Friday, June 19

Record heat, terrorist violence and refugees. How quaint.

From AOL June 19:
Last month was officially the hottest May on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA tracked temperatures 1.57 degrees Fahrenheit above the worldwide average of 58.6 degrees.
The data indicates 2015 is on pace to be the hottest year on record, with temperatures in the first five months in the surpassing the same period in 2010 as the warmest first five months.
NOAA scientists claim the heat is thanks at least in part to El Nino. The cyclical warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean can lead to what we're seeing now: record temperatures and record rainfall.
Not only did May mark the warmest spring and the warmest first five months of the year ever recorded worldwide, but in the United States, it was also the single wettest month ever.
May set the same record in 2012, and a new onein 2014. Both years set new records for the hottest in modern history.
According to UN data, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have all come in the 21st century, and the heating trend is expected to continue.
[from a slide show caption]  Temperatures are soaring across the Middle East, with winds and sandstorms driving people indoors as unlucky pedestrians try to shield themselves from the sun with books, newspapers or anything they can find.
 From Associated Press, June 19
WASHINGTON (AP) — Extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria unleashed a savage rise in violence between 2013 and 2014, according to new statistics released by the State Department. Attacks largely at the hands of the Islamic State and Boko Haram raised the number of terror acts by more than a third, nearly doubled the number of deaths and nearly tripled the number of kidnappings.
The figures contained in the department's annual global terrorism report say that nearly 33,000 people were killed in almost 13,500 terrorist attacks around the world in 2014. That's up from just over 18,000 deaths in nearly 10,000 attacks in 2013, it said. Twenty-four Americans were killed by extremists in 2014, the report said. Abductions soared from 3,137 in 2013 to 9,428 in 2014, the report said.
The report attributes the rise in attacks to increased terror activity in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria and the sharp spike in deaths to a growth in exceptionally lethal attacks in those countries and elsewhere. There were 20 attacks that killed more than 100 people each in 2014, compared to just two in 2013, according to the figures that were compiled for the State Department by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.
Terror attacks took place in 95 countries in 2014, but were concentrated in the Mideast, South Asia and west Africa. Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria accounted for more than 60 percent of the attacks and, if Syria is included, roughly 80 percent of the fatalities, the report found.
Friday's reports noted the "unprecedented seizure" of territory in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State in 2014 along with its continued demonstrated ability to recruit foreign fighters to join its cause and the emergence of self-proclaimed affiliates notably in Libya, Egypt and Nigeria. It also pointed out a rise in the number of so-called "lone wolf" attacks in the West and the use of more extreme methods of violence by terrorists to repress and frighten communities under their control.
At the same time, the reports said regional and international efforts to counter the Islamic State and other groups were starting to make inroads.
I've already posted on the refugee statistics (and pointed out that there were causes in addition to warfare-related violence for refugees) but here's a link on the story: Record 60 Million Fled 'Out of Control' Violence in 2014: UNJune 18


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