Hurricane Maria: Direct Hit Puerto Rico

September 20th, 2017


Metal roofs were flying off buildings and windows were breaking in San Juan, Puerto Rico even before Hurricane Maria made landfall as a Category 4 storm on the island’s southeastern coast early Wednesday morning.

According to the Associated Press, nearly 900,000 people were already without power as the storm approached.

Strong Earthquake Near Mexico City Kills Hundreds

September 19th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

Rescue crews and ordinary citizens searched through rubble for survivors as night fell on Tuesday on battered cities in central Mexico, including the capital, where the death toll from a major earthquake grew to at least 226.

The magnitude 7.1 quake toppled dozens of buildings, broke gas mains and sparked fires less than two weeks after another powerful quake killed at least 98 people in southern Mexico. It also hit just hours after emergency drills marked the anniversary of a temblor that killed thousands in 1985.

Millions of people fled into the streets, where they weathered the violent shaking and desperately sought word about the welfare of family and friends.

New Zealand: One Pipeline Rupture Later…

September 18th, 2017

Update: New Zealand Military Deploying for Fuel Transportation

Update: Air New Zealand Restricting Ticket Sales, Cargo Reduced

New Zealand is a funny place. It sort of pretends to be a modern, first world sort of place, when in actuality, it’s a hair’s width away from infrastructure collapse at all times.

Combine the she’ll-be-‘right philosophy with spending the least amount of money possible on critical infrastructure. Then, introduce a hickup or two.


International data communications infrastructure is potentially in much worse danger than the whole Marsden Point situation—and I’ve just deleted several paragraphs about that. It’s just too soft of a target, and the implications are too horrifying to consider. I just hope that someone in the Ministry of Defense isn’t asleep on these issues. I do see more razor wire and security cameras around there, which is a good sign. But what good is razor wire if the gates are left open? And why isn’t there any razor wire out front?


Via: Otago Daily Times:

The Government has offered to help oil companies struggling with an aviation fuel crisis that threatens to disrupt air travel out of Auckland for the next “10 days to two weeks”.

The problem arose after the pipeline which carries the jet fuel from the Marsden Point refinery was cut, by a digger lifting swamp kauri on a farm at Ruakaka, near Whangarei, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Prime Minister Bill English told reporters on the campaign trail in Botany today that he had instructed ministers to “offer all assistance that the Government can” to restore aviation fuel supplies.

Auckland Airport spokesman Simon Lambourne said 23 flights had been cancelled in the past 24 hours.

NZ Refining spokesman Greg McNeill said the pipeline was likely to be shut down for at least several days, and two engineers were flying in from Canada tomorrow.

Mobil Oil spokesman Rob Fitzgerald said the refining company had told oil companies that it would take “between 10 and 14 days” to restore the fuel supply.

Petrol and diesel can be trucked into Auckland by tanker, but the airport depends entirely on the pipeline and is now running out of stored supplies of aviation fuel.

Andrew McNaught of Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited, representing the customers of the refinery, said the industry was working proactively to minimise the impact of the pipeline outage.

He said the issue was particularly focused on Auckland Airport as it was exclusively supplied with jet fuel by the pipeline.

McNaught said this was the first time that the refinery to Auckland pipeline had experienced a fault.

Stanislav Petrov: Soviet Officer Who Averted Nuclear War Dies at Age 77

September 18th, 2017

I’m amazed by how few people are aware of this incident. It makes for great dinner time conversation!

Via: Russia Today:

A Soviet officer who prevented a nuclear crisis between the US and the USSR and possible World War III in the 1980s has quietly passed away. He was 77. In 2010 RT spoke to Stanislav Petrov, who never considered himself a hero. We look at the life of the man who saved the world.

Air Force Planes to Spray Harris County with Dibrom

September 18th, 2017

Via: AP:

Harris County officials say Air Force Reserve cargo planes will be spraying much the county beginning Thursday to combat the mosquito threat left by Harvey’s heavy rains and floodwaters.

Modified C-130 planes from Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio are to spray about 600,000 acres in roughly the northern and southern thirds of the county.

The county says the aerial spraying operation supplements similar mosquito-fighting efforts being made on the ground.

The insecticide being used is Dibrom, which officials say is Environmental Protection Agency approved and routinely used to combat mosquito-borne disease.

Harris County Public Health Executive Director Dr. Umair Shah says the goal is to reduce the effects of mosquitoes on recovery efforts and address the possibility of a future increase in mosquito-borne disease.

Related: What You Need to Know About Naled (Dibrom)

U.S. Navy/National Security Agency Submarine Flies Jolly Roger, “For Morale”

September 18th, 2017

Via: Ottawa Citizen:

US Navy Commander Corey Barker told the UK’s Daily Mail that the flag was flown for morale, and has no further significance. “There was no real reason for flying the flag, just a part of morale,” he explained. “When submarines come into and leave port they are authorized to fly flags as their commanding officer tells them. This is a flag they’ve flown in the past for morale. It doesn’t signify anything further.”

Trump Renews Post-9/11 State of Emergency

September 18th, 2017

Via: USA Today:

President Trump has become the third president to renew a post-9/11 emergency proclamation, stretching what was supposed to be a temporary state of national emergency after the 2001 terror attacks into its 17th year.

But the ongoing effects of that perpetual emergency aren’t immediately clear, because the executive branch has ignored a law requiring it to report to Congress every six months on how much the president has spent under those extraordinary powers, USA TODAY has found.

Exactly 16 years ago Thursday, President Bush signed Proclamation 7463, giving himself sweeping powers to mobilize the military in the days following terrorist attacks that crashed planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field. It allowed him to call up National Guard and Reserve troops, hire and fire military officers, and bypass limits on the numbers of generals that could serve.

Presidents Bush and Obama renewed that emergency each year. And on Wednesday, Trump published a now-routine notice in the Federal Register extending the emergency for the 16th time, explaining simply that “the terrorist threat continues.”

But as Trump extends the emergency into a third presidential administration, legal experts say a review of those powers is long overdue.

“The president is given these emergency powers as a temporary measure until Congress has time to act. It stretches credulity to think Congress hasn’t had time to act since 9/11 happened,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “We should not be treating 9/11 as an emergency in 2017.”

Vatican Recalls Washington Diplomat Amid Child Pornography Investigation

September 18th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

A Vatican diplomat working in Washington has been recalled to the Holy See after the U.S. State Department said the priest may have violated child pornography laws, the Vatican said on Friday.

Prosecutors in the Vatican have opened an investigation into the case, which represents a fresh blow to the Roman Catholic Church as it struggles to overcome repeated sex abuse scandals among its clergy.

The State Department notified the Holy See in August “of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington,” the Vatican statement said.

A State Department spokesman said the United States had requested that the man’s diplomatic immunity be waived to open the way for possible prosecution, but the Vatican refused.

The priest, who was not named, has returned to Vatican City and is awaiting the outcome of the Holy See investigation, which could lead to a trial in the tiny city state.

Research Credit: Jb

Merck’s Links to Biological Warfare

September 18th, 2017

Via: YouTube:

Mystery of Sonic Weapon Attacks at U.S. Embassy in Cuba Deepens

September 15th, 2017

Via: AP:

The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.

Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top US diplomat has called them “health attacks”.

New details learned by the Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling US officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.

“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”

Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon, and on the Cubans. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the state department and US intelligence agencies involved in the investigation.

Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the US government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August – nine months after symptoms were first reported.

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