Posted: May 25, 2015 Filed under: War Room, Global | Tags: al Qaeda, Central Intelligence Agency, Death of Osama bin Laden, Director of National Intelligence, Global Panic, Inter-Services Intelligence, Osama bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, September 11 attacks, United States
GLOBAL PANIC POLL RESULTS: We told You So
Jordan Schachtel reports: In a recent survey conducted by AlJazeera.net, the website for the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel, respondents overwhelmingly support the Islamic State terrorist group, with 81% voting “YES” on whether they approved of ISIS’s conquests in the region.
The poll, which asked in Arabic, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?” has generated over 38,000 responses thus far, with only 19% of respondents voting “NO” to supporting ISIS.
Al Jazeera Arabic’s television audience is largely made up of Sunni Muslims living in the Arab world. Its biggest viewership numbers come from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with a large amount of satellite
television viewers in the United States, according to research estimates.
[Read the full text here, at Breitbart]
AlJazeera.net is most popular in Saudi Arabia, the United States, Egypt, Morocco, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Alexa webpage analytics site. Al Jazeera claims that it has over 40 million viewers in the Arab world.
The news that an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Al Jazeera Arabic poll strongly support ISIS may not surprise long-time trackers of the controversial network. The news outfit, which is run by Qatar’s ruling family and headquartered in Doha, has a track record rife with allegations that the organization supports the narratives of Sunni terrorist groups. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 25, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Science & Technology | Tags: Cambridge, Graduate school, Human gastrointestinal tract, IBM, Internet, Jerome H. Lemelson, Lemelson Foundation, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Researchers at MIT have developed a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand. Learn more…
Posted: May 24, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Global, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: Demilitarized zone, Gloria Steinem, Korean Demilitarized Zone, Korean War, Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize, North Korea, Panmunjom, Pyongyang, South Korea
The group wants to promote peace, love, harmony, understanding, and reconciliation between the two sides
A international group of female activists crossed the border between North and South Korea on Sunday to promote peace between the two countries, which have yet to sign a peace treaty 60 years after the Korean War ended.
“Several groups have criticized the march, arguing that the women should have crossed the North Korea-China border, which is more dangerous than the DMZ. Others called the crossing “empty,” blasting the activists for allowing North Korea an opportunity to cover up its record of human rights abuses.”
The group of about 30 women, WomenCrossDMZ, was taken by bus across the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), CNN reports, which was created by a 1953 armistice that halted, but never ended, the Korean War.
U.S. activist Gloria Steinem, sixth right in front, two Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire, from Northern Ireland, second from right, Leymah Gbowee, from Liberia, third from right, and other activists march to the Imjingak Pavilion with South Korean activists along the military wire fences near the border village of Panmunjom, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, May 24, 2015. International women activists including Steinem and two Nobel Peace laureates on Sunday were denied an attempt to walk across the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea, but were allowed to cross by bus and complete what one of them called a landmark peace event. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
The crossing was sanctioned by both sides, and included feminist Gloria Steinem and Nobel laureates Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland.
Several groups have criticized the march….(read more)
Posted: May 24, 2015 Filed under: Global, Russia | Tags: Amnesty International, Civil society, Government of Russia, Human Rights Watch, Moscow Kremlin, Non-governmental organization, RUSSIA, Russians, United States, Vladimir Putin
Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country
Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning “undesirable” non-governmental organisations, the Kremlin said Saturday, in a move condemned by human rights groups and the United States.
“We are concerned this new power will further restrict the work of civil society in Russia and is a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”
— State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf
The law allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia’s “defence capabilities” or “consitutional foundations” and go after local activists working with them, the Kremlin statement said.
Supporters presented the law as a “preventative measure”, necessary after the wave of Western sanctions put in place over the Ukraine conflict.
Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country.
It also allows them to block the bank accounts of the organisations until the NGOs “account for their actions” to the Russian authorities.
Lawmakers cited the need to stop “destructive organisations” working in Russia, which could threaten the “value of the Russian state” and stir up “colour revolutions”, the name given to pro-Western movements seen in some former Soviet republics over the last several years.
Critics have said that the vague wording of the law—which gives Russia’s general prosecutor the right to impose the “undesirable” tag without going to court—could allow officials to target foreign businesses working in Russia. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 22, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Global | Tags: Drug cartel, Federal Police (Mexico), Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacán, Police officer, Unión de Tula, Villa Purificación
The violence unfolded in the morning near the town of Tanhuato, along Michoacan’s border with the state of Jalisco
Joshua Partlow reports: A shootout between members of a powerful drug cartel and Mexican security forces in the western state of Michoacan left at least 40 people dead Friday, according to Mexican officials.
“The people must be scared. But what are we going to do? Everybody knows there were killings, but the people just say, ‘God help us,’ ”
The violence unfolded in the morning near the town of Tanhuato, along Michoacan’s border with the state of Jalisco, a troubled region where two drug cartels have waged a long-running battle and where attacks against Mexican authorities have recently spiked.
A federal police officer stands guard outside the ranch in Michoacan state where more than 40 people were killed in Friday’s shootout. (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexican authorities offered few details Friday afternoon about the killings, which involved the New Generation cartel of Jalisco and a convoy of federal police and soldiers. The governor of Michoacan, Salvador Jara, said on the radio that at least one policeman died, as well as 42 gunmen, although those numbers were not confirmed. Photographs from the scene showed authorities had recovered dozens of high-powered rifles.
AFP PHOTO / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
A federal police official confirmed that at least 40 people had died. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 21, 2015 Filed under: Global, War Room | Tags: Agence France-Presse, Archaeological site, Council of Ministers (Syria), Iraq, Islamic state, Islamic State of Iraq, Palmyra, Syria, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Tadmur, World Heritage Site
Islamic State now controls more than half of Syria after the extremist militia seized the historic city of Palmyra, a monitoring group said on Thursday.
Russia is ready to supply weapons to Iraq, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, as the country struggles to halt advances by Islamic State militants.
Speaking ahead of talks in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, Lavrov told reporters Moscow would make every effort to help the Baghdad government push back the militants.
Hundreds of artefacts from Palmyra have been taken to Damascus, Syrian authorities say
“The jihadists on Wednesday fully seized Palmyra, home to ancient ruins listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.”
Islamic State insurgents overran the Iraqi city of Ramadi last weekend in the most significant setback for the Baghdad government in a year, exposing the weakness of Iraq’s army and the limitations of U.S. air strikes. On Thursday the group seized full control of Palmyra in neighboring Syria.
Australia plans to strip citizenship from Australian-born children of immigrants who become Islamic State fighters in its crackdown on homegrown jihadis.
“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamic State rules around 95,000 square kilometres, or more than 50 per cent of Syria’s total geographic area.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told Sydney Radio 2GB on Thursday that his government wants to change the Citizenship Act to make fighting for the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq a reason for losing citizenship,.He says the government also wants to adopt the British legal model by revoking the citizenship of extremists who are Australian-born children of immigrants or an immigrant, forcing them to take up citizenship in the birth country of their parents, or parent.
Palmyra rose to prominence under the Romans but its rulers later created a rival empire of their own
Islamic State now controls more than half of Syria after the extremist militia seized the historic city of Palmyra, a monitoring group said on Thursday.
The jihadists on Wednesday fully seized Palmyra, home to ancient ruins listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 20, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, Space & Aviation | Tags: College football, Earth, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mars, NASA, National flag, Outer Space, Space Exploration, Stockholm, United States
For Space.com, Elizabeth Howell writes: A Swedish university student has created a design for an “International Flag of Planet Earth” that could be planted on alien worlds during future human exploration missions.
“The scientific study of flags is called vexillology, and the practice of designing flags is called vexillography. Both of these are an outcome of heraldry. In these practices there are different unofficial design rules/customs, about colors, placement, proportions, typography and aestethics in general. This proposal is accurate according to the regulations regarding flags.”
The student project, which Oskar Pernefeldt undertook for a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, features several interlocked white circles on a blue background. (See more views of the International Flag of Planet Earth.)The flag is intended to remind people that we all share planet Earth, regardless of nationality, Pernefeldt said.
“Current expeditions in outer space use different national flags depending on which country is funding the voyage. The space travelers, however, are more than just representatives of their own countries. They are representatives of planet Earth,” Pernefeldt wrote on his project’s website.
[Construction of The International Flag of Planet Earth from Beckmans College of Design on Vimeo]
And international cooperation will likely be a big part of any future human missions to Mars and other farflung destinations, not least because of the high costs associated with such an undertaking, exploration advocates say. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 18, 2015 Filed under: Global, War Room | Tags: Abu Sayyaf, Adam Schiff, al Qaeda, Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Central Intelligence Agency, Islamic state, Syria, The Pentagon, United States Armed Forces, United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Yazidi
WASHINGTON— Gordon Lubold and Adam Entous report: The U.S. special-operations force that carried out a first-of-its-kind mission in Syria to capture the Islamic State finance chief and his wife over the weekend came away with a treasure trove of materials that could help in the attempt to pressure the extremist group.
“There are a lot of things that have to align to be able to execute some of these things. For a variety of reasons, we were not able to execute the operation.”
U.S. officials said that the Army Delta Force team that swooped down onto the site in eastern Syria in helicopters killed the Islamic State operative after a brief firefight and left with laptops, phones, documents and, likely, hard drives, DVDs, CDs and SIM cards.
“What our team gathered was substantial, but we won’t know until it’s exploited just how valuable it is.It could be very substantial.”
— Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
The material could prove valuable in efforts to disrupt Islamic State’s ability to raise funds and may show why the Obama administration set aside its aversion to such operations to authorize the risky mission.
Syrians shelled Islamic State positions near Palmyra, where the militants were retreating from the historic city they seized Saturday. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
“What our team gathered was substantial, but we won’t know until it’s exploited just how valuable it is,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who has been briefed on the operation. “It could be very substantial.”
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
The raid also sent a signal to extremists that they aren’t safe in Syria and to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the U.S. can operate in his country, said John McLaughlin, a former acting Central Intelligence Agency director.
“We’re going to conduct these types of operations whenever we can. This isn’t opening the door any more; the door is open, it has been open, and it will remain open if we have the opportunity.”
The group of about two dozen of the Army’s Delta Force commandos flew in late Friday in UH-60 Black Hawks and V-22 Ospreys to a residential compound in Al-Amr in eastern Syria intending to capture the Islamic State operative, Abu Sayyaf, and his wife, Umm Sayyaf, who is also thought to be a member of Islamic State. The couple apparently was holding a young Yazidi woman as a slave. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 16, 2015 Filed under: Global, War Room | Tags: Agence France-Presse, Arish, Cairo, Capital punishment, Egypt, Islamism, Jihadism, Mohamed Morsi, Mohammed Badie, Muslim Brotherhood, President of Egypt, Sinai Peninsula, Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Saturday’s decision is latest in a series of mass trials that have led to death penalty verdicts against the leadership and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood
CAIRO— Tamer El-Ghobashy and Dahlia Kholaif write: The decision is the harshest of multiple sentences given to Mr. Morsi
and underscores the breadth of current President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s crackdown on his chief political opponents, the Muslim Brotherhood
The court’s preliminary verdict Saturday is subject to review by the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, whose opinion isn’t legally binding but is traditionally adopted by the court.
“The death penalty has become the favorite tool for the Egyptian authorities to purge the political opposition.”
— Amnesty International
A final verdict based his opinion will be delivered June 2 but will be open to appeals, which can take years in Egypt’s clogged judicial system.
Mr. Morsi has already been sentenced to 20 years in prison last month in a separate case in which he was found guilty of fomenting violence during a series of protests in 2012 that dogged his year in office.
The former Egyptian president was among 106 members and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood sentenced to death on Saturday, including the group’s spiritual guide Mohammed Badie and prominent Islamic scholar, Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar.
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
The decision—broadcast on state television as Mr. Morsi and some of co-defendants smiled defiantly from inside the caged dock used to hold the accused—was received quietly in Egypt. However, authorities said it may have inspired a violent response in the restive Sinai Peninsula where security forces have struggled to contain a low-level Islamist insurgency.
Hours after the verdict was delivered, unknown gunmen attacked a vehicle carrying several judges and aides in the northern Sinai town of al-Arish, killing three judges, a driver, and wounding three others, according to Egypt’s state news agency.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the state news agency quotes unnamed security officials saying the attack may have been retaliation for the verdict against Mr. Morsi. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 16, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: Abu Sayyaf, Barack Obama, Iraq, Islamic state, Special forces, Syria, United States, United States Armed Forces, United States Secretary of Defense, White House
A senior Islamic State (IS) member has been killed and his wife captured in a raid in eastern Syria by US special forces.
Abu Sayyaf, who helped direct oil, gas and financial operations for IS, as well as holding a military role, was killed when he engaged US forces, according to a Pentagon statement.
The operation in al-Amr was authorised by President Barack Obama and was carried out by forces based in Iraq.
The BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan says Abu Sayyaf oversaw IS’s “illicit oil and gas operations” – a key source of the group’s funding.
Posted: May 15, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Global, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: Anti-aircraft warfare, Capital punishment, Hermit Kingdom, Hyon Yong-chol, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, National Intelligence Service (South Korea), North Korea, Pyongyang, South Korea
South Korean intelligence reports executions of a number of high North Korean officials by supreme leader Kim Jong Un, using methods including antiaircraft fire. The WSJ’s Deborah Kan talks about what the recent purge could mean for the Hermit Kingdom.
Posted: May 14, 2015 Filed under: Global, Japan, Religion, War Room | Tags: Abu Dua, Allah, Caliphate, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Islam, Islamic state, Islamism, Muhammad, Muslim, Sound recording and reproduction
BAGHDAD – The leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on Thursday urged Muslims to emigrate to his self-proclaimed caliphate, in the jihadi supremo’s first audio recording in six months.
“And we call upon every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah (emigration) to the Islamic State or fight in his land wherever that may be,” he said.
“O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war.”
The voice reading the half-hour speech appeared to match previous audio recordings of Baghdadi, the latest of which was released in mid-November.
As did his previous speech, the audio tape recording released on Thursday comes a few days after media reports that he might have been seriously wounded in a strike by the U.S.-led coalition bombing Idslamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“So return to your lands, and remain in your homes, and seek shelter — after first seeking shelter with Allah — with your people in the Islamic State, for you will find therein, by Allah’s permission, a warm embrace and a safe refuge.”
There was no way for AFP to immediately authenticate the latest recording nor date it but Baghdadi speaks of developments in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces launched an air campaign against Shiite rebels in late March, that suggest it is recent.
Echoing his previous exhortations, Baghdadi said moving to the caliphate he declared over parts of Iraq and Syria in June 2014 or waging jihad at home was an obligation for Muslims.
“Their war is nothing but an attempt to prove themselves once again to their masters from amongst the Jews and Crusaders….It is nothing but a desperate attempt to turn the Muslims away from the Islamic State.”
“Has the time not come for you to know that there is no might nor honor nor safety nor rights for you except in the shade of the Caliphate?” he said in the speech, transcripts of which were released in five languages.
“O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war,” he said, calling for mass mobilization on the battlefield.
He criticised Sunni civilians fleeing fighting in the western province of Anbar to seek shelter in Baghdad and other government-controlled areas. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 13, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Anti-aircraft warfare, Capital punishment, Hyon Yong-chol, Kim Jong-un, National Intelligence Service (South Korea), North Korea, Pyongyang, South Korea, U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, ZPU
A U.S. civic group has released satellite images of North Korea that appear to show a public execution
Radio Free Asia reported Thursday that the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea made public its analysis report on the photos that were taken last October from above a military training area located near Pyongyang.
Analysts indentified six anti-aircraft machine guns lined up across from some blurry objects with distinct shadows that appear to be people also lined up side-by-side on a firing range.
Whatever… or whoever… was in the images was no longer there in another picture taken nine days later.
The committee says the most plausible explanation is that a public execution had taken place there.
Posted: May 12, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Beauval France, Brazil, Endangered Species, France, golden lion tamarins, marmosets, Monkeys, Rodolphe Delord, Saint-Aignan
Saint-Aignan (France) (AFP) – Two families of endangered monkeys were stolen from a zoo in central France over the weekend, the sanctuary’s director told AFP late on Monday.
Rodolphe Delord said the thieves broke in to the zoo in Beauval on Saturday night, avoiding security cameras and patrols, and took seven golden lion tamarins and 10 silver marmosets.
“We have absolutely no idea how such a thing could have happened. The thieves were experts. They knew exactly which to take.”
“These are extremely rare, extremely fragile monkeys that are part of an international breeding programme,” he told AFP, adding that the golden lion tamarins belong to the Brazilian government.
“We have absolutely no idea how such a thing could have happened,” he said. “The thieves were experts. They knew exactly which to take.”
“It is essential that we find these animals very quickly. They are very difficult to feed and should be looked after by specialists. We hope to find them very soon.”
The zoo is currently looking through CCTV footage and the French police and veterinary services have been informed, Delord said…(read more)
Posted: May 12, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Science & Technology
“It’s total freedom.” That’s how Swiss pilot Yves Rossy has described the sensation of flying his jetpack at high speeds alongside bombers, over the Grand Canyon, and, now, over the skies of Dubai…(read more)
Posted: May 11, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Ahmedabad, Asia Pacific, Beijing, CCTV, China, China Central Television, Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China, Sina Weibo, Twitter, Xi Jinping
Was she flaunting a luxury item on air, or just wearing something that many Chinese can afford?
“Expensive watches have become a symbol of corruption in China ever since August 2012, when netizens unearthed an image of provincial safety bureaucrat Yang Dacai smiling at the scene of a deadly traffic accident — and wearing a luxury timepiece likely beyond his modest means.”
The photos initially attracted attention as an example of an ostentatious display; a spate of news articles and Weibo media posts on May 5 accused Wang of “showing off her wealth.” Some Weibo users chimed in to criticize Wang as well. “Official media should appear thrifty,” wrote one Weibo user, arguing that the image of official media and that of the government that controls it are closely related. More than one speculated without evidence that Wang, beautiful and in her mid-20s, might be mistress to a wealthy man.
Those claims are harsh (and unsubstantiated) – but the vitriol toward China’s reviled state broadcaster is more understandable. While CCTV has often served as an important mouthpiece for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s nationwide anti-corruption crackdown, now into its third year, the state broadcaster itself has been embroiled in several scandals during that time. In July 2014, authorities unexpectedly detained one of CCTV’s most outspoken hosts, Rui Chenggang. That same month, authorities held senior CCTV executive Guo Zhenxi for suspected bribery, and in August 2014 they detained Huang Haitao, a prominent CCTV deputy director, for alleged graft.
[Read the full text here, at ForeignPolicy.com]
Expensive watches have become a symbol of corruption in China ever since August 2012, when netizens unearthed an image of provincial safety bureaucrat Yang Dacai smiling at the scene of a deadly traffic accident — and wearing a luxury timepiece likely beyond his modest means. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 11, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global, Law & Justice, War Room | Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Condoleezza Rice, David Petraeus, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Iran, James Risen, John Kiriakou, Leonie Brinkema, Missouri, O'Fallon, Paula Broadwell
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former CIA officer convicted of leaking details of a secret mission to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions is making his final pitch for a lenient sentence.
Jeffrey Sterling of O’Fallon, Missouri, is scheduled for sentencing Monday afternoon in federal court near Washington.
He faces a recommended sentence of 20 years or more under federal sentencing guidelines for violations of the Espionage Act. A jury convicted him of telling New York Times journalist James Risen about a classified plan to trick the Iranian government by slipping flawed nuclear blueprints through a Russian intermediary. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 9, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Global, Politics | Tags: Band of the Grenadier Guards, Horse Guards Parade, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, London, Pixie Lott, Queen's Guard, St. James's Park, The Royal British Legion, Victory in Europe Day, Westminster Abbey
Mr Cameron’s Conservative Party can rule in its own right with a majority of 12 in a 650-seat parliament, although it plans to meet with the emboldened Scottish nationalists
A protest has erupted in central London against the re-election of Britain’s Conservative prime minister David Cameron, with demonstrators throwing bottles, cans and smoke bombs at riot police.
“Mr Cameron, whose government has enacted tough spending cuts to bring down the budget deficit and promised more to come, won a second five-year term in Thursday’s election with an outright majority in parliament.”
Scuffles broke out when the anti-austerity demonstrators, blaring hooters, banging pots and chanting obscenities, confronted lines of police outside the gate leading to the prime minister’s Downing Street residence. At one point a bicycle was hurled at police.
Anti-Tory graffiti was sprayed on to a war memorial in central London. Reuters: Phil Noble
“Anti-Tory graffiti was also daubed on a war memorial honoring the women of WWII in what the Royal British Legion called a ‘senseless act’.”
Police arrested 17 people, and four police officers and one member of police staff were injured during the protest, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.
A Reuters photographer estimated that a couple of hundred people took part in the protest, including a group of about 25 black-clad youths with sunglasses and face masks.
He said police briefly closed the central Whitehall Avenue to traffic but later reopened it and surrounded the last remaining group of several dozen protesters.
Anti-Tory graffiti was also daubed on a war memorial honouring the women of WWII in what the Royal British Legion called a “senseless act”.
Greens party activist Elliot Corner said the UK needed a proportional representational system. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 9, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Diplomacy, Global, War Room | Tags: Almazbek Atambayev, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, China, CHINA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Communist Party of China, Moscow, Nazi Germany, President of the People's Republic of China, Red Square, Rossiya 1, RUSSIA, United States, Victory parade, Vladimir Putin, World War II, Xi Jinping
Echoes of the past as Moscow’s Victory Day parade stirs memories of a previous anti-American alliance
Richard Spencer reports: At first sight, things look very different now. When President Xi Jinping of China took pride of place next to Vladimir Putin of Russia on Saturday, they looked like any other modern world leaders: pragmatic men-in-suits, full of smiles, temporary possessors of power rather than dictators-for-life.
“Once again, the Russia-China axis is the main threat to the West’s vision of peaceful and prosperous international relations.”
Children in Young Pioneer uniforms paraded through the Bolshoi Opera House telling of their ambition to become tractor drivers. Mao wore a “Mao suit” and Stalin military uniform. Both men looked grumpy.
From left: LM Kaganovich, Chairman Mao Tse-tung, NA Bulganin, Joseph Stalin, Walter Ulbricht, J cedenbal, NS Khrushchev and I Koplenig (Getty)
But the two events, six decades apart, have a clear parallel. Once again, the Russia-China axis is the main threat to the West’s vision of peaceful and prosperous international relations.
“China has been railing against a ‘unipolar world’ for a decade. Mr Putin and his allies all have their reasons for disliking the West’s tendency to set a high store on open elections, a free press and ‘cooperative’ foreign policies.”
The line-up of leaders alongside the two men was a walking representation of a new anti-American alliance that has formed bit by bit since the invasion of Iraq demonstrated the frightening ease with which Washington could destroy hostile leaders far away.
[Read the full text here, at the Telegraph]
Alongside Mr Xi were Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Raúl Castro of Cuba, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela: standouts against what Mr Putin called a unipolar world, his code phrase for the spread of western-style democracy.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, centre, and Cuban President Raul Castro, centre right, after the parade (EPA)
In itself, there isn’t much new to this. China has been railing against a “unipolar world” for a decade. Mr Putin and his allies all have their reasons for disliking the West’s tendency to set a high store on open elections, a free press and “cooperative” foreign policies.
[Also see – China Parades Closer Ties in Moscow]
What is stark is that Russia and China are now openly stating their intention to stand together to lead such an alliance….(read more)
Chairman Mao Tse-tung, left, welcomes US President Richard Nixon at his house in Beijing (AFP)
Twenty years ago, when both Presidents Bill Clinton and Jiang Zemin of China stood alongside Boris Yeltsin at the 1995 Moscow Victory Day parade, the power relations were self-evident.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 8, 2015 Filed under: China, Global, Robotics, Space & Aviation, War Room | Tags: Ashton Carter, Ballistic missile submarine, Barack Obama, Beijing, Boeing RC-135, Central Intelligence Agency, Fighter aircraft, Iran, Michael Pillsbury, People's Liberation Army, Soviet Union, Stanford University, The Pentagon, The Washington Free Beacon, United States Secretary of Defense
Bill Gertz reports: China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.
“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities.”
China currently operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft and is developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intelligence gathering and bombing attacks.
“The acquisition and development of longer-range UAVs will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations,” the report said.
China’s ability to use drones is increasing and the report said China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023.”
“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV.”
Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons.
“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV,” the report said.
The drone buildup is part of what the Pentagon identified as a decades-long military buildup that last year produced new multi-warhead missiles and a large number of submarines and ships.
“China will likely continue to invest considerable resources to maintain a limited, but survivable, nuclear force to ensure the PLA can deliver a damaging responsive nuclear strike.”
Additionally, the Pentagon for the first time confirmed China’s development of an ultra-high speed maneuvering strike vehicle as part of its growing strategic nuclear arsenal.
“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), [multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” the report, made public Friday, states.
“The United States and China acknowledge that the Chinese tested a hypersonic glide vehicle in 2014,” the report noted.
It was the first time the Pentagon confirmed the existence of what is known as the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, a strike weapon that travels at the edge of space at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.
The Wu-14, designed to deliver nuclear weapons through U.S. missile defenses, was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on three tests conducted in 2014.
“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities,” the report said. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 7, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, Politics | Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Labour Party (UK), Liberal Democrats, List of United Kingdom general elections, Member of Parliament, Scotland, Scottish National Party, UK Independence Party
Prime Minister David Cameron’s party projected to win 316 seats; 239 for Labour
LONDON— Jenny Gross reports: Exit polls showed a surprising swing of support to Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party in the U.K.’s tightly-contested election Thursday, suggesting that the Tories could continue to lead the government.
The exit polls forecast that the Conservatives would win 316 seats in the U.K. Parliament, suggesting a far stronger showing than months of pre-election surveys that showed them in a dead heat with the main opposition Labour Party. However, the exit polls indicated the Conservatives would be short of an effective majority of the 650-seat House of Commons.
Labour, according to the polls, secured 239 seats. The Conservatives’ current junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, were projected to win 10 seats, which would indicate heavy losses. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 7, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Africa, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Computer security, Finding, Freedom of the press, Half of a Yellow Sun, Journalism ethics and standards, Journalist, PEN World Voices, United Nations
Aisling Brennan reports: As part of the PEN World Voices Festival, the international press freedom organization scheduled an event this afternoon titled, “Finding Security in Unsafe Passages: United Nations Event about Protecting Journalists’ Safety and Rights.” The panel, according to PEN’s website, will “delve into the wide range of risks journalists face every day. Experts will offer safety tips, share advice for protecting sources and copyrights in all types of media and address cybersecurity risks.”
“The press is no longer able to attend this event. There has been an issue with press authorizations through U.N. security.”
— Festival spokeswoman Kyla McMillan, by email
But on the morning of the event, a spokeswoman for the festival, Kyla McMillan, notified the Observer that we had been denied entry. “The press is no longer able to attend this event,” said Ms. McMillan by email. “There has been an issue with press authorizations through U.N. security.” Read the rest of this entry »