6 April 2017   Leave a comment

Turkey has conducted autopsies on some of the dead from the chemical attack in Syria and has confirmed that the chemical used was Sarin.  According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), Sarin is an especially vicious weapon of war:

  • Symptoms likely will appear within a few seconds after exposure to the vapor form of sarin and within a few minutes to hours after exposure to the liquid form.
  • All nerve agents cause their toxic effects by preventing the proper operation of an enzyme that acts as the body’s “off switch” for glands and muscles. Without an “off switch,” the glands and muscles are constantly being stimulated. Exposed people may become tired and no longer be able to keep breathing.
  • Sarin is the most volatile of the nerve agents. This means it can easily and quickly evaporate from a liquid into a vapor and spread into the environment. People can be exposed to the vapor even if they do not come in contact with the liquid form of sarin.
  • Because it evaporates so quickly, sarin presents an immediate but short-lived threat.

Under a deal brokered with Russia, Syria was supposed to have turned over all its chemical weapons for destruction.  The revelation puts Russia in a very awkward situation, but only if the international community expresses its outrage not only over Syria’s use of the weapon but also for Russia’s failure to honor its commitment.

In what seems to be a dramatic change from his previous accommodating position, Philippines President Duterte has ordered military vessels to visit a part of the Spratly Islands claimed by China.  The international name for the island is Thitu, and it is part of the Spratly Islands complex.  An International Tribunal in the Hague has ruled in favor of the Philippines and against China in terms of territorial control, but the Chinese have disregarded that ruling.  It is hard to determine Duterte’s objective in sending the military mission, but it will undoubtedly provoke some response from China.

The Pew Research Center has released a study that indicates that Muslims are the fastest growing religious group in the world.  According to the study:

While the world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060. In 2015, Muslims made up 24.1% of the global population. Forty-five years later, they are expected to make up more than three-in-ten of the world’s people (31.1%).

The explanation for the increase is simple: “In all major regions where there is a sizable Muslim population, Muslim fertility exceeds non-Muslim fertility.”

Posted April 6, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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