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Sunday, 31 August 2014

If Russia really had invaded Ukraine, this is what the picture would look like

Comment: A sensible analysis of the "Russia has invaded Ukraine" nonsense being propagated by the Western presstitute media.

How can you tell whether Russia has invaded Ukraine? Last Thursday the Ukrainian government, echoed by NATO spokesmen, declared that the the Russian military is now operating within Ukraine's borders. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't; what do you know? They said the same thing before, most recently on August 13, and then on August 17, each time with either no evidence or fake evidence. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

You be the judge. I put together this helpful list of

top ten telltale signs

that will allow you to determine whether indeed Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, or whether Thursday's announcement is yet another confabulation. (

Credit to Roman Kretsul


Because if Russia invaded on Thursday morning, this is what the situation on the ground would look like by Saturday afternoon. 1.

Ukrainian artillery fell silent almost immediately. They are no longer shelling residential districts of Donetsk and Lugansk. This is because their locations had been pinpointed prior to the operation, and by Thursday afternoon they were completely wiped out using air attacks, artillery and ground-based rocket fire, as the first order of business. Local residents are overjoyed that their horrible ordeal is finally at an end.


The look of military activity on the ground in Donetsk and Lugansk has changed dramatically. Whereas before it involved small groups of resistance fighters, the Russians operate in battalions of 400 men and dozens of armored vehicles, followed by convoys of support vehicles (tanker trucks, communications, field kitchens, field hospitals and so on). The flow of vehicles in and out is non-stop, plainly visible on air reconnaissance and satellite photos. Add to that the relentless radio chatter, all in Russian, which anyone who wants to can intercept, and the operation becomes impossible to hide.


The Ukrainian military has promptly vanished. Soldiers and officers alike have taken off their uniforms, abandoned their weapons, and are doing their best to blend in with the locals. Nobody thought the odds of the Ukrainian army against the Russians were any good. Ukraine's only military victory against Russia was at the battle of Konotop in 1659, but at the time Ukraine was allied with the mighty Khanate of Crimea, and, you may have noticed, Crimea is not on Ukraine's side this time around.


There are Russian checkpoints everywhere. Local civilians are allowed through, but anyone associated with a government, foreign or domestic, is detained for questioning. A filtration system has been set up to return demobilized Ukrainian army draftees to their native regions, while the volunteers and the officers are shunted to pretrial detention centers, to determine whether they had ordered war crimes to be committed.


Most of Ukraine's border crossings are by now under Russian control. Some have been reinforced with air defense and artillery systems and tank battalions, to dissuade NATO forces from attempting to stage an invasion. Civilians and humanitarian goods are allowed through. Businessmen are allowed through once they fill out the required forms (which are in Russian).


Russia has imposed a no-fly zone over all of Ukraine. All civilian flights have been cancelled. There is quite a crowd of US State Department staffers, CIA and Mossad agents, and Western NGO people stuck at Borispol airport in Kiev. Some are nervously calling everyone they know on their satellite phones. Western politicians are demanding that they be evacuated immediately, but Russian authorities want to hold onto them until their possible complicity in war crimes has been determined.


The usual Ukrainian talking heads, such as president Poroshenko, PM Yatsenyuk and others, are no longer available to be interviewed by Western media. Nobody quite knows where they are. There are rumors that they have already fled the country. Crowds have stormed their abandoned residences, and were amazed to discover that they were all outfitted with solid gold toilets. Nor are the Ukrainian oligarchs anywhere to be found, except for the warlord Igor Kolomoisky, who was found in his residence, abandoned by his henchmen, dead from a heart attack. (Contributed by the Saker.)


Some of the over 800,000 Ukrainian refugees are starting to stream back in from Russia. They were living in tent cities, many of them in the nearby Rostov region, but with the winter coming they are eager to get back home, now that the shelling is over. Along with them, construction crews, cement trucks and flatbeds stacked with pipe, cable and rebar are streaming in, to repair the damage from the shelling.


There is all sorts of intense diplomatic and military activity around the world, especially in Europe and the US. Military forces are on highest alert, diplomats are jetting around and holding conferences. President Obama just held a press conference to announce that "We don't have a strategy on Ukraine yet." His military advisers tell him that his usual strategy of "bomb a little and see what happens" is not likely to be helpful in this instance.


Kiev has surrendered. There are Russian tanks on the Maidan Square. Russian infantry is mopping up the remains of Ukraine's National Guard. A curfew has been announced. The operation to take Kiev resembled "Shock and Awe" in Baghdad: a few loud bangs and then a whimper.

Armed with this list, you too should be able to determine whether or not Russia has invaded Ukraine last Thursday.

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk selected to become new undemocratic 'president' of Europe

The European Union should be brave but reasonable in its actions on the Ukraine crisis the newly appointed president of the European Council said.

© Unknown

Donald Tusk, a dangerous warmonger.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Saturday was elected the new president of the Council of Europe, its outgoing President Herman Van Rompuy said on Twitter. Tusk will officially take office in November.

The European Union should be brave but reasonable in its actions on the Ukraine crisis, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the newly appointed president of the European Council, said in Brussels on Saturday.

The dramatic events in Europe, he said, require from all EU countries to hold a common stance.

"The most important thing is to understand who we are and how we can reply," Tusk said adding Europe would be able to help Ukraine only if took a common approach.

Tusk believes that challenges facing the European Union will not disappear before year's end. "The attitude to crises like Iraq, Ukraine and the European economic crisis determine who we (Europeans) are," the newly elected European Council president said.

Tusk confirmed his plans to hold unscheduled summits of the euro zone on macroeconomic situation as well as an EU summit on reviving growth and improving the employment situation in Europe.

"I believe that today there is no alternative to the European Union," Tusk stressed.


Mr. Tusk has been calling for the stationing of

more NATO troops in Poland

, obviously having this lunatic as a president of the Council of Europe isn't a good idea. What makes it all the worse, now he can act officially (under the orders of the US/NATO), maneuvering Europe's nations to what may well lead to escalation of the conflict. And how convenient for them to have a Polish politician elected as a president.

"For the US and Germany, Poland is of key strategic importance in expanding their influence over Ukraine. As early as 2012 in the book "Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power", the Polish-American political scientist and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote, "Without Ukraine, Russia will not be an empire. Some Eastern European countries, such as Poland and Ukraine, thanks to their size, location and economic and military potential, can have a real impact on the balance of power in Europe."

Hands up! Don't shoot! Michael Brown solidarity march in Washington, DC

© Reuters/Larry Downing

Protesters march as they call for a thorough investigation of the shooting death of teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on a street in front of the White House in Washington, August 28, 2014

A crowd of protesters has taken to the streets of Washington, DC, expressing their solidarity with the people of Ferguson who gathered earlier on Saturday in remembrance of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager killed by police earlier this month.

Chanting "Hands up! Don't shoot!" the Washington protesters took over the streets in a northeast neighbourhood, blocking the traffic. Wondering "

How many must die

?" till police brutality and racism is stopped, protesters demanded


Justice for Mike Brown!"

© Unknown

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people gathered in Ferguson, Missouri calling for justice over the killing of Brown. Protesters said that this is just the beginning of a movement to highlight US racial inequality.

The rally started where the unarmed 18-year old was shot dead on August 9th by white police officer Darren Wilson in the small Missouri town, AP reports. There were children and families among the protesters who wore T shirts and carried banners with the ubiquitous sign "hands up, don't shoot."

The march was led by Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden. She and other members of the Brown family, including Michael's father Michael Brown senior, gathered round the make shift memorial in the middle of Cranfield Drive where Brown died and bowed their heads in prayer. One was led by a Muslim cleric, the other by Rev. Spencer Booker.

"We know that his life is not going to be in vain. We know you're going to even the score God. We know you're going to make the wrong right," said Booker through a megaphone.

Jerryl Christmas the St Louis attorney said the march was meant to keep the resulting racial questions that were the result of Brown's death "in the forefront of America."

"We're just three weeks into this, and this is only the beginning of this movement. We want the president to come here. He remarked that he didn't have a strategy for ISIS and Syria, but

we need a strategy for urban America

. The tragedy is this could have happened anywhere," Christmas told AP.

For days after Brown's death the area of Ferguson was the epicenter of nightly protests, although during Saturday's protest there was a muted police presence with the Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who was in charge of security, posing for selfies with rally attendees.

Mort Zuckerman: Obama "has lost the confidence of the business community"

US News and World Report Chairman and Editor-in-Chief and publisher of The New York Daily News, Mort Zuckerman argued that President Obama "has lost the confidence of the business community" on Friday's broadcast of "The McLaughlin Group." "[The economy] has...grown by about 2%, 2.1%, for the last five years, which is the lowest rate of growth coming out of a recession we have had ever, since the Great Depression. And what's more, that only took place, not because of the fact that the economic environment was that good, it's because we have a hugely stimulating monetary policy and fiscal policy. We have run up huge national debt and we have undermined the value of the dollar, and this is in my judgment not representing a good economic policy" he argued. And "he [Obama] has lost the confidence of the business community and the business world in terms of where it counts, which is investment, and new plant[s] and equipment." Comment: The poverty in the U.S. is rampant and it's worse than most people believe: more than 46 million Americans are on foodstamps. Zuckerman concluded that the national debt would "restrict what we are going to be able to do as a country for decades," adding that "we have a situation where we are losing the competitive edge that we had, not totally, but in many, many areas."

Spreading of the fear: Italy steps up security over alleged ISIS plot to kill the pope

© Tony Gentile/Reuters

Pope Francis recently decided to stop using the bullet-proof 'Pope-mobile' in favour of greeting crowds in the open air

As Pope Francis continues to straddle the fine line between

calling for the end of persecution

of Christians in Iraq and

blessing American airstrikes

against the Islamic State (also known as the "Caliphate," ISIS, or ISIL), there is increasing concern for the pontiff's - and the public's - safety.

Earlier this week, the Roman newspaper

Il Tempo

published a disturbing report that Francis is "in the crosshairs" of ISIS for "bearing false witness" against Islam.

Citing anonymous sources

within Italy's intelligence community and pointing to notable heightened security in Rome, the paper went on to say that ISIS plans to heat things up by "raising the level of confrontation" with Europe, Italy and very specifically Pope Francis, the "greatest exponent of the Christian religions." The Vatican downplayed the concerns,

calling them unfounded

despite growing concern in Italy that it is not just the Pope who is under threat. "There is nothing serious to this," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told

Catholic News Agency.

"There is no particular concern in the Vatican."

The Italian government apparently begs to differ. Earlier this week, Italy's deputy interior minister Filippo Bubbico said that Italy and the Vatican are equally at risk after authorities issued a terrorism alert, warning ISIS could launch terrorist attacks on what they referred to as "sensitive targets" in Rome and elsewhere, specifically pinpointing embassies to both Italy and the Holy See, Catholic churches, bus and train stations, sea ports, airports and travel agencies. Other security measures include

restricting air space above Vatican City and Italy's foreign ministry, in addition to stepped up police presence in public transportation hubs and busy tourist sites like the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps and St. Peter's Square

. "ISIS poses an international and European security threat and we in Italy feel particularly exposed," Bubbico told Italian



The terrorism alert came the day after Italy's parliament approved a measure to start shipping weapons to help arm Kurdish


troops fighting ISIS - a promise made by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi on a state visit to Iraq earlier this month. Sicilian seaports that will facilitate the shipment have already

stepped up security measures

, especially on incoming vessels.

Since the terrorist alert and heightened security, at least five suspected potential jihad fighters were arrested near Venice this week as they prepared to leave for Iraq. Italy's leading

Corriere della Sera

newspaper reported that at least 50 Italians are now known to be fighting with ISIS, pointing out that 80 percent are "very Italian" and only 20 percent are sons of immigrants, dispelling fears among some Italians that a spike in illegal immigration has somehow played a role in the recruitment of young people. Instead, the rise in recruits from Italy is fueled by "disillusionment with the future," "distrust in the Catholic Church," and "boredom," according to the paper, which said all the known fighters are men between the ages of 18-25.

By no coincidence, perhaps, the bulk of the known ISIS foreign fighters from Italy hail from the northern regions where the controversial jihadi recruiter Imam Bilal Bosnic worked until Italy's counterterrorism police started investigating him last year. Bosnic

has admitted

to trying to recruit converted Italian Muslims to fight with and finance ISIS. According to police investigating the five alleged jihadi fighters in Venice, Bosnian Imam Ismar Mesinovic also worked to recruit young Italians and was a close associate of Bosnic. Mesinovic was killed in battle in Syria last year after taking his two-year-old son with him to fight, according to police reports and interrogations with his wife, who is searching for information about the whereabouts of her young child.

Bosnic, who is now in Bosnia, gave an extensive interview to

La Repubblica

that ran on Thursday, in which he defended his recruitment technics as war tactics. He said that Greta Raminelli and Vanessa Marluzzo,

two Italian aid workers

currently being held in Iraq, "deserved to be kidnapped because they were interfering with the Muslim state," adding that "it is the duty of every good Muslim to be involved in some way in the jihad, fighting, helping, giving assistance each according to his ability, even with financing."

He also

told the paper

that journalist James Foley deserved to die and that they will one day conquer the Vatican. "Foley was a spy. This is widely known. Killing is justified in some cases. In Islam it is acceptable to kill a prisoner if in some way this can be scary to the enemy. I understand that may sound terrible but we are fighting a war, that was a war tactic," he said. "We Muslims believe that one day the whole world will be an Islamic state. Our goal is to make sure that even the Vatican will be Muslim. Maybe I will not be able to see it, but that time will come."

Iceland volcano blasts back to life

Iceland Lava Fountains

© University of Iceland/Ármann Höskuldsson

Lava fountains during an Iceland eruption on Aug. 31.

A new volcanic eruption in southeast Iceland on Sunday (Aug. 31) fountained lava nearly 200 feet (60 meters) into the air.

Lava is spewing from the same crack as a small eruption that occurred Friday (Aug. 29). The fissure slices through the 200-year-old Holuhraun lava field, between

Bardarbunga volcano

and Askja volcano.

The "calm" eruption is 50 times more powerful than Friday's outburst, according to the

Iceland Met Office

. Lava was streaming from the fissure at 15.9 million gallons per minute (1,000 cubic meters per second) at 7 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Sunday, three hours after the flare-up began. The basalt flow covered almost 2 miles (3 kilometers) by mid-morning local time. The crack feeding the lava flow has also expanded to the north and south, and is now almost 1 mile (1.5 km) long.

The eruption can be seen on live webcams




, though a storm severely lowered visibility Sunday.

Emergency officials briefly raised the aviation alert warning to red, but no commercial flights have been affected.

The volcanic activity kicked off Aug. 16, when thousands of small earthquakes underneath the Bardarbunga volcano signaled fresh magma (molten rock) was burrowing underground. After a few days, the tremors showed the magma push off toward the northeast, forming a long channel called a dike. This narrow magma intrusion is now more than 28 miles (45 km) long.

On Aug. 29, the dike punched through to the surface in the Holuhraun lava field, an older lava flow that erupted in 1797. Lava briefly erupted just after midnight local time (8 p.m. ET) for three to four hours. A small amount of molten rock streamed from an old fissure some 2,000 feet (600 m) long, jetting clouds of steam. The Holuhraun lava field sits at the toe of Dyngjujokull glacier, between

Bardarbunga volcano

and Askja volcano. Askja volcano is located 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Bardarbunga. Fissures from earlier eruptions fractured the remote and rugged terrain. As the dike tunneled underground and neared the surface there, it shifted the ground, opening new cracks and widening older fractures, scientists with the University of Iceland reported.

New cracks in the glacier covering Bardarbunga volcano also hint at unrest beneath the ice.

Bardarbunga volcano is buried under an ice cap 1,310 to 1,970 feet (400 to 600 m) thick. Three circular crevasses, described as ice cauldrons, were discovered in the ice cap during a reconnaissance flight Aug. 27, the Met Office said. Each pit is about 32 to 50 feet (10 to 15 m) deep. The pits indicate either an eruption or geothermal heating that is melting ice deep below the glacier's surface, according to the Met Office.

Scientists can only detect a subglacial eruption at Bardarbunga by watching for melting and "listening" for the seismic signals of lava melting ice.

Tax policies drive corporations to join multitude renouncing U.S. citizenship

Don't be surprised to lose if you don't make an effort at being competitive. And if you go out of your way to make yourself less competitive,


to lose. If that sounds like simple common sense, that's because it is.

But it's also exactly what the US has been doing for years - enacting tax policies that sabotage its global economic competitiveness. It's like trying to get in shape for a marathon by going on an all-McDonald's diet. (Speaking of McDonalds,

check out this funny video spoof

of what their commercials should really look like.)

Here are two major reasons why the US is lagging in the global economic marathon:

1. The US has the highest effective corporate income tax rate in the developed world (see chart below).

2. Unlike most other countries, which only tax domestic profits, the US taxes the earnings of foreign subsidiaries of US companies when the money is transferred back to the US. This has had the effect of US corporations keeping over $1.9 trillion in retained earnings offshore to avoid the crippling US corporate income tax.

These "worst in the developed world" tax policies are clearly hurting the global competitiveness of American companies.Being deemed a "US Person" for tax purposes is like trying to swim with a lifejacket made of lead.

It should come as no surprise that an increasing number of productive people and companies are seeking to shed this burden so they can keep their heads above water.

At this point, it's more than just a trickle - it's an established trend in motion. And I don't see anything that would reverse it. On the contrary, given the political dynamics - ramped-up spending on welfare and warfare policies, as well as an "eat the rich" mood - taxes have nowhere to go but north. And that means the exodus will continue.

Three Cheers for Walgreens

Over the past couple of years, dozens of high-profile US companies have moved abroad (or seriously considered it) to lower their corporate income tax rate and to access their offshore retained earnings without triggering US taxes.

Among them are Medtronic, Liberty Global, Sara Lee, and Omnicom Group - the largest US advertising firm - to just name a few. Earlier this year Pfizer, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, sought (but was ultimately rebuffed) to move abroad, which would have cut its tax bills by as much as $1 billion a year.

The strategy these companies are using is known as an inversion. It's where a US company merges with a foreign company in a jurisdiction with lower taxes and then reincorporates there. Current US law allows for this if the foreign shareholders own at least 20% of the combined company (though some are trying to raise the minimum to 50%).

Now, despite the howls and shrieks from upset politicians and the mainstream media about these companies being "unpatriotic" and "un-American," they're doing absolutely nothing illegal. Inversions are totally acceptable within the current rules of the US Tax Code.

Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa has said, "These expatriations aren't illegal. But they're sure immoral." I beg to differ. Why would anyone want to give the destructive bureaucrats in DC a penny more than is legally required? As far as I'm concerned, not only is there nothing wrong with going where you're treated best, there's also an ethical and moral imperative to starve the Beast.

And now the latest high-profile company to consider putting the Beast on a diet is Walgreens. Walgreens is considering reincorporating in Switzerland as part of a merger with Alliance Boots, a European rival. The net effect for would be to reduce Walgreens' tax rate to 20%, down from around 31% now. The move is estimated to save around $4 billion over the next five years.

What really has the politicians scared is that inversions have started to snowball.The

New York Times

quoted an international tax lawyer stating that "it takes one company with enough public recognition to start [a] domino effect."

Walgreens could be the company that triggers a domino effect. If Walgreens were to move, it would gain a significant competitive advantage against its rivals. CVS, Walgreens' main competitor, paid a 34% tax rate in recent years. Can CVS really compete with Walgreens if the latter is paying 20%? Probably not. And that will only lead to more inversions.

Another Way to Starve the Beast

Remember, US companies are not globally competitive because of these two unique burdens:

1. The US has the highest effective corporate tax rate in the developed world.

2. Unlike most countries, which only tax domestic profits, the US taxes the earnings of foreign subsidiaries of US companies when the money is transferred back to the US.

We have already seen how inversions can reduce #1, but they also offer huge benefits in terms of #2.

Reincorporating abroad allows companies to permanently avoid paying US taxes on foreign earnings. It also allows companies to access their retained earnings offshore in ways they couldn't before without triggering punishing US taxes.

Medtronic, for example, has accumulated $20.5 billion of untaxed earnings in foreign subsidiaries. By reincorporating abroad, Medtronic can access that money without getting slapped with US corporate income taxes, which would save it billions.For companies like Medtronic and Walgreens, reincorporating abroad seems like a no-brainer.

Contrary to the government propaganda, the villains in this story aren't the companies seeking to diversify abroad to remain globally competitive. The villains are clearly the spendthrift politicians who enact these "worst in the developed world" tax policies, which create very compelling incentives for these companies to leave the US.

It's Not Just Companies Saying Sayonara

While the US should be enacting policies that make it attractive for productive people and companies to come to the US - rather than driving them away - don't hold your breath for positive change. It's more likely that nothing but more taxes and regulations are coming.

But as we have seen with companies like Medtronic and Walgreens, companies have options too.

And it's not just multibillion-dollar corporate entities that have options. Individuals operating on a modest scale can also reap enormous benefits by diluting the amount of control the bureaucrats in DC (or any country) wield over them. International diversification is the solution.

You do this by moving some of your savings abroad with offshore bank and brokerage accounts, physical gold held abroad, owning foreign real estate, and establishing an offshore company or trust.Obtaining a second passport is an important part of the mix as well.

You probably can't take all of these steps, and that's fine. Even taking just one will go a long way to reducing your political risk and giving you more options. In many cases, you don't even have to leave your living room.Think of it as your own personal insurance policy against an out-of-control government.

However, things can change quickly. New options emerge, while others disappear. This is why it's so important to have the most up-to-date and accurate information possible when formulating your international diversification strategy. That's where

International Man

comes in.

To keep up with the best strategies, you might want to check out our

Going Global

publication, where they are discussed in great actionable detail.

Is Ecuador dropping the US dollar by creating state-backed digital currency?

© flickr.com

Ecuador is planning to create the world's first digital currency issued by the country's central bank, in what is seen by many as a step to abandon the US dollar, the currency now used by the Central American country.

The currency is expected to start circulating in December, according to the country's Central Bank.

The technical details or the name of the currency have not been revealed, although the officials stated that it would not be a crypto-currency like Bitcoin.

The new currency is expected to co-exist with the US dollar, the current official money Ecuador uses, and will be channeled for 2.8 million people in the country - 40 per cent of the participants in the economy - who are too poor to afford the usual banking.

Use of the currency will be voluntary, and it will not be used to pay the state employees.

It will be possible to make and get payments via cellphones, Central Bank's deputy director Gustavo Solorzano told AP.

The software needed for the currency to function is already being used by cellphone companies, according to the official responsible for the currency, Fausto Valencia.

The country's President Rafael Correa declared that the only issue with the plan is that it has taken so long, defending it against "pseudo-analysts who have appeared in the media trying to smear (it)." Correa denied any plan to replace the US dollar.

Last month, other digital currencies like Bitcoin which are not approved by the state were prohibited in Ecuador by the country's National Assembly.

The disadvantage of the new currency would be that, unlike Bitcoin,

an unlimited amount of it can be minted

, creating potential risk of inflation.

Some specialists also regard the move as a step towards giving up the US dollar funds.

Nathalie Reinelt, an emerging payments analyst with the US-based Aite Group, told AP that she doesn't see any other motivation for creating such a currency.

The US dollar was set as the Ecuadorian currency in 2000, after a massive banking crisis hit the country. Even nowadays, the country is $11 billion in debt, mostly to China.

Russian State Duma: EU paying the price for US led sanctions on Russia

Sergey Naryshkin

© RIA Novosti

Sergey Naryshkin at RT on August 30, 2014

Blacklisting Russian individuals and targeting the country's economy is but an

emotional step the EU took after an apparent instruction from the US

, Russian State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin told RT. But Moscow hasn't sought to even the score, he added.

Naryshkin called the personalized sanctions imposed on Russian MPs, including Naryshkin himself, by European counterparts "strange, or even absurd" since Europeans "have always prided themselves on their democratic tradition," while the personalized sanctions are "absolutely at odds" with that.

"Our partners keep saying that it's very important to hear Russia's stance on this highly complex situation that presents a threat to Europe. But then they go ahead and limit their own ability to maintain contact and dialogue with the Russian side, and specifically Russian MPs," Naryshkin said, adding that sanctions are not the "end of the world."

"We should convey our point of view to the European public and our colleagues - the MPs - through every possible means, including the media and the contacts we MPs - and I - personally have," the speaker said.

'Russia isolated? Not really' No sanctions or restrictions could possibly isolate Russia

, Naryshkin said, recalling American President Barack Obama proudly reporting that he had "isolated Russia" while addressing officers at West Point Military Academy.

"But just a few weeks after that Moscow hosted a conference, the International Parliamentary Forum, attended by MPs, experts, researchers and NGO representatives from 71 countries," Naryshkin said. "An extensive and open dialogue is our response and our strategy."

Sergey Naryshkin

© RIA Novosti

Sergey Naryshkin at RT on August 30, 2014

'Sanctions against Moscow serve unfair competition'

The speaker of the Russian parliament believes that though the latest sanctions of the European countries against Russia could be

"an emotional response based on misunderstanding and misconception regarding the actual reasons behind the situation in Ukraine," to a large extent European partners acted "as advised or even instructed by Washington


Naryshkin called the international economic sanctions against Russia "

a tool used for unfair competition

- an unlawful tool that is not based on a court ruling and is not sanctioned by the UN."

As for the sanctions targeting individuals, Naryshkin believes their purpose is to "limit our ability to express our views, so Western Europe remains unaware of Russia's arguments."

'EU sanctions should scare Europe, not Russia'

With Washington announcing more sanctions on the way, such statements from the US should rather "scare Europe, not Russia."

"First of all, it's Europe who will be implementing these decisions should they be made. Secondly,

it's Europe, European businesses and European taxpayers who will have to pay the price for this policy,

" Naryshkin said.

He acknowledged, however, that some "sensible European MPs" have been against sanctions against Moscow from the very beginning, and their number has only grown since then.

"As the sanctions policy spirals out of control, MPs and politicians in general are starting to question its effectiveness," he said, pointing out that European MPs "with increasing clarity" are beginning to realize that

"it's their people who have to pay the price for this policy."

"While imposing sanctions on Russia, EU governments make their own businesses and their own people pick up the tab - and make them pay for their political mistakes," Naryshkin said.

'Ensuring national food security'

The Duma speaker also said that Russia is far from settling scores with the countries that sanctioned it internationally, and that the countermeasures taken only serve the goal of ensuring the security of national food supplies.

"We should keep in mind that food production and agricultural production are highly sensitive sectors of the economy when it comes to maintaining national security, ensuring food supply security," Naryshkin said, stressing that "sanctions ruined the reputation of the western countries as reliable partners when it comes to food supply and buying agricultural goods from them."

"We had to take measures," Naryshkin said.

"I would like to reiterate that the measures adopted by Russia have nothing to do with reciprocating [toward] our partners [for their sanctions against Russia], not at all. This is only an aspiration to ensure national food supply security," Naryshkin said, adding that he hopes that Russia's decision has "brought our western partners back to earth, because the damage that European business is now suffering is substantial."

Naryshkin gave the example that just one country alone, France, could expect to lose about 1 billion euros by the end of 2014 alone.

Commenting on Friday's incident with Poland closing its airspace to the aircraft of Russia's Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, the speaker of the Russian parliament said that such steps by the Polish government "will certainly do no good for Russian-Polish bilateral relations."

"At the very least, I can say Poland will not sell more apples by acting this way," Naryshkin said.

International Labor Organization: More chance of dying from work than going to war

© Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Going to war may seem one of the most hazardous ordeals on the planet, but perhaps not. The International Labor Organization (ILO) says there is more chance of dying from work than fighting for your country on the battlefield.

The admission was made by Guy Ryder, the ILO's director-general, who was speaking at the 20th World Congress in Frankfurt to participants from 141 countries in what is the world's largest occupational safety event.

"The challenge we face is a daunting one.

Work claims more victims around the globe than does war: an estimated 2.3 million workers die every year from occupational accidents and diseases

," said Ryder, in an article published on the organizations website.

Ryder believes that work related deaths should get more attention than they currently do in the mass media.

"Ebola and the tragedies it is causing are in the daily headlines - which is right. But work-related deaths are not. So, the task ahead is to establish a permanent culture of consciousness," he said.

While health and safety around the work place is improving, this is certainly not the case around the globe. In 2013, over 1,100 laborers died in a Bangladeshi factory after the building where they were working collapsed. Ryder believes it is unacceptable that people are forced to work in such conditions, where their lives are unnecessarily put at risk.

© AFP/Marcos Moreno

Smoke billows from Gibraltar's power plant following an explosion, in Gibraltar on April 20, 2014.

"This puts safety and health alongside forced labor, child labor, freedom of association and discrimination, which were recognized in the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work."

Ryder mentioned that total of cost of work related illnesses and accidents are a staggering $2.8 trillion around the globe. He also stressed the importance of investing in safety procedures and insurance, saying, "every dollar that is invested pays in."

The head of the ILO said that it is imperative that better data is logged to record accidents at the work place, to help prevention and also give target figures to help reduce the number of mishaps: "We live in the Information Age where policy-makers have access to data on most issues. But in relation to occupational safety and health we lack data to design and implement evidence-based policies and programs. That's a failure - also of political will."

The ILO is a body of the United Nations and is based in Switzerland. It was founded in 1919 in response to the horrors of the First World War, as part of the Treaty of Versailles with the belief that lasting peace can only be achieved through social equality. Its purpose is to try and achieve better working, social and economic conditions for workers around the globe and to ensure that safety is paramount.

© Reuters/Andrew Biraj

A firefighter inspects the Standard Group garment factory which was on fire in Gazipur November 29, 2013.

Hyping fake terror threats: Israeli sources say ISIS targeting the Pope

Pope Francis


Pope Francis waves as he leads the weekly general audience at St Peter’s square on Aug. 27, 2014 in Vatican City.

A new report claims that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is targeting Pope Francis - a report that the Vatican says is simply not true.

According to

Il Tempo


Israeli sources

reportedly told the Italian newspaper that the pope is "in the crosshairs of ISIS." The report stated that Francis is being targeted because he is "the greatest exponent of the Christian religions" and the "bearer of false truth."

The Vatican, though, denounced the report.

"There is nothing serious to this," Father Federico Lombardi S.J., a Vatican spokesman, told

Catholic News Agency

. "There is no particular concern in the Vatican. This news has no foundation."

The Catholic News Agency reports that Italy has

issued a nationwide terror alert, despite no imminent threats or specifics about a potential attack on the country.

On Friday, Britain raised the terror threat level from substantial to severe, meaning that a terrorist attack is considered highly likely.

Home Secretary Theresa Mays said the decision to raise the threat level was related to developments in Iraq and Syria, but that

there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent

. Some of the plots are likely to involve fighters who have traveled from Britain and Europe to take part in fighting in the Middle East.

"We face a real and serious threat in the UK from international terrorism," she said. "I would urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police."

May says the decision by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center is made on the basis of intelligence and is independent of government. "Severe" is the second-highest of five levels.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria a "greater and deeper threat to security than we have seen before."

"We cannot appease this ideology, we have to confront it at home and abroad," Cameron said Friday.

British police have appealed to the public to help identify aspiring terrorists after the murder of an American journalist focused attention on extremism in the U.K.

The involvement of a person of British nationality in James Foley's murder underscored the need to identify those who might travel abroad to fight or are at risk of being radicalized.

The warning comes as President Barack Obama said Thursday during a press conference that the

administration has yet to develop a strategy to deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet," Obama stated.

White House officials told CBS News that Obama's remark referred to a specific military strategy for dealing with ISIS.

"I just want to be clear about what our strategy is. The president's clear in that this strategy is one that's not going to solve this problem overnight. But he's also clear about the fact that our strategy can't only be the American military," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told CNN. "We have a comprehensive strategy for dealing with ISIL. One component of our broader strategy is the use of military force."


Perhaps this has something to do with the US' priorities changing in regards to the Ukrainian situation, with their

puppets in Kiev losing

the little control they had while the BRICS countries show an

unprecedented synergy

in achieving their goals. NATO has been preparing massive drills against an "unnamed enemy," with Russia obviously in the



The president is still determining whether or not to conduct airstrikes in Syria to target ISIS. The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes in Iraq against the terror group.

"We need to make sure that we've got clear plans so we're developing them. At that point I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard," Obama explained.

Just last week, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said that ISIS needs to be confronted in Syria.

"To your question, can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization, which resides in Syria? The answer is no," Dempsey said last week during a press briefing at the Pentagon. "That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border."

Secretary of State John Kerry will be traveling to the Mideast next week in an effort to coordinate a response against ISIS.

New York federal court rules Microsoft must handover personal data stored abroad

© Reuters/Bogdan Cristel

Microsoft has been told it must handover emails stored abroad to US prosecutors by a New York court. However, the software giant says it will fight the ruling, saying that an email deserves the same privacy protection as a paper letter sent by mail.

The company says they will not release any emails to US authorities, while it appeals the ruling, made by Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the US District Court in Manhattan. She said that Microsoft must hand over information, regardless of where it was stored.

"Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal," a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters. "Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen."

Preska says her decision is final, but she will allow Microsoft to appeal the ruling and as asked both parties to give their planned courses of action by September 5. This case appears to be the first of its kind in which a corporation is challenging a US search warrant to obtain data being held overseas.

The original

July 31 ruling

concerned a warrant prosecutors served on Microsoft for an individual's emails stored in Dublin, Ireland. A magistrate judge in


ruled the warrant was valid.

Tech companies are not happy about the ruling as they gain revenue by storing foreign emails abroad, which they believed were out of the jurisdiction of the US authorities. However, the ruling by the New York court has changed this and if the appeal by Microsoft is unsuccessful, US law enforcement agencies would in theory be able to seize any data they wished.

"Earlier this month, the British government passed a law asserting its right to require tech companies to produce emails stored anywhere in the world. This would include emails stored in the US by Americans who have never been to the UK," Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer for Microsoft, wrote in his blog.

Lynch says Microsoft is committed to delivering meaningful privacy protections, which build trust with the customers. "

We believe your email belongs to you, not us, and that it should receive the same privacy protection as paper letters sent by mail - no matter where it is stored

," he said.


From March 2014: "Microsoft on Thursday scrambled to head off a privacy storm after it was revealed that the software company had searched through the private email of a blogger it suspected of having received stolen software code."

Microsoft caught up in fresh privacy storm

"While we appreciate the vital importance of public safety, we believe it's also important to strike the right balance with the privacy concerns of people who use technology. A recent poll shows most Americans agree," Lynch added.

The poll, which was conducted by public opinion research firm of Anzalone Liszt in July, says that 79 percent agree that the federal government should have to respect local privacy laws when searching through people's personal information like their email accounts. It also shows that 86 percent think police should have to follow the same legal requirements for obtaining personal information stored in the cloud as they do for personal information stored on paper.

Microsoft is particularly wary about

data security

following revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the US government was collecting massive amounts of data from around the world. It has since been trying to reassure its customers that it does not allow the US government unrestricted access to personal documents that are stored on its servers.

Ebola virus is rapidly mutating

Ebola micrograph CDC

© CDC/ Frederick Murphy

Electron micrograph of Ebola virus

A study of some of the earliest Ebola cases in Sierra Leone reveals

more than 300 genetic changes in the virus as it has leapt from person to person


These rapid changes could

blunt the effectiveness of diagnostic tests and experimental treatments

now in development, say researchers.

"We found the virus is doing what viruses do. It's mutating," says study lead author Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University and the Broad Institute.

The study is based on samples from 78 people in Sierra Leone, all of whose infections could be traced to a faith healer whose claims of a cure attracted Ebola patients from Guinea, where the virus first took hold.

The findings, published in


, suggests the virus is

mutating quickly and in ways that could affect current diagnostics

and future vaccines and treatments, such as GlaxoSmithKline's Ebola vaccine, which was just fast-tracked to begin clinical trials, or the antibody drug ZMapp, being developed by California biotech Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

Study coauthor Robert Garry of Tulane University says the virus

is mutating at twice the rate in people as it was in animal hosts

, such as fruit bats.

Garry says the study shows changes in the glycoprotein, the surface protein that binds the virus to human cells, allowing it to start replicating in its human host.

"It's also what your immune system will recognise," he says.

In an unusual step, the researchers posted the sequences online as soon as they became available, giving other researchers early access to the data.

Erica Ollmann Saphire of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, has already checked the data to see if it impacts the three antibodies in ZMapp, a drug in short supply that has been tried on several individuals, including the two US missionaries who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and who have since recovered.

"It appears that they do not (affect ZMapp)," says Saphire, who directs a consortium to develop antibody treatments for Ebola and related viruses. But she says the data "will be critical to seeing if any of the other antibodies in our pool could be affected."

Saphire says the speed with which Sabeti and colleagues mapped genetic changes in the virus gives researchers information that "will also be critical" to companies developing RNA-based therapeutics.

That could impact treatments under way from Vancouver-based Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp and privately held Profectus BioSciences of Tarrytown, New York.

Unfolding epidemic

Part of what makes the data useful is the precise picture it paints as the epidemic unfolded. Sabeti credits years of work by her lab, colleagues at Tulane and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation in developing a response network for Lassa fever, a virus similar to Ebola that is endemic in West Africa.

Several of the study authors gave their lives to the work

, including Dr Sheik Humarr Khan, the beloved "hero" doctor from the Kenema Government Hospital, who died from Ebola.

The team had been doing surveillance for two months when the first case of Ebola arrived from Guinea on 25 May. That case involved a "sowei" or tribal healer, whose claim of a cure lured sick Ebola victims from nearby Guinea.

"When she contracted Ebola and died, there were a lot of people who came to her funeral," says Garry said. One of these was a young pregnant woman who became infected and travelled to Kenema Government Hospital, where she was diagnosed with Ebola.

With the Lassa surveillance team in place, they quickly began testing samples.

"We've been able to capture the initial spread from that one person and to follow all of these contacts and everything with sequencing," Garry says.

The team used a technique called deep sequencing in which sequences are done repeatedly to generate highly specific results, allowing them to see not only how the virus is mutating from person to person, but how it is mutating in cells within the same person.

What is not clear from the study is

whether the mutations are fueling the epidemic by allowing the virus to grow better in people and become easier to spread

. That will require further tests in the lab, says Garry.

The findings come as the World Health Organization (WHO) says the epidemic could infect more than 20,000 people and spread to more countries.

A WHO representative could not be reached for comment.


A video abstract of the published paper

'Soul of the sun' revealed - deep neutrinos detected for the first time

solar neutrinos detected

© borex.lngs.infn.it

Scientists have for the first time detected the solar neutrino particles forged in the sun's heart that are eventually emitted into the galaxy as light.

More than 100 international scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst worked together using the Borexino detector in Italy to make the discovery, which provides humans with a peak into the process of nuclear fusion that is responsible for bathing the Earth with light. The findings were first reported in the latest issue of the



Although it only takes eight minutes for light from the sun to hit Earth, there is a substantially longer process that takes place before that can happen. After the solar neutrinos are formed in the sun's core, another 100,000 years must pass before they make their way to the star's surface and shoot out at the speed of light.

"The first step in the dominant fusion process in the sun starts when two protons in its core fuse into a deuteron, creating a [proton-proton] neutrino," wrote Nola Redd at


. "Other neutrinos are created in subsequent steps of the process, several of which have been detected, but the first-step neutrinos remained elusive."

Now that these neutrinos have been detected, though, scientists are hoping to learn even more about the sun's energy-forming processes.

"[The neutrinos] are the most direct confirmation that nuclear fusion is the source of energy [for the sun]," said Wick Haxton of University of California, Berkeley, to the website.

Once the particles shoot out of the sun, they make their way to the Earth extremely quickly, showering every square inch of the planet's surface with up to 420 billion every second.

"By comparing the two different types of solar energy radiated, as neutrinos and as surface light, we obtain experimental information about the sun's thermodynamic equilibrium over about a 100,000-year timescale," said university scientist, and international team member, Dr. Andrea Pocar, to the

Daily Mail


"If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, with these neutrinos, we are looking not just at its face, but directly into its core. We have glimpsed the sun's soul."


Hopefully this research will shed more light on the

sun's role

in climate change.

Ukrainians having to get creative in their natural gas and heating solutions

Comment: Below we see one of the effects of the U.S. "cold war" against Russia. The U.S. sees this as merely collateral damage, they care very little for the suffering of the average Ukrainian and whether or not they have to live without heat in the brutal Eastern European winter. The comforts of the average person is of little consideration in the war against Russia. In the minds of psychopaths, such things are not even considered.

With natural gas shortages central heating may not be in place in Ukrainian flats for the cold winter. While people are rushing to buy electric heaters, authorities have issued brochures with advice on how to cope with freezing temperatures.

Recognizing that it is extremely hard to keep a city flat warm with no central heating, Kiev authorities, for example, launched a campaign aimed at informing citizens on tricks and methods they could use to save energy and heat - at temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius and lower.

Firstly, the heat insulation of windows and doors is strongly advised, as well as the purchase of a personal boiler or energy-saving heating installation. In fact, people are already starting to buy the boilers: shop owners in Kiev told TCH TV channel that demand for such devices has increased at least threefold since the beginning of the crisis.

Also, it is suggested in the brochures that city residents should buy warm clothes made of natural fabric, valenki, and headwear to protect themselves from freezing temperatures.

Where there is heating in flats, the authorities advise to paint the radiators red or brown instead of traditional white, in order to increase their heat output - or wrap them in foil.

With so many heating devices power consumption will increase and may overload the grid, authorities are also giving advice on electricity savings: from switching to lower wattage light bulbs, to giving up on devices' stand-by functions and instead unplugging them completely.

Among the more extreme advice, the authors of the brochure suggest that the Kiev residents should use their balconies as fridges, and turn on the lights only in one room, preferably pointing the source of light only on one spot - for example, a table.

There are some kitchen suggestions too: people are advised not to wash dishes in running water, and to eat only the types of food that take a few minutes to prepare.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government started an aggressive propaganda campaign called "Energy independence", the aim of which is to inform Ukrainians about the necessity to save energy and natural gas - in order to become independent from Russian supplies.

It is noted that the funds for this campaign aren't allocated from the federal budget, but from donor programs from the EU and the US.

The vice premier of the country Vladimir Groysman has suggested the population remember how to heat their homes with wood waste, turf, and straw - and this is seriously being considered by experts.

The whole campaign sounds like a revolutionary step, but not all are convinced.

"Nowadays, the authorities say we need to switch gas for something, to reduce the gas consumption by 10-30 percent. It's true, but they don't tell the most important thing: we consume much more than our European neighbors.

For instance, Poland consumes only 14-15 billion cubic meters of gas, while Ukraine consumes almost 50.5 billion cubic meters,"

Oleg Kozalchuk, the president of Ukrainian Association of energy efficiency and energy saving, told Pravda.ru media outlet.

Warning the residents of Kiev to prepare for winter, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said he hopes they will "understand the temporary difficulties, taking into account the situation in Kiev and in the country."

Since currently there are no natural gas supplies from Russia, all the gas extracted domestically "goes to the storages," he told 112.ua agency explaining the decision to switch off hot running water in summer. "It's the Cabinet of ministers' demand, and respect it."

Despite the mayor's pledges that the heating is to be expected in households in October, experts aren't so sure.

"Klitschko can promise whatever he wants, but he can't guarantee anything. Does he have gas in storages? "Kievenergo" got the limits of gas usage of 1.2 billion of cubic meters, while last year, they used 1.8 billion over the same period, from August until March. And if the temperatures are low in autumn and winter, then they'll surely heat the radiators, and will turn off the hot water," the co-chairman of Fund of energy strategies Dmitry Marunich told 112.ua agency.

And while the temperatures go down, the tariffs increase - the utility rates have already grown 1.5-2 times this year.

The consumption of natural gas in Ukraine reduced in July by 30.3 per cent compared to July 2013, according to the country's State Statistical Committee. The consumption of oil has fallen by 23.3 per cent compared with last year - and so has the consumption of coal, with figures showing a reduction by 25.9 per cent.

Nevertheless, the cabinet of ministers declared an emergency situation in the Ukrainian energy sector in June, urging the population to stock up on firewood to try their best to save energy.

Study suggests low doses of marijuana may slow progression of Alzheimer's


© Reuters / David McNew

Extremely low levels of THC compound, a chemical found in marijuana, may slow down or halt the progression of Alzheimer's disease, US neuroscientists have found, thus laying the ground for the development of effective treatment in the future.

In recent research


in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, scientists from University of South Florida revealed their findings, that may shed light on controversial therapeutic qualities of marijuana.


A far safer and more useful means of halting the progression of Alzheimer's would be to

switch to a ketogenic diet.

This diet is helpful in enhancing the immune system and has been found to

alleviate symptoms of numerous diseases

. In addition to a healthy diet, researchers have long been aware that fewer smokers get Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases than non-smokers. Despite all the mainstream negative propaganda surrounding the use of tobacco products, pure additive-free tobacco actually has

numerous health benefits

and may also be a good

preventive for Ebola


Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common dementia types in people over 65. It develops alongside malfunctioning or death of nerve cells in the brain, which usually results in changes in one's memory, behavior, and ability to think clearly. Its history dates back to over a century, but its origins remain largely unknown. Alzheimer's disease tends to progress from mild forms to moderate and severe cases at different rates, eventually leading to death.

As the team found, extremely low doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol chemical, also known as THC,

reduce the production of amyloid beta protein, as well as prevent it from accumulating in abnormal amounts. What is special about this protein is that it is found in a soluble form in most aging brains. It also marks early evidence for Alzheimer's disease.

A "natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor", THC can fight Alzheimer's, slowing down its development or even curing it. According to the scientists, its low concentrations also play a positive part in mitochondrial function, thus adding up to the processes of energy supply, signal transmission and maintenance of a healthy brain.

"THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer's pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,"


study lead author Chuanhai Cao, PhD and a neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute and the USF College of Pharmacy.

However, even the researchers "are still far from a consensus", as Neel Nabar, a study co-author and MD/PhD candidate mentioned. The reason for this controversy is the subtlety of the following fact:

the positive impact of low doses of THC doesn't rule out its toxicity and memory impairment.

Another issue concerning cannabis use that has to be solved by drug developers is legal restrictions. For instance, in the US Marijuana is regarded as a medical drug only in a number of states - Colorado and Washington, D.C. This is also true for some countries like the Netherlands and Uruguay.

"It's important to keep in mind that just because a drug may be effective doesn't mean it can be safely used by anyone.

However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease", Nabar outlined.

Nowadays, medical marijuana is mainly used as a pain killer. It deals with headaches, pains from cancer, or in cases when a patient has a long-term condition, such as glaucoma, HIV or nerve pain.

Still, its side effects include dizziness and euphoria, but in more serious cases it could be severe anxiety and psychosis


Protest group pours fake blood in Belgium's Liege airport - 'No weapons for Israel!'

© AFP/Nicolas Lambert

A Belgian feminist activist group LilithS literally painted Liege Airport red with a hundred liters of fake blood at the facility's role in arming Israel. The red pool of 'blood' symbolized their perceived 'slaughter' of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel.

Six women took part in the protest at 11.30 am on Tuesday. The members were all wearing t-shirts bearing the colors of the Palestinian flag as well as the slogans "Terrorism is real" and "Free Palestine." They also unveiled a banner with the slogan: "

How many tons of weapons for so many liters of blood?

" the groups Facebook page stated.

#Gaza activist action in #liege airport #belgium agaisnt weapon transport to #Israelhttp://ift.tt/VVnCId

- Little Lou ن (@LOUPARI) August 30, 2014

Their man gripe was how they believe Liege Airport is being used to transport arms for Israel, which are used against the people of Palestine. LilithS says that the Belgian government and the European Union are turning a blind eye to this, as long as the military material being transported does not change vehicles.

26 Belgian non-profit organizations and other political parties have also spoken out against the lack of transparency shown by the airport.

© Via twitter@loupari

Amsterdam's Schipol airport in the Netherlands was used to transport Israeli arms from the United States. LilithS's Facebook page states that from 2005 to 2006, more than 160 million explosives, 17 million weapons and one million cartridges, tear gas canisters and detonators were sent to Israel, via the Dutch capital. These weapons were used in Israel's campaign against Lebanon in 2006 and led to the loss of over a thousand people, the group added.

#Scene for blood that was shed in #Gaza.. inside #Liege Airport in #Belgium..In #solidarity with #Gaza.. #ICC4Israelhttp://ift.tt/1qSCuD2

- Said Shoaib سعيدشعيب (@saidshouib) August 29, 2014

The US started to transport weapons to Israel via Liege after Amsterdam introduced tougher regulations to its Schipol air hub. LilithS says the Belgian airport has no such transparency policy.

However, Chirstian Delcourt, a spokesman for the airport says "there are no weapons that pass through this airport. This is an unfounded rumor, which you hear every time there is an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the Belgian website



He also stated that Liege Airport intends to file charges against the feminist activist group.

Belgium activist group took to Liege airport to condemn airport authorities for supplying arms to #Israel@iFalasteenhttp://ift.tt/1qSCsv3

- Syed Meesam Raza (@meesamabidi) August 28, 2014

© Via twitter@meesamabidi

A long-term


in Gaza was agreed with Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday, as the conflict entered its 51st day. The ceasefire came into effect at 16.00 GMT and was announced by Egypt.

Since the conflict started on July 8,

the death toll reached 2,210, the vast majority of whom were civilians and 577 were children

, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

'United Continent' travels to fight fascism: European volunteers fighting Kiev troops in Eastern Ukraine

© RT

French fighter Nikola

European volunteers are streaming into Ukraine to join the fighting on both sides.

While Kiev's forces are beefed up withmercenaries from private military companies,

Europeans have also come to defend the rebel Donbass region of their own free will.

One of the latest reinforcements of anti-Kiev troops in Eastern Ukraine are four French ex-serviceman who have come to fight this war, thousands of kilometers from home.

"It's our war. It's everybody's war, it's every European's war,"

Guillaume, a French fighter in Ukraine defending the Donbass region, told RT's Paula Slier.

Another volunteer, 25-year-old Nikola, used to be a professional soldier with the elite French mountain troops for five years. Now he's putting his skills to good use in Ukraine. Alongside a contingent of other foreign volunteers, he's training anti-Kiev forces in urban guerilla warfare.

"These are people's militias, these are not mercenaries or professional soldiers, so they need instruction,"

Nikola told RT.

"They really have the motivation, whereas the Kiev army, which is a kind of puppet of NATO, they don't have any motivation whatsoever,"

Nikola said.


We have seen them before. They are very much unmotivated and they do not really know why they are fighting, and against whom they are fighting, so that is our main strength.


The French volunteer explained that the presence of European volunteers among Ukraine's rebels carrying out what they call "a military operation for protecting civilians" in the country's east is symbolic.


For many of these people from the west, it's their first time to come and defend what is considered by western governments a bad cause, or the bad guys' cause. So it's very important to show that people from the west are distinct from their governments and they are ready to come and fight and

risk their lives to defend another world



Nikola said.

And more and more overseas fighters are signing up and joining the anti-Kiev troops.

RT's Paula Slier found out that volunteers are coming to the Donetsk frontline not just from

France, but also from Spain , Poland, Israel and the United Kingdom


Aleksey Mozgovoy, the commander of 'Prizrak' (Ghost) brigade from the Lugansk Region said in an interview to the MK.ru news outlet that in his 1,000-strong battalion there are fighters from Bulgaria, Slovakia and Germany.

One of the largest international forces fighting against Kiev's troops is a unit of volunteers from Serbia, according to the interview. The 'Jovan Shevich' squadron allegedly consists of 250 fighters and is actively operating in the Lugansk Region.

Earlier this week, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People's Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko,


in an interview to Russian media that up to 4,000 Russian citizens, many of them ex-servicemen, have joined anti-government fighters during Kiev's crackdown in Ukraine's east.


Without them, it would hard for us to go on with our fighting,


Zakharchenko said, stressing that at the moment many of Russian citizens have already returned back home.


latest developments

in the warfare in Eastern Ukraine, where up to 7,000 Ukrainian troops and National Guards units have been entrapped in three separate encirclements, give hope to the rebel forces.


We believe that the Ukrainian army will not be able to last until winter or even fall, because

each day that goes by they lose money, they lose motivation, they lose manpower, they lose ammo.

So each day that goes by, they grow weaker, while we grow stronger,


French fighter Guillaume told RT.

Europe now finds itself between a rock and a hard place:

What to do as more of its young men sign up to fight against its ally? "

Legally, we do not see what the French government can do to us because first of all, we are not paid, so we're not mercenaries, we're not terrorists, we're not jihadists, and of course it's a mission of information, it's a political mission, it's a mission of soft power,


Victor Lenfa, Commander of the French team in Ukraine, told RT.

And this mission is growing stronger as a brigade of Western volunteers is now being put together under the name "United Continent."

© Reuters / Thomas Peter

Milutin Malisic, a member of a Serbian Chetnik paramilitary group.

Foreign mercenaries in Kiev's service

After the UN Security Council on Thursday blocked Russia's statement calling for a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine under a completely frivolous pretext, Russia's envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin had a heated


with colleagues from the US and Ukraine, who again accused Russia of a full-scale invasion as a large number of Russian volunteers are fighting in Ukraine.

Vitaly Churkin fired back, saying that

nobody ever tried to hide the presence of Russian volunteers

, urging Washington to acknowledge the presence of US advisers in Kiev and why mercenaries from private military companies are waging war in Ukraine.


Maybe our American colleagues can tell us what tens of American advisers are busy with in the headquarters of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine [in Kiev]? Let them tell us how many American mercenaries from the so-called "security provider" companies are fighting [in Ukraine], thousands of kilometers from their home ground?


demanded Churkin, not forgetting to mention

first-rate US-made armaments observed in Ukrainian units.

Exactly one month ago, Russia's Rossyiskaya Gazeta daily quoted Igor Strelkov, the former Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, who claimed that as of the end of July, self-defense militia had eliminated up to 330 mercenaries representing a number of foreign private military companies.

Strelkov specified the casualties from each of them, saying that Polish private military company


(Analizy Systemowe Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz)


lost 139 mercenaries, American

Greystone Ltd

, a subsidiary of Vehicle Services Company LLC belonging to


, lost 40 fighters, while


itself lost 125 personnel.

Moscow warns of retaliation after Poland's ridiculous closure of airspace causing Russian minister's plane to be grounded

© http://mil.ru/

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu

Polish closure of its airspace for the plane of the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will not go without an "appropriate response" as it caused a "real threat to flight safety," Russia's Foreign Ministry has stated.

The diplomatic standoff on Friday took hours to resolve after Poland refused to grant free passage to Shoygu's plane as he was returning from celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Slovakian national uprising that took place in the town of Banská Bystrica.

An hour after the TU-154 left Slovakia, the flyover in Polish airspace was suddenly refused due to the plane's changed status. On the way to the celebrations, Poland designated the minister's flight as civilian, while on the way back, it was changed from civil to military - for "unknown reasons", according to Poland's state air navigation services agency. Under non-civilian status, crossing Polish airspace requires at least a 72 hours' notice before the flight.

The plane had to be grounded in Bratislava in what the Russian Foreign Ministry called an "outrageous incident", while Poland cited "technical reasons" for not allowing the plane through.

"Russian delegation had to urgently return to Bratislava due to lack of fuel, which created a real threat to the safety of flight," the ministry said in a statement.

Only after a "vigorous demarche" from Russian diplomats, Warsaw agreed to confirm the permit previously issued to fly over the territory of Poland.

As the plane safely returned to Moscow, Russia called Poland's actions "a gross violation of the norms and ethics of communication" and in the context of the celebrations of Slovakia's triumph over Nazism, a"blasphemous trick against the historical memory and the merits of those who saved Europe from fascism."

The statement promises an "appropriate reaction from the Russian side," as the Polish FM claims that politics were not involved.

"In terms of the flight by Russian Defense Minister over Poland, there is no political overtones. It was only about procedural issues," Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski was quoted by Itar-Tass.

The UN meanwhile urged both sides of the incident to refrain from "provocative actions," a spokesman for UN Secretary General Stephane Dujarric said linking the flight bar to the volatile situation in Ukraine.

​IMF throws fascists in Kiev $1.4bn lifeline

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Vultures of Capitalism

The International Monetary Fund has given a green light for Ukraine to receive the second tranche of financial assistance totalling $1.39 billion, meaning more austerity measures for the already struggling economy.


The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first review of Ukraine's performance under an economic program supported by a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA),


the organization said in a statement.


The completion of this review enables the disbursement of SDR 914.67 million (about US$1.39 billion), which would bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 2.97 billion (about US$4.51 billion),


the statement reads.

The international body also approved Ukraine's request to merge the third and fourth instalments of its financial assistance. Ukraine's weak economy may now be eligible for a $2.3 billion bailout if another review is passed by the end of 2014.

At the same time the IMF noted its decision was based on the


that the conflict in the east of Ukraine will subside in the coming months.


The conflict in the eastern part of the country is taking its toll on the economy and society, and compensatory measures will be critical to achieve key program targets agreed for 2014 and beyond,


the statement reads.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized on his Facebook page that the IMF voted




to allocate another instalment.

Following the Executive Board discussion, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the escalating conflict in the east is causing a


deeper recession and

deviations from program targets in the short term."

In particular, Legarde singled Naftogaz deficits and the central bank's net international reserves.


Kiev authorities have to take steps to accumulate international reserves, tighten the fiscal stance in 2015 - 2016 relative to the initial program targets, and step up efforts to put Naftogaz on a sound financial footing,


according to Lagarde.


Downside risks to the program remain very high


she added.

It is ordinary Ukrainians who will suffer the most under the new austerity measures as the floating national currency is likely to push up inflation, while a spike in domestic gas prices will impact every household

. Under the IMF conditions Kiev has to cut the budget deficit, increase retail energy tariffs, and shift to a flexible exchange rate. For simple people that means raised taxes, energy bill costs, and freezing of wages and pensions. It also includes smashing tax benefits for agriculture and allows banks to repossess property.

All this, as the IMF says Ukraine's GDP will contract by 6.5 percent this year, while the hryvnia has fallen over 60 percent against the dollar this year.


Under the IMF's articles of agreement, it [IMF] is not allowed to lend money to a country that is unable to pay,


Michael Hudson, Wall Street analyst told RT.

" The repayment of these demands is going to cause the Ukrainian currency to fall way down...the economy will be killed under the condition of this loan."

To receive the IMF funds, Kiev opted for severe austerity program that

includes getting rid of 24,000 government jobs, withdrawing subsidies on natural gas, raising taxes, and selling off state assets.

Ukraine received the first IMF loan of $3.16 billion in May after the IMF approved a $17 billion package in the form of a two-year stabilization program.