Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

(TASS, 9 Dec 2019)

Northern Fleet to create air defense ‘dome’ over Russian Arctic with S-400 missile systems.

Russia continues building ramified military infrastructure in the Arctic, including hi-tech lighting systems to monitor the situation in the air, on the ground and under the water, according to the Fleet top brass.

MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. The Northern Fleet will arm all its Arctic battalions with S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in coming years to create an air defense dome over the Russian Arctic, Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev said in an interview with the Defense Ministry’s Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Monday.

“This year, S-400 systems will enter service with the air defense missile regiment stationed on Novaya Zemlya. There are plans to arm all our Arctic battalions with these systems in coming years and thus create an air defense dome over the Russian Arctic,” the Fleet commander said.

Also, units of a new air defense formation have gone on experimental combat duty in Tiksi to provide security of the airspace over the Northern Sea Route, he added. (emphasis added)

“In the future, we are planning to build up the air defense capabilities of Russia’s northern frontiers,” the vice-admiral stressed.

To read entire article: https://tass.com/defense/1097107

Rosatom to enter market of commercial transshipment via Northern Sea Route in 2027

It will provide a transit corridor between Northern Europe and East Asia

MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. Russia’s state corporation Rosatom plans to start large-scale transshipments between Northern Europe and East Asia via the Northern Sea Route in 2027, according to the website dedicated to the company’s procurements.

Rosatom has initiated the Northern Sea Transit Corridor project, the documents said. The aim is to expand the transit potential of the Northern Sea Route. Its development is planned through providing transshipment services along the Northern Sea Route via transit ports — the hubs on Russia’s western and eastern borders. “The start of commercial operation of the Northern Sea Transit Corridor (start of shipments) is planned for 2027,” the documents read.

There are plans to estimate the prospects of the Northern Sea Transit Corridor’s development in the period between 2027 and 2050 through a marketing research, with a respective tendering procedure having already been launched….

According to the documents, regular marine traffic along the Northern Sea Route is already underway. However, it has to do mainly with the transportation of construction cargoes and exports from Arctic mining projects (Novatek, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil), whereas the transit potential of the Northern Sea Route remains untapped. The development plan for the Northern Sea Route has already been submitted to the Russian government, Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Krutikov said earlier.

For more, read entire article here: https://tass.com/economy/1093735

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However… according to Polygraph.info in a March 12, 2019 article,

Russia’s New Rules for Northern Sea Route Violate International Law

New Russian rules fully regulating the Northern Sea Route violate the Law of the Sea

The Russian government has developed new rules to control the Northern Sea Route, which passes along the country’s northern coast in the Arctic, the newspaper Izvestia reported on March 6. “Russia is taking the Northern Sea Route under protection,” wrote Izvestia, in a piece headlined “A Cold Wave” – an apparent reference to the Cold War.

Russian officials claim the new regulations are designed to protect the environment and commercial shipping, in lieu (in place of) Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In reality, Russia’s new rules concern foreign military ships and military vessels, which are sovereign immune vessels and exempt from Article 234 of the Law of the Sea. Nevertheless, Russia requires foreign military ships and naval auxiliaries to give 45 days’ advance notice and obtain “permission” to use the passage. The document must include the vessel’s name, purpose, route, timetable, and technical specifications, as well as the military rank and identity of its captain. The new Russian rules require that foreign military ships take on board Russian pilots while sailing through the Arctic. Even if the foreign vessels meet all Russia’s requirements, the Russian authorities still can reject their request for passage without explanation. In the event of an unsanctioned passage, the foreign naval vessels could be arrested and even destroyed.

Russia uses the term “Northern Sea Route” (NSR) to describe the area from the Barents Sea in the west to the Bering Strait in the east. It is part of a larger transoceanic route – the Northeast Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Like the other Arctic nations, Russia is granted an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles adjacent to its shores. But the scope of the NSR as described by Moscow has been disputed by other Arctic states, which say that Russia considers the route to extend beyond its exclusive economic zone and to include the Bering Strait. Provisions of the Law of the Sea regard international straits as passages that are too narrow for the high sea or exclusive economic zone regimes to apply. Transit passages and innocent passages are fully guaranteed for vessels of other states.

“Indeed, the NSR passes not only within Russia’s territorial waters, nevertheless, our country has the legal right to regulate navigation along the entire route,” said Kamil Bekyashev, vice president of the Russian Maritime Law Association.

Does Russia indeed have the right to impose a permission regime on commercial ships and sovereign immune vessels passing through the Northern Sea Route?

“This statement appears to be out of sync with the Law of the Sea treaty,” Heather Conley, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, told Polygraph.info. “The Northern Sea Route is an international passage and this suggested wider interpretation may even call into question international use of a portion of the high seas of the Central Arctic Ocean.”

Russia has already heavily regulated commercial traffic through the Northern Sea Route, and in May 2015, the U.S. State Department sent a strongly-worded diplomatic note to Moscow warning that some aspects of Russia’s regulatory scheme were “inconsistent with international law.”

The State Department cited requirements to obtain Russia’s permission to enter and transit the exclusive economic zone and territorial sea; persistent characterization of international straits that form part of the Northern Sea Route as internal waters; and the lack of any express exemption for sovereign immune vessels.

Moscow justifies its regulation of commercial traffic by pointing to Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which allows coastal states “to adopt and enforce non-discriminatory laws and regulations for the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution from vessels in ice-covered areas within the limits of the exclusive economic zone.”

(Washington disagrees. Read entire article for rest of this story: https://www.polygraph.info/a/fact-check-russia-claim-arctic/29817535.html)


Also please see:

https://tapister.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/northwest-passage/

Shades of Russia and Vladimir Putin

Turkey-and-Surrounding-CountriesEver since August 10, 2014 when the former Prime Minister was elected President of Turkey I have been more interested in the history and politics of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (pronounced ray’-chep tay’-ipp err’-do-wan).

He has a long history to study, actually. While he and his political party claim to be “secular” in their thinking about Turkey’s government and its future, his past actions and relationships declare a decided Islamic viewpoint. (His religion is Sunni Muslim.)

Take a look at this informative article from BBC news:

ErdoganObamaAndWivesProfile: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The Turkish leader intends to enhance the powers of the presidency, which he could hold until 2023.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is arguably the most successful leader in Turkey’s democratic history. After 11 years as prime minister, he will now become his country’s first directly-elected president, in what has been until now a largely ceremonial role.

But critics have increasingly accused the 60-year-old leader of polarising the country – by brooking no dissent and harboring a secret agenda to turn Turkey into a religious society.

He has dominated the political landscape since 2002, steering his Islamist-leaning Justice and Development (AK) Party party to three general election victories.

For the complete article, see http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-13746679

For much, much more on his personal and political life, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recep_Tayyip_Erdo%C4%9Fan

Then just today, this somewhat troubling article appeared in my inbox:

Have Plans For The Antichrist Confederacy Just Been Announced In Turkey?
Prophecy News Watch online
September 04, 2014

QaradawiIn an amazing announcement that just came out today and was published throughout the Muslim world, including even CNN Arabic Version, The Chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi whose union represents the largest body of Muslim scholars worldwide and on their behalf just announced in Turkey that:

“The Caliphate in today’s age must be established through a number of several states that are governed by Shariah and supported by both, the rulers and the people in the form of a federation or confederation and not as it was in the past.” (emphasis mine)

By this, the Muslim union of scholars lead by Qaradawi is setting up the theological precedence by announcing that a future confederacy of Muslim nations must and will be established and centered in the land of the Muslim Caliphate in Turkey.

What Qaradawi is speaking of should be seriously noted since the interpretation of the prophecy of a future confederacy of ten-nations is found in four major passages of Scripture and is a determinative issue in any system of prophetic interpretation and are the key to the total prophetic outlook regarding this emerging Antichrist confederacy of different states mentioned in at least four major Scripture passages (Dan 2:31-35, 40-45; 7:7-8, 19-24; Rev 13:1-2; 17:3, 7, 12-16).

These passages either directly or by implication prophesy a ten-kingdom confederation, which will be an important aspect of the end-time political situation.

What we see here is the beginning embryo and birth of a grand idea set by between Erdogan and the spiritual head of the Sunni Muslim world in which its declared that such confederacy for the Caliphate will be established in Istanbul, Turkey as the center for all these different states…..

Qaradawi is currently paving the way for Turkey to ultimately invade Egypt… “He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushitese in submission.” (Daniel 11:42)

Read the entire article at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/September04/043.html

After reading all that, I searched for more information about Qaradawi and found this recent article (video) online:

Al-Qaradawi supports, praises Erdogan

Social media activists circulated a video of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, calling for supporting Recep Tayyib Erdogan in the last presidential elections which Erdogan recently won.

Al-Qaradawi said Erdogan is supported by Allah, Jibreel (Angel Gabriel) and the righteous believers; while the all angels are his backers. He also described Istanbul as the capital of the Islamic Caliphate. (emphasis mine)

See more at:  http://www.el-balad.com/1106255#sthash.iQgR6yBe.dpuf

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on activities and developments coming out of Turkey in the days ahead.

Microbes on floating ocean plastics: Uncovering the secret world of the ‘Plastisphere’
24 Feb 2014
ScienceDaily.com

MicrobesOnPlastiphereSEA Education Association scientist Greg Boyd holds recovered foam floats containing invertebrates and microbial biofilm. New research being presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting delves deeper into the role microbial communities living on plastic marine debris play in the ocean ecosystem. Credit: Erik Zettler, SEA

Scientists are revealing how microbes living on floating pieces of plastic marine debris affect the ocean ecosystem, and the potential harm they pose to invertebrates, humans and other animals. New research being presented here today delves deeper into the largely unexplored world of the “Plastisphere” — an ecological community of microbial organisms living on ocean plastic that was first discovered last year.

When scientists initially studied the Plastisphere, they found that at least 1,000 different types of microbes thrive on these tiny plastic islands, and that they might pose a risk to larger animals, including invertebrates and humans. The original studies also showed that the Plastisphere’s inhabitants included bacteria known to cause diseases in animals and humans.

Since then, researchers have been trying to figure out why these potentially dangerous bacteria live on the Plastisphere, how they got there and how they are affecting the surrounding ocean.

New evidence suggests that “super-colonizers” form detectable clusters on the plastic in minutes. Other findings indicate that some types of harmful bacteria favor plastics more than others. And, scientists are exploring if fish or other ocean animals may be helping these pathogens thrive by ingesting the plastic. That could allow bacteria to acquire additional nutrients as they pass through the guts of the fish, said Tracy Mincer, an associate scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass.

Revealing this information could help scientists better understand how much of a potential threat these harmful bacteria pose and the role the Plastisphere plays in the larger ocean ecosystem, including its potential to alter nutrients in the water. That information could also help reduce the impact of plastic pollution in the ocean — for instance, if plastics manufacturers learned how to make their products so they degrade at an optimal rate, Mincer said.

“One of the benefits of understanding the Plastisphere right now and how it interacts with biota in general, is that we are better able to inform materials scientists on how to make better materials and, if they do get out to sea, have the lowest impact possible,” said Mincer, who discovered the Plastisphere last year along with Linda Amaral-Zettler at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and Erik Zettler at the SEA Education Association, both also in Woods Hole.

The Plastisphere team is presenting their latest research on these communities today at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, which is co-sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society and the American Geophysical Union.

Other new results include discoveries about how the plastic is colonized and how it interacts with other marine organisms. Yet additional findings shed light on the similarities and differences between Plastisphere communities in different locations and on different types of plastic. This research could help scientists determine the age of plastic floating in the ocean, which could help them figure out how it breaks down in the water. It could also potentially aid in determining where the plastic debris came from, and how the plastic and the microbes that live on board could impact organisms that come into contact with them, the scientists said.

“It is clear,” said Amaral-Zettler, “that the Plastisphere definitely has a function out there in the ocean” and these experiments seek to quantify what it is.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224171658.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28Latest+Science+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

Related information on the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, aka Trash Vortex:
Great Pacific Garbage Patch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch
The Trash Votex: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/pollution/trash-vortex/

Through the Gyre Infographic: http://freshkillspark.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/the-great-pacific-garbage-patch/
(Click on infographic image to enlarge.)

PacificGarbagetrans0509throughthegyre

I’m still interested in the Caspian Sea. (See https://tapister.wordpress.com/category/caspian-sea-oil/) While oil and gas are still my primary interests, today I’m also curious about water. Who owns the water in the Caspian Sea? Can Iran just siphon it off, without getting permission from the other littoral states? Or the major gas/oil conglomerates operating there? I’ve done an internet search about it and really didn’t find anything that addresses that question. Here’s some of what I did find today.

Its Great Lake Shriveled, Iran Confronts Crisis of Water Supply
New York Times online
JAN. 30, 2014

LakeUrmiaIranLAKE URMIA, Iran — An abandoned ship rusts in the mud on the south shore of Lake Urmia, where only 5 percent of the water remains, Iranian environmental officials say. Morteza Nikoubazl for The New York Times.

After driving for 15 minutes over the bottom of what was once Iran’s largest lake, a local environmental official stepped out of his truck, pushed his hands deep into his pockets and silently wandered into the great dry plain, as if searching for water he knew he would never find.

Just an hour earlier, on a cold winter day here in western Iran, the official, Hamid Ranaghadr, had recalled how as recently as a decade ago, cruise ships filled with tourists plied the lake’s waters in search of flocks of migrating flamingos.

Now, the ships are rusting in the mud and the flamingos fly over the remains of the lake on their way to more hospitable locales. According to figures compiled by the local environmental office, only 5 percent of the water remains.

Iran is facing a water shortage potentially so serious that officials are making contingency plans for rationing in the greater Tehran area, home to 22 million, and other major cities around the country. President Hassan Rouhani has identified water as a national security issue, and in public speeches in areas struck hardest by the shortage he is promising to “bring the water back.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/world/middleeast/its-great-lake-shriveled-iran-confronts-crisis-of-water-supply.html?_r=0

Iran’s parliament approves project on transfer of water from Caspian Sea
Trend online magazine
Jan 23, 2014

Iranian parliament has approved the project on transfer of water from the Caspian Sea to the deserts in the country’s central parts, Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said, Mehr News Agency reported on Jan. 23. The minister noted that funds have been allocated from Iran’s state budget for this project.

Commenting on the Lake Urmia revival project the minister added that a committee was created for saving the lake. The committee will be chaired by Iranian First Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri.

In April 2012 the former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the foundation-laying of an irrigation system designed for transferring of water from the Caspian Sea. However Iranian MPs and some economic experts considered this project ineffective and demanded suspension of its implementation, after which construction was delayed.

The project for transfer of the Caspian Sea waters to the central regions of Iran includes: construction of hydroelectric power stations, a desalination plant, pumping stations, power lines, water pipes and tanks, according to the message.

The headquarters of Khatam-ol-Anbia, affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Guard Corps (IRGC) will control the project’s realization, according to the message.

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/2233429.html

Deputy FM in Astana to Participate in Caspian Sea Working Group
Tasnimnews.com
January 29, 2014

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour left Tehran for Kazakhstan capital city, Astana, Wednesday to participate in the 35th meeting of the special working group of the Caspian Sea.

The working group session on the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be held in Astana for two days with the special representatives and deputies minister of the five littoral countries of the Caspian Sea.

The deputy foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan will in the meeting discuss the latest developments regarding the legal regime of the Caspian Sea and prepare a report for the upcoming ministerial meeting due to be held in Russia this spring. Moscow will also host The Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit late in summer.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed water body on earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea.

The Caspian Sea Convention will determine the territorial rights of littoral states- Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan – as well as other matters related to the world’s largest landlocked body of water.

The Caspian Sea legal regime is based on two agreements signed between Iran and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1921 and 1940. The three new littoral states, established after the collapse of the Soviet Union, have not recognized the prior treaties, triggering a debate on the future status of the sea.

http://www.tasnimnews.com/English/Home/Single/263554

BP Starts Production at West Chirag in Caspian Sea
Wall Street Journal online
Jan. 29, 2014

CaspianOilFieldsLONDON—Oil major BP PLC said Wednesday that production has started at the West Chirag platform of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea, completing the Chirag oil project which was sanctioned in 2010.

West Chirag production began from a pre-drilled well called J05 on Jan. 28 and will increase throughout this year as other pre-drilled wells are brought on line, BP said without indicating volumes. However, BP said the new platform has a capacity for 183,000 barrels a day with a gas export capacity of 285 million standard cubic feet a day.

“The startup of Chirag oil project marks a major milestone in the development of the super-giant ACG [Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field],” Gordon Birrell, BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey said.

“To date the ACG field has produced over 2.3 billion barrels of oil and with future continual major investments in new technologies and facilities, like the one we have today started up, it will continue to produce as a world-class reservoir for many decades,”, Mr. Birrell added.

BP is operator of the field with a 35.8% interest. Partners in the field include SOCAR with 11.6%, Chevron CVX -4.14% Corp with 11.3%, Inpex Corp with 11%, Statoil AS STL.OS -1.46% A with 8.6%, Exxon Mobil Corp with 8%, TPAO with 6.8%, Itochu 8001.TO +0.56% Corp with 4.3% and ONGC Videsh Ltd. with 2.7%.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304428004579350491065104568

BP Seeks ACG Extension to Maintain Output at Largest Azeri Field
Bloomberg News
Jan 29, 2014

BP Plc (BP/) is seeking to extend its oil contract on the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field beyond 2024 to allow more investment and sustain output at the largest Azeri deposit after its local partner last year said there weren’t such plans.

The Caspian Sea field produced 32.5 million tons of oil in 2013, down from 32.9 million tons. While the new $6 billion West Chirag platform that started output yesterday will help offset natural decline, BP said at least one more is needed by 2021.

“We are talking to State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan about the next phase,” Gordon Birrel, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey manager, said in Baku, the Azeri capital. “But we have no fixed and agreed plans at this point. This field needs investment and at least one more platform to maintain production.”

West Chirag is estimated to produce about 60,000 barrels a day, or 3 million tons, this year, he said. The platform will have at least 14 wells, with six running this year, Birrel said. It’s the largest and most technologically advanced of the eight current platforms in Azerbaijan’s section of the Caspian Sea, he said. The site has a capacity of 183,000 barrels of oil a day.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-29/bp-seeks-acg-extension-to-maintain-output-at-largest-azeri-field.html

Status report 2013-2014

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

happy-new-year-2014-australia-wallpapers-pics-images-sms-Happy New Year! I haven’t added a new post in quite a while now. Not that there’s been a lack of interesting news from around the world, indeed quite the opposite. There’s been too much! So many articles to choose from, so many coming so often, that I have just been reading them, making mental notes, and saving a few links on my computer.

As I was praying about 2013 coming to a close and 2014 beginning, the Lord reminded me that time is a record-keeping construct for human purposes, and the calendar has been adjusted several times over the centuries. There’s not a hard and fast line separating the years.

Still, some things ran through my mind as I pictured the globe… wars and rumors of wars, old ones and new ones in the Middle East, Far East, Africa and Europe. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, Central African Republic. Civilian protests in the Ukraine. Conflict between Japan and China over certain Pacific islands with threats of military intervention. Bombings this week in Volgograd, Russia. Ongoing Iranian tension over nuclear materials.

Natural disasters on unprecedented scales, fires, floods, volcanoes and earthquakes. Hurricane-force snow and ice storms this week across the mid-western to northeastern United States. Similar destructive storms and flooding in Ireland and England. Many records are being broken with temperature extremes, rainfall totals, power outages.

Signs in the heavens with comets, meteors and asteroids. The solar poles have just finished reversing — a normal occurrence during the 11-12 year solar cycle — with negative consequences for earth-based technology, such as communication satellites. Then there’s the arctic ice melting while antarctic ice thickens. The massive underground lake just discovered in Greenland, a sign of global warming, some say.

Diseases. New strains of old ones (a virulent strain of flu), newly discovered ones (bird flu caught by humans). Drug-resistant ones. Not to mention economic turmoil worldwide. Foreign and domestic stock market fluctuations.

Overall moral decline in many nations, as laws are changed or enacted to legalize behaviors deemed illegal or immoral just a few years ago. (And good stuff still happens, too. New discoveries, new victories, new revivals! Thank God for those.)

Here are a few news links, a glimpse of what I’ve been reading and praying about over the past several months.

South Sudan http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/12/30/9-questions-about-south-sudan-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/

Syria http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Dec-31/242774-more-than-130000-dead-since-start-of-syria-conflict.ashx#axzz2p3y156Kl

Fresh Ukraine protests draw thousands onto Kiev streets http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25543067

China and Japan http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/the-old-hatreds-behind-the-china-japan-provocation-war-1.2452679

CAR http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/30/car-children-beheaded.html

Thailand http://www.voanews.com/content/Thai-pm-seeks-reconciliation-despite-threat-of-more-protests/1820651.html

Volgograd, Russia http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/30/second-deadly-blast-hits-russian-city-of-volgograd-ahead-of-2014-sochi-olympics/

Train collision and derailment in North Dakota http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/30/train-fireball-northdakota.html

Solar pole reversal SolarPoleFlipSun ‘flips upside down’ while reversing magnetic poles http://rt.com/news/sun-upside-down-flip-990/

Solar cycle information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle

Comet Lovejoy http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131202.html

How would you change the course of an Earth-threatening asteroid? Gravitational Tractor. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130221.html

El Salvador volcano http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/29/world/americas/el-salvador-chaparrastique-volcano-erupts/index.html?eref=edition

Mount Etna erupts again http://english.pravda.ru/photo/album/7522/

‘Big, crazy storm of contrasts’ rips South, Northeast http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/12/21/tornado-ark-weather-tenn/4161975/

Stranded antarctica ship http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/31/helicopter-rescue-beckons-stranded-antarctica-sea-/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS

Greenland underground lake http://www.statecolumn.com/2013/12/newly-discovered-greenland-underground-lake-could-solve-mysteries-of-global-warming/

New stomach virus, “superbug” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/01/26/doctors-warn-of-new-stomach-superbug-hitting-u-s/

Stock markets around the globe http://money.cnn.com/data/world_markets/americas/

Several news articles caught my eye today, especially in light of Russia’s recently re-opened military base in the far north — the Artic Circle north.

NorthEast Passage tumblr_mtxud0Ed0h1qgpcs1o1_500

Arctic Assembly meets to set rules for exploration, Mineral wealth, shipping lanes coveted as icecap melts
The Washington Times
October 10, 2013

“The Arctic is America’s backyard. It is one of the most resource-rich areas in the world. American companies and the [its] economy need to have a strong Arctic” plan, says Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, co-founder of the Arctic Circle Assembly.

Seeking to avoid a polar free-for-all in one of the planet’s last untapped economic frontiers, representatives from more than three dozen nations will gather in Reykjavik, Iceland, starting Saturday to try to set some rules for tapping the natural resources and navigating new shipping lanes opening in the Arctic.

Reflecting the intense interest in the frozen north’s economic potential, the inaugural gathering of the Arctic Council Assembly has attracted delegates not only from the United States, Canada, Russia and other border nations, but from countries as far as way as China, Brazil and Pakistan.

Alice Rogoff, publisher of the Alaska Dispatch and a member of the new assembly’s advisory panel, said she expects the Arctic to become an economic powerhouse in the coming years, comparing its potential to China’s economic growth since 1980.

The Arctic is “going from very little, virtually nothing in terms of the world’s large capital flows, to what will become the dominant region of the Earth within 50 years,” she said. “The U.S. could be more engaged and could be more involved,” Mr. Grimsson said. “The Arctic is America’s backyard. It is one of the most resource-rich areas in the world. If America wants to continue to be a big economy in the 21st century, American companies and the American economy need to have a strong Arctic” plan.

In 2012, the Arctic lost more sea ice than had ever been recorded. Since 1980, the Arctic has lost approximately 40 percent of its sea ice cover, according to NASA glaciologist Walt Meier. One upshot from the receding ice is the opening of the Northeast Passage, a shipping lane connecting South Korea to northwest Russia. With up to four ice-reduced months during summer, shipping companies hope more cargo that once had to navigate the Suez Canal can be shipped along this route.

Polar scientists believe 20 percent to 25 percent of the undiscovered oil and natural gas in the world is in the Arctic region. In addition to the oil, natural gas and rare minerals, the Arctic holds rich fishing regions and potential new clean-energy sources.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/10/arctic-assembly-meets-to-set-rules-for-exploration/?page=2#ixzz2hPdhbjqV

northwest-passage-mapNorthwest Passage crossed by first cargo ship, the Nordic Orion
Reuters 27/09/13

LONDON — An ice-strengthened sea freighter has become the first bulk carrier to traverse the Northwest Passage through Canada’s Arctic waters, heralding a new era of commercial activity in the Arctic. Traveling with a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the 75,000 deadweight-tonne Nordic Orion left Vancouver on Sept. 17 carrying 15,000 metric tons of coal.

Canada’s enthusiasm for developing a time-saving route in global trade through the Northwest Passage arises from a rivalry with Russia, which has developed at least 10 ports on the competing Northern Sea Route, or Northeast Passage.

“The Northwest Passage is more than 1,000 nautical miles shorter than the traditional shipping route through the Panama Canal and will save time, fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” said Nordic Bulk Carriers, the Danish owner of the ship. The Nordic Orion’s route will shave an estimated four days of travel time.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/09/27/northwest-passage-crossed-by-first-cargo-ship-the-nordic-orion-heralding-new-era-of-arctic-commercial-activity/

nordicorionCommercial Arctic shipping a long way off, Maersk boss says
NUNATSIAQ NEWS / News Around the Arctic
October 11, 2013

Head of global shipping firm not keen on Northern Sea Route, Northwest Passage. Despite all the hype that attended the recent voyage of the Nordic Orion through the Northwest Passage last month, the chief executive officer of Maersk, the world’s biggest container shipping line, says Arctic sea routes won’t carry large volumes of commercial shipping any time soon.

“We will see some single ships sailing through the Arctic… But the reality is, for commercial shipping such as container shipping, this is not something that will happen within the next 10 to 20 years,” Nils Andersen, the head of the huge Moller-Maersk shipping conglomerate, told the London-based Financial Times Oct. 6.

The Nordic Orion, a 225-metre vessel owned by Nordic Bulk Carriers of Denmark, generated many headlines across Canada recently when it carried 15,000 tonnes of coal from Vancouver through the Northwest Passage to a steel plant in Finland.

Because the Nordic Orion’s owners sought and received Canadian permission, the voyage did not affect Canada’s legal position that the Northwest Passage is an internal Canadian waterway.

But the head of Maersk, which carries about 15 per cent of the world’s marine cargo, said he doesn’t expect to see much commercial shipping through routes like or Northern Sea Route north of Russia or the Northwest Passage. “The way global warming is going, of course there is the opportunity in a very far, very distant future that the northern sea route will open up and it will be a major shipping route. But it will definitely not be within the next 15 to 20 years in our opinion so it’s far too early to start constructing vessels for it,” Andersen told the Financial Times.

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article_print/35582/