Massive Oil Discovery in Alaska is Biggest Onshore Find in 30 Years

Some 1.2 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Alaska, marking the biggest onshore discovery in the U.S. in three decades.

Matt Egan reports: The massive find of conventional oil on state land could bring relief to budget pains in Alaska brought on by slumping production in the state and the crash in oil prices. 

The new discovery was made in just the past few days in Alaska’s North Slope, which was previously viewed as an aging oil basin.

Spanish oil giant Repsol (REPYY) and its privately-held U.S. partner Armstrong Energy announced the find on Thursday, predicting production could begin as soon as 2021 and lead to as much as 120,000 barrels of output per day.

The oil resources lie in a well, called Horseshoe, that’s 75% owned by Denver-based Armstrong. Repsol owns the rest of this well.

The discovery is 20 miles south of where the two companies have already found oil in a project known as Pikka. That northern project is already in early development and is 51% owned by Armstrong, which is the operator on both developments.

“The interesting thing about this discovery is the North Slope was previously thought to be on its last legs. But this is a significant emerging find,” Repsol spokesman Kristian Rix told CNNMoney. Read the rest of this entry »

Sacre Bleu! Exodus of 10,000 French Millionaires Amid Rising Muslim Tensions


The report was compiled by New World Wealth, an agency that gives information on the global wealth sector.

Anaya Roy reports: Rising tensions in France, especially in Paris following a series of Islamist terrorist attacks in 2015, have spurred an exodus of its super-wealthy citizens, a new report on migration trends of millionaires and high-net worth individuals across the world reveals. The report warns that other European countries, including the UK, Belgium, Germany and Sweden “where religious tensions are starting to emerge”, will also see similar trends.

[Read the full story here, at]

Regarding a Brexit, the report suggests millionaires would want to stay in Britain even if it leaves the single currency bloc.


The report was compiled by New World Wealth, an agency that gives information on the global wealth sector. The report was based on data collected from investor visa programme statistics of each country; annual interviews with around 800 global high net worth individuals and with intermediaries like migration experts, second citizenship platforms, wealth managers and property agents; data from property registers and property sales statistics in each country; and by tracking millionaire movements in the media.


Millionaire outflow

According to the report, Millionaire migration in 2015, France topped the list of countries with maximum millionaire outflows as it lost 10,000 millionaires, or 3% of its millionaire population. Among the cities that saw maximum millionaire outflow, Paris, was at the top – losing about 6% of its millionaire population or 7,000 millionaires in 2015 to the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and Israel.


“The large outflow of millionaires from France is notable – France is being heavily impacted by rising religious tensions between Christians and Muslims, especially in urban areas. We expect that millionaire migration away from France will accelerate over the next decade as these tensions escalate,” the report warns.

“As for inflows, Australia was the favourite destination with maximum inflows in 2015 – a total of 8,000 new millionaires. The US was ranked second with 7,000 inflows, followed by Canada, Israel, the UAE and New Zealand.”

After France, the list of countries ranked by millionaire outflows includes China ranked second, followed by Italy, India, Greece, the Russian Federation, Spain and Brazil in descending order. Read the rest of this entry »

IT’S HORRIBLE, GO BACK TO BED: Top 10 Reasons to Take a Pill and Sleep Through 2016


rickmoran-1578484714Rick Moran writes: The new year has gotten off to quite a start. Shia Iran and the Sunni Arab states have broken relations and are beginning to sound a lot like belligerents ready to go to war. The Chinese stock market tanked by nearly 7% while the Dow bled 300 points to open the year. And with the Iowa caucuses 30 days away, we will soon be faced with the probable choice of electing a screeching liberal harridan or a screaming celebrity tycoon.

[Read all 10 here, at PJ Media]

But beyond that, there are at least 10 reasons why the global outlook for 2016 is so bad, we will end up envying the ostrich. The Eurasia Group has issued its annual list of the political and geopolitical trends that threaten stability, panic-hitchcockand if only a couple of these trends end up materializing, we’re going to wish we never woke up on New Year’s Day.

1. The Hollow Alliance

The trans-Atlantic partnership has been the world’s most important alliance for nearly 70 years, but it’s now weaker, and less relevant, than at any point in decades. It no longer plays a decisive role in addressing any of Europe’s top priorities.

2. Closed Europe

In 2016, divisions in Europe will reach a critical point as a core conflict emerges between Open Europe and Closed Europe — and a combination of inequality, refugees, terrorism, and grassroots political pressures pose an unprecedented challenge to the principles on which the new Europe was founded.

3. The China Footprintpanic-man

The recognition in 2016 that China is both the most important and most uncertain driver of a series of global outcomes will increasingly unnerve other international players who aren’t ready for it, don’t understand or agree with Chinese priorities, and won’t know how to respond to it.

4. ISIS and “Friends”

For 2016, this problem will prove unfixable, and Isil (and other terrorist organisations) will take advantage of that. The most vulnerable states will remain those with explicit reasons for Isil to target them (France, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United States)…(read more)

Source: PJ Media

OH YES THEY DID: U.S. Carrier Harry S. Truman Has Close Call With Iranian Rockets


 and The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman came about 1,500 yards from an Iranian rocket in the Strait of Hormuz last week, two U.S. military officials told NBC News on Tuesday.

As the Truman was transiting the strait, which connects the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Iranian Revolutionary Guards conducted a live-fire exercise right near the U.S. carrier Saturday, officials said.


Meanwhile, in Hawaii

A U.S. military official said an Iranian navy fast and short attack craft began conducting a live-fire exercise at the same time the carrier was nearing the end of the strait, firing off several unguided rockets. A French frigate, the U.S. destroyer USS Buckley and other commercial traffic were also in the area.

[Read the full report here, at NBC News]

The official said the U.S. ships were in the “internationally recognized maritime traffic lane” at the time, not in any territorial waters, when the Iranian navy announced over maritime radio that it was about to conduct a live-fire exercise and asked other vessels to remain clear. Read the rest of this entry »

Paris Is Turning


Paris is turning schools, hotels into housing for migrants.

France has approximately 25,000 beds designated for asylum seekers, a number far short of the needs of the nearly 70,000 who applied for asylum in the country last year, part of what Julliard called the ‘unprecedented migrant crisis’ facing Europe.

PARIS (AP) — Maggy Donaldson reports: Before the Taliban forced him to flee Afghanistan, Younis exported flowers to the United Arab Emirates and China.

The 30-year-old crossed Iran, Turkey and much of Europe before arriving in Paris a month ago, a brutal journey that left him with a discolored lesion on his ankle and a swollen leg.

“I’m not poor. I like my country. I lived with my family. If I didn’t have to leave, I would live in Afghanistan.”

— Younis, Afghan refugee, who now sleeps in a former Paris high school

After weeks living on the banks of the Seine, Younis — who gave only his first name because his asylum application is still being processed — now sleeps in a former Paris high school that has been empty for four years, one of about 200 migrants living there.

Paris' deputy mayor, Bruno Julliard ©Francois Lafite/Wostok Press/Maxppp France, Paris

Paris’ deputy mayor, Bruno Julliard ©Francois Lafite/Wostok Press/Maxppp.

“Paris is turning a blind eye to humanitarian groups converting abandoned public buildings like the school into migrant centers, recognizing that the 1,000 official emergency housing spots Paris has created since June are not enough to shelter all migrants left without a roof.”

Paris is turning a blind eye to humanitarian groups converting abandoned public buildings like the school into migrant centers, recognizing that the 1,000 official emergency housing spots Paris has created since June are not enough to shelter all migrants left without a roof, Paris’ deputy mayor, Bruno Julliard, told French radio.

“I don’t have a job or a place to stay, I can’t read, I can’t focus.”

— Younis

The school’s classrooms are lined with sleeping bags atop makeshift cardboard mattresses. Migrants drink instant coffee and eat goulash concocted from donated ingredients. It’s bare-bones, but migrants, activists and many city officials agree it’s better than being on the streets. Read the rest of this entry »

Arms Race: U.S. Greenlights Sale of 600 Patriot Missiles to Saudi Arabia


That could be bad for regional security, but it’s a boon for defense contractors who have already cut deals with Middle Eastern states worth roughly $6 billion in the months leading up to the historic nuclear accord.

Saudi Arabia is having a tough summer; all while Lockheed Martin has a banner year. The latest confluence of these trends came Wednesday as the U.S. State Department approved a $5.4 billion sale of 600 Lockheed-made PAC-3 missiles to Saudi Arabia, alongside an additional half billion dollars in ammunition for various smaller weapons. The deals still have to be approved by Congress, but such deals typically are.

“It marks the first major arms deal since the Iran nuclear deal struck earlier this month raised the prospect of reduced sanctions against the state. The deal would lift Iran’s conventional arms embargo within five years and leave the country free to pursue long-range missile technologies within eight.”

“The proposed sale will modernize and replenish Saudi Arabia’s current Patriot missile stockpile, which is becoming obsolete and difficult to sustain due to age and limited availability of repair parts,” the Pentagon said in it’s written notification to Congress of the pending deal. “The purchase of the PAC-3 missiles will support current and future defense missions and promote stability within the region.”


Also see -$1.5B contract goes to Lockheed Martin for Patriot interceptors

“I think we saw quite clearly at Camp David when President Obama met with several of the Gulf partners back in May that missile defense cooperation would be a prime area of investment going forward as a way to bolster partner defense.”

— Melissa Dalton, a Middle East defense and security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

The sale of so many PAC-3 missiles—the most advanced missile for the Patriot missile launcher and built by Raytheon is the latest in a string of high-priced, high-profile arms deals between the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf Cooperation Council allies in the region. It marks the first major arms deal since the Iran nuclear deal struck earlier this month raised the prospect of reduced sanctions against the state. The deal would lift Iran’s conventional arms embargo within five years and leave the country free to pursue long-range missile technologies within eight.

[Read the full text here, at]

That could be bad for regional security, but it’s a boon for defense contractors who have already cut deals with Middle Eastern states worth roughly $6 billion in the months leading up to the historic nuclear accord. U.S. defense companies like Boeing, and General Dynamics [fortune-stock symbol=”GD”] are all poised to reap the benefits of a Middle East arms race. Given the threat, (or at least the perceived threat) posed by Iran’s collection of ballistic missiles, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin look to have a busy year ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

Maersk Tigris Update: Cargo Ship Seized by Iran released 10 Days Later, its Crew Safe


Christine Mai-Duc reports: Iran has released a commercial cargo ship more than a week after it was seized by Iranian naval forces, the ship operator confirmed Thursday.

The Maersk Tigris, which was seized on April 28, was freed by Iranian officials after a court order, according to Cor Radings, a spokesman for Rickmers Shipmanagement, which manages and crews the vessel. Iran’s Ports and Maritive Organization confirmed the ship’s release.

Map depicting the MV Maersk Tigris’ original path toward the UAE and diversion after being intercepted by the IRGCN. (Source:

The ship’s 24 crew members are in good condition, the company said in a statement. Radings added that “absolutely no violence” was used by the crew’s Iranian captors during the incident. The ship will now continue on to the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, where company officials will meet and attend to the crew.

“Given the circumstances, they were treated in a fair way,” Radings told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran Fires on, Seizes U.S. Ship in Gulf


Pentagon officials say the US is monitoring the seizure by Iran of a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship

Iran has opened fire at a U.S. cargo ship and directed it to Bandar Abbas port on the southern coast of Iran, Al Arabiya News Channel has reported on Tuesday.

A Pentagon spokesman told Reuters Iranian forces had boarded a Marshall Island-flagged vessel, the MV Maersk Tigris, in the Gulf. He said the boarding occurred after Iranian patrol boats fired shots across the vessel’s bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters.

U.S. planes and a destroyer were monitoring the situation after the vessel, the MV Maersk Tigris, made a distress call in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important oil shipping channels.


The ship had no U.S. citizens aboard, the spokesman said, contradicting earlier reports which said there were 34 U.S. sailors on board.

Reuters tracking data showed the Maersk, a 65,000-tonne container ship, off the Iranian coast between the islands of Qeshm and Hormuz. It was listed as sailing from the Saudi port of Jeddah, bound for the United Arab Emirates port of Jebel Ali.

A U.S. government official said the ship was intercepted by the Naval force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at 0905 GMT. Read the rest of this entry »

ISIS Militants in Syria Bitch-Slapped Back to the Stone Age by UAE’s First Female Bomber


Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri is believed to be the first woman from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to become an Emirates Air Force pilot

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, joined the United Arab Emirates’ air force once the military branch accepted women. 

The first female pilot in the United Arab Emirates’ air force is reportedly taking part in the coalition air strikes against ISIS militants hiding in Syria.

“A woman’s passion about something will lead her to achieving what she aspires and that’s why she should pursue her interests.”

— Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, is a squadron commander piloting an F-16 Block 60 fighter jet likely among those dropping munitions this week in coordinated attacks against Islamic State strongholds near Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib.

Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar also provided support, logistics and aircraft in the strikes against the terrorists.

She graduated the academy in 2008 and now pilots an F-16 Block 60 fighter jet, likely among those taking part in the air strikes against Islamic State terrorists in Syria.

Al Mansouri, an Abu Dhabi native who holds an undergraduate degree in English literature, was among the first women to join the UAE Air Force academy when it finally allowed female members and she graduated in 2008, The National of UAE reported. Read the rest of this entry »

Syria Government, Opposition Given Prior Notification of Attacks on Islamic State


U.S. Expands Campaign Into Country That Has Been a Haven for Islamic State Militants

The Syrian government and opposition said Tuesday they were told by the U.S. of its plan to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State targets on Syrian territory, as the Obama administration opened up a new front in an expanding Middle East war.

“This is a joint coalition effort of which the Syrian opposition is a full-fledged member.”

— Oubai Shahbander, an adviser to the opposition coalition

The disclosure that both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to oust it were given prior notification of the attacks came hours after the U.S. and five Middle Eastern allies carried out airstrikes on extremist fighters in the country, where a civil war has been raging for more than three years.


Syrian citizens check a damaged house that they say was targeted by the coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, Tuesday. Associated Press

The Syrian government said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter Monday to the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, informing him of the impending strikes against Islamic State bases on Syrian soil.

“But Islamic State prepared for the airstrikes, too, moving their top leadership and most sophisticated weapons from Raqqa, according to residents of the city, the de facto capital of Islamic State.”

The letter was relayed to Damascus by Iraq’s foreign minister, a statement issued by Syria’s foreign ministry said. Syria’s envoy to the United Nations was also notified about the airstrikes “hours before their start,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »

Meanwhile, in Dubai…


Dubai is building a massive temperature-controlled “city” that will house an 8 million square foot shopping complex called the “Mall of The World,” the United Arab Emirates’ ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, announced Saturday, according to Khaleej Times. (via Business Insider)

Applied Technotopia

Paglia: The Drinking Age Is Past Its Prime

The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations, and it has pushed kids toward pills and other anti-social behavior.

Neil Davies

Neil Davies

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts, and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Congress was stampeded into this puritanical law by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who with all good intentions were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice exactly as did the hymn-singing 19th-century Temperance crusaders, typified by Carrie Nation smashing beer barrels with her hatchet. Temperance fanaticism eventually triumphed and gave us 14 years of Prohibition. That in turn spawned the crime syndicates for booze smuggling, laying the groundwork for today’s global drug trade. Thanks a lot, Carrie!

Now that marijuana regulations have been liberalized in Colorado, it’s time to strike down this dictatorial national law. Government is not our nanny. The decrease in drunk-driving deaths in recent decades is at least partly attributable to more uniform seat-belt use and a strengthening of DWI penalties. Today, furthermore, there are many other causes of traffic accidents, such as the careless use of cell phones or prescription drugs like Ambien – implicated in the recent trial and acquittal of Kerry Kennedy for driving while impaired. Read the rest of this entry »

Two planes, a Rolls-Royce and an Aston Martin: Meet Fracking Millionaires of Kenedy, Texas


That’s the loot Michael Joseph has amassed just by selling the mineral rights to his land. David Usborne reports from Kenedy, Texas – a town teeming with instant millionaires thanks to America’s shale gas revolution

Karnes County used to be the poorest part of Texas. Now it is the beneficiary of the biggest inflow of industrial dollars in American history.

For The Independent, David Usborne writes:  Midway through his chicken-fried steak Michael Joseph, rancher, big game hunter and pilot, kicks himself for not having offered his visitor a spin in his aircraft for an aerial view of what is going on hereabouts in Karnes County, one hour south of San Antonio. “You’d be amazed.” Then again, low clouds mean it would have been a bust anyhow.

Rancher Michael Janosak, 52, bought a helicopter so that his son could fly around shooting wild hogs that invade his maize fields.

But you grasp what’s going on pretty quickly at ground level. Even this place, the timber-frame, raucous Jerry B’s in Kenedy, tells its own story. Bursting at the rafters and with hard hats resting on every table alongside plastic jugs of iced tea, it is not, shall we say, a restaurant for old men. Like the country all around.

“You look at me and it’s a Cinderella story.”

— Michael Joseph

Welcome to the new American oil rush. Measure it anyway you like, including the instant riches it has bought to so many who were living here before. Mr Joseph actually has two aircraft sharing a hangar on his ranch with a new Rolls-Royce Ghost and an Aston Martin. (A Bentley is on its way.) One is a Citation eight-seater jet. These were not paid for by his cattle or even his salary as a captain for Southwest Airlines. He has mineral rights and his tale of cheques dropping on the doormat is only one of a multitude here. He knows how to spend them; not everyone does.

TexasMapForWebOr we can count drill rigs and barrels. US crude oil production is forecast to grow by almost 50 per cent between 2011 and 2014, a rate not seen in nine decades. Output of natural gas is exploding, too, even though most of it is simply being burnt off in orange flares that punctuate the landscape of mesquite trees and cactus. Mostly, this is thanks to advances in fracking, where wells go more than a mile deep before turning horizontally to penetrate huge oil- and gas-soaked deposits of shale.

Texas is producing three million barrels a day, most of it from fracking in two huge shale fields. Here, we are atop the Eagle Ford formation. In West Texas a similar frenzy has descended on the even larger Permian Basin. By next year, Texas will be spewing four million barrels, which will put it ahead of old oil powers such as the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Iran. If  it were a nation, Texas would already be the ninth biggest oil producer in the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Analysis: Looking Ahead to Post-Obama U.S.-Iran Relations


The nuclear issue may be defused for now, but multiple factors could continue to undermine relations.

Robert Mason  writes:  The permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and Iran hammered out an interim nuclear deal (the so-called Joint Plan of Action) which entered into force on January 20. The Joint Plan of Action will involve Iran eliminating stockpiles of its more highly enriched uranium, dismantling some its enrichment related infrastructure, agreeing to more inspections and not to activate any more centrifuges. In return, Iran gets some sanctions relief. However, given the poor history and number of irritants in each bilateral relationship between Iran and the West, it is likely that a broader politico-security deal with Iran, if there is to be one, will still be in the process of being negotiated a couple of years from now.

Read the rest of this entry »

Saudis lament, ‘we have been stabbed in the back by Obama’

Memo to the Saudis: ‘Welcome to the club’.


Richard Miniter writes:  Arabs don’t trust Obama either.

As 2013 ends, President Obama has lost credibility with many people who trusted him at the start of the year. Thanks to the debacle, polls find support for the president among women and independents has dropped to the lowest ebb of his presidency. Obama’s words — promising Americans they could keep their doctors under his health care plan — didn’t match his deeds.

Surprisingly, the same thing is happening on the other side of the world among Arabs in the Middle East and for the same reason.

Too often, Obama’s speeches and actions don’t match.

“We are glad the Americans are here,” said Ahmed al-Ibrahim, an adviser to some of Saudi Arabia’s royals and officials, when I met with him recently, “but we fear that the president has lost credibility after Syria.”

Astonished Saudi officials are contrasting Obama’s quick actions in South Sudan with his unwillingness to act in places like Syria or in Bahrain.

The Saudi official is referring to Obama’s “red line” vow of military action if the Syrian dictator Bashir Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. Assad did and Obama didn’t. Saudi officials were stunned.

Next came the revelation earlier this year that Obama was secretly negotiating with Iran, the mortal enemy of both Israel and Saudi Arabia. Officials in both nations have told me that they simply don’t believe that the president can sweet-talk the mullahs out of the weapons they have coveted for years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Amy Klobuchar Cites Rolling Stones in United Arab Emirates Fight

'I figure if Mick Jagger can play Abu Dhabi, these guys shouldn’t be in jail,' she said. | AP Photo

‘I figure if Mick Jagger can play Abu Dhabi, these guys shouldn’t be in jail,’ she said. | AP Photo

Lucy McCalmont reports:  Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Friday came to the defense of an American jailed in the United Arab Emirates over a parody video he made mocking youth culture — and she dragged the Rolling Stones into the controversy.

Shezanne Cassim, 29, was sentenced this week to a year in jail for a video, which was created and posted online in October 2012 and pokes fun at teenagers in Dubai’s suburbs acting tougher than they are, influenced by hip-hop culture and calling themselves “gangstas,” according to reports.

The Stones concert, which was announced earlier in December, will be held in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 21. The concert will be the first time the rock band has played in the country.

Cassim, a U.S. citizen who moved to Dubai in 2006 after graduating from the University of Minnesota, was arrested in April and charged with violating cybercrimes and endangering national security, The Associated Press reported. He entered a not guilty plea and has been held at a maximum-security prison since June.

Read the rest of this entry »

American jailed over video mocking Dubai teens


Abu Dhabi (AFP) – A UAE court jailed on Monday an American and four other men for one year after they made a YouTube video that mocked Dubai teenagers, The National daily reported.

Shezanne Cassim, a 29-year-old from Minnesota, has been held since April after being charged with endangering the security of the United Arab Emirates under a cybercrimes law.

He was also fined 10,000 dirhams ($2,725).

Two Indian defendants were handed a similar punishment, while two Emirati brothers, already behind bars, were jailed for eight months and each fined 5,000 dirhams ($1,362), The National reported.

Read the rest of this entry »

JACKPOT, BABY: $1.2 Million in Gold Bars Found Stashed in Boeing 737’s Bathroom

A customs officer (right) shows 24 gold bars to the media after it was seized at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India, on Wednesday.

A customs officer (right) shows 24 gold bars to the media after it was seized at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India, on Wednesday.

Alexander Smith NBC News reports:  A hidden stash of gold bars worth $1.2 million was found in a commercial jet’s bathroom on Tuesday, according to officials in India.

An aircraft maintenance crew found the 24 gold bars in two bags aboard a Jet Airways Boeing 737 while they performed routine end-of-day checks at Kolkata, India, airport.

“It was quite a surprise,” airport director BP Sharma told NBC News. “The bars were packed in bags so we did not immediately know what it was. The bags were inspected and found to be gold.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt? It’s About to Get Worse

Tires burn as Egyptian Muslim brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi clash with riot police in Cairo on 6 October. Photograph: Mohammed Abdel Moneim/AFP/Getty Images

Tires burn as Egyptian Muslim brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi clash with riot police in Cairo on 6 October. Photograph: Mohammed Abdel Moneim/AFP/Getty Images

The US decision to stop military aid is not enough to stem the escalating violence. Terrorist attacks on civilians could be next

Jonathan Steele writes: The Obama administration’s decision to suspend some military aid to Egypt is a clear case of better late than never. Although an announcement was originally planned for August, its timing now is a warning to Cairo’s military coup-makersthat their repressive treatment of the opposition risks plunging Egypt into uncontrollable violence.

Troops again shot scores of peaceful Muslim Brotherhood protesters last weekend, and the next day unknown assailants struck a series of military and government targets in the most serious counterviolence since the coup. No one has taken responsibility for the attacks but it was predictable that General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s refusal to relax the clampdown on the Brotherhood would provoke violence. In what other country in the world today is an elected president held for three months with no access to his family or lawyers? In what other country are demonstrators routinely shot without warning, not with birdshot or rubber bullets but live ammunition?

Read the rest of this entry »

Man Crashes Car Into Home of Father’s Secret Second Wife

This seems like it will require a lot of therapy to get past


 reports: There’s a riskiness to performing death-defying stunts in your fancy car, but one Saudi man’s taste for danger nabbed him more than he bargained for: he crashed his car into a home that his father secretly shared with his second wife.

According to Emirates 24/7, a Dubai-based news web site, the man was performing a high-speed car stunt in Riyadh when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the back garden of a nearby home. Unbeknownst to him, his father was sitting in that very garden, which was owned by the father’s second wife whose existence was unknown to the son.

The unnamed newspaper cited by Emirates 24/7 reported that the father suffered “light injuries” from the wreck, and the son fled the scene after learning the truth.


Vladimir Putin: You know what drives me crazy?


You know what drives me crazy? U.S. natural gas. You know what else drives me crazy? Let’s not get into it. I’m not in a good mood, about a lot of things…

For Russian leaders, sticking it to the Americans has long been a source of both personal satisfaction and political gain. By that standard, President Vladimir Putin is riding high. He’s enraged Washington officialdom by supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—despite his apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians—and obstructing efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Activists in the U.S. and Europe have called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi over the country’s harsh new antigay law. The Kremlin’s decision to shelter National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, wanted on espionage charges in the U.S., prompted President Obama to nix a one-on-one meeting ahead of the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sept. 5 and 6.

Since reclaiming the presidency in May 2012, Putin has become the biggest impediment to the Obama administration’s foreign policy aims. That’s undoubtedly played well with Russians yearning for the days when the country was a superpower. Yet beneath Putin’s swagger lie weaknesses at the core of the economy that threaten Russia’s future—and with it, his power base. And for that, he can blame a familiar nemesis: the U.S.

Read the rest of this entry »