Stromboli eruption: Tourists flee ‘high intensity’ explosion on Italian island as volcano spews ash and lava

Stromboli eruption: Tourists flee ‘high intensity’ explosion on Italian island as volcano spews ash and lava(Source The Independent)

A volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli has erupted for the second time in two months, sending streams of ash and lava into the sky and sea and forcing tourists to flee.

Stromboli, a tiny island off the north coast of Sicily, is a popular spot for visitors to the area who come to enjoy the beaches.

But on Wednesday a “high intensity” explosion was recorded by Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology as the volcano erupted, spewing huge clouds of black smoke and ash high into the sky. Streams of lava also were seen rolling down the hills into the sea, forcing tourists to flee.

Videos posted online show visitors who were close to the shore in small boats desperately racing out to sea to avoid clouds of hot ash, which tore down the slopes of the volcano and into the waters surrounding the island.

No injuries or damage has so far been reported, although the lava flows did start several small fires, forcing the authorities to send helicopters to dump water on the conflagrations.

The eruption is the second major activity at Stromboli in recent months. In July, a similar sudden explosion killed a tourist who was hiking towards the volcano’s summit, and injured others.

EU insists Iran nuclear deal must be part of any future pact

EU insists Iran nuclear deal must be part of any future pact (Source Associated Press)

The European Union’s top diplomat said Thursday that the existing nuclear deal between Iran and world powers must not be sacrificed as part of any U.S. moves to forge a new security agreement with Tehran amid attempts to set up a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart.

Tensions have risen sharply between Washington and Tehran since Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear agreement last year.

As re-imposed and escalated U.S. sanctions kicked in, further hurting Iran’s virtually moribund economy, Iran lost billions of dollars in business deals allowed by the nuclear accord. The U.S. sanctions largely blocked Tehran from selling crude abroad, a crucial source of hard currency for the country. Separately, the Islamic Republic was accused of launching attacks on a number of cargo ships in the strategic Straits of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The EU, meanwhile, has encouraged Iran to respect the nuclear deal and has set up a system to help keep money moving into the country. Tehran, however, has increased its uranium enrichment activities after the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal.

At a G7 summit on Monday, Trump said there’s a “really good chance” he could meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, although Rouhani wants sanctions lifted before agreeing to such high-profile talks.

Asked at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Finland what a possible meeting might mean for the Europeans, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the pact aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions is a multinational agreement enshrined in a U.N. Security Council resolution and that “what is existing needs to be preserved.”

Trump cancels Poland visit as hurricane heads for Florida

Trump cancels Poland visit as hurricane heads for Florida (Source Yahoo) US President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a trip to Poland as Hurricane Dorian bore down on Florida, where it could make landfall as a dangerous Category 4 storm. Trump, who had been scheduled to attend World War II anniversary commemorations in Poland this weekend, said he would focus instead on preparations for the approaching hurricane.

“Our highest priority is the safety and security of the people in the path of the hurricane,” he told reporters in the White House Rose Garden.

Vice President Mike Pence would go to Poland in his place, Trump said.

He called his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda to apologize for the cancelation, saying the storm could be “catastrophic,” the president’s chief of staff Krzysztof Szczerski said, according to the PAP agency. Weather forecasters said Dorian, currently a Category 1 storm — the lowest on a five-level scale — could make landfall as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with the potential to cause life-threatening storm surges. Florida’s governor declared a state of emergency in all 67 of the state’s counties, warning the millions of people who live up and down the eastern coast of the “Sunshine State” to prepare for a potentially major hurricane.

“All Floridians really need to monitor Hurricane Dorian and make the necessary preparations,” Governor Ron DeSantis said. “Have your plan and make those preparations right now.”

– ‘Catastrophic impacts’ – Georgia — another southeastern state potentially in the storm’s path — followed suit for 12 counties. Governor Brian Kemp said the storm “has the potential to produce catastrophic impacts to citizens” throughout the southeast coastal region of the United States.

New China tariffs a ‘job killer,’ US industry tells Trump

New China tariffs a ‘job killer,’ US industry tells Trump (Source AFP) President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese goods are a “job killer” that will slam consumers and could make a recession more likely, industry groups said Wednesday. The latest cry for peace in Trump’s year-long trade war came just days before the first in series of tariff increases is due to go into effect — potentially raising prices ahead of the crucial holiday shopping period. In a sharp deterioration in the US-China trade war, Trump last week ramped up the punitive duties for the vast majority of US imports from China.

The five percent increases, which will take the tariffs to 15 percent and 30 percent, are due to roll out in stages through December and target some popular items, such as laptops, mobile phones and some shoes. More than 200 footwear manufacturers and retailers, including major brands such as Nike and Foot Locker, signed onto the letter alerting that the new tariffs could cost US consumers an additional $4 billion a year and increase the chances of an economic downturn.

A broad array of 160 other trade groups — including software and electronics manufacturers, as well as retailers, liquor producers and others — also warned Trump of higher prices and damaged consumer confidence and urged him to abandon the tariff strategy. “We’ve been telling the White House since the beginning that tariffs will be paid by Americans in the form of higher prices, and that due to our already high import taxes, this will be a job killer,” Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, said in a statement.

Russia’s nuclear weapons tests were linked to a radioactive explosion. Trump’s friendliness with Putin makes it hard for NATO to do anything about it.

Russia’s nuclear weapons tests were linked to a radioactive explosion. Trump’s friendliness with Putin makes it hard for NATO to do anything about it.

(Source Business Insider)

Since a radioactive explosion in Nyonoksa, Russia, this month, NATO has been watching closely, and, according to sources in the alliance, quickly concluded it was part of a reckless test to develop an experimental new nuclear-powered cruise missile. However, NATO has felt incapable of taking a hard line with President Vladimir Putin over his weapons program in part because of US President Donald Trump’s troublingly friendly approach to Russia, three NATO officials told Insider.

According to the officials — who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to discuss the issue on the record — the agency agrees with widespread assessments that the explosion at a military facility near Nyonoksa on August 8 was part of a nuclear weapons program. The blast killed five scientists and threw radioactive fallout into the air that could be detected in Western Europe. But it has not prompted a strong international response.

The officials each said that NATO was unlikely to directly confront Russia because the incident occurred at a time when multiple strategic issues from Syria to Ukraine to election interference already vex relations. “Developing a nuclear-powered cruise missile to carry and deliver nuclear warheads is obviously something that concerns NATO,” said one military intelligence official based at NATO headquarters in Brussels. However, the official said that Trump’s recent suggestion to reinstate Russia to the G7 group of developed economies has hobbled NATO’s ability to respond robustly.



Fires raging in Brazil‘s Amazon rainforest have hit a record high number this year, according to new data from the country’s space research agency.

Satellite images spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone, mostly in the Amazon basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest and seen as vital to slowing the pace of global warming.

Images showed the northernmost state of Roraima covered in dark smoke, while neighbouring Amazonas declared an emergency in the south of the state and in its capital Manaus over the blazes. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday due to the fires.

A daytime blackout on Monday in Sao Paulo caused by smoke brought in by strong winds from forest fires in Amazonas and the state of Rondonia, more than 2,700km away, prompted tens of thousands of people to take to social media and voice their concerns for the welfare of the Amazon rainforest.

“Seeds of Destruction” and “The Global Economic Crisis”

“Seeds of Destruction” and “The Global Economic Crisis” (Source

Today more than ever, the world’s food resources are being hijacked by giant corporations that are turning farms into factories and replacing natural resources with genetically modified “food-like” substances. In all major regions of the world, the economic recession is deep-seated, resulting in mass unemployment, the collapse of state social programs and the impoverishment of millions of people. The meltdown of financial markets was the result of institutionalized fraud and financial manipulation.

The economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide process of militarization, a “war without borders” led by the U.S. and its NATO allies.

China could ‘render US military bases useless’

China could ‘render US military bases useless’ within hours of conflict in Asia, report says (Source The Independent) China’s military could use missiles to overwhelm American military bases in Asia within hours, a think tank has warned. The US defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific is “in the throes of an unprecedented crisis”, according to a report from the United States Studies Center, at the University of Sydney in Australia.

The report said China has deployed a “formidable array of precision missiles and other counter-intervention systems to undercut America’s military primacy” in the region. “This growing arsenal of accurate long-range missiles poses a major threat to almost all American, allied and partner bases, airstrips, ports and military installations in the Western Pacific,” it added. “As these facilities could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict, the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] missile threat challenges America’s ability to freely operate its forces from forward locations throughout the region.” The report described the US military as an “atrophying force that is not sufficiently ready, equipped or postured for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific”. It said Washington’s commitment to nearly two decades of wars in the Middle East and budget instability has “dangerously overstretched its defence resources”, leaving US forces “ill-prepared” for a confrontation with China.

The northernmost reaches of the Earth are on fire. Here’s what this record-breaking hot summer looks like from space.

The northernmost reaches of the Earth are on fire. Here’s what this record-breaking hot summer looks like from space. (Source Business Insider)

July was the hottest month ever on record. This summer, vast areas of the Arctic were engulfed in flames. Satellite images showed plumes of smoke engulfing parts of Russia, Greenland, and Alaska.

These wildfires can be linked to the warmer temperatures and drier conditions that climate change brings.   

The Arctic is known for its icy expanses, frozen tundra, and massive floating glaciers. Not blazing wildfires. But in the midst of a record-breaking summer, the Arctic is burning. Last month, megafires razed the northernmost parts of Russia and Greenland. In Alaska, meanwhile, 2.4 million acres of forest have burned this year. In June and July, plumes from the Swan Lake fire engulfed Anchorage. Amid the smoke on July 4, the city experienced its hottest day in recorded history: 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).

These blazes were big enough to be seen from space: On July 24, colossal pillars of smoke were visible above Russia, Alaska, and Greenland simultaneously. As of today, parts of British Columbia, Canada and Alaska are still burning, while more than 13.5 million acres of Siberia are ablaze.

Russia, China accuse U.S. of stoking tensions with missile test

Russia, China accuse U.S. of stoking tensions with missile test(Source Reuters)

Russia and China accused the United States on Tuesday of stoking military tensions by testing a ground-launched cruise missile, but the foreign ministry in Moscow said it would not be drawn into an arms race. The Pentagon said on Monday it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, its first such test since the demise of a landmark nuclear pact this month.

The United States formally withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia on Aug. 2 after accusing Moscow of violating it, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.

The text would have been banned under the INF, which prohibited land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.  Washington had “obviously taken the course of escalating military tensions,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said

Russia would, however, not allow itself “to be pulled into a costly arms race” and did not plan to deploy new missiles unless the United States did so first, he was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

The Kremlin said the U.S. missile test showed that Washington had long been preparing to exit the nuclear pact.