Monday, June 16, 2014

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mysterious And Incurable Chikungunya Virus Continues To Spread - Now Confirmed In 15 American States, Including New York, With 25 In Florida Alone!

June 16, 2014 - UNITED STATES -  First there was West Nile virus. Now health experts are warning about another virus carried by mosquitoes.


CDC: Cases Confirmed In 15 States, Including N.Y., With 25 In Florida Alone

The chikungunya virus — or “chik-v” — has sickened tens of thousands of people throughout the Caribbean with high fever and severe pain. Now Americans are coming down with it, too, and there’s fear that it will spread, CBS 2′s Kristine Johnson reported.

“This is not a fatal infection; it’s just a miserable infection,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of Vanderbilt University’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

Cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been confirmed in 15 states, including New York. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 cases have been reported in Florida alone.

“The chikungunya fever will last for three, four, five days,” Schaffner said. “You’re miserable. Then you’ll get better. We can treat you symptomatically.”

So far, all of the infected Americans have contracted the virus in parts of the world where it is common. But researchers are worried that mosquitoes in the U.S. could pick up the disease by biting infected people.


WATCH: Health Experts Warn Of New Virus Carried By Mosquitoes.




“There’s a concern that people from the United States who go to the Caribbean might be bitten by infected mosquitoes and then bring this illness, this virus, back to the United States,” Schaffner siad. “We have the kind of mosquito that will transmit this virus here in the U.S.”

Prior outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Late last year, the virus was found for the first time on the Caribbean islands, where more than 100,000 people have been sickened.

“So far, we have no evidence that there are U.S.-bred mosquitoes that have become infected,” Schaffner said.

There is no vaccine to prevent the virus, which is rarely fatal. - CBS



WAR DRUMS: It Begins - As U.S. Warship Arrives In The Persian Gulf With Marines And Aircraft, President Obama Announces 275 Troops To Deploy To Iraq For Embassy Security In Baghdad!!

June 16, 2014 - IRAQ - US President Barack Obama has announced 275 US troops will be deployed to Iraq to provide security for the US Embassy in Baghdad as Sunni insurgents continue to test the nation’s security forces in its push closer to the capital.


AFP Photo/Vyacheslav Oseledko

“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter sent to House and Senate leaders.“This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”

The White House press secretary said the deployment of the US Armed Forces personnel is “consistent with the War Powers Resolution.”

“The personnel will provide assistance to the Department of State in connection with the temporary relocation of some staff from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to the U.S. Consulates General in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman," the press secretary said in a statement. "These U.S. military personnel are entering Iraq with the consent of the Government of Iraq. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains open, and a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission."

The White House had reportedly dropped any idea of sending US combat troops to Iraq.

"The president was very clear that we will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq," White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. "That remains the case and he has asked his national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces."

The White House did not comment on whether the announcement of embassy security represents a possible break from the Obama administration’s policy against future combat troops in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is said to be considering offering a small contingent of American special forces soldiers to Iraq, US officials said Monday.

The plan would incorporate as many as 100 soldiers in a non-combat, training role to assist Iraqi forces against fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) that have gained ground in nation’s north and west, three US officials told AP on the condition of anonymity.

The special forces plan is reportedly high on the list of options the US is considering in offering the Shiite-led government in Iraq help against the Sunni insurgents as ISIS pushes toward the nation’s capital.

Earlier Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that – in addition to security assistance like Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones already supplied to Iraq – the US is considering using manned or unmanned drone airstrikes to counter insurgent momentum.

It is yet clear whether the special forces soldiers on the advising and "non-operational training" mission would be sent to Baghdad or elsewhere closer to cities and areas where ISIS and other militant groups have established control in a nation reeling from continual violence and division.

The troops would be under the authority of the US ambassador, a US official said, and that they would be there to train Iraqi security forces on military bases.


WATCH: Obama announces 275 troops to deploy to Iraq for embassy security in Baghdad.

video


It was also reported Monday that the USS Mesa Verde, with 550 Marines onboard, has entered the Persian Gulf on Monday for a possible operation in Iraq.

Iraq has requested the hastened delivery of major weapons orders, including dozens of F-16 fighter jets contracted with Lockheed Martin and dozens of Boeing’s Apache helicopters, to counter the insurgent fighters.

"What we are saying is that there needs to be a sense of urgency," Lukman Faily, Iraq's ambassador to the US, told The Wall Street Journal last week. "We now expect the US to appreciate this sense of urgency."

An offshoot of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the hyper-fundamentalist group active in Iraq and Syria, fell out with the global terrorist network. It gained notoriety for its ruthless tactics, which include publicly crucifying and beheading those who violate their strict religious interpretations. Its rise and consolidation owe a great deal to the simultaneous power vacuum that arose after the Syrian civil war broke out and the ongoing tumult in Iraq after the US invasion and occupation.

Fighting against the Shia governments of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad and Bashar Assad in Damascus has also allowed the Sunni organization to recruit thousands of people under its aim of eventually turning the entire region into an ultraconservative Muslim caliphate.   - RT



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Rampaging al-Shabaab Jihadists Kill Dozens In Kenya - Nearly 50 Dead; Christians Specifically Targeted For Execution! [VIDEO]

June 16, 2014 - KENYA - Terrorists from al-Shabaab, the Somali al-Qaeda affiliate, attacked the small Kenyan coastal town of Mpeketoni near the tourist center of Lamu on Sunday and killed 48 people, according to officials in the east African nation.




Men watching the World Cup at a hotel were systematically executed while women were forced to watch, according to Kenya police commander David Kimaiyo. The terrorists said the execution was in response to the activity of Kenyan troops in Somalia. Kenya has sent troops there to counter al-Shabaab kidnappings and attacks.

Like Nairobi’s Westgate Mall attack last year, the Mpeketoni attackers reportedly gave life-or-death religious tests.

It is said Shakir Wahiyib, described as an enforcer for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), has executed people who failed his “Quranic quiz” in Iraq. ISIS has captured large areas of northern Iraq in the past week and has posted videos of mass executions.

Christian Kenyans were specifically targeted for execution. “They came to our house at around 8 p.m. and asked us in Swahili whether we were Muslims. My husband told them we were Christians and they shot him in the head and chest,” a resident told CBC News.


WATCH: Deadly attack in Kenya leaves dozens dead.

 


The terrorist group joined al-Qaeda in 2012. It imposes an austere form of Sharia law on rural regions, engages in kidnapping and the murder of aid workers. It is suspected of aligning with al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Boko Haram, the Nigerian terror group reportedly responsible for the murder of an estimated 10,000 people and the kidnapping of school girls.

AQIM is takes inspiration from the religious teaching of Salafism in Saudi Arabia, which historically played a crucial role in the training of the CIA and Pakistan ISI organized and supported Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

Pakistani intelligence is directly involved in al-Shabaab terrorism. In July of 2010, after a bombing attributed to the group that killed 76 people watching the soccer World Cup final, a number of Pakistani nationals were arrested.

Abu Musa Mombasa, a Pakistani citizen, purportedly serves as al-Shabaab’s chief of security and training, according to a Long War Journal report posted in 2010.

In July of 201, the Christian Science Monitor reported “veteran insurgents from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have relocated to the chaotic country of Somalia in large enough numbers to spark worry inside the international community, according to Kenya’s foreign minister.”

Pakistan’s ISI and the CIA have worked together since the early 1980s to create terrorist organizations and radical Muslims. - Info Wars



GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE: Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The United States Corporation - Total U.S. Debt Soars To Nearly $60 TRILLION, Foreshadows New Recession!

June 16, 2014 - UNITED STATES - America - its government, businesses, and people - are nearly $60 trillion in debt, according to the latest economic data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve. And private debt - not government borrowing - is the biggest reason for the huge deficit.


Reuters/Lee Jae-Won


Total US debt at the end of the first quarter of 2014, on March 31 totaled almost $59.4 trillion - up nearly $500 billion from the end of the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the data. Total debt (the combination of government, business, mortgage, and consumer debt) was $2.2 trillion 40 years ago.

“In 50 short years, debt has gone from being a luxury for a few to a convenience for many to an addiction for most to a disease for all,” James Butler wrote in an Independent Voters Network (IVN) op-ed. “It is a virus that has spread to every aspect of our economy, from a consumer using a credit card to buy a $0.75 candy bar in a vending machine to a government borrowing $17 trillion to keep the lights on.”





According to a 2012 study published in the Economist, rapid growth in private debt is a better predictor of recessions than increases in public debt, growth in money supply, or trade imbalances. Consumer credit in the US rose by 22 percent over the last three years, reaching a record-high $3.18 trillion in April, the Fed reported on Friday.

Credit card use (or revolving credit) rose by $8.8 billion, while non-revolving credit like auto loans and student loans made by the government surged up by $18 billion in April. Non-revolving credit jumped by 8.2 percent over the last year, while revolving credit only rose 2.2 percent over the same time period.

“For a while after the recession it was trendy to cut up your credit cards and get out of debt,” Michael Snyder wrote in an InfoWars op-ed. “But that fad wore off rather quickly, didn’t it?”




Snyder noted that 56 percent of all Americans have a subprime credit rating, and that the average monthly car payment in the US is $474. He added that 52 percent of homeowners are overextended on their mortgages and “cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.”

Debt is hurting young adults the most. Millennials say they are spending at least half their monthly paychecks on paying off debt, a recent Wells Fargo survey found. And two years out of college, half of all graduates are still relying on their parents or other family members for some sort of financial help, according to a University of Arizona study, which also found that only 49 percent of graduates are working full-time.

"Whether or not a weak labor market is increasing the need for intergenerational support -- a likely driver in today's economy -- our data clearly showed that many young adults today may not be earning enough to make it on their own, even when working full time," the report stated.

Most of the debt that young adults face is student loan debt, which totals more than $1.2 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Of that debt, approximately $124 billion is more than 90 days delinquent.

“What we have done to our young people is shameful. We have encouraged them to sign up for a lifetime of debt slavery before they even understand what life is all about,” Snyder wrote.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the economy will stall by 2017 because Americans will continue spending, but wages and wealth won’t be going up - leading to increased income inequality in the country, the Guardian reported.

“That ever-increasing gap between income and consumption has been filled by borrowing,” the Guardian said. “These were the debt dynamics in the lead-up to the recession. But they are also the dynamics leading out of the crisis, and continuing today with no end in sight.”

Economists have not agreed on how to stave off the impending crisis. But Americans’ addiction to spending on credit will not help.

“The problem is, the more debt we have, the more future income must be used to pay the debt and its interest, which reduces the money we have to spend on things. This works to slow the economy,” Butler wrote.

“Eventually, the negative effect of the debt load becomes stronger than the positive effect of the added spending and a recession is triggered — or worse.” - RT



SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Second Sun And Nibiru Memes - Astronomers Discover Sister To Earth's Sun?!

June 16, 2014 - SPACE - As part of a search into the origins of our galaxy, astronomers at the University of Texas have identified what they believe to be a sister to the Earth’s sun.


Reuters/NASA

According to the Guardian, this potential sibling has not been named, and currently only goes by the title, Star HD 162826. Astronomers currently hypothesize that the sister sun was formed out of the same cluster of stars that ultimately gave birth to our own sun approximately 4.5 billion years ago. If true, the discovery could also shed light on humanity’s search for extraterrestrial life.

Led by astronomer Ivan Ramirez, researchers at the University of Texas said that they've been studying HD 162826 – which is 15 percent larger than our sun – for more than 15 years.

“The idea is that the Sun was born in a cluster with a thousand or a hundred thousand stars. This cluster, which formed more than 4.5 billion years ago, has since broken up,” Ramirez said in a statement. “A lot of things can happen in that amount of time,” he added, including the potential for these stars to shift along to other points in the Milky Way and host other planets.

Although the HD 16286 cannot be seen by the naked eye, it can be spotted with a pair of binoculars thanks to its large size. It’s located in the lower end of the constellation Hercules, and if you’re out stargazing it can be spotted near another star called Vega.

As noted by the Huffington Post, further study into the star’s origins could also reveal information about how and why life formed on Earth.


Image from mcdonaldobservatory.org

"We want to know where we were born," Ramirez said. "If we can figure out in what part of the galaxy the sun formed, we can constrain conditions on the early solar system. That could help us understand why we are here."

One of the more intriguing possibilities is that HD 162826 also delivers life-giving energy other planets in its orbits, much like our own sun does for the Earth. It’s also possible that when the cluster of stars containing our sun broke up, the blueprints for life – such as DNA molecules or bacteria – were spread along all the stars contained within. Potentially, that means that other planets in the galaxy might actually host life that shares a similar make-up as life on Earth.

"The idea is if a planet has life, like Earth, and if you hit it with an asteroid, it will create debris, some of which will escape into space," astronomer Mauri Valtonen of Finland’s University of Turku in Finland said to Space.com in 2012. "And if the debris is big enough, like 1 meter across, it can shield life inside from radiation, and that life can survive inside for millions of years until that debris lands somewhere. If it happens to land on a planet with suitable conditions, life can start there." - RT



DELUGE & GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Landslides, Heavy Rainfall, Flooding Threaten United States/Ghana World Cup Match in Natal, Brazil - Up To 40 Homes Damage Or Destroyed; Mass Evacuations; State Of Emergency Declared! [STUNNING PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 16, 2014 - BRAZIL - The U.S. soccer team already faces a nearly impossible task in this year's World Cup after being drawn into a group with juggernauts Germany and Portugal and archenemy Ghana, but in their opening match tonight against the Ghanaians, the Stars and Stripes must deal with a more unpredictable foe: the weather.



Torrential rains have plagued the site of the opener, Natal—a coastal city of nearly 1 million people in northeastern Brazil—for three days, inundating streets, blocking off roads and triggering landslides that destroyed or damaged 20 to 40 homes and forced the evacuations of at least 50 people, according to local media. In response, the city declared a state of emergency Sunday, mobilizing emergency responders to deal with impacts from the heavy rain.


Two days of near non-stop rain have dumped a month's worth of precipitation on the World Cup city of Natal.

With more rains forecast for the next five days, some people worried that the weather
could affect the US-Ghana match on Monday afternoon.

At least four other structures are threatening collapse at the site of the landslide. A retaining wall under pressure from the rain also collapsed in the city, enveloping six homes in earth, G1 reports. Multiple ponds and lakes are well past capacity and continue to spill over into the streets.


WATCH: Drone video - Aftermath footage of landslide in Brazil World Cup host city.




Nearly 9 inches of rain fell in Natal from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday alone, according to INMET, Brazil's governmental meteorological department. But more than 13 inches are said to have fallen since the rain began Friday, first shutting down a FIFA-sanctioned fan fest at Fortress Beach in Natal, and then soaking the city's opening match between Mexico and Cameroon, NBC Sports reports.

News reports showed images of residents wading through knee-deep waters as others pushed cars submerged up to the
door handles. Additional reports showed a huge crater cutting across a street in a residential neighborhood.

Floods can often be deadly in Brazil, where intense rains, chaotic urban planning and garbage-filled
drainage pipes sometimes result in landslides that bury entire neighborhoods.

The area has experience more rain in recent days than they usually see for the entire month of June, even though June is typically the city's wettest month.

Unfortunately for the U.S. squad, the rain will only persist heading into Monday night's game at 6 p.m. EDT against Ghana, according to weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

"We are looking at off and on showers today and tomorrow, including at kickoff time," said Wiltgen. "Along with the rain, the two teams will see high temperatures from 81 to 84 degrees, and lows near 72."




Even so, more rain could mean more landslides, flooding and other dangerous conditions in the area that could jeopardize player and fan safety, something local officials say they're ready to deal with.

“Our teams are alert and ready to avoid accidents and to not have the city come to a stop due to this,” Christiano Couceiro, a spokesperson for the local fire department, told USA Today. - TWC



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcano Report For June 16, 2014 - Updates On Etna, Shiveluch, Batu Tara, Sangeang Api, Kavachi, Pavlof, Shishaldin, Semisopochnoi, Ubinas, And Piton de la Fournaise! [PHOTOS+GRAPH]

June 16, 2014 - GLOBAL VOLCANISM - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Lava effusion and pulsating low lava fountains continued from the New SE crater throughout the night and today.


Etna's lava flows this morning (Photo: Marco Fulle)

Tremor remains at fluctuating elevated levels but with a now slightly decreasing trend. The lava flows have descended the western slope into the Valle del Bove where they spread into several broad fronts.


Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Explosive activity of the volcano continues. Since the larger explosion on 11 June, the volcano has only produced a few smaller explosions and ash emissions.


Ash emission at Shiveluch volcano on the 14th of  June.

Not much glow is currently visible on clear night-time images, suggesting that extrusive activity of the lava dome is reduced at the moment.


Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Activity at the volcano is relatively intense at the moment. Several ash plumes rising to 5-7,000 ft (1.5-2.1 km) altitude, originating from stronger-than-normal strombolian explosions, were seen on satellite imagery during the past days.


Sangeang Api (Indonesia): Small ash emissions continue at the volcano. VAAC Darwin last reported a volcanic ash plume rising to approx. 7,000 ft (2.1 km) and extending 30 nautical miles to the NW on Saturday.


Kavachi (Solomon Islands): Some intermittent eruptive activity seems to be occurring at the volcano. On 10 June, another spot of discolored water had been visible above the shallow submarine volcano.


Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): Based on seismic data, eruptive activity continues at the volcano according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. However, it has significantly dropped (if not stopped) over the past week. No hot spot is currently visible on satellite imagery.


Comparison of thermal satellite images of Pavlow volcano from the 2nd and 9th of June.
The lava flow has almost disappeared. (ASTER / GSJ)

No ash emissions or lava fountains could be detected recently. A weekly alimented lava flow could still be seen on satellite data from 9 June.


Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): Low-level eruptive activity continues at Shishaldin, although nothing was observed in cloudy satellite images over the past 24 hours. Web camera views of the volcano were obscured by clouds. (AVO)


Semisopochnoi (United States, Aleutian Islands): The earthquake swarm at the volcano that started on June 9 and escalated on June 12 continues.


Current seismic activity (CEAP station / AVO)

No eruptive activity is currently indicated and nothing was observed in cloudy satellite images over the past day. (AVO)


Ubinas (Peru): Near-continuous, but light ash emissions interrupted by sporadic explosions continue at the volcano. Two stronger explosions on 12 and 13 June produced ash plumes that rose 2.5-3.5 km above the summit.


Light ash emission from Ubinas today


Piton de la Fournaise (La RĂ©union): Seismic activity above normal background levels have been detected under the volcano past week. The prefecture decided to raise the alert level and advises climbers and hikers to avoid the rims and crater walls of Dolomieu crater due to an increased risk of rockfalls and collapses.


Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 16, 2014.

- Volcano Discovery



MONUMENTAL PARADIGM SHIFT: Precursors To The Collapse Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - Pope Francis Says That "EUROPE IS TIRED," Criticizes The Region For Low Birthrate, Joblessness; The Crisis Is So Great, That It Risk Becoming A "THROW-AWAY CULTURE"!

June 16, 2014 - VATICAN - Pope Francis has criticized Europe for a declining birthrate, a high percentage of unemployed people and discarding the elderly. He called Europe “tired,” saying it risks becoming a “throw-away culture.”


Pope Francis caresses a baby's head upon his arrival at Rome's Basilica di Santa Maria in
Trastevere Square on June 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Filippo Monteforte)

“Europe is tired. We have to help rejuvenate it, to find its roots. It’s true: it has disowned its roots. But we need to help it find them,” Francis said during his visit to the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica. The community’s volunteers provide various forms of help to homeless, immigrants, elderly, disabled, and young people.

According to Francis, the treatment of the elderly and children “is an indicator showing the quality of a society. “

“When the elderly are discarded, when the elderly are isolated and sometimes closed off without affection, it’s a bad sign!” said the Pope.

Francis said that the youth and the elderly “carry history forward,” as young people give the society “biological strength" while old people “give them their memory.”

“When a society loses memory, it’s over. It’s terrible to see a society, a people, a culture that has lost memory,” he said, “A people that does not safeguard its elderly, that does not take care of its young people, is a people without a future, a people without hope.”

Francis warned that with the current situation the European society may easily become a “throw-away culture.”

“Children are thrown away: no children. Just think of the growth rate of children in Europe: in Italy, Spain, France. The elderly are thrown away with these attitudes, behind which is a hidden euthanasia, a form of euthanasia: uselessness. That which isn’t useful is thrown away,” said Francis.

The Pope also spoke about high rates of unemployment in Europe which affect young people in the union.

“And today the crisis is so great that young people are discarded: when we think of these 75 million young people of 25 years or younger, who are ‘neither-nor’ - neither working, nor studying. It happens today, in this tired Europe, eh?” he said.

The Pope also slammed “the idol of money” in the region’s economy, which makes the poor “more and more poor, depriving them of the essentials, such as home and work.”

Pope Francis has already carved himself a reputation of being unlike previous popes. He called for the legitimate redistribution of the world’s wealth in order to help the poor. Francis also attacked the global economic system, which shouldn’t be based on “a god called money” anymore. - RT.



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: MERS Contagion - First MERS Case Detected In Bangladesh!

June 16, 2014 - BANGLADESH - Bangladesh has detected its first confirmed case of the often-fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus, with the 53-year-old patient currently receiving special treatment at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a private hospital in Dhaka.


There is no cure or vaccine for the MERS virus.

Sources said the patient had returned to the country from the US via Abu Dhabi on June 4, and started developing a fever from June 6. He was admitted to the hospital on June 9 with pneumonia and respiratory ailments.

The condition of the patient was reportedly improving, with doctors expecting to shift him to a cabin from the ICU soon.

Dr Mahmudur Rahman, director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control Research (IEDCR), confirmed the news about the first case of MERS Coronavirus in Bangladesh and told the Dhaka Tribune that they had collected several samples of throat swab, nasopharyngeal and sputum between June 10 and 14.

The disease was confirmed on Saturday through repeated tests of Polymer Change Reaction (PCR) process in the IEDCR’s laboratory, while the news was officially disclosed yesterday.

According to International Health Regulation rules, the IEDCR has informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) about the first MERS case in the country.

Although the IEDCR had been closely monitoring the MERS situation since last Hajj, the tests of 39 previous suspected patients had come out negative.

The IEDCR director said MERS was a highly infectious disease, with family members and health workers with close contact with the patient running the risk of being infected with the virus. Doctors of public and private hospitals have been trained to treat MERS patients, Dr Mahmudur claimed.

IEDCR sources also said they were now monitoring 52 people who came in contact with the MERS patient since he contracted the disease.

Precaution and symptoms

The IEDCR director advised expatriates who had developed fever, respiratory illness or pneumonia within 14 days of their return from abroad, especially from Middle East countries, to go to a doctor for diagnosis.

Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, director of communicable disease control (CDC) of health directorate, told the Dhaka Tribune they were taking precautionary measures ahead of upcoming Hajj, including creating awareness among the pilgrims about the disease. 

He said every haji, during their pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, should a wear mask, regularly wash hands with soap, and stay away from people who are sneezing or coughing.

According to the WHO, most MERS patients suffered from severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some patients also had gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhoea and nausea or vomiting. For many people with MERS, have more severe complications following, such as pneumonia and kidney failure.

About 30% of the people with MERS have died, with most of the fatalities suffering from an underlying medical condition. - Dhaka Tribune.



TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - The Age Of Robots Is Here; Robot Doctors, Online Lawyers And Automated Architects Pose A Great Threat To Manual Labour!

June 16, 2014 - TECHNOLOGY -  For the first time, a computer program passed the Turing Test for artificial intelligence. A computer on Saturday was able to trick one third of a team of researchers convened by the University of Reading into believing it was human -- in this case a 13-year old boy named Eugene.




The Turing Test, named for British mathematician Alan Turing, is often thought of as the benchmark test for true machine intelligence. Since he introduced it in 1950, thousands of scientific teams have tried to create something capable of passing, but none has succeeded.

Until now.

And that outcome means we need to start grappling with whether machines with artificial intelligence should be considered persons, as far as the law is concerned.

In 1920, Karel Capek introduced the mainstream world to the concept of artificial people in his play "Rossum's Universal Robots" (the word robot comes from the Czech word for serf labor). Since then, society has been fascinated by the idea of a robot walking among us, or even crossing over into personhood like a modern-day Pinocchio.

The fascination continues; just take a look at this year's box office. In the recent film "Transcendence," Johnny Depp starred as a sentient machine. In the critically acclaimed "Her," Joaquin Phoenix's character fell in love with an advanced operating system named Samantha. Coming attractions include more installments in the rebooted "RoboCop" franchise; "Star Wars: Episode VII," with its universally lovable droids; and, of course, "Terminator 5."

A question at the heart of all these movies is this: At what point does a computer move from property to personhood?

Robotic legal personhood in the near future makes sense. Artificial intelligence is already part of our daily lives. Bots are selling stuff on eBay and Amazon, and semiautonomous agents are determining our eligibility for Medicare. Predator drones require less and less supervision, and robotic workers in factories have become more commonplace. Google is testing self-driving cars, and General Motors has announced that it expects semiautonomous vehicles to be on the road by 2020.

When the robot messes up, as it inevitably will, who exactly is to blame? The programmer who sold the machine? The site owner who had nothing to do with the mechanical failure? The second party, who assumed the risk of dealing with the robot? What happens when a robotic car slams into another vehicle, or even just runs a red light?

Liability is why some robots should be granted legal personhood. As a legal person, the robot could carry insurance purchased by its employer. As an autonomous actor, it could indemnify others from paying for its mistakes, giving the system a sense of fairness and ensuring commerce could proceed unchecked by the twin fears of financial ruin and of not being able to collect. We as a society have given robots power, and with that power should come the responsibility of personhood.

From the practical legal perspective, robots could and should be people. As it turns out, they can already officially fool us into thinking that they are, which should only strengthen their case.

The notion of personhood has expanded significantly, albeit slowly, over the last few thousand years. Throughout history, women, children and slaves have all at times been considered property rather than persons. The category of persons recognized in the courts has expanded to include entities and characters including natural persons aside from men (such as women, slaves, human aliens, illegitimate children and minors) as well as unnatural or juridical persons, such as corporations, labor unions, nursing homes, municipalities and government units.

Legal personality makes no claim about morality, sentience or vitality. To be a legal person is to have the capability of possessing legal rights and duties within a certain legal system, such as the right to enter into contracts, own property, sue and be sued. Not all legal persons have the same rights and obligations, and some entities are only considered "persons'" for some matters and not others.

Just last month, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Hobby Lobby case about whether a corporation is person enough to ask for a religious exemption.

New categories of personhood are matters of decision, not discovery. The establishment of personhood is an assessment made to grant an entity rights and obligations, regardless of how it looks and whether it could pass for human.

To make the case for granting personhood to robots, it's not necessary to show that they can function as persons in all the ways that a "person" may be understood by a legal system. It's enough to show that they may be considered persons for a particular set of actions in a way that makes the most sense legally and logically. - CNN.


Robot Doctors, Online Lawyers And Automated Architects Pose A Great Threat To Manual Labour
Technology is set to challenge traditionally safe professions. Photograph: Alamy

Last year, reporters for the Associated Press attempted to figure out which jobs were being lost to new technology. They analysed employment data from 20 countries and interviewed experts, software developers and CEOs. They found that almost all the jobs that had disappeared in the past four years were not low-skilled, low-paid roles, but fairly well-paid positions in traditionally middle-class careers. Software was replacing administrators and travel agents, bookkeepers and secretaries, and at alarming rates.

Economists and futurists know it's not all doom and gloom, but it is all change. Oxford academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A Osborne have predicted computerisation could make nearly half of jobs redundant within 10 to 20 years. Office work and service roles, they wrote, were particularly at risk. But almost nothing is impervious to automation. It has swept through shop floors and factories, transformed businesses big and small, and is beginning to revolutionise the professions.

Knowledge-based jobs were supposed to be safe career choices, the years of study it takes to become a lawyer, say, or an architect or accountant, in theory guaranteeing a lifetime of lucrative employment. That is no longer the case. Now even doctors face the looming threat of possible obsolescence. Expert radiologists are routinely outperformed by pattern-recognition software, diagnosticians by simple computer questionnaires. In 2012, Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla predicted that algorithms and machines would replace 80% of doctors within a generation.

In their much-debated book The Second Machine Age, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argued that we now face an intense period of creative destruction. "Technological progress," they warned, "is going to leave behind some people, perhaps even a lot of people, as it races ahead … there's never been a worse time to be a worker with only 'ordinary' skills and abilities to offer, because computers, robots and other digital technologies are acquiring these skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate."

So where does that leave the professions, whose hard-won expertise is beginning to fall within the power of computers and artificial intelligence to emulate? The efficiency of computerisation seems likely to spell the end of the job security past generations sought in such careers. For many, what were once extraordinary skillsets will soon be rendered ordinary by the advance of the machines. What will it mean to be a professional then?

"We'll see what I call decomposition, the breaking down of professional work into its component parts," says leading legal futurist professor Richard Susskind. Susskind's forthcoming book Beyond the Professions, co-authored with his son Daniel Susskind, examines the transformations already underway across the sectors that once offered jobs for life. He predicts a process not unlike the division of labour that wiped out skilled artisans and craftsmen in the past: the dissolution of expertise into a dozen or more streamlined processes.

"Some of these parts will still require expert trusted advisers acting in traditional ways," he says. "But many other parts will be standardised or systematised or made available with online service." In a previous book Tomorrow's Lawyers, he predicts the creation of eight new legal roles at the intersection of software and law. Many of the job titles sound at home in IT companies: legal knowledge engineer, legal technologist, project manager, risk manager, process analyst.

"Many traditional lawyers will look at that and think: 'Yes, they might be jobs, but that's not what I went to law school for. And that's not what my parents' generation did as lawyers.'" That, says Susskind, is not his concern: whether we call these new positions lawyers or not, the legal sector will survive.

"What I often say is that the future of law is not Rumpole of the Bailey, and it's not John Grisham," explains Susskind. "It's not a version of what we have today slightly tweaked. It will be people working in the legal sector but offering legal services and legal help in new ways." It may be the end of the profession as immortalised in courtroom dramas, but as software eats the old jobs it will have to create new ones too.

"Those professions that do not change will render themselves obsolete," says Dr Frank Shaw, foresight director at the Centre for Future Studies. "Those that are able to transform themselves – and I mean 'transform' – will thrive and prosper."

No one knows for sure what the careers of the future will look like. But the people at the cutting edge are already watching old jobs disappear – and experimenting with the technology that has begun to create new ones. Here's how three of the professions – medicine, architecture and the law – could be transformed, according to the people helping to reinvent them. - Guardian.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Massive Night Inferno As Refinery Explodes In Russia - At Least Five People Killed And Seven Others Injured! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 16, 2014 - RUSSIA - At least five people were killed and seven others injured after a gas blast caused massive blaze at an oil and gas refinery in Western Siberia Sunday night.


Fire at Achinsk refinery in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region on June 16. Image from 24.mchs.gov.ru


The disaster at Achinsk refinery in Krasnoyarsk region happened late on Sunday as the night shift was putting equipment back online after scheduled maintenance, the plant’s owner reported.

A rupture in a fractionating column, which was used to produce liquefied natural gas, caused a massive explosion, which started a fire.

Five people died, either at the scene or shortly after being taken to hospital with serious burns, emergency services and medics reported. Seven others are fighting for their lives. Three people are as yet unaccounted for.


Fire at Achinsk refinery in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region on June 16. Image from 24.mchs.gov.ru

Fire at Achinsk refinery in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region on June 16. Image from 24.mchs.gov.ru

Fire at Achinsk refinery in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region on June 16. Image from 24.mchs.gov.ru

Fire at Achinsk refinery in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region on June 16. Image from 24.mchs.gov.ru

Firefighters have managed to stop the fire from spreading to other parts of the plant and doused out the flames on Monday morning after cutting a gas pipeline leading to the devastated column.

Rescuers are cleaning up the rubble right now, but hopes of finding anyone alive are slim at best.


WATCH:  Scenes from the explosion.








Achinsk refinery is the only plant of this kind in Krasnoyarsk region. It belongs to a subsidiary of oil giant Rosneft.

The plant is located some 30km from the city of Achinsk, which has the population of some 110,000, the third-largest in the region. - RT.



PLANETARY TREMORS: "The Whole House Shook" - Earthquake Swarm Continues To Shake Northwest Arctic!

June 16, 2014 - NORTHWEST ARCTIC - Another powerful earthquake shook the Northwest Arctic on Friday. It is the fourth magnitude 5.5 quake to rock the region in six weeks. Like the previous three, Friday's episode was initiated about 10 miles from Noatak and was measured at a depth of 10 miles.


The Noatak region continues to experience unusual earthquake activity this week with another swarm of
earthquakes and aftershocks raising questions - Courtesy Photo, Photo BY Lola Arey


"The whole house shook," said Herbert Walton, the tribal administrator in Noatak. "We're concerned."

Walton said there was no major damage or injuries that he was aware of, though the first set of quakes in mid-April did cause a few cracks in the IRA building.

"There are plenty of people wondering if there is going to be a bigger one, because every time it happens, they seem to be getting bigger," Walton said.

The first two quakes happened on April 18, while the third shook the area on May 3. All four were about the same magnitude and are now being referred to as an "earthquake swarm," said Mike West, a seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Center.

The four major quakes have been accompanied by more than 250 "unusually vigorous" aftershocks, West said.

"They all have the same cause; the same fault motion," he said. "And they occur in more or less the same place."

West said vigorous aftershocks are not uncommon, but normally they simmer down over time. The fact that this series of shakes is not losing strength is part of the reason scientists are referring to the occurrences as a swarm, rather than a sequence.

Earthquakes relieve pressure in the earth, and because these strong quakes and aftershocks are still happening, that tells experts that the stress was not fully relieved with the first set of quakes.

"In an area like Noatak, this is very unusual behavior," West said.

Swarms are more common around volcanoes and geothermal sites, but since there are neither in the area in question, West said seismologists are scratching their heads trying to find a comparable episode in mainland Alaska.

Last month, technicians traveled to Kotzebue and Noatak where they held public information meetings and installed temporary seismic stations in both communities. The instruments will allow scientists to better understand what exactly is happening as well record all the aftershocks, even the less jarring ones.

"Those two stations are behaving perfectly," West said. "The difference is that we know far more about the earthquake Friday night than we do about the ones in April."

For example, they can now trust the depth reading, and are closer to understanding the orientation of the fault by detecting the smaller aftershocks, all of which is valuable in figuring out why these earthquakes are happening. Experts also know that the fault line spans about 19 miles.

What seismologists still don't know is whether or not a bigger earthquake is on the horizon.

"There is nothing to suggest a larger earthquake; earthquake swarms are characterized by earthquakes of the same size," West said. "But I would be lying if I said there's no possibility of a larger earthquake."

There is no evidence to suggest that the quakes will grow in size, he reiterated.

"It's a very tricky subject. This is a very unusual situation," West said.

Because this is new territory as far as recorded seismic data, those studying the quakes have nothing to compare information to, leaving them limited as far as what they can tell the general public.

As for those in Noatak, Walton said, they are still wondering what all these quakes mean. And each time the ground rumbles, locals are getting calls from surrounding villages asking the same question. Last month, the town meeting in Noatak with the technician from the Alaska Earthquake Center was full with curious locals, but experts are limited on what they can explain because they simply don't know why it's happening or if it will continue.

"This is a significant thing and it's a challenge to raise awareness without becoming alarmist," West said. - The Arctic Sounder.




THE THEATRE OF WAR: The Rise Of ISIS And The Monumental Threat Of An Ultraconservative Muslim Caliphate - US Warship With Over 500 Marines Enters Persian Gulf; Evacuates Embassy; US Lawmaker Says ISIS Poses "The Greatest National Security Threat Since 9/11"; US Is Preparing For Direct Dialogue With Iran Over ISIS Threat In Iraq; Alarm Rises Over UK-Born Iraq Fighters' Threat Of "Black Flag Of JIHAD Will Fly Over London" As ISIS Execute 1,700 Soldiers And Post Gruesome Pictures! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 16, 2014 - MIDDLE EAST - Sunni militants captured a strategic northern Iraqi city along the highway to Syria on Monday, sending thousands of residents from an ethnic minority fleeing for safety and moving closer to their goal of linking areas under their control on both sides of the border. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that American drone strikes are an option in a bid to halt the dramatic sweep by insurgents over a swath of Iraq. He also said the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran and does not rule out potential military cooperation between the two rivals to stop the rampage.

US Warship With 550 Marines Enters Persian Gulf
The U.S.S Mesa Verde (Reuters / Alberto Lowe)

The USS Mesa Verde with 550 Marines onboard has entered the Persian Gulf on Monday for a possible operation in Iraq. It comes after President Obama ruled out sending ground troops to the militant-assaulted country.  The USS Mesa Verde is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, a ship designed to carry an expeditionary force across the sea and deploy landing craft and helicopters.  The ship’s presence in the region “provides the commander-in-chief additional options to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq, should he choose to use them.”


A handout picture released by the US Navy shows aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)
sailing in the Arabian Sea on June 13, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.  “USS Mesa Verde is capable of conducting a variety of quick reaction and crisis response operations. The ship carries a complement of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.” He said.  Washington already dispatched the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to the Gulf on Saturday. President Barack Obama said he considered military action to help the Iraqi government deal with the threat of militant offensive which has already claimed large parts of the country in a surprise lightning operation.  But the president said he didn’t intend to send ground troops to Iraq again, two years after pulling out American troops from the country. 


US Lawmaker Says ISIS Poses "The Greatest National Security Threat Since 9/11"
An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) transporting dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members
to an unknown location in the Salaheddin province ahead of executing them. (AFP Photo)

Prominent US Republicans say the recent success of Al-Qaeda offshoot ISIS in Iraq and Syria poses a danger not only to the stability of the Middle East, but also to US national security.Congressman Michael McCaul, chair of the Homeland Security Committee, said that sources familiar with the situation have described the success of ISIS as the “greatest national security threat since 9/11.”“Al-Qaeda owns more territory, more resources, and what's happening in Iraq now is really chaotic,” he told ABC news.During the current offensive, militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) have captured Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul, as well as the city of Tikrit – the capital of Salahuddin province. The group claims to have killed 1,700 soldiers. The insurgents' aim is to capture the capital Baghdad, though government forces were able to stall the insurgency over the weekend.But some US politicians believe that ISIS can cause violence throughout the globe, once it gets a foothold in Iraq.


Committee chairman U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (Drew Angerer / Getty Images / AFP)

Mike Rogers, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told Fox News that there are “thousands” of American and European volunteers and mercenaries fighting for ISIS, which “has the capability to tap people with Western passports to send them back to Europe and the United States for terrorist activity.”“This is as dangerous as it gets,” said the Republican politician, who urged Barack Obama to use his influence with Sunni Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to rein in ISIS – which is likely partly funded by powerful sympathizers within those countries.Barack Obama has already said that the US will not be “dragged back” into costly military operations, and that Iraqis must agree on their own political solution.As the conflict has intensified, the US leader has caught flak for failing to stem the violence, and for his inability or unwillingness to negotiate a US military presence following the withdrawal of troops three years ago.Senator Lindsey Graham is suggesting an alternative strategy, of “sitting down and talking with” Iran – a Shia ally of the beleaguered Maliki administration.“Why did we deal with Stalin?” Graham asked on CNN. “Because he’s not as bad as Hitler. The Iranians can provide some assets to make sure that Baghdad doesn’t fall. We need to co-ordinate with the Iranians and the Turks need to get into the game.”“If Baghdad falls, if the central government falls, a disaster awaits us of monumental proportions,” said Graham.Citing senior US officials, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US is preparing for an open dialogue with Iran to discuss Iraq’s security concerns and ways of responding to the ISIS offensive.Once an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, the hyper-fundamentalist group active in Iraq and Syria fell out with the global terrorist network. It gained notoriety for its ruthless tactics, which include publicly crucifying and beheading those who violate their strict religious interpretations. Its rise and consolidation owe a great deal to the simultaneous power vacuum that arose after the Syrian civil war broke out and the US withdrew its troops from Iraq.Fighting against the Shia governments of Nouri Maliki in Baghdad and Bashar Assad in Damascus has also allowed the Sunni organization to recruit thousands of people under its aim of eventually turning the entire region into an ultraconservative Muslim caliphate.


WATCH: New Sunnistan - 'We're headed toward the partition of Iraq' - ex US ambassador to Iraq.

 

US Preparing For Direct Dialogue With Iran Over ISIS Threat In Iraq
Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants, carry weapons
during a parade in the streets in Baghdad's Sadr city (Reuters / Wissm al-Okili)

The US is getting ready for an open dialogue with Iran to discuss Iraq’s security concerns and ways of responding to radical Sunni militia that have been gaining ground in western Iraq, The Wall Street Journal quoted senior US officials as saying. The talks are likely to begin as early as this week. This unlikely cooperation is to take place as world leaders try to negotiate an agreement with Iran to curtail its nuclear program.Iraq’s security concerns are the central aspects common to both parties. Radical Sunni militants of Al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) have been advancing and capturing cities in the northwest of Iraq. The jihadists have declared the capture of the capital Baghdad as their top objective.It is not yet clear which diplomatic channel the Obama administration will be using, the report said.Reuters also cited a senior US official as saying that Washington is considering the discussion with Tehran.One option for the US is to go through Vienna, where US and Iranian officials are scheduled to meet with other world powers to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. Earlier, the US State Department announced that the No. 2 US diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, will be going to Vienna to participate in those talks.US Senator Lindsey Graham stated on Sunday that Washington needs Iran to avoid a government collapse in Iraq. "We are probably going to need their help to hold Baghdad," Graham told CBS' 'Face the Nation.'Iran has also spoken out in support of cooperation. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that Tehran may consider cooperating with Washington to battle the extremist threat."We have said that all countries must unite in combating terrorism. But right now regarding Iraq we have not seen the Americans taking a decision yet," Rouhani said at a press conference.When asked if Tehran would work with its old adversary the United States in tackling advances by Sunni insurgents in Iraq, Rouhani replied, "We can think about it if we see America starts confronting the terrorist groups in Iraq or elsewhere."


Alarm Rises Over UK-Born Iraq Fighters' Threat Of "Black Flag Of JIHAD Will Fly Over London"
An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on March 17, 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL)'s al-Furqan Media allegedly shows ISIL fighters driving on a street in the northern Syrian City of Homs.
(AFP Photo)

Terror alerts, 9/11-style bombings and murders of British citizens will soon come to London’s streets, according to chilling threats from UK citizens fighting alongside Islam’s most violent terrorist group operating in Syria and Iraq.  The threat comes from British nationals fighting for the Sunni militant group calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) in Syria. According to the Sunday Times, they promise that after they’re done there, Britain is next. The message comes from three such fighters, all youngsters in their teens and twenties.  According to the Times, these aren’t regular disenchanted youths at all: one is a 20-year-old hacker from Birmingham, who once stole Tony Blair’s details and posted them online, later serving time for an unrelated violence charge.  The “black flag of jihad” will fly over Downing Street, Junaid Hussain warned on June 4, spelling out the horrors to come. He’s been fighting in Syria for over a year now.  Another, 19-year-old Muhammad Hassan, from Portsmouth, was a student at a prestigious school. He warned on Twitter that if the US doesn’t cease threats over drone strikes on ISIS positions, 9/11-style attacks on America would follow.  The third, also from Portsmouth, promised a “killing spree” of British citizens if he were ever to return to Britain.  “Imagine if someone were to detonate a bomb at voting stations or ambushed the vans that carry the casted [sic] votes. It would mess the whole system up,” came another tweet from Junaid Hussain, before he re-tweeted a warning from a like-minded countryman for British people to “watch out,” because “we’ll come back to the UK and wreak havoc.”  Among his other offenses, Hussain has also been seen posting bomb-making advice on the internet, as well as tips on how to smuggle explosive devices through airport security.  Getting to Syria from Britain isn’t as difficult as some would think: the youths simply travel to Turkey, then crossed the border. One of them was caught by CCTV cameras at the time, traveling on a holiday flight from London Gatwick airport to Turkey’s Antalya. Hassan’s group (not including the aforementioned tweeters) had three other people, all in their mid-twenties. After reaching Turkey, they headed over to Syria by car.


A fighter from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in the city of Raqqa (Reuters)

This is nowhere near the first time the public has seen British nationals fighting alongside Middle-Eastern extremists. There have been numerous threats, government monitoring of scores of returnees and reports that British Sunni jihadists use Syria as a training ground before taking the battle to home soil.What’s more striking is how news of their particular cruelty is widespread in Syria itself: Britons comprise an overwhelming majority of foreigners inside ISIS, an organization who are labeled ‘terrorists’ for their bloody campaign of ruthless executions and body mutilations even by other elements of the Syrian opposition.One Free Syrian Army General spoke in horror of what some 400 British extremists fighting there were capable of doing. He pointed out that ISIS’s already dark record did not originate from actions by local fighters alone.


A picture taken on March 1, 2014 shows the wreckage of a Syrian army helicopter after al-Qaeda-linked group Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)'s fighters allegedly destroyed it. (AFP Photo / Mohammed Al-Khatieb)

Further illustrating the scale of foreign involvement in ISIS operations, Mike Rogers, the US chairman of the Intelligence Committee, speaking to Fox News alleged that there are “thousands” of American and European volunteers and mercenaries fighting for ISIS, which “has the capability to tap people with Western passports to send them back to Europe and the United States for terrorist activity.”“This is as dangerous as it gets,” said the Republican politician, who urged Barack Obama to use his influence with Sunni Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to rein in ISIS – which is likely partly funded by powerful sympathizers within those countries.The current threats take place amid a fearsome escalation of violence in Iraq, which has been spiraling out of control the closer ISIS got to Baghdad. Army desertions abound as militants storm through the country, capturing hundreds of millions of dollars in American weapons and equipment and parading them in videos.The rebels are currently storming through the major cities of Mosul and Tikrit, continuing to post videos of beheadings on their way to the capital.Britain has been taking steps to curb the spread of extremism on its soil. Over the weekend, Twitter blocked all ISIS-related accounts and the accounts of its supporters at home in the UK. This is a sensible move, given most of the communication between worldwide supporters of the jihadist cause is done on social networks, where the above British-born terrorists all use new Islamic names.


An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 9, 2014 allegedly shows Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants taking position at a Iraqi border post on the Syrian-Iraqi border between the
Iraqi Nineveh province and the Syrian town of Al-Hasakah. (AFP Photo)

Prime Minister David Cameron is also ringing alarm bells, asserting that Britain has become too tolerant for its own good, bringing about a rise in extremism. The PM has called on several occasions for the protection and promotion of “British values” as a counterweight to the perceived malignant Islamization of Britain. He now believes the government has been too soft in a number of ways, according to a recent public address.“It isn’t enough simply to respect these values in schools. They’re not options, they’re the core of what it is to live in Britain,” Cameron told the public."In recent years we have been in danger of sending out a worrying message: that if you don't want to believe in democracy, that's fine; that if equality isn't your bag, don't worry about it; that if you're completely intolerant of others, we will still tolerate you,” the PM asserted.“That's not just led to division; it has also allowed extremism – of both the violent and non-violent kind - to flourish. We need to be far more muscular in promoting British values and the institutions that uphold them,” he said, shortly after a major scare involving an alleged Trojan Horse plot to Islamicize certain British schools, which prompted an investigation and much bickering within the government.


WATCH: Combat cam video - Iraq forces airstrike ISIL radicals.

 


ISIS Execute 1,700 Soldiers And Post Gruesome Pictures
An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executing dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members
at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. (AFP Photo)

Radical Sunni militants who have been capturing cities in northwest Iraq claimed on Twitter that they executed 1,700 Iraqi soldiers. The radicals posted graphic photos as evidence.  The photographs, which were posted on the Twitter account associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL), came with captions that described their alleged massacre. They did not provide a date or location, but chief military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the killings took place in Salahuddin province, located north of Baghdad.Some of the images show dozens of captured men in civilian clothes loaded onto trucks, with the captions saying that they were taken to their deaths.


An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) transporting dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members at an unknown
location in the Salaheddin province ahead of executing them. (AFP Photo)

Another image shows men lying down in a ditch with their arms behind their head. Some of the final photographs show bodies covered in blood with several gunshot wounds.It is impossible to independently verify the photographs and the number of people killed.Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, confirmed the photos' authenticity on Sunday, adding that he is aware of mass executions of captured Iraqi soldiers in areas controlled by ISIS.Following the analysis of the images by military experts, it was concluded that about 170 soldiers were shot to death by the militants, he told the Associated Press.


An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executing dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members
at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. (AFP Photo)

Violence continued to escalate in Iraq on Sunday, with local residents telling to Reuters that ISIS insurgents attacked and took control of the town of Tal Afar, located in northwestern Iraq.  Iraqi Gen. Mohammed al-Quraishi confirmed to CNN that the city fell to Sunni rebels. Tal Afar is located in the Nineveh province and has a population of about 80,000 people, most of whom are Iraqi Turkmen.  Meanwhile, the US announced it will be increasing security at its embassy in Baghdad and moving some of its personnel out of the capital. Less than 100 US Marines and other military personnel are headed to Iraq to reinforce security at the US embassy in Baghdad, Reuters reported, citing a military official.  The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also said that a number of embassy staff were withdrawn from Baghdad on Sunday. "The Australian embassy remains open with reduced staffing levels," DFAT stated. "We are unlikely to be able to provide consular assistance in Iraq at the current time."


An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) standing next to dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members
at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province ahead of executing them. (AFP Photo)

Earlier, ISIS insurgents seized Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul in the north of the country as well as Tikrit – the capital of Salahuddin province, where the alleged massacre of soldiers took place.UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Friday that the organization received a number of reports of "summary executions and extrajudicial killings" as ISIL militants raided Iraqi cities. The number of people killed last week may be in the hundreds, she added.Once an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, ISIS fell out with the global terrorist network. The hyper-fundamentalist group, which is active in Iraq and Syria, gained notoriety for its ruthless tactics which include publicly crucifying and beheading those who violate their strict religious interpretations.Iraq came under the influence of a Shia-majority government after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime in 2003. Since the withdrawal of US troops in 2011, sectarian tensions have boiled over, resulting in Sunni insurgents increasingly waging war against the central government. 

- RT.