World View: U.S. Sends Polar Star Icebreaker to Free Russian Ship, Chinese Icebreaker

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • U.S. sends Polar Star icebreaker to free Russian ship and Chinese icebreaker
  • Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in control of Fallujah

U.S. sends Polar Star icebreaker to free Russian ship and Chinese icebreaker

Chinese helicopter ferries the Shokalskiy passengers to safety
Chinese helicopter ferries the Shokalskiy passengers to safety

The United States Coast Guard is sending the Oregon-based icebreaker Polar Star south to the Antarctic to free a Russian research ship that got trapped in the ice, and also to free a Chinese icebreaker that got trapped in the ice while trying to free the Russian ship. An Australian icebreaker also was unable to help. The 399-feet long Polar Star can break ice that's six feet deep, at a continuous rate of three knots.

The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy with 52 passengers was on a four-week expedition to follow the path taken a century ago by Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson.

One aim of the expedition was to track how quickly the Antarctic's sea ice was disappearing because of global warming, but a blizzard and thick ice caused the expedition to be abandoned on Christmas eve, despite the fact that it's the height of Summer in the Antarctic.

A Chinese icebreaker, the Xue Long (Snow Dragon), tried to free the Shokalskiy, but got trapped in the ice before it reached the Shokalskiy. An Australian icebreaker, the Aurora Australis, also made an attempt, but turned back before getting trapped. The passengers and crew of the Shokalskiy have never been in danger, with plentiful supplies of food and water. Last week a Chinese helicopter ferried the passengers to the Australian ship, though the Russian crew will remain where they are, hoping that the Polar Star can free them. Seattle Times and Telegraph (London)

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in control of Fallujah

More than 100 people were killed on Friday in Fallujah and Ramadi as Iraq's army battled fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), leaving ISIS in control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi on Saturday.

Fallujah and Ramadi were two of the main battlegrounds in the Iraq war in 2005-2008. In 2007, President Bush's surge, in conjunction with the "Anbar Awakening," defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS's predecessor, but since the withdrawal of American forces in December, 2011, al-Qaeda has been surging in strength. ISIS Iraq, has taken control of large sections of eastern Syria and of Anbar province in western Iraq. There is no longer any effective border between the two countries. However, ISIS is not monolithic, as there are al-Qaeda linked militias fighting one another for power within the region. France 24 and Al-Jazeera

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Oregon, Polar Star, Russia, MV Akademik Shokalskiy, Sir Douglas Mawson, China, Xue Long, Snow Dragon, Aurora Australis, Iraq, Fallujah, Ramadi, Anbar Awakening Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, Al-Qaeda in Iraq
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