Seemorerocks - Robin Westenra

Seemorerocks - Robin Westenra Feed abonnieren
Aktualisiert: vor 3 Tage 8 Stunden

Vesti's Kisilyev dissects the Teresa May government

Do, 23/11/2017 - 07:59
This is very good!Tipsy Theresa May Barks at Russia But Sends Her Foreign Secretary Clown Boris Johnson to Russia @page { margin: 2cm } h2.cjk { font-family: "WenQuanYi Micro Hei" } h2.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Devanagari" } h1 { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } h1.western { font-family: "Liberation Serif", serif } h1.cjk { font-family: "WenQuanYi Micro Hei"; font-size: 24pt } h1.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Devanagari"; font-size: 24pt } p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120% } a:link { so-language: zxx }

Top Russian anchor Kiselyev trashes the head of the current British government.

Say Goodbye to Net Neutrality

Do, 23/11/2017 - 07:55
Say Goodbye to Net Neutrality. Say Hello to the FCC's Trickle-Down Experiment
Truth Out,20 November, 2017

Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission's Trump-appointed chairman, is moving to gut the net neutrality rules that progressive activists and a massive online movement successfully pushed for during the Obama administration.The effort to kill net neutrality adds to a long list of deregulatory moves that media rights advocates say will hurt people the FCC is charged with protecting: everyday consumers, low-income families, underserved Indigenous communities, disabled people, as well as women and people of color, who remain underrepresented in broadcast media.Last week, Pai and the FCC's Republican majority began overhauling the Lifeline program that subsidizes phone and internet service for low-income people, an effort that Democratic commissioners say will punitively cripple the crucial safety net. Commissioners also voted along party lines to repeal a list of media ownership regulations, a move that critics say will usher in a new era of media consolidation in local markets and help a massive, right-leaning broadcasting company gobble up TV stations without selling others off.The FCC's agenda may be good news for the class of mostly white men who own big telecom companies and broadcasting stations and are eager to consolidate their control over the media landscape. Consider Sinclair Broadcast Group, the TV broadcasting giant that reportedly "struck a deal" with the Trump campaign for favorable coverage and has since seen regulatory hurdles standing in the way of a proposed merger with Tribune Media cleared by Pai and the FCC.Sinclair is known for pushing a conservative agenda and could soon reach 72 percent of local TV viewers nationwide if the merger is approved."To some extent Trump TV already exists; it's just going to be Trump TV on steroids," Tim Karr, spokesperson for the digital rights group Free Press, said of Sinclair in an interview.Pai has been talking about killing the FCC's historic net neutrality rules since they were established in 2015 (well before his appointment as chairman). He's been taking comments on a draft proposal to do so for months and circulated a final draft among his fellow commissioners today. A final draft will be released to the public on Wednesday. Observers expect the FCC to vote on a measure that will largely gut the rules at a meeting scheduled for December 14.Pai also announced on Tuesday that the FCC would take public comments on whether to change or eliminate a rule that caps the percentage of US households that TV stations owned by a single broadcasting company can reach at 39 percent -- the major remaining regulatory roadblock standing in the way of Sinclair's proposed merger with Tribune Media. Like his counterparts in other agencies under the Trump administration, Pai argues that slashing regulations and allowing big businesses to maximize profits will lead to new media models and investments in telecom infrastructure that will benefit everyone else. It's the same "trickle-down" theory driving Trump and many GOP politicians.Speaking before the right-libertarian Cato Institute on Friday, Pai said the FCC's role isn't to support "any particular company or industry," but rather to "foster a light-touch regulatory framework" that allows different companies to compete."And then we'll let American consumers choose who succeeds and who doesn't," Pai said. "After all, competition is a far better guarantor of consumer welfare than preemptive regulation."However, there are only so many airwaves and broadcasting licenses available in local TV and radio markets, and by relaxing media ownership rules, the FCC is setting the stage for newsroom consolidations that could reduce the number of journalists working local beats, as well as the already-small number of voices from communities of color on the airwaves."It's a giveaway to [broadcasting] companies without expecting, or frankly, having a realistic case for competition in return," said Phillip Berenbroick, a senior policy counsel at Public Knowledge, in an interview with Truthout.Pai argues the deregulation is necessary to help newspapers and local broadcasters compete with large online platforms such as Facebook that deliver news, but Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn points out that big internet firms are not producing local news reporting on their own."Citing to 'simple fairness,' the Chairman is fond of making a comparison between local broadcasters and tech companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook," Clyburn wrote in her dissenting statement. "Yet the last time I checked, none of these companies are in the newsgathering business nor to my knowledge are they engaged in local news production."Consumers also have limited choices when it comes to internet providers. In many parts of the country, only one or two companies provide cable and high-speed internet service. Some rural and impoverished areas do not have any options, and experts say slashing regulations is not going to help."Killing net neutrality is not going to move the needle on broadband deployment in areas [where] it's not economical," Berenbroick said. Net neutrality supporters say that without the rules, big broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast would be free to censor competing web content and extract fees from big players like Google and Amazon in exchange for priority speeds that would put smaller companies at a disadvantage. Providers say they would never do such things, but advocates counter that the incentives are there and attempts at priority deals have already been made.Rashad Robinson, executive director of the online civil rights group Color Of Change, said net neutrality has been an "indispensible tool" for those fighting for justice and civil rights."Net neutrality ensures that the internet is a place for innovation and opportunity for all, allowing the voices and ideas of everyday Black folks to spread based on substance, rather than financial backing," Robinson said in a statement.Some net neutrality advocates fear providers would eventually "cable-ize" the internet by providing lower-income consumers with access to only certain websites, rather than the entire internet, in exchange for lower service rates.However, Pai says the regulations have impeded profit margins and prevented telecom companies from investing in broadband infrastructure. If the FCC repeals them, he argues, broadband companies will have extra cash to deploy high-speed internet in needy areas.Yet, both Karr and Berenbroick said that there is no evidence that the net neutrality rules have kept broadband companies from laying new cables and fiber wires to expand internet access."The notion that he is fixing a problem is a bogus premise to begin with," Karr said.In May, a study by Free Press found a 5 percent increase in capital investments among providers after net neutrality was established.In fact, broadband companies tell investors that they are expanding infrastructure more than ever before, particularly in high-income areas where they are seeing high profits. Rural and low-income areas remain disconnected because bringing services to them is expensive and will not reap large returns for these private companies. Repealing net neutrality is not going to change that, according to Berenbroick. "If they were going to deploy there, they would be there already," Berenbroick said of areas in need of high-speed connection, adding that government investment would ultimately be necessary to fix the problem.If we are to believe Pai, then his deregulatory efforts will unleash a new wave of innovation and investment in both local media and the internet. If instead we see rampant consolidation, the closing of local newsrooms and big telecom companies increasingly shaping how we access the internet, could voters respond by punishing Republicans in the midterm elections?Karr said net neutrality remains popular among voters and consumers, including Republicans, and millions of comments supporting the rules have flooded the FCC. (Perhaps this is why Pai is scheduling his major moves on the issue around major holidays.) Meanwhile, internet service providers that enjoy monopolies and duopolies across the country consistently score lower than any other industry when it comes to customer satisfaction.With all the buzz around net neutrality, Karr said, the issue could very well be "part of a progressive/Democratic platform that is featured in the 2018 midterms."
@page { margin: 2cm } h2.cjk { font-family: "WenQuanYi Micro Hei" } h2.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Devanagari" } p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120% } a:link { so-language: zxx }

The rise of micro drone warfare and AI

Do, 23/11/2017 - 07:47
I have not taken the time out to look at the perceived dangers of artificial intelligence until today when I had to take bed rest.
The following video has been made with copious funding by an organisation called Stop Autonomous Weapons that is connected to Humans Rights Watch which has funding from George Soros
The strange thing about this is that, although there is a statement at the very end most of the video is directed towards something which, in their words can kill the ‘bad guys’
Watch Christopher Greene’s take on this.
@page { margin: 2cm } p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120% } a:link { so-language: zxx }
These weapons would not be talked about in this way unless they were already there.

Artificial Intelligence IS THE BEAST SYSTEM RISING

33.3 deg Celsius in South Island at end of spring

Do, 23/11/2017 - 07:31

Cromwell has hit its hottest spring temperature on record today, a sweltering 33.3 degrees, and the summer temperatures continue through the weekend.NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll said Cromwell's previous Spring record was 32.3° in 2010, but that has been beaten this afternoon by a whole degree, and it may still go higher.

Radio NZ,23 November, 2017
Fourth generation Cromwell fruit gower, Simon Webb, said in the 40 years he has lived in the Central Otago town, he has never experienced weather this hot in November.
"Just blue skies, calm and you can feel the burn in the sun. It's really, really hot. We only swam in the lake a couple of times last year and we've done it three or four times already."
In the last 31 days, the Central Otago town was warmer than 20° on 24 days.
NIWA said an "immense dome" of high pressure has settled over the entire country, and could bring record high temperatures to parts of the inland South Island.
It's also very dry so far this month, after a generally wet 2017 for the country.
FollowFollow @NiwaWeatherMoreImmense dome of high pressure sprawling over New Zealand today ... means record or near-record November temperatures possible in the south & some places could even approach spring (Sep-Nov) records.8:14 AM - 23 Nov 2017
A year ago, Wellington was in the middle of its wettest November on record - 240.6mm of rainfall in the month - and flooding. This month the capital has recorded 17.2mm so far and is tracking for one of the driest November rainfall levels on record.
Christchurch Airport had only 1mm of rain so far this month and is tracking for the driest November since records began in 1863. Lincoln, with 0.4mm of rain, is also tracking toward its driest November since records began there in 1881.
Niwa said the "big dry" is being influenced by La Nina conditions in the Pacific.

The MetService forecast for the weekend.The MetService forecast for the weekend. Photo: MetService

MetService's official maximum for Wednesday was 29.5° in Wanaka. (MetService does not have a weather station in Cromwell).
Wanaka is set for 29°C today, with high temperatures until next week at least. Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch get to 21° today, the forecast says.
MetService forecaster Gerrit Keyser said Wanaka was about two degrees off its November record on Wednesday. Alexandra reached 28°.
He said there could be the odd isolated shower about the ranges in the next few days, and some cloud in the mornings or overnight.
@page { margin: 2cm } p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120% } a:link { so-language: zxx }
The MetService says the large high pressure system is forecast to cover the country from Thursday until Monday.

Winter is 30 days shorter, Niwa research finds

@page { margin: 2cm } p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120% } a:link { so-language: zxx } 2017 likely to be one of the hottest years on record

Stephen Cohen on the new Cold War

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 08:01
Tales of the New Cold War: Five things more perilous to the US than Russia. Stephen F. Cohen @nyu @princeton.

Part one

Part two

Tales of the New Cold War: Five things more perilous to the US than Russia. Stephen F. Cohen @nyu @princeton PART 2 of 2.
1. Russiagate
2. Demonizing Putin.
3. Terrorists with radioactive material
4. Nuclear arms club.
5. Climate change and income inequality.

The end of the Islamic State

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 07:53
Iranian president declares end of Islamic State

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has declared the end of the self-proclaimed Islamic State on state television. Later, Major General Qassem Soleimani thanked what he called the "thousands of martyrs" killed in operations organized by Iran to defeat the militant group in Syria and Iraq. Reported on the elite Revolutionary Guards, he said they sent the message of defeat to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei claimed the defeat was a blow against Israel, the US and its allies, an allusion to Saudi Arabia. 

Junk article on financial crisis under Labour shared by National Party

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 07:46
“Based on the junk commentary of some drone who used to work for Lehman Bros., ground zero for the GFC). Next week, a Robert Mugabe staffer on why democarcy will suffer under the coalition agreement)"
----Findlay McDonald
Before the election it was the “rockstar economy” Now an expert has been pulled out to call for collapse.
All on Labour coalition government (sic).
NZ 'recession likely', says Forbes contributor

NZ Herald,22 November, 2017

The National Party has seized on an opinion piece published on the Forbes website that warns of a likely recession under Jacinda Ardern's leadership.

Forbes contributor Jared Dillian, a US-based former Lehman Brothers trader, is critical of the new Government's plans to reform the Reserve Bank, reduce immigration and ban foreign buyers of existing homes.
"Banning foreign ownership of property sets the country up for a possible real estate crash," Dillian writes.
"It seems likely that New Zealand will experience a recession during Ardern's term. Nobody is predicting a return to the bad old days of the 70s, but New Zealand will probably lose its status as one of the most open, free economies of the world.
"It takes decades to weaken an economy, just like it takes decades to strengthen it. But investors will probably want to avoid New Zealand for the time being."
The article has been shared by the National Party on social media.
It is the second recent comment piece published by an overseas media organisation to be critical of the new Labour-led Government.
Earlier this month, Washington Post contributor Ben Mack had a piece published headlined, "How the far right is poisoning New Zealand", claiming NZ First's influence was a "shadow poisoning Middle-earth".
Westpac economists, meanwhile, say the Government will face economic headwinds next year.Liam Dann reported yesterday the Westpac economists joined a growing list of analysts downgrading the short-term outlook for GDP growth.

Attacked for speaking the truth - Clive Hamilton on climate change

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 07:06
Are We F--ked? Decoding the resistance to climate change From Aug. 25, 2013, file photo, firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

CBC,7 September, 2017

Listen to entire podcast  HERE

The evidence is everywhere: forests retreating, glaciers melting, sea levels rising. Droughts, floods, wildfires and storms have increased five-fold over the past 50 years. And we're only just beginning to feel the strain of climate change. It's estimated that rising sea levels will threaten 30 million people in Bangladesh alone. Miami could disappear within a generation. Despite all of these dire events and projections, the attacks continue — on climate scientists. Part 1 of 2-part series. Part 2 airs Thursday, September 14.
Australian public intellectual Clive Hamilton describes how he’s been attacked for telling the truth about climate change.

Clive Hamilton is an Australian public intellectual who's written books about global warming, among them: Requiem for a Species and Defiant Earth. His books were intended to enlighten the public. But as he says: "anyone who engages publicly in the climate change debate has been subject to threats and abuse from a global army of climate science deniers. There are a lot of disturbed, angry people out there, which is, of course, socially worrying."

The denial about climate change is widespread and profound. In fact, a term has been coined for it: "climate change denial disorder". So how did we get here? That's where Naomi Oreskes enters the picture. She's a Harvard professor and historian of science. In her book, Merchants of Doubt, she traces the people behind what has become a global industry of climate change denial. There are the American billionaire Koch brothers, who continue to finance "doubt" campaigns. Some observers put their contribution to climate change denial at $120 million, with the result that many now believe that stories about climate change are "fake news" or a "Chinese hoax". According to the Pew Research Center, almost half of Americans surveyed do not believe climate change is caused by humans. And 20% of Australians don't believe in climate change at all. Canadians are divided on the issue, too; however, public opinion research in 2016 shows that two-thirds of Canadians want federal leadership to tackle the crisis.
The journal, Global Environmental Change, refers to a study that lists the factors which connect climate change deniers to each other, no matter their country of origin: overwhelmingly, they're politically conservative, male and hold the environment in low regard. Some far-right groups do agree humans cause climate change but they maintain it's immigrants who are to blame.
Why does climate science face such an intractable problem? Naomi Oreskes concludes that, "it's not about the facts, not about the science. Underneath all of this is a fear that capitalism has failed. That new rules and regulations and carbon taxes to fight climate change are somehow an assault on our freedom and liberty — that we'll become Communists. That's why environmentalists are called "watermelons", green on the outside, red on the inside. Hard to believe, but that's the core of the resistance."
In parts one and two of this IDEAS series, Are We F--ked? we decode the resistance to climate change and learn what's at stake in the process. Part 2 airs Thursday, September 14.
This episode features Clive Hamilton, an Australian public intellectual who has written books about climate change: Requiem for a Species and Defiant Earth. He is also author of the widely-acclaimed, Affluenza. He is a Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia.

Further reading:
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, published by Bloomsbury Press, 2011, New York.

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder, published by Tim Duggan Books, 2015, New York.

Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us--and How to Fight Back by Clive Hamilton, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, 2014.

Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene by Clive Hamilton, published by Polity Press, Cambridge, 2017.

Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change by Clive Hamilton, published by Earthscan, Oxfordshire, 2010.

Storms of my Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, by James Hansen, published by Bloomsbury, 2010, New York.

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas, published by National Geographic, 2008, U.S.

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben, published by St. Martin's Griffin, 2011.

The Defeat pf ISIS in the Middle East

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 06:40
Putin-Assad Meeting Cements the End of US Dominance in the Middle EastWhatever happens after this the U.S. has lost all credibility in the region outside of Riyadh and Tel Aviv
Tom Luongo

Russia Insider21 November, 2017

I’m not a terribly religious man.  But, I’d like to believe there is a special corner in Hell reserved for those that fomented the Syrian Civil War.

From its beginnings in Libya with gun-funneling through the U.S. embassy in Benghazi to yesterday’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, this entire affair will be remembered as one of the most cynical and abusive periods of history.The Syrian ‘Civil War’ was meant to be the crowning achievement of U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy in the Middle East, the apotheosis of neoconservatism.Had it succeeded it would have transformed the world into a living hell governed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Angela Merkel and the U.S./U.K. banking cartel.
Syria was to be the wedge that blew open not only the Middle East but Central Asia as well.  It would stop the resurgence of Russia as a world power, subjugate Europe to an endless nightmare of forced cultural assimilation and completed bankrupting the United States to bring it in line with the a failing European integration project.
Supranational treaties like the TPP, TTIP and the Paris Accord were designed to create a superstructure that would supplant national sovereignty without any input from the people who were most affected by it.Putin’s Turning PointWith Vladimir Putin’s pivotal speech at the United Nations on September 28th, 2015, opposition to this vision was expressed in the most forceful, and frankly, humanist terms one could imagine.  I’m going to remind you of the most important passage as it relates to Syria.In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they’re in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it.We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but fire hazardous (ph). This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.
In truth, the whole speech is worth revisiting.  It is a stark reminder that Putin, normally very reserved in his words, laid all of his cards on the table and directly accused the United States of declaring war on the world.And within 48 hours Sukhois were flying over Syria, bombing targets opposed to Syria’s government, allowing one military victory after another for the beleaguered Syrian Arab Army.  Shortly thereafter a coalition formed around Assad’s government including Iran’s Republican Guard, Hezbollah’s military wing and China’s tacit financial and moral support.Putin told everyone, “Enough is enough” at the U.N. Then he backed up his words with actions.  War is always regrettable.  It is almost never justified.  But, when faced with an implacable enemy, there was little else to be done.And I submit that the neoconservative forces driving the anti-Assad policy decisions are that implacable enemy.The End of ‘Assad Must Go’
That action began the process of unraveling the carefully constructed narrative that was the Syrian Civil War.
But, enough history.Yesterday Putin introduced Assad to the military commanders who are most responsible for the stabilization of his country.  Syria as a political unit has survived.Saudi Arabia’s old guard are imprisoned, impoverished and losing influence around the world by the minute.  Israel’s neoconservative government, led by madman Benjamin Netanyahu, is fulminating impotently at the turn of events, and, of course, ISIS has all but been wiped out in both Syria and Iraq.The U.S. continues to talk out of both sides of its mouth, allowing some ISIS members cover to escape to be used again another day, presumably against Iran and/or Lebanon, while taking credit for ISIS’s collapse and the capture of Raqqa.
This reflects the deep-seated issues within the vast U.S. diplomatic, military and intelligence communities and the difficulties President Trump is having bringing these disparate groups to heel while not appearing weak and ineffectual.You need only look at the odd event over the weekend of military helicopters landing at the CIA’s headquarters at Quantico to know that, at a minimum, there is an internal war occurring within the U.S. government.The best explanation I’ve heard (and this is by no means a corroborated fact) is that the U.S. military put on a show of force against Obama administration hold-overs in the CIA still operating its terrorist proxies in Syria.  And that these operations are in direct conflict with U.S. military goals there.If that is the case then Putin is right to simply ignore the Americans and move policy talks forward at an accelerated rate, ignoring the talks in Geneva and giving Assad all the support he needs to continue on as Syria’s leader, if that is what the Syrian people want.Given Assad’s open support of his military and the way the war against ISIS and other separatist groups was led by Syrian forces on the ground, there is little doubt that Assad will win that support in any upcoming elections.
Putin Won’t Goat
The big question is, however, what price will be extracted from the U.S. for their part in all of this.  Putin will not put Trump in a bad position.  The loss of face for the U.S. has already occurred internationally.The Obama administration’s complicity in this sorry chapter of Middle East history has been mostly laid base for anyone with eyes open enough to see.Putin will offer Trump a way to save face for the U.S. while laying all the blame on Obama, Clinton, McCain and the rest of them.  If you don’t think this ties into Robert Mueller’s ‘Russia-Gate’ investigation run amok, you aren’t paying attention.Mueller is trying to desperately save everyone implicated here from treason charges.  But, I expect, everything about the U.S. political scene is about to change radically.  Once Judge Roy Moore enters the Senate (the odds of that not happening are close to zero), Trump has an impeachment-proof majority in the House and the Senate and can shut down Mueller or get him to play ball.Trump has the opportunity to play peace-maker here.  He can solidify his position as the handler of Saudi Arabia’s and Israel’s worst actors and keep them on a short leash.In fact, one could make a credible argument that is what the purge in Saudi Arabia was all about.  Mohammed bin Salman’s counter-coup was done with Trump’s blessing.Putin can act similarly to allay suspicions of Iran’s and Hezbollah’s intentions.  He can also restrain Assad from retaliating against his enemies, though rightly deserved, in order to build a lasting peace.  And once the talks are over and the threat of Kurdish independence is over, Turkey will withdraw its troops from Syria.Putin is set to call Trump later today to update him on what comes next.  It’s obvious that the two have been in contact about how things are progressing in Syria.  And, Trump, for his part has smartly left the clean-up work to Putin while he deals with his domestic neoconservative problems.Whatever happens after this — framework for long-term peace or an uneasy ceasefire with Russia playing the go-between for the time being — the U.S. has lost all credibility in the region outside of Riyadh and Tel Aviv.And we have no one to blame except ourselves.Source: Gold, Goats and Guns

Putin has destroyed 10 years old U.S. plan for Syria!Whole Syrian conflict in 11 minutes!

Russia confirms radioactive cloud

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:33
Russia Confirms Toxic Cloud Of "Extremely High" Radiation; Source Remains A Mystery
ZeroHedge,21 November, 2017

One month after a mysterious radiation cloud was observed over Europe, whose source remained unknown last week speculation emerged that it may have been the result of a "nuclear accident" in Russia or Kazakhstan, on Tuesday Russian authorities on Tuesday confirmed the previous reports of a spike in radioactivity in the air over the Ural Mountains. In a statement, the Russian Meteorological Service said that it recorded the release of Ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in late September and classified it as "extremely high contamination."
Earlier this month, France's nuclear safety agency earlier this month said that it recorded a spike in radioactivity, and said that "the most plausible zone of release" of this radioactive material "lies between the Volga and the Urals" from a suspected accident involving nuclear fuel or the production of radioactive material. The agency noted, however, that it is impossible to determine the exact point of release given the available data. Luckily, it said the release of the isotope Ruthenium-106 posed no health or environmental risks to European countries.France’s Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety published this graphic 
to show radiation levels.

At the time, Russia's state-controlled Rosatom corporation - the same company implicated in the Uranium One scandal - said in a statement that there had been no radiation leak from its facilities. That changed when the Russian meteorological service (Rosgidromet) reported that it had detected record levels of radiation in the villages located in Russia's Ural region adjacent to Rosatom's Mayak plant for spent nuclear fuel. Some calculated that the radiation exposure levels were up to 1,000x higher than the normal rate.  

Mayak, located in the Chelyabinsk region, issued a statement on Tuesday denying it was the source of contamination. The plant said it has not conducted any work on extracting Ruthenium-106 from spent nuclear fuel "for several years." Full statement below:

“The contamination of the atmosphere with ruthenium-106 isotope registered by Rosgidromet is not linked to the activity of Mayak. The measurements which Rosgidromet has released suggest that the dose people might have received is 20,000 times less than the allowed annual dose and presents no threat at all to health.”

Quoted by Sputnik, the Rosatom represtative stated that there were "no incidents or accidents at nuclear facilities in Russia". 

The Mayak nuclear processing plant, located in the Urals, has also come out with a statement saying that "atmospheric pollution with ruthenium-106 that was found by Rosgidromet is not connected to the work of Mayak," since the work on the separation of ruthenium-106 from spent nuclear fuel (and the production of ionizing radiation sources on its basis) has not been carried out for many years at the facility.Earlier, Rosgidromet confirmed that the the monitoring systems have detected an increase in the concentration of ruthenium over several parts of Russia. However, according to the press release, the concetration does not exceed the maximum permissible concetrations. The head of Rosgidromet, however, said that the automatic monitoring system detected an increase in the concentration of Ru-106 not only in Russia, but also in neighboring countries such as Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. According to him, the concentration in Romania was 1.5-2 times higher than the concentration in Russia.The exact source of the spike, however, remains a mystery, though IRSN suggested that the cause might be an accident.Mayak has been responsible for at least two of Russia's biggest radioactive accidents. In 2004 it was confirmed that waste was being dumped in the local river. Nuclear regulators say that no longer happens, but anti-nuclear activists say it's impossible to tell given the level of state secrecy. Also on Tuesday, Greenpeace said that it would petition the Russian Prosecutor General's office to investigate "a possible concealment of a radiation accident" and check whether public health was sufficiently protected.

White House Declares North Korea A State Sponsor Of Terror and China ends flights to N Korea

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:29
Isolation Escalates As Chinese Airline Ends Flights To North Korea
ZeroHedge,21 November, 2017

It's barely been a day since President Donald Trump revealed that the US would once again label North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism and impose broad new sanctions against its government and senior officials, and already more bad news for the restive communist state has emerged. This time, the Associated Press is reporting that Air China, a state owned airline, is canceling flights to North Korea, leaving the North's troubled Air Koryo as the only airline operating flights between North Korea and its primary economic benefactor.

Flights were “temporarily suspended due to unsatisfactory business operations,” said an employee of Air China’s press office who would give only his surname, Zhang, according to the AP. The suspension was blamed on falling demand for the routes. A foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said he hadn’t heard about Air China’s cancellation. He said such decisions would be made based on the “state of operation and the market.”
Beijing has supported UN sanctions on North Korean exports meant to pressure the government of leader Kim Jong Un to drop its pursuit of nuclear and missile technology, but China has argued against measures that would harm ordinary North Koreans.

Since mid-summer, the UN Security Council has passed two rounds of sanctions (with China's approval) that impose strict limitations on exports of North Korean seafood, coal and other raw materials. And Trump said the Treasury will outline more restrictions to be imposed against the North and senior government officials in the coming weeks. Since Air China is state-owned, the cancellation of the routes received at least tacit government approval. But since the sanctions have choked off much of the North's legitimate economy, it's possible the routes were eliminated to prevent the airline from losing money, forcing the government to intervene with subsidies. Back in September, China kicked out North Korean businessmen and instructed its banks not to do business with North Koreans or North Korean-owned businesses.

To be sure, Airlines have been rolling back flights to North Korea for months.

Airlines have steadily reduced the frequency of flights to North Korea as mounting political tensions depressed the already small number of business travelers and tourists visiting the North. Air China Ltd. announced in April it was cutting the frequency of flights to North Korea due to lack of demand. Some other Chinese carriers offered charter services to the North but those also have been canceled. Zhang said the last Air China flight to Pyongyang was Monday and he didn’t know when service might resume. The status of Air Koryo’s flights was unclear. Phone calls to the carrier’s Beijing office weren’t answered. The flight information website for the Beijing airport showed its Pyongyang flight on Tuesday took off as scheduled.Lu, the foreign ministry spokesman, appealed for measures to ease the tense standoff. Given the highly complex and sensitive situation on the peninsula, we hope all relevant parties can do something conducive to alleviating the tension and pulling all sides concerned back to the track of negotiation and dialogue to settle the peninsular nuclear issue,” he said at a regular news briefing.

Whether it's true or not, Trump has shown himself more than willing to take credit for any signs of a chill in relations between the North and China. For example, he boasted about having secured assurances from President Xi that China would continue to help isolated the North's economy. Though many have speculated that Xi is just flattering his American rival, and that China has no intention of squeezing the North. 
White House Declares North Korea A State Sponsor Of Terror
20 November, 2017
Following comments by the White House last week that the administration would soon bring more pressure on North Korea,President Donald Trump has confirmed as much to a crowd of reporters, adding that, as of today, that North Korea would once again be designated a terror sponsor.
Trump cited the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's estranged half brother in a Malaysian airport earlier this year, as well as the North’s horrific treatment of Ohio college student Otto Warmbier, as justifications for the sanctions.

North Korea has supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump said.

As we take this action today we think of Otto Warmbier and the many others affected by north korean opporession."
During remarks at the start of a cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said the Treasury Department will announce on Tuesday additional sanctions against North Korea, describing the moves as “a very large one.” The sanctions will be imposed over the next two weeks, Trump said.
Trump demanded that the North cease its nuclear program and stop aiding terror groups across the world.Trump called the move a long overdue step and part of the U.S. "maximum pressure campaign" against the North...

The chart governments, corporations and media don't want you to see

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:23
This is the reality most governments, corporations and media want to keep from you.
They may report the ‘good news’ of sea ice extent but certainly won’t tell you that sea ice thickness is the thinnest on record.
Dwindling Arctic sea ice

Arctic sea ice extent update. The graph shows the current extent as second lowest on record for this date. (Chart by @zlabe)

Guy McPherson explains the climate predicament in a nutshell

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:17
Overview Of Abrupt Anthropogenic Climate Change

Ron Paul talks the Middle East with Marwar Osman

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:16
Saudi Purges Explained, With Marwa Osman Live From Lebanon

What is behind the sudden purge of dozens of high-ranking Saudi princes and their incarceration at the Riyadh Ritz? Lebanese scholar and geopolitical analyst Marwa Osman joins us to give a close-up perspective as war clouds continue to gather. Follow Marwa on Twitter: @Osman_Marwa1

PM Hariri returns to Beirut

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:12
Lebanon’s PM returns to Beirut after abrupt resignation while in Saudi Arabia

RT,21 November, 2017

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has finally returned to Beirut as tensions mount in the region over his sudden resignation earlier this month.
Hariri touched down at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport after stopping over in Cairo where he held talks with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and a quick pit stop in Cyprus where he spoke with President Nikos Anastasides, Lebanon’s Naharnet news reports. The politician was met by security forces on arrival.  
Prior to his engagement in Egypt, Hariri spent the weekend in Paris, holding talks with French President Emmanuel Macron who is reportedly trying to mediate in Lebanon’s crisis. Before Hariri travelled to Beirut, el-Sisi spoke on the phone with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, and the two leaders stressed the importance of preserving Lebanon’s national unity.
Hariri abruptly announced his resignation in a televised statement from Riyadh on November 4, blaming Iran for having a destabilizing influence in Lebanon and the Middle East and saying that his life was in danger from political opponent, Hezbollah. This led some to speculate the resignation statement had been made under duress while the PM was in Saudi Arabia, a claim repeated by Aoun. Hariri has denied these claims.
Aoun has repeatedly said that he will only accept Hariri’s resignation if he delivers it on Lebanese soil. Riyadh has used the Hariri situation over the past week to target its regional nemeses – Iran and Hezbollah, Tehran’s ally in Lebanon. Both Iran and Hezbollah are accused of interfering in the affairs of the Middle East and supplying missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who earlier this month targeted an airport near the Saudi capital. To add fuel to rapidly escalating regional tensions, the Chief of Staff of Israel’s military, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, said last week that Tel Aviv is ready to share intelligence on Iran with Riyadh. 
Amid the turbulence, the Arab League called an emergency meeting in Cairo Sunday, also blaming Iran for destabilizing the region. The Arab alliance also described Hezbollah as a terrorist organization but stopped just short of threatening any action against either.
On Monday, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah denied all the accusations leveled against the group, especially that of supplying arms to the Houthis, dismissing the charges as “silly” and“completely baseless.” Tehran has also denied its involvement.
The Lebanese president has defended Hezbollah, claiming that his country has been subjected to Israeli “aggression” for decades and had the right to protect itself. Speaking Tuesday, Aoun said Beirut“will not bow to any opinion, advice or decision pushing it towards internal strife,” stressing, that “those who want Lebanon’s welfare must help it immunize its unity because it is its security valve.”
“Were we supposed to disregard the issue of returning our premier to his country, which was a matter of national duty that was imposed on us?… It was a matter of the dignity of a nation and its people, who showed unique national cohesion,”said Aoun in an address to the nation on the eve of Lebanon’s Independence Day.
READ MORE: Lebanese Army placed at ‘full readiness’ to counter ‘Israeli enemy’
In a climate of accusations, counter-accusations, denials and threats, the head of the Lebanese Army ordered the country’s the military to be at “full readiness” to face “the Israeli enemy” at the southern border.

Mr Aung on Bali erupts

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:06

Volcano erupts on Indonesian resort island amid mass evacuations
© Darren Whiteside / Reuters of thousands of people have fled their homes in Bali over the past months, fearing an inevitable Mount Agung volcanic eruption, which on Tuesday, finally spewed ash as high as 700 meters into the Indonesian sky.The volcano on the Indonesian resort island erupted at 5:05pm Tuesday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) announced, urging residents to “remain calm” and to stay away from areas within 7.5-kilometer radius of the volcano.However, despite the high volcanic activity, flights in and out of Bali are continuing as usual. “Tourism in Bali is also still safe,” the BNPB said while asking tourists to stay away from Mount Agung. The Agung Volcano in Bali became active in August 2017, prompting authorities to raise the alert to the highest level and ordering evacuations within a 12 km radius around the volcano. Over 130,000 residents were evacuated in September and October as the volcano showed a high probability of an eruption.But in recent weeks, volcanic activity on Agung had been slowing, with authorities lowering the volcano’s alert status from the highest level to the third highest classification. By the time of Tuesday’s eruption, only 29,245 people were being housed in 278 shelters, BNPB said.Hey guest, welcome to RT! Sign up and become a member.FacebookGoogleTwitterEmail

Ankara may retaliate against Washington

Mi, 22/11/2017 - 05:03
Blinding’ Israel’s defense? Turkish media says Ankara could disable US radar over F-35 deal threat

RT,21 November, 2017
An editorial in a Turkish conservative pro-government newspaper said Ankara could leave Israel exposed to an Iranian missile attack by disabling a US radar station, in retaliation for a possible Washington ban on the purchase of F-35 fighter jets.
The editorial was published on Sunday by the Yeni Safak newspaper in apparent response to concerns voiced by a US Air Force official. Heidi Grant, the deputy undersecretary of the USAF for international affairs, had earlier said that Turkey’s deployment of the Russian-made S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missile system may expose vulnerabilities of the US-made F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. Turkey plans to purchase over 100 of the advanced warplanes from Lockheed Martin.
The newspaper called the implication that the planned deal may be frozen “blackmail” by Washington, and suggested that in retaliation Ankara could dismantle the Kurecik radar station. The powerful AN/TPY-2 X-band early-warning radar, which was set up by the US in the eastern province of Malatya in 2012, is part of NATO’s system of airspace surveillance in the region.
The newspaper says that unlike similar surveillance sites in Israel, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE, the Kurecik radar station can detect missile launches from the entire western part of Iran. With the site disabled, that airspace would no longer be properly monitored by NATO, the editorial said.
“In case Turkey decides to dismantle the Kurecik radar in response to the ongoing attempts by the US to use the F-35 jets to blackmail Turkey, Israel will lose its ‘early warning system’ in case of a missile launch from eastern or northern Iran,” the newspaper said.
Turkey’s hosting of NATO radar facilities is a matter of controversy in the country. In 2014, the ruling AKP party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minister, had to defend itself from opposition accusations which said the site only benefits Israeli security and fails to make Turkey safer. The accusations were part of a heated presidential race laden with anti-Israeli sentiment.
The deployment of NATO radar was also criticized by Russia since it has contributed to the alliance’s anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, which Moscow sees a threat to its national security.
Likewise, Ankara’s decision to purchase the state-of-art Russian S-400 system was criticized by NATO, which said the Russian SAM was incompatible with the equipment used by the alliance.
Turkey said it chose the Russian system because it was necessary to ensure its security, which had been undermined by members of NATO, adding that the bloc had failed to sell arms that Ankara wished to acquire.
The US and NATO have experienced various barbs from Turkey and Erdogan personally recently. Just days earlier, the Turkish president claimed that his transatlantic ally “paid a lot of dollars to [Islamic State].”
On Monday, Erdogan’s chief adviser, Yalcin Topcu, questioned his country’s membership in NATO, claiming the bloc’s approach towards Ankara was “brutal and dishonorable.”

URGENT, BREAKING: Lebanese Army at "full readiness" on southern border

Di, 21/11/2017 - 09:02
Lebanese Army ordered at ‘full readiness’ at southern border to face Israeli threat/

RT,21 November, 2017
The head of the Lebanese Army has asked the military to be at “full readiness” to face “the Israeli enemy” at the southern border, according to the army’s Twitter account.
FollowFollow @LebarmyOfficialMoreقائد الجيش للعسكريين: أدعوكم إلى الجهوزية التامة على الحدود الجنوبية لمواجهة تهديدات العدو الإسرائيلي وخروقاته، وما يبيّته من نيّات عدوانية ضد لبنان وشعبه وجيشه، كما إلى السهر الدائم على حسن تنفيذ القرار 1701 بالتنسيق والتعاون مع قوات الأمم المتحدة في لبنان، حفاظاً على الاستقرار.11:06 PM - 20 Nov 2017


Merkel's government collapses

Di, 21/11/2017 - 08:48
"Worst Case Scenario" Looms As Merkel's "Jamaica Coalition" Collapses
Zero Hedge,20 November, 2017

We warned on Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a 'night of the long knives' in her efforts to bring together the co-called 'Jamaica' coalition of four parties and after a desperate weekend of talks, Bloomberg reports Merkel's efforts at forming a coalition have failed meaning a second election looms and sending the euro sliding.
As Bloomberg reports, talks on forming German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s next government collapsed, throwing the future of Europe’s longest-serving leader into doubt and potentially pointing the world’s fourth-biggest economy toward new elections.
After a 12-hour negotiating session that ended shortly before midnight Sunday, the Free Democratic Party walked out of the exploratory talks, saying the differences with the Green party were too great to bridge.
Merkel has sought for four weeks to enlist the two smaller parties for her fourth-term coalition.

It’s better not to govern than to govern badly,” FDP head Christian Lindner told reporters in Berlin.
No further coalition talks were scheduled, he said. There was no immediate comment from Merkel.EURUSD is down aroound 80 pips on the news...

As MINT Partners' Bill Blain noted previously, Germans are not used to multiple elections – and a second vote early next year would be massive negative for Merkel herself – she may even have to stand down if coalition looks like falling. That could be massive shock.
As a result, the prospects for more volatile European peripheral markets, particularly Greece and Italy, are likely to be exacerbated, and we might well see some of the currency and European stock market froth blow away in coming days as the scale of the “German Problem” becomes clearer.
  • My worst case Germany scenario is a second election early next year, political uncertainty as Mutti Merkel finds herself squeezed out, and a scramble to build a new coalition government in her aftermath.
  • The best case scenario isn’t much better: that Merkel manages to forge a new coalition, but it will be a long drawn out affair and the resulting administration will be vulnerable, weak and fraxious.
These sound like German problems, but they mean the “leader of Europe” is likely to be entirely inward focused in coming months/years.. at a time when the European union will be facing a host of new issues regarding closer union, banking union and reform of the ESM, bailout and QE policies. There will also be new potential crisis points – Italian elections next year, Greece bailout, renewed immigration crisis or a blow-up with Trump. And these are just the known unknowns.
This has profound implications for the so-called French/German axis as it slides towards Paris. We are not going to see a new German government “waste time” on issues like closer EU union, European Banking Union, or critical finance issues like reforming ESM or new approaches on QE and Bailout funds. Forget Wiedemann for ECB president, it’s more likely to another Frenchman (Trichet II) – I’m sure its already underway. In short.. Germany negotiations could get very fraxious while Europe is dragged down in its wake. I doubt the markets have discounted it yet.

Threats of explostion at Hanford

Di, 21/11/2017 - 08:44