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Showing posts from January 3, 2013


Shell says that a drilling platform that ran aground off Alaska during a storm on New Year's Eve is "stable,"while federal response officials add that there is "no sign" the rig's hull has been breached or that it is leaking any oil.

WATCH VIDEO: Disaster In The Gulf: BP Oil Spill: What Happened?

PHOTOS: The Changing Face of Earth in 2012

But the accident is the latest blow to Shell's attempts to begin offshore drilling in the Alaskan Arctic, and underlined critics' concerns that the region is simply too tempestuous and dangerous for drilling to take place.

The accident happened while the drilling platform, theKulluk, was being towed to Seattle for maintenance, roughly two months after it had drilled the first half of an exploratory oil well in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska. Last Thursday, the Shell-chartered tugboat Aiviq lost its tow line to the rig; several attempts to reconnect the line proved only temporarily successful, and as a storm raged…

Israel asked US for green light to bomb nuclear sites in Iran

US presid
ent told Israeli prime minister he would not back attack on Iran, senior European diplomatic sources tell Guardian

A view of the nuclear enrichment plant of Natanz in central Iran. Photograph: EPA

Israel gave serious thought this spring to launching a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites but was told by President George W Bush that he would not support it and did not expect to revise that view for the rest of his presidency, senior European diplomatic sources have told the Guardian.
The then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, used the occasion of Bush's trip to Israel for the 60th anniversary of the state's founding to raise the issue in a one-on-one meeting on May 14, the sources said. "He took it [the refusal of a US green light] as where they were at the moment, and that the US position was unlikely to change as long as Bush was in office", they added.
The sources work for a European head of government who met the Israeli leader some time after the Bush vis…

Official Dismisses Rumors about Radioactive Leakage at Isfahan's UCF Plant

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian provincial official rejected western media rumors about radioactive leakage at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan which contains process lines to convert yellowcake into uranium oxide, uranium metal, and uranium hexafluoride.

"The rumors about leaking and contamination at Isfahan's UCF are not true at all; some western media are just seeking to create tumult in the society through such moves," Deputy Governor-General of Isfahan province for Political and Security Affairs Mohammad Mehdi Esmayeeli told reporters in Isfahan on Sunday.

He stressed the full safety of all Iranian nuclear sites and facilities, saying that the country's UCF plant in Isfahan complies with the latest safety rules and standards and does not at all send off nuclear radiations.

All activities of Iran's Isfahan uranium conversion facility (UCF) are under control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization …

Europe in 2013: A Year of Decision

By George Friedman
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

The end of the year always prompts questions about what the most important issue of the next year may be. It's a simplistic question, since every year sees many things happen and for each of us a different one might be important. But it is still worth considering what single issue could cause the world to change course. In my view, the most important place to watch in 2013 is Europe.

Taken as a single geographic entity, Europe has the largest economy in the world. Should it choose to do so, it could become a military rival to the United States. Europe is one of the pillars of the global system, and what happens to Europe is going to define how the world works. I would argue that in 2013 we will begin to get clarity on the future of Europe.

The question is whether the European Union will stabilize itself, stop its fragmentation and begin preparing for more integration and expansion. Alternatively, the tensions could intensify withi…

Obama’s Trilateral Commission Team

Title: “Obama: Trilateral Commission Endgame”
Author: Patrick Wood

Student Researcher: Sarah Maddox
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips
Sonoma State University

Barack Obama appointed eleven members of the Trilateral Commission to top-level and key positions in his administration within his first ten days in office. This represents a very narrow source of international leadership inside the Obama administration, with a core agenda that is not necessarily in support of working people in the United States.

Obama was groomed for the presidency by key members of the Trilateral Commission. Most notably, Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller in 1973, has been Obama’s principal foreign policy advisor.

According to official Trilateral Commission membership lists, there are only eighty-seven members from the United States (the other 337 members are from other countries). Thus, within two weeks of his inauguration, Obama’s appointments encompassed more than 1…

Pirates of the Guinean

Early on the morning of Oct. 6, 14 pirates boarded a Panamax-size tanker off the coast of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and took its 24 crew members hostage. The pirates then sailed to the coast of Nigeria, where they offloaded close to 2,500 metric tons of gasoline and sold other onboard treasures. Just one month earlier, another band of pirates had damaged the West African Gas Pipeline off the coast of Lomé, Togo, suspending fuel deliveries to Benin, Togo, and Ghana.

This kind of maritime piracy one normally associates with Somalia or the Niger Delta (where five Indian sailors were abducted on December 17) but crime on the high seas is now commonplace throughout the Gulf of Guinea -- the immense body of water between Gabon and Liberia. And with piracy gradually declining off the coast of Somalia, the Gulf of Guinea is rapidly becoming the world's most dangerous body of water. Between January and September of this year, pirates have attacked 42 vessels and taken 168 crew members hostage …

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2013

Every year, around the world, old conflicts worsen, new ones emerge and, occasionally, some situations improve. There is no shortage of storm clouds looming over 2013: Once again, hotspots old and new will present a challenge to the security of people across the globe.

There is, of course, an arbitrariness to most lists -- and this list of crises to watch out for in 2013 is no different. One person's priority might well be another's sideshow, one analyst's early warning cry is another's fear-mongering. In some situations -- Central Asia, perhaps -- preventive action has genuine meaning: The collapse into chaos has yet to happen. More complicated is anticipating when it will happen, what will trigger it, and how bad it will be. In others -- Syria, obviously -- the catastrophe is already upon us, so the very notion of prevention can seem absurd. It has no meaning save in the sense of preventing the nightmare from worsening or spreading.

What follows, then, is a "top 1…

Central African Republic: Avoiding Another Battle of Bangui

Brussels/Nairobi | 2 Jan 2013

Over the last three weeks, the “Seleka” rebellion has extended its control over a large part of the Central African Republic (CAR) and is now on the doorstep of the capital, Bangui. A political dialogue between the Seleka leaders, the government and the opposition parties is urgently needed to avoid a new battle of Bangui, such as those in 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003, and potential casualties among the civilian population.

“Seleka” (meaning “alliance” in the national language Sango) is a coalition of various armed movements that predominantly originate from the north east of the country. This alliance is made up of dissident factions of both the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) and the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR), but it also integrates armed groups such as the Central African People’s Democratic Front (FDPC), the Patriotic Convention for Salvation of Kodro (CPSK) and the newly created Alliance for Rebirth and Refoundation.…