Daily Archives: November 22, 2008

2025 to bring a New World Order

The National | Nov 21, 2008

By Loveday Morris

The global order will shift dramatically over the next two decades as US hegemony wanes and eastern powers emerge as key players in a world that will be increasingly torn by conflicts over land, water and food.

By the year 2025, a “massive shift of wealth”, will see China, India and Russia join the United States as major economic powers, according to a report released by the US-based National Intelligence Council. It will also provide opportunities for Gulf countries, such as the UAE, to play a pivotal role in world politics.

The 121 page report, entitled Global Trends 2025 — A Transformed World, is intended to provide a basis for policy assessment for the White House and intelligence community.

“The unprecedented shift in relative wealth and economic power roughly from West to East now under way will continue,” the report said. “The United States will remain the single most powerful country but will be less dominant.”

It also warned of a rise in organised crime, a growing likelihood of nuclear conflict and resource grab as countries try to shore up supplies of scarce commodities.

In a world where the US will no longer be able to act unilaterally, the Gulf could see itself in an important position, acting as a bridge between East and West, according to Mark Allworthy, a Dubai-based research analyst for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“The Gulf countries will become increasingly influential, with India and China and the West almost battling to strengthen relationships with the region,” he said. “I think they will be in a strong brokering position.”

The global financial crisis may further cement the importance of states on the Arabian peninsula who have benefited from “windfall profits” after high oil prices, the report said.

“If China, Russia, and Mideast oil exporters can avoid internal crises, they will be in a position to leverage their likely still sizeable reserves, buying foreign assets and providing direct financial assistance to still-struggling countries for political favours or to seed new regional initiative.”

By 2025, an alternative and viable energy source to oil and gas is likely to have been discovered, the report said.

It highlighted Saudi Arabia as the biggest loser in a “post-petroleum world” as it will be forced to tighten up on costs of the royal establishment and could face tension from some factions if it tries to implement economic reforms such as encouraging women into the workforce. The smaller Gulf states, which have been diversifying their economies, are likely to manage the transition well, it added.

Heavy investment in renewable energy programmes may also mean that the Gulf is more cushioned than one might expect from a shift away from oil, Mr Allworthy said.

“The Gulf is one of the regions in the world taking the lead on alternative energy,” he said. “For example, Abu Dhabi has invested huge amounts of wealth around the world; they are prepared for this.”

The scarcity of resources such as food, water and energy poses a major challenge for all of the GCC countries, as their total population is set to double to nearly 60 million by 2030 from 30 million in 2000. The UAE currently imports nearly 85 per cent of its food and is already looking overseas to boost its reserves. The Government of Abu Dhabi is now looking to agricultural investment projects in countries such as Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Egypt and has agreed to buy farmland in Sudan.

“The Gulf will be one of the worst hit by growing food shortages and there’s a need for strategic planning of food security,” said Eckart Woertz, an economic programme manager at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai.

The report predicts a world where there is a higher risk of nuclear conflict and non-Arab Muslim states such as Iran, Turkey and Indonesia may be central players. It said that although Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is not inevitable, worries about a nuclear Iran may spark an arms-race in the region.

“It is not clear that the type of stable deterrent relationship that existed between the great powers for most of the Cold War would emerge naturally in the Middle East with a nuclear-weapons capable Iran,” it said.

Theodore Karasik, director of research and development at the Institute for Near Eastern and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai agreed that Iran could be a “robust competitor” on the global scene.

Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, on Thursday night urged a high-powered audience at the annual conference of the Middle East Institute in Washington, to include the UAE in what may become the biggest foreign policy shift of Barack Obama’s administration: resuming diplomatic relations with Iran. Mr Gargash said he sees a chance for the UAE to play a vital role in any future talks.

“We are neighbours, we share a waterway, communication has been easy.”

Police investigated allegations schoolgirl was ritually sacrificed by White Knights Templar


POLICE investigated allegations that schoolgirl Vicky Hamilton was sacrificed by a group of White Knights Templar.

Edinburgh News | Nov 21, 2008

The murder trial heard details today of the 16-year police investigation into her disappearance on the first day that Vicky’s father, Michael Hamilton was in the High Court in Dundee listening to evidence.

Anderson take jurors through the wide-ranging inquiry launched after the teenager vanished in 1991, and the subsequent police review of the case in 2006.

Peter Tobin, 62, denies abducting 15-year-old Vicky and drugging, indecently assaulting and murdering her.

He further denies concealing the body, cutting it up and burying the parts.

The court heard that a woman named Margaret Mulgrew told police that a man had admitted to killing Vicky.

Solicitor-general Frank Mulholland QC, prosecuting asked Mr Anderson whether the woman had made the claim to police.

Mr Anderson agreed that she had and that the claim had been part of a 2001 police inquiry involving 10 officers.

He said that Ms Mulgrew had made a number of allegations, including a claim that a Hugh Gunn told her he killed Vicky.

She said that he told her he had picked Vicky up in Bathgate, “whacked” her on the head, and then later buried her.

Mr Anderson also agreed that she told police Mr Gunn said he and a group of White Knights Templar sacrificed Vicky and cut her heart out while she was still alive, before burying her.

Mr Mulholland said: “Is there any evidence you are aware of that Vicky was sacrificed by a number of White Knights and her heart taken from her body?”

“No,” replied Mr Anderson.

Mr Anderson then confirmed that an interview was carried out with Mr Gunn as well as an inquiry into his mental state.

Mr Mulholland said: “Was a report obtained from two psychiatrists who had been treating Mr Gunn for mental illness?”

“It was, yes,” Mr Anderson said.

Donald Findlay QC, defending, later put it to the witness in cross-questioning: “What we have at this point in time, in terms of what Hugh Gunn is saying to Margaret Mulgrew, is an account which is, on the face of it, an admission by Hugh Gunn to being involved in the killing of Vicky Hamilton.”

He continued: “Some of that admission is clearly bizarre.

“But there are other aspects of the things that he said which either, firstly, would appear to be true or at least potentially could be true.”

The witness agreed.

Earlier Mr Anderson of Lothian and Borders Police, now retired, told the trial he was appointed as the senior investigating officer into the schoolgirl’s disappearance when the case was looked at again in 2006.

He said in the initial inquiry in the months immediately after she vanished more than 6500 people were spoken to and just over 3000 statements were taken.

And he explained that a search of Bathgate and its surrounding area was widened as far afield as London and Aberdeen after Vicky’s purse was found in Edinburgh city centre 11 days after she disappeared.

“It had quite a dramatic effect,” he said of the purse find in the city’s St Andrew Square.

He said officers looked into the possibility that Vicky had “moved on” from Edinburgh, given that the purse was discovered near the city’s bus and railway stations.

The trial continues


Vicky trial hears of prints on body bag

Mr Mulholland then asked the officer, “Ever seen anything to suggest that Vicky’s body was buried at Torphichen with help of the White Knights of Templar?”

“Not to my knowledge,” he replied.

The detective constable had not heard of the White Knights of Templar, and was asked by Mr Mulholland if he had seen “anyone dressed as one in Edinburgh or indeed Scotland, charging about on a horse with a pole”.

Arctic blast shatters 40 year low temperature records across south-eastern US


Brrrrr! Cold front blasts the Southeast

NBC | Nov 19, 2008

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — Floridians, break out your fleece jackets.

Forecasters say an arctic cold front is expected to pass through the state starting Tuesday, with temperatures expected to hit 30 degrees in Marion and Alachua counties; the record low temperature of 30 degrees in Ocala was narrowly missed on Monday.

Hard freeze warnings are expected for much of interior north Florida for Tuesday night, where temperatures will fall into 20s and cause patchy frost by sunrise on Wednesday.

State officials urge folks to use safe heating sources, bring pets inside and use extra caution if planning outdoor activities due to the enhanced wildfire danger with all the dry air.

To the north in Georgia, the National Weather Service says temperatures Tuesday night and early Wednesday are expected to range from the upper teens in far north Georgia to the upper 20s and mid 30s near the coast.

The weather service predicts a gradual warming trend through the week. By Saturday, the forecast calls for lows in the 20s and 30s in north Georgia to the 40s in the south, followed by daytime highs from the upper 40s to about 70 in parts of south Georgia.

In Alabma, ahard freeze watch is in effect from late Tuesday night through Wednesday morning for counties in southeast Alabama, east Georgia and northwest Florida.

The National Weather Service in Tallahasse, Fla., said an approaching arctic cold front will mean subfreezing temperatures below 26 degrees for at least two or more hours.

So, you will definitely need coats and scarves.

Meanwhile, forecasters in Birmingham have issued a lake wind advisory for much of central and north central Alabama.

The advisory will remain in effect all day Tuesday.

. . .

Another record low for Gainesville, FL

Sun | Nov 20, 2008

By Karen Voyles

Gainesville set another record for low temperatures early Thursday when the official thermometer at the airport hit 29 degrees. The previous low temperature record for this date was 30 degrees and was set in 1968.

National Weather Service forecaster Jason Hess said Gainesville, Ocala and the rest of North Florida should catch a slight warming trend through Friday.

“Overnight another front moved through,” Hess said. “That will bring relatively mild temperatures, but still about 10 degrees below normal for this time of year.”

The high on Thursday afternoon should reach into the mid 60s and the overnight low is expected to dip into the upper 30s.

Enjoy the relative warm-up because we will be back into freezing overnight temperartures for the weekend. Friday’s high may only hit 60 and a freeze is forecast for Friday night into early Satruday morning.

The Thanksgiving Day outlook calls for cool, dry weather, Hess said.

“It appears we will continue to be below normal, with overnight lows in the 40s and daytime highs in the mid 60s.

. . .

Record cold descends on Coweta, GA

Times-Herald | Nov 19, 2008

By Sarah Fay Campbell

Cold weather has arrived in Coweta with a vengeance.

Temperatures Tuesday night/Wednesday morning were in the low 20s. At 7 Wednesday morning, a local bank’s thermometer showed a temperature of 21 degrees.

That’s a record breaker. According to the National Weather Service, the record low temperature for Nov. 18 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is 22 degrees. Wednesday’s record was 23 degrees, and tonight’s record is 25 degrees. Hartsfield-Jackson is the closest location to Coweta that has accessible climate records.

Temperatures tonight should be a little bit warmer, with a low of 29 forecast by the National Weather Service.

But the unseasonable cold will be back with a bite for Friday’s AAAAA playoff game between the Newnan Cougars and Tift County. Gloves, hats and hot chocolate will definitely be on the menu.

The National Weather Service forecasts a low around 21 for Friday night. Temperatures probably won’t get that low until well after the game is finished, but hour-by-hour forecasts weren’t yet available Wednesday evening.

Though cold, Friday probably won’t be a record breaker. The record low for Nov. 21 is 19 degrees.

The cold nights will be accompanied by sunny days.

Today’s forecast is for sunny skies with a high near 58, and winds between 5 and 10 mph.

Friday will also be sunny, with a high of 49. But strong winds will make things seem much colder. Sustained winds of 10 to 15 mph are forecast, with gusts of up to 20 mph.

By Friday night, the wind should have died down to about 5 mph.

The weekend will be more of the same. Saturday will be sunny with a high of 55, and a low of 23. Sunday will be sunny with a high near 56 and a low of 31.

According to the National Weather Service, the normal low temperature for this time of year is 42 degrees. The lowest normal temperature, based on the years of 1971 to 2000, is 33 degrees, in mid January.

. . .

More record cold air on the way for Augusta, GA

NBC Augusta | Nov 20, 2008

By Jeff Rucker

AUGUSTA, Ga. – More record cold air is forecast this weekend. We expect a low temperature near 21 degrees Saturday morning and near 19 degrees Sunday morning. Records are as follows:

November 22, 20 degrees (2000) – Our forecast: 21

November 23, 21 degrees (1956) – Our forecast: 19

This cold air follows in the wake of record cold recorded Wednesday morning. Augusta Bush Field, the area’s official weather observation location, dipped to 22 degrees Wednesday morning. This easily shattered the previous record low for the date of 25 degrees set back in 1959.

Here is a sampling of low temperatures Wednesday morning provided by the National Weather Service:

AUGUSTA BUSH APT GA 22* new record
COLUMBIA METRO APT SC 22* ties record

The air this morning was the coldest this early in the season in almost 40 years. The temperature last dropped to 22 degrees this early in the season on November 15, 1969.

Augusta has never recorded a temperature below 22 degrees before November 20. The lowest temperature recorded in Augusta during the month of November was 11 degrees back on November 25, 1950.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Augusta was minus 1 degree back on January 21, 1985.

We expect this November to end up much colder than average.

. . .

Record-low temps put freeze on criminal activity in Greenville, SC overnight, police say

Greenville Online | Nov 19, 2008

By E. Richard Walton

The near zero temperatures Tuesday night caused the number of 911 emergency calls to slow to just a trickle for Greenville County sheriff’s deputies, who were jumping with three robberies the night before, a spokesman said.

We usually have 200 to 300 calls a night, said Lt. Tim Ridgeway, a sheriff’s spokesman. Right now, we’ve only had a handful of calls, he said.

“I bet the whole 12 hours, we don’t get 100 calls,” he said.

Ridgeway said he supervises a group of deputies who began a 12-hour shift Tuesday that began at 2 p.m.

By 11 p.m., with just 3 hours remaining in the shift, he said there were fewer than 20 calls.

Ridgeway attributed the fall off in calls for service to the cold weather. The temperature at 11 p.m. was 33-degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

As he spoke, Ridgeway said he was looking at a computer screen that usually catalogues a typical night in which the screen is full or partially so, he said. “There’s nothing showing on the screen,” he said.

He said that criminal activity had come to a halt because most people seem to be spending the evening indoors.

A weather advisory was in and the National Weather Service urged plant and canine lovers to bring their charges inside overnight because the temperatures were dangerously low.

Ridgeway said it was so cold that it almost felt hot as he sprinted from patrol cruiser to indoors.

Tuesday night calls involved three back-to-back robberies.

In two of the three thefts, the person was robbed while the thief brandished a gun, according to deputies.

One robbery occurred in the 3500 block of Rutherford Road, and the second in the 3500 block of Pelham Road, deputies said.

Cash, cigarettes and wallets were taken in the robberies, they said.

Information on the third robbery was not immediately available.

Investigators think the same two gunmen pulled off all three robberies, Ridgeway said.

The number of robberies climbed to about 70 last month, considerably higher than usual, a commander said.

Anyone with information or a tip about any of the robberies in Greenville are asked to call 23-Crime.

Thursday’s temperature is forecasted to be in the 60s before it plummets back down to pure winters ones.

. . .

Cold wave brings record low to Athens

According to the National Weather Service, the temperature dropped to a low of 20 degrees this morning.

onlineathens.com | Nov 20, 2008

By David Manning

The waves of cold, Canadian air washing over the eastern United States brought a record low to Athens this morning, breaking a low-temperature mark that stood for 117 years.

The official temperature in Athens sank to 20 degrees, breaking a record set in 1891, said Frank Taylor, spokesman for the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

The old record was 23 degrees, Taylor said.

The chill will ease slightly over the next couple of days, but overnight lows this weekend could drop back into the low to mid-20s as another mass of cold, dry air forces its way across the Southeast, the weather service said.

This afternoon’s high is expected to reach 55, with a low tonight near the freezing mark. Lows early Saturday and Sunday could plunge back into the lower 20s, however.

. . .

Record Low Set on Grandfather Mountain, NC

goblueridge.net | Nov 19 2008

by Adam Hicks

Unseasonably cold weather broke the record for the daily low temperature on Wednesday atop Grandfather Mountain.

The temperature dipped to eight degrees early in the morning breaking the previous daily low record for November 19th was 10 degrees set, and was set back in 1968.

The temperature was collected at the official US Weather Service next to the Mile High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain.

. . .

Tallahassee hits record low temperature; freeze warning likely tonight

Tallahassee Democrat | Nov 19, 2008

The official low in Tallahassee dipped to a bone-chilling 25 degrees this morning, breaking a record for the day.

The previous record was 29, set in 1990, said Mark Wool, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

“We had a cold front move through yesterday, and of course all that blustery, northerly wind from yesterday was cold air moving into the area,” Wool said. “And that air mass has settled right over us this morning, with its origins coming from Canada.”

The Weather Service will likely issue a freeze warning tonight. The temperature is expected to drop to 27-30 degrees in inland areas.