No data on ISIS plots against US – Obama

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US intelligence failed to find any specific Islamic State plots against America, President Barack Obama said in an opinion piece. Despite the lack of direct threats, Obama promised not to leave the group unchecked, vowing to ultimately destroy it.

“Our intelligence community has not yet detected specific ISIL plots against America. But its leaders have repeatedly threatened America and our allies, and if left unchecked, they could pose a growing threat to the United States,” Obama wrote in the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday.

The US president’s comments follow the emergence of new intelligence warning that Washington’s upcoming confrontation with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) may leave it blind to a more sinister and direct threat from a much lesser known terrorist group – Khorasan.

Obama reminded the public of his recent fierce efforts to battle the Islamic State, with the final goal of destroying the group.

“That is why, last month, I gave the order for our military to begin taking targeted action against ISIL. Since then, our brave pilots and crews have conducted more than 170 airstrikes against these terrorists,” he said.

“Going forward, as I announced earlier this month, we will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy. Whether in Iraq or in Syria, these terrorists will learn what the leaders of al-Qaida already know: We mean what we say, our reach is long, and if you threaten America you will find no safe haven,” Obama stressed.

He further underscored that US forces will only support Iraqi soldiers, who will be fighting their own fight.

Obama also focused on overall international involvement in the fight against the Islamic State. “This is not and will not be America’s fight alone. That’s why we continue to build a broad international coalition. France and the UK are flying with us over Iraq, others have committed to join this effort, and France has joined us in conducting strikes against ISIL in Iraq. Overall, more than 40 countries – including Arab nations – have offered assistance as part of this coalition.”

Meanwhile, Islamic State fighters have made their way to Jordan, as it was revealed that 11 Islamic State jihadists were arrested in the country, and have confessed to planning terrorists attacks, AFP cited a security official as saying on Sunday.

The detained individuals “admitted their links to the leadership of the Daesh organization in Syria and that they were charged with carrying out terrorist operations in Jordan targeting a number of vital interests,” the official said, using IS’s Arabic acronym.

News of the arrests comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Jordan on September 10 to discuss the creation of US-Arab coalition against the Islamic State with King Abdullah.

During the meeting, Kerry and Abdullah discussed the option of establishing the coalition’s base in Jordan.

WORLD BANK SAYS EBOLA’S SPREAD MAY HAVE CATASTROPHIC COST

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Virus may cost Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as much as $809 million…

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By Matthew Hill and Elena Popina Sep 22, 2014 10:17 AM CT

The World Bank warned that the economic costs of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will escalate to “catastrophic” proportions if the virus spreads, while Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama criticized the international response to the disease.

“If other countries in the vicinity in the subregion of West Africa fail to do what Nigeria and Senegal have done — which is to keep things under control — then the costs will become much much larger,” Francisco Ferreira, World Bank chief economist for Africa, said in a Sept. 19 interview in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital.

The spread of the virus may cost Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three nations where most infections have taken place, as much as $809 million, the World Bank said on Sept. 17. Early findings of the lender’s research into the economic risks of the disease spreading to other countries show the damage could be more severe, he said.

Protecting Against Ebola

Mahama said in an interview in New York yesterday that the Ebola outbreak may reduce gross domestic product in the region by about 3.6 percent. Funds pledged by international donors haven’t yet flowed in and a “panic response” by closing borders and airlines canceling flights are further damaging the worst-hit economies, he said.

“These resources should be fast-tracked so that the countries have the resources to be able to fight the disease,” he said.

Aid Pledges

More than people have already died from Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since the outbreak started in December and over 5,000 have been infected with the disease, according to the World Health Organization. The disease poses a threat to potential global security, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sept. 16.

The outbreak will probably be contained within six to nine months, Mahama said. While the United Nations has estimated the region needs $1 billion in funds to fight the disease, so far pledges have amounted to about $350 million, he said.

The economic costs of the outbreak are largely a result of fear and aversion behavior which spreads quickly once populations sense an outbreak might be out of control, Ferreira said. A World Bank report on the topic will probably be presented at the lender’s annual meetings next month, he said.

“If that happens in a larger country like Nigeria or Senegal then the costs would be much much higher,” he said.

Good Controls

Nigeria has a population of about 170 million and a gross domestic product of $523 billion, while Senegal has 13 million people and a $15 billion economy. By contrast the three most affected nations have a combined population of 21 million people and their economic output is $13 billion in total.

In Nigeria, eight people have died from the disease, while in Senegal there has been one case with the infected person recovering.

Both Senegal and Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, have so far managed to control the spread of the disease through measures such as establishing adequate treatment centers that help quell the “panic factor,” Francisco said.

The World Bank approved a $105 million grant as part of its $200 million commitment to help contain Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, it said on Sept. 16.

“There is a very bad scenario lurking out there for which we should be ready and which argues for very urgent action right now,” Ferreira said.

“GLOBAL WARMING” MARCHERS LEAVE GARBAGE ALL OVER NYC

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“Their love for the Earth is so real, they couldn’t even use a trash can,” says resident

By Sophia RosenbaumSeptember 22, 2014 | 3:30am

Climate change skeptics call out marchers’ ‘hypocrisies’
Thousands participate in “The People’s Climate March” in New York City.

Manhattan’s flood of green protesters had climate-change skeptics seeing red Sunday.
“Their love for the Earth is so real, they couldn’t even use a trash can,” tweeted a disgusted @chelsea_elisa, along with a photo of an overflowing trash can in Manhattan, after tens of thousands of marchers invaded the city on fleets of smog-producing buses.

David Kreutzer, a research fellow at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, shared a similar photo of the marchers’ refuse trashing the city’s streets.
“Somehow this doesn’t seem too green 2me,” Kreutzer tweeted.
He and other critics of the People’s Climate March called the protesters hypocrites for wasting paper and burning fossil fuel in getting to the big event.
“The hypocrisy varies from person to person,” economist Kreutzer, 61, told The Post. “The ones that fly in on private jets are the most hypocritical.”
He was referring to celebrity A-listers who joined Sunday’s march.
Stars such as Leo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, an outspoken opponent of fracking, paraded through Midtown with people from around the country.
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Leonardo DiCaprio takes part in a march against climate change in New York
Leonardo DiCaprio takes part in the march against climate change.
Reuters
Hippies joined forces with gentrifying hipsters to decry what they called devastating man-made climate change.
One guy sported a witch hat and psychedelic pants while holding a sign that read, “Goodbye Earth People.”
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One of the colorful participants in the march
Photo: Reuters
The resulting traffic snarls irritated taxi drivers to no end, as marchers strolled from Columbus Circle to 11th Avenue and 34th Street.
“It’s a mess,” said hard-working hack Gamal Abovelwafa, 60.
He said the worst traffic was at the end of the march and around Central Park.
“Where are we going to go?” he angrily asked.
Kreutzer argued that it is unlikely that climate change will be the biggest problem of the 21st century.
“It is phenomenally arrogant to think that 14 years into this century that we already know the greatest crisis we will face,” Kreutzer said.