Tag Archives: Syria
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Current Event Cat of the Day: Iranian Embassy Double Bombings

Current Event Cat - Iranian Embassy

Dozens were killed when twin suicide blasts shook the Iranian embassy in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut.

At least 23 people have been killed and more than 140 injured in the double bombing just outside the Iranian embassy. According to the local media, a suicide bomber on a scooter was behind the first blast, while the second came from a suicide bomber in an SUV. 

Who was behind the deadly blasts? The Sunni jihadist group Abdullah Azzam Brigades.

How did they announce it? On Twitter of course! After claiming responsibility in a tweet, the group described the attack as a “double martyrdom operation carried out by two heroes from the heroic Sunnis of Lebanon”. They went on to tweet that similar assaults would continue until the Iran-supported Shiite group Hezbollah stops sending fighters to help Syrian government forces.

The motive (obviously)? It’s alllll about the Syrian war – and about the ongoing Sunni-Shia rivalry. Iran is a super supporter of the Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah, which has sent a bunch of fighters to Syria to back the government of Bashar al-Assad. On the other side of the conflict, Lebanese Sunni Muslim fighters have joined forces with the mainly Sunni rebels in Syria – some of which are affiliated with al-Qaeda.

So the suicide bombs outside of the Iranian embassy are just a classic retaliation for something the embassy workers and unsuspecting civilians likely have no control over.

Via: CNN & Current Event Cats

3-D Guns Are Now A Thing… And Other News

3-D Gun

A Texas company says it has made the first metal gun using a 3-D printer, paving the way for rednecks everywhere to start creating their own firearms. Well this makes me feel very safe.

The Austin company, Solid Concepts, created almost all the parts of the 3-D gun via direct metal laser sintering – whatever that means. While some are concered over the emerging ability to build your own gun, I say c’mon, it’s Texas! You don’t need a 3-D printer – just buy a gun on the internet or take one from a gun show parking lot or find one in your cereal box. Mental patients and felons don’t have time to sit around and assemble a 3-D gun, let alone pay $20k for a 3-D printer – they’ve got places to go and people to kill! CNN

Polio in Syria 2Thanks a lot Syria! After polio made a surprise comeback in Syria after a 14-year absence, health experts are now worried that the disease could reemerge in Europe as refugees come flooding in. Martin Eichner, a professor at the University of Tuebingen, co-authored a letter to the medial journal The Lancet, warning that the vaccine used in the U.S. and Europe offers only partial protection against infection so the disease could enter Europe via unsuspecting refugees and cause an outbreak. The polio virus, which is spread through feces, has no cure – but heightened screening of sewage systems near refugee settlements could help reduce the outbreak. Or sealing off Europe’s borders. Either one. Bloomberg

Kerry and NetanyahuJohn Kerry is taking his sweet time putting together a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The Secretary of State arrived in Geneva on Friday to talk with Iranian representatives but stressed that no agreement has been reached on Iran’s nuke program and emphasized that the parties still have significant ground to cover. Under the current deal being floated, Iran would freeze expansion of its nuclear program in exchange for loosened economic sanctions. While the West is mulling it over, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already made up his mind: Iran is evil! Netanyahu said he “utterly rejected” the deal with its arch nemesis Iran and if it went through, it would be a “grievous historic error.”  So to sum up, he’s not a fan. BBC News

I'm SorryPresident Obama is sorry. He’s sorry the health care website is full of glitches, he’s sorry he falsely promised Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans, and he’s sorry about the backlash he’s getting because of it. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he told NBC News. Well you can stuff your sorries in a sack mister because despite repeated assurances that anyone who likes their health insurance plan could keep them under Obamacare, the administration has apparently known since the summer of 2010 that this was not the case and millions of Americans could lose their insurance under the law. “Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law,” Obama said in the interview Thursday. “And, you know, that’s something I regret.” No kidding. NBC News

Canada-Toronto MayorRob Ford needs a vacation and perhaps a little bit of counselling – according to his brother, Councilman Doug Ford, in what must be the understatement of the century. After admitting to smoking crack in a drunken stupor and watching a video of himself utter death threats in a drunken stupor, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is finally ready to potentially start considering the fact that he may have a bit of a drinking problem. Facing increasing pressure to resign, Ford is now considering entering rehab – and by rehab I mean a short vacation from drugs and booze. “If Rob goes away on a vacation, for a week or two weeks, Rob loses 50, 60 pounds, stays on the straight narrows, because he’s a good man … it’ll be tough to beat Rob Ford,” his brother said on Talk Radio 640. Losing 50-60lbs in a week or two without the help of crack? Good luck! The Globe and Mail

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Syrian Inspectors Fail in Their Mission

Current Event Cat - Weapons Inspectors

International chemical weapons inspectors in Syria have missed their October 27 deadline to visit all the chemical sites.

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons fell short of visiting all 23 sites identified by the Syrian government. Instead they have only completed verification of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal at 21 of the sites. Time to return the Nobel Prize…

But the Nobel Prize crew might be able to forgive these Inspector Slackers since the only reason they haven’t been able to visit the remaining two sites is because they are in “contested areas” in Syria’s civil war. And I suppose they did find some good stuff (or bad stuff if you’re a Syrian civilian living in Damascas) in the 21 visited sites. The inspectors found 18 chemical weapons production facilities, 12 chemical weapons storage facilities, eight mobile units to fill chemical weapons, and three chemical-weapons facilities. I think it’s pretty safe to say at this point that Syria has chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, on the Syrian civilian front there’s some good news and bad news. The good news is that thousands of starving Syrian civilians have finally been allowed to leave the besieged Damascus suburb of Muadhamiya – which had previously been closed off by government blockades. The Syrian army had given them two choices: surrender or starve. Now, after months of eating grass, cats, dogs and donkeys, they’ve been given another option: flee.

As for the bad news, the Polio outbreak is Syria has been confirmed. The UN’s health agency as confirmed 10 polio cases in northeast Syria, the first confirmed outbreak of the highly contagious disease in the country in 14 years.

Via: The New York Times & BBC

You Can Now Add Polio To Your List Of Reasons Not to Visit Syria… And Other News

Polio in Syria

Democracy has yet to appear, but polio is certainly making the rounds.

After a long absence, polio – along with some other dangerous diseases – have returned to Syria. The World Health Organization has recorded the first suspected outbreak of polio in 14 years in Syria, much to the alarm of everybody. As the civil war continues, doctors have been unable to properly administer vaccines and in addition to a possible polio outbreak, they are seeing flare-ups of typhoid, hepatitis, and the flesh-eating parasite, leishmaniasis. Poor living conditions, lack of food and reduced access to health care probably don’t help the situation either. Of the 296 reported cases of polio worldwide this year, roughly half have been in Somalia. So you know it’s a “poor country” disease…. The Telegraph

Breast Milk OnlineIf there’s one place where I would go to buy breast milk, it’s the internet – UNTIL NOW! According to a study released on Sunday, almost 75 percent of the breast milk sold online at OnlyTheBreast.com is tainted with high-level bacteria. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, bought and tested 101 breast-milk samples sold on two popular sites and found that the bacteria level could make babies sick. OnlyTheBreast.com said in a statement that they had the breast intentions (they didn’t say that…) and are working to create a new milk bank program. The founder of another breast milk site, MilkShare, refused to give up their milk banks, saying the study was “a blatant attack on women attempting to feed their babies” and “breast milk is supposed to contain bacteria.” CTV News

New Jersey Booker GayDespite New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s glare of disapproval, a judge ruled last month that New Jersey must recognize gay marriage. But today marks the first day in which gay is ok – aka gay couples can begin exchanging vows. And exchange they did! Newly elected Newark Mayor Cory Booker conducted some of the ceremonies himself at city hall as same-sex couples lined up waiting for the law to take effect at midnight. So good news for gay couples but bad news for Chris Christie. Even though the New Jersey governor was against gay unions, in the end he withdrew the state’s appeal realizing that the battle was futile. Now Republicans are saying he’s guaranteed to lose the Republican primary – because if there’s one thing that Republicans cherish above all else, it’s fighting until the bitter end over a foregone conclusion (cough, Obamacare…) Reuters

France NSAWho’s the NSA spying on now? France and Mexico! Once again, U.S. ambassadors are being summoned to capital cities around the world to explain why their government is listening in on phone calls and checking over emails. Le Monde reports that the NSA spied on 70.3 million phone calls in France in just 30 days between December 10, 2012 and January 8, 2013—and not all those targeted were terrorists – some were people in business, politics and the French administration. Long story short, France is pissed and the U.S ambassador is about to have an awkward Parisian meeting. Likewise, former Mexican president Felipe Calderón is unhappy to hear that the U.S. government hacked his public email account while he was in office. Guess he shouldn’t have made his password 12345678. The Guardian

Bus Suicide RussiaIn Soviet Russia, bus kills you… if you happened to be one of the six people killed in a suicide bombing in southern Russia. Another 32 were injured after a female suicide bomber attacked a bus in the city of Volgograd. Investigators believed the woman hailed from the North Caucasus province of Dagestan where Islamist insurgency’s are up and loving feelings towards Putin are down. In the rest of Russia, fears about attacks by Islamist militants during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are definitely up. CBC News

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Yum: Syrians Are Now Allowed to Eat Cats and Dogs

Syria Eat Cats and Dogs

Things have gotten so bad in Syria that a group of Muslim clerics have issued a fatwa declaring it permissible to eat cats, dogs and donkeys.

As the civil war drags on and food supplies become scarcer and scarcer, Syrian clerics have allowed people living in besieged suburbs of Damascus to eat cats and dogs – meat that is normally forbidden in Islam.

The clerics say that the fatwa (religious decree) is a cry for help and a plea for the international community to take notice. They also added that if the situation gets any worse, the living would have to eat the dead.

“How does the world sleep with full stomachs while there are hungry people?” a leading Imam said.

“Haven’t you heard the fatwas that have filled our streets and mosques by permitting people to eat cats, dogs and other animals that have already been killed by the bomb attacks?”

“Are you waiting for us to eat the flesh of our martyrs and our dead?” 

The fatwa coincides with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha – normally a time for feasting and celebration. But not this year – food and aid supplies have become almost non-existent in some regions as government forces block supplies from getting through. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have cut off road access to rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, causing extreme shortages. Looks like the only thing Syrians will be feasting on this Eid al-Adha is dog carcasses and cat hair.

And while food aid is being blocked, Nobel Prize-toting weapons inspectors are driving freely around the war zones checking things out. Médecins Sans Frontières general director Christopher Stokes called the situation “absurd.”

“Influential countries gathered around a table, thrashed out an agreement on chemical weapons and put it into practice,” he said.

‘They have shown it can be done, so where are the efforts to repeat this success with access for humanitarian aid?’

More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which began in March 2011, and now hundreds of cats and dogs can probably be added to the death toll.

Via: BBC News

Disclaimer: Reagan Plus Cats does not endorse eating cats. Dogs, we might be able to get on board with…. but never cats!!!

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Bashar al-Assad: The Nobel Peace Prize Should Have Been Mine!

Assad NObel Prize

Either Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is testing out his fallback career of being a stand-up comedian or he’s crazier than originally thought.

During a recent meeting with visitors at the presidential palace, Assad “joked” that he deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize instead of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is currently working to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal by mid-2014. The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported that the Syrian President said the coveted prize “should have been mine.” Good one Assad!

The Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee announced last week it would award the OPCW for its “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons,” but Al-Akhbar, a newspaper sympathetic to the Syria regime, claims Assad said in 2003 that all nations in the region should hand over their chemical weapons. So really, he was robbed!!! Now he and Putin will have one more thing to talk about during their friendly get-togethers.

Even if Assad was joking about winning the peace prize, the 100,000 people who have died since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, including the 1,400 people who died in August in a chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb, probably don’t think it’s very funny.  In fact, the OPCW inspectors who are currently travelling through war zones trying to eradicate Syria’s chemical weapons probably don’t think it’s the best joke either. Maybe he should work on a new fallback career… may I suggest Beaker from the Muppet Show lookalike? The pay may not be great, but at least he can still work with chemicals.

Beaker Assad

Via: The Telegraph

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Putin Was Robbed! Chemical Weapons Group Wins Nobel Prize

Current Event Cat - Nobel Winner

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the body overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Hague-based group has been out and about in Syrian war zones implementing the international chemical-weapons treaty. But Syria’s not the only place they hang out – since the 1990s the OCPW has conducted over 5,000 inspections in 86 countries and destroyed 80 percent of the world’s chemical weapons. Syria is the first time they’ve had to do their jobs in an active war zone though.

OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu said the award (and the $1.8 million prize money) was a “great honour” and would spur it on in its work.

Other contenders for the prestigious prize were Malala Yousafzai and Russian President Vladimir Putin. One advocates for the rights of women and girls and survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban last year. The other kills journalists and is buddy-buddy with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Tough choice.

Malala Yousafzai just won the European Union’s annual human rights award on Thursday so she’s probably not too devastated about losing the Nobel Prize  to some chemical weapons inspectors. The Pakistani teenage activist beat out U.S. intelligence analyst/NSA leaker Edward Snowden. So again, the competition was pretty stiff….

But what about poor Putin? What’s he left with?

Putin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Russian advocacy group that credits him with finding a peaceful resolution to the Syrian-U.S. dispute over chemical weapons. The Russians argued that if US President Barack Obama could win in 2009, Putin should certainly be recognized in 2013. But sadly, he wasn’t. Now Putin will just have to go back to supplying Bashar al-Assad’s regime with weapons (non chemical ones are still cool), killing Chechens, and wrestling bears shirtless in Siberia.

Via: BBC News

Michele Bachmann Thinks The End Of The World Is Near… And Other News

Michele Bachmann

Crazy ole congresswomen Michelle Bachmann is claiming that “we are in God’s End Times” because President Obama is supplying al-Qaeda with arms.

He’s not, but if he were it certainly wouldn’t be the first time the US government gave terrorists weapons and had it come back and bite them in the ass. Anyways, Michele Bachmann takes the scripture seriously and believes Obama giving arms to Syrian rebels is going to bring on the Second Coming of Christ. But she also said that Obamacare would “literally” kill women, children and senior citizens and that HPV vaccinations cause mental retardation. So… she’s clearly had her HPV vaccination. The Atlantic Wire

obama boehnerTurns out shutting down the government wasn’t the best way to win over the hearts of Americans. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are handling the budget negotiations. And 51 percent “strongly” disapprove. On the flip side, President Obama’s approval rating has risen a few points, although 51 percent of Americans still disapprove of the way he has handled the crisis with 39 percent “strongly” disapproving. Note: 40 percent of that 39 percent is made up of Ted Cruz. Washington Post

Dubai taxiAnd the father of the year goes to… the Middle Eastern version of Kevin McCallister’s dad. The award winning father left his five-year-old son in the back of a taxi in Dubai as he and his family rushed to make their flight home. The family grabbed their bags out of the cab and ran to the departure desk but forgot about the boy sleeping in the back of the car. Once the father realized he pulled a Home Alone, he contacted the Dubai police and they tracked down the cab using CCTV footage and alerted the driver – who apparently had no idea there was a kid in the backseat. Or did he…? 7 Days in Dubai

Italy ShipwreckShipwreck report: Rescue workers are still searching for bodies from a boat carrying African migrants that sank off the coast of Italy last week.  The death toll is now at 274 and is still rising. The survivor count is now at 155 and probably won’t be rising… The boat was carrying about 500 passengers – mostly from Eritrea and Somalia. When you don’t bother with life-jackets you can really squeeze people in! But survivors tapped into their survival skills and developed make-shift floating devices: the dead bodies of their companions. And once again, the captain did NOT go down with the ship. Instead he’s in custody in Agrigento, Sicily. As for the survivors, they’re waiting in a cramped migrant detention center waiting to see if they will be deported or if the Italian government will give them a pity stay. CNN

Malaria VaccineThere might be a lot less diarrhea in Africa soon… and a lot fewer child deaths. In its 30 year fight against malaria, British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline says it’s found the world’s first malaria vaccine. The pharmaceutical agency is seeking regulatory approval for the vaccine after trial data showed that it had cut the number of cases in African children. Malaria, which is spread by evil mosquitos, is the leading cause of death by disease and has been a pet project of Bill Gates’ for years. Thanks Bill! The Telegraph

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Chemical Weapons Inspectors Arrive in Syria

Chemical Weapons Inspectors

A team of international chemical inspectors has arrived in Syria to begin the ambitious task of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The inspectors’ mission was born out of a deadly chemical attack on a Damascus suburb on August 21. Most blame the Syrian government for issuing the attack but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insists it was the rebels. Whoever’s fault it was (it was Assad!), the chemical attack prompted the Obama administration to threaten Syria with missile strikes. But just when the US was about to enter into Iraq 2.0, Syria took John Kerry up on his unscripted statement that the US would back off if they destroyed all of their chemical weapons. With the help of Russia, and the endorsement of the UN, a deal was set up to get rid of the chemical weapons and avoid another unwanted war.

Basically the Obama administration somehow managed to avoid a military intervention in Syria but couldn’t manage to avoid a US government shutdown. Conclusion: Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are more pleasant to negotiate with than John Boehner and the merry band of tea partiers.

According to the agreement drafted by the US and Russia, the chemical inspectors will have to destroy all the equipment used for mixing and delivery by November. The whole operation, however, is expected to happen by next year.

It’s estimated that Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal includes more than 1,000 tonnes of sarin, the deadly nerve gas used in the Damascus attack, as well as other banned chemicals which are stored at multiple sites. And to make the job even tougher, Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Muallem, said that seven of the 19 declared chemical-weapons sites are in active combat zones.

Syria seems to be cooperating for now but it’s difficult to know whether Assad’s regime is being totally up-front with where its stockpiles are located. Meanwhile, the Syrian civil war rages on – sans chemical weapons but still with plenty of deaths.

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Assad Needs One Year

Current Event Cat - One Year Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he needs one year to destroy all the chemical weapons he has but has “never used”.

In an interview with FOX News, Assad insisted that destroying the stockpiles of chemical weapons would cost US$1 billion and would take roughly one year. Assad claims he’s totally on board with handing over the weapons but calls the procedure “a very complicated operation, technically” that “needs a lot of money”. Is this Assad’s way of asking for a billion dollar handout? Kind of…

And when asked whether he would be willing to hand over chemical weapons to the US, President Assad said:

“It needs about one billion. It is very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don’t they do it?”

Despite his apparent willingness to give up his chemical weapons, Assad is sticking to his story that his government never sanctioned any sarin gas attacks.First, he tried to pin it on the rebels, saying terrorists were to blame for the chemical attack which killed more than 1,400 people.

“Sarin gas is called kitchen gas,” he said. “You know why? Because anybody can make sarin in his house. Any rebel can make sarin!”

So can any dictator – especially one with a large kitchen. But Assad says he has some mystery evidence that it was the terrorist groups who used sarin gas and has handed that info over to Russia (for safekeeping?).

Next he decided to blame photoshop. Assad said that the shocking videos of victims following a chemical weapons attack could have been forged.

“You cannot build a report on videos,” he said, adding, “There’s a lot of forgery on the Internet.

Assad cheering USFor example, this photo of Bashar al-Assad may be a fake. Assad would never wear something so short!

Via: The National Post & Current Event Cats