Syrian rebels declare new battle against government

Syrian rebel groups announced a new battle against government forces on Monday, a sign of escalating violence that has undermined a ceasefire deal and threatens to derail U.N.-led peace talks.

The groups, which included factions fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army and powerful Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, said in a statement they would respond “with force” against any government forces that fired on civilians.

The ceasefire deal has been strained to breaking point by escalating fighting, particularly around the divided city of Aleppo, with each side blaming the other for the escalation that has underlined the huge challenge facing the peace talks. Heavy air strikes have also been reported north of Homs.

Senior opposition figures who have asked not to be quoted have said pressure is growing for a speedy decision to leave talks being convened by U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva, with no sign of progress towards discussion of a political transition sought by President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents.

The statement announced the “formation of a joint operations room to begin the battle… in response to violations by the army of Assad.” It gave no geographic location for the new battle.

Senior Syrian opposition negotiators on Sunday urged rebels to strike back against the Syrian army, accusing it of using a cessation of hostilities to gain ground, and cast doubt over whether they would continue Geneva peace talks indefinitely.

The cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by the United States and Russia came into effect on Feb. 27 with the aim of allowing peace talks to get underway. The agreement did not include Islamic State or the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.


[Source:- Reauters]

Shaken Ecuador hunts for survivors amid 7.8 quake debris

Traumatized Ecuadoreans slept amid rubble while rescuers dug for survivors on Monday after an earthquake smashed the Andean nation’s coastal region, killing at least 272 people and flattening resort towns.

Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude quake ripped apart buildings and roads, knocked out power, and injured at least 2,068 people in the largely poor Andean country.

In the devastated beach town of Pedernales, shaken survivors curled up for the night on mattresses or plastic chairs next to the rubble of their homes. Soldiers and police patrolled the hot, dark streets while pockets of rescue workers plowed on.

Late on Sunday, firefighters entered a partially destroyed house to search for three children and a man apparently trapped inside, as a crowd of 40 gathered in the darkness to watch.

“My little cousins are inside, before there were noises, screams. We must find them,” pleaded Isaac, 18, as the firemen combed the debris.

Tents sprung up in the town’s still-intact stadium to store bodies, treat the injured, and distribute water, food, and blankets to survivors. People wandered around with bruised limbs and bandaged cuts, while patients with more serious injuries were evacuated to hospitals.

Leftist President Rafael Correa, who cut short a visit to Italy, surveyed the damage in the coastal province of Manabi on Sunday night.

“Ecuador has been hit tremendously hard,” Correa said in a televised address, his voice breaking as he said he feared the death toll would rise from what he called a tragedy.

While the full extent of the damage remains unclear, the disaster will likely worsen the OPEC nation’s economic performance this year.

The small, oil-dependent country has already been battered by the tumble in crude prices.

Its crucial energy industry appears largely intact after the quake, though its main refinery of Esmeraldas was closed as a precaution. However, exports of bananas, flowers, cacao, and fish could be slowed by ruined roads and delays at ports.

The quake could also alter political dynamics ahead of next year’s presidential election.

About 230 aftershocks have rattled survivors, who huddled in the streets, worried the flow of tremors could topple their already cracked homes.

“We’re scared of being in the house,” said Yamil Faran, 47, surrounded by some 30 people in the middle of a street in the city of Portoviejo. “When this improves and the aftershocks stop we’re going to see if we can repair it.”

Some 130 inmates in Portoviejo took advantage of the quake’s destruction and chaos to climb over the collapsed walls of the low-security El Rodeo prison. More than 35 prisoners had been recaptured, authorities said on Sunday night.

About 13,500 security personnel were mobilized to keep order. Beyond a handful of unconfirmed reports of theft and looting, the country appeared calm.

Some $600 million in credit from multilateral lenders was immediately activated for the emergency, the government said.

Domestic aid funds were being set up and Venezuela, Chile and Mexico were sending personnel and supplies. The Ecuadorean Red Cross mobilized more than 800 volunteers and staff and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it was sending a team from Colombia.

Two Canadians were among the dead. Jennifer Mawn, 38, and her 12-year-old son Arthur, died when the roof of their coastal residence collapsed.

Residents on the Galapagos islands far off Ecuador’s coast and home to numerous rare species, said they had not been affected.

The tremor followed two large and deadly quakes that struck Japan since Thursday. Both countries are located on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” that circles the Pacific, but according to the U.S. Geological Survey large quakes separated by such distances would probably not be related.


[Source:- Reauters]

Docker snaps up Apache Aurora devs for Swarm team

Docker snaps up Apache Aurora devs for Swarm team

Another day, another Docker acquisition — this one for enterprises running workloads at scale.

Yesterday, Docker announced it had acquired Conductant, Inc., a three-man team (Bill Farner, David Chung, and John Sirois) that has built systems to scale workloads for outfits like Twitter, Google, and Zynga.

Some of the team’s work was released by Twitter to the Apache Foundation as Apache Aurora and Apache Mesos. The latter should be familiar to Docker users; it makes system resources like CPU and memory into abstractions that can be pooled and subdivided to run applications flexibly.

Aurora provides the job scheduling and management for Mesos, but it’s also difficult to get running. Small wonder, then, that Mesosphere provides it as a packaged service for convenience.

By itself, Mesos is low-level infrastructure; it needs frameworks like Aurora to give it something to do. As David Messina, VP of marketing for Docker, put it in an email, “Aurora is intended for humans to interact with and perform high-level tasks like ‘run 100 instances of my service’, while Mesos is a toolkit that programmers interact with to build other systems.”

Docker wants to bring the Conductant team’s expertise on board to “[incorporate] the best ideas from Aurora into Docker Swarm,” and possibly “integrating Aurora as an optional component of the official Docker stack.”

So far, the details of how this will happen remain sketchy, most likely because even Docker doesn’t know them, and the whole point of bringing in the Conductant team is to explore what’s possible and what’s worthwhile. But Docker is pushing its first-party orchestration system, Docker Swarm, to be the main recipient of this expertise.

Swarm’s ease of use and familiarity of presentation are appealing, and the addition of Aurora’s feature set will likely find a fast audience with Docker’s users. But Docker has long been criticized for its emphasis on creating tooling rather than providing standards, denying third parties the chance to be equal players, as Docker’s tooling is the first set presented to most people.

Docker makes up for this by allowing individual pieces of its stack to be swapped out. However, the enterprise and commercial products from Docker’s stable suggest otherwise. Docker Datacenter, for instance, tightly embeds Swarm as the orchestration system of choice. Docker defends this design by claiming that enterprises care more about a working turnkey solution than about the stack’s malleability.

In that light, it’s easy to see why Conductant’s work with Aurora will be merged into Swarm. It’ll provide Docker’s paying customers with access to items they’ll likely work with, but how much of it will become available to the rest of the Docker ecosystem is still under wraps.

Messina emphasized that rising tides would lift all Docker boats — er, containers: “We expect that [Conductant’s] vast experience and practical day-to-day knowledge of operations driven development will have an impact across all of our solutions.” When and which parts will receive priority is worth watching for.


[Source:- Javaworld]