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End Time News – Updated 1 Aug 2014 - 5 stories
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Earthquakes

earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Philippines Earthquake Today 2014: 6.3 Strikes Pondaguitan
LA Late News

A 6.3 Philippines earthquake today 2014 has struck Pondaguitan. The Philippines earthquake today July 14, 2014 has been followed by a 4.9 magnitude quake moments ago. Damage assessment is pending.

Thereafter, another Philippines earthquake started just after 4:40 pm local time. That quake was near the same epicenter. It was roughly five hundred miles west of Palau and started twenty-six miles below the ground level. USGS tells news that “At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active.” They add “The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007). “

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Earthquakes

earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Mexico Earthquake: 6.9-Magnitude Quake Shakes Puerto Madero, Swaying Buildings in Mexico City; 3 Dead
by Weather Channel

Monday morning began with a jolt along the western coast of Mexico when a deadly 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook buildings as far away as Mexico City.

The large temblor occurred at 6:23 a.m. local time (7:23 a.m. Eastern time), five miles northeast of Puerto Madero, Mexico. The epicenter was near the Guatemalan border, where strong shaking was also felt, according to RT.com.

Firefighters spokesman Raul Hernandez says at least two people were killed in the Guatemalan town of San Marcos. Western Guatemala also suffered power failures from the quake. The civil defense office in the Mexican state of Chiapas reported on its Twitter account that one man had been killed in Huixtla by a collapsed wall.

Hernandez reported damage in at least 30 homes in Guatemala, as well as landslides and toppled utility poles.

There were reports of power outages and rock slides on some roadways in Guatemala. Photos posted on social media sites and published by the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre showed buildings with huge cracks across their facades in San Marcos, and one which apparently suffered a partial collapse.

In Chiapas, where the quake was centered, panicked people poured into the streets and the Red Cross said it was treating some frightened adults and children.

"I thought the house was going to collapse," said Claudia Gonzales, 32, who ran to the street in the town of Comitan with her 1-year-old daughter.

The quake was felt across a broad swath of southern Mexico, but officials had no immediate reports of damage.

In the city of Tapachula, near the epicenter, city employee Omar Santos said "buildings were moving, windows broke in some houses and businesses, and people ran through the streets in the dark."

The U.S. West Coast, as well as the Hawaiian and Alaskan coasts, are not at risk for a tsunami, the United States Geological Survey said Monday morning.

The quake, which was originally reported to be magnitude 7.1 but later revised down, was centered 37 miles below the surface.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Source
 
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Wars and Rumors of Wars
 

Gaza-Israel conflict: What is the fighting about?
BBC

Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are involved in some of the most intense violence for months. Militants are firing volleys of rockets into Israel and Gaza is being hit by waves of air strikes. Here is a look at what is going on.

Why is there always fighting between Israel and Gaza?
The Gaza Strip, sandwiched between Israel and Egypt, has been a recurring flashpoint in the Israel-Palestinian conflict for years.

Israel occupied Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war and only pulled its troops and settlers out in 2005. Israel considered this the end of the occupation, but it still exercises control over most of Gaza's borders, waters and airspace. Egypt controls Gaza's southern border.

Israel has imposed tight restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of the Gaza Strip, measures it says are vital for its own security.

However, Palestinians in Gaza feel confined and are suffering socio-economic hardship. The dominant Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas and other militant groups say the restrictions are intolerable.

Hamas's charter is committed to Israel's destruction but in recent years it has said it will consider a long-term truce with Israel. It cites Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as reasons for its attacks on the Jewish state before and after 2005.

It says it is also acting in self-defence against Israeli air strikes, incursions and other military assaults.

What caused the latest escalation?
Rocket fire and air strikes increased after the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in June, which Israel blamed on Hamas and which led to a crackdown on the group in the West Bank. Hamas denied being behind the killings. Tensions rose further after the suspected revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem on 2 July, after which six suspects were arrested.

Palestinian and Israeli death

July 8 to July 29
1,200 Palestinians
55 Israelis
1 Thai national

On 7 July, Hamas claimed responsibility for firing rockets for the first time in 20 months, after a series of Israeli air strikes in which several members of its armed wing were killed.

The next day, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, which it said was aimed at stopping rocket attacks and destroying Hamas' capabilities.

Since then, there have been hundreds of air strikes and hundreds of rockets have been fired.

Analysts point to the fact that Hamas has become increasingly isolated in Gaza after losing the support of its former staunch ally Syria and to a lesser extent Iran, and seeing the Egyptian authorities crack down on smuggling tunnels following the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Attacking Israel, they say, may be a way for Hamas to try to boost its popularity and obtain concessions in any eventual ceasefire.

Why is it so hard to get the sides to agree to a ceasefire?

There have been multiple efforts to get both sides to agree to a ceasefire, but in the first three weeks truces were short-lived.

The first truce plan was proposed by Egypt after one week - Israel accepted it but Hamas said it was not consulted and later on rejected it as "a surrender".

Since then there have been several attempts to stop the fighting, including trying to achieve pauses for humanitarian reasons. There have been brief respites but none which have endured. Israel says it has accepted successive truce proposals but resumed fire after continuous rocket attacks from Hamas.

Hamas says it will accept a lasting ceasefire so long as it leads to a lifting of the blockade of Gaza - something Israel is not considering.

The US is working on a staged ceasefire proposal, based on the Egyptian plan. However, the US has no formal contacts with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group, and while Qatar and Turkey, both supporters of Hamas, have been involved in the discussions, Israel does not trust them.

Israel says even if it adopts a ceasefire, it will continue searching out and destroying tunnels Hamas has built to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks.

Jeremy Bowen: No appetite for ceasefire

Can Egypt deliver a Gaza-Israel truce?

How long will the conflict go on for?

The fighting has now lasted longer than the previous Israel-Gaza conflicts in 2008-09 (22 days) and 2012 (eight days) and does not look like stopping any time soon.

As the conflict ended its third week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israelis to be prepared for a "prolonged" war.

Israel has said Operation Protective Edge will carry on for as long as it takes to restore quiet and safety for Israelis, while Hamas has also vowed to fight on until they can be guaranteed the blockade will be lifted.

According to the Israeli military, after the first two weeks Hamas's rocket arsenal was depleted by about half, through air strikes or the firing of the rockets. Israel's focus is now on destroying tunnels which it could not hit from the air. It says it will continue these operations during any ceasefire.

The Palestinians insist they will not accept the presence of any Israeli troops in Gaza, suggesting a situation of attack and counter-attack will continue.

Ground war a turning point?

What are the two sides' goals?
Israel's main declared aim is to stop rocket fire from Gaza once and for all. It has also said it aims to destroy Hamas network of tunnels running between Gaza and Israel and wants the territory to ultimately be demilitarised.

Palestinian militants have used tunnels to carry out attacks, some of which have been thwarted by the Israeli military. Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas gunmen, who ambushed Israeli troops via a tunnel in 2006. On the morning of the day the ground offensive was launched, the Israeli military intercepted 13 militants who had used a tunnel to infiltrate Israel, and were believed to be planning to attack a nearby kibbutz.

Hamas' political leaders say they will only stop fighting when there is an end to the blockade of Gaza. The group's armed wing though has said it will only accept a ceasefire if:

Israel stops "all aggression" in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza

Commits to the 2012 ceasefire

Stops trying to undermine the recently formed Palestinian unity government

Frees prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Shalit in 2011 but who have recently been re-arrested

What can Israel and Hamas gain from latest conflict?

How come civilians are bearing the brunt?

Gaza is a small territory with a large population and Palestinian officials say many of the casualties were caused by air strikes in residential areas. President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of committing "genocide" while human rights groups have warned Israel that air strikes in densely populated areas or direct attacks on civilian homes could violate international law.

Israel has said the homes it has bombed belonged to senior militants and served as command centres where rocket attacks were co-ordinated. It says militants deliberately fire rockets from civilian areas and store rockets in places like homes, school and hospitals - a charge Hamas denies.

Israel-Gaza attacks:
8 July - Israeli offensive began

4,100 air strikes on Gaza
2,670 rockets fired at Israel

Israel also points out that the hundreds of unguided rockets that have been fired at its territory directly threaten its civilians.

Long-range rockets have been launched towards population centres such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as further north. Human rights groups have said the firing of indiscriminate rockets endangers civilians and constitutes a war crime.

What weapons are being used in the Israel-Gaza conflict?

Gaza offensives: How do the tolls compare?

The two sides have fought wars before. How did they end?

Israel launched a ground offensive in December 2008 dubbed Operation Cast Lead in response to rocket fire. It ended when Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire 22 days later, saying its goals were "more than fully achieved".

An estimated 1,300 Palestinians had been killed, many of them civilians. Thirteen Israelis also died, including four soldiers in a "friendly fire" incident. Gaza's civilian infrastructure was damaged extensively.

Four years later, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defence, again with the stated goal of stopping rocket fire and crippling Hamas's capability to launch attacks. Eight days into the operation, Egypt brokered a ceasefire agreement that included a promise from both sides to stop attacks. At least 167 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.

Source

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Pestilence
 

Could the Ebola outbreak come to the United States?
by Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) -- A man boards a plane in Liberia with a slight fever. As the jet nears an airport in New York, his temperature rises; his throat grows sore.

It's the flu, he thinks after he lands, but he's wrong. He's caught the deadly Ebola virus.

He soon dies of hemorrhagic fever while surrounded by family. Some of them catch it, and it's like a flame hitting a fuse.

The United States erupts in its first Ebola pandemic as health care workers fight an uphill battle to contain it.

The facts about Ebola Ebola: How at risk is the U.S.? Doc.: Ebola unlikely to spread to cities How easily can Ebola spread to the U.S.?

Could what sounds like the plot of a Hollywood pestilence thriller really happen here?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, Ebola can come to the United States.

But no, there's no reason to panic.

"This is not an epidemic; it's not the kind of disease that can sweep through New York," said Dr. Alexander van Tulleken of Fordham University.

What is the risk of catching Ebola on a plane?

The 'yes' part:

Given that international air travel is commonplace, it's realistic that an infected passenger could land in the country.

One nearly did.

Patrick Sawyer, a U.S. citizen working in Liberia, fell violently ill while on a plane to Nigeria this month. He was planning on returning to his family in Minnesota but died before he could.

"It's going to happen at some point," CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

A person can be infected and not show symptoms for up to three weeks. So it's possible for someone to fly to the United States who has the virus but is feeling fine.

"Just observing the whole process, it's almost impossible to prevent from happening," Gupta said.

Then, the person could develop symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, which would make the patient capable of passing the virus.

To catch it, one has to come into contact with a sick person's bodily fluids: sweat, saliva, blood or excrement.

The 'no' part:

Experts agree that the disease would not spread far like it has in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, where health officials believe it has killed more than 700 people in the largest Ebola outbreak in recorded history.

There are two reasons for this:
• Though Ebola is aggressively infectious, which means that those infected are highly likely to get sick, it's not very contagious, meaning that it doesn't spread easily.
• Public health educators and medical professionals in the United States and other highly industrialized countries would deal with it swiftly. It's an advantage the poor affected countries in West Africa don't have.

Source

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Famines

History repeating as war-torn South Sudan faces famine
The International News

NAIROBI: A fly-covered baby crawls on the baked earth of southern Sudan watched by a vulture: a brutal but iconic photograph of famine that shocked the world two decades ago.

Today, aid workers warn that deadly famine will return in a matter of weeks, killing tens of thousands, as civil war in what is now South Sudan continues.

The crisis is man-made and for those who witnessed the fighting in the 1990s, it is a depressing repetition of the past, featuring the very same leaders. “The same politicians and their supporters are fighting for power, and once again civilians are paying the price,” said Peter Moszynski, an aid worker during the famine of the 1990s who has returned to work there once again.

The current civil war broke out in mid-December after sacked vice-president Riek Machar was accused by President Salva Kiir of a failed coup attempt.

Thousands have been killed and over 1.5 million people have fled more than seven months of fighting between government troops, mutinous soldiers and ragtag militia forces divided by tribe.

Civilians have been massacred, patients murdered in hospitals and churches, and entire towns including key oil-producing hubs have changed hands several times.

It is a grim repeat of war two decades ago — before South Sudan split from the north — when rebels battling the Islamist government in Khartoum also split along ethnic lines to fight among themselves.

“There are horrible similarities with then and now, and it is clear there is a famine looming,” Moszynski said, speaking from oil-rich Unity state, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Nearly four million people or a third of the country face “dangerous levels” of hunger, with 50,000 children facing death from malnutrition, the UN has said, calling the hunger crisis “the worst in the world”.

Machar led a 1991 coup against rebel commanders, a war within a war that lasted over a decade, before striking a deal that would see him become vice-president of the world´s youngest nation at independence in 2011.

Exactly how renewed fighting began this time is disputed. Machar denies that he attempted a coup and claims Kiir tried to purge opponents.

“The result has been the same type of ethnic conflict which came about in 1991 only worse, and the development of the new nation has been set back by years,” said John Ashworth, who has worked with churches in South Sudan for three decades.

Communities have split between Kiir´s powerful Dinka, the largest tribe, and Machar´s Nuer, the second largest.

The UN has been unusually blunt as to who is to blame. Aid chief John Ging has called the “man made” crisis the result of “a political disagreement between two powerful individuals.

“Many aid workers fear famine zones could be declared as soon as late August, with parts of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states at highest risk.

Famine implies acute malnutrition in over 30 percent of people, and at least two deaths per 10,000 people every day.

Skeletal children are already being seen.

“It is so depressing,” said Vincent Hoedt, who worked for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) during the late 1990s drilling water pumps, and this month returned from the war-ravaged town of Bentiu, where 40,000 civilians shelter behind the razor wire fences of a UN peacekeeping base.

“The sad cycle of seemingly endless war continues, even if that has been broken by moments of quiet and of happiness,” he said. Even in areas where there is peace, he added, mud tracks are swamped by torrential rains.

Slow-moving peace talks were due to restart on Wednesday in luxury hotels in Ethiopia, but previous ceasefire deals have repeatedly collapsed.

Moszynski recalled how he´d hear at night the howls of hyenas, who would grab babies from mothers too weak to fend them off.

Today he is “kept awake by gunshots”.

The UN is again flying in food and aid at enormous cost. The International Committee of the Red Cross is air-dropping food for the first time since the war in Afghanistan in 1997.

Tens of thousands are reported to have died in the Sudanese crisis of 1993 — which came just five years after a famine in which some 250,000 died — mainly in regions straddling tribal boundaries between Nuer and Dinka.

Famine was again declared in 1998, when some 70,000 people died.

The traumatic photograph of baby and vulture — which won South African photographer Kevin Carter a Pulitzer Prize, reportedly a factor in his suicide soon after — was taken in 1994 in the village of Ayod in Jonglei.

Much has changed in South Sudan: most importantly, the rebels are now battling their own government in Juba.

But old reports seem fresh today.

In a prescient warning, Human Rights Watch in 1993 called on both sides to “correct their own abuses or risk a continuation of the war on tribal or political grounds in the future.”

Then as now, both sides were accused of war crimes, including massacres, torture, rape, targeting civilian populations and recruiting child soldiers.

Today, teacher turned refugee James Tut, who fled to Kenya in January, has little hope.

“This is not a case of those who don´t remember history are condemned to repeat it,” Tut said. “The problem here is that our leaders simply don´t care.”

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