China’s Xi sets up five new ‘battle zones’ in military reform push

BEIJING–China on Monday inaugurated the military’s five new “battle zones,” the Defense Ministry said, the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s efforts to reform the country’s armed forces.

Xi’s push to reform the military coincides with China becoming more assertive in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, and as its navy invests in submarines and aircraft carriers and its air force develops stealth fighters.

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Americans on the move want warmth, affordability: reports

(Reuters) – Americans moving out of state in 2014 were most likely to head to places that were warmer and more affordable, such as the South and Southwest, according to studies by two major moving companies.

The 47th annual report by Allied Van Lines showed that Illinois topped the list of states people are moving away from with 1,372 net moves, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan and New Jersey. The states have remained in the top five since 2010, the company said. Continue reading

Mexican drug cartels reportedly dispatching agents deep inside US

The cartels have literally controlled parts of Arizona for quite some time now, at least four years now, and have have used these years to flourish and expand northward. If the readership here is interested in learning a bit of history of how this partly came to be, a well-sourced book written years ago, entitled Red Cocaine would be a good place to start. The playbook once used by Mao Zedong to soften the public and set the stage for his “great leap forward” that lead to tens of millions of deaths, is likely being used in the same manner and inside the United States today. As history repeats itself, hopefully it isn’t repeating with this case in point.

Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.

But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast. Continue reading