Nepal Earthquake: Rescuers Struggle to Reach Villages as Toll Tops 3,800 (Source nbcnews.com)
Rescuers struggled to reach Nepal’s more rural communities on Monday to assess the damage from a devastating earthquake that has left more than 3,800 people dead. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Saturday, killing thousands and flattening centuries-old buildings in the capital city of Kathmandu. The temblor also sparked a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. Kathmandu residents were continuing to sleep outside following two days of powerful aftershocks. The official death toll jumped above 3,800 on Monday, with more than 7,100 others injured, according to Nepal’s National Emergency Operation Center. Aid agencies warned that figure could leap higher once rescuers make it to isolated rural communities. “Villages in the areas affected near the epicenter are literally perched on the sides of large mountain faces and are made from simple stone and rock construction,” Matt Darvas, a Nepal-based worker said in a statement.
Showdown: US Slams Russia over Nuclear War Threats (Source nationalinterest.org)
A senior U.S. official slammed Russia on Friday for allegedly threatening to use nuclear weapons.
In an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News, Rose Gottemoeller, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security, criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for threatening to use nuclear weapons during the Ukraine crisis in February of last year. “We are concerned when there’s loose talk about nuclear weapons being useable, nuclear weapons being raised to higher alert levels,” Gottemoeller said, Kyodoreported. “There is no threat out there that would warrant talking about a role for nuclear weapons.” Gottemoeller was likely referring to comments Putin made in February 2014 indicating that Moscow would have to “point its warheads” at Ukraine should the country decide to join NATO. “It’s frightening not just to talk about this, but even to think about, that in response to such deployment, the possibility of such deployments—and one can’t theoretically exclude these deployments—that Russia will have to point its warheads at Ukrainian territory,” Putin said at the time, according to Western media reports. In a new documentary about the Ukraine Crisis last year, Putin also says that Moscow was ready to put nuclear forces on high alert. Gottemoeller’s comments come on the heels of another report that former Russian military officials have told their American counterparts that Moscow would consider using nuclear weapons over disputes involving Ukraine and the Baltics.
Did a Chinese-Russian-Iranian coalition opposing NATO debut in Moscow? (Source RT) The Moscow Conference on International Security in April was used as a venue to give notice to the US and NATO that other world powers will not let them do as they please. Talk about joint efforts between China, India, Russia and Iran against NATO expansion was augmented with plans for tripartite military talks between Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran. Defense ministers and military officials from all over the world gathered on April 16 at the landmark Radisson Royal or Hotel Ukraina, one of the best pieces of Soviet architecture in Moscow, which is known as one of the “Seven Sisters” that were constructed during Joseph Stalin’s time. The two-day event hosted by the Russian Defense Ministry was the fourth annual Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS). Civilian and military officials from over seventy countries, including NATO members, attended. Fifteen defense ministers took part in the event. However, aside from Greece, defense ministers of NATO countries did not participate in the conference. Unlike previous years, the MCIS organizers did not send Ukraine an invitation for 2015’s confab. According to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, “At this stage of the brutal information antagonism in regard to the crisis in southeastern Ukraine, we decided not to inflame the situation at the conference and at this stage made the decision not to invite our Ukrainian colleagues to the event.” The Moscow conference is the Russian equivalent to the Munich Security Conference held at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Germany. There, however, are critical differences between the two events. While the Munich Security Conference is established around Euro-Atlantic security and views global security from the ‘Atlanticist’ standpoint of NATO, the MCIS represents a much broader and diverse global perspective. It represents the rest of the non-Euro-Atlantic world’s security concerns, particularly the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Ranging from Argentina, India, and Vietnam to Egypt and South Africa, the conference at the Hotel Ukraina brought a variety of big and small players to the table whose voices and security interests, in one way or another, are otherwise undermined and ignored in Munich by US and NATO leaders.
10 Reasons to Add Pineapple to your Water Daily (Source livingtraditionally.com)
- Fights inflammation Bromelain is an enzyme that has anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain helps the body get rid of toxins by fighting off inflammation which impacts all the tissues and organs in the body. Regular consumption of pineapple can help to treat mild forms of arthritis and sports injuries by reducing inflammation and pain.
- Helps with weight loss Due to the fiber contained in pineapple, it takes more time to digest, thus causing a prolonged feeling of satiety. Drinking pineapple water in the morning prevents sugar and fat cravings. Thiamine helps boost your body metabolism by converting carbohydrates into energy.
- Flushes parasites from liver and intestines Pineapples contain an enzyme bromelain, that is anti-parisitic. A couple sources state that a three day pineapple fast will kill tape worms.
- Regulates the thyroid Pineapples contain iodine and bromelain that are effective in improving various autoimmune disorders; thus, effective in easing symptoms associated with thyroiditis.
- Balances electrolytes Pineapple contain potassium which helps make our body a lot stronger and maintain the proper balance of electrolytes in your body preventing cramps or other injuries.
- Gets rid of heavy metals and toxins Pineapple is loaded with fiber, beneficial enzymes and a host of antioxidants that help to detox your body from heavy metals and toxins.
- Works as a digestive aid. Bromelain in pineapple helps the body digest proteins more efficiently.
- Strengthens gums and helps whiten and preserve teeth Researchfound that the enzyme bromelain in pineapples acts as a natural stain remover, according to Dr. Frawley. Bromelain also helps break up plaque effectively.
- Improves vision Pineapple contains beta-carotene and vitamin A that good for eyesight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of pineapple per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults.
- Protects from cancer.
Chilean Volcano Calbuco erupts for the first time in five decades(Source Yahoo) Volcano Calbuco in southern Chile erupted for the first time in more than five decades on Wednesday, sending a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometers into the sky. Chile’s Onemi emergency office declared a red alert following the sudden eruption,which occurred about 1,000 km (625 miles) south of the capital Santiago near the tourist town of Puerto Varas. About 1,500 people were being moved out of the area and an evacuation radius of 20 kilometers has been established, authorities said. Trevor Moffat, who lives in Ensenada, some 10 kilometers from the volcano, said the eruption happened without warning. Volcano Calbuco’s last major eruption happened in 1961. “It sounded like a big tractor trailer passing by the road, rattling and shaking, guttural rumbling … we left everything there, grabbed my kid, my dog, got in the car with my wife,” said Moffat. “All the neighbors were outside, a lot of young people crying. Armageddon type reaction,” said Canada-born Moffat, who was driving to nearby Puerto Varas. Television pictures showed a spectacular mushroom-shaped column billowing into the sky with occasional lighting bolts shooting through. The eruption was seen in other towns at least 50 kilometers away. “There are a lot of people out in the streets, many heading to the gas stations to fill up on gas,” Derek Way, a resident of Puerto Varas, told Reuters. “A friend told me to fill everything we have with water,” said Way. Chile, on the Pacific ‘Rim of Fire’, has the second largest chain of volcanoes in the world after Indonesia, including around 500 that are potentially active. In March, volcano Villarrica, also in southern Chile, erupted in spectacular fashion, sending a plume of ash and lava high into the sky.
Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine are preparing for something big (Source Reuters) The United States on Wednesday accused Russia of building up air defense systems inside eastern Ukraine and of involvement in training exercises of pro-Russian rebels in breach of a European-brokered truce.
“This is the highest amount of Russian air defense equipment in eastern Ukraine since August,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. She said the increasingly complex nature of the training exercises “leaves no doubt that Russia is involved.” “The training has also incorporated Russian UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles), an unmistakable sign of Russian presence,” Harf added. Fighting has picked up in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks despite the ceasefire agreed upon in February, with each side accusing the other of violence. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday he believed a surge in ceasefire violations had, however, passed. But Harf said Russia was building up its forces along the Ukrainian border.
“After maintaining a relatively steady presence along the border, Russia is sending additional units there,” she said, adding that the increase marked the largest presence of Russian troops on the border since October.
Putin promises an ‘immediate response’ if EU-Ukraine trade agreement goes through (Source businessinsider.com) A leaked letter from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urges the European Union to quickly ease “Russian concerns” regarding the implementation of a free-trade agreement with Ukraine. In the letter addressed to European Commission President Jean-Paul Juncker, which was made available to RFE/RL, Steinmeier called for a resumption of three-way talks between the EU, Ukraine, and Russia in order to identify “practical solutions.” Russia has voiced opposition to the creation of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), the economic core of a wide-ranging Association Agreement concluded in March 2014 by the European Union and Ukraine. Critics in Russia say the deal would have a negative impact on the Russian economy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine that changing national legislation to prepare for the agreement would trigger “an immediate response from Moscow.” Ukraine, in turn, argues that Russia is not a party to the Association Agreement and has no right to interfere. After being postponed amid Russian resistance, the DCFTA is due to enter force by January 1, 2016. In the letter, dated April 2, Steinmeier urged the European Commission to “use the considerable flexibility that the agreement offers.” He said Germany strongly supported the swift implementation of the DFCTA, adding that “time is running short.” He added that “the economic stability of Ukraine can hardly succeed without the participation of Russia” and called for a “pragmatic, interest-based and political approach without preconditions.”
Blue Bell Creameries issues recall of all products (Source AP) The company “cannot say with certainty” how the bacteria was introduced to its facilities, Blue Bell’s chief executive Paul Kruse said in a statement. Blue Bell issued the recall that includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks distributed in 23 states and international locations because other products “have the potential to be contaminated,” according to the statement. “We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Kruse said. The first recall in the family-owned creamery’s 108-year history was issued last month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked ice cream contaminated with listeria to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. Five others in Kansas and Texas were sickened with listeriosis, which can cause fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal symptoms. The illness was tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, and later to a second line in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The most recently contaminated samples were discovered through a testing program the company initiated after its first recall, according to the statement.
2016 Will be Huge For Marijuana (Source cheatsheet.com) The 2014 midterm elections will go down in history as one of the most important years in marijuana history. It provided validation that two trailblazer states — Washington and Colorado — had made the right decision two years prior in pushing through a voter-passed ballot initiative, allowing for the possession and consumption of adults. Many were skeptical when those states passed their respective laws, but in 2014, they suddenly don’t look so crazy. Following this year’s election cycle, two more states — Oregon and Alaska — and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., now have legalized marijuana for themselves. While it wasn’t completely unexpected, it is still a bit jarring for many people to comprehend. Ten years ago, or even five years ago, having any state, let alone four plus Washington D.C., with legal marijuana was inconceivable. But it appears public perception has gone through a massive flip in a relative short amount of time, and now states will be rolling in new tax revenues, will likely see their crime rates drop, and also save in terms of law enforcement costs. It’s a very exciting time for cannabis activists. But hold onto your hats, because 2016 is going to blow the lid off the whole thing. What makes 2016 so special? Well, it will be the third election cycle in which marijuana legalization measures will be on ballots across the country. While 2014 led some more credence to the legalization movement, it is still largely considered an “experiment” by many, seeing as how these laws still conflict with federal law, and that the feds themselves have really yet to choose one side or the other. With legalization hitting the nation’s capital, and three of the four states making up the Pacific coast, the feds will likely need to weigh in within the next several months. There are a handful of states that are looking at getting measures on the 2016 ballot, and if even a few of them are able to successfully get the votes to put them into law, suddenly marijuana legalization is no longer simply an experiment.
European Rabbis to Meet Pope in the Vatican (Source israelnationalnews.com) Leading European rabbis are set to meet with Pope Francis on Monday. The meeting will take place in the Vatican, the first time that a delegation of leading rabbis has ever met with the Pope there. The delegation will be led by Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis. The rabbis and the Pope will discuss a number of issues, including the current climate for Jews in Europe. In recent months, there has been a marked increase in the number of attacks on Jews throughout Europe. A new report released just last week by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, together with the European Jewish Congress (EJC), showed that in 2014, 766 violent acts committed either with or without weapons and via arson, vandalism, or direct threats were directed against Jews or Jewish institutions such as synagogues, schools, community centers and others in Europe. the Interfax news service quoted Rabbi Goldschmidt as saying that “An era of constructive dialogue between the Vatican and Europe has arrived. We are allies today and we deeply respect Pope Francis as a person who has played an enormous role in promoting the development of inter-faith dialogue and in establishing peaceful relations between nations and religions. We hope that jointly we will ward off the danger of Islamic radicalism threatening Europe.