MFS – The Other News

Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in carabian Sea – Anguila 5.3 ! More info here.


  • Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to: Paul Langley’s Nuclear History Blog.Here.


  • Hurricane Katia : Latest Updates here.


  • Biden At AFL-CIO Rally: “You Are The Only Folks Keeping The Barbarians From the Gates” (Video).(HotAirPundit). The opposition is called “son of a bitches” at one Labor rally and “barbarians” at another rally. Here’s an angry Joe Biden at the AFL-CIO rally in Cincinnati just a short time ago.Hmmmmm…….”He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”– Sir Winston Churchill.Read and see the full story here.


  • Is the Obama Administration about to endanger American troops for political gains?(Aina).Obama Administration to Drop Troop Levels in Iraq to 3,000.The Obama administration has decided to drop the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of the year down to 3,000, marking a major downgrade in force strength, multiple sources familiar with the inner workings and decisions on U.S. troop movements in Iraq told Fox News.Senior commanders are said to be livid at the decision, which has already been signed off by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.The generals on the ground had requested that the number of troops remaining in Iraq at the end of the year reach about 27,000. But, there was major pushback about “the cost and the political optics” of that decision that the number was then reduced to 10,000.Commanders said they could possibly make that work “in extremis,” in other words, meaning they would be pushing it to make that number work security-wise and manpower-wise.Now, sources confirm that the administration has pushed the Pentagon to cut the number even lower, and commanders are concerned for the safety of the U.S. troops who would remain there.”We can’t secure everybody with only 3,000 on the ground nor can we do what we need to with the Iraqis,” one source said.A senior military official said by reducing the number of troops to 3,000, the White House has effectively reduced the mission to training only.”There is almost no room for security operations in that number; it will be almost purely a training mission,” this official said. The official added that a very small number of troops within that 3,000 will be dedicated to counter-terrorism efforts, but that’s not nearly what Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, wanted.This shift is seen by various people as a cost-saving measure and a political measure. The only administration official fighting for at least 10,000 forces to stay in Iraq at the end of the year was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sources said. But she has lost the battle.Responding to the news, Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who has traveled to Iraq many times, said that in all the conversations he has had on force strength, he has “never heard a number as low as 3,000 troops to secure the gains Iraqis have won over the years.”Lieberman said his first question for the administration is whether the number is one Iraqis had requested or if it was chosen according to other criteria.Any of the plans will require Iraqi approval, and on that front, the Pentagon recently secured a commitment from the Iraqis to start negotiations, but they have not agreed to any number.”Discussions with the Iraqis on our post-2011 strategic relationship are ongoing, and no decisions on troop levels have been made,” said Panetta spokesman George Little. “We continue to proceed with troop withdrawals as directed by the president.”On Tuesday, the head of the three-province Kurdish autonomous region in the north of Iraq, warned that if American troops leave sectarian violence might resurface. Massoud Barzani urged the central Iraqi government to sign an agreement with the U.S. to keep forces in the country.Hmmmmm…….”The Commander In chief decided?”Read the full story here.


  • Deutsche Bank CEO Just Gave A Terrifying Speech In Frankfurt.(BusinessInsider).Josef Ackermann just gave a terrifying speech about the fragility of the Euro banking sector right now.At a conference in Frankfurt he said, “It is an open secret that numerous European banks would not survive having to revalue sovereign debt held on the banking book at market levels.”We have translated the speech based on Handelsbatt’s, the organizer of the event where Ackermann spoke, account of it.”In recent weeks, the distrust of the financial markets has spread to the banks because they are now suffering from the debt crisis in Europe and have a lot of exposure to, for example, Greek bonds.””Since the financial crisis, some European banks have lost a third or more of their market capitalization,” he said, according to Google Translate.”Most institutions have a rating of “below the book value or at best.”There are three major stress factors crushing Euro banks right now, he says: the debt crisis, structural factors and financial regulation. With them together, it will be hard for the European banks to increase their revenues.The implication is that not just Eurozone countries are buckling under the pressure of Greece’s, France’s, and Italy’s debts, but banks are too. It sounds like a desperate call for a bailout. Now.Read the full story here.


  • Bring Out Your Dead – UBS Quantifies Costs Of Euro Break Up, Warns Of Collapse Of Banking System And Civil War.(ZeroHedge).Any time a major bank releases a report saying a given course of action is too costly, too prohibitive, too blonde, or simply too impossible, it is nearly guaranteed that that is precisely the course of action about to be undertaken. Which is why all non-euro skeptics are advised to shield their eyes and look away from the just released report by UBS (of surging 3 Month USD Libor rate fame) titled “Euro Break Up – The Consequences.” UBS conveniently sets up the straw man as follows: “Under the current structure and with the current membership, the Euro does not work. Either the current structure will have to change, or the current membership will have to change.” So far so good. Yet where it gets scary is when UBS quantifies the actual opportunity cost to one or more countries leaving the Euro. Notably Germany. “Were a stronger country such as Germany to leave the Euro, the consequences would include corporate default, recapitalisation of the banking system and collapse of international trade. If Germany were to leave, we believe the cost to be around EUR6,000 to EUR8,000 for every German adult and child in the first year, and a range of EUR3,500 to EUR4,500 per person per year thereafter. That is the equivalent of 20% to 25% of GDP in the first year. ” It also would mean the end of UBS, but we digress. Where it gets even more scary is when UBS, like many other banks to come, succumbs to the Mutual Assured Destruction trope made so popular by ole’ Hank Paulson : “The economic cost is, in many ways, the least of the concerns investors should have about a break-up. Fragmentation of the Euro would incur political costs. Europe’s “soft power” influence internationally would cease (as the concept of “Europe” as an integrated polity becomes meaningless). It is also worth observing that almost no modern fiat currency monetary unions have broken up without some form of authoritarian or military government, or civil war.” So you see: save the euro for the children, so we can avoid all out war (and UBS can continue to exist). The scariest thing, however, by far, is that for this report to have been issued, it means that Germany is now actively considering dumping the euro.Read the full story here.


  • IDF to simulate missile attack on Dimona nuclear reactor.(JPost).The IDF Home Front Command and the Israel Atomic Energy Commission will hold a large exercise on Tuesday to simulate a missile attack against the Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev.Called “Fernando,” the drill is named for the nuclear meltdown in 1959 in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles.It took workers a month to regain control of the reactor and more than 50 years for the United States to clean up the contaminated site.The drill will simulate a number of scenarios including a possible missile attack by Hezbollah, Syria or Hamas against the reactor or a possible earthquake that could destabilize the reactor’s core and spark a nuclear meltdown.Israel has closely studied the recent crisis in Japan following the earthquakes in Fukushima that led to a nuclear meltdown at a number of reactors, to draw lessons that can be applied in the event of a missile strike on the Dimona facilities.The last “Fernando” exercise was held in 2004. On Monday, the IAEC released a statement ahead of the drill claiming that its facilities were secure and that high-safety measures were in place to prevent nuclear disasters.“The chance that a problem will occur and radioactive material will escape at a level that will endanger the public is extremely small,” the commission said.Read the full story here.


  • Turkish hackers target 350 Israeli websites.(YNet).Turkish hackers hijacked some 350 Israeli websites on Sunday evening, lunching a Domain Name System (DNS) attack on dozens of other websites as well. IT experts Yedioth Ahronoth on Tuesday that there is some concern that the DNS hijacking was, in fact, a “test-run” ahead of a major attack on Israeli domains.Visitors to some of the sites were diverted to a page declaring it was “World Hackers Day.” At least seven high-profile websites were hijacked, including those of The Telegraph, Acer, National Geographic, UPS and Vodafone. Hackers calling themselves the “TurkGuvenligi group” calimd the cyber-attack. “TurkGuvenligi translates as “Turkish security.” “The hack represents a 10%-15% spike compared to the average number of daily hacks of Israeli websites,” Shai Blitzblau, head of Maglan-Computer Warfare and Network Intelligence Labs, explained.The operation was very sophisticated and probably entailed a significant financial investment, Blitzblau added. The Israeli inquiry into the hack discovered a clear link to “TurkGuvenligi,” as well as several failed attempts to hack other websites.Hmmmm……Time to pay Turkey a visit by Stuxnet?Read the full story here.


  • It’s a two-way street you Turkey.(TheMuqata).Turkey has now officially cut all trade ties with Israel. Earlier this week they terrorized some Israeli/Jewish businessmen at their airport. They are kicking out most of Israel’s diplomats tomorrow. And they’ve been hinting at using naval force against the IDF at sea.To begin with, Turkey has a lot more to lose than Israel does, so if they want to shoot themselves in the face, that’s their business. It’s been clear that they’ve wanted to rejoin the Arab third world, and have been pushing to leave modern society for a while and become an Iranian sock-puppet.Of course, there are consequences that perhaps they aren’t considering. First of all, not only will they likely be kicked out of NATO (which they should be anyway) if they try any naval shenanigans against Israel, but NATO might even be obligated to come to Israel’s defense if Turkey tries anything.Secondly, this is a two way street. Turkey wants to support Hamas. Israel can start showing their support for Turkey Occupied Cyprus, for Turkey Occupied Western Armenia, and even for the oppressed Kurds.In fact, Israel might go to the Hague to demand that Turkey get out of Cyprus and the other lands they are illegally occupying. Not to mention free all their Kurdish Prisoners of Conscience.We might want to start exposing their war crimes against the Kurds (which we should do anyway). We will want to better publicize the Armenian Genocide that Turkey perpetrated.You know what? Reading the above, you realize that Turkey is not such a nice country after all. Who wants ’em.Read the full story here.


  • Killing me Softly: Ode to Turkey.(RaiNovosti).I seem to be in the vacation mode lately while most have already finished taking theirs. The outcome over the summer for Russian tourists in other countries is murderously outrageous, particularly in Turkey…. The other day I took some really nasty cuts at Sochi on Russia’s Black Sea as a bad place to vacation. I still hold to my story; however, a worse place has turned out to be Turkey over this summer, which is also a favorite among Russian tourists. Many Russians “enjoy” vacationing in Turkey, mainly in Antalya in the country’s south on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a nice warm place, plenty of sun and beach, some adequate recreation, not that expensive and only about three hours by plane to get there….but once you’re there, you might find that you’ve really screwed up in your choice.So this summer I paid particular attention to news coming out of Turkey of Russian vacationers and was a bit disturbed. It seemed like every week someone (or several) were killed while on vacation for various reasons. For instance, a group of people were out on a yacht organized by a Turkish tour agency. The tour was for tour agents who specialize in selling tours to Turkey. So they’re out enjoying themselves on a cruise, being wined and dined on board the yacht. Several agents on the yacht began to feel ill that evening once they returned to shore. Later they were hospitalized and several actually died from: bootleg whiskey imported from Cyprus. It wasn’t that they drank that much, it was because the whiskey had an alcohol content similar to pure medicinal alcohol in the 90-percent range. Then there’s the occassional Russian pedestrian being hit by a car, someone on a moped being wiped off the road by some other vehicle, excursion bus crashes, drownings, food poisoning, broken bones, etc. Another problem this year was the number of instances of groups of tourists hitting their destination only to find out that the tour agency they booked everything through went bankrupt and didn’t pay for the tourists’ accommodations. So, picture that you’ve arrived with your family and the hotel clerk says: “I’m sorry, we have no rooms for you because nothing was paid for.” In fact, you remember paying the tour company, but the hotel didn’t get the money and they literally have no rooms available so that you could possibly spend the extra money to enjoy your vacation and deal with the mess once you’re back home in Russia. Not only have tour agencies gone belly up, but some experienced the shocking news that the airline they flew with has also gone bankrupt. So you have your vacation planned, get to the airport only to find out you’re not flying anywhere…or just the opposite where you enjoyed (survived) your vacation in Turkey, but now you can’t make it back home. I lived in Turkey on the Black Sea in the mid-1980s and it was a totally different country back then. Since then, I’ve only gone to Turkey once on vacation (to Antalya) since I moved to Russia. Never again! It’s not that I’m afraid of dying (I covered the Egyptian revolution as a correspondent earlier this year and survived), it’s because you don’t know who to trust and if you’ll survive all the little surprises you find on the way. One of the things Russians love is the “all inclusive package,” which means you have at least three meals if not four a day, free drinks, accommodations and depending on the package other freebies like spas, massages or belly dancing lessons. I avoid these packages like the plague. First of all, your entire schedule seems to be surrounded by “feeding time.” So you’re out somewhere enjoying yourself and look at your watch and notice that if you don’t get back to the hotel in the next hour, you’ll be left without dinner, which means you have to immediately drop everything you’re doing and run to get your feedbag on. I don’t think a vacation should be structured and scheduled…that’s what work is, not vacation! And one of the favorites to put on the table in Turkey is eggplant, which I abhor in any shape or form.Read the full story here.