Friday, August 30, 2013
MOSCOW, August 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Navy assault ships are ready, if necessary, to rapidly evacuate Russian citizens from Syria, a senior navy official said Friday.
Western nations have been actively discussing possible military intervention in Syria following reports that chemical weapons were used last week near Damascus. The US claims Syrian government forces were responsible, while Damascus says Islamist rebels were responsible.
The Russian embassy in Syria said in February there were an estimated 30,000 Russians living in the country, but other reports suggest the figure could be higher.
Russia has six assault ships stationed in the Black Sea that could move rapidly to the Mediterranean Sea if needed, the navy official told RIA Novosti. “Ships from the Baltic fleet and Northern fleet could join them as well,” he said.
Even ships from Russia’s Pacific fleet, which are currently on anti- piracy patrols off the Horn of Africa, could also be enlisted if needed to ensure a safe evacuation, he added.
A UN inspections team is still compiling evidence on the reported chemical weapon attack. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told journalists that the team will leave Syria on Saturday and release its findings after it has time to analyze the results.
Pending the UN report, several governments have stated they will wait for the team’s findings on whether the Syrian government itself used the chemical weapons. Russian officials maintain that there is no clear evidence that the Syrian military was responsible for the attack, and blocked British attempts Wednesday to get the UN Security Council to issue a resolution against Damascus.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this week the evidence that the Syrian government was responsible is “undeniable.” Though the US has urged its international allies to push for a strike, President Barack Obama has yet to announce a decision on military intervention.
Possible British military involvement was blocked Thursday after UK Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a historic defeat in a vote in the UK parliament, when a motion calling for a “strong humanitarian response” on Syria was defeated by 285 to 272 votes, The Guardian reported.
France’s President Francois Hollande said Friday the British vote would not stop Paris taking from military action if necessary, Le Figaro reported.
From RIA Novosti
BEIRUT—The United Nations chemical weapons inspection team in Syria was reported to have wrapped up its field work Friday and was preparing to leave the war-torn country on Saturday.
U.N. officials have generally described the 20-member contingent’s work as a success. The inspectors visited several sites of the suspected Aug. 21 poison gas attack and gathered samples, apparently of possibly contaminated soil, tissue and other evidence, and also interviewed victims, witnesses, doctors and others in and around Damascus, the Syrian capital.
The U.N. team spent four working days on the ground in the Damascus area, crossing rebel lines to collect evidence in areas that are, in effect, war zones. The team fell prey to one sniper attack but there were no casualties, officials said.
The Syrian government and the opposition expressed public support for the U.N. mission. Each side blames the other for the incident, which reportedly killed hundreds of civilians, sparking international outrage. Some experts say images uploaded on the Internet of the victims suggest a nerve agent was unleashed, though the photographic record was not conclusive.
The collected samples are expected to be analyzed at laboratories in Europe for traces of chemical agents. Whether the process will take days or weeks is unclear. The team’s mandate is limited to determining whether chemical agents were released, not apportioning blame for the use of toxic substances. Experts, however, have said the findings could provide important clues about who was responsible for the incident.
Earlier this week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged U.S. and other Western officials to give the U.N. an opportunity to do its work before resorting to a military strike on Syria.
“Give peace a chance,” Ban said Wednesday in a speech in the Hague. “Give diplomacy a chance. Stop fighting and stop talking.”
Amid reports of an impending U.S. retaliatory missile assault on Syrian government targets, some have suggested that Washington would prefer to wait until the U.N. contingent departs before mounting any attack. The U.N. says the team plans to leave Syria on Saturday.
A Mexico City-based seismologist has predicted an earthquake of devastating magnitude in that city that could potentially occur before December.
According to Mexican Engineer Gabriel Curiel Flores, an earthquake of at least 8 points in the Richter scale is slated to occur before year's end in accordance to a theory he has developed off of records of past seismic activity which predicts future tectonic plate movements.
Curiel Flores runs a website calledPredicTerremotos.blogspot.mx in which he posts the basis of his predictions and explains a theory he developed which he has called "Theory Of Gravitational Forces." According to Flores, the theory helped him accurately predict the earthquake that shook Japan in March.
The theory, which has yet to be peer reviewed and approved by other members of the scientific community, states that earthquakes and other tectonic movements are in fact events that can be predicted and prepared for before they actually occur. Longstanding scientific consensus is that earthquakes are complex events that stem from a number of variable occurrences along earth'stectonic plates and therefore are too complex to predict accurately.
Flores' website has gone viral in Mexico among Twitter users due to a recent surge in earthquake activity that included a 4.5 magnitude movement which took place today. Some users have embraced the theory while others question the scientific validity of it.
In his website, Flores usually addresses his posts directly to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in an open letter format urging him to take action against what he believes is an imminent disaster that would devastate a city that he claims is "largely unprepared" for an earthquake of a severe magnitude. His claim stems from the fact that several central neighborhoods in Mexico City still host old buildings, which are seen as having poor structural support and that could be in danger in a severe earthquake scenario.
Flores states that he has already met with senior level officials of several government offices that are already aware of his theory but have yet to act upon it. He has also approached the Geological Society of America who redirected him towards submitting his paper to the peer-reviewed publication GSA Today.
Mexico City is no stranger to large magnitude earthquakes. In September 1985, a 8.1magnitude earthquake stuck Mexico City to devastating effects. The death toll from that event was estimated at around 10,000 casualties.
The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee announced Wednesday he opposed military intervention in Syria unless he finds more money for the Defense budget and details a broader strategy.
“Today I told the Administration that I cannot support military action in Syria unless the President presents to Congress his broader strategy in the region that addresses our national security interests and the budget to support it. President Obama has decimated our military beginning with his first budget four and a half years ago. He has underfunded overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, reduced base defense budget, and put into motion sequestration. Our military has no money left,” Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., said in a statement.
“Will the President pay for this operation with more furloughs and by grounding squadrons again? By continuing to raid the already underfunded base defense budget, Administration Obama further undermines future military readiness and capabilities,” Inhofe said.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/inhofe-military-has-no-money-left-for-syria/#wXdrQMbdK0DowRVC.99