De-Dollarization Accelerates: Iran Unveils Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency

 

Four banks in the Islamic Republic of Iran have developed a gold-backedcryptocurrency called PayMon, financial news website Financial Tribune reported on Jan. 30.

According to the article, the crypto asset has been developed in cooperation with the Parsian Bank, the Bank Pasargad, Bank Melli Iran and Bank Mellat. Iran Fara Bourse, an over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency exchange, will reportedly list the new cryptocurrency. Continue reading

China Significantly Boosts Size of Navy and Air Force, Downsizes Army

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An airman of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force operates an aircraft during a drill on the second flight training day of the New Year at Liaodong Peninsula on January 3, in Liaoning province, China. (Getty Images)

 

‘Transformational changes’ in military priorities are enhancing Beijing’s ability to flex its muscles far beyond China’s borders.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (pla) is undergoing “transformational changes” to greatly boost the size of its navy and air force and to downsize its land-based army by nearly half, the nation’s official Xinhua news agency said on January 20.

“This new data is unprecedented in the history of the pla,” the agency wrote. As a result of the changes, it said, “the Army now accounts for less than 50 percent of the total number of pla troops; almost half of our noncombatant units have been made redundant.” Continue reading

America Frozen Out of World Trade

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Yet another trade agreement excludes the U.S.

A new trade agreement that covers more than 13 percent of the world economy, accounting for 15 percent of global trade, was ratified by its first six countries on December 30. The Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (cptpp) will cover 500 million people.

Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore will be joined by another four countries that have already signed but not yet ratified the agreement. Vietnam joins on January 14, while Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru will join the deal 60 days after completing the ratification process. Continue reading

Poland Wants France to Share Nukes and Voting Seat on the UNSC

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According to the Polish Foreign Minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, a nuclear deterrent is the only way for European countries to demonstrate their sovereignty. Czaputowicz proposed that France share its nuclear weapons with the rest of the EU as well hand over to it its place on the UN Security Council.

Poland and Ukraine cannot stop provoking laughter from international observers. After the lunatic idea circulating in Ukraine of resurrecting the country’s nuclear arsenal, it is now Poland’s turn to send shockwaves around Europe. Polish foreign minister Czaputowicz proposed that France share its nuclear arsenal and hand over its seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to the European Union. It is is worth noting that this suggestion did not even receive an official comment from Paris, showing that there was little prospect of the Polish idea being taken seriously. Warsaw continues its opposition to the EU’s domestic policies on migration and austerity, while in foreign policy, agrees with countries like Ukraine and the United States, particularly the neocon faction opposed to Russia. If there is a distinctive feature in the political proposals that come from Poland, it is an acute Russophobia. The idea of ​​hosting a US base on Polish territory, and assuming its costs, is another Polish proposal. The Americans are serious considering taking them up on the offer. Continue reading

Why civic values are Taiwan’s best defense

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Supporters of the opposition Nationalist Party cheer during a November election campaign in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. (AP)

 

In a public debate, the leaders of China and Taiwan reveal what it takes to create a national identity rooted in shared ideals.

In a rather public debate, the leaders of China and Taiwan have revealed what it takes to create a national identity rooted in shared ideals. Let’s just say the small island nation off China’s coast won, as its president’s statements make clear. Continue reading

All or Nothing

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BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS/ROME (Own report) – London’s government crisis escalated yesterday under the pressure of Berlin and the EU’s unaccomplishable Brexit requirements. Prime Minster Theresa May has barely survived a vote of confidence, which was ultimately triggered by the so-called backstop. Brussels insists on a regulation, which could indefinitely subjugate Great Britain to a customs union, without an option for a unilateral withdrawal and erect a trade border between two areas of the United Kingdom. These provisions are in Germany’s interests, but they will plunge Great Britain into chaos. The current government crisis in France is largely due to the austerity programs imposed by Berlin on Paris – while refusing to make any concessions at the EU level. In France and Great Britain, the extreme right is profiting, like in Italy, where Berlin’s drastic austerity dictates, have already crushed the traditional political establishment.

Continue reading

Wave of bomb threats prompts hundreds of evacuations in four countries

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Police agencies in the United States and Canada said that most of the threats were emailed, but some were phoned in by unknown individuals. They warned that devices containing explosive compounds such as tetryl or trinitrotoluene would be detonated unless funds were deposited into an international account using the virtual currency bitcoin. The messages also warned that the alleged devices would be detonated if “any police activity or unusual behavior” were detected. A deadline of one business day was given to deposit the funds. Throughout the day, police agencies across three continents issued notices cautioning people to remain aware of their surroundings and report suspicious messages or behavior. It was eventually determined that virtually all bomb threats were not credible. Continue reading

Merkel Protégé Suggests Naval Blockade of Russian Vessels

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(Photo Credit: Sandro Halank via Creative Commons 3.0)

 

G7 foreign ministers release their own statement of condemnation against the Kremlin.

In an interview with Reuters today, German politician Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the Christian Democratic Union leadership front-runner and protege of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the European Union and U.S. should consider a full blockade of all Russian vessels at their ports in response to the Kerch Strait incident. Continue reading

MI6 Scrambling To Stop Trump From Releasing Classified Docs In Russia Probe

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Photo: Flickr

 

The UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, has been scrambling to prevent President Trump from publishing classified materials linked to the Russian election meddling investigation, according to The Telegraph, stating that any disclosure would “undermine intelligence gathering if he releases pages of an FBI application to wiretap one of his former campaign advisers.”

Trump’s allies, however, are fighting back – demanding transparency and suggesting that the UK wouldn’t want the documents withheld unless it had something to hide. 

The Telegraph has talked to more than a dozen UK and US officials, including in American intelligence, who have revealed details about the row. 

British spy chiefs have “genuine concern” about sources being exposed if classified parts of the wiretap request were made public, according to figures familiar with discussions.  Continue reading

A ‘Big Step Forward’ for Europe’s Vision of a Combined Military

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A Bundeswehr soldier stands next to his machine gun at the airport near the Gao base in northern Mali. (Getty Images)

 

A ‘Big Step Forward’ for Europe’s Vision of a Combined Military

Defense ministers and foreign ministers from 25 European Union member nations took a “big step forward” on November 19 in the direction of a European military, initiating 17 new European defense projects, including a shared school for spies.

The projects on the official list are from the latest November 19 agreement and the previous March 6 agreement, all facilitated under Europe’s Permanent Structured Cooperation pact, which is a framework for increased military cooperation and development among EU member states. Continue reading

Russia ‘fires at Ukraine ships and captures three vessels’ amid rising tensions off Crimea

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A Russian cargo ship earlier blocked Ukraine’s boats from entering the Sea of Azov

 

The Ukrainian president calls for emergency session of his war cabinet after at least two sailors are injured in the strikes.

Ukraine says Russia has opened fire on its ships in the Black Sea and captured three vessels.

Two sailors have been wounded after two artillery boats were hit in the strikes, the Ukrainian navy said. Continue reading

Secession From The European Union

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British Prime Minister Theresa May looks to passing by heads of government after the family photo at the informal EU summit in Salzburg, Austria, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

 

The member states of the European Union seem unaware of the clouds that are gathering above their heads. They have identified the most serious problems of the EU, but are treating them with nonchalance, and fail to understand what the British secession (Brexit) implies. They are slowly sinking into a crisis which may only be resolved by violence.

The origin of the problem

During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the members of the European Community accepted to bow to the decisions of the United States and to integrate the states of Central Europe, even though these states did not correspond in any way to the logical criteria of adhesion. With this momentum, they adopted the Maastricht Treaty, which transformed the European project of economic coordination between European States into that of a supra-national State. The idea was to create a vast political bloc which, under the military protection of the United States, was intended to engage with the USA on the road to prosperity. Continue reading

Mayday! British PM’s Brexit Deal on Verge of Collapse

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(Photo Credit: Office of President of Estonia)

 

Two Cabinet secretaries have resigned and long knives have come out for Theresa May.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is on the political brink tonight after presenting her government’s draft withdrawal agreement with the European Union that has been almost universally panned, despite her assertion it is the best deal that can be had. Continue reading

World’s first ‘Quantum’ compass will supersede GPS

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The MoD has been investing enormous amounts of money into constructing independent navigation devices, particularly for use on its nuclear submarines.

 

After millions of pounds of funding from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) under the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, British scientists have constructed what they claim to be humanity’s first quantum ‘compass,’ a navigational device independent of the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS).

The instrument, built by scientists at the Imperial College in London, England, is claimed to be able to ascertain the exact location of anything on Earth without relying on satellites, as does the GPS network. Continue reading

Chinese Military Scientists Have Infiltrated “Five Eyes” Western Universities

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Approximately 2,500 researchers from Chinese military universities have infiltrated Western universities over the past decade, focusing on the so-called “Five Eyes” group of countries, reports the Financial Times, citing a new report from Australian government-funded think tank, the Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

According to the report, many of the Chinese researchers failed to disclose their military affiliations, while publishing a large volume of joint papers with Western scientists which can help Beijing’s technological ambitions.  Continue reading