29 November 2017   Leave a comment

Seventy years ago, the UN passed resolution 181 which called for the creation of three zones in the British mandate of Palestine: a Jewish Zone, an Arab Zone, and an internationalized city of Jerusalem.  It is a day of celebration in Israel a state for which many Jews had demanded since the end of the 19th Century.  Palestinians, however, regard the day as a catastrophe (nabka in Arabic).   The UN plan is still very far from being implemented, and that failure led to one of the most contentious issues in the world.  There is no reason to believe that there is any solution in the near future: the borders have dramatically changed in the past and are still being redrawn as demographic and political changes evolve.  The current governments of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority do not seem interested in pursuing meaningful negotiations to establish a permanent basis for peace.

Evolution of Control over the Palestine Mandate


Mount Agung in Indonesia has erupted on a relatively small scale so far and there is no way to anticipate whether the eruptions will become more severe.  As it is, the eruption is spewing sulfur dioxide and ash over a wide area, both of which have the effect of reducing solar radiation from reaching the planet’s surface.  Mount Agung last experienced a “moderate” eruption in 1963 which nonetheless killed 1,600 people.  According to Umair Irfan:

“We don’t know yet whether the ongoing eruption in Bali will pump out enough gas and ash to have a measurable impact on the climate, but we do know that the 1963 eruption of Mount Agung knocked down global temperatures between 0.1 and 0.2 degrees Celsius for a year.”

Researchers have calculated how global temperatures could be affected if Mount Agung’s eruptions matched those in 1963.  The chart shows a rather dramatic effect on global temperatures and compares the effects of previous eruptions in other volcanoes in the past.

One can watch the eruption in real time via a CCTV connection from this site:



As a candidate, current US President Trump promised to be “tough” on China on trade rule violations.  Not many actions have been taken so far, but the US Commerce Department has indicated that it is initiating a study to possibly impose trade penalties on importation of aluminum produced in China.  The action is “self-initiated” by the Commerce Department and not the result of a complaint by a US producer of aluminum.  Self-initiated studies are quite rare in US trade policies.  The action is curious since the US is also currently relying very heavily on China to persuade North Korea to come to a negotiating table to discuss its nuclear policy.

Posted November 29, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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