Nine Circles of Hell! Monday: The News Gets Deadly Nine Circles of Hell!

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Egypt’s protests have become deadly — again.
The Associated Press reports, “Health and security officials say a protester has been killed in clashes between rock-throwing demonstrators and police near Tahrir Square in central Cairo.
“The officials say the protester died Monday on the way to the hospital after being shot. It is the first fatality in Cairo since clashes erupted around Friday’s second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
“The death takes to at least 56 the number of people killed in Egypt’s latest bout of political turmoil.
“It also comes one day after the country’s Islamist president declared a state of emergency in three provinces worst hit by the violence and vowed to deal ‘firmly and forcefully’ with the unrest roiling the country.”
Change takes a lot longer than my American short-term attention span will allow.
There’s gotta be something better on, right?

There’s been another attack on an Algerian gas pipeline.
According to The Associated Press, “Gunmen attacked a gas pipeline in northern Algeria and killed two village guards before being driven off, a local security official said Monday.
“The attack took place late Sunday night when the militants launched a series of homemade mortar shells at the Ain Chikh site, 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Algiers, protected by local community guards.
“Army units were alerted and proceeded to search the entire area, which is on the southern edge of the Kabylie mountain region that has become the last hideout of al-Qaida in northern Algeria.”
The AP continues, “The weakness of these once-powerful remnants of al-Qaida in the north of the country is in stark contrast to the extremist groups found far to the south in the Sahara – one of which mounted an audacious attack and took hostages two weeks ago.
“The four day standoff in Ain Amenas, some 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) south of the capital involved dozens of foreign hostages and was ended by an Algerian army assault Jan. 19 leaving more than 60 dead.”
As no Americans were involved, there will be no reports on the US national nightly network TV news.
Here’s The Media rule: if a tree falls in the woods and it doesn’t kill an American, fuck it.

Battle between South Sudan and former rebel commander ‘laid waste to a small town.’
Reuters says, “Two thousand people were forced to flee to a U.N. base after a battle between South Sudanese soldiers and the guards of a former rebel commander laid waste to a small town, the United Nations and witnesses said on Monday.
“South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but the government has been struggling to assert control over an impoverished country the size of France that is full of weapons after decades of civil war with the north.
“The latest fighting took place on Sunday in the small town of Pibor in the eastern state of Jonglei, between soldiers and bodyguards of former rebel commander James Kuberin, witnesses said.
“Kuberin used to be a commander of a group led by David Yau Yau, one of several militias fighting the government of the new African republic, but he defected to the army in December.
“Witnesses said Kuberin went to Pibor’s market to get a haircut and was told by an army patrol not to walk around with armed guards.
Reuters quotes witness Peter Gazulu explaining one of the soldiers had a hand grenade. Gazulu says, “Somebody tried to take it and they wrestled with it and it exploded. The guy died. Then the other men opened fire on the bodyguards and they escaped.
“The army fired all over the place and burned half of Pibor town, particularly in the south. They were firing at civilians. In a house the father of my friend was burned alive. The body is still there.”
Reuters continues, “About two thousand people fled the town, mainly made up of thatched houses, to seek protection at a U.N. peacekeeping base, U.N. spokesman Kouider Zerrouk said.”
Reuters explains, “South Sudan’s civil war with Sudan ended with a 2005 peace deal which paved the way for secession. Rebel and inter-ethnic violence is hindering government plans to explore a vast oil concession block with the help of French firm Total.”
Reuters added, “Human rights groups accuse the army of serious abuses against civilians, including simulated drownings and rape, during a disarmament process aimed at ending the inter-ethnic violence.
“A radio station with links to Yau Yau’s group said the rebels were fighting the government because of the alleged abuses during the disarmament program.”
There’s only one thing that’s certain when it comes to Sudan: George Clooney is dreamy.

Eight more die in Nigeria’s fight with Islamists.
Reuters tells us, “Gunmen killed eight people in a town in remote northeastern Nigeria over the weekend, witnesses said, in an area plagued by an Islamist insurgency and armed banditry.
“A spokesman for joint military and police forces in Borno state, the epicenter of a campaign of violence by Islamist sect Boko Haram, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, confirmed the attack on Gajigana town but did not have any further details.
“Modu Bukar, a trader in the town, saw the bodies after the attack, which sent panicked residents fleeing, adding that he had heard gunshots during the attack.”
They quote Bukar saying, “I saw eight bodies afterwards – three of young men, and another five who were heads of households. The burial is today.”
Reuters explains, “Remote northeastern Borno state, which shares porous borders with Cameroon, Niger and Chad, on the threshold of the Sahara, has suffered increasing lawlessness since Islamist sect Boko Haram launched an uprising against the government in 2009.
“The sect has become the number one security headache to Africa’s leading oil and gas producer.
“Gunmen killed 23 people in northern Nigeria last week in attacks targeting gamblers and people selling bush meat that Islamist militants disapprove of.
“Militants have killed several hundred people in the past three years in a campaign to impose sharia, Islamic law, on religiously mixed Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Their targets include the security forces and churches.
“A general breakdown of law and order in the areas where the sect operates has also created space for armed criminal networks and ethnic militias with scores to settle, both of which sometimes kill dozens in overnight attacks.”
It’s time The Media takes a look at a map and notice just how close all this fighting is to one another.
Make that, it’s time The Media finally buys a map.

Prohibition doesn’t stop deadly mining in Nigeria.
Reuters explains, “Nigeria will release funds this week to tackle the world’s worst lead poisoning outbreak which has killed at least 400 children, a senator said on Monday, ending months of official inaction in which 1,500 more children were put at risk.
“In May last year the government pledged 850 million naira ($5.4 million) to help clean up the lead and treat the thousands poisoned by contamination from an artisan gold mine in the Bagega area of northern Zamfara, but medical charity Doctor’s Without Borders (MSF) said the money never materialized.
“MSF said none of the ministers – mines, environment and health – scheduled to attend a conference on the poisoning last year showed up, and after that repeatedly complained that funds pledged for a clean up had not been disbursed.”
Reuters continues, “The epidemic could still get worse because artisan mining continues unabated in Bukola Saraki, head of a Nigerian senate environment committee, where people say they can earn $4 a day, more than other available jobs.”
Saraki said, “They’re not going to stop. I saw a woman who had lost eight kids, but she is still mining.
“The only way around it is to invest in getting better methods for mining, provide modern equipment and get a more structured industry for these people to work in.”
Reuters adds, “MSF has criticized the government for banning artisan mining, an approach it says will not work, instead of helping the poor community to make it safe.
“Nigeria has one of the world’s worst records on environmental protection, with massive oil spills in its southeastern Niger Delta region occurring frequently.”
Prohibition of any kind never works. As long as a profit is to be made off the prohibited good or process, whatever is prohibited will be pursued.
All you can hope to do is make the process or good less deadly.
Exactly how many times must human learn this lesson?

Iran has arrested more journalists from reformist papers.
The Associated Press informs us, “Iran has arrested 11 journalists accused of cooperation with foreign-based, Persian-language media organizations, several chief editors of Iranian outlets said Monday.
“The development is a major escalation in a press crackdown that reflects Iran’s zero tolerance for those who work with dissident media or outlets deemed as unfriendly or hostile.
“In recent years, Iran has denounced Voice of America and the BBC’s Persian service, describing them as arms of U.S. and British intelligence agencies, and has warned of severe repercussions for Iranian journalists and activists caught having contacts with these outlets.
“Also, Tehran has repeatedly accused the United States and Britain of seeking to provoke unrest in a bid to oust the country’s clerical rulers, and has frequently accused opposition figures and supporters of being in league with the nation’s enemies.
“Many Iranians regularly tune in to the BBC and VOA’s Persian-language radio and TV channels, despite a ban on satellite dishes and government attempts to jam the airwaves.
“The chief editors of the arrested journalists told The Associated Press that the 11 were taken into custody late on Sunday because of their “foreign contacts.” The editors, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisals, refused to say if the detained were accused of providing material specifically to BBC or VOA.
“The arrests followed last week’s warning by State Prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei who said journalists who are in contact with ‘hostile foreign media’ would be punished. Ejehi described such reporters as ‘serving the enemy’s purpose.’
“The detained journalists — seven men and four women — were identified by their editors. They are from six different news organizations, including four daily papers, a weekly and the semi-official ILNA news agency.
“Some of them have in the past spent months behind bars over critical writings that were carried by foreign-based Iranian dissident media or writings that supported feminist activities.
“One of the editors said three of the arrested were from the reformist daily Etemad. Three others were from the reformist Shargh daily, whose editor said they were arrested at the paper’s building.”
Iran may target reformist papers, but at least they have reformist papers to shut down.
If you know of a reformist ‘paper’ in the US, tell us. Remember, I am looking for a ‘paper’ — a daily –not a magazine or a website.
Post it in the comments.
Thanks!

Israeli military “extensively and systematically” violating own rules leads to deaths of dozens of Palestinian demonstrators.
The Associated Press finds, “An Israeli human rights group on Monday accused the military of ‘extensively and systematically’ violating its own rules of engagement in suppressing Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank, contributing to dozens of deaths in recent years.
“According to a report by the B’Tselem group, a total of 56 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the Israeli military since 2005. The vast majority — 46 of them — were killed when live ammunition was fired at stone throwers.
“B’Tselem cited two ‘main problems’ with Israeli crowd-control tactics. First, it said the wording of open-fire regulations was ‘problematic and deficient.’”
B’Tselem is quoted stating, “Second, the regulations are extensively and systematically violated, and the military does not take the necessary action to end these violations.”
The AP continues, “B’Tselem report said Israel often uses its nonlethal weapons improperly. Six Palestinians have been killed by rubber bullets since 2005, and two were killed by tear gas canisters, it said.
“In addition, the group said that Israeli forces often use live fire unnecessarily.”
B’Tselem says, “Over the past seven years, at least 46 Palestinians have been killed when live ammunition was fired at unarmed stone-throwers.”
B’Tselem said it “has documented incidents in which live ammunition was fired under circumstances that cannot be described as life-threatening to the soldiers.
“In responding to demonstrations and ‘disturbances of the peace’ in the West Bank, the Israeli security forces employ various crowd control weapons that are supposed to be non-lethal, if used properly.
“In practice, members of the security forces make almost routine use of these weapons in unlawful, dangerous ways, and the relevant Israeli authorities do too little to prevent the recurrence of this conduct.”
What this Israeli rights group wants is for the IDF to simply follow their own rules and enforce them.
Is that too much to ask?
Apparently, the answer to that question is ‘yes.’

The Mississippi River has been closed due to an oil spill.
The Associated Press notes, “The Coast Guard says a normally bustling stretch of the Mississippi River remains closed to barge and ship traffic as cleanup crews with booms work to remove an oily sheen near Vicksburg after a barge with 80,000 gallons of oil hit a railroad bridge last weekend.
“Coast Guard Lt. Ryan Gomez told The Associated Press on Monday that at least 21 other vessels such as towboats and barges are stalled by the river closing as crews with booms and a skimming device are removing hundreds of gallons of oily water from the river.
“He says investigators are trying to determine why a tug pushing two tank barges collided with the bridge early Sunday. Another barge also was damaged.
“He says cleanup crews are working to remove the leaking barge’s remaining oil.”
This will NOT be on the US national nightly network TV news. You can’t do these stories and run ads for tomorrowsenergy.org and BP.
Not that there’s a conflict of interest or anything.

America’s “exceptional” drought expands.
Reuters reveals, “Dry weather continues to plague the drought-stricken U.S. Plains and western Midwest with only light showers and snowfall expected this week, an agricultural meteorologist said on Monday.”
John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring, is quoted saying, “The Plains and the northwest Midwest will still struggle with drought, there’s not a whole lot of relief seen.”
Reuters continues, “Without rain or heavy snow before spring, millions of acres of wheat could be ruined while corn and soybean seedings could be threatened in the western Midwest, meteorologists and other crop experts have said.
“A climatology report issued last Thursday said there were no signs of improvement for Kansas or neighboring farm states.
“Roughly 57.64 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least ‘moderate’ drought as of January 22, an improvement from 58.87 percent a week earlier, according to last Thursday’s Drought Monitor report by a consortium of federal and state climatology experts.
“But the worst level of drought, dubbed ‘exceptional,’ expanded slightly to 6.36 percent from 6.31 percent of the country.
“Officials in north-central Oklahoma this month declared a state of emergency due to record-low reservoir conditions. Public and private interests throughout the central United States were examining measures to cope with the drought.
“The government on January 9 declared much of the central and southern U.S. Wheat Belt a natural disaster area.”
“Moderate” drought areas have decreased. The AP finds that to be good news.
“Exceptional” drought has expanded.
The AP finds that to be bad news.
Did it ever cross their minds that the reason “moderate” drought areas have decreased is because they have become “exceptional” drought areas?
Is The AP simply trying to be ‘fair and balanced’ by manufacturing good news to counter the bad news?
Or is everybody stupid?
Again, leave your comments below.

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Nine Circles of Hell! Monday: The News Gets Deadly
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  • andreas

    check your math ;-)
    it says at least moderate so that would seem to include the exceptional. Also the increase in exceptional is tiny (and probably within the margin of measurement/error…). that is more the problem for me: news commenting on short term trends like reading tea leaves much like stock exchange “reporting”…