Tag Archive: the Mississippi River


NATO hits Tripoli; US says rebels can open office

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110524/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_libya

Sky over Tripoli, Libya, is illuminated by explosions during an airstrike, early Tuesday, May 24, 2011. NATO warplanes were repeatedly hitting Tripoli

By DIAA HADID and MICHELLE FAUL, Asssociated Press Diaa Hadid And Michelle Faul, Asssociated Press 1 hr 7 mins ago

TRIPOLI, Libya – NATO launched its most intense bombardment yet against Moammar Gadhafi’s stronghold of Tripoli Tuesday, while a senior U.S. diplomat said President Barack Obama has invited the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council to open an office in Washington but stopped short of formal recognition.

The international community has stepped up airstrikes and diplomatic efforts against the regime in a bid to break a virtual stalemate, with the rebels in the east and Gadhafi maintaining his hold on most of the west.

The NATO airstrikes struck in rapid succession within a half-hour time span, setting off more than 20 explosions and sending up plumes of acrid-smelling smoke from an area around Gadhafi’s sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound in central Tripoli.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said at least three people were killed and dozens wounded in NATO strikes that targeted what he described as buildings used by volunteer units of the Libyan army.

NATO said in a statement that a number of precision-guided weapons hit a vehicle storage facility adjacent to Bab al-Aziziya that has been used to supply regime forces “conducting attacks on civilians.” It was not immediately clear if the facility was the only target hit in the barrage. Bab al-Aziziya, which includes a number of military facilities, has been pounded repeatedly by NATO strikes.

At the Tripoli Central Hospital, the bodies of three men in their twenties lay on stretchers, their clothing ripped and their faces partially blown away. A nurse, Ahmad Shara, told foreign reporters taken on a government-escorted visit to the facility soon after the strikes that the men were standing outside their homes when they were killed, presumably by shrapnel.

One man who identified himself as a relative pounded a wall and cried out in despair after seeing the bodies. Some 10 other men and women were wounded.

“We thought it was the day of judgment,” said Fathallah Salem, a 45-year-old contractor who rushed his 75-year-old mother to the hospital after she suffered shock. He said his home trembled, his mother fainted and the youngest of seven children screamed in terror at the sound of the rolling blasts.

“You were in the hotel and you were terrified by the shaking — imagine what it was like for the people who live in slums!” Salem told the reporters.

“Honestly, we used to have problems (with the regime),” he said in Arabic. “But today we are all Moammar Gadhafi.”

The U.S. launched the international air campaign on March 19 after the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution to protect civilians after Gadhafi sent his forces to crush the public uprising against his rule. NATO, which has taken over the airstrikes, says it has been doing its best to minimize the risk of collateral damage.

The alliance has been escalating and widening the scope of its strikes over the past weeks, increasing the pressure on Gadhafi, while many countries have built closer ties with the rebel movement that has control of the eastern half of Libya.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh announced Tuesday that his country has recognized the rebels’ National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people and would soon name a permanent envoy in Benghazi.

Several other countries, including France and Italy, have recognized the rebel administration, while the United States, European Union and others have established a diplomatic presence in Benghazi.

Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, said he had delivered an invitation on Obama’s behalf to the rebels to establish a representative office in Washington — a move he called “an important milestone in our relationship with the National Transitional Council.”

But while he said the United States considers the council a “legitimate and representative and credible” body, he stopped short of formal recognition due to what he called the temporary nature of the council. Council members stress that they will represent Libyans only in the period until Gadhafi can be defeated and democratic elections held.

“We are not talking to Gadhafi and his people. They are not talking to us. They have lost legitimacy,” Feltman told reporters during a visit to the de-facto rebel capital of Benghazi.

Feltman also said he expects Congress to vote soon to allow frozen regime assets in the U.S. to be used for purely humanitarian aid in Libya.

Rebel leaders welcomed the diplomatic contact, but said only better weapons will help them defeat Gadhafi.

“It is just not enough to recognize (us) and visit the liberated areas,” spokesman Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga told The Associated Press. “We have tried very hard to explain to them that we need the arms, we need funding, to be able to bring this to a successful conclusion at the earliest possible time and with the fewest humanitarian costs possible.”

Rebels now control the populated coastal strip in the country’s east and the western port city of Misrata, which Gadhafi’s forces have besieged for months. They also control pockets in Libya’s western Nafusa mountain range.

In what would be a significant new deployment of firepower, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said Monday that France and Britain will bring in attack helicopters for use in the airstrikes. However, Britain said Tuesday that it has not made any such decision.

British armed forces minister Nick Harvey told Parliament that he couldn’t comment on what the French were saying, but he insisted “that we have not taken this decision, and that we have not suggested to the French that we have taken this decision.”

Harvey left open the possibility that Britain would throw helicopters into the fight, but insisted that Britain was — as of Tuesday — merely considering its options.

The use of helicopters would mark a new strategy for NATO, which has seen Gadhafi’s forces adapt, often turning to urban fighting to make strikes by fighter planes more difficult.

Nimble, low-flying helicopters can more easily carry out precision strikes than jets, but they are also more vulnerable to ground fire. The alliance has had no military deaths since it began enforcing a no-fly zone on March 31.

___

Faul reported from Benghazi. Associated Press writer Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, and Raphael G. Satter in London contributed to this report.

The Japanese Language

So, if you’re reading this one of two things have happened. 1.) You were bored and was looking for something to read or 2.) You like to read my blog posts. But, hey your reading my blog and I aperate that. Thank you. 🙂 Let see what can I put in today’s post. Well, I really want to learn the Japanese language, but the problem is I’m not sure how I can do that. I mean there aren’t many people here in Grenada willing to teach me. If any of know someone please let me know.  What else, uhm….yea I’m looking for new ways to study up on math so I’ll be ready for the ACT in September. So yea that’s it. If you have anything you’s like to see me post or anything like that please leave a comment. Bye.

here we go again

Here we go again.lol Hello everyone how are you? I’m ok my computer is acting a little better today but we’ll have to wait and see how things go before anyone can say its fixed. I just got home from church. It was an awesome service today. I can’t wait til this evening and see what Bro. Brent will preach about. Well, I guess I’ll close out for today. See ya’ll later. Bye

hello

hello! how are ya’ll? I’m back! I just thought I’d post something else before I get for good tonight. Well, today was about the same as any other day for me.(boring) One thing I did do ,however,that I haven’t done in a while was go to the beach. I’m really not much of a swimmer, but today while I was doing some house work I got this eurge to go to the beach, so I did. Lets just say I had fun. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the beach this summer, but hey you never right? 🙂

In other news…….I may be going to a wedding either in July or August I’m not really sure though, so that’s something to look forward to.

Well that’s it for today see ya’ll later. 🙂

US, Pakistan will cooperate on high value targets

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110516/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_bin_laden

 54 mins ago

ISLAMABAD – According to a joint statement, the U.S. and Pakistan have agreed to work together in any future actions against “high value targets” in Pakistan.

The two countries made the announcement Monday following a visit by U.S. Sen. John Kerry to Islamabad. Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Relations between the two countries have been badly strained following the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.

U.S. officials have said they didn’t tell Pakistan about the operation before it happened, because they were worried bin Laden might be tipped off.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Kerry says he and Pakistani leaders have agreed on a “series of steps” to improve their nations’ fraying ties.

The senator did not specify what those steps are but he says they will “be implemented immediately in order to get this relationship back on track.”

Kerry was in Pakistan on Monday amid high tensions over the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the South Asian country’s northwest.

Pakistan says the raid violated its sovereignty.

Kerry insists the secrecy surrounding the May 2 raid on bin Laden was crucial to assuring its success, and that he himself did not learn of it until afterward.

La. floodgate opens, diverting Mississippi River

A man watches water diverted from the Mississippi River spills through a bay in the Morganza Spillway in Morganza, La., Saturday, May 14, 2011. A steehttp://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110514/ap_on_re_us/us_mississippi_river_flooding

By MARY FOSTER and MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press Mary Foster And Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press Sat May 14, 7:39 pm ET

MORGANZA, La. – Water from the inflated Mississippi River gushed through a floodgate Saturday for the first time in nearly four decades and headed toward thousands of homes and farmland in the Cajun countryside, threatening to slowly submerge the land under water up to 25 feet deep.

As the gate was raised, the river poured out like a waterfall, at times spraying 6 feet into the air. Fish jumped or were hurled through the white froth and within 30 minutes, 100 acres of what was dry land was under about a foot of water.

The opening of the Morganza spillway diverted water from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and the numerous oil refineries and chemical plants along the lower reaches of the Mississippi. Shifting the water away from the cities eased the strain on levees and thwarted flooding in New Orleans that could have been much worse than Hurricane Katrina.

“We’re using every flood control tool we have in the system,” Army Corps of Engineers Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh said during a news conference on the dry side of the spillway, before the bay was opened.

The Morganza spillway is part of a system of locks and levees built following the great flood of 1927, which killed hundreds and left many more without homes. When the Morganza opened Saturday, it was the first time three flood-control systems have been unlocked at the same time along the Mississippi River, a sign of just how historic the current flooding has been.

Earlier this month, the corps intentionally blew holes into a levee in Missouri to employ a similar cities-first strategy, and it also opened a spillway northwest of New Orleans.

Snowmelt and heavy rain swelled the Mississippi, and the river has peaked at levels not seen in 70 years.

In Krotz Springs, La., one of the towns in the Atchafalaya River basin bracing for floodwaters, phones at the local police department rang nonstop as residents sought information on road closings and evacuation routes.

Like so many other residents downstream of the Morganza, Monita Reed, 56, recalled the last time it was opened in 1973.

“We could sit in our yard and hear the water,” she said as workers constructed a makeshift levee of sandbags and soil-filled mesh boxes in hopes of protecting the 240 homes in her subdivision.

About 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be affected by the oncoming water, and some people living in the threatened stretch of countryside — an area known for fish camps and a drawling French dialect — have already fled. Reed’s family packed her furniture, clothing and pictures in a rental truck and a relative’s trailer.

“I’m just going to move and store my stuff. I’m going to stay here until they tell us to leave,” she said. “Hopefully, we won’t see much water and then I can move back in. ”

It took about 15 minutes for the one 28-foot gate to be raised in the middle of the spillway. Several hours will pass before any of the water hits sparsely populated communities, but residents nearby have been told to go.

The corps planned to open one or two more gates Sunday in a painstaking process that gives residents and animals a chance to stay dry.

The water will flow 20 miles south into the Atchafalaya Basin. From there it will roll on to Morgan City, an oil-and-seafood hub and a community of 12,000, and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.

Michael Grubb, whose home is located just outside the Morgan City floodwalls, hired a contractor this week to raise his house from 2 feet to 8 feet off the ground. It took a crew of 20 workers roughly 17 hours to jack up the house onto wooden blocks.

“I wanted to save this house desperately,” said Grubb, 54. “This has tapped us out. This is our life savings here, but it’s worth every penny.”

Three feet of water flooded Grubb’s home the last time the Morganza spillway was opened.

Water from the swollen Atchafalaya River already was creeping into his backyard, but Grubb was confident his home will stay dry. He has a generator and a boat he plans to use for grocery runs.

“This is our home. How could we leave our home?” he said.

The water came perilously close to overtopping Morgan City’s floodwalls in 1973. Since then, they have been raised to 24 feet and aren’t expected to be overtopped, but officials have filled sandbags to shore up the levees. The water was expected to reach Morgan City around Tuesday.

“These levees will be under a lot of pressure for a long period of time,” said Corps Col. Ed Fleming.

The crest of the Mississippi was still more than a week away from the Morganza spillway, and when it arrives, officials expect it to linger. The bulge has broken river-level records held since the 1920s in some places as it rolled down the river, and prompted the corps to take drastic steps to protect lives.

The corps blew up a levee in Missouri — inundating an estimated 200 square miles of farmland and damaging or destroying about 100 homes — to take the pressure off floodwalls protecting the town of Cairo, Ill., population 2,800.

The Morganza flooding is more controlled, however, and residents are warned by the corps each year in written letters, reminding them of the possibility of opening the spillway, which is 4,000 feet long and has 125 bays.

At the site of the spillway, water splashed over the gates on one side before a vertical crane hoisted the 10-ton, steel panel to the let water out. Typically, the spillway, built in 1954, is dry on both sides.

This is the second spillway to be opened in Louisiana. About a week ago, the corps used cranes to remove some of the Bonnet Carre’s wooden barriers, sending water into the massive Lake Ponchatrain and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.

By Sunday, all 350 bays at the 7,000-foot Bonnet Carre structure were to be open. The Morganza was expecting to only open up about a quarter of its gates.

The spillways could be opened for weeks, or perhaps less time, if the river flow starts to subside.

In Vicksburg, Miss., where five neighborhoods were underwater, a steady stream of onlookers posed for pictures on a river bluff overlooking a bridge that connects Louisiana and Mississippi. Some people posed for pictures next to a Civil War cannon while others carried Confederate battle flags being given away by a war re-enactor.

Vicksburg was the site of a pivotal Civil War battle and is home to thousands of soldier graves.

James Mims, 50, drove about an hour from Calhoun, La., with his wife, son and three grandchildren to snap a photo.

“It’s history in the making, and we’re seeing it happen,” Mims said.

___

Deslatte reported from Krotz Springs. Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman in Morgan City, La. and Holbrook Mohr in Vicksburg, Miss., also contributed to this report.

Unease in the Miss. Delta as floodwaters spread

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110512/ap_on_re_us/us_mississippi_river_flooding

By SHELIA BYRD, Associated Press Shelia Byrd, Associated Press 1 hr 28 mins ago

RENA LARA, Miss. – Officials in a small town are trying to assure its 500 residents they are doing what they can to shore up the levee to protect them from the swollen Mississippi River.

“It’s getting scary,” said Rita Harris, 43, who lives in a tiny wooden house in the shadow of the levee in Rena Lara. “They won’t let you go up there to look at the water.”

The uneasiness is being felt all along the poverty-stricken Delta as oozing floodwaters from the Mississippi River and its tributaries spilled across farm fields, cut off churches, washed over roads and forced people from their homes Wednesday.

Some used boats to navigate flooded streets as the crest rolled slowly downstream, bringing misery to low-lying communities. About 600 homes have been flooded in the Delta in the past several days as the water rose toward some of the highest levels on record.

The flood crest is expected to push past the Delta by late next week.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour urged people to get out if they think there is even a chance their homes will flood. He said there is no reason to believe a levee on the Yazoo River would fail, but if it did, 107 feet of water would flow over small towns.

“More than anything else, save your life and don’t put at risk other people who might have to come in and save your lives,” he said.

Much farther downstream, Louisiana officials were awaiting an Army Corps of Engineers decision on whether to open the Morganza spillway to take the pressure off the levees protecting Baton Rouge and, downstream, New Orleans and the many oil refineries in between. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday that residents who would be affected by the spillway opening should assume it will open and should plan to get out of the way.

Crews were using water-filled tubes to bolster levees protecting downtown Baton Rouge, where minor flooding could occur. Sandbags were being placed along a portion of New Orleans’ French Quarter riverfront, though the city isn’t expecting a major impact from the flood. The river could be closed to ship traffic at New Orleans if it rises too high.

The Mississippi Delta, with a population of about 465,000, is a leaf-shaped expanse of rich soil between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers, extending about 200 miles from Memphis, Tenn., to Vicksburg, Miss. Along the way are towns whose names are familiar to Civil War buffs, aficionados of the blues, and scholars of the civil rights era: Clarksdale, Greenwood, Greenville and Yazoo City.

While some farms in the cotton-, rice- and corn-growing Delta are prosperous, there is also grinding poverty. Nine of the 11 counties that touch the Mississippi River in Mississippi have poverty rates at least double the national average of 13.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The governor said the state is asking local officials to get in touch with people who might have no electricity and phones and thus no way to get word of the flooding.

“It’s a tiny number, but we have to find them,” Barbour said.

Late Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for 14 counties in Mississippi because of the flooding. Housing and home repairs will be covered and low-interest loans to cover uninsured damage will be available.

In Greenville, Liz Jones, who is unemployed, lives on the second floor of a housing project and worries what might happen in the event of a levee break. She has no means of transportation.

“I got a baby and my mama. I don’t know what we’d do about food and clothes and stuff,” she said.

In Hollandale, one of the small rural towns in the Delta the governor warned might flood if the levee breaks, 62-year-old nursing home worker Geraldine Jackson fretted about what to do if she and her husband have to leave their red-brick house, where pieces of the roof have broken off and the white trim is peeling.

“I have relatives, but all my relatives live in the Delta, and the water’s going to get them too,” she said. “I’m just real messed up.”

Swollen by weeks of heavy rain and snowmelt, the Mississippi River has been breaking high-water records that have stood since the 1920s and `30s. It is projected to crest at Vicksburg on May 19 and shatter the mark set there during the cataclysmic Great Flood of 1927. The crest is expected to reach New Orleans on May 23.

Even after the peak passes, water levels will remain high for weeks, and it could take months for flooded homes to dry out.

About 600,000 acres of cultivated row crops could flood, mainly winter wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton and rice, said Andy Prosser, spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture. Even if the levees hold, the state expects to lose $150 million to $200 million worth of crops, the governor said. Mississippi’s catfish farmers could also be wiped out if the Yazoo floods their ponds and washes away their fish.

Many of the victims of the slowly unfolding disaster are poor people living perilously close to the water.

In the Memphis, Tenn., area, where the Mississippi crested Tuesday just inches short of the 1927 record, many of the flooded dwellings were mobile homes and one-story brick or wood buildings in low-lying, working-class neighborhoods unprotected by floodwalls or levees.

Maria Flores, her husband, Pedro Roman, and their four children ended up in a church shelter in south Memphis — some 20 miles from their trailer in the Millington area of Shelby County. They lost a trailer in last year’s flood, and it happened to them again this year.

Flores, who works as a baby sitter, and Roman, an unemployed day laborer, did not have disaster insurance and suspect their trailer is a total loss. At the shelter, they were receiving clothing and three meals a day and were sleeping on air mattresses in a room with 20 other people.

Flores said she stopped going to work because it was too far and she could not afford the gas. Roman seemed almost paralyzed by the uncertainty.

“People who have money have a better chance of getting back on their feet than poorer people,” Flores said. “That’s our problem.”

___

Associated Press writers Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tenn., and Emily Wagster Pettus and Holbrook Mohr in Jackson contributed to this report.

%d bloggers like this: