John Kerry’s Warning on Syria

syria map

There have been talks going on in Geneva about the end of the hostile fighting occurring in Syria. In a heated late night phone call to a group of similar minded diplomats, Kerry said that it might already be too late for Syria to remain as one whole country for long. The agreements made to end the hostilities exclude Daesh and al-Quaeda because these two forces are not sovereign groups, but just a group of rampant thugs. The remnants of the Free Syrian Army have had alliances held with al-Quaeda and there is an odd mix going on between the fighters on the ground, each trying to overthrow their enemies.

Russia is also involved in this whole mess and allowed themselves to give humanitarian aid to half of the city in East Aleppo. What needs to happen with current elections coming up is to tone down some of the bombing of the people to not make room for more extremist recruitment tools.

Potential Future of Syria

A newly constructed state would be highly fragile and could follow a couple precedents that have happened in the world. The country could become similar to Afghanistan where the main government has weak control over the areas they have power in while they are engaged in constant insurgency fights in other regions and provinces in Afghanistan.

The idea of a breakup could be in the works but it is difficult to see if this would actually come to fruition. After all it was the breakup in the past century of the Ottoman Empire that spurred all of this dissent and inner tribal warfare in designated borders.

The powers in control or the ones that win this, if that is even possible need to think straight about if they will be able to do something that will not lead to this reemerging in a few years down the line or arising later.

To the east the Kurds have most of the control of the Hasaka province along with other local Arab allies. The Syrian Kurds need help against Daesh and have to worry about the Turkish coming in.  The main regime in power has been conquering the northern and western areas of Latakia, some of the largest urban populations. While in the meantime it still controls the majority of Damascus.


Remnants of Daesh

Some of the first places taken over by Daesh were Raqqa and Deir al-Zur which is considered Daesh territory. The Iraqi government is working on taking back Mosul and isolating off Raqqa by denying them supply lines

What needs to occur then and this was Kerry’s main point is reconciliation between the winning powers so that something like this will not arise and they can begin to foster a sense of one full Syria. They can’t go on in this country without devolving into complete sustained chaos over the upcoming decade. The powers in control are already hammering away at the excuse that considers themselves their own nation. It’s up to the victors after the battle has ceased to win the true war.


Wild Leopard Wanders into Bengaluru School, Injuring Six


School employees were shocked and horrified to catch a glimpse of a massive male leopard roaming the halls of a wealthy suburban school in Southern India’s Bengaluru. Luckily, it all occurred during a holiday so there weren’t in children in the school at the time of the incident. But in the course of the ten-hour-long process to capture the leopard, six people were seriously injured by the frightened wild animal.


Security Cameras Capture 10-Hour Attempt to Subdue Lost Leopard


The school’s CCTV footage shows that the leopard entering through an open door at the Vibgyor International School at around 4 a.m. A security guard on duty saw the leopard enter the school on the security cameras and immediately alerted Bengaluru police. The arrival of officers on the scene frightened the leopard, who ran back out the door to hide in the landscaped bushes outside the school.


Shortly after, the leopard panicked again, and ran back into the school, looking for a place to hide. Several experts were called onto the scene to strategize the best method for capturing and relocating the animal.


But in the process, the leopard mauled several people in the school, including conservation scientist Sanjay Gubbi, forest department employee Benny Maurius, and a media photojournalist. Footage from the CCTV cameras show the leopard attacking a man who’d tried to corral the animal near the school’s gym swimming pool.


Leopard Tranquilized and Relocated to Nearby Rescue Center


Attempts to subdue the leopard lasted all day. The wild cat was injected with enough tranquilizers to render it incapacitated around 8:15 p.m. that night. After being checked out by a veterinarian staff, the animal was taken to a nearby animal rescue centre in the city’s Bannerghatta National Park.


All the injured persons in the leopard rescue efforts have been treated and are reported to be on the mend. Despite the unpleasant surprise of a wild male leopard finding its way into a school that’s normally full of unsuspecting children, environmental experts were not surprised that this happened.


Incident is Part of Rising Trend Resulting from Human Habitat Destruction, According to Experts


The school is on the edge of a range of forests, and experts say that the leopard likely wandered out of the forest, and became disoriented and frightened. This isn’t the first incident of wild animals, including major predatory cats, straying into populated areas on the fringes of the city of Bengaluru, most often in wealthy suburban areas.


Deforestation for farmland, suburban construction projects, and logging efforts have dramatically reduced the habitat for leopards and other wild animals throughout southern India. Reports of animals wandering into cities from forest edges are increasingly on the rise as human impact reduces their food sources and the animals are forced into populated areas.


Many disoriented animals like the leopard have starved, become injured in traffic, hurt or even killed humans, or have to be killed after they encroach into cities like Bengaluru.

The Zika Virus is “Ruining Plans” Across the Globe

The Zika Virus has caused a serious health concern around the world. The virus, which is spread via mosquitoes, can lead to serious illness. All it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito for people to develop symptoms such as fever, joint paint, red eyes, and rash. And, while the virus rarely causes symptoms more severe than that, it has been causing concern as of late.

In fact, in May of 2015, the Pan American Health Organization released a statement and warning against the virus, confirming an outbreak in Brazil. The biggest concern is for pregnant women who contract the virus since it could cause birth defects and other problems in the developing fetus. As a result of the risk, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel alert, cautioning people against visiting areas where the risk for contracting the Zika virus is high.

Many people around the world, especially those who are expecting babies, are canceling travel plans as a result. And, unfortunately, this has put travel industry related companies, such as resorts, hotels, airlines, cruise companies, and more in a bind. They’re having to make tough calls about whether to credit or refund those who have booked trips but who now don’t want to risk making them.

It’s not just one or two areas that are being affected either. No, the Centers for Disease Control has issued warnings about 23 different parts of the world. This includes almost all of Central America, Samoa, and more. As a result, tourist influx in these areas is lower than ever. Even people who are not pregnant are worried about the risk of contracting a virus about which so little is known.

What’s even more frightening is that the World Health Organization doesn’t see an end to this outbreak anytime soon. In fact, it’s predicting that up to 4 million people will likely have been infected by the end of 2016. It is so concerned that it’s holding a meeting on February 1st to try and determine if the outbreak qualifies as a public health emergency.

And, while people may think they’re safe by staying inside of the United States, that’s not necessarily true. A case of the virus was recently recorded in Boston. However, it was contracted by someone who had traveled abroad, but the fear still remains.

The travel industry is also fearful at this time, unsure of how it will handle the hit and how long it will be affected. Most have reported large numbers of canceled trips. Some companies have even made the decision about how they will handle cancellations. American Airlines, for example, has decided to offer refunds to pregnant women and those traveling with them while Delta is offering various options on a case by case basis. Similarly, major cruise lines, including Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean are offering refunds and other options.

One thing is for sure, though. Until the Zika outbreak is under control, it is imperative that all travel companies come up with a plan for how to handle cancellations…and deal with the lost profits as well.


Sailors Detained by Iran

Sailor tying lighterman's hitch

Tuesday Iran’s capture of 10 United States sailors set off a firestorm for a lot of United States officials as they debated what happened and tried to get this figured out. Meetings in both Washington and Tehran were booming with anxious officials who wanted to make sure this incident would not affect the newest nuclear accord deal they had been fighting to finish and working on for quite some time. The accord is something that would prove to be of great worth between the two countries and cool down the hostilities.

It eventually came down to Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif who had been working together over the past few months to get the new agreement hammered out between the two countries. The two of them became close during that time in the close quarters of sliding this deal through. As both countries struggled to get the full details of the affair, the two men worked it out the best way they could.

Both of them spoke over the phone a reported five times. Meanwhile Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was investigating what happened and wanted to make sure it the U.S had entered their Iranian waters on purpose. There was multiple meetings surround this drama in both capitals. At the heart of all of this were the two men who had worked so hard to ignite a new relationship. They were not going to let this be undone by the incident.

Timing is Everything

The drama in the gulf was unfolding right before the annual State of the Union in front of Congress. Right away Kerry rushed to his room to deal with the fallout of this and spared no time in trying to fix a potential catastrophe.

Fortunately it was reported that the supreme leader decreed “After making sure there were no evil intentions from the sailors’ side, Leader Khamenei gave the green light for the release of sailors”

The sailors were released from the island and were unharmed, It was reported that there was no government to government apology from either side or to Tehran. During the capturing it was broadcast on Iranian television and one of the sailors apologized and said that it was just an accident for them entering the waters.

Repeated Incident

A similar incident like this one once occurred in March of 2007. Many might not remember but 15 British sailors were captured in Iran on the waters that were considered their territory. Instead of the 24 hours it took for the Americans to be released, it took 13 days before the President released these men under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s command.  They even had a British ambassador at that point stationed in Tehran yet the communication did not stick as well as the American’s did in 2016. There was a tense 40 minutes to the capture as it was reported a US plane was flying very low and close over the island. Luckily what Kerry and Mohammad had developed together was enough to save the situation.