Thursday, July 22, 2010

African Nations Facing Food Crisis and Millions Are Starving

Click to read full story from CNN

United Nations (CNN) -- U.N. officials are pleading for immediate economic assistance for four African countries where people are facing malnutrition in the wake of a drought last year.

The coming weeks ahead will be the toughest for these countries in the Sahel -- the stretch of African countries including Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania -- as they make their way into the rainy season and scrape by with the little food they have since last year's harvest, officials said.

Humanitarian agencies and relief organizations pushed for continued economic support from the international community on behalf of the drought-ridden African countries at the United Nations on Tuesday.

"The levels of food insecurity have begun to spiral out of control and affect a number of countries across the region," U.N. Under-Secretary-General John Holmes said.

"Niger is the center of this crisis, it is a country by far the worst affected, some 7 million people are suffering from severe or moderate food insecurity and that's almost fifty percent of the country's population," Holmes said.

Over 10 million people in the Sahel are at risk for food shortages, according to the U.N., and their situation is unlikely to improve until the coming harvest in October.

"We're in the long stretch between last year's harvest and the one coming up," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme, via telephone from Niger. "We have now six weeks until it is agreed we will be out of the severe danger zone and the ramp-up has to happen not in a few weeks but now, before this very difficult time," Sheeran said.

Court Rules Kosovo's Independence From Serbia Is Legal

Click to read full story from CNN

(CNN) -- Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 was legal, the International Court of Justice ruled in a 10-4 vote Thursday.

There were celebrations in Pristina, with fireworks being set off in the capital of Kosovo after the finding was announced, journalist Vlora Rrustemi told CNN.

But Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic expressed disappointment, saying Belgrade had hoped for a "peaceful compromise solution" that did not create "dangerous secessionist precedents" elsewhere in the world.

The U.N. General Assembly asked the court to clarify the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence, based on a request from Serbia, and the court held hearings last December.

Serbia maintains Kosovo's move for independence was illegal and that it remains a part of the Serbian republic.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called the president of Serbia before the court made its announcement, the White House said.

Biden told Boris Tadic that Washington fully supports "a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo, and he reiterated the United States' unwavering commitment to Kosovo's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the administration said.

He urged Serbia to work with Kosovo to resolve their problems, and also "affirmed the strong and deep ties between the United States and Serbia."

Thursday's verdict was not legally binding. It's an advisory opinion, not a judgment, a court spokeswoman said. The United Nations General Assembly therefore remains free to decide what action to take.

Such opinions still carry great legal weight, however, and Thursday's verdict could set the tone for Kosovo's relations with other countries.

The court considered written statements from 36 U.N. member states, including Serbia, along with Kosovo.

Since the declaration of independence, many countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, have recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Many countries -- such as Russia, China, neighboring Bosnia, and the European nations of Spain and Greece -- have not, however.

U.S Senate Passes Unemployment Benifits Extention To Help 2.5 Million Americans

Click to read full story from CNN

Washington(CNN) -- A bill that restores unemployment benefits to 2.5 million jobless Americans passed the Senate and goes to the House on Thursday. It is expected to pass there are well.

The bill pushes back the deadline to file for extended unemployment benefits until the end of November.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 59 to 39 to restore the benefits, ending a seven-week stalemate.

After the Senate vote, President Obama urged the House to act swiftly and pledged to sign the bill soon afterward.


JMC Ministries Response

After this bill was passed our Local Ohio News posted about this on their facebook. The comments that people left about Unemployment being extended were absolutely horrible. One woman commented saying, "Great lazy people get more vacation time."

Our County here in Ohio has an unemployment rate at around 13% and other Counties in Ohio are at or over 15%. Most people are NOT lazy, there really are not enough jobs to go around in our County, and State.

After applying for hundreds of jobs from retail to management trying to take anything he could get and even going to Job and Family Services. Jeremy was told by a Social Worker "there are no jobs in this area, if you can go back to college and get your degree I advice you to do that." So that is just what Jeremy did he took his GI Bill and has now been in college for 2 Semesters to get his Associates Degree in Computer Science. Not having unemployment benefits any longer is ok with us. We have money through Jeremy's GI Bill which gives us a monthly housing allowance, he also has received a pell grant which he receives every semester plus all his schooling is covered through the GI Bill.

We hope that once he has his degree and prayerfully the economy turns around a little more. Jeremy will be able to find a job much more easily than before. But for those who don't have the options we have been given and are still looking for work to no avail. They are completely dependent upon their unemployment benefits until they can find a job. Benefits that will provide them to be able to feed their children and keep their homes.

It breaks my heart to read comments like the one that this woman posted on our Ohio News Stations Facebook. It seems human kindness is non-existent at times. No compassion for others, these people are not out of work because they want to be. If they were they would not have received unemployment. Americans have lost their jobs because we are in the biggest recession since the great depression. But still people want to place the blame upon them saying they are lazy and just want a free ride.

America needs to come together and help one another just as we did when September 11th happened. It has only been 9 years and our country has gone from a country united to a country divided. God we ask that men and women be softened and start to show compassion and love to one another again. Let them remember how you loved us and show your love to all.

Clean Up Begins Of China's Largest Oil Spill In History

Click to read original Story from Fox News/Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — China National Petroleum Corp. said Thursday a vital pipeline has resumed operations after an explosion caused the country's largest reported oil spill.

Cleanup efforts — marred by the drowning death of a worker, his body coated in crude — continued over 165 square mile (430 square kilometer) stretch of water blanketed in thick, dark oil Thursday, after an official warned the spill posed a severe threat to sea life and water quality. The slick emptied beaches as its size doubled Wednesday.

It remained unclear exactly how much oil has escaped the pipeline six days after it exploded for reasons unknown at a busy northeastern port. State media has said no more oil is leaking into the Yellow Sea.

China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons of oil has spilled. That would amount roughly to 400,000 gallons (1,500,000 liters) — as compared with 94 million to 184 million gallons in the BP oil spill off the U.S. coast.

CNPC, which owns the pipeline at the port of Dalian, said more than 400 tons of oil had been cleaned up by 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to a report posted on its website Thursday.

The company, Asia's biggest oil-and-gas producer by volume, also said the pipeline was repaired and resumed operations Monday, now pumping 45,000 tons of crude oil a day. The blast had reduced oil shipments from part of China's strategic oil reserves to the rest of the country.

Greenpeace China released photos Wednesday of inky beaches and of straw mats about 2 square meters (21 square feet) in size scattered on the sea, meant to absorb the oil.

Fishing in the waters around Dalian has been banned through the end of August, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The oil spill will pose a severe threat to marine animals, and water quality, and the sea birds," Huang Yong, deputy bureau chief for the city's Maritime Safety Administration, told Dragon TV.

Officials, oil company workers and volunteers were turning out by the hundreds to clean blackened beaches, but questions were raised about the effectiveness of the efforts.

"We don't have proper oil cleanup materials, so our workers are wearing rubber gloves and using chopsticks," an official with the Jinshitan Golden Beach Administration Committee told the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper, in apparent exasperation.

"This kind of inefficiency means the oil will keep coming to shore ... This stretch of oil is really difficult to clean up in the short term."

But 40 oil-skimming boats and about 800 fishing boats were also deployed to clean up the spill, and Xinhua said more than 9 miles (15 kilometers) of oil barriers had been set up to keep the slick from spreading.

The cause of the explosion that started the spill was still not clear. Friday's images of 100-foot-high (30-meter-high) flames at China's second largest port for crude oil imports drew the immediate attention of President Hu Jintao and other top leaders.


JMC Ministries Response

This is now oil spill number 3 that has happened this year so far around the world. The first and worst of all has been the BP oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico. But there was also a oil spill that was NOT talked very much that happened in the Red Sea near Cairo Egypt, and now the worst recorded oil spill in the history of China.

Plus, with a tropical storm looming in the Gulf Clean up efforts are going to be possibly halted this weekend. Why this year are there all of a sudden all these oil spill happening all over the world? It can't just be a coincident....can it?

Click to read Article About Egypt's Oil Spill

Ships Ready To Evacuate Gulf Oil Spill As Tropical Storm Looms

Crew members aboard dozens of ships in the Gulf of Mexico prepared Thursday to evacuate as a tropical rainstorm brewing in the Caribbean brought the deep-sea effort to plug BP's ruptured oil well to a near standstill.

Though the rough weather was hundreds of miles from the spill site and wouldn't enter the Gulf for at least a few more days, officials ordered technicians trying to plug BP's well to stand down because they needed several days to clear the area, where about 65 ships are tending to the spill.

"It's a controlled chaos out there," Lt. Patrick Montgomery told an Associated Press reporter aboard the Coast Guard cutter Decisive heading to the spill site from Pascagoula, Miss.

The cutter, with a 75-member crew, is the Coast Guard's primary search and rescue vessel and would be the last ship to leave in the event of an evacuation. It was within a few miles of the well site Thursday morning.

Just days before the expected completion of a relief well designed to permanently throttle the free-flowing crude, the government's spill chief said Wednesday that work was suspended.

Worse yet, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said foul weather could require reopening the cap that has contained the oil for nearly a week, allowing oil to gush into the sea again for days while engineers wait out the storm.

"This is necessarily going to be a judgment call," said Allen, who was waiting to see how the storm developed before deciding whether to order any of the ships and crews stationed some 50 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico to head for safety.

The cluster of thunderstorms passed over Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, and forecasters said the system would probably move into the Gulf over the weekend. They gave it a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm by Friday.