear weapons.

Iran has threatened to retaliate in the event of an attack, vowing to wipe Israel off the map, while also threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz to international oil shipments.

…(National Post)

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Violence, War | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syria Clashes: Homs Death Toll ‘Soars To 350’

The death toll from shelling by Syrian security forces in the city of Homs has soared to almost 350, an opposition member has told Sky News.

It had earlier been reported that more than 200 people had died in the attack which lasted more than three hours.

But Mohamed Khalid, of the Syrian National Council in Cairo, said the latest casualty figure was at least 337 – with 72 children and 45 women among the bodies already identified. He said another 1,100 were wounded, with 95 in a critical condition. Mr Khalid added that ambulances were unable to reach the injured and that people had resorted to carrying them in their cars – which were in turn were being shelled by government forces.

He claimed the regime was using long-range artillery to fire shells from three miles away, targeting several neighbourhoods including Khalidiya.

Abu Rami Alhomsy of the Syrian Revolutionary General Commission said. “It was a normal day for a demonstration but last night they started shelling this neighbourhood. “We have many injuries. Many women and children have been killed and injured.”

As explosions sounded in the background, Mr Alhomsy said: “I am hiding in the street with many people around me. They are shooting into here from an outside area. “Oh my God.” It is not possible to verify activist reports as the Syrian government restricts access for independent media. State media blamed the attacks on armed gangs.

As news of the violence spread, activists used social media to orchestrate protests at Syrian diplomatic outposts around the world.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 217 people were killed in the Khalidya district of Homs. “This is the worst attack of the uprising, since the uprising began in March until now,” Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the London-based observatory, said. “Syrian forces are shelling the district with mortars from several locations,” he added.

Activists said hundreds of people were wounded in the attack, north of the capital Damascus.

Homs has become a flashpoint of the 10-month revolt against the regime of President Bashar al Assad.

…(Sky News)

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Violence, War | , , , , , | Leave a comment

74 Killed and 100s Injured in Riot at Soccer Game in Egypt

At least 74 people were killed and hundreds injured after soccer fans rushed the field in the seaside city of Port Said Wednesday following an upset victory by the home team over Egypt’s top club, setting off clashes and a stampede as riot police largely failed to intervene. It was a bloody reminder of the deteriorating security in the Arab world’s most populous country as instability continues nearly a year after former President Hosni Mubarak was swept out of power in a popular uprising.

The melee — which followed an Egyptian league match between Al-Masry, the home team in the Mediterranean city, and Al-Ahly, based in Cairo and one of Egypt’s most popular teams — was the worst case of soccer violence in Egypt and the deadliest worldwide since 1996. One player said it was “like a war.”

In Cairo, fans angered that another match between Al-Ismaili and Zamalek was halted because of the Port Said violence set fire to the bleachers at the main stadium in the Egyptian capital, authorities said. No injuries were reported, and employees said firefighters extinguished the blaze before it caused much damage.

The clashes and ensuing stampede did not appear to be directly linked to the political turmoil in Egypt, but the violence raised fresh concerns about the ability of the state police to manage crowds. Most of the hundreds of black-uniformed police with helmets and shields stood in lines and did nothing as soccer fans chased each other, some wielding sharp objects and others hurling sticks and rocks.

Security officials said the ministry has issued directives for its personnel not to “engage” with civilians after recent clashes between police and protesters in November left more than 40 people dead.

…(Seattlepi)

February 2, 2012 Posted by | Violence | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Subculture of Americans Prepares for Civilization’s Collapse

When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon. “In an instant, anything can happen,” she told Reuters. “And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared.” Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as “preppers.” Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government. Preppers, though are, worried about no government. Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a “survival center,” complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present.

She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home. And she thinks that emergency could come soon. “I think this economy is about to fall apart,” she said. A wide range of vendors market products to preppers, mainly online. They sell everything from water tanks to guns to survival skills. Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck seems to preach preppers’ message when he tells listeners: “It’s never too late to prepare for the end of the world as we know it.”

“Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity and fragility of our modern technological society, the chances of a societal collapse are increasing year after year,” said author James Wesley Rawles, whose Survival Blog is considered the guiding light of the prepper movement.

…(Reuters)

January 23, 2012 Posted by | Politics, Violence | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bomb Blasts Strike Nigeria Friday, Syria and Afghanistan Through Saturday

People watch as smoke rises from the police headquarters in the north Nigerian city of Kano after it was hit by a blast. Photograph: Reuters

Scores Dead After Kano Blast in Nigeria

Eyewitnesses in the Nigerian city of Kano say they have counted scores of bodies after co-ordinated bomb attacks on Friday.

162 confirmed dead, it is feared the number will rise. Police stations and the state police HQ were among the targets, and gunfire was heard across the second biggest city. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, said it was responsible. The group has been behind a recent campaign of violence in the mainly Muslim north.

Meanwhile, organisers of a controversial civil activists’ mass rally set for Saturday in the commercial capital Lagos called off the event in light of the attacks. Organisers of the demonstration against government corruption and the military’s presence in Lagos say they fear their protest could be infiltrated by militants sent to cause mayhem and cost more lives.

A BBC reporter in Kano said he had been to the main hospital’s mortuary and seen 150 bodies. The police statement said four police stations around the city, the headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS), as well as passport and immigration offices were targeted. The BBC’s Mark Doyle, in Kano, says he has seen one police station with its roof completely burnt off, though it was not clear whether this was caused directly by an explosion or by fire
… (BBC)

An Afghan policeman stands guard in Kandahar. Credit: (AFP/File, Jangir)

Suicide Bombers Kill at least 13 people in Afghanistan

At least 13 people, including five Afghan border police, a NATO soldier and two would-be suicide bombers were killed across Afghanistan Saturday, officials said. The border guards died when their vehicle was ambushed in Gulran district of Hirat province in western Afghanistan, General Sulaiman, the commander of rapid reaction forces in the area, told AFP. “The vehicle first hit a roadside bomb and then the militants opened fire using grenade launchers and small arms,” he said. The NATO soldier died in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force said, without providing any further details.

Also on Saturday, a roadside bomb hit a civilian truck in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of volatile Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, killing three civilians and wounding three others. “They were labourers going to their work in the morning when their truck hit the roadside bomb that killed three and wounded three others,” the provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.

In southeastern Afghanistan, Afghan and NATO security forces shot dead four attackers attempting to target Barmal district chief office in Paktika province on Saturday, Mukhlis Afghan the provincial spokesman said.

“Two attackers had suicide vests on, but were killed before being able to detonate and two others were armed,” he said, adding that there were no other fatalities… (AFP)

Jan 20: Syrian anti-regime demonstrators gather in the Khalidiya neighbourhood. Credit: AFP

Syria Blast Kills 14

Bomb blasts killed 14 prisoners travelling in a security vehicle in northwest Syria on Saturday, the state news agency said, and troops fought rebels elsewhere as the Arab League weighed whether to keep monitors in place.

Syria’s SANA agency said a “terrorist” group had set off two explosions that also wounded 26 prisoners, as well as six police guards. It said the assailants had also attacked ambulances sent to the scene, on the road between the towns of Idlib and Ariha. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the 10-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, had earlier reported the attack in northwestern Idlib province.

It said army troops were clashing with soldiers who have deserted and joined an anti-Assad insurgency in the Jebel al-Zawiya region of Idlib, which is near the Turkish border. Al Jazeera television said army troops and deserters were also battling in the northwestern city of Jisr al-Shughour.

…(Reuters)

January 21, 2012 Posted by | Violence | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A War With Iran: It Seems The Clock is Ticking

Iran boosts security for all in nuclear field.

President Ahmadinejad gives order to put anyone who is active in the nuclear field ‘under special care’ following last week’s killing of nuclear scientist in Tehran.

The order was given by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rahimi said. The ISNA news agency quoted the vice president saying that the additional measures — which were not specified — come on top of ones ordered 10 months ago for Iran’s nuclear scientists. “This time around, the government ordered that anyone who is active in the nuclear field, from low levels to higher ups, be under surveillance and put under special care,”

The new security order was given after Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a 32-year-old deputy director of Iran’s main uranium enrichment plant, was murdered on January 11 along with his driver/bodyguard when assassins on a motorbike fixed a magnetic bomb to their car. The attack was the fifth such incident targeting Iran’s scientists in the past two years. Four other scientists — three of them involved in Iran’s nuclear program — died in the attacks, while one managed to escape with injuries. Iranian officials say the attacks are a covert campaign by Israel and the U.S.

…(Ynet)

Is Iran Closer to the Nuclear Bomb Than We Realize?

A report that Iran is about a year away from having the capability to build a nuclear bomb may be too optimistic, contended John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “I worry the publicly available information is giving only a very small picture and that Iran is actually even much further along,” Bolton said today in a radio interview.

Bolton was on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio. The former ambassador was asked about a statement from a former head of U.N. nuclear inspections claiming Iran is now just a year or so away from having enough enriched uranium to assemble a nuclear bomb.

Olli Heinonen wrote in an article published earlier this week that Iran made this advancement after switching production of its higher-grade enriched uranium to a new, underground site.

“So they’ve got more work to do, but they are already well on their way,” he said.  Reacting to the one-year timeline, Bolton stated, “I think it can be even less than that.”

…(WHTC)

Hague warns of Iran crisis

British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Photo: Soe Zeya Tun

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned that ”intensifying” tensions with Iran could escalate into a crisis that destabilises the entire Middle East unless the country abandons its nuclear enrichment program. Mr Hague expressed concerns in The Sunday Telegraph that Iran’s actions could cause a nuclear arms race, and called on the country’s government to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the growing confrontation. ”We do have to confront this problem, because Iran has embarked on a course which threatens the whole region of the Middle East with nuclear proliferation,” Mr Hague said.

”It is an intensifying problem that we have over their nuclear program. And so there is a risk that this will become a greater crisis as 2012 goes on.”

Mr Hague’s comments came as the European Union prepares to agree on an embargo on Iranian oil, in response to Iran’s decision to step up its efforts to produce the materials for a nuclear weapon. Iran maintains that its nuclear program is peaceful, and has threatened to retaliate to an oil embargo by blocking the Strait of Hormuz. ‘It’s because we don’t want to see an intensifying crisis that we favour negotiations – if Iran will come to meetings or negotiations – and we will apply stronger and stronger sanctions to try to show negotiation is the only way forward,” Mr Hague said.

The Foreign Secretary said Britain was not calling for military action, but stressed: ”We don’t take any options off the table in the long term … We believe in intensifying the peaceful, legitimate pressure on Iran – so that’s what people will see much more of over the coming weeks.”

…(Sydney Morning Herald)

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Politics, Violence, War | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia Faces Violent Revolution, Says Russian Billionaire

Mikhail Prokhorov, a super-rich tycoon challenging Vladimir Putin for Russia’s presidency in March, said his country faced the danger of violent revolution if it did not break conservative resistance and move quickly to democracy. Prokhorov, a billionaire bachelor long seen more as playboy than politician, told The Freeland File on Reuters, that Russians had shaken off a post-Soviet apathy and were now “just crazy about politics.” He denied accusations he was a Kremlin tool, let into the race to split the opposition and lend democratic legitimacy to a vote Putin seems almost certain to win.

Putin is seeking to return to the Kremlin and rule until at least 2018, but protests against alleged fraud in a December 4 parliamentary vote have exposed growing discontent with the system he has dominated for 12 years.

“What worked before does not work now. Look in the streets. People are not happy,” Prokhorov, 46, said in the interview beneath the windowed dome that soars above his spacious office on a central Moscow boulevard close to the Kremlin.  “It is time to change,” said Prokhorov, ranked by Forbes magazine as Russia’s third-richest person, with an $18-billion metals-to-banking empire that includes the New Jersey Nets basketball team in the United States. “Stability at any price is no longer acceptable for Russians.”

But Prokhorov made clear he considers revolution equally unacceptable for a country with grim memories of a century of hardship, war and upheaval starting with Vladimir Lenin’s 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, instead calling for “very fast evolution.”

“I am against any revolution, because I know the history of Russia. Every time we have revolution, it was a very bloody period,” he said.

…(National Post)

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Politics, Violence | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syria: Dozens killed in Damascus explosion

Updated January 6, 2012 6:13 am – Syrian officials blamed a “terrorist suicide bomber” for an explosion Friday which appeared to target a bus full of police in central Damascus, causing deaths. State TV reported the blast in the central Damascus neighborhood of Midan killed at least 25 people and wounded more than 50 others, with “most” of the casualties being civilians. Graphic video on Syrian television showed mangled human remains amid debris.

Friday’s explosion comes two weeks after two blasts in Damascus targeting security buildings killed 44 people. Syrian President Bashar Assad has waged a brutal crackdown on a growing opposition movement, which has sparked violence between armed rebels known as the Free Syrian Army, and state security forces. While the regime squarely blames the opposition movement for the violence, opposition leaders have voiced skepticism, suggesting the government itself may have staged the deadly attacks two weeks ago in an effort to paint the anti-government groups as terrorists.

…(CBS)

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Violence, War | , , , , , , | Leave a comment