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Showing posts from August 9, 2012

US Army South, Colombian army along with 17 partner nations kick-off PANAMAX 2012 ...

Story by Lt. Col. Antwan Williams

Sgt. Tamika Exom

Colombian and U.S. soldiers set up communications in a warehouse, August 7 at Fort Sam Houston in preparation for Fuerzas Aliadas Panamax. Commonly known as PANAMAX, the U. S. Southern Command sponsored exercise brings U. S. Army South and 17 other partner nation military air and land sea forces together in a joint and combined operation focused on defending the Panama Canal from attacks by violent extremist organizations. (Photo by Sgt Tamika Exom)

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Today U.S. Army South along with armed and security forces from 17 nations officially kicked-off the annual U.S. Southern Command sponsored Fuerzas Aliadas PANAMAX exercise taking place simultaneously here in San Antonio, Miami, Suffolk, Va., and in Panama Aug. 6-17.

Commonly known as PANAMAX, the exercise brings together sea, air and land forces in a joint and combined operation focused on defending the Panama Canal from attacks by a violent extremist organization as…

Outside View: USA Risking a second economic depression ...

by Peter Morici

College Park, Md. (UPI) Aug 9, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

U.S. President Barack Obama and congressionalRepublicans are engaging in dangerous brinksmanship. Putting off addressing the fiscal cliff until after the election risks a second Great Depression.

Without a compromise by January, $400 billion in mandatory spending cuts and more than $100 billion in tax increases immediately go into effect. With gross domesticproduct only growing $300 billion annually, such a shock would thrust the economy into prolonged contraction.

With the federal deficit already exceeding $1 trillion, additional stimulus spending significant enough to rescue the economy is unlikely and interest rates are already at record lows. These leave policymakers with few tools once things start unraveling.

However, Obama has given Republicans few political choices but to roll the dice.

Facing re-election, Obama promises to veto any extension of Bush-era tax cuts for middle-income …


Current Top 5 countries on the Olympic Medal tracker. Team USA ahead in total medals AND gold medals.

Full medal count here:

OCEAN CARGO: India Proposes Easing of Cabotage Law ...

Peter T. Leach, Senior Editor | 

Aug 9, 2012 1:33PM GMT

The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story

Foreign shipping companies would be allowed to carry port-to-port shipments

India is planning to relax its cabotage law to allow foreign-owned and operated ships to carry cargo between the country’s ports.

The Indian shipping ministry has proposed to change a law to allow foreign shipping companies to carry container cargo to and from the Vallarpadam international container transshipment terminal in the Port of Cochin, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal, which quoted two government officials close to the development.

India’s cabotage law is similar to those in many countries, including the U.S., where the Jones Act requires that port-to-port shipments be carried in U.S.-flag vessels built in U.S. shipyards, owned by U.S. companies and manned by U.S. crews.

The Vallarpadam terminal, which is operated by DP World, is designed to compete for transshipment cargo with neighboring hu…

Ernesto moves across Mexico, Gilma now a hurricane ...

by Staff Writers

Cancun, Mexico (AFP) Aug 9, 2012

Tropical storm Ernesto pummeled the Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday, downing trees and power lines as forecasters predicted it could pick up strength across Mexico's oil-rich Bay of Campeche.

The storm, which made landfall as a category one hurricane before being downgraded to a tropical storm, dumped heavy rain on the region, prompting fears of flash floods and mudslides.

The airport of Chetumal, a city of 151,000, reported minor damage. In Majahual, a small town with a growing tourism industry in Mexico's Quintana Roo state where Ernesto made landfall Tuesday, businesses suffered some damage.

Power outages were reported in the walled city of Campeche, a world heritage site on the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula facing the Gulf of Mexico, and authorities warned its 300,000 residents to be prepared to batten down.

The Bay of Campeche is the center of Mexico's vital offshore oil fields.

"Pemex said that it was canceling some t…

OCEAN CARGO: Dole To Sign New Lease With Port Of San Diego ...

Company Expected To Sign 25-Year Lease Next Week

POSTED: 3:56 pm PDT August 8, 2012
UPDATED: 3:58 pm PDT August 8, 2012

SAN DIEGO -- Dole Food Co. is expected next week to sign a new lease with the Port of San Diego that could keep the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal's biggest tenant in town for the next 25 years, according to documents posted online Wednesday.

Dole, the largest of the port's roughly 600 tenants, imports bananas, pineapples and mangoes in refrigerated shipping containers and gives the port about $2 million per year in lease payments.

A new contract -- for 15 and a half years, but with options for nine more -- for nearly 1 million square feet at the terminal would bring in about $1.8 million initially, according to a staff report, but port officials said there was a potential to increase revenue.

The port has been promoting the economic importance of the 10th Avenue terminal since civic activists proposed building a new bayside football stadium at the site. The Chargers …

AUSTRALIA: Northern Territory set for a big year of mangoes ...

By Matt Brann

Friday, 10/08/2012

Plenty of mangoes are expected from the Territory this year.(Steven Schubert)

The mango season in the Northern Territory is shaping up to be a bumper and on par with last year's record crop of over 4.5 million trays.

Early season mangoes are starting to be picked, although peak production isn't expected until October.

Chair of the NT Mango Industry Association, Ian Baker, says having back-to-back record seasons will cement the Territory's position as Australia's biggest producer of mangoes.

"To have two big seasons in a row is unusual, but it reconfirms how big the Northern Territory mango industry is," he said.

"We're actually a fair bit bigger than the Queensland industry and even though everyone thinks about mangoes coming from Queensland, in reality they come from Darwin and Katherine."

The NT Mango Industry Association released its 2012 crop forecast yesterday, predicting the Darwin area will produce 2.35 million tr…

DAMAGED VESSEL: Owner Wants MSC Flaminia Towed to Port ...

Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor 

| Aug 9, 2012 1:42PM GMT

The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story

Reederei CEO says it’s ‘shocking’ that fire-damaged ship can’t enter port

The owner of the fire-damaged container ship MSC Flaminia has complained about European nations’ refusal to allow the fire-damaged ship to be towed to a port.

“I consider it shocking that in this situation a ship under German flag does not receive a permission from the European countries to call at a port,” said Helmut Ponath, CEO of Reederei NSB.

The ship remains about 360 nautical miles off the British coast while firefighters battle hot spots from the fire that broke out July 14 and forced the crew to abandon ship while en route from Charleston to Antwerp. Two crewmembers died, and three were injured in the fire.

The fire, which badly damaged three cargo holds and their containers, remains under control, but the ship is listing at about 10 degrees, Reederei NSB said. Weather conditions have been favorable after delayin…

THE PACKER: Logistics limit Pakistani mango shipments ...

08/09/2012 4:18:23 PM

Andy Nelson

Logistical problems are making it difficult for Pakistani mango exporters to ship to the U.S., but U.S. officials are optimistic about the future of the deal.

According to recent news stories, Pakistani officials say it’s not cost-effective for Pakistani companies to export mangoes to the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the importation of Pakistani mangoes beginning in 2011. About 3.3 metric tons were imported last year.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested $30 million in opening up the Pakistani mango industry for exports.

Exporters face challenges in Pakistan and once fruit arrives in the U.S., said Will Cavan, executive director of Vista, Calif.-based International Mango Organization.

“They’ve got a ways to go,” Cavan said. “Logistics seems to be the biggest barrier.”

Transportation by air and sea out of Pakistan is very limited, Cavan said. Efforts are now underway to route shipments through India, which has …

Mmm, Mangoes! Antigua’s Christian Valley Mango Festival Coming Up ...

8 August 2012

As I write this blog post, trees across the Caribbean are laden with blushing orbs, heavy with nectar and oh so sweet. I’m talking about mangoes of course, and Antigua is set to celebrate this luscious fruit with the Christian Valley Mango Festival on Saturday, August 18.

Held at the Christian Valley Agricultural Station, the festival welcomes Antiguans and visitors alike to sample the delectable mango in various forms, from smoothies to chutneys to ice creams. Or simply dig in to one of the finer mango varieties, like the Julie, the Caribbean way: hold with one hand, peel with the other, and slurp, lick and bite your way through the tender flesh, oozing with sweet nectar.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate suitable to growing mangoes, take advantage of the festival’s budding and grafting workshops and learn how to produce your own enticing mango crop.

You can also tour the Agricultural Station’s nature trails and enjoy storytelling and live entertainment, and ther…

USA: Chiquita to change CEO as new strategy unveiled ...


By: Michelle Russell

8 August 2012

Fernando Aguirre has been at the helm of Chiquita for the past nine years

The CEO of Chiquita Brands International is to step down from his position as the US produce group revamps its business to boost profits.

Fernando Aguirre, who has been at the helm for the past nine years, will make way for a new leader after the company yesterday (7 August) announced plans to pursue a "new strategic direction with a focus in driving profits in its core businesses".

Aguirre will remain as CEO until a new chief executive is appointed, Chiquita said.

"Chiquita's board of directors and its chief executive officer believe that this is the right time to announce its plans to transition leadership," the company said.

Chiquita's lead independent director Kerrii B. Anderson added: "He has led us through thick and thin, expanding distributional channels, transforming the North American Banana business, unlocking…


Aug 9, 4:18 PM EDT





AP Photo/David J. Phillip

LONDON (AP) -- When the stakes are the biggest, the

spotlight most bright, Usain Bolt is as good as gold.

Good as there's ever been.

Putting the field far enough behind that he could slow up over his last few strides and put

his left index finger to his mouth to tell any critics to shush, Bolt won the 200 meters in

19.32 seconds Thursday night, making him the only man with two Olympic titles in that


He added it to the 100 gold he won Saturday, duplicating the 100-200 double he produced

at the Beijing Games four years ago. The only difference? In 2008, Bolt broke world

records in both.

This time, Bolt led a Jamaican sweep, with his training partner and pal Yohan Blake

getting the silver in 19.44, and Warren Weir taking the bronze in 19.84 - nearly a half-

second behind the champion.

Afterward, Bolt had plenty of energy left, dropping to the track to do five p…

Roger Noriega: Hugo Chávez, un enemigo con el que no se cuenta ...

agosto 9, 2012 12:37 pm

El General Douglas M. Fraser, Comándate del Comando Sur de las Fuerzas Armadas de Estado Unidos (EU), apoyó el martes 31 de Julio la declaración del Presidente Obama “Venezuela no representa una amenaza para la seguridad de Estado Unidos”. Lo que esto prueba es que los dos se rehúsan a reconocer lo peligroso que Chávez se ha convertido bajo sus administraciones.

El General Fraser es el último en la larga línea de mando de comandantes del Comando Sur que han rehuido a la pelea sucia con Hugo Chávez. 

Tengo un profundo respeto por los hombres y mujeres que exponen sus vidas luchando contra nuestros enemigos o dan las ordenes para su acción; y entiendo a cabalidad por qué quieren reducir los conflictos a un mínimo. 

Sin embargo, la mejor manera de prevenir tal confrontación es destapar todo para encontrar las amenazas implícitas, así como ser muy cuidadosos con nuestro enemigo.

Bajo la mirada del General Fraser, el Sr. Chávez ha consolidado un narco-estado en Venez…

Growers: Pakistan-USA “Mango Diplomacy” Stalls ...

Posted Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

So-called “mango diplomacy” between the United States and Pakistan has hit a snag as Pakistani producers say it has become too expensive to ship the fruit overseas.

Amid great fanfare, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a plan in 2010 to help Pakistan export mangoes to the U.S., a measure aimed at boosting ties between the two countries and countering growing anti-American sentiment in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan exported its first mango consignment in 2011, but now growers say the increased costs associated with production and shipment have made exports to the United States unprofitable.

Pakistani Mango Growers Association President Zahid Hussain Gardezi told VOA's Urdu Service Thursday that the mandatory processing of the fruit prior to its export, as well as high freight charges, have increased the cost to growers — discouraging export to American buyers.

Gardezi said, “this year the growers didn't even try exporti…

Can Facebook Show How to Reduce the Growing Energy Use of the Internet? ...

Computer design and server farm location could dramatically reduce the energy required to run Facebook and the rest of the Internet, reducing greenhouse gases, too

By David Biello | August 3, 2012 

SERVER FARM: Facebook engineer Joshua Crass holds up a server board installed at the new data center in Prineville, Ore. The exact number of dual-socket boards is proprietary, but it's "many tens of thousands,"--and an example of the growing energy demands of the Internet.Image: Intel /

More than 750 million users, 532 million kilowatt-hours of energy consumption and the attendant 285,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide: those are Facebook's numbers for 2011.

That means, as the social networking company wrote in an August 1 Facebook post (naturally) releasing the data on energy use, that "one person's Facebook use for all of 2011 had roughly the same carbon footprint as one medium latte. Or three large bananas. Or a couple of glasses of wine." That'…


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STRATFOR ANALYSIS: Militancy in Central Asia: More Than Religious Extremism ...

August 9, 2012 | 0900 GMT


By Eugene Chausovsky

Since 2010, Central Asia has become increasingly volatile, a trend many have attributed to a rise in militant Islamism. Militancy has indeed risen since 2010, but the notion that militant Islamists primarily are responsible for Central Asia's volatility is shortsighted because it ignores other political and economic dynamics at play in the region.

But if these dynamics, not jihadist designs, inspired much of the region's recent militant activity, the impending U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 could put Central Asia at greater risk for militant Islamism in the future. Combined with upcoming leadership changes in several Central Asian states, the withdrawal could complicate an already complex militant landscape in the region.

Regional Militancy: Late 1990s and Early 2000s

Central Asia was an important region for Islamist militancy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The region is predominantly Muslim, though like all relig…