Posts Tagged ‘MH17’

Letter From New York 07 29 15 Of missile launches, lion hunts and other things…

July 29, 2015

It is a sunny and blistering hot day in New York. I had a lunch today at Sarabeth’s in Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue. It is not a terrible walk but by the time I arrived there, I was more than damp and glad I had topped off with a cold drink of water before I left. Coming back, I caught the bus right outside the store and rode it to Penn Station, walking from there to the office.

When I left the apartment this morning, I turned off the air conditioning but it may have been wiser to leave it on. Heat warnings are in effect for NYC until tomorrow at 8:00 PM. People are to restrain outside activities between 11 and 4 and cooling centers are open for those who might not have air conditioning.

As the day begins to fade, I am gathering my thoughts about the events of the world.

Mullah Omar, head of the Taliban, has apparently been dead for the last two years, according to the Afghans. US Intelligence is examining the claim closely. Supposedly, he died in a Pakistani hospital of an undetermined illness. If he is dead, it may help the peace process. Or not. Some of his supporters have broken from the Taliban and proclaimed their allegiance to IS.

The murkiness continues.

Some parts of a plane washed up on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. They are being examined to see if they are pieces to the missing MH 370, the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared in March of 2014, leaving behind no trace. Despite huge search efforts, nothing has been found and the mystery has been unabated.

Another Malaysian Airliner was shot down over Ukraine. Effort has been being made to initiate a UN tribunal to look into the events surrounding the downing of the flight but they are being blocked by Russia.

Two young Florida boys went fishing. Their boat was found capsized 180 miles from where they started. The search continues, without a trace of them so far.

There is a religious festival that is held every five years in Nepal. Five hundred thousand [500,000] animals have their throats cut. It won’t be happening this year. Priests at the temple of Gidhimai have said that there will be an indefinite halt to the sacrifices to this Goddess of Power. Animal activists are pleased but don’t intend to lower their watch. I think it’s the use of the word “indefinite” that concerns them.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is an old saying that is not holding up between the Turks and the Kurds. Both are fighting IS but they haven’t quit fighting each other. Erdogan, President of Turkey, is concerned because the Kurdish party won 13% of the vote in the last election. Something it has never done. Erdogan is accusing some of the Kurdish members of Parliament of having ties to terrorism. The Erdogan accusations are getting a lot of play; Kurdish rebuttals are receiving little attention.

The Government of Kim Jong-un, everyone’s favorite pudgy little dictator, looks like it is getting ready for a new missile test, having just finished upgrading its rocket launch facility. It will raise tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world, again, and probably result in more sanctions. It will probably happen in October when there is a big political celebration.

Over the last couple of days, hundreds of migrants have stormed the Chunnel, between England and France, desperate to make it to the UK. Riot police have been called out. The Mediterranean problem is sweeping north.

A Minnesota dentist paid $50,000 for a big game hunt in Zimbabwe. He hired a couple of locals. They lured a lion out of a park and he was felled with a crossbow. It turns out the lion was a local tourist favorite, Cecil the Lion. The uproar is horrific. Walter Palmer, the dentist, is apologetic, saying he relied on the locals to ensure a legal hunt. But it looks like the website to his practice has been taken down and he has been thoroughly trashed on social media.

I was not aware that one could still legally hunt wild game in Africa. I thought the only shooting that could be done was with a camera. I was wrong.

It took the hunters forty hours to locate Cecil and to end his misery with a gunshot.

And in ending today’s blog, how better to end it than with an update on The Donald? He has gone on record saying he would welcome Sarah Palin in his administration.

Oh my.

Letter From New York 07 16 15 Observations as I have wandered the town…

July 16, 2015

It has been a lovely day in New York City. The day dawned warm, sunny and not humid. As I walked up 93rd Street to the subway, I cherished every moment, looking up at the trees, moving slightly in the wind. People were out walking their dogs, chatting with them as they did morning duty. There is a bulldog I see occasionally; he has a face only a father could love. He walks sprightly with him on many a morning as I am making my way to Broadway and the subway.

As I took the 1 train to 28th, my car had scattered bunches of tourists. There was a young French couple, a small group of Germans; some folks with mid-western twangs. It is the fabric of the city this time of year. Later in the day there was a group of older tourists from Italy on Fifth Avenue, getting their bearings before strolling down the block.

Today, having only had a light dinner, I was hungry and stopped at the little Greek diner on the corner of 28th and 7th, appropriately called The Greek Corner. The menu has Santorini splashed across its cover. Once I asked the waitress if the owner came from Santorini. She shrugged and said: no, he’s from Sparta. I suspect he thought Santorini more beautiful than Sparta.

She is from Spain and was not terribly friendly at first but now she smiles a little when I come in. She now expects me not to need a menu though, like today, I sometimes ask for one. She always tries to serve me coffee even though I have never had a cup there.

Places like The Greek Corner are disappearing from New York City. There are articles in The Times chronicling their vanishing in all the boroughs.

As I was eating my food, another aspect of New York shuffled through the door, a homeless man, looking for water, smelling of dirt and urine. He was being respectful and the Spanish girl filled a cup for him with water and he shuffled away. It breaks my heart to see men and women like this, scattered all over the city.

As I walked down 7th Avenue to 30th, there is a woman who is there everyday, selling fruit. Yesterday, I wanted to ask her about her story, how she came to be selling fruit on 7th Avenue in New York, far from her homeland.

Since my last letter, a deal has been announced with Iran on its nuclear program. I am not sure how I feel about it, good or bad it is a path that is being played out. The Republicans and some Democrats have vowed to scuttle it and Obama says he will veto any legislation that will stop it. Rouhani of Iran is attempting to sell it through to his people and the all-powerful Ayatollah Khamenei. Neither of the men have an easy job.

The Iran drama has just reached a new stage and for some reason elicits a sense of exhaustion from me for reasons I can’t quite name. Despite the agreement, there is the reality of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US all vying for position in the Middle East.

The Great Game continues, I guess.

TLC has cancelled, officially, the suspended “19 Kids and Counting” after the oldest son admitted abusing five underage girls, including two of his sisters. There was a celebration on Twitter that was quite amazing, I’m told.

In Chattanooga, TN, a shooter was killed after he had killed four others. The man identified as the shooter has an Arabic sounding name and one official, at least, has said it probably is a case of domestic terrorism. It happened at a military facility. The young man was born in 1990, which would make him twenty-five. He was so young to choose a path of violence. What rage burned in him? In any of these young men and women who seem to find killing so easy?

To no one’s great surprise, Dylann Roof, accused in the Charleston killing of nine churchgoers, had a troubled childhood. He grew more silent and withdrawn as time went on, using drugs and having non-violent run-ins with the law.

Tomorrow, North American Muslims will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims. There will be gifts given and much family time enjoyed.

The potential for hate crimes makes it hard for some to enjoy. Recently, a man in New York fractured the jaw of a 19-year-old Muslim woman, while spewing anti-Muslim remarks.

As I write this, the world is waiting for the verdict in the case of James Holmes, who killed twelve and injured seventy in a shooting in a theater showing “Batman” in Aurora, Colorado. Before I post this, we should know.

Tomorrow is the year anniversary of the downing of MH17, brought to earth over Ukraine. There are at least two investigations going on. One has indicated it believes the most likely scenario is that Ukrainian separatists brought down the plane. There is talk of a UN Tribunal. Mr. Putin thinks it “premature.”

Lest we forget, Emmy nominations were announced today. Streaming services rise and broadcast slips in numbers of nominations.

The phone has buzzed three times. The verdict is in for James Holmes; he is guilty of murder and faces the death penalty.