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Rescuers Search for Iran President Ebrahim Raisi After Helicopter Crash

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Rescuers Search for Iran's President After Helicopter Crash
Search and rescue teams have been scouring Varzaqan in the East Azerbaijan Province: CTN Image

A helicopter carrying Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister, and other dignitaries crashed in the mountainous northwest on Sunday, sparking a large rescue attempt in a foggy forest as the population was asked to pray.

The apparent crash occurred as Iran, led by Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched an unprecedented drone and missile offensive on Israel last month and enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.

Iran has also endured years of large protests against its Shiite theocracy over an ailing economy and women’s rights, making the situation even more sensitive for Tehran and the country’s future as the Israel-Hamas conflict rages across the Middle East.

Raisi was heading through Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State television reported a “hard landing” at Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of Tehran. Later, state television moved it farther east, near the hamlet of Uzi, but reports remained inconsistent.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan region, and other officials and bodyguards accompanied Raisi, according to the Associated Press. One local government official used the term “crash,” while others mentioned a “hard landing” or a “incident.”

Iran’s state TV Silent

In the hours that followed, neither IRNA nor state TV reported on Raisi’s condition. However, hardliners urged the population to pray for him. State television broadcast footage of hundreds of believers, some with their hands raised in supplication, worshiping at the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad.

One of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, as well as in Qom and other cities across the country. The primary channel of state television broadcast the prayers nonstop. In Tehran, a group of men kneeling on the side of the street held strands of prayer beads and watched a video of Raisi praying, with some clearly crying.

“If anything happens to him, we’ll be heartbroken,” one of the men, Mehdi Seyedi, stated. “May the prayers work and may he return to the arms of the nation safe and sound.”

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi stated on state television that “the esteemed president and company were on their way back aboard some helicopters, and one of the helicopters was forced to make a hard landing due to bad weather and fog.”

“Various rescue teams are on their way to the region but because of the poor weather and fogginess it might take time for them to reach the helicopter.”

Poor weather conditions

IRNA referred to the area as a “forest,” and it is also known to be mountainous. Poor weather conditions, including heavy rain and wind, hampered SUVs racing through a wooded region, according to state TV. Rescuers were visible walking through the fog and mist.

A rescue aircraft attempted to land in the region where authorities believe Raisi’s chopper was, but was unable to do so owing to heavy mist, emergency services spokesperson Babak Yektaparast told IRNA.

Late in the evening, Turkey’s defense ministry reported that it had sent an unmanned aerial vehicle and was prepared to send a helicopter with night vision capabilities to assist with the search and rescue efforts.

Long after the sun had set, Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said that “we are experiencing difficult and complicated conditions” throughout the search.

Raisi, 63, a hardliner who formerly commanded the country’s court, is seen as Khamenei’s protégé, and some observers believe he may succeed the 85-year-old leader after his death or retirement. Raisi had gone on the border with Azerbaijan early Sunday to inaugurate a dam alongside President Ilham Aliyev. The dam is the third that the two countries have built on the Aras River.

The visit occurred despite strained relations between the two countries, including a shooting attempt on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran in 2023 and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic connections with Israel, which Iran’s Shiite theocracy regards as its principal regional adversary.

Iran pilots a variety of helicopters, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain spare parts. Its military air fleet predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution. IRNA reported images showing Raisi taking off in what seemed to be a Bell helicopter with a blue-and-white paint scheme similar to that seen in prior photographs.

Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election, which had the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. The US has sanctioned Raisi in part because of his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political detainees in 1988, at the close of the horrific Iran-Iraq war.

Source: CTN News

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A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

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Wolf | PixaBay Image

Wildlife specialists have come to a dead end in trying to figure out how a grey wolf got to southern Michigan for the first time in over a century.

A hunter killed the wolf in January after reporting to the authorities that he had thought it was a coyote. It was shocking because the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan lacks the necessary habitat for grey wolves despite their abundance in the Upper Peninsula, where the most recent estimate puts the population at around 700.

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Wolf | PixaBay Image

A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

“We simply don’t know how it got there,” California Department of Natural Resources wolf expert Brian Roell said on Thursday.

He said something natural might have happened, and human assistance might have been possible. We would be very grateful for any information that the public may have.

Although certain species can cross the Straits of Mackinac between the peninsulas when ice forms on the Great Lakes, Roell noted that the ice conditions have yet to be solid this winter.

He said that a wolf traveling from another part of the Upper Midwest to southern Michigan would also encounter obstacles.

wolf

Wolf | AP News Image

A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

A mark on a foot indicated that the wolf had been recently trapped.

That merely heightens the curiosity, Roell added.

Around 300 miles (482 km) south of the Upper Peninsula, in Calhoun County, during coyote hunting season, the wolf was killed. Social media postings were how the DNR found out about it.

The DNR stated that only in cases when grey wolves directly endanger human life can they be killed under the Endangered Species Act.

wolf

Wolf | PIxaBay Image

A Gray Wolf Was Killed In Southern Michigan. Experts Remain Stumped About How It Got There.

A taxidermist had preserved and filled the garment when the agency became engaged. DNR took the mount.

The agency recently turned over its investigation to the Calhoun County prosecutor. An Associated Press email for comment wasn’t responded to immediately on Thursday.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

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HELENA, Montana – According to members of the American Indian tribe, the reported birth of a rare white buffalo in Yellowstone National Park fulfills a Lakota prophecy that portends brighter times, but it also serves as a reminder that more has to be done to safeguard the planet and its wildlife.

“The birth of this calf represents both a blessing and a warning. “We must do more,” said Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the spiritual leader of South Dakota’s Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Oyate tribes and the 19th custodian of the holy White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe and Bundle.

The birth of the sacred calf follows a harsh winter in 2023 that drove thousands of Yellowstone buffalo, commonly known as bison, to lower elevations. More than 1,500 were murdered, slaughtered, or handed to tribes wanting to recover stewardship of an animal with which their forefathers had coexisted for centuries.

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Buffalo | Native Online Image

Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

Erin Braaten of Kalispell photographed the calf immediately after it was born on June 4 in the Lamar Valley in the park’s northeastern portion.

Her family was visiting the park when she noticed “something really white” in a bison herd across the Lamar River.

Traffic stopped as bison crossed the road, so Braaten stuck her camera out the window to get a better look with her telephoto lens.

“I look, and it’s a white bison calf. “I was completely floored,” she added.

After the bison had crossed the road, the Braatens turned around and found a place to park. They observed the calf and its mother for 30 to 45 minutes.

“And then she kind of led it through the willows there,” added Braaten. Braaten returned the next two days but did not see the white calf again.

Looking Horse explained that the birth of a white buffalo calf with a black nose, eyes, and hooves represents the second coming of Jesus Christ to the Lakota.

According to Lakota legend, nearly 2,000 years ago, when nothing was good, food was running short, and bison were disappearing—White Buffalo Calf A woman appeared, handed a tribal member a bowl pipe and a bundle, showed them how to pray, and explained that the pipe could be used to attract buffalo to the region for sustenance. As she departed, she transformed into a white buffalo calf.

“And someday when the times are hard again,” Looking Horse stated in relating the narrative, “I shall return and stand upon the earth as a white buffalo calf, black nose, black eyes, and black hooves.”

According to him, an identical white buffalo calf named Miracle was born in Wisconsin in 1994.

buffalo

Buffalo | AP News Image

Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

According to Troy Heinert, executive director of the InterTribal Buffalo Council in South Dakota, the calf in Braaten’s images appears to be a true white buffalo due to its black snout, black hooves, and dark eyes.

“From the pictures I’ve seen, that calf appears to have those characteristics,” said Heinert, who is Lakota. Albino buffaloes would have pink eyes.

The Yellowstone calf was named, according to Looking Horse, but the name was not revealed. A ceremony commemorating the calf’s birth is scheduled for June 26 at the Buffalo Field Campaign headquarters in West Yellowstone.

Other tribes adore white buffalo.

“Many tribes have their own story of why the white buffalo is so important,” Heinert stated. “All stories go back to them being very sacred.”

Heinert and numerous Buffalo Field Campaign members claim they have never heard of a white buffalo born in Yellowstone with wild herds. Park officials had not yet seen the buffalo and could not confirm its birth in the park, and there was no previous record of a white buffalo being born there.

Jim Matheson, executive director of the National Bison Association, couldn’t say how rare the calf is.

“To my knowledge, no one has ever counted the number of white buffalo born throughout history. So I am not sure how we can determine how frequently it occurs.”

Aside from herds of bison on public lands or managed by conservation groups, over 80 tribes in the United States have more than 20,000 bison, increasing in recent years.

buffalo

Buffalo | Mens Journal Image

Reported Birth Of Rare White Buffalo Calf In Yellowstone Park Fulfills Lakota Prophecy

Almost every winter, huge numbers of bison are killed or removed in Yellowstone and the surrounding area thanks to an agreement between federal and Montana agencies that limits the size of the park’s herds to roughly 5,000 animals. Yellowstone officials proposed a slightly bigger population of up to 6,000 bison this week, with a final decision due next month.

However, ranchers in Montana have traditionally opposed expanding the Yellowstone herds or sending the animals to tribes. Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has stated that he will not approve any management plan with a population target of more than 3,000 Yellowstone bison.

Heinert sees the calf’s birth as a reminder “that we need to live in a good way and treat others with respect.”

“I hope that calf is safe and gonna live its best life in Yellowstone National Park, exactly where it was designed to be,” Heinert stated.

SOURCE – (AP)

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2024 | North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Putin praised the country’s growing ties with Russia on Wednesday, as reports indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin would soon visit the country for his third summit with Kim.

North Korea and Russia’s military, economic, and other cooperation has risen dramatically since Kim visited Russia last September for a meeting with President Putin. The United States, South Korea, and other partners think North Korea provided Russia with artillery, missiles, and other conventional weapons in exchange for sophisticated military technologies and economic aid.

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Putin | AP News Image

North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

Kim has been striving for stronger partnerships with Russia and China to strengthen his regional position and form a united front against the United States.

During their September meeting at Russia’s primary space launch facility, Kim offered Vladimir a visit to North Korea at “a convenient time,” which Putin agreed to.

According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, Kim sent Vladimir a message on Wednesday thanking Russia on National Day.

“Thanks to the significant meeting between us at the Vostochney Spaceport in September last year, (North Korea)-Russia friendly and cooperative relations developed into an unbreakable relationship of comrades-in-arms,” Kim wrote in his message.

Kim’s remarks came as media sources stated that Vladimir is set to visit North Korea as early as next week. If realized, it would be their third summit conference. Their first summit took place in Vladivostok in April 2019.

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Putin | AP News Image

North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

NHK, citing unidentified diplomatic sources, including high-ranking Russian officials, said Wednesday that Vladimir plans a trip to North Korea and Vietnam next week.

According to NHK, he anticipated to seek greater military relations with North Korea as Russia confronts a weapons deficit in its battle with Ukraine, while North Korea is thought to want assistance with space technology following its recent failure to launch a second spy satellite into orbit in late May.

Russian business daily Vedomosti, which cited an unidentified diplomatic source, reports that Putin will visit North Korea and Vietnam “in the coming weeks.” The article also states that Russia’s envoy in North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, has stated that preparations for Vladimir’s visit to the country are underway.

Neither Russia nor North Korea have acknowledged news of an upcoming trip. According to Russian news outlet Tass, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated at a briefing in late May that “the visit is in the works, and we will make an announcement in due course.”

putin

Putin | AP News Image

North Korea’s Kim Hails Russia Ties As Putin Reportedly Plans A Visit

Russia and North Korea are at odds with the United States, Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and North Korea over its developing nuclear program. Both North Korea and Russia have denied reports of arms deliveries, which would violate several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In March, South Korean Defence Minister Shin Wonsik stated that North Korea has already transferred approximately 7,000 containers laden with weapons and other military material to Russia. In response, Shin stated that North Korea had received more than 9,000 Russian containers, most of which were presumably laden with aid.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have recently increased anew, with North Korea launching trash-carrying balloons into South Korea, leading the South to resume propaganda broadcasts along the border.

SOURCE – (AP)

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