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Offline knarf

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Attacks on multilateral system threaten global peace and security



The multilateral system is under unprecedented attack. Isolationist and arbitrary actions by leading powers, including the United States, are threatening to undermine critical efforts to tackle global challenges from nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to climate change, and the regulation of international trade.
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The Elders urge all world leaders to acknowledge that effective multilateralism is in their own national interest, regardless of size or strength. Getting others to cooperate by means of internationally-agreed mechanisms is less costly and more reliable than unilateral force.

Yet since 2017, the US has: withdrawn from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal; left the UN Human Rights Council and UNESCO; abandoned the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; unilaterally imposed trade barriers; and concurrently blocked the appointment of new judges at the World Trade Organization.

As an immediate step, WTO member states must respond to persistent US intransigence by appointing without further delay the necessary new judges to the Appellate Body by majority voting, to avoid the collapse of the WTO’s entire dispute settlement capability.

Following the formal US notification of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, all other signatories must now use the upcoming COP 25 summit in Madrid to urgently step up their climate action and ambition. Countries must cut carbon emissions more drastically and quickly than in previously-submitted pledges, and also adopt rigorous monitoring of compliance with such commitments.

The network of international covenants and institutions agreed and constructed since the end of the Second World War, with the United Nations at its core, is far from perfect. But it has nevertheless decisively supported the pursuit of peace, security and the protection of human rights, as well as economic and social progress across the globe, for over seven decades.

It is a sad irony that the multilateral system’s principal assailant, the US, is the very country that led the design and construction of its institutions in the 1940s and benefited enormously from it in the subsequent decades.

To make matters worse, the response by other influential powers has too often been erratic, uncoordinated and counter-productive. Most have opted to negotiate bilaterally with the US to try to resolve crises, further eroding existing multilateral frameworks.

This is myopic and self-harming. A regression from a rules-based system into power-based strategies will not result in a safer, more predictable or propitious environment for any country.

Without a concerted commitment to defend multilateralism, we will not bequeath a safe world to future generations. They will neither forget nor forgive such a collective failure.


You can write them a message on their web site with menu clicking "Contact". I did.


https://theelders.org/news/attacks-multilateral-system-threaten-global-peace-and-security
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

Offline knarf

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Climate crisis is 'challenge of civilisation', says pope
« Reply #14791 on: December 06, 2019, 07:31:51 AM »
Pontiff calls on COP 25 leaders to show political will to safeguard healthy planet


Pope Francis at his weekly general audience in the Vatican City on Thursday.

The climate emergency is a “challenge of civilisation” requiring sweeping changes to economic systems, but political leaders have not done enough, the pope has said in a message to governments meeting at the annual climate summit in Madrid.

“We must seriously ask ourselves if there is the political will to allocate with honesty, responsibility and courage, more human, financial and technological resources [to the climate crisis],” he said, in the pontifical message, which was welcomed by activists.

“Numerous studies tell us it is still possible to limit global warming. To do this we need a clear, far-sighted and strong political will, set on pursuing a new course that aims at refocusing financial and economic investments toward those areas that truly safeguard the conditions of a life worthy of humanity on a healthy planet for today and tomorrow.”

He put particular emphasis on the role of young people, who “show a heightened sensitivity to the complex problems that arise from this emergency. We must not place the burden on the next generations to take on the problems caused by the previous ones.”

As a small state, the Vatican has observer status at the talks, so the pope is able to send a representative but has no voting rights on key decisions. As an Argentinian, Pope Francis’s words carried particular resonance as this is still regarded as a Latin American COP, despite the last-minute change of venue from Chile to Madrid following political unrest in Santiago.

The Chilean government is still the official host, and its environment minister, Carolina Schmidt, is the official Chilean president, in charge of the conference, appearing frequently flanked by Lorena Aguilar of the co-hosts Costa Rica, and the UN’s top climate official, Patricia Espinosa, of Mexico.

Kat Kramer, the global climate lead at Christian Aid, welcomed the message from the Holy See: “The pope’s intervention in 2015, Laudato si’, helped to secure the Paris agreement, and pushed the cause of global cooperation. It’s a sad reflection on the lack of progress since then that he feels the need to once again make the moral case for action.

“The studies published this week showing temperatures and emissions hitting new highs suggests our leaders are failing us. It’s no wonder that Pope Francis has felt the need to step in once again to remind politicians they need to do a much better job.”

Neil Thorns, the director of advocacy at the Catholic aid agency Cafod, said: “Pope Francis is clear you can’t tackle the climate crisis on its own: it has to be considered alongside wider issues of environmental degradation, poverty and inequality.

“His message to COP25 highlights the need to reform our model of development alongside refocusing our economic systems, emphasising the ‘challenge of civilisation’ is for us to act for the common good and with the most vulnerable people at the heart of decisions.”

Various faith groups prayed for action on the climate on Tuesday at the COP, and on Friday morning will bring a giant clock to the venue to “sound the alarm” on the climate crisis.

Thursday was designated as youth day, with a series of events held to highlight generational differences. Climate strike activists were planning a march through the centre of Madrid on Friday evening, coordinated with marches in other cities around the world.

Progress has been slow on the official agenda at the two weeks of UN talks, which began on Monday. Efforts are focusing on a provision of the Paris agreement that would allow for an international trade in carbon, which is controversial among some activists but supported by others.

Behind the scenes, countries are wrangling over how to update their plans to cut or curb greenhouse gas emissions, set out under the 2015 Paris agreement. A growing number of countries, including the UK, which will host next year’s meeting, are signing up to a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but governments are under pressure to set stronger targets for 2030.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/05/climate-crisis-is-challenge-of-civilisation-says-pope
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

Offline knarf

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China Revolutionizes World Trade While Washington Dozes
« Reply #14792 on: December 06, 2019, 07:41:38 AM »
The Belt and Road Initiative has come to Turkey and Greece while the U.S. cannibalizes the system that made it great.

A hundred years from now, Donald Trump’s looming impeachment and Syria’s unending travails will be long forgotten. But just as we still celebrated the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869 without remembering who ruled Egypt at the time (Isma’il Pasha), China’s relentless and historically significant push to establish new trading links between East and West—links that promise to revolutionize the world trading system no less than the Suez Canal—will come to define our era.

Two recent developments highlight how the new world is being invented by the Chinese—and how it will affect the Middle East and central Asia. 

Last month, while Congress busied itself with impeachment hearings, a mammoth Chinese cargo train arrived in Turkey en route to the heart of Europe. It will be remembered as the first freight train to pass from China across central Asia and under the Bosphorus Strait, using the Marmaray tunnel as part of China’s historic Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Like the Suez Canal in its day, this “Iron Silk Road” through central Asia is a time saver, with the added bonus of circumventing sea routes now controlled by the West. It will reduce the transportation time between China and Turkey from one month to 12 days, while the entire journey from Xi’an to Prague in the heart of Europe will take only 18 days, half the time of a similar journey by sea and at similar cost.

The Chinese revival of a 21st-century Silk Road reflects the emerging transformation of the central Asian nations along this route, which have long been eclipsed by a Western trading and commercial system that China is now challenging.

Turkey has become a central link in this “middle corridor,” which connects its eastern terminus Beijing to central Europe and ultimately London.

While celebrated in China and Turkey, its inauguration received little attention elsewhere, including in an inward-looking United States hypnotized by its own travails.

This lack of interest was certainly not the case on November 17, 1869, when the wife of Napoleon II, Princess Eugenie, journeyed to Egypt to celebrate the opening of a canal. This historic shortcut reduced the maritime route between Europe and India by 7,000 kilometers, linking what was popularly understood as Mediterranean civilization to the Far East. The Canal revolutionized international trade and secured for its Western patrons—notably England—a century of imperial domination. It has been said, incorrectly it turns out, that Verdi composed an opera to memorialize the event. Even so, just the suggestion of such a linkage betrays the popular recognition of the significance of the new route.

When the Canal opened, China was the world’s largest economy. By 1890, the United States topped the list. India, then a British colony, was second, and the mother country itself, which had never been counted among the world’s richest nations, was third. This latter achievement was due in no small part to Suez, so important to Britain’s fortunes as a maritime colonial and commercial power that in 1875 it seized control of the company operating the Canal before occupying the entire country itself in 1881. Britain was ousted from its control of Suez only in 1956, when Russia and the United States joined an ultimatum that an exhausted London could not defy.

Less than a week after the train’s arrival last month in Istanbul, Chinese president Xi Jinping was in Greece, where Beijing’s flagship investment in the port of Piraeus—the Mediterranean terminal point of China’s quickly expanding “Maritime Silk Road”—was the centerpiece of a visit meant to advance a growing alliance between Beijing and Athens. China’s ownership of the port and its growing operations reflects its determination to make the once sleepy locale the largest maritime facility on the continent and the European anchor for China’s global network of trade and commerce.

China also sees its expanding relationship with Greece as a model for broader political and regional cooperation with what it calls the Central and eastern European Countries (CEECs).

“China will never ever seek hegemony and does not agree to a you-win-I-lose zero-sum game,” promised Xi—assertions that Greece is advised to believe at its own peril.

Already two years ago, Greece, for the first time, blocked a European Union statement at the United Nations criticizing China’s human rights record. When asked about Greece’s actions, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “We express appreciation to the relevant EU country for upholding the correct position.” He added:“We oppose the politicization of human rights and the use of human rights issues to interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs.”

These developments, and a host of similar Chinese initiatives around the globe, are not without their problems. The critiques of China’s lending practices and its corruption ring true, all the more so because, like the Belt and Road Initiative itself, China is treading a path blazed numerous times throughout history by nations on the make. The complaints from Western capitals about the perils of being seduced by China’s promises and cash may well be legitimate. Indeed it is only prudent to beware strangers—hailing from East or West—bearing gifts. The warnings issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo come clearly to mind in this context.

But such complaints, however valid, have the distinct odor of sour grapes from those whose reign is now being challenged by Beijing.

Indeed, while China is spending trillions to revolutionize and expand global trade, Washington, with Europe following, is mesmerized by policies that restrict and criminalize such trade. In its campaign against the foundations of an international trading system that’s enabled its own preeminence, Washington has even even set its sights on Suez and the long honored policy memorialized in the treaty of Constantinople guaranteeing unmolested passage through the Canal to all ships. 

No nation has ever become great or cemented that greatness by destroying the foundations of the international system that enabled its ascendance. If this is to be Washington’s legacy, then the 100th anniversary of China’s Iron Silk Road will indeed be celebrated.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/china-revolutionizes-world-trade-while-washington-dozes/
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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ROCK ACTS—EXCEPT METALLICA—LEAD TO 'ABORTIONS...
« Reply #14793 on: December 06, 2019, 07:49:11 AM »
SAYS BRAZIL'S NEW HEAD OF NATIONAL ARTS FOUNDATION.

Dante Mantovani, the head of Brazil's National Arts Foundation, released a video on his YouTube page in which he connected rock music to the "abortion industry" and Satanism, CNN reported.

The video, titled "What is the relationship between the Beatles and Adorno?" begins with a popular conspiracy theory: that neo-Marxist philosopher Theodore Adorno was the creative force behind the British pop band, writing all of their songs as part of a plan to destroy Western values.

hat theory was floated in September by Olavo de Carvalho, a political mentor to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. De Carvalho is a controversial figure in Brazilian politics, a right-wing firebrand known for outrageous public statements like claiming Pepsi uses stem cells from aborted fetuses to sweeten their beverages.

It is unsurprising that Bolsonaro would appoint Mantovani to head the foundation, as he shares his obsession with traditionalism and conservative values. In the video, Mantovani characterizes the rise of modern popular music as a deliberate attempt by Communists to weaken the moral fiber of the United States and the rest of the free world.

"Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions. At the same time, the abortion industry feeds into something much more serious which is Satanism," Mantovani said.

This was not the first time that Mantovani had addressed modern music on his YouTube channel. In 2018, he uploaded a video entitled "Is Rock Music?" where he criticized the use of "guttural sounds" and "a very frantic pace."

Oddly enough, Mantovani made two exceptions in the entire canon of rock music, saying that Brazilian hard rock band Angra and metal pioneers Metallica were acceptable to listen to "when you're feeling tired."

Since his appointment to the foundation, Mantovani has deleted his social media profiles but preserved his YouTube account, which has over 8,000 subscribers. In another video on the channel, he accused the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of being a "propaganda machine in favor of pedophilia."

YouTube has been a popular platform for the Brazilian right-wing to disseminate their ideas. President Bolsonaro joined the platform in 2009 and has accumulated millions of subscribers as he continues to upload videos to the channel.

Metallica did not respond to a request for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/rock-acts-abortions-brazil-arts-foundation-head-1475770
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Japan gov't spending on 2020 Games estimated at 1 tril. yen, 7 times original amount
« Reply #14794 on: December 06, 2019, 07:55:05 AM »
TOKYO -- Japan is expected to spend an estimated total of 1.06 trillion yen (roughly $9.77 billion) for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, including related projects, according to a projection released by the Board of Audit of Japan on Nov. 4.

The figure, projected to be spent on 340 different projects, is seven times larger than what the state had initially agreed on, at 150 billion yen. While the government has only disclosed the amount of spending on projects directly linked to the games and avoided calculating a total sum of its expenditures including related expenses, the audit board urged the government to determine the whole spending picture and release it to the public.

The board announced a preliminary calculation in October 2018 that Japan had spent an estimated 801.1 billion yen ($7.38 billion) for 286 Olympic and Paralympic projects in fiscal 2013-2017. In the latest estimate, the audit board queried each ministry and agency and calculated their spending on 71 schemes in 15 different fields through fiscal 2018 and found that the figure had increased by nearly 260 billion yen ($2.4 billion) -- including 62 billion yen ($571 million) for the new National Stadium, 10.3 billion yen ($95 million) for expanding national training centers and 14.8 billion yen ($136 million) for full-scale operation of security-related projects.

Following the audit board's 2018 report, the government divided the amount presented by the organization into three groups: spending directly related to the Olympics and Paralympics; spending that is difficult to draw a line on whether it is for the games or administrative services; and spending that has relatively little connection with the games. Of these, the government has shelved calculations for groups B and C. The board nonetheless calculated spending in the same way it did in 2018.

In its report, the board pointed out that expenses of 13.4 billion yen ($123 million), including the cost of building temporary standby posts for police forces dispatched from across Japan, which should have been posted as direct expenditures, were not included in the latest budget since they are booked as an assumed debt burden in state coffers, under which the actual spending happens next fiscal year or later.

Regarding the National Stadium, facilitated by the Japan Sport Council (JSC) with resources from the national and Tokyo Metropolitan governments, the audit board pointed out the possibility that the state might have to cover the cost of maintenance and management in case privatization of the stadium was delayed after the games. The board also said sales of "Toto" soccer lottery tickets, used as a resource for the stadium, are declining due to a shrinking lottery market and suggested that the total of 78 billion yen ($718 million) that the JSC has borrowed for the stadium could become an additional cost for the government.

The total cost of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is estimated at 1.35 trillion yen ($12.4 billion), and it has been agreed that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will cover 600 billion yen each, while the national government will pitch in 150 billion yen. The Tokyo government has allocated an additional 810 billion yen for "related costs." The relocation of the marathon and race walk venues from Tokyo to Sapporo, the capital of the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, was not calculated into the estimate as the location change was only announced shortly before the report was released.

In response to the audit board's report, the administrative office responsible for the Olympics and Paralympics within the Cabinet Secretariat commented that the review includes expenses for projects whose relevance to the games was "extremely low" and that it "lacks accuracy to be considered as the cost of the games." The office added, "We will be dividing it into groups as previously done and present it to the board."

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191204/p2a/00m/0na/015000c
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Re: ROCK ACTS—EXCEPT METALLICA—LEAD TO 'ABORTIONS...
« Reply #14795 on: December 06, 2019, 11:13:15 AM »
SAYS BRAZIL'S NEW HEAD OF NATIONAL ARTS FOUNDATION.

Dante Mantovani, the head of Brazil's National Arts Foundation, released a video on his YouTube page in which he connected rock music to the "abortion industry" and Satanism, CNN reported.

The video, titled "What is the relationship between the Beatles and Adorno?" begins with a popular conspiracy theory: that neo-Marxist philosopher Theodore Adorno was the creative force behind the British pop band, writing all of their songs as part of a plan to destroy Western values.

hat theory was floated in September by Olavo de Carvalho, a political mentor to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. De Carvalho is a controversial figure in Brazilian politics, a right-wing firebrand known for outrageous public statements like claiming Pepsi uses stem cells from aborted fetuses to sweeten their beverages.

It is unsurprising that Bolsonaro would appoint Mantovani to head the foundation, as he shares his obsession with traditionalism and conservative values. In the video, Mantovani characterizes the rise of modern popular music as a deliberate attempt by Communists to weaken the moral fiber of the United States and the rest of the free world.

"Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions. At the same time, the abortion industry feeds into something much more serious which is Satanism," Mantovani said.

This was not the first time that Mantovani had addressed modern music on his YouTube channel. In 2018, he uploaded a video entitled "Is Rock Music?" where he criticized the use of "guttural sounds" and "a very frantic pace."

Oddly enough, Mantovani made two exceptions in the entire canon of rock music, saying that Brazilian hard rock band Angra and metal pioneers Metallica were acceptable to listen to "when you're feeling tired."

Since his appointment to the foundation, Mantovani has deleted his social media profiles but preserved his YouTube account, which has over 8,000 subscribers. In another video on the channel, he accused the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of being a "propaganda machine in favor of pedophilia."

YouTube has been a popular platform for the Brazilian right-wing to disseminate their ideas. President Bolsonaro joined the platform in 2009 and has accumulated millions of subscribers as he continues to upload videos to the channel.

Metallica did not respond to a request for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/rock-acts-abortions-brazil-arts-foundation-head-1475770

No print magazine has fallen further than Newsweek.

I'm sure the Catholic grannies in Brazil eat this shit up, too. Reminds me of Nancy Reagan.

Thank God Almighty Metallica is exempt.

Metallica?

Really?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline knarf

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Re: ROCK ACTS—EXCEPT METALLICA—LEAD TO 'ABORTIONS...
« Reply #14796 on: December 06, 2019, 01:25:40 PM »
No print magazine has fallen further than Newsweek.

I'm sure the Catholic grannies in Brazil eat this shit up, too. Reminds me of Nancy Reagan.

Thank God Almighty Metallica is exempt.

Metallica?

Really?

LOL!  Great to have you back!
 
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Australia bushfires north of Sydney 'too big to put out'
« Reply #14797 on: December 06, 2019, 01:37:29 PM »
A "mega blaze" raging across a 60km (37 mile) front north of the Australian city of Sydney cannot currently be put out, fire officials have warned.

The blaze across 300,000 hectares (1,150 sq m) is just an hour's drive from the nation's most-populous city.

People who cannot defend their property from approaching fires have been told they should leave immediately.

Since October, bushfires have killed six people and destroyed more than 700 homes across Australia.

The severity of the blazes so early in the fire season has caused alarm, and prompted calls for greater action to tackle climate change.

Fires have also raged across Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

What's the latest on the ground?
Several fires have combined to form the mega blaze north of Sydney, although more than a dozen locations are affected across New South Wales.

At one point on Friday, nine fires had been raised to emergency level warnings, although these had decreased markedly amid a brief respite in conditions later in the day.

The north Sydney blazes were sending black fumes across the city, causing a rise in medical problems.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) deputy commissioner, Rob Rogers told ABC: "We cannot stop these fires, they will just keep burning until conditions ease, and then we'll try to do what we can to contain them."

He said the 60km stretch from Hawkesbury to Singleton was "just fire that whole way".

The RFS website listed five fires roughly in a line from Nullo Mountain to Wollombi as out of control at 05:00 local time on Saturday (18:00 GMT Friday), with another out of control at Green Wattle Creek, south-west of Sydney.



Video footage from the Orangeville area showed firefighters running from a wall of fire and the Walkabout Wildlife Park has evacuated hundreds of animals.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) also said that "some fires were too big to put out".

Fire officials in Ingleburn warned: "If your property is not prepared for the bushfire season and you're not sure you are able or capable of defending your property if a fire approaches you need to leave straight away."

Firefighters from Canada were briefed in Sydney on Friday and will be deployed across New South Wales over the weekend, to be joined by teams from the US.

What's the outlook?
There appears to be little respite.

RFS founder and former commissioner, Phil Koperberg, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "People are nervous and they have a right to be... the worst is yet to come".

Tuesday is the next big concern, with temperatures inland of Sydney likely to reach 40C plus.

Some firefighters have expressed concern that volunteer numbers might not be enough and that there are inadequate water supplies.

One said the fires were "all ticking time-bombs - without rain those fires won't be put out".

Sydney may be blanketed in smoke for weeks, if not months, RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

Is this fire season particularly bad?
It hasn't come close to the fatalities of 2009, when nearly 200 people died, but the scale of the damage has been huge.

More than 1.6 million hectares of land have burned in New South Wales alone.

The season has hit earlier than normal and has been exacerbated by drought conditions.

Mr Fitzsimmons said: "There is an absolute lack of moisture in the soil, a lack of moisture in the vegetation... you are seeing fires started very easily and they are spreading extremely quickly, and they are burning ridiculously intensely."

Is climate change to blame?
The BOM says that climate change has led to an increase in extreme heat events and raised the severity of other natural disasters, such as drought.



Last week, the bureau noted that NSW had endured its driest spring season on record. It also warned that Australia's coming summer was predicted to bring similar conditions to last year's - the nation's hottest summer on record.

The government has been criticised over its efforts to address climate change. PM Scott Morrison has dismissed accusations linking the crisis to his government's policies.

Hundreds of bushfire survivors and farmers converged on the nation's capital, Canberra, this week in protest. One woman displayed the charred remains of her home outside Parliament - on which she had written: "Morrison, your climate crisis destroyed my home."


Melinda Plesman called for the government to take action on climate change

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50690633

NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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'Barbaric': Saudi national opens fire on Pensacola Navy base, kills 3, injures 8
« Reply #14798 on: December 06, 2019, 01:46:19 PM »
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A Saudi man training at the Naval Air Station Pensacola opened fire on the base early Friday morning with a handgun, killing three and injuring eight before fatally shooting himself, authorities said.

The shooter has not yet been publicly identified and a motive for the attack is unknown. President Donald Trump, who spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia shortly after the shooting, said the monarch called the attack "barbaric."

The shooting began around 6:30 a.m. CT and the suspect was halted by two Escambia County sheriff's deputies, who arrived on scene in less than five minutes, Sheriff David Morgan said.

One of the officers was shot in arm and treated at a local hospital. The other was shot in the knee and was undergoing surgery. Authorities expected both to survive. The shooting happened on two floors of the building.

"The best of our community was on scene today and that's why it turned out the way it did," Morgan said of the deputies who responded. "They ran to the fight, not from the fight."

Morgan said his deputies train regularly with base personnel for this kind of attack

The latest:Here's what we know about the shooting at NAS Pensacola

The FBI has taken the lead in the investigation, though there has been no immediate determination on whether the shooting was terror related, two sources told USA TODAY.

The shooting was the second in a week at a U.S. Navy base.

Like most military installations, personal firearms are not normally permitted on the base, which provides a wide variety of training to both U.S. and international aviators, dating back to the British Royal Air Force during WWII.


The Pensacola base is also home of the Blue Angels, the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, and the National Naval Aviation Museum.  Located in the far western Panhandle, the base employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Navy veteran, asked all Americans to remember the dead and wounded, along with their families: "They need your prayers and they need your comfort."

Eight patients, including the deputies, were taken to nearby Baptist Hospital. One of the victims died at the hospital, and two died on the base. The shooter also died on the base. The names of the victims will not be released until the next of kin have been notified, authorities said.

"Walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie," Morgan said. "This doesn't happen in Escambia County. This doesn’t happen in Pensacola . . . So now we’re here to pick up the pieces."

The shooter was in aviation training at the base, along with "several hundred" other international airmen, authorities said. DeSantis said the shooter's nationality will complicate the investigation.

"Obviously, the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims," DeSantis said in a press conference. "They’re going to owe a debt here."

Added Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson: "This is a tragic day for the city of Pensacola. "We’re a military town. Our hearts and prayers are connected to those that serve us every day."

The shooting came two days after a U.S. Navy sailor shot three people and then killed himself at Pearl Harbor.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/12/06/pensacola-shooter-nas-pensacola-base-locked-down-florida/4351814002/
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Huge waves and disease turn Marshall Islands into 'war zone,' health official says
« Reply #14799 on: December 06, 2019, 01:53:50 PM »


The level of alarm is already high in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, as the Pacific island nation struggles with rising sea levels and the after-effects of decades of U.S. nuclear testing on its atolls.

This week, the picture grew even bleaker, as climate change, disease and political unease collided and officials put out an international plea for help.

It is too early to tell how this past week will be remembered in the annals of Marshall Islands history, but it is likely not to be forgotten.

As votes were being counted in an historic election that will affect the nation's future relationships with the United States and China, its capital city was flooded, its two hospitals were packed with patients suffering from dengue fever or flu, and its president was pleading with the international community to act decisively on climate change.

Although election results are unlikely to be known until later this month—votes are hand counted and collected from 29 atolls spaced over 750,000 square miles of ocean—the results could tilt the nation's parliament, the Nitijela, and, therefore, unseat the current president, Hilda Heine.

The Marshall Islands is "facing death row," Heine, the nation's president, told a meeting of international leaders at the United Nations' Climate Conference in Madrid, Spain.

Speaking over a video feed from Majuro, the nation's most populated atoll, she said failure to commit to drastic emissions cuts is akin to "passing sentence on our future, forcing our country to die."

Last weekend, swells averaging more 15 feet spilled over the low-lying coral atoll, where the highest natural point is just 6 feet above sea level. Parts of the main road were flooded, while several homes and businesses were washed away.

Meanwhile, beds at the nation's two hospitals are filled to capacity with patients suffering from the largest recorded outbreak of dengue fever—more than 1,000 diagnosed cases, most of them children—and a severely virulent form of influenza-A that is striking otherwise healthy adults, said Jack Niedenthal, the nation's secretary of health.

A Los Angeles-based international disaster medical support team, Team Rubicon, has sent relief teams to help.

"It's a war zone," Niedenthal said in an email, describing long waits at the emergency room and chaos in the wards.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is located roughly 5,000 miles southwest of Los Angeles, just north of the equator, and halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

For an island nation that's had its share of disaster—it's where the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs during the Cold War, unleashed weaponized strains of lethal bacteria in the 1960s, and discarded its own irradiated soil from Nevada—this week's events underscore the colossal challenges it faces as global temperatures and sea levels rise.

And they come at a pivotal moment: The Marshallese are waiting to hear the results of their Nov. 18 general election—a vote that could decide whether the nation maintains its decades-long alliance with the United States, or turns toward a new potential benefactor: China.

In 1986, the Marshall Islands and the United States signed an agreement cementing an alliance. In exchange for $150 million and the right for its citizens to work in the United States without visas, the U.S. secured a military base on Kwajalein Atoll and the right to refuse the military presence of any other nation.

The compact absolved the U.S. of any future responsibility related to its nuclear testing program in the Marshalls.

Today, the U.S. government is the Marshalls' largest financial contributor, accounting for roughly 36% of the nation's expenditures. It is also a major employer—Marshallese enlist in the American military at a higher per-capita rate than that of most states, and roughly one-third, or 22,000, of all Marshallese live and work in the U.S.

Even so, many Marshallese struggle to trust the United States. Hundreds were permanently exiled from their homeland when the U.S. began its nuclear testing program in the late 1940s, or potentially sickened by residual radiation in their food and soil.

"If the U.S. can land a man on the moon, why can't they clean up my island?" said Nerje Joseph, who was 7 in 1954 when the U.S. detonated a bomb with 1,000 times more power than those detonated over Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

The fallout carried over Joseph's home in Rongelap Atoll, where new research shows higher levels radiation in the soil than was found near Chernobyl and Fukushima.

That research, along with a Los Angeles Times investigation that found the United States had dumped its own contaminated soil in the Marshalls and withheld critical information during the compact negotiation, has furthered that lingering distrust, many Marshallese say.

"With all due respect to the U.S. government's experts, their attempts to reassure us leave us with more troubling questions than answers," said Jack Ading, the minister of justice, immigration and labor.

Yet for some, the new information also provides hope for strengthening the relationship: potentially giving the Marshallese government leverage to seek full compensation from the United States as the two nations begin negotiations to renew their compact, which is set to expire in 2023.

"We did not know this information when we signed that contract," James Matayoshi, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll, said in an interview in Majuro in September. "How could the compact be valid if we didn't know the truth?"

Yet as the votes are counted, many wonder what will happen with those negotiations, and whether a pro-U.S. government will remain in power, or tilt toward those who sympathize with the Chinese.

Furthering tensions and concern, the Marshallese who live in the United States were excluded from the last election.

In 2017, Heine, the pro-U.S. president, barely survived a "no-confidence" vote in the Marshallese parliament that was instigated by her pro-Chinese counterparts. At issue was a proposal for a Chinese-backed special economic zone in Rongelap Atoll, which Heine opposed.

And as tensions grow between the U.S. and China, the Chinese are targeting many Western allies in the Pacific as part of its Belt and Road initiative, bringing aid and infrastructure investment to struggling nations, in return for allegiance and, in many cases, debt.

In September, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati renounced ties with Taiwan, recognizing China instead.

However, a recent Chinese offer to build artificial reefs to stem sea level rise on the low-lying Pacific nation of Tuvalu was rejected.

Nevertheless, it is situation that has the U.S. government on edge. Last summer, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo surprised many in the Marshall Islands by announcing that the U.S. intended to renegotiate the compact between the two nations.

But as the Marshall Islands and other low-lying ocean nations struggle to survive, allies who can offer them the most financial support hold appeal.

"I'd be surprised if the Marshallese went as far as to abrogate the compact," said Howard Hills, a Laguna Beach, Calif.-based lawyer who helped draft the compact in the 1980s.

"The Marshallese are aware of the fact that a lot indigenous peoples don't end up doing too well" when the Chinese become involved, he said. "The United States did some very wrong thing in the Marshall Islands. But if you're a small nation dealing with a superpower, there is a lot to say for the U.S."

https://phys.org/news/2019-12-huge-disease-marshall-islands-war.html
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"The Marshallese are aware of the fact that a lot indigenous peoples don't end up doing too well" when the Chinese become involved, he said. "The United States did some very wrong thing in the Marshall Islands. But if you're a small nation dealing with a superpower, there is a lot to say for the U.S."

https://phys.org/news/2019-12-huge-disease-marshall-islands-war.html
For a graphic description of this genocide, see The Coming War on China

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot-acn1whrc

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Johnson and Corbyn clash in final UK election debate
« Reply #14801 on: December 06, 2019, 06:07:30 PM »
The two men went head-to-head, six days before the UK goes to the polls.


Conservative party leader Boris Johnson, right, faced Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the BBC TV debate in Maidstone

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, the two candidates vying to be United Kingdom prime minister after next week's general election, have traded barbs in their final televised debate before voters go to the polls on December 12.

Both men relied on attack lines which have been tried and tested in the long weeks of the campaign so far, with incumbent Prime Minister Johnson repeating his "get Brexit done" mantra several times in the early rounds of the bout, and opposition leader Corbyn hammering points on the National Health Service and the integrity of the Conservative government.

In one notable exchange, Johnson said he was not aware of the comments made by Alexandra Hall Hall, the veteran diplomat whose excoriating resignation letter lambasting the government's "half-truths" on Brexit was a major news item throughout the day on Friday.

Six days before the UK votes in its second national election in less than three years, the debate was seen as the last chance for Corbyn to squeeze Johnson's lead in the polls, which mostly point to victory for the prime minister.

The two leaders set an ill-tempered tone to the debate by battling over how to leave the EU. Johnson ridiculed Corbyn's support for a new referendum in which Corbyn has said he would remain neutral, while the Labour leader said the prime minister's pledge to have the UK leave the European Union by the end of January would actually mean at least seven years of trade talks.

'More animated'
"There wasn't a knock-out blow for either man, but both were more animated than they have been," said Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan, reporting from Minehead, where the two leaders were speaking.

"Jeremy Corbyn, in particular, was more energetic than I've seen him - at the same time, Boris Johnson was also animated and perfectly willing to speak over the moderator, the BBC's Nick Robinson, as well as the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn.

"The debate was much than Brexit, though, there were issues of security, of law and order and the issue of anti-Semitism. I have to say though, at one particular moment, when Boris Johnson was talking about anti-Semitism, he turned it back round to Brexit, which didn't seem to be the right tone or the right time - but you could see how relentlessly the Conservatives are pressing Brexit as almost the single issue of this election, and how much difficulty Labour has had in the past month of broadening it out and bringing in things like the NHS and law and order into the debate."

A YouGov snap poll taken in the immediate aftermath of the debate, asking who "won" - when "don't knows" were removed from the response - returned the fateful ratio of 52 percent saying Johnson had come out on top, and 48 percent saying Corbyn had performed better - the same proportion of votes as in the Brexit referendum more than three years ago.

In the poll of 1,322 voters, 55 percent said Johnson was "likeable", compared with 36 percent for Corbyn.

But 48 percent said Corbyn came across as more trustworthy - compared with just 38 percent for Johnson.

'Broken promises'
Earlier on Friday, Corbyn had gone on the attack, calling Johnson's promises a fraud and saying his Brexit deal would simply be the start of years of "painful negotiations and broken promises".

He also revealed a leaked government document which he said showed the divorce deal would lead to customs declarations and security checks between Britain and Northern Ireland, a direct contradiction to Johnson's statements that it would not create any barriers between the province and the mainland.

The confidential Treasury report said the impact of the deal would be higher prices - and that 98 percent of Northern Irish exporters would struggle to bear the additional costs.

"There will be other secret reports like this one in every government department that reveal the disastrous impact of Johnson's damaging deal," Corbyn said.

Johnson said the document was "complete nonsense".

Endorsements

Brexit: Uncertainty on Irish backstop leaves residents on border anxious (6:53)
John Major, Conservative prime minister between 1990 and 1997, on Friday urged voters to abandon the party as led by Johnson, and to support those former Conservatives - the "rebel alliance" - who were kicked out of the party for voting against the government to block a "no-deal" Brexit.

"When the nation voted on Brexit it did so on a diet of fiction and undeliverable promises," he wrote in The Guardian on Friday.

"David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton - all of them principled, decent, talented human beings - were forced out of the Conservative party, and are now fighting this election as independent candidates. But let me make one thing crystal clear: none of them left the Conservative party, the Conservative party left them.

"Without such talent on its benches, Parliament will be the poorer, which is why - were I resident in any of their constituencies - they would have my vote in this election."

Despite having lost the endorsement of the former prime minister, Johnson did on Friday pick up the unequivocal support of notorious far-right Islamophobe Tommy Robinson.

"Everyone should vote for Boris Johnson," he told reporters outside London's High Court where he faces libel charges over comments allegedly made about a Syrian refugee who was attacked at school. Johnson has yet to reject the endorsement.

The bad news wasn't confined to the Conservative leadership, however. Tony Blair, prime minister from 1997 to 2008, told an anti-Brexit rally, that although he was voting Labour, voters should make their own choices.

"If you look, constituency by constituency, you will know the best candidates to back. Back them.

"I know this election is horrible. It's like finding your way through a maze where at every turn you find something shocking."

Other parties
The debate was, of course, only between the leaders of the country's largest two parties - and the changing nature of British politics has seen smaller parties winning more support than the traditional two-dominant-party system allows.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "Tonight's debate was British politics at its worst. Two leaders offering nothing new, nothing different and neither being honest about the pain Brexit will cause our communities.

"Johnson and Corbyn both proved tonight that they are unfit to lead our country and frankly their own parties."

SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon said: "It is clearer than ever that neither of these men should be able to determine Scotland's future - they both represent a danger to our NHS and economy with their disastrous plans to ignore Scotland and drag us out of the EU against our will.

"Boris Johnson's repeated attempts to con the public over his devastating Brexit deal and his failure to acknowledge the mistruths that have characterised his campaign demonstrate precisely why he is unfit for office."

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/johnson-corbyn-clash-final-uk-election-debate-191206210538417.html



NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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UN human rights delegates overwhelmingly applaud Iran for its record
« Reply #14802 on: December 06, 2019, 06:24:26 PM »
At periodic review of Iranian civil liberties, 85% of United Nations representatives lavish praise on Tehran; US says it ‘flagrantly violates’ its citizens’ freedoms

Delegates to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday overwhelmingly praised Iran’s human rights performance at a periodic review of the Islamic Republic’s record.

Out of 111 countries present at the hearing, 95 of them, or 85 percent, praised Iran’s rights record.
Only 16 countries criticized Tehran, according to UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization.

The states that lavished praise on Iran included North Korea, Qatar, Belarus, Malaysia, Iraq and Oman.

“We commend the government’s commitment to promote and protect human rights, including ongoing efforts in improving education” and health, the Palestinian representative said.

“We highly commend the government of Iran for its dedicated efforts and its continuing progress in its promotion and protection of human rights for its people, particularly women, children and persons with disabilities, despite economic sanctions,” said the North Korean representative.

Daniel Kronenfeld of the US criticized Tehran, saying: “Iran has flagrantly violated its citizens’ human rights. We recommend that Iran: One, immediately release all Iranian prisoners of conscience,” including US citizens it holds in detention.

“Two, immediately end the use of torture and credibly investigate and prosecute all allegations of torture,” Kronenfeld said.

“Three, establish an independent judiciary, including significant reforms to the revolutionary courts,” he said.

Lastly, Kronenfeld called for Iran to abolish laws requiring women to wear hijabs in public and remove other restrictions on women.

The council’s Universal Periodic Reviews take place every five years and Iran was one of 14 countries under review during the most recent session held in Geneva, Switzerland. All 193 UN member states undergo the process.

The periodic review is meant to examine governments’ commitments to human rights and promote freedoms for their citizens.

Iran’s review was broadcast live in English and Farsi.

The review is based on documents provided by the state under review, and by other groups including independent human rights experts.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-human-rights-reps-overwhelmingly-applaud-iran-for-its-record/

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WHO decries "collective failure" as measles kills 140,000
« Reply #14803 on: December 06, 2019, 06:30:26 PM »
 Measles infected nearly 10 million people in 2018 and killed 140,000, mostly children, as devastating outbreaks of the viral disease hit every region of the world, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

In figures described by its director general as "an outrage", the WHO said most of last year's measles deaths were in children under five years old who had not been vaccinated.

"The fact that any child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease like measles is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the world's most vulnerable children," said the WHO's director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus.

The picture for 2019 is even worse, the WHO said, with provisional data up to November showing a three-fold increase in case numbers compared with the same period in 2018.

The United States has already reported its highest number of measles cases in 25 years in 2019, while four countries in Europe - Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece and Britain – lost their WHO "measles-free" status in 2018 after suffering large outbreaks.

An outbreak in the South Pacific nation of Samoa has infected more than 4,200 people and killed more than 60, mostly babies and children, in a battle complicated by a vocal anti-vaccination movement.

In 2018, measles hit hardest in Liberia, Ukraine, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Somalia, the WHO said, with these five nations accounting for nearly half of all cases worldwide.

Globally, measles vaccination rates have stagnated for almost a decade. The WHO and the UNICEF children's fund say that in 2018, around 86% of children got a first dose of measles vaccine through routine vaccination plans, and fewer than 70% got the second dose recommended to fully protect them.

STAGGERING

Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at Britain's London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the numbers were "staggering".

"Some countries are scrambling to vaccinate in the face of serious outbreaks - far too late for many," she said.

Measles is one of the most contagious known diseases, more so than Ebola, tuberculosis or flu. It can linger in the air or on surfaces for several hours after an infected person has been and gone, putting anyone not vaccinated at risk.

Among wealthier nations, vaccination rates have been hurt by some parents shunning them for what they say are religious or philosophical reasons. Mistrust of authority and debunked myths about links to autism also weaken vaccine confidence and lead some parents to delay protecting their children.

Research published in October showed that measles infection not only carries a risk of death or severe complications including pneumonia, brain damage, blindness and deafness, but can also damage the victim's immune memory for months or years - leaving those who survive measles vulnerable to other dangerous diseases such as flu or severe diarrhoea.

The WHO data showed there were an estimated 9,769,400 cases of measles and 142,300 related deaths globally in 2018. This compares to 7,585,900 cases and 124,000 deaths in 2017.

Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust global health charity, said the numbers were a tragedy. "If we are to protect lives, we must understand and address the reasons why measles vaccine uptake is lower," she said.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/1-decries-collective-failure-measles-094053759.html
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This huge galaxy has the biggest black hole ever measured
« Reply #14804 on: December 06, 2019, 06:45:26 PM »
The monster black hole in galaxy cluster Abell 85 is roughly the size of our solar system, but packs the mass of 40 billion suns.


The Abell 85 galaxy cluster, shown here, is home to the largest black hole known in the universe.

Astronomers have found the biggest black hole ever measured — it's 40 billion times the sun’s mass, or roughly two-thirds the mass of all stars in the Milky Way. The gargantuan black hole lurks in a galaxy that’s supermassive itself and probably formed from the collisions of at least eight smaller galaxies.

Holm 15A is a huge elliptical galaxy at the center of a cluster of galaxies called Abell 85. A team of astronomers captured a snapshot of Holm 15A’s stars in orbit around the galaxy’s central black hole and created a model to help them calculate the black hole’s mass. The team described their findings in a recent paper posted to the preprint site arXiv and set to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

When two spiral galaxies — like our Milky Way and the nearby Andromeda Galaxy — collide, they can merge and form an elliptical galaxy. In crowded environments like galaxy clusters, these elliptical galaxies can collide and merge again to form an even larger elliptical galaxy. Their central black holes combine as well and make larger black holes, which can kick huge swaths of nearby stars out to the edges of the newly formed galaxy.

The resulting extra-large elliptical galaxy usually doesn’t have much gas from which to form new stars, so its center looks pretty bare after its black hole kicks out nearby stars. Astronomers call these huge elliptical galaxies with faint centers “cored galaxies.” Massive cored galaxies often sit in the centers of galaxy clusters.

The authors of the new study found that Holm 15A, the enormous galaxy at the center of its home galaxy cluster, must have formed from yet another merger of two already-huge cored elliptical galaxies. That would mean Holm 15A probably formed from the combination of eight smaller spiral galaxies over billions of years. Pairs of spiral galaxies form elliptical galaxies, pairs of those ellipticals form cored elliptical galaxies, and a pair of cored galaxies formed Holm 15A. This series of mergers also created the black hole in its center, a monster about as big as our solar system but with the mass of 40 billion suns.
Explaining quasars
The researchers are excited to find the most massive black hole ever measured.

“Just imagining a black hole that is so huge is cool,” said Jens Thomas, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany and one of the study’s authors.

But the finding is also exciting because it lends support to astronomers’ current understanding of quasars, distant galaxies with massive central black holes that emit huge amounts of light as they gobble up nearby matter in a process called accretion. Studying quasars made astronomers think that black holes 10 billion or more solar masses must exist for some of these faraway quasars to be so bright.

“Finally, we managed to find one nearby, which sort of confirms that our idea of how quasars work and how the accretion on black holes can explain them makes sense,” said study author Roberto Saglia, also of the Max Planck Institute.

http://www.astronomy.com/news/2019/12/this-huge-galaxy-has-the-biggest-black-hole-ever-measured
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)