Monthly Archives: February 2011

Middle East Crisis Send Oil Prices Soring

Gas Prices rose dramatically this past week especially on the turmoil in Libya. CNN Money has the story:

Gas prices have increased 17 cents a gallon in the past week. And analysts expect prices to continue higher, following a sharp rise in the price of crude oil.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose 4.6 cents to $3.33, motorist group AAA said Saturday. That marks the fourth day in a row that prices have risen, and brings the national average to the highest level since October 2008.

The highest price is in Hawai’i:

Gas prices were highest in Hawaii, where drivers paid $3.761 a gallon, on average. Wyoming had the lowest gas prices at roughly, $3.032 a gallon.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said gas prices’ 6-cent jump reported Friday was the largest one-day increase since at least 2008.

“This will definitely be the most expensive February ever,” he said, adding that gas prices are typically lower during the winter months

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Libya at Brink of Civil War

In a week, a Libyan uprising has caused gas prices to rise..Libyan President Colonel M. Gaddafi have ordered the shooting of rebels and innocent bystander in order to keep control. Libya the latest nation in the Arab world in turmoil has seen soldiers and cabinet minsters defect. Rebels taking cities throughout Libya. Gaddafi is trying to hold on to power in the national capitol of Tripoli.  There been calls for Gaddafi to resign the presidency including from President Barack Obama.  But the Libyan leader is trying to stand firm. He has blamed the US and (get an unlikely US partner at least in Gaddafi’s twisted mind) Al Qeda.  His days are numbered. From Al Jazeera:

Most of Libya is out of control of the government, and Muammar Gaddafi’s grip on power may soon be confined only to the capital, Tripoli, Libya’s former interior minister has said.

General Abdul Fatteh Younis told Al Jazeera on Saturday that he had called upon Gaddafi to end his resistance to the uprising, although he does not expect him to do so.

The embattled Libyan regime passed out guns to civilian supporters, set up checkpoints and sent out armed patrols, witnesses said in Tripoli.

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Some of Libya’s security forces reportedly have given up the fight. Footage believed to be filmed on Friday showed soldiers joining the protesters.

The footage showed demonstrators carrying them on their shoulders in the city of Az Zawiyah after having defected — a scene activists said is being repeated across the country.

Al Jazeera, however, is unable to independently verify the content of the video, which was obtained via social networking websites.

Our correspondent in Libya reported on Friday that army commanders in the east who had defected had told her that military commanders in the country’s west were also beginning to turn against Gaddafi.

They warned, however, that the Khamis Brigade, an army special forces brigade that is loyal to the Gaddafi family and is equipped with sophisticated weapons, is currently still fighting anti-government forces.

Our correspondent, who cannot be named for security reasons, said that despite the gains, people are anxious about what Gaddafi might do next and also because his loyalists were still at large.

Al Jazeera has video.

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75 Dead and scores of injured Following 6.8 Aftershock Devastated Christchurch,New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand  rocked by a 6.8  temblor an aftershock of 2010 earthquake  on Tuesday afternoon killing 75 and injuring scores of others. The temblor struck at 12:51 New Zealand Time. The Telegraph:

At least  bvn                    75 were killed, according to John Key, the prime minister.

Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, added that more than 100 are believed to be trapped in buildings.

The Queen, who is also New Zealand’s head of state, expressed her sadness at the 6.3 magnitude quake, saying she was “utterly shocked” by the news.

“Please convey my deep sympathy to the families and friends of those who have been killed; my thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this dreadful event,” she said.

“My thoughts are also with the emergency services and everyone who is assisting in the rescue efforts.”

The Prime Minister put the Auckland  and portion South Island has been declared state of Emergency:

A state of emergency was declared following the quake, which struck at 12.51pm on Tuesday local time (2351GMT Monday), when office blocks and shopping centres in the city centre were bustling with people.

Rescue workers scrambled to free scores of people trapped in buildings, some crews arriving by helicopter because streets were blocked by rubble and jammed traffic.

Officials fear the death toll could double amid reports that more than 200 were trapped in collapsed buildings and wreckage of homes. Bodies were seen lying in the streets, untended until emergency services were able to reach them.

A special “person finder” established by Google, the search engine giant, said it was currently tracking more than 3,600 “records”.

Former Pesident Carter:muslim Brotherhood is Secular in Egypt. Military Remains in Control.

Former President Jimmy Carter believes the Muslim Brotherhood is no is no threat Egypt and is people. The military remains in control. From the Austin American-Statesman:

The Egyptian military won’t ignore its citizens’ demands for open elections, even if the military has an interest in keeping power, former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday at a University of Texas lecture.

It was the first time Carter has spoken publicly about recent developments in the Middle East, including the uprising in Egypt that led to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Since the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, citizens in several other countries in the region — including Iran, Libya and Bahrain — also have staged protests in hopes of creating revolutions, demanding dramatic changes to government.

“My guess is the (Egyptian) military leaders don’t want to give up their political influence or power,” Carter said. But the military has seen what the demonstrators have done and will most likely submit to their demands, he said.

“The demonstrators will not accept anything less than honest, fair and open elections,” he said, adding that his foundation, the Carter Center, will be as “involved as possible” in bringing about successful Egyptian elections in September.

Tthe former President tries to re assure his audience a Uof T Austin{

“I think the Muslim Brotherhood is not anything to be afraid of in the upcoming (Egyptian) political situation and the evolution I see as most likely,” Carter said. “They will be subsumed in the overwhelming demonstration of desire for freedom and true democracy.”

Funny thing he said the same thing about the Ayatollah Khomeni in 1979; Just before Iran became a Islamic Republic!

Egyptan Military Ousts President Honsi Mubarak

Honsi Mubarak, the President of Egypt was overthrown in a bloodless Coup d’etat on Friday. The military demanded and got Mubarak resignation on Friday after relinquishing some of his power to Vice President Suleman and refused to quit  Thursday. From AP via Yahoo News:

Cries of “Egypt is free” rang out and fireworks lit up the sky as hundreds of thousands danced, wept and prayed in joyful pandemonium after 18 days of peaceful pro-democracy protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to surrender power to the military, ending three decades of authoritarian rule.

Ecstatic protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir, or Liberation, Square hoisted soldiers onto their shoulders Friday and families posed for pictures in front of tanks in streets flooded with people streaming out to celebrate. Strangers hugged each other, some fell to kiss the ground, and others stood stunned in disbelief.

Chants of “Hold your heads high, you’re Egyptian” roared with each burst of fireworks overhead.

“I’m 21 years old and this is the first time in my life I feel free,” an ebullient Abdul-Rahman Ayyash, born eight years after Mubarak came to power, said as he hugged fellow protesters in Tahrir Square, where crowds remained all through the night.

An astonishing day in which hundreds of thousands marched on Mubarak’s palaces in Cairo and Alexandria and besieged state TV was capped by the military effectively carrying out a coup at the pleas of protesters. After Mubarak’s fall, the military, which pledged to shepherd reforms for greater democracy, told the nation it would announce the next steps soon. Those could include the dissolving of parliament and creation of a transitional government.

World leaders commented on situation including President Barack Obama:

At the White House, President Barack Obama said “Egyptians have inspired us.” He noted the important questions that lay ahead, but said, “I’m confident the people of Egypt can find the answers.”

The White House’s message during the 18 day protests has be confused:

The United States at times seemed overwhelmed during the upheaval, fumbling to juggle its advocacy of democracy and the right to protest, its loyalty to longtime ally Mubarak and its fears the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood — or more radical groups — could gain a foothold. Mubarak’s fall came 32 years to the day after the collapse of the shah’s government in Iran, the prime example of a revolution that turned to Islamic militancy.

In Israel, the government  and  Israeli people are watching the events that had unfolded in Egypt. They  worried that 1979 Peace Treaty would be revoked :

Neighboring Israel watched with the crisis with unease, worried that their 1979 peace treaty could be in danger. It quickly demanded on Friday that post-Mubarak Egypt continue to adhere to it.

Any break seems unlikely in the near term. The military leadership supports the treaty. Anti-Israeli feeling is strong among Egyptians, and a more democratic government may take a tougher line toward Israel in the chronically broken-down peace process. But few call for outright abrogating a treaty that has kept peace after three wars in the past half-century.

Other Arab states are racing to make reforms before the demand change:

From the oil-rich Gulf states in the east to Morocco in the west, regimes both pro- and anti-U.S. could not help but worry they could see a similar upheaval. Several of the region’s rulers have made pre-emptive gestures of democratic reform to avert their own protest movements.

The lesson many took: If it could happen in only three weeks in Egypt, where Mubarak’s lock on power appeared unshakable, it could happen anywhere. Only a month earlier, Tunisia’s president was forced to step down in the face of protests.

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Saudi King Warns US Dont Push Out Mubarak Too Fast Or We’ll Let Him Stay

Warning from the King of Saudi Arabia shook up The Obama Administration on Wednesday, From Times of London:

Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up President Mubarak if the White House tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt. In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, King Abdullah told President Obama not to humiliate Mr Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $1.5 billion annually. America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. “Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated,” a senior source in the Saudi capital told The Times.

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GOP Keep Promise: Set Stage to Defund Obamacare

House Republicans announce that next week  they seek to de-fund  Health care reform bill. From  Reuters:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor( R-VA)announces that the are ready to defund Obamacare. “I expect to see one way or other the product coming out of the House to speak to that and to preclude any funding to be used for that,” Cantor said at a news conference, referring to an effort to block implementation of the health-care law.

House Republicans aim to pass a spending measure next week that would immediately cut at least $32 billion from the government’s $3.7 trillion budget in an effort to trim budget deficits that could hit an estimated $1.5 trillion this year.

Details of the Republican spending-cut package will be made public on Thursday ahead of a wide-ranging debate on the House floor next week.

Cantor’s office said the language blocking funding for the healthcare law is expected to be offered as an amendment during the House debate next week. Republicans, trying to make good on a campaign pledge for a more open legislative process, plan to debate a number of amendments to the spending bill.

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