770: Mighty Men of Valor

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 59m
November 1st, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Sean Connelly

Associate Executive Producers: John Henry, Lynn Sutton, Andrew Brewer, Kyle Romagus,

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat


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Presidential Proclamation -- National Adoption Month, 2015
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:43
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 28, 2015
- - - - - - -
All young people deserve a safe place to live, and with each passing year, more children know the warmth and comfort of a loving family thanks to adoptive parents. People who adopt do so for a variety of reasons, but they are united in the kindness and devotion they show toward children -- the people who need it most. During National Adoption Month, we recognize the selflessness of adoptive families, and we thank them for opening their hearts and their doors to young people in need of a safe, stable place to call home.
More than 400,000 children are in foster care across America today, and over 100,000 of these children are waiting for an adoptive home. Last year, over 23,000 youth aged out of the foster care system without having found their forever families. When people adopt, they open up a world of promise and possibility by providing a steady, supportive environment for youth to live in. November 21 marks National Adoption Day, when we unite as families, advocates, and communities -- and as a country -- to raise awareness of the barriers to adoption and recommit ourselves to moving more of our young people into permanent homes.
My Administration is dedicated to supporting adoptive parents and making it easier for families to adopt. Earlier this year, I implemented new Federal Government leave policies aimed at expanding workplace flexibility and helping employees who are balancing the needs of their family, including the birth or adoption of a child, with the demands of their job. I was proud to permanently extend the Adoption Tax Credit, which helps provide necessary financial support to adoptive families to ease the economic burden of the adoption process. And last summer, the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act went into effect -- a law I signed to enforce our high legal standards for adoption service providers and to protect parents and children of adoptive families around the world.
Families across our country won a victory earlier this year when the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality -- affirming the notion that LGBT couples deserve to be treated equally. This ruling was a victory for same-sex couples who have fought for equality and for children whose parents' marriages will now be recognized as legitimate throughout America. And because of the ruling, more kids in foster care will now have the chance to be welcomed into a loving and supportive family to call their own.
As we come together to give thanks and show our appreciation for the professionals who work tirelessly to ensure the adoption process runs smoothly and efficiently, we celebrate the stories of those who have been permanently and positively affected by adoption. During National Adoption Month, let us embrace the unique place adoptive families have in America, and let us extend our fullest gratitude to all those who have welcomed home a child in need.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National Adoption Month. I encourage all Americans to observe this month by answering the call to find a permanent and caring family for every child in need and by supporting the families who care for them.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National College Application Month, 2015
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:49
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 28, 2015
- - - - - - -
Our Nation was built on the idea that no matter where you come from or what you look like, you can make it if you try. Expanding access to affordable higher education is key to safeguarding this ideal. A college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class, and broadening paths to education so more people have the chance to earn post-secondary degrees and credentials is the best way to make sure all our people can contribute to writing our country's next great chapters. During National College Application Month, we pledge our support for those across America who are taking steps toward earning a degree, and we continue our work to ensure all Americans can access the tools and resources necessary to make informed decisions about college.
My Administration has made it a priority to equip aspiring college students and their families with data on college costs, value, and admissions so they can make choices that are right for their futures and their budgets. Earlier this year, we redesigned the Department of Education's College Scorecard, which can be found at CollegeScorecard.ed.gov, with input from those who use it most -- students, families, and advisers. It can now be used to compare schools' affordability, graduation rates, post-college salaries, and employment outcomes for former students. We also launched the Better Make Room campaign, which supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative and gives students a platform to share their goals, progress, and stories to lift each other up and inspire one another to continue pursuing an education. And across our country, organizations are partnering with government to ensure first-generation college students and students in low-income communities have the resources and support to go to school and tap into their incredible potential.
Our effort to expand access to higher education includes making community college more affordable. Community colleges are essential pathways to the middle class for millions of people: They work for veterans transitioning back into civilian life, families who need flexible schedules due to work or childcare, and people who are seeking to hone new skills and are not able to go back to school for 4 years. That is why I announced a plan earlier this year to make 2 years of community college free for anyone willing to work for it -- because in the United States of America, a quality education should not be a privilege that is reserved for a few, but a right for everybody who strives for it.
Getting a higher education has never been more important, but it has also never been more expensive, and my Administration has been working to streamline the process for obtaining Federal financial aid. Next year, students and families will be able to apply for aid earlier, beginning on October 1, and use tax data from their most recent return rather than waiting to finalize applications until the following year's tax season. Additionally, we have made it easier to complete the FAFSA -- the standard form used when applying for aid from the Federal Government -- and we have created a new tax credit of up to $2,500 for working families to pay for things like textbooks and tuition. To make loans more manageable for students and families, we increased Pell Grant funding, capped loan repayments at 10 percent of a borrower's income, and enacted a commonsense plan to keep interest rates on student loans at reasonable levels. All together, these actions could help hundreds of thousands of students pay for college. For resources and more information about the steps we are taking to expand access to the opportunities a higher education provides, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/ReachHigher.
At such a critical time in people's lives, we owe it to them to make sure they have the necessary resources and information to confidently make the important decisions that come with applying to college. This month, let us strive to expand access to quality higher education for all people and to make real our Nation's promise of opportunity. Together, we can once again secure our status as the country with the highest proportion of college graduates in the world, and we can forge a future where dreams know no bounds.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National College Application Month. I call upon public officials, educators, parents, students, and all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs designed to encourage students to make plans for and apply to college.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Apprenticeship Week, 2015
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:43
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2015
At the heart of our Nation's promise lies a simple truth: If you work hard you can get ahead, earn a decent-paying job, and secure a brighter future for yourself and your family. To make this promise real, our economy has to work for everyone, and that begins with providing all our people with the tools and resources they need to utilize their unique talents to contribute to our country's success. Apprenticeships offer this opportunity, and over 430,000 Americans participate in these programs today. During National Apprenticeship Week, we recognize the ways apprenticeships foster innovation and prosperity, and we recommit to encouraging and supporting those who offer and partake in them. Without the skills to get new, higher-wage jobs, and without the knowledge to adapt to new machinery, systems, technology, and techniques, the American worker could fall behind. Apprenticeships help people upgrade their skills and keep pace with the demands of the 21st century. Today, in part thanks to strong cooperation between labor and management, 87 percent of apprentices find employment after completing their program, and their average starting wage is above $50,000. And over the course of their lifetimes, workers who complete an apprenticeship on the job may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more than their peers who do not. According to multiple studies, the payout is good for employers, too -- they see significant returns in the form of increased productivity, reduced waste, and greater innovation. Across America, employers, educators, labor leaders, and elected officials are joining together to encourage and support apprenticeships. Businesses are preparing workers for jobs in advanced manufacturing, information technology, health care, and other industries, while unions are helping their members secure new and more gainful employment. Hundreds of our Nation's colleges are awarding credit toward a degree for completing an apprenticeship program. And State and local governments in every corner of our country have been working to help America succeed by investing in programs to train our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. At the Federal level, my Administration is committed to enabling hardworking people to earn and learn at the same time by supporting job-driven training initiatives like apprenticeships. Today, 55,000 more apprenticeship positions are available than there were at the start of 2014. To build on this progress, we awarded $175 million in grants to 46 apprenticeship programs around America. This investment will provide training opportunities for 34,000 new apprentices over the next 5 years, ensure apprenticeships are available to diverse and historically underrepresented populations, and provide a framework for apprenticeship opportunities to grow. Earlier this year, we hosted the White House Summit on ApprenticeshipUSA, bringing together over 140 employers, labor and education organizations, community-based groups, and others to recognize their commitment and to generate the best ideas on how to expand these programs. Additionally, I urged the Congress to create a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund to double the number of apprentices in America, and I have called on businesses to offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships to their employees regardless of their level of education. Our country thrives when all our citizens play a role in driving it forward. If we create good jobs and help workers get the skills they need to succeed in those jobs, we can restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American. During National Apprenticeship Week, let us support and encourage apprenticeship programs that will help rebuild our middle class, and let us rededicate ourselves to educating more of our people, retraining our workforce, and renewing our Nation's promise to put the American dream within the reach of the determined. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 1 through November 7, 2015, as National
Apprenticeship Week. I urge the Congress, State and local governments, educational institutions, industry and labor leaders, and all Americans to support apprenticeship programs in the United States and to raise awareness of their contributions to our country. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Diabetes Month, 2015
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:43
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2015
- - - - - - -
Approximately 1 out of every 11 Americans lives with diabetes. The seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to critical health issues such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure, and can sometimes require amputations of lower limbs. During National Diabetes Month, we recognize the impact diabetes has on people's lives, and we rededicate our talents, skills, and knowledge to preventing, treating, and curing it.
Type 1 diabetes often develops in youth and is a result of the body not producing enough insulin. Insulin treatment and keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can help people manage this disease. Type 2 diabetes -- the most common form -- affects people of all ages, though most frequently it is diagnosed in adults. However, type 2 diabetes has become increasingly prevalent among young people, largely due to increasing obesity rates. African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as are people who are overweight and those who do not participate in regular physical activity. Taking diabetes medications as prescribed, getting plenty of regular exercise, eating healthily, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help manage type 2 diabetes.
Some people may experience higher than normal glucose levels, though not at levels high enough to be called diabetes. Roughly 86 million Americans have this condition, known as prediabetes -- and for these individuals the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be mitigated with exercise, healthy eating, and weight loss. Gestational diabetes is another form of the disease, which can develop when a woman is pregnant. Women with a history of gestational diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. More information on diabetes, as well as actions people can take to prevent, treat, and manage it, can be found at www.NDEP.NIH.gov.
My Administration remains committed to supporting people living with diabetes and to finding a cure for all types of the disease. The Affordable Care Act now requires coverage of preventive services -- such as diabetes screenings for those who have high blood pressure or are pregnant -- at no additional cost. The law also ensures that individuals are not denied health coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Additionally, earlier this year I launched the Precision Medicine Initiative, an effort aimed at bringing us closer to a cure for diseases like diabetes by accelerating biomedical discoveries and providing clinicians with new tools and knowledge to select which treatments will work best for individual patients. In addition, through a comprehensive and sustained effort, the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative is working to put kids on a path to a healthier future by ensuring every family has access to healthy, affordable food, and by helping kids maintain an active lifestyle.
During National Diabetes Month, let us honor those we have lost to diabetes by pledging our full support for those currently living with it, and let us reinvigorate our resolve to find a cure. Together, by drawing on the inherent ingenuity and innovation of our people, we can advance the cause of treating this disease and safeguard the gift of a long, happy, and healthy life for all of America's daughters and sons.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National Diabetes Month. I call upon all Americans, school systems, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, research institutions, and other interested groups to join in activities that raise diabetes awareness and help prevent, treat, and manage the disease.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Presidential Proclamation -- Military Family Month, 2015
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:03
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 29, 2015
- - - - - - -
Since our country's founding, brave members of our military have stood strong as one American team, ready to defend our homeland and safeguard the values for which we stand. They represent the best our Nation has to offer, and serving alongside them are proud and loving family members -- heroes on the home front. Each day, they make sacrifices for their loved ones and their country. They have answered their call of duty, and as a Nation, we must answer ours and serve them as well as they have served us. During Military Family Month, we pay tribute to and thank our military families for their service to our country, and we recognize the extraordinary ways in which they give of themselves for us all.
Our troops keep our Nation safe from threats here at home and around the world, and our journey forward is not sustained by those in uniform alone. The United States is stronger and safer thanks to the millions of military family members who, in sacrificing cherished moments with their loved ones, selflessly afford us precious time with ours. Demonstrating the highest form of patriotism and persevering in the most demanding of circumstances, some endure hard separations throughout multiple deployments. Spouses press pause on their careers or strive to balance work and family while their loved ones are away. The two million children of service members work hard to keep up their studies and make new friends, despite transferring school systems an average of 6 to 9 times. And following the homecoming ceremonies and celebrations, family and friends stand beside our veterans, encouraging and uplifting them as they face the challenges of transitioning back into civilian life.
My Administration is committed to translating our Nation's gratitude into sustainable, meaningful support. This year, we continued the work of providing our military families with tools and resources such as relocation assistance, child care, and counseling services that help families while their loved ones are serving. Additionally, through the Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have made tremendous strides in connecting military spouses with employment opportunities. Since Joining Forces was launched in 2011, over 850,000 veterans and military spouses have secured gainful employment thanks to the initiative. All 50 States have now responded to the First Lady and Dr. Biden's call to action to take steps to streamline ways for service members and veterans to obtain civilian credentials and licensure in their States. These collaborative efforts have dramatically lowered veteran unemployment and have helped inspire military families to continue pursuing their dreams and reaching for their highest aspirations.
America endures because of the men, women, and families who serve and sacrifice to defend our Nation and protect the ideals we hold dear. This month, and in the months to come, let us show our enduring gratitude to military families and their loved ones in uniform for contributing to our Nation's legacy as a beacon of hope and liberty. Their courage serves as a model of character and distinction, and their devotion to our country must be met with the recognition it deserves.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2015 as Military Family Month. I encourage all Americans to honor military families through private actions and public service for the tremendous contributions they make in support of our service members and our Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Native American Heritage Month, 2015
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:37
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2015
- - - - - - -
American Indians and Alaska Natives enrich every aspect of our country. As the first to live on this land, Native Americans and their traditions and values inspired -- and continue to inspire -- the ideals of self-governance and determination that are the framework of our Nation. This month, we recognize the contributions made by Native Americans since long before our founding, and we resolve to continue the work of strengthening government-to-government ties with tribal nations and expanding possibility for all.
Native Americans have helped make America what it is today. As we reflect on our history, we must acknowledge the unfortunate chapters of violence, discrimination, and deprivation that went on for far too long, as well as the effects of injustices that continue to be felt. While we cannot undo the pain and tragedy of the past, we can set out together to forge a brighter future of progress and hope across Indian Country and the entire American landscape.
Since I took office, I have worked with tribal leaders to write a new chapter in our nation-to-nation relationship. Ensuring young people have every opportunity to succeed is a critical aspect of our work together, and this year my Administration hosted the inaugural White House Tribal Youth Gathering following the launch of Generation Indigenous -- an initiative aimed at improving the lives of Native youth and empowering the next generation of Native leaders. We will also host the seventh White House Tribal Nations Conference later this year, bringing together leaders of 567 tribes to explore opportunities for progress, with a particular focus on young people. As part of our agenda for providing Native youth the chance to realize their fullest potential, I have engaged tribal communities in a range of critical areas, and we have worked together to boost high school graduation rates and afford young people more chances to pursue higher education, employment, and professional development opportunities. We're also working to expand access to health and counseling services essential to ensuring youth feel safe and heard.
My Administration has continued to partner with tribes to address vital gaps in resources for Indian Country, including equipping communities with broadband, rebuilding infrastructure, spurring economic growth, and increasing renewable energy. To confront the peril of a changing climate, we are also working with tribal leaders across America to develop effective approaches to protecting our communities from this grave threat. And because we know that fostering pride in the languages, traditions, and practices that make up the extraordinary richness of Native American culture is central to our shared progress, my Administration remains committed to ensuring every community feels connected to the extraordinary legacies they are a part of.
This month, let us reaffirm our responsibility to ensure each generation is defined by a greater sense of opportunity than the last, and let us pledge to maintain our strong relationship with tribal nations across America. By keeping this commitment, and by endeavoring to shape a future in which every citizen has the chance to build a life worthy of their hopes and dreams, we can ensure that ours is a country that is true to our spirit and to our enduring promise as a land where all things are possible for all people.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 27, 2015, as Native American Heritage Day.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Alzheimer's Disease Month, 2015
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:49
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 28, 2015
- - - - - - -
Each year, people with Alzheimer's disease experience devastating physical and emotional challenges, as the abilities to remember, learn, and think worsen over time -- and their loved ones face challenges right alongside them. Although Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, it is often misunderstood, and misperceptions about the disease can isolate and stigmatize people with dementia and their families. This month, and every month, we stand with the more than 5 million people in the United States who live with Alzheimer's and with the caregivers who help them age with dignity.
The Federal Government is the leading funder of Alzheimer's research, and together with the scientific community, patient advocates, and advocacy groups, we are supporting a broad portfolio of research as part of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease -- which maps concrete goals toward the prevention and effective treatment of Alzheimer's by 2025. With the expansion and innovation of research initiatives, we are gaining new insight on how to delay, treat, and prevent this disease. We are also continuing to make investments in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, which will advance our understanding of the most intricate aspects of the human mind to address diseases that affect the brain. And earlier this year, I announced a new Precision Medicine Initiative, an effort aimed at bringing us closer to a cure for diseases like Alzheimer's by accelerating biomedical discoveries and providing clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select treatments that will work best for individual patients.
As some of the brightest minds in our Nation and across the world work toward finding a cure for Alzheimer's, we must also focus time and resources on finding better ways to support the family caregivers who selflessly give of themselves each day. Caregivers around America show incredible devotion to those they look after, and caring for a person with Alzheimer's can have profound effects on one's emotional, financial, and physical well-being. As they work to promote the health of others, their dedication and compassion remind us that we are all our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and we must show the same level of support for caregivers as they show their loved ones with dementia. To learn more about what the Federal Government is doing to support research and programs for families and caregivers, visit www.Alzheimers.gov. 2
This November, let us focus our Nation's attention on the challenges posed by Alzheimer's disease, which families across America courageously face every day. As we continue our work to eliminate Alzheimer's disease and forge a future free from it, let us lift up the lives of those living with it, and let us do all we can to honor those it has taken from us too soon.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to learn more about Alzheimer's disease and support the individuals living with this disease and their caregivers.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Presidential Proclamation -- Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, 2015
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 19:01
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 29, 2015
- - - - - - -
Our Nation's critical infrastructure is central to our security and essential to our economy. Technology, energy, and information systems play a pivotal role in our lives today, and people continue to rely on the physical structures that surround us. From roadways and tunnels, to power grids and energy systems, to cybersecurity networks and other digital landscapes, it is crucial that we stay prepared to confront any threats to America's infrastructure. During Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, we rededicate ourselves to safeguarding our infrastructure by staying attentive, alert, and ready to respond to any threats toward our homeland and our assets.
Ensuring our country has a secure and stable infrastructure is essential to our national security efforts. Our systems and networks extend beyond the scope of government. Many are owned by private industry, and my Administration is committed to partnering with private entities, as well as State and local governments, to secure our critical infrastructure. Earlier this year, we convened some of America's top infrastructure planning experts at the White House to highlight and advance important work to improve our Nation's resilience. We also continue to collaborate with stakeholders to mitigate risks and confront threats as part of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. Additionally, to support the Build America Investment Initiative -- a Federal effort to assist communities in constructing better and more efficient infrastructure projects -- we released a Federal Resource Guide for Infrastructure Planning and Design. This guide informs communities about relevant Federal resources and noteworthy case studies, and it outlines updated principles to guide infrastructure projects.
By some estimates, we are currently underinvesting in our infrastructure by hundreds of billions of dollars each year. I have called on the Congress to pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan to create jobs and make America stronger. Not only is it a threat to our national security, but failing to maintain and strengthen our infrastructure also jeopardizes our economic growth and closes doors of opportunity for all our citizens. Our people and our businesses require an advanced infrastructure -- modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains, a modern grid, and high-speed Internet -- and I am committed to efforts to build one.
No challenge demands modern infrastructure more than combatting climate change -- the gravest threat to future generations, particularly to communities and populations with strained resources. Drawing on current efforts, my Administration is reinforcing our infrastructure projects and making them more clean, sustainable, efficient, and resilient. Together with States, local governments, and tribal communities, we are planning new roads, transit lines, and other methods of transportation and power generation that bolster our country's resilience in the face of climate change.
We have more power at our fingertips than ever before to communicate, collaborate, and make transactions each day across the world we share. This month, let us remind ourselves of the value of our infrastructure, while recognizing the challenges of protecting it. Together, we can safeguard the advances we have made as a people by securing our critical infrastructure and remaining vigilant in the face of any and all threats, both here at home and around the globe.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2015 as Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the importance of protecting our Nation's infrastructure and to observe this month with appropriate events and training to enhance our national security and resilience.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
"boots on the ground" - Reinforcing CIA and DoD 'rebels'
But small number of 'boots' = easy to identify if KIA. Big stink if Russians are responsible
Boots being used as human shields
About Chad '-- Navy SEAL - Chad Williams
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:33
Shortly thereafter, Chad turned on a television one morning to learn first hand how precious and costly freedom is as his eyes met a screen that portrayed a smiling still image of his mentor followed by Scott's birthdate separated by a *dash* March 31, 2004. What immediately followed his mentor's smiling image on the screen was video footage of man that was like a second father, viciously murdered and mutilated as Helvenston was dragged through the streets of Fallujah, Iraq and hung upside-down from the Euphrates River Bridge while an enraged Iraqi mob repeatedly chanted in Arabic, ''Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans.''
Steeled in his resolve to walk in his Helvenston's footsteps and become a SEAL in honor and memory of his good friend, Chad entered the military's most grueling and difficult training as a part of BUD/S class 254, ultimately becoming 1 of the 13 men to graduate out of an original class number of 173 trainees.
Serving his country proudly as a Navy SEAL, Chad Williams spent his time on SEAL Teams One and then Seven, witnessing the horrors of war first hand, even fighting his way alongside his Team through a premeditated ambush in Iraq, near the location that took Helvenston's life in a similar scenario.
''ISIS''' Releases a New Fake Execution Video'... Right on Time to Support the ''Boots on the Ground'' Plan | American Everyman
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:19
by Scott Creighton
UPDATE: UPDATES on the Fake ''ISIS'' Tank Video'... brought to you by the propaganda outlet SOHR
UPDATE: please see update at the end of the article
In the world of marketing and propaganda, production value is the key folks. Let no one tell you otherwise.
After a video was released showing the world how ''ISIS''' filmed one of their fake execution videos in a studio with a green screen, the fake video propaganda cottage industry seems to have dried up a little bit. I guess it's easy to understand why.
It's not that some of us out here hadn't already been exposing the fake videos as staged Hollywood-styled propaganda since they first starting hitting the ''interwebs'' when Barack Obama needed a justification for reengaging our military in Iraq after being praised for bringing home the troops and officially ending that war. We had.
But the video of the staging of one of the ''beheadings'' went mainstream and many of the MSM outlets had to start admitting the whole collection of the things were clearly phonies.
That led to folks starting to wonder why the evil arch-nemesis of ObamaGod would feel the need to pretend to kill people, rather than just kill them. And thought seeds like that, once firmly planted in logic seeking soil, would sprout all sorts of possible explanations that the powers that be didn't want to flourish in the general population. Especially if they were watered with an ample amount of reason and truth.
Bad seeds indeed for the war industry.
So, the producers of the fake beheading videos and the burning man videos and the drowned like rats in a cage videos took a little time off. Perhaps they went on to make another ''Innocence of bin Laden'' film. Or went to work on Homeland or something.
Anyway, it would seem they got the band back together and we have yet another fake ''ISIS''' execution video to pick apart today.
This time they upped the production value and got themselves a nice tank to use in the shoot. They've gone all Spielberg on us.
You'll notice that not many websites are talking about this one. I guess people are either tired of picking these things apart or the guys who used to do it all got sick with Pancreatic cancer and passed away like Dave McGowan and Tyler Drumheller who was set to testify before the Benghazi Commission.
Whatever the case may be'... I feel I have to explore this propaganda a little because while so many of us are still talking about Russia bombing the CIA's terrorists in Syria and how everyone has to get behind building the next Saudi Arabia in Greater Kurdistan, everyone seems to have resorted to the default position on ''ISIS''' and that is that it is a real, legitimate entity out there.
It isn't. And that fact becomes more and more obvious with each one of their stupid, Obama administration serving videos they put out. And more specifically'... WHEN they put them out.
Yes, the Defense Department want's to put boots on the ground to fight ''ISIS''' and we just happen to have them putting out this video on almost the exact same day the US Troops as Human Shields story comes out.
Is that a coincidence you think? No? Ah. Then you're not as dumb as someone OBVIOUSLY thinks you are.
But let's take a look at this stupid ''ISIS''' tank video, shall we?
First of all, the video is supposedly of a Syrian soldier, or so says the British propaganda outlet, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) . Of course, there is no way to verify that and various outlets simply take that proven liar and propagandist outlet at his word (yes, it's one, war-mongering, regime-change supporter in London)
For a soldier, the guy really doesn't put up much of a fight. Looks like someone tortured him by shaving off some of his hair and I guess that was so demoralizing, he just kneels there and accepts his fate while the actor playing the ''evil ISIS guy'' role blathers on and on about whatever bullshit they figured was scary.
In fact, like so many other fake victims of fake executions in the past, this guy not only walks calmly to his demise, but he also makes sure to hop in front of the tracks of the tank when the driver missed while trying to line up the ''kill''
Would you do that? I wouldn't. I'd take death by AK over squishy squishy any time of the week. Plus I'd be going out on my feet like a soldier'... which is probably exactly what a real Syrian soldier would do.
Not this guy. He hops in front of the tank tread, leans carefully on the one fender someone tech-screwed to the tank for just this purpose, then he carefully lies himself down in front of the tread in order to be run over.
Not only that'... but the calm bastard doesn't even seem to react while the tank is running him over from his toes to his head.
Pretty amazing stuff there, huh?
Here are some stills I am taking from the video which show this laughable ''execution''. Notice, when he lays down in front of the tread'... he moves his feet to the left of the tread on the inside and then, just then, the video edits to another view so you don't see the guy get run over. Instead, what you see is him pretend to be in position to be run over, they stop the tank, and edit to another camera showing them running over a dead body they stuck in his place.
Someone who is certainly smarter than I am could probably take a look at the length of the shadows and determine how much time was spent between takes in this video production. All I am going to sat to that is, take a look at the shadows and tell me these shots were all filmed simultaneously. It's pretty obvious that they weren't.
It's also pretty obvious that this video wasn't shot in Syria near Homs like they claim it was considering the fact that so many aircraft from the Russians and the US are zipping around in the skies looking for idiots with ''ISIS''' flags, cameras and guys in orange jump-suits to blow to bits.
And lastly, the real evidence'... remember when this video was released and who's interests it really serves. ''ISIS'''? No. Sec. of Defense Ashton Carter? You betcha.
Yep. Another fake execution video. And I thought we were done with this ridiculous crap. Oh well. I guess you can't teach an old war dog new tricks.
But the increased production value was nice. You think they had to get a Teamster to drive that tank or did they use scab labor? They better unionize if they want SAG or IATSE benefits.
UPDATE: I left the following as a comment answering a few questions posed by one of the readers. They were good questions and I think the answers may help shed a little more light on the relative validity of this video.
OK. Lets take this one bit by bit.
Yeah Lilaleo, I think you got taken a bit on this one.
First of all, the guy is not trying to hop out of the way of the tread, he's hoping into position to be run over by it, and even Heavy.com's article had to acknowledge that fact. Those treads are only about 18'" wide so unless you are completely incapacitated, it would take some work to not get out of it's way when moving that slowly. Second, if you notice, the guy even once he hit the ONE fender on the tank, could EASILY have rolled out of the way.
In fact, to that point, even after one of his feet is crushed under the tread, he still could have, and naturally would have, by reflex reaction, moved the rest of his body to the left of the tread, and gotten out of the way. Your knees do move and bend you know. That's like a hand on the hot stove. Your body is going to react, even if you have ''resigned yourself'' to your doom.
Notice, in the shot from full front as he is rolled up on'... the body doesn't move. Doesn't squirm, shake, twist, try to escape.. nothing. nada. zippo.
I'm sorry Lilaleo, but that's impossible for someone living even IF as Heavy.com says, he wanted to ''get it over with''
Now, when you investigate any of these events, one of the first things you look for is something out of place. Something odd that doesn't seem to fit.
When I first watched it I thought to myself'... why did they do that to his hair? Is that supposed to be torture? embarrassment?
They didn't do it to ANY of their other ''victims''They didn't do it to ANY of their other ''victims''
That's what you call a ''clue''
So why do it?
Well, when they cut the scene from the shot on the right side (one showing him moving around and obviously alive) they had to shoot from the front'... way back'...
'.... WHY?
Why cut at all if you wanted to ''fix'' the issues with the other videos, like you claim. Because they didn't ''fix'' the issue at all'... in fact,'.... they did the EXACT same thing'... cut away at the moment of the ''death'''... so WHY would they do that if they wanted to show themselves killing this victim? There is only ONE reason for that'... and you know what it is'...
Back to the hair'...
They shot the ''kill moment'' from the front for a reason'... from the right or the left'... you would be able to see the FACE of the body'... from the FRONT all you can see is the TOP OF THE HEAD'... the hair.
So WHY CUT HIS HAIR LIKE THAT?'... so people would say it's the same guy BECAUSE of the patch of shaved hair'...
'... that's why. It's an identifier used instead of his face as they run over the body. And if they didn't want to use his face to identify him when they ran him over,,,, well'... why is that Lilaleo?
Because it isn't his face. It's someone elses.
Now, let's talk about how they would plan it. Yes, they tried to fix some of the problems. But, clearly you understand it would difficult to get someone, especially a soldier, to stand there in front of a tank and make sure they got run over by the 18'" tread, right? he would move. Run. Roll out of the way. Or simply refuse to do it and rather, opt for a soldiers death, being shot by an AK. Right? In the planning stages, you have to imagine that came up.
So what would they do? Have 50 guys in a cage and keep shooting the videos until one of them let them run him over? That's ridiculous. They were on a deadline as well. Ashton Carter needed his new, scary ''ISIS'' video for his ''boots on the ground'' campaign roll-out.
The only way to ensure someone wouldn't screw it up would be to stage the whole thing. Get a stuntman from Indonesia or a whole stunt crew for example to produce the video.
Or maybe, a stunt crew from Saudi Arabia'... isn't that ''terrorist'' wearing Saudi garb? hmmm.
And remember, here we are 6 or so days after the release of this video, and the ONLY proof we have that this guy is a Syrian soldier'... comes from the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights'... uh'... that's not really proof.
I wonder if this wasn't created first to effect some support for Ashton Carter's boots on the ground campaign, but maybe also to gin up support for a recruit drive'... in Saudi Arabia. I mean.. why change the ''ISIS'' costume like they did? Is it hard to get recruits in the Wahhabist community these days? Is this another twisted version of ''Innocence of bin Laden''?
Anyway, my guess is, staging the whole thing would make for a better, more stable, shoot. And as I mentioned before, the only reason to cut away at the moment of truth, is because they didn't run that guy over'... they ran over a dead body and shaved patches in his hair to make him identifiable as the victim.
Lastly'... and this is the most telling'... when the video ends and you see the result'... the right leg is crushed and the pants leg torn open showing the horrible wound to the corpse. Now, had that happened while he was being crushed, you would CLEARLY see him reacting to it while being run over, but his head doesn't move a centimeter. Aside from that'... the obvious part'...
'... there's almost no blood and in fact, on the pavement right there where the leg is busted open'... no blood at all.
That's not physically possible. If he was alive when that massive wound was inflicted'... there would be blood everywhere right there. His heart was still pumping and the wound, crushing wound, would cause MASSIVE blood loss.
So, for these reasons, along with the timing of the release of the video'... my guess is, the guy featured in the first part of the video with all the nifty barbershop work is alive and well and probably back to work on some movie set somewhere in Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Thailand.
My situation is '... better. :)
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US Special Forces deployed as 'human shields' to salvage terror assets in Syria '-- RT Op-Edge
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 13:13
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
Obama's decision to send Special Forces into Syria is being widely viewed as a US military escalation in the country. The troop dispatch also signals that the US trying to forestall Russian successes in wiping out Washington's regime-change assets in Syria.
In short, the US Special Forces are being used as ''human shields'' to curb Russian air strikes against anti-government mercenaries, many of whom are instrumental in Washington's regime-change objective in Syria.
First of all, we need to view a host of developments, including the hastily convened ''peace talks'' in Vienna, as a response by the US and its allies to the game-changing military intervention by Russia. That intervention, beginning on September 30, has not only dealt massive blows to militants, it has completely changed the balance of forces to give the Assad government the upper hand in the war against foreign-backed extremists. That, in turn, has sent the US-led powers trying to topple Damascus into disarray.
Read more
Recall the scattered reactions from Washington and its allies, including Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. At first, Washington tried to rubbish Vladimir Putin's order to aid his Syrian ally with airstrikes as ''doomed to fail''.
Then there were overblown, unverified, claims of civilian casualties from Russian strikes, plus there were American claims that Russian cruise missiles had gone wildly astray, hitting Iran. There was also much angst over Russia striking ''moderate rebels'' instead of the Islamic State terror network. All such accusations, encouraged with Western media amplification, were designed to undermine Russia's military operation.
Then there were threats from Saudi Arabia and Qatar that they would launch direct military action in Syria to ''protect'' the populace from the joint firepower of Assad and Putin. That idea was quickly shelved (one wonders by whom?).
Another seeming knee-jerk response came from Turkey and rightwing politicians and pundits in the US which revived talks about the creation of ''safe havens'' in northern Syria, ostensibly to protect civilian refugees, but also tacitly and more importantly, to give cover to ''rebel'' groups from Russian air strikes and Syrian government ground troops.
None of these reactions have gained credibility despite Western media hype. On the contrary, it soon became clear that Russia's military intervention in Syria was a masterstroke by Putin, wiping out large swathes of the anti-government mercenaries, stabilizing the Assad government, and winning much popular support both within Syria and across the Middle East, and indeed around the world.
Last week, America's top military official, General Joseph F Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee that Russia's air support had changed everything. ''The balance of forces right now are in Assad's advantage,'' he said.
This is the context in which to interpret the latest, surprise move by Obama to send Special Forces into Syria. It is more about inhibiting Russian success in destroying the sundry anti-regime forces on the ground than about either ''helping the fight against Islamic State'' as claimed, or about misgivings of a large-scale American invasion.
Read more
The troop contingent that Obama has ordered amounts to 50 Special Forces personnel. That is hardly going to be a decisive blow to Islamic State militants, even if we believe the official rationale for their deployment.
The White House, in its announcement, was at pains to emphasize that the troops would not be in a combat role and would only be acting to ''advise and train'' Kurdish fighters and others belonging to the little-known Syrian Arab Coalition.
But here is perhaps the significant part of the story. ''The move could potentially put the American troops in the cross hairs of Russia,'' reports the New York Times. Significantly, too, the Pentagon will not be informing the Russian military of the exact whereabouts of its ground personnel.
That suggests that the real purpose for Obama sending in the troops is to restrict Russian offensive operations by introducing the risk of bombing American forces. In effect, the US Special Forces are being used as human shields to protect American regime-change assets on the ground.
These assets include an array of jihadist mercenary brigades, which the US and its allies have invested billions of dollars in for the objective of regime change in Syria. The misnomer of ''moderate rebels'' belies abundant evidence that the mercenaries include Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, including Islamic State. CIA supplies of anti-tank TOW missiles as well as Toyota jeeps are just a glimpse of the foreign covert-sponsorship.
Russia's devastating air campaign over the past month '' over 1,600 targets destroyed according to Moscow '' has no doubt caused apoplexy in Washington, London, Paris, Ankara, Riyadh and Doha. An urgent stop to their ''losses'' had to be invoked. But the foreign sponsors can't say it openly otherwise that gives the game away about their criminal involvement in Syria's war.
This perspective most likely explains the hastily convened ''peace conference'' in Vienna. US Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent concern to ''stop the bloodshed'' does not seem credible as the primary motive. Why the concern now after nearly five years of bloodshed?
It is not about a ''quest for peace'' as the BBC reported. The move is more credibly about Washington and its allies maneuvering to give their regime-change assets in Syria a reprieve from Russia's firepower. One of the main points agreed in Vienna this weekend is the implementation of a ''nation-wide ceasefire''.
Another indicator of what is really going on are reports this week of the large-scale airlifting of jihadist mercenary groups out of Syria. According to senior Syrian army intelligence, up to 500 mercenaries were flown to Yemen onboard Turkish, Qatari and Emirati planes. The fighters were brought to Yemen's southern city of Aden from where they were dispatched to battle zones inside Yemen by the American-coordinated Saudi coalition. The US-Saudi coalition is waging war in Yemen to reinstall the regime of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ousted by Houthi rebels earlier this year.
Aden is under the military control of Saudi and Emirati forces and Yemen's airspace has been closed off by the coalition coordinated by US and British military planners based in Saudi capital Riyadh. It is inconceivable that plane loads of jihadists could be flown into southern Yemen without the knowledge of Washington.
So what we are seeing here is a concerted effort by Washington and its allies to stem their covert military losses in Syria. Sending in American Special Forces '' a seemingly dramatic U-turn by Obama to put boots on the ground in Syria '' is just one part of a wider effort to forestall Russian success in stabilizing Syria. These US forces are not about a ''deepening of American involvement in a war [Obama] has tried to avoid'', as the New York Times would have us believe. They are being sent in to act as human shields against Russian airstrikes.
The putative ceasefire under a so-called peace process is another element of the US-led salvage operation. The real agenda is about giving Western, Turk and Arab-sponsored jihadists a space to regroup, and if needs be flown out of the Syrian theatre to resume their imperialist function in Yemen and, no doubt, elsewhere when required.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Barack Obama's ''Human Shields for ISIS'' Program Meets Resistance from Some (a few) in Congress | American Everyman
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 07:05
by Scott Creighton
I am getting sick of hearing talking heads on the MSM flippantly refer to our soldiers as ''boots on the ground''
In those boots are feet and attached to those feet are someone's father, mother, son, daughter'... soldiers who trust they will never be placed in harm's way without really good cause.
Last time I checked, protecting the lives of the CIA's (and John McCain's) terrorists'... is not a ''good cause'''... and it is certainly not a valid reason to send 50 or so of our soldiers into Syria in this illegal expansion of our immoral regime change operation.
But make no mistake about it, that is why they are there ''with no combat mission''
Unnamed U.S. officials reportedly ''stressed'' to Reuters that the new boots-on-the-ground in Syria were ''not meant to engage in front-line combat but rather to advise and assist moderate rebels.'' One official told Reuters the key role of the troops would be ''logistical'' and designed, the news agency reported, to ''ensure that weapons and other supplies are delivered to the moderate forces whom the United States supports.'' Common Dreams
It's funny watching White House spokesman Josh Earnest dance around at the podium trying his best to explain why President Obama has enacted this mission creep move without being able to mention the highly successful Russian bombing campaign itself. It's as if he thinks no one on the planet connects those particular dots. Or if they do in the press corps, no one will be indelicate enough to mention it.
But someone in congress mentioned it yesterday in a letter he sent to the White House. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said in a letter written to the president, that this was ''a mistake'' which could obviously have grave consequences.
''Imagine the scenario in which American forces are deployed alongside Syrian opposition forces and come into combat with ISIL, who are also being targeted by Russian and Syrian military forces via land and air,'' Heinrich wrote in a letter to the president. ''The margin for error diminishes considerably, and the consequences of either accidental or intentional fire on our ground forces '-- or Russian and Syrian forces '-- expand greatly.''
''The resulting desire or need to retaliate against the other would be inevitable,'' he added. ''The 'fog of war' in this situation appears too great and the risks significantly outweigh the potential benefits.'' Huffington Post
Unfortunately Sen. Heinrich does not understand the full implications of this calculated move by the administration. If he did, he would realize the futility of his sending this letter.
Yes, the margin for error diminishes considerably and that's the whole purpose behind the ''human shield'' tactic.
Any thug knows this. That's why they take a hostage and hide behind them as they try to make it past the waiting cops to their getaway car.
It's the same thing here.
For weeks now, the CIA and their apologists in the MSM and congress (that's YOU Sen. McCain) have been weeping over the fact that the Russians are being so successful in their efforts to drive destabilization terrorists out of Syria. Over and over these guys have lamented the fact that Russia treats ''ISIS'' and our ''moderate'' terrorists in exactly the same manner: they bomb the shit out of them.
They've been so successful, these irregular warfare assets have been fleeing the country in droves or being airlifted out of the country to start a new campaign in Yemen on behalf of their CIA paymasters.
The contradiction in outcomes between Russia's bombing of ''ISIS'' and the US's version of the same is quite staggering.
As Obama has been bombing in Syria for just over a year now, ''ISIS'' grew in power and control especially of the area in northern Syria where Obama and Petreaus and a few others hope to break off a piece of the country and give it to the fascist Kurds we seem to love so much.
Yet, when Russia starts bombing, the little CIA cockroaches start to flee in a matter of a few weeks.
You wonder why that is? That's because the US has been bombing civilian infrastructure in Syria, not ''ISIS'', in support of their ''moderate'' terrorist's regime change operation and Russia is actually bombing the terrorists.
A year compared to a couple of weeks. It's pretty obvious what's going on.
What's also obvious is the fact that these soldiers, not ''boots'', are going to be placed on the ground, in Syria, illegally (not only by international law, but also by US law since Obama has no authorization from congress to engage forces in Syria) for the sole purpose of making targeting harder for the Russians.
The idea behind this move is that Russian pilots and generals directing combat flights will not be able to determine where these 50 US soldiers are at any given time in northern Syria. This is a kind of psychological warfare utilizing US soldiers as pawns on the Grand Chessboard.
The mission is supposedly for our troops to be there advising the CIA's regime change terrorists with tactical information, munitions procurement and other such logistical assistance. They aren't sent in for combat.
Well, there is a good reason for that. Our terrorists over there aren't targeting the fictional ''ISIS'' but rather civilian infrastructure and Syrian military personnel. By specifically stating they aren't there in a combat role, the Pentagon is trying to absolve US forces of whatever crimes against humanity our terrorists commit in country, if and when those crimes ever see the light of day in an international court of law.
It's called plausible deniability and it's not just for the president anymore.
The mission they describe is pretty much the exact same thing they've already been doing for these Wahhabist mercenaries for years. The only difference is now, they claim, they have to be embedded with the al Qaeda-linked terrorists in order to accomplish it.
That's ridiculous.
We've been dropping munitions and weapons to these clowns for quite a while now (with much of it ''accidentally'' ending up in the hands of ''ISIS'') and some of them are equipped with hi-tech GPS locators with which they can even call in airstrikes from the coalition bombers and drones.
So why do they need US soldiers standing next to them in order to accomplish these things?
They don't.
The troops are going to be standing next to them in order to keep Russian planes from targeting the ''moderate'' terrorists. And that's it. That's the ONLY possible explanation for this deployment.
Now, there is another way to look at this and I hinted at it earlier and that is, they wont send a single soldier over there to stand with al Qaeda in Syria. I mean, as deranged as these guys are, the guys who do things like deliberately target hospitals in Afghanistan, it is possible that simply announcing this move will achieve their desired goal.
The Russians wont have any way of knowing which terrorist attackers have US troops embedded with them. Effectively, that would protect ALL of the CIA's (and John McCain's) beloved terrorists.
In fact, if they don't stand out in a crowd, it serves the Pentagon's interests even better.
It's also possible that all they intend to do is put US military uniforms on some of our terrorists in the region. That might be problematic in terms of what those guys do while wearing them.
However you look at it, this is a despicable move by the Obama administration.
What they want to do is force Russia's hand in the ongoing negotiations by essentially embedding US troops with these terrorists in the northern, Kurdish controlled area of Syria.
Eventually they will put forward a ''compromise'' which will allow for the creation of a Kurdish Syria in that area, much like Iraqi Kurdistan. Basically, breaking off a piece of a sovereign state in order to build a Greater Kurdistan, is the desired result. That way they can leave Assad in power, let them hold whatever election they want, and still get the oil rich territory, handing it over to the corrupt Barzani clan in Kurdistan.
Now all they have to do is bust off a chunk of Turkey after the upcoming election is deemed ''rigged'' and they got their ultimate prize: Greater Kurdistan.
Nation building 101.
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Syria peace talks begin in Vienna with Iran and Saudi Arabia meeting for the first time | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 12:40
Iran and Saudi Arabia meet for the first time to discuss the ongoing warAssad regime and opposition groups left out of peace talks in ViennaOfficials have expressed cautious optimism about the talks to end the war in Syria, which has claimed a quarter of a million livesFor more of the latest on Syria's peace talks visit www.dailymail.co.uk/syriaBy Tom Wyke for MailOnline and Afp
Published: 04:01 EST, 30 October 2015 | Updated: 06:47 EST, 30 October 2015
Major powers, including arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, are meeting for the first time today in search of a political solution to end the devastating war in Syria.
Top diplomats from more than a dozen nations have gathered in Vienna to discuss the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, who has defied Western demands to step down.
In a sign of its growing diplomatic clout, Iran, a longtime sponsor of Assad's regime, is joining the talks for the first time, months after striking a landmark nuclear deal with world powers.
Top diplomats from more than a dozen nations have gathered in Vienna to narrow differences over the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, who has defied Western demands to step down
Talks are being held in Vienna with officials hoping to build up a peace deal to end the war in Syria
But there are no talk of representatives of the Syrian regime or the opposition attending the talks aimed at ending a four-year war that has claimed a quarter of a million lives.
In Washington, which along with its Arab and Turkish allies backs Syrian rebels, officials have expressed a cautious hope that the players would agree the outline of a transition that would eventually see Assad step aside.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, while warning against an immediate solution, hasvedescribed the talks as 'the most promising opportunity for a political opening we have seen'.
He met separately with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Russia's Sergei Lavrov on the eve of Friday's meeting.
'Now it is the right time to bring Iran to the table,' Kerry said.
Later, Kerry and Lavrov were joined by foreign ministers Feridun Sinirlioglu of Turkey and Adel al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia.
Horrific: Syrian boys receive treatment at a makeshift hospital following an airstrike in Douma
Horrific: The world powers will be hoping the meeting can put an end to the four-year war that has claimed a quarter of a million lives
There was no talk of representatives of the Assad regime or the opposition attending the talks
Devastating: Russian air strikes reportedly hit a market, killing 45 civilians in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus
Long suffering: Many of the injured and dead are children, caught up in the bloody conflict
Russia, which has waged a month of intense air strikes against Assad's armed opponents, has also urged preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections in Syria.
But the idea has been rejected by rebels who say a vote would be impossible in the current circumstances, with millions of Syrians displaced, cities standing in ruins and two-thirds of the country in the hands of jihadists and other armed groups.
There are also doubts about whether Tehran and Moscow are ready to push Assad to step aside, particularly at a time when the Islamic State group is seeking to tighten its grip on swathes of the country for its self-proclaimed caliphate.
Even so, mounting international concerns about the outpouring of Syrian refugees and the growing jihadist threat could set the scene for some kind of political compromise, experts say.
'Overall, we have for the very first time around the table all the major actors and we have a situation of fatigue on the ground, so it could lead to a potential breakthrough,' said Karim Bitar of the Paris-based Institute for International and Strategic Relations.
Even getting Iran and Saudi Arabia -- the Middle East's foremost Shiite and Sunni powers which back opposing sides in conflicts across the Arab world -- to sit at the same table would mark progress.
Russia, which has waged a month of intense air strikes against Assad's armed opponents, has also urged preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections in Syria
Ready: US Secretary of State John Kerry (centre left) and Staffan de Mistura, (centre right) UN Special Envoy for Syria, take their seats for a meeting at Hotel Imperial
Farewell for now: US Secretary of State John Kerry leaves the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria
Shocking: Russia has repeatedly carried out air strikes against US backed rebels in north-western Syria
Indiscriminate: Activists have accused the Russians of carrying out indiscriminate attacks on civilians
On Thursday the United States said that recent raids by Russia had 'caused collateral damage,' including at a hospital, which NGOs have reported but Moscow has denied
Jubeir, in an interview with the BBC, made it clear that Riyadh is sticking by its view that Assad must leave office quickly.
'He will go either through a political process or he will be removed by force,' he warned.
Russia and Iran have made it equally clear that Assad has a right to play a role in an eventual transition towards a mooted transitional unity government and later elections.
'Apparently those who have tried to solve the Syrian crisis reached the conclusion that without Iran's presence there will be no possibility of reaching a rational solution,' Zarif said, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA.
The West has accused Russia of concentrating its air campaign in Syria on moderate opposition groups opposed to Assad's rule, although Moscow says it is focusing on defeating the Islamic State group and other 'terrorist' organisations.
On Thursday the United States said that recent raids by Russia had 'caused collateral damage,' including at a hospital, which NGOs have reported but Moscow has denied.
Syrian conflict: The fighting has escalated in recent months since Russia intervened in the conflict
Last Thursday, Russia called reports of the strike on a clinic 'fake,' attacking the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights for reporting the information
Smoke rises after the air crafts belonging to the Syrian army bombed opposition-controlled district of Ayn Tarma in Damascus two days ago
Trail of destruction: The bombed out remnants of the opposition controlled district of Ayn Tarma, Syria
'We've some information that would lead us to believe that Russian military aircraft did hit a hospital,' State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Last Thursday, Russia called reports of the strike on a clinic 'fake,' attacking the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights for reporting the information.
The monitoring group said that 13 people including medical staff were killed in Russian air strikes on October 20 against a field hospital in the northwestern province of Idlib that was run by the Syrian-American Medical Society.
Iran and Lebanon's Shiite armed movement Hezbollah also have troops in Syria to advise or support Assad's forces.
Representatives from Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, the European Union and possibly other Arab states, were also expected to attend Friday's talks.
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Ukrainian Wikileaks: McCain and Saakashvili are plotting to shoot down American plane in Syria to blame Russia [transcript] | Veterans Today
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:17
This was received from friends in Russia. It had been published on the FortRuss website and has not been verified.
I have no idea if any of this is true but we have more than adequate evidence that, knowing those claimed to be involved, it fits a pattern of observed behavior.
Make up your own mind.
M. Let him come in!M. Sit down, David! Everything should be done on time, as we discussed. You understand the importance of everything! Wait a second, I will turn on anti-surveillance.
McCain confirmed the plan, everything is in place so you know. We got cover from the US Senate. In Syria, Russians must be hit, or else if Russians and Americans fundamentally agree, they will really dump Ukraine. Donbass is on conservation, project Transnistria is suspended. If it goes on, we are done! We should speed things up in Syria!
Have you prepared our guys?
K: Yes, everything is done. Today, they fly to Antalya and then go to Syria.
They received good training and will tear everything with their spirit. These are our Kistintsy (Georgian Chechens living in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia), tough guys. Ramzan Machelikashvili was appointed a commander, all four obey him. They shoot from all weapons, they are anti-aircraft professionals. They are waiting for specific instructions.
M. Give Ramzan this phone number and cell phone. Upon arrival it is necessary to send a message, there is Warren's man from the CIA, he will greet and take the guys. Turks are warned and will let them through. In short, this agent of Steve Warren knows everything and speaks Russian. After, Ramzan should give him this phone.
M. Yes, yes, will turn it off.
K. It's all clear, but what about equipment and weapons?
M. Wait, wait! I have to pick up the call from Gerashchenko .M. Hello Anton! Our guys are leaving today. Is it all ready?
G. Mr. Mikhail Nikolayevich! It is loud over there!
G. Now I can hear! Avakov (Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine) transported everything, there are five anti-aircraft [PZRK '' rus.] ''Willow'' [Verba'' '' rus.] and ''Needle S'' [''Igla S'' '' rus.], full ammunition and equipment. Large anti-aircraft guns are on the road. As soon as they pass the border, your chieftain, what's his name, Ash-Shushani will meet them, the guys will be on the case.
M. Excellent! Excellent! Well, talk to you later.
M. David! All you need is already in place and when they cross the border they will get everything. There they will be greeted by Tarhan Batirashvili. You know who he is? He has great influence in the Islamic State, all Chechens pass through him, his nickname is Ash-Shushani. Also '‹'‹Ramzan's cousin, Ruslan Machelikashvili will also meet them. He is a ruthless thug, Americans told me.
So, the whole group will be in Latakia, in the Al-Nusra zone, the goal is to shoot down American plane. They will get flight information, there is a local Kurd there for that. The plan is turning out very cool! American plane will be shot down by Russian military. This will be told by the Prisoner, that the target was shot down from PZRK. The scene will be amusing, the whole world will talk about it.
After this group will go to Hasaka, it is a city near the Kurds and there they will destroy a Kurdish village, the Russians will do everything. In return, the Kurds will shoot down a Russian plane with Stingers. The goal is to pit the Americans and Russians in Syria. The Turks will be grateful, they promise to rouse the Crimean Tatars.
After it is done in Syria, you will see, if Americans don't bring troops to Ukraine and all our projects will begin operating. McCain is waiting for our actions. Otherwise, Obama will not raise his ass, elections are coming soon and he will do nothing. You see, Poroshenko also began to wag his tail in front of Putin.
C. I don't know, Misha! It's your plans, you know better. I'll explain everything to the guys and will send them on the way. It's great that Tarhan Batirashvili will meet them, he knows how to fight and will supervise everything. At one time I accepted him into the Army. His mother is Kistinka, and a Georgian father.
M. What I said, do in time, give each one of the five $10 thousand. Give $20,000 to Tarhan's father in Ahmet.
K. I already paid the guys, and my people will pass $20 thousand to Tbilisi.
Machelikashvili is waiting in the reception, want to have a couple words with him?!
M. Sure!
Sveta! There's a man with a beard who came with David, named Ramzan, let him in.
S. Of course, Mikhail Nikolayevich
M. How are you Ramzan! How are things?
R. Batono Misha! We are ready to execute all the tasks.
M. Very good! The peace in the whole world depends on you! I and Dato will support you and your families in everything.
R. Thank you very much. David is very helpful. After completing the tasks in Syria, we will bring you back to Georgia, this is our next task. We will blow up the entire Georgia, if necessary!
M. Thank you Ramzan, this time will come, but for now we should take care of Ukraine. Dato will explain, everything is ready. Our guys will meet, Ruslan is your cousin, Aslan Margoshvili, Tarhan Batirashvili and others. You will be in good hands. Say hello to the guys and be careful. Take care of yourself.
R. You make me feel better, Misha batono. I did not know that the brother will meet, we will do everything 100%. I thought Tarhan died, I heard he was blown up along with El-Baghdadi. Insha Allah, he is alive.
M. Ramzan, take it! This is a dagger from me.
R. May Allah protect you, batono Misha! We will not disgrace ourselves and do everything, I swear to you!
K. Ok, Ramzan, wait in the waiting room, I will come out soon!
M. Ramzan is a tough man, right?! Tell me, are the Swiss accounts already available ?!
K. The court has closed my cases and the accounts are available, just need to submit documents to the bank. Adeishvili was very helpful. His guys did everything at the court. I sent them some, and will have to send more.
M. Kama still has to be paid. You said that you transferred the shares to Kakha's people [Kaladze, Minister of Energy of Georgia] and it was closed. What is f#cken wrong with everyone to throw my money away like that!
K. Don't yell! I told you, 35% I gave from the port and oil infrastructure. From gas I gave 10%, and added 10% for Bezhuashvili. Otherwise they didn't agree. And in court they did everything, for Meishvili, Shavliashili and Levna Murusidze I must send fifty, I gave nothing to them yet, first just to pay the judges who were on my case. I told you everything in advance. If not, I would get a judgement like Ugulava, and would block access to the accounts.
M. F#ck their mother, b#tch! This f#cking Magis sold Kolomoisky the video. Penguin caught it and they posted the frames with Bacho f#ggots. For this reason, all the planned actions had to be stopped, against Gazprom and in defense of Rustavi 2. I said a thousand times, remove this Kardav or pay the money to this bastard. Ilham too can be offended and cut off our debt in SOCAR. It must be solved somehow. When are you going to Zurich?
K. I will send our guys, tomorrow I'll go to Kiev and from there to Switzerland. After going to Baku, there I will tackle SOCAR issues.
M. Watch out for our Pankisi guys, so they are happy. This is the most important thing right now. As soon as we pit Moscow and Washington, then smoothly will move to Kiev. Ok, later!
M. Wait, wait. Glad I remembered! Tina asked, in Sagarejo, that her relative needs help with elections. Our guys are doing everything, and Tina will involve the military but Azersky Muganlo is crucial. Our deputy, Azik, he will contact you and when you will arrive to Baku, he will come, give him the money to bribe Muganloisk muftis. Also ask the Baku elite, to help me in this regard. There is a bitch Iniashvili, she should not win elections, California Senators support her, but I don't care.
Do you understand what to do ?! Prior to going to Kiev meet with Adeishvili, and he will explain all the details.
K. Yes, let Zura explain everything, there are so many things, I can get lost, I need his help.
M. Good. As soon as you send the guys, let me know, I have to inform McCain, he is waiting!
K. Ok, Misha! I must go, a lot to do.
Israel turns to Kurds for three-quarters of its oil supplies - FT.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:22
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Report: Israel Imports Three-quarters of Its Oil From Iraq's Kurds - Diplomacy and Defense - Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News Source
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:22
More than a third of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil exports between May and August have gone to Israel, the Financial Times reports.
A general view of Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, February 19, 2014.ReutersIsrael has bought as much as three-quarters of its oil from Iraqi Kurdistan in recent months, the Financial Times reported Sunday.
According to the report, which cited shipping data, trading sources and satellite tanker tracking, Israeli refineries and oil firms have imported more than 19 million barrels of Kurdish oil over the course of three months, from the beginning of May to August 11.
The sales are reportedly worth $1 billion, which would prove a vital source of income to Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish north as it fights Islamic State militants. More than a third of all northern Iraqi oil exports, shipped from the Turkish port of Ceyhan, are said to have gone to Israel during that time.
The report cited analysts as suggesting that Israel could be buying the oil at a discounted price, while others say this might be a way for Israel to support the Kurds financially.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials denied selling oil to Israel.
''We do not care where the oil goes once we have delivered it to the traders,'' a senior Kurdish government adviser was quoted as saying in the report. ''Our priority is getting the cash to fund our Peshmerga forces against Daesh [ISIS] and to pay civil servant salaries.''
Israel began buying oil from northern Iraq in June 2014, Reuters reported at the time. The Liberian-registered SCF Altai tanker delivered a cargo of a million barrels of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan's pipeline for the first time on June 20. The Iraqi government claimed that the oil belongs to Iraq and can only be sold through Iraq's Petroleum Ministry.
Late last year the Iraqi government reached a deal with the Kurds to end the dispute over the Kurdish oil exports and civil service payments from Baghdad. The sides agreed to jointly export the oil. But Baghdad's payments to the KRG have been limited as the government struggled with a budget crisis. As a result, the KRG has sold more oil on its own.
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Port Asalouyeh (Assaluyeh / Pars Terminal) , Iran - ports.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:09
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Port Asalouyeh (Assaluyeh / Pars Terminal) , Iran:
report as inaccurate!
Location detailsbusiness opportunities:Eligo Recruitment 189.6km, Gulf Helicopters Company 190.8km, RigNet Inc. 190.8km, Proserv Qatar LLC 190.8km, Qatar Technical Petroleum Center 191.5km, IDEALINK Group 239.5km, Shuwayer Corporate Services for Saudi Arabia 271.2km, PSCO 272.9km, Al-Mutawa Samyong NDT Co. Ltd.(AMSYCO) 273.2km, Remal Electric Factory 273.2km
Timezone:GMT+3 (Nov 01, 11:17)Country:Iran, AsiaCurrency:IRRPhone:+98 772 7376330Fax:+98 772 7376318E-mail:info@pseez.irWeb site:http://www.pseez.ir/Port detailsWater location:Persian Gulf (Gulf)Wiki:Contribute to wikiAnchorage depth:23.2m - OVERCargo pier depth:7.1m - 9.1mOil terminal depth:23.2m - OVERDry dock:N/AHarbor size:Very SmallRailway size:N/AHarbor type:Open RoadsteadMax size:Up to 500 feet in lengthRepairs:N/AShelter:PoorCoordinates: 27°31'²60.00'"N 52°31'²60.00'"E
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The role of oil and gas in the Syrian conflict | Al Akhbar English
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:07
With the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front in control of several oil fields in Syria, the two radical Islamist groups entered the ''oil exporters' club,'' with Western enablement. This, in addition to the closely anticipated hydrocarbon discoveries in Syria's territorial waters and other pertinent developments, has made the oil issue a strong factor in the Syrian crisis, albeit one that has so far remained behind the scenes.
Damascus: Professor Adnan Mustafa, a Syrian physicist, banks on his years of experience as minister of oil and mineral resources in the 1970s, and his tenure as assistant secretary-general of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries OAPEC, to settle a crucial question related to the role of energy in the regional and international conflict currently raging over Syria. Mustafa, speaking to Al-Akhbar, stressed that Syria's limited oil and gas output did not ultimately affect the perspective of what he calls the petroleum empire of darkness, which he said eventually decided that Syria was ''a major obstacle to its plan for a new world order, and therefore, had to be removed from the new Middle East.''
In effect, oil and gas figure on at least three levels in the crisis in Syria: First, the country is a strategic conduit for oil and gas pipelines that could link production areas in the Gulf and Iraq to Mediterranean nations and Europe. Second, major oil and gas discoveries are anticipated in the eastern Mediterranean. And third, there is ISIS and al-Nusra Front's seizure of oil wells in eastern Syria, producing and selling oil to Turkish dealers, and the myriad consequences this new reality has had.
The coming threat
Although these three issues have been widely discussed recently, there have been important developments that did not receive much attention despite their seriousness. Indeed, the increased focus on the huge revenues flowing into the coffers of the armed groups and clans in the eastern region '' the result of extracting, selling, and even refining 50-60,000 barrels per day '' ignores another growing risk that threatens the future of production in those fields, and that raises the possibility of Syria losing fully or in part these reserves, namely, the depletion of or permanent damage to these fields. Note that prior to the crisis, these fields had produced up to 350,000 barrels per day.
Mustafa does not discount this scenario. Despite his conviction that production in these fields had already been in the final part of the production curve, he says there is still oil to be recovered and sold to bring in huge revenues for the armed groups and clans controlling them.
Another oil expert explained this further, saying that prior to the conflict, the fields in question had entered the stage of enhanced recovery, which for example requires injecting high-pressure fluids to extract hard-to-reach oil from the rock layers beneath. The armed groups have destroyed many installations and equipment belonging to the oil fields, and with the absence of trained technicians, production from those fields is currently proceeding without any proper control and oversight. This increases the odds of those fields becoming depleted, or at best, Syria would have to pay exorbitant costs to recover the remaining oil there in the future.
The reports being circulated about the presence of large oil and gas reserves in Syrian territorial waters may have assuaged some concerns regarding the possibility of losing the oil fields in the eastern region, and may bring reassurances that Syria could remain an oil producer. However, according to Mustafa, this must not be overstated. He said that during the years he served as minister of oil in 1975, the ministry was able to verify the presence of oil and gas reserves in Syrian waters in sufficient quantities to offset the losses in the eastern region. Yet, he believes these reserves are smaller than the exaggerated figures currently being hyped suggest.
A regional transit hub
Whatever Syrian oil and gas production may look like after the crisis, Syria's position on the regional and international energy map has been reinforced with recent political and economic developments. Ziad Ayoub Arbash, an energy expert, identifies four shifts in what he calls the centers of gravity influencing the region and Syria as follows:
The emergence of new economic powerhouses that have been strengthening their position through high, sustained growth.The shifting of the center of gravity of the world from the west and north to the south and east.The European Union (EU) pivot to the east.The Turkish pivot to the countries of the Caucasus and the Arab nations.
Syria is in a good position to benefit from these transformations, as its geographical location combines two advantages desired by oil producers and consumers: Its position as the gateway to Turkey and the EU nations on one side and to Lebanon and the Mediterranean on the other side; and its position as a conduit for Iraq, Iran, Jordan, and Gulf nations to the Mediterranean and the EU.
Although attention was first focused on the role of a plan for a Qatari pipeline to Europe through Syria in Doha's efforts to topple the regime there, other parties tried to take advantage of the war in Syria to present themselves as a future alternative.
One example involves a project reported by the media for a railway line between Jordan and Israel, which would meet some import and export needs of Iraq and Gulf nations. In the views of some experts, there are some parties in favor of using such projects for gas transportation and export, including Qatar, which had previously expressed its willingness to export gas to Israel. Such a project would help Qatar circumvent Iranian ambitions to export gas from the South Pars field, which Iran shares with Qatar, through Syrian and Lebanese ports.
According to Al-Akhbar's sources, the Syrian government, as soon as it heard those reports, dispatched an official delegation to Iraq to verify whether they were credible or not, and also to discuss ways for cooperation between the two countries in the transportation sector. Baghdad ended up denying the claims, and the relevant authorities in the two countries were asked to conduct a feasibility study for joint railways for goods, transit, and passengers. This project could be developed in the future to include building a new pipeline to carry Iraqi oil to Syrian terminals for export.
It is unlikely in the future, in light of the Qatari and Turkish attitudes on Syria and their alleged support for armed groups, that Damascus would allow the construction of any oil and gas pipelines on its territory to carry Gulf output into Syrian and Lebanese seaports or by land into Turkey and then Europe. By contrast, a resolution to the crisis in Syria would revive a 2011 agreement signed by Damascus, Baghdad, and Tehran to build a $10 billion pipeline linking the Iranian port of Asalouyeh to the Syrian port of Tartous through Iraqi territory. Damascus and Baghdad could also revive an old agreement to build a pipeline for Iraqi oil through Syrian ports to replace the old pipeline, especially since Iraq's relations with Gulf countries and Turkey are currently tense.
This could induce the Iraqi government to seek a safe port for the export of its oil, and not to expand economic relations with countries accused of interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
TIMELINE-Fool Me Twice? EU's and Turkey's lies about buying Oil from ISIS | nsnbc international
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:39
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : The EU Ambassador to Iraq chastised Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey for financing the so-called Islamic State by facilitating their oil export. Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz described such rumors as lies. Nobody appears to recall that the EU lifted its embargo on the import of Syrian oil from rebel-held territories on April 22, 2013.
EU's Ambassador to Iraq and former European Parliament MP for the Czech Republic, Jana HybÅkov, addressed the EU's foreign affairs committee, chastising Iran, the Kurdish administrated region of Iraq and Turkey for ''inadvertently'' supporting the so-called Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL/IS by facilitating the ''terrorists'' export of oil for a net revenue of $3 million per day.
EU Ambassador to Iraq Jana_HybÅkov. CC-BY-3.0-Wiki
HybÅkov demanded that the European Union ''exert pressure on Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey in order to stop this trade'', adding that this wasn't the first time that Turkey had been accused of turning a blind eye to the political situation in Iraq for financial gain.
Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, for his part, denounced allegations about Turkey's involvement in financing the Islamic State, claiming that such statements aimed at creating controversy about Turkey's politics.
Yildiz did, however, admit that Turkey is transporting oil from the Kurdish administrated region of Northern Iraq via Turkey, while the Kurdish government described Turkey as reliable partner in that regard. In fact, the export of northern Iraqi oil via Turkey has almost doubled in 2014 and increased to 400,000 barrels per day.
Neither EU Ambassador to Iraq, Jana HybÅkov, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, nor any of the mainstream media in EU and NATO member states, however, appear to recall that the EU legalized the import of Syrian oil from so-called ''rebel-held territories''.
In April 2013 the EU lifted its ban on the import of Syrian oil from ''rebel held territory to finance the opposition''.
On Monday, April 22, 2013, the 27 EU foreign ministers decided to lift the EU's embargo on the import of Syrian oil from rebel-held territories to support more economic support for the so-called Syrian opposition.
The then UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters that the move aimed at laying the legal groundwork to get the flow of crude oil going as rapidly as possible reported Yahoo News, quoting Hague as saying:
''The security situation is so difficult that much of this will be difficult to do, but it is important for us to send the signal that we are open to helping in other ways, in all the ways possible.''
The then German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle commented on the lift of the oil-import ban:
''We wish for good economic development in the areas controlled by the opposition, therefore we lift the sanctions which hinder the moderate opposition forces work.''
The Irony of EU Ambassador HybÅkov, chastising Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey is palatable.
Neither the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, nor the guardian mention the EU's lifting of the oil-import ban in 2013 in relation to the EU Ambassador's 2014 criticism of Iraq, Turkey and ''Kurdistan''.
Hague's words about''helping in all ways possible'' however, were indeed ominous in more than one sense.
Not to be fooled twice ? Understand the timeline!
April 22, 2013, the EU lifts the ban on the import of Syrian oil from rebel-held territories''.nsnbc warned since June 2013 that a major chemical weapons attack was planned to serve as pretext for a military intervention against Syria.August 20, 2013, nsnbc reports that a major offensive in the predominantly Kurdish and oil-rich eastern regions of Syria had begun in the attempt to conquer the Syrian oil fields in the Deir Ez Zour province and the city of Deir Ez-Zor and reiterated the risk of an imminent chemical weapons attack.August 21, 2013, Liwa-al-Islam, under the command of the Saudi Arabian intelligence asset and chemical weapons specialist Zahran Alloush, and under direct U.S. orders, launched the chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburb East Ghouta. August 30, 2013, the BBC had to report that British PM David Cameron's motion to join a U.S.-led military intervention against Syria had been rejected by the UK's parliament.On August 31, U.S. President Obama had to follow suit saying that he had decided to consult with Congress first, reported the guardian.November 22 '' 23, 2013, the Atlantic Council convened for an Energy Summit in Turkey's capital Ankara. Atlantic Council President Frederick Kempe stated before the meeting, that decisions which were about to be made in the nearest future would have a historical bearing on Iran, Turkey, the U.S. and the region, which were comparable to the historic events in 1918 and 1945.June 22, 2014, nsnbc international published a report after a meeting with a person from within the inner circle around the former Lebanese PM Saad Hariri. The whistleblower presented evidence in support of his statement that the invasion of Iraq by ISIL had originally been planned for 2013, but that it was called off when the UK parliament voted against bombing Syria.The final green light for the invasion of Iraq via ISIL/ISIS or IS was given on the sidelines of the Atlantic Council's Energy Summit in Ankara, in November 2013, he said, adding that the campaign was managed via the U.S. Embassy in Turkey and that U.S. Ambassador Ricciardone played a central role in the management of the war waged with ISIS as mercenary force that both served as friend and foe.Note that nsnbc, already in October 2013 reported that the agenda of the Atlantic Council's Energy Summit was the distribution of Syrian and Northern Iraqi oil to the international markets and the ''Balkanization'' of Iraq. EU Ambassador Jana HybÅkov's chastising of Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey has, as all statements in politics a function. The question is what function her statement has, especially in the light of the given, although omitted facts.
CH/L '' nsnbc 06.09.2014
Editor's note:Dear nsnbc reader. About 5 million readers in a little more than one year is a success that is disproportionate to the about 25 persons who have contributed with donations since nsnbc went online as a free to read, free to subscribe to daily newspaper. The third-party advertising on our website does not even pay our phone bills, let alone hundreds of dollars for servers per month and the fact that journalists need to cover their daily expenses as persons in any other profession.
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Iraq to split in three: So why not? - CNN.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:46
Story highlightsDivision of Iraq into ethnic regions looks more likely than ever beforeIraq experts say cycle of violence is hardening sectarian divide -- wrecking chance of negotiated separationSunni areas in west would not be economically viable unless they received oil revenues from other regionsIndependent Sunni region, free from discrimination by majority Shia government, might escape extremist ruleIraq is tearing itself apart. Its government has lost control of large parts of the country; intercommunal violence is rife and al Qaeda is resurgent. A description not of 2014 but 2006 -- and a situation that led Joseph R. Biden, then a U.S. Senator and now Vice President, to argue that it was time to split Iraq into three parts: Kurdish, Shia and Sunni.
Biden and Leslie Gelb, in an op-ed for the New York Times, looked to Bosnia as the modern precedent, which they asserted had been preserved by "paradoxically, dividing it into ethnic federations, even allowing Muslims, Croats and Serbs to retain separate armies."
It was a formula, they believed, that could work in Iraq.
"The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security. The central government would control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues." So ran the argument.
The Biden/Gelb plan was endorsed by the U.S. Senate in 2007 but ignored by the Bush Administration. Seven years later, the division of Iraq into ethnic regions looks more likely than ever. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) holds much of western and northern Iraq, including the city of Mosul, and the Kurdish leadership is pressing ahead with plans for a referendum as a likely step towards a unilateral declaration of independence.
Ramzy Mardini, an Iraq expert at the Atlantic Council, says: "The basic equation is this: ISIS provokes Shiites, Shiites overreact and generalize their response against Sunnis, and more Sunnis come to support ISIS. It's a vicious circle, with each cycle hardening the sectarian divide."
For that reason, the chances of a negotiated separation have evaporated.
"Biden often saw Iraq through the lens of the former Yugoslavia, [but] borders can't come from pencil and paper," Mardini told CNN. "It would have to come out of ethnic war."
"Iraq is a state that has always been governed under authoritarian rule. Assuming it can suddenly pivot to a federal, democratic system is naive, not only about the history of Iraq, but about the political system of federalism in general. Federalism is a complicated and sophisticated framework."
Taking aim at ISIS: Women train with AK-47s to defend streets
Among the many obstacles to a negotiated break-up, Sunni areas in the west would not be economically viable unless they received a share of oil revenues from other regions; theirs is the only part of Iraq not sitting on lakes of oil.
There are also few natural borders, and plenty of areas -- especially Baghdad and Diyala province -- where the different communities live cheek by jowl. Sunnis would not agree to Kurdish rule of the mixed city of Kirkuk.
"For a decade now, they have been unable to pass a revenue-sharing and oil law," Mardini says. "How will you get Shiite Iraq to share their revenues with Sunni Iraq? And how do you get the Iraqis to agree on the borders of the regions? That would require political settlements on all disputed territories - and we know how hard it has been to do that for the last decade."
The orphans of Iraq
A redrawing of the map, whether at a conference or through conflict, would have a huge impact on the region. Turkey, Iran and Syria -- all of which have their own Kurdish minorities -- would be wary of an oil-rich Kurdish state on their borders.
The Shiite part of Iraq would most likely become closely integrated with Iran, giving Tehran much more leverage over Iraq's oil industry. "The unity of Iraq has been a major core interest for the United States for a reason," Mardini says. "Without the Sunnis and Kurds as a part of Iraq, then there's not much to help balance out the influence Iran has in the country's national oil politics."
On the other hand, an independent Sunni region -- one that no longer felt discriminated against by a majority Shia government -- might be saved from falling into extremist hands. The Sunnis would have no incentive to turn to a jihadist group like ISIS as an ally if they had no enemy in Baghdad. Equally, they might make common cause with Syria's Sunnis. Many of the tribes live both sides of the border.
The collapse of Iraq raises the specter of mass migration and violence of the sort that accompanied the birth of India and Pakistan. It is a real danger, but the current situation has already driven thousands of people from their homes; hundreds more have been killed.
Some historians argue that Iraq was never really a country anyway, more a colonial confection like British India, and we are now seeing the inevitable consequence.
How Iran is pushing U.S. aside in Iraq
The Rest Is History
In the early 20th century, tribes were paramount in the vast Arabian deserts. The arbitrary carve-up of Arabia began with the Sykes Picot agreement in 1916, with the French taking the mandate to govern Syria and Lebanon, and the British what was then Palestine and Iraq. In 1919 the League of Nations rubber-stamped French and British administration of vast areas of what had been the Ottoman Empire.
Iraq's borders were created at a conference in Cairo in 1921, largely thanks to Winston Churchill and T E Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), who were among about 40 British officials gathered at the Semiramis Palace on the Nile. They effectively invented Iraq, setting up Faisal bin Hussein as the king of a new country. Faisal was a Sunni and a Hashemite who wasn't even from Iraq. British policy was to promote the interests of the Sunni and other minorities as a counter-balance to the Shia majority -- and expel troublesome Shia clergy, all tools that Saddam Hussein would find useful a half-century later.
Against the advice of several experts, the new Iraq included the Kurdish-dominated province of Mosul, as a buffer against both Turkey and Russia (soon to become the Soviet Union.)
One of the senior advisers at the Cairo Conference was Gertrude Bell, an indomitable traveler who knew many of the region's tribal sheikhs. Bell -- and many since -- underestimated the power of the Shia clergy. And she over-estimated the power of British rule. She told Jafar al Askari, who would become Prime Minister of the young Iraq, that "complete independence is what we ultimately wish to give."
"My lady," al Askari replied, "complete independence is never given; it is always taken" -- words that may have a new resonance in Iraq today.
READ: How ISIS is overshadowing al Qaeda
READ: Europe's threat from jihadists in Iraq and Syria
IMAGES-breakup iraq into 3 parts - Google Search
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:45
560 — 550 - oilempire.us
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1260 — 1084 - thestagblog.com
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1024 — 576 - rferl.org
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595 — 612 - bizarredinar.com
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350 — 277 - shoebat.com
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340 — 218 - rozanehmagazine.com
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550 — 560 - rights953.rssing.com
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1000 — 831 - washingtonpost.com
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300 — 282 - seattletimes.com
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936 — 722 - lostislamichistory.com
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240 — 206 - iraqdailytimes.com
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2533 — 3037 - vox.com
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1323 — 1272 - humansarefree.com
{"fn":"3-States-Of-Iraq-e1408327706670.jpg","id":"BhFl8f8aSXXUjM:","isu":"humansarefree.com","ity":"jpg","md":"/search?tbs\u003dsbi:AMhZZis-CMNhOY0RdExexXf9c0JukaNpl8YejQZwX378ZhVAuLFRsK9oD5Qr4kp_1jozni_1_1qIR5Fz0eoFIBOHW-67iJhPu0OA5rZZ2VgcPMZKLXJal0m-VmZeCYJKLpKH9ndvCvI7S-vwBpTy0djnR4v0dCeoIct0Nm6a6xjo9hkIkXJmkcoNrMRGRMtLoTATtF7tXEfSqB9\u0026ei\u003dCJg1Vposx8mZAe7-rtgM","msu":"/search?q\u003dbreakup+iraq+into+3+parts\u0026safe\u003doff\u0026es_sm\u003d91\u0026biw\u003d1593\u0026bih\u003d1198\u0026tbm\u003disch\u0026tbs\u003dsimg:CAQSEgkGEWXx_1xpJdSHsywpDEiH2qA","oh":1272,"os":"172KB","ow":1323,"pt":"Order Out of Chaos: The Global Elites Plan for a \u201cMiddle Eastern ...","rid":"7MsKQxIh9qgDAM","s":"Israel is merely an extension of Anglo-American power and has been since its creation in 1948, so any expansion of Israeli territory is synonymous with an ...","sc":1,"si":"/search?q\u003dbreakup+iraq+into+3+parts\u0026safe\u003doff\u0026es_sm\u003d91\u0026biw\u003d1593\u0026bih\u003d1198\u0026tbm\u003disch\u0026tbs\u003dsimg:CAESEgkGEWXx_1xpJdSHsywpDEiH2qA","th":220,"tu":"https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q\u003dtbn:ANd9GcT4yjc8WSfNstclyMP44j78_m4YzkcMMTQXKrJu2iuHBJUuSPBH","tw":229}
1174 — 1746 - news.nationalpost.com
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1887 — 1192 - en.wikipedia.org
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675 — 455 - islamtimes.org
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982 — 802 - activistpost.com
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250 — 269 - globalresearch.ca
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959 — 639 - wsj.com
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1940 — 1722 - nytimes.com
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BREAKUP OF IRAQ-U.S. Embassy in Ankara Headquarter for ISIS War on Iraq - Hariri Insider | nsnbc international
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 04:40
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : The green light for the use of ISIS brigades to carve up Iraq, widen the Syria conflict into a greater Middle East war and to throw Iran off-balance was given behind closed doors at the Atlantic Council meeting in Turkey, in November 2013, told a source close to Saudi '' Lebanese billionaire Saad Hariri, adding that the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is the operation's headquarter.
Photo:Aydinlik Daily
A ''trusted source'' close to the Saudi '' Lebanese multi-billionaire and former Lebanese P.M. Saad Hariri told on condition of anonymity, that the final green light for the war on Iraq with ISIS or ISIL brigades was given behind closed doors, at the sidelines of the Atlantic Council's Energy Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on November 22 '' 23, 2013.
The Atlantic Council is one of the most influential U.S. think tanks with regard to U.S. and NATO foreign policy and geopolitics. Atlantic Council President Frederick Kempe stressed the importance of the Energy Summit and the situation in the Middle East before the summit in November, saying:
''We view the current period as a turning point, just like 1918 and 1945. Turkey is in every way a central country, as a creator of regional stability. However much the USA and Turkey can work in unison, that is how effective they will be.''
Dr. Henry Kissinger
The summit was, among others, attended by Turkey's President Abdullah G¼l, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernst Monitz, Atlantic Council President Frederick Kempe, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft.
It is noteworthy that Scowcroft has long-standing ties to Henry Kissinger and to the Minister of Natural Resources of the Kurdish Administrated Region of Northern Iraq.
''Had Baghdad been more cooperative about the Syrian oil fields at Deir-Ez-Zor in early 2013 and about autonomy for the North [Iraq's northern, predominantly Kurdish region] they would possibly not have turned against al-Maliki; Or he would have been given more time'', said the Hariri insider during the almost two-hour-long conversation.
In April 2013 the EU lifted its ban on the import of Syrian oil from ''rebel held territory to finance the opposition''.
In March 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Iraq ''stops the arms flow to Syria'', while U.S. weapons were flowing to ISIS via Saudi Arabia into Iraq and Jordan.
On Monday, April 22, 2013, 27 of the 28 E.U. foreign ministers agreed to lift the ban on the import of Syrian oil from opposition-held territories to allow the ''opposition'' to finance part of its campaign.
''ISIS that was supposed to control [the region around] Deir Ez-Zor. [Turkish Energy Minister Taner] Yildiz and [Kurdish] Energy Minister Ashti] Hawrami were to make sure the oil could flow via the Kirkuk '' Ceyhan [pipeline];'... Ankara put al-Maliki under a lot of pressure about the Kurdish autonomy and oil, too much pressure, too early, if you'd ask me'', the source said. He added that the pressure backfired.
Plotting: Red, by Maj.(r) Agha H.Amin. Blue, by Christof Lehmann
Previous reports confirmed that Baghdad started intercepting weapons and insurgents along the Saudi '' Iraqi border, cutting off important supply lines for ISIS brigades around Deir Ez-Zor, and that Al-Maliki began complaining about a Saudi '' Qatari-backed attempt to subvert the Iraqi State since late 2012. Noting my remark he replied:
''That is right, but the heavy increase in attacks came in May '' June 2013, after al-Maliki ordered the military to al-Anbar ''.
A previous article in nsnbc explains how Baghdad's blockade caused problems in Jordan, because many of the transports of weapons, fighters and munitions had to be rerouted via Jordan.
The Hariri insider added that the oil fields should have been under ISIS control by August 2013, but that the plan failed for two reasons. The UK withdrew its support for the bombing of Syria. That in turn enabled the Syrian army to dislodge both ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusrah from Deir Ez-Zor in August.
''The situation was a disaster because in June Hariri, Yidiz, Hawrami, Scowcroft, and everybody was ready to talk about how to share the oil between the U.S., Turkey and E.U.. The Summit in November should have dealt with a fait accompli'', the Hariri source stressed, adding that Washington put a gun to al-Maliki's head when he was invited to the White House.
Both the President of the Kurdish region of Iraq, Masoud Barzani and Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki were invited to Washington in early November 2013.
''Certain circles in Washington put a hell of a lot of pressure on Obama to put a gun to al-Maliki's head'', said the Hariri source, adding that ''time was running out and Obama was hesitant''. Asked what he meant with ''time was running out'' and if he could specify who it was that pushed Obama, he said:
''Barzani was losing his grip in the North (Kurdish Iraq); the election [in September] was a setback. All plans for distributing Iraqi oil via Turkey and for sidelining Baghdad were set between Kirkuk and Ankara in early November'...
''Who exactly pressured Obama? I don't know who delivered the message to Obama. I suspect Kerry had a word. It's more important from where the message came, Kissinger, Scowcroft, Nuland and the Keagan clan, Stavridis, Petreaus, Riccardione, and the neo-con crowd at the [Atlantic] Council. '... As far as I know ´someone` told Obama that he'd better pressure al-Maliki to go along with Kurdish autonomy by November or else. Who exactly ´advised` Obama is not as important as the fact that those people let him know that they would go ahead, with, or without him''.
Asked whether he knew details, how the final green light for the ISIS campaign was given, he said:
'' Behind closed doors, in the presence of both Scowcroft, Hariri, and a couple of other people''. To my question ''if he could be more specific'' he replied ''I could; I want to stay alive you know; Riccardione was tasked with the operation that day''.
Noting that a prominent member of Saudi Arabia's royal family, Prince Abdul Rachman al-Faisal has been named as the one being ''in command'' of the ISIS brigades, and if he could either confirm or deny, he nodded, adding that ''the Prince'' is responsible for financing the operation and for part of the command structure, but that the operations headquarter is the U.S. Embassy in Ankara Turkey. ''As far as I know, nothing moves without Ambassador Riccardione'', he added.
Ch/L '' nsnbc 22.06.2014
ISIS Unveiled: The Identity of The Insurgency in Syria and Iraq
Daesh Definition
IS supporters, in any case, dislike the term Daesh as it does not spell out the crucial Islamic component. In the words of Simon Collis, the British Ambassador to Iraq: “Arabic speakers spit out the name Da’ish with different mixtures of contempt, ridicule and hostility. Da’ish is always negative.” It’s certainly entered the ever-adaptive Arabic language big time: in the plural form – “daw’aish” – it means bigots who impose their views on others.
ISIS Releases Video Of Alleged Russian Airplane Mid-Air Exposion After It Claims Responsibility For Disaster | Zero Hedge
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 16:25
That didn't take long: following the worst Russian airplane disaster in history, the question everyone was asking is who is responsible. Moments ago we got the answer.
A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday, the group said in a statement circulated by supporters on Twitter.
Below is the statement from a group alleging to speak on behalf of Islamic State, posted on their affiliate site, translated by the Guardian's Jahd Khalil. It offers no evidence that the group brought down the plane, apart from their word.
Breaking: Downing of Russian airplane, killing of more than 220 Russian crusaders on board.
Soldiers of the Caliphate were able to bring down a Russian plane above Sinai Province with at least 220 Russian crusaders aboard.
They were all killed, praise be to God. O Russians, you and your allies take note that you are not safe in Muslims lands or their skies.
The killing of dozens daily in Syria with bombs from your planes will bring woe to you. Just as you are killing others, you too will be killed, God willing.
The tweet in question:
Many expressed their initial skepticism that ISIS is the responsible party:
An analyst with the Center for American Progress, Mokhtar Awad, told the Guardian that the Islamic State's claim of responsibility "is quite vague.
''It doesn't state how they were able to 'down' the plane allegedly. Even the most sophisticated of portable surface-to-air missiles cannot reach that high an altitude and are only a threat during periods of take-off or landing, but the plane had already climbed to its target altitude (from what we know thus far) when it began to likely experience technical failures.
The local affiliate, Wilayat Sinai, has been under some pressure over the past few months and may have jumped the gun on taking credit. Although there isn't a precedent for such a spectacular lie about something they claim to have done, Islamic State itself has recently been embellishing more and more. For instance it claimed that the recent prison raid by Kurdish and US special forces were a total failure, when in fact video evidence surfaced showed them freeing the hostages. So this may be an instance of the rooster taking credit for the dawn.''
Then again, it could simply have been a bomb planted on the plane and set to explade after 20 minutes of flight time.
Even Russia's transport minister Maksim Sokolov has said that the claim Islamic State militants brought down the plane "can't be considered accurate".
Now in various media there is assorted information that the Russian [plane]... was supposedly shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, fired by terrorists. This information can't be considered accurate.
However, to corroborate their claim, ISIS has allegedly released this shocking video showing what appears to be a mid-air bomb explosion.
Viewer discretion advised.
As a reminder, this is where the alleged explosion occurred:
Whether or not the video is real or staged like many of ISIS' previous "made in Hollywood" productions, is currently unknown.
Of course, is the same ISIS which a recently leaked CIA report revealed as being created by the CIA as a "tool" to overthrow Syria's Assad.
In other words, a proxy organization of US "shadow government destabilizing operations", trained in U.S. ally Turkey, and openly funded by both U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, just took down a Russian plane.
The question now is did ISIS use a US-made surface-to-air missile to start what may be a very unpleasant war.
Also, does Russia get a carte blanche to begin attacks on ISIS in Egypt now, the same Egypt which recently "purchased" the two Mistral ships made by France, which were meant to be bought by Russia in a deal that was scrapped in the last minute due to NATO intervention?
One thing is clear: if the Russian population had any qualms about continuing the campaign in Syria, they were just eliminated in perpetuity.
We now await the Russian response, against both ISIS and its direct and indirect sponsors.
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 4.9(20 votes)
Turkish faith movement secretly funded 200 trips for lawmakers and staff
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 22:32
Paul Singer and Paulina Firozi, USA TODAY5:31 p.m. EDT October 29, 2015
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2013 file photo, Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, United States. Police conducted raids in a dozen Turkish cities Sunday, detaining at least 24 people '-- including journalists, TV producers and police '-- known to be close to a movement led by a U.S.-based moderate Islamic cleric who is a strong critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It was the latest crackdown on cleric Fethullah Gulen's movement, which the government has accused of orchestrating an alleged plot to try to bring it down.(Photo: Selahattin Sevi, AP)
WASHINGTON '-- A Turkish religious movement has secretly funded as many as 200 trips to Turkey for members of Congress and staff since 2008, apparently repeatedly violating House rules and possibly federal law, a USA TODAY investigation has found.
The group '-- a worldwide moderate Islamic movement led by a religious scholar named Fethullah G¼len '-- has been accused by the Turkish government of attempting a coup in that country. Turkish leaders have asked the United States to extradite G¼len from the remote compound in rural Pennsylvania where he has lived for 20 years.
The movement has founded hundreds of charter schools across the United States and around the world, has its own media organizations, and was deeply entrenched with the Turkish regime until a falling out two years ago. That led President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare G¼len was running "a parallel state" inside the country with the intent of undermining the government. In advance of Turkish elections this weekend, police raided the offices of G¼len affiliated-media organizations..
A dozen different G¼len groups have sponsored congressional travel since 2008 and have filed forms with the House certifying that they were paying for the trips. The House Ethics Committee approved all the trips in advance based on the forms the G¼len groups submitted.
But a USA TODAY investigation found many of those disclosures were apparently false. Some of the G¼lenist groups claimed to be certified nonprofits, but they do not appear in state or IRS databases of approved charities. Groups that did register with the IRS filed tax forms indicating that they did not pay for congressional travel. And five of the groups admitted to congressional investigators earlier this year that a G¼lenist group in Turkey was secretly covering the costs of travel inside Turkey for lawmakers and staff.
Congressional disclosures show the G¼len-backed trips totaled more than $800,000 in free travel for lawmakers and staff. That number likely underestimates the costs since many of the in-country expenses were not reported. And it is not at all clear where the $800,000 came from, since many of the groups involved do not appear to have the resources to pay for large delegation trips.
One G¼len group, the Texas-based Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, sponsored trips for three lawmakers and seven staff members in 2011, filing disclosures claiming it was the sole sponsor of the trips at a total cost of about $54,000. But the same organization filed an IRS tax form that year claiming it spent only $33,000 on travel with no expenditures for the travel of public officials.
The network of G¼len organizations is hard to untangle. The BBC reported in 2013 "the movement's influence extends far beyond Turkey, funding hundreds of Islamic schools, and think tanks and media outlets, from Kenya to Kazakhstan. It has attracted millions of followers and billions of dollars."
Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., took an eight-day trip to Turkey sponsored by a Gulen-connected group. (Photo: Jeff Chiu, AP)
In August 2013, Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., took an eight-day trip to Turkey sponsored by the Pacifica Institute, which claimed on congressional disclosure forms to be an IRS-recognized non-profit covering the $5,700 cost of the trip. But the IRS has no record of Pacifica being a recognized non-profit.
"Congressman Honda quite simply took a trip that was entirely approved by the House," said spokeswoman Lauren Smith.
In April 2011, the same group filed forms with the House Ethics Committee to sponsor two separate trips. In one form, for a trip by then-congressman Bob Filner, D-Calif., Pacifica Institute claimed to be a subsidiary of a group called Global Cultural Connections. In another batch of forms filed for a trip by a handful of congressional staff, Pacifica declared itself to be a part of the West America Turkic Council. Both of those groups are registered with the IRS as non-profits, but neither reported any expenses for lawmaker travel on their 2011 and 2013 tax returns.
Group linked to ongoing probe paid for House travel this year
A 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Turkey released by Wikileaks describes Pacifica Institute as the "sister organization" of a Turkish-based group called the Bosphorus-Atlantic Association of Cultural Cooperation and Friendship, known by its Turkish initials BAKIAD.
The House Office of Congressional Ethics issued a report earlier this month finding that BAKIAD had secretly funded the Turkish leg of a trip to Azerbaijan taken by 10 members of Congress and 32 staff. Four of the G¼len groups sponsoring that trip "used BAKIAD to arrange and finance all in-country expenses for congressional travel in Turkey," OCE found. "Importantly, however, BAKIAD's role does not appear to have been disclosed to the Committee on Ethics in 2013 or in other years. BAKIAD was established in 2006 to oversee and coordinate trips and events related to North America," and it has sponsored thousands of U.S. travelers ranging from state, local and federal officials to priests, teachers and other community leaders.
"There is a substantial reason to believe that BAKIAD, because of its role as an undisclosed sponsor of congressional travel, provided gifts in the form of impermissible travel expenses to congressional travelers in violation of House rules and regulations," the OCE report concluded.
Board releases Azerbaijan report that was blocked by House Ethics Committee
In June 2012, a G¼len organization called the Istanbul Center sponsored a nine-day, four-city Turkish visit for Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., his wife, Martha, and four staff members for a total of about $23,000. The disclosure forms submitted to the Ethics Committee said the Istanbul Center is "a unit of the Global Spectrum Foundation." The forms explained that BAKIAD "funds trip and finds sponsors/donors for meals, lodging, domestic travel." But there is no indication who those donors or sponsors were. Istanbul Center is not on file with the IRS as a recognized nonprofit; the tax form filed by Global Spectrum Foundation for 2012 shows no expenses for travel.'‹
"The Committee on Ethics takes responsibility for trip approvals and we trust it will appropriately handle any issues they find with information reported to them by the trip sponsor," said Brooks spokeswoman Lauren Vandiver. "Congressman Brooks and his staff have no personal knowledge of anything of substance about how the trip was paid for inasmuch as they deferred that issue to the Committee on Ethics for review, research and 'getting it right'.''
People protest as police search a media group close to U.S.-based moderate Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of trying to destabilize it, in Ankara, Turkey, on Sept. 1, 2015. (Photo: Burhan Ozbilici, AP)
USA TODAY made repeated efforts to reach the G¼len organizations mentioned in this article, including dropping by the Washington headquarters shared by several of them.
Only the Istanbul Center responded. Academic Affairs Director Mustafa Sahin said, "I did not organize any trips with members of Congress and staff, and do not really know how financial aspects of such trips were handled." Other staff from that time period are no longer with the organization, he said.
USA TODAY identified 214 congressional trips sponsored by G¼len organizations that appear to be improperly disclosed. The trips generally have similar itineraries, with visits to the same historical sites, and visits primarily with G¼lenist journalists, lawmakers and business associations.
And the movement has clearly benefited from making friends in Congress.
In February 2015, Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., organized colleagues to send a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry seeking his help in defending G¼lenist journalists who had been arrested by the Turkish government as part of the battle between G¼len and Erdogan.
"We strongly urge you to reach out to President Erdogan and his administration to encourage a peaceful and appropriate resolution to these cases," the lawmakers wrote. Salmon had taken a G¼len-funded trip to Turkey in 2014; Honda, Brooks and five other lawmakers who had taken G¼len-funded trips also signed the letter, as did 23 members who had approved G¼len-backed trips for their staff.
"Our trip was both fully disclosed and fully vetted by the House Committee on Ethics before the Congressman took it," said Salmon spokesman Tristan Daedalus. "There was widespread coverage in the American press about the Turkish government's unacceptable actions to silence opposition media," Daedalus said, "and before he went on the trip you mentioned, he had already met with the Turkish embassy to discuss the imprisonment of numerous individuals trying to exercise their right to free speech."
Nobody in Congress is likely to face penalties for accepting improper travel. The Ethics Committee concluded in July after reviewing the 2013 Azerbaijan trip that "all of the Members and staff who went on the trips did so only after getting Committee approval to accept the trips. Neither the Committee nor OCE found any evidence of any knowing violation by any Member or House staffer."
However, "both the Committee and OCE found evidence suggesting that a number of parties outside the House may have affirmatively lied to and/or withheld information from both the Committee and the House Members and staff who were invited." The committee therefore announced it was "referring the matter of third parties apparently engaging in a criminal conspiracy to lie to Congress to the Department of Justice for such further action as it deems appropriate."
"It strains credulity to believe members of Congress and their staff would accept lavish junkets having no idea who actually sponsored the trips," said Anne Weismann, executive director of Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group "Even worse, the Ethics Committee is allowing members to hide behind its so-called approval process so they can take exotic vacations paid for by special interests."
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1Ml70w9
Board releases Azerbaijan report that was blocked by House Ethics Committee
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 22:37
Ethics investigators in the House or Representatives are at odds with each other.(Photo: Michael Reynolds, EPA)
WASHINGTON '-- House ethics investigators have released their report on an improper congressional trip to Azerbaijan that the House Ethics Committee refused to release because it had asked the investigators to stand down.
"Respectful of the principles of transparency and accountability in the House ethics process, and with assurance that it will not prejudice any action by the Department of Justice, the OCE Board has voted to release the (report), including the Findings of Fact" that the Ethics Committee had withheld, OCE said in a statement on its website Wednesday. OCE also said it declined to cease its investigation because there was no evidence at the time of the request that the Ethics Committee had an investigation of its own in progress, which is a prerequisite for a stand-down order.
The release is part of an ongoing battle between the House Ethics Committee and the independent Office of Congressional Ethics that was created in 2008 to review and refer matters to the committee for further action. Since the OCE was created, their has been ongoing tension between the two ethics watchdogs over how their roles should complement each other. The Ethics Committee has regularly '-- and sometimes forcefully '-- rejected OCE's findings that lawmakers have misbehaved.
Lawmakers caught in battle between House ethics cops
In the Azerbaijan case, OCE and the Ethics Committee concluded that 10 members of Congress and more than two dozen staff members accepted a 2013 trip that was improperly paid for by foreign corporations. Both panels also concluded that the congressional travelers did nothing wrong; they had no way to know that the non-profit groups that were inviting them to travel were not paying for the trip themselves. The travelers also had gotten the trips approved by the Ethics Committee in advance, as House rules require, and the committee did not detect the problems with the sponsoring organizations either.
But USA TODAY has reported that at the time the trip was approved, the Ethics Committee was not consistently enforcing its own regulations for travel approval.
House Ethics Committee let members slide on disclosure rules
The rules that created the OCE require the board to refer its findings to the Ethics Committee; the committee then has sole authority to determine punishment (if any) and has a timeline for releasing the OCE report. In the Azerbaijan case, however, the Ethics Committee directed OCE to stop its investigation and turn over its materials to the committee. OCE declined and continued to pursue its probe which it submitted to the Ethics Committee in May. The OCE investigation was nine separate reports, one on each lawmaker who traveled. A tenth Member of Congress on the trip is no longer in Congress. Shortly thereafter, one version of the report was leaked to the Washington Post '-- the first time an OCE report has been leaked prior to its official release.
When the committee released its findings on the Azerbaijan trip in July, it did not release the OCE report, claiming that it was not official, because the committee had asked OCE to stop. The committee called the OCE report just background material for the panel's own investigation. The committee claimed the leaked OCE had compromised its own investigation and led key witnesses to take the Fifth Amendment and decline to testify. That, the panel said, stopped it from determining who paid for the Azerbaijan trip.
Lawmakers cleared in Azerbaijan trip
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1LieHH9
Sub7zero on 'germany stealing minds'
I'm in Lattakia actually and I'm doing ok thanks for asking. about the EU's reception of the migrants , in short : the people are happy about it , the government is not.
it is often referred to as a "conspiracy to depopulate Syria" or a "plan to steal the Syrian minds" in our media and some politicians go as far to blame Germany for it , nevertheless the people are sick of the situation which might turn into a long term F-Russia thing and most of them are willing to take their chances. the Idea even crossed my mind few times before ,one of which was after a comment by JCD in 766 (2:02:50).
about the numbers , this was in the headlines last week "Syria's earnings on passports exceeds 500,000,000 $ since the beginning of 2015" , I renewed mine few months ago and it cost me about 85,000 SPs (~320 $ at the time) , so if you do the math that will be about 1.5 million passports at least (women and children pay less) , plus 5 million Syrians already in Lebanon,Turkey,Iraq & Jordan , if only half of those chose to leave for Europe and with the additional non-Syrians who are tagging along (5/1 to be precise) the numbers will be huge and much larger than the EU's estimations.
BTW ,three friends of mine had made it to Germany withing the past year or so , if there's any thing you'd like me to ask them for you I'd be happy to.
keep up the good work and ITM.
shortly speaking: Merkel is from CDU that doesn't operate
in Bavaria where CSU rules. CDU and CSU are in conservative coalition.
In government there are also bastardized commies - SPD.
what's up? CSU wants Merkel to stop accepting refugees or otherwise
they leave coalition and Merkel then stops being chancellor
and new elections coming. CSU says: yo stupid bitch, limit
refugees influx or you will be no longer chancellor !
Invasion: FIVE MILLION MUSLIMS march on Europe: ''We cannot guarantee the public safety anymore'' | Politics
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 14:37
Story ViewsNow:Last Hour:Last 24 Hours:Total:Thursday, October 29, 2015 2:40
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.Apparently the numbers that they've been selling to their unsuspecting populations are wrong by at least four million. The latest invasion reflects a truer number of five million, not one million '-- five million invaders. If that's not war, what is?
And it's business, the social and migration industry is big business '-- the NGOs, resettlement organizations, social workers, etc. Just like here in America. Refugee resettlement is big business '--
SPD politician Brigitte Meier said that we cannot guarantee the public safety anymore. ''An insisting cry for help''.
Title: The truth: Germany recruits refugees systematically. Democratic Post(distilled version)
It's unbelievable but true: There are systematic campaigns to get as many refugees to Germany as possible. Almost no refugee want to go to another country than Germany because no other country does that kind of advertising for itself. Every country knows that would be ''asylum suicide''. But Germany is doing exactly that.
Chancellor Merkel and her assistant Thomas de Maizi¨re lure refugees to Germany with the anglophone TV station ''Deutsche Welle''.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees produces costly propaganda videos to advertise for the ''immigration country'' Germany. Die videos are worldwide available in multiple languages.
update 28th Oct.: The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has removed the video (below) from their homepage. It is only available on youtube now.
The former Berlin major of the district of Neuk¶lln from the SPD party thinks that up to five million refugees come to us (Germany) this year.
SPD politician Brigitte Meier said that we cannot guarantee the public safety anymore. ''An insisting cry for help''.
But another female SPD policitian, Aydan –zoguz, says that ''everyone has to get involved and accept the changes.'' and ''already one out of five people has a migration background. Germany isn't the ethnically homogenous national state many still think it is.''
The Germany social and migration industry is now making business many big companies can only dream of. Each month, an asylum-seeker costs 3500 euros, that is 3,5 billion euros for one month with an expected number of one million asylum-seekers, 42 billion euros annually. This is roughly the same sum that is paid to all unemployed (German) people. It's not only the caregivers, language interpreters, social pedagogues, people smugglers, and landlords. The really big business is done by the social special interest groups, pharma pharmaceutical businesses, politicans and even some journalists. For them, the refugee industry is a future-proof billion dollar business.
Courtesy of Pamela Geller.
Source: http://www.dcclothesline.com/2015/10/29/invasion-five-million-muslims-march-on-europe-we-cannot-guarantee-the-public-safety-anymore/
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FPI Bulletin: Mideast Refugee Crisis Continues to Overwhelm Europe | Foreign Policy Initiative
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:33
October 30, 2015
October 30, 2015
At an emergency meeting this past Sunday, eleven European Union (EU) and Balkan leaders quarreled over how to handle the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees streaming into Europe each week. They ultimately agreed to a 17-point action plan, including the provision of additional shelters for transient persons and the deployment of additional EU law enforcement personnel to the Balkans, all in order to ensure the ''gradual, controlled and orderly movement of persons'' through currently inundated migration routes. Yet the efforts prescribed by the action plan are no match for the scale of the crisis. Like previous European initiatives, the action plan provides no answers to the fundamental questions of how stop the surge of migration and resettle the 700,000 migrants who have entered Europe illegally this year alone, about half of them from Syria.
Record Flows of Illegal Migration
More than 9,000 migrants arrived in Greece every day last week '' the highest rate this year. Overall, illegal arrivals in Europe from the Middle East and North Africa have risen from 67,660 in 2012, to 93,100 in 2013, 274,335 in 2014, and more than 700,000 this year. Large numbers are coming from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Syria. However, the roughly 400,000 Syrians who have arrived this year represent only a fraction of the 4 million refugees driven out the country by its brutal civil war. In addition, nearly 8 million Syrians have been displaced internally and may seek to emigrate. All together, more than half of the country's pre-war population has fled from its home.
The flood of illegal migration has created chaos in central Europe as well as in countries that border the Mediterranean. After arriving in Greece, hundreds of thousands of migrants have trekked through the Balkans on their way to their ultimate destinations in Germany or Austria. Haphazard responses by some countries in the region have had perilous effects on others. After Hungary closed its border with Croatia, 83,000 migrants streamed into Slovenia, seeking an alternate route to Austria. A nation of 2 million the size of New Jersey, Slovenia was unprepared for the sudden influx.
Migrants and Refugees
Migrants are those who relocate to a new country. Refugees, according to the 1951 Geneva Convention, are those who have fled their homes "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion." In addition, the 1951 Convention forbids the expulsion of those who claim to be refugees, a principle known by its French name, non-refoulement. Knowing they won't be expelled, Syrians risk their lives to cross Europe's borders in rickety boats and through holes in barbed-wire border fences. Unsurprisingly, many others feign Syrian identity in hopes of beginning a new life in Europe. To expose impostors, immigration officials may ask migrants to pick out Syrian banknotes from a pile of bills, or to name their alleged home country's most popular brand of cigarette. Those who seek a higher quality of living rather than a refuge from persecution are often described as economic migrants.
When a potential refugee arrives in Europe, he or she must apply for asylum. Since the process is lengthy, numbers of asylum applications trail behind those of illegal migrant arrivals '' but the trend is nonetheless staggering. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that cumulative Syrian asylum applications rose from 30,515 in 2012 to 84,209 in 2013 and 222,156 in 2014. As of late September 2015, the cumulative total stood at 512,909 applications. There have been a record number of applications in the past three months, with 51,313 new applicants in July, 76,111 in August, and 68,337 in September.
Receiving Asylum Seekers
Germany and its neighbors have struggled to provide temporary care and accommodation for hundreds of thousands of new arrivals who remain in a state of limbo while their asylum applications are being processed. The social and economic cost of integrating these migrants has led to mounting frustration while aggravating anti-Muslim prejudice.
The first stop for asylum seekers is a reception center, where they file their applications and receive temporary identification documents that give them access to public assistance. Reuters reported on the situation at one center in Berlin, where hundreds of new arrivals wait for days or weeks before they can register. Some sleep outside in the cold. Fights break out over the fruit distributed by volunteers. German immigration authorities say they now require about five months to process asylum applications, down from seven months last year. Once registered, applicants are distributed across Germany according to a formula based on the population and tax revenue of Germany's sixteen states. The authorities also must secure winter-proof shelter, provide urgent health treatment, and distribute sufficient funds to support those who arrive destitute after an over-land journey of thousands of miles. Another concern regarding immigration is its relationship to criminal activity and the potential for Islamic terrorism. Organized crime in Eastern and Southern Europe has surged as refugees seek to be smuggled and settled, and even before the latest wave of migration from Syria, Europeans were concerned about the relationship between immigration and local crime. There is also the possibility of terrorists posing as refugees and the potential for radicalization and recruitment of desperate asylum seekers by jihadists already in Europe. German security officials have warned of this latter threat, which could not necessarily be stopped even by stricter security checks on incoming refugees.
Finally, anti-Muslim and xenophobic sentiments motivate local and even in some cases national resistance to accepting those fleeing Syria. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has stated, ''I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country.'' Indeed, Hungary, Slovakia, and Cyprus have expressed a preference for Christian refugees in order not to endanger Europe's values. Lutz Bachmann, founder of the German group PEGIDA '' the Germany acronym for ''Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West'' '' has said, ''The problem for us is this parallel society, that they don't accept and respect German law. They say they are living for Sharia law.'' Anti-refugee, anti-Islam demonstrations'--in some cases with as many as 20,000 people'--have taken place in Germany, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and even Finland, showing resistance from more than just the margins of European society.
The EU Struggles to Respond
Aspirations for a unified, comprehensive response to the refugee crisis have given way to token measures and apathy because Germany is bearing so much of the collective burden. In early September, Germany made the dramatic statement that it could accept 500,000 asylum seekers a year for several years '' although internal government estimates suggest that 1.5 million refugees may arrive in Germany by the end of this year alone.
In contrast, the main results of a series of European summits have been the 17-point action plan and a September 22 agreement to redistribute proportionately 120,000 migrants from Italy, Greece, and Hungary to other EU member states. The measure passed with a majority, although Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania voted against the quotas, Finland abstained, and the UK exercised its option not to participate (but pledged to take 20,000 Syrians on its own). EU member states have also so far mobilized over '‚¬4.2 billion ($4.76 billion) in aid for Syrian refugees still in the Mideast, with additional negotiations ongoing to provide at least '‚¬3 billion ($3.4 billion) to Turkey in exchange for improving the circumstances of refugees there, which may discourage onward travel to Europe.
What remains elusive is any plausible idea of how to stop the tide of illegal migration from the Middle East and North Africa, or the unpredictable flows of asylum seekers across central Europe once they cross into the European Union. Even more distant is any consensus of how to employ either diplomacy, force, or the two in concert in order to bring an end to the civil war in Syria that is the ultimate cause of the refugee crisis.
European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Meeting on the Western Balkans Migration Route: Leaders Agree on 17-point plan of action
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:26
The past weeks have shown that the challenges currently faced along the Western Balkans migration route will not be solved through national actions. Only a collective, cross-border approach based on cooperation can succeed. This is why President Juncker convened the leaders of the countries concerned and most affected by the emergency situation along the Western Balkans route.
Today, leaders representing Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia met in Brussels at the Commission's Berlaymont Headquarters and agreed to improve cooperation and step up consultation between the countries along the route and decided on pragmatic operational measures that can be implemented as of tomorrow to tackle the refugee crisis in the region.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Countries affected should not only talk about and at each other but also with each other. Neighbours should work together not against each other. Refugees need to be treated in a humane manner along the length of the Western Balkans route to avoid a humanitarian tragedy in Europe. I am therefore pleased that today we were able to jointly agree on a 17-point plan of pragmatic and operational measures to ensure people are not left to fend for themselves in the rain and cold."
Concretely, leaders agreed to implement the following operational measures as of Monday:
Permanent exchange of information
1. Nominating contact points within 24 hours to allow daily exchanges and coordination to achieve the gradual, controlled and orderly movement of persons along the Western Balkans route;
2. Submitting joint needs assessments for EU support within 24 hours;
Limiting Secondary Movements
3. Discouraging the movement of refugees or migrants to the border of another country of the region without informing neighbouring countries;
Supporting refugees and providing shelter and rest
4. Increasing the capacity to provide temporary shelter, food, health, water and sanitation to all in need; triggering the EU Civil Protection Mechanism where necessary;
5. Greece to increase reception capacity to 30,000 places by the end of the year, and to support UNHCR to provide rent subsidies and host family programmes for at least 20,000 more '' a pre-condition to make the emergency relocation scheme work; Financial support for Greece and UNHCR is expected;
6. Working with the UNHCR who will support the increase of reception capacities by 50,000 places along the Western Balkans route.
7. Working with International Financial Institutions such as the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Development Bank of the Council of Europe which are ready to support financially efforts of the countries willing to make use of these resources;
Managing the migration flows together
8. Ensuring a full capacity to register arrivals, with maximum use of biometric data;
9. Exchanging information on the size of flows and, where requested, on all arriving refugees and migrants on a country's territory;
10. Working with EU Agencies to swiftly put in place this exchange of information;
11. Stepping up national and coordinated efforts to return migrants not in need of international protection, working with Frontex;
12. Working with the European Commission and Frontex to step up practical cooperation on readmission with third countries and intensifying cooperation in particular with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan; Commission to work to implement existing readmission agreements fully and start work on new readmission agreements with relevant countries;
Border Management
13. Increase efforts to manage borders, including by:
o Finalising and implementing the EU-Turkey Action Plan;
o Making full use of the potential of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement and the visa liberalisation roadmap;
o Upscaling the Poseidon Sea Joint Operation in Greece;
o Reinforcing Frontex support at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey
o Strengthening border cooperation between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with increased UNHCR engagement;
o Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania will strengthen the management of the external land border, with Frontex to support registration in Greece;
o Working together with Frontex to monitor border crossings and support registration and fingerprinting at the Croatian-Serbian border crossing points;
o Deploying in Slovenia 400 police officers and essential equipment within a week, through bilateral support;
o Strengthening the Frontex Western Balkans Risk Analysis Network with intensified reporting from all participants;
o Making use, where appropriate of the Rapid Border Intervention Team (RABIT) mechanism, which should be duly equipped;
14. Reconfirming the principle of refusing entry to third country nationals who do not confirm a wish to apply for international protection (in line with international and EU refugee law and subject to prior non-refoulement and proportionality checks);
Tackling smuggling and trafficking
15. Stepping up actions against migrant smuggling and trafficking of human beings with support of Europol, Frontex and Interpol;
Information on the rights and obligations of refugees and migrants
16. Making use of all available communication tools to inform refugees and migrants about existing rules, as well as about their rights and obligations, notably on the consequences of a refusal to be registered, fingerprinted and of a refusal to seek protection where they are;
17. Monitoring the implementation of these commitments on a weekly basis; Commission to coordinate with national contact points.
The full statement is available here.
The European Commission has been consistently and continuously working for a coordinated European response on the refugees and migration front.
Upon taking office, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker entrusted a Commissioner with special responsibility for Migration to work, in coordination with First Vice-President Timmermans, on a new policy on migration as one of the 10 priorities of the Political Guidelines, the political programme based on which the European Parliament elected the Commission.
On 13 May 2015, the European Commission presented its European Agenda on Migration, setting out a comprehensive approach for improving the management of migration in all its aspects.
Two implementation packages under the Agenda, on 27 May 2015 and on 9 September 2015 have already been adopted and the measures therein are starting to be deployed.
On Wednesday 21 October, President Juncker called for a Leaders' Meeting on refugee flows along the Western Balkans route to address the emergency situation unfolding along this route.
Attending the Leaders' Meeting were the Heads of State or Government of Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. The President of the European Council, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, the future Dutch Presidency of the Council of the EU and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees were in attendance. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) were also represented.
For More Information
Leaders' Statement
Factsheet '' The EU Civil Protection Mechanism
Factsheet '' The Rapid Border Intervention Teams Mechanism
All press materials on the EU Migration Agenda
Frontex | Origin
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:32
Frontex promotes, coordinates and develops European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter applying the concept of Integrated Border Management '... more
Fostering the free movement of people has been an important objective of European integration since the 1950s. Free movement of goods, persons, services and capital were identified as foundations of the Community in the Treaty of Rome (1957).
SchengenDuring the 1980s five Member States (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) decided to create a territory without internal borders. They signed the first agreements in a small town in Luxembourg called Schengen, hence the ''Schengen area'' '' a territory in which the free movement of persons is guaranteed. The original agreement was complemented in 1990 by a convention.
When this convention entered into force in 1995 it abolished checks at the internal borders and created a single external border. Whatever their location, officers working at the external border perform border checks in accordance with identical procedures. The rules governing visas and the right to asylum are also common for all Schengen countries.
In order to keep a balance between freedom and security, participating member states agreed to introduce so-called ''compensatory measures''. These are focused on cooperation and coordination of the work of the police and judicial authorities. Organised crime networks do not respect borders, therefore this cooperation is key to safeguarding internal security.
In 1999, with the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam, this intergovernmental cooperation was incorporated into the EU framework.
Towards FrontexSince 1999 the European Council on Justice and Home Affairs has taken several steps towards strengthen cooperation in the area of migration, asylum and security.
In the border management field this led to the creation of the External Border Practitioners Common Unit - a group composed of members of the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) and heads of national border control services.
The Common Unit coordinated national projects of Ad-Hoc Centres on Border Control. Their task was to oversee EU-wide pilot projects and common operations related to border management.
There were six ad-hoc centres:
Risk Analysis Centre (Helsinki, Finland)
Centre for Land Borders (Berlin, Germany)
Air Borders Centre (Rome, Italy)
Western Sea Borders Centre (Madrid, Spain)
Ad-hoc Training Centre for Training (Traiskirchen, Austria)
Centre of Excellence (Dover, United Kingdom)
Eastern Sea Borders Centre (Piraeus, Greece)
FrontexTwo years after the establishment of "ad-hoc" centres the European Council decided to go a step further. With the objective of improving procedures and working methods of the Common Unit, on the 26 October 2004 the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) was established by Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004.
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:33
Orban (l) and Kaczynski (r)
George Soros, US foreign policy, and ousting Viktor OrbanFollowing the election of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the pro-Orban, anti-euro political leader of the PiS in Poland, sources in central and eastern Europe in the last 24 hours are alleging the discovery of a conspiracy to attempt radical r(C)gime change in Hungary via all means up to and including assassination. The Slog analyses and assesses the factual background to the allegations.
There have been hints in the Hungarian media recently about 'a significantly increased acute terror threat against Viktor Orbn and possibly his family'. While some of this will undoubtedly be 'salting' by the Orban government to put any such attempts on the defensive, Sloggers in Poland, Greece and Hungary are reporting that intelligence services in all three countries 'are aware of a plot to remove the Orban Government without delay', that 'the election of Kaczynski has upped the tempo' and even 'the conspiracy involves a joint op with [the intelligence services of] the US, France, and EC. Crucially, controversial billionaire George Soros is 'identified' as being centrally involved in the move.
The release of (albeit redacted) emails from Hillary Clinton's State Department days reveal, with disturbing clarity, the willingness of the US to replace any r(C)gime at any time that's in it's way. What began largely in South America and Asia has in recent years '' most notably in Syria and the Ukraine '' been applied wherever necessary to Europe. And when it comes to central and Eastern Europe, Washington's main cover and cypher is George Soros. The man who once tried to destroy the British Pound now stands accused of working to destroy the aims of former Soviet, eurosceptic States.
At times, it is possible to believe there might well be more than one George Soros. ''He's here, he's there, he's every ****ing where George Soros, George Soros'.....''. Over the last fortnight alone, he's been opining about ebay, strategic simplicity, reflexive market behaviour, powering a $25m investment in bond-trading startup Trumid, and leading the field by seeing a future for coal'...backed up with his own money.
Whenever Soros breaks his silence, he makes and breaks whole sectors.
But unfortunately, the billionaire '' like so many who own a gigantic and damaged ego '' has been working for many years now in a higher sphere'....one where he can make or break opposition Parties, rising politicians, and indeed whole r(C)gimes. His latest target is a US elected District Attorrney position: so far, he has invested in excess of Soros $400,000 funding a super PAC, known as Louisiana Safety & Justice PAC, based in Bossier City to support Democratic DA candidate James E. Stewart. That's a lot of money behind one local candidate; but such money brings influence, and influence begets power. The power at stake here is massive influence inside the Democratic Party.
Soros justifies such meddling by ensuring his PRs always get the words ''liberal sympathiser'' and ''billionaire philanthropist'' into press articles and broadcast soundbites. But the life history of the man belies that image '' especially when it comes to affairs in Hungary.
The two dimensions of George Soros that really count are Hungary and America. Very few Hungarians '' through all the shades of political opinion '' doubt that Mr Soros is one of the most powerful influences upon Hungarian affairs. In particular, he is dedicated to the removal of the popular and recently reelected Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In being so inclined, he is also able to curry approval among the US and EU (C)lites, because they too are keen on r(C)gime change in Hungary. Mr Orban does, after all, take every opportunity to make clear his distaste for the anti-democracy practised by US business colonialism, and poor fiscal economics as represented by the euro.
Orban has been proved correct at every stage of the current refugee/migrant crisis. For this, he has been leapt upon by Soros as ''neglecting his duty'' to take in migrants, and vilified by the EU/EC axis of cant as a 'racist'. Now that the situation is out of control '' and every 'leader' from Merkel to Hollande has been shown up as the showboating hypocrites they are '' Orban has become Enemy Number One for the neoliberal globalists.
Again under the staydri umbrella of 'pro-democracy', Soros has a 'charity' in Hungary '' he founded it as the Open Society Institute in Hungary with a budget of $3 million in 1984 '' and in this and other former Soviet countries he has maintained an excellent cover for CIA and other covert intelligence activities in the region. He was a driving force behind the economically disastrous decision to EU-ise Eastern Europe after 1990'...a curious double-standard, given that his supporters in the main Hungarian opposition Party founded it on 7 October 1989. They were the remainder of the ruling communists, and rebranded themselves as the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (MSZP). The MSZP did exactly what the youthful Stalinist Jugendf¼herin Angela Merkel did in that year '' viz, leave work on Friday a totalitarian, and return for work Monday as a liberal democrat.
George Soros uses (with CIA help) the Hungarian OSI as a vehicle for bearing false witness against Orban at every opportunity. As a neutral and former Georgian foreign minister, Salom(C) Zourabichvili has recorded her view that ''institutions like the Soros Foundation and all the NGOs that gravitated around the Soros Foundation were integrated into power after the revolution [against USSR control]''. It was a classic case of ''Meet the new boss'....same as the old boss''.
This is the outfit that ''philanthropist liberal'' Soros supports.
But Orban ended the cosy relationship of former apparatchik privilege sucking up to US/EU colonialism. He punished US banks who cheat Hungarians, he told the EU where it could insert the euro, he lectured the Americans on their disastrous Syrian policy, he actively supported a joint Russian/US Syrian occupation to stem refugee problems, he warned of how the migrant euphoria would end, and flatly refuses still to kowtow to arbitrary migrant settlement deals.
Orban has committed the umtimate treble whammy sin against the New Order: he is in the way of it, he is right when it is wrong, and he is rapidly becoming a Standard around which opposition can gather. And so the forces of r(C)gime change have decided that Orban Must Go.
Deciding that offence would represent the best defence, Soros two weeks ago received a media bombardment in Hungary, where politicians accused him of supporting illegal migrants in order to exacerbate the strain on the Orban Government. Representatives of the ruling Party Fidezs '' including Orban himself '' have attacked Soros for once again abusing the power of his 'pro-democracy' charity. This was in response to opinion pieces published by the Financial Times and Project Syndicate, in which Soros called Orban 'a shirker' from the European refugee plan.
I would urge others (especially in the region) to contact me at jawslog@gmail.com in an effort to add flesh to this potentially explosive story.
Earlier at The Slog: Why you can't use the House of Lords to cherry-pick UK reform needs
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Orban Accuses Soros of Stoking Refugee Wave to Weaken Europe - Bloomberg Business
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 06:34
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused billionaire investor George Soros of being a prominent member of a circle of "activists" trying to undermine European nations by supporting refugees heading to the continent from the Middle East and beyond.
"His name is perhaps the strongest example of those who support anything that weakens nation states, they support everything that changes the traditional European lifestyle," Orban said in an interview on public radio Kossuth. "These activists who support immigrants inadvertently become part of this international human-smuggling network."
Rights groups have criticized Orban for building a razor-wire fence on the border, tightening asylum laws and boosting his support among voters with anti-immigrant rhetoric. Soros, who was born in Hungary and is one of the biggest philanthropists in eastern Europe via his foundations and university, gives grants to organizations that provide legal assistance to asylum seekers.
Soros said in an e-mailed statement that a six-point plan published by his foundation helps ''uphold European values'' while Orban's actions ''undermine those values.''
''His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,'' he said in the statement. ''Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national border as the obstacle.''
Elections 2016
Chief Operating Officer Leaves Jeb Bush Campaign - WSJ
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 15:23
The highest-ranking official known to lose her job in Jeb Bush's flagging campaign is Christine Ciccone, the campaign's chief operating officer.
News of Ms. Ciccone's departure comes a week after the Bush campaign announced a re-organization that it said would reduce payroll by 40%. Ms. Ciccone served as Mr. Bush's chief operating officer, effectively an office administrator responsible for logistics.
''We are grateful to have had Christine on the team, we respect her immensely,'' Bush spokesman Tim Miller said.
Ms. Ciccone was paid roughly $12,000 a month, the equivalent of a $144,000 annual salary, according to the campaign's most recent Federal Election Commission filling. Reached by phone Friday, Ms. Ciccone said ''I've got no comment. I've just got to go.''
Ms. Ciccone came to the campaign with political roots in the Bush family. She worked in President George W. Bush's White House, serving as a legislative liaison to the Senate. Before working for the Jeb Bush campaign, she worked as a lobbyist at Sphere, a top Washington consulting firm.
Jeb Bush Seeks to Recover Momentum After Debate
2016 Election Calendar | WSJ/NBC Polls | 2016 Poll Standings
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Camille Paglia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 02:47
Camille PagliaBornCamille Anna Paglia(1947-04-02) April 2, 1947 (age 68)Endicott, New York, United StatesOccupationProfessor, cultural criticEducationBinghamton UniversityYale UniversityPeriodContemporarySubjectPopular culture, art, poetry, sex, film, feminism, politicsCamille Anna Paglia (; born April 2, 1947) is an American academic and social critic. Paglia has been a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1984.[1]The New York Times has described her as "first and foremost an educator".[2] Paglia is known for her critical views of many aspects of modern culture, including liberalism.[not in citation given][3][4]
She is the author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990) and a collection of essays, Sex, Art, and American Culture (1992). Her other books and essays include an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, and Break, Blow, Burn (2005) on poetry. Her most recent book is Glittering Images (2012), a history of the visual arts. She is a critic of American feminism and of post-structuralism as well as a commentator on multiple aspects of American culture such as its visual art, music, and film history.
Personal life[edit]Paglia was born in Endicott, New York, the elder daughter of Pasquale and Lydia Anne (n(C)e Colapietro) Paglia. Both her parents immigrated to the United States from Italy.[3] Additionally, Paglia has stated that her father's side of the family were from the Campanian towns of Avellino, Benevento, and Caserta. Paglia attended primary school in rural Oxford, New York, where her family lived in a working farmhouse.[6] Her father, a veteran of World War II,[7] taught at the Oxford Academy high school, and exposed his young daughter to art through books he brought home about French art history. In 1957, her family moved to Syracuse, New York, so that her father could begin graduate school; he eventually became a professor of Romance languages at Le Moyne College.[8] She attended the Edward Smith Elementary school, T. Aaron Levy Junior High and William Nottingham High School.[9] In 1992 Carmelia Metosh, her Latin teacher for three years, said "She always has been controversial. Whatever statements were being made (in class), she had to challenge them. She made good points then, as she does now."[10] Paglia thanked Metosh in the acknowledgements to Sexual Personae, later describing her as "the dragon lady of Latin studies, who breathed fire at principals and school boards".[9]
She took a variety of names when she was at Spruce Ridge Camp, including Anastasia (her confirmation name, inspired by the film Anastasia starring Ingrid Bergman); Stacy; and Stanley.[citation needed] A crucially significant event for her was when the outhouse exploded after she poured too much lime into the latrine. "It symbolized everything I would do with my life and work. Excess and extravagance and explosiveness. I would be someone who would look into the latrine of culture, into pornography and crime and psychopathology... and I would drop the bomb into it".[11][page needed][12]
For over a decade, Paglia was the partner of artist Alison Maddex.[13][14] Paglia legally adopted Maddex's son (who was born in 2002).[15] In 2007, the couple separated.[16]
Education[edit]Paglia entered Harpur College at Binghamton University in 1964.[17] The same year, Paglia's poem "Atrophy" was published in the local newspaper.[18] She later wrote that the biggest impact on her thinking were the classes taught by poet Milton Kessler. "He believed in the responsiveness of the body, and of the activation of the senses to literature... And oh did I believe in that".[19] She graduated from Harpur as class valedictorian in 1968.[8]
According to Paglia, while in college she punched a "marauding drunk,"[12] and takes pride in having been put on probation for committing 39 pranks.[9]
Paglia attended Yale as a graduate student, and she claims to have been the only open lesbian at Yale Graduate School from 1968 to 1972.[12][20] At Yale, Paglia quarreled with Rita Mae Brown, whom she later characterized as "then darkly nihilist," and argued with the New Haven, Connecticut Women's Liberation Rock Band when they dismissed the Rolling Stones as sexist.[21] Paglia was mentored by Harold Bloom.[17]Sexual Personae was then titled "The Androgynous Dream: the image of the androgyne as it appears in literature and is embodied in the psyche of the artist, with reference to the visual arts and the cinema."[22]
Paglia read Susan Sontag, and aspired to emulate what she called her "celebrity, her positioning in the media world at the border of the high arts and popular culture." Paglia first saw Sontag in person on October 15, 1969 (Vietnam Moratorium Day), when Paglia, then a Yale graduate student, was visiting a friend at Princeton. In 1973, Paglia, a militant feminist and open lesbian, was working at her first academic job at Bennington College. She considered Sontag a radical who had challenged male dominance. The same year, Paglia drove to an appearance by Sontag at Dartmouth, hoping to arrange for her to speak at Bennington, but found it difficult to find the money for Sontag's speaking fee; Paglia relied on help from Richard Tristman, a friend of Sontag's, to persuade her to come. Bennington College agreed to pay Sontag $700 (twice what they usually offered speakers but only half Sontag's usual fee) to give a talk about contemporary issues. Paglia staged a poster campaign urging students to attend Sontag's appearance. Sontag arrived at Bennington Carriage Barn, where she was to speak, more than an hour late, and then began reading what Paglia recalled as a "boring and bleak" short story about "nothing" in the style of a French New Novel.[23]
As a result of Sontag's Bennington College appearance, Paglia began to become disenchanted with her, believing that she had withdrawn from confrontation with the academic world, and that her "mandarin disdain" for popular culture showed an elitism that betrayed her early work, which had suggested that high and low culture both reflected a new sensibility.[23]
In the fall of 1972, Paglia began teaching at Bennington College, which hired her in part thanks to a recommendation from Harold Bloom.[24] At Bennington, she befriended the philosopher James Fessenden, who first taught there that very semester.
Through her study of the classics and the scholarly work of Jane Ellen Harrison, James George Frazer, Erich Neumann and others, Paglia developed a theory of sexual history that contradicted a number of ideas in vogue at the time, hence her criticism of Marija Gimbutas, Carolyn Heilbrun, Kate Millett and others. She laid out her ideas on matriarchy, androgyny, homosexuality, sadomasochism and other topics in her Yale PhD thesis Sexual Personae: The Androgyne in Literature and Art, which she defended in December 1974. In September 1976, she gave a public lecture drawing on that dissertation,[26] in which she discussed Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene, followed by remarks on Diana Ross, Gracie Allen, Yul Brynner, and St(C)phane Audran.[27]
Paglia wrote that she "nearly came to blows with the founding members of the women's studies program at the State University of New York at Albany, when they categorically denied that hormones influence human experience or behavior".[28] Similar fights with feminists and academics culminated in a 1978 incident which led her to resign from Bennington a year later. After a lengthy standoff with the administration, Paglia accepted a settlement from the college and resigned the following year.[29]
Paglia finished Sexual Personae in the early 1980s, but could not get it published. She supported herself with visiting and part-time teaching jobs at Yale, Wesleyan, and other Connecticut colleges. Her paper, "The Apollonian Androgyne and the Faerie Queen", was published in English Literary Renaissance, Winter 1979, and her dissertation was cited by J. Hillis Miller in his April 1980 article "Wuthering Heights and the Ellipses of Interpretation", in Journal of Religion in Literature, but her academic career was otherwise stalled. In a 1995 letter to Boyd Holmes, she recalled: "I earned a little extra money by doing some local features reporting for a New Haven alternative newspaper (The Advocate) in the early 1980s". She wrote articles on New Haven's historic pizzerias and on an old house that was a stop on the Underground Railroad.[30]
In 1984, she joined the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, which merged in 1987 with the Philadelphia College of Art to become the University of the Arts.
Paglia is on the editorial board of the classics and humanities journal Arion[31] and has been writing a monthly column for Salon.com since the late 1990s (currently on hiatus). Paglia has announced that she is currently working on "a study of the visual arts intended as a companion book to Break, Blow, Burn".[32]
Paglia cooperated with Carl Rollyson and Lisa Paddock in their writing of Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon, sending them detailed letters from which they quoted with her permission. Rollyson and Paddock note that Sontag "had her lawyer put our publisher on notice" when she realized that they were investigating her life and career.[23]
Paglia participates in the decennial poll of film professionals conducted by Sight & Sound which asks participants to submit a list of what they believe to be the ten greatest films of all time. According to her responses to the poll in 2002 and 2012, the films Paglia holds in highest regard include Ben-Hur, Citizen Kane, La Dolce Vita, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, North by Northwest, Orph(C)e, Persona, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Ten Commandments, and Vertigo.[33][34]
In 2005, Paglia was named as one of the top 100 public intellectuals by the journals Foreign Policy and Prospect.[15] In 2012, an article in The New York Times remarked that "[a]nyone who has been following the body count of the culture wars over the past decades knows Paglia".[2] Paglia has said that she is willing to have her entire career judged on the basis of her composition of what she considers to be "probably the most important sentence that she has ever written": "God is man's greatest idea."[35]
Feminism[edit]Some feminist critics have characterized Paglia as an "anti-feminist feminist," critical of central features of much contemporary feminism but holding out "her own special variety of feminist affirmation."[36]Elaine Showalter notes Paglia's admiration for Simone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex ("the supreme work of modern feminism... its deep learning and massive argument are unsurpassed") as well as Germaine Greer,[17] but Time magazine critic Martha Duffy wrote that Paglia "does not hesitate to hurl brazen insults" at several feminists including Greer, whom Paglia accused of becoming "a drone in three years" as a result of her early success; Paglia also called activist Diana Fuss' output "just junk '' appalling!"[8] Showalter calls Paglia "unique in the hyperbole and virulence of her hostility to virtually all the prominent feminist activists, public figures, writers and scholars of her generation", mentioning Carolyn Heilbrun, Judith Butler, Carol Gilligan, Marilyn French, Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood, Susan Thomases, and Hillary Clinton as targets of her criticism.[17]
Paglia has accused Kate Millett of starting "the repressive, Stalinist style in feminist criticism."[37] Paglia has repeatedly criticized Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women, calling her a "sanctimonious", unappealing role model for women[38] whose "smug, arrogant" attitude is accompanied by "painfully limited processes of thought".[39] Paglia contends that under Ireland's leadership, NOW "damaged and marginalized the women's movement".[40] Paglia has called feminist philosopher Martha Nussbaum a "PC diva", and accused her of borrowing her ideas without acknowledgement. She further contends that Nussbaum's "preparation or instinct for sex analysis is dubious at best".[41]
Many feminists have criticized Paglia; Christina Hoff Sommers calls her "Perhaps the most conspicuous target of feminist opprobrium," noting that the Women's Review of Books described Sexual Personae as a work of "crackpot extremism," "an apologia for a new post-Cold War fascism," and patriarchy's "counter-assault on feminism." Sommers relates that when Paglia appeared at a Brown University forum, feminists signed a petition censuring her and demanding an investigation into procedures for inviting speakers to the campus.[42]
Naomi Wolf traded a series of sometimes personal attacks with Paglia throughout the early 1990s. In The New Republic, Wolf labeled Paglia "the nipple-pierced person's Phyllis Schlafly who poses as a sexual renegade but is in fact the most dutiful of patriarchal daughters" and characterized Paglia's writing as "full of howling intellectual dishonesty".[43][44][45][46] In 1991, Paglia referred to Wolf as a "twit".[47]
Gloria Steinem said of Paglia that, "Her calling herself a feminist is sort of like a Nazi saying they're not anti-Semitic."[48] Paglia said that Steinem, whom she accused of not having read her, had compared her to Hitler and Sexual Personae to Mein Kampf.[49] Paglia called Steinem "the Stalin of feminism."[50]
Katha Pollitt has characterized Paglia as one of a "seemingly endless parade of social critics [who] have achieved celebrity by portraying not sexism but feminism as the problem." Pollitt writes that Paglia has glorified "male dominance," and has been able to get away with calling the Spur Posse California high school date-rape gang "beautiful," among other things "that might make even Rush Limbaugh blanch," because she is a woman.[51]
Paglia's view that rape is sexually motivated has been endorsed by evolutionary psychologistsRandy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer; they comment that "Paglia... urges women to be skeptical toward the feminist 'party line' on the subject, to become better informed about risk factors, and to use the information to lower their risk of rape."[52]
French thought[edit]Paglia is critical of the influence modern French writers have had on the humanities, claiming that universities are in the "thrall" of French post-structuralists,[53] that in the works of Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault, she never once found a sentence that interested her[54] and that Post-structuralism has broken the link between the word and the thing, and thus endangers the western canon.[55] Fran§ois Cusset writes that Paglia, like other major American public intellectuals after World War II, owes her broader recognition mainly to the political repercussions of polemics that first erupted on college campuses, in her case to a polemic against foreign intellectualism. He says she achieved phenomenal success when she called Foucault a "bastard", thereby providing (together with Alan Sokal's Social Text parody) the best evidence for Paul de Man's view that theory should be defined negatively, based on the opposition it arouses.[56] However, Paglia's assessment of French writers is not purely negative. She has called Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (1949) "brilliant", and identified Jean-Paul Sartre's work as part of a high period in literature. Paglia has praised Roland Barthes' Mythologies (1957) and Gilles Deleuze's Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty (1967), while finding both men's later work flawed. Of Gaston Bachelard, who influenced Paglia, she wrote "[his] dignified yet fluid phenomenological descriptive method seemed to me ideal for art", adding that he was "the last modern French writer I took seriously".[59]
Politics[edit]Paglia characterizes herself as a ClintonDemocrat and libertarian.[50][53] She opposes laws against prostitution, pornography, drugs, and abortion.[60] Paglia criticized Bill Clinton for not resigning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which she says "paralyzed the government for two years, leading directly to our blindsiding by 9/11."[61] In the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign she voted for the Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, "[because] I detest the arrogant, corrupt superstructure of the Democratic Party, with which I remain stubbornly registered."[61] In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Paglia supported John Kerry; and in 2008, she supported Barack Obama.[62] In 2012, she supported Green Party candidate Jill Stein.[63] Some of her views have been characterized as conservative.[8] She is highly critical of 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling her a "fraud" and a "liar".[64]
Sexual Personae[edit]Paglia's Sexual Personae was rejected by at least seven different publishers before it was published by Yale University Press, whereupon it became a best seller, reaching seventh place on the paperback best-seller list, a rare accomplishment for a scholarly book.[8] 'Paglia called it her "prison book", commenting, "I felt like Cervantes, Genet. It took all the resources of being Catholic to cut myself off and sit in my cell."[17]Sexual Personae has been called an "energetic, Freud-friendly reading of Western art", one that seemed "heretical and perverse", at the height of political correctness; according to Daniel Nester, its characterization of "William Blake as the British Marquis de Sade or Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson as 'self-ruling hermaphrodites who cannot mate' still pricks up many an English major's ears".[19]
In the book Paglia argues that human nature has an inherently dangerous Dionysian or chthonic aspect, especially in regard to sexuality.[65] Culture and civilization are created by men and represent an attempt to contain that force.[65] Women are powerful, too, but as natural forces, and both marriage and religion are means to contain chaotic forces.[8] A best seller, it was described by Terry Teachout in a New York Times book review as flawed, but "...every bit as intellectually stimulating as it is exasperating".[66]Sexual Personae received critical reviews from numerous feminist scholars.[67]Anthony Burgess described Sexual Personae as "a fine disturbing book" that "seeks to attack the reader's emotions as well as his or her prejudices".[68]
Sex, Art and American Culture[edit]Sex, Art and American Culture: Essays (1992) is a collection of short pieces, many published previously as editorials or reviews, and some transcripts of interviews.[60] The essays cover such subjects as Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, rock music, Robert Mapplethorpe, Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination, rape, Marlon Brando, drag, Milton Kessler, and academia. It made the New York Times bestseller list for paperbacks.[69]
Vamps and Tramps[edit]Vamps and Tramps: New Essays (1994) is a collection of 42 short articles and a long essay, "No Law in the Arena: a Pagan Theory of Sexuality". It also contains a collection of cartoons from newspapers about Paglia. Writing for the New York Times, Wendy Steiner wrote "Comic, camp, outspoken, Ms. Paglia throws an absurdist shoe into the ponderous wheels of academia".[70]Michiko Kakutani, also writing for the New York Times, wrote: "Her writings on education... are highly persuasive, just as some of her essays on the perils of regulating pornography and the puritanical excesses of the women's movement radiate a fierce common sense... Unfortunately, Ms. Paglia has a way of undermining her more interesting arguments with flip, hyperbolic declarations".[71]
The Birds[edit]In 1998, and in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the release of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, the British Film Institute commissioned Paglia to write a book about the film. Paglia's 96-page book interprets the film as "in the main line of British Romanticism descending from the raw nature-tableaux and sinister femme-fatales of Coleridge."[72] Paglia uses a psychoanalytic framework to interpret the film as portraying "a release of primitive forces of sex and appetite that have been subdued but never fully tamed".[72]
Break, Blow, Burn[edit]Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World's Best Poems (2005) is a collection of 43 short selections of verse with an accompanying essay by Paglia.[73] The collection is primarily oriented to those unfamiliar with the works.[73]Clive James noted that Paglia tends to focus on American works as it moves from Shakespeare forward through time, with Yeats, following Coleridge, as the last European discussed,[73] but emphasized her range of sympathy and her ability to juxtapose and unite distinct art forms in her analysis.[73] Christopher Nield remarked that Paglia has "a rare gift to capture a poem's mood and scene in terse, spiky phrases of descriptive insight" and exhibits moments of brilliance, but also notes that some of her selections from recent writers fall flat. He also praises her pedagogical slant towards basic interpretation, suggesting that her approach might be what is required to reinvigorate studies in the humanities.[55]
Glittering Images[edit]Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars (2012) is a series of essays about notable works of art from ancient to modern times, published in October 2012.[74] Writer John Adams of the New York Times Book Review was sceptical of the book, accusing it of being "so agenda driven and so riddled with polemic asides that its potential to persuade is forever being compromised."[2] Gary Rosen of the Wall Street Journal, however, praised the book's "impressive range" and accessibility to readers.[75]
References[edit]^http://www.uarts.edu/faculty-and-staff/facultystaff-search^ abcAdams, John (November 30, 2012). "Paglia on Art". The New York Times. Retrieved July 7, 2014. ^ abBirnbaum, Robert (August 3, 2005). "Birnbaum v. Camille Paglia"(interview). The Morning News. ^Handler, Richard (May 23, 2009). "An atheist's defence of religion: The paradox of Camille Paglia, the cultural gunslinger". CBC News. ^"Arcadia", Financial Times, March 15, 1997: 22 ^"Pasquale J. Paglia", Syracuse Herald Tribune(obit), January 23, 1991 ^ abcdefDuffy, Martha (January 13, 1992). "The Bªte Noire of Feminism: Camille Paglia". Time. ^ abcPaglia, Camille (January 26, 2000). "My Education". The Scotsman. ^McKeever, James 'Jim' (November 22, 1992). "Hurricane Camille". Syracuse Herald American (Syracuse, New York). ^The New York Observer, July 5''12, 1993 ^ abcSteiner, Wendy (November 20, 1994). "Advertisements for Themselves". The New York Times. ^Hamilton, William L (March 11, 1999). "In a New Museum, a Blue Period". The New York Times. ^Lauerman, Kerry (April 7, 2005). "Camille Paglia: Warrior for the word". Salon. ^ abWente, Margaret (October 18, 2007). "Camille Paglia: Hillary Clinton can't win '' and shouldn't". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). [dead link]^"Camille Paglia: Gay Activists 'Childish' for Demanding Rights". Towleroad. June 25, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2012. ^ abcdeShowalter, Elaine (2002), Inventing Herself: Claiming a Feminist Intellectual Heritage, London: Picador ^The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York). April 12, 1964. ^ abDaniel Nester (April 2005). "An Interview with Camille Paglia". Bookslut. Retrieved June 28, 2012. ^Savage, Dan (September 28 '' October 4, 1992). The Stranger. ^"Letter to the Editor", Camille Paglia, "Chronicle of Higher Education", June 17, 1998.^Paglia, Camille A (February 13, 1972), To Professor Carolyn Heilbrun(letter), Austin, Texas: Knopf Archive, Humanities Research Center ^ abcRollyson, Carl; Paddock, Lisa (2000), Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon, New York: WW Norton & Co ^Findlay, Heather (September 2000), Girlfriends magazine(interview) ^Bennington Banner, September 20, 1976 ^Interview, November 2002 ^Paglia, Camille (June 17, 1998), "Letter to the Editor", Chronicle of Higher Education ^Findlay, Heather (September 2000). Girlfriends. ^Paglia, Camille (February 1995), To Boyd Holmes(letter) ^"About Arion". Boston University. Retrieved June 28, 2012. ^Paglia, Camille (January 20, 2010). "Where's Camille?". Salon. ^Paglia, Camille (2002), Sight & Sound, UK: BFI ^Paglia, Camille (2012), Sight & Sound, UK: BFI ^"Camille Paglia". Big Ideas. TVO. November 7, 2009. ^Loptson, Peter (1998). Readings on human nature. Broadview Press. p. 490. ISBN 1-55111-156-X. ^Crawford, Leslie (June 5, 1999). "Kate Millett, the ambivalent feminist". Salon. ^Why I Go for Women with Big Beaks, April 29, 1997 [dead link]^Men and their Discontents, October 14, 1974 ^Paglia, Camille (December 6, 2000). "The Peevish Porcupine Beats the Shrill Rooster". Salon. Retrieved June 28, 2012. ^"Butler vs. Nussbaum", Salon, February 24, 1999 ^Sommers, Christina Hoff (1995), Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women, New York: Simon & Schuster ^Wolf, Naomi (March 16, 1992), "Feminist Fatale", The New Republic: 23''25 ^Paglia, Camille (April 13, 1992), "Wolf Pack", The New Republic: 4''5 ^Wolf, Naomi; Paglia, Camille (May 18, 1992), "The Last Words", The New Republic: 4''5 ^Viner, Katharine (August 31, 2001). "Stitched up". The Guardian (London). ^Paglia (September 19, 1991), Gifts of Speech(lecture), Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT ^Fields, Suzanne (May 14, 1992). "New enemies list for some of you feminists". Reading Eagle. ^"Camille Paglia: bigmouth strikes again". Diva. October 2006. ^ abBlinkhorn, Lois (December 6, 1992). "Ideas flying, a maverick breaks the feminist mold". The Milwaukee Journal. ^Pollitt, Katha (November 1997). "Feminism's Unfinished Business". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 25, 2008. ^Thornhill, Randy; Palmer, Craig T (2000), A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, p. 183 ^ abBaird, Julia (April 8, 2005). "Hark, a libertarian looks to her right". The Sydney Morning Herald. ^Paglia, Camille (April 11, 2007). "Real inconvenient truths". Salon. ^ abNield, Christopher (May 17, 2005). "Book Review: Break Blow Burn by Camille Paglia". The Epoch Times. ^Cusset, Fran§ois (2008), French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press ^"Of Versace and killer prom queens", Salon, July 22, 1997: 2 [dead link]^ abKillough, George (December 20, 1992). "Paglia attacks political correctness". Reading Eagle (Knight Ridder). ^ ab"Who's Getting Your Vote?". Reason. November 2004. Retrieved October 27, 2008. ^Paglia, Camille (April 20, 2008). "Why Women Shouldn't Vote for Hillary Clinton". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved April 28, 2010. ^"Camille Paglia's 'Glittering images'", Salon, October 10, 2012 ^Gillespie, Nick; Krainin, Todd (March 19, 2015). "Everything's Awesome and Camille Paglia Is Unhappy!". Reason. Retrieved May 20, 2015. ^ abRomano, Karen (December 9, 1990). "Camille Paglia's 'Sexual Personae' provokes amusement, outrage". The News (Knight-Ridder). ^Teachout, Terry (July 22, 1990). "Siding With the Men". The New York Times. ^See Gilbert, Sandra M. "Review: Freaked Out: Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae." The Kenyon Review 14.1 (1992): 158''164.; Lofreda, Beth. "Of Stallions and Sycophants: Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae." Social Text, No. 30. (1992), pp. 121''124; Kasraie, Mary Rose. Review: Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. South Atlantic Review 58.4 (1993), pp. 132''135; Booth, Alison. "The Mother of All Cultures: Camille Paglia and Feminist Mythologies. The Kenyon Review. 21.1 (1999): 27''45; Sheets, Robin A. "Sexual Personae." Journal of the History of Sexuality. 2.2 (1991): 205''298.; Ebert, Teresa. "The Politics of the Outrageous." The Women's Review of Books. 9.1 (1991): 12''13.; Noble, Marianne. The Masochistic Pleasures of Sentimental Literature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. pp. 225n.; Simons, Judy. "Sexual Personae." The Review of English Studies. 45.2 (1994):451''452.^Burgess, Anthony (April 27, 1990). "Creatures of decadent light and violent darkness; Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson". The Independent (London). p. 19. ^"Paperback Best Sellers". The New York Times. January 10, 1993. ^Steiner, Wendy (November 20, 1994), "Advertisements for Themselves", The New York Times ^Kakutani, Michiko (November 15, 1994), "The Rise of a Self-Proclaimed Phenomenon", The New York Times ^ abJohn P. McCombe, "The Birds and Hitchcock's Hyper-Romantic Vision" in Marshall Deutelbaum and Leland A. Poague, A Hitchcock Reader, p.266 John Wiley & Sons, March 10, 2009 Cite error: Invalid tag; name "McCombe" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).^ abcdJames, Clive (March 27, 2005). "Well Versed". The New York Times. ^Book description on Random House website.^Rosen, Gary. "The Pagan Aesthetic". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 7, 2014. Sources[edit]External links[edit]
Agenda 2030
Vladimir Putin: Global Warming 'A Fraud' | The Daily Caller
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 16:11
Putin's comments likely came after his staff ''did very, very extensive work trying to understand all sides of the climate debate,'' according to Andrey Illarionov, Putin's former senior economic adviser, who's now a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.
''We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited,'' Illarionov said. ''It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to 'fight' global warming was rather unfounded.''
The New York Times published an article on how the Russian media's skepticism of global warming is being driven by Putin's laissez faire attitude on the issue. The Times bashed the Russian autocrat for offering ''only vague and modest pledges of emissions cuts ahead of December's U.N. climate summit in Paris.''
Russia's largely state-run media has spent little to no time covering global warming despite huge fires raging across Siberia. Instead of blaming the fires on warming, Russian news outlets tended to focus on ''locals who routinely but carelessly burn off tall grasses every year, and the sometimes incompetent crews struggling to put the fires out.''
Such reasoning wasn't good enough for the Times, which argued that ''Russian media continue to pay little attention to an issue that animates so much of the world.''
Russian media leaders argue it's not just the tone being set by Putin, but a weak economy and unemployment woes are a top concern of the Russian public '-- they don't seem to care much about the weather.
''It is difficult to spend editorial resources on things that are now a low priority in the midst of the economic crisis,'' Galina Timchenko, who runs a news site, told the Times. ''Unfortunately climate change is not very interesting to the public.''
Low oil prices have hampered Russia's economic growth, and spurred the Putin administration to take more action abroad, fomenting conflict in Ukraine and supporting the Assad regime in Syria. But at home, Russians are feeling the bite of cheap oil and western sanctions.
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Putin's comments likely came after his staff ''did very, very extensive work trying to understand all sides of the climate debate,'' according to Andrey Illarionov, Putin's former senior economic adviser, who's now a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.
''We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited,'' Illarionov said. ''It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to 'fight' global warming was rather unfounded.''
The New York Times published an article on how the Russian media's skepticism of global warming is being driven by Putin's laissez faire attitude on the issue. The Times bashed the Russian autocrat for offering ''only vague and modest pledges of emissions cuts ahead of December's U.N. climate summit in Paris.''
Russia's largely state-run media has spent little to no time covering global warming despite huge fires raging across Siberia. Instead of blaming the fires on warming, Russian news outlets tended to focus on ''locals who routinely but carelessly burn off tall grasses every year, and the sometimes incompetent crews struggling to put the fires out.''
Such reasoning wasn't good enough for the Times, which argued that ''Russian media continue to pay little attention to an issue that animates so much of the world.''
Russian media leaders argue it's not just the tone being set by Putin, but a weak economy and unemployment woes are a top concern of the Russian public '-- they don't seem to care much about the weather.
''It is difficult to spend editorial resources on things that are now a low priority in the midst of the economic crisis,'' Galina Timchenko, who runs a news site, told the Times. ''Unfortunately climate change is not very interesting to the public.''
Low oil prices have hampered Russia's economic growth, and spurred the Putin administration to take more action abroad, fomenting conflict in Ukraine and supporting the Assad regime in Syria. But at home, Russians are feeling the bite of cheap oil and western sanctions.
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Russian Media Take Climate Cue From Skeptical Putin - NYTimes.com
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 17:36
MOSCOW '-- Wildfires crackled across Siberia this summer, turning skies ochre and sending up enough smoke from burning pines to blot out satellite views of the 400-mile-long Lake Baikal.
To many climate scientists, the worsening fires are a consequence of Siberia getting hotter, the carbon unleashed from its burning forests and tundra only adding to man-made fossil fuel emissions. Siberia's wildfire season has lengthened in recent years and the 2015 blazes were among the biggest yet, caking the lake, the "Pearl of Siberia", in ash and scorching the surrounding permafrost.
But the Russian public heard little mention of climate change, because media coverage across state-controlled television stations and print media all but ignored it. On national TV, the villains were locals who routinely but carelessly burn off tall grasses every year, and the sometimes incompetent crews struggling to put the fires out.
While Western media have examined the role of rising temperatures and drought in this year's record wildfires in North America, Russian media continue to pay little attention to an issue that animates so much of the world.
The indifference reflects widespread public doubt that human activities play a significant role in global warming, a tone set by President Vladimir Putin, who has offered only vague and modest pledges of emissions cuts ahead of December's U.N. climate summit in Paris.
Russia's official view appears to have changed little since 2003, when Putin told an international climate conference that warmer temperatures would mean Russians "spend less on fur coats" while "agricultural specialists say our grain production will increase, and thank God for that".
The president believes that "there is no global warming, that this is a fraud to restrain the industrial development of several countries including Russia," says Stanislav Belkovsky, a political analyst and critic of Putin. "That is why this subject is not topical for the majority of the Russian mass media and society in general."
And with Russian media focused on the economic squeeze at home and events in Ukraine and Syria abroad, the absence of a robust media conversation on climate change means his scepticism goes largely unchallenged.
"It is difficult to spend editorial resources on things that are now a low priority in the midst of the economic crisis," says Galina Timchenko, former editor-in-chief of the successful news site Lenta.ru. Timchenko now runs Meduza, a popular site that covers Russian news but devotes little space to climate issues.
"Unfortunately climate change is not very interesting to the public," she says.
Putin's scepticism dates from the early 2000s, when his staff "did very, very extensive work trying to understand all sides of the climate debate", said Andrey Illarionov, Putin's senior economic adviser at the time and now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington.
"We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited," he said. "It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to 'fight' global warming was rather unfounded."
That opinion endures. During a trip to the Arctic in 2010, Putin acknowledged that "the climate is changing", but restated his doubt that human activity was the cause.
His trip was to inspect the retreat of the polar ice cap, something that promises to make the Arctic ocean and northern Siberia more accessible to exploration and production of the oil that Russia, the world's leading producer, depends on for export earnings.
Marianna Poberezhskaya, author of the academic work "Communicating Climate Change in Russia", characterized media coverage in Russia as "climate silence", broken only by the airing of official doubts about any human impact on global temperatures.
"Russian mass media repeat the same mistake that Western journalists used to make: the false balance, where the idea of the human effect on climate change is presented along with skeptics' point of view," she said.
Russian school teaching also appears to lag behind the rapidly expanding science on climate change.
Randomly sampled geography textbooks make no mention of human impact on the climate, and one college-level text states that climate changes are caused mainly by solar activity, the movement of the planet's crust and volcanoes.
"I see what they have abroad on the problem of climate change," says Asya Korolkova, 15, who studies high school biology in Moscow. "People there talk about it a lot; you can feel it's a serious problem. We don't have that here."
Environmentalists say that attitude is also reflected in Russia's pledge for December's global summit, one that received little media coverage at home.
In suggesting a reduction in its emissions to "70 to 75 percent" of 1990 levels by 2030, Moscow is actually proposing an increase from 2012 levels. Russian emissions are currently far below the levels produced by obsolescent ex-Soviet smokestack industries in 1990.
Even that offer is hedged. Russia has said reaching the target will require generous accounting for the role Russia's forests play in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Some observers do see signs of a slight softening in Moscow's position in the face of a series of weather disasters, from drought and searing summer fires in 2010 to raging floods in Sochi on the Black Sea last year.
Natural resources minister Sergei Donskoy has said extreme weather could cut Russia's economic output by 1-2 percent every year for the next 15 years, adding that "this has to be taken into account when determining the policy and measures in the field of adaptation to climate change".
The business newspaper Kommersant, owned by wealthy businessman Alisher Usmanov, is, like some other Russian media, taking some interest in those economic consequences, though it also did not discuss the possibility that climate change might have contributed to the Siberian fires.
"I write about what needs to be done to change production and consumption practices - the human effect on the climate is a given for us," said Kommersant journalist Alexey Shapovalov.
But for all that, there is no sign of public pressure on authorities to do more, let alone of Putin relaxing Russia's hard line ahead of the Paris talks.
"This subject has failed to become a priority," says Konstantin Simonov, the founder of a non-governmental oil and gas research fund who often appears on Russian media.
"Russia's attitude will most likely be something like this: Guys, you put economic pressure on us, introduced sanctions. Do you expect us to be holier than the Pope about the issue you're pushing through and take a load of responsibilities?"
The answer, he says, will be: "No."
(Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo; Editing by Bruce Wallace and Kevin Liffey)
Bill Gates says that capitalism cannot save us from climate change
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 20:55
(Picture: JP Yim/Getty Images)
The world's richest man, Bill Gates, has said that the private sector is too selfish and inefficient to produce effective energy alternatives to fossil fuels.
While announcing his plan to spend $2 billion of his own wealth on green energy during an interview with The Atlantic, the Microsoft founder called on fellow billionaires to help make the US fossil-free by 2050 with similar philanthropy.
He said:
There's no fortune to be made. Even if you have a new energy source that costs the same as today's and emits no CO2, it will be uncertain compared with what's tried-and-true and already operating at unbelievable scale and has gotten through all the regulatory problems.
Without a substantial carbon tax, there's no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch.
Since World War II, US-government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area. The private sector is in general inept.
The climate problem has to be solved in the rich countries. China and the US and Europe have to solve CO2 emissions, and when they do, hopefully they'll make it cheap enough for everyone else.
In recent years, China has surged ahead of the US and Europe in green investment, despite remaining the world's most polluting country in terms of fossil fuels.
Between 2000 and 2012, China's solar energy output rose from 3 to 21,000 megawatts, rising 67 per cent between 2013 and 2014. In 2014 the country's CO2 emissions decreased 1 per cent.
Meanwhile, Germany's greenhouse emissions are at the lowest point since 1990, and the UK has seen a decrease of 13.35 per cent in emissions over the last five years, according to official quarterly statistics from the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
More:The majority of the UK public appear to support more nuclear energy
Pumpkins cause climate change, Energy Department says
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:39
How scary are your jack-o'-lanterns? Scarier than you think, according to the Energy Department, which claims the holiday squash is responsible for unleashing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Most of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in the trash, says the Energy Department's website, becoming part of the ''more than 254 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the United States every year.''
Municipal solid waste decomposes into methane, ''a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide,'' Energy says.
SEE ALSO: Department of Energy urges children to dress as solar panels for Halloween
What's a Halloween-loving pumpkin carver to do?
Turn that pumpkin in to '... energy?
Municipal solid waste can be used to harness bioenergy, the Energy Department says, which can help the U.S. become less dependent on carbon-based fuels while limiting stress on landfills by reducing waste. The agency has partnered with industry to develop and test two integrated biorefineries '-- ''facilities capable of efficiently converting plant and waste material into affordable biofuels, biopower and other products.''
Neither of these proposed facilities is operational yet, but someday, all that squishy, orange squash could become clean, green energy.
Until then, happy carving!
"First, United Nations officials label bacon and deli meats as carcinogens, and now scientists are claiming that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide are not only heating the planet, they're making people dumber."
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:40
The Harvard study exposed 24 people to office environments with varying levels of volatile organic compounds as well as varying levels of carbon dioxide over six work days. The study found that for ''seven of the nine cognitive function domains, average cognitive scores decreased at each higher level of CO2.''
''Cognitive function scores were 15% lower for the moderate CO2 day (~945 ppm) and 50% lower on the day with CO2 concentrations around 1400 ppm than on the two Green+ days,'' according to the Harvard study, which claims ''green'' buildings are better for your health.
ThinkProgress science writer Joe Romm took the study and is running a series of articles to promote his new book on global warming. Romm warns that ''on average, a typical participant's cognitive scores dropped 21 percent with a 400 ppm increase in CO2.''
''All of this new research is consistent with '-- and actually helps explain '-- literally dozens of studies in the past two decades that find low to moderate levels of CO2 have a negative impact on productivity, learning, and test scores,'' Romm writes.
So is CO2 making us dumber? There are studies showing cognition decreases as CO2 levels increase, but there are also studies that show CO2 levels need to be extremely high to be harmful to human health. It's also interesting that the U.S. Navy says average CO2 concentrations 3,500 parts per million (ppm) '-- levels nearly 10 times higher than what Harvard claims is safe.
''Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm,'' according to a 2007 National Research Council report on exposure issues facing submarine crews.
Interestingly enough, the NRC noted that a ''number of studies suggest that CO2 exposures in the range of 15,000-40,000 ppm do not impair neurobehavioral performance.''
A study from 1961 exposed ''23 crewmen exposed to CO2 at 15,000 ppm for 42 days in a submarine'' and the men ''showed no psychomotor testing effects but showed moderate increases in anxiety, apathy, uncooperativeness, desire to leave, and sexual desire.''
Another study from 1967 exposed seven men to CO2 concentration of 30,000 ppm. The men ''reported no effects on hand steadiness, vigilance, auditory monitoring, memory, or arithmetic and problem solving performance.''
The NRC study goes on to highlight more studies finding to loss of cognitive abilities at CO2 levels many times higher than the Harvard study examined. NRC did link exposures to such high levels to headaches, tremors, slight increases in blood pressure and some other relatively minor effects.
A more recent 1998 study by Craig Idso, the founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, found that people living in urban Phoenix, Arizona lived with CO2 levels as high as 555 ppm, and those lin more rural parts saw levels as high as 370 ppm.
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The Harvard study exposed 24 people to office environments with varying levels of volatile organic compounds as well as varying levels of carbon dioxide over six work days. The study found that for ''seven of the nine cognitive function domains, average cognitive scores decreased at each higher level of CO2.''
''Cognitive function scores were 15% lower for the moderate CO2 day (~945 ppm) and 50% lower on the day with CO2 concentrations around 1400 ppm than on the two Green+ days,'' according to the Harvard study, which claims ''green'' buildings are better for your health.
ThinkProgress science writer Joe Romm took the study and is running a series of articles to promote his new book on global warming. Romm warns that ''on average, a typical participant's cognitive scores dropped 21 percent with a 400 ppm increase in CO2.''
''All of this new research is consistent with '-- and actually helps explain '-- literally dozens of studies in the past two decades that find low to moderate levels of CO2 have a negative impact on productivity, learning, and test scores,'' Romm writes.
So is CO2 making us dumber? There are studies showing cognition decreases as CO2 levels increase, but there are also studies that show CO2 levels need to be extremely high to be harmful to human health. It's also interesting that the U.S. Navy says average CO2 concentrations 3,500 parts per million (ppm) '-- levels nearly 10 times higher than what Harvard claims is safe.
''Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm,'' according to a 2007 National Research Council report on exposure issues facing submarine crews.
Interestingly enough, the NRC noted that a ''number of studies suggest that CO2 exposures in the range of 15,000-40,000 ppm do not impair neurobehavioral performance.''
A study from 1961 exposed ''23 crewmen exposed to CO2 at 15,000 ppm for 42 days in a submarine'' and the men ''showed no psychomotor testing effects but showed moderate increases in anxiety, apathy, uncooperativeness, desire to leave, and sexual desire.''
Another study from 1967 exposed seven men to CO2 concentration of 30,000 ppm. The men ''reported no effects on hand steadiness, vigilance, auditory monitoring, memory, or arithmetic and problem solving performance.''
The NRC study goes on to highlight more studies finding to loss of cognitive abilities at CO2 levels many times higher than the Harvard study examined. NRC did link exposures to such high levels to headaches, tremors, slight increases in blood pressure and some other relatively minor effects.
A more recent 1998 study by Craig Idso, the founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, found that people living in urban Phoenix, Arizona lived with CO2 levels as high as 555 ppm, and those lin more rural parts saw levels as high as 370 ppm.
Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
World's bishops appeal to COP 21 delegates for 'just and legally binding' climate deal | National Catholic Reporter
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 19:32
The world's bishops have a clear message for world leaders set, in barely a month, to enter the latest and perhaps most significant round of international climate negotiations: Get the deal done in Paris.
In Rome on Monday, the heads of six continental bishops' conferences, along with leaders of national conferences in the United States and Canada and of the Catholic patriarchs of the Orient, made the collective call -- ''on our own behalf and on behalf of the people for whom we care'' -- to the negotiating parties who are set to arrive Nov. 30 in Paris for the annual United Nations climate change conference, formally known as the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21).
''We join the Holy Father in pleading for a major break-through in Paris, for a comprehensive and transformational agreement supported by all based on principles of solidarity, justice and participation,'' the bishops said in their appeal, which drew heavily from Pope Francis' encyclical, ''LaudatoSi', on Care for Our Common Home.''
Delegates to COP 21 are expected to finalize a global deal committing all nations to self-set pledges aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions in order to bypass the worst impacts of climate change.
In the appeal, the bishops outlined 10 points to what would qualify as a successful agreement: one that is ''just and legally binding,'' links climate change to social injustice and exclusion, with special concern for the poor and most vulnerable, places the common good before national interests, and puts in writing enforcement and review measures for each country's pledge to reduce emissions.
Visit our sister website, Global Sisters Report!
Such an agreement, they said, would also reflect the ethical and moral dimensions of climate change and accept the view that the climate and atmosphere are ''global common goods'' belonging to all and meant for all. In addition, the bishops challenged leaders to ''strongly limit a global temperature increase'' and to devise ''climate compatible'' models of development and lifestyle that address inequality and offer an outlet from poverty. ''Central to this,'' the bishops wrote, ''is to put an end to the fossil fuel era, phasing out fossil fuel emissions and providing affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy access for all.''
''Reliable scientific evidence suggests that accelerated climate change is the result of unrestrained human activity, working to a particular model of progress and development and that excessive reliance on fossil fuels is primarily responsible,'' they said.
The latest round of U.N. climate summit runs Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Paris. COP 21 has drawn heightened attention as it is expected to ratify the first global climate accord since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, with this version binding all 195 COP member nations (to differentiating degrees, based on historical responsibility), rather than solely the industrialized world.
During the Monday press conference, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, called the appeal ''a very historical occasion,'' and represented the first time in his memory that all the heads of the continental bishops' federations have, first, come together, and second, around such a collective document.
''We're here to, in a way, respond to what the Holy Father has asked for in Laudato Si', and also because of the urgency all of us have felt,'' he said.
Of the appeal's nine signatories, six were presidents of continental bishops' conferences: Gracias of Bombay, India (Asia); Cardinals Peter Erd¶ of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary and Reinhard Marx of Munich, Germany (Europe); Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia (Latin America); Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Lubango, Angola (Africa); and Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moreseby, Papua New Guinea (Oceania). Also penning their names were the heads of the U.S. and Canadian bishops' conferences, Archbishops Joseph Kurtz and David Douglas Crosby, respectively, and Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, president of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient.
Gracias and his fellow bishops described the present-day experiences of the effects of climate change in their corners of the world, from more frequent and intense cyclones in India and typhoons in the Philippines, to more recurrent flooding of Bangkok, to the relocation of the people of the Carteret Islands to Bougainville, both off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
''It is taking some time to do so,'' said Ribat, president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania, of the resettlement. ''The people are not readily willing to go because they fear that their culture will go, will disappear. And all other things that belong to them will no longer be there. And their fear also at this time as they go settle on this place they're given to resettle, will they be accepted easily and peacefully?''
The Papua New Guinea archbishop said his plea is that all people do what they can to encourage an ambitious, binding and fair agreement in Paris and beyond. ''Ask politicians to guarantee the future existence of Oceania," he said.
More: "St. Francis feast film screenings bring climate refugees to light" (Aug. 20, 2012)
The seeds of the global bishops' appeal germinated in July at a post-encyclical conference in Rome organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and CIDSE, an international coalition of Catholic development agencies. During an informal side meeting, representatives of various continental bishops' conferences came to the conclusion they should take some type of collective action. Leading the way were the Asian bishops, according to one of the document's organizers.
''FABC played the strongest role in the whole initiative,'' said Bernd Nilles, CIDSE secretary general, who collaborated in the construction of the joint statement.
In particular, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis (another organization assisting the appeal), was central in building a bridge between bishops from climate vulnerable regions, like his native Philippines and parts of Oceania, and those on continents home to the historical output of carbons emissions.
''You need lead figures '... in the last steps to get really everybody on board. That was very important,'' Nilles said.
Meetings among the eventual signing parties picked up in September and continued through the Synod of Bishops on the family, which formally concluded Saturday. The text was finalized Thursday. While different proposals were studied, scrutinized and modified, the appeal's starting point was always bedrocked in Laudato Si', with the bishops eager to show a united front in support of the pope and the encyclical. Throughout the encyclical, Francis challenged for greater courage among political leaders to take responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases and work toward the global common good.
A second text provided further inspiration: a plea last December for a climate agreement from nine bishops made during the U.N. climate talks in Lima, Peru. In their statement (also coordinated by CIDSE), the bishops, themselves representing four continents and five countries, called for ''an end to the fossil fuel era'' and endorsed the goal of holding average global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
An early version of the global bishops' appeal echoed the Lima bishops in calling for the 1.5 degrees target, but was ultimately left out of the final iteration. Conversations weighed including a specific temperature target, Nilles said, but it became clear it was not an area of comfort for the bishops, who found it ''kind of tricky'' as pastors to pinpoint the proper decimal.
Speaking with journalists in Rome following the press conference, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who acknowledged U.S. bishops opposed inclusion of the 1.5 degrees limit, made much the same point: ''To say 1.5 or 1.6 or 1.7, that seemed to be more the competencies of a scientist than the competencies of a pastor,'' in that advocating a specific number could lead people to question why bishops viewed themselves adept to even make such an argument.
''What they say is something which leads to a similar result in the end,'' Nilles told NCR.
In the appeal the bishops hinted at a target, Gracias said, in proposing the Paris agreement ''strongly limit a global temperature increase and to set a goal for complete decarbonisation by mid-century, in order to protect frontline communities suffering from the impacts of climate change, such as those in the Pacific Islands and in coastal regions.''
Ribat, for his part, invoked the 1.5 degrees goal at the press conference in saying the world community has the means and alternatives available to change course and limit temperature rise below that level. In briefly contrasting the limits of 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees warming, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele de Strihou, former vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the science has outlined the potential scenarios but ultimately, it comes to a value judgment: ''For example, are the lives of those who would be drowned under such a long-term sea level increase worth saving or not?''
According to the 2014 IPCC report, to limit warming to 1.5 degrees by 2100 would require slashes in emissions of 70-90 percent below 2010 levels by 2050; Continuing down the status quo could result in 4 degrees of temperature rise. Scenarios aiming for a max 2 degrees rise would require the near-elimination of fossil fuel use by century's end, a timeline that ratchets up as the temperature goal shrinks.
''That's what the IPCC says, so de facto, the bishops are not naming a temperature, but they are very clear: If you want to protect vulnerable communities, you need to phase out fossil fuels and decarbonize,'' Nilles said.
Even without a specific temperature target, the CIDSE director hailed the appeal as ''a major achievement across continents,'' and in particular noted the positive movement on the climate issue occurring in North America -- in the U.S., given greater momentum through the papal visit in September. Though the appeal comes from some of the highest echelons of church hierarchy, Nilles stressed it doesn't represent a message ''from the ivory tower,'' but one embedded in ''the concrete reality of people.''
''Who decides in the end in Paris are the national governments, so the bishops can play now an important role to bring that in their continents to the table. So it's not just something coming from the Vatican, from the pope, it's really something from the local church that asks their politicians to do,'' he said.
Gracias said he understood the political challenges posed by taking the necessary steps to curb global warming, in that par for politicians is to think and operate within the confines of their term in office, whereas climate change is an issue impacting generations. The church's duty, he continued, is to bring forward the ethical and moral principles for adopting a long-term lens in matters concerning the climate.
''We are therefore wanting to make an earnest appeal on behalf of our people. Because the ones who will suffer, if decisions are not taken by governments, will be our people,'' Gracias said.
[Brian Roewe is an NCR staff writer. His email address is broewe@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianRoewe. NCR senior analyst Fr. Thomas Reese contributed from Rome.]
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World bishops' appeal to COP 21 negotiating parties
Kabinet wil dat Nederlanders vaker insecten eten | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op NU.nl
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 14:53
Nederlanders zouden meer insecten, wier en peulvruchten moeten eten. Het zijn gezonde en duurzame bronnen van eiwit.Dat stelt het kabinet vrijdag. Den Haag vindt dat er aanpassingen van de voedselproductie en -consumptie nodig zijn om ook in de toekomst voldoende, duurzaam en gezond voedsel te kunnen garanderen.
Ook moeten volksgezondheid, milieu en veiligheid centraal staan.
Zo wil het kabinet dat het gebruik van gewasbeschermingsmiddelen moet worden teruggedrongen, net zoals het gebruik van antibiotica in de veehouderij. Het kabinet wil ook meer aandacht voor voedsel dat een alternatieve bron van eiwitten is, zoals peulvruchten, wier, insecten en kweekvlees.
KeurmerkenOm de keuze voor een duurzaam product makkelijker te maken, moet er orde komen in 'het oerwoud aan keurmerken' en moet de voedselverspilling verder worden verminderd.
Bij dit alles dragen het bedrijfsleven, consumenten en maatschappelijke organisaties ook hun verantwoordelijkheid, zo vindt het kabinet. Nederland kan vooroplopen in de vraag naar duurzaam geproduceerd voedsel, aldus Den Haag.
"Nederland is met vernieuwende voedselproductie toonaangevend in de wereld", zegt staatssecretaris Sharon Dijksma van Economische Zaken. "Onze voedselproducenten kunnen zorgen voor een gezonde en duurzame maaltijd op ons bord, zowel in Nederland als internationaal."
VleestaksMilieudefensie hekelt in een reactie dat de staatssecretaris niet duidelijk aanstuurt op een vermindering van de consumptie van vlees en een verkleining van de veestapel. "Het is de hoogste tijd voor een vleestaks en een verbod op vleesreclames. Want alleen zo krijgen we de vleesconsumptie echt omlaag'', aldus Milieudefensie.
Door: ANP
SXSW announces online harassment summit
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 20:01
Logo for South by Southwest, the Austin, Texas, a set of annual festivals that celebrate film, interactive media, and music.(Photo: South By Southwest)
The South By Southwest Festival will hold a one-day summit about the issue of online harassment, a response to the outcry after organizers cancelled two panels earlier this week.
BuzzFeed and Vox Media threatened not to participate in the annual festival in March 2016 in Austin, Tex., after SXSW Interactive director Hugh Forrest on Tuesday announced the cancellations of two sessions about video games and online harassment. Organizers were blasted on social media for the decision.
SXSW hit with growing backlash after fest cancels panels over threats
''Earlier this week, we made a mistake,'' Forrest said in a statement Friday. ''By canceling two sessions we sent an unintended message that SXSW not only tolerates online harassment but condones it, and for that we are truly sorry.''
Concern about the panels stemmed from a controversy sometimes called #Gamergate, a more than year-long cultural discussion among gamers, reporters and critics that's happened primarily online, but has resulted in some real-world physical threats against individuals.
Forrest said in his statement that the feedback ''from the individuals involved and the community-at-large resonated loud and clear. While we made the decision in the interest of safety for all of our attendees, cancelling sessions was not an appropriate response. We have been working with the authorities and security experts to determine the best way to proceed. ''
Organizers now plan a day-long Online Harassment Summit event on March 12 that will be live-streamed online.
Invited to take part in the event are members of the cancelled panels and other speakers whose submitted panels did not make the final schedule. Also invited: U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), who had sent a letter to Forrest asking the festival to reconsider the panel cancellations.
Game developer Brianna Wu, who has been a target of threats amid the GamerGate controversy, was already scheduled to speak at two other SXSW panels, one on women in technology and another on virtual reality. She will now participate in the day-long summit.
Wu is among several women who have received online death threats after speaking out against online misogyny.
When contacted earlier this week about SXSW's actions, she said that ''I think if SXSW does not address this it could permanently damage reputation of their conference. '... They are going to get a reputation as a conference that is hostile to women.''
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SXSW canceled panels: Here is what happened.
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 17:16
The SXSW Film-Interactive-Music Conference on March 13, 2015 in Austin, Texas.Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
For most of the past two years, I've been employed as a user-experience designer, interaction designer, and, now, user researcher. I lay out software to make it intuitive and easier to use. My dad calls my job ''computer ergonomics.''
This is what I do for work, but as a designer, artist, and researcher, I use my design-thinking to create speculative architectures for social media and video games'--which involves layout, how the code itself is infrastructured, what kind of feedback people are getting.
In August, I was one of the organizers of a panel for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi), ''Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games.'' I'd spent all summer researching different kinds of online and social media harassment, trolling, and the manifestation of organized groups online. I had written just a little bit about Gamergate, specifically about the time that Gamergate trolls sent a SWAT team to my mother's house. (''Swatting'' is a ploy that's been used against other targets of the Gamergate movement; it's meant to be a prank, but it can end in injury or death.) I also write about online harassment in general.
I don't want my work to be solely defined by the harassment against my mother and me. And when I talk about harassment, it's not just ''Gamergate'': I've referenced Penny Arcade Dickwolves, End Fathers Day, Freebleeding, Your Slip Is Showing'--all harassment campaigns that played out on Twitter or blogs, that targeted women and women of color in social media, and that were organized on websites such as 4chan or 8chan. I write about how the design of a site, be it Twitter or Tinder, can be used in a variety of ways that the creators didn't intend.
For a brief moment, I thought, ''Maybe Gamergate '... didn't notice?''
For our panel submission to SXSW, my co-organizers and I created an in-depth design discussion on how to stymie online harassment through design: new kinds of layout, buttons, privacy settings, different posting options. We wanted to cover a certain kind of ''design thinking'' methodology'--design thinking is the specific rationale that goes into creating something such as, for example, a mobile application. We didn't want to talk about Gamergate. We wanted to talk about design, and particularly design around solutions for harassment.
After submitting our panel, we waited for it to go live on SXSW's website. We were concerned about the SXSW panel voting system being attacked, and we reached out to some friends for support. Every panel that is submitted to SXSW must be voted on by the community, but SXSW includes two voting options: upvoting and downvoting. After a few days, as a panel, we decided to be brave and all tweet out links to the voting website ourselves.
For a brief moment, I thought, ''Fuck yeah, maybe Gamergate '... didn't notice?'' Which is probably the most naive thing I have ever thought in my entire life.
A week or so later, Arthur Chu, a prospective speaker on another panel and target of Gamergate's threats and harassment, emailed a few panelists'--including me'--and SXSW Interactive, indicating that Gamergate had, in fact, started a Reddit thread campaigning to downvote us.
I was a bit naive about the whole SXSW process. I'd figured panels went ''up'' for ''voting,'' not for ''upvoting'' and ''downvoting.'' (I've already written at length on why downvoting should be done away with in democratic systems, because it effectively creates a hegemony.) We were told through a series of emails by a SXSW representative not to worry, that the submission panel had already closed, that public voting only counts for 30 percent, that the public can't even see the amount of down- or up-votes, and that SXSW officials had more weight in selecting panels. I immediately expressed concern over security, over crowd control.
At that point, it seemed like we were just overly worrying. But I have to overly worry. I have that kind of really proud mother who always came to every soccer game, art show, and cello recital. If my panel got approved, my mother would want to attend SXSW to see me speak.
That kind of emotional negotiation is not just intrinsic to my situation; it's evocative of larger problems within technology. Being a woman in tech is fraught with all kinds of complications, and speaking up against inequalities in technology and harassment leaves victims open to more harassment. It is a fight I want to fight. But why should it be something women and marginalized groups have to fight on their own? Why do diverse and safe spaces have to come at such a high cost?
Outside of the gaming scene, a lot of people have no idea what Gamergate is or why it's still such an intensive, long, and ongoing argument. Assuming SXSW as a whole wasn't familiar with the movement, I sent over some links about Gamergate to the SXSW representative. I tried to explain the way this large fandom tended to skew, and why this should be taken seriously right now, during voting. The representative responded:
I don't see anything within the comments fields on PanelPicker that suggests anything overtly negative, threatening, or harassing. And, our policy with proposals is that the more of a dialogue around ideas the better. In regards to who can and cannot vote on PanelPicker proposals, that is not limited to attendees. Anyone can vote on SXSW proposals in PanelPicker as long as they have a profile / account. This is part of the whole community engagement and interaction '...
Effectively, I was being told: Yes, there is a campaign against you; it sucks that people are leaving horrible but nonviolent comments,let's not do anything right now because it will probably die down. After about a week, though, SXSW finally realized they needed to turn the comments off on our panels. Usually panels get one or two comments, maybe a handful; ours had more than 100 mostly negative comments by the time they were disabled. Arthur Chu was watching Reddit, and he kept informing the SXSW rep as to what was going on. By now, Gamergate was submitting a panel and actively planning it on a subreddit called r/KotakuInAction. We were, again, told that our concerns were misplaced. Our rep said via email,
I seriously would not worry about their attempts to put together a panel. They can put it together all they want, but, we are already aware of what's going on and how they are treating their fellow PanelPicker proposal submitters, i.e. you, which is a great case of them getting rejected automatically. So, just let them think they can pull this all together, and bask in the glory of knowing that it's all in vain.
In these kinds of situations, I tend to think, What would a regular person do? I try to think about that before the panic or queasiness of being targeted sets in. I imagine myself as a person who does not have a large, anonymous group of people on the Internet trying to make sure she couldn't speak at a huge, crowded conference. A person who doesn't have to look over her shoulder when walking home at night. A person who never triple- and quadruple-guesses everything she posts online. A person who's never had a SWAT team called on her mom. What would a regular person do?
I went into user-research mode and analyzed this with distance, as if it were happening to someone else. What was the threat model? What could they find? What and how would someone be logically targeted? How had I presented myself in the past few weeks? What had I published? People were already organizing a positive upvoting campaign around our panels, I had written about downvoting, I had expressed anger, but I stayed out of the Gamergate hashtag, and I had friends checking for my name on 8Chan and Reddit. Things felt manageable. Things looked calm, so I calmed down.
The emotional navigation required in situations like these really weighs on me; I wanted to say something, take a stand, and I don't want the girls I mentor to enter a tech and games world that's like this. Thinking about threat modeling and where I am ''placed'' or ''sit'' in a digital world helps me evaluate situations and figure out where I fall in the landscape. Until now, I've flown mostly under the radar with Gamergate, SWAT teams notwithstanding. Part of that may be because I do so many things outside of games culture'--I teach, I make art, I write about interaction design. My diversity of interests helps keep me safe.
What also keeps me safe is the belief that conferences do prioritize safety, especially for speakers who have received threats in the past. As a conference organizer myself, I take safety seriously, but I would never misconstrue a situation to my speakers. I would work with them, help them, and try to come to a solution that had actionable results.
On Oct. 7, I was notified that our panel was accepted, and I was elated. On Oct. 20, I was informed by Arthur Chu that Gamergate's panel, ''Save Point: A Discussion on the Gaming Community,'' had been accepted. I immediately reached out to the new SXSW representative, including links on Gamergate, and ended the email with a question about security and my feelings of slight fear and apprehension around the Save Point panel being included. I heard nothing back for a week; I called twice. Finally, the representative responded to my emails.
We appreciate your thoughts and always welcome feedback from our community. That said, SXSW is a big tent and we strongly believe in showcasing a very diverse range of ideas and opinions, even if we as a staff don't always agree with them. If everyone shared the same viewpoint, that would make for a pretty boring event.
I immediately responded with:
My panelists and I completely understand the desire to have different views showcased, and we are all for that. However, in light of the past events and given the ongoing security concerns my panelists and I are all facing, security needs to be present at the panel. This is mainly to make sure that our talk does not get derailed, which has happened in the past, particularly around the topics of harassment and gaming. We want to keep this panel on topic, and we'd like the ability for security to intervene should it get hostile.
Thanks again for understanding!
I heard nothing back from SXSW until I got an email saying that SXSW was canceling our panel due to threats made against our panel and Save Point. We'd had no idea that we had received threats. SXSW deemed that there was no way to have a civil conversation and preserve SXSW's ''big tent,'' so all panels related to Gamergate were being canceled. Including our panel, which had nothing to do with Gamergate and everything to do with design.
Our panel had nothing to do with Gamergate and everything to do with design.
So many things about this situation could have been handled better. (Leigh Alexander actually covers this pretty well.) Most importantly, SXSW could have taken our concerns seriously when we first voiced them in August. I understand security can be hard; I understand wanting to show all sides of an issue and creating a panel that is ''of the moment.'' But SXSW created a disingenuous and potentially dangerous situation. Just as our panel was about design, the Gamergate panel was (technically) about gaming journalism. Moreover, the emails I received are not the proper response to a woman participating in a tech conference who has security concerns. It downplays my lived experiences, as a person. If there were threats made against my panel and my co-panelists, I should have been informed. If there were threats made against the Save Point panel, they should have been informed as well.
I was really concerned about moderation amid a potentially rowdy crowd. If, for example, a panelist were to choose not to answer a certain question, that can reflect badly on us and create new waves of harassment. This same rationale should and could be extended to Save Point; they should not have to moderate the crowd. But if a SXSW-appointed moderator says something along the lines of ''Great question, but it's a bit off topic,'' it deflects blame and diffuses the moment. Moderation with representatives from the conference, as well as multiple representatives placed throughout the crowd and at the door, sets a tone of formality and order. Additionally, it just makes the speakers feel safer. Offering these services to both panels would have been a great idea, as would allowing the panelists to decide what range of security they wanted.
Vox, BuzzFeed, and other media outlets have started pulling out of SXSW in the wake of our panel on anti-harassment being dismissed because of harassment. But I would still love to speak at SXSW. I would love to work with them on security, harassment, and code-of-conduct initiatives. I would love to talk about threat modeling and harassment, and point them in the direction of security experts and other professionals who can lead workshops on how to talk to victims of harassment.
Creating an interesting and diverse tent isn't just about the topics that are covered. It's also about the speakers and attendees and how they are treated. Fair and good treatment isn't just free swag'--it's about safety. Safety helps create an open and inclusive environment for everyone. I want to be part of building a tech community that is safe and open for everyone, especially marginalized groups in technology.
What do Burundi, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Algeria, Tunisia, Cameroon, Uganda, Chad, Congo, Rwanda, have in common? | Mail & Guardian Africa
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:52
SINCE African nations won independence, many leaders have tried, often successfully, to stay in power by amending their constitutions to change the cap set on presidential mandates.
The latest example is veteran Congo ruler Denis Sassou Nguesso, whose government on Tuesday claimed a landslide victory in a referendum on changes to the constitution that would make him eligible to contest elections next year, extending his three-decade stay in power.
There are critics of term limits, who have supported various presidents in their moves to scrap term limits. They say term limits are ''foreign'' to Africa, and that it is ''undemocratic'' to deny the people the right to give a good leader a continued in office.
Notably, though, at the time term limits are first written into constitutions, they are seen as the panacea for these countries ills, most of which were plagued by conflict. However, after a new leader has consolidated, goal posts usually shift.
Here is a range of precedents over the past 15 years:
- BURUNDI: After a constitutional row, Pierre Nkurunziza won a highly controversial third term in July, 2015, in polls boycotted by the opposition and denounced by the United Nations as neither free nor fair.
His re-election bid sparked an attempted coup by rebel generals and months of civil unrest that sent tens of thousands fleeing the country.
- BURKINA FASO: In October 2014, the announcement that long-serving president Blaise Compaore sought to extend his rule beyond 30 years brought hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets. Compaore was forced to stand down.
On September 17, 2015, power was seized by an aide to Compaore, but the coup failed a week later.
- DJIBOUTI: In April 2010, Djibouti's parliament approved a constitutional amendment allowing President Ismael Omar Guelleh, in power since 1999, to run for a third term.
- ALGERIA: In November 2008, the parliament quashed the limit on the number of presidential terms to two, voting for a revision of the constitution. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, was then re-elected in 2009 and again in 2014.
- CAMEROON: In April 2008, parliament revised the constitution, scrapping the limit on the number of presidential terms. Paul Biya, who had been in power since 1982, was elected to a sixth term in October 2011.
- UGANDA: In July 2005, a constitutional reform scrapped restrictions on the number of presidential terms. Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, was re-elected in 2006, and again in 2011.
- CHAD: In June 2005, a constitutional revision was adopted after a disputed referendum abolished a limit of two five-year terms. Idriss Deby Itno, in power since 1990, was re-elected in 2006 and again in 2011.
- TOGO: In December 2002, a constitutional amendment paved the way for Gnassingbe Eyadema, in power since 1967, to seek another term in 2003. In February 2005, after his death, a constitutional revision by parliament allowed his son, Faure Gnassingbe, favoured by the army, to be sworn in as president. However, under pressure from the international community, he was forced to step down. He was later declared winner of a regular presidential election.
- ZIMBABWE: A new constitution adopted in 2013 allowed President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, to stand in an election, which he won.
- ANGOLA: The adoption in January 2010 of a constitutional amendment providing for the election of a president by indirect suffrage, by parliamentarians, allowed head of state Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in power since 1979, to be sworn in in 2012 after his party's victory in legislative elections.
- A number of African leaders, including the presidents of RWANDA, Paul Kagame, and the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, Joseph Kabila, are seeking to modify or get round their countries' constitutions to seek another term.
- Some heads of state have modified the constitution to impose single-round presidential votes, as in GABON in 2003. Others, on the other hand, have tried unsuccessfully to impose constitutional modifications to remain in power: in ZAMBIA, Frederick Chiluba was forced to throw in the towel in 2001 under popular pressure, and in MALAWI, the parliament in 2002 blocked Bakili Muluzi from seeking a third mandate in 2004.
- Finally, in TUNISIA, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in power since 1987, engineered an amendment of the constitution in 2002 by referendum, which opened the way for him standing for a fourth term in October 2004. However, a major popular uprising induced him to flee his country in January 2011.
Message to the Congress -- Notification to the Congress on AGOA Program Change
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:47
In accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, as amended (AGOA) (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(3)(B)), I am providing notification of my intent to terminate the designation of the Republic of Burundi (Burundi) as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under AGOA.
I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Burundi has not established or is not making continual progress toward establishing the rule of law and political pluralism, as required by the AGOA eligibility requirements outlined in section 104 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3703). In particular, the continuing crackdown on opposition members, which has included assassinations, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture, have worsened significantly during the election campaign that returned President Nkurunziza to power earlier this year. In addition, the Government of Burundi has blocked opposing parties from holding organizational meetings and campaigning throughout the electoral process. Police and armed youth militias with links to the ruling party have intimidated the opposition, contributing to nearly 200,000 refugees fleeing the country since April 2015. Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of Burundi as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under AGOA as of January 1, 2016.
CYBER-America to Census: 'No comment' -- FCW
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:37
America to Census: 'No comment'By Zach NobleOct 30, 2015The Census Bureau will soon be accessing personal information on the U.S. population from the IRS, the Social Security Administration and state agencies and incorporating it into the bureau's database.
It seems Americans have nothing to say about that.
As bureau officials work on ways to streamline activities and lower the costs associated with the 2020 national headcount, linking to administrative records -- information other government organizations maintain for the purpose of administering programs and providing services -- has emerged as a key way to do both while enhancing the quality of Census' data.
However, a recent Government Accountability Office report notes that Census still has work to do on incorporating the records.
In a Sept. 17 Federal Register notice, Census proposed seven changes to its Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program that pertain to storing and accessing information gleaned from the IRS, SSA, other Census surveys and State Employment Security Agencies.
Among the categories are demographics, economic and business data, and respondent contact information, which could include personally identifiable information. The bureau's notice addressed potential concerns about security and anonymity.
"Records are maintained within a secure, restricted access environment where direct identifiers have been deleted and replaced by unique serial identification numbers (PIK)," the notice states. "The records can be retrieved by the PIK by only a limited number of persons sworn to uphold the confidentiality of Census Bureau data and who have a need to know."
Written comments on the proposed changes were due by Oct. 19, but in an Oct. 30 update, Census officials noted that they had received zero comments.
Therefore, the bureau is moving ahead with the changes.
A Census spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering cloud, big data and workforce issues. Connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
DOD's head of Silicon Valley outreach sees post-Sony opening
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:54
DOD's head of Silicon Valley outreach sees post-Sony openingBy Sean LyngaasOct 28, 2015George Duchak director of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental
There has been a "sea change" in the willingness of big Silicon Valley firms to work with the Pentagon since the devastating hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment last year, according to George Duchak, the recently named head of the Defense Department's Silicon Valley outreach office.
"I think they [Silicon Valley firms] see that'...working with the U.S. government has some benefits to protect some of the things that they're doing," Duchak said Oct. 28 at a conference hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Google has been "very receptive" to the Pentagon's overtures, he added, while Apple has been less so.
Duchak, director of the nascent Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX), later told reporters that his sense of a warmer reception from Silicon Valley of late was based on anecdotal impressions rather than hard evidence. But perceptions matter as defense officials continue to court entrepreneurs outside of what is dubbed the "traditional contracting base."
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee observed that Silicon Valley companies don't want to get "involved in the labyrinth that is called defense acquisition," at a recent Brookings Institution event on reforming defense procurement.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has vigorously courted Silicon Valley in a bid to rejuvenate the way the Pentagon does business. Carter unveiled the department's new cyber strategy and the creation of DIUX in an April trip to Northern California.
A key charge of DIUX is to more swiftly connect DOD users in search of technologies with the entrepreneurs who are developing them. Carter gave explicit instructions to DIUX to "hot-wire the system," said Duchak, a former director of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Information Directorate. "To me, that almost sounds like an admission that business as usual isn't working," he said -- and that keeping pace with innovation requires circumventing the traditional acquisition process.
Carter, who previously served as the Pentagon's top acquisition official, is "very much concerned'...that our current system lacks the agility and the speed to provide technologies that we need" in a fast-changing world, according to Duchak.
Cybersecurity and enterprise IT are two topics Duchak said he is eyeing as head of DIUX. "Every dollar we could save on being more efficient on [enterprise systems] are dollars that we could apply to the front end of'...our DOD mission," Duchak said.
About the Author
Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Follow him on Twitter: @snlyngaas
Federal CIO Tony Scott unveils new government cyber strategy -- FCW
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:55
Tony Scott drops the new federal cyber strategyBy Zach NobleOct 30, 2015On Oct. 30, federal CIO Tony Scott pushed out the Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan that defines a "major" cybersecurity breach and directs agencies to report such breaches to Congress within seven days of discovery. Scott also unveiled updated Federal Information Security Modernization Act guidance.
In a blog post, Scott called the CSIP a "comprehensive review" based on analysis of "[more than] 100 experts from across the government and private industry."
The plan builds on results from the summer's cyber sprint, and has been in the works at least since this summer.
"The team's review made clear that we must continue to double down on this Administration's broad strategy to enhance federal cybersecurity and fundamentally overhaul information security practices, policies, and governance," Scott wrote.
Scott laid out the five main objectives of the new strategy:
Prioritized identification and protection of high-value assets and information;Timely detection of and rapid response to cyber incidents;Rapid recovery from incidents when they occur and accelerated adoption of lessons learned from the sprint assessment;Recruitment and retention of the most highly qualified cybersecurity workforce talent the federal government can bring to bear; andEfficient and effective acquisition and deployment of existing and emerging technology.Key dates from the strategy include requiring all agencies to identify and report high-value assets by Nov. 13, 2015; rolling out Einstein 3A to all agencies by the end of 2015; and a government-wide cyber incident response contract vehicle by April 30, 2016, with guidance on agencies recovering from cyber breaches due from the National Institute of Standards and Technology by June 30 of next year.
CSIP: Key milestonesAbout the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering cloud, big data and workforce issues. Connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
The Military Industrial Complex 'Unicorn': Former NSA Chief Raises $32.5 Million For "Startup" | Zero Hedge
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 15:01
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Former head of the NSA, Keith Alexander, has been a busy guy since he left government. Having avoided any accountability whatsoever despite systematically using the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper, Mr. Alexander is doing what every government official does upon leaving office. He's trying to grab as much money as possible.
Liberty Blitzkrieg readers will recall the 2014 post, Ex-NSA Chief Keith Alexander is Now Pimping Advice to Wall Street Banks for $1 Million a Month, in which I introduced his firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc. Fast forward a year, and Silicon Valley is chomping at the bit to embrace a company headed by a man who by all accounts should be in prison.
From the Wall Street Journal:
The former head of the National Security Agency has attracted funding for his cybersecurity startup from a prominent venture-capital firm, highlighting the continuing ties between Silicon Valley and Washington despite recent tensions.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is among the investors providing a $32.5 million infusion to IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., which aims to help companies fight computer hackers with software.
IronNet was founded by Keith Alexander, who was NSA director in 2013 when former agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had snooped with help from technology firms. Since then, government officials and tech executives have clashed over the proper limits of encryption technology.
As IronNet builds its technology, officials such as Mr. Olsen have offered consulting services to bring in extra revenue. Mr. Alexander said he has been boning up on how to run a startup, such as drafting term sheets for investors.
''It's been a good year,'' Mr. Alexander said of IronNet in an interview. ''I'm not going to say it's been an easy year.''
It also hasn't been without controversy. Some critics accused Mr. Alexander of too quickly cashing in or potentially relying on classified intelligence to turn a buck.
Banana Republic justice.
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 4.9(9 votes)
War on Ca$h
Sweden close to becoming cashless society with negative interest rates
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:09
REUTERS/Ruben SprichEmma Green of Sweden in the women's high jump final in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Sweden is shaping up to be the first country to plunge its citizens into a fascinating '-- and terrifying '-- economic experiment: negative interest rates in a cashless society.
The Swedish central bank, the Sveriges Riksbank, on Wednesday held its benchmark interest rate at -0.35%, the level it has been at since July.
Though retail banks have yet to pass that negative rate on to Swedish consumers, they face increased pressure to do so as long as the rates remain where they are. That's a problem, because Sweden is the closest country on the planet to becoming an all-electronic cashless society.
Remember, Sweden is the place where, if you use too much cash, banks call the police because they think you might be a terrorist or a criminal. Swedish banks have started removing cash ATMs from rural areas, annoying old people and farmers.Credit Suisse says the rule of thumb in Scandinavia is: "If you have to pay in cash, something is wrong."
Here's a chart from Quartz demonstrating how serious the Swedes are about getting rid of cash:
If banks charge customers negative interest rates in a cashless society, those customers are not able to withdraw their money as cash to shield it under their putative mattresses. Consumers' only choice in such a scenario is to spend it or let the bank take it. (The theory is that by forcing people to spend cash rather than save it, you can spur economic growth.)
Rather than going further into negative territory '-- a move that carries political risks the more negative it becomes '-- the Riksbank chose instead to do another round of quantitative easing (a forced bond-buying program that flushes more cash from the central bank into the economy).
But the pressure for negative interest rates to drive cash out of bank deposits and into the economy is building. Switzerland, for instance, has negative central-policy rates that cost its banks $1 billion a year. Those costs haven't yet been passed down to consumers. But how much longer will banks eat that before adding fees and charges to Swiss accounts to defray the cost?
We reported at the weekend how central bankers and investment-bank analysts are increasingly discussing when this might happen. And Tuesday, Italy sold a two-year bond at an interest rate of -0.023%, which means investors have to pay to lend Italy money rather than receive interest on their loans. (Why would you buy such a bond? Well, if you believe that you'll get even worse terms in the future from other creditors '-- hello, Sweden! '-- then suddenly -0.023% starts to look pretty good.)
So two trends are converging on Sweden at the same time:
Sweden is using less and less cash.Sweden is an environment of negative interest rates.And that means many Swedes have no way to "hide" their money.
So Sweden may become the first country whose citizens may have to accept negative interest rates (probably in the form of higher bank charges or fees) or be forced to spend their money to "save" it from those rates.
A resistance is forming, and some people are protesting the impending extinction of cash. Bj¶rn Eriksson, former head of Sweden's national police and now head of S¤kerhetsbranschen, a lobbying group for the security industry, told The Local, "I've heard of people keeping cash in their microwaves because banks won't accept it."
War on Drugs
Reuters cover-up: Reuters does not mention that a Saudi prince was among those arrested
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 19:29
"Lebanese authorities detained five Saudi citizens at Beirut international airport on Monday after finding two tonnes of drugs aboard a private jet bound for the Gulf kingdom, security sources and the National News Agency said."
War on Vaping
PHMSA - Final Rules - PHMSA-2015-0165
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 03:52
Billing Code: 4910-60-P
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
49 CFR Part 175
[Docket No. PHMSA-2015-0165]
RIN 2137-AF12
Hazardous Materials: Carriage of Battery-Powered Electronic Smoking Devices in Passenger Baggage
AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT.
ACTION: Interim Final Rule
SUMMARY: PHMSA is issuing an interim final rule to prohibit passengers and crewmembers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage and prohibit passengers and crewmembers from charging the devices and/or batteries on board the aircraft. These devices may continue to be carried in carry-on baggage. This action is consistent with a similar action taken by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that incorporated this restriction into the 2015-2016 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air by way of an addendum and is necessary to address an immediate safety risk. This interim final rule does not impact the existing rules on the transport of lithium batteries or other portable electronic devices that are transported for personal use in a passenger's checked or carry-on baggage.
Because the actions taken in this interim final rule address a public safety risk, PHMSA finds that good cause exists to amend the regulations without advance notice and opportunity for public comment. For the reasons described below, public notice is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. PHMSA encourages persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments containing relevant information, data, or views. We will consider all comments received on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider late filed comments to the extent practicable. This interim final rule may be amended based on comments received.
DATES:Effective Date: The effective date of these amendments is [INSERT DATE 7 DAYS FROM PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER].
Comments: Comments must be received by [INSERT DATE 30 DAYS FROM PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER].
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.Fax: 1-202-493-2251.Mail: Docket Management System; U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Operations, M-30, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20590-0001.Hand Delivery: To U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Operations, M-30, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20590-0001 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.Instructions: Include the agency name and docket number PHMSA-2015-0165 or RIN 2137-AF12 for this rulemaking at the beginning of your comment. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov including any personal information provided. If sent by mail, comments must be submitted in duplicate. Persons wishing to receive confirmation of receipt of their comments must include a self-addressed stamped postcard.
Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the document (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.), as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.
Docket: You may view the public docket through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations office at the above address (See ADDRESSES).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin A. Leary, Standards and Rulemaking Division, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, telephone (202) 366-8553.
I. Background
A battery-powered portable electronic smoking device (e-cigarette), also called an e-cig, a personal vaporizer or electronic nicotine delivery system, is a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes contain a liquid, an atomizer or heating element, and a battery. When an e-cigarette is operated by a user, the heating element vaporizes the liquid. Many e-cigarettes are designed to look like traditional cigarettes, but they are also made to look like cigars, pipes, and even everyday products such as pens. The use of e-cigarettes has been rising substantially and e-cigarettes have increasingly become a common item in passenger baggage. Airline passengers and crewmembers are currently permitted to carry these devices under the provisions for portable electronic devices contained in 49 C.F.R. 175.10(a)(18). However, the provisions for portable electronic devices do not adequately address the safety risks posed by e-cigarettes, which include a heating element as a function of their design.
Recent fire incidents involving e-cigarettes in checked baggage, along with actions taken by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and ICAO, highlight the need for PHMSA to take prompt action to address this issue.
On August 9, 2014, at Boston's Logan Airport, an e-cigarette contained in a passenger's checked bag in the cargo hold of a passenger aircraft caused a fire that forced an evacuation of the aircraft. An airline ramp agent noticed smoke coming from the bag. The bag was removed from the aircraft cargo compartment and investigators determined the source of the fire was an e-cigarette, which continued to burn after it was removed from the bag. Air carrier personnel extinguished the fire. Massport Fire responded and ensured the fire was no longer burning. The fire burned a hole approximately 4 inches in diameter in the outer pocket of the bag. Passengers were deplaned as a precaution.
On January 4, 2015, at Los Angeles International Airport, a checked bag that arrived late and missed its connecting flight was found to be on fire in a baggage area. Emergency responders attributed the fire to an overheated e-cigarette inside the bag.
These incidents have shown that e-cigarettes can overheat and cause fires when the heating element is accidentally activated or turned on. This danger may be exacerbated by the growing trend of users modifying and rebuilding their reusable e-cigarette devices and swapping components, which may include the use of batteries, heating elements, and electronic components not original to the manufactured e-cigarette.
An October 2014 report from the U.S. Fire Administration1 identified at least 25 incidents of explosion and fire involving e-cigarettes between 2009 and 2014. Many of these incidents occurred while the device was charging and resulted in the ignition of nearby combustible materials. This report highlights the risks associated with charging e-cigarettes.
Following the fire at Logan Airport, on December 10, 2014, the ICAO issued an Electronic Bulletin (EB) titled, Dangerous Goods Carried by Passenger and Crew '' Incidents Related to Electronic Cigarettes (EB 2014/074).2 The ICAO bulletin recommended that a passenger's e-cigarettes be carried in the cabin of the aircraft and not in checked baggage.
On January 22, 2015, the FAA issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO)3 that highlighted current provisions of the hazardous materials regulations (HMR), which state, "transportation of battery-powered devices that are likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous evolution of heat is prohibited unless they are packaged in such a manner to preclude such an occurrence (see 49 CFR 173.21(c))." The SAFO further recommended that air operators require their passengers to carry e-cigarettes only in the cabin of the aircraft.
Effective June 9, 2015, the ICAO published an addendum to the 2015-2016 ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air to prohibit carriage of e-cigarettes in checked baggage and restrict the charging of these devices while on board the aircraft. This addendum constitutes an amendment to the 2015-2016 ICAO Technical Instructions, which took effect on January 1, 2015. On January 8, 2015, PHMSA published a rulemaking harmonizing the HMR with the 2015-2016 ICAO Technical Instructions. This issuance of this interim final rule is necessary to incorporate the June 9, 2015 amendment to the Technical Instructions to address the known safety risk.
The partial restriction in this interim final rule applies only to battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems). Passengers and crewmembers can continue to carry battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in carry-on baggage. This interim final rule does not prohibit a passenger from transporting other devices containing batteries for personal use (such as laptop computers, cell phones, cameras, etc.) in checked or carry-on baggage nor does it restrict a passenger from transporting batteries for personal use in carry-on baggage.
II. Justification for Interim Final Rule
PHMSA is issuing this interim final rule without providing an opportunity for prior public notice and comment as is normally required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). See 5 U.S.C. 553. The APA authorizes agencies to dispense with certain notice and comment procedures if the agency finds for good cause that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. See 5 U.S.C. §553(b)(3)(B). "Good cause" exists in impracticable situations when notice unavoidably prevents the due and required execution of agency functions or when an agency finds that due and timely execution of its functions is impeded by the notice otherwise required by the APA. For example, an "impracticable" good cause situation might be where air safety rules should be amended without delay if the FAA determines that the safety of the traveling public is at stake. Public notice is unnecessary when the public does not need or benefit from the notice and comment, such as with a minor or technical amendment. "Public interest" supplements the other terms and requires that public rulemaking procedures must not prevent an agency from operating and that a lack of public concern warrants an agency dispensing with public procedure.
In this case, the agency finds, for good cause, that notice and public comment is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. The importance of the safety of the flying public provides good cause for this measure. Here, there is a credible indication of an emerging transportation safety risk from two recent incidents involving battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in checked baggage and additional non-transportation incidents that occurred while these types of devices were being charged. In August 2014 at Boston's Logan Airport, an e-cigarette contained in a passenger's checked bag caught fire pre-flight and caused the evacuation of an airplane. Similarly, in January 2015 at Los Angeles International Airport, a bag containing an e-cigarette was found to be on fire in a baggage area. The bag in question had missed a flight connection, and should have been in the air at the time of the incident. Although neither airplane was in the air when the fires ignited, these incidents represent two near misses for the safety of aviation passengers. E-cigarettes in checked bags present a safety risk because the devices are capable of generating extreme heat and an incident can result in the ignition of nearby contents. Carriage of e-cigarettes in the passenger cabin addresses this safety risk by ensuring that if an incident does occur, it can be immediately identified and mitigated. PHMSA believes that a delay in implementing this measure could result in serious harm to the traveling public.
Under these circumstances, notice is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Because ICAO issued the addendum on a very short timeframe due to the gravity of the safety risk, the HMR are currently not harmonized with the ICAO Technical Instructions. Given the safety risks posed by e-cigarettes in checked baggage, PHMSA believes that public notice would frustrate the due and required execution of agency functions. Although some airlines have voluntarily complied with the SAFO recommendations, there is no domestic regulation to require continued compliance with the recently adopted ICAO amendment. Typically, PHMSA amends the HMR to conform to recent amendments to the ICAO Technical Instructions through periodic international harmonization rulemaking. If PHMSA utilized this process, this HMR amendment would become effective no earlier than January 1, 2017. The accelerated effective date of the addendum to the ICAO Technical Instructions ensures that passengers that travel on international airlines are subject to this provision before PHMSA would have time to issue a final rule through its regular harmonization rulemaking process. In light of the recent incidents and the serious harm that could result from the public safety risk of e-cigarettes in checked baggage, PHMSA believes that a delay caused by adhering to the APA notice-and-comment process to adopt conforming amendments is impracticable and contrary to the public interest.
Further, PHMSA believes that APA notice and comment would be unnecessary because the public would not benefit from such notice. The scope of this regulatory change is very limited; PHMSA is including a new entry for e-cigarettes in 49 C.F.R. 175.10 with carriage instructions. The change does not impact whether passengers may bring their e-cigarettes on an airplane. Instead, the new language affects how the e-cigarettes must be stowed. This rulemaking does not impact the ability to travel by air with these devices. FAA's January 2015 SAFO recommended that air carriers require their passengers to carry e-cigarettes and related devices exclusively in the cabin of the aircraft. In voluntary compliance with the SAFO, many airlines instruct passengers to carry their e-cigarettes in carry-on baggage only. Because a substantial degree of compliance with this safety provision already exists through voluntary airline actions, this amendment is limited in scope yet pivotal for the safety of the traveling public. Thus, in light of the recent safety incidents and limited scope of the June 9, 2015, ICAO amendment, PHMSA has determined that the notice and comment rulemaking process is unnecessary, impracticable, and contrary to the public interest in this instance.
The DOT is taking immediate action to strengthen safeguards for the carriage of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in passenger checked baggage and prohibit passengers and crewmembers from charging the devices and/or batteries on board the aircraft. This interim final rule is effective seven days after publication in the Federal Register. The APA requires agencies to delay the effective date of regulations for 30 days after publication, unless the agency finds good cause to make the regulations effective sooner. See 5 U.S.C. 553(d). This interim final rule meets the good cause exception in this instance because of credible evidence from two separate incidents involving battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in checked baggage and additional non-transportation incidents that occurred while the devices were being charged. The retroactive nature of the ICAO amendments makes a 30-day effective date impracticable and contrary to the public interest, because such a delay would further extend the time period in which the HMR does not harmonize with ICAO. Because several incidents have highlighted the safety risks of the charging and cargo carriage of these devices, the public interest is served by providing a seven-day effective date for this interim final rule.
The Regulatory Policies and Procedures of DOT (44 FR 110034; February 26, 1979) provide that, to the maximum extent possible, DOT operating administrations should provide an opportunity for public comment on regulations issued without prior notice. Accordingly, PHMSA encourages persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments containing relevant information, data, or views. We will consider all comments received on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider late filed comments to the extent practicable. This interim final rule may be amended based on comments received.
III. Rulemaking Analysis and Notices
A. Statutory/Legal Authority for this Rulemaking
This interim final rule is published under authority of Federal hazardous materials transportation law (Federal hazmat law; 49 U.S.C. 5101 etseq.) and 49 U.S.C. 44701. Section 5103(b) of Federal hazmat law authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe regulations for the safe transportation, including security, of hazardous material in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce. 49 U.S.C. § 44701 authorizes the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to promote safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security. 49 U.S.C. 5120(b) authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to ensure that, to the extent practicable, regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce are consistent with standards adopted by international authorities. This final rule is amending the HMR to maintain alignment with the ICAO Technical Instructions.
B. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures
The Department has determined that the transportation of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in checked baggage is an immediate safety threat. Therefore, this rule is being issued to address an emergency situation within the meaning of Section 6(a)(3)(D) of Executive Order 12866. Under section 6(a)(3)(D), in emergency situations, an agency must notify OMB as soon as possible and, to the extent practicable, comply with subsections (a)(3)(B) and (C) of section 6 of EO 12866. The Department has notified and consulted with OMB on this interim final rule. We do not anticipate the actions in this interim final rule will impose a significant impact on airlines, airline passengers, crewmembers, or the Federal government. We expect airlines will incur minimal costs associated with updating notifications to airline passengers (e.g. websites, automated check-in facilities, signage and verbal notifications from the operator). Airlines already have mechanisms to notify airline passengers of hazardous materials restrictions and we expect that airlines would incorporate this additional provision into existing notifications. Airline passengers will still be permitted to carry their e-cigarettes in their carry-on baggage or on their person. Spare lithium batteries must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g., by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch). This is consistent with existing requirements for the carriage of spare lithium batteries for portable electronic devices. We do not anticipate this would result in any impact on passengers because these devices are a type of portable electronic device and spare lithium batteries for portable electronic devices are already required to be protected from short circuits and carried in carry-on baggage only. Some passengers may incur a non-quantifiable cost in the lost opportunity to charge their device while on board the aircraft. We expect that this will be a small number of passengers and that the per-passenger cost will also be small. The Transportation Security Administration may incur new costs associated with amending security procedures for checked baggage to inform security officers that these items should be treated as hazardous materials. PHMSA welcomes public comments on potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
Under the Department of Transportation's Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034), this rule is considered to be an emergency regulation. The Department has determined that an immediate safety threat exists in the carriage of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in checked baggage and, therefore, this rule is considered to be an emergency regulation. Because of the need to move quickly to address this risk, it would be impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to follow the usual procedures under the DOT order.
C. Executive Order 13132
This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 ("Federalism"). This rule preempts State, local and Indian tribe requirements but does not impose any regulation that has substantial direct effects on the States, the relationship between the national government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, the consultation and funding requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply.
The Federal hazardous materials transportation law, 49 U.S.C. 5101'‘27, contains express preemption provisions (49 U.S.C. 5125) that preempt inconsistent State, local, and Indian tribe requirements, including requirements on the following subjects:
(1) The designation, description, and classification of hazardous materials;
(2) The packing, repacking, handling, labeling, marking, and placarding of hazardous materials;
(3) The preparation, execution, and use of shipping documents related to hazardous materials and requirements related to the number, contents, and placement of those documents;
(4) The written notification, recording, and reporting of the unintentional release in transportation of hazardous material; or
(5) The design, manufacture, fabrication, marking, maintenance, recondition, repair, or testing of a packaging or container represented, marked, certified, or sold as qualified for use in transporting hazardous material.
This rule addresses subject items (1) and (2) described above and, accordingly, State, local, and Indian tribe requirements on these subjects that do not meet the "substantively the same" standard will be preempted.
Federal hazardous materials transportation law provides at § 5125(b)(2) that, if DOT issues a regulation concerning any of the covered subjects, DOT must determine and publish in the Federal Register the effective date of Federal preemption. The effective date may not be earlier than the 90th day following the date of issuance of a final rule and not later than two years after the date of issuance. The effective date of Federal preemption is 90 days from publication of this interim final rule in this matter in the Federal Register. This effective date for preemptive effect should not provide a conflict with the overall effective date for this interim final rule because the FAA Act, and various court decisions dealing with the regulation of air transport, generally preempts State and local requirements. Historically the States and localities are aware of this preemptive effect and do not regulate in conflict with Federal requirements in these situations.
D. Executive Order 13175
This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13175 ("Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments"). Because this interim final rule does not have tribal implications and does not impose direct compliance costs, the funding and consultation requirements of Executive Order 13175 do not apply.
E. Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 13272
Section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires an agency to prepare an initial regulatory flexibility analysis describing impacts on small entities whenever an agency is required by 5 U.S.C. § 553 to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking for any proposed rule. Similarly, section 604 of the RFA requires an agency to prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis when an agency issues a final rule under 5 U.S.C. § 553 after being required to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking. Because of the need to move quickly to address the identified risk, prior notice and comment would be contrary to the public interest. As prior notice and comment under 5 U.S.C. § 553 are not required to be provided in this situation, the analyses in 5 U.S.C. sections 603 and 604 are not required.
F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
This rule does not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It does not result in costs of $155,000,000 or more, adjusted for inflation, to either State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector in any one year, and is the least burdensome alternative that achieves the objective of the rule.
G. Paperwork Reduction Act
There are no new information collection requirements in this final rule.
H. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)
A regulation identifier number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. The RIN number contained in the heading of this document may be used to cross-reference this action with the Unified Agenda.
I. Environmental Assessment
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347), requires Federal agencies to consider the consequences of major Federal actions and prepare a detailed statement on actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. This interim final rule prohibits the carriage of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in checked baggage and the charging of such devices on board a passenger-carrying aircraft. Airline passengers will still be permitted to carry their e-cigarettes in their carry-on baggage or on their person. In other words, the interim final rule only impacts how a passenger may carry battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices on aircraft, not whether a passenger can carry such devices. We find that there are no significant environmental impacts associated with this interim final rule.
J. Privacy Act
Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the document (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://www.regulations.gov/search/footer/privacyanduse.jsp.
List of Subjects
49 CFR Part 175
Air carriers, Hazardous materials transportation, Radioactive materials, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
In consideration of the foregoing, we propose to amend 49 CFR Chapter I as follows:
The authority citation for part 175 continues to read as follows:Authority: 49 U.S.C. 5101''5128, 44701; 49 CFR 1.81 and 1.97.In § 175.10, redesignate paragraphs (a)(19) through (a)(24) as paragraphs (a)(20) through (a)(25) and add new paragraph (a)(19) as follows:§175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crewmembers, and air operators.
(a) * * *
(19) Except as provided in § 173.21 of this subchapter, battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) when carried by passengers or crewmembers for personal use must be carried on one's person or in carry-on baggage only. Spare lithium batteries must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g., by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch). Each lithium battery must be of a type which meets the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, Sub-section 38.3. Recharging of the devices and/or the batteries on board the aircraft is not permitted. Each battery must not exceed the following:
(i) for lithium metal batteries, a lithium content of 2 grams; or
(ii) for lithium ion batteries, a Watt-hour rating of 100 Wh.
* * * * *
Issued in Washington, DC on October 23, 2015 under authority delegated in 49 CFR part 1.97
Marie Therese DominguezAdministrator
1 Electronic Cigarette Fires and Explosions, U.S. Fire Administration, October 2014 (See appendix 1 for a list of the incidents) https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/electronic_cigarettes.pdf
2 Dangerous Goods Carried by Passenger and Crew '' Incidents Related to Electronic Cigarettes, Electronic Bulletin (EB) 2104/074, International Civil Aviation Administration (ICAO), October 10, 2014, http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/passenger_info/media/ICAO_ecigarettes_bulletin.pdf
3 Fire Risk of Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in Checked Baggage, Safety Alert for Operators '' SAFO15003, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), January 22, 2015, https://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/safo/all_safos/media/2015/SAFO15003.pdf
Fighting a Cultural Boycott of Israel | Consortiumnews
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:06
Cultural and economic boycotts helped isolate white-supremacist South Africa and encouraged a shift to multi-racial democracy '-- and a similar strategy has ratcheted up pressure on Israel to reach a peace deal with Palestinians '-- but there is a new pushback against that strategy, notes Lawrence Davidson.
By Lawrence Davidson
There is a new British organization called Culture for Coexistence with the aim of ending the cultural boycott of Israel, which has been relatively effective in raising public awareness of oppressive Zionist policies, and replace it with ''open dialogue'' and ''cultural engagement.'' A ''galaxy of 150 British artists and authors'' signed an open letter published in the Guardian newspaper on Oct. 22 announcing the group's position:
''Cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory and will not further peace,'' while ''open dialogue and interaction promote greater understanding and mutual acceptance and it is through such understanding and acceptance that movement can be made towards a resolution of the conflict.''
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security meeting with senior Israeli Defense Forces commanders near Gaza on July 21, 2014. (Israel government photo)
While concepts such as open dialogue and cultural interaction are, in principle, hard to disagree with, their efficacy as agents of conflict resolution has to be judged within a historical context. In other words, such approaches are effective when circumstances dictate that all parties seriously dialogue and interact meaningfully '' in a manner that actually promotes ''mutual acceptance.''
Is this the case when it comes to Israel? The burden of proof here is on Culture for Coexistence because they are the ones asking the Palestinians and their supporters to put aside a strategy (boycott) that is actually putting pressure on Israel to negotiate seriously.
The Culture for Coexistence signatories do not address this question of efficacy. Instead they make the simple assertion that cultural boycotts are bad and won't help resolve the conflict while cultural interaction is good and will work to that end. How do they know this? Without evidence of its workability, such an assertion is merely an idealization of cultural engagement that ignores that pursuit's historical futility during a nearly century long conflict.
Do Israeli Leaders Want a Just Peace?
Cultural interaction with Israel went on for decades before the boycott effort got going. It had no impact on the issue of conflict resolution. Such cultural activity certainly did not change the fact that Israel's leaders have never shown interest in negotiating a resolution with the Palestinians except solely on Israeli terms.
And, that stubbornness is a major part of the reason why peace talks (and also the Oslo agreements) never worked. There is a whole set of histories, written by Israelis and based on archival research that support the claim that Israel has not sought a just resolution to the conflict. Here I would recommend the Culture for Coexistence signatories read the books of the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.
Given this historical Zionist attitude, what sort of ''greater understanding and mutual acceptance'' does Culture and Coexistence expect to accomplish by swapping the boycott for ''cultural engagement''? It is a question the signatories of the open letter might address to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who just recently was reported to have proclaimed that Israel will control all Palestinian land indefinitely.
The ''galaxy of British artists and authors'' aligned with Culture for Coexistence seems oblivious to all these contextual issues. Of course, there is a good chance that some of them are more interested in undermining the boycott of Israel than in the alleged promotion of peace through ''cultural engagement.''
As the Guardianarticle discussing the group notes, ''Some of the network's supporters are closely aligned with Israel,'' including individuals associated with Conservative Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Israel.
Does Cultural Contact Lead to Peace?
There is another, more generic misunderstanding exhibited in the group's statement. It is found in the letter's closing assertion that ''cultural engagement builds bridges, nurtures freedom and positive movement for change'' '' a position reiterated when Loraine da Costa, chairperson of the new organization, told the Guardian that ''culture has a unique ability to bring people together and bridge division.''
No matter how you want to define culture, high or low, there is no evidence for this position except on the level of individuals or small groups. On the level of larger or whole populations, the assertion that ''cultural engagement builds bridges'' is another naive idealization that is belied by historical practice. Historically, culture has always divided people (both across borders and across classes) and acted as a barrier to understanding. At a popular level, most people are uninterested in, or suspicious of, foreign cultures and are unwilling to try to pursue cultural interaction.
Israel is a very good example of this cultural xenophobia. Historically, the European Jews who established the state despised Arab culture. They tried to eradicate it among the Mizrahi Jews who came to Israel from Arab lands. This intra-Jewish Israeli prejudice is still a problem today. What aspects of Arab culture (mostly having to do with cuisine) Israeli Jews are attracted to they try to repackage as ''Israeli.''
There are two final considerations here: First is the need to be serious and clear in the use of language. One can, of course, say ''culture has a unique ability to bring people together'' but is this a statement that has any real meaning or is it just a platitude?
And second: If you are going to give advice about a century-old conflict you should know enough about its history to be sensible in your offering. Thus, in this case, if you know that high or low cultural intercourse with Israel (and, as suggested above, there has been plenty of it since the founding of the state in 1948), has actually improved the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace, you should lay out the evidence. However, if one is just offering a banal cliche, well, only the ignorant can take that seriously.
Those who first proposed the cultural boycott did not do it out of some anti-Semitic dislike for Israeli artworks, music, literature or theater. They did it because cultural interaction with Israel had not only failed to promote an equitable peace, but in fact camouflaged the policies of a nation-state that practices ethnic cleansing and other destructive policies against non-Jews.
The logical conclusion was drawn that if you want to pressure the Israelis to change their ways, you withdraw from cultural contact and make any reconnection a condition of their getting serious about conflict resolution.
How is it that the 150 artists and authors who signed the Culture for Coexistence open letter do not know the relevant facts? Setting aside the confirmed Zionists, whose ulterior motive is pretty clear, do these people take this stand because it ''feels right'' '' that is, because they believe cultural interaction ought to, or even must, promote conflict resolution? Alas, this is wishful thinking and, taking history seriously, Palestine may go extinct before such an approach actually helps lead to a just peace.
Director of BBC television signs The Guardian's pro-Israel letter | The Electronic Intifada
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:05
Amena SaleemMedia Watch29 October 2015
Director of BBC television Danny Cohen. (BBC Media Centre)
The BBC's outgoing director of television has signed a letter published in The Guardian last week, pleading for Israel not to be singled out as a target for cultural boycotts.
Danny Cohen, a member of the BBC's executive board and one of the most senior figures in the organization, joins top Israel apologists '-- including the chair of Conservative Friends of Israel and the vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel '-- in putting his name to the letter.
(The BBC recently announced that Cohen was to move on from his position at the BBC after eight years, but will retain his post through the end of November.)
The letter published in The Guardian states that ''Cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory, and will not further peace,'' and calls for ''cultural engagement'' in place of boycotts.
As Omar Robert Hamilton writes in Counterpunch: ''When you're dealing with the mechanized destruction of an entire people by one of the most technologically advanced and diplomatically shielded militaries in the history of mankind then talk, in 2015, of 'cultural engagement' is nothing more than further cover for Israel's continuing colonization of what remains of Palestine.''
It is to this letter, and the highly politicized opinions within it, that the BBC's director of television, whose salary is funded by license fee payers, has put his name.
In response to a query I sent, asking if Cohen is in breach of any BBC guidelines requiring employees to show impartiality regarding the situation in Palestine and Israel, the BBC Press Office sent this inconsequential reply: ''Danny Cohen was expressing his view about his belief in the importance of creative freedom of expression.''
This is ridiculous.
The views expressed in the letter do not constitute a request for unfettered ''creative freedom of expression'' but are a plea for Israel to be protected from the consequences of its illegal occupation of Palestinian land and its siege on Gaza.
''Coexistence''The letter also declares support for a new organization called Culture for Coexistence, whose committee includes at least one Israeli, but no Palestinians, and board members of Conservative Friends of Israel, but no one from a pro-Palestinian organization. The website itself is sparse, containing only the text of the letter to The Guardian and a list of committee members.
It looks suspiciously like a front for a bigger hasbara (or propaganda) organization.
Cohen's fellow signatories to The Guardian letter include Eric Pickles MP, chair of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), a pro-Israel lobby group which, according to its website, ''works to ensure that Israel's case is fairly represented in Parliament.''
Another 13 members of parliament, apart from Pickles, have signed the letter. Seven of them are CFI's parliamentary officers, five others are either members of CFI or have recently been on one of its delegations to Israel, and the 13th, Michael Dugher, is vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel '-- the Labour Party's equivalent group.
There are no pro-Palestinian MPs among the signatories.
Openly pro-IsraelThere are former BBC employees on the signature list as well, including George Weidenfeld, who worked for the BBC Overseas Service, and is now vice-chair of the EU-Israel Forum. Weidenfeld also founded the eponymous Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, whose stated aim is to ''rescue'' Christians from Syria. The fund has received financial support from the Jewish National Fund, an organization essential to the continued ethnic cleansing of historical Palestine.
These signatories are openly pro-Israel. Cohen's position at the BBC, however, requires neutrality. If he supports Israel in its suppression of the Palestinian people, those views should not be allowed to affect his work at the BBC.
And yet, here he is, with others, very publicly arguing for a continuation of the status quo which favors the Israeli state against the occupied Palestinian people, employing vacuous terms such as ''building bridges'' to hide the fact that Israel is a serial violator of international law and Palestinian human rights, whose senior politicians openly declare that there will never be a Palestinian state.
It is a stupefying display of favoritism towards Israel from the BBC's director of television, a man whose job supposedly demands impartiality.
Cohen's influence within the BBC is huge. He oversees the BBC's four main TV channels, BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four, in addition to BBC iPlayer, and online content for BBC Television. He also oversees the drama, entertainment, knowledge and comedy genres and BBC Films. Further responsibilities include the BBC Television archive and BBC Productions, Europe's largest television production group.
And his views on Israel and the occupation are now out in the open.
Shockingly, he is not the only senior figure at the BBC known for pro-Israel sympathies.
Endemic biasThe BBC's director of news and current affairs, James Harding, once told a conference organized by the pro-Zionist Jewish Chronicle newspaper: ''I am pro-Israel. I believe in the State of Israel.''
Speaking in 2011, when he was still editor of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper The Times, Harding added, ''I would have had a real problem if I had been coming to a paper with a history of being anti-Israel. And, of course, Rupert Murdoch is pro-Israel.''
Harding is responsible for the entirety of the BBC's news and current affairs output across BBC radio, TV and online, including its current coverage of October's violence in Palestine and Israel. The position he holds at the BBC is described by The Guardian as ''arguably the most important editorial job in Britain.''
He came to the BBC in April 2013. There he joined James Purnell, who had been appointed two weeks earlier as the BBC's director of strategy and digital. Purnell is a former Labour MP and minister who, for two years, served as chair of Labour Friends of Israel.
But the pro-Israel bias is not present only in the BBC's current appointments. Another signatory of the letter in last week's Guardian is Michael Grade, who served as chair of the BBC between 2004 and 2006.
Deep support for IsraelAs well as calling for Israel to be protected from boycotts, Grade last week publicly complained that the BBC was too pro-Palestinian in its coverage of events in October which have seen at least 61 Palestinians killed in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, as well as 10 Israelis.
The Jewish Chroniclereported that Grade had written to the BBC's director general, Tony Hall, accusing the BBC of failing to show stone-throwing Palestinians in its reports and creating an ''equivalence between Israeli victims of terrorism and Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli security forces in the act of carrying out terror attacks.''
Ironically, as close monitoring by Palestine Solidarity Campaign has demonstrated, the BBC's coverage in October has focused almost exclusively on Israeli stabbing victims, and its flagship radio news program Today has even attempted to fool its audiences into thinking that all those killed during October have been Israeli.
But it would seem that, whatever lengths the BBC goes to in order to present the occupying Israeli state as a victim, it can never go far enough for some who have worked at the organization.
It cannot be denied then that support for Israel runs deep through the top layers of BBC management, both past and present, and that support probably trickles down through the rest of the BBC as a matter of corporate culture.
This could explain why BBC editors failed to see the pro-Israel bias of commissioning historian Simon Schama to make a five part series for BBC Two in 2013, during which he made what he called ''the moral case for Israel'' and announced, in one episode, ''I am a Zionist and quite unapologetic about it.''
Schama, unsurprisingly, joined Cohen in adding his name to The Guardian letter on cultural boycotts.
Corporate cultureThe same corporate culture could also explain why BBC Online's Middle East editor, Raffi Berg, felt comfortable enough to send his colleagues an email during Israel's November 2012 assault on Gaza asking them not to ''put undue emphasis'' on Israel for starting the prolonged attacks.
And it may explain why Cohen feels he can sign a letter in support of Israel without fear of reprisal from his bosses for breaching impartiality requirements.
Consumers of BBC news and current affairs may often wonder why the number of Israeli spokespersons appearing across the BBC's output far outnumber Palestinian spokespersons, why Palestinians, when they do make a rare appearance, are constantly interrupted by BBC presenters, while Israelis such as diplomat Mark Regev are given free rein to speak almost without challenge.
They may wonder why the killing of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers goes unreported by the BBC, while rockets fired from Gaza which cause damage to roads make headlines.
But, if the pro-Israeli views of those at the top of the BBC have created a corporate culture of pro-Israeli bias throughout its editorial ranks, then such one-sided reporting, while disgraceful, should no longer come as a surprise to anyone.
TagsCalling this the "Guardian letter" is misleading. It's more likely the "Guardian advert".
Go forth and multiply then. In other words F.O!!
Everyone knows that the BBC has been run as a mouthpiece for Israel for decades. Now we know who's behind it. There is a simple answer-boycott all BBC output!!
What an excellent piece of research, Ameena. Anyone interested in challenging media bias and in justice of Palestinians must thank you for giving us this invaluable tool. I've downloaded a copy for future reference.
Amena has said it all, except that the Board of Trustees at the BBC are in grave dereliction of their duty and appointment in allowing the biased top-dogs at the BBC free rein. The bias across the whole of BBC broadcasting in favour of Israel is now so endemic and blatant that it allows Danny Cohen (with Israeli lackey co-writers) room to write a public letter in defence of Israel.
The perpetual waves of hasbara sent crashing over the audience suggests a more appropriate name for this service: the Bibi Sea.
...is that Danny Cohen is leaving the BBC. It saves us the trouble of making a case against him. However, the others are still there and their influence stretches into every area of Britain's media, cultural and political life. And who knows how much Cohen will influence the choosing of his successor?What does it actually take to unseat these people for blatant bias and mis-/dis-informing Britain and those who watch or listen to the BBC abroad? I personally think this would be one of the most rewarding challenges: to insist on our entitlement to fair and accurate reporting by the BBC, which we indeed pay for.In a court case where all evidence has to be considered, there can be none of these phone calls and emails and complaints at dinner parties when any news item indicates that Palestinians live under a brutal and illegal occupation.There is something truly loathsome about men who, consumed by their Zionist indoctrination, are willing to abuse their powerful positions to ensure that Israel is always depicted as the good, brave, victimised little country in the Middle East.
That Cohen thought he could get away with endorsing this letter while holding his BBC position -- and that the BBC is covering up for him -- indicates how normal its pro-Israel bias is. So the BBC doesn't enforce its own (low) standards; hardly good news, unfortunately.
But I join in congratulating the author and EI for this detailed expose.
There has been almost no coverage on the current intifada since the settlers' violent infiltration on Al-Aqsa and the Haram al Sharif -only the stabbings of Israelis broke their silence -and while both Al Jazeera and RT have had regular coverage every day, the BBC has kept shtum so that any reporting of an incident on an odd day is completely lacking in context and only when Israeli's are the target.Ironically the Israel lobby keeps harping on about the BBC's anti-Israel bias -what is it they want? Applause for every IDF atrocity on Palestinians?
The issue is not whether Cohen holds atrocious racist ideas or has signed a statement supporting such ideas. It is just that those ideas infect his work as a journalist. Surely we would not criticise a pro Palestinian journalist for expressing their views.
A related issue is that a pro Palestinian journalist who did so would almost certainly not pass below the radar as Cohen has done.
Their coverage of not only Israel but of anything linked to anti Neo Con polemic is a disgrace in a so called democratic society. Like FIFA it needs to be dissolved and started again using a competence not seen before. Stop this amateurish, bigoted reporting, where distortion and deletion of the facts are conveniently used.
Accepting israel's role in this perpetual war results in them having no reason to end it.For this war to end, israel must want to end it. BDS provides that motivation. Telling them, "It's OK, we'll treat you the same no matter how you treat the palestinians." will motivate them to keep the war going.Israel do not want to end this war, they are too determined to steal palestinian land. Palestine has not the power to end this war.We must back palestine or this war will go on for a hundred years more.
NA-Tech News
Internet if things is the last stage of a global Rube Goldberg machine.
Alexa's "Skills" API
Cisco Completes Acquisition of OpenDNS | The Network
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 15:04
SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 27, 2015 '' Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced it has completed the acquisition of OpenDNS, a privately held company that provides advanced threat protection for any device, anywhere, anytime. The acquisition will advance Cisco's Security Everywhere approach by adding broad visibility, enforcement, and threat intelligence from the OpenDNS cloud-delivered platform. In addition to the close of the acquisition, Cisco is announcing the first technology integration of Cisco AMP Threat Grid with OpenDNS services.
Cisco is demonstrating how the OpenDNS acquisition is already accelerating its cloud-delivered security portfolio by unveiling today integration between the technology platforms, which allows joint customers of the OpenDNS Umbrella service and AMP Threat Grid intelligence to benefit. An API connects OpenDNS' global capability with AMP Threat Grid's dynamic malware analytics and threat intelligence. This new integration enables AMP Threat Grid customers to automatically transform threat intelligence into threat enforcement by blocking malware and quickly identifying critical security threats discovered by the AMP Thread Grid service.
''Delivering pervasive security capabilities from the cloud is a core part of our mission to provide Security Everywhere across the extended network from data center to the cloud to mobile devices.'' said David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Security Business Group. ''By integrating the OpenDNS platform with Cisco's security solutions, customers will receive greater network visibility and threat intelligence for cloud delivered protection against malicious websites and threats. Together, we will deliver protection that is unmatched in the industry.''
OpenDNS employees join the Cisco Security Business Group led by Goeckeler. Additionally, David Ulevitch, founder and chief executive officer of OpenDNS, becomes vice president, reporting directly to Goeckeler.
Under the terms of the agreement Cisco paid $635M in cash and assumed equity awards, plus retention based incentives for OpenDNS.
Additional Information:
'— Follow Cisco on Twitter @CiscoSecurity
'— RSS Feed for Cisco: http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/rss.html
'— OpenDNS AMP Threat Grid Integration
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Cisco, OpenDNS, security, cybersecurity, AMP Threat Grid
About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies transform the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.
Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco's trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.
Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may be deemed to contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding Cisco offering newly integrated threat intelligence and automated global enforcement capabilities, the advancement of Cisco's Security Everywhere approach, the offering of Cisco AMP Threat Grid with OpenDNS services, the expected benefits to Cisco and its customers, and plans regarding OpenDNS personnel. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual future events or results due to a variety of factors, including, among other things, the potential impact on the business of OpenDNS due to the uncertainty about the acquisition, the retention of employees of OpenDNS and the ability of Cisco to successfully integrate OpenDNS and to achieve expected benefits, business and economic conditions and growth trends in the networking industry, customer markets and various geographic regions, global economic conditions and uncertainties in the geopolitical environment and other risk factors set forth in Cisco's most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q. Any forward-looking statements in this release are based on limited information currently available to Cisco, which is subject to change, and Cisco will not necessarily update the information.
FBI's Advice on Ransomware? Just Pay The Ransom. | The Security Ledger
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 15:15
FBI Boston's Joseph Bonavolonta said that paying the ransom is often the easiest path out of ransomware infections.
In-brief: The nation's top law enforcement agency is warning companies that they may not be able to get their data back from cyber criminals who use Cryptolocker, Cryptowall and other malware without paying a ransom.
The FBI wants companies to know that the Bureau is there for them if they are hacked. But if that hack involves Cryptolocker, Cryptowall or other forms of ransomware, the nation's top law enforcement agency is warning companies that they may not be able to get their data back without paying a ransom.
''The ransomware is that good,'' said Joseph Bonavolonta, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's CYBER and Counterintelligence Program in its Boston office. ''To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.''
Bonavolonta was addressing a gathering of business and technology leaders at the Cyber Security Summit 2015 on Wednesday at Boston's Back Bay Events Center. He was referring to ransomware programs like Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, Reveton and other malicious programs that encrypt the contents of a victim's hard drive, as well as other directories accessible from the infected system. The owner is then asked to pay a ransom '' often hundreds of dollars '' for the key to unencrypt the data.
FBI Boston's Joseph Bonavolonta address the Cyber Security Summit on October 21st. Bonavolonta said that paying the ransom is often the easiest path out of ransomware infections. (Photo courtesy of FBI.)
Ransomware, in various forms, has been around for more than a decade. But the past three years has seen a steep rise in incidents involving the programs, which often infect users via malicious email attachments or drive by downloads from compromised websites or malicious web ads (malvertising). That has resulted in an increase in complaints to the FBI, said Bonavolonta. Police departments appear particularly prone to ransomware infections. But the problem has been widely noted. The infections can be difficult to remove, as this article from the Yuma Sun about a Cryptolocker infection in the newsroom notes.
The FBI issued a notice in June, which identified CryptoWall as the most common form of ransomware affecting individuals and businesses in the US. The Bureau said it had received 992 complaints related to CryptoWall between April 2014 and June 2015 with losses totaling $18 million. That message advised victims of ransomware to contact their local FBI field office.
Bonavolonta echoed that advice in his remarks on Wednesday, but also cautioned that the Bureau may not be able to pry encrypted data from the clutches of the ransomware authors, who use ultra secure encryption algorithms to lock up ransomed data.
''The easiest thing may be to just pay the ransom,''Bonavolonta, who said that efforts by the Bureau and others to defeat the encryption used by the malware did not bear fruit. ''The amount of money made by these criminals is enormous and that's because the overwhelming majority of institutions just pay the ransom.''
The success of the ransomware ends up benefitting victims: because so many people pay, the malware authors are less inclined to wring excess profit out of any single victim, keeping ransoms low. And most ransomware scammers are good to their word, Bonavolonta said. ''You do get your access back.''
Still, the Boston head of cyber said that organizations that have procedures in place for regularly backing up their data can avoid paying a ransom at all, by simply restoring the infected system to a state prior to the infection.
And the FBI still wants to hear about ransomware infections, even from firms that pay the criminals off. ''Do we want you to call the FBI? Yes,'' said Bonavolonta. The FBI has been collecting information on ransomware scams and wants to be able to keep abreast of how the scams are evolving.
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Drone Nation
American Drone Assassinations May Violate International Law, Experts Say
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:50
The standards governing America's drone assassinations may violate the Geneva Conventions and other international norms, legal experts say.
U.S. forces routinely classify bystanders felled in its Afghanistan drone strikes as ''enemies killed in action,'' even when they are not the intended targets of the strikes, according to a source and to documents obtained by The Intercept published earlier this month. But the Geneva Conventions specify that when someone's status is not clear, they should be classified as a civilian. Article 50 of Additional Protocol I, which dates to 1977 and was ratified by 174 countries, says that ''in case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian.''
A landmark document from the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2009 expands on this rule:
All feasible precautions must be taken in determining whether a person is a civilian and, if so, whether that civilian is directly participating in hostilities. In case of doubt, the person must be presumed to be protected against direct attack. '... In case of doubt as to whether a specific civilian conduct qualifies as direct participation in hostilities, it must be presumed that the general rule of civilian protection applies.''
The U.S. failed to ratify Protocol I after signing it, and the Red Cross' legal guidance has been controversial, at least within elements of the U.S. defense establishment. But until now it's been unclear to what extent the U.S. would depart from treaties and other influential documents related to classifying casualties whose civilian status is unclear.
''The [ICRC] teaches the presumption of civilian status in cases of doubt, and its teaching is consistent with the purpose of international humanitarian law, which is to protect civilians from attack unless they are taking a direct part in hostilities,'' says Hina Shamsi of the ACLU's National Security Project. ''What the U.S. is essentially presuming is that the people it has killed were taking a direct part in hostilities. In other words, in assessing the lawfulness of its lethal force, it's turning the exception into the rule.''
The United States Special Operations Command has previously declined to comment on The Intercept's revelations about its drone strikes in Afghanistan.
This controversial U.S. posture toward possible civilians is not confined to its drone wars or to the documents obtained by The Intercept; it's also explicitly outlined in a landmark law-of-war manual issued by the Department of Defense in June. The manual, the first ever such department-wide manual in the DoD's history and the culmination of years of legal deliberation by military and civilian lawyers, directly addresses Additional Protocol I, but argues that customary international law does not require classifying people as civilians by default.
''A legal presumption of civilian status in cases of doubt may demand a degree of certainty that would not account for the realities of war,'' the document states. It also claims that ''under customary international law, no legal presumption of civilian status exists for persons or objects.''
While the Defense Department claims that a presumption of civilian status is not part of ''customary international law,'' at least one member of the defense establishment has said the opposite. Michael Schmitt, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and 20-year veteran of the Air Force, endorsed the presumption of civilian status as a key part of ''customary international law'' in the course of arguing against strict Red Cross legal guidance on which members of a hostile group may be attacked in combat. As he wrote in his article in the Harvard National Security Journal:
International humanitarian law already accounts for situations of doubt as to whether an individual is a civilian. Article 50.1 of Additional Protocol I, a provision generally deemed reflective of customary international law, provides that ''[i]n case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian.''
The DoD manual doesn't only reject a presumption of civilian status, it also discusses when it is appropriate to direct attacks against what it refers to as civilians:
Attacks, however, may not be directed against civilians or civilian objects based on merely hypothetical or speculative considerations regarding their possible current status as a military objective. In assessing whether a person or object that normally does not have any military purpose or use is a military objective, commanders and other decision-makers must make the decision in good faith based on the information available to them in light of the circumstances ruling at the time.
Legal experts interviewed for this article criticized U.S. drone-war leaders not only for misclassifying civilians as combatants, but also for seeming to abandon the idea that people the U.S. militarily attacks on foreign soil must pose an imminent threat.
Under international law, initiating the use of force in another country is legitimate only within a narrow range of circumstances, one of which is a need to quickly defend against an imminent threat. The Obama administration nodded at this norm when it outlined standards stipulating that in counterterrorism operations, it ''will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons.'' The Bush administration also embraced this concept, stating in a 2002 National Security Strategy document that ''for centuries, international law recognized that nations '... can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack.''
The Bush administration then stretched the definition of ''imminent danger'' to include Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. But at least it tried to justify war using the framework of imminent threat.
''In international law, 'imminent' means what non-lawyers would assume it means: immediate, about to happen,'' says Sarah Knuckey, an international lawyer and professor at Columbia Law School. ''But the U.S. government interpretation of 'imminent' expands traditional legal interpretations, and expands the scope of who can be killed and when.''
Even these criteria for defining imminence are omitted in a 2013 Pentagon study made public this month by The Intercept, which evaluates certain aspects of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) killing campaign in Yemen and Somalia in 2011 and 2012. Instead, the only criterion mentioned in the study to justify targeting a person for lethal operations is an opaque reference stating that they must ''present [a] threat to U.S. interest or personnel.''
A National Security Council spokesperson contacted previously by The Intercept would not explain why the Pentagon study's rules for drone assassinations differed from those outlined by the White House the same month. But the spokesperson said that the White House rules are ''in effect today.''
Read the complete Drone Papers.
Obama Nation
99 PERCENTERS CHART-Wage Statistics for 2014
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 06:18
Distribution of wage earners by level of net compensationWage earnersNet compensationNet compensation intervalNumberCumulativenumberPercentof totalAggregate amountAverage amount$0.01 '-- 4,999.9922,574,44022,574,44014.27075$46,647,919,125.68$2,066.405,000.00 '-- 9,999.9913,848,84136,423,28123.02549102,586,913,092.617,407.6210,000.00 '-- 14,999.9912,329,27048,752,55130.81961153,566,802,438.4512,455.4715,000.00 '-- 19,999.9911,505,77660,258,32738.09315200,878,198,035.0717,458.9020,000.00 '-- 24,999.9910,918,55571,176,88244.99547245,317,570,246.8822,467.9525,000.00 '-- 29,999.9910,192,86381,369,74551.43903279,865,461,187.0527,457.0030,000.00 '-- 34,999.999,487,84090,857,58557.43690307,828,947,411.1632,444.5835,000.00 '-- 39,999.998,578,21599,435,80062.85974321,200,755,103.4437,443.7840,000.00 '-- 44,999.997,553,972106,989,77267.63509320,563,569,965.1542,436.4345,000.00 '-- 49,999.996,542,882113,532,65471.77126310,391,706,424.2347,439.6050,000.00 '-- 54,999.995,723,269119,255,92375.38931300,016,377,448.5152,420.4655,000.00 '-- 59,999.994,846,517124,102,44078.45310278,354,367,841.4157,433.9060,000.00 '-- 64,999.994,201,232128,303,67281.10897262,203,932,128.6862,411.2065,000.00 '-- 69,999.993,573,471131,877,14383.36799240,948,179,180.4067,426.9370,000.00 '-- 74,999.993,094,739134,971,88285.32437224,145,278,103.3672,427.8575,000.00 '-- 79,999.992,684,481137,656,36387.02140207,853,372,824.6277,427.7780,000.00 '-- 84,999.992,297,338139,953,70188.47370189,370,862,869.1782,430.5685,000.00 '-- 89,999.991,975,400141,929,10189.72248172,719,042,418.7087,434.9790,000.00 '-- 94,999.991,714,370143,643,47190.80624158,442,931,588.4492,420.5095,000.00 '-- 99,999.991,486,636145,130,10791.74604144,858,203,365.6197,440.26100,000.00 '-- 104,999.991,309,068146,439,17592.57358134,083,282,259.67102,426.52105,000.00 '-- 109,999.991,117,128147,556,30393.27979120,020,513,136.11107,436.67110,000.00 '-- 114,999.99977,055148,533,35893.89745109,855,105,705.14112,434.93115,000.00 '-- 119,999.99865,889149,399,24794.44483101,693,061,676.62117,443.53120,000.00 '-- 124,999.99773,339150,172,58694.9337194,660,281,091.31122,404.64125,000.00 '-- 129,999.99673,971150,846,55795.3597785,886,152,964.93127,433.01130,000.00 '-- 134,999.99595,827151,442,38495.7364378,899,843,713.01132,420.73135,000.00 '-- 139,999.99527,341151,969,72596.0698072,476,546,845.30137,437.72140,000.00 '-- 144,999.99466,992152,436,71796.3650166,519,743,635.12142,443.00145,000.00 '-- 149,999.99419,003152,855,72096.6298961,787,674,520.19147,463.56150,000.00 '-- 154,999.99384,581153,240,30196.8730158,607,775,121.57152,393.84155,000.00 '-- 159,999.99335,391153,575,69297.0850352,801,735,517.69157,433.37160,000.00 '-- 164,999.99296,048153,871,74097.2721848,087,213,596.86162,430.46165,000.00 '-- 169,999.99265,309154,137,04997.4399044,426,198,104.69167,450.78170,000.00 '-- 174,999.99239,515154,376,56497.5913141,304,379,348.95172,450.07175,000.00 '-- 179,999.99216,255154,592,81997.7280238,370,042,895.27177,429.62180,000.00 '-- 184,999.99200,592154,793,41197.8548336,588,064,085.78182,400.42185,000.00 '-- 189,999.99179,005154,972,41697.9679933,554,727,208.93187,451.34190,000.00 '-- 194,999.99165,277155,137,69398.0724731,807,897,759.84192,452.05195,000.00 '-- 199,999.99154,070155,291,76398.1698730,425,466,536.83197,478.20200,000.00 '-- 249,999.991,039,897156,331,66098.82726230,863,458,226.21222,006.08250,000.00 '-- 299,999.99565,105156,896,76599.18450153,945,762,663.99272,419.75300,000.00 '-- 349,999.99333,584157,230,34999.39537107,708,119,615.81322,881.55350,000.00 '-- 399,999.99219,923157,450,27299.5344082,117,070,706.61373,390.10400,000.00 '-- 449,999.99151,162157,601,43499.6299663,997,346,472.50423,369.28450,000.00 '-- 499,999.99108,881157,710,31599.6987951,583,042,398.64473,756.14500,000.00 '-- 999,999.99345,935158,056,25099.91748230,331,407,862.96665,822.791,000,000.00 '-- 1,499,999.9965,548158,121,79899.9589278,672,933,288.581,200,233.921,500,000.00 '-- 1,999,999.9924,140158,145,93899.9741841,431,838,733.521,716,314.782,000,000.00 '-- 2,499,999.9912,137158,158,07599.9818526,997,226,154.272,224,373.912,500,000.00 '-- 2,999,999.996,871158,164,94699.9861918,747,446,313.272,728,488.773,000,000.00 '-- 3,499,999.994,799158,169,74599.9892315,507,304,422.663,231,361.623,500,000.00 '-- 3,999,999.993,258158,173,00399.9912912,166,741,762.343,734,420.434,000,000.00 '-- 4,499,999.992,353158,175,35699.992779,970,953,222.984,237,549.184,500,000.00 '-- 4,999,999.991,822158,177,17899.993938,633,941,395.344,738,716.465,000,000.00 '-- 9,999,999.996,468158,183,64699.9980243,887,775,808.426,785,370.4110,000,000.00 '-- 19,999,999.992,230158,185,87709.9994230,065,006,121.1913,482,065.5320,000,000.00 '-- 49,999,999.99776158,186,65299.9999222,450,911,983.0128,931,587.6150,000,000.00 and over134158,186,786100.0000011,564,829,969.8286,304,701.27
VIDEO-Germany's Merkel to Discuss Refugee Policy With Bavarian Premier - YouTube
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 14:40
VIDEO-Kerry: U.S. not entering civil war with special forces in Syria | Reuters.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 07:08
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIDEO-Turkey prepares to vote - again | Reuters.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 06:43
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIDEO-Clinton: Equal prison time for cocaine users | Reuters.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 06:05
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIDEO-Two anti-Islamic State campaigners beheaded in Turkey - activist | Reuters.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:59
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIDEO-Kerry: Agreement for credible Syrian elections | Reuters.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:46
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIDEO-Iran proposes Syria transition plan, rebels dismiss idea | Reuters.com
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:11
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIDEO-U.S. BANS E-Cigarettes In Checked Baggage On Passenger Planes! - YouTube
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 03:43
VIDEO-CBS's Charlie Rose Desperately Tries to Lecture Rubio on Benghazi | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 03:39
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. Following Wednesday night's CNBC Republican presidential debate, on Thursday's CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose repeatedly tried to lecture Senator Marco Rubio over Hillary Clinton's role in the 2012 Benghazi attack.
VIDEO-Chuck Todd: GOP Candidates Launched 'Premeditated Attack' Against Debate Moderators | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 03:27
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Despite the incredibly biased performance of the moderators of CNBC's Republican presidential debate, on Thursday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd portrayed his business network colleagues as victims of a GOP plot: ''Look, in many ways this was a premeditated attack. There had been some leaked ideas that, you know, beforehand, they were going to go after the moderators and say, 'Hey, the Democrats didn't get questions like this,' and they determined this before the debate even started.''
Todd made that accusation in response to co-host Savannah Guthrie observing: ''...the media was the opponent not on the stage right with them but, clearly, a big part of this debate. Fairly or unfairly, this is a winning strategy for candidates.''
VIDEO-John Harwood: Republicans 'Got Mileage' Out of Attacking 'Us' | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 03:17
[See NewsBusters for more.] With the liberal bias of CNBC's debate being so obvious that even Carl Bernstein and the left-wing Salon acknowledged the network's failure, the circling of the wagons has begun. Debate moderator John Harwood appeared on CNBC, Thursday, to spin. Referring to Marco Rubio, Harwood huffed, ''He, like other candidates, went after the media, which is a popular thing to do in a Republican primary.'' The journalist condescended, ''As I said, he [Rubio] and other candidates, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, they got a lot of mileage with Republican primary voters by going after us.''
VIDEO-NBC Minimizes Covering RNC Suspending Future GOP Presidential Debate | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 02:32
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
The 30 October 2015 edition of NBC Nightly News set aside just 34 seconds of air time to the Republican National Committee suspending its planned February 2016 debate with NBC. The evening newscast surrounded this coverage with over two minutes of reporting on other 2016 presidential campaign developments, including the latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll results, and the aftermath of the recent CNBC debate '-- focusing on the spat between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. By contrast, ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News devoted full reports to the RNC's suspension of the NBC debate, which was going to be co-hosted by Telemundo.
VIDEO-Russian jet crashes in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing 224 people | Fox News
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 01:28
A Russian passenger plane carrying more than 220 people crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula soon after taking off early Saturday from a Red Sea resort popular with Russian tourists and disappearing from radar screens, killing all on board, officials said.
The Airbus A-321 took off from Sharm el-Sheikh shortly before 6 a.m. with 217 passengers and seven crew members en route to St. Petersburg, Russia, and had been in the air for only 23 minutes when it crashed.
Ayman al-Muqadem, an Egyptian official with the government's Aviation Incidents Committee, said air controllers lost contact with the plane's pilot after he radioed that the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and that he needed to make an emergency landing.
The jet then dropped off radar screens.
A ministry statement said Egyptian military search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the passenger jet in the remote mountainous Hassana area 44 miles south of el-Arish, an area in northern Sinai where Egyptian security forces are fighting a burgeoning Islamic militant insurgency led by a local affiliate of the Islamic extremist group ISIS.
A branch of ISIS claimed responsibility for downing the plane in a statement on Twitter, Sky News reported, adding that the claim had not been verified and it was unclear whether Sinai militants have the capability to attack a plane flying at a high altitude.
Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov scoffed at the ISIS claim, telling the Interfax news agency that such reports ''must not be considered reliable.''
Nevertheless, French airline Air France and German air carrier Lufthansa said they would avoid flying over the Sinai Peninsula for safety reasons.
A spokeswoman for Lufthansa told The Associated Press that the company had decided in a meeting Saturday that the carrier would not fly over Sinai as long as the cause for the crash ''has not been clarified.''
As many as 50 ambulances were dispatched to the crash site. The bodies of 150 victims, some still strapped to their seats, had been pulled from the wreckage, Sky News reported.
Egyptian officials said they won't know what caused the crash until they examine the aircraft's flight's recorders, or "black boxes" which were recovered.
The wife of the co-pilot of the plane that crashed said late Saturday her husband had complained about the plane's condition, according to a Russian TV channel.
In an interview with state-controlled NTV, Natalya Trukhacheva, identified as the wife of co-pilot Sergei Trukachev, said her daughter "called him up before he flew out. He complained before the flight that the technical condition of the aircraft left much to be desired."
Russian airline Kogalymavia operated the plane branded as Metrojet.
The Egyptian officials said the aircraft was cruising at 36,000 feet when contact with the jet was lost. Flight-tracking service FlightRadar24 said the plane was losing altitude at about 6,000 feet per minute before the signal was lost, Reuters reported.
Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that runs Egypt's civilian airports, said except for three Ukrainian passengers all on board were Russian citizens.
An Egyptian cabinet statement said the 217 passengers included 138 women, 62 men and 17 children, ranging in age from 2 to 17.
A security officer at the crash site who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity described it as ''tragic.''
''A lot of dead on the ground and many who died (were) strapped to their seats," the officer said. "The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rock.''
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail flew to the crash site with several cabinet ministers on a private jet, Egypt's tourism ministry said, according to Reuters.
Mahgoub said the aircraft had successfully undergone technical checks while at Sharm el-Sheikh's airport. A technical committee from the company was headed to Sharm el-Sheikh to collect security camera footage of the plane while it sat at the airport, including operations to supply it with fuel and passenger meals as well security checks, he said.
Airbus said the aircraft was 18 years old and had been operated by Metrojet since 2012, Reuters reported. The plane had accumulated around 56,000 flight hours in nearly 21,000 flights.
Moscow-based Metrojet said the A321 underwent required factory maintenance in 2014 and was in good condition. The airliner said plane's captain Valery Nemov had 12,000 air hours of experience, including 3,860 in A321s.
Russian media said the airliner was operating a charter flight under contract with the Brisco tour company in St. Petersburg.
Separately, Russia's top investigative body opened its own investigation into the crash.
Militants in northern Sinai have not to date shot down commercial airliners or fighter-jets. There have been persistent media reports that they have acquired Russian shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles. But these types of missiles can only be effective against low-flying aircraft or helicopters. In January 2014, Sinai-based militants claimed to have shot down a military helicopter; Egyptian officials at the time acknowledged the helicopter had crashed, but gave no reason.
Russian television showed scenes of relatives and friends gathering at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo airport, awaiting word on the fate of their loved ones. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Nov. 1 a national day of mourning, according to a statement posted on the Kremlin's website.
Two of the passengers on the Metrojet flight, Elena Rodina and Alexqander Krotov, were newlyweds, a friend of the couple told the Associated Press at a hotel near the airport. They were both 33.
Yulia Zaitseva said Rodina ''really wanted to go to Egypt, though I told her 'why the hell do you want to go to Egypt?'''
''We were friends for 20 years,'' she said. ''She was a very good friend who was ready to give everything to other people. To lose such a friend is like having your hand cut off.''
She said Rodina's parents feel ''like their lives are over.''
Roughly three million Russian tourists, or nearly a third of all visitors in 2014, come to Egypt every year, mostly to Red Sea resorts in Sinai or in mainland Egypt.
Click here for more from Sky News.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO-New bid to end Syria war | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 19:41
Video posted on a social media website purports to give some idea of life for civilians caught in Syria's civil war. These scenes are said to have been shot in Aleppo province during multiple air strikes. Friday's international talks involving more than a dozen nations are intended to find a way to end the four-year conflict. The United Nations Secretary General says the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey in particular need to put aside differences. (SOUNDBITE)(English) U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON SAYING: "The longer they take their own national perspectives, the much more people will suffer and the whole world will suffer." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's already had a meeting with the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Kerry was also due to meet Iran's foreign minister ahead of Friday's talks. Iran's now signalled it might be willing to drop its insistence that Syria's president should stay in power. That's a key sticking point between the U.S and its Western and Gulf allies, and Moscow and its supporters who include Iran. The European Union's foreign affairs representative says it's a milestone the meeting in Vienna is happening at all. (SOUNDBITE)(English) FEDERICA MOGHERINI, EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SAYING: "Already the fact that we are gathering in this format is really, basically, a breakthrough." In New York, doctors, medical students and other health care workers staged a 'die-in' to protest targeted killings of medical personnel in Syria. The rally organisers say more than 650 such workers have been killed in strikes on medical facilities, mostly by Syrian government forces. The U.S. on Thursday accused Russia of hitting a hospital during bombing raids. The Medecins Sans Frontieres aid group says 12 hospitals in the north have been hit but didn't say by whose forces.
VIDEO-Chinese welcome new two-child policy | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 19:21
The easing of China's one-child policy is being welcomed on the streets of Beijing, amid growing concerns over who will take care of China's aging population and keep the economy running. Gavino Garay reports.
It's the dawning of a new day, and larger families in China. Beijing has announced it will to allow couples to have two children, relaxing its decades-old 'one child policy', designed to prevent the population from spiraling out of control. But the policy has also led to a shrinking labor force and an aging population, with a dwindling proportion of working adults to support them. The change is being welcomed in Beijing. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) BEIJING RESIDENT, LIAO DAN DAN, SAYING: "I think easing (of the one-child policy) now is appropriate timing. The issue of aging is rising, while the ratio of young people is decreasing. We all think the demographic structure has been improved gradually. Actually we need more young people, new born babies to improve the demographic structure. I think looking forward, the whole family planning policy will be lifted." Also lifted, many hope, will be the climate of fear the policy has produced. Breaking the one-child policy meant a fine at minimum, job losses, and in some cased forced abortions. The new rules are central to Communist party plan to maintain growth between 2016 and 2020, with larger - and more productive - families.
VIDEO-Breakingviews: Botox inversion | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:59
News and Media Division of Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
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VIDEO-Pfizer in talks with Allergan | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:58
The biggest takeover deal of the year in the works. Pfizer is in early talks to buy Allergan. The maker of Botox and dry-eye treatment Restasis sports a market value of $113 billion. A marriage would vault them past Johnson & Johnson to create the world's largest healthcare company. The talks come 18 months after Pfizer scrapped its earlier bid to buy AstraZeneca, a proposed deal that was aimed at cutting Pfizer's tax rate by moving its headquarters to the U.K. A deal with Allergan would give the U.S.' largest drugmaker a similar benefit because Allergan is based in Ireland where tax rates are lower than in the U.S. Credit Suisse senior analyst Vamil Divan thinks Allergan is one of the few targets that would allow Pfizer to do such a tax deal. He said, "...we still believe Allergan would be the best fit from a strategic and financial perspective." Allergan itself was taken over by Actavis last year, which then adopted the Allergan name. Allergan's shares spiked higher in early trading. They're down 15 percent since late July, when healthcare stocks began their slide amid a vow by presidential candidate HIllary Clinton to lower drug prices. The stock of the proposed acquirer, Pfizer, also rose on news of the talks.
VIDEO-Shell's profits hit by big write-offs | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:54
Royal Dutch Shell has reported a hefty $8.2 billion charge, equivalent to around 5 percent of its market value, due to write-offs on projects in the Alaskan Arctic and Canada. As Hayley Platt reports Europe's biggest oil producer isn't the only oil major grappling with weak oil prices - the whole industry is gradually slipping into a loss.
It's becoming a familiar trend...Royal Dutch Shell the latest oil major to report a major dent to profits. Third quarter net income came in at 1.8 billion dollars - almost a billion off forecasts and 70 percent down on the previous year. The main problem was 8.2 billion dollars worth of write-offs, that's 5 percent of its market value. The Alaskan Arctic venture was the costliest (Alaskan Arctic = $2.6 bln) closely followed by a Canadian oil sands project (Carmon Creek = $2bln) which was only suspended on Tuesday. Shell's $70 bln deal to acquire the gas-focussed BG group remains on track. Matthew Beesley is from Henderson Global Investors (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF GLOBAL EQUITIES, HENDERSON GLOBAL INVESTORS, MATTHEW BEESLEY, SAYING: "BG will lower their exposure to high cost oil projects. Shell perhaps via the acquisition of BG is coping with this rather weak oil price environment better than many of their peers." Italian rival ENI also announced a huge hit from weak oil prices, reporting a net loss of 250 million euros in the latest quarter. French group Total fared a bit better, raising its production forecast. But like Shell all oil majors are finding new opportunities hard to find, says CMC Markets Jasper Lawler. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARKET ANALYST, CMC MARKETS, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "Probably not towards shale gas. I think that area is always already slightly overdone. It's tricky because one of the more favourable areas was traditionally Russia but that's obviously a difficult area to invest in at the moment." Oil prices have halved over the last year. It's caused firms to slash spending and jobs. The entire industry looks likely to slip into a loss after years of fat profits.
VIDEO-15,000 jobs go in Deutsche Bank revamp | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:54
Deutsche Bank is slashing 15,000 jobs and shedding assets as new Chief Executive John Cryan starts to implement a deep overhaul at Germany's biggest bank. As Ciara Lee reports it's not the only bank struggling to restructure.
He's the new CEO tasked with improving business at Germany's biggest bank. And so it fell to Deutsche Bank's John Cryan to deliver the news of job cuts. SOUNDBITE) (German) DEUTSCHE BANK CO-CEO, JOHN CRYAN , SAYING: "I'm very much aware of the fact that these are 9,000 lives, 9,000 people and their families. We will have to close down some of our branches in Germany and abroad. We will completely exit some countries." 6000 contractor positions will also be slashed and 4 billion euros worth assets disposed of. A further 20,000 jobs may also go over the next two years - and Cryan said the bank will sacrifice its 2015 and 2016 dividends. The group saw a record 6 billion euro pretax loss for the third quarter, sending shares down six percent. Costly litigations from two scandals and a downturn in Asia have pushed Deutsche's valuation below rivals. Matthew Beesley from Henderson Global Investors. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MATTHEW BEESLEY, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, HEAD OF GLOBAL EQUITIES HENDERSON GLOBAL INVESTORS, SAYING: "Deutsche Bank is a very complex business with many moving parts and as an investor looking out to 2018, it's still quite uncertain to how that near term earnings recovery projectory will look." Also on a cost-cutting mission - Barclays. It's to spend a billion pounds to shield its retail customers from riskier areas of the business. It's also having to set aside 290 million pounds to compensate customers mis-sold foreign exchange products. Third quarter profits at Barclays were down 10 percent year on year. Having a better day - Spain's Santander - the euro zone's biggest bank. Its third quarter net pofit rose nearly five percent on last year. But it too faces challenges - including currency woes and a deep recession in Brazil - where it makes a fifth of its earnings
VIDEO-Okinawans protest plans to move U.S. military base | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:46
An elderly woman shouts 'put me down!' as police drag her away from a protest site in Okinawa. A group of about 100 people sat arm and arm in front of the gate of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab to demonstrate the proposed expansion of the site. Okinawan residents oppose the central government's plan to merge the U.S. Marines' Futenma base, also located on the island, with Camp Schwab sighting noise, pollution and crime. The central government meanwhile has argued that the camp at Futenma was dangerous because its surrounded by residences and schools and that the move was necessary to combat safety concerns. The Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko. (SOUNDBITE)(Japanese) JAPANESE DEPUTY CABINET SECRETARY, HIROSHIGE SEKO, SAYING: "We will put maximum consideration on construction safety, the natural environment, and the living environment of citizens as we go forward in moving the airbase." Okinawans say they are also concerned with environmental factors over moving the base like damaging coral reefs or disrupting the habitats of the endangered marine mammal, the dugong.
VIDEO-Inside North Korea's bustling black market | Reuters.com
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 18:37
News and Media Division of Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
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VIDEO-Ben Carson caught on video claiming Mannatech supplement magically cured his prostate cancer - Daily News Bin
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 16:48
Even as Dr. Ben Carson touts his medical expertise as a qualification in his candidacy for President, he's stuck having to explain why he once claimed that his prostate cancer had been cured by a junk science supplement consisting of aloe vera and tree bark. Carson, who has rejected most modern scientific principles during his campaign as he's rejected climate change and other basics, has been caught on video making the claims as part of a pyramid scheme promoting the supplement '' even as he denied any connection during the third republican debate.
In what might be the strangest story yet about the seemingly strangest candidate in the 2016 race, YouTube footage has surfaced from 2004 in which Ben Carson tells a group of sales associates for a dietary supplement called Mannatech that after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he began taking the supplement and ''within about three weeks my symptoms went away.'' It must not have worked that well, as Carson later had surgery to remove the cancer.
It should be pointed out that Carson is a retired medical doctor and brain surgeon, and would seemingly be the last Presidential candidate to be willing to participate in such a junk-medicine pyramid scheme. However the video in question plays up his doctor credentials as a way of giving credence to the supplement in question. Watch the video of Ben Carson claiming that tree bark cured his cancer here:
More details are in the Wall Street Journal story.
VIDEO-Sinai plane crash: No survivors on Russian airliner KGL9268 - BBC News
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 15:27
Image copyrightEPAImage caption People waiting for their loved ones at Pulkovo airport were told the news of the crash A Russian airliner has crashed in central Sinai killing all 224 people on board, Egyptian officials have said.
The Airbus A-321 had just left the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg.
Wreckage was found in the Hasana area and bodies removed, along with the plane's "black box". An official described a "tragic scene" with bodies of victims still strapped to seats.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared Sunday a day of mourning.
He has ordered an official investigation into the crash, and for rescue teams to be sent to the crash site.
Egyptian officials said 214 of the passengers were Russian and three Ukrainian.
A passenger list published by the Russian Association of Tour Operators showed that 10 of those on board were under the age of 10, with one only 10 months old.
A commission headed by Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov is to leave for Egypt on Saturday afternoon.
A criminal case has also been opened against the airline, Kogalymavia, for "violation of rules of flight and preparation for them", Russia's Ria news agency reported.
Oksana Golovin, a spokeswoman for the airline, said the company did not see any grounds to blame human error.
She told a press conference that the pilot had 12,000 hours of flying experience. Kogalymavia did not yet know what caused the crash, she said, but the plane was fully serviced.
Police are reported to be searching the company's offices.
Russian authorities say the plane was carrying 217 passengers, 138 of them women and 17 children aged between 2 and 17. Most were tourists. There were seven crew on board.
Egyptian officials investigating the scene said there were no survivors.
A centre to help relatives of the passengers has been set up at Pulkovo airport, Tass news agency quoted St Petersburg city officials as saying.
Sudden altitude lossInitially there were conflicting reports about the fate of the plane, some suggesting it had disappeared over Cyprus.
But the office of Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail confirmed in a statement that a "Russian civilian plane... crashed in the central Sinai".
Media captionMikael Robertsson from flight tracking service Flight Radar 24: ''This was something more than a planned diversion''Officials say up to 50 ambulances have been sent to the scene.
Access to the area is strictly controlled by the military and the terrain is difficult, correspondents say.
One official told Reuters news agency that at least 100 bodies had been found.
"I now see a tragic scene," the official said. "A lot of dead on the ground and many died whilst strapped to their seats."
The plane split in two, with one part burning up and the other crashing into a rock, he added.
The Egyptian cabinet said in a statement that flight KGL9268 left Sharm el-Sheikh at 05:58 local time (03:58 GMT)
It added that the aircraft went off the radar 22 minutes after take-off.
The flight had been due into St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport at 09:10 GMT.
Image copyrightReutersKogalymavia airline Also known as KolAviaFounded in 1993Carried out regular and charter flights to other parts of Russia from the western Siberian towns of Kogalym and Surgut, and helicopter flights for the oil and gas industryRebranded as Metrojet in 2012After takeover by tourism company TH&C in 2013, began flights to international destinations popular with Russian holiday-makersCurrently has fleet of seven Airbus-321s and two Airbus-320sEgypt's civilian aviation ministry said the plane had been at an altitude of 9,450m (31,000ft) when it disappeared.
Live flight tracking service Flight Radar 24's Mikail Robertson confirmed the altitude.
He told the BBC that the plane started to drop very fast, losing 1,500 metres in one minute before coverage was lost.
Sergei Izdolsky, an official with Russia's air transport agency, said the plane had been due to make contact with air traffic controllers in Cyprus half an hour after take-off, but did not do so.
Soon after, he said, the plane disappeared from Cypriot radar screens.
Aviation official Ayman al-Mukadem said the pilot had reported technical difficulties before the plane went missing, the Associated Press reported.
Local weather observations in the vicinity of the rescue scene suggest relatively benign conditions.
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VIDEO-Colbert's Million Dollar Challenge Is The Most Glorious And Beautiful Trump-Bashing Yet (VIDEO) | Addicting Info: The Knowledge You Crave
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 18:04
Donald Trump made a complete ass of himself when he declared how difficult it was to get by with the ''small loan of a million dollars'' his father gave him. (Adjusted for inflation, that's $6.8 million in today's money.) With his dad's cash, Trump let loose on the Manhattan real estate market and became what he is today.
What he is today is a self-righteous, entitled trust fund brat who wouldn't know hard work or sacrifice if it was washing his windows at 125th and 5th. Trump's ''small loan'' started him on the road to the billions he's now worth. Unfortunately simple math has proven that had he done nothing but keep his gifts and inheritance in simple market investments with a financial adviser, he'd be worth much more.
Yes, that means Trump is essentially a business failure. His multiple bankruptcies and questionable business ethics certainly put his economic qualities out there. His refusal to support a living wage and unions and his hatred for undocumented workers adds to how ugly he is, making him a perfectly horrible package inside and out, one who ironically gets most of his personal joy by making fun of other people's looks.
Stephen Colbert has shown that he has little to no use for Donald Trump. In Wednesday's episode of the Late Show, Colbert does a fantastic job of putting everything about Donald Trump in its ridiculous, bigoted and unfathomable place. He reminds Trump just what a spoiled little brat he is, how much a million dollars is now, never mind back then and schools him on why he's a sh*tty human being.
The best part comes with the challenge. Colbert unveils a giant check, with the memo ''no big deal,'' all ready for Trump to come sign. Made out to the Harlem Children's Zone, Colbert assures the audience that Mr. Trump would be happy to donate such a pittance to the ''people of Manhattan.''
Featured image via screen capture
VIDEO-Putin's climate skepticism goes unchallenged | Reuters.com
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:41
News and Media Division of Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
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VIDEO-German job fears over migrants | Reuters.com
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:37
Police stand and watch as another 2,000 migrants cross into Germany from Austria. The latest arrivals will be distributed across Germany, along with up to a million others who are expected to have arrived by the end of the year. The influx is having big repercussions - even on the morale of consumers. Research group GFK says the crisis is making Germans nervous about their jobs. The index has now fallen for a third month and is at its lowest level since February . But CMC Markets Jasper Lawler isn't too worried, even with a slowing China and the VW crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS, MARKET ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "There is some residual concern perhaps that the Federal reserve is going to hike rates sometime this year and affect global confidence so there is a number of factors involved I think so I think still Germany's economy is still one of the strongest in Europe." There are job worries in France too. And the INSEE consumer confidence index also dipped unexpectedly from a near eight year high. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS, MARKET ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "There are some big structural problems going on in France. Particularly inside the labour market. It is just too difficult to have people fired from a company. It's very difficult to switch jobs." Italy again bucked the trend. According to ISTAT morale among businesses was at its highest level since 2007, while consumer confidence hasn't been better since 2002. The euro zone's third largest economy only emerged from recession this year. The Bank of Italy hopes the growing optimism will encourage investment, although a slowing China remains a concern.
VIDEO-Former House Speaker Hastert pleads guilty | Reuters.com
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 13:17
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves a Chicago courthouse after pleading guilty in a hush-money case. In exchange for the guilty plea, federal prosecutors recommended Hastert serve up to six months in prison. The 73-year-old pleaded guilty to a federal financial crime stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct. Hastert admitted to paying $1.7 million in cash to an individual he had known for decades in order to buy that person's silence and to compensate that individual for the misconduct. Flanked by his attorneys during the 20 minute hearing, the former speaker told the judge he knew what he was doing was wrong. The judge could potentially sentence Hastert to up to five years in prison with a $250,000 fine.
VIDEO-Emissions scandal drives VW into loss | Reuters.com
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 12:55
There's no denying 2015 has been a tough year for Volkswagen. The emissions scandal has forced out its CEO, wiped more than a quarter off its stockmarket value, and tarnished its brand. Now, the carmaker has posted its first quarterly loss in at least 15 years. Despite that, the company's shares rose on Germany's DAX index. Robert Halver is with Baader Bank. (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "VW shares gained for two reasons: first, we now know that they set aside 6.7 billion euros. What's much more important, though, is that VW is saying its 2015 outlook is unchanged as far as revenue and profit goes. That's enough to make the share go up." Volkswagen's third-quarter operating loss was 3.48 billion euros. The company's new CEO says his strategy is to focus on profitability. But it isn't the only carmaker who should be worried, says CMC's Jasper Lawler. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS, MARKET ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "The whole sector is struggling a little bit. Just largely because of the slowdown in China, which has been a booming market for them. So they're projecting that full-year revenues are going to match the previous years so really no sales growth, as well as the scandal on top." Volkswagen has so far set aside 6.7 billion euros to pay for the scandal. That's expected to rise. But for now, the regulatory fallout is only just beginning. The European Parliament the latest to vote in favour of tough new vehicle testing, and early results of investigations into what went wrong.
SHOCKING VIDEO: Muslim Migrants storm/break through fence border Austria-Slovenia border - YouTube
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 06:25
National Geographic Channel and Bill Nye Tackle Climate Change with a Little Muscle from Arnold Schwarzenegger | Business Wire
Sun, 01 Nov 2015 14:48
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The science is clear. Our planet is warming. Weather patterns are shifting. Ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. This affects all of us. And one well-known and outspoken scientist is beside himself with grief.
Acclaimed educator and ''Science Guy'' Bill Nye (@BillNye) realizes the reason he is feeling down is because he is in fact suffering from ''climate change grief.'' With a little help from Hollywood action star and environmental advocate former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (@Schwarzenegger), Nye delves into the various manifestations of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance that represent not only the clinical stages of grief, but also the shared emotions that people exhibit in relation to the stark realities of climate change.
In perhaps the most unconventional hour ever devoted to the subject of climate change, National Geographic Channel (@NatGeoChannel) and Nye partner to tackle the subject in a fresh, entertaining and equally thought-provoking way by investigating how the global community is approaching the dilemma of saving both our species and the planet from rising temperatures and extreme weather. Explorer: Bill Nye's Global Meltdown, featuring Schwarzenegger as Nye's climate change therapist, premieres Sunday, Nov. 1, at 8/7c on National Geographic Channel. For more information, visit our press room foxflash.com and follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/NGC_PR).
Along the way, Nye encounters those who claim climate change is a hoax; those who take up arms as environmental activists; those who advocate carbon tax as the solution; those who feel powerless at the prospect of humanity's extinction; and those scientists and engineers who are actively rethinking how we produce, transmit and use energy. Ultimately, Nye looks to emerge from his grief with a plan of action, enthusiasm and hope for the future.
Nye, a New York Times bestselling author, further sheds light on today's climate change crisis in his new book UNSTOPPABLE: Harnessing Science to Change the World on sale November 10, 2015 from St. Martin's Press. In the book, Nye demonstrates why we need to immediately address climate change, offers solutions to the problem, and issues a new challenge to today's generation: to make a cleaner, more efficient, and happier world.
In addition to Explorer, National Geographic is exploring the topic of climate change across several of its platforms, including a dedicated issue of the magazine (November 2015), interactive online content and live events. The coverage makes this complex topic accessible and actionable '-- helping each of us understand the choice we all have: to remedy climate change or allow it to get worse.
National Geographic Channel, in conjunction with National Geographic magazine (NGM) and National Geographic Studios, re-launched the critically acclaimed documentary series Explorer (natgeotv.com/explorer, #NatGeoExplorer) in August as part of an ongoing multiplatform partnership.
Explorer: Bill Nye's Global Meltdown is produced for National Geographic Channel by National Geographic Studios and Castle Pictures. For National Geographic Studios, executive producers are Brooke Runnette, Brian Lovett, Jeff Hasler and Dave Snyder. For Castle Pictures, executive producer is Chris Cassel. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Robert Palumbo; vice president of production is Matt Renner; and president, original programming and production, is Tim Pastore.
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in nearly 90 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages. For more information, visit natgeotv.com, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/NatGeoTVUS or follow @NatGeoChannel on Twitter and Instagram.
National Geographic Magazine
National Geographic magazine has a long tradition of combining on-the-ground reporting with award-winning photography to inform people about life on our planet. The magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society, a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Published in English and nearly 40 local-language editions, National Geographic magazine has a global circulation of about 6.7 million. It is sent each month to National Geographic members and is available at ngm.com and on print and digital newsstands (smartphones and tablet computers).
National Geographic Studios
National Geographic Studios is the video and film production division of the National Geographic Society, a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. From television series and specials to giant screen, from mobile video to digital news and educational content, National Geographic Studios' productions embody the Society's long-standing reputation for stunning visuals and captivating storytelling. National Geographic Studios has received nearly 150 Emmy awards and almost 1,000 other industry accolades, including recognition from the Peabody Awards and DuPont Columbia Awards, multiple film and museum industry awards, and the highest honors from natural history film festivals. National Geographic Studios also produces and distributes giant screen and digital 3-D films for the museum cinema industry. Brooke Runnette is president of National Geographic Studios.


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Agenda 2030

Bil Nye and Arnold on psych couch Climate Change Denial.mp3
Putin's climate skepticism goes unchallenged.mp3
Sen. Cruz Questions Sierra Club President on Global Warming.mp3
Ted Cruz- 'Climate Change Is Not Science, It's Religion'.mp3

Elections 2016

Ben Carson talks about reforming debate format.mp3
Camille Paglia on Hillary Clinton- 'She's a Fraud!'-ReasonTV.mp3
CBS’s Charlie Rose Desperately Tries to Lecture Rubio on Benghazi.mp3
Chuck Todd- GOP Candidates Launched ‘Premeditated Attack’ Against Debate Moderators.mp3
Hillary Clinton in Atlanta- CLOSER.mp3
Hillary Clinton in Atlanta- Havaing My Back-Equal prison time for cocaine users.mp3
Hillary Clinton in Atlanta- OPENER.mp3
John Harwood- Republicans ‘Got Mileage’ Out of Attacking ‘Us’.mp3
NBC Covering RNC Suspending Future GOP Presidential Debate.mp3


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biden 3 part iraq 2006.mp3
Frmr Ambsdr Iraq-Christoopher Hill - THis is in NE Syria-OIL FIELDS of RAQQA.mp3
Frmr Navy Seal Chad Williams explains ASSIST.mp3
Jim from CNN grills Jossh Earnest on Boots on the Ground ADVISORS.mp3
John Kerry - To Defeat DAESH WTF WTF.mp3
Putin's climate skepticism goes unchallenged.mp3
VIENNA-Iran proposes Syria transition plan, rebels dismiss idea.mp3

JCD Clips

Boots on the ground BBC.mp3
cox says stall.mp3
iNDONESIAN UPDATE Obama update.mp3
iso of the day star wars.mp3
iso of ther day google self driving car.mp3
mike morrell on extra troops in syria.mp3
plane wreck.mp3
silicon valley lament.mp3
these conversations -- ask adam.mp3
troops in northern irq too.mp3
turkey censors and EU.mp3
turkey craackdown.mp3
turkey three students.mp3
turkey two quotes.mp3


German job fears over migrants.mp3
Germany's Merkel to Discuss Refugee Policy With Bavarian Premier-CSU.mp3
Turkey EU Agreement.pdf


Turkey prepares to vote - again.mp3
Two anti-Islamic State campaigners beheaded in Turkey - activist.mp3

War on Vaping

U.S. BANS E-Cigarettes In Checked Baggage On Passenger Planes!.mp3
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