Locust populations continue to explode in size: Some areas expecting a 400x increase in the coming months representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

New swarms forming in Somalia and starting in Kenya. 

The situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season.

EASTERN AFRICA Kenya. Widespread swarm breeding continues in northern and central counties where an increasing number of hopper bands are forming and, in the past few days, the new generation of immature swarms have started to form. This may be supplemented by new-generation immature swarms arriving from Somalia. Further concentration is expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

Ethiopia. Swarms continue to mature and breed over a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. Cross-border movements continued to be reported from adjacent areas of Somalia and Kenya. Somalia. In the northwest, late instar hopper bands and immature adult groups are forming between Berbera and Burao. In the northeast, new immature swarms are forming near Garowe. Some swarms may be moving south towards NE Kenya. South Sudan. The mature swarm was seen on 23 February near Laboni and the Uganda border dispersed into many small swarms.

Uganda. No new reports of swarms since 24 February. DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo). No new reports of Desert Locust in the northeast near the Uganda border.

OTHER HOTSPOTS Sudan. Scattered adults are maturing on the central coast of the Red Sea. No locusts reported elsewhere.

Eritrea. Breeding continued on the central and northern Red Sea coast where groups of hoppers and immature adults formed. A mature swarm appeared on the coast near Massawa and laid eggs.

Saudi Arabia. Ground control operations against hopper bands on the Red Sea coast near Qunfidah finished on 26 February but continued against immature groups in the interior between Wadi Dawasir and the Persian Gulf.

Yemen. Another generation of breeding is in progress on the Red Sea coast where hatching and early instar hopper bands continue to form. An immature swarm was seen in Sana’a on 29 February. New breeding was seen on the southern coast near Aden where early and late instar hopper bands were present, the latter forming immature adult groups. Control could not be carried out.

Oman. Breeding continues on the north and east coasts where hopper groups and bands have formed. Swarms were reported recently on the north coast.

Iraq. Swarms were reportedly flying in the southeast between Basrah and Nasiriyah.

Iran. 22 immature swarms spread out along the southwest coast between Bushehr and Bander-e-Lengheh in Fars, Khozestan, Bushehr and Hormozgan provinces where they quickly matured within four days to lay eggs. Local breeding continued in the southeast. Control operations are in progress.

Pakistan. Mature adult groups and swarms were seen copulating in Okara district of Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan and Lucky Marwat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Spring breeding is in progress in the interior of Baluchistan between Khuzdar and Dalbandin, and on the southwest coast near Turbat where adult groups are laying eggs and early instar hopper groups are already forming. New generation immature groups and swarms could start forming in Baluchistan by the end of March.

Afghanistan. Three swarms reportedly arrived in Khost province from adjacent areas of NW Pakistan on about 21 February. Locust watch

Behold A Pale Horse! February 2020: The 2nd month of the most important decade in the history of the human race was like a roaring lion: Death, Disease and Disaster Dominate. (Click to Source)

 

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Horde of locusts blocks out the skies in Saudi Arabia, Yemen

3 Feb, 2020 10:14 / Updated 10 hours ago

Residents in Saudi Arabia and Yemen have been faced with the bewildering sight of a truly gargantuan swarm of roughly 360 billion locusts, which can block out the sun at times. But an even bigger swarm is coming soon.

The massive locust swarm measures roughly the size of Manhattan and has caused tens of millions of dollars worth of damage, devastating East Africa in one of the worst outbreaks in decades.

مناضل@Maneb35

جراد جراد جراد…

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حمد اليامي@Hamad21120812

ووين اللي ياكلون الجراد عندنا كمية جراد طازجه😜👍

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الشرفه

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The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has requested over $75 million to tackle the emerging crisis caused by the swarm. The insect outbreak was itself triggered by a series of recent cyclones, which produced ideal breeding conditions for the pests.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment has warned residents not to eat any of the locusts as they are likely contaminated with toxic pesticides.

أمانة منطقة نجران

@NajranMunicipal

جانب من أعمال إدارة الصحة العامة بوكالة الخدمات ، للحد من التلوث ومكافحة الحشرات ، داخل المدينة.

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Desert locusts consume their own bodyweight in food each day, and can travel up to 150km in swarms large enough to block out the sun.

“A swarm the size of Rome can eat enough food in one day as everybody in Kenya,” said Keith Cressman, FAO’s senior agriculture officer.

To make matters even worse, another, even larger swarm is expected in April, which could grow up to 500 times in size by June. (Click to Source)

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Just like something out of the Bible! Nightmarish swarm of millions of locusts darken the sky over Najran, Saudi Arabia, just weeks after devastating Iran

A few weeks after Iran, swarms of locusts are currently invading southern Saudi Arabia, near Najran, darkening the skies and adding a thick layer of insects to trees. Just like something out of the Bible!

Najran, Saudi Arabia, played host to an invasion of nightmarish proportions when millions of swarming locusts descended over the weekend. On their way from Iran they first crossed Kuwait and its desert before arriving to Saudi Arabia:

Very creepy, isn’t it? Earlier this year, the United Nations warned that swarms of locusts would be bearing down on Saudi Arabia and spreading among the Red Sea thanks to unusually heavy rainfall.

The UN also called on countries in the flight path to take the necessary precautions to ensure the insects make a limited impact.

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Locust swarms contain up to 80 million insects per square mile and they can extend for hundreds of square miles.

The biggest fear surrounding locusts is the amount of food they can consume in a short period of time, a “small swarm” weighing about one ton can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.

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كوكتيل / cocktail@coctaill1



نجران الان جراد بشكل غير طبيعي

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Plagues can consume fruits, crops, vegetation in their path ultimately causing devastation to farmers and locals.

Another biblical attack of locusts! (Click to Source)

 
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Plague of black beetles infest Anbar, Iraq and Saudi Arabia after severe flooding

Heavy storms continually recurred throughout Iraq during the period from 24-March to 2-April when severe weather finally eased, damaging buildings, homes, businesses and leaving thousands of people homeless. Similarly, tons of rain have flooded desertic Saudi Arabia over the two last weeks. While several villages and cities have been almost completely evacuated, some disgusting black beetles are infesting flooded regions, mostly in Anbar province, Iraq and Arar, Saudi Arabia.

Irak

The insect plague was triggered by heavy rains. This is apocalyptic!

They are all over!

Saudi Arabia

Black beetle plagues have also been recorded around Arar and Hafar al-Batin in Saudi Arabia:

After natural disasters follow insect plagues. This is biblical! (Click to Source)

‘Mind-Blowing’ Evidence of Moses’ Journey From Egypt to Saudi Arabia REVEALED

Despite a majority of researchers questioning the accuracy of the Book of Exodus, some believe that Jews’s flight from Egypt did indeed take place – and that new evidence of this is poised to “seriously shift” the frame of discussion.

Researchers from the Doubting Thomas Research Foundation (DTRF), which investigates the historicity and evidence of Biblical accounts, say they may have found the route to the Promised Land taken by the Israelites under Moses’ leadership.

Filmmaker Ryan Mauro of the DTRF had made three trips to Saudi Arabia, which he says was part of Moses’ route.

“What I found there was simply mind-blowing. I couldn’t believe that there was all this evidence for the Exodus and hardly anyone outside this region was aware of it,” he told the Daily Star.

The Book of Exodus — the second book of the Old Testament and the Torah — provides an account of the departure of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and their journey through the wilderness.

According to the Biblical narrative, the Israelites fled the Egyptian army when Moses parted the Red Sea, with the waters later closing up again upon their pursuers. They are said to have later arrived at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, and ended up settling in what is now Israel.

 

The location of the biblical Mount Sinai is traditionally associated with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Near the foot of the mountain, St Catherine’s Monastery was built over what’s traditionally believed to be the site of the burning bush from which God first revealed himself to Moses.

Ryan Mauro believes, however, that the real Mount of Sinai is located  over a hundred miles eastwards across the Gulf of Aqaba, which separates the Sinai Peninsula from Saudi Arabia.

“After three trips to Saudi Arabia, I’m fully convinced that the Israelites went into the ancient land of Midian when they fled slavery in Egypt.”

He also says there is evidence that Moses led his people across the Gulf of Aqaba from what is now the coastal town of Nuweiba in the east of the Sinai Peninsula, where the crossing would just be nearly 8 miles (12km) wide with a shallow depth of just 33 metres.

“It’s going to take some time to bring this alternative theory into mainstream historiography, but I believe that our work is going to seriously shift the landscape on this subject,” Mauro argued.

The mainstream scholarly consensus is that there is no archaeological evidence for the Exodus, and that the Bible represents the reflection of the Jewish people on their origins rather than details a specific moment in history.

“I would basically say to someone who’s sceptical about the Exodus to keep an open mind about the subject,” Mauro was quoted as saying. “There’s a reason why this tradition has been passed down in the three major world religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”

“Perhaps these sceptics have doubted the historical account of the Exodus story because of a lack of evidence at the traditional site at St. Catherine’s, but what we have found appears to fit the ancient accounts.”

Late last year, his foundation released a documentary titled ‘Finding the Mountain of Moses’, which cited “undeniable archaeological evidence” of its presumed real location in Saudi Arabia.

In the film, he said he had discovered several pieces of evidence that the Exodus did occur, like a rock split by Moses and the remains of an ancient altar where the Israelites worshipped a golden calf while Moses was on top of the mountain.

“The golden calf, the split rock, Moses’ altar, the Red Sea crossing site; all of these pieces need to fit, and they fit at this site in a way that no other site does,” he added.

“We don’t necessarily believe in the same deities as the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Assyrians did, but we still accept the evidence that these peoples existed and that there were major events during their respective existences.”

“The accounts of the Exodus are no different, and now we have real, physical evidence that these events took place.” (Click to Source)

 
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Who keeps buying California’s scarce water? Saudi Arabia

Saudi-based Almarai owns 15,000 acres of an irrigated valley – but what business does a foreign food production company have drawing resources from a US desert?

by Lauren Markham, photographs by Trent Davis Bailey

Mon 25 Mar 2019 

Four hours east of Los Angeles, in a drought-stricken area of a drought-afflicted state, is a small town called Blythe where alfalfa is king. More than half of the town’s 94,000 acres are bushy blue-green fields growing the crop.

Massive industrial storehouses line the southern end of town, packed with thousands upon thousands of stacks of alfalfa bales ready to be fed to dairy cows – but not cows in California’s Central Valley or Montana’s rangelands.

Instead, the alfalfa will be fed to cows in Saudi Arabia.

The storehouses belong to Fondomonte Farms, a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabia-based company Almarai – one of the largest food production companies in the world. The company sells milk, powdered milk and packaged items such as croissants, strudels and cupcakes in supermarkets and corner stores throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and in specialty grocers throughout the US.

Each month, Fondomonte Farms loads the alfalfa on to hulking metal shipping containers destined to arrive 24 days later at a massive port stationed on the Red Sea, just outside King Abdullah City in Saudi Arabia.

Alfalfa at Fondomonte Farms in Vicksburg, Arizona.
  • Alfalfa at Fondomonte Farms in Vicksburg, Arizona

With the Saudi Arabian landscape there being mostly desert and alfalfa being a water-intensive crop, growing it there has always been expensive and draining on scarce water resources, to the point that the Saudi government finally outlawed the practice in 2016. In the wake of the ban, Almarai decided to purchase land wherever it is cheap and has favorable water conditions to produce enough feed for its 93,000 cows.

In 2012, they acquired 30,000 acres of land in Argentina, and in 2014, they bought their first swath of land in Arizona. Then, in 2015, they bought 1,700 acres in Blythe – a vast, loamy, agricultural metropolis abutting the Colorado river, where everything but the alfalfa seems cast in the hue of sand. Four years later, the company owns 15,000 acres – 16% of the entire irrigated valley.

But what business does a foreign company have drawing precious resources from a US desert to offset a lack of resources halfway around the globe?

What Fondomonte Farms is doing is merely a chapter in the long story of water management in the west, one that pierces the veil on the inanities of the global supply chain – how easy it is to move a commodity like alfalfa, or for that matter lettuce or clementines or iPhones, across more than 13,000 miles of land and sea, how much we rely on these crisscrossing supply lines, and at what cost to our own natural resources.

JR Echard, assistant manager of the Palo Verde Irrigation District.
The Colorado River as seen from the PVID Diversion dam in Blythe, California.
  • JR Echard, assistant manager of the Palo Verde Irrigation District. The Colorado river as seen from the PVID Diversion dam in Blythe, California

An astonishingly good rate

Though Blythe is a desert, it is adjacent to the lower Colorado river, a river that supplies water to roughly 40 million people and irrigates 4m acres of land.

Bart Miller, Western Resource Advocates’ healthy rivers program director, says that over the last 80 years, due to the growth of proximate cities such as Denver, Los Angeles and Phoenix and the expansion of large-scale farms, demands on the river have steadily climbed. The river is also shrinking due to climate change. It has endured a nearly two-decade-long drought, with only waning rain and snowpacks to supply its flow. As a result, the river is at a record low.

The state of the Colorado river can be traced, in part, to a water claim approved by the federal government all the way back in the 1800s when a British gold rush-era prospector named Thomas Blythe first laid eyes on the desert expanse adjacent to the rushing Colorado river and submitted a water claim application to the federal government.

That 1877 water claim, now owned by the Palo Verde Irrigation District, ensures that Blythe has “unquantified water rights for beneficial use”; in other words, as much water as those living and farming within the district could possibly need in this water-scarce region, and for free.

The Palo Verde Irrigation District is not allowed to sell the water – not to the company Calistoga, say, for bottled water, but not to their farmers, either. Blythe farmers are thus only charged to cover the water district’s overhead – $77 an acre a year, an astonishingly low rate.

In other places, people are charged according to how much water they use and are thus incentivized to use less. In Blythe, no matter how much he uses, a farmer gets his water for a cheap, flat rate.

Alfalfa fields and storage warehouses at Fondomonte Farms in Vicksburg, Arizona, USA, 2019
  • Alfalfa fields and storage warehouses at Fondomonte Farms

It’s no surprise, then, that Fondomonte chose to set up shop here. While Saudi Arabia has enacted laws to manage their water resources, in the US we are still governing our water based on compacts made in the 1800s – before the western cities had boomed, before suburban sprawl, before factory farming and a global supply chain and, of course, before climate change.

Water from the Colorado might be limited, but in Blythe, while they still have it, it’s there for the taking.

Getting the water from the river to Blythe is a complicated engineering feat. “It’s a really unique system,” explains JR Echard, assistant manager of the Palo Verde Irrigation District, as he traces how the water moves throughout the valley on a map on his office wall.

“We’re in the desert,” Echard said, “but we live next to a massive river and have rights to it.” Thomas Blythe might have appeared crazy to want to build an empire of agriculture out here in the desert but, in Echard’s eyes, Blythe was on to something.

The Colorado river powers a meticulously managed system of canals and dams. Southern water districts like Palo Verde estimate their constituents’ water needs and submit corresponding orders to the Parker and Hoover dams upstream which then release the requested water as though turning a great industrial tap. Once in Blythe, the diverted water moves downward into the valley below with the help of gravity and into a 250-mile system of canals that wind through 100,000 acres of cropland.

The canals are outfitted with electronic gates that can be opened and closed with the click of a mouse from the Palo Verde Irrigation District’s offices.

The Diversion Dam on the Lower Colorado River, regulated and monitored by the PVID, Blythe, California, USA, 2019
  • The Diversion dam on the lower Colorado river, regulated by the PVID

In California, everyone’s after whatever water they can get. Because of the low supply, the Palo Verde Irrigation District is currently three years into a 30-year fallowing contract – when farmers are paid not to plant a portion of their fields so the water can instead be sent to cities – with the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies water to big cities like San Diego and Los Angeles.

Fondomonte inherited a fallowing contract, so they are restricted from planting a portion of their land each year. This drives the company mad, an employee whom I will call Jim, told me. He asked not to be named for fear of reprisal from Fondomonte. Alfalfa-hungry Fondomonte would prefer to plant every inch.

Despite its agricultural prowess, 23% of Blythe residents live in poverty (compared with 12% nationally). The town is home to 21,000 people – 6,000 of whom are incarcerated in one of the town’s two state prisons. “The prisons were supposed to bring economic development to the city,” Echard told me on our way back from the dam as we sped alongside one of the primary canals. “But it hasn’t done much at all.”

Fondomonte, on the other hand, has been a boon. “Everyone wants to be working here,” Jim told me. Not only does the company employ more than 100 locals full-time – as compared with the part-time or seasonal labor found on most farms – and with 401ks, vacation and health insurance, but they also support local farmers by purchasing their alfalfa to add to their bales and ship overseas.

“There are a lot of exporters here,” Jim said of US farmers and farm operations selling their crops to overseas markets. “They have been exporting from here for 30 or 40 years. I don’t see how this farm is any different.”

“The Saudis, they’re here buying up at a good price,” Echard explained. “They’re just the same as everyone else. They buy local. It’s a shot in the arm for the economy.”

A field of alfalfa, Blythe, California, 2019
  • A field of alfalfa in Blythe, California

But is it an outrage?

The thing about alfalfa is that it’s perennial; you can grow it all year and stagger the planting in the fields so that there’s nearly always a new crop of alfalfa ready to be cut as well as planted. Once it’s cut, it keeps growing, and they cut it again. A crop can last up to five years, but Fondomonte generally rips up and replants after two or three; any longer than that and the alfalfa grows more stem-heavy, and thus drops in quality.

Each day on their massive, gated farm headquarters, Fondomonte employees take samples of the alfalfa and test its quality: the higher the ratio of leaves to stems, the better the quality, and thus the better the milk the cows will produce.

“Almarai only wants the highest quality,” Jim explained. He broke open a bale with his hands as if tearing off a piece of bread. The outside of the alfalfa was brown, but just inside, was a vivid and surprising green.

Fondomonte employs some of the most hi-tech mechanisms big ag has to offer – computer programs that combine with satellite and drone imagery to delineate the soil characteristics of each speck of land, drones take videos of production in progress, and the company is currently improving their own system of intra-farm canals and electronic gates so that they can irrigate each field with the touch of a button from behind a computer screen in the office. It’s all part of their ongoing effort to maximize their efficiency and crop quality, thus their profit, thus their empire in Saudi Arabia – perhaps, eventually, here as well.

“If it’s raining,” the employee told me, the farm manager “can just farm from behind his desk”. They are entirely self-sufficient, and have expertise in constructing a hi-tech alfalfa empire having already done it in Saudi Arabia.

The storage barns at Fondomonte Farms and a PVID irrigation ditch, Blythe, California, USA, 2019
  • The storage barns at Fondomonte Farms and a PVID irrigation ditch in Blythe, California

Dan Putnam, an alfalfa expert and UC Davis professor, explained US-grown alfalfa has long been shipped overseas, long before Almarai. Alfalfa is the third largest economic product in the US, but only 4% is exported annually. In the western states, however, which are high producers close to shipping ports to major export markets like China, Saudi Arabia and Japan, about 15% is exported each year. These high-export states are also the states that happen to be grappling with drought, meaning that the most water-strapped states are shipping much of their water overseas, in the form of alfalfa.

When Almarai first began purchasing land in the western US, environmentalists, and many average citizens, were outraged. “Saudi Hay Farm in Arizona Tests State’s Supply of Groundwater,” said an NPR article in November of 2015. “Saudi Arabia is Outsourcing its Drought to California,” wrote Gizmodo.

Yet Putnam takes umbrage with the outrage over alfalfa exports. Why, he wonders, are people so much more outraged over alfalfa using water here only to be shipped overseas, what about almonds, a water intensive crop of which 70% of California’s harvest is shipped overseas. Or oranges? Or lettuce?

I suggested to him that it might have something to do with the fact that alfalfa isn’t seen as food – it’s just a plant, a mega-crop divorced, in common perception, from its value as food. But as the basic element of a larger food chain of the dairy and meat industry, alfalfa, Putnam claims, is critical.

“I have a T-shirt,” he told me. “Alfalfa: ice-cream in the making.”

Grant Chaffin, Owner of Chaffin Farms, Blythe, California, USA, 2019
The baby potatoes grown at Chaffin Farms, Blythe, California, USA, 2019
  • Grant Chaffin, owner of Chaffin Farms (left). The baby potatoes grown at Chaffin Farms, Blythe

Putnam, along with many farmers I spoke to, urges people to consider how much water crisscrosses the globe in the current supply chain. It’s not just alfalfa, and it’s not just agriculture. People will find goods at the cheapest prices, and companies in areas with unstable resources will relocate elsewhere.

While it’s hard to then make a clear calculation of exactly how much US water is being poured into alfalfa and then shipped overseas (some evaporates, some filters back into the soil, some is deposited back into the river downstream) it’s clearly not nothing. But who knows how long it will last. “For the survival of that country,” Putnam said of Saudi Arabia, “they will look to other parts of the world.”

On our way back from the dam to the district offices, Echard drove me up along the access roads to get a panorama of the canals, and past some bright fields of alfalfa. We then drove to a part of valley where, in partnership with various environmental organizations, the Palo Verde Irrigation District had planted a large grove of trees to revive some of the habitat that once stretched so abundantly along this part of the Colorado. In August, he told me, it can be 115F (46C) outside, but under this canopy of trees, it might be 20 degrees cooler.

“Here in the middle of the desert, we’ve got a little forest,” he said, proudly. Like the river, this forest, too, is a manmade environment; man’s footprint is everywhere.

As we drove back to the office, I pointed out some nice bushy trees along the canal. “Oh, those are saltcedar,” Echard said. An invasive species from Asia that drain the water table and leave salt deposits in the soil, which destroys the other plants. “No one wants it,” he said, as he yanked the truck into gear and headed back out again amid the bright carpets of alfalfa stretching in all directions. (Click to Source)

 

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The United States converts S.Arabia into a nuclear force under the “Agenda of the Century” and the Turkey-Iran Prevention

 

The US offers Saudi Arabia the secrets of nuclear technology just like Russia does with Turkey, creating an awe-inspiring rival in the Middle East that becomes dangerously “radioactive” in view of the developments of the Age Agreement for which first has informed pronews.gr

An agreement aimed at “lasting peace” between the Sunni Arab states and Israel and the simultaneous isolation of Shi’ite Iran and Turkey’s imperial aspirations.

US Energy Minister Rick Perry has secretly approved six licenses to companies to deploy nuclear-related technology, related services and technical assistance to Saudi Arabia, reveals a document that was brought to the attention of the Reuters news agency yesterday .

The Donald Trump government implicitly seeks to conclude a much broader agreement to make US nuclear technology available to the United States.

Saudi Arabia is known to seek at least two nuclear power stations. Companies from different countries – the USA, South Korea, Russia – are competing for the project. Which or who the sponsor or sponsors is expected to be revealed by Riyadh this year.

Permissions signed by Perry (“810 Authorizations”) allow US companies to start preparatory work with a view to an agreement, but not to dispose of equipment to be installed in a plant, he explained a source informed of the licenses that were approved, subject to not to be named.

The fact that the permits were signed, the Daily Beast news site first revealed.

According to the Ministry of Energy, the companies were those that the Trabble Government has asked to keep the authorization approvals secret.

US parliamentarians are deeply worried that if the US shares nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia, it could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Saudi Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman had told CBS last year that the kingdom would develop nuclear weapons if Iran did so, which Riyadh considers his main rival in the region.

In addition, the kingdom reacts to the American claim that any sale accompanied by two clauses would prevent it from acquiring material suitable for the construction of nuclear weapons secretly: a ban on uranium enrichment and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

Congressional concerns over the sale of nuclear technology and the availability of know-how in Saudi Arabia intensified in early October 2018, after Jamal Kassogi, a self-exiled journalist in the United States, was murdered in the consulate of the kingdom in Constantinople.

Authorizations were approved after November 2017, but it is unclear in the document the Reuters saw if some of them were signed after the killing of Casagi.

Democratic MP Brad Sherman has asked US Secretary of State Mike Pombeo to publish the names of the companies that received these licenses by mid-April. Pompeo replied that he would examine it.Sherman also complained that the Government of Trab is trying to avoid Congress in the availability of nuclear technology in Saudi Arabia. Pompeo argued that the government is working to ensure that any agreement on the transfer of nuclear technology does not increase the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Last month, Democratic MPs complained that White House executives are defying warnings that they may violate the law by working with former officials and the group

IP3 International to promote a multi-billion dollar deal to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

It is ignored if IP3 International is among the licensed companies.

It is noted that Moscow first revealed for the first time that Mr Trump promotes the “Agreement of the Century”, an agreement between the US, Israel and the Arab states, provides for a plan to resolve the Palestinian and Syrian “Israeli mold” and an attack on Iran, something that has been sounding for a long time, but no one confirms it.

It is an agreement that, if achieved, will change the face of the Middle East. For this reason, “diplomatic fever” prevails in all European capitals, Moscow, Washington and throughout the Middle East.

This US government decision is part of the “Solution of the Century” of the pro-Israeli US plan in the Palestinian, ie the implementation of Israeli plans for full annexation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Jerusalem-West Bank) by Israel, but also full recognition of the Palestinian state. (Click to Source)

US Blocks United Nations Resolution on Geoengineering

The United States joined Saudi Arabia to derail a UN resolution that sought to improve the world’s understanding of potential…

MARCH 22 2019

The United States joined Saudi Arabia to derail a UN resolution that sought to improve the world’s understanding of potential efforts to lace the sky with sunlight-reflecting aerosols or use carbon-catching fans. The measure called for a report on carbon capture and solar radiation management.

The two countries were joined by Brazil in blocking the resolution at the UN Environment Assembly conference in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this week. The measure asked the world’s decision making body on the environment to commission a report outlining research and planning related to carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management. Those controversial efforts are still in the planning stage and are not operational.

Switzerland and nine other nations originally asked the UN Environment Program for guidance on possible future governance options and analysis of the implications of geoengineering, but they agreed to substantially reduce the scope of their resolution in hopes that the United States, Saudi Arabia and Brazil would allow it to move forward.

The final version, which failed to gain consensus Wednesday, would have asked UNEP only to provide a compilation by next year of current scientific research on geoengineering and U.N. bodies that have adopted resolutions regarding it.

The proponents wished to see UNEA become the institutional home for geoengineering within the UN structure. But sources said the United States in particular insisted that questions about geoengineering be left to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body with a narrow focus on global warming.

Geoengineering will be a key part of the IPCC’s upcoming Sixth Assessment Report to be published in 2021 and 2022, and sources say the U.S. negotiators refused to agree to any other study or assessment that would be published before it.

The United States’ focus on the IPCC raised eyebrows. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia angered parties at the U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland, in December by questioning IPCC’s work.

The two countries joined Russia to block a popular proposal to “welcome” last year’s landmark IPCC report that said the world must act aggressively to counteract climate change within 12 years. The special report said that failing to do so would result in catastrophic effects.

Besides Switzerland, the motion was backed by Burkina Faso, Micronesia, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Mali, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, Niger and Senegal. Other parties, including some European nations and Bolivia, argued for even stronger language for using caution in approaching geoengineering. None of them opposed the final resolution.

The final version of the measure included a lengthy preamble that expressed concern about the “potential transboundary risks and adverse impacts of carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management on the environment and sustainable development.”

It also emphasized the importance of “applying the precautionary principle” when fiddling with the world’s thermostat. (Click to Source)

 

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New Turkey-Iran-Qatar axis is rising in Middle East, and it has Saudi Arabia furious

Published time: 22 Mar, 2019 16:34

A new alliance being formed by Qatar, Turkey, and Iran, with the potential to receive the backing of Russia and China, is a major concern to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The aftermath of over eight years of war in Syria has changed the regional dynamics in a way almost certainly never envisioned by the United States and its allies. Through leaked documents, we have known for some time now that Washington’s interim goal was to, at the very least, destabilise the Assad government in the hopes of scaling back Iranian influence. (Its ultimate goal was quite clearly regime change, which was very close to fruition during at least one stage of the war).

This anti-Assad strategy has, of course, backfired to the point where Iranian-backed forces have essentially amassed along the Syria-Israel border, threatening Washington’s most beloved ally in the region. The other notable – and realistically, most important – development is that Russia, not the United States, emerged out of the rubble of Syria as the major power-broker and military tactician.

However, it seems as though the aftermath of Syria is just the beginning of a tectonic move in a massive direction away from the status quo. Eight years on since the war in Syria broke out, and we are now beginning to see some other major concrete shifts within the regional alliances which has Washington’s traditional allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, starting to tremble.

As of now, Qatar, Iran, and Turkey are forming a regional alliance, which is irking Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States – and they only have themselves to blame. After Saudi Arabia led a coalition of nations that attempted to bully Qatar into submission and accept a long list of inconceivable demands in June 2017, Qatar soon found it could rely on some key partners to weather the Saudi-led storm. These partners are now openly forming a new alliance, which will upend the entire balance of power in the Middle East.

The strengthening of ties between this axis of nations is quite remarkable, when one considers that they each held completely paradoxical positions regarding the Syrian conflict. The horror of this shift from a Western perspective can be seen brilliantly in an Asia Times article entitled ‘America’s Syrian humiliation is worse than it looks’.

When Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar’s only land border and the UAE in turn blocked shipments from its ports to Doha, Qatar quickly found friends in Oman, Turkey, and Iran to bypass this nonsensical blockade. Qatari flights were rerouted over Iranian airspace and Turkey upped the ante on its military presence in the country as a sign of strength and commitment. Eventually, daily life in Qatar could continue quite reasonably. This is not to say that Qatar didn’t experience difficulties, particularly regarding oil prices, real estate prices, tourism, and the slowdown in economic growth. Then again, Qatar was able to draw from its reserves to counter the effects, minimising the damage done by its neighbours.

By the end of 2017, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan had all increased bilateral trade with Qatar, benefitting all four countries. In the less than six months since the ‘Qatar crisis’ had begun, trade between Iran and Qatar reportedly increased by 117 percent. At the time, experts studying the crisis predicted that commercial relations between the two countries would remain intact, even following the closure of the Saudi-led Qatar crisis.

Iran, Qatar, and Turkey also signed a land transportation pact in August of that year which would help reduce the cost and transit period for the exchange of goods. Seeing as Saudi Arabia effectively blockaded the flow of goods into Qatar, it should not be hard to see that even this agreement alone bore major significance.

Qatar for its part has invested heavily in Turkey, well over $20 billion in total. As explained previously by Al-Jazeera, this is the second-highest in terms of value by any country, demonstrating the importance these two nations have given to each other.

By most accounts, the Gulf States need Turkey on their side in order to contain Iran. A recent report published by Middle East Eye revealed how Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt hatched a plan with Israel to scale back the regional influence of Turkey and Iran, with Turkey deemed to be the biggest military threat to these Gulf states’ interests.

As it transpires, the Qatar-Turkey-Iran axis could potentially provide a major buffer to the so-called Arab NATO, which will be headed by Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia appears to have managed to bring Pakistan on side, it still remains that Pakistan shares a border with Iran and relies heavily on China, another key ally of Iran. Islamabad’s anti-Iran stance can therefore only stretch so far.

The fact is that this alliance on the face of it will likely bear the support of Russia and its military will also be of a major concern to the anti-Iran alliance. As it stands, Russia, Iran, and Qatar provide over half of the world’s known gas reserves. Not to mention that Iran and Qatar share the world’s largest gas field, another major concern for the Saudi-led bloc.

Saudi-owned media has already voiced its opposition to this newfound alliance, which can be seen most openly in an article in Al Arabiya entitled ‘How Iran, Turkey use Qatar to undermine regional security and US interest’. According to Al Arabiya, there is a “risk” of Qatar “breaking away from the Arab orbit and posing a serious threat to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.” The Qatar-Iran entente, “previously concealed, is out in the open,” the article also notes.

To put it simply: Qatar has irrevocably joined with Ankara and Tehran against its former Arab allies,” the article’s sources surmise. “It has conclusively positioned itself in a regional alliance that pursues geopolitical dominance by driving instability.”

Qatar is “playing with fire” the article states. At around the same time, Qatar had called for a new alliance to replace the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), further demonstrating this shift in perspective.

According to Russian think tank Katehon, the new Qatar-Iran-Turkey axis is already well underway and has the power to control Asia, west India and Pakistan and challenge the “demonic trio” of the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Do not underestimate the role of small Qatar in this triple alliance with latent empires,” the think tank is cited as saying. “The fact is that the huge financial resources, as well as the successful geographical location of the emirate, allow it to resist even the all-powerful Saudi Arabia, which also claims regional domination.

Thus, international pressure and economic restrictions prompted three completely different states, despite geopolitical differences, to begin rapprochement in the economic sphere. How this will turn out in the future depends primarily on the actions of the United States, which, undoubtedly, will try to break up the emerging triple alliance.” (Click to Source)

 

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Locusts May Arrive in Israel in Time to be Served for Passover Seder

A plague of locusts that has been creeping across the Middle East is set to hit Israel just in time for the Passover holiday, commemorating the original pre-Exodus plague in Egypt.

The locusts began swarming on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea and Sudan in December. A desert variety of the insect is always present in these areas but the population remains limited unless certain conditions are present. Overcrowding changes both their behavior and physiology. They develop bright colors and form huge swarms in which they fly long distances to new pastures. Locusts are not harmful to humans but swarms of locusts can be miles long and contain a billion individuals.

“Swarms are often tens of square kilometers in size,” the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) charged with monitoring locust outbreaks explained. The FAO warned that a swarm of just one square kilometer eats the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. “A swarm the size of Bamako (Mali) or Niamey (Niger) can consume what half the population of either country would eat in a single day.”

The FAO reported that in the past two weeks, there has been an escalation in second-generation hatching and hopper band formation along both sides of the Red Sea. One swarm arrived in Iran at the end of January. Ground and air crews are already hard at work in Egypt and Saudi Arabia trying to control the infestation.

The swarms also can travel 93 miles a day making efforts to control an outbreak even more difficult. Officials warned that further rains in the region could lead to an even larger outbreak.

A similar infestation that took place exactly six years ago in southern Israel was successfully controlled. In 1915, a locust swarm in then-Palestine led to regional famine.

Though most insects are not kosher and unfit for Jewish consumption, there are four varieties of the insects that are listed as kosher. Some might even consider it fitting to dine on locusts during the Passover Seder ceremony.

Of these, you may eat the following: locusts of every variety; all varieties of bald locust; crickets of every variety; and all varieties of grasshopper. Leviticus 11:22

The concept is highly appealing since they do not require ritual slaughtering and according to some opinions may even be consumed live. The flesh of locusts is parve and can be served with either dairy or meat.

Rabbi Natan Slifkin, director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History, holds an annual banquet featuring, among other unusual delicacies, locusts dipped in chocolate and caramel. (Click to Source)

Source: Breaking Israel News

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