Is Ukraine about to go nuclear again?

A new global nuclear arms race may soon begin, and the world will have Putin to thank.

In 1994, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Kingdom entered into an agreement to remove former Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine, later known as the Budapest Memorandum. Ukraine agreed to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the history of nuclear weapons, only four states have ever walked away from nuclear capabilities: three post-Soviet states (Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) and South Africa, which had covertly developed a nuclear weapons arsenal. Continue reading

Briton drafts ‘Brexit’ blueprint: UK can join EFTA

Britain’s economy could grow by 1.3 billion pounds if it left the European Union due to less regulation and more trade with emerging economies, acccording to a British diplomat who dreamt up a blueprint for the country’s EU exit.

Britain’s free market Institute of Economic Affairs on Tuesday awarded a 100,000-euro prize to Iain Mansfield, a British diplomat based in the Philippines, who it decided had come up with the best proposal for a ‘Brexit,’ a British departure from the EU. Continue reading

Ukraine may have to go nuclear, says Kiev lawmaker

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons if the United States and other world powers refuse to enforce a security pact that obligates them to reverse the Moscow-backed takeover of Crimea, a member of the Ukraine parliament told USA TODAY.

The United States, Great Britain and Russia agreed in a pact “to assure Ukraine’s territorial integrity” in return for Ukraine giving up a nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union after declaring independence in 1991, said Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament.

“We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement,” said Rizanenko, a member of the Udar Party headed by Vitali Klitschko, a candidate for president. “Now there’s a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake.” Continue reading

Russia’s Holding Back Cyber Capabilities in Ukraine

There is a big difference between the known capabilities of Russian hackers — such as cyber espionage — and the debilitating software the country actually possesses, which could hamper U.S. efforts to predict Putin’s next move, say some security researchers.

So, far Russia’s alleged cyber operations amid unrest in Ukraine have caused more spectacle than destruction. Reportedly a “massive denial-of-service attack” paralyzed Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council servers for several hours last week, but such temporary traffic floods cannot access data or damage systems.

This doesn’t mean Russia can’t carry out a cyberattack that would physically or economically damage Ukrainian citizens.  Continue reading

The EU’s Second Ring

BERLIN/KIEV/BERN (Own report) – In the aftermath of the Western-oriented putsch in Kiev, German politicians are preparing German public opinion for the disastrous deterioration of the Ukraine economic situation. Even though it was most recently suggested that the country could only expect a thriving development by linking up to the EU, it is now – truthfully – being announced that Ukraine is practically bankrupt. The CDU European parliamentarian, Elmar Brok, predicts “difficult times” ahead: “It has never rained gold coins, except in fairy tales.” In fact back in the fall, experts had already indicated that, because of its out-dated industry, the Ukraine would have to expect dramatic economic slumps if it signs the EU Association Agreements – unemployment and poverty would dramatically rise. In a position paper, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is now proposing the introduction of a special status in EU ties for the Ukraine as well as other countries, such as Turkey. This sort of EU “second ring” would also permit the economic integration of such countries as Switzerland, which politically resists joining the EU. The SWP contends that these plans could also be used for Catalonia, should it secede from Spain and Scotland, from Britain. Continue reading

The maternity military: How nearly 100 female soldiers have been sent home from the Afghan frontline after getting pregnant

  • Between January 2006 and December 2013 99 servicewomen sent home

  • Military rules ban mothers-to-be from serving in a war zone

  • 16 women were removed from Afghanistan in 2013 due to pregnancy

  • In September 2012 Lynette Pearce gave birth at Camp Bastion

According to figures released by the Ministry Of Defence, 16 women were removed from Afghanistan in 2013 due to pregnancy, while 18 were sent home in 2011.

The women were flown back on flights usually reserved for injured troops, meaning the true figure could be higher if other female soldiers came home via routine flights, according to The SunContinue reading

EU to force Britons to publish details of wills and property

A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register

New legislation planned in Brussels is set to heap fresh costs and paperwork on families’ financial planning, as well as leaving their affairs open to unwanted public scrutiny. Continue reading

Study Predicts More Frequent And Severe Blackouts In The Coming Years

A new assessment from a British and New Zealand research team has concluded that the worldwide electrical grid will suffer more frequent and significant outages if current trends continue.

In their report, which was published in the Social Space Scientific Journal, the two authors noted that nearly three quarters of American transmission lines are more than 25 years old. Continue reading

Argentina ‘will seek to punish’ firms that drill for Falklands oil

New Malvinas secretary says Buenos Aires will defend its claim to islands and surrounding waters in international courts

Argentina will seek legal punishment, including prison sentences, for anyone who drills for oil in the Falklands and the surrounding waters it claims as its territories, the country’s newly created Malvinas secretary has told the Guardian. Continue reading

U.K. Royal Mint Runs Out of Sovereign Gold Coins on Demand

The U.K.’s Royal Mint, which traces its history back more than 1,000 years, ran out of 2014 Sovereign gold coins as prices near a six-month low led to “exceptional demand.”

The mint, based in Llantrisant, Wales, expects to have stocks of the coins again by the end of January, it said in a statement e-mailed today. It has full availability of gold and silver Britannia bullion coins, it said. Gold dropped to a six-month low of $1,182.27 an ounce in London on Dec. 31, capping the largest annual decline since 1981. Continue reading

“Security Arc” forms amidst Mideast terror


Many observers are correct in noting that the Middle East is undergoing yet another seismic shift – that the Russian-brokered destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, a US-Iranian rapprochement, the diminished strategic value of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a US withdrawal from Afghanistan will all contribute to changing regional dynamics considerably.

But what is this new direction? Where will it come from, who will lead it, what will define it? Continue reading

The Asian oligarchs you’ve never heard of who bought up London – and knocked the Duke of Westminster off No1

The Duke of Westminster has been knocked off his perch after more than a decade as the richest investor in UK property.

He’s taken the top spot in the Estates Gazette Rich List since it began in 2002, comfortably surpassing billionaires such as the pharmaceuticals scion Ernesto Bertarelli and the Swiss-based investors and private equity players, David and Simon Reuben.

Notice anything about this list? Like the two Chinese men that came out of nowhere to occupy first and second place? Neither of them appeared in the top 250 UK property investors last year. The third Chinese member of the top 10, Joseph Lau, is £550m richer than he was last year. But the wealth of the top 250 is so much greater – up 60% on 2012 – that he has fallen three places. Continue reading