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Sun, 26 Jan 2020
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Business of tragedy: Lloyd's insurers warn of volcanic apocalypse as investors back losses with 'catastrophe bonds'

Taal Volcano Tagaytay City Philippines
© Reuters / Eloisa Lopez
Residents look at the errupting Taal Volcano in Tagaytay City, Philippines, January 13, 2020
Lloyd's of London, one of the world's largest insurance markets, warned that volcanic eruptions could bury 15 major cities in lava and ash in the coming two centuries. As always though, there's money to be made in catastrophe.

The Philippines' Taal Volcano belched into life on Sunday, spewing a cloud of ash half a kilometer into the sky and shutting down Manila's international airport less than 80km (50 miles) away. As lava shot out of the volcano and earthquakes rumbled nearby, scientists warned of an "imminent" eruption.

The Taal Volcano last erupted in 1977, but a previous eruption in 1911 killed more than 1,300 people. Residents of the area surrounding Taal Lake are therefore worried about the possibility of another disaster.

Such catastrophic eruptions will only become more common in the coming 100-200 years, Lloyd's of London warned on Tuesday. According to the venerable insurer, around half of the world's volcanoes in eruption are expected to have "reawakened" during this time, after lying dormant for generations.

Moreover, Lloyd's added, "about one percent of the world's population lives in 15 cities within range of an active volcano."

Comment: Volcanoes, Earthquakes And The 3,600 Year Comet Cycle
We have also discovered that cometary events and volcanic eruptions leave very similar traces. In addition, they are not mutually exclusive, both can occur simultaneously for the simple reason that cometary events do indeed cause volcanic eruptions.

Despite this proven causation, mainstream science keeps downplaying the role of cometary events in favor of a systematic recourse to spontaneous (i.e., not induced by a comet) volcanic eruptions to explain most catastrophes. [...]

To summarize, the evidence suggests that a comet (or cometary swarm) interacted with Earth ca. 14,400 BP, 10,800 BP, 7,200 BP and 3,600 BP. That is to say, on a 3,600-year cycle, meaning that we are due a repeat performance around now. Indeed, the American Meteor Society's records of observed fireballs worldwide over the past 13 years suggest that the 'show' might actually have already begun..


Massive petrochemical terminal explosion rocks Zhuhai Port, China

Petrochemical terminal
A petrochemical terminal at Zhuhai Port in southern China suffered a major explosion and caused a massive fire today.

The accident occurred at Changlian Petrochemical's base in the Gaolan port area of Zhuhai Port, just across the border from Macau at the mouth of the Pearl River.

The workers at the terminal and nearby areas have been urgently evacuated. Currently the casualties remain unknown. According to local reports, the fire has been put out.

Changlian Petrochemical, owned by Esson New Energy Group, produces various petrochemicals at the plant including benzene, toluene and and mixed xylenes. The terminal started production in 2003 and has an annual capacity capable of producing over 1.2m tons of petrochemicals.

Comment: Also from today: Huge explosion rocks chemical plant in Spain, multiple casualties reported


MPs call on Abkhazia's president to step down after opposition protesters STORM government - UPDATE: Leader resigns

© Sputnik
Thousands of opposition protesters took to the streets of Abkhazia's capital of Sukhum on Thursday, breaking into the office of president Raul Khajimba and demanding a new election.

The police force outside the presidential administration building failed to contain the angry crowd, with people smashing doors and windows to make it inside. Footage from the president's HQ showed the protesters roaming the offices, overturning furniture and throwing state papers around.

A large crowd remained camped outside the building as the night descended on the Abkhazian capital. The protest leaders urged the people not to disperse until their goal is achieved.

Comment: See also: UPDATE: 14th January @ 22:54 CET

RFE/RL reports that the leader has resigned and has no plans to run for a new term:
Raul Khajimba, leader of the self-proclaimed breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia, who resigned following four days of protests in the regional capital, Sukhumi, does not plan to take part in a new election.

Separatist Vice President Aslan Bartsits told lawmakers, who accepted the resignation on January 13, that Khajimba "will continue to take part in political life" but "is not going to run in the election."

Afterward, the breakaway region's parliament named de facto Prime Minister Valery Bganba as acting president and announced that the current staff of the separatist cabinet will continue until a new president is elected.
Raul Khajimba

Raul Khajimba
Bganba issued a statement addressing the residents of the breakaway region, saying that he will do "everything to establish internal stability in order to secure the decent organization and execution of presidential elections in accordance with the terms defined by the constitution."

The leader of the Bloc of the Opposition Forces, lawmaker Aslan Bzhania, said on January 13, that he plans to put himself forward as a presidential candidate in the election.

A day earlier, former Abkhaz Prime Minister Sergei Shamba read Khajimba's resignation statement to protesters near the presidential residence.

Parliamentary speaker Valery Kvarchia confirmed the resignation, telling Russia's TASS news agency that "the issue of who will act [as president] has not yet been decided."

"It may be the prime minister," he added, referring to Prime Minister Valery Bganba.

Kvarchia added the region's de facto legislature would take up the issue in a session later on January 13.

The announcement came just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide, Vladislav Surkov, arrived in Sukhumi, joining a Russian delegation headed by Russian Deputy Security Council Chairman Rashid Nurgaliyev.

The Abkhaz Supreme Court on January 10 reversed an earlier decision and declared the September results void, following a petition by opposition leader Alkhas Kvitsinia.

Khajimba and his supporters had resisted calls for his resignation and planned to launch legal appeals before his January 12 about-face.

The head of the region's self-proclaimed Central Election Commission, Tamaz Gogia, said on January 12 that he did not agree with the Supreme Court ruling, but that he would abide by it. The commission set March 22 as the date for a new election.

The Black Sea region has had de facto independence from Georgia since a war against Tbilisi in 1992-93. After Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in August 2008, Moscow unilaterally recognized Abkhazia and another breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia, as independent states.

Both regions have since been largely propped up by Moscow and host Russian military forces.

Georgia and most of the international community consider both regions to be occupied territories.
See also: 'Beacon of liberty': 10 years since Georgia attacked South Ossetia and Russia - not the other way around


Huge explosion rocks chemical plant in Spain, multiple casualties reported

spain chemical plant explosion
© Djanko / Twitter @Frass72
A huge fire broke out at a chemical plant in Tarragona, Spain following an explosion at the site. One person is reported dead and another six injured.

The blast was reported at around 6:40pm local time on Tuesday in the Catalonian port city which attracts tourists with its numerous Roman-era ruins. People living several kilometers away reportedly felt its impact. As firefighting teams were dispatched to the scene, Catalonia's civil defense agency warned locals to shelter inside with their doors and windows closed as a precautionary measure. Residents were also asked not to drive.

Authorities stated that one person was killed when the blast toppled a building, and six people were reported injured. Two of those injured suffered major burns.

Comment: Below is a list of just some recent explosions at industrial plants: See also: SOTT Exclusive: The growing threat of underground fires and explosions


Florida woman caught trying to detonate bomb made with mason jar, nails inside Walmart

Emily Stallard
© Photo: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
Emily Stallard
A Tampa woman was caught attempting to make a homemade bomb inside a Walmart store while a child was with her, deputies said.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said a security guard spotted 37-year-old Emily Stallard roaming the aisles of Walmart, located at 2701 E Fletcher Ave, around 6 p.m. on Jan. 11. The guard watched as Stallard opened unpaid items, including flammable materials, projectiles and matches.

The security guard called the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and also notified an off-duty Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officer who was inside the store at the time.


Kentucky miners block train loaded with coal over lack of pay

Kentucky miners block train
© Lexington Herald Leader
Some Kentucky coal miners and their families stood on train tracks Monday to prevent a train loaded with coal from leaving, saying they had worked since Dec. 16 without being paid. The tracks lead from Quest Energy in Pike County.

A CSX crew went to the tracks to get the engine and left the loaded train cars there, CBS affiliate WYMT-TV reported. Miners told the station they expected to be paid Friday, then were told to wait until Monday, when the date was pushed back again.

Miners at the tracks told WYMT about 50 miners are owed for three weeks of work.


Climate scientists should stop depressing themselves (and us!) with made-up mental disorders

Extinction Rebellion
© Getty Images / Mike Kemp
Extinction Rebellion climate change protester screams helplessly into the London sky
I'm not surprised that some climate scientists claim that they suffer from a new mental health condition called 'ecological grief'. These days the way you draw attention to your cause is by highlighting the emotional pain you suffer.

A label in search of victims

The Guardian reports that researchers are forming ecological-grief support groups online to "share their feelings."

Scientists reporting their sense of environmental loss, self-consciously come across as mental health patients in search of coping strategies.

Professor Steve Simpson, a marine biologist at the University of Exeter, argues that it is essential to find ways of sharing ecological grief and "work together to support each other." Another researcher, Ashlee Consolo, explains that ecological grief is "certainly painful" and "it can be terribly isolating" for "it can be a really horrible experience."


Arrow Down

Project Veritas - Bernie campaigner dreams of slaying MSNBC hosts: 'Liberals get the f***ing wall first'

Kyle Jurek
Undercover footage released by Project Veritas on Tuesday shows a field organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-VT) 2020 campaign warning that liberals will "get the fucking wall first" in a socialist revolution.

The remark, uttered by an individual identified as Kyle Jurek, was prompted by a Project Veritas journalist, who asked: "Guys like that (liberals), what are we going to do with them?"

"Gulag," Jurek quipped with a laugh, before adding: "Liberals get the fucking wall first."


'So long, Spartacus' - Twitterati give Booker mocking send off to failed presidential campaign

cory booker spartacus
Update: As is his custom, President Trump greeted news of Booker dropping out with a sardonic tweet claiming he will "rest easy tonight" knowing that the 0%-polling Dem is out of the running.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on Twitter, users are joking about the prospect of Booker and Kamala Harris suing the DNC for racism.

Heart - Black

Masked man born before World War II arrested in suspected bank robbery in Greenville, SC

Gilbert Paul Ware
A man born before World War II even began has been arrested after allegedly robbing a bank in South Carolina while wearing a mask.

Police responded to a report of a bank robbery at around 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning at a bank in Greenville, South Carolina.

The suspect, later identified as 86-year-old Gilbert Paul Ware, had allegedly entered the bank while wearing a mask and brandishing a firearm demanding money from the employees.

The bank tellers complied with the request and handed over an undisclosed amount of money to the bank robber. Ware then got into his car and left the premises with the money.