Weekly Review Sep 14

Saudi Refineries Hit

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Saudi officials claim Iranian forces launched drones and Cruise missiles that traveled over 500 miles to inflict serious damage on two major Saudi oil refineries, forcing the Saudis to cut production in half and shutter the affected refineries.

This past May, in a successful warmup, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Iran, in an earlier drone strike hit two Saudi pumping stations.  This had followed the Trump administration tightening sanctions on the Iranians.  It seems the Saudis, who are fighting the Houthis, took little heed to this warning.

The full impact of today’s strike on Global fossil fuel prices remains to be seen.  Middle eastern tensions have also been ratcheted up to another level.  The situation screams out for American or European shuttle diplomacy to consult with and listen to both sides to deescalate the heat from the situation – a challenge for even the most experienced statesman and not a time for any impulse reaction.

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Hong Kong Protests Pause

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Demonstrators took a 24-hour hiatus in their three-month-old, up to now essentially non-violent protests,  to commemorate the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11 sabotage attack of the twin towers at New York’s World Trade Center.

Original demonstrations had begun over Hong Kong’s chief executive signing an order, which she since rescinded, allowing the government to transfer prisoners to the mainland.   But the cause has steadily grown to symbolize the quest for the democracy assured when the British returned the municipality to Chinese rule.

A true dilemma for the ruling Communist party in Beijing: to allow the people to express themselves without letting the situation get irreversibly out of hand and set a precedent for other local regions under their rule.  They want to appear firm and in control but not repressive in the eyes of the world.  So far, many share a tempered optimism that some form of progress can be achieved.

China has come a long way since the 1989 demonstrations in Tienanmen Square in Beijing.   They want the world to now look forward not backward.

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Environmentalist Murdered

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The more than 80,000 blazes in the Amazon the first half of this year are destroying the rain forest and leaving a lasting impact on the environment of our entire planet.  Deforestation, of these the lungs of our planet, in addition to global warming will have a devastating effect on the world’s ecosystem. They are causing irreparable damage not only to native flora and fauna but to the air everywhere each and everyone of us breathes.

Worse yet is the potential human toll on the indigenous tribes that have had little or no contact with the outside world. These are primitive people who survive being at one with nature.  They share an almost extinct language still spoken by a scant handful of individuals.  Their habitat is now threatened by an influx of loggers, hunters, miners and farmers there to take their land.

This week, Maxciel Pereira dos Santos, a champion and protector of these people was shot twice in the head.  Santos was gunned down and murdered, riding his motorcycle in front of friends and family.  This dedicated activist was known for his environmental work to save the rain forest and all its inhabitants.

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