In the early morning, there’s news of an 8.6 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean — that’s a big sucker with tsunami warnings issued for the entire region, but initial reports indicate no big wave and damage is slight.
Hopefully, they will be spared the shades of 2004 when another quake and ensuing tsunami killed more than 200,000 people in 14 countries.
Notes the LA Times: Experts said early indications were that the quake, which struck around 2:30 p.m. local time, was caused by a horizontal shift in the earthâ€™s plates of a type less likely to cause severe tsunamis than vertical shifts, which tend to displace larger volumes of water.
So far so good.
(Illustration found here).
Another tsunami of the gun-toting variety is about to surge around Syria, where shit is happening in a bad way — former UN chief Kofi Annan, who’s been trying to work out some kind of deal that would offset the horror of a bloody big wave in the region, still has hope, though, a deadline for a ceasefire came and went yesterday.
He’s reaching for the clouds:
“We still have time between now and the 12th to stop the violence.
The plan is still on the table and it is a plan we are all fighting to implement,” Annan said.
“If you want to take it off the table, what would you replace it with?”
Yes, indeed, what’s next?
The problem is that they’re dealing with a 9.9-magnitude asshole — Bashar Hafez al-Assad.
In the face of world condemnation, Assad and his boys are continuing to blast the shit out of his own people and his own country — even using Mig-23 jets to kill from the sky.
The UK’s Foreign Minister William Hague is pissed and wants Assad placed in a war-criminal docket: “President Assad and his closest cronies should be under no doubt that they will be held to account for their actions,” he said.
The UN has deadlined Assad to get his shit together by 6 AM Thursday, Damascus time.
Good fortune with that one.
One revealing display on the shit-ass killing attitude of the Syrians is found in the death a couple of days ago of Lebanese newsman Ali Shabaan, killed at the Lebanon/Syria border, apparently shot to death in cold blood.
From Robert Fisk at the UK’s Independent:
Shot in the heart.
By the Syrians.
Forty bullets hit the cameraman’s car and that of his fellow crew at Wadi Khaled.
A quick death, I suppose.
A quick funeral, of course, according to Muslim tradition.
They said the fatiha prayer to the soul of Shabaan and placed his body in the dark earth of the little cemetery.
But why did Shabaan die?
He and his crew had passed the Lebanese customs at Wadi Khaled in northern Lebanon on Monday to film the border and shouted across to the Syrian immigration officers that they were filing for New TV on the Lebanese side of the frontier.
The story from his colleagues yesterday was straightforward: after they had identified themselves, the crew began filming and were then told to stop by uniformed Syrian troops.
These soldiers reportedly shouted: “Go back.”
The crew was reversing its car when a fusillade of bullets crashed into it — at least 40 hit the vehicle — and Shabaan was hit by the first round.
NTV’s staff is adamant that at no point did they enter Syrian territory.
Thanks to the old post-war 1914-18 French mandate, the border was not delineated as carefully as it might have been — but that’s no reason to kill journalists.
Ahmed Shabaan watched the body of his only son placed in the earth.
Muslims out here have no coffins.
And oh yes, Syria sent its official condolences.
Shabaan was working that particular day so that he could have next weekend off for his engagement ceremony.
One wonders about the Assad’s mental state, even if he kills every Syrian activist he’ll never, ever visit Disneyland.