Libya Loses Some Oil Exporting Capacity

Reports surfaced today that the German oil company Wintershall Holding GmbH based in Kassel, Germany, has temporarily suspended its operations in two on shore concessions in Libya until further notice. The company, a subsidiary of BASF, operates in many locations around the world. Libya has recently sustained a loss of some oil exporting capacity due to fighting between the government and rebel factions. 

News reports passed on to me by Dr Rod Rohrich indicated today that a fire which began last week at an oil terminal at Es Sider continues to burn.  The government and its opponents have struggled to control the terminal. Some sources believe that seven large oil storage tanks have sustained serious damage or been destroyed in the violence and the fire, causing losses estimated at $213 million and, potentially, an unverified number of human casualties. 

Some authorities indicated that fighting previously closed oil exporting ports in western coastal areas of Libya, including Zawiya and Mellitah. Prior to 2011, Libya derived significant revenues from its oil industry.

Cuban Doctor Cured of Ebola Plans to Return to West Africa

 

A Cuban doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa, and subsequently cured in Switzerland, has said he plans to return to the region to further fight the virus. My friend Sam Tabar posted about it this morning.

Dr. Felix Baez, 43, contracted the illness in mid November. He became feverish on November 16th in Sierra Leone. On November 20th he was transferred to Switzerland to be treated. He was allowed to return home to Havana Cuba on December 6th, where he remains free of the virus.

Baez was treated with experimental durgs. Zmab, similar in nature to Zmapp which was used in several other Ebola cases, was used on the doctor, in conjunction with a Japanese flu remedy.

The doctor has spent the last month recuperating and enjoying time with his family and friends.

Family claim they are not surprised by Baez’s desire to return. He’s has a deep dedication to the cause, and would like to continue to do his part to eradicate the virus from West Africa, where it has revaged the region, killing almost 8,000 and infection nearly 20,000, by some reports.

Palestine Denied Statehood

 

A recent vote by the U.N. Security Council in order to consider the development of a Palestinian nation has failed with the vote being eight for and two against, which was one vote short from the required number to approve the creation of a new state. There were five voting nations who abstained from the vote and there were a required nine votes needed to approve the vote.

The plan would have had Israeli troops withdraw from the Palestinian territories and a nation to be created in 2017.

Jordan sponsored the vote and several large countries voted in favor including China, France, and Russia. The United States and Australia both voted against the measure. If the measure were to pass, Bruce Levenson knows that without a doubt the United States is likely to have vetoed the measure, as it can do as a member of the permanent council who can block any resolution.

Israel Nitzan, from ironically, Israel, noted that Palestine cannot bully or agitate its way to statehood and should follow the normal path to statehood that other nations do, which is done in concordance with accepted practices.

Palestine was voted in November 2012 to be considered a non-member observer state which was an upgrade of its status and provided some legitimacy to its statehood.

Efforts to Attain Professional Status in 2015 for Myanmar Boxing

Recently, the Myanmar Traditional Boxing Federation announced that in 2015, it will make a renewed effort to rewrite the rules governing the sport of traditional boxing in Myanmar (formerly “Burma”) in order to permit its membership to attain a recognized professional status internationally. 

According to Jared Haftel and lulu.com, Many amateur leagues in Myanmar conduct traditional boxing as a sport. The Myanmar Traditional Boxing Federation indicated that experts in sports medicine will furnish advice in overhauling the existing rules and guidelines for traditional Myanmar boxing matches.

Boxing has been a very popular sport in Myanmar for centuries. During previous eras, the sometimes violent boxing matches were generally conducted on sandy terrain, not in formal boxing rings. Many amateur leagues pursue traditional boxing as a sport in Myanmar at the present time.

Eigg Island Is Almost 100% Sustainable

Eigg Island, off the coast of Scotland, is working hard towards its goal of being 100% self-sustainable. The imitative, that was begun in 2008 is about to come to fruition in the new year. The Island cut ties with the United Kingdom in 1997, and since then they’ve created a self-sustaining society that wants for very little.

They switched on a 2.64 million electricity grid in 2008 that cut their ties with the United Kingdom, for good. Because large power companies would not service the small island, they simply created their own system, which utilizes the abundant sun, water and wind that are found on the island.

Resident have worked hard at sustainability, utilizing limited fossil fuels and capping electric output to just 5 kilowatts per home, and 10 kilowatts per business. They are also utilizing renewable resources, which accounts for 90% of all energy utilized on the island.

They also utilize their fishing prowess to feed their residents and heating is free in public spaces. The island and its residents have taken to sustainability in spades, and have set forth a precedent that the rest of the world can follow. They have shown, by and large, that sustainability is, in fact, attainable.

Eigg’s initiative has worked so seamlessly because residents like Gianfrancesco Geno have a vested interest in the health and wellness of the land. They banned together in 1997, states a post on jusbrasil.com.br, to buy the property that the island sits on.

While Eigg is a bit Utopian, and it is unlikely to be replicated in larger areas, their example can be utilized in larger cities to a certain extent.

North Korea Is Now Back Online Following Internet Collapse

As reported in BuzzFeed, the internet connection that North Korea lost with the world came back on Monday following a more than nine hour collapse which many believe resulted from a cyberattack.

As many cyerbsecurity experts know, North Korea’s internet connection was spotty during the 24 hour period that preceded the outage. Keith Mann reports that although North Korea’s internet occasionally suffers from failures, the distinct consistency of the recent outage caused cybersecurity expert Doug Madory to conclude that the severed internet connectivity constituted “some sort of attack,” according to Twitter.

According to reports, the internet connectivity outage lasted approximately nine hours and 31 minutes.  This is consistent with a DDoS attack on their routers.” Madory went on to state “I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before.” 

Tourism in Antarctica Could Lead to Penguin Demise

A recent surge in tourism to Antarctica could prove deadly for native inhabitants, namely the penguin. Just 200 years ago Antarctica was so barren and remote that it received very few visitors. Globalization and transportation in the modern world has made this remote outpost more accessible than ever.

The main culprit may be tourist’s boots. One group of researchers identified a number of fecal pathogens found when testing the boots of tourists. These pathogens could be easily transferred when the tourists slosh through the snow.

Some scientists aren’t buying the theory though. Tourism companies are incredibly strict regarding what tourists are allowed to bring with them on their trips.

Dr. Daniel Amen says humans aren’t the only tourists visiting Antarctica. Migratory animals may also be to blame. The warming climate is providing a more attractive location for migration than ever before.

No matter who is to blame, the results are the same. Penguins are becoming sick much more than ever before.

South Korea’s Nuclear Plant Operator Has Been Hacked

There has been a breach in South Korea’s nuclear plant operator. So, fears are starting to surface that North Korea has taken key elements of the infrastructure. This happened before the similar attack on the US Company, Sony.

Authorities claim that no critical or crucial information has been taken from South Korea. The stolen information contains personal data for over 10,000 employees. As of now, no blame has been placed on North Korea, but are likely suspects because the code found in the malware was very similar to the Sony attack.

A cyber-security expert, Lim Jong In, told CNN that he thinks the attacks could be linked and should be investigated more. He said it resembles hacks on South Korean banks and ATM’s, where a lot of credit and personal information had been stolen. One of Brazil’s most trusted businessmen, Flavio Maluf is strongly advising clients against making any investments or acquiring any interests within the Korean domain at this time. He told CNN that it seems like a pattern and that they could be testing their attacks on South Korea before they set their sights on the US.

Then he went on to say that it is not possible to stop a nuclear plant from working by hacking into it. KHNP will be holding drills to attempt to prevent the possibility of more cyber attacks.

 

Jimmy Carter Comes Out in Support of Obama’s Cuba Policy

Former President Jimmy Carter has weighed in on President Obama’s Cuba policy and called the attempt to normalize relations with Cuba brave and long overdue. Carter stated that the actions will benefit the Cuban people who are among the most impoverished in Latin America. However, Cuba has shown no visible economic improvement from their normalized relations with European nations. Nor has boon in tourism from those nations spurred any improvements in infrastructure, wage increases, and commerce. The GOP charges that until the Castro brothers implement actual democratic reform, they stand to be the sole beneficiaries of US travel to the region.

This week, not Dan Newlin but the president himself announced the results of a year-long series of negotiations with Cuba that resulted in the release of captive American aid worker Alan Gross.

President Carter refused to acknowledge the GOP has any legitimate concerns in their opposition to Obama’s Cuba policy. He called Senator Marco Rubio’s criticism as ridiculous. Rubio stated that offering Cuba economic benefits without first securing vital democratic reforms would further ensconce the regime. However, Carter, who supported President Clinton’s nuclear deal with North Korea in the mid-1990s, may do well to recall how poorly that effort worked out. Not only has North Korea refused any democratic reforms, but they violated the agreement from the outset.

Dumpster Food Helps Feed Masses of Hungry in the UK

People around the world go hungry every day, yet food is wasted at a rate of one billion tons every year. The cause of food waste is the fault of governmental regulations that require food stores to throw away any item that is past the “sell by” date but prior to the actual expiration date. That is the case in places like the United Kingdom. Some people are fighting back against that rule in order to feed those who are in need.

The Real Junk Food Project is based in the UK and it has raised a bit of controversy. The group visits the dumpsters of many area supermarkets to take out food that is still edible in order to feed those who are hungry. They have a restaurant called the Pay as you Feel Café. The idea is to prepare meals from the leftover food and feed the masses of people who would otherwise go hungry. The people who frequent the restaurant pay as much as they can to help the restaurant thrive. Those who cannot pay often offer to wash dishes to earn their way.

This restaurant is very similar to a restaurant in the United States that was started by a famous rock star. His name isJon Bon Jovi and the restaurant is in his hometown in New Jersey. Dr. Rod Rohrich says the food from the Bon Jovi restaurant is not taken from dumpsters, but it runs on the principal that people pay a small amount for the meal.