Archive for July, 2010

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War on the Horizon?

July 23, 2010

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, on July 22, 2010. Chavez said Thursday his government has broken off diplomatic relations with Colombia after it charged that Colombian guerrilla leaders were in Venezuela. AFP PHOTO/Juan BARRETO

With tensions and allegations continuing to rise between the two countries, Venezuela has decided to cut diplomatic ties with Colombia. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Thursday that he was cutting ties with the neighboring Venezuela over allegations that he was harboring Colombian rebels behind Venezuelan borders. Chavez has threatened to cut ties before, but this time it could result in war between the two countries.

The allegations came after Colombian Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos presented evidence and testimony at a meeting of American States in Washington that Colombian rebel camps were in Venezuela. The evidence was of aerial photographs of the camps and video of rebel leaders who were shot by guerrillas who later turned themselves in to the government.

Chavez claimed that he was doing everything possible to keep the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army from crossing the 1,400 mile border. Chavez said that the Colombian government is trying to provoke a war. “A war is what they might get.”

By Jamie Bowen Contributor

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The Yellow Sea Oil Crisis

July 20, 2010
A picture taken on July 20, 2010 oily polluted water at the site of the oil pipline explosion at the port in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning province, after Chinese fireman completing work extinguishing the blaze. Chinese authorities battled on July 22 to contain an oil spill on the country’s northeast coast amid reports it was spreading and as warnings emerged of a heavy long-term environmental impact. A pipeline explosion and fire at the port on July 16 sent tonnes of crude spilling into the sea. (AFP/Getty Images)

Last Friday, two pipelines exploded in the port of Dalian, China when crude oil was being transferred from a tanker. The accident created an oil slick of an estimated 170 miles and released more than 1,500 tons or 400,000 gallons of oil into the Yellow Sea.

The spill has been reported as the largest oil spill in China’s history and is only a fraction of that of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which has been estimated at tens of millions of gallons of oil released into the ocean.

The spill has not only affected the Yellow Sea, but also the local economy. The areas hit hardest are large tourist attractions, especially the surrounding beaches. Normally more than 80,000 people would flock to the beaches during the summer months to enjoy the water. However, in light of the oil spill, local beaches have been shut down by the government. Other major areas hit are the local fish markets. Fishermen are not allowed to fish and local shell fish farms have been contaminated by the spill. Effects from the oil spill are expected to be felt for a year and it could take even longer than that for the local economy to recover.

By Jamie Bowen, Contributor