Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Email scam sprung by bad geography

The importance of knowing world geography....

From The Fraser Coasst Chronicle: Email scam sprung by bad geography
A TOOGOOM man has spotted an apparent email scam after trying to sell a car, when the perpetrator gave himself away with a series of bizarre geographical claims.

The man, who did not wish to be identified, contacted the Chronicle after he received a series of bizarre emails in response to an ad he placed for his car in the paper and online with

He said a man using the name “Kelvin” continued asking for details of the his online banking details.

Kelvin wanted his paypal account details, his email account and his home address, all while apparently “in the middle of the ocean in Tasmania” on an oceanography expedition.

Our Toogoom source grew suspicious when Kelvin said he wanted to buy the vehicle “as a surprise gift for my (Kelvin’s) dad in New Zealand.”

“Kelvin probably didn’t realise you couldn’t transport a car too easily from Toogoom to New Zealand, while he was braving the rough seas in the middle of forests of Tasmania.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Purpose of Recreational Geography

I see I've got several new subscribers today. School has just it a coincidence?

In any event, welcome aboard, hope you'll find this info useful.

I post several kinds of things here.

1. A news article about some important or at least notable event, taking place somewhere in the world. This will be prefaced by a bit of history about the location (usually from Wikipedia) and a map or photo of the area.)

2. Information about cities, states or countries. I'm running two series intermittently. One is the capitol cities of the US, the other is the countries in Africa.

3. Very rarely, info on physical geography, or the geographical sciences.

I post every day, so again, thanks for subscribing (and of corse thanks to all my old subscribers for sticking with me!).

Accidents of Geography: Evan Hughes’ Literary Brooklyn

Not sure if this really counts as a geography article, but it's interesting...

From The Accidents of Geography: Evan Hughes’ Literary Brooklyn
“I live in Brooklyn. By choice.”

The mid-sentence pause for effect in this opening line from Truman Capote’s 1959 essay “A House on the Heights” suggests just how unlikely that choice might sound to readers of the time. A little more than a half century later, so many writers have chosen to live in Brooklyn that it can be hard to get a cup of coffee in the borough without tripping over two or three would-be Colson Whiteheads or Jhumpa Lahiris, earbuds in, tapping away on their latest magnum opus.

coverWhy Brooklyn? This is the question at the heart of Evan Hughes’ new book, Literary Brooklyn, which traces the history of New York City’s most populous borough through its writers, from Walt Whitman to Park Slope’s own dynamic duo, the married literary wunderkinds, Nicole Krauss and Jonathan Safran Foer. In truth, Hughes doesn’t have a good answer to the question he has posed for himself. “We shouldn’t mistake a massive place for an aesthetic camp,” he writes.

One experience Brooklyn’s writers have shared, however, is living just outside the colossal, churning center of the metropolis – across the river from what is still often referred to as “the city.” Some have used all their might to make the escape from impoverished Brooklyn neighborhoods to the urbane quarters of Manhattan… but in their work they have often returned to the scene of their early Brooklyn struggles. Other writers have chosen Brooklyn as an escape from the commercial clamor of Manhattan, seeking a retreat where the rent is lower, the pulse runs slower, and the buildings don’t crowd out the sky.

Give Hughes points for honesty. This is as close as he comes to offering a unifying thesis or theme, and you don’t have to read that closely to see that he doesn’t really have one. A dozen or so of the writers in the book grew up in Brooklyn and wrote about it, directly or indirectly, the rest of their lives; others moved to Brooklyn at some point or else, in a number of cases, were simply passing through. In other words, what we have here is a grab bag of literary criticism and social analysis trying – albeit not very hard – to stand as a work of social history. Despite some deft writing and a G train full of literary gossip, the best that can be said for Hughes’ book is that it makes no grand promises that it can’t keep.

coverThis is unfortunate because anyone who lives and writes in Brooklyn today has to feel the winds of literary history at his or her back. On my one street in Brooklyn Heights, I live half a block from the 1829 row house where Arthur Miller was living when he met Marilyn Monroe and a block and a half from the Greek Revival mansion where Truman Capote read the New York Times squib describing the brutal murder of a Kansas farming family that got him started on In Cold Blood. Another block or so to the east is the corner of Cranberry and Fulton streets where, in 1855, Walt Whitman helped hand set into type the first edition of Leaves of Grass. There is something about Brooklyn and writers, but I’ll be damned if I know much more now about why that might be than I did before I read Literary Brooklyn.

Hughes is best when his subjects know Brooklyn well and work that knowledge into the fabric of their books. In a chapter on Brooklyn’s rough pre-gentrification years in the 1960s and ’70s, for instance, Hughes nicely contrasts how the middle-aged novelist Paula Fox responded to the racial and class tensions in the neighborhood of Boerum Hill with how the much younger Jonathan Lethem, who grew up down the street from Fox, reveled in the grittiness of the same atmosphere. The white married couple at the center of Fox’s best-known novel Desperate Characters view the streets around them, in Hughes’ words, as “a landscape where they feel unwelcome and embattled, where they grimly contend with garbage dumped out on the streets, dogs tormented nearby, rocks thrown through friends’ windows.” To Lethem, whose autobiographical novel The Fortress of Solitude and his earlier breakout novel Motherless Brooklyn are set largely in Boerum Hill, the neighborhood and its denizens are frightening, but also fascinating – less dangerous antagonists, Hughes suggests, than “neighbors and potential allies in a new social order.”

coverToo often, though, Hughes builds chapters around writers like Thomas Wolfe, W.H. Auden, and Richard Wright, who spent most of their lives elsewhere and stopped off in Brooklyn only briefly to write about those other places. Hughes also gets sidetracked by oft-told tales like that of February House, a shared house in Brooklyn Heights that, at different times, hosted Auden, Wright, Jane and Paul Bowles, Carson McCullers, and the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, who was writing a mystery called The G-String Murders. This menagerie is so odd it all but demands a book of its own – and of course, one has already been written by Sherill Tippins, whose February House Hughes admits plundering for his own version of the tale.

In the case of February House, Hughes is open about his debt to an earlier author, but in several instances when I knew something about the topic, such as Walt Whitman or the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, I found myself troubled by the thinness of Hughes’ scholarship. As I wrote in an essay in July for The Millions, I go way back with Whitman, so I was disappointed to find that in his chapter devoted to the poet, Hughes has essentially stitched together, sophomore-term-paper style, two of the better-known recent biographies of Whitman, David Reynolds’ Walt Whitman’s America and Jerome Loving’s Walt Whitman: Song of Himself.

The stitching isn’t inartful, but it doesn’t add much to the conversation. Hughes gets off a good line about Whitman’s personally setting much of the type for the first edition of his poems – “the nineteenth century equivalent of self-publishing out of a Kinko’s” – but he has little new to say about Whitman or to add to the voluminous commentary on the poems. One senses that Whitman isn’t in the book because Hughes feels a deep connection to him as a poet, or because Hughes has something burning to say about him, but simply because Whitman happened to live in Brooklyn. Too much of this book is built around such accidents of geography.

So, then, what is it with writers and Brooklyn? Like Hughes, I’m not sure I know. Lower rent does have a lot to do with it, though as Hughes points out, New Yorkers looking for cheaper apartments in the five boroughs could just as well live in Queens or the Bronx. After reading Literary Brooklyn and living in the real literary Brooklyn for nearly eight years, my own sense is that the attraction of writers to Brooklyn is an accident of history that, over time, has become a full-blown phenomenon. From Whitman’s time onward, writers have flocked to Brooklyn because it was close to but cheaper than Manhattan, but now that gentrification has opened up whole neighborhoods to the creative classes, Brooklyn has blossomed into a genuine literary scene replete with its own literary gatherings (the Brooklyn Book Festival), top-quality literary magazines (One Story, Slice), indie publishing houses (Akashic, Melville House), and scads of literary stars (Lahiri, Whitehead, Jennifer Egan, etc.). Someday, some smart someone will write about how that happened, but as yet that book remains unwritten.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Turning deserts into desserts: Pupils take bite out of geography

From The Town Talk: Turning deserts into desserts: Pupils take bite out of geography
A project in teacher Sandra Goldich's class offered a lot more than food for thought.

It offered plenty of food for the students who got to take a bite out of geography.

Sixth-graders in Goldich's class at Phoenix Magnet Elementary School in Alexandria turned deserts into desserts and made other edible creations in the "Eating & Making Their Worlds" project.

The students made continents, water, rivers, mountains and other formations out of

edible materials, which somehow found their way into students' mouths along the way.

The tasteful project was intended to be fun as well as a learning experience.

"Instead of erasing their mistakes on paper, we will simply eat our mistakes and continue with work," Goldich said of the project.

The pupils used their creativity to make topographical works of art that were both pleasing to the eye and the palate.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meteorite blasts across skies of Peru leaving forest fires in its wake

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.

Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty, which included most of its South American colonies. After achieving independence in 1821, Peru has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.

Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. Its geography varies from the arid plains of the Pacific coast to the peaks of the Andes mountains and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 31%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing of products such as textiles.

The Peruvian population, estimated at 29.5 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music

Daily Mail Online: Meteorite blasts across skies of Peru leaving forest fires in its wake
Blazing with the fury of a mini-sun this amazing video shows the moment a suspected meteor streaked across the sky over the city of Cusco in Peru.

It was captured blasting through the upper levels of the atmosphere at 2pm yesterday afternoon, leaving an irredescent trail in its wake.

Astonished residents watched as the impressive natural phenomena eventually disappeared over the horizon.

Experts believe it may have caused forest fires to the south of the city, which have been ravaged by drought.

Local officials and the National Police are currently trying to determine where the meteorite may have landed and are speaking to farmers south of the city.
The meteorite fell in the south of the Imperial City, between the districts of San Sebastian and San Geronimo.

Cusco is the gateway to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The Inca trail attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year, with entry restricted to 200 new travelers each day.

Peru last saw a meteorite fall in September 2007 near the border with Bolivia.
The basketball-sized meteorite left an impressive crater that was 44ft in diameter. Fragments of rock tested positive for iron, nickel and cobalt with traces of iridium.
It was dated as about 4.5billion years old and formed around the same time as our Solar System.

Meteorites are fragments of rock and sometimes metal that survive the fall to Earth from space. Most are fragments left over from the collision of two asteroids.
Captured by Earth's gravitational force, they are accelerated to speeds of over 11.2 kilometres per second.

They can vary in size from a fraction of a millimetre to larger than a football pitch. It is believed a meteorite six miles across wiped out the dinosaurs 65million years ago.

Hundreds of meteorites fall to Earth each year but only a handful are recovered.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Threat of Irene exposes New York's vulnerability

Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City (Queens and Brooklyn), and two of which are mainly suburban (Nassau and Suffolk). The term "Long Island" usually refers only to Nassau and Suffolk counties in order to differentiate them from New York City, though all four counties on the island are part of the New York metropolitan area.

As of the 2010 census, Long Island had a population of 7,568,304, making it the most populated island in any U.S. state or territory. It is also the 17th most populous island in the world, ahead of Ireland, Jamaica and the Japanese island of Hokkaidō. Its population density is 5,402 inhabitants per square mile (2,086 /km2). If it were a state, Long Island would rank 13th in population (after Virginia) and first in population density.

Both the longest and the largest island in the contiguous United States, Long Island extends 118 miles (190 km) eastward from New York Harbor to Montauk Point, and has a maximum north-to-south expanse of 23 miles (37 km) between the northern Long Island Sound coast and the southern Atlantic coast. With a land area of 1,401 square miles (3,629 km2), Long Island is the 11th largest island in the United States, the 148th largest island in the world. It has a larger area than the state of Rhode Island (1,214 sq mi).

Two of New York City's major airports, LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport, are located on Long Island, in Queens. Nine bridges and 13 tunnels (including railway tunnels) connect Brooklyn and Queens (and thus Long Island) to the three other boroughs of New York City. Ferries connect Suffolk County northward across Long Island Sound to the state of Connecticut.
From Reuters: Threat of Irene exposes New York's vulnerability

NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - In the annals of natural disasters, it doesn't get much worse than a major hurricane directly striking New York City and Long Island.

Hurricane Irene is on a course that will take it up the East Coast from the weekend. While there is still uncertainty about where it will hit and when, the forecast models increasingly suggest some parts of the greater New York area will face some type of storm or hurricane impact. [ID:nN1E77N00M]

According to New York City's Office of Emergency Management, the last hurricane to pass directly over the city was in 1821 -- and it caused tides to rise 13 feet in one hour, flooding all of lower Manhattan to Canal St.

But for Long Island, the threat is much worse. People still talk about the Long Island Express of 1938, a Category 3 storm that the U.S. government has said would cause $40 billion in damage if it hit today.

Meteorologists say the risk appears most acute for areas like the Hamptons, an eastern Long Island playground for New York's rich.

"If the storm followed the exact track of it, there could be considerable wind damage and tidal flooding out in those areas," said James Aman, senior meteorologist with WeatherBug. "There potentially could be some storm surge problems out around the eastern tip of Long Island, Rhode Island, Cape Cod, some of the areas around Boston that face Massachusetts Bay."

Estimating the damage such an impact would cause is difficult without knowing the storm's parameters, like wind speed, rainfall totals, direction and the like. Some are already taking a ballpark guess, though.

"If Irene hits Long Island or southeast Massachusetts, the storm has the potential to be a $10 billion disaster," Weather Underground's Jeff Masters said in a blog post Wednesday.

If Masters is right, that would make the insured losses from Irene some of the worst in history, at a time that insurers are already stretched by record-breaking natural disasters around the world.


High net worth insurers like AIG (AIG.N) and Chubb (CB.N) are big players in those kinds of upper-class regions, where insured losses can total up quickly due to high property values as well as extensive collections of art and jewelry.

They are scrambling now to warn their customers to be prepared, to take the kinds of precautions that people in places like Florida take for granted.

"Without the repetition of events like the folks in Florida benefit from, that preparedness is not front and center," said Michael Taylor, executive vice president for claims in the consumer unit at Chartis, the property insurance arm of AIG.

Taylor said Chartis has been in touch with its brokers, asking them to contact customers and remind them of hurricane preparedness tips that they already receive yearly but might otherwise disregard.

There is only so much preparedness can do, though. Taylor said even the homes of the wealthy sometimes don't feature things like hurricane-strength glass and wind shutters, which are standard in parts of Florida but less common in the northeast.

"These are things that will make homes a little more susceptible here, if we do have high winds," he added.

Those winds could be a problem for New York City in particular, a number of experts say.

Florida State University has created an online map that shows the track of 14 different models, two of which show the Irene plowing straight through New Jersey and putting New York City, Newark and other areas on the wrong side of the storm.

Given how compact Manhattan is, even tropical storm-force conditions could do serious damage.

"The water's got to go somewhere and the wind is going to hit something," said Lou Gritzo, research manager at insurer FM Global. "New York City becomes a wind tunnel when the wind whips between the buildings, so that's going to be a force that intensifies how projectiles are moving."


In fact, ask any scientist who models catastrophes for a living what it would take to create a $100 billion natural disaster, and their list will almost always include a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) hitting New York City.

"We haven't had a storm in this area for quite some time and it's difficult to say how tested some of these buildings are against hurricane force winds," said Matt Nielsen, product manager for the U.S. hurricane model at catastrophe modeling company RMS.

The city's emergency management office featured Irene front and center on its website Wednesday, urging people to know whether they were in a designated hurricane risk zone and to know the proper evacuation routes out of the city.

Even if Irene passes far enough away from the city and the New York region to spare a full-force impact, flooding can still be a significant problem, especially with tides expected to be high anyway over the weekend due to a new moon.

Four of the six most significant flood events of the last 30 years, based on the amount paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program in claims, included the New York region -- Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Hurricane Isabel in 2003, Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Paid claims from those four storms, just for flooding, topped $3.5 billion, according to data compiled by the Insurance Information Institute.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FNC reports Washington Monument may be tilting from quake jolt

The Washington Monument is an obelisk near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington. The monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 5+1⁄8 inches (169.294 m).[n 1] There are taller monumental columns, but they are neither all stone nor true obelisks.

It is also the tallest structure in Washington D.C.. It was designed by Robert Mills, an architect of the 1840s. The actual construction of the monument began in 1848 but was not completed until 1884, almost 30 years after the architect's death.

This hiatus in construction happened because of co-option by the Know Nothing party, a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (46 m) or 27% up, shows where construction was halted for a number of years. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884, and the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885. It officially opened October 9, 1888.

Upon completion, it became the world's tallest structure, a title previously held by the Cologne Cathedral. The monument held this designation until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France. The monument stands due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.
From the Washington Times: : FNC reports Washington Monument may be tilting from quake jolt
By Kerry Picket
Published on August 23, 2011, 02:42PM
*UPDATE: The Hill is reporting that the Park Service is stating there is no serious damage to any of D.C.'s national monuments:

U.S. Park Police in Washington made an initial survey of the city's monuments after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake and found no serious damage.

According to The Washington Post, the Park Police checked the monuments by by helicopter shortly after the earthquake on Tuesday.

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered around Richmond, Virginia was felt as far as New York City and New England.

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly reported at 2:30 pm their bureau received information from a producer saying that a Captiol Hill Police officer was saying the Washington Monument may actually be tilting as a result of the earthquake.

Seismologist John Rundle joined Kelly on her show and confirmed that the Washington Monument could very well be tilting as a result of the earthquake and the structure should be checked out.

Two nuclear reactors have reportedly been taken off line near the epicenter of the earthquake.

According to the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing.The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep.

Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

It was centered near Louisa, Va., which is northwest of Richmond and south of Washington.

Obama and many of the nation's leaders were out of town on August vacation when the quake struck at 1:51 p.m. EDT. The shaking was felt on the Martha's Vineyard golf course as Obama was just starting a round.

The East Coast gets earthquakes, but usually smaller ones and is less prepared than California or Alaska for shaking.At Reagan National Airport outside Washington, ceiling tiles fell during a few seconds of shaking.

Authorities announced it was an earthquake and all flights were put on hold.

At the Pentagon in northern Virginia, a low rumbling built and built to the point that the building was shaking. People ran into the corridors of the government's biggest building and as the shaking continued there were shouts of "Evacuate! Evacuate!"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book review: Southern Crossings, Where Geography and Photography Meet

From The New Star: Elements of the South shown in new bookKentucky geography professor David Zurick spent a decade journeying throughout the South searching for elements that defined the region.

"Southern Crossings — Where Geography and Photography Meets," a combination of Zurick's photographs and commentary, has been published by the Center for American Places at Columbia College in Chicago, published by the Center Books on the American South, University of Georgia Press.

Zurick explores the Crossroads in Mississippi, crabbing in Creole country below Lake Charles, an antebellum porch in Georgia, Civil Rights in Alabama, the tidal marshes of South Carolina and much more. What he found in his decades of research was there are many elements to the region and not just the geographically defined Upland and Lowland South or the cultures of Old South and New South.

"I knew that such a sojourn is a highly personal endeavor, and I had no intention of 'capturing' the South in a definitive way, as if its explanation could be universal," he writes. "As a result, the photographs and their associated vignettes offer no overarching evidence, either individually or in their collection, for a single understanding. Like any region, the Southern landscape transcends labels and categories precisely because it is ever-changing each time a person chooses to cross it."

The book's cover features a mechanical Cajun robot who explains the ecology of the wetlands in the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Cameron Parish.
"Last Barriers"

From the University of Mississippi Press comes a gorgeous coffee table book that also showcases a man's lifetime of documenting pristine wilderness in the hopes of its protection.

"Last Barriers: Photographs from the Gulf Islands National Seashore" is a collection of 120 images taken by Donald Bradburn of New Orleans, who spent years capturing on film the Mississippi Gulf Coast barrier islands, particularly the expansive Horn Island. Bradburn was introduced to the beauty of these islands when he was taken there in his youth by an uncle to fish. When he heard that plans were in progress to open the islands as parks within the National Park Service, Bradburn made it his life's goal to see them protected.

Today, the islands remain part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

In 1971, Bradburn won the inaugural Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography from the Sierra Club and the book showcases these beautiful photos of wildlife, dunes, trees, weather changes and Gulf waters. It's a gorgeous book of a transient coastline that should be in every Gulf Coast lover's library.

Reviewer Cheré Coen is the author of "Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana" and co-author of "Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets." She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette's Continuing Education.

UPJ event highlights geography in cinema

From Tribune Democrat (yesterday, unfortunately!): BILL EGGERT | UPJ event highlights geography in cinema
— While most people are familiar with the subject of geography, many are no doubt unfamiliar with the concept of geography within the confines of movies.

The geography of cinema comes into play when movies are shot on pre-existing locations. The issue of “representation” is the most obvious issue in this context.

An example of this would be the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 72 outdoor steps leading to its entrance. They have become celebrated during the past 35 years, thanks to the classic film “Rocky.”

Who can forget that pivotal scene where Sylvester Stallone runs up those steps to the music of “Gonna Fly Now” – the steps serving as a metaphor for Rocky’s ascent to the top?

It has become a favorite spot for tourists to visit in that city, as they replay the scene in their mind, substituting themselves for the film boxer.

Another issue within the geography of cinema involves the incidental documentation (visually) of areas that have changed since the shooting of a particular film, or buildings that no longer exist – such as the World Trade Towers. An example of this would be the 1997 film “Cop Land,” which prominently features the World Trade Towers near the end of the film, inadvertently adding a tragic subtext to a film released four years before the horrific events of 9/11.

Johnstown is an area rich in visual imagery, featuring such landmarks as the old Stone Bridge, Central Park, the Incline Plane, Morley’s Dog and several historic churches throughout the area.

The region’s cinematic geography is celebrated at Pitt-Johnstown’s Blackington Hall (Auditorium 138) at 7 p.m. today – with an evening of three recent short comedies shot locally. The event is hosted by Pitt-Johnstown’s geography club, along with adviser Bill Kory.

The main feature, “Slip Shot,” is a comic homage to Johnstown’s favorite movie: “Slap Shot,” which is rich in its visual documentation of

Johnstown in 1976.

“Slip Shot” likewise celebrates those same locations of downtown, but they now have an added layer of significance, as they also reference the movie itself.

Of particular note is the Franklin Mill scene, which has changed dramatically since 1976. Also of note is the different fountain in Central Park, and the relocation of Morley’s Dog.

Another film, “Paris on the Stony Creek,” also features many of Johnstown’s landmarks, including one that no longer exists – the historic

Elks Lodge, which has been torn down since the filming.

Other landmarks, such as the Franklin Street Bridge, take on an added significance as a local backdrop for Johns-town moviegoers to relate to.

The third film of the trilogy is “I Shopped with a Zombie,” which was shot on location of the 1978 George Romero film “Dawn of the Dead.”

Again, this spoof of Romero’s classic zombie film references not only the Monroeville Mall, but also the Romero film’s added context of that popular venue and cinematic location.

Many of the local actors, as well as the filmmaker (full disclosure: Yours truly) will be on hand for the tonight’s Pitt-Johnstown screening.

A question-and-answer session will be held afterward, if time permits. Of particular note: UPJ will offer the local premiere of the “Slip Shot” screening.

The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend.

See you there.

Friday, August 19, 2011

City's Geography Made Designer's Mission Simple

From Press Box Online: City's Geography Made Designer's Mission Simple

Not only did Baltimore seem to be a natural, aesthetic location to hold the Grand Prix, with its stadiums and waterfront setting, but officials within the community saw the race as the perfect opportunity to shatter outsiders' misconstrued perceptions.

"We're thick-skinned and we take pride in Baltimore," said Pete Collier, Baltimore Grand Prix chief operating officer. "You get snippets of Baltimore looking at our stadiums in panorama view during games, but this race has the opportunity to change the narrative of what people think instead of highlighting the negatives. People will see the beauty of Baltimore and our ability to host an international event in what's a world-class motorsport."

The original layout of the course was put together in 2008, but has since transformed into a two-mile temporary street circuit in and around the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards. The race will include sections of Russell Street, West Pratt Street from Paca Street to Light Street, along the Inner Harbor on Light Street and up Conway Street.

Baltimore Grand Prix officials brought in 30-year racecourse design veteran Martyn Thake of Motorsports Consulting Services, a company specializing in motorsports facility construction.

"When we begin to design a racecourse, we look first for an anchor point," Thake said. "In Houston we had the Astrodome and in Long Beach [California] we had the waterfront. We look for an anchor which looks good on TV and promotes the city."

Thake's first tool of choice is Google Earth. Thake was immediately drawn to Camden Yards and the waterfront. He was able to incorporate these two anchors with the Baltimore Convention Center in the middle.

"We were lucky to be able to find streets straight enough and wide enough to accommodate the racetrack, parking spaces and grandstands," he said. "It's hard to find a city where you can plop all that stuff down. This area just popped out and fell right in my lap."

Thake began constructing the course after downloading a photograph of the area, using Adobe Acrobat to come up with the logistics and present the idea to the city. In the spring of 2009, Thake began walking the streets of Baltimore with a simple tape measure.

Since Thake's Charm City stroll, the event evolved into pulling stakeholders together and getting involvement from the city's residents, hotels and restaurants.

Thake said Baltimore's Mid-Atlantic location and its proximity to Virginia, Washington, Philadelphia and New York has made it a prime candidate to host the event for some time.

"Motorsports, like any sport, is about looking for the right market,"Thake said. "You don't build a stadium and hope to get team in the middle of nowhere Colorado. Baltimore just clicked and jelled."

And the Baltimore community is just as supportive, excited and positive about the Grand Prix as Thake and other officials could have hoped.

Grand Prix officials are taking countless precautions to ensure the safety of fans attending the race, including building concrete barriers and catch fencing to protect spectators. Baltimore City Police and the Office of Emergency Management have also been involved in many aspects of promoting race safety.

Collier said despite the overwhelming encouragement the Grand Prix has received, there was no such thing as a typical day in the office.

"As much as we want to be proactive, there's a lot of reaction," Collier said. "This is new, so there's a lot of curiosity, wonder and phone calls. We are trying to build this as a community event, and it's only successful if it's embraced by Baltimore."

Collier said if the city had not been a partner in the process, organizing the event would have been practically impossible.

"This has been the absolute perfect scenario of a public-private partnership, where you have an international sport coming into a city," he said, "but you have to work with the city and its residents for all intents and purposes."

Grandstands for spectators were strategically placed to give fans views of the most action-packed areas of the track.

There are straightaway grandstands where spectators can view the cars at their top speeds of 180 mph, such as grandstands 3, 9, 16, 26 and 27. Grandstands 6, 7, 10, 22 and 23 are better for spectators who want to see drivers completing turns, braking or accelerating. Generally, the upper rows have better overall views of the race track.

"Attending something like this is such a unique experience," Thake said. "Baltimore is one of 15 cities in the entire world with a street map like this. The event is putting Baltimore on a new level."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chicago - a bit of history

Huge fish spurs call to 're-reverse' Chicago River
CHICAGO (AP) — The city was in a predicament. By the late 1800s, the slow-moving Chicago River had become a cesspool of sewage and factory pollution oozing into Lake Michigan, the source of drinking water for the bustling metropolis.

The waterway had grown so putrid that it raised fears of a disease outbreak and concerns about hurting development. So in a first-of-its-kind feat, engineers reversed the river by digging a series of canals that not only carried the stinking mess away from the lake, but also created the only shipping route between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.

Now a modern threat — a voracious fish that biologists are desperate to keep out of Lake Michigan — has spurred serious talk of undertaking another engineering feat almost as bold as the original: reversing the river again to restore its flow into the lake.

The Army Corps of Engineers is studying ways to stop invasive species from moving between two of the nation's largest watersheds, including a proposal to block the canals and undo the engineering marvel that helped define Chicago.

After the first reversal, the city at the edge of the prairie blossomed and today is known for stunning skyscrapers, a sparkling lakefront and a river dyed green every St. Patrick's Day in the heart of Chicago's downtown Loop.

The idea to reverse the river again got little traction when environmentalists suggested it a few years ago. But that was before Asian carp swam to within 25 miles of Lake Michigan, where they are being held at bay with electric barriers that deliver a nonlethal jolt. And it was before a study that showed dozens of other species were poised to move between the basins.

Adding to the urgency is the discovery last month of more carp DNA, though no actual carp, in waterways just six miles from Chicago, which could indicate that some slipped through the barriers. One live carp was found past the barrier last summer, but officials weren't sure how it got there.

The fish are rapacious eaters that can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds, and they have been migrating up the Mississippi and its tributaries for decades. Scientists say they could decimate the Great Lakes' $7 billion-a-year fishing industry and unravel the food web by starving out native species.

But carp are not the only threat. A corps report issued this summer identified eight other species that could enter the lakes.

What's more, the agency concluded, the lake isn't the only body of water in danger. The risk to the Mississippi basin is even greater because the canals offer a potential highway for about 30 species to invade the river and its tributaries from the Great Lakes.

"That was one of those 'Aha!' moments," said David Wethington, who's managing the corps study. "You hear a lot about Asian carp and the potential devastation (to the Great Lakes), but what if things go the other way?"

The idea of separating the two watersheds, which have no natural links, has gained support from powerful lawmakers, surrounding states and scientists who believe it's the only way to avoid irreversible ecological and economic harm.

"If we don't, a century from now, our children and grandchildren will have lakes full of invasive species ... and we will be sacrificing two of the greatest freshwater ecosystems of the United States to invasion and lost economic opportunity," said Joel Brammeier, president of the environmental advocacy group Alliance for the Great Lakes.

But the corps isn't ready to say whether reversing the Chicago River again is the solution. Its recommendation may have to wait another four years.

To reverse the river, engineers would barricade the canals that have been used for more than a century to send the river flowing to the west. With those channels closed, the river would resume its previous course toward Lake Michigan because the river would again be higher than the lake.

And that might be the easiest part.

Industries that use the waterways to move everything from grain and road salt to coal and chemicals oppose the idea. They complain they stand to lose billions a year if they have to rely on more expensive trains and trucks.

"I don't want the Asian carp in the Great Lakes any more than anyone else does, but (separating the watersheds) destroys the economics of moving by barge," said Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois and chairman of Unlock Our Jobs, an industry coalition that opposes the idea.

Perhaps a bigger obstacle is Chicago's sewer system, which collects rainfall in a big part of the metro area and then discharges it toward the Mississippi. Despite billions spent on an extensive underground tunnel network, the system still cannot contain enough storm water and sewage during heavy rainstorms, forcing authorities to open shipping locks and dump the runoff into Lake Michigan to spare basements.

Reversing the river would push even more water toward downtown and the lake, possibly requiring the city to spend billions more than planned on reservoirs and pipes to hold back the flow and prevent massive flooding.

Then there's the matter of water quality. Even when it's not raining, more than half the volume of the river is wastewater discharged from sewage treatment plants, and it's not disinfected to kill harmful pathogens. Under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency, the city has agreed to start killing germs, but it will take a while before the water is clean enough to send into the lake.

All those things will weigh on the corps' recommendation, due by 2015.

Biel said industry supports the creation of a dead zone by injecting oxygen-eating microorganisms in a portion of the waterways so aquatic life could not survive long enough to move between basins. That would require a waiver from the Clean Water Act.

Another idea is building a two-way shipping lock that could move water toward or away from the lake, said Richard Sparks, a scientist at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in southern Illinois. He said a strong electric current within the lock chamber might be able to kill organisms or fish, including anything that might be clinging to the barges, before opening the gates in the other direction.

The corps will also study more effective electric barriers, chemicals and biological controls, Wethington said.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has suggested barricading the canals, but pumping water over them to keep water flowing away from Chicago while somehow first killing outgoing invasive species.

No solution will be easy or cheap, and everyone agrees it could take many years to complete.

Still, there is growing sentiment that Chicago shouldn't pass up an opportunity to tackle the problem of invasive species, sewer overflows and pollution at the same time.

The project could also address another issue: drinking water supplies. Unlike other cities that use Lake Michigan for drinking water, Chicago doesn't return water to the lake, and there is a limit on how much it can use because of that. If the city were able to clean the water and put it back, that might help ensure enough water to handle future demand.

A coalition of U.S. and Canadian cities is conducting its own study of the problems. One of its leaders, David Ullrich of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, says the proposal to undo a century of civil engineering is essential for the next century and beyond.

"We believe now is the time to fundamentally redefine the relationship between the city, the Chicago River and the full waterway system," he said

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

US Capitol Cities: Salem, Oregon

Salem is the capital of the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat of Marion County. It is located in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River, which runs north through the city. The river forms the boundary between Marion and Polk counties, and the city neighborhood of West Salem is in Polk County. Salem was founded in 1842, became the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851, and was incorporated in 1857.

Salem had a population of 154,637 at the 2010 census, making it the third largest city in the state after Portland and Eugene. Salem is less than an hour driving distance away from Portland. Salem is the principal city of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Marion and Polk counties and had a combined population of 347,214 at the 2000 census. A 2009 estimate placed the metropolitan population at 396,103, the state's second largest.

The city is home to Willamette University and Corban University, as well as the main city in the Salem-Keizer School District and is home to the main campus of Chemeketa Community College. Other schools include the Chemawa Indian School, and the Oregon School for the Deaf. The state of Oregon is the largest employer in the city, with Salem Hospital as the largest private employer. Transportation includes public transit from Salem-Keizer Transit, Amtrak service, and non-commercial air travel at McNary Field. Major roads include Interstate 5, Oregon Route 99E, and Oregon Route 22 which connects West Salem across the Willamette River via the Marion Street and Center Street bridges.

Capitol buildings
Oregon has had three capitol buildings in Salem. A two-story state house, which had been occupied for only two months, burned to the ground in December 1855. Oregon's second capitol building was completed in 1876 on the site of the original. The revival-style building was based in part on the U.S. Capitol building. The building received its distinctive copper dome in 1893. On April 25, 1935, this building was also destroyed by fire. The third and current Oregon State Capitol was completed on the same site in 1938. It is recognizable by its distinctive pioneer statue atop the capitol dome that is plated with gold-leaf and officially named the Oregon Pioneer.

Capitol Center in downtownState government is Salem's largest employer, but the city also serves as a hub for the area farming communities and is a major agricultural food processing center.[22] It lies along the I-5 corridor and is within an hour's drive of Oregon's largest city, Portland.

In a bid to diversify its economic base, Salem attracted a number of computer-related manufacturing plants in the 1990s. In November 2003, the Sumitomo Mitsubishi Silicon Group (SUMCO), one of these arrivals, announced it would be closing its two silicon wafer plants at the end of 2004, eliminating 620 jobs, and moving production to other plants.

The top private employer in Salem is the Salem Hospital with over 2,700 employees. Others include the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde's Spirit Mountain Casino west of Salem, the T-Mobile Calling Center, GE Security (Formerly Supra Products Inc.), Wells Fargo Customer Contact Center (Formerly Wachovia Securities), NORPAC Foods, Inc., Roth's Family Markets, Sanyo, and Willamette University.

Salem is the headquarters of the Oregon Department of Corrections and home to four state correctional facilities, including the Oregon State Penitentiary, Oregon's only maximum security prison.

Numerous projects are underway to increase the supply of housing in the downtown core. These projects will provide upscale, low and high rise condominium and office space.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Syria protests continue despite crackdown

I''ve shared this info on Syria before, but here it is again:
Syria officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.

The name Syria formerly comprised the entire region of the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the site of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the third millennium BC. In the Islamic era, its capital city, Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.

The population of Syria is 74% Sunni Muslim, with a 12% Shia and Alawite Muslim population, 10% Christian and 3% Druze. Combined, some 86% of the Syrian population is Muslim, which largely includes Arabs and significant minoroties of Kurds and Circassians, while some 10% are Christians, which mainly includes ethnic Assyrians, but also Arab Christians and Armenians. The ethnic minorities include Kurdish (9%), Assyrian/Syriac, Armenian, Turkmen and Circassian populations, while the majority is Arab (90%).

The modern Syrian state was established as a French mandate and attained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–1970. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1962–2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered non-democratic. Bashar al-Assad is the current president, and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office since 1971. Syria is currently facing massive protests as part of the Arab Spring.

From Aljazeera: Syria protests continue despite crackdown
Anti-government protesters continue to take to the streets across Syria, despite reports of deaths and arrests as the military cracks down on demonstrators.

Rallies were staged in several locations after night prayers on Tuesday, including in Homs, Albu Kamal near the Iraqi border, Binnish in the north and in some Damascus suburbs.

Meanwhile, the Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), an activist network, reported that at least two people had been killed in the coastal city of Latakia, where the military kept up an assault for the fourth straight day. One of the victims was a 13-year-old boy shot dead by a sniper, they said.

Rights group Avaaz said it had the names of nine people killed in the city, but the death toll was not confirmed by other activists, who said 36 people have been killed there since Saturday.

A resident of the al-Ramel al-Janoubi neighbourhood, who called himself Ismail, told Al Jazeera earlier in the day that gunboats and tanks had used in the assault. He said snipers were stationed around the city, shooting at anyone who ventured into the streets.

"What's happening is really severe ... The moment they see anything moving they will shoot it," he said.

Troops raided and destroyed houses in several neighbourhoods while gunfire could be heard, residents said.

"The heavy machine gun fire and bullets were intense in areas of Latakia, Ramel, Masbah al-Shaab and Ain Tamra for more than three hours," said the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The group said soldiers raided the Sqanturi area and made dozens of arrests.

'Waking up to gunfire'
"We have become used to sleeping and waking up to the sound of gunfire every day. The shooting usually comes from security forces based on rooftops of the surrounding schools," Yamam Alsham, from Al-Slaibeh suburb, told the AFP news agency.

The UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees in Latakia said that thousands of refugees have fled their camp which reportedly came under fire after President Bashar al-Assad's forces began shelling the city.

A forgotten population has become a disappeared population because we have no idea of the whereabouts of as many as 10,000 refugees who fled Latakia over the last few days,'' said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

A senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation condemned the violence used against Palestinian refugees.

"The shelling is taking place using gunships and tanks on houses built from tin, on people who have no place to run to or even a shelter to hide in," Yasser Abed Rabbo, the PLO secretary general, told the Reuters news agency.

"This is a crime against humanity."

The assault on Latakia has drawn sharp Arab and international condemnation.

"The regime's violence continues despite widespread condemnation by the international community. The calls for the violence to stop, including from Syria's neighbours, have not been heeded," British Foreign Minister William Hague said in a statement.

Assad "is fast losing the last shreds of his legitimacy. He must stop the violence immediately," Hague said.

'Internal affair'
Western diplomats said the United Nations' top human rights body is likely to hold an urgent meeting next week to discuss the escalating crackdown in Syria, according to the AP news agency.

Diplomats from two of the Human Rights Council's 47 member countries said they have collected enough signatures to call for the special meeting as early as Monday. Signatures so far include at least one Arab nation, AP said.

Syria's key regional ally Iran warned on Tuesday that any Western intervention in the "internal affairs" of Damascus would stoke "public hatred" in the region.

Meanwhile, dozens of army vehicles were seen leaving the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor on Tuesday after a military operation that activists said has left 32 people dead since troops seized control of the city last Wednesday.

Syrian state television said the army had crushed "armed gangs" in the city, and aired footage of residents cheering the departing troops.

But only hours later, the SOHR reported that one person was killed when security forces opened fired to disperse an anti-government protest in the city where "hundreds of people" marched in Takaya street.

Residents said tanks were still present at the outskirts of Deir ez-Zor and that troops were raiding houses looking for wanted dissidents.

LCC also reported some arrests in the Damascus suburb Arbeen, and in the capital's Palestinian Yarmouk neighbourhood, where residents had been marching in solidarity with the Palestinian camp in Latakia on Tuesday.

The crackdown has escalated since the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan, when nightly prayers became the occasion for more protests against Assad and 41 years of Baathist rule.

Al Jazeera cannot independently verify reports from Syria because of restrictions on reporting in the country.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Honduras finds 2.5 tonnes cocaine in submarine

Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize. The country is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Honduras was home of several important indigenous cultures, most notably the Maya. Much of the country was conquered by Spain who introduced its predominant language and many of its customs in the sixteenth century. It became independent in 1821 and has been a republic since the end of Spanish rule.

Its size is just over 112,000 km² with an estimated population of almost eight million. Its capital is Tegucigalpa. Its northern portions are part of the Western Caribbean Zone.

Recent history
The 2008 Honduran floods were severe and around half the country's roads were damaged or destroyed as a result.

In 2009, a constitutional crisis culminated in a transfer of power from the president to the head of Congress. Countries all over the world, the OAS, and the UN formally and unanimously condemned the action as a coup d'etat[19] and refused to recognize the de facto government, though a document submitted to the United States Congress declared the ouster to be legal according to the opinion of the lawyers consulted by the Library of Congress. In any event the Honduran Supreme Court also ruled the proceedings to be legal.

The country produces minerals, tropical fruit, and most recently, exports clothing for the international market.

From BBC News, Latin American & Caribbean: Honduras finds 2.5 tonnes cocaine in submarine
Honduran General Rene Osorio said there were more than five tonnes of cocaine on the vessel, and authorities would need two days to retrieve all of it.

The vessel is submerged because the crew tried to sink it after they were intercepted two weeks ago.

Honduras is on a key route used by cartels trafficking drugs to the US.

Coast guard officials intercepted the submarine-like craft off the Caribbean coast of Honduras near the province of Gracias a Dios

Monday, August 8, 2011

What is the Inside Passage?

The Inside Passage is a coastal route for oceangoing vessels along a network of passages which weave through the islands on the Pacific coast of North America. The route extends from southeastern Alaska, in the United States, through western British Columbia, in Canada, to northwestern Washington state, in the United States. Ships using the route can avoid some of the bad weather in the open ocean and may visit some of the many isolated communities along the route. The Inside Passage is heavily travelled by cruise ships, freighters, tugs with tows, fishing craft and ships of the Alaska Marine Highway, BC Ferries, and Washington State Ferries systems.

The term "Inside Passage" is also often used to refer to the ocean and islands around the passage itself. The Inside Passage is also sometimes referred to as the "Inland Passage" which is in turn a reference to early explorers' quests to locate the Northwest Passage between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

It is generally accepted that the Inside Passage starts in Puget Sound in Washington and then extends north, first along the British Columbia Coast and then the Alaska Panhandle.

British Columbia portion
British Columbia's portion of the route has up to 25,000 miles (40,000 km) of coastline. It includes the narrow, protected Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland, the Johnstone and Queen Charlotte Straits between Vancouver Island and the mainland, as well as a short stretch along the wider and more exposed Hecate Strait near the Queen Charlotte Islands. From Fitz Hugh Sound northwards, the route is sheltered via the various large islands in that area such as Princess Royal Island and Pitt Island.

Alaska portion
The Alaskan portion of the Inside Passage extends 500 miles (800 km) from north to south and 100 miles (160 km) from east to west. The area encompasses 1,000 islands, 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of shoreline and thousands of coves and bays. While the Alexander Archipelago in Alaska provides some protection from the Pacific Ocean weather, much of the area experiences strong semi-diurnal tides which can create extreme 30-foot (9 m) differences between high and low tide, so careful piloting is necessary in many places in order to not collide with underwater obstructions.

Kayaking and canoeing
The Inside Passage is a destination for kayakers and canoeists from all over the world. Each year groups and individuals paddle along the fjords from British Columbia to Glacier Bay in Alaska.

18 Indonesian volcanoes on alert status

There are over 150 volcanos in Indonesia.
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia comprises 13,466 islands and thirty three provinces. With over 238 million people, it is the world's fourth most populous country, and has the world's largest population of Muslims.

Indonesia is a republic, with an elected legislature and president. The nation's capital city is Jakarta. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, Philippines, Australia, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and a member of the G-20 major economies. The Indonesian economy is the world's eighteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and fifteenth largest by purchasing power parity.

The Indonesian archipelago has become an important trade region since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders brought Islam, and European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolize trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism, Indonesia secured its independence after World War II. Indonesia's history has since been turbulent, with challenges posed by natural disasters, corruption, separatism, a democratization process, and periods of rapid economic change.

Across its many islands, Indonesia consists of distinct ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. The Javanese are the largest—and the politically dominant—ethnic group. Indonesia has developed a shared identity defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a majority Muslim population, and a history of colonialism including rebellion against it.

Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity. The country is richly endowed with natural resources, yet poverty remains widespread in contemporary Indonesia.

The Jakarta Post: 18 Indonesian volcanoes on alert status

Eighteen Indonesian volcanoes are on “alert” status, two of which are at Alert Level 3, which is called “Siaga”, the Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation Center says.

Center head Surono said Sunday in Jakarta the erupting Mount Lokon in North Sulawesi and Mount Ibu in North Maluku were the two volcanoes at Siaga status.

The center has adopted four levels of alert status: “Normal” (Level 1), “Waspada” (Level 2), “Siaga” (Level 3) and “Awas” (Level 4).

Surono said the conditions at Mt Lokon and Mt Ibu were currently considered most worrisome because they had been consistently erupting searing clouds affecting a radius of 2.5 kilometers.

He added, however, that the eruptions had not yet endangered people living around the volcanoes.

“The eruptions are heading west, while people are concentrated in east,” he said as quoted by

Surono added that 16 other volcanoes were at Level 2 alert status, “Waspada”, including Mt. Papandayan and Mt. Guntur in West Java.

“Locals have reported several quakes,” he said.

Surono said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had summoned him on Saturday to report the volcanoes’ status and the center’s preparations to anticipate possible disasters.

He said ideally there should be an expert monitoring the activities of each volcano in Indonesia, as is the case in Japan.

“Currently an expert handles five mountains.”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Puget Sound

Puget Sound (Pew-jut sound) is a sound in the state of Washington.

It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and one minor connection to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean — Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and Deception Pass being the minor.

Flow through Deception Pass accounts for about 2% of the total tidal exchange between Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.[1] Puget Sound extends approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Deception Pass in the north to Olympia, Washington in the south. Its average depth is 205 feet (62 m) and its maximum depth, off Point Jefferson between Indianola and Kingston, is 930 feet (280 m). The depth of the main basin, between the southern tip of Whidbey Island and Tacoma, Washington, is approximately 600 feet (180 m).

The term "Puget Sound" is used not just for the body of water but also the general region centered on the sound.

George Vancouver explored Puget Sound in 1792. Vancouver claimed it for Great Britain on 4 June 1792, naming it for one of his officers, Lieutenant Peter Puget.

After 1818 Britain and the United States, which both claimed the Oregon Country, agreed to "joint occupancy", deferring resolution of the Oregon boundary dispute until the 1846 Oregon Treaty. Puget Sound was part of the disputed region until 1846, after which it became US territory.

American maritime fur traders visited Puget Sound in the early 19th century.

The first European settlement in the Puget Sound area was Fort Nisqually, a fur trade post of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) built in 1833.[11] Fort Nisqually was part of the HBC's Columbia District, headquartered at Fort Vancouver. The Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the HBC, established farms and ranches near Fort Nisqually. British ships such as the Beaver, exported foodstuffs and provisions from Fort Nisqually.

The first American settlement on Puget Sound was Tumwater. It was founded in 1845 by Americans who had come via the Oregon Trail. The decision to settle north of the Columbia River was made in part because one of the settlers, George Washington Bush, was considered black and the Provisional Government of Oregon banned the residency of mulattoes but did not actively enforce the restriction north of the river.

In 1853 Washington Territory was formed from part of Oregon Territory. In 1888 the Northern Pacific railroad line reached Puget Sound, linking the region to eastern states

Low Tide Whidbey IslandThe United States Geological Survey (USGS) defines Puget Sound as a bay with numerous channels and branches; more specifically, it is a fjord system of flooded glacial valleys. Puget Sound is part of a larger physiographical structure termed the Puget Trough, which is a physiographic section of the larger Pacific Border province, which in turn is part of the larger Pacific Mountain System.

Puget Sound is a large salt water estuary, or system of many estuaries, fed by highly seasonal freshwater from the Olympic and Cascade Mountain watersheds. The mean annual river discharge into Puget Sound is 41,000 cubic feet per second (1,200 m3/s), with a monthly average maximum of about 367,000 cubic feet per second (10,400 m3/s) and minimum of about 14,000 cubic feet per second (400 m3/s). Puget Sound's shoreline is 1,332 miles (2,144 km) long, encompassing a water area of 1,020 square miles (2,600 km2) and a total volume of 26.5 cubic miles (110 km3) at mean high water. The average volume of water flowing in and out of Puget Sound during each tide is 1.26 cubic miles (5.3 km3). The maximum tidal currents, in the range of 9 to 10 knots, occurs at Deception Pass.

The Puget Sound system consists of four deep basins connected by shallower sills. The four basins are Hood Canal, west of the Kitsap Peninsula, Whidbey Basin, east of Whidbey Island, South Sound, south of the Tacoma Narrows, and the Main Basin, which is further subdivided into Admiralty Inlet and the Central Basin. Puget Sound's sills, a kind of submarine terminal moraine, separate the basins from one another, and Puget Sound from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Three sills are particularly significant—the one at Admiralty Inlet which checks the flow of water between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget sound, the one at the entrance to Hood Canal (about 175 ft/53 m below the surface), and the one at the Tacoma Narrows (about 145 ft/44 m). Other sills that present less of a barrier include the ones at Blake Island, Agate Pass, Rich Passage, and Hammersley Inlet.

The size of Puget Sound's watershed is 12,138 sq mi (31,440 km2).[2] "Northern Puget Sound" is frequently considered part of the Puget Sound watershed, which enlarges its size to 13,700 sq mi (35,000 km2).[18] The USGS uses the name "Puget Sound" for its hydrologic unit subregion 1711, which includes areas draining to the Puget Sound proper as well as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, and the Fraser River.[19] Significant rivers that drain to "Northern Puget Sound" include the Nooksack, Dungeness, and Elwha Rivers. The Nooksack empties into Bellingham Bay, the Dungeness and Elwha into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Chilliwack River flows north to the Fraser River in Canada.

Tides in Puget Sound are of the mixed type with two high and two low tides each tidal day. These are called Higher High Water (HHW), Lower Low Water (LLW), Lower High Water (LHW), and Higher Low Water (HLW). The configuration of basins, sills, and interconnections cause the tidal range to increase within Puget Sound. The difference in height between the Higher High Water and the Lower Low Water averages about 0.3 feet (0.091 m) at Port Townsend on Admiralty Inlet, but increases to about 14.4 feet (4.4 m) at Olympia, the southern end of Puget Sound.

Puget Sound is generally accepted as the start of the Inside Passage.

Wall honors Bainbridge Japanese Americans sent to internment camps

Note that the island is not on the coast of Washington state, surrounded by ocean, but rather an inner island, in Puget Sound.

Bainbridge Island is a city in Kitsap County, Washington, United States, and the name of the island in Puget Sound on which the city is situated. The population was 23,025 at the 2010 census.

In July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine named Bainbridge Island the second-best place to live in the United States.

The local newspapers are the weekly Bainbridge Island Review and the daily Kitsap Sun.

In 1792 George Vancouver spent several days with his ship HMS Discovery anchored off Restoration Point at the southern end of Bainbridge Island while boat parties surveyed other parts of Puget Sound. Vancouver spent a day investigating Rich Passage, Port Orchard, and Sinclair Inlet. He failed to find Agate Passage and so his maps show Bainbridge Island as a peninsula. Vancouver named Restoration Point on May 29, the anniversary of the English Restoration, in honor of King Charles II.

In 1841, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes visited the island while surveying the Northwest. Lt. Wilkes named the island after Commodore William Bainbridge, commander of the frigate U.S.S. Constitution in the War of 1812. Bainbridge Island was originally a center for the logging and shipbuilding industries. The island was known for huge and accessible cedars, which were especially in demand for ships' masts. The original county seat of Kitsap County was at Port Madison on the north end of the island.

The first generation of Japanese immigrants, the Issei, came in 1883. During World War II, Japanese-American residents of Bainbridge Island were the first to be sent to internment camps. They were held by the U.S. government through the duration of the war for fear of espionage. Many Filipinos who assisted the Japanese farmers were left to operate the strawberry fields, which they did successfully. Filipino farmers went north to locate First Nations families to work in the fields. Many romances arose from the berry fields and the birth of the Indo-Pinos emerged.

The city of Bainbridge Island has occupied the entire island since February 28, 1991, when the former City of Winslow (around 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) of land on Eagle Harbor, incorporated August 9, 1947) annexed the rest of the island. Since the 1960s, Bainbridge Island has become an increasingly affluent bedroom community of Seattle, a 35-minute ride away on the Washington State Ferries. The community has been especially concerned with preserving green space and keeping a tight control over development, both residential and commercial. The Bainbridge Island Land Trust, city and park district are instrumental in maintaining island open space.

From The Seattle Times: Wall honors Bainbridge Japanese Americans sent to internment camps

Everywhere she went, Kayo Natalie Hayashida Ong, now 70, was greeted over and again with delight and recognition as "the baby!"

An iconic photograph of her at age 1, asleep in her mother's arms as her family was forcibly removed from their Bainbridge Island home during World War II, became one of the best-known symbols of a dark period in American history.

They were among the first of 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were exiled from the West Coast or forced into internment camps by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Civilian Exclusion Order after Pearl Harbor was bombed and the U.S. declared war on Japan.

"I don't remember it at all," Ong said, somewhat apologetically. "But now that I am older, I recognize the injustice."

She and her mother, Fumiko Hayashida, were among the dozens of camp survivors who attended the dedication of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Wall on Saturday.

Built on the historic site of the Eagledale Ferry Dock, where the residents were loaded onto a ferry and taken from their homes, the cedar, granite and basalt wall honors the 276 Japanese Americans from the island who were the first to be relocated.

Along with quotes and ceramic art, the wall is graced with the name of every resident who left the island during the relocation.

It also is intended as a symbol of gratitude to the friends and neighbors who protested the action or helped those displaced by holding on to their land and property for them.

Help from neighbors

In part because of the goodwill among neighbors, 150 exiled residents returned to the island after the war, a greater percentage than in any other community, according to speaker Mary Woodward, whose parents reviled the exile in the local newspaper.

The wall also is a reminder and a warning. "Nidoto Nai Yoni," which means "Let it not happen again," is emblazoned on a stone, and the phrase was repeated many times during Saturday's ceremony.

There were some tears of sorrow and outrage expressed during the dedication.

A few people wiped away tears when Earl Hanson, class of 1941, spoke of being threatened by a soldier with a bayonet when he went to the dock to say goodbye to some of his closest friends.

"These kids were a part of our lives," he said.

But there also was plenty of laughter and greetings and hugs.

Sadumu Ted Kitayama and Bill Takamoto were 12 when they were rounded up by the Army, herded onto the ferry Kehloken and taken to fenced "relocation centers," where they would spend the next several years.

For the adults, they said, being rounded up like criminals and losing their land and all they had worked for was distressing beyond words.

But for the kids, they said, it was a different experience.

"It was a little bit of an adventure for us," said Kitayama.

"We didn't have to work on the farm anymore," said Takamoto.

"It was hard for our parents and grandparents," said Sumio Yukawa, who was 16 in 1942. "But we had our friends, and we got to run a little bit wild."

Fumiko Hayashida, — who, at 100, is the oldest living survivor from Bainbridge — was greeted like a celebrity by her many old friends and neighbors.

She pronounced the wall, the feeling behind it and the dedication ceremony to be "wonderful."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

London counts cost of rampage

The red dot is Tottenham, and it is surrounded by Greater London.

Just where is Tottenham in London?
Tottenham is an area of the London Borough of Haringey, England, located 6.6 miles (10.6 km) north-northeast of Charing Cross in downtown Lodon.

There has been a settlement at Tottenham for over a thousand years. It grew up along the old Roman road, Ermine Street (some of which is part of the present A10 road), and between High Cross and Tottenham Hale, the present Monument Way.

When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, about 70 families lived within the area of the manor, mostly labourers working for the Lord of the Manor. A humorous poem entitled the Tournament of Tottenham, written around 1400, describes a mock-battle between peasants vying for the reeve's daughter.

In 1894, Tottenham was made an urban district and on 27 September 1934 it became a municipal borough. As from 1 April 1965, the municipal borough formed part of the London Borough of Haringey.

The River Lea (or Lee) was the eastern boundary of the Municipal Boroughs of Tottenham and Walthamstow. It is the ancient boundary between Middlesex and Essex and also formed the western boundary of the Viking controlled Danelaw. Today it is the boundary between the London Boroughs of Haringey and Waltham Forest. A major tributary of the Lea, the River Moselle, also crosses the borough from west to east, and often caused serious flooding until it was mostly covered in the 19th century.

From the Tudor period onwards, Tottenham became a popular recreation and leisure destination for wealthy Londoners. Henry VIII is known to have visited Bruce Castle and also hunted in Tottenham Wood. A rural Tottenham also featured in Izaak Walton's book The Compleat Angler, published in 1653. The area became noted for its large Quaker population[3] and its schools (including Rowland Hill's at Bruce Castle.) Tottenham remained a semi-rural and upper middle class area until the 1870s.

Modern era
In late 1870, the Great Eastern Railway introduced special workman's trains and fares on its newly opened Enfield and Walthamstow branch lines. Tottenham's low-lying fields and market gardens were then rapidly transformed into cheap housing for the lower middle and working classes, who were able to commute cheaply to inner London. The workman's fare policy stimulated the relatively early development of the area into a London suburb.

During the Second World War Tottenham also became a target of the German air offensive against Britain. Bombs fell within the borough (Elmar Road) during the first air raid on London on 24 August 1940. The borough also received V1 (four incidents) and V2 hits, the last of which occurred on 15 March 1945.

Wartime shortages led to the creation of Tottenham Pudding, a mixture of household waste food which was converted into feeding stuffs for pigs and poultry. The "pudding" was named by Queen Mary on a visit to Tottenham Refuse Works. Production continued into the post-war period, its demise coinciding with the merging of the borough into the new London Borough of Haringey.

The Mecca Dance Hall was demolished in 2004 to make way for low cost housing.

Tottenham is a multicultural hotspot with many different ethnic groups inhabiting the area. It contains one of the largest and most significant populations of African-Caribbean people. These were among the earliest immigrant groups to settle in the area, starting the UK's Windrush era soon after West African communities - notably the many Ghanaians - begun to migrate into the area.

Between 1980 and the present day there has been a slow immigration of Colombians, Albanian, Kurdish, Turkish-Cypriot, Turkish, Irish, and Portuguese populations. South Tottenham is reported to be the most ethnically-diverse area in Europe, with up to 300 languages being spoken by its residents.

Tottenham has the highest unemployment rate in London and the 8th highest in the United Kingdom. It therefore has some of the highest poverty rates within the country. There have also been major tensions between the African-Caribbean community and the police since (and before) the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot.

Although Tottenham is well known for its diversity and culture, it has also been one of the main hotspots for gangs and gun crime in the United Kingdom during the past three decades. This followed the rise of gangs and drug wars throughout the area, notably those involving the Tottenham Mandem gang and various gangs from Hackney and all of the areas surrounding Tottenham, and the emergence of an organised crime ring known as the Turkish Mafia was said to have controlled more than 90% of the UK's heroin market.

From the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): London counts cost of rampage
Police have battled to restore order as rioters went on a rampage in north London, torching vehicles and buildings amid widespread looting in response to the fatal shooting by police of a local man.

Eight police officers were injured in the violence and taken to hospital. At least one has a head injury.

The mayhem, which broke out in Tottenham just before sunset on Saturday, followed a protest over the death of a 29-year-old man during an apparent exchange of gunfire with police.

Advertisement: Story continues below The demonstration had been a peaceful rally outside the police station on Tottenham High Road before two police cars were attacked with petrol bombs and set ablaze.

A public double-decker bus was then torched as the violence rapidly spread, with gangs of hooded youths descending on the area.

The situation raged out of control as hundreds ran amok, setting shops and other vehicles on fire.

There was concern that the unrest was being fuelled by rapid posts on social media inciting others to join in.

Central London has seen student and trade union protests turn ugly in the past 12 months but this outbreak of rioting was the worst seen in years in the suburbs.

Under a hail of missiles and petrol bombs, riot officers and mounted police battled to regain control of the streets and escort fire crews safely through to tackle the series of blazes.

Rioters kicked in windows as shops were looted, with people pushing away shopping trolleys full of stolen goods.

"It's really bad," local resident David Akinsanya told BBC television. "There seems to be a lot of anger in Tottenham tonight."

Shortly before dawn on Sunday, police said the situation had calmed on the High Road but officers were still responding to pockets of trouble flaring up elsewhere in the area.

Police were unable to give a count of the buildings and vehicles torched.

No arrests were reported as police said restoring public safety was their first priority.

"These are very distressing scenes for Londoners," police commander Stephen Watson said.

"It's important we emphasise that the safety of the public is of paramount importance to us ... Our absolute aim is to restore normality."

Tottenham is an ethnically diverse urban area best known for its English Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur.

The unrest followed a peaceful march in protest against the death on Thursday of minicab passenger Mark Duggan, a father-of-four. He died at the scene.

An officer may have had a lucky escape in the incident - a police radio was found to have a bullet stuck in it.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which investigates all police shootings - regular British police officers do not carry guns - said that specialist firearms officers stopped a minicab on Thursday to carry out a pre-planned arrest.

They were accompanied by officers from Trident, the unit focused on tackling gun crime in the black community.

"Shots were fired and a 29-year-old man, who was a passenger in the cab, died at the scene," the IPCC said.

It is believed that a firearms officer fired two shots. A non-police-issue handgun was also recovered at the scene.

"An officer's radio which appears to have a bullet lodged in it has also been recovered," the IPCC said.

The march began at Broadwater Farm, a 1960s public housing estate in Tottenham that is notorious across Britain.

In 1985, Police Constable Keith Blakelock was hacked to death on the estate during some of the worst urban rioting in Britain in the past 30 years.

The Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, appealed for calm.

"Those who remember the destructive conflicts of the past will be determined not to go back to them," Mr Lammy said on Sunday.

"We already have one grieving family in our community and further violence will not heal that pain. True justice can only follow a thorough investigation of the facts."

Police commander Watson said they did not have warnings about the kind of disorder witnessed in Tottenham.

"We are aware of raised tensions in the community, which are understandable," he said, but there was "no indication" that the protest "would deteriorate in this way".

A spokesman for London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Violence and destruction of property will do nothing to facilitate this (IPCC) investigation and we urge those involved to respect the rule of law."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Somalia famine spreads to 3 new regions, U.N. says

Somalia is the darker grey to the east of Ethiopa. Note Mogadishu is just to the right of the mile/kilometer distance marker.

Somalia, officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under communist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory. The internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government controls only a small part of the country. Somalia has been characterized as a failed state and is one of the poorest and most violent states in the world.

Somalia lies in the eastern-most part of Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya to the southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Ethiopia to the west. It has the longest coastline on the continent, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Hot conditions prevail year-round, along with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.

In antiquity, Somalia was an important centre for commerce with the rest of the ancient world, and according to most scholars, Somalia is where the ancient Land of Punt was situated. During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuuraan State, the Sultanate of Adal, the Warsangali Sultanate and the Gobroon Dynasty. In the late nineteenth century, the British and Italians gained control of parts of the coast, and established British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's Dervish State successfully repulsed the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region, but the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 by British airpower.

Italy acquired full control of their parts of the region in 1927. This occupation lasted until 1941, when it was replaced by a British military administration. Northern Somalia would remain a protectorate, while southern Somalia became a trusteeship. 1960 saw the union of the two regions into the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government. Mohamed Siad Barre seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic. In 1991, Barre's government collapsed as the Somali Civil War broke out.

Since 1991, no central government has controlled the entirety of the country, despite several attempts to establish a unified central government.[23] The northwestern part of the country has been relatively stable under the self-declared, but unrecognized, sovereign state of Somaliland.

The self-governing region of Puntland covers the northeast of the country. It declares itself to be autonomous, but not independent from Somalia. The Islamist Al-Shabaab controls a large part of the south of the country. Without a central government, Somalia's inhabitants subsequently reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either civil, Islamic, or customary law. The internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government controls only parts of the capital and some territory in the centre of the nation, but has reestablished national institutions such as the Military of Somalia, and is working towards eventual national elections in 2012, when the interim government's mandate expires.

During the two decades of war and lack of government, Somalia has maintained an informal economy, based mainly on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications.

From Los Angeles Times: Somalia famine spreads to 3 new regions, U.N. says
More than 12 million are facing starvation, and children are particularly vulnerable. The crisis is likely to spread across the country and into parts of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, the U.N. says.

Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa— With hunger in the Horn of Africa dramatically worsening, the United Nations on Wednesday added three more regions of Somalia to the list of areas it says are stricken by famine.

More than 12 million people are facing starvation, with children particularly vulnerable. The U.N. last month declared that two regions of Somalia were suffering from famine, and it said Wednesday that the famine was likely to spread across most of Somalia in coming months, as well as parts of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Somalia is struggling with its worst drought in 60 years, and 3.7 million Somalis are in crisis, mainly in the south — creating Africa's most serious hunger crisis in two decades. Refugee camps in the capital, Mogadishu, are now affected as well, U.N. agencies said.

Shocking images of those suffering have resulted in an increase in aid in the last two weeks, after donors' earlier sluggish response, but violence in the south of the country has limited humanitarian agencies' access.

The U.N. is seeking to raise $1 billion to address the crisis.

"The current situation represents the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world today and Africa's worst food security crisis since Somalia's 1991-92 famine," said a statement Wednesday by the U.S.-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET. It called for a massive global response to prevent more deaths and social collapse.

Increases in food prices are expected to exacerbate the crisis, according to U.N. humanitarian agencies and FEWS NET.

About 860,000 people have trekked out of Somalia, often leaving dead children on the way, hoping to find food in neighboring countries. An additional 1.5 million people have fled drought-ridden areas of Somalia for other parts of the war-torn nation.

Somalia has endured two decades without a functional government, and entrenched clan warfare. Multiple peace deals and efforts to establish a government have failed.

The current crisis is exacerbated by fighting between Somalia's weak transitional government, which controls a few areas of the capital, and the extreme Islamic militia Shabab, which is allied with Al Qaeda and controls much of the south.

The insecurity in the south and Shabab's policies drove out Western aid agencies last year, making it difficult to increase operations quickly to feed the hungry. The group imposed taxes on aid groups and banned female staff.

The U.N. declared last month that the Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia were suffering from famine. On Wednesday, Middle Shabelle and camps for displaced people in the Afgooye corridor and Mogadishu were added.

The crisis is expected to continue until at least the end of the year.