Grind for May 9th, 2019
“Writing and cookery are just two different means of communication.”
– Maya Angelou
US sends carrier strike group to deter Iranian aggression
The US this week will deploy a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East to safeguard US allies and troops, said National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The move comes in response to “a number of troubling and escalating indications and warnings,” he added, remaining vague on the details.
The deployment will send the USS Abraham Lincoln and its accompanying ships from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and potentially to the Arabian Sea or Persian Gulf.
A group of Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jets was deployed to the region last month.
“Shifting additional forces to the Middle East as a deterrent against Iran would represent something of a course correction for the Pentagon, which has sought to move forces away from the region so it could build up its capability to deter possible aggression by Russia and China,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Officials confirmed the deployment is unrelated to the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, which last week resulted in the death of key Hamas commander Hamed al-Khoudary.
“The US is not seeking war with the Iranian regime,” said Bolton. “But we are prepared to respond to any attacks, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.
The deployment to the Middle East is “something we’ve been working on for a little while,” said Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, adding that Tehran will be held responsible for any attack on American interests – no matter where it comes from.
“If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that,” he promised.
The increasing tension between the US and Iran is a direct result of the Trump Administration’s pressure campaign on the regime – including its recent decision not to renew waivers allowing countries to purchase Iranian oil.
As reported by Axios on Sunday, the Trump Administration is considering additional sanctions designed to harm the Iranian economy.
UN report on planetary health contains dire warning
In one of the most comprehensive planetary assessments ever conducted, researchers warn that mankind’s waste and resource consumption will soon reach a breaking point.
And it’s far more serious than plastic straws.
“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” says Sir Robert Watson, chair of the UN panel which compiled the assessment. “We are eroding the very foundation of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide.”
According to the report, more than 12% of the 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction.
And while the most at-risk species are located in Asia and South America, the United States is not immune.
“This is a problem here at home,” explains Collin O’Mara, President of the National Wildlife Federation. “About 1/3 of all species right now in the US are at heightened risk of potential extinction in the next couple of decades.”
Other key findings from the assessment:
— Worldwide, humans extract 60 billion tons of renewable and nonrenewable resources each year
— Mankind has “significantly altered” 3/4 of Earth’s land environments and 2/3 of Earth’s marine environments
— Humans are using more than 1/3 of the planet’s total surface area for crops or livestock
— Up to $577 billion in annual crops are at risk from pollinator loss
— Between 100 and 300 million people face increased natural disasters as a result of coastal erosion and habitat loss
“The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” says project co-chair Josef Settele. “This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”
Environmentalists and activists hope the UN report will help people see the bigger picture.
“The hope is that folks will be able to extrapolate beyond the individual stories they’ve been seeing about orcas or monarchs,” explains O’Mara.
The UN report represents the combined efforts of 455 authors, 50 countries, and insights from indigenous communities.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… A sneeze travels out your mouth at over 100 m.p.h.