Feb. 13, 2017- Abbas woos IranBy
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Headline: Ahead of Netanyahu-Trump talks, Abbas woos Iran
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has pivoted towards Iran in a move to pre-empt a possibly impending US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the friendly talks scheduled to take place in Washington Wednesday, Feb. 15, between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This is revealed by debkafile’s exclusive intelligence sources.
Our sources report that the Abbas has opened a direct channel of communications between Ramallah and Tehran as a permanent fixture. Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub is in charge of the Palestinian end of the relationship and will lead the first official Palestinian delegation to Tehran. For some months now, he has served as Abbas’s senior spokesman and the Palestinian Authority’s “foreign minister.” In the third week of January,Rajoub declared: “In our opinion moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a declaration of war on the Muslims.” Two weeks ago, Palestinian and Iranian delegations met secretly for the first time in a European country. Two more encounters followed Abu Mazen’s pro-Iranian shift is intended as a signal to five parties, debkafile’s intelligence sources report: President Trump, the Presidents of Russian and Egypt, the rulers of the Gulf Emirates and King Abdullah of Jordan. He is warning Trump that the US embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem and the strengthening of US-Israeli ties would be countered by a parallel enhancement of Palestinian relations with Tehran. The message to Vladmir Putin is that, even though he is fully engaged in Syria, he can’t afford to abandon the Palestinians; Abdel-Fatteh El- Sisi, the Gulf rulers and Jordan’s monarch are put on notice that if they have a problem with rising Iranian influence in Baghdad, they had better be prepared to find Tehran’s imprint in Ramallah too.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Israel’s president calls for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria
Headline: Turkey’s Erdogan: Israeli settlement push an ‘absolute provocation’
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin expressed support for officially extending Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, during his address at the 14th annual Jerusalem Conference sponsored by the Besheva Media Group. “I, Ruby Rivlin, believe that Zion is entirely ours,” he declared, referring to himself by his nickname “Ruby.” “I believe the sovereignty of the State of Israel must be in all the blocs (of Judea and Samaria).” The president’s remarks were made against a backdrop of significant debate between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of his coalition ministers with regards as to how to proceed with Israeli policy on Judea and Samaria in the era of President Donald Trump. Rivlin shared what he felt to be some of the ramifications and consequences for Israel in extending sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. “Applying sovereignty to an area gives citizenship to all those living there,” he stressed. “It must be clear: If we extend sovereignty, the law must apply equally to all. There is no separate law for Israelis and for non-Israelis.”
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Hamas elects new radical leader in Gaza
Yahya Sanwar has been elected to lead Hamas in the Gaza Strip after internal elections were held for the organization’s institutional and leadership positions, according to reports from Al Jazeera. Khalil al-Haya has been chosen to serve as Sanwar’s deputy. Sanwar was on the most senior officials released by Israel in the Shalit deal in which hundreds of terrorists and political prisoners were released in exchange for the return of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. He has developed a reputation as being among the most radical in Hamas, calling since his release for further kidnappings of IDF soldiers, and is thought of as the link between the military and political wing the terror organization. With his ascent to power, Sanwar will take the reins to rule the strip from Khaled Mashal, despite Ismail Haniyeh being slated to fill the top spot. When released from prison in 2011, Sanwar lamented the fact that other prisoners still remained in Israeli jails. “We feel that we left our hearts behind us, we left many prisoners behind. This is a great victory for our people and out resistance.” During the same speech, the stanch Hamas activists called on Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, to undertake fierce efforts to kidnap more soldiers to bring about the release of more Palestinian prisoners. Sanwar, who for a long period of time has been marked as a potential candidate in the elections, represents stark differences from his predecessor Mashal. As far as Sanwar’s new deputy is concerned, Khalil al-Haya has also earned a reputation for being among the more radical elements of Hamas and was a member of the negotiating team in the Shalit negotiations.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: We Must Start Building Third Temple Today, Says Temple Experts
A recent video from the Temple Institute concluded unequivocally that the Third Temple will not simply descend from Heaven, begging the question ‘Why don’t Jews begin building today?’ The man in charge of organizing the Third Temple construction thinks he knows what it will take to jump-start the process. Last week, the Temple Institute released the second video in their “Holy Temple Mythbusters” series, titled “Falling from Heaven”. Rabbi Chaim Richman, the institute’s international director, opened the video with the question, “The Bet Hamikdash (Temple) is supposed to come down from heaven: true or false?” Using rabbinic methodology, Rabbi Richman said that it is a Biblical commandment to build a Temple, as clearly stated in the Bible. Like any other commandment, it is incumbent upon the Jews to perform it themselves, and not to wait for God to perform it for them. Rabbi Richman’s conclusion is a challenge to those who maintain that the Third Temple will descend from Heaven, but it is a strong vote of confidence for those who advocate Jews move forward in this endeavor. As the chairman of the Temple Movement, Yaakov Hayman, is organizing the controversial effort towards building the Third Temple.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: UN criticizes Lebanon for welcoming Hezbollah terrorists into army
Headline: Hizbullah agrees with U.S. Left that Trump is an ‘idiot’ and urges Americans to take action
The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigird Kaag, implicitly criticized Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, for supporting a military role in the Lebanese army for the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. “UN resolution 1701 is vital for Lebanon’s stability and security,” she wrote on Twitter. “The resolution calls for disarmament of all armed groups. No arms outside control of state.” Contrary to the spirit of Resolution 1701, the Lebanese president Michel Aoun expressed support for Hezbollah assuming a military role on behalf of Lebanon. “(Hezbollah) has a complementary role to the Lebanese army,” he said to the Egyptian TV network CBC on Sunday night. “As long as the Lebanese army is not strong enough to fight Israel, we believe in the need for it to exist.” Israel and Lebanon are still officially enemy states of each other. Lebanon participated with at least 4 other Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq) in invading Israel during the War of Independence between 1948-1949.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Erdogan to consult Saudi leaders on regional issues
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who on Sunday kicked off his three-nation Gulf tour in Bahrain, will arrive in the Saudi capital on Monday for consultations with top Saudi officials on key bilateral and regional issues. “The visit of the Turkish president to the Kingdom comes at a significant time and context,” Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer told Arab News on Sunday. “Cooperation between the Kingdom and Turkey is today more relevant and crucial than ever, taking into consideration regional and global challenges. Turkey and Saudi Arabia share identical views on regional issues such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as well as issues like terrorism.”
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Yemen to Never Invite US Ground Troops to Help Resolve Conflict – UN Envoy
Headline: Houthi forces seize town near Saudi border
Yemen has no plans to request US ground troops to fight on its behalf in the country’s civil war, the permanent representative of Yemen to the United Nations, Khaled Alyemany, said on Monday. “We will never invite American soldiers on the ground,” Alyemany stated during an Atlantic Council event in Washington, DC. “We will never invite Americans. And Americans, they understand that.” Khaled Alyemany also stated that the administration of former US President Barack Obama and the efforts of former Secretary of State John Kerry caused setbacks to the peace process in Yemen. “The negative impact of Kerry was really devastating because we need now to recover the peace process from the point we had established in Kuwait,” Alyemany said. Alyemany added that the relationship that between Yemen and the Obama administration was deceiving, because it started positively and then created problems.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Turkish Army ‘close to taking Daesh-held town’-Al Bab, Aleppo province
Headline: Islamic State repels Turkish Army offensive east of Al-Bab city
Turkish troops backed by Syrian opposition fighters have entered the center of the Daesh bastion of Al-Bab and will soon capture it, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday. The town in Syria’s Aleppo province is the last stronghold of the militant group in the region, and has also been the target of an assault by Syrian government forces. Erdogan, speaking in Istanbul, said Al-Bab “is now besieged from all fronts.” “Our forces entered the center,” he added, saying it was “only a matter of time” before the alliance of Turkish forces and rebels took control of the town. “Daesh forces have begun leaving Al-Bab completely,” he said. Turkish forces and allied fighters entered Al-Bab for the first time on Saturday, from the west, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Britain-based monitor reported heavy clashes inside western Al-Bab on Sunday, as well as on the northern edge of the town, where Turkish forces and rebels were advancing but had not yet entered the town. One Turkish soldier was killed and two soldiers wounded in clashes with Daesh militants, the Turkish Dogan news agency reported.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Major confrontation brewing if Turkish forces attempt to capture Raqqa
Headline: Turkey’s Erdogan wants to establish a safe zone in the ISIS capital Raqqa
Headline: ISIS launches massive counter-offensive in western Raqqa
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently told journalists in Ankara that his forces will continue their military operations in Syria after they capture Al-Bab. Erdogan specifically stated that his forces will concentrate on Raqqa City, which is currently under the control of the Islamic State (ISIS). However, this presents quite a problem for Erdogan because the quickest way to get to Raqqa City from Al-Bab is through the main highway that flows through Deir Hafer, which is another Islamic State stronghold. The Turkish Armed Forces are currently cutoff from this highway, thanks in large part to the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) recent advances south of Al-Bab. Moreover, the Syrian Arab Army is now pushing towards the village of Al-Sukkariya in order to completely close off the Turkish Armed Forces from the Maskanah Plains of east Aleppo. So with the Aleppo-Raqqa Highway cutoff and Al-Sukkariya soon to be under the Syrian Arab Army’s control, the Turkish Armed Forces and their rebel allies will have to choose an alternative route. This alternative route requires the Turkish Armed Forces to go through the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) front-lines in northern Al-Raqqa, which is also a much faster route to the Islamic State stronghold. If the Kurdish forces do not voluntarily withdraw from this area in northern Al-Raqqa, a large battle will likely ensue in the weeks following the Turkish Army’s capture of Al-Bab.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Iraqi military attacks ISIS leader, his fate remains unknown
The Iraqi military has officially addressed the reports on Monday claiming that the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was injured over the weekend in an aerial assault. According to the army’s statement, Iraqi forces were following a convoy that included among others, the leader of the terror organization, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and thus managed to literally blow up a meeting between the leaders of the organization. During the attack, 13 people were killed, but the fate of al-Baghdadi himself remains unclear. According to the Iraqi military’s statement, the terror organization’s leadership was set to convene in a house near the town of Al-Qa’im (Anbar province) which is in the vicinity of the Syrian border. Al-Baghdadi was making his way to the area in order to meet with the organization’s state leaders to discuss the collapse of their influence in the strategic city of Mosul, as well as choose an heir to al-Baghdadi. On Sunday, the American channel in Arabic Alhurra reported that al-Baghdadi was seriously injured in the Iraqi Air Force attack in the western district of Al Anbar. The broadcast was based on a report by an intelligence security official, associated with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. According to the same official, the authorities received information stating that al-Baghdadi was in Al-Qaim’s al-Sala region on February 9. The information was passed on to the Iraqi Air Force who then executed the attack that injured al-Baghdadi—who was then transferred back to Syria. On Sunday, the Iraqi military stated that the reports regarding al-Baghdadi have yet to be confirmed.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Inter-Shiite tension mounts in Baghdad after clashes
Headline: Iranian Proxies Likely Fire Rockets at Green Zone in Baghdad
Tension between Iraq’s Shiite leaders mounted on Sunday as the toll from protests in central Baghdad on Saturday increased to six killed, five demonstrators loyal to the fiery cleric Moqtada Al Sadr and one policeman. At least 174 other protesters were injured in clashes that pitted police and Sadr’s followers who had gathered to demand an overhaul of a commission that supervises elections, ahead of a provincial poll due in September. The clashes broke out as the protesters attempted to cross the bridge that links Tahrir Square where they had gathered and the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings, embassies and international organizations. In a statement reacting to the killing of his followers on Saturday evening, Sadr said: “Their blood won’t have been shed in vain.” He promised “peaceful” retaliation.
Feb. 12, 2017
Headline: Iraq Situation Report Feb. 2 – 10, 2017
Headline: Iran Admits Hosting Russian Bombers Operating in Syria
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani announced that Tehran “will continue” to allow Russian fighter jets to use its airspace for military operations in Syria, Fars reported Saturday. “[The Russians’] use of Iran’s airspace continues because we have a fully strategic cooperation with Russia,” Shamkhani told Fars, and stressed that Iran is ready for any cooperation with Russia on Syria. The Russian fighters’ flights through Iran’s airspace is carried out after complicated planning and coordination with officials in Tehran, according to Shamkhani. He noted that while a number of Russian bombers have recently flown through Iran’s airspace, none landed for refueling. Iranian Defense Minister, General Hossein Dehqan said last November that Russia is free to use the Noje Airbase in Hamadan province for its aerial campaign in Syria if the situation called for it.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Russia Gathers Stakeholders, Sans US or NATO, for Afghanistan Conference
Russia is hosting a conference in Moscow this week that will bring together Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India and Iran to discuss a possible solution of the conflict in Afghanistan. This meeting is part of Russia’s effort at playing a more pro-active role in Afghanistan for the first time since its invasion of the country in 1979. Its efforts, however, have encountered controversies at the very outset. The last conference Moscow hosted on Afghanistan in December included only China and Pakistan, prompting a strong protest from the Afghan government. The one this week is more inclusive of the regional stakeholders, but excludes the United States or NATO, leading to speculation that Russia is more interested in undermining the Unites States than in solving the regional problems. At a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, chairman Senator John McCain said Russia is propping up the Taliban to undermine the U.S.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: South Sudan General Quits Over ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Fears
A South Sudanese general has resigned from the army, accusing the country’s president of “ethnic cleansing.” In a resignation letter seen by AFP on Sunday, Lieutenant-General Thomas Cirillo Swaka said he had “lost patience with the conduct” of President Salva Kiir, who has led the country since its independence from Sudan in 2011. Cirillo, the deputy head of logistics, said that Kiir and the national army—known as the SPLA—had “systematically frustrated the implementation” of a peace agreement struck in 2015 between Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar. The United Nations and others have warned that the fighting is increasingly proceeding along ethnic lines. Kiir is from the majority Dinka tribe, while Machar hails from the Nuer minority. Dinka make up around one-third of the country’s population, while Nuer constitute around 16 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook. Former U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, writing in Newsweek, warned that forces loyal to both Kiir and Machar had been implicated in “mass atrocities” that were at risk of escalating into genocide.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Libya unity govt slams creation of rival ‘national guard’
Libya’s UN-backed unity government on Sunday slammed the creation by armed groups of a national guard rival to its own Presidential Guard in the capital Tripoli. The Government of National Accord (GNA) said it considered the creation of the Libyan National Guard to be “an attempt to form a parallel body to the Presidential Guard” it has formed. “These groups and those supporting it are considered to be outlaws,” the GNA said in a statement. “And they will be treated as such by the security and judiciary bodies.” The GNA warned that the formation of a rival guard was an attempt “to lead the capital into bloody armed conflict.” On Thursday, armed groups mostly from the western city of Misrata, announced the creation of the Libyan National Guard” to continue the fight against Daesh, as well as to secure state institutions and diplomatic missions. But they did not say whether or not it would support the GNA, which has struggled to assert its authority across Libya since taking office in the capital last year.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Athens set for first mosque since Ottoman times
Athens’s half a million Muslims are set to get their first official mosque in more than a century. The city has not had a formal mosque since it drove out occupying Ottomans in 1833, and Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanantidis told parliament last year that it was the only European capital “to be deprived of such a religious space”. For years Muslims have resorted to praying in hundreds of makeshift sites, in crowded basements or dark warehouses targeted by racist attackers. In May, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared building a mosque long overdue. The government, he said, would push ahead “out of respect for the Muslim residents in our capital, but also because we are obliged to actively defend our values.” The new mosque – a 1,000 square meter building without a minaret, split over two levels – is expected to be ready in April in an old naval base in an industrial, rundown part of Athens. “We need the mosque for our new generation, for our youth … to feel equal in law, equal in society,” said Greece’s Muslim Association spokeswoman Anna Stamou, a Greek who converted to Islam.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: 20,000 in Mexico City protest Donald Trump’s border policies
Headline: Widespread Anti-Trump Protests Take Place Across Mexico
Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Security said about 20,000 people in Mexico City protested against U.S. President Donald Trump, while some also demonstrated against their own President Enrique Peña Nieto. The protesters waved Mexican flags and held anti-Trump signs during the march on Sunday through central Mexico City. Some signs read “Respect Mexico” and “We are all Mexico.” Trump angered many Mexicans by describing some who attempt to illegally enter the United States as “rapists” and “drug dealers” during his campaign for the presidency. Trump has pledged to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and criticizes U.S. companies who outsource jobs to the country. People also protested in several other Mexican cities, such as Tijuana, Monterrey and Morelia. No violence was reported. Trump has repeatedly said Mexico takes advantage of the United States through “unfair” deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. Those comments have not gone unnoticed in Mexico.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: At least 11 killed as army’s clashes with central Congo militia persist
At least 11 people were killed in central Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday in clashes between the army and a militia loyal to a traditional chief killed in fighting with police last year, a local activist said. Monday’s violence occurred near Tshimbulu, the town where the army killed more than 60 militia members in fighting last Friday, Jean Rene Tshimanga, president of the Civil Society of Kasai-Central province, said. “This morning, we learned again that (the militia) attacked the men in uniform (who) repelled them,” Tshimanga told Reuters. He did not know how many of the dead were militia members and how many army soldiers.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Boko Haram ambush kills seven Nigerian soldiers
A Boko Haram ambush in northeastern Nigeria killed seven army recruits and injured 20 more, with three soldiers missing, an army officer said. A convoy of army trucks and buses, carrying about 250 troops, was traveling through Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state on Thursday when it was attacked by soldiers of the militant Islamist group. A prolonged firefight ended before the army could send reinforcements. The Boko Haram troops stole a variety of military supplies from the convoy before it fled into surrounding foliage, army sources told the Nigerian newspaper Premium Times. They added that one of the missing Nigerian army soldiers is a woman.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Bomb Rips Through Protest Rally in Pakistan, at Least 13 Killed
Police and witnesses in Pakistan say that a suicide bomber detonated a blast at a protest rally in the eastern city of Lahore, killing at least 13 people and wounding around 85 others. Two senior police officers were among the dead and rescue workers feared the toll was likely to increase. The rally was being staged outside the provincial legislature by chemists and pharmaceutical manufacturers who oppose new regulations. Witnesses said the slain police officers were negotiating with protest leaders to seek an end to the rally when the bomb exploded. It was not clear immediately whether a planted device or a suicide bomber conducted the blast. A breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the violence in the capital city of the country’s most populous Punjab province. A spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said one of its suicide bomber carried out the attack. The bomb attack in the second largest Pakistani city came after an overnight roadside bomb killed three soldiers in a volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Protesters Over Corruption in Romania Demand Government Resign
Tens of thousands of Romanians took to the streets Sunday in freezing cold weather, demanding the government resign as they accused it of attempting to water down anti-corruption laws. “Thieves! Resign!” chanted protesters gathered in Victory Square to mark the 13th consecutive day of anti-government demonstrations in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. An estimated crowd of 50,000 protesters took part in the Bucharest march, according to Romanian media reports. Authorities did not give any number of their own. Responding to a call on social media, the protesters held up their mobile phone flashlights against colored pieces of paper, lighting up the cold night air with the blue, yellow and red of the national flag. A huge slogan projected onto a nearby building read “Resist.” Some protesters held up banners with the message “Stop corruption! Fighting for democracy.” Thousands of people also protested in the cities of Cluj, Sibiu, Iasi and Timisoara. The demonstrations, the largest since the ousting and summary execution of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, have continued despite the resignation of justice minister Florin Iordache Thursday.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: PARIS ERUPTS IN VIOLENCE: Many streets are NO-GO ZONES as five suburbs in flames
Five large areas have been reduced to no go areas for the past five nights as masked men cause mayhem on the streets. Now there are fears the fall out from allegations of police brutality could spread all over the country as unrest in the city grows. Residents have been on lockdown as armed police tried to tackle the rioters who have caused millions of pounds of damage. Police were hit with molotov cocktails and the heavy metal balls used in the French game Petanque. And after setting cars and even a disability vehicle on fire the police have been forced to fire live rounds of bullets. A reporter for the French TV company BMTV was also injured after being attacked. The French Government’s response to the latest outbreaks of violence is to put 2,600 cameras on police officers to record them out on the job.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: North Korea calls ballistic missile test-fire a success
North Korea says it has successfully completed the launch of a new ballistic missile, according to state media. The Pukguksong-2, previously unpublicized part of its arsenal which North Korean state media described as a medium long-range ballistic missile, was test fired on Sunday under the supervision of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, KCNA. Kim was present at the site and personally gave the order for the launch, which was the first missile test by Pyongyang since US President Donald Trump took office, KCNA reported. The agency described the missile as a “Korean style new type strategic weapon system.” South Korea and the United States confirmed the launch Sunday. The United Nations Security Council said it plans to hold consultations on an “urgent basis” Monday afternoon regarding North Korea, according to the US Mission to the United Nations. The meeting was requested by the United States, South Korea and Japan — whose Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was visiting President Trump in the United States when the launch occurred. “North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable. North Korea must fully comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Abe told a news conference at Palm Beach, Florida.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Europe Accelerates Move To Begin Elimination Of Paper Money
In the shadow of Donald Trump’s spree of controversial actions, the European commission has quietly launched the next offensive in the war on cash. These unelected bureaucrats have boldly asserted their intention to crack down on paper transactions across the E.U. and solidify a trend that has been gaining momentum for years. The financial uncertainty amplified by Brexit has incentivized governments throughout Europe to seize further control over their banking systems. France and Spain have already criminalized cash transactions above a certain limit, but now the commission has unilaterally established new regulations that will affect the entire union. The fear of physical money flowing out of the trade bloc has manifested a draconian response from the State. The European Action Plan doesn’t mention a specific dollar amount for restrictions, but as expected, their reasoning for the move is to thwart money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Border checks between countries have already been bolstered to help implement these new standards on hard assets. Although these end goals are plausible, there are other clear motivations for governments to target paper money that aren’t as noble. Negative interest rates and high inflation are a deadly combination that could further destabilize the already fragile union in the future. With less physical currency circulating, these trends ensure that the impact of any additional central bank policies will be maximized. If economic conditions deteriorate, the threat of citizens pulling cash out of their accounts and starting a bank run is eliminated in a cashless system. So long as the people’s wealth is under centralized control, funds can be shifted at will to conceal any underlying problems. But the longer this shell game is allowed to persist, the more painful it will be when reality overrides the manipulation.
Feb. 10, 2017
Headline: America’s Biggest Creditors Dump Treasuries in Warning to Trump
In the age of Trump, America’s biggest foreign creditors are suddenly having second thoughts about financing the U.S. government. In Japan, the largest holder of Treasuries, investors culled their stakes in December by the most in almost four years, the Ministry of Finance’s most recent figures show. What’s striking is the selling has persisted at a time when going abroad has rarely been so attractive. And it’s not just the Japanese. Across the world, foreigners are pulling back from U.S. debt like never before. From Tokyo to Beijing and London, the consensus is clear: few overseas investors want to step into the $13.9 trillion U.S. Treasury market right now. Whether it’s the prospect of bigger deficits and more inflation under President Donald Trump or higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve, the world’s safest debt market seems less of a sure thing — particularly after the upswing in yields since November. And then there is Trump’s penchant for saber rattling, which has made staying home that much easier. Nobody is saying that foreigners will abandon Treasuries altogether. After all, they still hold $5.94 trillion, or roughly 43 percent of the U.S. government debt market. (Though that’s down from 56 percent in 2008.) A significant drawdown can harm major holders like Japan and China as much as it does the U.S. Nevertheless, any consistent drop-off in foreign demand could have lasting consequences on America’s ability to finance itself cheaply, particularly in light of Trump’s ambitious plans to boost infrastructure spending, cut taxes and put “America First.” The president has singled out Japan and China, the two biggest overseas creditors, as well as Germany, for devaluing their currencies to gain an unfair advantage in trade.
Feb. 13, 2017
Headline: Juncker says Britain may divide EU over Brexit talks
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he fears Britain will divide the European Union’s 27 remaining members by making different promises to each country during its Brexit negotiations. “The other EU 27 don’t know it yet, but the Brits know very well how they can tackle this,” Juncker told Deutschlandfunk radio. “They could promise country A this, country B that and country C something else and the end game is that there is not a united European front.” Britain will by the end of March trigger formal divorce talks with the EU, a major test for the bloc which is struggling to have a grip on other challenges like keeping Greece in the euro zone, the refugee crisis and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. To add to all of that, the Netherlands, France and Germany are holding general elections this year, in which populist anti-EU parties are expected to make strong showings. “Now everyone is saying in relation to Trump and Brexit: ‘Now is Europe’s big chance. Now is the time to close ranks and march together,’” Juncker said in the radio interview which will be aired on Sunday. “I wish it will be like this, but will it happen? I have some doubt. Because the Brits will manage without big effort to divide the remaining 27 member states.”
Feb. 12, 2017
February 8, 2017 – Deadly virus causes another mass die-off of endangered Saiga antelopes
February 11, 2017 – 650 pilot whales beached themselves at top of South Island, with 350 dying New Zealand
February 13, 2017 – Taiwan bird flu culls reach nearly 130,000 as H5N6 cases confirmed
February 13, 2017 – Hundreds of bats ‘cooked’ in trees during New South Wales heatwave
Headline: At least 749 earthquakes hit Dardanelles Turkey since Feb 6
At least 749 earthquakes have hit the Marmara province of Çanakkale since Feb. 6, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has stated. The first wave of the earthquakes was recorded on Feb. 6 at 6:51 a.m. in the province’s Ayvacık district with a 5.3-magnitude temblor. That was followed by another one with the same magnitude at 13.58 p.m. on the same day, and the latest major quake occurred in Ayvacık on Feb. 12 with the same magnitude, according to AFAD. A number of buildings in the region were damaged and many locals settled in tent cities set up near the village of Yukarıköy, which was severely damaged by the quakes. AFAD and the Turkish Red Crescent are currently setting up a container city for victims in the area. Schools in the district were also canceled for a week due to the earthquakes. The Çanakkale Governor’s Office announced on Feb. 7 that eight people were injured in the first quake on Feb. 6, five of whom were discharged from hospital and three of whom were in a stable condition.
Feb. 13, 2017
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