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Magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Northern Japan early Tuesday, with
reports emerging that a small tsunami struck the coast without
Local fishermen in several ports in the area said an around 10
centimeter tsunami struck Iwate Prefecture, according to Japanese
broadcaster NHK. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) had advised
evacuating the coastal areas there.
The tsunami warning in the area has been cancelled, the JMA said.
"Though there may be slight sea-level change in coastal regions, no
tsunami damage is expected," the JMA said on its website.
Iwate Prefecture is largely rural, with a total population of around
1.3 million. While the area has a nuclear power plant, it was not
damaged, according to a report from NHK. It also reported that local
train lines have suspended operations.
This story is developing.
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Wars and Rumors of Wars
Israel on brink of Hezbollah war
as soldiers are killed
by Staff Reporter - Telegraph - UK
Israel stood on the brink of all-out conflict with Hezbollah
yesterday after launching air and ground strikes against the
Lebanese Shia group in retaliation for an attack that killed two
soldiers and injured seven others.
A Spanish member of a United Nations peacekeeping force was also
killed in the border town of Ghajar, which straddles the frontier
between Israel and Lebanon.
The incidents amounted to the most dangerous escalation on Israel's
northern border since the last war in Lebanon in 2006.
Israel told the United Nations it would take "all necessary
measures" to defend itself.
"Israel will not stand by as Hezbollah targets Israelis," wrote Ron
Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, in a letter to the
Security Council. "Israel will not accept any attacks on its
territory and it will exercise its right to self-defence and take
all necessary measures to protect its population."
The hostilities followed more than a week of sabre-rattling after an
Israeli helicopter strike that killed six Hezbollah members and an
Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander in a Syrian area of the Golan
Heights on January 18.
In the first of two attacks yesterday, Hezbollah fired an anti-tank
missile at Israeli military vehicles in Shebaa Farms, an area of
south Lebanon occupied by Israel, destroying at least two.
The dead soldiers were named as Sergeant Dor Chaim Nini (20) and
Captain Yochai Kalangel (25) of the Givati Brigade.
Israel first responded by firing at least 25 artillery shells into
Lebanon. Hezbollah then appears to have launched a second attack,
firing mortar bombs at Israeli military positions on Mount Hermon,
an area popular with tourists. The Israel Defence Forces then
launched "combined aerial and ground strikes" on Lebanon.
"We have responded with ground forces and artillery and air forces
in specific locations in response to the Hezbollah attacks," said
Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, invoked last
summer's 50-day conflict in the Gaza Strip to warn Hezbollah against
"To anyone who tries to challenge us on the northern border, I
suggest that they look at what happened here, at the Gaza Strip," he
The Spanish peacekeeper who died was Corporal Francisco Javier Soria
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Mandatory Chickenpox Vaccination
Increases Disease Rates, Study Shows
by Jennifer Lilley
Once again, the completely illogical debacle concerning the world of
vaccinations has surfaced.
By now, you know they’ve come under fire by those who are adamant
that they do more harm than good. Countless people have developed
irreversible health problems and even died shortly after receiving a
vaccination, which the medical community chalks up to “coincidence”
or cleverly crafted wording that a patient should have known about.
Take, for example, the young Florida girl who made headlines last
year when she received the flu vaccine. Marysue Grivna, now 10 years
old, experienced paralysis and vision loss within a few short days
of receiving the shot. She was ultimately diagnosed with a
debilitating brain disease called acute disseminated
encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Today, she’s confined to a wheelchair or
bed and is almost entirely nonverbal.(1)
There’s also the disturbing discovery of elderly people who lived at
a senior care facility in Georgia. After all received the flu shot
in 2014, five of them died the next week.(2)
Time and again, stories like this abound. Most recently, however,
additional news comes from South Korea, where researchers have
demonstrated what people have known in their heart to be true all
along: that vaccinations not only are unhealthy but also aren’t
Reported cases of chickenpox have more than tripled since
vaccinations became mandatory in South Korea
What spurred the researchers to engage in their studies in the first
place was the fact that, despite the amount of people receiving
chickenpox vaccinations, the rate of the illness in the nation
hasn’t diminished. Instead, it’s increased. The question then
becomes a matter of why something designed to keep an illness at bay
is actually boosting its activity, creating the opposite of the
desired (and often applauded) effect.
For example, the researchers note that, in 2005, varicella
(chickenpox) vaccination was mandated in South Korea for infants
between the ages of 12 and 15 months. Although there was 97 percent
uptake by 2011, no decreases in the illness were found nationwide.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has
reported an increase of varicella patients; in 2006, there were 22.6
cases per 100,000, while in 2011, that number more than tripled to
71.6 cases per 100,000.(3)
To better understand why the vaccine was failing, the research team
conducted a case-based study, a case-control study and an
immunogenicity and safety study. The latter study involved a total
of 126 healthy children who were vaccinated with a single dose of
Suduvax, which researchers discovered “may not be immunogenic enough
to be effective in preventing varicella in South Korea.”(4)
Chickenpox vaccination “has not been effective,” say researchers
The study, titled “Varicella and Varicella Vaccination in South
Korea,” was published in the journal Clinical and Vaccine
Immunology. The study acknowledges that the increase in varicella
vaccinations is likely due to the fact that getting them is
mandatory; however, the article addresses serious flaws in that
cases have surged, not declined in spite of that. The study notes:
Although the increase in reported cases of varicella to KCDC may be
due to the fact that mandatory varicella notification began in 2005,
no decrease in the number of varicella patients does not harmonize
with the fact that the varicella vaccine coverage increased to above
97% in 2011. Although it can be asserted that the annual number of
cases of varicella might have been higher with greater morbidity in
the prevaccine era, the high vaccine uptake, the lack of upward age
shift in the peak incidence, and the high proportion of breakthrough
disease, with almost no amelioration in disease presentation among
vaccinated patients, strongly suggest that varicella vaccination has
not been effective in preventing varicella in South Korea and is in
great need of improvement.(4)
Once again, their findings reinforce that vaccinations have done
more in the way of sparking great debate, illness and death than
they are actually controlling, or altogether ridding, certain
diseases from the population.
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2.5 million on
brink of famine in South Sudan
OVER 2.5 million South Sudanese are on the brink of famine, with the
civil war likely to intensify, the United Nations said Monday as it
launched a $1.8 billion aid appeal.
UN emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said she had witnessed
"first hand the continuing widespread devastation and destruction"
and an "untenable level of suffering" after returning from a
three-day visit to South Sudan.
"We need the fighting to stop and peace restored," she told an
international donor conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where
$529 million (467 million euros) was pledged.
"The conflict has had a devastating impact on South Sudan but if
peace doesn't come quickly, it will also have a significant regional
impact," she warned.
After seven failed ceasefires, the UN said in its appeal for cash
the "most likely planning scenario" was that violence "intensifies"
in the dry season when military vehicles can move around more
The UN also said it expected that peace agreements "may not
effectively or immediately end hostilities."
Top US official Anne C. Richard said that no conflict around the
world today filled Washington with as "much frustration and despair"
as this "man-made" crisis.
Richard, US Assistant Secretary of State for Refugees, said some
areas were "teetering on the brink of famine", and that people
"continue to suffer and die unnecessarily because their leaders are
unwilling to do what it takes to restore peace."
Deadlines repeatedly ignored
Washington, a key backer of South Sudan's independence in 2011,
pledged a further $273 million in aid, but was also deeply critical
of the warring leaders.
"This aid can only be effective if South Sudan's leaders end their
intransigence and promote the well-being of the people, rather than
their own rivalries and political machinations," she said.
Over half the country's 12 million people need aid, according to the
UN, which is also sheltering some 100,000 civilians trapped inside
UN camps ringed with barbed wire, too terrified to venture out for
fear of being killed.
The UN estimates that 2.5 million people are in a state of emergency
or crisis, steps just short of famine.
Almost two million have been forced from their homes and 500,000 of
them have fled abroad to neighbouring countries.
President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have been set a
March 5 deadline to strike a final peace agreement, but previous
deadlines have been repeatedly ignored despite the threat of
"South Sudan's leaders need to show their people and the world they
are committed to securing that peace," said Amos.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said that "the violation of
the cessation of hostilities agreement... will no longer be
tolerated," and warned of the "real risk that the situation will
continue to deteriorate before it gets better."
In response, South Sudan's Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin
insisted the government was "committed to pursue peace", and that
the next round of faltering peace talks would resume on February 19.
US actor Forest Whitaker, a UN peace envoy who joined Amos in
visiting South Sudan, said he had met with communities that had
"witnessed unspeakable atrocities".
"The needs are immense and human suffering is unbearably real," he
The UN is also asking for a further $810 million for the 500,000
South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries.
No overall death toll for the war has been kept by the government,
rebels or the United Nations, but the International Crisis Group
says it estimates that at least 50,000 people have been killed.
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Over 38 000
Somali children face starvation
Nairobi - Over 38 000 Somali children are at "high risk" from dying
from starvation despite hunger levels improving by almost a third
across the war-torn nation, UN experts say.
The grim assessment, based on the latest data collected by the UN,
comes just over three years since intense drought and war sparked
famine in the Horn of Africa nation, killing more than a quarter of
a million people.
In total, more than 731 000 people, including 203 000 children who
are severely malnourished, face "acute food insecurity", according
to a joint report released by the UN's food security and nutrition
analysis unit and the US-funded famine early warning systems.
But the total number affected is a drop of 29% from last assessments
covering the past six months, with "relatively good rains" in late
2014 helping farmers.
"Many children remain acutely malnourished, despite a small decrease
in their numbers over the past six months," the statement read.
"An estimated 202 600 children under the age of five are acutely
malnourished, including 38 200 who are severely malnourished and
face a high risk of morbidity and death."
Three-quarters of those in dire need are those who have fled their
homes, mainly due to continued fighting.
"Malnutrition rates remain stubbornly high," UN aid chief for
Somalia Philippe Lazzarini said. "The outlook for 2015 is
More than 250 000 people, half of them children, died in the
devastating 2011 famine.
Fighting continues between Somalia's al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebaab
rebels and government and allied forces, backed by more than
20 000-strong African Union force.
UN special envoy to Somalia Nick Kay said the past year had been
"significantly bad" for the Shebaab in terms of loss of towns and
the killing of their leader by a US drone.
But he also voiced concerns international attention had lost its
focus on Somalia.
Kay, speaking to AFP on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital Addis
Ababa ahead of a meeting of African Union leaders, said it was
"important that we sustain the attention" on Somalia.
"It is a concern, especially regarding the humanitarian funding,"
Kay said, adding that in 2014 the UN got less than half the
necessary aid it needed.
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