I’m Aboard the New Horizons Mission’s Final Approach to PLUTO Happening NOW!!!!!

~By InsightAnalytical

UPDATE: To keep up to date with New Horizons Mission’s approach, these are the sites with all the info!  Both sites have countdown clocks to the time of the closest approach which will be at 7:49:59 a.m. EDT (11:49:59 UTC) on July 14, 2015.  The Johns Hopkins countdown also includes the elapsed time of the mission as well as a countdown to when the start of the close encounter operations begin,  12 April 2015, 00:00:00 UTC.

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/New Horizons website  — scroll down to sign up for their email newsletter for the latest updates, including tracking the craft’s location in the solar system.

NASA New Horizons Mission website  – latest news, Tweets, pictures and other information!

***

I’ve always been fascinated by space.  I cherish books which I’ve had since childhood.  Published around 1957, these well-worn treasures are always in view in my office bookcase. So, winding up living in Southern New Mexico near the White Sands Missile Range has been a happy coincidence since it’s a hotbed of all things astronomy and space!   Post-World War II, Werner Von Braun was brought here to test rockets for the U.S. Army and captured V-2 rockets carried hundreds of  payloads.

 

Childood Space Books

Childhood Space Books

What Space Exploration Would be like in the 1970's--Werner Von Braun from Chapter in "Outer Space"

Werner Von Braun’s vision of space exploration in the 1970’s–from chapter in “Outer Space”

NASA’s  White Sands Space Harbor (WSSH), was the primary training area for space shuttle pilots flying practice approaches and landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft and served as a backup landing site (Shuttle Columbia landed here on March 30, 1982). And I was able to witness the final flyover of the space shuttle Endeavour on its way it’s final home in California on September 20, 2012.  NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which has supported many missions, is a few miles from my home.   I watched as Endeavour circled over White Sands and the NASA facilities on Route 70 in a final goodbye, swung back over the assisted-living facility where my mother was at the time and then flew right over me as I stood on the dam and then turned toward the west.   I had tears in my eyes as I simply loved the space shuttle era! And this haunting video of the flyover brings tears to my eyes now!   I met Alan Hale, of Hale-Bopp Comet fame at the local co-op one day and had lunch with him on his next visit to Las Cruces from his home in Cloudcroft.  Who could have imagined that when I viewed the comet back in 1997 in New Jersey I would someday chatting with one of the discoverers! I also built a 4.5″ Dobsonian reflector telescope telescope one summer at a class sponsored by the Astronomical Society…and later had my scope signed by John Dobson himself when he visited the club!  And, the Spaceport which is waiting for Richard Branson’s commercial edge of space flights to become operable, is just a short distance away.

But even more important now is the fact that Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto,  lived and passed away here…and some of his ashes are aboard the New Horizons spacecraft! See Clyde Tombaugh: Astronomer Who Discovered Pluto, from Space.com.

Tombaugh was a founder of the local Unitarian Church and he is memorialized in a stunning stained glass window in the Tombaugh Gallery,  which houses a variety art exhibitions.

Window-Tombaugh1

It was quite by accident (or was it synchronicity?) that I’ve reconnected with this Pluto mission. I’ve been clearing out a lot of old stuff lately…clothes, files, and all sort of stray papers. Recently, I rediscovered a lost printout that I promptly restored to a prominent place in my office.

This single piece of paper reads:

NEW HORIZONS MISSION

Shedding Light on Frontier Worlds

Participation Certificate

Presented to

***********My Name************

On August 30, 2005

Thank you for joining the first mission to the last planet! A compact

disc bearing your name will be included on the New Horizons spacecraft,

set for the first voyage to a new class of planets on the solar system’s

farthest frontier.

Come with us as we complete the reconnaissance of the solar system and unlock

the secrets of Pluto, its moon, Charon, and the Kuiper Belt.

Certificate No. 277229

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  On December 6, 2014, NASA posted this update on the mission entitled “On Pluto’s Doorstep, NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Awakens for Encounter.”  (http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons/on-plutos-doorstep-new-horizons-spacecraft-awakens-for-encounter/#.VLWz3HuW6oN)

After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles —the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation today for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system.

Operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., confirmed at 9:53 p.m. (EST) that New Horizons, operating on pre-programmed computer commands, had switched from hibernation to “active” mode. Moving at light speed, the radio signal from New Horizons – currently more than 2.9 billion miles from Earth, and just over 162 million miles from Pluto – needed four hours and 26 minutes to reach NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia.

“This is a watershed event that signals the end of New Horizons crossing of a vast ocean of space to the very frontier of our solar system, and the beginning of the mission’s primary objective: the exploration of Pluto and its many moons in 2015,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.

With a seven-instrument science payload that includes advanced imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a compact multicolored camera, a high-resolution telescopic camera, two powerful particle spectrometers and a space-dust detector, New Horizons will begin observing the Pluto system on Jan. 15.

New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto will occur on July 14, but plenty of highlights are expected before then, including, by mid-May, views of the Pluto system better than what the mighty Hubble Space Telescope can provide of the dwarf planet and its moons.

“New Horizons is on a journey to a new class of planets we’ve never seen, in a place we’ve never been before,” says New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of APL. “For decades we thought Pluto was this odd little body on the planetary outskirts; now we know it’s really a gateway to an entire region of new worlds in the Kuiper Belt, and New Horizons is going to provide the first close-up look at them.”

January 15th!  With very little fanfare, New Horizons is going places where no spacecraft has gone before! It is happening right now!

In a January 5th article in Time Magazine entitled “ Hello Pluto! NASA’s Visit to the Mystery World Begins,” Alan Stern who has led the project writes:

It’s not exactly top secret, but it is too little known: this month, a small, robot spacecraft—built, launched and guided by a team of over 2,500 Americans—will begin the exploration of far-away Pluto and its five known moons. Lasting from January through July, this epic journey is very much the Everest of planetary exploration.

New Horizons already set records when it was launched in 2006 by becoming the fastest spacecraft to leave the Earth—reaching the orbit of the moon in just nine hours, about 10 times more quickly than the Apollo spacecraft did. Now, after traveling for nine straight years at an average speed of 39,000 m.p.h. (59,000 km/h)—equivalent to L.A. to New York in four minutes—it is at last approaching its historic rendezvous. No spacecraft has ever ventured farther—3 billion miles (4.8 billion km)—to reach its primary target.

At its closest approach, New Horizons will pass Pluto at a distance of just 6,000 miles (9,700 km). It will send back images at resolutions so high that if it were flying over New York City at the same altitude, it could count wharves on the Hudson River and ponds in Central Park. It will also take measurements of Pluto’s composition and atmosphere, study its moons, and more.

In 2003, the National Academy of Sciences ranked visiting the Pluto system at the very top of NASA’s exploration priorities. Why? Because in the 1990s, planetary astronomers discovered a vast structure in our solar system, a previously unknown disk of comets and small planets out beyond Neptune, called the Kuiper Belt. Pluto was the first of many small planets discovered out there, and it is still both the brightest and the largest one known.

The Kuiper Belt is the largest mapped structure in our planetary system, three times as big as all the territory from the sun out to Neptune’s orbit. The comets and small planets that make it up are valuable because they represent the astronomical equivalent of an archeological dig, reaching back to the era of planet formation, 4.6 billion years ago.

Nothing like the exploration that New Horizons is about to undertake has happened in a generation, and nothing like it is planned or even contemplated to happen again. It is likely the last time in our lifetimes that a new planet will be explored. This is more than scientifically important—though it certainly is that. It’s also a reminder of what American technology, culture and daring, on its game, can do.

So… my name and certificate number on a disc that is on a small craft…and the most amazing space mission to date!

To the edge of our solar system…and beyond!

‘Tis the Season to be…..WARY….

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Well, I’ve been dormant for a long time, but itching to get back to the blog the whole time…..

Instead of researching politics, I’ve been immersed in stocks, the economy, and Aerogardens (I hope to  post something on these amazing little machines sometime!).

Lettuce/arugula in one of my Aerogardens

Tussling with asset managers who really don’t get it has been an increasing occupation…researching links to European banks, etc.  It is very time-consuming, to say the least!

Yesterday, I was on the monthly conference call with the guy who manages an “Alternative” portfolio….metals, currencies, foreign ETFs, etc.  He gets the overall mechanics of it all, some of the big picture, but not the underlying monster.  I keep raising questions about things and never REALLY get the answers.

Well, I am no longer alone.  A woman named Elizabeth asked a question: “How do you plan to keep our money safe?” and referred to ME….that she had been reading what I had been reading! Eureka!

The guy is good guy and has no problem adjusting our accounts. So I just finished off an email to him instructing him on a couple of things…and then added a “reading list” for him to peruse. Whether he reads any of it is a big question, but I sent it along anyway. I tried to tap into something we have in common…he got his graduate business training at Cornell and I am now heading into my 40th Reunion year since my undergrad graduation !  (Which is pretty crazy, that I’ve come that far and survived! ) I told him that as Cornellians, we could put our brains together and survive….

Anyway, I thought I’d just plug in the part of the email with my reading list….this is a VERY short list….it is probably overwhelming for him but it barely touches the surface of what I read.

So, here goes, straight from my email to him…to you. It’s not pretty, the formatting is a mess…. but it gets to the basics! Hope you find this to be a helpful start…although, if/when systemic collapse comes who knows what preparations will really bail us out as individuals.

****

Now, I will bore you with a list of things I read regularly…
1)   http://www.zerohedge.com/    ZH is the go to place for the real nitty-gritty on what’s going on, no sugar-coating.  It’s really a must; updates during the day.
2)  http://www.jsmineset.com/      Jim Sinclair’s father worked alongside Jesse Livermore and Sinclair himself took care of unwinding the Hunt Bros. silver stake way back when.
Sinclair, otherwise called “Santa” around the blogosphere,  is very respected on the economic situation, metals, etc.   You will see a link to the left for Guild …their free newsletter may interest you.  Trader Dan Norcini started here and links to his own blog are now offered.  Direct link to Trader Dan….who is very cogent on gold,general market etc. analysis http://traderdannorcini.blogspot.com/

3) http://harveyorgan.blogspot.com/  This Canadian watches every ounce vs. paper at the Comex and the ETFs…things are not good there!  Also cites important news.

4) http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/   Great analysis of what the Cartel (mostly JP Morgan and the infamous Blythe Masters) is doing plus other stuff. all free. Reviews the COTS.  He’s been pretty spot on about price activity….

5) http://www.chrismartenson.com/   This started it all for me.  Former CEO, scientist started pulling things together and created the CRASH COURSE. It’s free pulls together various
threads for a big picture look at how our world is shaping up…Plus, very spot on economic analysis.  Site also is a great resource for “sustainable” living.   This site is a “safe haven” of
sorts….supportive and practical..  STRONGLY RECOMMENDED as a basis for what has many of us VERY WORRIED….and reading Zero Hedge every day….I have acted on many    recommendations…including yanking nearly all our money out of the banks like Wells Fargo….and I’m still researching TD Bank….nearly everything this man talked about a couple of years ago is unfolding now.    Pulled this up on TD Bank ….GreatPonzi.com – Canadian Credit Health Update 2011-09-19
Especially timely…current post…..http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/worse-2008/67136

6) Last but not least….the big picture of the bigger cycles/forces at work….Ray Merriman, whom I know personally to some degree.  His Weekly Preview is free.
Cut out the terminology you don’t understand, you will still get the idea….http://www.mmacycles.com/weekly-preview/mma-comments-for-the-week/
My 2012 book just came last night, so I’ll be deep into it.  These cycles are playing out right on schedule….

And, of course…I listen to Marc Faber, Jim Rogers...http://marcfaberchannel.blogspot.com/     http://jimrogers-investments.blogspot.com/
These try to keep up with major comments….

Also,  at KWN, there are a boatload of thinking people of some repute who are really watching the gold, currency etc markets and know we’re in big trouble
The KWN Weekly Metals Wrap available on Saturday AM features Bill Haynes from CMI Gold and Trader Dan.   KWN is where all the key people are interviewed–Jim Rickards, James Turk,
Martin Armstrong, Sinclair, etc. etc.   The link is the Gold/currency section, but there are sections on other areas of the market as well.
http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Gold.html

I was so happy to hear another person (Elizabeth) pipe up on the call….I don’t feel so alone.  The stuff coming out of the mainstream is really not getting to the nitty-gritty. We are nervous
for good reason…I’ve been following this for several years now.  I actually keep wondering if I should just yank my money out. … Marc Faber has talked about being diversified because we don’t know what will happen….25%+ metals; 25% real estate (esp. foreign); 25% cash; 25% equities, although he is getting more negative on them… His ideas on diversification are repeated here from yesterday 12/21   http://www.zerohedge.com/news/mark-faber-i-am-convinced-whole-derivatives-market-will-cease-exist-and-will-go-zero

The overriding sense I have that we’re on the edge…and we’re not going to be an island of safety ultimately.

***

So, that’s what I fired at the poor guy…

Hey, sorry to be a downer during the holiday season…but, a holiday is just one day…it’s gone and then we’re back to reality.

I’ll toss in one positive…the days are now going to get longer and Spring WILL come…until then, I bask in the grow lights of Aerogardens!

Thoughts as I Watched the Revolution in Egypt…(Update 1X)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

UPDATE  4/27/11

Well, Egypt  isn’t turning out so great…It’s all so predictable, isn’t it?  Any whiff of hope anywhere gets squelched real fast. 
And we’re now involved with Libya.  Meanwhile, the powers in Syria seem to be emulating the Libyan approach to dealing with protesters.

It’s like watching one disheartening train wreck after another.

Some personal train wrecks have taken me away from this blog…but, a rest still is in order.  It takes a lot of energy to fight the world these days!

One real positive is that our photovoltaic solar system is now up and running and yes, the meter is running backwards!  Have lots of pics and details which I hope to post one of these days!

*****

Nothing profound here to say, only an urge to write about my feelings as I’ve been sitting glued to Al Jazeera for days on end.

Today, I was clapping and cheering for the people of Egypt. A rush of feelings and memories flashed by.  I remembered 2000 as our elections were completely corrupted. (Some satisfaction as George W.  Bush is unable to go to Switzerland…war criminal that he is!)  I was thinking of the lies that led to the Iraq War and thought about the report I heard this morning on NPR about how there are fears that something may coalesce as the heat arrives and the electricity remains on only 2 hours a day. Protests percolating already around Iraq, and I say, go for it!

I’m finding myself coming back over and over again to about how the U.S. is perhaps going to get its ass kicked and deservedly so. They utter hypocrisy of the “democracy talk” as we sit here supporting repressive regimes all over the world.  We are a fraud when it comes to democracy.

My mind dwells on the right wing religious freaks and the Republican Party that has become their home who continue to attempt to screw women out of their rights and their independence as human beings, who basically are out to screw anything that helps people. And I’m supposed to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood while I live in a country that has it’s own brand of the Taliban roaming the halls of Congress??

I think of John Lennon. A site has “Revolution” up but I’m thinking of “Power to the People.” Is that the right title? I don’t know, but I can hear John singing it. Who really killed John Lennon? I’ve seen enough and read enough to figure it wasn’t just another “lone gunman.”

I’m sitting here, having celebrated my 60th birthday a few days ago….reflecting on the marches for women’s rights, the power of the movement, and how every time a fucking Republican comes along…with fake Democrats who assist…how every time we go BACKWARDS! And how backwards we have gone!  I think about the type of  “leadership” we have in this country…there are no real thinkers leading these days.  Between the servants of the bankers,  the increasingly shrill Republicans and passive Democrats…Jeebus, am I supposed to look at the Palins, Gingriches, Romneys and that Jeb Bush lurking in the corner and feel optimistic??  When I see how skillfully a Chris Christie can take a state like New Jersey and divide people into camps and blame all ills on teachers  and the people who do the day to day work to keep the place running?….disgusting!  Lying thuggery personified…and just the tip of the iceberg, I’m afraid. And Obama pontificating on democracy after Mubarak’s demise…what a load of crap.

I think about how we were supposed to get some “community radio” but all I hear is right wing shit talk radio all over the dial. People getting very little true news follow these propagandists for the right as they go about their highly-paid work to divide and conquer and sow the seed of intolerance and hate.

Yeah, I’m watching Egypt and cheering them on….but knowing full well that the arm of the IMF will probably soon reach in and grab them by the throat. Hell, we fund it and guess what? The IMF is talking about the dollar no longer being the reserve currency for the world. I’m just surprise all this is happening so quickly…Between the IMF and the Fed, Americans do not know how the world is getting screwed and how it’s going to come back to bite them.

Fat and unaware Americans will soon wake up to find that they are being ground down to a pulp.  Your dollars will be worthless soon.

We wrote a lot in the past about the impending disaster that was going to befall lthis nation.  There are many wonderful sites out there trying to wake people up. I read them every day…and spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to save my own financial neck.

Start stocking up on food, go to ChrisMartenson.com to start to try to prepare yourself (in right sidebar links).

And to the Egyptian people…stay strong, stay proud. I’m rooting for you…you’re starting fresh while the U.S. is rotting from the inside.  Note to the women there…get loud and don’t let them steamroller you…

China Using “Soft Power” to Lock Up Venezuela’s Oil and Assure Its Energy Security

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Add this to our growing list of “soft power” moves by China.  This time, China is getting even closer to Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, specifically, its oil reserves.  Recall that only a couple of years ago, Chavez nationalized the oil industry, including projects involving American and other foreign energy companies.  (And note that Brazil’s largest oil company has also signed a deal to supply China…)

From Bloomberg.com:

China Lends Venezuela $20 Billion, Secures Oil Supply (Update3)

April 19 (Bloomberg) — China, the world’s second-biggest consumer of oil, will lend Venezuela $20 billion and form a venture to pump crude from the Orinoco Belt, President Hugo Chavez said, vowing to meet the Asian country’s energy needs.

The financing from China is separate from a $12 billion bilateral investment fund, Chavez said, and will pay for Venezuelan development projects. Venezuela currently sends China 460,000 barrels a day of crude oil. The oil is used to repay the Asian country for $8 billion Venezuela used from the fund for infrastructure projects.

“We agreed on a huge, long-term financing plan,” Chavez said on state television on April 17. “This is a larger scope, a super heavy fund. China needs energy security and we’re here to provide them with all the oil they need.”

snip

Chavez said that the $20 billion loan is the largest that China Development Bank Corp. has extended to a country, and will go toward funding housing, railroad, energy and agriculture projects. China built and launched Venezuela’s first satellite into orbit in 2008.

China last year agreed to loan Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, as the company is known, $10 billion, and signed a long-term supply contract with the company.

“The relations between China and Venezuela extend from below the surface of the earth to outer space,” Chavez said. “We’re producing oil together and our satellite is out there in space. This is a mutating world in transition.”

And, isn’t that satellite deal interesting?

“…a mutating world in transition…”

Chavez hit that one on the head.

What We Need Are a Few Transatlantic Ocean Liners! I Remember When…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

With the ash cloud still throwing European air travel (and beyond) into chaos over the last few days, and possibly well into the future, I had to think about how great it would be if the transatlantic ocean liners will still plying the seas.

(Editor’s Note: The Cunard Queen Mary 2 is the only transatlantic liner still in service.)

As a kid, I remember the newsreels of the Andrea Doria sinking after being hit by the Stockholm.  My grandfather had taken the trip over on the Andrea Doria but returned on another boat, thus missing the tragic voyage.  I still have the ship’s brochure. (I also have a booklet from the Leonardo DaVinci, which was built to replace the Andrea Doria.)

A few years later my grandfather’s brother returned to Italy on the S.S. United States, which is now on the verge of being scrapped. I remember going to the ship and being on the main deck…and crying uncontrollably because I was so scared and wanted to get off!  The boat seemed so HIGH above the water (I was about 9 years old at the time).

About 13 years later I was on several boats as I took the grand tour around Europe.  One passage was from Italy to Greece, a wonder trip.  Another was an overnight voyage that left from Sweden and passed by the Carlsberg beer brewery at night.  I took one look at the small cabin for four and even with a porthole, I decided to stay up on deck all night.  Couldn’t bear to be below deck!

I guess I had lots of practice being on deck from several summers of taking the New London, Connecticut ferry or the boat from Pt. Judith, Rhode Island out to Block Island, Rhode Island.  This was years before the place was discovered. A friend of my mother’s had bought an old house and was restoring it and she let us stay there.  The trips took a couple of hours which was just about right for me before I started getting antsy.  Since the cars were below deck, about the closet thing to being “enclosed” was in the seating area which also held the snack bar.

Another decade or so later, I traveled frequently to England and on one trip, I took the Hovercraft to France.  I loved the Hovercraft because the pontoons inflated like huge tires and  I felt that, in a pinch, the thing could float.  At least that thought, true or not, reassured me.   I also made my way one year to see the Mary Rose, Henry the VIII’s favorite ship which sunk in the Solent at Portsmouth.

Along the way I developed a fascination with the Titanic and saw the first traveling exhibit when it hit Atlantic City, New Jersey.  It continues to be the sort of fascination that reinforces all the scary boat stuff I seem to harbor since those days on the deck of the liner that took my “uncle” back to Italy.

On a business trip to LA back in the early 80’s I took some time and visited the Queen Mary, now in Long Beach.  Just a few weeks ago I saw a show on how they were doing a lot of restoration on this wonderful ship.

Of course, as a fan of classic movies, there are always scenes on liners and getting on and disembarking, complete with crowded piers of well wishers and streamers trailing off the side of the ships as they slowly edge away from the dock.

So, it didn’t take very long to wonder…WHAT IF THERE WERE STILL OCEAN LINERS crossing the Atlantic these days??

I found a great site that has many pictures and stories about many of the old liners.  Here’s the introduction to  Rob Lightbody’s Website:

The Great Transatlantic Ocean Liners.


Aquitania enters New YorkThe Transatlantic Ocean liners changed the world.  Up until the 1960s they were the only way to travel to the “new world”.They were the equivalent of the 747 today – but much more exciting.  Each arrival and departure in Liverpool, Southampton or New York was an event in itself.

They were extremely elegant, fantastically fast and unbelievably huge!  The biggest man made objects that could move – and boy did they move!  They were high society at sea, and THE place to be seen.

Are you American? If so, chances are your grandparents travelled on one of the great ocean liners like the Mauretania.

Are you European?  If so, chances are a relative of yours left on one of these great ships, or one of your relatives worked to build them.

What you probably don’t know, is that these great ships helped us to win two world wars – they were the biggest troopships the world has ever known.

You can scroll down to see the many great liners that once graced the seas.

Sure it took about a week for a crossing, but travelers weren’t jammed into seats and subjected to foul air and the possibility of deep vein thrombosis.

…No problem with stretching your legs on a promenade around one of the great ocean liners! (although…those cabins below deck might still get to me…)

Related Links

More pictures of the great liners (photos)

The S.S. United States (designed as a cold war weapon disguised as a passenger ship)…info on the ship and the efforts to save her)

The Andrea Doria (overview)

The Leonardo DaVinci

The Sinking of the  Andrea Doria (with audio of the reports of the sinking)

The Mary Rose

The Queen Mary

The Hovercraft(s) across the English Channel (service stopped in 2000)


China is Iraq’s New Buddy–Writing off Iraq’s Debt and Getting Invited to Help Rebuild (And Don’t Forget–Their Oil Companies Are There, Not Ours)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

As the U.S. tries  to pull out the last of our troops in Iraq, here’s the irony of all ironies.  From Gulf News:

China could scrap Iraq’s $8.5b debt

Baghdad seeks investments from Beijing

Baghdad : China may write off all of Iraq’s $8.5 billion (Dh31.2 billion) of debt accrued under the rule of Saddam Hussain, Iraqi finance minister Baqer Al Zubaidi said yesterday.

“The Chinese government expressed readiness to write off $8.5 billion of debts owed by Iraq,” Al Zubaidi said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website yesterday.

Iraq is keen to see China play even a bigger role in the reconstruction of the war-torn country, the country’s top envoy to Beijing told the China Daily in an interview last week.

“After 2003, China has supported us very much and reduced Iraqi debts by 80 per cent, which is greatly appreciated,” Iraqi Ambassador to China, Mohammad Sabir Esmail, told the paper, referring to a $6.8-billion debt cut announced by China last month.

Esmail also invited Chinese companies to invest and operate in the country.

“I call on all Chinese companies to come and take up projects in rebuilding Iraq,” he told China Daily.

“China has many giant companies qualified to participate in rebuilding Iraq and… our country will remain a big workshop in the next 20 years,” he said.

Some Chinese firms, mainly in the energy and retail sectors, are already operating in Iraq.

These companies include oil giants such as PetroChina, Sinochem, CNOOC and Sinopec subsidiary Addax Petroleum.

MORE

Well, how about them apples?  All that killing of civilians, torture, multiple tours of duty, brain-traumatized U.S. soldiers returning home…and the Chinese are strolling into Iraq?

This comes on the heels of U.S. companies being shut out of oil contracts in December 2009:

U.S. Companies Shut Out as Iraq Auctions Its Oil Fields

By Vivienne Walt Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009

Those who claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 to get control of the country’s giant oil reserves will be left scratching their heads by the results of last weekend’s auction of Iraqi oil contracts: Not a single U.S. company secured a deal in the auction of contracts that will shape the Iraqi oil industry for the next couple of decades. Two of the most lucrative of the multi-billion-dollar oil contracts went to two countries which bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion — Russia and China — while even Total Oil of France, which led the charge to deny international approval for the war at the U.N. Security Council in 2003, won a bigger stake than the Americans in the most recent auction

So, it looks like Iraq has a budding friendship with China which continues to grab commodities with its masterful use of “soft diplomacy” (already doing the same thing in Africa) and now has a nice firm foothold right in the center of the action in the Middle East.

So, after seven years of mayhem and the draining of our national treasury, that’s the result.

Good work, Bush, Cheney, Rummy and Condi.

Condi is now regretting that the U.S. didn’t work more closely to rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam, but states that she’d still “liberate” the Iraqis and that George W. will be vindicated for his actions in the future.

More irony: she made her comments during a talk on “The Future of Asia” at the Chinese University of Hong Kong…

Sublime…

Of Earthquakes and Other Disasters…

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

As I write this, a tsunami is bearing down on Hawaii, a consequence of the terrible earthquake in Chile.  Japan was also hit with a quake, and, of course, Haiti is still suffering terribly from the quake that hit weeks ago.

There are a few sites that track such things that I visit to keep up-to-date.

My favorite is based in Hungary and features maps and information that track both natural and man-made disasters ranging from quakes, to storms, to major traffic accidents and pandemics. The site has been updated and is fantastic!  Under the “Disaster and Emergency Alert Map” heading, click the “Global” link for a world map; there are also sections different areas on the globe.  Click on an icon on the map to get a brief description of what’s going on in a specific area.  For example, there is a threat of epidemic in Viet Nam today.  Be sure to scroll down the page under the map for a lot more details on current happenings. The amount of information is amazing!

Check it out at:

RSOE EDIS – Emergency and Disaster Information Service

For a huge database of links to information on all sorts of disasters, plus terrorism information, go to:

CBS NEWS Disaster Links

Finally, there is a site (which requires registration to use) that is dedicated strictly to terror and suspicious incidents. Find it at:

Global Incident Map Displaying Terrorist Acts, Suspicious Activity, and General Terrorism News

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