Baikal on Fire

russia.a2015234.0355.250mLake Baikal in Eastern Russia, the deepest and oldest lake in the world, is home to 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water.  As of August 24, 2015 this lake is facing a crisis with 36 fires equaling an area of 138,500 hectares (342,240 acres) currently burning around its shores.  The fires which surround the lake are cutting off its water arteries, which can adversely affect the ecological balance of the lake.  At present the depth of the lake is at an all-time low.  As a result, the drier coastline could lead to more summertime wildfires. Soot and ash are washing up on the shores of the lake and the skies above the lake, a popular tourist area, are completely covered in smoke.  So too, an unusually hot summer and a lack of rainfall have contributed to making the situation worse.

This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on August 22, 2015. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.  NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner

source: NASA

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Baikal on fire – ‘it feels like doomsday’
By The Siberian Times reporter
23 August 2015
The Siberian Times

Pristine forests around the world’s oldest lake go up in flames.

Baikal inferno. Picture: Chono Erdenebayar

These unnerving images show the scale of destruction from wildfires close to Lake Baikal, the jewel of Siberia. The sky is aglow over the Republic of Buryatia from the uncontrolled burning, the latest outbreaks of fires that have been destroying forests around the world’s oldest and deepest lake for a number of weeks.

Locals and tourists could only gaze from beaches beside the lake at the impressive but disturbing images from the flames and smoke.

The shocking scenes came amid a warning from a senior politician that wildfires now pose the greatest threat to the lake, on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which contains 20% of the unfrozen freshwater on the planet.

Mikhail Slipenchuk, deputy head of the Russian parliament’s committee on natural resources and ecology, said: ‘Fires near the lake’s shores actually kill the water arteries, thus damaging the water balance in the lake’.

Baikal on fire - 'it feels like doomsday'


Baikal on fire - 'it feels like doomsday'


Baikal on fire - 'it feels like doomsday'


Baikal on fire - 'it feels like doomsday'


Baikal on fire - 'it feels like doomsday'
Pictures from around the town of Gremyachinsk, and maps of wildfires around lake Baikal. Pictures: Chono Erdenebayar and Andrey Razyvayev

Some 36 fires are burning over an area of 77,000 hectares, after a hot summer with a lack of rainfall, it was reported.

These pictures were taken by Chono Erdenebayar close to Gremyachinsk, on the shore of Lake Baikal, some 138 km south of Ulan Ude.

‘It feels like doomsday’, said one eyewitness.

On the lake’s eastern shore, the area is famed for its sunny bays and sandy beaches.

Thanks to Echo of Moscow radio and Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov for the heads-up

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Germany Going Down the Tubes, or, Lies Come in All Sizes

Greg Yudin
September 2, 2015
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Excellent, just excellent. I look and see that Ulyana Skoibeda has published a diary about how terrible life is in Germany [in the mass circulation newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda]. I think, what is this crap? What would Skoibeda know about Germany? I have a look: the entire structure of their propaganda and the stuff of which it is made are visible after three paragraphs.

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Ulyana Skoibeda (center) and friends

The diary’s author is a certain Galina Ivanova, who moved to Germany but is now escaping it in horror at the influx of immigrants and the inaction of Germans. Since the text is executed in the “eyewitness” genre, it has immediately become wildly popular. To drive the point home, Skoibeda has supplied the diary entries with “links to major German media and speeches by officials.” She is thus hinting that every piece of evidence of Europe’s disintegration is backed up with a reference in perfect German. This is not the story of the three-year-old boy, allegedly crucified in Slovyansk by Ukrainian soldiers, but since proven a fake, she seems to say. You won’t nitpick this one to death.

What is great is that if you follow these links and start reading, you will find that almost all of them are total lies. And the lies come in all sizes. Some of the links lead to off-topic stuff like poverty statistics. Or, for example, the diary’s author angrily reports that Muslims have been abusing Germans to such an extent that “in many school cafeterias, pork sausages, salami, and pâté have been banned.” The link leads to a story about a crazy Egyptian family who asked a court to ban pork dishes. This happened in Vienna (which, for Skoibeda’s information, is in Austria) and was laughed off by the local legal community. But does it really take much to scare Russian readers?

Or, for example, there is a tear-jerking story about German pensioners having to dig in trash urns to collect empty bottles. The link is to an item in Die Republikaner in which there is not a single (!) mention of pensioners. The item itself is about how a society in which people are forced to collect bottles (by the way, have you never seen such a society outside of Germany?) should deal with this rather than facilitating the collection of bottles.

And then there is the top of this pop chart, which, of course, consists in the fact that the majority of the links in the text (including the links to newspapers, officials, and various sensational news items) in fact lead to one and the same site, Netzplanet, a collective right-wing blog that went online two years ago. The bloggers there complain about immigrants and scare each other over Islamization. Their Facebook page has already been blocked because its owners were not willing to provide the necessary information about themselves. The site itself is registered to a company in Panama. I won’t go on.

No “Galina Ivanova” really exists, of course. (In any case, it wasn’t she who wrote this text, unless Galina Ivanova is Skoibeda’s real name.) Because at any newspaper, even this one, there are fact checkers, and if Skoibeda really had been sent a “diary with links,” she would have found people with a knowledge of German and verified the information.

But the miserable PR people and degenerates from the security service who were given the task of collecting facts about problems with immigrants in Germany do exist. And they blew it. And now Skoibeda’s byline is attached to an article with a thousand proofs that she lies.

I always recommend the first thing university students do is learn foreign languages. Because you are surrounded by tons of people who intend to mess with your brains, and your own government is engaged in this above all. It is not the gullible who are most easily manipulated, but those who don’t know how to check things. Languages are the best chance of navigating the world on one’s own. It is impossible to know all languages, but if you know one foreign language, and your friend knows another one, the government will find it much harder to put one over on you. That is exactly why our MPs are so keen to ban the study of foreign languages in schools. Then Skoibeda will be able to tell readers that people with dogs’ heads inhabit Europe.

Greg Yudin is a research fellow and lecturer at The Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Photo courtesy of Trud.ru. Translated by The Russian Reader