Global CFOs: U.S. has world’s only improving economy

 

The United States is the only major economy in the world to get an “improving” score in the latest CNBC survey of corporate executives.

The latest quarterly score marks the fifth quarter in a row that the economy under President Donald Trump has been viewed as “improving” in the CNBC Global CFO Council survey. Continue reading

Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks

China's President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

United Front Work Department conducts aggressive influence operations in U.S.

China’s Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States that include funding Washington think tanks and coercing Chinese Americans, according to a congressional commission report.

The influence operations are conducted by the United Front Work Department, a Central Committee organ that employs tens of thousands of operatives who seek to use both overt and covert operations to promote Communist Party policies. Continue reading

‘Ring of Fire’ Sees 144 Major Earthquakes in a Week

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(Photo Credit: Astroskiandhike via Creative Commons 4.0)

 

Attention is turning to the potential for a West Coast ‘big one’ hitting California, Oregon, or Washington.

The Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” has seen 144 major earthquakes—those in excess of magnitude-4.5 intensity—in the past week as concern grows that another “big one” could be coming soon. Continue reading

America Is Not Ready for Exploding Drones

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Venezolana de Television via AP

 

An apparent assassination attempt in Venezuela shows how technology is moving faster than governments can counter it.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was intoning something about economic renewal, flanked by his wife and a handful of high officials, in a country gripped by poverty, starvation, and shortages. Then, in a moment broadcast live on television that has since gone viral, his wife’s face changed. For an instant she seemed to duck as she reached for the official next to her; Maduro glanced up with apparent concern. The camera panned to the National Guardsmen in formation on the street before him as dozens suddenly started running. According to the government and witnesses, they had seen explosions in the sky. Continue reading

Questions surround claims of drone assassination attempt on Venezuela’s Maduro

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Screen grab from video shows security detail shielding President Nicolas Maduro after what was reported by the Venezuelan government as a drone attack assassination attempt.

 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is likely to use what he said was an attempt on his life to purge his socialist government of disloyal officials and further restrict liberties, an analyst said.

Maduro’s government said the president survived an assassination attempt on Aug. 4, claiming explosions heard during a military event that was broadcast on live TV were drone attacks.

Three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity say the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside a nearby apartment building, The Associated Press reported. Continue reading

Meet China’s “Secret” Space Control Listening Base In Argentina Now Alarming US Officials

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Via The New York Times

 

A recent New York Times piece has sounded the alarm over what Washington perceives as China’s “expanding reach into Latin America,” related to a space mission control center located in the heart of the Patagonia region of Argentina.

It begins with an eerily beautiful description of an imposing structure, guarded by Chinese military personnel, unexpectedly rising out of Patagonian desert:

The giant antenna rises from the desert floor like an apparition, a gleaming metal tower jutting 16 stories above an endless wind-whipped stretch of Patagonia. The 450-ton device, with its hulking dish embracing the open skies, is the centerpiece of a $50 million satellite and space mission control station built by the Chinese military. The station began operating in March, playing a pivotal role in China’s audacious expedition to the far side of the moon — an endeavor that Argentine officials say they are elated to support. Continue reading

Maduro admits failure: ‘No more whining . . . We need to make Venezuela’ (great again)

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During a speech in which the power went out while he was on live television, Venezuela’s socialist president admitted his economic model has “failed.”

“The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours,” President Nicolas Maduro told his ruling PSUV party congress on July 30. Continue reading

IMF: Venezuela’s inflation could top 1 million percent by end of 2018

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One million Venezuelan bolivar is today worth just over $8.

 

Inflation in Venezuela could top 1 million percent by the end of this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Shortages in food, water, medicine and electricity, as well as high crime, plague millions of Venezuelans, said Alejandro Werner, head of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere department. Continue reading

US To Create Several New US military Bases In Argentina

US To Create Several New US military Bases In Argentina

Illustrative image

 

At least three US military bases could be established in Argentina’s provinces of Neuquen, Misiones and Tierra del Fuego, the Mexican news portal Aristegui Noticias. Continue reading

Coup Attempt in Caracas

 

CARACAS/BERLIN (Own report) – Serious allegations are being raised against a partner cooperating with Germany’s Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FDP) in the context of an attempted putsch: The US Bloomberg news agency has reported that opposition officers had planned to storm the presidential palace in Caracas, capture President Nicolás Maduro and stop the May 20 presidential elections. The conspiracy was discovered and several putschists were arrested in mid-May. According to Venezuela’s military prosecutor’s investigations, an opposition politician María Corina Machado was involved in the attempted coup. Machado, who is said to be very popular within the military, denies the allegations. She is the leader of the “Vente Venezuela” party, which joined the “RELIAL” network last fall. The network was initiated and is backed by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FDP) and includes several parties who, in the past, have overthrown or attempted to overthrow democratically elected governments, for example in Honduras (2009) and in Paraguay (2012).

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The Havana Whodunnit: What Nation Just Built An “Unprecedented” Spy Radar Base In Cuba?

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A time sequence of the construction of radome containing parabolic antenna at Bejucal sigint facility. (Source: Victor Robert Lee & Digital Globe)

 

According to a new surveillance report from The Diplomat, exclusive satellite imagery from March 2017 to May 2018 reveals a newly expanded “signals intelligence” military facility near Bejucal, Cuba.

The report focuses on a massive radome sitting on top of an elevated concrete mounting structure. From satellite imagery, the structure looks like a giant golf ball, but it is actually a protective dome housing a super sophisticated radar antenna inside. As mentioned by The Diplomat, this radome is the first of its kind among the various spy antennas at Bejucal, which have been used to intercept electronic communications, ballistic missile monitoring, and tracking of satellites from the United States. Continue reading

Iran-Backed Terrorists Infiltrate Latin America

 

Terrorists and other criminals are laundering $43 billion a year in the Tri-Border Area.

An Iranian-backed terrorist group is laundering money in the Tri-Border Area of Latin America, according to a report published Tuesday. Such illicit activities in the region straddling the intersection of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have long been a source of concern for United States security officials. Continue reading

‘Breathtaking homicidal violence’: Latin America in grip of murder crisis

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An activist paints the silhouette of a murder victim at the Coque slum in Recife, Brazil. The report’s authors fear voters may look to strongman-style populists to solve the crisis. Photograph: Eraldo Peres/AP

 

Region has experienced 2.5 million murders since 2000 and report paints bleak picture of extreme violence and deteriorating security

Latin America has suffered more than 2.5m murders since the start of this century and is facing an acute public security crisis that demands urgent and innovative solutions, a new report warns.

“The sheer dimensions of homicidal violence are breathtaking,” says the report by the Igarapé Institute, a Brazil-based think tank focused on security and development issues. Continue reading

Willing to go to War

MUNICH(Own report) – The Munich Security Conference, which ended yesterday, was marked by appeals for “Europe” to be more willing to go to war and have a resolute EU “global projection of power.” In addition to a significant arms buildup, the EU needs a “common desire to actually use its military weight,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen admonished. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that Europe’s future “projection of power” cannot “do without” military force. Currently, this is not yet possible without the involvement of NATO or US armed forces; however, cooperation with Washington should be “on a par” and “not as deputies.” In the foreseeable future, the EU will be able to buildup its arms to such an extent that it will no longer need US support. Gabriel branded Russia and China – current “rivals” to the Western “system” – as “autocracies.”

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China, Russia Deploying ‘Sharp Power’ to Quietly Penetrate Democracies

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

Sharp power centers on distraction and manipulation

China and Russia have spent billions of dollars over the past decade on state-run propaganda campaigns disguised as commercial ventures in an effort to shape public opinion and policy debates in democracies around the world, according to a new report by the National Endowment for Democracy.

To accomplish this, Beijing and Moscow have deployed a diverse array of tools, including people-to-people exchanges, cultural activities, educational programs, and the development of media enterprises with global reach.

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