Daily Archives: April 13, 2014

Breaking news – Ukrainian Security Council launches full-scale security op in eastern regions

Breaking News

Ukraine’s Security Council has agreed to launch a full scale security operation in the country’s east following the crackdown in Slavyansk, coup-imposed president Aleksandr Turchinov said. Military forces will take place in the operation, he added.

At the same time, the new authorities in Kiev are ready to consider granting more autonomy to regions, Turchinov said. He demanded pro-independence supporters in eastern Ukraine leave government buildings they have occupied by Monday morning.

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NASA: Beautiful blood moon, when lunar eclipse comes Tuesday

Blood-Moon-jpg(CNN) — Prophecy loves signs from the heavens, and they will deliver Tuesday with a moonlight spectacle.

What will happen could sound sort of like this:

The moon will turn to blood as it aligns with Earth and sun
Then do so thrice more ere a year and a half is done,
‘Tis not the herald of the apocalypses
Just the first of four total lunar eclipses.

In other words, get ready for an unusually beautiful moon to grace the night skies next week. There will be a total lunar eclipse Tuesday that will turn the moon a burnt reddish orange, NASA says.

It’s called a blood moon, and this one is just the first in a series of four consecutive total eclipses.

Within a year and a half, North America will be able to see a blood moon a total of four times. The moon takes on this color during the eclipse as it passes through the Earth’s shadow, which is the color of a desert sunset.

The four blood moons will occur in roughly six-month intervals on the following dates: April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

With that frequency, one might be misled into thinking that they are commonplace.

There are about two lunar eclipses per year, NASA says. Some of them — penumbral eclipses — are so subtle, they are vaguely visible and go greatly unnoticed.

Other eclipses just cast a partial shadow on the moon but lend it none of that brilliant sunset hue.

Lunar eclipses — penumbral, partial or umbral — occur in random order, NASA says. Getting four umbral eclipses in a row is like drawing a rare lunar poker hand of four of a kind.

Just like the poker players, astronomers have a name for that lucky draw. It’s called a tetrad, NASA says.

“The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA,” longtime NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak said in a prepared statement.

In the 21st century, there will be many tetrads, but look back a few centuries, and you’ll find the opposite phenomenon, Espenak said.

Before the dawn of the 20th century, there was a 300-year period when there were none, he said. Zero.

That would mean that neither Sir Isaac Newton, Mozart, Queen Anne, George Washington, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln nor their contemporaries ever had a chance to see one.

So, we’re in luck. To take advantage of it, you’ll have to stay up late from Monday night into Tuesday.

People in North and South America will be able to see the entire eclipse, while sky watchers in the western Pacific can catch only the last half. The moon will be setting in most of Europe and Africa during the eclipse, so residents there probably won’t see much.

For gazing geeks, NASA has set up a live web chat to answer questions about the eclipse starting at 1 a.m. Eastern Time.

The heavenly curtain rises on Tuesday’s lunar review around 2 a.m. ET, when the moon starts to slide into Earth’s shadow.

It should turn into a blood moon — a coppery red — about an hour later and stay that way for over an hour, NASA says.

Tuesday’s blood moon comes right on time for the Jewish festival of Passover, which commemorates the ancient Israelites‘ exodus from slavery in Egypt. According to the Bible, God cast 10 plagues upon the Egyptians, the final plague being the death of the firstborn. The Israelites painted lamb’s blood on their doorways so that this plague would pass over their homes.

On Tuesday, April 15, there will be a total lunar eclipse that will turn the moon a coppery red, NASA says. It's called a blood moon, and it's one of four total eclipses that will take place in North America within the next year and a half. Pictured here is a blood moon seen over Gaza City in March 2007.

On Tuesday, April 15, there will be a total lunar eclipse that will turn the moon a coppery red, NASA says. It’s called a blood moon, and it’s one of four total eclipses that will take place in North America within the next year and a half. Pictured here is a blood moon seen over Gaza City in March 2007.

A total lunar eclipse is seen in Karachi, Pakistan, on December 10, 2011. It was the last full lunar eclipse.

The same lunar eclipse from December 2011 is seen here over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The December 2011 eclipse is seen near Moab, Utah. The moon takes on a reddish color as it passes through the Earth’s shadow, which is the color of a desert sunset.

The December 2011 eclipse, as seen from Kathmandu, Nepal. There are usually about two lunar eclipses per year, NASA says. But some of them are so subtle, they are vaguely visible and go greatly unnoticed. To get four blood moons in such a short period of time is very rare.

The moon is seen from Manila, Philippines, during the total lunar eclipse in December 2011.

The lunar eclipse in December 2011 is almost complete before it dips behind the Indian Peaks Wilderness area near Nederland, Colorado.

The moon, as seen from Manila during the December 2011 eclipse. The four upcoming blood moons will occur in roughly six-month intervals on the following dates: April 15; October 8; April 4, 2015; and September 28, 2015.

READ: Signs of underground ocean found on Saturn moon



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Missing Malaysian jet’s black box batteries may have died

The Associated Press

A U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon takes off from Perth Airport en route to rejoin the ongoing search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Perth, Australia, Sunday, April 13, 2014.

Following four strong underwater signals in the past week, all has gone quiet in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, meaning the batteries in the plane’s all-important black boxes may finally have died.

Despite having no new transmissions from the black boxes’ locator beacons to go on, air and sea crews were continuing their search in the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday for debris and any sounds that may still be emanating. They are desperately trying to pinpoint where the Boeing 777 could be amid an enormous patch of deep ocean.

No new electronic pings have been detected since Tuesday by an Australian ship dragging a U.S. Navy device that listens for flight recorder signals. Once officials are confident that no more sounds will be heard, a robotic submersible will be sent down to slowly scour for wreckage.

“We’re now into Day 37 of this tragedy,” said aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas. “The battery life on the beacons is supposed to last 30 days. We’re hoping it might last 40 days. However, it’s been four or five days since the last strong pings. What they’re hoping for is to get one more, maybe two more pings so they can do a triangulation of the sounds and try and narrow the (search) area.”

Recovering the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders is essential for investigators to try to figure out what happened to Flight 370, which vanished March 8. It was carrying 239 people, mostly Chinese, while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

After analyzing satellite data, officials believe the plane flew off course for an unknown reason and went down in the southern Indian Ocean off Australia’s west coast. Investigators trying to determine what happened to the plane are focusing on four areas – hijacking, sabotage and personal or psychological problems of those on board.

Two sounds heard a week ago by the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which was towing the ping locator, were determined to be consistent with the signals emitted from the black boxes. Two more pings were detected in the same general area Tuesday, but no new ones have been picked up since then.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed confidence that the pings picked up by the Ocean Shield were coming from the plane’s two black boxes, but he cautioned that finding the actual aircraft could take a long time.

“There’s still a lot more work to be done and I don’t want anyone to think that we are certain of success, or that success, should it come, is going to happen in the next week or even month. There’s a lot of difficulty and a lot of uncertainty left in this,” Abbott said Saturday in Beijing, where he was wrapping up a visit to China.

Searchers want to pinpoint the exact location of the source of the sounds – or as close as they can get – before sending the Bluefin 21 submersible down. It will not be deployed until officials are confident that no other electronic signals will come, and that they have narrowed the search area as much as possible.

The underwater search zone is currently a 1,300-square-kilometre patch of the seabed, about the size of Los Angeles.

The sub takes six times longer to cover the same area as the ping locator, and will need about six weeks to two months to canvass the current underwater zone. The signals are also coming from 4,500 metres below the surface, which is the deepest the sub can dive.

The surface area being searched on Sunday for floating debris was 57,506 square kilometres) of ocean extending about 2,200 kilometres northwest of Perth. Up to 12 planes and 14 ships were participating in the hunt.

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‘Dead, wounded’ on both sides in Ukraine police raid

An armed man stands next to a barricade in front of the police headquarters in Slavyansk April 13, 2014.

An armed man stands next to a barricade in front of the police headquarters in Slavyansk April 13, 2014.

Both sides have suffered casualties during a raid by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slavyansk that was seized by pro-Russian gunmen, Agence France-Presse reported Ukraine’s interior minister as saying.

“There are dead and wounded on both sides,” minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.

“On our side – an ABU (Ukrainian Security Service) officer… On [the] side of the separatists — an unidentified number… The separatists have started to protect themselves using human shields.”

The raid followed the announcement by Avakov of an “anti-terrorist operation” in Slavyansk to end pro-Russia separatists’ control over police and security services buildings.

“An anti-terrorist operation has begun in Slavyansk. It is being directed by the anti-terrorist center of the state security service,” the minister wrote on his Facebook page.

“Units from all of the country’s force structures are participating. May God be with us,” he added.

On Saturday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides in the Ukraine crisis to “exercise maximum restraint” and engage in dialogue to de-escalate the situation there, AFP reported.

Ban’s appeal came as Ukraine accused Moscow of “aggression” after Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen seized two security buildings in its restive eastern rust belt amid spreading protests demanding the Russified region join Kremlin rule.

Ban is “deeply concerned” about the deteriorating situation and “growing potential for violent clashes,” a U.N. statement said.

The secretary general “appeals to all sides to work towards calming the situation, adhere to the rule of law and exercise maximum restraint,” the statement added.

He also “calls again for urgent and constructive dialogue to de-escalate the situation and address all differences.”

Al Arabiya News

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Spain turns to Algeria’s natural gas amid Ukraine crisis

Spain has decided to import more natural gas from Algeria amid the crisis in Ukraine.

Visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters upon his arrival Friday in Algeria on a two-day visit that “Spain seeks to boost energy cooperation with Algeria, especially in natural gas,” Xinhua reports.

“It is time for us to discuss what we can do in terms of energy cooperation with our North African friends, including Algerians,” he said, noting that Algeria “supplies Spain with 45 percent of its natural gas imports. ”

Algeria outputs 152 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, 60 billion cubic meters of which are annually exported. It supplies the European Union with 14 percent of its natural gas needs.

Garcia-Margallo further indicated that “Spain is the largest EU economic partner of Algeria,” adding that his visit “aims at boosting bilateral cooperation through continuing dialogue.”

He concluded “Algeria and Spain regularly exchange views on regional and international issues, including the situation in Libya, Egypt and Syria.”

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Combat helicopters patrolling airspace over Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine

DONETSK, April 13, 11:16 UTC+4  ITAR-TASS.

A total of two combat helicopters are patrolling the airspace over the city of Slavyansk in the east-Ukrainian Donetsk region, an Itar-Tass reporter said in an eyewitness account from the place where, according to a notice posted on Facebook by Ukraine’s acting interim Interior Minister Arsel Avakov, an anti-riot operation had begun to suppress the protests, the participants in which demanded federalization of the country.

Once in every five minutes, a helicopter would appear in the sky over. Block posts had been put up on the streets.

In the meantime, an action of protest continued near the building of the city police department that was seized by the protesters the other day. Barricades had been put up there and people several armed people in fatigues were guarding them.

Another 50 or so men wearing the St George’s ribbons attached to the lapels of their coats came to the place to organize a picket. They chanted ‘Russia! Russia!’ at regular periods of time.

Policemen were not seen on the streets. Instead, a car equipped with a public address system was cruising the city and launching public appeals to the city’s population.

“Arise, don’t be cowards, they’re preparing an attack on us!” a voice coming out of the amplifier said.

Cell phones were fully operational in the downtown areas.

On the whole, the situation remained quiet but knotty at the time of reporting and there were no clear signs that an operation prepared by the organized Ministry Forces might be coming up.

People were moving freely around the city and shopping but a number of shops were closed.


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Ukrainian Interior Ministry : anti-riot operation in eastern city of Slavyansk begins

Arsen Avakov said units of all the law enforcement departments are involved in the operation

467DONETSK, April 13, 10:10 UTC+4  ITAR-TASS.

Ukraine’s acting interim Interior minister Arsen Avakov has announced the start of an anti-riot operation in the eastern city of Slavyansk, which is located in the Donetsk region where protesters demanding federalization of the country occupied the local departments of the police and the Ukrainian Security Service Saturday.

Avakov said on his page in Facebook the operation was steered by the Security Service and “units of all the law enforcement departments are involved in it.”

He issued bellicose warnings Saturday saying the authorities in Kiev would offer a ”very tough reaction” to the seizure of the district department of the Interior in Slavyansk.

In the wake of his statement, the protesters started putting up barricades consisting of tires, wooden screens and sandbags around the police station and hoisted the Russian flag over the building.

Participants in the protest action said they had been compelled to take drastic steps by statements of the Interior Ministry’s top brass.

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