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Gates Of Hell Open In Africa

The US has pledged intelligence and logistic aid to French forces battling al-Qaeda militants in Mali. In response to the French bombardment of the country, rebel leaders pledged to strike the “heart of France” and open the “gates of Hell.”
French president Francois Holland hailed the latest overnight airstrikes on rebel targets as “achieving their goal” and said that assembling an African force to back up the French could take a “good week.”

French president Francois Holland

Credit; Wikipedia

“We will continue the deployment of forces on the ground and in the air,” Hollande added.
The international community has rallied behind France’s campaign in Mali, offering logistical support. Fears have been voiced on the international stage that if al-Qaeda-linked rebels entrench in Mali, the country could become a platform for them to spread throughout the region.

Location of Mali
File:LocationMali.svg

Credit: Wikipedia

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed that the US was providing intelligence to French forces in Mali. “One is obviously to provide limited logistical support, two is to provide intelligence support and three to provide some airlift capability,” Panetta said during a press briefing.
“We have made a commitment that al-Qaeda is not going to find any place to hide,” Panetta told reporters on Monday.
However, he added, “There is no consideration of putting any American boots on the ground at this time,” Panetta told a news conference after meeting his Portuguese counterpart on the first leg of a trip to Europe.
Canada, Belgium, Denmark and Germany have also publicly supported the French incursion, pledging logistical support in the crackdown on the rebels.
West African defense chiefs will meet on Tuesday to approve the deployment of ground troops into Mali to tackle the Islamist rebel forces.
“On January 15, the committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff will meet in Bamako to approve the contingency plan,” the mission head of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), Aboudou Toure Cheaka, told Reuters.In one week, troops would effectively be on the ground as a precursor to a full intervention plan, Cheaka said.
The original UN-approved initiative to deploy 3,330 West African troops was scheduled for this September, but the plan was brought forward when the French began their aerial bombardment of northern and central Mali on Friday. Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea and Senegal have all pledged troops, but said that a full deployment would have to wait because of training constraints.
The French government issued a statement on Monday that it would send 2,500 troops to support Malian government soldiers and the West African security force. France has already deployed some 750 troops to Mali under ‘Operation Serval.’
Despite the heavy French bombardment of rebel targets in the northern and central regions of the country over the weekend, Islamist militants are continuing to advance in their push towards the capital Bamako.
Rebel militants wrested the town of Diabaly from Malian security forces in a counterattack, the French Ministry of Defense reported on Monday. A leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated of Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) told AFP that the rebels would strike the “heart of France” for their “attack on Islam.”
The French had “opened the gates of hell” and sprung a trap far “more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia,” the MUJAO leader said.
Northern Mali was captured by Islamist militants nine months ago; the international community has been debating since then over what action should be taken. The conflict escalated last week when France launched its air assault to “maintain stability in the region.”
The EU will hold a meeting on Thursday to assess the situation and how best to aid the French forces in Mali.

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Planet Earth

Hundreds of Birds Die Mysteriously in Rural Area of Wales

David Sims / Cover Images / SIPA

Things mysteriously falling from the sky is one of the classic Fortean phenomena. Birds dying from no apparent cause is another. That winning (or losing) combo occurred this week in a rural town in Wales no one has yet been able to explain the hundreds of dead starlings – many with their internal organs outside their bodies – found on an unclassified road near near Llyn Llywenan in Bodedern on Anglesey, an island off the north-west coast of Wales. With mysterious circumstances and no official explanation, the strange and conspiratorial theories abound.

“There’s easily more than 300 of them. I counted 150 last night but I gave up as there’s just hundreds of them littered everywhere. It’s as if they just dropped down dead from the sky.”

Dafydd Edwards reported on social media that his partner, Hannah Stevens, found the birds while driving home. She claimed that on the afternoon of December 10 she had seen a “massive flock” flying overhead before landing to eat something on the road. Less than an hour later, she said they were dead where they had been eating. It’s not clear how she arrived at that short timeframe from flying to dead in the road.

“It’s very strange, I can’t put my finger on it. There are still some alive in the hedges today but it’s all unexplained at the moment.”

As seen in Edwards’ video and photos (see them here and here), the vast majority of dead birds were in the road, where he counted 150 before quitting. North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team counted at least 225 and some witnesses estimated the total to be over 300. They collected the carcasses (identified as starlings) and sent some to a lab for examination and toxicology tests, which means they assume the birds were somehow poisoned. Locals were not so sure.

“It’s unlikely that the birds would have been in contact with an aircraft – RAF or civilian. Bird strikes can have quite an effect on aircraft, and can cause severe damage. Even minor bird strikes are reported as a matter of course at RAF Valley, and no such reports have been fed back by our personnel.”

The Ministry of Defence answered speculations that the birds had been hit by low-flying planes with that denial. On the act-of-God side, there was talk that the birds might have been caught up in strong winds or stunned by a sudden lightning strike or loud sound, but Hannah Stevens did not report any unusual conditions. The current cause-of-all-bad-things – 5G – was blamed but no other birds or wildlife seem to be affected. A sign of the apocalypse? We’re still here and so are the residents of Llyn Llywenan.

“We’re hearing one story that it happened in exactly the same place many, many years ago so we’re just trying to confirm that as well.”

Rob Taylor, Team Manager for North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team, added to the mystery by pointing out that locals claim another similar dead bird incident happened in the same area about 12 years ago, but no details were given and Internet searches turned up nothing.

As of this writing, the North Wales Police indicated they believed they know the cause of this mysterious bird kill but were awaiting the toxicology report. That hints of a suspicion of poisoning of some sort, which would seem to be one of the most likely causes. However, that memory of a previous event makes one wonder if something more sinister – something pre-5G – may be happening underground in Llyn Llywenan. Is anyone checking for unusual human conditions, cancers, deformities or mental illnesses amongst the residents?

Will there be a consensus? Will officials admit it if the cause is not poisoning?

What would Charles Forte think?

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Asteroid Will Make Close Fly by of Earth on Friday the 13th

NASA has been monitoring an asteroid which maintains an orbit around various bodies in the solar system and consistently passes through Earth’s orbit with the sun. 13 near-Earth objects in total are expected to fly past Earth in December of this year.

Earth is set to have a close encounter with an enormous asteroid which is set to fly nearby Earth on Friday at a speed of almost 18,000 miles an hour (more than 28,000 km/h), according to NASA.

The upcoming pass-by is estimated to happen on 8:25 am on 13 December, the unlucky Friday the 13th. The asteroid’s orbit diagram indicates that the near-Earth approach will follow the rock’s intersection with Earth’s orbit.

According to the space agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid has an Earth-crossing orbit with the sun and will not approach from a diagonal or perpendicular direction and instead will flyby perpendicular to earth.

It is expected to pass by earth at a shockingly close 0.03033 astronomical units, around 1.9 million miles (more than 3mn km) away.

NASA has dubbed the asteroid 2019 XO1 and estimate that it is around 243-feet wide, about the width of a Boeing 747 plane.

According to CNEOS, 2019 XO1 is classified as an Aten asteroid, meaning that its orbit circulates around a number of celestial bodies in the solar system including the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Earth.

The asteroid has a tendency to intersect its orbit with Earth’s, typically when it is furthest away from the sun.

3 December marked the first time 2019 XO1 was identified in its frequent encroachment on Earth. It also comes close to Mercury and Venus but, unlike its proximity with Earth, it does not cross the paths of the two other planets.

The body first came near Earth on 17 November 2013, missing the planet by 0.09488 astronomical units, around 8.8 million miles.

Following its passing on Friday the 13th, the asteroid will not come back from Earth’s outcrop of the solar system until December 22, 2022, where it will creep as close as 0.09534 astronomical units, up to 8.9 million miles (more than 14Mn km) away.

Sputniknews
Image credit: © CCO

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Los Angeles and Chicago Are Readying to Erase 68,000 Nonviolent Marijuana Convictions

Phillip Schneider, Staff Writer
Waking Times

The cities of Los Angeles and Chicago are taking a big step toward ending the damage caused from the war on drugs by getting ready to expunge nearly 70,000 non-violent marijuana convictions from citizen’s criminal records.

Kim Foxx, Cook County’s State Attorney in Chicago, is preparing to eliminate misdemeanor convictions of close to 18,000 residents which she argues will help mostly racial minorities get back into the housing and job markets, whereas having these cannabis crimes on their record sets up a barrier between them and these life essentials.

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