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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

While it seems certain that Muhammar's regime is exceedingly close to being overthrown.. it's impossible to sort fact from fiction from the reports coming from Tripoli.. it could well be days before all is confirmed..
Yesterday, the eldest son was in rebel custody.. last night, he appeared in Tripoli saying the fight would continue.. Saif al-Islam sought to rally regime forces earlier on Tuesday by making a defiant stand and claiming the regime had "broken the backbone" of their advance..
But Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the regime of Gaddafi is in its "death throes".. Hague said the battle for Tripoli was "not over yet", but claims that forces to loyal to Gaddafi were regaining ground were a "fantasy".. "He is not roaming freely through Tripoli.. He, and indeed the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces, are now cornered.. They are making their last stand and it's only a matter of time before they are finally defeated.. About that we are very confident indeed."
And.. Taking inspiration from the rapid unraveling of the regime in Libya, thousands of Syrians poured into the streets and taunted President Bashar Assad with shouts that his family's 40-year dynasty will be the next dictatorship to crumble..
Assad, who has tried in vain to crush the 5-month-old revolt, appears increasingly out of touch as he refuses to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of people demanding his ouster.. according to analysts.. Instead, he blames the unrest on Islamic extremists and thugs..
But many observers say Assad should heed the lessons of Libya.. Turkey, a former close ally of Syria and an important trade partner, has grown increasingly frustrated with Damascus over its deadly crackdown.. The violence has left Syria facing the most serious international isolation in decades, with widespread calls for Assad to step down..
Human rights groups say more than 2,000 people.. most of them unarmed protesters.. have been killed in the government's crackdown on the uprising..

The latest figures show that More than 1,400 people have appeared in court in connection with the riots that spread across England's towns and cities two weeks ago..
The latest data from the Ministry of Justice show that, of these, 157 have been convicted.. 327 bailed.. and almost 800 remanded in custody..
This rate of 62% being held in custody compares with the usual rate of 10% of those appearing before a magistrate..
The new figures come as the Metropolitan Police have been defending themselves against reports that officers were told to hold everyone arrested in custody and bail no-one..
'The Guardian' has published a leaked document, called 'Operation Withern: Prisoner Processing Strategy', which was circulated among Met officers investigating the disturbances at their height..
It suggested using certain phrases to help secure a charge, including: "A strategic decision has been made by the MPS [the Met] that, in all cases, an application will be made for remand in custody both at the police station, and later in court."..
It also appears to show police had been using their powers to charge suspects before gathering all the evidence because of the time required to examine CCTV footage..
The Met has denied guidance for officers suggested that everyone arrested should be held in custody.. or that cautions or other similar penalties were inappropriate..

Meanwhile.. as this economic crisis continues..
Stocks rose around the world today as investors shrugged off indicators pointing to more economic troubles in Europe and the U.S. and hoped the Federal Reserve will act to keep the U.S. from sliding back into recession..
Trading is expected to remain volatile this week as markets await a key speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during an annual economics conference in Wyoming on Friday..
The Fed already pledged to maintain its super-low interest rates until at least 2013, but some economists are calling for a third round of massive bond-buying to pump money into the faltering U.S. economy..
But there are those who look at the long term effects of 'quantitative easing'.. and express concern that we're mortgaging our grandchildren's future..
Major European stock markets ended the day in positive territory.. although gains were less pronounced than earlier in the day..
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.7% to 5,129.4.. Germany's DAX and France's CAC-40 both gained 1.1% to 5,532.3 and 3,084.3, respectively..
Wall Street traders were also in an optimistic mood, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 1.7% to 11,042.6.. and the broader S&P 500 adding 2% to 1,146.8..
The rise.. the second in a row for most major indexes.. came despite negative economic indicators both in the U.S. and in Europe.. demonstrating how high hopes have risen on new action from the Fed..
Again.. it's a case of pinning it all on 'if when's'.. putting the weight squarely on the shoulders of Ben Bernanke..
Economic indicators published in Europe, meanwhile, showed that failing efforts to resolve the Eurozone debt crisis are cutting into economic activity and sentiment in the currency union's core..
Markit's composite purchasing managers index for the Eurozone was unchanged at 51.1 in August.. signaling stagnation in the manufacturing sector and negligible growth in the services sector.. the index also showed output in Germany expanded at its weakest rate since the Eurozone's largest economy began to recover two years ago..
While analysts at Capital Economics had expected the index to deteriorate further from its 22-month low in July.. they warned that "the index is still dangerously close to recession territory."..
And, apparently, getting closer and closer..

Still keeping an eye on the weather.. It's a national preoccupation..
Hurricane Irene posed a potential threat to the entire U.S. East Coast from Florida to New England, as forecasters tried to predict where the powerful storm might hit over the next week..
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate.. and National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read.. issued the warning as Irene swept up from the Caribbean on a northwest track toward the United States..
"We're going to have a very large tropical cyclone move up the Eastern Seaboard over the next five to seven days," Read told a conference call in which he spoke along with Fugate..
The FEMA chief said residents all along the East Coast should be alert not only to a potential direct landfall but also to the risk of torrential rains, high winds and flooding that Irene could bring..
"We're saying the entire East Coast," Fugate announced..
Irene, now a Category 2 storm, was heading on Tuesday over the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas.. It was expected to become a major Category 3 storm with winds over 111 mph today and could possibly intensify further to a Category 4 as it neared the southeast U.S. coast by Friday..
For those unfamiliar with the scale forecasters use.. The 'Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale' was developed to help classify the destructive potential of any individual hurricane.. which gives hurricanes a rating from one to five.. increasing as the storm becomes more dangerous..
Category 1 Hurricanes have sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph that are classified as very dangerous.. and capable of causing some damage.. the main damage to people and livestock from a hurricane of this magnitude is from flying debris, but mobile homes built before 1994 standards can be destroyed..
Category 2 has sustained winds of 96 mph to 110 mph.. and are categorized as extremely dangerous and will be expected to cause extensive damage.. All the risks and expected damage from a Category 1 storm can be expected with extent and probabilities of those types of damages increasing.. Additionally, even newer mobile home models may be shredded by flying debris or destroyed by the winds..
Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale says that when hurricanes have sustained winds of 111 mph to 130 mph. devastating damage will occur..
The risk of death or severe injury to humans and livestock is high and nearly all pre-1994 mobile homes will be destroyed.. Newer mobile homes and framed homes built to lower standards may be destroyed as the roof is torn off and walls collapse.. Metal and masonry buildings face a risk of collapse and even well-built framed buildings may experience extensive damage as roofing and siding materials are stripped off by powerful winds.. Expect electricity and clean drinking water to be unavailable for days or weeks after the hurricane passes. Extensive road blockages may also persist for days as crews work to clean up the damage..
As for a Category 4.. Sustained wind speeds of 131 mph to 155 mph will cause catastrophic damage.. The risks and intensity of damage from lower level hurricanes are all increased dramatically when a hurricane gets this strong.. Even well-built homes may be destroyed as the roof is ripped off and walls torn open.. Almost every window on windward sides of buildings in the path of a Category 4 hurricane will be broken by flying debris if unprotected.. Even plywood coverings may be torn away from windows.. Windows will be blown out of high-rise buildings creating a very dangerous falling glass hazard.. Most telephone poles will be broken resulting in power outages across the entire region that may take weeks or months to be totally restored.. Lack of water and basic services, may make the entire area uninhabitable for weeks after the passage of a hurricane of this intensity..
And with a Category 5.. When a hurricane's sustained winds exceed 155 mph, a high percentage of even well-built homes and commercial buildings will receive extensive damage or be completely destroyed.. Nearly all windows will be blown out of high-rise buildings.. Again, lack of electrical power, water, and other basic services may make the area uninhabitable for weeks or months..
Hurricane Andrew in 1992 had some sustained winds at the Category 5 level as it swept across parts of Cutler-Ridge, Florida.. According to information from the University of Arizona's Geosciences Department, Hurricane Andrew killed only 25 people in Florida..thanks to advance warnings and evacuations.. but it left more than a quarter of a million more homeless.. Property damage exceeded $25 billion in the United States alone as it completely destroyed more than 600,000 buildings..
Irene, the first hurricane of the busy 2011 Atlantic season, looks set to be the first hurricane to hit the United States since Ike pounded the Texas coast in 2008..

To continue with the theme of natural disasters.. it's been reported today that the largest earthquake to strike Colorado in almost 40 years has shaken hundreds of people near the New Mexico border..
The magnitude 5.3 earthquake was recorded at about 11:46 p.m. local time Monday night.. about nine miles southwest of Trinidad, Colorado.. and about 180 miles south of Denver.. according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.. The quake followed two smaller ones that hit the area earlier in the day..
U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Amy Vaughn said.. the quake is the largest in Colorado since a magnitude 5.7 was recorded in 1973.. That one was centered in the northwestern part of the state.. about 50 miles north of Grand Junction..
A few homes have been damaged and deputies were investigating reports of rockslides along a highway, a Las Animas County Sheriff's Office dispatcher reported..
And the Camper Countdown continues..

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