Just the Facts?: Walter Cronkite's Dark Side -- Chilean Glacial Lake Vanishes -- 'Men In Black' Encounter
Walter Cronkite Biography Reveals His Dark Side
A new biography of Walter Cronkite reveals the less trustworthy side of the most trusted man in America.
The CBS anchor is remembered as a media giant who gruffly championed hard-hitting journalism. This is a mostly justifiable assessment. But some unscrupulous actions outlined in the book muddy his otherwise almost spotless reputation, and make clear how much the media has changed.
For starters, he had no problem accepting freebies. These weren't occasional drinks, but flights to remote and luxurious vacation spots around he world for him and his friends and family, courtesy of now-defunct airline Pan Am.
News organizations today place heavy restrictions on the amount of gifts their journalists can receive, if any. This is done in order to protect the organizations' neutrality. For example, The New York Times' company policy states:
Staff members and those on assignment for us may not accept anything that could be construed as a payment for favorable coverage or for avoiding unfavorable coverage. They may not accept gifts, tickets, discounts, reimbursements or other benefits from individuals or organizations covered (or likely to be covered) by their newsroom.
An article in The Daily Beast relates Cronkite's other shenanigans, which included dining with a go-go dancer and bugging a committee room at a GOP convention. The piece questions how Cronkite's more private affairs would have been perceived in the era of Internet tabloids:
Looking back, Cronkite’s virtual immunity as a public figure is troubling. But I see an upside as well: he wielded his enormous clout on behalf of muscular journalism. As Vietnam and Watergate eroded public confidence in government, Cronkite emerged as a new kind of authority figure, his public image unsullied by the grime of politics. What a stunning contrast to the corrosive distrust of the news business today. - THP
Chilean Glacial Lake Vanishes in Less Than 24 Hours
In less than 24 hours Lake Cachet II in Chile's southern Patagonia vanished, leaving behind just some large puddles and chunks of ice in the vast lake bed.
The lake's water comes from ice melting from the Colonia Glacier, located in the Northern Patagonian ice field, some 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) south of the capital, Santiago.
The glacier normally acts as a dam containing the water, but rising temperatures have weakened its wall. Twice this year, on January 27 and March 31, water from the lake bore a tunnel between the rocks and the glacier wall.
The result: Lake Cachet II's 200 million cubic liters of water gushed out into the Baker river, tripling its volume in a matter of hours, and emptying the five square kilometer (two square miles) lake bed.
Cachet II has drained 11 times since 2008 -- and with global temperatures climbing, experts believe this will increase in frequency.
"Climate models predict that as temperatures rise, this phenomenon, known as GLOFs (Glacial Lake Outburst Floods), will become more frequent," said glaciologist Gino Casassa from the Center for Scientific Studies (CES).
Casassa, a member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told AFP there have been 53 similar cases of lakes draining in Chile between 1896 and January 2010, with increased frequency in the later years.
CES research assistant Daniela Carrion was camped out with a small research team taking measurements of the Colonia Glacier when the lake drained in March.
"When we woke up, we saw a change in the valley," Carrion told AFP. "The paths that we walked on had flooded, and the whole area was filled with large chunks of ice."
The lake dropped 31 meters (90 feet) when the water drained out, according to a report from the General Water Directorate, which monitors lake levels in Chile using satellite data.
When the lake starts draining an alarm system is triggered, giving residents in the sparsely-populated area up to eight hours to move animals and flee to higher ground.
The Tempanos Lake, also in far southern Chile, drained in a similar fashion in May 2007. Forest rangers working to save endangered huemuls -- mid-sized deer native to the region -- were surprised when they came across the empty lake. There were ice floes on the floor of the ten square kilometer lake bed, but no water.
Forestry officials had visited Tempanos in April and it was full, and when a team of scientists and naval officials flew over the area in July they found that the lake, which also is fed by waters from a nearby glacier, was starting to re-fill.
The GLOF phenomenon is not exclusive to Patagonia: it has happened in places like the Himalayas, and in Iceland due to volcanic activities, Casassa said.
In a phenomenon also related to rising temperatures, a slab of ice the size of a city block broke off Peru's Hualcan glacier and slid into a high mountain lake with destructive consequences in April 2010.
The crash unleashed a giant wave that breached the lake's levees, causing a tsunami of mud on a village in the northern province of Carhuaz that destroyed more than 20 homes and leaving some 50 people homeless, regional Civil Defense chief Cesar Velasco told the state Andina news agency.
A 2009 World Bank report said that in the last 35 years, Peru's glaciers have shrunk by 22 percent, leading to a 12 percent loss in the amount of fresh water reaching the coast, home to most of the country's citizens. - discovery
Goblins Attack Family, Burn Down Homestead
Zimbabwe - Three huts and a house were flattened last Sunday, while people are occasionally being pelted with stones by unseen things, believed to be goblins at a Chisumbanje homestead in Chipinge South where mysterious occurrences are haunting the Sithole Family.
In this true to life tragedy whose scripts reads like a horror movie, the Sithole family had to make do with stones being thrown at them for the past two months, while soil is intermittently tossed into their pots by invisible assailants as they will be preparing food. However, things came to a boil early last week when three huts at the homestead as well as a house suddenly went up in smoke and the family now sleeps in the open, while the few belongings they managed to salvage from the raging fire are heaped outside.
Whenever one young male member of the family, Taso Sithole (16) entered each of the huts and as soon as he came out, that hut would unexpectedly go up in smoke and this happened on all the four structures that were burnt at the homestead. To make matters worse, efforts to put out the fire were rendered futile as the well at the homestead mysteriously ran dry, only for the well to automatically fill up to the brim with water soon after the huts had been razed.
A visibly traumatised Sarah Muyambo (52) said they were not aware of the hand behind the calamity. She, however, admitted that her 29-year-old son was once fingered by some traditional healers as having caused the misfortunes after he had allegedly laid his hands on some money making magical charms!
"It was around 10am when the fire started. All along we were used to being occasionally pelted with stones, while soil would be hurled in our pots as we were cooking sadza. In fact, it has been long since we last prepared a decent meal simple because you would not want to spend a long time preparing a meal, lest soil would be thrown in whatever you will be cooking. My son, we do not even know why the Lord has allowed this to happen to us. So many things have been said by our neighbours and other passers-by, but no one knows the truth yet. As per our tradition, when such things happen, we consulted different traditional healers for possible solutions. On more than one occasion, we were told that my son - Enoth, is responsible. They said he laid his hands on some money-making magical charms and things are now backfiring. When he returned from Bindura we went to one traditional healer with him so that he could hear it from the horse's mouse, but he vehemently denied the allegations."
She added that the family has been left without any option, but to come out in the open and let the world know that they were in serious trouble. She said different Christian groups visited her home and prayed, but nothing has improved yet.
"We are now sleeping in the open. We have no choice. After all, we hardly enjoy peaceful nights because at times we are pelted with stones by some unseen assailants. Today, it happened about three times when all of a sudden we found ourselves scurrying for cover as we were being pelted with stones. Sometimes some big objects like pots mysteriously rise from the ground coming in your direction and you just need to be alert all the time," she said.
In a separate interview, Enoch professed ignorance on the causes of the calamity that has befallen their family. The distraught Enock said he actually came back from Bindura to clear his name.
"I was told while I was in Bindura that I was being fingered by some traditional healers as the person behind the mysterious happenings at our home. That is why I came back to clear my name. I know nothing about it. I have never consulted any traditional healers with the aim of acquiring riches. My hands are clean," he said.
However, some neighbours confirmed that strange things were taking place at the Sithole homestead. Others went on to claim that snake-like creatures wearing sunglasses, a suit and a pair of shoes had been seen at the homestead. - zimdiaspora
Indian state to let forest guards shoot poachers on sight
A western Indian state has declared war on animal poaching, allowing forest guards to shoot hunters on sight to curb attacks on tigers, elephants and other wildlife.
The government in Maharashtra says injuring or killing suspected poachers will no longer be considered a crime.
Forest guards should not be "booked for human rights violations when they have taken action against poachers", the Maharashtra forest minister, Patangrao Kadam, said on Tuesday. The state will also send more rangers and jeeps into forests, and will offer secret payments to informers who give tips about poachers and animal smugglers, he said.
India has about half of the world's estimated 3,200 tigers in dozens of wildlife reserves set up since the 1970s. But illegal poaching remains a serious threat, with tiger parts sought in traditional Chinese medicine fetching high prices on the black market.
According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, 14 tigers have been killed by poachers in India so far this year – one more than for all of 2011. The tiger is considered endangered, with its habitat range shrinking more than 50% in the last quarter-century and its numbers declining rapidly from the 5,000-7,000 estimated in the 1990s, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Eight of this year's tiger poaching deaths in India occurred in Maharashtra, including one whose body was found last week chopped into pieces with its head and paws missing in Tadoba tiger reserve. Forest officials have also found traps in the reserve, where about 40 tigers live.
Tiger parts used in traditional Chinese medicine are prized on the black market, but dozens of other animals are also targeted by hunters across India. Rhinos are prized for their horns and male elephants for their tusks, while other big cats such as leopards are hunted or poisoned by villagers afraid of attacks on their homes or livestock.
Encounters are rare between guards and poachers, who generally hunt the secretive and nocturnal big cats at night, according to Maharashtra's chief wildlife warden, SWH Naqvi.
"We hardly ever come face-to-face with poachers," he said on Wednesday, predicting few instances when guards might fire at suspects.
Instead, he predicted that the state's offer to pay informers from a new government fund worth about 5m rupees ($90,000) would be more effective in curbing wildlife crime. "We get very few tips, so this will really help," Naqvi said. - guardian
'Men in Black' Encounter (Wayne)
Many many years ago, in grade school there was a selected group of six kids that were placed in a room to meet three adults, all dressed in black. I was one of those children, there was two men and one woman. We were told by the principal that they were goverment people and were doing some type of student research, and for us to cooperate with them. They arrived first when we were the 5th grade, how strange thinking about it now as an adult, because they never spoke to any of us. They just remained standing, but we knew what the woman was asking us. Strange how children accept what adults would not. We were "asked" if we were well and accepted, and that they would be watching over us throughout our lives. They came again the following school year, then one final time after the transition from grade school to junior high school. I can still remember them like it was yesterday. I remember telling my parents at the supper table after my dad got home from work, about the first visit only. I can still remember the look on his face when I said that goverment people came to my school and they would be watching over me without moving their mouths. Somehow, to this day I had the impression he knew more than he was willing to say. After all these years, thanks to facebook, I have reconnected to one of my classmates that was selected along with myself. He too never forgot it either, he's on my friends list. Somehow Ken, I have the growing impression that what has happened to me in my life since, wasn't by accident. I was really hoping to have been put under hypnosis and begin opening those very strange doors from my past. Wayne
From Ken Pfeifer: Wayne is a very interesting person I found on Facebook. I am hoping he will come forward and begin the hypnosis sessions. This encounter was sent to World UFO Photos and News.org.