When Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, they were being very clever: on this holy day, both soldiers and the army brass would've been at home with their families, not ready to fight back. (As it was, the national slowdown made the troop recall a lot more effective, since the HQ knew where to look for the people, and the empty roads meant that the reserves did not have to fight traffic on their way to the rally points.)
August is usually a slow news month: most folks are on vacation, and nobody can be particularly bothered to do anything. But not in Russia, where traditionally August means a tragedy of some sort. Whether a terrorist attack (like the explosions of residential buildings and subway crossings), a random disaster (like the fire on the Ostankino TV transmission tower or the sinking of the Kursk submarine) or an economic crash (like the government default of '98), people have learned to dread August in Russia. At the start of it, one cannot help but guess at what's going to happen this time.
Well, it happened last night: a terrorist IED caused the crash of a Moscow - St. Petersburg express train. The bomb, about 2 kilos of TNT in force, was planted just short of a railway bridge and exploded under the second carriage. The train was doing 180km/h at the time, and several of the cars were derailed. Fortunately, none of the 230 passengers and 20 crew have been killed; around 60 people have been injured, according to current reports. The intention was apparently to destroy the bridge and dump the train in the river, but this didn't happen.
All in all, a good-ish result. Nobody's dead, no permanent harm to infrastructure. Let's just hope this is the one thing to go wrong in Russia in August this year.
EDIT: They do say that history repeats itself thrice: once as a tragedy, again as a farce, and a third time for the benefit of the twits who didn't get it first two times around. It now appears that the helicopter of the chief investigator rushing to the crash site has landed on the satellite dish of state TV channel RTR. About half a million dollars' worth of equipment written off. Nobody's dead or injured, again, but it does make the tragedy look like something of a Monty Python sketch.
1 day ago