Streetside cooling station
Global warming has already made parts of the world hotter than the human body can withstand, decades earlier than climate models expected this to happen.
Jacobabad in Pakistan and Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates have both repeatedly crossed a deadly threshold for one or two hours at a time, an analysis of weather station data found.
Wet bulb temperature (TW) is a measure of heat and humidity, taken from a thermometer covered in a water-soaked cloth. Beyond a threshold of 35°C TW the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, but lower levels can still be deadly, as was seen in the 2003 European heatwave that killed thousands without passing 28°C TW.
A US-UK team analysed weather station data across the world, and found that the frequency of wet bulb temperatures exceeding temperatures between 27°C TW and 35°C TW had all doubled since 1979. Though 35°C TW is thought of as a key threshold, harm and even death is possible at lower temperatures, so the team included these in their analysis.
Fat cats in their kool-aid kastles and kars ain’t going to be worrying about themselves. Not likely to worry about the rest of us. Question remains the usual: can we, will we, build a movement that threatens political gigs more than the dollar$ that keep politicians in office?
❝ Altaf Khanani is a wanted man. He leads a syndicate that launders billions of dollars for the world’s biggest drug cartels and armed groups, including the Taliban and al-Qaeda…He evaded authorities for decades…
❝ “Altaf Khanani was the number one international controller as far as organised crime and terrorist funding was in the world at that time,” says David Stewart of the Australian Federal Police. “And we knew that he was causing significant impact on multiple countries throughout the world, and that’s why we had to take some action…”
❝ 101 East goes inside the year-long undercover sting to catch the world’s most-wanted money launderer.
Real James Bond stuff. Good journalism.
❝ A fake news article led to gunfire at a Washington pizzeria three weeks ago. Now it seems that another fake news story has prompted the defense minister of Pakistan to threaten to go nuclear.
The defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, wrote a saber-rattling Twitter post directed at Israel on Friday after a false report — which the minister apparently believed — that Israel had threatened Pakistan with nuclear weapons. Both countries have nuclear arsenals.
“Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh,” the minister wrote on his official Twitter account, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.”
❝ Mr. Asif appeared to be reacting to a fake news article published on awdnews.com.
That story, with the typo-laden headline “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops to Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack,” appeared on the website on Dec. 20, alongside articles with headlines like “Clinton is staging a military coup against Trump.”
The fake story about Israel even misidentified the country’s defense minister, attributing quotations to a former minister, Moshe Yaalon. Israel’s current minister of defense is Avigdor Lieberman.
❝ The Israeli Defense Ministry responded on Twitter to say the report was fictitious.
Legitimate news sources haven’t had much of a problem in decades with promulgating fake news. Perhaps, online profiteers might consider moving beyond copouts. Even a sleazy neighborhood bar requires proof of age. Algorithms could be a sufficient first-level challenge.
❝With Washington set to send billions of dollars in fresh aid to Afghanistan despite the military drawdown, the U.S. official in charge of auditing assistance programs says “it’s not too late” to address the fraud and mismanagement that has bedeviled the 14-year effort to rebuild the country.
The military intervention launched after the Sept. 11 attacks has cost the United States $1 trillion, including some $110 billion in aid aimed at rebuilding one of the poorest, most violent and most corrupt countries on earth. To this day Afghanistan relies on foreign aid as it battles an increasingly potent Taliban insurgency.
But John Sopko, who has spent more than three years probing U.S.-funded projects as the special investigator general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said the U.S. government is partly to blame for the misused funds.
❝“What I’m identifying are not just Afghan or Afghan-related problems, they are problems with the way the United States government operates,” he said.
He said the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development suffer from corruption as well as poor planning, oversight and accountability. He said they often fail to coordinate with one another or measure programs’ effectiveness…
❝Since it was created in 2008, SIGAR has identified more than $1 billion in potential savings to U.S. taxpayers and published hundreds of reports, including 50 audits of reconstruction projects.
“The money that’s been wasted has been wasted,” Sopko said. “But we have still got $10 billion that has been authorized, appropriated but not yet spent. And we’re probably going to put in $6 billion to $10 billion a year, for years to come — because if we don’t, the Afghan government will collapse.”…
❝Sopko said it’s time to “hit the reset button and take a look at what worked and what didn’t work.”
❝The biggest failure of the reconstruction effort, he said, was the outlay of nearly $8 billion since 2001 to eradicate poppies, the main ingredient in heroin and Afghanistan’s chief export. The crop is worth some $3 billion a year and is a key source of income for the Taliban…
SIGAR found last year that the U.S. had spent $7.6 billion on counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan since 2001. Opium production has dropped by 50 percent this year, not because of eradication efforts, but because of drought, pests and other environmental factors, Sopko said.
“Any metrics you give — price, purity, addiction rates, production — the only improvements we have seen have been caused by Mother Nature,” he said.
BTW, Lindsay Graham and John McCain, two of our most backwards Republican warhawks have just proposed that everything we did in Afghanistan and Iraq – should now be done in Syria. Starting with sending in 20,000 American soldiers.
These stupid little minds who bear a significant portion of responsibility for helping an ignoranus like George W. Bush get us into this mess – would perpetuate the same bureaucratic farce, the same incompetence that eight years of Obama hasn’t turned around – all in the name of protecting the United States.
The nation where self-proclaimed good Christians with guns have killed more people than any foreign terrorist cabal.
Eight of the 10 men reportedly jailed for the attempted assassination of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai were acquitted, it has emerged.
In April, officials in Pakistan said that 10 Taliban fighters had been found guilty and received 25-year jail terms.
But sources have now confirmed to the BBC that only two of the men who stood trial were convicted.
The secrecy surrounding the trial, which was held behind closed doors, raised suspicions over its validity.
The court judgement – seen for the first time on Friday more than a month after the trial – claims that the two men convicted were those who shot Ms Yousafzai in 2012.
It was previously thought that both the gunmen and the man who ordered the attack had fled to Afghanistan…
Sayed Naeem, a public prosecutor in Swat, told the Associated Press news agency after the trial: “Each militant got 25 years in jail. It is life in prison for the 10 militants who were tried by an anti-terrorist court.” In Pakistan, a life sentence is 25 years.
The acquittals emerged after reporters from the London-based Daily Mirror attempted to locate the 10 convicted men in prisons in Pakistan.
Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Prize in December, adding to pressure on Pakistan to bring her attackers to justice
The trial was held at a military facility rather than a court and was shrouded in secrecy, a Pakistani security source told the BBC…
The announcement of the convictions in April took many by surprise. No journalists had been made aware that the trial was taking place.
Secret trials, secret treaties, secret courts are worthless to any democratic nation. Decisions are made – and broken – without ever seeing the light of day. Rulers, elected or otherwise, face no oversight.
From Czarist Russia through the secret chapters of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War 2, free citizens have only been able to guess at the rules governing strange political decisions and even stranger reversals.
Fickle client-states like Pakistan have had a range of masters along history’s march. Unreliable, unethical, they offer little or no opportunity for a better life to their people.
140 pairs of tidy whities, bro’
An army offensive in Taliban-dominated tribal areas of Pakistan has caused large numbers of people to flee to safer regions. Among them is shopkeeper Rasheed Rehman, who until recently counted Taliban fighters among his best customers…
Miranshah is the administrative capital of North Waziristan, close to the Afghan border. Rasheed says he had a large shop in the main market there, selling all manner of cosmetics, socks and stockings, and a few electronic items.
He says he used to earn between 100,000 and 115,000 rupees a day, and that Taliban militants were the biggest spenders. According to Rasheed, they would buy plenty of goods on every visit – and they wouldn’t haggle to get prices reduced.
“They used to prefer foreign or branded perfumes and imported body sprays. They liked the ones with a strong scent.”
In fact, Rasheed would travel especially to Islamabad and Lahore in order to procure the kind of imported merchandise the Taliban preferred…
The perfumes they bought for their womenfolk included one called Secret Love, and Blue Lady by Rasasi.
They would ask for Head and Shoulders or Clear shampoo and Dove soap.
When it came to underwear, they preferred it white – briefs or Y fronts…
Another shopkeeper from Miranshah, Sohail Masih, a tailor, confirms that the Taliban would invariably be the best customers in the market, spending 2,000 to 3,000 rupees at a time – for many people that would be two weeks’ salary.
“They would drive to my shop in big white cars with black-tinted windows and had no qualms about doling out wads of cash,” he says.
“The kind of things they would buy, well people like me can’t even conceive of buying them.”
Pointing out once again that we’re dealing with run-of-the-mill bandits, folks. Neither the average Pashtun or Pakistani nor fixated Tea Party Islamophobes have their history or facts straight. Just because gangsters and thugs claim their mission is grounded in some variant of a religion doesn’t make it so.
And that ain’t new. Petty despots have claimed their mission is one of fighting for religious freedom, ethnic liberation, sectarian justice – time and again. A significant part of the trouble is the “other side” of the conflict is often just as willing to accept that crap lie as advocacy because it fits their own matrix of hate.
The spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease is a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said, as the virus once driven to the brink of extinction mounts a comeback.
Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, and should ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today after a meeting of its emergency committee. It’s only the second time the United Nations agency has declared a public health emergency of international concern, after the 2009 influenza pandemic.
Polio has resurged as military conflicts from Sudan to Pakistan disrupt vaccination campaigns, giving the virus a toehold. The number of cases reached a record low of 223 globally in 2012 and jumped to 417 last year, according to the WHO. There have been 74 cases this year, including 59 in Pakistan, during what is usually polio’s “low season,” the WHO said.
The disease’s spread, if unchecked, “could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious, vaccine-preventable diseases,” Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s assistant director general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration, told reporters in Geneva today. “The consequences of further international spread are particularly acute today given the large number of polio-free but conflict-torn and fragile states which have severely compromised routine immunization services.”
“Conflict makes it very difficult for the vaccinators to get to the children who need vaccine,” David Heymann, a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said in an interview before the WHO’s announcement. “It’s been more difficult to finish than had been hoped.”
The polio virus, which is spread through feces, attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis within hours, and death in as many as 10 percent of its victims. There is no cure. The disease can be prevented by vaccines…
The resurgence of the virus “reminds us that, until it’s eradicated, it’s going to spread internationally and it’s going to find and paralyze susceptible kids,” Aylward said.
Resurgence, as well, of the question: what holds back progress for most of the people living on this planet? Is it stupidity or ignorance? My answer changes from week to week.
It takes a special kind of stupidity after all to make uninformed and ignorant decisions. Whether the ignorance is religion-based, hatred of furriners, paranoid rejection of science and info from educated folks who obviously don’t live in your own neighborhood/state/region/country/continent – doesn’t matter a whole boatload. Killing your kin and letting your children die sounds mostly stupid to me.
A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, in a case which sparked fierce rioting in the eastern city of Lahore last March.
Sawan Masih was convicted of using derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in a row with a Muslim friend.
Hundreds of Muslims attacked the city’s Christian Joseph colony, torching homes, when the allegations surfaced.
Allegations of blasphemy against Islam are taken very seriously in Pakistan, where 97% of the population are Muslim.
Several recent cases have prompted international concern about the application of blasphemy laws.
Sawan Masih’s lawyer said a judge announced the verdict during a hearing at the jail where the trial has been held, amid fears for his client’s safety if he attended court.
The 26-year-old Masih, who is a father of three, has consistently maintained his innocence during the year-long trial…
Critics argue that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and that members of minority groups are also unfairly targeted.
Muslims constitute a majority of those prosecuted, followed by the minority Ahmadi community.
Any expectation of fairness in the use of a patently absurd law is misplaced. Not that I expect anything more from sectarian zealots. No matter which continent.
Flat-earthers who consider science untouchable and secular law untenable are stuck into definitions of culture that hasn’t changed since the Stone Age.