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Canada says it owns the North Pole, despite not having a proper map

Posted in News with tags , on December 11, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Canada says it owns the North Pole, despite not having a proper map

GEORGE DVORSKY on IO9

Canada says it owns the North Pole, despite not having a proper map

The Canadian government is claiming 463,323 square miles (1.2 million square kilometers) in the Arctic, a wide expanse of territory that includes the North Pole. Trouble is, Canada hasn’t yet fully mapped the area, nor does it have the scientific evidence to back the claim.

Along with Russia and Denmark, Canada is currently in a mad territorial dash to claim all that juicy, globally-warmed area for itself. Because, you know, oil. Similar, but weaker, territorial claims are also being made by France and the United States.

In a characteristically belligerent gesture, Russia made a territorial overture back in October, saying it would restore a major Soviet-era military base in the Arctic; President Putin hasangrily dismissed suggestions that the region should be placed under the jurisdiction of the international community.

And now Canada is making its moves, albeit through the UN-channel — and despite the country’s own admission that it doesn’t yet possess all the evidence required to make the claim. The submission, which the Canadian government says is preliminary, was made last week to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The federal government wants its scientists to finish mapping a giant undersea mountain range that Ottawa claims will secure the sea floor under the North Pole.

The Calgary Herald reports:

The undersea Lomonosov Ridge runs from near Ellesmere Island northward over the pole and would be the geological basis for a Canadian territorial claim. Scientists suggest it looks as if the ridge is connected to the Canadian land mass, but Canada has only done aerial surveys of the ridge once it gets past the pole.

“The reality is the Lomonosov Ridge wasn’t fully mapped in the submissions that my department did,” [Foreign Affairs Minister John] Baird said. “And, frankly, we think it’s important when you do this extensive mapping, we wanted to get the entire Arctic map, including on the ridge.”

Arctic experts point out that Russia and Denmark also argue the Lomonosov Ridge extends from their shores. International law expert Michael Byers points out the pole lies on the Danish side of the ridge. It also lies on the Danish side of a line that runs equidistant from Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

“In five or 10 or 20 years, we are going to have to admit that the North Pole is not Canadian,” said Byers, who teaches at the University of British Columbia. “(Harper) does not want to be the prime minister seen publicly as having surrendered the North Pole, even if the scientific facts don’t support a Canadian claim. What he’s essentially doing here is holding this place, standing up for Canadian sovereignty, while in private he knows full well that position is untenable.”

Interestingly, one possible outcome is that all three High Arctic neighbours will get sizeable chunks of the Lomonosov Ridge. If that should happen, Canada would still do well, as the ridge would be equally divided between the three countries, putting Canada’s boundary 230 miles (370 km) past the North Pole.

Image: NASA

The Phenomenon Of August 2014

Posted in News with tags on December 10, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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The Phenomenon Of August 2014

The only time you will witness this phenomenon in your life.     
August 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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Next year, the month of August will count 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This phenomenon occurs only once every 823 years. Chinese people call it: ‘Pocketful of money!’
So… send this to all your friends and in 4 days, you will have a pleasant monetary surprise…
Based on Chinese Feng Shui.  Whoever does not forward this message… could find himself without a clue of what’s going on in his life… and that’s no laughing matter.

Two communities fight for food on the Kenyan and Ethiopian border

Posted in News with tags on December 4, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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December 2, 2013

Two communities fight for food on the Kenyan and Ethiopian border

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/12/paragraph_photos_a.html

The Turkana are traditionally nomadic pastoralists, but the pastures needed to feed their herds suffer from recurring droughts and many have turned to fishing. The trend began back in the 1960s, following a devastating drought, which wiped out entire herds. The government introduced communities to fishing in the mostly untouched Lake Turkana. But now the lake is overfished, and scarcity of food and pastureland is fueling a long-standing conflict with Ethiopian indigenous Dhaasanac, who have seen grazing grounds squeezed by large-scale government agricultural schemes in southern Ethiopia. The Dhaasanac now venture deeper into Kenyan territory in search of fish and grass, clashing with neighbors. “The Turkana and the Dhaasanac have been enemies for a long time. However, before they used to fight with spears and other rudimental weapons,” said Turkana leader Pius Chuchu.–Thea Breite( 19 photos )

A Turkana man stands in the entrance of a cattle kraal (corral) at dawn in the disputed area of the Ilemi Triangle in northwestern Kenya near the borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan on Oct. 15. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters)

Simon Choko, 44, a community leader of a fishing camp near the shores of Lake Turkana, holds his gun as he shows a bullet wound which he says he got from an attack by raiders from the Dhaasanac tribe of southern Ethiopia near the Kenya-Ethiopia border in northwestern Kenya on Oct. 12. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Turkana girl holds a lamb at the end of the day inside her family’s cattle kraal on Oct. 14. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

The skin of a large wild cat, which was shot dead after attacking several goats, hangs on a protective outer ring constructed to keep livestock safe, at a kraal in the Ilemi Triangle on Oct. 14. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Dhaasanac man from southern Ethiopia and Kenyan soldiers from the Rapid Deployment Unit, an emergency response unit deployed due to reoccurring clashes and killings between the Turkana and Dhaasanac communities, try to lift a cow which is dying from hunger. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

Livestock is inside a Turkana cattle kraal, as food is cooked on a fire on Oct. 14. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Turkana man looks in the direction of Lake Turkana as he wakes up at dawn under a mosquito net, at a fishing camp on Oct. 13. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

An armed Turkana man walks towards the shores of Lake Turkana near a temporary fishing camp on Oct. 12. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Turkana man walks past several guns at a fishing camp on the shores of Lake Turkanan on Oct. 14. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Turkana man pushes a boat as he prepares to venture onto Lake Turkana for the day’s fishing on Oct. 13. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

Turkana fishermen raise the sail of their boat as they prepare to fish on Oct. 13. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

Turkana fishermen venture into deeper waters on Lake Turkana on Oct. 13. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Turkana fisherman sits on a boat while fishing on Oct. 13. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A man reaches for an AK47 assault rifle during a fishing expedition on Lake Turkana on Oct. 13. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Turkana fisherman holds a freshly caught fish on Lake Turkana on Oct. 12. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

After untangling a fishing net from floating weeds, a Turkana fisherman attempts to climb back up onto his boat on Oct. 12. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

At a fishing camp on the shores of Lake Turkana a boy flattens dried fish with his feet on Oct. 12. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A Turkana boy carries a pot as he walks under a structure used to dry fish at a fishing camp on the shores of Lake Turkana on Oct. 12. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters) #

A G3 battle rifle hangs from a structure used to dry fish at a fishing camp on the shores of Lake Turkana on Oct. 12. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters)

Explore: Weddings

Posted in News with tags on November 3, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Explore: Weddings

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/125/photos/explore-weddings/?utm_source=NatGeocom&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=inside_20131031&utm_campaign=Content

A group of couples in Taiwan, a Zulu king and Swazi princess in South Africa, a priest and child bride in Ethiopia—National Geographic has been documenting weddings around the world for over a century. Steeped in tradition or embracing modernity, these ceremonies often reflect cultural influences on generations of participants.

Picture of a man celebrating his wedding in Yemen

Relatives and neighbors fete bridegroom Ameen Ararah (in floral head scarf, at center rear), 21, at his wedding in the Old City of Sanaa, Yemen. In a country where nearly half the population lives on $1.45 a day, wedding expenses—which can exceed $5,000—are prohibitive. Many couples now pool resources and marry in groups.
Photograph by Stephanie Sinclair
Picture of Berber brides in Morocco 

In the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Berber brides are dressed for a traditional mass wedding that includes four days of ceremonial rituals. In one, brides purify themselves with water gathered from a river.
Photograph by Alexandra Boulat
Picture of newlyweds in a gondola in Venice, Italy 

Gondoliers ferry Venetian newlyweds down the Grand Canal around 1995.
Photograph by Sam Abell
Picture of Austrian women in headdresses 

In this photo originally published in the June 1951 issue of National Geographic, women carrying rosaries and prayer beads pause en route to church in St. Wolfgang, Austria, where mothers for 500 years or more have handed down fan-shaped headdresses to the brides of eldest sons.
Photograph by Volkmar Wentzel
Picture of a Yemeni Jewish bride in Israel wearing traditional wedding clothing 

A Yemeni Jewish bride near Gaza wears a wedding costume styled centuries ago in this picture that originally appeared in the July 1985 issue of National Geographic.
Photograph by James Stanfield
Picture of a child bride being dressed for her wedding, Ethiopia 

Priest Addisu Abebe, 23, and his new bride, Destaye Amare, 11, are married in a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox wedding outside the city of Gondar, Ethiopia. Says photographer Stephanie Sinclair, who has documented child brides for National Geographic, “Since Abebe is a priest, it was necessary that he only marry a virgin.”
Photograph by Stephanie Sinclair
Picture of a bride and her dancers at a Kazakh wedding 

Flanked by traditional dancers, a bride awaits her formal unveiling at a wedding palace in Astana, Kazakhstan, where she has just been married in a ceremony capped by the release of two white doves. The revelry begins when the veil is lifted.
Photograph by Gerd Ludwig
Picture of Samburu young warriors dancing at a wedding ceremony, Kenya 

In keeping with tradition, Samburu families arrange marriages for their daughters when they’re as young as ten. Several days of elaborate ceremonies, such as the warrior dance pictured here in Kenya, are designed to counteract superstitions and bring the new couple good luck.
Photograph by Michael Nichols
Picture of an Afghan bride in Kabul 

In traditional Afghan weddings, brides are unveiled and often wear revealing dresses and heavy makeup. At this wedding in Kabul, Afghanistan, the bride wears green, a color associated with prosperity and paradise in Islamic tradition. Her sober expression reflects the fact that marriage is an enormous milestone in an Afghan woman’s life, not just a celebratory event.
Photograph by Lynsey Addario
Picture of a mass wedding in Taiwan 

Bridal couples pose at a mass wedding at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan.
Photograph by Jodi Cobb
Picture of a Zulu king dancing with Swazi princesses at his wedding, South Africa 

Adorned with symbols of royalty, a Zulu king dances at his wedding to a Swazi princess in Nongoma, South Africa. The photo was originally published in the January 1978 issue of National Geographic.
Photograph by Volkmar Wentzel
Picture of newlyweds cutting the cake at their wedding, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska 

Called “God’s great cathedral” by the bride, Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier serves as the setting for her outdoor wedding ceremony near Juneau.
Photograph by Melissa Farlow
Picture of a bride and groom walking home after their wedding, Czech Republic 

On a country road in Bilcice, Czech Republic, a bride and groom walk home to her house after their wedding.
Photograph by James Stanfield

 

Flight turns unforgettable when passengers learn of fallen soldier

Posted in News, World Military Corner with tags on November 2, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Flight turns unforgettable when passengers learn of fallen soldier

Johnny Jet

Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta to Los Angeles. (Photo: Courtesy of Johnny Jet)

Delta Flight 2255 from Atlanta to Los Angeles seemed to be an ordinary flight with the exception of Candy, who was the most loving flight attendant I’ve ever encountered. Besides using her Southern charm to quickly defuse every situation, she began her welcome announcement by thanking the handful of uniformed soldiers on-board for serving our country. Her poignant message was followed by applause, and it put into perspective that none of us would be able to do what we do without these brave men and women.

But this transcontinental flight turned out to be everything but ordinary. We later learned, when the captain got on the PA system about 45 minutes prior to landing, that we were transporting a fallen soldier. The plane went quiet as he explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that everyone remain seated for a couple of minutes so the soldiers could get off first. He also warned us not to be alarmed if we see fire trucks since Los Angeles greets their fallen military with a water canon salute. See my video below.

A few minutes after touchdown, we did indeed have a water canon salute, which I’d previously only experienced on happy occasions like inaugural flights. This time, the water glistening on the windowpanes looked like tears.

Passengers in the airport must have been worried when they saw our plane pull into gate 69A, as we had a full police and fire escort, front and back.

I was on the left side of the plane and later realized that the family could be seen off to the right, standing with the United States Army Honor Guard. According to Wikipedia, each military branch has its own honor guard, usually military in nature, and is composed of volunteers who are carefully screened. One of the primary roles for honor guards is to provide funeral honors for fallen comrades.

 

(Photo: Courtesy of Johnny Jet) 

When the jet door opened, another military officer addressed the escort who was standing at attention. He then stepped on the plane and told us passengers “I just addressed the escort. It is a sworn oath to bring home, to the family, the fallen.” He paused and then said, “Today you all did that, you are all escorts, escorts of the heart.” And then thanked us for our time and walked off the plane.

As you can imagine, everyone was silent and no one got up, not even that person from the back row who pretends he doesn’t [understand] English so he can be first off the plane. I’m sure most had meteor-sized lumps in their throats and tears in their eyes like I did.

(Photo: Courtesy of Johnny Jet) 

It only got more emotional when I deplaned. There was a large number of passengers, who are normally in a hurry to get home or make a connection, standing by the window to witness something truly moving. To see the Honor Guard and family waiting patiently, while LAX baggage handlers and a military loadmaster removed the flag covered casket first from the cargo hold, was humbling to say the least. I’m not sure if it was the fallen soldier’s mother or wife who I watched slowly walk up to the coffin while a few other family members, wrapped in blankets, stood near with a dozen or so of the Honor Guards standing in salute.

As soon as I saw her reach out to put her hand on her baby’s casket, I walked away.

This ordinary flight became extraordinary and is one that I will never forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all the military who protect our beautiful country and let us live the lives we are able to lead. Without you we would be nothing. And thank you to the Honor Guard for making sure these fallen soldiers, warriors and heroes are not treated like just any piece of luggage as they used to, but rather with the care and respect they so rightly deserve.

Like Johnny Jet on Facebook.

(Photo: Stephen G Siler)

 

At these 10 thrilling airports, landing is part of the adventure

Posted in News with tags , on November 2, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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At these 10 thrilling airports, landing is part of the adventure

Airfarewatchdog 

(Photo: Alan R. Light / Flickr)
(Photo: Alan R. Light / Flickr)
Each year, the Airfarewatchdog team looks into some of the scariest airports known to mankind (okay, so they’re not truly scary—if an airport was actually dangerous, pilots wouldn’t land there—but these will definitely give you a thrill). It’s been two years since we put out an international list, but our research led us to some additional airports that definitely deserve to be on there. So here are 10 more of the world’s most thrilling airports.Sea Ice Runway, Antarctica 

Sea Ice Runway in Antarctica is unpaved, and there’s a chance the ice could crack under the weight of an airplane—which is downright terrifying. In fact, a few years ago, the runway was melting, so flights scheduled to land there were cancelled or rerouted. Now, pilots are advised to avoid landing too heavily and to try not to sink more than 10 inches into the ice. With a vehicle as big and heavy as an airplane, that seems like a tough challenge for any pilot!

(Photo: David Jones / Flickr)(Photo: David Jones / Flickr)

Gibraltar Airport (or North Front Airport), Gibraltar 

You might feel as if you’re at a railroad crossing when traveling through Gibraltar Airport. The peninsula’s only runway is perpendicular to a major highway leading into Spain. Thin, flimsy barriers block off traffic when an airplane is moving through, but we still think it’s pretty sketchy! In fact, our sister site SmarterTravel said, “You may be thankful if your plane gets diverted to a nearby airport due to weather, though you’ll still have to brave the runway when you walk over it to get from Spain to the British overseas territory.”

(Photo: Thilo Hilberer / Flickr)(Photo: Thilo Hilberer / Flickr)

Madeira Airport, Portugal

Don’t be alarmed if you feel the plane take a sharp right turn as you approach Madeira Airport, since its runway is extremely short. When the plane starts landing, it swoops through high mountains and strong turbulence and over the ocean. The pilot must aim straight for the mountains and take a last-minute sharp turn. According to Pyrex on the World’s Top 10 Scariest Airports forum on Airliners.net, “It is a scary ride, exactly as described (depending on the direction of the wind, of course). And those mountain rollers make for some bumpy landings.”

(Photo: Bernt Rostad / Flickr)(Photo: Bernt Rostad / Flickr)

Qambo Bamda Airport, Tibet

When China’s Daocheng Yading Airport recently commenced service, it replaced Tibet’s Qambo Bamda Airport as the world’s highest airport—but we think Qambo Bamda is still a pretty good contender for world’s scariest airport. The runway is more than 14,000 feet above sea level and almost 3.5 miles long. High-altitude travel is very dangerous in general, but safe landings at these heights are also extremely difficult.

(Photo: Richie Diesterheft / Flickr)(Photo: Richie Diesterheft / Flickr)

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island

The Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB) allows no room for pilot error: If he or she goes even a little bit too far when trying to land, the plane will end up in the ocean below. The windy, mountainous terrain makes for a hard-to-accomplish landing. Typically, only experienced fliers pilot the airplanes that travel through SAB, and as far as we know, there haven’t been any major accidents.

(Photo: Lok Cheung / Flickr)(Photo: Lok Cheung / Flickr)

Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong

The Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong is no longer an operating airport, thankfully. Before it was closed down in 1998, planes were forced to fly very low over Hong Kong and had to take a sharp right to end up on the runway. When discussing the world’s top 10 scariest airports onAirliners.net, JM017 said, “From videos I’ve seen, I would give my votes to TGU [Toncontín International Airport] and the old Kai Tak.” It’s unsettling to hear that coming from a pilot, so we’re glad we don’t have the option of landing there anymore.

(Photo: Rudi Riet / Flickr)(Photo: Rudi Riet / Flickr)

Eagle County Regional Airport, Vail, Colo.

In America’s 10 Scariest Airports, SmarterTravel editor Caroline Costello interviewed pilot David Cenciotti, who said that “poor weather, high approach, and high surrounding terrain make this airport a bit challenging.” He continued: “Westward departures have high clearance altitudes due to nearby mountains.” The weather and surrounding conditions make traveling through this airport interesting, as the area is known for its bad winter weather.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Matekane Air Strip, Lesotho

The Matekane Air Strip in Lesotho is one of a kind. The runway is at the end of a mountainside gully, so instead of taking off into the air like normal flights, planes drop down the side of a the cliff until they start flying. According to traveler Karulm in The World’s Scariest Runways forum on TravBuddy.com ”You just drop until you start flying? I would never!” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. The runway mostly services medical and charity teams helping nearby villages, so leisure travelers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they won’t have to worry about this one.

(Photo courtesy of Narsaruaq AFIS)

Narsarauq Airport, Greenland

Greenland’s Narsarauq Airport is a traveler’s nightmare. Planes approach the runway through a fjord and need to make a 90-degree turn to line up on the runway. With the seemingly constant turbulence, making a plane turn 90 degrees is no easy task. It’s extremely difficult to judge how gusts of wind might direct the plane. Even though a pilot might need to make some last-minute adjustments to avoid being pushed into one of the valley walls, overcorrecting methods could backfire. Not to mention, there’s also the risk of icebergs drifting into the airplane’s path.

(Photo: asmythie / Flickr)(Photo: asmythie / Flickr)

Ketchikan International Airport, Ketchikan, Alaska

Beware of Ketchikan International Airport in Alaska! The awfully short runway is close to mountains and the ocean, which drops to freezing temperatures. We hear that it rains 150-190 inches per year, which can be scary to land in as it is, but sometimes the rain even blows sideways! It sounds like a wild ride to us.

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