The Brilliant Pentagon Plan To Ignite Holy War In the Middle East and the Unacceptable Price That Civilians Must Pay

[SEE:  America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread ;  f the Script Calls for Credible “Bad Guys,” Then Invent Some! ]

New Excuse for Greater CIA Involvement in Iraq

Lobe Log

nusra-Syria

by Wayne White

With a long history of misguided, damaging American intervention and meddling in the Middle East, the reported CIA effort to target the al-Nusra Front in Syria by helping Iraqi anti-terrorism units to attack its roots in Iraq seems to be the former and possibly destined to be the latter.

The Sunni Arab politics of Iraq, already complicated by the 2003 American invasion, have been further harmed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s unremitting hostility toward Iraq’s Sunni Arab community. He and his Shi’a cronies bitterly opposed the American deal with Sunni Arab insurgents back in late 2006 through 2008, and attempted to undermine the arrangement while US-Sunni Arab Awakening efforts to take down much of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) were in progress.

In the years since, Maliki has been rather consistent in his exclusion of the bulk of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs from the Baghdad political mainstream. He has driven away many of those who have sought or secured office using the machinery of so-called “de-Ba’thification” and has even purged, assassinated or arrested large numbers of former Awakening cadres as well as various other key Sunni Arabs, often on trumped up charges of terrorism (or no formal charges at all — frequently employing his own extrajudicial security forces or Iraq’s mainly Shi’a Anti-Terrorism Service, which answers directly to him).

In this context, it is hardly surprising that a robust measure of Sunni Arab extremism flourishes in Iraq (apparently more now than back in 2008 when most Sunni Arabs were, by contrast, relatively more war-weary and eager for some sort of enduring engagement with the government in Baghdad). Resentment over Maliki’s disinterest in anything that would re-integrate Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority into much of the country’s core activities has done a lot to sustain a drumfire of AQI bombings inside Iraq and, since late 2011, sent gaggles of Islamic fighters from Iraq’s Sunni Arab northwest into the raging battle for Syria.

Al-Nusra probably is to a large extent an arm of AQI, as the US alleges, but also could be the recipient of many Iraqi fighters simply enraged over the plight of Sunni Arabs in their own country more generally. Additionally, there are quite a few historic tribal and family connections that extend far beyond the Syrian-Iraqi border, making events in Syria that much more palpably personal for quite a few Sunni Arabs inside Iraq.

So al-Nusra most likely is more than an organization; a phenomenon welling up from the profound resentment among many Sunni Arabs toward hostile political orders in both countries. If so, that’s not something that can be surgically extracted. Unfortunately, there always is the possibility that somewhere down the road a frustrated Washington (after Baghdad inevitably fails to address al-Nusra, just as it has been unable to deal a crippling blow to AQI) might think drones offer such a capability. If, however, they ever were employed over Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, the anger currently aimed primarily at the Maliki government and the Assad regime would become far more focused on the US.

Al-Nusra clearly is an unwelcome and dangerous player on the opposition side amidst the fighting in Syria. Yet, the sheer length, brutality, mass destruction, horrific casualties and more than a million refugees generated by the violence so far, predictably have rendered more extreme certain elements of the opposition. The seeming rise in regime-like rebel atrocities most likely is linked to some extent to the duration of the carnage.

The US already has become unpopular in broad Syrian opposition and popular circles for not providing desperately needed military assistance. At first, this frustration centered upon frantic requests for a US/NATO no fly zone over Syria. Since hope for that evaporated, attention shifted to arms and ammunition needed by rebels to take on regime-armored vehicles and air power. Some oppositionists in Syria may understand why the US remains wary of providing surface to air missiles that could very well fall into the hands of international terrorist groups, but anti-tank rockets are less of a concern in that respect. Yet, Washington decided not to send any arms whatsoever to opposition fighters — even vetted ones — late last summer and once again recently.

The US designation of al-Nusra as a terrorist group does not appear to have reduced that group’s high military profile as the tip of the opposition’s combat spear against the forces of the Assad regime. And involving the US in a campaign against al-Nusra’s support base in Iraq now could easily be perceived more broadly as being anti-Sunni Arab. After all, many of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs might ask pointedly why the US has chosen not to take a stronger stand against Maliki’s ongoing persecution of and human rights violations against Iraq’s Sunni Arab community — concerns that extend far beyond AQI and its supporters.

Iraq essentially remains in a state of sectarian conflict with Maliki playing the leading role as provocateur. The opposition effort to take down the Assad regime in Syria also has become, in large measure, a sectarian conflict.

By doing little to cross Maliki about his mistreatment of Sunni Arabs, going after al-Nusra in Iraq and providing meager support to the Syrian opposition, Washington potentially is setting itself up to be viewed — at least by Sunni Arab participants in these struggles — as anti-Sunni Arab across much of the greater Arab al-Jazira region as well as the northern Levant. The US faces enough grievances in the region as it is. Why add more to the list?

Japan probes alleged cover-up at nuclear plant

Japan probes alleged cover-up at nuclear plant

By David Guttenfelder, AP

Workers in protective suits wait to enter the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Okuma, Japan, on Nov. 12.

 

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese authorities are investigating subcontractors on suspicion that they forced workers at the tsunami-hit nuclear plant to underreport the amount of radiation they were exposed to so they could stay on the job longer.

Labor officials said Sunday that an investigation had begun over the weekend following media reports of a cover-up at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.

A subcontractor of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, acknowledged having nine workers cover their dosimeters with lead plates late last year so the instrument would indicate a lower level of radiation exposure.

The investigation marks the first time the government has looked into the case, believed to be part of a widespread practice at the plant since it was hit by the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.

The government more than doubled the emergency radiation exposure limit soon after the accident, but lowered it back to the previous level in December. The law now sets the exposure limit at 50 millisieverts per year, or a five-year total of 100 millisieverts.

Dosimeter readings are crucial personal records that determine how much longer a worker can stay on a plant job. Work at highly contaminated areas could quickly eat up a worker’s quota.

The issue reflects a growing concern among the government and TEPCO about how to secure a continuous flow of workers to finish cleaning up the plant. Officials say it will take about 40 years to decommission the plant’s four wrecked reactors — three with melted cores and another with a spent fuel pool in a shattered building.

Labor officials made onsite inspections at the Fukushima plant to examine dosimeter readings of the workers and other records, said Yasuhiro Kishi, an official at the Fukushima Labor Bureau.

Health and Labor Ministry officials repeatedly issued warnings to TEPCO during the first few months of the crisis about the company’s lax oversight of workers’ exposures. Officials have also said TEPCO had several workers share a dosimeter not just early in the crisis when the equipment was in short supply due to tsunami damage, but even after a full stock had been regained.

Takashi Wada, president of Fukushima-based subcontractor Build-Up, acknowledged this weekend that the dosimeter falsification had taken place. He said a supervisor of the group of nine workers came up with the idea when his dosimeter alarm went off during his short preview visit to the area where the workers were assigned.

“We should have never done that,” Wada told an interview with TBS network broadcast Saturday.

Fukushima Radioactive Seawater Passes Halfway Point To US West Coast (update: March 2012)

Radioactive Seawater Impact Map (update: March 2012)

ASR, a global coastal and marine consulting firm, is changing the way the world’s coasts and oceans are managed.

CONTACT

 ASR’s team includes experienced Ph.D. scientists, accomplished environmental business leaders, engineers, and dedicated research and programming staff. Our combination of scientific expertise, environmental stewardship, practical business experience, and technological knowledge allows us to provide proven and effective solutions for our clients’ complex challenges.

We use a Lagrangian particles dispersal method to track where free floating material (fish larvae, algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton…) present in the sea water near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station plant could have gone since the earthquake on March 11th. THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THE RADIOACTIVE PLUME CONCENTRATION. Since we do not know exactly how much contaminated water and at what concentration was released into the ocean, it is impossible to estimate the extent and dilution of the plume. However, field monitoring by TEPCOshowed concentration of radioactive Iodine and Cesium higher than the legal limit during the next two months following the event (with a peak at more than 100 Bq/cm3 early April 2011 for I-131 as shown by the following picture).Source: TEPCO

Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where the radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain. The computer simulation presented here is obtained by continuously releasing particles at the site during the 2 months folllowing the earthquake and then by tracing the path of these particles. The dispersal model is ASR’s Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from theHYCOM/NCODA system which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water.

Court rejects plea to make public SIT report on Gujarat riots

[SEE:  31 Convicted In Gujarat Riots Case for Burning 33 Muslims Alive ; Gujarat riots: Indian SC orders inquiry against Modi]

Court rejects plea to make public SIT report on Gujarat riots

PTI

Zakia Jafri, wife of 2002 post-Godhra riots victim Ehsaan Jafri during her visit to her old house at Gulbarg Society, on the tenth anniversary of the carnage in Ahmedabad.

PTIZakia Jafri, wife of 2002 post-Godhra riots victim Ehsaan Jafri during her visit to her old house at Gulbarg Society, on the tenth anniversary of the carnage in Ahmedabad.

A local court on Saturday rejected a plea by the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots, for making public the SIT report on the riots.

Metropolitan magistrate M.M. Bhatt, while rejecting the plea, said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is yet to submit material related to the report.

As per the Supreme Court order after SIT submits its full report on the complaint of Zakia Jafri, conclusion was to be drawn by the metropolitan court.

Now that the investigation team has not yet submitted the full report, no conclusion can be drawn at this stage. Hence no action is required on the report now, the court said.

The court had earlier directed the SIT to submit its full report by March 15.

The court, in a September 2011 order, had directed the SIT to file its final report before the magistrate court and had said that if the magistrate decides to close the case he has to provide the full SIT report to the complainant and hear her, before closing it.

Last month, the SIT had submitted its final report in a sealed cover on a complaint by Ms. Jafri demanding that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other top politicians, police officers and bureaucrats should be made accused for the 2002 riots cases.

Earlier, SIT consul R.S. Jamaur had opposed Ms. Jafri’s plea saying that they have not submitted a complete report in the court yet.

He had argued that the court would first go through the report and decide as to what to do with it.

However, during arguments in previous hearing of the case on February 29, Ms. JAfri’s lawyers had argued that the SIT has no locus standi to oppose the opening of the report in the court.

They had contended that the report once submitted in the court becomes a public document and anybody can access it.

Hence, they being a complainant cannot be denied access to it.

Her lawyers had also stated in the last hearing that since this is a final report submitted by the SIT after completing the investigations, it is only the court which can decide on the issues related to the report.

Returning From Iraq, Soldiers Find Themselves On Turnaround To Afghanistan

[As so many of us have been predicting, soldiers withdrawn from Iraq will be recycled into Afghanistan, to replace those allegedly being “withdrawn” there, or sent-on to the next war in Asia or Africa.  About now, American GIs are realizing what assholes they have been in signing away their lives, by volunteering to serving in the never-ending wars.  Remember, whatever you have to go through, you volunteered for it.]

Soldiers just back from Iraq get new orders: Afghanistan

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) — Soldiers who just returned from Iraq are among several thousand being ordered to Afghanistan in six months as part of a mission designed to beef up Afghan forces ahead of a planned 2014 U.S. military withdrawal, officials said.

News of the pending Afghanistan deployments came as families at bases across the country were celebrating the return in recent days of troops who turned off the lights at a number of U.S. bases ahead of an end-of-the-year deadline to leave Iraq.

“We are glad that we have brought all soldiers back home in time for Christmas to spend with loved ones. We do have to put information out about an upcoming mission, though,” the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, said Tuesday on its Facebook Page.

In the posting, the brigade said it was one of four selected to “support a Security Force Assistance Mission to Afghanistan in early summer.”

“We just received initial planning orders so lots of details are unknown,” it said. “…The mission is part of the transition from combat operations to advisory mission as we did in Iraq and is a sign of progress.”

Maj. Carla Thomas, a brigade spokeswoman, confirmed the validity of the Facebook announcement.

The new mission is part of an overall U.S. military exit strategy from Afghanistan that moves troops from a combat role to advise-and-assist positions that commanders and analysts say will significantly scale back operations ahead of President Barack Obama’s self-imposed deadline to leave the country.

Earlier this year, the United States outlined its plan to withdraw its troops, beginning by pulling 33,000 “surge” troops deployed to help quell the violence by the end of 2012. The remaining 68,000 troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2014.

News of the deployments comes as the Obama administration pushes to accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, a plan that many military commanders have said is unreasonable in a country still trying to gain its security footing.

“I don’t think we are going to turn around guys who spent time in Iraq and put them on planes to Afghanistan … without there being a clear indication that the Obama administration wants to continue the acceleration of the withdrawal,” said Bill Roggio, Editor of The Long War Journal & Senior Fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“U.S. commanders want to stop with the withdrawal of the 33,000 (surge troops.) They want to halt it.”

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, has said he would like to keep a U.S. “military presence” in Afghanistan beyond 2014 when NATO is scheduled to withdraw its forces. Allen suggested the presence could last as long as 2016 when the Afghan Air Force is completed.

Allen told reporters last week there is “no daylight” between him and the White House on this idea. Allen said he wants to shift the U.S. presence to an advisory capacity in the coming months and then continue to do that mission after 2014.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has asked Allen to review the counterinsurgency strategy and determine what changes are needed. Allen said he has to complete the review before he can decide on the rate of drawdown of current U.S. force levels.

The new mission in Afghanistan somewhat mirrors the U.S. exit strategy in Iraq, which used advise and assist teams to improve counterterrorism operations and train security forces.

Just like in Iraq, small teams of American troops will work and live among security forces, and will help coordinate military operations, according to comments Allen made to reporters last week.

In its Facebook posting, the 4th Brigade Combat Team said those who would be deployed in advise-and-assist roles would be senior enlisted personnel, ranging from master sergeants to colonels.

The deployment was expected to last nine months, though it was unclear how many members of the brigade will deploy.

Also being deployed are troops from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia; the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado; and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The brigade deployments were first reported this week by Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that caters to military personnel.

Under an Army policy, troops are given one month of dwell time for every month they are deployed. In the case of 1st Armored Division’s brigade, which returned in December after less than six months in Iraq, its soldiers could be sent to Afghanistan as early as May.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment. Messages left early Wednesday by CNN at public affairs offices at the 3rd Infantry Division, the 4th Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division were not immediately returned.

Reactions at Fort Bliss were mixed with some soldiers and families telling CNN by telephone that they were resigned to the specter of an Afghanistan deployment, while others said they were surprised elements of the brigade would be deployed so soon after returning from Iraq.

None of the soldiers or their family members were willing to be quoted, citing possible repercussions over speaking to the media without prior approval.

Responses to the brigade’s Facebook post, though, revealed the feelings of spouses and family members.

“All we can do is enjoy the time we have with them,” one person wrote.

Another wrote: “Not even home a week. How sad.”

Questions remain about the stability of Afghan forces, with some questioning whether an Iraq-style exit strategy can work in Afghanistan.

“Given that we are 10 years into this, my confidence level is pretty low that we can turn the Afghan forces around,” Roggio said.

The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan began October 7, 2001, with an air campaign that was followed within weeks by a ground invasion. President Barack Obama has called it “the longest-running war in the nation’s history”.

As the United States turned its attention toward Iraq, insurgent violence in Afghanistan flared against Afghan civilians and security forces as well as the U.S. and its coalition partners.

In 2009, President Obama authorized a surge of 33,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan to combat the violence.

Earlier this year, the president announced a plan to withdraw its troops. The move was followed by withdrawal announcements by most of the NATO nations.

CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

Russian Drilling Platform Sinks While Being Towed Near Sakhalin Island

In the Okhotsk Sea drilling platform sank Four people were killed

Photo: Michael Pochuev / Kommersant
Drilling platform “Kola” capsized and sank 200 miles off the coast of Sakhalin. The accident killed four, rescued 14 people. Rescue operations are continuing. The dangers of ecological catastrophe not.
“Now it is difficult to say how many will last a life-saving work. Similarly, they will go before dark, and if necessary will continue tomorrow,” – said the head of the local central board MES of Russia Teimuraz Kasaev. The fate of several dozen people remains unknown. Managed to rescue 14 people, aware of four deaths, but data on the number of people were on the platform apart. According to different information, “Kola” was from 57 to 76 people.

The rescue operation is carried out in a heavy storm. It involves naval forces: on-site works icebreaker “Magadan”, is expected to approach the ship, “SMITH, Sakhalin,” and courts “Atlas” and “Yuri Tarakurov.” Aircraft left the place of disaster due to the onset of darkness.

Platform “Kola” owned “Arcticmorneftegasrazvedka” and assigned to the port of Murmansk. The platform was built in 1985 in Finland. The total length of Setup 69.2 m, width – 80 m. Since early September, “Kola” conducted exploratory drilling on the continental shelf of western Kamchatka for “Gazflot”.Upon completion, was to go to Vietnam, stopping along the eastern coast of Sakhalin Island in the Bay Zyriansky, informs ITAR-TASS .
The distress signal was received from the platform on Sunday at 2.24 Moscow time, about 6 o’clock in the morning it sank. The main cause of the accident investigation considers towing without the stormy weather. In fact the incident a criminal case under Part 3. 263 of the Criminal Code (violation of safety rules and operation of maritime transport, resulting in the death of two or more persons). Also check the technical condition of the rig and ship captains.

Threat of environmental catastrophe in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, no, as supplies of fuel to the “Kola” were small and were in sealed containers.

Natalia Romashkova

Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income

[Half of the American population lives in poverty and our government spends nearly  two-thirds of a trillion dollars to expand our wars.]

Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income

WASHINGTON (AP) – Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans, almost 1 in 2, have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that is shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

“Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too ‘rich’ to qualify,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michiganpublic policy professor who specializes in poverty.

“The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,” he said. “If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.”

Congressional Republicans and Democrats are sparring over legislation that would renew a Social Security payroll tax cut, part of a year-end political showdown over economic priorities that also could trim unemployment benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce entitlement spending. That is money set aside for payment to individual Americans under such programs as the Social Security retirement scheme or the Medicare health plan.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far, citing poor people who live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

“There’s no doubt the recession has thrown a lot of people out of work and incomes have fallen,” Rector said. “As we come out of recession, it will be important that these programs promote self-sufficiency rather than dependence and encourage people to look for work.”

Mayors in 29 cities say more than 1 in 4 people needing emergency food assistance did not receive it. Many middle-class Americans are dropping below the low-income threshold — roughly $45,000 a year for a family of four — because of pay cuts, a forced reduction of work hours or a spouse losing a job. Housing and child-care costs are consuming up to half a family’s income.

States in the South and West had the highest shares of low-income families, including Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, which have scaled back or eliminated aid programs for the needy. By raw numbers, such families were most numerous in California and Texas, each with more than 1 million.

The struggling Americans include Zenobia Bechtol, 18, in Austin, Texas, who earns minimum wage as a part-time pizza delivery driver. Bechtol and her 7-month-old baby were recently evicted from their bedbug-infested apartment after her boyfriend, an electrician, lost his job in the sluggish economy.

After an 18-month job search, Bechtol’s boyfriend now works as a waiter and the family of three is temporarily living with her mother.

“We’re paying my mom $200 a month for rent, and after diapers and formula and gas for work, we barely have enough money to spend,” said Bechtol, a high school graduate who wants to go to college. “If it weren’t for food stamps and other government money for families who need help, we wouldn’t have been able to survive.”

About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That is up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure.

The new measure of poverty takes into account medical, commuting and other living costs. Doing that helped push the number of people below 200 percent of the poverty level up from 104 million, or 1 in 3 Americans, that was officially reported in September.

Broken down by age, children were most likely to be poor or low-income, about 57 percent, followed by older people, those over 65. By race and ethnicity, Hispanics topped the list at 73 percent, followed by blacks, Asians and non-Hispanic whites.

Even by traditional measures, many working families are hurting.

Following the recession that began in late 2007, the share of working families who are low income has risen for three consecutive years to 31.2 percent, or 10.2 million. That proportion is the highest in at least a decade, up from 27 percent in 2002, according to a new analysis by the Working Poor Families Project and the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit research group based in Washington.

Among low-income families, about one-third were considered poor while the remainder, 6.9 million, earned income just above the poverty line. Many states phase out eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid, tax credit and other government aid programs for low-income Americans as they approach 200 percent of the poverty level.

The majority of low-income families, 62 percent, spent more than one-third of their earnings on housing, surpassing a common guideline for what is considered affordable. By some census surveys, child-care costs consume close to another one-fifth.

Paychecks for low-income families are shrinking. The inflation-adjusted average earnings for the bottom 20 percent of families have fallen from $16,788 in 1979 to just under $15,000, and earnings for the next 20 percent have remained flat at $37,000. In contrast, higher-income brackets had significant wage growth since 1979, with earnings for the top 5 percent of families climbing 64 percent to more than $313,000.

A survey of 29 cities conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors being released Thursday points to a gloomy outlook for those on the lower end of the income scale.

Many mayors cited the challenges of meeting increased demands for food assistance, expressing particular concern about possible cuts to federal programs such as food stamps and WIC, which assists low-income pregnant women and mothers. Unemployment led the list of causes of hunger in cities, followed by poverty, low wages and high housing costs.

Across the 29 cities, about 27 percent of people needing emergency food aid did not receive it. Kansas City, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, Sacramento, California, and Trenton, New Jersey, were among the cities that pointed to increases in the cost of food and declining food donations, while Mayor Michael McGinn in Seattle, Washington, cited an unexpected spike in food requests from immigrants and refugees, particularly from Somalia, Myanmar and Bhutan.

Among those requesting emergency food assistance, 51 percent were in families, 26 percent were employed, 19 percent were elderly and 11 percent were homeless.

“People who never thought they would need food are in need of help,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who co-chairs a mayors’ task force on hunger and homelessness.

———

Online:

Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov

U.S. Conference of Mayors: http://www.usmayors.org/