Thursday, 21 August 2014

Climate change: Amazon rainforest wildfires

Amazon Rainforest Wildfires Scorch Through Drought-Plagued Brazil During Southern Hemisphere Winter

20 August, 2014

It’s Winter. Sections of Brazil are experiencing their worst drought in 84 years. Sao Paulo, a city of 9 million, has 97 days of water supply left. And, again, the Great Rainforest is burning.

Over the past few decades a combination of insults including clear cutting, slash and burn agriculture, and rising instances of heatwaves and drought driven by human-caused climate change has resulted in increasingly severe impacts to forested regions around and within the Amazon. Major fires, which were once almost unheard of in the damp, wet regions of the great Amazon delta first cropped up in the late 1980s and early 1990s but have since become more widespread
.Amazon fire outbreak August 13 2014
(Wildfire outbreak in the Amazon on August 13, 2014. For reference bottom edge of frame is 180 miles. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)
Now, a combination of basement burning of root systems in the Amazon, heat, and drought are resulting in a kind of existential crisis for a region that has been described by scientists as ‘the Earth’s lungs.’ It is a situation that brings with it the ever-increasing risk of major fire outbreaks. And as of 2012 and 2013, after a period of ever-increasing burning, dry equatorial winters have brought with them extraordinarily severe fires that have torn through forested zones and threatened infrastructure. In one such instance during 2013, a major region-wide blackout was set off by a fire originating in Brazil’s rainforest.

And now the burning has begun anew.
For as of August 13 of this year, large wildfires were erupting within the Amazon near regions of cleared forest and deep within the forest interior. Over the past week, these fires expanded and became more widespread. Now, much of Brazil is under a pall of smoke from wildfires that have expanded to range over a very broad rainforest region.

Brazil Wildfires August 20 2014
(Smoke from wildfires covering almost all of the Amazon on August 20, 2014. For reference, bottom edge of frame is 1,000 miles and the Amazon River flows from middle left until it terminates at upper right into the South Atlantic. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

News media and public reporting of fire instances within Brazil are sketchy. But the satellite picture doesn’t lie. Observational estimates place these fires in the range of 500,000 to 1,500,000 acres initially. But given the fire intensity, they are likely to burn on for weeks to months.

Conditions in Context: 3 Percent of the Amazon Lost To Fire From 1999-2010
The new fires originated in a region now known to harbor ongoing understory fires. These fires burn beneath the interlaced root systems of the Amazon and have been discovered to continue to smolder year-round. During times of intense heat and drought, these fires can break through to the surface and more intensely burn through large swaths of forestland. After burning, they sink back into the understory, waiting for another heat/drought trigger.
Last year, NASA published a study which found that fully 3 percent of the Amazon had been lost to fires during the period of 1999-2010. A primary culprit for these losses was found to be understory fires, which NASA identified as a significant threat to the Amazon forest system.

12 million square miles of Amazon burned
(1.2 million square miles of Amazon forest burned from 1999-2010 according to a 2013 NASA study. Location of fires indicated in orange.)
Perhaps most significantly, the NASA study implicated climate change as the primary cause for these fires, finding that drought and heatwaves related to increases in human heat trapping gasses had depleted ground moisture levels, resulting in a greatly increased instance of fires.

Post 2010, the satellite record indicates that these fires have continued to grow in intensity. And so the risk to the Amazon expands.
Overall, the Amazon currently stores about 120 gigatons of carbon. It represents about 10% of the global uptake of carbon from the atmosphere through forest tree and plant respiration. But as the Amazon burns and becomes deforested, it shifts from being a carbon absorber to a carbon emitter. Currently, depleted and burning areas of the Amazon are estimated to emit 500 megatons of CO2 each year. And though this has not yet tipped the balance to make the Amazon a net carbon emitter, human climate change and deforestation is driving the world’s largest rainforest rapidly in that direction.
Under human driven climate change and deforestation, the heat and drought situation will only worsen for Brazil. Even without clear cutting, the fires will expand and, eventually, the rainforest will be consumed. Without substantial mitigation action by humans, it is bound to happen. The vast carbon store that is the rainforest will almost certainly begin adding to the already rapacious human heating effect. A process that will continue for decades and will only end once the rainforest is gone entirely.
Links:
Hat tip to Bernard

Japan's volcanic island

Japan Island Created By Volcano Could Collapse, Cause Tsunami

Japan's tsunami fears may be on the rise yet again.




20 August, 2014

This time, it's coming from an area some 600 miles south of Tokyo, in an island chain that has been rapidly growing due to volcanoes, according to the Agence France Press. At the moment, scientists are focused on Nishinoshima Island, which is growing at a rate of 7 million cubic feet per day, the report adds.
If a large enough piece of that island were to collapse during its rapid expansion, it could spell disaster nearby.
"If lava continues to mount on the eastern area, part of the island's slopes could collapse and cause a tsunami," said Fukashi Maeno, assistant professor of the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo, in the AFP report.
According to AOL, if a collapse occurs, it would take only 18 minutes for a possibly-devastating wave to arrive at Japan's closest island, Chichijima, where about 2,000 people live. Japan's Meteorological Agency has been tasked with monitoring the island, as well as simulating what would happen if the worst-case scenario played out, the report also said.
"We studied the simulation this morning, and we are thinking of consulting with earthquake prediction experts ... about the probability of this actually happening, and what kind of measures we would be able to take," an official with JMA told AFP.
Japan remains on edge after a 2011 tsunami killed nearly 16,000 people after a 9.0 earthquake just off the eastern coast, according to CNN. The epicenter was 231 miles northeast of Tokyo, and the tremor generated 30-foot waves that ravaged the shoreline.

Extreme weather across the globe

Signs Of Change July/August 2014 - Concerns Of Uncertainty


Japan landslides kill 36

Natural disaster on the outskirts of Hiroshima leaves at least seven others missing

al-Jazeera,

20 August, 2014

Rain-sodden hillsides collapsed in torrents of mud, rock and debris Wednesday on the outskirts of Hiroshima, killing at least 36 people and leaving seven others missing, the prefectural police said.



Public broadcaster NHK showed rescue workers suspended by ropes from police helicopters pulling victims from the rubble. Others gingerly climbed through windows to search for survivors in crushed homes.


Hillsides caved in or were swept down into residential areas in at least five valleys in the suburbs of Hiroshima, in western Japan, after heavy rains left slopes unstable.


In addition to the dead and missing as of Wednesday night, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 15 people were injured, two seriously.


"A few people were washed away, and it is hard to know exactly how many are unaccounted for," said local government official Nakatoshi Okamoto, noting that conditions in the area were hindering rescuers.


Authorities issued warnings that additional rain could trigger more landslides and flooding.


The land collapsed so quickly that evacuation advisories came an hour after the first mudslide, officials acknowledged.


"It's so regrettable," Kyodo News service quoted Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui as saying. "We'll find out what went wrong and take the necessary measures."


Landslides are a constant risk in mountainous, crowded Japan, where many homes are built on or near steep slopes. Torrential rains in the early morning apparently caused hillsides to collapse in an area where many of the buildings were newly constructed.


Damage from landslides and mudslides has increased over the past few decades because of more frequent heavy rains, despite extensive work on stabilizing slopes. In the past decade there have been nearly 1,200 landslides a year, according to the Land Ministry, up from an average of about 770 a year in the previous decade.


In October 2013, multiple mudslides on Izu-Oshima, an island south of Tokyo, killed 35 people, four of whose bodies were never recovered. Those slides followed a typhoon that dumped a record of more than 32 inches of rain in a single day.


The Associated Press





A comment on my timeline -

"I live about 28 miles from Oakhurst in another mountain community. Extreme drought has escalated the fire season and we were having conditions in May that we normally do not get until late August through September. Had another very serious fire even closer about a month ago. Wells are drying up and snowpack in the Sierra Nevada last winter was less than half of normal, so water reserves are way down. Hard times."

Wildfire Burns Near Yosemite National Park, Prompts Evacuation Of Thousands

A wildfire burning near Yosemite park has forced the evacuation of thousands of people, destroyed buildings, and has closed a road leading into the park.

Think Progress,

19 August, 2014


The blaze, which is known as the Junction Fire, encompasses nearly two square miles and is burning near the town of Oakhurst, which sits about 16 miles from an entrance to Yosemite Park. More than 600 firefighters are fighting to control the blaze, which is being driven by strong winds has forced evacuation orders for 13,000 people.

There is nothing you can do when a fire is raging,” Clement Williams, a resident of Oakhurst who was forced to evacuate, told the AP. “You just have to flee. It’s a real sinking feeling.”

Two firefighters battling the fire have been injured, and the fire has destroyed eight structures and threatens another 500. Cal Fire’s incident page states that the “extreme” conditions of the fire, which has yet to be contained, are being driven by the extreme drought in California.Firefighters are hopeful that lower temperatures, a rise in humidity and less wind will provide them with the ability to establish containment lines, utilizing hand crews and dozers,” the page states.

Right now, 99.8 percent of California is experiencing “severe” drought conditions, the third-most severe ranking by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Nearly 82 percent of the state is in extreme drought, the second-highest drought ranking, and 58 percent of the state is in the most severe ranking of drought.

Rhonda Salisbury, marketing director for the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, told the Fresno Bee that a fire that large hadn’t been seen in Oakhurst in more than 50 years.

We’re all ready to get out our hoses,” she said. “We love this town and community and these firefighters have had such a hard time in the last couple years. We want to do what we can to help, but there’s not a lot of water and it’s hot and dry.”

The Junction Fire comes a few weeks after another fire that burned near Yosemite, one that also forced evacuations. The fire prompted a state of emergency declaration in Tuolumne County. The fire also comes about a year after the Rim Fire, which burned near Yosemite and was the third-largest fire in California’s history. Right now, the Junction Fire is one of more than 10 fires burning in California.

Earlier this month, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in his state, due to the dozens of wildfires that were burning across the Golden State at the time. Dennis Mathisen, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the LA Times in at the time that the fire behavior witnessed in California usually isn’t seen until September.

With warmer weather conditions, low humidity and some wind, and all you need is a spark, and a series of dry lightning strikes, and that’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Soon after California’s emergency declaration, the White House released a video that linked worsening wildfires across the country to climate change, noting that the number of wildfires in the West have “increased several-fold in the last decade.”

While no single wildfire can be said to be caused by climate change, climate change has been making the fire season in the U.S. longer and on average more intense,” White House science adviser John Holdren says in the video. “Climate change is also bringing us more dead trees — kindling in effect — killed by a combination of heat stress, water stress and attacks by pests and pathogens that multiply faster in a warmer world,” he continues.


Storm Drops Feet of Hail on Mexico City


20 August, 2014
A long-lived and intense thunderstorm dumped hail that ended up being measured in feet in some parts of Mexico City Sunday afternoon and evening.
City tunnels and roadways became impassable in some locations and emergency workers were forced into action to free vehicles and open roads. Heavy equipment was needed to clean up the hail, similar to the clean-up efforts needed after a blizzard.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Mark Paquette, storms of this nature are not uncommon for Mexico City around this time of year.
"It's hail season for them," he said.
Mexico City sits at an elevation of roughly 7,000 feet which creates conditions where intense storms can barrel through the city, dropping heavy rains and even hail. Paquette likened the city to Denver, Colorado, which has a lower elevation but a similar setup in the late summer that allows powerful storms capable of spawning hail to form.
Unique to Sunday's storms was the extreme amount of hail that pounded the area. There were reports of hail stacking to the point where plows had to shovel the roads in efforts to make them clear.

In addition to the hail, torrential rain caused flash flooding adding to the travel woes. Storms hit other regions of Mexico as well as Loreto faced heavy storms that brought intense rain.

Swedish floods spread wider 

as rain continues


19 August, 2014

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation.

  • Floods move into second day
  • Rain predicted to continue all week
  • Emergency workers say floods at "catastrophic levels"
  • Floods have moved from Getinge to Bohuslän
  • Defence Minister on the scene on Wednesday afternoon

Rain in the small south-western town of Getinge continued to bucket down throughout Wednesday, and forecasters warned that it showed no signs of stopping.

The floods moved on from the town in Halland and into neighbouring county Bohuslän on the west coast.

Sweden's Defence Minister Karin Enström was on the scene on Wednesday,

"What you're struck by is the enormous power of the water," she told the TT news agency.

"When it rains like this and the water has nowhere to go then the effects are huge."

She added that emergency efforts have been prompt and effective, and that the incident highlighted the need for a "well-oiled system".Even if the floods can be contained, forecasters said the prognosis looked grim with continued storms expected.
Emergency services said 8,000 homes in the town of Halmstad risked being evacuated. Around 50 households in nearby Getinge have already been evacuated, including two retirement homes.

Sweden's weather agency SMHI issued a class 3 warning - the most severe on its three-level scale, adding that the rain would not subside until "early next week".

The home guard has been on hand to held build water barrier using sandbags, although many streets have already flooded, leaving dozens of cars underwater.


Many homes in the area have been left without electricity, and local train lines and some highways have been closed down.

Climate change in Britain

How a warmer Arctic could lead to colder winters in Britain
Robert McSweeney


20 August, 2014

When you're chipping ice from your car windscreen or sheltering from the snow on a windswept platform, you might find yourself wondering how climate change fits in with the flurry of cold winters we've seen in recent years.
One theory suggests very cold winters in the northern hemisphere could be linked to rapidly increasing temperatures much further north - in the Arctic. A new paper outlines three ways scientists think the two could be linked.
Rapid Arctic warming
Temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing almost twice as fast as the global average. This is known as Arctic amplification. As Arctic sea-ice shrinks, energy from the sun that would have been reflected away is instead absorbed by the ocean.
From 2007 to 2013, we've seen some of the lowest summer sea ice levels since records began, as shown in the graph below. This has coincided with a number of extreme cold and wet events across the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, including the cold start to 2013 in the UK and the record low temperatures in the US and Canada during the 2013-14 winter.
AR5_Summer Arctic Sea Ice
Arctic sea ice summer extent has decreased by between 9.4 to 13.6% per decade. Source: IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers
Some scientists have suggested this extreme weather is a result of Arctic amplification. A new paper in published in Nature Geoscience runs through three potential explanations of what could be happening.
Storm tracks
The wintry weather we're used to in the UK is largely caused by storms coming in from the mid-Atlantic. The passage these storms take are known as 'storm tracks'.
When the storm tracks fall directly over the UK, we get wet and mild conditions. When the storm tracks pass to the south, colder air is drawn in from northern Europe and Russia, making winters much colder.
The position of storm tracks is affected by a natural fluctuation known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When the NAO is positive, the storm tracks fall over the UK; when negative, they fall to the south. So a negative NAO is associated with colder winters - like the ones we've seen recently.
The NAO has been largely negative since the turn of the century and some scientists suggest it is being affected by recent changes in sea ice. The authors say in the paper:
"Observational analyses have shown significant correlation between reduced Arctic sea-ice cover and the negative phase of the winter NAO."
But they also say that the NAO is naturally highly variable, and so the impact of reduced sea-ice is only small in comparison. This suggests that variations in the NAO are still predominantly driven by its natural fluctuations.
NOAA_NAOGraph
The NAO has been mainly negative since the turn of the century, as shown by the blue lines on the graph above. Source: NOAA
Jet stream
Scientists also think Arctic amplification could be affecting the jet stream - a band of fast-flowing air high up in the atmosphere.
The jet stream received a lot of media attention in recent UK winters as a possible cause of prolonged cold weather. It's driven by the temperature difference between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes.
The theory goes that as the Arctic warms, this temperature difference decreases. This means the jet stream weakens, causing it to meander more and allow cold air to pulled eastwards over the UK.
While some initial observations support the theory, there is not currently enough evidence to be convincing. This leads the authors to say that:
"[C]hallenges remain in linking Arctic amplification directly to changes in the speed and structure of the jet stream."
Rossby waves
The third explanation involves 'Rossby waves' - which consist of large air masses at high-altitude. Rossby waves move north and south and create meanders in the jet stream. These waves can slow down or 'block', at which point the weather experienced on the ground will remain for some time. This could be a prolonged period of cold or rain, or a heatwave in the summer.
Reductions in sea-ice extent in the Arctic have been linked to high pressure systems over the Arctic that push cold air towards northern Europe and brings cold weather to the UK. So these high pressure air masses may have a role in locking weather conditions in. But the paper highlights that modelling studies have not been able to simulate these wave changes particularly well.
This is an active area of research. Another recent paper, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the impact of Arctic amplification on Rossby waves is linked to a range of extreme weather events in northern hemisphere summers, such as Europe's heatwave in 2003.
Knowledge gaps
With three potential links between Arctic amplification and extreme mid-latitude weather, there is still a long way to go before any relationship is fully understood.
There is relatively little data around the poles and Arctic amplification has only been detected in the last two decades.
However, the paper stresses that the question is "a critical one" as scientists predict Arctic amplification will continue into the coming decades.
The paper also serves as a reminder that increasing global temperatures doesn't preclude periods of very cold weather. Indeed, the paper concludes that:
"Cold winters such as the one experienced in 2013-2014 have occurred before and are expected as part of normal weather variability even on a warmer planet."

Methane emissions

Persistently High Methane Concentrations over Beaufort Sea




19 November, 2014

High methane concentrations have been showing up over Beaufort Sea over the past few days, as shown on the image below. This follows the recent high methane concentrations over the East Siberian Sea.


The persistent character of these very high methane concentrations over the Arctic Ocean indicates that methane has started to erupt from clathrates under the seabed, triggered by very warm water reaching the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.

Methane eruptions from hydrates in sediments under the Arctic Ocean helped mean methane levels reach new records, with mean global methane readings as high as 1835 parts per billion recorded at several altitudes on August 17, 2014.


The very high sea surface temperature anomalies that show up on above image give an idea of the inflow of warm water from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait. This is further highlighted by the combination image below. 
[ click on image to enlarge ]



The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.

Moscow closes MacDonalds

Four Moscow McDonalds shut by Russian consumer watchdog


RT,

19 August, 2014

Russia’s consumer watchdog has shut down four McDonald's restaurants in central Moscow – including the first-ever outlet in the country – over “administrative violations.” More of the company 430 Russian franchises are under investigation.

Multiple violations of sanitary norms were detected in the sourcing of food and waste disposal in McDonald’s restaurants during inspections carried out between the 18th and 20th of August,” said an official statement from the watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor.
The company has said that it will study the allegations against its franchises, and “will do everything to ensure that the restaurants open as soon as possible.”
McDonald’s main priority is offering its customers quality and safe produce,” said a statement on the McDonald’s website.


Among the temporarily shuttered establishments is the restaurant in Pushkinskaya Square – once the biggest in the world – that became iconic when it opened in 1990 in what was still the Soviet Union, creating mile-long queues of Russians ready to wait several hours to sample the taste of America.

The sauce: Watchdog shuts 'iconic' first-ever McDonald's that opened in 1990 in Moscow http://on.rt.com/c19zai 
The first checks - and subsequent rumors that the entire burger chain may be shut down - took place in the northwestern city of Veliky Novgorod in May.

The Caesar roll and vegetable salad have been found to contain microbe pollution with E.Coli bacteria and 10 times the safe level of microbes,” the watchdog said in a statement back then. ‘This attests to the fact that the staff breached personal hygiene rules, and the corporate sanitary disinfection regime.”
A separate claim from Rospotrebnadzor said that the nutrition sheets provided by the company did not match the actual content of the burgers on sale.

RIA Novosti/Vladimir Pesnya
RIA Novosti/Vladimir Pesnya


The burger chain – which is headquartered in Illinois, but sells its franchise licenses to Russian companies and individuals - employs over 35,000 staff, and retailed nearly $1.5 billion worth of food to customers in the country last year.

The shot across the bow – after nearly 25 years of rapid expansion in Russia for the US company – comes amidst an escalation of sanctions between Moscow and the West. After Washington and Brussels imposed restrictions on financial lending and technological imports for Russian companies due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine earlier this month, Russia responded by embargoing agricultural produce from Europe and the US for one year

Ferguson, Missouri update - 08/20.2104

Ferguson Cop Points Gun At Protesters And Press, Screams "I Will F***ing Kill You", Has Been "Relocated"



http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-20/ferguson-cop-points-gun-protesters-and-press-screams-i-will-fing-kill-you-has-been-r


In the aftermath of recent violent events and now that even the US Attorney General has arrived, one would assume that the Ferguson police had at least some "sensitivity" training about how to approach protesters, especially those "armed" with cameras. Not in this case. The footage below out of Ferguson shows a police officer pointing his gun directly at protesters and reporters while screaming "I’m going to f***ing kill you!"



The clip shows a Ferguson officer with his gun raised pointing it directly at a citizen journalist who was live streaming at the time: the incident was witnessed by Infowars reporter Joe Biggs who was also filming the incident.

"My hands are up bro, my hands are up," states the journalist before the cop responds, "I’m going to f***ing kill you, get back, get back!"

"You’re going to kill him?” asks another individual before the journalist asks, “did he just threaten to kill me?"

When the cop is asked for his name he responds, "go fuck yourself."

It didn't end there.

As Infowars reports, "another clip shows the officer pointing his gun as protesters demand he lower the weapon. A second cop intervenes to make the officer lower his weapon as more irate demonstrators demand to know the officer’s name."

The officer’s response to people asking for his name almost immediately prompted the launch of the Twitter hashtag #officergofuckyourself.


Biggs live tweeted the incident, and also took this photograph of the cop.
The incident is certain to provoke curiosity as to just how the local Police department is handling the de-escalation of local tensions.

As for police officer #officergofuckyourself, it appears he is no longer "on location."

Vanita Gupta @ACLUVanita
Quick work by ACLU: Highway patrol called. They identified the cop. He will no longer be in ferguson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AFia3Uo0TQ&feature=youtu.be 


One also wonders: if not in Ferguson, just where can this pleasant, if "relocated", individual be encountered?



Watchdog groups slam 

Ferguson police ‘harassment’ 

of reporters


As tensions continue to simmer following nine days of street protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where a teenager was shot dead by a police officer, two watchdog groups have slammed the heavy-handed police tactics.

RT,
20 August, 2014


To compound the physical and mental strain of reporting on the weeks-long protests in Ferguson, where the public is desperate for justice after a white police officer shot black teenager Michael Brown to death,journalists themselves are finding themselves the target of police tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bang grenades.


However, Robert Mahoney, Deputy Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said the police tactics would not prevent reporters from doing their jobs.

"Ferguson is an international story and journalists are going to cover it. They have a right to do so without fearing for their safety or liberty," Mahoney said. "The harassment and detention of reporters must stop. From senior commanders on down, the word must go out to security forces to let journalists do their job."

CPJ also released a guide for journalists on how to stay safe while covering events in Ferguson.

Attention journalists covering : stay safe; please read our Guide section on protests http://www.cpj.org/reports/2012/04/civil-matters-and-disturbances.php#4 

Jasmine Heiss, an observer with Amnesty International, expressed concern over reports that journalists were being tear-gassed while performing their jobs.

Just last night I’ve heard several journalists and community say that either gas was thrown at them while they were reporting, or, in the case of the community members that gas was thrown into residential neighborhoods while they were walking,” Heiss told RT.

Increasingly repressive tactics [are] being used to curtail free speech,” she added.

Six journalists were detained by police while covering the protests on Monday and early Tuesday, compelling the American Society of News Editors to describe the incidences as a "top-down effort to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press."

Police in riot gear detain a demonstrator (C) protesting against the shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri August 19, 2014 (Reuters / Joshua Lott)
Police in riot gear detain a demonstrator (C) protesting against the shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri August 19, 2014 (Reuters / Joshua Lott)

According to CNN, 11 journalists have been arrested in the course of the protests, which have thrown a glaring spotlight on US race relations, not to mention military-style police equipment and tactics now being deployed on the streets of America.


Police were caught on video firing a tear gas canister that exploded directly in front of an Al Jazeera America crew, causing the reporters to discard their camera equipment and flee the fumes.

In another heated encounter, a police officer is actually caught on video telling journalists, "I'm going to f***ing kill you!"

Shock Video: Cop points gun, threatens to kill Infowars reporters - http://www.infowars.com/ferguson-cop-points-gun-at-journalists-im-going-to-fing-kill-you/  @Rambobiggs @MikaelThalen

Meanwhile, social media accounts have exploded with real-time proof of the severe press intimidation,”as the Huffington Post described the heavy-handed tactics, where Ferguson police fired at journalists with rubber bullets and flash bang grenades, in some cases preventing media from leaving their vehicles for fear of being targeted.

Reporters in being held hostage in vehicles, not allowed to leave, having flashbangs fired at them.

German reporter Ansgar Graw and his colleague Frank Hermann were detained by police for taking photos of a burned-out gas station, close to the spot where Michael Brown was killed.
I tried to take some pictures at a spot where before I think were taken several thousand photos of the same spot, and some police officers tried to shoot me and my colleague from Germany…but it was on Monday at 2 o’clock, it was perfect…there was no threat, no tensions were in the air,” he told RT.

The journalist said the police told them they could photograph, but they had to continue walking otherwise they would be arrested. Despite complying with the police orders, Graw said they were still detained.

Really, Vladimir Putin needed to have asked for restraint in Ferguson. But I see Egypt has!


Egypt calls for restraint in 


Ferguson


19 August, 2014


Egypt has backed the United Nation’s call for the United States authorities to deal with protests in Ferguson, Missouri “according to the American and international standards”.


A spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, in response to a question from state-run news agency MENA, said the ministry is “following the escalation of protests and demonstrations in the city of Ferguson and reactions thereto”.


The spokesman referred to comments made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Monday as a reflection of the “international community’s position towards these events” including the calls for “restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion”.


Ban also said he hoped investigations into the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown will “shed full light on the killing and that justice will be done.”


Demonstrations in Ferguson began after Brown, who was unarmed, was shot dead by a policeman. Autopsy reports showed that the teen was shot six times. Protests have escalated with incidents of looting and police forces have responded by firing tear gas.


The US Department of State has in the past repeatedly called on Egyptian authorities to respect freedom of assembly and expression.


Last week Human Rights Watch released a report saying that Egyptian security forces’ clearing of a two protest camps “probably amounts to crimes against humanity”, saying at least 817 people were killed.