Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Hmmmmm........Someone has something to hide?
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Indonesia 6.3 and Japan 5.4 ! More info here.
- Updated - Enviroment Pollution in The North sea - Official situation update Nr 7 : Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that about two barrels of oil a day are still spilling into the North Sea from its Gannet Alpha platform as it struggled to stem a second leak. "The primary leak in the flow line is pretty much dead," said Glen Cayley, technical director of the Anglo-Dutch oil company's exploration and production activities in Europe, six days after the leak began. "There is a small secondary leak created by that which is the small flow of two barrels a day which is proving a little difficult to get to and isolate."
About 216 tonnes (1,300 barrels) of oil has leaked from the Gannet Alpha platform, 112 miles (180 kilometres) east of Aberdeen on the Scottish coast, Shell revealed on Monday -- making it the biggest in British waters in a decade. Cayley said the oil on the sea surface had been "much reduced" due to harsh weather conditions, which had broken up a slick that at one point was 30 kilometres in length to about two barrels. There was no question of it hitting the shore, he added. "The leak that we've stemmed was in the flow line, so job number one was to close in the wells and isolate the reservoir, which of course is the large volume from the leak," Cayley said. "We're confident that it's under control. The residual small leak is in an awkward position to get to. This is complex sub-sea infrastructure, and really getting into it amongst quite dense marine growth is proving a challenge."Source.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Exclusive: Layout of President Obama's Tragical Misery Tour Bus.(DougRoss).A three day golf practice tour, observe the unemployed while improving your game in the virtual Golf simulator?Read and see the full story here.
- Obama On Debt: "I Had A Deal That 'Would Have Solved This Problem' but Boehner Walked Away".(CNSNews).President Barack Obama told an audience on the first stop of his bus tour that his original deficit reduction plan could have solved the nation’s debt problem “tomorrow” but House Speaker John Boehner walked away from the deal.“The fact of the matter is that solving our debt and deficit problems simply requires all of us to share in a little bit of sacrifice, all of us to be willing to do a little bit more to get this country back on track and that’s not too much to ask,” Obama told a crowd in Cannon Falls, Minnesota on Monday.“Basically what we need to do is we need to cut about 4 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Now that sounds like a big number, it is a big number but you know, if we were able to, as I proposed, cut about 2 trillion dollars in spending — if folks who could best afford it, millionaires and billionaires, were willing to eliminate some of the loopholes that they take advantage of in the tax code and do a little bit more and if we were willing to take on some of the long term costs that we have on health care — if we do those things, we could solve this problem tomorrow.”Obama continued, “I put a deal before the Speaker of the House John Boehner that would have solved this problem and he walked away because his belief was we can’t ask anything of millionaires and billionaires and big corporations in order to close our deficit.”Hmmmm.......How much taxes do the Obama's pay,considering his house in Chicago is even registred under someone else their names?Read the full story here.
- "Men in Black Busses".(MediaBistro).A White House Pool Report by WSJ‘s Laura Meckler involving a bus with black tinted windows caused some stir earlier today.She wrote: “Air Force One touched down in St. Paul at 10:30 a.m. CT. An all-black bus with dark tinted windows awaited Potus at the bottom of the stairs. Even from the outside, the bus is not like any normal bus. The windows are so dark (except for those next to the driver) that it does not appear to have any windows at all. There is nothing painted on it whatsoever.”West Wing Reports had this to say about it: “Standard talking points so far as President’s ‘economic bus tour’ (in a really scary looking all-black bus) gets underway in MN.”CBS News White House radio reporter Mark Knoller has more details on the bus. For one thing, it’s as mammoth as it is to accommodate the Secret Service. For another, the $1.1 million bus is part of a new fleet.We reached out to WhiteHouseDossier.com’s Keith Koffler about what effect he thinks the bus might have on ordinary Minnesotans. “It’s going to cause an accident,” Koffler said. “If I saw that thing, I’d drive right off the road, get out my car, and beg the Lord for mercy.” He continued, “I fully expect Obama to get off the bus and instead of kissing babies say to them, ‘Luke, I am your father.’”On a somewhat more serious note, he said, “It would seem, you know, not to exactly be in the populist spirit of a bus tour. It looks like it was designed by some of the best political consultants over at DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency].”Read the full story here.
- Insider: Obama Team to Incite Race Riots; Use White Guilt in 2012 Election,Divide et Impera.[divide and conquer; divide and rule] (SHTF).In politics and sociology, divide and rule (also known as divide and conquer) is a combination of political, military and economic strategy of gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into chunks that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures and prevents smaller power groups from linking up.Since riots and uprisings are now en vogue the world over and with signs that they will soon reach the shores of America, would it be that much of a stretch to suggest President Obama’s election campaign would be willing to incite race riots in the hopes of guilting white Americans into casting a vote for a President who is progressively losing popularity and support at an ever accelerating rate?The White House Insider, reportedly a disgruntled democrat operative deep inside the administration, tells all in a recent three part interview with the Ulsterman Report. While the claims sound particularly outrageous, plenty of Presidents past have taken extreme measures to secure their electability and preserve their image. The “Insider” has been uncanny in predicting events over the last 18 months, including the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the public outing of operation Gunrunner, the birth certificate issue going fully mainstream, Democrat party infighting between the President and members of Congress, and White House attrition resulting from discontent. For this reason we will, at the very least, bring this latest Insider report to our readers for digestion.**Adult content and expletives**
Ulsterman: How? What’s the plan? What’s going to be different from all the other campaigns?
Insider: You’ve already seen it. A taste of it. Race. The race card. Racism. Race-race-race. It’s all they fucking got to run on these days.
Ulsterman: Race? Hasn’t Obama played that one out already? It’s become a joke.
Insider: Played it out? No, not…you might think so but no…his people are going to raise the issue of race to a level this country hasn’t seen since the Civil Rights movement. White guilt got Barack Obama the nomination. White guilt got Barack Obama into the White House. At least it was a big part of it…they are not sure they can run on the economy by summer of 2012. Motivation is way down – the people on the ground. Many of them will be sitting this one out. The campaign conducted over five internals in the last few months. Each time the one issue that came back favorably for the president was the color of his skin. People are not comfortable…white people are not comfortable going against a person of color. At least not a whole lot of them. Those studies – those kinds of studies…they were first incorporated by the Hillary campaign back in 2007 and 2008. It scared the hell out of her – she was so afraid of being called a racist. So she attacked Obama on his lack of experience, she just touched on some of the Chicago garbage…but in the end, the race issue kept her from really engaging in all out political war. The Clinton machine was handcuffed. When Obama used race to get America to forgive the fact he spent some 20 years sitting in the church of a proven anti-American fascist fucking racist – what could they do? It was game over.
Insider: Yes. It’s in place and underway – being developed. Further developed. It’s gonna – gonna tie it in with the unions somehow. I don’t know exaclty how – just that’s included in it. It will be an all out campaign on race. The goal is to completely mobilize the Black vote while shaming an even greater number of white voters into not opposing a second Obama term. They are gonna get out the guilt vote man. The guilt vote!
Ulsterman: Obama…Democrats in general, already get the Black vote – most of it.
Insider: They want all of it. Every last one. Then bring in the Hispanic vote, tie them up in this race issue as well. Republicans want to toss you out. Obama wants to bring you in. They hate the color of Obama’s skin just like they hate the color of yours. Hey White America, you aren’t part of that group who hates non-whites are you? If not, you better get out and vote for Barack Obama.
Ulsterman: That sounds overly simplistic and insulting to voters. You really think something like that would actually work?
Insider: Hell yes-yes… it can work. It’s not gonna come so easy as it did in 2008, but that’s why they plan to ramp it up – the race issue.A politician, especially at the highest levels, will stop at nothing to maintain their power. President Obama is no different, and considering that mouthpieces in his administration have repeatedly referred to unsupportive segments of the electorate as terrorists and racists, is it any wonder they are considering this strategy?Does anyone expect the President to successfully run on the economy, health care, tax cuts, or budget reductions?It seems to us that his options are quite limited.This means that we can soon expect agents provocateurs to embed themselves into Republican and Democrat Party rallies and campaign events. There will be no shortage of media coverage, and we can fully expect a progressively-leaning media to inflame and incite such events (remember the spitting incident on the steps of Capitol Hill?).The argument that the next round of riots coming to America will be organized by our very own elected officials using pretexts such as race and class warfare is quite compelling considering the circumstances.Hmmmm.....I wonder what will be their "reichstag fire" moment?Flash mobs and unions ?Read the full story here.
- House GOP Bill Aims To Stop Obama From Working With Hollywood To Release Bin Laden Movie Before Elections.(FloorAction).A Republican lawmaker from Kansas wants to prevent the administration from helping Sony make a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden.The Stop Subsidizing Hollywood Act introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) would stop the Obama administration from spending taxpayer money to share information about the killing of bin Laden with Sony Pictures, which is looking to release a film about that event in October 2012.Jenkins said the bill, introduced on Friday, is necessary because the government has no role to play in helping the movie industry at a time of fiscal crisis.“In an era of 9 percent unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, credit downgrades, and record debt-ceiling extensions it is unconscionable that taxpayer dollars are being used to aid the Hollywood film industry in fact-checking and script research,” Jenkins said. “American families have been forced to go through their budgets line by line and look for ways to tighten their belts, and it is time the federal government does the same.”Her bill, H.R. 2819, would specifically prevent the sharing of information about the bin Laden killing to any outside entity, and also require that any aid given by the Defense Department to Sony be repaid by the film industry.Hmmmm.........."I did it my way"?Read the full story here.
- Chinese Rating Agency Chief: 'The Whole World Will Be in Danger'.(Spiegel).The head of state-owned Chinese rating agency Dagong, Guan Jianzhong, 57, speaks to SPIEGEL about China's economic model, why he believes the rating system used by the Big Three is a threat to the world and the twighlight of Western dominance.
SPIEGEL: You recently said that it would be a "catastrophe" if an American rating agency downgraded the United States' credit rating. Now that Standard and Poor's has taken that step, is the situation as bad as you imagined?
Guan: This rating on the US credit crisis has a significant influence on the world. China is the largest debt holder of the United States, and the downgrade will primarily damage the value of the US dollar assets and bonds held by China. Second, it will influence China's export of commodities to the United States in the future. More importantly, it will lead to the deterioration of global macroeconomics for both developed debtor economies and emerging creditors.
SPIEGEL: Will China invest less in US bonds from now on?
Guan: I personally think it's unsafe to invest in US bonds. It is too risky. But the Chinese government might have considerations other than just economic risk. In terms of pure investment, however, it is not a wise decision any longer.
SPIEGEL: Both the US and Europe are struggling with a massive debt crisis. Is this the end of Western dominance?
Guan: The EU and the United States both have this model of borrowing money to boost their economic development. But they borrow money from the future, they mortgage a virtual fortune that they may -- or may not -- earn for their creditworthiness and their current consumption. This has been their model since World War II, but this model ended in the financial crisis of 2008. Continuously creating demand for credit to enlarge capital and cash flow has used up their creditworthiness. This means the model of economic development in developed Western capitalist countries has ended. It leads to another question: Should the government keep borrowing money to support its citizens in consuming much more and maintain high social standards? I think the answer is no.
SPIEGEL: Do you think China's model is better?
Guan: China is characterized by a real economy, unlike like the United States, which mainly depends on the financial industry. Though China's financial industry is developing, China relies on its real economy to create value and money. If we can draw some lessons from the Western experience, we should insist on letting real economy create value and money while discouraging the Chinese from borrowing too much money.
SPIEGEL: Your agency downgraded the United States before Standard and Poor's did so. Why?
Guan: We use a different rating system. When we evaluate sovereign creditworthiness for the United States, we consider the potential outlook of its economic development -- the driving force to boost its economy -- along with its revenue and expenditures. The US has poor performance in all three criteria. Besides, it needs to borrow a lot of money to keep running the country, and without improving the above three criteria, its ability to repay debts will worsen further.Read the full story here.
- More Evidence: Slave Labor Not Cheap Enough; Walmart Has Ninth Straight Quarterly Decline in Sales.(SHTF).As if the lowest consumer sentiment in three decades wasn’t enough, the largest retailer in the world provides yet more evidence that the consumer in the United States is being unabatedly destroyed: …company comments about consumer spending showed the split between upper-income consumers who have jobs and are little affected by rising costs for food and other essentials, and lower-income shoppers who are struggling with stubbornly high unemployment and rising costs.“This is exactly what we continue to see quarter after quarter. There’s just significant bifurcation here,” Edward Jones retail analyst Matt Arnold said.Wal-Mart said same-store sales at its U.S. discount stores, by far its largest business, fell 0.9 percent in the second quarter, the ninth straight quarterly decline at domestic stores open at least a year.“They’re trading down to stretch their budgets, buying a lower-priced brand of detergent, moving from branded canned goods to private label, and purchasing half gallons of milk instead of gallons,” Wal-Mart Chief Executive Mike Duke said in a recorded message.Also, more shoppers are relying on government aid to help pay for food and other necessities, Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said on the call.When the retailer selling the cheapest goods in the world manufactured by slave labor can’t boost sales growth, then you know there’s a problem. If anything, consumers should be shopping at Walmart in droves, putting competitors out of business. Even if consumers wanted to buy more (non-essential) goods, they couldn’t.Millions of jobs lost. Millions more left to lose. Credit for everything except college tuition is almost nonexistent. Wages and benefits are deteriorating. 401(k)’s and savings accounts have been tapped. The value of homes, the leading investment product of America’s middle class, have been wiped out. The country’s gross domestic product, the key measure of economic growth, has collapsed.We are on the brink of the next phase of this crisis, when the last of the easy money (for Main Street) runs out, is going to be nothing short of financial Armageddon, because the government will have no ammunition to counteract the next market collapse.Hmmmm.......Meanwhile the Social Media commander in Chief go's around blaming everything and everyone but himself.Read the full story here.
- CAIR Offended and Confused by Allen West’s Refusal to Submit.Fort Lauderdale (CBS4) – A South Florida Muslim group sent Congressman Allen West a letter asking him to disassociate himself from activists the group considers anti-Islamic.Congressman West did respond and the letter he sent back is raising some eyebrows.If it looks like the shortest letter you’ve ever seen from a member of congress, it probably is. How short? Try one word, in capital letters: “NUTS!”“I was shocked at first. I didn’t expect this from a congressman,” said Nezar Hamze, the executive director of CAIR Florida — the Council on American-Islamic Relations.“We stand up for the civil rights of the Muslim community. That’s what we do,” said Hamze.Hamze says he wrote to the Republican Congressman earlier this month with his concerns about the Congressman’s relationships with groups and people Hamze considers to be anti-Islamic.“When I first saw that, I wasn’t sure if he was calling me nuts, or he was calling my concerns nuts,” said Hamze.Constituents in West’s district 22 are just now reading the letter.“It doesn’t look too professional to me. It doesn’t look thought out,” said one constituent named Chuck.Simone Oliver, another district 22 constituent thinks it’s fine, but says it needs a little more.“Maybe another sentence, explaining,” she said.West has not fully explained his position, but in other letters to CAIR Florida, he has said he is neither anti-Islamic nor anti-Muslim.Then CBS4 News discovered that during World War II, General Anthony McAuliffe famously wrote a one-word letter to the Germans in response to a surrender ultimatum. The word used: “Nuts!”Hamze doesn’t think he’ll ever find out what Congressman West meant with the word because, he says, West has turned down all meetings with CAIR Florida.“[If I could say something to him now,] I’d tell him to grow up! To act like a congressman and engage in dialogue, and to stop the school boy insults,” said Hamze.West turned down an interview request from CBS4 News on Monday. As of Monday night, his office had not yet responded to requests for a statement on the matter.Hmmmmm........There's Strong and than there's "ARMY STRONG".Read and see the full story here.
- Obama’s Problem is Not Communication.(CommentaryMagazine).By Peter Wehner.According to E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, “a new Obama — or, in many ways, the old Obama of 2008 — is about to reappear.”Into a phone booth Mr. Obama enters and out comes the Man of Steel.According to Dionne, “The president’s speech last Thursday in Holland, Mich., was the first sign that the competitive Obama is reemerging. His target, like Harry Truman’s in 1948, was an obstructionist Republican Congress. He condemned ‘the refusal of some folks in Congress to put the country ahead of party’ and urged that it ‘start passing some bills that we all know will help our economy right now.’” (Set aside the fact that if a Republican had uttered these same words about Democrats, Dionne would be livid, saying that the GOP president was acting in a disgraceful manner by accusing his opponents of being “unpatriotic.”)“With Obama,” Dionne goes on, “there is always the danger of a relapse into the passive, we’re-all-reasonable-people style. The fighting Obama has briefly appeared before, only to go back into hibernation. This time, the evidence suggests he’ll stick with it — and, in truth, he has no other choice.”Dionne is among the fiercely loyal Obama supporters who believe that the president’s problems mostly have to do with communications, with optics, with theatrics. Mr. Obama, you see, needs to be more of a fighter, more of an attack dog, more of a political assassin. If he does that, the New Obama – who is really the Old Obama – will rise from the ashes.Here’s a political rule of thumb: when the supporters of a politician start reaching for the Harry Truman model of comebacks, you know they’re in trouble.But what we are witnessing are the desperate, angry and increasingly unappealing words of a desperate, angry, and increasingly unappealing politician. Those who are waiting for Superman will be waiting in vain.Read the full story here.
- Turkey (Erdogan) seeks US (Obama) action on Greek Cyprus' gas drilling in Med.(TodaysZaman).Turkey has contacted the US administration on Greek Cypriot plans to begin drilling for gas in the eastern Mediterranean, urging the US authorities to act “responsibly” in the row, a news report said on Monday.Greek Cyprus recently announced that it would begin drilling for oil and gas off the island's southern coast on Oct. 1. It earlier licensed American Noble Energy to explore an 800,000-acre area bordering Israeli waters where massive gas fields were found under the seabed.Turkey objects to Greek Cypriot hydrocarbon drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, saying this is in violation of the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots, who run their own state in the north of the island. Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu warned the Greek Cypriot government against drilling hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean, saying Ankara will show the “appropriate reaction” if Greek Cyprus moves ahead with exploration plans.Ankara now seeks US action in the dispute as well, according to private NTV television station. It said Ankara wants the US administration to warn the American companies against taking part in the Greek Cypriot initiative to explore gas and oil deposits in the Mediterranean. NTV also said Turkey seeks to bring the issue to the attention of the UN Security Council, contacting members of the 15-nation body on the dispute.Hmmmm......"I will stand with my Muslim Brothers" against Israel?Read the full story here.
- Dark times ahead for the Kurdish people in Turkey?PM says push has come to shove on PKK, vows new tactics after Ramadan.(TodaysZaman).In an open challenge to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has recently stepped up its acts of violence despite the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that push has come to shove for Turkey, indicating that the country will enter a new era in the fight against terror after Ramadan.Speaking during a meeting held in Ankara to celebrate his Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) 10th anniversary, Erdoğan lashed out at the PKK for killing Turkish soldiers even during Ramadan. “I am saying it frankly. The cost of this will be heavy for them. Those who fail to distance themselves from the separatist terrorist organization in this country are also abetting this crime. They are also doomed to pay the price for that,” the prime minister said referring to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which has so far failed to deny links with the PKK.“We are maintaining our patience because of our respect for Ramadan. But, everyone should know that the beginning of peace will be more different after this month of peace and solidarity,” Erdoğan added.The prime minister also criticized the BDP-affiliated Democratic Society Congress (DTK) for recently announcing democratic autonomy for Turkey's Kurds. “If they are saying democracy, if they are saying laws, everyone should know that nobody can perform surgery on any province in this country by creating illegal parliaments. Local autonomy or that kind of autonomy. Come off it!” Erdoğan said. Erdoğan said all local governments in Turkey are already autonomous, underscoring that no kind of autonomy can be discussed in Turkey other than the autonomy of local governments. “We have no such thing in our book,” Erdoğan said.The DTK, which was founded last year after the Constitutional Court shut down the Democratic Society Party (DTP) for “separatist tendencies,” announced “democratic autonomy” for the Kurdish-dominated provinces of Turkey's east and southeast in what was widely seen as a highly provocative statement in July. The DTK's declaration came at a time when PKK members killed 13 soldiers and wounded seven others in an ambush in Diyarbakır, escalating already high-running tensions. The DTK is holding regular meetings in Diyarbakır to, according to what they say, find a solution to the Kurdish issue.Erdoğan's remarks met with a strong reaction from the BDP on Monday, with the party's parliamentary group deputy chairman accusing him of declaring war. Noting that Erdoğan's remarks that “push has come to shove” cannot be words used in politics, BDP's Hasip Kaplan said these remarks in legal terms are “a call for a massacre.”“He could have said that he would seek ways to reach a compromise to the very end and that the process of making a new constitution would be a good chance for a solution. But instead he declared war,” Kaplan said.“Every step from this point onwards will bring us to either a solution or deadlock, either disunion or union. Those who hold responsibility should be more careful. The pains we experience hurt us all. Politicians should, of course, do something to prevent these pains,” he added.On the other hand, the BDP group’s deputy head, Hasip Kaplan, sent a Twitter message in response to Erdoğan’s harsh statements, saying that “Every step taken after this will take the country to a solution or non-solution or unity or break away. People who are in positions of responsibility should be careful.”Hmmmm......Sounds like The Kurds are heading for a solution 'a L'Armenien'.Read the full story here.
- Turkish Red Crescent chief resigns from his post.(HurriyetDaily).Turkish Red Crescent Director General Tekin Küçükali’s surprise resignation Monday caused controversy as his decision came amid an ongoing campaign for Somalia in which his institution is playing a key role. According to unconfirmed reports, his resignation was demanded by the government last week especially after he pledged full assistance to the opposition leader in visiting Somalia.“I have realized that my entire body is tired following the recent busy work schedule and that it is now time for me to rest,” said Küçükali in his statement posted on the official web site of the Red Crescent early Monday. Tekinali served for the organization for seven years.“I learned his resignation this morning. It is a surprise for us too,” Muzaffer Komit, secretary-general of the Red Crescent, told the Anatolia news agency. “His mobile phone has been off since Friday. We cannot reach him.”According to reports, Küçükali held an unannounced meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul on Friday. There is no information whether his resignation was linked to the meeting.“All decisions are being taken unanimously in the organization. We are deciding on thousands of issues and it’s normal for us to disagree on a few of them. But we had no any disagreements in the last two-three months,” Komit said.There are three speculations about his resignation. The first could be his generous assistance promise to Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, who asked for help for his visit to famine-hit Somalia slated for early September. While Kılıçdaroğlu complained about the Foreign Ministry’s attitude regarding his request, he appreciated Tekinali for granting help to the CHP brass in their trip to Somalia.The second could be Erdoğan’s dissatisfaction with the Red Crescent’s performance in collecting donations for Somalia, while the third could be the government’s preference to give more a bigger chance to other humanitarian aid organizations, such as the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or IHH, which is thought to be close to the ruling party. However, there was no statement from officials late Monday to confirm any of the speculation.From training leaders for earthquakes to helping mothers and babies in poverty and even revolutionizing the blood donation process, the Turkish Red Crescent has proven thousands of times that they are at the service of those in need, added Küçükali. In accordance with the Red Crescent regulations, the general directorate’s administrative board convened Monday to set the date for the extraordinary convention when a new director general would be elected within two months.Hmmmmm........Not only Generals retire........Erdogan.....IHH.Read the full story here.
- Video - Syrian Opposition Leader Riad Seif Recounts His Experiences in Prison and Says: 'Dialogue Cannot Take Place between a Hangman and His Victim'.(Memri).Read and see the full story here.
- Outrage after Palestinian camp attacked in Syria as civilian death toll mounts.(AlArabiya).Syria came under sharp Arab and international condemnation on Tuesday after activists said gunboats pounded Latakia port, forcing thousands of Palestinians to flee a refugee camp, as rights groups said that civilian death toll there has mounted to 34.As activists reported new deaths at the camp, the Palestinians condemned Syria over the violence and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reported that more than 5,000 refugees had fled the Ramel camp in southern Latakia under fire, according to AFP.The United States, however, said it was unable to confirm the reports of the Syrian navy shelling Latakia, in what would amount to an escalating bid to crush pro-democracy protests.Palestine Liberation Organization secretary general Yasser Abd Rabbo said the attack on Ramel was “part of the crimes against humanity” targeting Palestinians and Syrians alike. Jordan, adding its voice to a chorus of Arab condemnation of the Syrian crackdown on dissent, urged Damascus to “immediately” stop the violence and “listen to reason,” state-run Petra news agency reported.US President Barack Obama said his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al Assad has lost his legitimacy and his people “will be better off without him,” the White House spokesman said, according to AFP.Unlike most Syrian cities, which are mainly Sunni, Latakia has a large Alawite population, partly because President Assad and his father before him encouraged Alawites to move from their nearby mountain region by offering them cheap land and jobs in the public sector and security apparatus. Latakia port has played a key role in the Assad family’s domination of the economy, with Bashar Al Assad’s late uncle Jamil having been in virtual control of the facility, and a new generation of family members and their friends taking over.Chris Gunness, a spokesman for UNRWA which helps Palestinian refugees, said “between 5,000 and 10,000 people have fled” Ramel. “We need to get in there and find out what the hell is going on.”“We have called on the Syrian government to give us expeditious and unhindered access for humanitarian workers,” Mr. Gunness added.The PLO’s Abd Rabbo told AFP: “We strongly condemn the operations of the Syrian forces in raiding and shelling the Palestinian Ramel Camp in Latakia and the displacement of the population.”The attack on Ramel is considered “to be part of the crimes against humanity that have been directed at the Palestinian people and their Syrian brothers who are also the victims of this ongoing bloody campaign,” he said.Syria's neighbors Jordan and Turkey called for an immediate end to the violence.Jordanian Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit telephoned his Syrian counterpart Adel Safar and told him “Syria should listen to reason and start implementing reforms,” the state news agency Petra reported from Amman.“World anger and rejection of the bloodshed in Syria are growing,” he said.Hmmmm......Latest "Syria's Assad 'losing last shreds of legitimacy:' Britain".Read the full story here.
- Belarus asks Russia for help against US 'aggression'.(HurriyetDaily).Belarus on Monday called the latest sanctions imposed by the United States targeting manufacturing an "act of aggression" and turned to its neighbor Russia for help."The US sanctions are an act of aggression against the Belarusian people, a blow to the economy of our country and all sectors tied to cooperation with Russia," Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said at a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.The United States imposed sanctions on August 11 which target four state-controlled manufacturers in the Belneftekhim conglomerate, one of Belarus' top exporters.They have been pursued because of a crackdown in Belarus on protestors and activists opposed to the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, many of whom have been sentenced to years of jail time."To a certain extent, this is a challenge to the allied state," Myasnikovich said. "Russia has always supported Belarus, and a unified position will make our relationship even stronger.""A friend in need is a friend indeed," Myasnikovich said.Russia and Belarus are members of a customs union and also a so-called "unified state" that brings their cabinets together for joint meetings. Putin earlier this month unexpectedly called for the unification of the two states.Putin promised that Belarus will be able to buy gas at a lower coefficient starting next year, but added that "it is direct help but not a gift" to Belarus.As Russian companies "widen their opportunities" in Belarus, they are ready to give something in return, the Russian premier said."I am sure that [sanctions] can never be effective, usually they have exactly the opposite effect to what those imposing them want," Putin said.Belarus is battling an economic crisis and is facing pressure from the West to free political prisoners and reform its outdated economy.This summer Belarus has agreed to privatize $7.5 billion in state assets in the next three years to meet the terms of a Russian-backed assistance package, under which it is due to receive $3 billion in loans over three years.Hmmmm.......Another opportunity for Russia to absorb more Belorussian companies?Read the full story here.
- Basij Commander in Iran: The Americans Dare Not Leave Their Bases in Iraq.(Memri).In response to a statement by United States Forces-Iraq spokesman Major General Jeffery Buchanan, who said that the U.S. military is prepared to defend Kurdistan from an Iranian attack, Iranian Basij commander Mohammad-Reza Naqdi said that the Americans do not dare leave their bases in Iraq for fear of their lives.Naqdi added that following the Iranian attack, the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan understood that they should side with Iran.Read the full story here.
Monday, August 15, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in St Helena 4.9! More info here.
- Updated - Enviroment Pollution in The North sea - Official situation update Nr 3:
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- George Soros:'You Need This Dirty Word, Euro Bonds'.(Spiegel).In a SPIEGEL interview, billionaire investor George Soros criticizes Germany's lack of leadership in the euro zone, arguing that Berlin must dictate to Europe the solution to the currency crisis. He also argues in favor of the creation of euro bonds as a way out of the turbulence. SPIEGEL: Mr. Soros, we currently see a global banking crisis, a currency crisis and a sovereign debt crisis. Has the financial dilemma become too big to handle? How can politicians on both sides of the Atlantic be expected to solve such a multitude of crises?
Soros: The politicians have not really tried to fix any crisis; they have so far only tried to buy time. But sometimes time is actually working against you if you refuse to face the relevant issues and explain to the public what is at stake.
SPIEGEL: Are you talking about the Germans? Many experts think Chancellor Angela Merkel has been particularly hesitant to address the euro crisis.
Soros: Yes. The future of the euro depends on Germany. This is the point I really want to bring home. Germany is in the driver's seat because it is the largest country in Europe with the best credit rating and a chronic surplus. In a crisis, it is always the creditor that calls the shots. Sure, this is not a position Germany or Chancellor Merkel ever desired and they are understandably reluctant to embrace it. But the fact is: The Germans are now in the position of dictating to Europe what the solution to the euro crisis is.
SPIEGEL: Why should Berlin embrace that idea?
Soros: There is simply no alternative. If the euro were to break up, it would cause a banking crisis that would be totally outside the control of the financial authorities. So it would push not only Germany, not only Europe, but the whole world into conditions very reminiscent of the Great Depression in the 1930s, which was also caused by a banking crisis that was out of control.
SPIEGEL: What, then, needs to be done to fight this crisis?
Soros: I think there is only one choice. It is not a question of whether Europe needs a common currency. The euro exists, and if it broke apart all hell would break loose. Germany has to make it work. To make it work, you have got to allow the members of the euro zone to be able to refinance the bulk of their debt on reasonable terms. So you need this dirty word, the "euro bonds". But when you study what it involves to have euro bonds, you really have a problem because each European country remains in control of its own fiscal policy, and you have to rely on the country to meet its financial obligations.
SPIEGEL: Germans hate the euro bonds idea. They fear that under this scenario they will ultimately need to bail out everyone, even large nations like Italy.
Soros: That is why you need to establish fiscal rules that will ensure the solvency of every member. This should make the euro bond acceptable to German voters. Europe needs a fiscal authority that has not only financial but also political legitimacy. The difficulty is agreeing on the rules. Unfortunately, Germans have some funny ideas. They want the rest of Europe to follow their example. But what works for Germany can't work for the rest of Europe: No country can run a chronic surplus without others running deficits. Germany must propose rules that other countries can also follow. These rules must allow for a gradual reduction in indebtedness. They must also allow countries with high unemployment, like Spain, to continue running cyclical budget deficits until they recover.Hmmmm......I hate to say it but i've been saying the same thing for a while only Euro bonds might save the Euro.Read the full story here.
- Breaking Taboos - Concerns Mount in Germany Over ECB Bond Buys."A country like Italy can't be saved."By SPIEGEL ONLINE Staff.under the pressure of the euro crisis, Europe's central bankers have assumed duties listed nowhere in their statutes. For example, the ECB is drafting austerity programs for heavily indebted countries, including Greece, Ireland and Italy, bailing out major banks and propping up the value of the sovereign bonds of five euro-zone countries. Critics have come to ridicule the ECB as "Europe's biggest bad bank," and the reputation of ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet has also suffered. Indeed, even some of Trichet's close companions believe he has become all too eager to bend to political will. For example, in a guest contribution published in London's Financial Times on Aug. 8, former ECB chief economist Otmar Issing criticized the bank for considering an amendment to its "no bail-out" clause. Doing so, he wrote, would be "a move on a slippery road to a regime of fiscal indiscipline drowning hitherto solid countries in the morass of over-indebtedness."Indeed, the common currency that was supposed to unite the Continent is now threatening to split it apart. And one of the deepest fissures runs straight through the ECB itself. Trichet and his colleagues from heavily indebted countries in southern Europe favor a massive effort to purchase sovereign state bonds. But the head of the Bundesbank and his colleagues from the EU's "net payer" countries, such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands, believe that would be a major mistake because they fear it would only trigger inflation. Almost two years after Greece's government acknowledged that the country was much more indebted than previously known, the currency crisis has reached a whole new stage. Until now, euro-zone governments have been trying to protect the common currency by piling more and more money into bailout funds. But that's not enough for investors anymore. Now they're demanding that the net-payer states offer practically unlimited guarantees for almost every conceivable amount, even when it comes to seriously indebted countries, such as Spain and Italy.
Germany's Tough Choices
"Germany is in the driver's seat," says George Soros, the major investor and hedge fund manager based in New York. As he sees it, Germany's government is facing a difficult decision: Either it accepts that the ECB will provide long-term assistance as a financer of state debt, or it clears the way for the introduction of so-called "euro bonds," ones common to all euro-zone member states. In effect, the latter option would mean that Germany would automatically be jointly liable for any loans taken out by fellow euro-zone countries, such as Italy or Greece.German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble opposes this second option and believes that economic assistance should only be given out under strict conditions. "We're not going to bail out countries at any price," Schäuble told SPIEGEL in an interview published this week. Although he left open the question of potential consequences, there's no denying they would be significant: Greece would go bankrupt and possibly abandon the monetary union. The whole euro zone could break up. Indeed, with ECB President Trichet saying this "is the worst crisis since the second world war," it's hardly surprising that the government coalition in Berlin -- made up of Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) -- is getting increasingly nervous. Senior party officials are worried they might not secure majorities in the upcoming votes on the euro bailout package in the Bundestag, Germany's federal parliament. What's more, they're afraid that Trichet's controversial bond plan might spark opposition within their own ranks. "It would be a serious matter if we reached the point where Germany was outvoted on the ECB's governing council by the debtor countries," says Alexander Dobrindt, the CSU's general secretary. "The ECB needs to regain its political independence as quickly as possible and only make decisions based on stability principles."Such displeasure is understandable given the considerable political pressure the ECB has been facing in making its decisions. For example, when the risk premiums on Italian government bonds rose to all-time highs in early August, the ECB initially bought up Irish and Portuguese bonds, just as it had already done a number of times before.Hmmmm.....Which countries are among the board of the ECB?Read the full story here.
- Five Questions About Rick Perry.(NationalReview).He’ll face these obstacles on his way to the nomination.When the implosion of the Gingrich campaign freed up key former aides to Rick Perry, chatter in the pundit class immediately focused on the possibility of the Texas governor’s running. It initially seemed like inside-baseball talk run amok, but soon enough came word that Perry was seriously thinking about it, reports of his meeting with outside policy experts, and then this weekend — the announcement.There are two schools of thought on Perry. One says his strength on the cusp of his announcement mostly had to do with his being a relative unknown and not yet in the race. Others see a truly formidable candidacy in the making — one that can steal establishment support from Mitt Romney and compete with Michele Bachmann for tea-party and evangelical voters, all while touting a record of accomplishment more impressive than any of the other candidates’.It surely is some of both. Perry hasn’t yet had a campaign flub, nor had to endure the constant scrutiny of the campaign trail. It’s easy for people to project whatever they want onto him. But he starts off from a position of strength. He gets an automatic entrée into the top tier and an excellent chance to become Romney’s chief competitor, if not himself the frontrunner. Besides Bachmann, he’s the only current officeholder among the top candidates. There’s no arguing with his experience as governor the last ten years of one of the country’s most populous and economically dynamic states. He has a natural narrative as the outsider who has succeeded in addressing the nation’s foremost problem — jobs — by rejecting the nostrums popular in Washington today. He’s a down-the-line conservative with a no-holds-barred combativeness when both substantive purity and a hard-line affect are highly prized by the party’s grassroots.He must be taken seriously. Whether he gets the nomination will depend in part on these five questions:
- Can he win Iowa?
- Is he “too Texas” to win a general election?
- Will being a career politician hurt Perry?
- Do the Bushies matter?
- How much will immigration hurt?Hmmmm.......6.What's his relation with the Aga khan? 7. What's his relation with the Bilderberg group?Read the full story here.
- Turkey issues 'final word' to Syria.(Ynet).Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday told Bashar Assad military operations against civilians must end immediately and unconditionally, warning the Syrian president that these were Ankara's "final words". "This is our final word to the Syrian authorities, our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally," Davutoglu told a news conference. "If these operations do not stop there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken," he said, without elaborating. Turkish leaders, who once backed Assad, have repeatedly urged him to end violence and make reforms after street protests against his 11 years in power erupted five months ago.Meanwhile, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the Syrian president had rejected a proposal from Madrid for political asylum for himself and his family, as well as a plan to end violence in Syria. According to the report, Madrid sent one of President José Luis Zapatero's aides to Damascus last month to convince Assad to accept the plan.The Spanish proposal included three stages: Immediate cessation of the violent crackdown, a conference of all parties to the conflict in Madrid, and the establishment of a new government with representation to the opposition. The Spanish aide told the paper he got the impression Assad would not compromise and that Syrian officials were all "out of touch with reality."Hmmmm.......Would Erdogan oppose Ahmadinejad?......I don't think so!Perhaps the Saudi king.... Yes."Barking dogs don't bite".Read the full story here.
- Nuclear Expert: Radioactive Rain-Outs Will Continue For a Year - Even In Western U.S. and Canada - Because Japanese Are Burning Radioactive Materials.(Washington'sblog).Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says in a new interview that the Japanese are burning radioactive materials. The radioactivity originated from Fukushima, but various prefectures are burning radioactive materials in their terroritories.Gundersen says that this radioactivity ends up not only in neighboring prefectures, but in Hawaii, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California.He notes that radioactive rain-outs were documented recently in British Columbia and Oklahoma with geiger counters.Gundersen is working with scientists who will publish a paper in the near future definitively debunking Canadian and American health officials' claims that only harmless levels of radiation are being released. Gundersen has a high-level contact in the State Department who says that the U.S. government has decided - within various agencies, including the State Department, FDA, and other agencies - to downplay the dangers from Fukushima. Because of this policy decision, the government is not really testing for radiation.Gundersen says that well see another year of radioactive rain-outs, as the Japanese continue to burn radioactive materials.Read the full story here.
- Turner Blasts Obama State Department For ‘Blatant Jerusalem Insult’.(Matzav).“President Obama has found a new way to try to humiliate our Israeli allies and placate that nation’s enemies, and he needs to reverse himself immediately,” businessman and congressional candidate Bob Turner (R) demanded on Erev Shabbos.Mr. Turner, who has been endorsed by former Mayor Edward I. Koch (D) for his resolute support of Israel and of protecting Social Security and Medicare for New York seniors, is taking issue with the Obama State Department for furtively altering its website recently to remove references of Jerusalem being in Israel. The State Department is also denying Americans born in Jerusalem the right to stamp “Israel” as their nation of origin in their passports, a continuation of a policy begun under the Bush Administration. It is a blatant insult to the State of Israel and to Israeli-Americans and it is historically inaccurate, Mr. Turner says.The State Department’s official position now reads:
“Current U.S. Government policy is that U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem may not have ‘Israel’ listed in their passports as their place of birth. See the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual 7 FAM 1300 Appendix D for further details.”
“The Obama Administration has spared no pains in finding ways large and small to ostracize the State of Israel on the world stage,” Mr. Turner continued. “Jerusalem is Israel’s beating heart, yet, through these actions, Mr. Obama’s State Department is denying that Jerusalem is even part of the Israeli nation. Symbolic slights like this, however small, are widely noticed by Israel’s enemies. They do not need any further invitations to aggression.”Mr. Turner released a :30 television spot, called “Send a Message,” contrasting Mr. Weprin’s and President Barack Obama’s (D) support of a Mosque in the shadow of the fallen World Trade Center with Mr. Turner’s firm opposition to the construction, which Turner calls “a purposeful and confrontational act of provocation.”Read the full story here.
- Abbas Wants US-led NATO Force for PA State.(ArutzSheva).Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas told visiting US Congressmen on Thursday he wants the security of a future PA state to be handed to NATO under US command, the Maan news agency reported Friday.The PA state must also be "empty of settlements," Abbas said, according to official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA.Members of the US Congress and Senate delegation, headed by Democrat Senator Steny Hoyer, met with Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday, and quizzed Abbas on Israel's designation as a Jewish state, the status of refugees, and reconciliation between Abbas' Fatah party and rival Hamas, Presidential adviser Nimir Hamad said. Abbas reiterated the Palestinian Authority's well-known positions on these matters, Hammad added, and specified that security responsibility for the Palestinian Authority would be handled by a third party, suggesting the US-Europe military alliance NATO. In September 2010, Abbas outlined his government's acceptance of international forces from NATO or similar to the UNIFIL force operating in southern Lebanon playing a role in PA security, as long as forces did not include one single Israeli, whether from the civilian population or the military. Hmmmm......This combined with the news that the OIC wants a Muslim peacekeeper army doesn't sound good at all.Gen Petraeus was in favor of such a plan is Obama's plan coming together?Read the full story here.
- NGO Monitor slams Belgium funds for ‘anti-Israel’ group.(JPost).Yesh Din denies it files suits against Israeli officials; Belgian official says country funds activities, not organizations.BERLIN – The Jerusalem-based watchdog organization NGO Monitor has issued a report alleging that Belgium taxpayer funds are being used to finance ‘anti- Israel’ NGOs, including lawsuits against Israeli officials.According to the newly released NGO Monitor report on Belgium, the Federal Public Service, an intermediary governmental agency in Belgium, provided payments in 2010 to “political advocacy NGOs that claim a human rights mandate, such as Yesh Din, Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Combatants for Peace (CFP).”“The transfer of over 800,000 euros in the past three years from Belgian taxpayers to opposition groups, under the façade of promoting peace and human rights, adds to the resentment of many Israelis, including Knesset members.Many criticize this as manipulative and anti-democratic,” Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO Monitor, told the Jerusalem Post.NGO Monitor charged that Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights used funds to initiate litigation against Israeli officials because of alleged human rights abuses.The use of foreign money to influence Israel’s political and judicial systems has been the source of a heated debate in the Knesset, including bills designed to promote transparency among foreign funding of NGOs in Israel.Asked about Belgium’s role in financing Israeli NGOs, Michel Malherbe, a spokesman for the Belgium Foreign Ministry, told the Post, “Belgium does not fund NGOs. We fund specific activities and examine the track record of the execution organization on a number of criteria. Respect for human rights is a major one.“The project executed by Yesh Din does not include legal action against Israeli officials. It does include filing petitions based on the Israeli Freedom of Information Act.”According to Yesh Din’s website, the NGO “is an Israeli human rights organization working to achieve long-term structural improvement in the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.We are an independent nongovernmental organization, supported by donations from individuals and institutional donors.”In an e-mail to the Post on Saturday, Hila Aloni, a representative from Yesh Din, denied that the organization files law suits against Israeli officials.“As a human rights organization, Yesh Din promotes accountability by the Israeli government, and demands it to do its job of proper law enforcement in the occupied territories, according to both Israeli and international law.We do not file suits against Israeli officials, but assist Palestinians to petition the Israeli justice system to challenge allegedly illegal or unjust actions taken by Israeli authorities. All of our financial information is completely public and transparent, unlike pro-occupation organizations that do not reveal their funding sources,” Aloni wrote.For Yesh Din, “A sum of 80,000 EUR has been approved by the Belgians this year, although the money hasn’t been received yet,” she added.According to the Belgium Foreign Ministry spokesman, the Federal Public Service in 2009-2010 provided about 850,000 euros to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, “of which 600,000 was in occupied Palestinian territory (450,000 medical work).”He added that the following year, the FPS gave about 450,000 euros in public monies for activities in the Palestinian Territories and Israel.Steinberg told the Post that “Foreign Minister [Steven] Vanackere’s support for the Israeli NGO transparency law is important, as is the publication of information on Belgium government funding for political advocacy NGOs in Israel.This information is necessary for an informed debate on the morality and impact of this funding. In contrast, Belgian transparency is incomplete, with an absence of information on grants to Palestinian and European political groups.”The Belgium Foreign Ministry spokesman responded: “We believe our transparency is complete and goes beyond the Belgian legal requirements. Israel legal requirements provide for transparency for funding from public sources. Transparency should apply to all types of funding, also private funding. We do not know what NGO Monitor means when it speaks about ‘Palestinian and European political groups.’ “Belgium also finances organizations including Peace Now, Palestinian Medical Relief Society and the Parents Circle.”Read the full story here.
- Islamists targeted High speed Russian train, report says.(HurriyetDaily).Russian security serves have foiled a plot by a group of Islamists to blow up a high-speed train running between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the Kommersant business daily said Monday.A blast on the same route that authorities blamed on Muslim rebels killed 26 people in November 2009.The respected daily said the group of North Caucasus-based militants had already prepared a fertilizer bomb and were in the closing stages of their operation when they were arrested by Federal Security Service (FSB) agents.FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov on July 18 reported to President Dmitry Medvedev that his service had averted a "major terror act" in the Moscow region in the preceding days.Bortnikov added at the time that militants had plans to target public places and "transport infrastructure" in the Moscow region.Russia is battling a Muslim insurgency in the North Caucasus, and suicide and other attacks have returned to the Russian capital in recent years.A suicide bomber from the North Caucasus killed 37 people at Russia's busiest airport in January. Two female suicide bombers from that region killed 40 and wounded dozens on the underground during morning rush hour last year.Russia's leading Islamist rebel Doku Umarov in February vowed to make 2011 "a year of blood and tears" and has claimed most recent attacks.Read the full story here.
- ‘Mystery’ still surrounds reported capture of PKK leader Karayılan.(TodaysZaman).Conflicting reports about the capture of the number two man of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization by Iranian forces were not resolved yesterday at the time Today's Zaman went to print, presenting a bit of a mystery to Turkish officials who were asked by the media to comment on breaking news coming from Tehran.A senior Iranian member of parliament said on Sunday that Iranian forces had captured a high-level member of the PKK while both Iranian and Turkish government officials denied their knowledge of the arrest.The capture of senior PKK leader Murat Karayılan by Iranian security forces, as reported by Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency, was not confirmed by Turkish government officials yet."Our country's intelligence forces have carried out an important task and have arrested the second [highest] person in the PKK," Alaedin Boroujerdi, head of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, told the news agency. However, according to Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency report on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, over the phone that he did not have any information regarding the capture of Karayılan. The Turkish ambassador in Tehran also told Anatolia that Boroujerdi had denied he had said Iranian security forces had captured Karayılan. The report was also denied by the pro-PKK Fırat news agency on its website.Commenting on weekend news reports of Karayılan's capture by the Fars news agency, Boroujerdi confirmed the reports, saying, “Our intelligence forces accomplished a significant achievement by capturing Karayılan.” Recalling that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been carrying out operations against the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), a PKK offshoot, since July 16, he said this was what they expected from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.Sources from the Office of the Prime Ministry and the Foreign Ministry have not confirmed what Boroujerdi had said. EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış said he had no knowledge of such an arrest, but warned that the fate of terrorists would either be capture by security forces or eventual death. “In today's world, no one can achieve anything using terror tactics. Such attempts are futile,” he said. Other Turkish officials also noted that they were not aware of any official notification from Iran of the capture of the PKK's number two man.The PKK leadership came onto the Iranian radar recently after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for an explosion at a gas pipeline that runs from Iran to Turkey. The explosions on Aug. 3 and Aug. 11 were carried out by the PKK, disrupting gas supply to Turkey.Experts point out that Karayılan's extradition to Turkey is very unlikely, saying Iran would want to try the terrorist leader itself for the crimes committed against the Islamic Republic. Recai Birgün, a former deputy who worked as the chief bodyguard of former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, says he does not expect Iran to hand Karayılan over to Turkey. “Even if Iran decides to hand him over, this is of no benefit to Turkey. We have nothing to learn from this man as we know pretty much everything about the PKK,” he told Today's Zaman.Professor Aytekin Geleri from the Ankara-based Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) also said the extradition is quite unlikely. “Iran has been after this number two man for a long time for attacks perpetrated against Iran. They will want to try him in a court of law and sentence him there,” he said.Both Birgün and Geleri also warned that this might be the result of an internal fight within the PKK. Stressing that Karayılan is considered to be very close to PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and represents the dovish wing of the PKK, Geleri said the more hawkish groups of the PKK might hand him over to Iran to have a freer hand in operations against Turkey.Birgün said he believes Karayılan's capture was only possible after a deal made between the PKK and Iran. “This could be another Şemdin Sakık incident. Sakık was captured by Turkey in an operation near Arbil on April 13, 1998. It could also be possible that Karayılan sought refuge in Iran and turned himself in to Iranian authorities,” he noted.Hmmmm......Was US info transmitted to Iran on Karayılan's whereabouts?Read the full story here.More here.
- Ahmadinejad: Iran will respond 'decisively' to U.S., Israel attacks.(Haaretz).Iranian President Ahmadinejad warned that he would respond harshly to any attempts by Israel or the United States to launch a war against the Islamic republic in an interview with Russia Today news network on Saturday, saying Iran would give a “decisive response” to any strike. “We have a saying in our language: If someone throws a smaller stone (at you), you should respond with a bigger stone,” the Iranian president said, adding, “we will defend ourselves within our capabilities.”Ahmadinejad told the Russian news network that the U.S. and Israel “wish to do it (launch an attack against Iran), they want to do it, but they know about our power. They know that we are going to give them a decisive response.” Despite this warning, the Iranian leader expressed hope in the interview that such a reality would never materialize, claiming there is no reason to launch a strike against Iran. Ahmadinejad then went on to accuse Israel of being a regime that depends on terror, occupation and aggression. The international community has called on Iran to halt its nuclear program, leveling sanctions against the Islamic country, however, Iran claims the program is for peaceful purposes and continues to enrich uranium. Earlier this year, former Mossad head Meir Dagan said that an air force strike against Iran's nuclear installations would be "a stupid thing." Dagan claimed that Iran has a secret infrastructure for its nuclear program which is working in parallel with the legitimate, civilian program, but only the latter is under international inspection. "Any strike against that [the civilian program] is an illegal act according to international law," Dagan said. Dagan says that contrary to the situation in Iraq in which the nuclear plant of Saddam Hussein was bombed in 1981, Iran has dispersed its nuclear sites across the country, making an effective attack difficult. He added that Iran has a proven ability to move its nuclear infrastructures from place to place, in order to hide them from international inspectors and intelligence services. "If someone in Iran decides to build a laboratory for centrifuges [for uranium enrichment] in the basement of some school he has no problem doing this," Dagan said. Dagan warned that an air force strike against Iran has "potential for significant complications and it is best to avoid war(s) with non-beneficial results and also those with no lasting effect. It is important to remember that war is only one option among many alternatives."Read the full story here.
- Indonesia Ahmadiyah attack: Outrage over victim jailing.(BBC).Deden Sudjana, who was injured by a machete in the attack, said the verdict was embarrassing. Rights groups have expressed outrage after an Indonesian court jailed a Muslim sect member for defending himself from a brutal mob attack.The court jailed Ahmadiyah member Deden Sudjana for six months, a heavier term than many of the attackers received.Three Ahmadiyah members were bludgeoned to death in an attack by a 1,000-strong mob of hardliners in February. No-one was charged with murder.US-based Human Rights Watch said Sudjana's sentence was appalling. "It seems like the Ahmadiyah face blatant discrimination not just from Islamic militant mobs, but also from an Indonesian court." [Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch].Sudjana was hit with a machete and almost had his hand severed during the attack, which pitted about 20 Ahmadiyah followers against more than 1,000 fanatics in the village of Cikeusik, west Java.But the court ruled that he had disobeyed a police order to leave the scene, and had been filmed punching another man.Sudjana told the AFP news agency that the verdict was embarrassing."I'm purely a victim who has been criminalised in my own country," he said."There was no police order to evacuate and I hit the man because he entered our house of worship, calling us infidels, and ordered people to kill us. Isn't it normal that I hit the man as an act of self-defence?"Video footage of the attack shows crowds of hardliners beating a small group of Ahmadis as police watch.So far 12 of the attackers have been found guilty of minor offences and sentenced to between three and six months.Hmmmm.......Freedom of religion (Ahmadiya) is being punished?There can be only one?Read the full story here.
- Syrian Oppositionist Website: Security Forces Torturing Detainees to Death.(Memri).A Syrian oppositionist website has reported that Syrian intelligence services have adopted a policy of killing detainees as a deterrent.The report added that since the beginning of this month, 10 people have died in interrogation rooms, several days after their arrest.The website also claims that since the onset of the unrest in Syria, some 70 people have died as a result of torture.Hmmmm......Assad the 'reformer'.Read the full story here.
- Denmark-Based Salafi-Jihadi Cleric: Bin Laden's Death Heralds "Conquest and Destruction in the Lands of the Infidels".(Memri).On June 2, 2011, the jihadi forum Al-Tahadi published an essay by Salafi-jihadi cleric Abu 'Uzair Al-Jazairi [the Algerian], who resides in Aarhus, Denmark, titled "The Killing of Great Leaders – A Harbinger of Conquest and Destruction in the Lands of the Infidels." The essay, written in rhymed prose, aims to console the Muslims over bin Laden's killing by assuring them that it heralds the imminent destruction of the infidel West and its conquest by the Muslim ummah.Al-Jaza'iri, who identifies himself as Abu 'Uzair 'Abd Al-Ilah Youssef Al-Youbi Al-Husni Al-Jazairi, has in recent months gained some prominence in Salafi-jihadi circles. On April 11, 2011, the Salafi-jihadi website Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad announced that he has joined its shari'a committee, and the jihadi forum Al-Tahadi has established a discussion board on Abu 'Uzair's writings.Read the full story here.
- "Ordinary" everyday Chinese protests, "worse than London '(AsiaNews).Beijing - Thousands of inhabitants of the city of Guizhou (Qianxi County, Guizhou Province) demonstrated yesterday in the streets, smashing police vehicles, protesting a police injustice over a vehicle illegally parked. China's economic miracle is increasingly resembling a powder keg, where citizens, exasperated by the frequent abuses against their rights, are ready to protest every new injustice. According to the website of China National Radio said the protest broke out in a dispute between the city police and the owner of a vehicle parked in an irregular manner: bystanders came to the citizen’s defence and in a short time thousands confronted the police, smashing and overthrowing the government vehicles and blocking roads with heavy vehicles. In the disorder, several policemen were wounded. Radio Free Asia says that the clashes were born after some officials tried to confiscate the electric bicycle of a woman, beating her in an attempt to gain the upper hand. Experts say frequent mass protests explode across the country for trivial reasons, motivated by resentment of the authorities’ attitude towards the citizens and their complete failure to respect basic economic and political rights. According to a 2011 study, in China in 2009 there were at least 90 thousand mass protests. Many believe that the real statistics are far worse. The government no longer releases official data, after the 80 thousand mass protests of 2007 estimated by the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences. The authorities try to prevent even the news of such protests from spreading, which are typically reported by individuals on the Internet. On the Internet, many comment that the situation in China is similar to that of the recent protests in London. Indeed, it is worse, because, as a comment on the popular site Weibo reads, “in fact, China has riots more serious than England 's every week". Read the full story here.
- Global warming strikes New Zealand!New Zealand becomes a winter wonderland after being hit by heaviest snowfall in 30 years.(DailyMail).Flights have been grounded, roads closed and power cuts have plunged vast areas of New Zealand into darkness following the country's heaviest snowfall in decades. Snow and gale force winds have brought the country to a standstill during what forecasters are describing as a once-in-a-lifetime event. Blizzards lashed the South Island before moving onto the more densely populated North Island, with the cold snap predicted to continue until Wednesday The country's official weather station MetService recorded temperatures as low as minus four degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) in the resort of Queenstown. Residents in the hillside suburbs of the capital city of Wellington were told they faced being snowed in after they were hit with the heaviest blanketing in at least 30 years. Civil defence chief Rian Van Schalkwyk warned: 'People should prepare for the worst, which means making sure they're reading in the event that they cannot leave home and may be without electricity and other amenities.'Mail delivery in many towns was disrupted, and many schools, libraries and swimming pools were closed. Hundreds of passengers in Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin were stranded after flights were grounded and major highways became impassable on both islands. One flight which did begin its journey from Palmerston North to Wellington was struck by lightning. None of the 16 people on board were injured and the Air New Zealand plane landed without incident.Four-wheel drive emergency vehicles and a snow plough were scrambled after more than 100 people were trapped in their cars on a road over the Rimutaka Hills, north of Wellington. In Auckland, four people were taken to hospital after heavy winds caused a tree to crash into their home. WeatherWatch service forecaster Philip Duncan told the New Zealand Herald: 'I've been watching the weather closely for about 15 years and I've never seen a prediction like this.'He said the freezing conditions were due to a large high-pressure system reaching from Antarctica to the sub-tropics, which had merged with three neighbouring low-pressure systems. Although Auckland had its heaviest snowfall since the 1970s, much of it was washed away by heavy rain. Mr Duncan added: 'Aucklanders won't have white-out conditions like Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin but certainly a few isolated pockets of snow are likely mixed with the rain. MetService forecaster Peter Kreft told NZPA the freezing conditions were 'a once in many decades event' and suggested the country had not experienced anything like it for half a century. He said: 'We are probably looking at something like - in terms of extent and severity - maybe 50 years.'Read the full story here.