Sunday, June 12, 2011

Snippets from the news

Has the "Peace Process" worked in Northern Ireland? Things are undoubtedly better than they were, but don't kid yourself that everything is cured. Look at these figures:

There are still more than 1,100 people who are on terrorist death lists in Northern Ireland who are being allowed to carry guns for their own protection.

Terrorist bombing incidents are at their highest level in eight years – 100 in 2010-11 (and no, it's not Islamists).

Terrorist attacks are seldom solved – 12 of 272 such attacks between 2008 and 2010 have been successfully detected.

People are still being driven from their homes. The number rose by a third in 2009-10. Terrorist and sectarian intimidation was cited in 85 per cent of these cases.

Sectarian incidents rose from 1,595 in 2008-09 to 1,840 in 2009-10 – a 15 per cent increase. Sectarian crimes in the same period went up from 1,017 to 1,264 – a 24 per cent increase.

British people cannot give blood in America because of BSE. People from America cannot give blood in Europe because of West Nile Virus. There is apparently an ‘epidemic’ of West Nile Fever in North America. The United States has a population of 311 million. Last year, the entire country had 629 serious cases of this virus – 144 of them fatal encephalitis. In 24 of the 50 states, there were no deaths at all. Five states had only one death each; another five only two. There were precisely no cases of West Nile in this country in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. There was one in 2006 (from Canada) and one in 2007 (also from Canada).

Nobody in this country has any discretion or control over this rule, because it was made by the EU (our real government). Directive 2004/33/EC of March 22, 2004, over which you, I, the Blood Service and Parliament have no control, demands this concrete-headed regulation.

Why does the Archbishop of Canterbury (in his new guise of Left-wing politician) speak as if it was obvious that we should treat people who can work, but won’t, in the same way as we treat those who are truly in need?

In St Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, Chapter 5, we read: ‘If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.’

In his second epistle to the Thessalonians, St Paul rubs it in, in that way he has: ‘This we commanded you, that if any will not work, neither shall he eat.’

Germany has decided to close its nuclear power stations in case they get hit by a tsunami or an earthquake. Germany’s dirty secret is its unfashionable and un-green attachment to coal. Because Germany has oceans of the stuff, and because Germany’s coal miners are better organised and led than ours were and mostly because German coal is conveniently near to the surface meaning it can be strip mined by a bloke on a bulldozer, Germany never fell out of love with the black stuff the way we did (a lot of it is a very soft and very dirty type of coal). As a result Germany still make a great deal of its electricity (nearly half) by burning coal, a major source of the 830m tonnes of CO2 the Federal Republic emits annually. That total figure amounts to about 10.15 tonnes of CO2 for every German compared to 9.25 tonnes in the UK and 6.4 tonnes in France where they are more dependent of nuclear.

About a quarter of Germany’s electricity comes from nuclear power and so the dramatic closure of all of Germany’s nuclear plants in the next decade will push up emissions dramatically. In fact, German energy-industry emissions are about 355mt a year, so the nuclear shortfall could result in a 70-million-tonne increase in carbon emissions every year if the balance is taken up by fossil fuels. Perhaps, like me, the German government secretly does not really beieve in CO2 being the driving force behind climate change.

The outrages in Syria get worse. The supposed 120 security forces killed in Jisr al-Shughour has never rung true. From other sources we hear that many in the Syrian Army mutinied when ordered to fire on unarmed civilians. It was these mutineers who were killed by the military secret police. After so much faking of evidence by the Libyans earlier and by Hezbollah a couple of years ago, I never automatically believe anything that an Arab Muslim tells me. However, to give the other side of the story (also from an Arab Muslim) Sergeant-Major Ali Hassan Satouf claims to have deserted. When he was sent to the port refinery of Banias to fight “terrorist armed groups” he did not hesitate — until he realised that he had been deceived. “We didn’t find any terrorist groups,” he said in a video released last week. “We found only peaceful demonstrations." The sergeant-major describes how soldiers broke into homes in a village and stole private property before arresting dozens of men, prompting women to pelt them with stones. “In response to the stone-throwing, we were ordered to open fire ... and we had a massacre. Four women were killed.” (Only a small massacre then).

A senior Turkish official said 4,300 Syrians had crossed into Turkey. “All the accusations of residents sheltering gangs are false,” said a man from Jisr al-Shughour. “And we never asked the army for help or to enter our town. It is them firing on us.” The regime has sought to play down a video that shows Syrian soldiers beating shackled prisoners and placing weapons on corpses which appear to have been shot at point blank range.

Also in the Muslim world Pakistan was in shock today after two explosions in the northwest city of Peshawar killed at least 34 people and left a further 100 injured, many severely, in one of the deadliest attacks since last month's US mission which ended in the death of Al-Qaeda figurehead Osama Bin Laden. The explosions occurred in a neighbourhood of the city which houses military personnel and has many political offices, and which has been the site of bomb attacks in the past. The first blast took place shortly after midnight and was the smaller of the two. As emergency services made their way to the scene of the attack, a suicide bomber rode a motorcycle carrying 10kg of explosives to the site and detonated his deadly payload.

The head of Al-Qaeda in east Africa, who was accused of playing a key role in the bombing of two American embassies in 1998, has been killed in Somalia, police said yesterday. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was reportedly shot last week after an exchange of fire at a police checkpoint. He had been travelling on a fake South African passport. Mohammed had spent 12 years on the run after the bombings in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam, which had killed more than 240 people and brought Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda to world attention.

What with the slaying of Al Qaeda's Ilyas Kashmiri in a drone attack in Pakistan, Western force seem to be getting more successful. Perhaps because of intelligence gathered from the attack on Bin Laden?


Anonymous said...

I live in Colorado near Denver. Last year the State had 81 human cases of West Nile with 4 deaths. The cases cluster near regions with warmth and water since mosquitoes are the transmitters. Many deaths in bird and horse populations have also happened due to West Nile.

Neil M said...

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service states: "Donors who have spent six months or more in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man between 1980 and 1996 are deferred from donating for the foreseeable future.

This is due to the possibility that they may have vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), which is a human form of BSE or ‘mad cow disease’. This condition cannot yet be tested for and may remain dormant for a very long time. Similar precautionary measures have been taken in New Zealand, Canada and the USA."