Saturday, July 7, 2012

Flooding in Russia Kills 134

At least 134 people have been killed by floods in Russia.

The Krasnodar region was hit by flash flooding in the middle of the night, caused by about a foot of rain, within a few hours.

Most of the dead were in the town of Krymsk, but various other towns near the Black Sea also reported deaths.

Dozens of people are still missing, and Moscow has sent search and rescue teams to join the more than one thousand people already at work in the area.

The area is a popular place for children's summer camps, but luckily one of them was effected, and all there were safely evacuated.

Alexander Tkachev, the regional governor, described the floods as "something unimaginable" and that "no one can remember such floods in our history. There was nothing of the kind for the last seventy years".

President Putin has demanded an investigation into the Russian weather warning system.

The storms are expected to continue through Monday morning.

Syrian Artillery Hits Lebanon Killing Three

Artillery from Syria crashed into northern Lebanon on Saturday.

At least three people were killed in the village of Wadi Khaled, which injured at least nine more.

It is unclear if the fire was aimed purposefully or was just a series of misfires.

Residents of the area have reportedly fled in fear of being targeted next.

Lebanon has been one of the key places for Syrian refugees to escape to.

The conflict in Syria has been going for sixteen months, and Lebanon has already seen clashes in it's own cities as Syrians take sides.

Serena Williams Wins Fifth Wimbledon

Serena Williams won her fifth Wimbledon title, Saturday.

She beat Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets, to gain her fourteenth grand slam win.

It was Williams' first win in over a year, after she was forced off the court due to injury and serious illness.

Many thought she would be forced to retire, but she fought back, and now has proven she still belongs there.

After the singles match, Serena and her sister Venus finished off the day by winning their fifth doubles title.

They beat the Czech pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in two sets.

Pot Bellied Pigs Now Allowed on Planes

According to the US Department of Transportation's "Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel: Draft Technical Assistance Manual", which came out Thursday, pot bellied pigs are now allowed onto airplanes.

The new rules allow for them to be considered service animals, if their owner so declares.

Employees of the airlines are allowed to ask for certification for the animal.

Pot bellied pigs can weigh up to three hundred pounds.

In November of last year a three hundred pound pig was allowed to fly on a US Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Seattle because the owner showed it to be a companion therapy pet.

The new guidelines also add monkeys and miniature horses to the list of service animals.

Jordanian MP Pulls Gun During Debate

Think your politicians like to fight? When was the last time one of them pulled a gun?

That's what happened during a televised debate between Jordanian MP Mohammed Shawabka and activist Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad.

The two were debating Syria, and it became very heated. Insults began to fly, including accusations of being a Mossad agent.

Shawabka first threw his show at Murad, and then pulled a gun.

Host Mohammed Hasbashneh tried to intervene between the two, but without any luck, and his producer ended the show there.

Props to Hasbashneh for trying, and to Murad for moving right towards Shawabka despite the gun.

US Declares Afghanistan a Major Non NATO Ally

On Saturday the US designate Afghanistan as a "major non NATO ally".

The new status allows for Afghanistan to continue to enjoy easier American aid, even after the withdrawal of US troops in 2014.

It is a promise of not just aid, but expedited access to American equipment, as well as a guarantee of streamlined defense cooperation.

Afghanistan becomes the fifteenth country to receive such a designation.

Countries such as Israel, Australia, Japan, Egypt, and Pakistan are amongst the others that have been granted such status.

Growing tensions between Pakistan and the US have raised the question of whether Pakistan will see that status revoked.

California Approves High Speed Rail

High speed rail will come to the United States, whether it can be afforded or not.

California's senate approved a 130 mile stretch of a planned track that would eventually reach 520 miles.

In a twenty-one to sixteen vote, the senate agreed to spend eight billion dollars, to avoid losing a promised $3.2 billion from the federal government.

Total costs of the project are expected to be around seventy billion.

Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill, which he heavily lobbied for.

The Assembly of California had approved the bill on Thursday.

It is unclear how the state will be paying for the rail line, due to it's already being at least sixteen billion in the hole.

The full rail line is to connect San Diego to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to San Fransisco and Sacramento.

McCotter Resigns

On Friday, Republican Representative Thaddeus McCotter resigned from his congressional seat.

The announcement came after a series of failures for the congressman from Michigan.

He failed at his attempt to run for President, couldn't get enough signatures to get on the ballot for reelection, and then a former member of his staff leaked some of his private writings.

With his resignation he released the following statement:

Today I have resigned from the office of United States Representative for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District.
After nearly 26 years in elected office, this past nightmarish month and a half have, for the first time, severed the necessary harmony between the needs of my constituency and of my family. As this harmony is required to serve, its absence requires I leave.
The recent event’s totality of calumnies, indignities and deceits have weighed most heavily upon my family. Thus, acutely aware one cannot rebuild their hearth of home amongst the ruins of their U.S. House office, for the sake of my loved ones I must “strike another match, go start anew” by embracing the promotion back from public servant to sovereign citizen.
I do not leave for an existing job and face diminishing prospects (and am both unwilling and ill-suited to lobby), my priorities are twofold: find gainful employment to help provide for my family; and continue to assist, in any way they see fit, the Michigan Attorney General’s earnest and thorough investigation, which I requested, into the 2012 petition filing.
While our family takes this step into the rest of our lives, we do so with the ultimate confidence in our country’s future. True, as at other times in the life of our nation, we live in an Age of Extremes that prizes intensity over sanity; rhetoric over reality; and destruction over creation. But this too shall pass, thanks to the infinite, inspired wisdom of the sovereign people who, with God’s continued blessings, will again affirm for the generations American Exceptionalism.
Truly, it is a challenging and fortunate time to live in our blessed sanctuary of liberty.
In closing, to The People of Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, I can but say this: Thank you for the privilege of having worked for you.
~ Thaddeus G. McCotter

Nicasio Gone Til September For Rockies

Rockies right handed pitcher Juan Nicasio will be gone through at least September.

Nicasio will be under going arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 16.

Doctors will be removing a loose object that is causing fluid build up, inflammation, and severe pain.

The Rockies hope to have him back in September, but he could very well be gone for the whole season.

He injured the knee June 2, attempting to field a hard hit ball.

Last season he broke his C-1 vertebrae in his neck, when he was hit by a line drive.